Thursday, October 18, 2012


Siting here, trying to help TYP with an assignment (rough draft of college essay for English). He's telling his story of his illness, beginning with how he was so fatigued in 7th grade.

But - he's falling asleep as we work. 

I don't like this kind of irony.

Monday, October 15, 2012

I know it's been too long since I last posted, way, way, toooo long. Whatever. Y'all forgive me, right?

And as I look back on my last entry, I see that I was on a soapbox, complaining about crappy customers (OK, maybe just one crappy customer) that my son had to endure on his second week in a new job.

And voilĂ  - ohhh the irony - The Young Prince has not been working since then. Not because of he became so dreadfully disillusioned about customer service, or ice cream flavors, no. He's not working because several days later (Labor Day weekend), he fell and broke his left femur. 

Huge ouch. HUGE.

He had surgery on Labor Day, a nearly 16" titanium rod - they call it a "nail" - was inserted into his bone to stabilize it while it healed. He came home a few days later, with a wheelchair, crutches, a commode, and a fair amount of pain, and a lot of frustration.

School had just started. He was missing it. His senior year, and he had been looking forward to making it his best year. Tom started running with a wonderful regularity in late spring, continuing for most of the summer. He ran with the cross country team a couple times too, and was contemplating joining them in the fall. But in late summer, before the leg break, there was a setback.

Tom was diagnosed with colitis, which I think I began to blog about around this time. It was a challenge to deal with this, but he started on Prednisone and then Asacol, and the flares were not so bad after a while. Then on August 30th, driving home from the follow-up/teaching appointment about his IBD issues, we got a call from one of his GI specialists. They wanted Tom back the next morning for an abdominal ultrasound. His liver numbers were suddenly too high.

Tom=frustrated. Pissed off actually. Can't blame him.

Luckily, the ultrasound showed nothing horribly outstanding in his liver. We were told to repeat blood work the following Tuesday. But then he ended up breaking his leg over that weekend, and was in the hospital anyway, for all kinds of blood work, X-rays, CT scans, and that surgery. And -- oddly -- his liver lab results were fine!

But his vitamin D level was too low, so he started on a weekly D supplement. The docs also ordered a bone density scan, obviously concerned about such a nasty break in a young person. (The scan would prove to be better than the one he had in 2008!)

Gradually, Tom's pain receded, he was able to start school about a week after his classmates, and slowly he was getting caught up. He was in a wheel chair and had to depend on other students to bring him to classes. Things were working out OK. Then about a week after he'd come home, we saw that his colitis was back with frequent, loose, and bloody stools. More blood work. Back up on the Prednisone. And his liver numbers were creeping back up too.

The poor kid. Terrible timing of it all, and his having to endure both raging colitis and a broken leg AT THE SAME TIME was so unfortunate. But we all managed. Not easily, Dave and I had to take turns sleeping on a love seat in the living room while Tom slept in the den on a longer couch. We had to be near by if he needed to get up for the bathroom in the night.He was not ready for the stairs to the second floor yet.

Actually, the whole thing was one of the more draining experiences any of us had been through in a while. Legit.

So now, things are better in some respects, and still shaky in other ways. Tom's leg is healing well. He had all 22 staples removed on 9/21, and got the OK to start water therapy. (We have not started that yet). His colitis stopped flaring. He stopped using the wheel chair for school several weeks ago. We had a great trip to the White Mountains earlier this month. School work is OK. 

But his liver numbers are still not right. Yesterday, Tom had an MRCP, a special kind of MRI to check his bile ducts. There could be a narrowing that is causing his enzyme numbers to jump. We'll hopefully get the results today. So, naturally, that's all be nerve wracking. And all of a sudden, there are all sorts of college open-house events happening. It's hard to keep up with. And SAT registrations. All the events and tasks that are part of the Senior year are coming fast and furious, and it's hard to keep up when everyone is feeling healthy.

So, wish us luck in all of this. Prayers, and Intentions and all the good stuff - send it our way please!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

No Country for Grumpy Customers

If you're a parent - or if you just care strongly about another person - sometimes you really want to fight their fights. And you can, actually, when the kids are little. It's a great thing.

If that kid, or person gets sick, then you can only fight by asking lots of questions, keeping up with medications, and doctor appointments, prayer - and of course trying to keep that person in good spirits.

The medical stuff will always need the parents and champions to help.

But there are other times when you can just listen to some horror story, helplessly. You want to jump up and yell at someone, especially the "someone" who caused your kid pain.
Making a Stand

And now, with the lovely vastness of the internet - I can attempt that.

Hey you. Yeah, you, the inconsiderate rude male customer of a certain ice cream stand in Dracut. I'm talking to YOU.

How dare you. How dare you put your energies into making a sweet young man, new at the job, feel like a nothing. 

How DARE you, attempt to embarrass and belittle someone just because they weren't spot on with the whole counting of the change thing. From what I understand, this young man personally did not wrong you, nor give you incorrect change. So why was it OK for you to give him a hard time about his math skills?

You should be the one to feel embarrassed, especially if you knew his story. Especially if you knew that he had to abandon his first job, being a paper carrier, because of severe illness. Especially if you know how well loved he was by all his customers.

If you knew what a bright, and extremely caring kind of person this young man is - you'd be ashamed. If you understood the depth of uncertainty and worry that has plagued him and his family for the last five years - if you had a damn CLUE - of what he's been through and fought back against, you'd feel rotten.

If you, Mr. Crappy Ice Cream Customer, had an inkling that this kid was actually admired and respected by many of his classmates, teachers, and hundreds of others that have heard him speak of behalf of the American Liver Foundation, maybe you'd ease up.

If you had any damn idea how much time out of school this guy had to endure because of illness, maybe you'd take it down a notch.

But it shouldn't matter that this worker in question has had some very rough patches, you have no flippin right to speak that way to ANYONE, no matter what their history.

But he was a teenager, an easy mark, eh?

So this message actually goes out to a few other sorry souls:

Hey you, Mr, Impatient Fast Food Manager - do you know not only do you embarrass your employees by your loud corrections, you embarrass yourself in front of your customers? It's true! There's been quite a few witnesses to your rudeness. Again, the victim was another young man, a 20something this time, but just young and insecure enough to feel the weight of your ill-timed and ill-chosen words. Easy marks, these poor kids.

We've all been on one side of that counter, sometimes on the other side - we all need to take some deep breaths and practice kindness.

Monday, August 27, 2012

How I Spent my Summer Vacation

So, this summer vacation I'm referring to was not the whole, long, drawn-out 10 week affair that Tom enjoyed. Although I definitely enjoyed time off from nagging about homework and bedtimes, I am only blogging about the last week spent at the Cape.

 This trip was not necessarily about being tourists, it was more about being together, just the four of us. But we each got to do some things that we liked.

Summer Glass
So, part of my pleasure was shopping! Here is an example of some fine "trinket's and treasures" that I scooped up. The cobalt blue bud vase is (supposedly) Egyptian recycled glass from a shop in Provincetown, MA. I bought two other small bottles with it, and was happy. The crystal candy dish was about five dollars at my local consignment shop. 

Part of what I loved about this vacation was the great visual gifts. And they were plentiful. I found some real beauty at the miniature golf place, lots in Provincetown, Boston, and Marion Harbor.

So here's the brief rundown. Monday we just hung out at the trailer and relaxed. On Tuesday, we took it slow again, but we slowly worked our way down to Provincetown. We had lunch at the Kream N Kone - great fried seafood. We played mini-golf which was fairly fun, except for the speedy family of three behind us.

It actually got to be a bit annoying, sometimes we'd still be teeing off on a hole, and these kids would pop up and start observing (and sometimes commenting) on what we were encountering. I couldn't figure out how they made it around the course so fast, until I realized that the dad was only keeping score, not playing.
Provincetown Street Scene

Finally we finished up and finished our drive to Provincetown. Lots to see and photograph, and of course, purchase. We stayed for about two hours and then drove back north. By now it was after nine o'clock, and we were hungry. So we decided to head into Hyannis and have dinner at the British Beer Company. Nice meals and tasty beverages.
Pre-Tea Party Meeting

Wednesday was our Big Day in Boston. We didn't do a real lot, but a highlight was time spent at the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum. Totally enjoyed it, and I'd highly, highly recommend it to anyone interested in American History - kids and adults alike.

Oh, before that we stopped by the Flour Bakery. This spot was made famous by Bobby Flay doing one of his "throw-downs" there. He challenged these bakers on their sticky buns. Don't know about Flay's work, but what we had there was pretty darn good. 

Abigail's Tearoom, Boston, MA

After we had tea and pastries (carb heavy day) in Abigail's Tearoom, spent time and $$ in the gift shop, we tried to track down one of Tom's wish items - a Bunker Hill commemorative coin. No luck. Then we spent time in Quincy Market and then Tom and Mike got lost (figuratively) in Newbury Comics. Dave and I did some chillin' and people watching outside. We also made reservations at Legal Sea Foods, some gift cards were calling out to be spent.

Funny story there - ha ha. Not so funny actually. It turns out that we actually made reservations in the LKT, the Legal Test Kitchen, right across the street from the other Legal Sea Foods at Seaport. Which is were we started, feeling like the red-headed stepchild, "no, we have no reservations for Williams for 8:30." Finally it was all sorted out, and we ate a decent meal. Our waitress was quite --  lively. She was doing a pretty smooth job, but then she just got very busy, and she didn't really adjust her patter-to-crowd ratio. Meaning she just spent too darn long at every table making small talk. Oy!

Harbor Sunset
Next day, Thurs was another chill out at the trailer day. Then later we had my brother Pat over for dinner. We celebrated his bday a little belatedly, with cake, some presents, and steak dinner. Friday we went out to eat AGAIN, this time for breakfast. Too expensive. Rest of the day was chilling and doing laundry and that evening we were invited out to sail on a friend's boat.
This is where I learned about the delicious magic of a Dark n Stormy. Very yum. (Dark rum, ginger beer and lime). We also had some nice eats and a great time with our hosts. And the boys got to learn how to tack. Very cool.

Monday, August 13, 2012

In-Between Times: Condition Yellow

In times like these, I live with the uneasy dichotomy of forging ahead like usual, and waiting, expecting, the other shoe to drop.

The Young Prince has been a bit off. Liver is fine, so that's always good. And as a side note, a transplant recipient is always waiting for the other shoe to drop, in terms of rejection. Luckily that has not been an issue for TYP.

But there has been GI problems, frequent loose stools that are appearing with more and more visible blood. A stool study showed negative for most of the usual suspects, like C-diff. It also was positive for blood. No surprise there. A couple days later, his blood labs showed lowered hemoglobin, and lowered crit. All things considered, not really a surprise there either. The numbers were not horrible, but concerning. The team in Boston decided that Tom should come in and be seen in clinic, for more blood work and eyes and hands on assessment. That appointment is tomorrow. 

I have never looked forward to an appointment this much in a long time.

And I'm having a hard time trying to figure out how to handle all of this. What does it mean? My mind is leaping ahead to bowel disease. It's actually leaped a little further past that, to darker places that are not as likely, like some kind of cancer.

#*#*#*#*Amendment. Tom has actually been admitted. He had his appointment this morning, and his hematocrit had dropped even lower, so the docs said lets scope him soon as possible. We hoped to put it off for just a teeny bit, just because Tom had some fun things planned for this week. 

The doc would have gone along with a slight delay, but in the end (no pun intended), it made more sense to start with the prep now. Prep meaning taking yucky tasting drinks with laxative powder now, in the hospital, and tomorrow he'll have both an endoscopy and a colonoscopy. They will take biopsies and a good look around.

They suspect colitis.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Some Fine Cheese to go with this Whine

Bloggity, Blah, Blah, Blah.

I know I had rambled on without much eloquence on my writing work. I have been taking courses and such. All good. 

But damn, it sometimes seems more than my addled brain and soul can take. I hate learning curves!

So, I'm working my way through the Money-Making Websites Course (MMW) It's not expected that you pick your topic right away, but I am still floundering. I've been making notes, and re-writing stuff, and polling various friends and colleagues about what they think is my best direction. 

And -- I'm not much further ahead. But today I decided to try mind-mapping. I downloaded X-Mind (free, open source) and I guess it could be a bit fun.

I don't know where this will all end up. But I do know that I have to keep trying. Good stuff can come out of a lot of false starts.

But I do need to complain and gripe about things as I go. This makes me wonder, if I was working in an office environment, or anywhere really with a few co-workers, would I still be blogging out the moments like this? Or would I just vent with Sally and Steve* and let it go.

*My brand new make-believe office mates! I just love them!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Just messing around here. Going to add some photos with a watermark. I hope. This image to the right is has the text, but it's not done the way I thought it would be. Drat. Picassa is supposed to be easy?

OK, I finally got the watermark done, but Picassa is really not as intuitive as I'd hoped.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Slug time

Been sick - ugh. Don't ya hate when the meds make you feel worse? Me too! I have no energy and neither does my brain. At least the sun is out and doing it's thing. But I feel like SUCH a slug.
Let's get on the Boat!

It hasn't been all bad though, we took a ride to see some cousins at the lake, and it was real pleasant. I absolutely love this picture I took of one of the wee ones of our clan.

So there you go.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Inspiration and Different Outlook, Part II

OK, when we last met, I was yakking about my future and my career and all that. So, I mentioned my preparations in the copy writing realm, but I also want to include what I'm doing for the other part of my writing soul - working on my book.

Yup, slowly, and what feels like, blindly, I've been working on a book idea called Driving Home from Boston. This project is based on The Young Prince's ordeal, and how illness impacts a family, and most of all, the crucial role of support.

The whole idea of me writing this book has a lot of stuff wrapped around it, which I might discuss in another post. The gist of it is this: As much as I enjoy writing, and as much as I know I am good at it (now don't judge me on these posts, they are not really polished, are they). But I really never considered writing a book.

Funny, when someone finds out I'm a writer, soon enough the question comes up..."Have you written a book?" (Or, "are you going to" or some variation). And I really never had the inclination.

ANYWAY - Now I DO have the inclination, the inspiration and the fervent desire to complete this project. (at least in fits and starts) So, I decided to take yet another course, this time via Grub Street. 

I started looking over the selections. I got depressed immediately.

They had so many good courses that were potentially applicable - Nonfiction writing, Essay writing, Memoir Writing, How to Write a Book Proposal, and many more. But either there would be a schedule conflict, or the cost was more than I could bear, or I just didn't know if this REALLY, REALLY, REALLY was the right thing for me to do. 

Finally I settled on a one day course, not too expensive, called Writing the Big Moments - it will help the writer figure out the best way to weave a narrative (either essay or memoir) around the big moments or milestones of our lives. Or something like that. And I figured once I got to meeting other writers and teachers at Grub Street, I could start picking some brains.

Anyway I feel better for having made the decision, and the sorrowful confusion from the other day is diminished, but still, most times I feel overwhelmed with all this stuff. Fear is part of it, and other neurotic stuff rent too much space in my head, and yaddah yaddah --

SO - my point here is that yesterday I had to do some shopping, and I wanted a really unique gift for someone - so I decided to go to a local gallery - the Brush Art Gallery in Lowell. It was really just what I needed. Totally different kind of art - but it felt incredibly good to immerse myself into some great creativity. Not only did I find some great gifts, but I found inspiration.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Inspiration and Different Outlook

So, the other day I was in a real bad mood. Tears even. Lot of things piled up and just felt awful. Some of my angst was a real frustration about my goals and direction.

Now, I DO have a plan. I'm taking an extensive, lengthy course on copy writing. I'm also going to be taking another course - this one a seven week deal - on building a "passive income" website. Money has been plunked down for both.

And I'm trying to keep up with reading. Reading anything, but especially the myriad number of books that keep finding their way to me. OK just cuz you're curious, I can tell you are - don't deny it!

I'm currently reading : A Storm of Swords, part of the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George A.A. Martin (same dude that brings us HBO's Game of Thrones which was the first book in the series. (The second season of GOT, was actually A Clash of Kings).

 My other selections follow a fantasy-ish bent too. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, a cyber punk dystopian tale based on smart-alecky folks who learn how to immerse themselves into a computer generated world - an MMOG (Massively Multi-player Online Game) of sorts. They spend time doing interesting things in both the Real World and this "Metaverse". I was really intrigued after the lengthy research I did on the game Second Life. Linden Labs, the creators of Second Life, clearly drew their inspiration from Stephenson's work. Very interesting, but not the smoothest read. Not done yet.
Lastly, and thanks for bearing with me, because the book roundup was not at all what this post is actually about..but that's OK... is Pipedreams: A Freak Tale by Stephen Hartford and Michael Harmon. It's a big thick thing, as books go, and I'm really enjoying it. Not quite a dystopian setting here, more post-apocalyptic. Some of the geographical locations are familiar, the story takes place wayyy, in the future, in what used to be known as New England. The book was originally begun quite a few years ago, when hippies were a bit more plentiful and the fallout from Vietnam was fresh. I'm giving it link love today because I know one of the authors and I think this novel could go places. To be fair, I'm not done yet, but I have a good feeling about this.

So, back to my original thought train.

I was feeling confused and a little lost about my future, despite those cool courses I'm doing. My worries were more centered on the other type of writing I do. Not the TV/Film/Music stuff.

The real stuff, the essay stuff.

My book.

I will  have to leave this thought dangle for now..but I will return!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Reluctant Gardner

Simple Beauty in a Fallen Blossom
SO, today was one of those days were we let The Young Prince talk us into playing chauffeur (and bank).  Yaddah, yaddah, yaddah, it all resulted in Dave having to spend much of the day driving around and doing errands and fitting in the Tom and Co. transport, sooo, I felt bad and offered to start on some planting here at the house.

What I had really wanted to do was take a shower. I had worked out earlier, and then was doing house things, laundry, dishes, etc and was feeling a little icky. Then Dave came home with stuff from Costco, and half of a Costco sausage roll - with lots of mustard and peppers - and I sank down on the couch to eat that, promptly dropping bits of mustardy pepper bits down my shirt and on my sweats. Nice. 

Now I REALLY wanted a shower.

But I felt bad for Dave, so I volunteered to at least start planting a few flowers. I really did not want to do this. But, since it was a sweaty dirty task, what better time to do it then when I was hot and sweaty. And he gave me the easy part of just doing the planters on the front steps.

So, there I was, had some music playing on the phone and I decided to deadhead some of the Sweet William that was already in one of the planters. These plants had somehow survived all winter and bloomed again in spring. Lots of dead blossoms though, and they had to go. Then I was going to bust open the sack of potting soil and and start in on the actual planting project.

At some point it occurred to me that I actually didn't hate gardening. Don't get me wrong. I'm not one to dream of seed catalogs and get high on the smell of fresh earth and grow all my own (healthy) vegetables. No, not so much. But I love the results and it seems like I used to have time AND inclination to do this before. 

Oh, I still love beautiful yards. I drool over the images in decorating magazines, and I love bringing flowers indoors, and I really some day would love a cutting garden. But to really get all worked up and do it myself? No. I just don't have the mental energy to make it happen. 

So here I was working with the dirt and flowers and not hating it.

But before long I was not alone. I won't elaborate, but there was a distraction that I really didn't want to indulge in at that moment. I kind of had to though. If I was dark blogging, I'd go into more detail, as it is,  my ramblings here might not make much sense.

OK, so I was indulging this distraction, making conversation, and it was OK. I was not hating it.
So, I'm thinking that I was involved in more than one kind of nurturing. And I thought of this: If you just relax and give in to the situation, sometimes it's not as bad as you thought it might be. You might even even enjoy it a little, and create something new at the same time.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's Exhausting!

Droid Incredible Phone
There's some dialogue from the movie, He's Just Not that Into You that has always resonated with me. Drew Barrymore's character (whose name is Mary, ironically) is tying to explain her confusing and frustrating love life,especially the pattern of communicating to schedule a meetup - and also scheduling the actual communicating - that her and and some guy have fallen into.

"I had this guy leave me a voice mail at work so I called him at home and then he e-mailed me to my Blackberry and so I texted to his cell and then he e-mailed me to my home account and the whole thing just got out of control. And I miss the days when you had one phone number and one answering machine and that one answering machine has one cassette tape and that one cassette tape either had a message from a guy or it didn't. And now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It's exhausting."
My iPad

For real, this IS exhausting and not far from the truth!

I've written about this before. I have thought about it a LOT. There is an incredible, bizarre, and addictive attachment to technology that is so pervasive in everything we do. And the constant interfacing - the relentless updating - and the fucking over-saturation of information - it's just a fuckload of wild. 

But I love some of this stuff. I love that I can update my laptop's calendar, which automatically pushes to my iPad, and my phone, which are all different platforms and O/Ss, and manufacturers and colors, and I think - Hell yeah, that makes things nice. Hell. Yeah.

Tom with part of the 343 Team, being shown concept art for Halo 4
Of course, having a mobile phone is de rigueur - is it so pathetic that I feel lost without it? But it can be quite a distraction. Not always crazy about sitting with a bunch of friends and everyone is silent - texting, surfing, emailing --- oyyy.

Speaking of lost, there's my GPS, Beatrice. She's gotten me out of a jam or two. 

And there's more good tech like online banking. And shopping. Recipes. Research. Writing.

Some day we'll have these guys in our homes?

But it sure gets wonky at times. Scary - this wonderful crutch.

So, despite our repeated exposure to the EMP, the data dump, and the dancing kittens, WoW, being pwned,  the braying politicos, traffic cams, internet trolls, the unfortunate disposed royalty of [insert African Country here], and the Epic Adventure in 3-Fucking-D...

We gotta make the best of it - and try to find the way to the simple heart of things - at all times.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Late Night

Blue Heart in Clear Star
Late Night randomness:

Just never enough time. Or if there's time, never enough desire. Of if there's desire, there's a conflict - something else vying for attention. 

Still, there is inspiration. Inspiration to leave something out there for the world to find - even if it's just a bunch o' nonsense.

It's late. Obviously. I'm tired. Long day. I took one guy to Dr. appointment, then helped another guy study for a history final all the rest of the day and evening. And it's even OK that I didn't get to do any of my work (writing not housework) today. Had I a deadline, that might have been different.

But no, no deadline. And this last couple of weeks I've been feeling more committed to my work. Feeling like I'm progressing and accomplishing and all that happy hoo-ha. 

Tonight, I don't have anything particular to say, and I'm tempted to just wipe these bits of bloggy bytes bye-bye.

Still, I feel like I want to leave a bit of beauty, at least in a photo, like above. The words are shite, but the intention was sweet, not too bad for a late night.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Oh the Irony

Or the timing. Or the ironic timing. Young Prince has been out all day, Lord and Crown Prince and Companion Knight were out on an errand. I decided to dedicate the alone time to sitting in the sun with a book and a beverage.

Had to hit grocery store, wasn't too lengthy a visit - only saw one person I knew (But hi to Coach Jamie!) - came home, put away groceries, start laundry. Then I realized that neither the yard nor deck had a very convenient sunny spot. 

OK, so I settled on just taking 30 - 40 minutes on sitting out here to read in this room, by the open window, feet up, music streaming (Norah Jones radio on Pandora). Sounded great.

I am carrying things like a water bottle and an open bottle of Sam's Summer Ale, and the phones and iPad (reading eBook Storm of Swords, which - God willing - will become Game of Thrones Season Three next spring) and next thing I know I'm spilling beer all over my wicker coffee table.

First thought..."Oh how STUPID!"  Next thought, "whew, at least I didn't get any on my electronics."

So, I have to remove my cutesy little linen tea towels which were not very fricken cutesy being beer-soaked, and I rinse them out and toss them in hamper. Then I finally, FINALLY get settled in the loveseat, take a sip, sigh contentedly - and I hear the Tahoe in the driveway.

FML, indeed.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Dark Blogging

I have a friend who blogs quite regularly. The posts are typical slices of life – glimpses into day-to-day activities and family stuff. Not boring at all, more like ‘comfort blogging.’

Heart in Darkness
Also the delivery of these scenes, the writing, is good. Sometimes joyous moments are recounted, and sometimes concerns about family members and friends darken this writer’s heart. Either way, it’s a good read. And at some point I think they mentioned the term “dark blog.”

Now I’m not sure what actually happened, but the premise was that this friend was starting a secondary blog, to write about private things. Things that weren’t meant to be shared with anyone. Or perhaps by anyone who could actually identify the author.

Now, this friend’s current blog does mention plenty of private things, but they are different. Not too different from some things I blog about. Sometimes painful things. When I post in this space, of course I know it’s public, but there’s still a sense of anonymity. Crazy idea, that. My justification is that I can be more of myself here. On Facebook I have to be a bit more careful. I have certain family members, peers, and some young people that I don’t want to offend by cursing or ranting against uptight conservative Republicans. ; )

But if someone stumbles across this blog and sees my flinging of the fucks and more, well – I didn’t actually invite them here. It’s not like I’m flaunting it.

And of course, the above is really some degree of bullshit. I have linked my blog on Facebook, and it’s also part of my email signature line. So, perhaps the invitation takes a more passive-aggressive approach – I dunno.

But the point is kids – I like the idea of dark blogging. A place to really examine what gives me anxiety, stress and even shame. I know what that is, it’s called a diary. No one is supposed to read a diary; it’s just the private musings of the author and beyond that, no one else.

But we take to the internet, the most public of forums to express the most private horrors. The vastness of the Ethernet seems like a safe place for confessions. I think it’s because we really want someone to read our thoughts. For commiseration or validation, or even punishment – we crave that connection that we can’t get with diary.

I will say that – and wow this makes me feel old – but those young kids are braver than I. Either they don’t care about filtering, or decorum, or whatever, but it feels like their blogs, vlogs and social network postings are SO much more personal than what I’m capable of, for good or for bad.

Maybe it’s because Gen-X,Y,Z have figured out at a younger age something very, very important:
Don’t worry about what others think about you! 

By not caring too much about what people think, I'm able to think for myself and propagate ideas which are very often unpopular. And I succeed.
- Albert Ellis

Or something a little different, but still applicable:

“Fashion fades, only style remains the sameCoco Chanel

And of course:

Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.
- John F. Kennedy

Friday, June 01, 2012

Tiny Steps - Big Dreams

Well...right. I've been away. Not "away" like have my face done or removing an extra appendage or anything like that - just been very caught up in other things. I've been writing, yes, but not blogging. Nor have I been giving any love to Driving Home...*sigh*.

But still, I have been writing and keeping busy with other freelancing projects.

And of course, playing the role of Mom. Sometimes it's The Witty and Patient Mom, sometimes it's Mom - the Sleepy, Cranky, and Rather Pathetic Person Behind the Coffee Pot, and mostly it's Mom - the Absent-Minded Chauffeur

Speaking of Mom roles, during the week before Mother's Day, I was in a well stocked garden center, looking for a particular kind of ceramic hanging planter for my MIL. We've been looking since Christmas, and luckily this day I found exactly what I was looking for.

Then I found something totally different - tiny gardens! This place had a display of mini plants and several types of terrariums and mini-conservatories. I was really enchanted with the whole concept, but I didn't feel like it was the right time to indulge myself.

However, several days later I remembered this display, and gave it as a suggestion for a mother's day gift.  So, Mom's day came and went, and that whole affair is the subject of another blog, but I did receive a gift certificate the garden center and today I finally went there and picked out some nice items. Which I will show you in a second.

But as an interesting aside, I offer up the blog of friend, colleague and author, Connie Phillips. During the last couple of weeks, I have been a combination of ill and very busy. But I managed to peek on Facebook now and then. A couple of times I noticed Connie's status update with a link to her blog, and some sort of mention of Fairy Gardens.

This wasn't a total surprise. I knew that Connie had an affinity for the wee sprites and friendly fantastical creatures known as fairies. I also knew that Connie had recently accomplished a wonderful goal - she was going to have a book published! Her paranormal romance Fairyproof had just been contracted by Crescent Moon Press, and this was so exciting to hear. Especially since I had read some of the first chapters, I felt that little bit more of a connection.

And today, as I was oohing and awwing over the sweet little garden accoutrements, the gardening guru employee noted, "oh that's for Fairy Gardens." 

It's funny though, the synchronicity that moves through our lives. In the last few weeks I had scoured the internet - looking for images of conservatories or Wardian cases. I found some very gorgeous and inspiring stuff.  Anyway, all those dreams of creating something cool and new and adorable somehow helped me in other ways.

 Although right now I'm going in a different direction than Connie with my writing, I still get the same kick out of just plain creation, that she, and many more of us do. So, I've recommitted myself to a writing class, and although it's SO slow going, it is going!

Tiny Steps.

 And now, here is a tiny garden for whatever fairies/muses want to stop by

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Light and Faith

So, I had this figurine thingie that Dave and the boys picked out for me a couple Christmases ago. It had a tiny blue light at the underside of the "F" (See, it spells out the word "Faith" - duh), that shone a special beacon down on Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus. I'm thinking it meant to emulate the Star of Bethlehem.

Very nice. I would leave it out all year, changing the location now and then. And at Christmastime, I'd turn on the light.

But, last year I think, something happened to it. It fell or was dropped, and as you can see, there's a crack in the "F". Anyway, although the crack was repaired, the light has not worked since. We tried some new batteries, and it still doesn't work. Maybe the wee bulb broke, or the wiring went wonky after the damage. Still, it's a pretty image, and it was displayed with the rest of the Christmas things.

This morning I had to be up extra early. I had not slept well, and by 9:00 am I'm dozing in a chair while looking at cookbooks. I woke up just as a ray of sun was shining on this scene, hitting precisely on the little family. It was almost eerie, like in that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

And what does it all mean? 

Oh, heck, I don't know. Not exactly. But what I'll take from it is...even if you feel your faith has been fractured or weakened or trampled on, hang on anyway, and God will light your way. Truly!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Saving Grace

I'm going to save a scrap of paper. Silly idea? Maybe. I save way too much as it is, even unintentionally. I just cleaned out my old purse and found all manner of trash, scraps and wrappers and crumpled tissues.

But I think I need to hold onto this wrinkled Burger King receipt, and here's why: Recently I was at the mall with the two Princes. We were exchanging Christmas gifts and spending new gift cards, you know, the typical post-holiday activities. We were at the food court Burger King, and I had just ordered a meal for Tom. While I was waiting for the food, a girl was ordering french fries from the dollar menu. She was a bit surprised when the total came to $1.09. The BK employee reminded her about food tax. "Oh, OK, sure." But since she only had the dollar bill, she was calling to her companion to bring her purse so she could get the extra pennies needed. 

She hollered over a few times, and the friend either did not hear her, or was just too slow. A bit of a line was growing behind her. A little voice inside me said that maybe I could just hand over the nine cents, and move things along. But a moment passed by and the friend was not responding. So eventually (like 30 seconds) I did respond to my inner voice and gave the girl the nine cents. She was grateful and I imagine, so was the BK guy, and everything moved along. Then when they called the number for my order, I looked down at my slip to confirm.


Yeah, that's right 109, like ONE dollar and NINE cents, like $1.09.

OK, OK, I didn't cure cancer or save the world from nuclear terror (like my old pal Jack Bauer) - it wasn't the most noble or generous of gestures, but the confirming truth of what happen hit me anyway.

Listen to that still small voice inside. It may not direct you to cure cancer or save the world, but  grace will abound from unexpected sources and circumstances. Share it, and you will save more than you can imagine.