Linking up with Kendra at Catholic All Year for her weekly feature: Answer Me This.
Before that... let me tell you about my graceful swift descent to the floor yesterday morning... that's right, all (undisclosed number) pounds of me went from vertical to horizontal in one hot, painful second. I landed mostly on my left knee but any sudden jolt to my spine is not just painful, it's dangerous. I've been in much more pain since then but the scariest part is the new spots of numbness. My spinal stenosis means that there are nerves that are always close to being compressed. Falling changed that delicate environment back there and I'm having wicked muscle spams and twitches that are brand spanking new to this game. The pain is standard operation procedure around here. The numbness is usually *mostly* avoidable as long as I don't stand too long or sit upright compressing the nerves. Since yesterday, I can't find a position where I don't go numb. It stinks.
Anyways. So there's that. I also received an anonymous donation from a blog reader that was sent through my mom. I don't know who you are but I thank you very much for your generosity. My parents have gone over and above in making sure I not only have everything I need but also pretty much anything I want. I thought that once the money ran out I would be devastated and honestly, I haven't missed out on anything. However... being able to have a little jingle in my pocket to help pay for meds and doctor appointments and all that jazz lifts a burden of guilt off my shoulders so thank you, whoever you are. I pray that God returns your gift to you ten fold!
I was too lazy/tired/doped up on pain meds to add photos to this blog entry so I'm posting a picture of my very handsome oldest child and his furbabies. I miss you, Boo! Love you!
Now... on to those probing questions:
Sunday, July 20, 2014
Linking up with Kendra at Catholic All Year for her weekly feature: Answer Me This.
Posted by Heather at 9:21 PM
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Posted by Heather at 1:47 PM
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
|Kids in a raft on the dock (while waiting to launch).|
Austin and his girlfriend have been working in VBS at her church this week. He is surprisingly good with kids, probably because he is just a big kid himself. Tasha is teaching a class and Austin is helping with games. Last night they did something like musical chairs. One little girl with Downs Syndrome got attached to him. She gave him a hug and melted his heart. The middle school he went to in Florida specialized in autism - they divided their special ed kids by disorder instead of geographically which meant that the staff knew a lot more about that disorder than most teachers. It was a great system but would only work in a large school system. At any rate, since he was high functioning autism he was mostly in the regular classroom but was able to go to the special ed class when he was out of sorts and needed "time out". Being in class with the kids who were profoundly autistic really made him compassionate toward kids who are different. I see that in him still and thought it was really sweet that he bonded with this little girl. She reached for him while her daddy was holding her - she was about two - which, like I said, melted his heart. There were two little girls from our church there and they both were tickled to see "Auggie" which is what Sarabeth and Jamie (and most of our family) call him.
Another funny thing... Pop picked up Zaxby's for lunch for us all. Jamie and Sarabeth ate adult meals and my mom and I ate kids' meals. The kids' meal was plenty for me and Jamie ate every bite of her adult meal. What was funnier was Jamie "taking orders" before they left. She said she wanted a big zax snack and I told her I wanted a small zax snack. She said, "then you want a kid's meal because there's not a small snack". She was right.
I'm watching The Bachelorette for the first time this season and it's about like reading the National Enquirer. You know it's complete bunk but you can't help yourself. I think there are like two more episodes and she'll pick her guy. They did this thing last night where she has the opportunity to invite guys to the "Fantasy Suite" which was essentially like inviting them to spend the night. I don't know... it just seemed a little... I don't know... creepy... that she took two guys there on subsequent nights. I guess it felt like Sister Wives without the kids. It was more than I wanted to know about their dating process. It's kinda like the two nudist communities here off our street - one is just a place where people hang around without clothes (and most of them are people you would NOT want to see naked) and the other is a place where they're naked and doing stuff, like a sex club. Club Med for pervs. It's like you just don't want to know people are doing that half a mile from your house.
|Jamie & Sarabeth showing why a mattress in the living room is good.|
Other than those two reality tv shows I've been pretty much a PBS and CSpan junkie. I could tell you a lot about what I've been watching on PBS but I'll save that for another day.
The headache is winning. Time to stop focusing for a few minutes. Happy Tuesday! Love and hugs, y'all!
Posted by Heather at 5:26 PM
Sunday, July 13, 2014
Every blog entry I start to write feels so oppressive and depressing that I just close blogger and go on to something else. See... I am so incredibly fortunate to be where I am, to have the amount of family support that I have that it feels wrong to come here and complain about how I'm feeling. But... I know you wonder and I know you come here because you want to know how I'm doing. I don't want to be a downer. I don't want to be the whiny blog that you avoid because you just can't stand to hear the same sad song. Truly, it's hard to wake up every day facing a day of discomfort and isolation and uncertainty. When I say that I don't mean that I want to stop waking up... because that's not the case even in the least. I just lay down at night knowing that a good night's sleep is just pressing the restart button on whatever pains the next day brings. It's hard. That's all.
Here's the thing - if you took pain out of the equation I'd have to say that I'm at a very peaceful, happy point in life. I'm not feeling any romantic ambivalence... "does he really like me?" or "is he the right guy?" or "should I give that relationship another chance?" all that drama that has plagued me most of my adult life in the grand search for Mr. Right. I always prayed that God would either bring the right guy into my life or allow me to be content as a single person and I'm honestly, one hundred percent content. I can't imagine inflicting the instability of my medical situation on someone who would love me and be concerned about me and have to base their lifestyle around the things that I can't do - which is a lot. It feels so perfect to not have that.
I feel at peace about my kids. Yes, I want Austin to find a job and be more responsible but the heavy sadness that was hanging over our heads for awhile has dissipated. He's in a happy relationship and is spending a lot of time with her family. Please don't think me a bad mom for saying that I'm glad that he's not home as much. I love my kids. I love spending time with them. I just don't love spending ALL my time with them. That's all. Cody's doing well at work and happy in his marriage. Ryan and Sara are doing well (last I heard). As much as I don't want or need a romantic relationship for myself, I need for my kids to be happily coupled and they are.
I love shopping with my mom... who always insists that I get something for myself. I love grocery shopping with my dad as we plan meals for HIM to cook during the week. I am spending time with them that few adults get to have with their parents and they take care of everything I need. I spent my entire adult life struggling financially and worrying every month about keeping the rent paid and the lights on and the car in the driveway and it's nice to not have those things hanging over my head. I'm anxious about getting a response from social security - and I can't even imagine what I'll do if it's ultimately a no - but this wait could be SO much worse than it is.
Without sounding like a crazy cat lady, I am so grateful that my cousin picked out Little Trouble Kitty for me three years ago. I've never had a pet that I enjoyed or adored as much. He's really my best buddy and constant companion. He's the perfect pet for me and I treasure him. I even enjoy the rest of the herd, both dogs and cats (although I couldn't care less about the fish). They enrich our lives and I'm glad to be able to have the luxury of fur babies.
Honestly. I add these things up daily along with so many other things and I am grateful for this season of life. I really am. I'm glad to be able to spend time with my nieces. I'm loving the time to indulge in hobbies like cross stitch and genealogy. It's fun to be a couch potato and to expand my mind with hours and hours of CSpan and PBS. There is so much good in my life... but it hurts so bad. And it doesn't hurt the same way every day. One day it's the evil gut pain. One day it's a migraine. One day it's my lower spine. Always something. Hardly ever a day - or even an hour - completely pain free. And it's not just the pain - it's what the pain takes from me like the ability to carry on an intelligent conversation because I'm so distracted. It's the inability to go places and see people and do things and the isolation that brings. It's being 46 and knowing that I'm not ever going to be free of this pain. It's hard to connect with people because the world is a very different place for me than most people.
And then I compare my life and my non-fatal (as far as I know) pain to people who are suffering on a whole different level - people who are dealing with potentially fatal illness, people who don't have the freedoms I enjoy here in this country - people who don't have family to fall back on. I feel guilty about feeling sorry for myself at all.
That's the mental marathon I run every day. Dealing with the pain. Feeling grateful for the blessings in my life. Feeling frustrated by the limitations in my life. Feeling guilty for feeling bad for myself. And those things are the constant undercurrent of my life and I know I've said it here a thousand times in the past three and half years and I can't imagine why anyone would want to hear all that again.
So I close the blog and go work on my cross stitch.
The project I finished last Thursday is at the top of this page. My new project came in the mail on Friday and it is HUGE. It's going to take a long time to complete but it is a really neat family keepsake. It's my motivation for getting out of bed in the morning.
And that's the way it is. Hope you're having a great weekend... love and hugs all around!
Posted by Heather at 4:36 PM
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Hello again from your twice a week blogger! Maybe I'll get back in the habit of articulating every day but lately I just don't have much that feels blogworthy.
I'm nearing the end of the big cross stitch project after four solid weeks of sewing every day. A new project is on it's way from Overstock.com... a really awesome family tree that will combine my cross stitch hobby with my genealogy hobby which in my world = perfect! I'm *hoping* to make more than one piece out of that pattern if I'm not totally burned out on it by the time I finish the first one. I'll re-use the pattern and just buy more material and thread. We'll see.
Yesterday was our musical theatre/crafts day. We watched Gypsy, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and The Music Man. I was a little unsure about showing Gypsy because at the end of the story Louise becomes a stripper but... she wasn't really a pole dancing-dollar bill collecting exotic dancer - it was very mild burlesque with her wearing more than most people wear to the beach. I ran it by my sister-in-law who had not ever seen it (!!!???!!!) and she checked the ratings which - it was made in the sixties and very clean cut as far as language and stuff - so she left it up to my judgment. The girls did have a lot of questions about why Louise decided to do burlesque and why she was mean to her mom in the end. It opened the door for a discussion about people who have their priorities wrong and want to be famous, even if they're doing something they shouldn't do. The girls felt like being in "show business" made everybody "mean" to each other in the end which is a conclusion that had never crossed my mind before. I think they enjoyed the story of Seven Brides the most although - they are totally my girls and noticed the fake backgrounds and poor production quality of it. They wouldn't TELL ME which they liked the best but they seemed to enjoy the music in The Music Man the most.
|Bethy making a necklace|
The only downfall to having a nice cozy place in the middle of the room is that the cats enjoy sleeping on it (especially Stubby who has trouble climbing on to the other cozy spots around the house since he's missing a leg). The cats got into the habit of sleeping there but when Jamie is here they can't. She's highly allergic to cats. We keep her blankets and pillows packed away in a closed trash bag when not in use so that they are as fur free as possible in a house with six pets. In between visits we wash her stuff and put it back in the bag until she's here again. It seems to work pretty well and she hardly ever has any reaction to being around the pets when she's here. Yesterday, however, Stubby kept wanting to get in Jamie's nest with her and we kept having to evict him, poor trick.
Anyways... it was awesome to spend time with the girls and today it's awesome to have a quiet day to watch my adult programming and nap at will. Hope your week is going well! Love and hugs!
Posted by Heather at 1:28 PM
Sunday, July 6, 2014
|David, Marquee, Craig (dressed that way on purpose) and Cody|
Cody and Marquee and their friends Craig and David came and spent the weekend with us. It's always fun having guests over. I particularly enjoy looking down at the lake and seeing my kids floating away a Summer afternoon. It's the kind of backyard that every grandparent should have... a place to fish and swim and boat and pick blackberries. We had fireworks at dusk last night and grilled out burgers and hot dogs for supper. The "kids" (who are all in their twenties) hung out down in the Whine Cellar with me last night until I finally had to give them the boot around midnight with a "if you want me to cook breakfast in the morning you're going to have to let me get some sleep!" Days like that are a reward for hanging in there through the rough days... and lately there are way more rough days than good ones.
I got up this morning and made Cody's favorite breakfast - "cookhouse eggs". I got the recipe from a book we got years and years ago by saving up points from cigarette packs (not mine, of course!). You cube potatoes and put them on to boil while cooking a package of bacon in an iron skillet. Maybe you could use another kind of skillet, but I wouldn't. Once the bacon is done and the potatoes are a little soft but not crumbling or mushy you take the bacon out of the skillet and put the potatoes in it to crisp. Once the potatoes are crisp/brown you crack a few eggs over the whole deal and stick it under the broiler until the eggs are at your desired level of doneness (is that a word?). Crumble the bacon and put it over the potatoes and eggs with some shredded cheese. My kids have always loved this but it's a real labor intensive meal - what with the peeling potatoes and waiting for all the bacon to cook and all that. It takes way longer than I can stand to stand but SO worth it! Bacon frying is the one alarm clock that never fails to wake my kids, even now.
I am *almost* finished with my cross stitch project and ordered a new one yesterday from overstock.com. The next one is a sampler with a family tree that goes back a couple of generations and I'm really excited about doing it. I found a few other projects that I'd like to do but I know myself well enough to know that if I feel obligated to do it I'll lose the enjoyment of it. For that reason I'm not stocking up on projects because I don't want to feel like there's a backlog.
Anyways. Cross stitch, Big Brother, same stuff going on as the last time I checked in with y'all. Lack of content means I need to toss in a lot of pictures. Hope you enjoy and I hope your 4th was everything you hoped! Love and hugs, y'all!
Posted by Heather at 5:39 PM
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Hello blog readers! Sorry I've been MIA so much this Summer! Apparently all my creative juices are going into the cross stitch project I've been working on for almost three weeks. I've finished putting all the colored x's in and am now working on the outlining which is SUPER complicated. It's been good to have something to work on where I see progress every day since my life feels totally unproductive right now.
News from the nest: Austin has been mostly staying with his girlfriend. I miss him but don't miss him. He takes a lot of emotional energy from me and I always feel guilty when he doesn't do what has been asked of him. He eats a lot. He messes up dishes. I mean, it's simpler in many ways when he's not here. Of course, he also does a lot of things around the house like taking out the trash and keeping the yard up. When he's not here it's eerily quiet down here in the Whine Cellar but honestly... I love having time to myself without interruption. I love my kids and love to spend time with them BUT I also know that it's healthier for them to be hanging out with people their own age rather than spending all their time here with the old folks. And when I'm in pain I really just want to be left alone.
Over the past 4-5 days I've been in a bad fibro flare. What that means (at least in my case) is that my arms and legs feel like they're made of lead. Every step is painful. I'm exhausted but not in a way that sleep can fix. Sleeping is painful because if I stay in one place too long everything hurts. On Monday I drove my parents to the dentist and made a quick mini-trip to the grocery store and waited at the pharmacy for some prescriptions and by the time I got home I was in so much pain and so exhausted that I felt sick to my stomach and had to lay down for about an hour before it passed. It's not a matter of "pushing through". This is the stuff that stops you in your tracks and all you can do is weather the storm. I got a text from my cousin last night who was recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia. She's all like, "do you sometimes feel like...?" and I'm all "gurl... you have NO idea!" Because unless you've been there, you can't even imagine the pain/exhaustion.
Pop ended up with an abscessed tooth that started Sunday. It took until Monday afternoon before we could get him in to see a dentist around here. Everybody was double booked. He was in so much pain and swollen and just miserable. He and mom stayed up all night Sunday night so they were exhausted. I was on the third (or fourth? I lost track) day of this current fibro flare so I was mostly worthless but Mom has gotten where she is not comfortable driving so I had to get him to the dentist and he really needed some soft things to eat so a grocery trip was unavoidable. I try to not go too many days without getting out of the house because it gets depressing so it was good for me to get out but I was unprepared for how absolutely wiped out I would be from it.
Today my mom has a doctors appointment. They started going to a new doctor back in May and he didn't bother to tell them that he was closing his practice at the end of June. So Mom has all these issues with passing out and her blood pressure randomly going way up or dropping suddenly and a lot of other health issues that really require frequent monitoring and all of a sudden she's without a doctor again. She started calling around the very few doctors up here who are covered by her insurance and nobody had an appointment until August or later. I always feel like medical care is out of reach for me because of not having insurance or money to pay but honestly, even with insurance and money to pay a doctor it's still hard to find a doctor (or dentist) up here. I don't know if it's because this is a small town or if it's a shortage of doctors in general but it was really frustrating on Monday trying to find a dentist who could see my dad immediately AND find a doctor who could see my mom this week. So she goes to the doctor this afternoon and my dad goes back again today for the dentist to do the work he couldn't do on Monday.
My biggest time suck right now is Big Brother. I read all the online recaps of the live feeds and every night I record Big Brother After Dark which is a two to three hour peek into what the houseguests are doing that they show every night. This is the first time I've ever had DVR and been able to actually watch ALL of BBAD. In the past I've tried to stay up and watch it but it's just on too late for me to see all of it. It's an interesting diversion for me. My favorites are Frankie and Donny, if you're watching.
We've had a couple of episodes of really hard rain over the past few days and water leaked into the Whine Cellar. Again. It wasn't as bad in the living room as last year so it seems like the planting and diversion of water has helped some but the bathroom had a ton of water and I've never seen that happen. Austin had water in his room as well. I guess it's one of those battles we'll always face and it's a small price to pay for living somewhere so beautiful.
I guess that's about all I have to share right now. I'm not feeling witty or articulate lately and I'm sorry to leave you guys without much interesting to read. It is what it is, I'm afraid. Happy July, y'all! Love and hugs!
Posted by Heather at 11:26 AM