Thursday, July 30, 2009

Star Light, Star Bright....

There are stars in the night sky again.
I think the last time I saw them it was May.
Since then the sky has stayed alight way past bedtime
causing me to miss the stars.
And miss them, I do.

I've been thinking such random thoughts lately.
Twenty plus years ago we had these neighbours.
The parents were about 40ish
and walked by our house every single night.
Getting their exercise.
They walked military like.
Didn't hold hands.
Brisk. They meant business.
Grim. Their faces were etched with it.

I was only in their home once.
She offered us mint chocolate chip cookies.
I'd never tasted them before.
She kept them in a gallon glass jar.
I saw her look at him as we each took a cookie.
Alarm bells went off in my head
as she gauged his expression.
I wonder if he got after her once we left
for sharing her cookies with us.

They sold honey. We were in their house to buy some.
We went down into the basement to pick out
which size pail we wanted.
On the way to the honey room
was their pantry.
There were several boxes of laundry detergent
on the shelf. The store had had a sale she told me.
It never occurred to me to buy
more than one box of detergent at a time.
Stock up on basics.
So simple but I needed someone
to show me by example it was possible.

I had a friend who was seriously depressed.
Everyone was concerned about her.
She lost so much weight she looked anorexic.
I would go visit, sit at her kitchen table and listen to her.
I vividly remember the day she told me that a person
had the right to change their mind.
"They did?" I thought to myself.
I didn't know that.
I had invested so much energy into being right at all costs,
that it didn't occur to me that saying the words,
"I've changed my mind,"
was an option.
Such a simple phrase but I needed someone
to show me by example it was possible.

Just random stuff I need to get out of my head.
Wonder why I'm thinking about those grim walking folks.
I suspect he was a mean son of a bitch.
I hope life has mellowed him.

My friend who was depressed.
I wonder if she's still curbing her dreams
to help her husband find his.
It drove me crazy watching her do that.
Our friendship hasn't stood the test of time.
I will always be grateful though
for her teaching me that it's okay to change my mind.
Even when it comes to friendship.

I've had lots of time to think this week.
The first full week in 4 months that I've spent at home.
Dearest one is away fishing with his brother.
I am cleaning and sorting to my heart's content.
Tonight I will crawl into bed and look at the stars.
Even though stars in the night sky
mean that summer is waning,
seeing them will comfort me.

Monday, July 27, 2009

And Baby Makes Three, Four, Five

This birthing story made me all teary.
Then it made me think of my own birthing stories.
Sometimes I get all smug that I birthed babies without pain medication.
Then I remember that I didn't create this body
that could go through labour without medication.
So really, I can't take any credit at all.
I need to remember that in so many areas of my life.

I might not have had pain medication but I did come awfully close to chucking dearest one out the window first time around. He made the silly mistake of trying to reach across my labouring belly to shut off the machine's alarm that said I was having a contraction. I grabbed him by the front of his shirt, said some nasty things and pushed him up against the window. Not a good scene. First born, only daughter was ready to be born right when I held up the white flag of surrender and said I'd take some of that pain medication now. Too late. It was time to push her out into the world.

The second time around I told him I was going to have the baby NOW to which he replied,"bullshit" only to have me let out a sound that had them running into the room from beyond the doors. Baby two, oldest son, was born in a labour room without the doctor because baby number two came through that birth canal like a cannon ball through a cannon.

The last time around the doctor told the nurse to call him when I was at a 4 because then he had a chance of getting there in time. I remember going into the bathroom of the birthing room and thinking to myself, I'm enjoying this labour and then reminding myself to never say those words outloud lest someone throw me out the window. After birthing youngest son I started to fade and told dearest one that I was going to faint, he said, "faint then" at which point I told him if I fainted I wasn't coming back. I'd been in a tug of war with a bright light in the corner of the ceilinig for awhile already. I fainted, they called a code, eventually I came to. It took a few more months for me to come to believe. But that birthing experience was the catalyst for that to happen.

When dearest one and I were engaged the doctors told me they couldn't guarantee I'd ever have own foolish behaviour had resulted in nasty infections that resulted in fallopian tubes which should have been scarred shut. The first time I got pregnant after I was married I miscarried. We were just staring fertility testing. I remember telling myself that if I never got pregnant again I would always know what it felt like to be a mother for a little while, anyway. I'd miscarried when I was single and would miscarry again in married life. I nearly lost both sons due to miscarriage, too.

Pregnancy is a privilege. So is birthing a baby. Both feel like miracles. Although your own life may be in danger if you tell a labouring mother that. This is where dearest one would chime in and say, "Trust me on that one. I have the scars to prove it."

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday.

1. I've been working hard this week to get my blood sugar levels into a normal range. This morning I was close and that gives me hope. When I get absolutely honest with myself, the possibility of having Type II Diabetes bothers me mostly because of pride. I've read about it being totally preventable and I get a sense of failure at the thought. I was sure that maintaining my weight loss of 50 pounds over the past year would be enough to prevent it. After the pride it bothers me because I only have one kidney and I know diabetes can be hard on that organ. It took until yesterday for me to see that the best thing I can do is be proactive and do whatever it takes to keep my blood sugars as steady as possible. I was resistant to the thought of this being my reality up until then. That gives me pause for thought in so many areas of my life. I go get the initial bloodwork done on Monday.

2. One of our outside dogs died while I was away. She was the alpha dog of the whole works, pugs included. Our other outside dog is mourning. She stood guard outside the doghouse after the other dog died and wouldn't budge when dearest one tried to convince her to move so he could take the alpha dog out of it to go bury her. Dearest one had to physically move her away from standing guard. I was used to taking all four dogs on my walks with me. Last night I left the pugs in the house and the other dog couldn't be coaxed to join me. Dearest one buried alpha dog at the foot of some towering Evergreen trees.

3. One of my most favourite times on my recent trip was watching my niece read the novel that I wrote during NaNoWriMo last November. I have yet to do any editing on it and felt weird just handing it over to be read but this niece is in the target age group for which it was written and it was a joy to see her not being able to put it down. At one point there were three nieces reading it, passing pages from one to another. Pure joy.

4. One Sunday that I was away I went to Mass in a new to me parish. I don't think I will ever get used to some Catholic Churches without kneelers. I found out when I went to kneel anyway that the pews were so close together that I nearly chinned myself in the process. It's hard for me not to get an attitude when I kneel in a church without a "look at little old holy me" and much worse attitude. Kind of defeats the purpose of prayer now, doesn't it? Or makes it more necessary. Lord have
mercy. The priest gave an excellent homily. Still mulling it over. What I took with me was that if we are struggling to be faithful then our hearts have been enlightened by Him so
don't lose heart. (Just lose the kneelers. Just kidding.)

5. That same Sunday I went to an AA meeting 5 minutes down the road from where I grew up. It's always interesting to me to see how another meeting/group operates. They were very welcoming and it was a good meeting. I could see it being my home group if I still lived there. There was one hard as nails woman who I could've been scared of but when she shared she was full of humility. I love that combination.

6. I got lost more times than I can count on my trip. The only city within driving distance to me has a population of about 50K. I was in a city of over a million. Driving down one of those 6 lane freeways that scare me. If you don't come down that exit ramp at top speed you are in danger of getting driven over. That's what it feels like. Due to forgetting my purse at at friend's house at one end of the city I ended up having to travel that freeway back and forth and then some. It no longer scares me like it did. Google maps doesn't tell the whole story either. One of the hostesses at the Bed and Breakfast, where I spent one weekend, looked at the other hostess and said, "This one has no sense of direction." That about sums it up. Staying at the Bed and Breakfast was another highlight of my trip. Getting lost wasn't. Eventually I decided that I was more capable than I thought of finding my way in scary situations. I need to remember that.

7. Today can be as good as I decide it to be. I can't control all the circumstances but I can choose my attitude about it. There are days when I could hit someone who has that outlook on life even when I know it's true no matter what is on my plate. You know, those days when you just don't want to hear it? That happened to me when I initially got to the B&B and told the hostess how lost I had been. I was not okay. I wanted to cry. I really wanted drama. In return, she told me what a sunny day it was and how good life was and how getting lost was not the end of the world. I felt dismissed and pissy when she said that. I just needed a moment of "you poor thing" and then I would've been fine. I wouldn't have milked it, I would've felt validated in my anxiety and fear and then would've been able to let it go. See. I wanted her to act in a certain way so that I would feel okay. Talk about giving my power away. In the end I decided she was a lousy listener and might have a problem with validating anyone's feelings, including her own. I have lots of practice at that. And then I decided that I could make the most of my day and I put my car in gear and went back to the freeway, still scared but I managed just fine. And it was a beautiful day, life was good and getting lost wasn't the end of the world. Although I never told her that.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

LIfe in Bullet Points

  • Getting lost is not the end of the world.
  • I should know. I got lost so many times in big city far away.
  • Eventually I found my way.
  • With much help.
  • Which sums up life as I see it.

  • Getting chest pain during one medical test this week freaked me out.
  • Getting tested for diabetes freaks me out, too.
  • So I'm putting it off for a few days yet, hoping my blood sugar levels
  • will somehow miraculously right themselves.
  • I think that's called denial.
  • None of this freaks God out.
  • I'm trying to remember that.
  • Diabetes is not the end of the world either.
  • That much I know.
  • Even so I have an urge to become Chicken Little and proclaim the sky is falling.
  • Thankfully it's a momentary urge.

  • Yoga pup is getting a little vet time today.
  • I'm hoping it helps him stop peeing on the carpet.
  • At least he can aim.
  • Wish he wouldn't aim at my new couch.
  • The bugger.
  • Every day, including this one, is a good day to be alive.
  • Full stop.
  • Oh, the waving arms and "But, but , buts..." my mind wants to interject.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Peeing On My Feet Part 2

"Hmmm, I wonder if that was a wise idea?"

I ask myself that question after finishing off a litre of water just as I pass the last town I will see for an hour. Before me the highway snakes like a ribbon between as-far-as-the-eye-can-see forest. No one lives along this stretch of highway - every so often there is a lease road branching off - roads used by oilfield workers and that is as close to civilization as I will get for the next 60 minutes.

I'm half an hour past chugalugging the water when I realize that I won't make it to the next town for a bathroom break. I remember there being a really nice meadow like area along this stretch of highway if I can only remember which side road it's on. I've felt every little bump of the highway for miles already so I turn off the highway and pull down the road far enough so no one can see me. I look up and before me is no meadow. Instead there is an open gate with a large oil company sign attached that says no one is allowed past this point without authorization. No problem. I stop the car just shy of the gate and take a look at the ditch. I could almost hide in the tall grass to do my business but it's still early in the morning and the grass is wet. Somehow it escapes me that dew on my feet would feel so much better than the alternatives. I decide to just walk to the front of my car, well hidden from the highway, and pee right there. Surely no one will come from the other direction - from beyond the no tresspassing gateway. In my haste I don't look where I decide to pee. Only after it's too late do I realize I planted one foot on the top of the road and one foot on the side of it. I cringe as I watch a trickle becoming a small river heading straight for my foot. There's only so far a girl can stretch without either doing a face plant forwards or landing on her tush. Sigh. Peeing on my feet again it is. I can hear the sounds of vehicles rushing past, too far out of sight for either of us to see one another, and also so loud I can't hear whether I'm done peeing or not. Bad timing means I end up peeing on my hand, too. I have just stood up when I hear a vehicle coming from beyond the gate. Lickety split I pull up my pants, note I've peed on my clothes, too, grab my last remaining wet wipe and clean off my hands and feet. I've just jumped into my car before he rounds the bend. I'm pretending to enjoy the scenery, when he pulls up and rolls down his window.

"You doing alright there?"

I blush as I tell him I am just fine thank you. He nods and goes on his merry way. He's had to drive past the kleenex laden puddle in front of my car to greet me. I'm thankful for my sun glasses hiding my mortified eyes. Seconds earlier and I would have been literally caught with my pants down. Peeing on my feet doesn't seem so bad considering what just about happened. After he's gone I manouver my car around on the narow stretch of road and head towards home. Paranioa sets in within a few miles and I just about convince myself that there were cameras on the gate connected to some monitor beyond him back in no man's land. That the guys back at the gas plant convinced him to come check on me to see if I was okay.

I sail past the next town and decide not to stop. It's another hour to the next town. Damn. Not a wise choice. But I am not stopping by the side of the road one more time on this trip. No siree. I daydream about driving all the way home without stopping at all. About hugging dearest one after nearly two weeks apart, and saying " Get out of my way I have to pee." Dearest one is known for hugging me when I am uptight and not letting go until I calm down. I envision myself warning him I have perfected the art of peeing on my feet while away and if he doesn't let me go I will pee right then and there. And furthermore, with any luck the one time I try to pee on my feet, I most surely will pee on his.

Bet he will let me go in record time. Don't you?

I am so glad I didn't have to find out.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Peeing On My Feet

Yesterday I drove through miles of flat prairie land.
The kind where you really could see the dog
three days after it ran away,
on that flat piece of land waaay over there.
The prairie will always be my home. There is something soothing about the wind of the prairies, swirling around me like a comforting blanket, that I've never felt living in the tree filled north.

I've made it a tradition to listen to the song below every time I drive this long stretch of road.

The vastness of a prairie sky always leaves me in awe.
As I was appreciating its beauty out of my mouth popped the words,
"Life is a privilege."
Sometimes gratitude takes me by surprise.

I tried to remember what a privilege it was when several miles down the road I was mulling over how to take a roadside bathroom break, where someone's dog might happen upon me, without peeing on my feet. I'd been driving a long time without seeing any trees to hide in. I have perfected on this trip how to park the car just so, so that passersby can't see me doing my business on the side of the road. Sorry if that's too much information. It is however, a handy skill to have, when need be.

If you're wondering why I didn't just stop at a gas station for a bathroom break know that they were so far apart on this stretch of highway that it was either stop on the side of the road or pee my pants.
I know. What does any of that have to do with being grateful for life?
Well, I guess if you're dead you no longer have to figure out how to pee on the side of the road, now do you?

I eventually stopped on a sandy side road. The place where I grew up, and where my folks still live, is all sand. I used to take a tablespoon outside and dig holes in the yard when I wanted to play marbles. That's how soft the sandbed was. My car has sand all over the floor now. It has prairie sage drying on the dashboard, too.

After a 7 hour drive I made it to big city far away; to the comforts of a bathroom, where there is no sand or runaway dogs or any figuring out to do. I took an above ground subway last night for the first time. Today I will lie in one of those very tight MRI tunnels as they take pictures of my heart.

There is heart trouble and then there is heart trouble.
I've had my share of both kinds in the past few months.
Driving along the prairie is a great remedy.

I do love the prairie.
Always will.
Even when I pee on my feet.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Miss You

"Will they forget about me?"
That's my thought as I make the rounds and try to read a little of all your news.
I can tell you the exact moment that kind of thinking sunk into my psyche.
I was probably about 3 years old.
It was Christmastime.
My older siblings and cousins were dancing around my grandparents' house with their Christmas presents - my brother complete with cowboy hat,holster and toy gun - when I pulled on his pant leg and asked him where my present was.

He hardly missed a beat, telling me, "You're too little," and went back to having a shoot out with his cousin.

I've worked really hard the last few years when I feel that all too familiar panic that I have become invisible or will be forgotten or any other kind of thought pattern that mimics that time so long ago.

I drove hundreds of miles today and made it to a long time friend's house.
Freeways and rain coming down so hard the wipers couldn't keep up, didn't deter me.
I did it anyway, even though I was afraid.
There aren't any freeways where I live and trying to figure out which lane is the one I want is not my idea of a fun pastime. Drivers in this city are very kind though and let me in even after they watched me change from this lane to that within a few car lengths.

Tomorrow is my cardiac MRI among lots of catch up visiting with my friend.
Friday, I get to meet this longtime blogging friend. Cool.

I'm too tired to try and make this post make sense by wrapping it up by tying something in from the beginning of the post.
Miss you.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Raring To Go and Come Home

I'm gearing up to go on a road trip by myself
later on this week.
Nearly two full weeks
visiting family and friends.
Sandwiched in there are some diagnostic tests
in two different hospitals.
The final two tests to help the powers that be
determine whether heart surgery is in my future.

One of the things I'll be doing on this trip
is buying a gravestone for Rodney's grave.
He would have been 48 this past December and it will feel good
to have his place in our family marked in a permanent way.
As far as I know I am the only one
to visit his grave since his burial.
When I told to my mom this afternoon,
who has never been to her son's grave,
not even knowing where he is buried,
she thanked me for seeing this done.

I've booked myself into a beautiful bed and breakfast
for a few nights of the trip.
That feels like a lovely luxury.
I'm not normally a fan of B&Bs
but this place feels like
it will nourish my need for
sanctuary and solitude.
My time there is nestled between the
two diagnostic tests and feels almost like
a guilty pleasure.

I'm choosing not to take the laptop with me.
The break will do me good.
I'll be away from the computer for the next
two weeks.
Talk to you when I get back.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Headed In The Right Direction In Six Words

Baby stepping towards emotional/spiritual health.

~ Show My Face.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Being Human

"God apparently loves freedom as much as incarnation. And that is the rub of time and history and our interminable groanings. We are the victims of our own freedom and our bodily incarnations. God took that great risk in creating free human persons, and we must take it too. Doing it perfectly is not the goal, doing it is the goal.

The sons and daughters of God tend to be afraid of freedom and do not trust incarnation. We would rather hide behind the securities of law instead of taking God’s risks. We would rather be “spiritual” than just being human."

Adapted from Near Occasions of Grace, p.5


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Christening Hope

Summer holidays begin for me today.
The morning before last
there was ice on
the car's windshield.
Somehow ice and summer
only belong together in a cold drink,
not in a weather forecast, no?

Oldest and youngest sons
are leaving on a river trip today.
I told God last week that with
everything else going on in my life
something happening to either one of them
would be unbearable.
Like I can control it, you know?
Eventually I told God that I would trust
that he'd give me the strength
to deal with whatever life brings my way.
I have an unnatural fear of water over my head,
never mind a kayaks and rapids
and bears in the bush combination.
Which is to say I will stay safely on shore.

The last time I was on a lake,
which had a 300 foot bottom,
dearest one, only daughter,
youngest son and oldest son
ganged up on me
just to scare me
right in the middle of the lake.
They all laughed at the thought.
I started to cry.
I'm still not impressed
can't you tell?

For my last day of work yesterday
I was able unleash some creativity.
In my little office area
there are no less than half a dozen items
with the word hope on them.

Now, if I ever own a boat,
God forbid,
you know what her name's going to be.