For the next 45 years of my life, if I am feeling unloved I will go back to the comment that was left after my last blog entry from my beloved Purple Michael. It reminded me that even though I feel somewhat isolated, I continue to impact the lives of the people I love.
I got another little rubber stamp on that same theme when a young lad who I have known most of his life called yesterday for advice on his car insurance. People remember you. Even when it doesn't seem like it.
I enjoyed that warm fuzzy feeling so much that I thought about all the things that people have taught me that I remember... things that made me the person I am. You know, little things like, "you're not six and you're not Barbie so you really shouldn't wear that color of pink on your nails" and "Mommy, don't dance, you'll ruin the song for me"... and "when somebody shows you who they are, believe them, the first time". So much of who I am is a hodge-podge of the people I've shared my life with and those footprints never leave you.
That's the blessing/curse that being so outspoken on my blog. I say things and people take them to heart. I'm not one of those mega-mommy-bloggers making ten grand a month on ad revenue (there are some that do!). It's just little ole me and little ole y'all and for the most part it's a Heather Monologue on her thoughts, opinions, weather report, menu and medical rounds each day. But you feed me too, with your facebook messages and comments and emails and phone calls and just saying, "I read your blog" which says to me that they checked it out and found it worthy of returning to, day after day.
Yet as I tap away on my laptop keys, I see the faces of the people that I know are reading and I feel compelled to say something wise or encouraging. I feel obligated to make sure my words aren't bitter because eventually I will have to eat them. I try to keep the hatin' and complainin' and whinin' to a minimum knowing that people can get negativity anywhere. I don't want to be that person you avoid because you don't want to hear six paragraphs of "pity me" "woe is me" and so forth.
BUT I also have to keep it real enough so that I don't sound like Martha Stewart, or Mother Teresa. This is not a life of unicorns and rainbows and glitter. There are some real hurts that happen here at the mountain house every day - a big mix of fibromyalgia and chronic back pain and aspergers syndrome and we don't move like a well oiled machine. Somedays it's just a matter of the one who is most capable doing the best they can. And there can be some frustration and aggravation at the way things don't get divided up evenly. I feel like nobody will go to town except me. My mother feels like nobody cares about the yard but her. Austin feels doubled up on having both his mom and grandma nagging him. And while I think it's better not to relive each less than happy moment, it's insincere to pretend it's all perfect.
But I look out the window and glance at the darkness spreading across the lake and I think how blessed I am to live here. Thirteen months ago when I left White County to go back to live with my parents in Clayton County, I could never have imagined being back here so soon in such a beautiful place with my son close by so that we can hopefully keep him on the straight and narrow. I couldn't have imagined this life, this much support for this phase of life - that I would need help and/or that I would receive help. It's so much more than I deserve.
And even though I'm way far away from some of the people who have molded me into me, I get to wrap myself up in warm memories, I get to remember their words of encouragement that they gave to me and it seems that there is hardly a day that goes by without the opportunity to share some of that age earned wisdom with those who are younger - or who are arriving at a time of crisis that I faced in times already gone by. We all have something to learn and we all have something to share and as long as you've got a pulse, you can keep sowing yourself into the gardens of others. Who knows what kind of harvest they'll reap, but I bet they'll come back to thank you for your help.
I've hurt a lot today and I've been stressed a bit today and it's a bad combo for me to blog under. I just want to show you that it is possible to hurt and be hurt and turn it to a blessing, which I hope I am for you.
Love and hugs, y'all.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
For the next 45 years of my life, if I am feeling unloved I will go back to the comment that was left after my last blog entry from my beloved Purple Michael. It reminded me that even though I feel somewhat isolated, I continue to impact the lives of the people I love.
Posted by Heather at 8:48 PM
Monday, July 29, 2013
8:30 PM and the house is quiet except for the intermittent alarms of the dog who must warn us of anything and everything. Oscar is a professional barker. Hopefully once it gets dark outside he'll stop barking every time the wind blows or a squirrel passes by.
The boys (Austin and his friend) are in Austin's room playing XBOX again/still just as they did yesterday and the week before that and the month before that and the year before that. A year ago he was living a hundred miles away from me with people I didn't know or trust. I wish he was more ambitious but for now, I'll settle for just having him nearby.
My mom got stung by bees while cutting the grass today. In a dress and ballet flats. It defies logic. She got stung several times and it's causing her a great deal of discomfort so she's in bed trying to sleep. She is finally trying the remedy I suggested when she first got stung - tobacco - because Pop suggested it. I hope it works but it will be ironic that she could have spared herself a couple of hours of pain if she had just listened to me. I guess it's payback for 45 years of me not listening to her.
I'm still dragging along the headache that I suffered with yesterday... and it just feels like every day my back hurts more and more and that the pain spreads and finds new spots to afflict. We managed to accomplish the two errands we had to do today and from the moment we got home I've been trying to ignore/medicate/wish away the pain. No position is comfortable. It's emotionally numbing as if the more physical pain you have to endure, the less capacity you have for emotions. You would think that chronic pain would make you compassionate toward the suffering of others and I have to admit that it's not the case for me. I just can't help but think that mine is the Ultimate Supreme Pain of all the universe therefore rendering every other pain irrelevant.
We've been watching an awful lot of Toddlers and Tiaras and I have come to view everything in life in terms of "pulling out for a higher title" for example - I won't cook breakfast because usually I'm the one to cook dinner so I pulled out for a higher title, meaning that I avoid the less significant for the more significant. If that doesn't make sense we'll blame it on the pain.
My beloved Purple Michael had a lovely review for the show he's doing in Chicago. If you'd like to read it, click here but the part about him that I loved was:
"Also making his area debut is Michael Vaughn as The Man. Gifted with a solid voice and the appropriate swarthy, good lucks necessary for this role, Vaughn provides some of the show’s finest musical moments."
So many people have fallen in love with him over the years from seeing him perform. I fell in love with the man he is offstage, for the true gentle and sensitive spirit he has once he steps out of a role. I felt privileged that he trusted me enough to show me who he is when he takes off the mask. I've grieved a lot of things that I've lost with my back pain but the one that hurts the deepest for me right now is to not have the ability to just catch a plane to Chicago to see him perform. Not just to see him perform but to be the one who greets him when he comes off the stage and needs a bottle of water or a spoonful of peanut butter to stabilize his blood sugar or just a quiet place to recover from the vulnerability that comes from giving all of yourself in a performance. I loved being his support person and barring some miraculous healing, I'll never be able to be that girl again. It makes me sad.
I'm learning though, that I would much rather have my friends continue to live their lives to the fullest than have them stuck in one boring place with me. I want to see them fly, even if I no longer have wings. I want to be the one holding them up in prayer, believing in greater things for my friends than could ever happen sitting on the couch with me. Lord willing, as we live to the age, whatever age it ends up being, when my friends hit a point of slowing down, just like I've been slowed, I'll be in this place of peaceful acceptance and hopefully, will be able to help them adjust to their own mortality like I've had to adjust to my own.
I started to say that I didn't have anything to blog about today but it turns out I do. Even when the scenery doesn't change much, our hearts continue to evolve. I'm learning that I need to work harder at validating pain in others. I need to work harder to express my delight in the successes of my friends. I need to prepare to be the one who welcomes them when they enter the stage of life I'm in. I can do and be so much more than I ever dreamed right here in this little house in the mountains.
Happy Monday, y'all. Love and hugs.
Posted by Heather at 9:01 PM
Sunday, July 28, 2013
I just wrote a whole paragraph about a lack of headache medication. I guess that beats writing a paragraph about the weather. It's hot, by the way. Thanks for asking.
I cooked smoked sausage and potatoes for dinner. Pop bought this great non-stick huge frying pan and it makes skillet meals soooo much easier! The potatoes were perfect - tender with just the right amount of crisp. I'm not a fan of the smoked sausage but it was good this way. The only thing missing was onion - we were out and it wasn't worth a drive into town. Mama made chocolate chip cookie bars today -- some for us and some to send home with Cody and Marquee. They were one of those mixes where all you do is add butter and an egg and they were very good.
A blog friend of mine, Missie, lost her mom last week and the funeral is tomorrow. Please keep her in your prayers. I wish there was something more I could do for her than pray but I guess praying is really the best thing you can do anyways.
It didn't rain today and I think, if I remember correctly, it didn't rain yesterday. I think that's the longest spell we've had all Summer. The other side of that coin is that it's hot and steamy - just like you'd expect it to be in July in the Deep South. God knew what He was doing bringing me into this time in history because He knew I would wilt without air conditioning.
Now that I've covered the menu and the weather, I guess that's about all I have to say today. Hope you all had a great weekend and that the next week will be kind to us all. I'll leave you with a few more pictures of the animals. Love and hugs, y'all.
Posted by Heather at 8:30 PM
Saturday, July 27, 2013
I did a photo dump from my mom's digital camera this morning and posted the whole album on Facebook. If you can't view 'em on FB, here are some of the highlights from her 100+ photos:
Our first category is Oscar attached to Heather. (The first time I typed it I used "Austin" instead of "Oscar" - a frequent occurance here at Cedar Hollow). Poor Oscar. I mean, Austin. Oscar... believes that 24/7/365 he must be attached to either Mawmaw or Heather. We're talking - must be right beside me. And so these are a variety of examples of that behavior. And frequently it includes his special blanket or a toy or even his food bowl. If Pop isn't around he won't eat unless I sit with his food bowl beside me and he eats there. He's the boss.
Oscar must have human contact at all times or he'll die.
Trouble must be advised of every activity going on in the house and when practical, must be included.
Lady, the old Golden Retriever mix has this itch that is driving all of us crazy... she scratches so hard it shakes the whole (3 story) house.
Lily, as an old girl, has some trouble with incontinence. You never know when a gallon of pee is going to burst out of her.
Sammy is a much more high energy animal than the others around here. He barks whenever Oscar barks. He cries if Mawmaw leaves the room. And he pees on everything. Marks everything. The price for dogsitting Sammy needs to be having carpets cleaned afterwards.
Stubby is a bloody mess. He is constantly pulling out his fur in clumps.
Eddie sleeps in the bathroom sink.
I'm telling you... it's the Land of the Misfit Pets.
Other random things:
We got three cucumbers out of the garden.
My pain has been really bad today but I stayed upstairs with Mama because she has been really, really sleepy all week and I figured it would be too much for her to handle them by herself.
I'm back down in the Whine Cellar and looking forward to a good night's sleep. I'm already sleepy.
For dinner we had fish sticks and french fries.
For lunch I had goldfish - the Pepperidge Farm kind. - and a bowl of ice cream. (balanced, I know)
For breakfast I had a peanut butter and hazelnut butter sandwich.
I'm tired-er than usual because the pain has been worse today and I've just been one of those pain events that I just try to ride out. I don't want to take the strong meds today. I almost never take them two days in a row, I'm so fearful of addiction. Today the culprit is muscle spasms - feel like they're trying to rip my spine apart like a wishbone.
And. Gosh. That's about all I've got for today. Love and hugs, y'all.
Posted by Heather at 8:14 PM
Friday, July 26, 2013
Would it be redundant for me to mention that it's raining again? Imagine how redundant it feels. It's pouring.
Today I made cranberry orange muffins (from a mix) for breakfast... had hot dogs and cucumbers for lunch and for dinner Austin made this homestyle bakes beef-a-roni stuff that tasted better than it looked. I also had my standard 2pm bowl of ice cream. When I realized that was the last of the ice cream, I hopped on the mule and made my way into town.
That reveals a hint of the priorities in this house: ice cream, pain meds, orange juice in about that order. As a matter of fact, I probably wouldn't eat before the 2pm bowl of ice cream everyday except for the fact that I can't take pain meds without food. The orange juice, for me, is a similar necessity. I seem to have fewer dizzy spells when I have the daily o.j. Blood sugar issues, you might think, but every time it's been checked it's been normal. I've gotten hooked on this pineapple coconut juice that tastes like a pina colada without the rum. I'm allergic to pineapple but this doesn't seem to bother me as bad as actually eating the fruit does.
I took some (I think) cute pictures of my Little Kitty but forgot that I had manually turned off the flash, therefore, they're all blurry and bad quality but I'm posting them anyways:
1. trying to catch Lady's tail
2. striking a sassy pose
3. biting my hand
Posted by Heather at 9:04 PM
Thursday, July 25, 2013
I started the day off by falling out of bed this morning. It's ironic... when we were sorting through the things that came from Grandma's house, there were some bed rails and it was jokingly suggested that I needed them. A-hem. For the record, falling out of bed is not a great idea for someone with a jacked-up spine. Ultimately, though, I survived. It's been one of those joint aching weeks anyways. Sometimes these little incidents that increase the pain level make me feel like there's at least a REASON for the pain. Justification of sorts.
I got up earlier today than I did yesterday - when I was in bed until noon - I know, it's insane! All I can say in my defense is that pain is exhausting and there are periods of time that I just really don't sleep well. When I come across a day where I'm really able to sleep, I try to take advantage of it.
This morning, though, I had important things to do such as figure out why the internet crashed at around midnight last night. Our internet provider has one of those phone recordings where you enter in your account number and then get put in line for the next available customer service goddess. We didn't have the account number here at the mountain house. After a few tries to connect via the "if you don't have your account number" route, I decided to pretend that I didn't have an account yet and when I got the live eager beaver who wanted to sell me stuff, I confessed that I had a technical problem and didn't have the account number. Fortunately, she was helpful and was able to give me the account number and connect me with the technical support people. In the meantime, I randomly checked the internet connection for the gajillionth time and it worked.
Last night before the internet crashed I stumbled across a really great video about Alfie Boe. He's this amazing tenor who performed the role of Jean Valjean in the 25th anniversary concert of Les Miserables. You know how you listen to a performance, especially with a soprano or tenor part and as they head for the high notes you hold your breath a little stressing over whether they can hit their mark? I particularly enjoy singers who hit notes so effortlessly that you don't stress. This guy - no stress. And he's handsome and spiritual and charming. He also has a few youtubes out their with his buddy Matt Lucas- he was one of the British roommates in Bridesmaids. Matt Lucas was Thenardier in the 25th anniversary. The two of them together were really funny. And that's how I spent my Wednesday night.
I also somehow managed to change the language on my Bubble Safari game to Chinese which makes it difficult when you want to change back to English. I eventually figured it out by clicking on a little globe symbol on the page. Yes. It's been an eventful day here at Cedar Hollow.
I'm still diligently working on finishing up my family tree on ancestry.com. Today I've been merging duplicates which is tricky when you get back over a millenium and people are given names like Ednywain Ap Neiniad. I've also knocked off another 100 family tree hints which help you determine the ancestors of your ancestors by listing the father and mother of each person in your tree. This also requires a bit of time and research. I try to validate the suggestions if at all possible by googling to try to find confirmation. It's time consuming. And for every person I add to the family tree, it adds several more hints with additional information so although I'm working on it for several hours a day, there are more hints now than ever. It's interesting at times but also tedious at times.
I don't have any pictures from today. The view hasn't changed. I think I'm boring my mom to death, she's already ready to go back to Riverdale after only one week here. We had planned a trip to Lowe's but that never got organized. It's hard to find a time where we both feel like doing anything productive and then, for us to go, we either have to take Oscar or be certain that Austin is able to dogsit. My granddoggy Sammy is coming to spend the weekend with us while his mommy and daddy go camping. That should be fun. Sammy is a high energy doggie and I think he'll enjoy exploring the house. I just hope this doesn't turn out to be Pee-Fest 2013. The little dogs tend to mark their territory, even though Oscar is fixed.
Yesterday was Purple Michael's birthday which made me a little sad. I just feel like I'm never going to see him again. I don't have the ability to be flexible and meet him where he is and he is just so busy/highly in demand that it's not possible for him to come to me. A lot of the people that I spent time with over the past two decades were because we were in the same location - church, the ballfield, dance, the theatre - I've never really been the "dinner party" type and that's tricky once you lose the ability to roam.
And I guess that's about it for today. I skipped supper and I'm thinking about heading upstairs for a snack. Happy Thursday, y'all.
Posted by Heather at 8:26 PM
Monday, July 22, 2013
I didn't exactly camp out in front of the tv all day. I mean, no more than usual. Maybe even less than usual. I had to run into town to do some banking business and I decided we needed corn on the cob to go with our dinner so I made a run to the veggie stand. I had another bout of extreme dizziness and spent about an hour just trying to make the world stop spinning while my mom alternated between napping and cutting grass. We grilled steaks and had baked potatoes and corn on the cob for dinner and actually ate at the table (something that never happens with us). The corn was well worth the trouble... I threw a handful of basil into the water while it was cooking and it was the perfect Summery touch. It almost felt like a celebration.
A boy. A baby boy. I was sure it would be a little Princess but a boy... such a perfect fit. I think every little girl should have a big brother. It worked out well for me. My prediction is that he will have the name Spencer somewhere in the between the George Albert Phillip Charles William whatever. So now that they have their little heir they can give it another go and have a little girl with Diana's eyes and Kate's nose... not that anyone has asked my opinion on the spacing of royal children... but since the cost of daycare and diapers isn't a factor and since Kate barely gained an ounce, why not pop out a half dozen princes and a princesses?
After a long day of infant stalking, I came downstairs and decided to tackle unpacking one of the boxes sitting in my living/dining room. It was a huge box of random pictures that Grandma had saved. She was obviously working toward separating them as they were bundled in odd little stacks. I haven't blogged much about this because she was highly offended at my blogging about her situation last Summer, the whole assisted living thing. I respect that. I've tried to make my blog about *my story* to the extent that it doesn't overlap too far onto anyone else's story, or at least to the point that they would feel that their privacy had been breeched. She did and so I just haven't talked a lot about that situation but... the truth is that you can tell that her life was sort of whisked out from under her by the little time capsules of boxes that we've inherited. It was the right decision for her well-being, I'm certain. In many ways she's more able bodied than me but the truth was that she was a long way from family in a community that loved her and sustained her for many years but her friends were aging and no longer able to care for her - or her them - in the way they once did. She is healthy and, I think, for the most part, happy where she is. But unpacking boxes and sorting through the things that were brought from her house does make me sad for her.
This little needlepoint was done by her half-sister, Cynthia. Grandma's father, Dr. Ward, was married to Leta Dallas who passed away as a result of childbirth. Her first two children, Charles and Cynthia, were brought up by my Grandma's mother, Sarah Bulloch Baldwin Ward. Great-Grandma Sarah had been widowed herself but didn't have children from her first marriage. With Granddaddy Ward she had three girls - Jane (who passed away in 2007) Grandma (who is named Leta, after Granddaddy's first wife) and Aunt Bette. Although she lived in Mystic, Connecticut, I spent time with Aunt Cynthia when I was about 11 years old after she had moved to Florida. She was one of those fabulous old Southern women who know the names for every single plant you see - even the Latin names. Cynthia never had children. I don't know if Grandma had planned for someone to have this... but for now it sits in the living room of the Whine Cellar. I feel like it's my responsibility to treasure the things she treasured.
In so many ways my Grandmother and I are on parallel paths. Last year - at almost the same time - I stopped living alone. It would be very close to impossible for me to live on my own at this point - both financially and physically - but I feel like it has always been *my* decision. There are a lot of things I just can't do. The dizzy spell today was an ugly reminder that I can feel ten feet tall and bullet-proof one minute and feel like dropping in the next minute and there's no way to predict what will happen. Every time I go somewhere and end up feeling bad - whether it be from pain or from the side effects of the meds I have to take or for whatever reason it increases my reluctance to go places, ever. I look at Grandma's photos and see evidence of her presence in the lives of her friends and family members. She has lived. It must be so hard for that to come to an abrupt halt. Everything we have here that once belonged to her reminds me of her treasured little home that she had wanted to live in the rest of her life and it makes me sad that we couldn't make that happen for her. Yes, there are times that I'm wistfully disappointed in the things that I can't do but I almost feel like I tapered down to this... like I had more control over things than she did.
Anyways... tonight I'm settled into my happy little space with Little Kitty napping on my ottoman beside me. Kate is safely delivered of a son. I'm comfortable and feeling much better than I did earlier. I'm going to surf the web a little longer and then get my beauty sleep. You never know what tomorrow might have in store!
Posted by Heather at 8:20 PM
Saturday, July 20, 2013
First, last August when we closed on the house, we moved my belongings from the storage place. It's a much larger house than I have ever had so I didn't have enough furniture to fill the whole place. We moved my living room set (that my friend Cyndi gave me - still loving it, Cyndi! Thanks again!) to the Whine Cellar (aka basement) and we moved my kitchen table in the dining area and... we moved my bed to the master bedroom of the house so that Pop would have somewhere to sleep. (My mom hates my bed and it's too small for her and Pop to sleep together in comfortably so she sleeps on a big ole cadillac of an air mattress in the living room. Not that I want to blog about my parents' sleeping arrangements but. Whatever.) We use all my kitchen stuff in the kitchen and that sort of thing. Of course, my dad upgraded a few items that were a little worse for wear... and then I won a huge set of silverware at the office Christmas party and we use that here too.
The big job for today, part three, was moving the furniture from Grandma's house now that her home is under contract and set to close in early August. They had left most of the furniture in the home to be able to *stage* it. Now that it's sold... we needed to clear it out. Since I couldn't carry anything, my job was to care for the animals so Mawmaw, Pop, Austin and Logan could go to Hayesville, NC and load up the truck. Oscar has this... um... lullaby of sorts that I sing to him when he is experiencing separation anxiety - it's from the musical "Side Show" and the song is "I Will Never Leave You" and I have both sang and played this for this poor pup that even when he hears the first few bars of the song, he knows that *leaving* is going to happen. I took pictures of my siamese dachshund.
Anyways... new stuff from Grandma-Mart meant that we could take MY bed out of the master bedroom and set it up in my real bedroom and I would stop sleeping on the couch! We moved Grandma's old bed into the master bedroom and brought in some other matching pieces that go with that room.
Next: new master bedroom furniture:
Part 4, if you're wondering, will be coming in the next few months where my parents have to pack up every single thing they've owned over the last 37 years and either move it here, donate it, sell it or burn it. That's going to be a big job. If you're interested in helping and need to make a few extra bucks, let me know and I'll keep you posted about that moving day.
I hastily unpacked as much as I could and organized as much as I could and I'm just head over heels in love with my little space. It feels good to have a home. A beautiful home. Where I am loved and cherished. Where every day brings more beauty in the world around us. Where I am able to spend more time with my parents than I have in my entire life. It's a happy place. If you're in the area and want to check us out, send me a facebook message (you know, so we'll be decent).
I didn't put captions on these photos because I'm wiped out. I think they make sense... and here are a few cute animal pictures:
Hope you had a great Saturday. Love and hugs!
Posted by Heather at 6:57 PM