Friday, December 29, 2006

Happy New Year, ya'll

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Emmylou Harris




















Amazing. Always has been, always will be. She turned 60 this year, and she is as gorgeous as ever. Her hair, once raven black with a signature sweep of white is now fully and proudly silver.

Her lyrics are haunting, her voice is magical. She's been performing and writing for over 40 of her 60 years, and her discography is stunning.

She only gets better with time.

The Connection
The heel of my boot is on the leg of my chair
My chair leans back and rests on the wall
And the wall runs the length of my room to the door
And the door reaches down to the sidewalk

And the sidewalk leads to the edge of the street
And the street takes you out to the old highway
And the highway ends at the county line bridge
The bridge takes you up to the interstate

The interstate rolls on beyond the horizon
Where miles tend to turn into days
It finally runs into
The high road that winds through the city that took you away

And it reaches a sidewalk that kisses a wall
And the wall rises up to the 33rd floor
And the floor feels you stand at the balcony ridge
From the rail you look out on the interstate

The interstate rolls on beyond the horizon
A highway of dreams come and gone
And always leads back through the roads that connects you
To the fool that keeps holding on

The heel of my boot is on the leg of my chair . . .

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Vocabularia

I made the following statement today. "I corrected your blogname on my blogroll."

That got me to thinking . . . I never even uttered the word "blog" prior to, hmm, 2004.

What other words do I say on a nearly daily basis that I didn't even know this time last year, or the year before? I didn't think there could be all that many, until I really started thinking about it.

Here, in no particular order, are things that I utter or think about nearly daily that were not a part of my consciousness 12-24 months ago:

Blog (blogging, blogger, blogroll, and all the other forms)
YouTube
Wickerman
MySpace
Lancet

I'm growing as a person, and I owe it all to the internets.

Fellow Human Beings of Earth

David Gilmour is a god. Then, now . . .





Bob Geldof is pretty cool, too.

That is all.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Trick or Treat . . . Smell My Feet!

If you have a 5 year old at your house, then you have probably heard that as many times as I have this past month. Interestingly enough, 5 year olds NEVER tire of saying it, and then dissolving into uncontrollable laughter. My son is no exception, except maybe for the fact that he ACTUALLY tries to make you smell his feet (he's pretty strong and agile, too, so no laying on the sofa around here until closer to Thanksgiving.)

We tend to do things up big around here for Halloween. It's always been one of my favorite holidays, and even though schools don't have Halloween carnivals anymore, and kids can't trick or treat unsupervised, and you have to check the candy bags for razor blades, it's still a cool holiday. We generally kick things off by erecting our huge blowup scarecrow on October 1 (the Homeowner's Association LOVES us!) and follow that up by repeated viewings of "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" throughout the month, awaiting the arrival of the Big Party To End All Parties that ALWAYS occurs the Saturday before Halloween.

Except this year.

Our friends, who have dutifully thrown the best party ever for many, many years, finally decided to discontinue the tradition this year. Speculation is that the party was getting too big, there were too many people, too much booze and weed, and too many hassles, too many complaints from the neighbors, and too much hassle all around. Can't say I blame them, but damn, was I disappointed.

But, I did what you do when the best party in the world is dead and gone, I found another. It seemed a shame not to take advantage of our costumes (Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Wolf), so we crashed the Masquerade Ball at Wild Bill's Saloon. It was lots of fun, about 5,000 people strong, and nearly everyone was dressed up!

It drew a big crowd, because there was $5,000 on the line for Best Costume. There were guys there on stilts inside 8 foot tall monster costumes, all manner of witches, goblins, devils, and superheroes. There was even one lady who had recreated a full-scale framed painting of the Mona Lisa, which she wore and stuck her own head and arms through. I saw her dancing with Teen Wolf at one point (he took the big prize, by the way. Don't you know the stilts monster guys were pissed off about that?)

Saturday slowly, ever so slowly gave way to Tuesday . . . THE day. I don't know how the kids made it through the school day! I joined my kindergartener for "Fall Centers" (remember, they can't call it a Halloween Party in public school) and I was in charge of helping kids glue eyes and mouths to foam pumpkin cutouts. My "center" was totally outdone by the "smear peanut butter on a pinecone and roll it in birdseed" center, not to mention the "make a spider out of doughnuts and pretzel sticks and icing and decorate with candy" center. Ah, well . . . when it's all said and done, and the doughnut spiders have been eaten, and the birdseed and peanut butter have all been pecked away, my foam pumpkin cutouts will remain (that is, if the moms don't throw them in the garbage the minute that Halloween is over. I keep all that stuff, but then again, I am sort of a packrat when it comes to stuff my kids make.)

Once the agony of the school day had passed, and I extricated myself from my work (harder and harder these days), we prepared ourselves for The Moment . . . Sundown on Halloween night. Hub had been home sick the previous day and Halloween day with some kind of stomach bug, but he was a trooper, gathering the troops. We had invited the kids' friends to come walk the neighborhood with us. Really sweet kids, brother and sister, same age as my two, and all four are inseparable. We had missed the little boy's birthday earlier in the month, so we set up a quick party table with cupcakes (like you need THAT on Halloween), popcorn and presents. Imagine our surprise when he showed up, dressed exactly like MY kid!


Hilarious!

The kids decided to pool their resources and dump their candy into a community wagon as we went through the neighborhood. The wagon was pulled by Weenie the Wonderdog, who was celebrating her 3rd "birthday" with us (I got her from the pound on Halloween day, 2003.)

By the time 8:00 pm rolled around, we had (easily) 15 pounds of candy, 4 tired kids, and a worn out dog. It was worth it. And for the record, nope, I didn't eat ANY candy. Good for me.

Happy Halloween, ya'll.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Breathing deep and treading water

So . . . hmm.

Last night, I took the kids to Johnny's NY Pizza to meet up with my uncle (my mother's brother) for dinner. He wanted all of us kids to gather there to talk with him about my parents, their (delapidated) house, their (dwindling) finances, etc.

We all gathered there, me and my kids, my sister and her family, one brother, his kids, and my uncle brought my mom. It's not often that we all gather together, and I can't remember the last time all 6 of my mom's grandkids were in one spot at the same time.

When the food starts to arrive (calzones, spaghetti, and pizza for most, Greek salad and some kind of low carb chicken wrap thingy for me, not bad), the conversation turns to me, and not in a good way.

"You know, you can cure that diabetes with deep breathing and lots of drinking water," Uncle announces to me and the rest of the table. He goes on in this vein, making me feel like, evidently, I have failed to care for myself properly, and with a few obvious changes that I should know, I could be restored to perfect health.

This, embarassingly enough, spins into a discussion about weight management there at the table, which feels strangely familiar to me. For whatever reason, my family has always felt free to discuss me in this way whenever we have gatherings; I can't ever remember it being any different. Being a fat girl in an normally-weighted family is no fun, trust me.

Sometimes the discussions start out on a good note ("Hey! You've lost weight!"), and sometimes they start with a confidential whisper ("Rita, you have to try this new diet that my best friend's mother's hairstylist found.) It's a strange thing to be dissected that way by people that are supposed to love you, but I figured that was just my penance for being a fat girl in a thin family.

He said some other stuff between bites of pizza that I wasn't really listening to, because I was thinking about when he would come to visit us when I was a little girl; he would produce a portable minibar out of the trunk of his Cadillac, and he would have a (nearly) permanent glass of some concoction or other in his hand for the entire visit. I always looked forward to his visits; he lived in Florida in a beautiful house with an indoor pool, played golf, had lots of money, and was always the life of the party. Very Rat Pack. Very charismatic. It dawned on me that even though I admired him, I never felt very good around him.

He was still lecturing when I started thinking closely about my mother's siblings. While he wasn't diabetic or heavy, he was an alcoholic. Ditto for one of my mother's sisters. Two of her brothers were diabetics (one also alcoholic), both ended up on dialysis, losing this or that limb as things progressed. Their offspring (my siblings and first cousins) are comprised of a fairly high percentage of regularly-weighted alcoholics and addicts (my oldest brother included in that count.) In the entire family, there really is only one other cousin that is heavy like me, and like me, he becomes the center and focus of most of the family's clucking and fingerpointing. He just had a quad bypass last month, and everyone down to a person seemed to openly blame him for his poor health, but never mentioned his brother, who has been a longtime addict and alcoholic. Interesting.

It didn't dawn on me then, but it was crystal clear to me last night, sitting in that pizza joint, picking at salad, and listening to a sermon: no one really ever discusses the rampant alcoholism, drug addiction and diabetes in my mother's family, but discussing weight is fair game.

I also realized that maybe my dad wasn't the only one in my family deep in denial. Taking a closer look, it might be the whole damn bunch.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Getting by with a little help from my friends . . .

So, some of you know, some don't (the ones of you that DO know are probably tired of the complaining), but I am a newly diagnosed diabetic.

After a really wierd woozy reaction at a Braves game a few weeks back, I visited the doctor when I was still feeling wierd a few days later. It didn't take him very long to find the culprit, and just like that, I was given the news.

It took a couple of weeks to stop cursing God, Dairy Queen, Russell Stover, potato farmers, my potato famine-surviving ancestors and their fucking "thrifty" genes, people who have ever caused me any stress at any point in my life, my parents, my ex-husband (the rotten bastard), my CURRENT husband (poor guy, putting up with my bullshit) and my damnable luck and tendency to forlornly turn to Chunky Monkey like a smack addict when I am feeling the pressure, but I think I have reached a place of acceptance and have started forming a battle plan.

It hasn't been easy, trust me. Counting calories, planning out meals and snacks (planning? what is this planning you speak of?), incorporating regular exercise into my day (what?!?) and eliminating as much stress as possible from my daily routine has been like being a stranger in a strange land.

I have pretty good incentive to stick to the straight and narrow, though. Unfortunately, along with my sarcasm and sense of humor, I have also inherited my sketchy sugar management from my dad. Family lore is that my grandfather (my father's father) would often be caught in the pantry sneaking spoonfuls of jelly and other sweet treats. He dropped dead at 55, in the midst of a screaming match with my uncle's (now ex) wife. My dad, every bit his father's son, is a "diabetic in denial". I guess if he had ever bothered to actually GO to the doctor, he would have probably been diagnosed several decades ago, but instead, we watched him suck sugar like a Hoover vacuum. He held his own until his early 60s, when everything started to go to shit. He has lost most of his eyesight (common complication of poorly managed diabetes), and he is wheelchair-bound, unable to walk at all now (ditto).

Based on that kind of history, I am not 100% shocked with my diagnosis. I have had doctors give me the stinkeye for years because of my weight, and because the law of averages states that someone that has my history would certainly BE diabetic, but I would gloat every time my blood tests would come back normal, inviting fate to pucker up and kiss my chubby round ass, feeling like I had escaped the clutches of death for one more round.

It's been a long, hard chase, but I have finally been caught.

Sooooooo . . . in the interest of breaking the family cycle of denial and bodily failure, I have decided to fight back. I have loaded my quiver with a few good arrows. Luckily for me, I recognized the patterns a while back, and I had made some changes that may have given me a leg up. Along with changing up the diet, adding a handful of vitamins, reading books and online info, I have formed a grudging respect for MyFoodDiary.com, the online place of reckoning for what goes into my mouth all day long. Like a daily confessional, I throw myself at the feet of Saint FoodDiary, and await the penance or the reward.

Another member of my taskforce is MapMyRun (http://www.mapmyrun.com/index.php ). This thing lets you click on maps of your neighborhood to chart your walk/run paths, lets you save the paths, and provides the distance of the walk, etc.

At this point, its a crapshoot. I could be a model patient and reverse the trend. I could do everything right, and still end up being a human pincushion, shooting insulin all day long. Time will tell.

______________________________________________________
I am surrendering to gravity and the unknown
Catch me, heal me. . . lift me back up to the sun
Help me survive - I want to live
Gravity / A Perfect Circle
(thanks for turning me on to this one, Jimbo. It's become a mantra.)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering 9/11

Everyone that I have ever discussed this with has been able to tell me exactly where they were, what they were doing, how they felt . . . .

I remember hearing about the day John Kennedy was shot. It happened before I was born. My family was living in Orlando, FL, and my sister remembers the teachers quickly herding the kids onto buses in the middle of the school day and all of the kids cheering on the bus - they got to go home early. She remembers the bus pulling into their neighborhood, a gathering of cookie cutter tract homes on treeless lots, and seeing all of the mothers outside, crying, waiting for the bus to bring their kids home to safety. She didn't really understand what had happened, she just knew that she got out of school early and that Mama was crying. She remembers seeing John Jr. on the black and white television, saluting. She still didn't understand, but the memories are clear.

It's like that with 9/11, I think.

I can pinpoint the second I realized what was happening. I had just dropped my daughter off at her church preschool, and I was exiting the carpool line, heading back home, my baby boy happily watching the world pass by from the safety of his carseat. I remember noticing as I waited for my turn to exit the parking lot that it was a beautiful day, one of those kind of Atlanta mornings where you begin to feel the coolness of fall approaching, yet you still thank the fading summer for providing flawless, cloudless blue skies . . .

I remember still looking at the sky when my cellphone rang. I dreaded hearing it; it was usually work, and early calls meant problems or firedrills. I was a bit relieved when I heard my friend Frankie on the other line. Frankie was a writer hired a few monts previously, and she and I worked closely together, covering for each other, and we had become good friends. She was a pistol; she was in her 60s, looked way younger, sang torch songs in clubs around Atlanta for fun, and was a conscientious worker that could be counted on in a pinch.

"Rita, have you heard the news this morning?" was the first breathless sentence out of her mouth. Oh shit, I thought . . . layoffs. Before I could answer, she was telling me something crazy about an attack of some kind, and that I'd better not try to come into the office, that I should just get home as quickly as I could. I was kind of stunned . . . surely, she was mistaken. I was thinking about the Oklahoma City bombing, wondering if it could have been as bad as that.

One thing I didn't waste a minute on was U-turning right back to the preschool.

I hadn't been gone 5 minutes, and when I got back, it was a madhouse. Church be damned, people were grabbing their kids and making a run for it. I was still stunned, and little Rachael, so much slower than the other kids, was being jostled by kids and parents alike. I nearly got into a fistfight with one dad that knocked her off her feet, and in true SuperMom style, I grabbed her up with one arm, holding my still calm, chunky baby boy in the other. I didn't really know WHAT the fuck was going on, but I was getting home pronto. People were acting CRAZY.

Once I hit the house, I deposited the kids on the family room floor with toys and Cheerios and clicked on CNN. There it was . . . . over and over . . . the buildings being ravaged by small airplanes . . . unthinkable. And the builings were collapsing, and I couldn't believe my eyes, but it looked like people were jumping . . . that couldn't be, it just couldn't be . . .

It was just surreal. I was alone at home, with the kids, and I was petrified. What if they had targeted other cities? Atlanta's Hartsfield airport was one of the largest in the world, not to mention Lockheed (where they manufacture military aircraft), the World Congress Center, the huge airbase, and several other wide open targets near my house . . . my mind was clicking away at the possibilities. Watching it all unfold on CNN made it feel close, like it was right in the backyard. It wasn't so much fear as self-preservation that seemed to kick in and I wanted my husband home. NOW.

I called him, and he had no idea. His work area was a bit sequestered, and he had just been immersed in his morning's work. He hadn't been there long, and seemed flustered that I was demanding that he leave that moment and come home. I begged him, asked him to just trust me and leave . . . He didn't want to, he hadn't heard anything. I told him that in 30 minutes, the Atlanta highways would be impassable, to leave now and floor it. By the time he got home, the phone was ringing off the hook, and our family was a mess. Hell, the whole fucking country was a mess.

So, here I sit, 5 years later. The radio stations here are all re-broadcasting the 9/11/01 tapes, I'm not really sure why. Do I need to hear them to remember? No, not really. Does it help anything to relive it? I guess it helps those of us that are here to feel as though we are paying respects to those that died, and those that were left behind by those who died.

Anyway, wierd day. Just thought I would comment and commemorate.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Top 10 Important Things

My phone rang pretty early Sunday morning. It was my Uncle Bob, calling to wish me a Happy 40th birthday, which was very sweet and unexpected. He was waxing philosophic about milestone birthdays, remembering his angst at turning 40 (he is in his late 70s now), and he said a very interesting thing. A few interesting things, actually.

He remarked that he makes it a habit on milestone birthdays to make a mental journey to examine all of the knowledge that he accumulated over the previous decade, and take time to appreciate the growth that he had accomplished. He also said that he once read that with the passing of any person, an entire library of information and knowledge is lost with the passing.

He's a smart man, and am going to take his advice. So, in no particular order, here is the summary of knowledge gained in my last decade of life:


  1. If you work for a company, and said company has a meeting to dispel all rumors of layoff, you are getting laid off.
  2. Buy one, get one half off isn't really as good a deal as it sounds. It really means 25% off.
  3. When you have a baby, you will need half as many baby clothes, but twice as many diapers as you imagine you will.
  4. Children have some kind of internal switch that gets thrown that makes them do naughty things when you are on the phone.
  5. When you leave an emergency room in the middle of the night, relieved that your kid can breathe again, nothing else really seems to be all that important.
  6. No matter how many promises kids make to take care of puppies, the puppies WILL become your responsibility.
  7. Ditto for parakeets, hamsters and fish.
  8. When you start wondering why the family traditions are slipping, its time for you to take them over.
  9. Solemn, Southern graveside funerals are NO PLACE to learn that your dearly departed uncle has a biracial daughter exactly your age, standing right beside you
  10. Unfortunately, not ALL people get smarter as they get older.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Long Goodbye . . . revisited

My aunt passed away this weekend.

I said all of my goodbyes when I penned the piece below a few months ago.

Rest in peace, Aunt Marge. You were loved.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Yesterday, I took my mom to visit her sister Marge. Marge is moving to a nursing home facility in Birmingham today, and we went yesterday to pack her things and say goodbye.

Marge is the oldest of all of my mom's 6 siblings. 15 years older than my mother, Marge was more mom than sister. She never had any children of her own, but she had a very exciting life, traveling the globe with her husband, living in foreign countries for most of their married life, and finally retiring to Florida, where they both enjoyed golf on a daily basis.

I guess it was around 1988 or so that things started to slip for Marge. She was caring for her husband at their home, and becoming more and more reclusive. He and she were inseparable, and when he finally passed away, she was nearly inconsolable. She said over and over that she was supposed to die with him, that her life was caring for him. We all thought that was an initial reaction, that she would get over it in time.

That depression stuck around, and brought some dementia along. Marge began to forget where she was, who we were, what she was doing . . . all signs of Alzheimer's. Over the years, she has gone from living on her own, to living with my Aunt Rita, to living in an assisted living faciliy, to living in a nursing home near my mom. Her progression has been agonizingly slow; she is such a healthy person that her body seems to live on and on and on, but the lights of recognition in her mind have slowly, slowly dimmed, leaving her bedridden, unable to speak or do anything for herself.

Before my dad got sick, my mom went to the nursing home every afternoon to sit with Marge and feed her dinner. I'm not sure that Marge knew who my mother was, but it was a comfort to my mom to hold Marge's hand, comb her hair and to see Marge smile, which she often did. Mama would talk to Marge about Anniston, AL, and there would be flickers of recognition, but none so bright as when Mama would talk about Chet, Marge's husband. Those brought the biggest smiles of all.

Since my dad has been sick, my mom has only occasionally been able to get to the nursing home. Then of course, SHE got sick, and for the past 3 months, she hasn't been able to go at all. I have tried to go as often as I could, mostly to ease my mother's worries about Marge, but I have been too busy to go more than a time or two myself. To their credit, the nursing home has taken excellent care of Marge, and that has been an enormous comfort to my mother through all of the trials of this past year.

My uncle in Florida, my mom's oldest living brother, is the executor of Marge's sizeable estate. For years, he has carefully managed Marge's affairs, paid her bills, and planned her estate so that she would have continual care, and she always has. He and I spoke a couple of months ago, and at that time, I offered to help relocate Marge closer to me, or arrange for Marge to move closer to my mom's sister, Rita (my namesake) in Birmingham. My cousins and my aunt realized pretty quickly that my sister and I had our hands full with Mama and Daddy, so the decision was made that Marge would be transferred to Birmingham, and it has taken about this long to get things organized.

Yesterday, as I packed Marge's clothes, I could see my mother's hand in everything. Every flannel gown had been handpicked by my mother, every little pair of socks had been carefully labelled with Marge's name in my mother's careful print. Every pretty picture, every little bit of cheer in the dismal nursing home room was my mother's attempt to make things nice for Marge.As I packed, my mom sat beside Marge's bed, holding her hand, sweetly talking to her, encouraging her to wake up. Most of the time, Marge appears to be asleep, although with encouragement, she does "wake up" temporarily, make eye contact and smile.
As she stroked Marge's short silver hair, my mother began to tell me, "You know, when we were growing up, we never celebrated birthdays. There were too many of us, it was the Depression, and we just never had celebrations. But I remember that Marge bought me a pocketbook for my birthday one year. I must have been about 6 or 7, and she made a cake and had a little party for me and the other kids in the neighborhood all came over . . ." She kind of trailed off at that point, and I was biting my lip, still folding clothes silently, not wanting to cry. "You know, there aren't very many happy memories from back then," she continued, "Daddy was a sorry drunk, and Mama was always so sick, we were poor as dirt, but Marge always took such good care of us . . ."

I couldn't even see by then, and I was trying so hard not to sob. I just kept blinking, trying to catch the tears streaming down my face with the tip of my tongue so that she wouldn't spot me wiping them away with my sleeve. I kept folding the little clothes, placing them in the cardboard boxes, and willing the lump in my throat to allow some air through.

It dawned on me that this would likely be the last time my mother would ever see Marge. Birmingham's not far from Atlanta, but as sick as she has been, my mom hasn't felt well enough to travel 20 miles to see Marge, never mind 250.

I finished my task and turned to see my mother quietly sitting alongside Marge's hospital bed, still speaking to her in quiet tones, looking for signs of awakening. Seeing her there, my mother, in pain even then, knowing that she has cancer, and seeing her lovingly stroke Marge's hair, her sister, here but gone, passed away but still alive and breathing, was almost more than I could bear. Finally, my mother stood from her chair, still holding Marge's hand, and leaned over the hospital rails to kiss Marge's cheek. Quietly sobbing herself, my mother seemed so, so, frail to me, and it was the most heartbreaking and most loving sight I think I have ever seen.

"I guess this is goodbye," my mother said quietly as she laid Marge's hand back onto the bedcovers, stepping away, wiping away tears. She was so small as I held her there, quietly sobbing. She has lost so much weight, she feels like a child in my arms now. I wanted to just hold her there, and I did, wanting to protect her from the pain, from losing Marge, from the cancer, from her fear, from it all.

And I can't.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!


So, I turned 40 today.

I hate to admit it, but I have been moping around for the past 2 or 3 months, ESPECIALLY so the past week or so. How I dreaded the thought of turning 40. Every time I thought about it, I saw gravestones in my head.

Drama queen.

This is a picture of my baby boy. Well, if you call him a baby now, he hits you. Really hard. Back when I snapped this picture, his dad was decorating our dining room table with all manner of "Happy 1st Birthday" swag. This was the morning of my baby's first birthday, and he could not have BEEN happier. He knew that it was a special day, that there were balloons and streamers, and that both Grandmas (MomMom AND Mama D) and both GrandDads were already in the house.

I can't look at this picture without smiling. Freshly washed, still in his birthday suit, splashing water with his new floaty toy, he was excited and happy and sqealing. It was his birthday!

Up to yesterday afternoon, I was dragging ass. Hub has been patient with me, and despite my lack of enthusiasm, arranged for better than a dozen of our close friends to all be at the same place at the same time to help me shut down the last day of 39. There were gifts, cards with creepy clowns and farting frogs, flammable drinks, loudspeaker announcements, dedications, MORE drinks, incredibly off-color remarks, even MORE drinks (if someone offers you a shot called a Mafia Kiss, TAKE it, my friend!), a change of venue to a huge dance club where a Vietnamese dwarf seemed to dance only for me.

A blast. You all know who you are. And I love each and every one of you.

Along with this outpouring of love and liquor, I have had several friends online that have made it their business to lighten my mood with encouragement, MORE clown cards, jokes, and virtual hugs. I love all of you, too.

So today, I have adopted the baby's attitude. It's my birthday, and as I sit here in my birthday suit, splashing around in mojitos, I throw each and every one of you a virtual kiss.

I'm 40. Fucking fabulous, and I mean it this time.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The DiVinci Code - A review

So, Hub and I ventured out to see The DiVinci Code last night with our good friend, Judd. This is an unusual thing, because we usually watch Netflix movies at home, on the sofa in our livingroom, quietly, after the kids are asleep.

I had caught some of the buzz around the release of the book, ditto for the movie. I really didn't have any preconceived notions going in, since I didn't ever bother to actually read the book, or any movie reviews. Hub was just excited to be there ; he's always up to see ANYTHING that gets the bible thumpers upset.

The theater was packed; we had to sit in the bottom section, leaned back and looking straight up at the screen. That was cool, though . . . the theater served Slurpees and we bought some good, hot popcorn and enjoyed some contraband candy from my pocketbook.

OK, on with the show. The following is my review/opinion/outlook/perception. Take it for what it's worth. Better yet, take it for what you paid for it: nada. Standard disclaimers apply. Your mileage may vary. Thankyoudrivethrough.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

From the start, you know this is going to be one of those intellectual movies. Translation: you have to pay close attention. There's a bunch of flashes of art, and museums, and then all of a sudden, Forest Gump is lecturing about doodles or something like that.

Out of nowhere, Doc Oc strolls into a church, dressed like a pimp priest with gold chains, cellphone and a beanie hat. Edgar Winter is his own personal Albino Odd Job, killing nuns with bricks.

Meanwhile, the camera flashes back to the museum, and some old dude that looks like The Man off Chico and The Man is running away from Albino Odd Job, who's wearing a monk robe and sandals. Albino Odd Job shoots the old dude, and then he leaves to go beat himself bloody for Jesus.

Afer that, we're back with Forest Gump, signing books at a Barnes and Noble (I might have missed something here; I was fishing out my contraband Raisinettes from my pocketbook in the dark.) Some french cop shows him a picture of The Man all hacked up and bloody, and then Forrest and the cop go back to the museum.

The Man is nude on the floor of the museum (could have done without that) with a big bloody star on his chest, but somewhere in between getting shot and laying spreadeagled there with the blood star, he had time to write a bunch of invisible puzzle shit all over the floor and walls. French Cop is psychic or something, cause he shines one of those lights that the undercover news uses to shine on cheap motels to light up spooge left all over the dirty covers to reveal the invisible puzzles.

All of a sudden, that chick from Pretty Woman walks in, except she's Mexican, but has a French accent. She and Forrest end up in the men's room, chunking bars of soap at passing cars. I was thinking that the soap must be valuable, cause a whole city's worth of cops start chasing a garbage truck. While they are doing that, Forrest and Mexican-French Pretty Woman (MFPW for short) start getting psychic like the cops and running around the museum, and they find a cool magic key, and end up driving to this supercool Swiss bank. The magic key unlocks a safety deposit box, and they open it to find some kind of secret glasses case, and I guess they won something, cause the Swiss dude that runs the bank gives them a free ride into the woods in an armored truck. But then he starts shooting them, like fish in a barrel, and he is a lousy shot, and Forrest clocks him with the truck door and leaves him for dead, which was cool.

After that, Forrest and MFPW start playing The Amazing Race, driving all over the place and looking for clues. They're also dodging cops, like those episodes of The Monkees where The Monkees run in and out of hallway doors, just missing the dudes chasing them. Anyway, they keep hunting for clues, and jabbering about history that I didn't understand, but they end up at Gandolph's house, but Gandolph is all jacked up and his cool robes and long hair are all gone. Anyway, he lives in Wayne Manor and has a suave butler who makes tea while he looks at the glasses case and starts a PowerPoint presentation for MFPW about Jesus getting into some chick's "chalise", if you know what I mean. Long story short, the glasses case has a magic Rubick's Cube full of piss and a map, or something.

Just about that time, MFPW starts having acid flashbacks of her grandfather, Old Dude. She saw him out in a garage when she was kid, and he was in a circlejerk dressed up like The Man In The Iron Mask while some other dude was nailing some chick on a table. She bolted, and hadn't really seen the Old Man since, until she saw him toes-up on the museum floor. While she's contemplating all this, Albino Odd Job shows up and starts kicking ass, but Gandolph totally cockblocks him with his canes, and they duct tape that dude up 9 ways from Sunday, which he probably likes, according to the shots of him smacking himself with whips and chains and shit.

So, all three of them pick The Amazing Race back up, driving in a hot Mercedes SUV through the forest, and getting into a plane. Albino Odd Job is along for the ride, looking crazy and MFPW rips the tape off his mouth long enough for him to totally call her out. When they land, they make a quick getaway only to have the butler turncoat on them and take the Rubik's Cube. Forrest and MFPW run like hell, leaving crippled Gandolph for dead, and Albino Odd Job and butler dude ride away, kissing, with Gandolph in the trunk. Butler swings by and drops off Odd Job, who ends up full of bullets about 5 minutes later, but not BEFORE he pumps lead into Doc Oc.

By that time, the Slurpee was kicking in, and I had to pee, so my attention started to wander.

Anyway, by this time, it looks like the Butler did it, cause he has money AND the Rubik's Cube. He's chilling on the side of the road, sipping off a flask, and he keels over dead. Before you know it, Forrest and MFPW find their last clue and bust ass to get to that pad where you see Phil and find out what place you're in, and damned if Gandolph isn't there with a gun, telling them to solve the cube to keep the piss from ruining the map.

As you'd expect, Gandolph goes into a typical evil guy monologue, and Forrest is on his knees, dreaming up shit to try. He turns all Rain Man, crunching numbers and halucinating planets, then tosses the Rubik's cube in the air. Somehow the cops come and haul Gandolph away, by now blubbering like a retard.

Forrest and MFPW sort of meander out of there, and Forrest had pulled a fast one. He had one last clue in his pocket, and they took off to find some dead chick in a box. They ended up in some underground library, and Forrest looked at an org chart and figured out that MFPW was like Jesus' great niece twice removed. Evidently, that was the penalty flag for Forrest's libidometer, cause he was all forehead kissing and hands off once he found out that her great grandfather was Jesus. Unnailable.

After (I assume) he returns to his hotel to rub one out, he cuts his face shaving, and that makes him run out into the street and climb on a jungle gym.

Well, that's about it. All in all, it was good. Kind of confusing, but good. It's probably as true as all the other fairytales in that big book.

Monday, May 1, 2006

Snowball effect

Well, the Scrubbing Bubbles has initiated a groundswell of productive activity at the house. I guess May isn't too late for Spring Cleaning, especially for someone that has actually dismantled a Christmas tree in late March.

This weekend was a flurry of sweeping, ditching, reorganizing, and restaging. Hub got the ball rolling on Saturday by cleaning out the garage while I was away with my Mom for the day. It looks as good as the day we moved in.


That sparked a kitchen/dining reorganization that consisted of decluttering, reorganizing, heavy lifting, and rediscovery of things long thought lost. I took the opportunity to restage all of my Pfaltzgraf Yorktowne stoneware. I have tons of it, and even though I have been collecting it for more than 25 years, I never seem to tire of it.

I have plates, cups, bowls, platters, canisters, vases, butter dishes, spoonrests, a honeypot, a soup tureen, a coffee grinder, a cookie mold, a potpourri hanging heart, a bell . . . and probably alot more still packed away.

There was a time that I had potholders, dish towels, placemats, burner covers, and lightswitch covers, but over the years, I have burned, stained, broken, torn, or otherwise mangled these items. The stoneware, however, is damn near indescructible.

I say damn near because I had the heartbreaking task of actually throwing some pieces away yesterday. A platter and bowl had seen better days, and had noticeable cracks and hairline fractures. I couldn't think of anything else to do with them, so into the trash they went. Farewell, my comrades. You have served many a meal in your time . . . back to the earth from whence you came.






I even have a live plant in my kitchen. I am fearful, yet hopeful, since every houseplant I have ever had has died a quick, brown death.

Keep a good thought for this pretty thing. I am going to try my best not to kill it.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The jury's in . . .

. . . and the Scrubbing Bubbles Shower Cleaner is my new best friend! As of today (Day 5), my previously mildew and mold stained shower is sparkly white, my chrome faucet is mirror-like, and I still pull the curtain back and peek into the shower every time I walk into the bathroom.

I have absolutely no pull with the Nobel Peace Prize committee, but I think I have a candidate suggestion. The Scrubbing Bubbles Magic Potion Machine could very well save the sanity and knuckles of literally millions of owners of disgusting showers and tubs worldwide.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I do have to state that my husband introduced HIS best friend, the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, into the equation around Day 3. Left to its own devices, I think that the Scrubbing Bubbles Heavenly Cleaning Angels Machine would have cleaned the shower to its current level of sparkliness in 7-10 days, as advertised. But aided by a few determined rubs from Hub and his Magic Eraser, we achieved the spotless shower in a record 4 days (Hub loves the Magic Eraser since he discovered that it would take grubby handprints off the walls and remove Kool-Aid stains from our cheap white formica countertops.)

So, its a one-two punch for the nasty, grimy shower.

If you are as lazy as I am, then I highly recommend the Scrubbing Bubbles God in a Bottle machine. If you have a deadline, or are so inclined to participate in the cleaning, then by all means, add in the Mr Clean Magic Bar of Goodness.

Now I gotta find something good (read: easy and miraculous) for my poor wood floors.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I just bought a maid . . .

. . . for my shower.

Don't get pissy - I didn't take advantage of a poor immigrant. I'm just repeating verbatim the promises that were made to me whilst perusing bath and shower cleaners in the aisle of the CVS earlier today.

I had the displeasure of attempting to clean my master bath shower the other day. Not just a quick scrub and rinse, either . . . I had the shower curtains down, all manner of chemicals and scrubbers at the ready, and when I was done, the damn thing looked exactly the same as before I started. Stupid fiberglass piece of crap shower inserts!

Anyway, I was still grumbling about my failure as I was searching around at CVS for a new clear shower curtain liner when lo and behold . . . the sun shone and the birds sang, and my deliverance from the the hell known as shower stall cleaning appeared before me . . .


The Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner.

This thing promises to give me a sparkly clean shower within a week, and keep things sparkly forever and ever.

I grabbed the one and only starter pack off the shelves and gleefully drove home. When I hit the front door, I nearly sprinted to the master bath, assembled the thing, pushed the magic button, and listened with glee while it hosed my den of filth down with whatever magical poisonous elixir it emits to be able to make such huge promises.

After I caught my breath, I went to the fancy schmancy website, while popping 50% off jelly beans into my mouth (yeah, I got hooked on the damn things over Easter.) The Scrubbing Bubbles people have a cool little show for all of you non-believers: http://www.automaticshowercleaner.com/home.asp

The damn thing better work. Promises have been made.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Hailstorm!

Man, you should have seen the hailstorm that hit here around lunchtime today! The stones were dime and nickel sized. It almost looked like it snowed outside!



Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Spring Break '06


Well, there were no beer bongs, screaming guys, second degree sunburns, group sex parties or incriminating pictures to live down later, but I had a ball during Spring Break this year.

Hub and I took the kids to North Myrtle Beach, SC, and I can't recommend it highly enough. We never ran out of things to do, the weather was PERfect, and by damn, you couldn't ask for more Putt Putt courses.


Or pancake houses.

Myrtle Beach loves them some pancakes and Putt Putt! Not sure what the deal with that was, but literally on every corner, you either ran smack dab into one or the other - sometimes both!

When we weren't on the beach, we were in the heated outdoor pool of our fantabulous condo, or the 2 heated outdoor hot tubs, or the indoor pool, OR the indoor hot tub. Swanky.

When we weren't soaking our bods, we were out seeing what there was to see, eating what there was to eat, and doing what there was to do. And there was alot of everything!





One of the coolest things we did was visit a place called MagiQuest. We completely dorked out, running around this virtual castle/fairy/crypt/dungeon playsite like nimrods, waving our magic wands and giggling when all manner of magic happened.
Coolest place ever.








And holy crap - the Ripley's Aquarium was amazing. I pet a skate, we saw sharks, all kinds of crazy fish, octopus, jellyfish, living coral - that was one of the best parts of the week!

The kids LOVED the ghetto Build-A-Bear workshop - I think it was called Construct a Teddy or something equally infringing on the copyright.

OH, and everywhere we went, we had a chance to squash a penny into a momento of the occasion, attraction, or town. And squash we did!

If you've never been . . . by all means go. It was a hoot.

Friday, March 31, 2006

You know what I had that was sort of delightful today?

A toasted Eggo waffle with margarine and apple butter, and cheddar cheese instant grits with a scrambled egg.

That is all.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day!



Still need a card for your sweetie? Don't say I never gave you anything!




Please send all adoration directly to me, and all hatred to these geniuses

Saturday, February 4, 2006

Resolution dissolution

Alrighty.

Well, after the last post cooled, I turned my attention to other things, namely, my New Years resolutions.

I have the same ones every year. You know the drill . . . lose weight, get organized, control my temper, remember my vitamins every day, be a better parent, be a better wife, don't shoot anyone. The usual.

I had the bright idea to start exercising, and I cued up a couple of low-impact looking exercise shows on the TiVO. Since I work at home, I figured I could fit in one session in the morning, and maybe a bit of treadmill in the afternoon. It seemed doable, and I was feeling fairly energetic since I had been faithfully taking my vitamins, so I approached the whole thing with alot of positive attitude.

3 days later, when half of my body was hanging off the bed and I was desperately trying to piss into a little plastic garbage can and stifle screams of pain, my attitude was decidedly different.

Evidently, I did some kind of irreparable harm to my back with the "low impact" Pilates. All I know is that it felt like someone had skewered both of my hipbones with searing metal spikes, and any movement was agony.

Being the good husband that he is, my hub dutifully tended to me that night and hauled me to the doctor the next morning. After a couple of tries (dr gave me a few drugs that didn't do anything but make me loopy) , I now have lots of pharmacy candy and a thrice-weekly date with a physical therapist until things improve. So far, my sessions have been what I would imagine a fairly expensive S&M session would be, minus the leather.


Either the sessions are helping, or I am too doped up to feel the pain. I have been high as a kite for several days now, but at least I don't have to piss in the garbage can anymore.

Baby steps.

P.S. I did see the chick from the last post. She kept her fucking mouth shut and sat at the other end of the table, which suited me fine. I'm still pissed off about that bullshit.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Don't F***ing Censor Me!

WARNING: Those offended by raucous language are advised to close this window and find something nicer to focus your energy on.

I'm going to start walking around with that printed on a placard hung around my neck.

INSTANT KARMA
John Lennon

Instant karma’s gonna get you
Gonna look you right in the face
Better get yourself together darlin’
Join the human race

How in the world you gonna see
Laughin’ at fools like me
Who in the hell d’you think you are
A super star?
Well, right you are
Well we all shine on
Like the moon and the stars and the sun
Well we all shine on . . .

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I got really angry the other evening. I have been stewing for several days.

One of my friends said, "You ought to write about it," and while I agreed, I just couldn't.

You see . . . for me, writing is alot like taking a shit.

Follow my logic here: The art of defacation is partly involuntary action, followed by deliberate reaction. Just like writing. If you simply get it in your head that, "Hey, it's a convenient time for me! It would be great to go take a dump right now," and proceed into your bathroom, magazine in hand, you could end up sitting and straining for a very, very long time with nothing to show for it, except a bright red ring around your ass.

So it is with writing. I have to wait to feel the pressure of the "impending movement" and then prepare myself, pen (or keyboard) in hand to push the creation out.

Ahem.

So, like I was saying . . . I have been walking around ticked off for a couple of days, and I think I finally have cogitated long enough. The time is near. I feel the words pushing for release . . .

I don't get out much. I really don't. I work from home, and when I am not working, I am cleaning, or cooking, or doing laundry, or bathing kids, or playing with kids, and when I am not doing those things, I am either asleep or comatose on the couch.

Thursday night is the exception. On Thursday nights, I get out of the house, put on "grownup" clothes and makeup, and go play bar trivia with my husband and our friends. Thursday nights are fun, and they herald in the end of the workweek. They give me a chance to blow off a little steam, eat wings, laugh at funny things that my friends have to say, and just have a little fun.

It's a pretty longstanding tradition. Hub's friends have been playing trivia for several years. We joined in a couple of years ago, and rarely miss an evening, unless we have babysitter issues or sick kids or something. Trivia was something that I looked forward to during all of the craziness last year, and I still enjoy it.

One of my husband's best friends started seeing a girl recently. This girl had been on the peripheral of our circle of friends for several years, but she was very quiet, hard to get to know, and was more of a "friend of a friend of a friend". Evidently, she has had a "thing" for our friend for quite a long time, and after her drunken admission to me at a Halloween party last year, her fondest wish came true when I told him and he reciprocated.

So . . .fast forward a few months. They have been seeing each other now since October, and we have all had the chance to be around her a bit, get to know her a bit. There have been a few hiccups, and she has appeared to be a bit uncomfortable at times, but like I said, she is a shy person, and our group can be fairly raucous.

I invited them both over during the holidays. If she hadn't been madly making out on my couch, I would have never known she was there at all. Didn't bring anything, didn't speak to anyone really. Strike 1.

I did manage to comment on her shoes (they were cute, vintage saddle oxfords). I knew I hadn't really seen them in a store, and I thought my daughter would like a pair for Christmas, but when I asked her where she got them, she pretty much ignored me. She did send me an email the next day:


Hi Rita:
Here is the web site where I purchased my saddle shoes:
http://www.muffys.com
If you buy some, you are not allowed to wear them to functions which I might be attending (ie. Trivia)


Yep. Just like that.
No "Thanks for inviting me. I enjoyed the party . . ."
Strike 2.

Strike 3 came last Thursday. It was a small crowd, just me and Hub and the two of them. She arrived first, we were running late, and so was our friend (her boyfriend). By the time we arrived, the game had started, and she was drinking a glass of wine, fuming. She hadn't bothered to get the scoresheet or anything. I could tell she was hacked off when we walked in.

It didn't get alot better. Our friend, who happens to be a renowned storyteller, was recounting his week. We were chuckling, as we always do (he's a funny man), when the look on her face said it all. He stopped, midstory, and rolled his eyes a bit in response to her mad face.

"I forgot . . . sorry . . . it looked like CRAP, how's that?" he offered, nuzzling up to her. I didn't quite catch what was going on, and must have looked puzzled, because he quickly explained that his new beloved "didn't approve of swearing."

She took the opportunity to jump in the converstation, bluntly stating "My family won't put up with his filthy mouth!"

I swear, I thought they were kidding. Still half-laughing, I looked at my friend and said, "Yeah, watch your mouth . . ." In a heartbeat, she turned on me and said, "That goes for you, too. I have heard YOUR filthy mouth many times!"

I was stunned. It was dawning on me that she wasn't kidding. Not only wasn't she kiddding, she was staring me down.

My husband knows me well. He saw the look in my eye. He settled in for the fireworks.

Strike 3. Game on. Game . . . . fucking . . . . . on.

Seizing the opportunity, I began to postulate on how the two of them could best come to a compromise. "How about a Sin Jar?" I suggested. "Everytime he curses, he puts in a dollar?" Picking up on the joke, our friend responded, "I'll just write you a check every week and say what I want to . . ." I was laughing, not because it was particularly funny, but because she was getting madder by the minute.

Addressing her again, I asked her plainly, "So, is this problem you have with cursing a religious one, or personal preference, or what?" She responded in a tone much haughtier than I was comfortable with, "I was just raised not to utter vulgarities. For my family, it's both religious and personal preference. It's just low class. I just don't understand what is so hard about not saying certain words. I have asked him several times not to speak that way in front of me. It just pisses me off . . ."

Jumping on that like a dog on a bone, I came back quickly, "It what? It "pisses" you off?" Watching her squirm was pretty delicious. I took my time, stroking my chin before continuing. "So . . . depending on the orifice of ORIGIN, you are either offended or not offended. Pissed off IS ok, looking like shit is NOT ok. I see . . ."

Her shy girl routine switched to outright uppity bitch really quickly. Unfazed, I continued. "Howzabout using the ol' pig latin? That might work!" Looking right at her, I offered, "See? I can look you right in the eye and say 'uckFay ouYay'. See? That didn't hurt a bit, did it?"

That was pretty much the line, I guess. She got up to leave, and of course he followed her out. When we walked out, he was hugging her, and she was whining, something stupid about "making fun of me . . ." Fake ass crying.

Listen up bitch. Don't ever fucking correct me again, because next time I will tear you to pieces. Trust me. I watch my language when it matters. I am always cautious around my kids, my parents out of respect (actually, MOST people's parents out of respect), coworkers, and in most of my dealings with the general public. I would venture to say that out of the approximately 112 hours of wakeful time per week, I have about 3 hours of time that I can relax, unfettered, and be in the company of friends that enjoy when I "let loose". The one place and time I never had to worry about what came out of my mouth has been 8:00 - 11:00 pm on Thursday nights, and you, my dear are taking a big shit all over it.

I know how to conduct myself. I know when the company I keep warrants discretion and propriety. You just don't rank high enough for me to bother watching my mouth around, you fucking moron. I don't need your pseudo-intellectual, "I have a college degree from Horseshit University", holier-than-thou attitude, ESPECIALLY when you have a job that takes the mental acuity of a trained chimp to perform. Not to mention you are attempting to push your ass-backward morality on me while you are drinking in a shitty sports bar, sitting by a guy you are cockteasing ad nauseum in front of the general public.

Bitch, you owe me. You would still be alone in your bed, fingering your dry-as-the-desert pussy and fantasizing about getting up the nerve to speak to this guy if it hadn't been for me telling him about your dumb ass to begin with, which I now sorely regret, trust me.

Don't forget - You drive out of that hillbilly podunk town you live in nearly 60 miles ONE WAY every week to come here. Nobody asked you to. This is my town - I live 5 minutes from here.
Don't like the things I say? Don't like hearing me snap off a bit about our overly-religious, too-reserved for-his-own-good, gonna-marry-the-first-piece-o-tail-that-comes-along friend getting his cherry popped and watching me standing up, humping dry air imitating him while he (probably) ends up crying "But Mommy told me that if I do this, Baby Jesus will cry!" Too fucking bad - we all laughed our asses off at that. Come to think of it . . . maybe you should date him. That would solve 2 problems, actually.

You know what else? I don't owe you any explanation about what I say or think, you fucking uppity cunt. If our buddy has ANY crazy girl radar AT ALL, this whole thing will be short-lived, and you can permanently go back up to that town full of sister-fucking inbreds you live around to "get away from the blacks."

If you DO come back, I am going to do my level best to make sure we are ALL wearing those fucking shoes, and I am going to try to make quick friends with someone with uncontrollable Tourette's Syndrome to keep you company at our table. Hope he likes trivia.

It's called Freedom of Speech, you stupid bitch.

Monday, January 2, 2006

2005 - After the Goldrush

So, here I sit . . . post-Christmas, post-New Years, post-2005.

All in all, I'm pretty numb.

Because I always said that this blog would serve as a repository for my memories and experiences, I feel compelled to recap my year here.

2005 has been a doozy.

Listening to Neil Young has always been just as calming as sipping a hot tea. Join me, won't you?

AFTER THE GOLDRUSH
Neil Young

Well I dreamed I saw the knights in armor coming
Saying something about a queen.
There were peasants singing and drummers drumming
And the archer split the tree.
There was a fanfare blowing to the sun
That was floating on the breeze.
Look at mother nature on the run
In the nineteen seventies.
Look at mother nature on the run
In the nineteen seventies . . .


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

It's no secret that I didn't blog much in 2005. I was busy.

2005 was a rollercoaster year. Hell, who am I kidding? Most of my years are rollercoaster years, but THIS year, there was no lapbar and no attendant to stop the ride, despite the screaming.

Going through dad's illness, surgery and paralysis was a like a tour of war.

Just when that was sinking in . . . the spring storms flooded their home, which led to incredible financial hardships. It was just a few weeks after we had sorted through the soggy remains, feeling like the worst HAD to be over, that the next wave hit.

I was lying in a burned out basement with the full moon in my eyes
I was hoping for replacement when the sun burst thru the sky
There was a band playing in my head and I felt like getting high
I was thinking about what a friend had said I was hoping it was a lie . . . .

My mom's cancer diagnosis came in July. Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer of the bone. Terminal.

It's been hell. No 2 ways about it.

In the midst of all of this, my daughter turned 10, my son turned 4. I'm sad to say that both were a blur.

We celebrated our 10 year anniversary. It was a blur, too.

I buried the hatchet with my ex-husband, who turned up when things went to hell and helped more than I was able to comprehend. Same with the "bad brother". We still aren't close, but we have communicated more this year than in the last 30.

I reconnected with first cousins that disappeared long, long ago. My dad's family has been irrevocably shattered for decades, but a search among Classmates.com turned up 2 cousins in NJ, two in CA, and one in New Orleans. He and I have been communicating the most this past year, even through Katrina, when he was washed out of his home. He's hopeful and rebuilding.

Hell, we all are.

Well, I dreamed I saw the silver spaceships flying
In the yellow haze of the sun

There were children crying and colors flying
All around the chosen ones

All in a dream, all in a dream . . .

One of the most amazing things that happened this year occurred just this past month. After months of being in bed, so sick that she couldn't move without intense pain, and gulping down morphine every 4 hours, my mom started feeling, well, better.

She was getting up in the morning, and staying up throughout the day. She started taking walks. She eased off her morphine a little at a time, until she stopped taking it altogether. We all saw some improvement, but just had no idea what to make of it. When she had her followup MRIs, CAT scans and bloodwork in early December, her doctor, incredulous, announced that she is in remission and wouldn't need followup for 3 months. Initially in July, we didnt think she would live for 3 months. Now things look more promising. It was the highlight of the year to take her, my sister and my kids to the Nutcracker ballet. I never thought I would get to do that again. I also had the family Christmas at my house with nearly the entire family in attendance. Another thing I never thought would happen again. We were told differently, but her body has a mind of its own.

Look at mother nature on the run . . .
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