Thursday, May 22, 2014

Things.

Today a 96 year old matriarch in our community turned her sedan in front of a full sized pick up and she didn't come out on top. I held her hand, and held her sweet, bleeding face together and she smiled at me with broken cheeks and a broken nose and what was left of her jaw and told me that her ankle hurt. She joked about her first helicopter ride as we loaded her into the bird, and as she flew to Spokane where several dozen family members where already enroute to seige the hospital hallways for her, I prayed. I prayed that her tiny, broken little body would be healed by her sparkly spirit. That her light green eyes would burn through all of the injuries to hang on to life just a little longer. So that she could leave this earth on Her Terms. I prayed that I could be that woman. Strong. Joyful. Grateful.

This has been a week. A week that words aren't enough for. In my own small family and beyond. Days and events that no length or complexity of language can compress into something that would make any sense. So much wonderment at the pain of truth. So much sadness at the reality of time. So much anger at injustice. At the suffering of people. At the success of others who should not dare look success in the eye. At the failure of the Truly Worthy. At my own lack of control. At the helplessness of us, as mortals, to make anything right that is truly wrong, and the potential of us, as mortals, to make the terribly wrong things bearable. 

This week I am learning grace. I am learning hope. I am learning trust. This week I have discovered that there is not a choice for us other than to fight the evil we see and embrace the beauty we find. I am learning that in the scariest, ugliest, most surprising moments, there is joy. There is hope. There is something for me. For my children. My friends. That life, with all of its horror and frustration, is amazing, that every scar has it's strength and that every day has it's purpose.

Everything is out of my control. And that is exactly how I want it. Let Bigger Hands than mine embrace the suffering. Heal the wounded. 

I saw something that said that helping others + your gifting = purpose. It's so simple. But so very true. Find what you love. What fills your soul. What becomes beautiful in your hands and use it to make this world a better place. There is no better mandate. To be fruitful with the passion you are given. To multiply your talent to the betterment of everyone you touch. This is the Great Commision: Go into the world. Use what you are given. Make it Better. 

I pray that if I am given 96 years that I will have a soul to represent each one of them: to stand as a witness that I gave them a smile. A hand. A dinner. A poem. A beer. A hug. A lecture. A wad of gauze on a bleeding wound. A stinging medicine for a quick recovery. I pray that my giftings, whatever they are, are multiplied by my years, and my fruitfulness is measured not by the number of my offspring, but the imprint that I leave on everyone I touch. I pray that I can smile through a broken face and bring joy where there is none. 

This has been a week. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Things About Hormones

I went to the doctor today to find out why I just keep getting fatter and fatter and why my body is falling apart even though I had all of the Evil Parts removed.

He told me that my body is still trying to figure out what I did to it, and it might be too soon to tell how my remaining ovary is going to react to being abandoned by all of my other girl parts. I supposed he sees a lot of emotional break downs in his office, but I was surprised by how unmoved he seemed when I tearfully explained that All Of My Clothes were too small and I was constantly sweating, and I wasn't entirely emotionally stable, in case it wasn't evident in my quavering voice. To make myself feel better, I asked him if my sister had cried in her appointment earlier in the day. She's 37 weeks pregnant and at least as hormonal as I am. But she didn't. Then I felt like a real heel. Here I am with only one ovary and I am all melodramatic, and my poor waddling sister didn't even shed a tear. Dr. Shannon made me feel better by explaining that Em's unusual high spirits were due to the fact that she had almost an entire hour without kids when she visited him, and things just seem much better in the universe when there are no kids. I heartily agreed, and insisted I was only crying because Aspen was in the waiting room, finishing off the dark chocolate M&Ms that I had tried in vain to hide from the girls. He did tell me I could double my Prozac dose, in a hushed tone, before he left.

As we were leaving the clinic, I was looking at my post-visit notes, and beneath the long line of awkward looking thing like "Pelvic Varices" and "Hysterectomy With Intact Cervix", it had my last menstrual cycle down as November of 2013. That, in and of itself, made me say a little thankful cheer inside, as I realized how AMAZING it is to only be in SOME back pain, and to be able to donate blood, because HEY YOU GUYS, I'm not anemic!!! I have so much to be grateful for. If I can just stop bawling for a minute.

And I was way better off than the poor guy that Christy and I saw today, who cut into his shin bone with a chain saw. Or the gal who drove her car into a stump and collapsed her diaphragm. I really can't complain. Except the chainsaw guy had an adorable red bone hound named Cooper in the back of his truck that I gave water to and then got slobbery kisses in return. It was by far the highlight of my whole day. And my only complaint is that he wouldn't let me take cooper home. I should have let him bleed to unconsciousness. (JUST KIDDING!!!) I should also admit that I had to wait for Aspen during her Irish Dance Lesson at Northern Ales, and that was Really Hard, because in addition to delicious beer, they had Gyros, which, in case you didn't know, are in my Top Five Favorite Foods Of All Time, and this one was in my Top Five Gyros Of All Time, Ever. And then I had to hold my nieces' new kitten named Cake, who is so "relaxed" (read: semi-catatonic from severe emotional trauma of belonging to a tank like 2 year old) that she lolled around on me with her head upside down and her soft fuzzy little face telling me I WAS AWESOME. Or at least that is my interpretation of her trancelike state.








I came home, sweaty and gross from the hot day. I am pouring a glass of wine since the beer has worn off by now, and I am going to watch my kids and dogs try to kill each other with a softball. It's almost paradise. I think I might have a good cry.



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Things About A Very Long Day

Truth be told I volunteered for it. Why, You ask? I'm not sure. I think initially, I was being my usual reckless self. But then, even when I calculated the consequences, which included a very Real Threat to my sanity, and possible my physical health as well, I proceeded to make sure that I couldn't get out of it, no matter how hard I tried.

We took a bus full of kids to a construction career day at the fairgrounds in Spokane. I offered to take two of our most challenging special ed students and be their helper for the day. I even contacted both of their parents to make sure I got permission slips signed and logistics all taken care of. And at 7 am this morning, both boys were there, bright eyed and bushy tailed, with more or less NO clue where we here headed. The other 23 students were 8th and 9th graders. I know. I can feel your sympathy flowing already (maybe that's why I volunteer).  In addition to my two special charges, we had four other SPED kids on the bus. But they are mostly behaviorally challenged, so no big deal. #yeahright

The trip down was... Dare I say... Mellow? Maybe the kids were still half asleep. Maybe they saw the warnings flashing in my fake don't-mess-with-me grin. It really wasn't bad. And I had one of my not-sons by my side to help, and one of my daughters was there for me to embarrass. Which always seems to relax me. We arrived and made it through the acquisition of hard hats, safety glasses and ear plugs with no major fallout. Luckily most SPED kids don't care much about whether they look stupid, so they were content to sit there with earplugs (properly) installed and lip read the instructors.

By the time we got outside it was 117 degrees. American. Or at least for my winter-thick blood it felt like it. I learned pretty quickly why safety glasses and hard hats in direct sunlight suck, and why I am glad I am "only an EMT" on the fire line, and I can adhere safely to the engine slug L.C.E.S. (Locate Cooler Establish Shade). One of the two "real" teachers there took one of my charges around to try out all of the heavy equipment, which made me feel secretly relieved and slightly guilty. I took the other one and giggled like a first time mother at a kindergarten talent show as he stacked orange safety cones with a backhoe, proclaiming his resemblance to Bob the Builder, and lower a cement plug onto a target with an  80 foot crane. He also rode way up high in a man lift, all the way to the top of the American flag. Introducing himself to the obliging lineman/guide the whole time.

Then we went inside, where my sidekick became fairly distressed during a game which required donning work boots that didn't fit, other safety apparel, and hula hooping five times successfully. After forty five minutes the guy at the booth gave him a neon slap bracelet and helped him escape from the onslaught of PPE. We had lunch. And then left on the bus. With 27 kids and 63 snap bracelets. Someone's sick idea of handing out snap bracelets to kids on a bus for three hours is just vicious. By the time we got home, I am aware of at least four snap bracelets that were either thrown or accidentally lost  out the windows, welts on several arms from malfunctioning devices, and one attempt at strangulation with a snap bracelet. Happy to report: it was unsuccessful. I have to say that my two SPED kids were the most well behaved on the bus. Even if one wore his lunch on his face all the way home, and the other was semi-catatonic from overstimulation, I was never more convinced of their good manners than when a ninth grader in the back of the bus somehow nailed me RIGHT in the eyeball with a rubberband. My eye stills aches and I will probably be up all night plotting my revenge.  Stupid kids. I gave away my fresh, cold smart water  and sweated my buns off. All in all, it was a good today. I'm fairly certain that  between the ten hours with that crowd, an expedited bike ride to the store when I got home for olives, tomatoes and Jaunitas (yes, I came home and made dinner - please hold your applause til the end), and my new coffee sugar scrub, I'll wake up tomorrow ten pounds lighter. #bringonthedisillusionment

At any rate I'm tired. So I just laid apathetically and listened to the kids fight through their chores, through a kitchen water fight that was not In Good Fun, a broken bulk bottle of ranch dressing that oozed into the bottom of the frig... I just laid here. Ice pack scorching my back. Sunburn scorching my face (darn reflective safety glasses!) ,  1.5 PBRs in, and a weiner dog on my elevated legs. The fan is blowing cool air around the room and in T minus 10 minutes, the children-fighting noises will be isolated to one bedroom upstairs and I can fall asleep, beer in my hand, to some crappy tv show. It's a good life.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Things About Spilling My Guts

I've always been full of words. Over full. Overflowing with words that I've  splashed around wantonly. Careless at times about the damage they do and the repercussions. I can't contain them. They MUST get out. I need to be heard. I wear my words like the latest fashion, gaudy and superficial and then I look back sometimes and think oh.my.god. What was I thinking? Just like those lightening bolt hammer pants in 1990 and the puffed sleeves of my 8th grade graduation nightmare dress that were outdone in poofiness  only by my freshly permed bangs.

But then, much like my fashion sense, I go through dry spells, verbal constipation, when the moisture of life has been sucked out of the words caught up in my soul and they all get jammed together and can't escape. They just sit there at the top of my throat. The tips of my fingers. Drowning me with the passion pushing from behind them. I am choking to death on my own words that are dry and lifeless and do only damage as they tear out of me. They're all RIGHTTHERE. Getting jumbled together. The meaning gets switched and confused and I spew little gasps of harshness while my soul screams at me in protest.

The last couple of weeks has been a perpetual revelation of my recklessness. My whole life has been a series of reckless "leaps of faith" into unknown consequences of sometimes disasterous proportions.  So the question inevitably presents itself: how do I learn? What will help me think before I leap? Before I speak? When do the consequences teach me that the impulses aren't worth it?

The very definition of recklessness horrifies me. And at no time can I remember being utterly unconcerned about the consequences of everything. They often concern me a great deal. But I guess I somehow determine that the crime is worth the punishment. I have also been called careless, cavalier, and selfish, but that kind of goes without saying, although it is said to me quite often. I know right now I am resentful, and resent makes me an ugly person. I have many things to let go, but when they go unchanged and life just goes on... I have lived the lie of turning the other cheek. Of repetitive forgiveness. Of seventy times seven. But even Jesus didn't mandate infinite forgiveness. Even He had a limit. 490 times. Am I there yet? Because some days I feel like I am. And yet I know I am lumping all of the hurts that I forgave years ago into my forgiveness count, when really, it's only fair that I start from scratch with each new day. New person. New situation. If I were truly reckless, my life would look much different. It would involve a hut on a beach with rice and beans and ocean sunsets and nobody knowing where I am. If I were wholly selfish, I would not have the time to Keep Going. To a job that pays crap or a patchwork family that is full of rips and stains that must be fixed. If I was careless, I would cut my losses and run.

I would agree that I manifest some of the traits in all of the definitions. But I would also maintain that any human who lives in this world can say the same. So how did I strike it rich in the area of self-love and self-concern? What has brought me to this point and how do I fix it. It's taking each step and choosing to make it graceful. Make it KIND. Make it not about ME. Make it about THEM. Give love. Find love to give. Even after it's gone. Serve when you least feel like serving. Find joy in ALL that I am given. Not just the things I choose. Eat up the sunshine and shut out the rain. Believe. Hope. Cling to the high moments in the low ones. Always Be Thankful.






reckless
adjective


utterly
 unconcerned about the consequences of some action; without caution; careless (usuallyfollowed by 
of  ): to be reckless of danger.

characterized by or proceeding from such carelessness: reckless extravagance.

cavalieradjective


haughty, disdainful, or supercilious: an arrogant and cavalier attitude toward others.

offhand or unceremonious: The very dignified officials were confused by his cavalier manner.


careless
adjective


not
 paying enough attention to what one does: 
a careless typist.not exact, accurate, or thorough: careless work.


done or said heedlessly or negligently; unconsidered: a careless remark.
not
 caring or troubling; having no care or concern; unconcerned (usually followed by 
of, about,  or in  ):careless of the rights of others; careless about one's behavior; careless in speech.

possessed
 or caused without effort or 
artunstudied: careless beauty.


selfish
adjective


devoted
 to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one's own interests, benefits, welfare,etc., regardless of others.


characterized by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself: selfish motives.


(http://dictionary.reference.com)






Monday, May 12, 2014

Things About Things That I Create

So just before Christmas this year, I got all Pinteresty, and I was super proud of myself for making a couple of different flavors of sugar body scrub that was, in a word, miraculous. In fact, it worked so well, that I really ended up keeping most of it for myself. Sorry loved ones. But anyway, this spring, with the advent of an additional 15 pounds, combined with insta-sweat-a-thons, no pants that fit, and Things Like That, I have discovered, for perhaps the first time in my life, that the backs of my legs, and my butt (sorry Mom) look like lumpy bags of nickels, as my Adorable Husband would say. I have cellulite. I am sure I had it last year, but apparently I wasn't looking. Or the year before that. Or I have just lived in Denial for a Really Long Time, because sometimes, it's just better.

Either way, I have come face to face with the (literally) ugly truth, and combined with the gasp* CELLULITE, I have some fancy nerves compressed in my back that are directly related to the outsides of my thighs, which, being larger, are much more inclined to bang them themselves painfully into the corners of couches, and beds, and have small children collide with them, and bruise hideously, which I sometimes tell people is where Josh hits me with the phone book so there are no hand prints... And long story not shortened much at all, my thighs are FUUU-UUUHHH--GGLLLYY this year. And they hurt. And they are all tingly and numb and weird all of the time. It's super annoying. Sometimes I think that my pants are just all too tight because I have, ahem, expanded, but then I come home and wear loose sweatpants and they still feel like they fall asleep as soon as I sit down. It's weird, and I am sure you wanted to know all of that. Probably I am fishing for a miracle cure from someone out there, like dry brushing, or deep tissue massage that feels like what you would pay $60 for but is actually free, or something like....

Coffee Sugar Scrub.

It came to me, like in a dream. Except I was awake and it came more in stages, when I was asking Aunt Tracey to make me some of her awesome soap with coffee (she makes a Turkish Mocha soap, turns out!), and I was wracking my brain thinking of All Of The Ways to make my legs feel better, even if they look like crap. And I remembered my sugar scrub from Christmas, which I just ran out of, and I had an epiphany, like POW! Put coffee grounds in it! I was feeling pretty creative and cocky until I pinterested Coffee Sugar Scrub, and every one and their Aunt Margaret had already thought of it. So much for Denial. But after scanning some of the recipes, and taking mental inventory of my pantry, which was much too far away to walk to for a physical inventory, I just made up my own recipe, so I could be all "what up, Pinterest, I just totally created. Independent from you. so..."

Anyway, I made it. It's awesome. I am thinking of slathering it on really thick and letting it set for  few minutes to see if it works as a bronzer too. I will post pictures of my brown the-dyed skin later. If you're interested in cashing in on the awesome that is my creative power, here is my very own, and clearly far superior to Aunt Margaret's, recipe for coffee sugar scrub:


Coconut Coffee Scrub



2 cups of grape seed oil
(did some research and liked the properties of this oil, I ordered a four pack from amazon that was the best deal I can find, and it's a LOT.)
2 cups of warmed coconut oil
(obviously people like me, concerned with health and stuff, use organic. and also because it's cheap at Costco)
1 cup of coarsely ground coffee
(again, being cool, I used the organic cheap stuff from Costco)
3 cups of brown sugar
(I would rather use the organic raw sugar from Costco, but I was fresh out.)
2 dropper fulls of coconut scent
(this is optional. I also got this on Amazon. you could also use vanilla, or... choose your own ending.)

Things About Predictability

I am consistent in one thing: my absolute changeability from second to second. Maybe it's the Gemini in me, or the 2nd born screaming for attention and independence. Maybe it's the repressed, über-controlled former cult member who never was any good at following the directions. Whatever unhealthy thing is it that motivates me, I am seldom of the same frame of mind for more than a few hours at a time. Maybe that is why I have worked in 56 different job fields since I became the age that should count as adulthood. Maybe that it why we have moved 7 times since 2008 and it took me 12 years to finish an ever-evolving college degree. I have had it flung in my face that I don't finish things, which isn't true - it just takes me a little longer than the average bear and I like to take the scenic route. A friend of mine called me predictability many years ago, when he told me the only thing consistent about me was my instability. It's true, but my changes are small, and they roll in and roll out like storm clouds. The thing that I want, the things that I finish - they don't change as much as my responses to whatever it is that stands in the way of those things does. Some days I am tough, I am strong, I am forgiving and kind. A lot of times lately I am angry and brooding and bitter and frustrated. It drains me and leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth and my muscles aching from the hard work of resent. God help me find the will to get over and around the obstacles and make my way with joy.

I think people confuse my whiplash way of doing things with indecision, or not knowing what I want at any given time. They call it discontent and ungratefulness, and while I am certain that I have all of Those Things, I would have to insist that I know EXACTLY what I want at any moment in time, but it happens to change Very Suddenly And Without Warning. And also, quite often, EXACTLY what I want is EXACTLY what I can not have. I am not sure if that is so much my temperament and personality as it is my human nature showing through. Every morning I wake up, determined to CHOOSE to love the life I have, and everyone in it, and everything about it, but usually within 17 minutes I forget my resolve when someone uses all the hot water in the shower or makes a comment about me having too many clothes... a subject very sore to me right now since only 5% (and the  most recently acquired 5%) of my wardrobe fits. And if that doesn't happen then certainly within 17 minutes I remember that 95% of my wardrobe is too small. And oh yeah, I am fatter than I have ever been, and it doesn't feel good. And all of my muscles hurt from working out, and my stomach is growling from counting calories the day before, and my back is Just. Plain. Broke. And nothing seems to help. And even though everything in my head knows how very much worse I could have it, I find a way to block my well-meaning conscience and feel sorry for myself.

Nobody ever promised that life would be a long timeline of everything-you-ever-wanted, but somehow I watched enough Disney movies and read enough bible verses to actually believe that all of my dreams would come true and I would have the desires of my heart. And truthfully, I have. Some of them. They are wedged in between failures and frustrations and moments of Absolute Despair, which fall at strangely coincidental times of the month... or what used to be times of the month until I lost certain internal organs and now I have no idea when I am being irrational or when The Other Party is just being a total poopface. I have come to assume that if a crazy fit of sweating and chills accompanies the Absolute Despair, it's fairly safe to say that I am being irrational and I should let my hormones heal before I make any life decisions. But if there are not hot flashes combined with the mood swings... Well, let's just say The Other Party feels like he's living in a lot of uncertainty, which maybe isn't as uncertain as he's hoping it is. With any luck (for both of us), I will mellow back out to a monotone lasséz-faire take on life and the living of it.

It will help when I am not spending a large portion of my time every month for a $400 paycheck. I mean, even for a high school kid, it's kind of a ridiculous slap in the face. Even if I did miss two weeks of work. $400? For a month? Jeez. No wonder my self-worth is crying quietly in the corner. I don't mind my job. Some days, it even resembles something that could be rewarding, in an I-changed-the-world kind of a way. But other days, when parents of Very Difficult students hand my rear end to me in a tongue lashing for something that was either A)nothing I did, B)something I did do with the BEST of intentions or C)something I plan on doing because it's the thing their gosh darn kid needs to survive the week, and I just want to hand them my four hundred dollars, kidnap the poor kid and hope the parents get lost and starve to death in their own pot field. It is surreal to me how un-parented some kids are. I know that we are there to teach them, but some days I swear it's also the only place they are loved. For all of my lost mom-of-the-year awards, after seeing what I have this year, I will be the first to say that not only do my kids have it pretty frakking good, but they probably ought to swap roles with some of the students I work with for a week or two before they tell me again how I hate them and I am ruining their life.

I don't even know what I am complaining about really. Again, I have it good. Really good, depending on the hour, and the day. And who I am hanging out with. Or NOT hanging out with sometimes. And if the sun is shining, or it's raining like Olympia in October. I am predictably inconsistent. But I am always that way. I always have been. I DO know what I want, and eventually, I will get it. My goal is to get there without killing anybody. Or hurting anybody. Or heck, maybe even helping a couple of people out here and there. Maybe leaving behind the world a better way. Maybe a few more smiles. A laugh or two. I remember when I was a teenager and I was "witnessing" to a heathen that I worked with and I posed the poignant question to him of what he wanted people to say about him when he died. I expected a somber and confused response, as it dawned on him that he didn't have the Light of the Lord to share with people that they could proclaim from the pulpit at his death. But instead, he looked at me, without even pausing, and he smiled a big goofy smile, and he said, " I hope they say that I made them laugh." I think that I was the one saved that day, a thousand years ago behind a subway counter late at night. It became my goal too. If I can't revolutionize the whole world, maybe they can laugh at my instability and predictability. Lord knows I do.