That Holiday Feeling

This morning I awoke sad because there was no candy in my shoes. I told this to my Islamic best friend, who was instantly baffled. I explained that it was Saint Nicholas Day here on the Christian calendar, and she recalled a kindergarten memory of receiving a orange in her sneaker. That was the first and last time she participated in such a tradition. It was typical, for me, to awake each December 6th to find Hershey Kisses and candy canes tucked in the toes of my Mary Janes. Of course, this tradition ceased when I moved out of my parents house, but Mom would always try to remember and give me little candies on the day. So, with her currently decommissioned, I was vaguely forlorn that there was no candy in my shoe.

Anyway, I’d mentioned to Sahar that we have another holiday on the 8th, and it reminded me, as I explained it to her, then it’s probably our most ridiculous. No offense to any of my Catholic or Christian readers, but why do we have a feast day celebrating a very special date night for Mary’s parents? A surprising amount of people I know, including those raised Catholic and Christian, think that the Feast of the Immaculate Conception has to do with the day that Jesus was conceived. No, no, my friends. It was Mary who was born without Original Sin, thus becoming perfect vessel for God’s son. And here we are, insisting folk go to church to celebrate Mary’s parents taking the train to pound town. We were in about 7th grade when we figured this out by the way, and I don’t recall anyone saying “hey this makes perfect sense!” Mostly just sex jokes, guys. Not well executed, St. Paul’s School.


I then went on to start explaining Advent, but at this point spelling everything out seems so ridiculous. Advent is kind of like Lent, another crazy Catholic thing. Except Advent is only 4 weeks long, commemorates each week with the lighting of a candle, and you don’t have to give anything up like you do during Lent where it’s all about the sacrificing. Advent is about waiting and being patient-super fun time for the grade-school crowd. I remember we would start the holiday season by making our Advent wreaths: pine circles with four candles attached, three purple and one pink. That’s how we knew it was Christmastime at school. We also knew we would be going to mass every week until Christmas. Like I said, a super fun time for a 6th grader.


But then comes the actual day! It’s  the birth of Jesus! Except for the part where he was born in the springtime, and in an effort to convert the pagans, the church chose Yule as the time of celebration for Jesus.


Once upon a time, Bernadette was in a play at a church with one of her friends. I believe they were Methodists. Anyway, my aunt Ka, the Sister of Mercy, attended with me. The theme of the play was “Jesus is the reason for the season.” I was immediately outraged, because I absolutely hate that phrase, as it is completely false. I don’t mind Jesus being the reason you celebrate, but like…The Druids are the reason for the “season.” Now, I’m not Catholic anymore, obviously. When I celebrate Christmas, I am celebrating a phase of the Earth. I am celebrating a new year coming, and an old one passing through. If you want to celebrate Jesus’s birthday, that’s perfectly cool with me, we just can’t be out here denying facts, is all I’m saying. Anyway, that year, Ka give me a “Jesus is the reason for the season” ornament. My mom thinks it was a genuine gesture; I think it was a little prank. Ka may have been a nun, but she was also very smart, funny, and “got me,” even when mom thought she wouldn’t.


I don’t know where I was going with most of this. Christmas still does not seem real to me this year. I think I might need some help getting into the spirit. Where can I put in for a Christmas miracle; is there some sort of lotto? Anyway, you let me know, and meanwhile I will keep checking my shoes for Hershey Kisses.

Death is a Schoolyard Bully

Me and Death in the School Parking Lot, 3pm.

Oh, how we would fight. A gruesome battle, I’d tell him to drop his weapon and fight me like a human! But you know I would fight dirty. There would be hair pulled, should he have hair.  I would punch him so hard in the nose that I wouldn’t even notice my broken hand bones, only his shattered skull-face staring back at me with hollow eyes.  Then I’d kick him in his metaphorical balls.

I haven’t had therapy in a month, guys.

To say that I am not constantly thinking about death would be an obvious lie, given that my mother has been practically catatonic for several months now. But over the weekend, something happened that made me even more angry with the entire concept of death.  First, some backstory.

Early in our years together, Mark brought me home to meet his mother for the first time. While we were in town, we visited his sister Dawn and her family. I met her son Connor, who was maybe 8 or so at the time, and her daughter Bella, who was still a baby. Connor and I bonded when he taught me how to play zombies on Call of Duty. He was an incredibly sweet little boy with the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen. That was the first time I met him, and also the last. Shortly after our visit, his parents split, and Connor chose to stay with his father. Mark was always a little sad about this, because Connor was extra special to him. He just so happened to have been born the same day as M. Mark told me that the moms-to-be were in a race; he’s pretty sure Dawn won. But because of this, he always thought of Connor on M’s birthday.

So, Sunday morning I went to work, and as I was opening the shop, Mark called me. He was crying, and I immediately thought my mother was dead. Rational brain took over, telling me that it was unlikely I would get this call from my husband and not my father. I begged him to tell me what happened, and he told me that Connor had been killed in an accident. I called my boss, and he came in to relieve me. When I got home, I found a devastated husband. I cried with him, mostly because this boy was just a boy. Mostly, because he’s the same age as one of my boys. Mostly, because of his mother Dawn, who does not deserve this pain.

Later, Mark was sleeping, and I cried again. But this time, I was crying because it’s not fair. It is not fair that a teenage boy departed this world, while my mother is lying in a hospital bed clinging to life. I love my mother, I miss my mother, and I want my mother to get better. But I also know, and have to face every day, that she is currently living my worst nightmare. I wouldn’t wish what she is going through on anyone, absolute least of all her. There are many times that I wish she just never woke up that morning I found her. It seems that would be more fair. And I don’t think I could confront that fact until this weekend.

A lot of my friends and family read my blog, and they all know my mother very well, and I’m sure they’re all sobbing right now. And I’m sorry, truly, for bringing a spot of sadness into your day. But, it needn’t be sad. This morning I told my father were going to have Christmas, if for no other reason then Maureen would simply kill us if we did not. He can’t imagine a Christmas without Mom, none of us can, but we’re going to do what I told him we’re going to do: we’re going to be sad. But, we’re also going to find little bits to make us happy. And it’s going to work! Do you know how I know? Because when my aunt Ka died, that is exactly what my mother told me to do…find the silver linings, and all the little joys.

So, I’m going to get a team together to decorate my dad’s house for Christmas. I’m going to take my girls over there to make cut-out cookies the same way I would every other year. We’re going to go to my grandma’s on Christmas Eve and spend it with the family, and even though somebody is going to cry, we’re still going to eat and drink and be merry. We are going to open presents on Christmas Day, and there’s a real good chance I’m going to cook a ham.

I do not care if I am sad 99% of the time- I will remind myself of what my mother reminds me constantly, the best compliment she has ever given: I am the strongest woman she knows. That’s how come I can beat up that schoolyard bully called Death.

Botched Assignments

Since I was Catholic for 25 years, I acquired a couple of goddaughters. One being my sister Bernadette, of whom I was not technically godmother, because I was not old enough in the church’s eyes at the time. But they made an exception for me, giving my good standing in the church and in school. I really was quite the exceptional Catholic at age 13 . So when she was a couple months old and I was nearly 14, I dressed up and went to church and we had a ceremony initiating her into Catholicism, and making me promise in front of God and the congregation that I would raise her in the Catholic Church as a spiritual guide. A couple of years later, D was born and we went through the whole thing again, with me promising much more reluctantly to make sure she stayed a good Catholic. Well, she turned 21 the other day. She is the legal full adult now…although I still wouldn’t rent her a car. I started to think about the fact that I left the Church, and sort of stopped guiding those I was supposed to be guiding. I wondered where she stood spiritually, because I know my sister didn’t pan out the way my parents had planned. Both of their daughters left the church, and became flaming pagans. So naturally, I had to check in with D to see where she was. Turns out, exact same story.
Forced when she was younger, bailed as soon as she could, took up an interest in Wicca. Not practicing, but definitely investigating. So in the end, I didn’t so much end up raising a couple of good Catholics soldiers, so much as a couple of heathens…just like their godmother.
[  ] I remember being young and thinking about the possibility of having children. This was never forefront in my brain, but was more of an implied future that I, at the time, didn’t really think I had much say in. But still, I picked out names, considered what colors I would paint bedrooms, and mentally considered godparents. As time went on however, my options dwindled. People who I would have chosen left the church, and it made me consider why. I mean, I had my first problem when I was about 8 with Catholicism. That would be the day that I learned I could never be a priest. See, in school we were taught about the sacraments- we were told that when you got older, you were called to one of two sacraments: Marriage, or the Holy Order. The Holy Order seemed pretty cool, mainly because my aunt was a Sister of Mercy and I saw the way she lived. She got to share a house with her best friend, go on lots of trips, and spent her time working with the church- which, again, as an 8-year-old who had been Catholics since the day she was baptized, this sounded rad. The thing is, however, I was a preformer. I was not interested in the second-banana role of the nun. I wanted to be in the spotlight. I wanted to say Mass. And then my very loving Aunt Ka very gently told me that was not an option, as I was a woman, and thus the first seed of doubt that I was in the wrong game was planted. But I held off on expressing my contrary reviews even as they grew with age. What would have happened? Would my mother have disowned me for wanting to give up the Church and turn from God? Would I have had to leave my friends and switch schools? Would I have had to give up teaching the littles at Religious Education, something I really did love doing? So, I kept my mouth shut. I was very happy to be asked to be Bernadette’s godmother, and at the time that really meant something to me, religiously. It was a little different when D came along. Her mother, Beth, was not quite simpatico with the church at the time, but *her* mother was….and is…hugely involved. When D  was about two or so, it was agreed that she would be baptized at our church. Beth chose me and her brother Tom as the godparents. I remember asking her why, with my doubts, did she choose me? She replied something about how we were best friends, and she was a single mother, and if there was anyone that was going to take care of her baby should something happen, it was going to be me. The Church describes godparents as the leaders of a child’s spiritual upbringing. Some people define godparents as a sort of backup, just in case. My own parents did that in two ways for me. Ka was my godmother, and while she would never be able to take me in should the worst happen, my godfather Uncle Terry and his wife Sue, certainly would. And so, I became both those things to a baby D. Beth knew I wasn’t going to make her Catholic, but she also knew I would always have that child’s back. I think my parents felt similarly, because while I am Bernadette’s godmother, one of the best Catholics I know is her godfather. He is a humble man, so he probably doesn’t feel the same way I do about it, but him and his family exemplify what good Christianity is, and that has always given me hope.
[  ] So no, I don’t go to church anymore. And neither do my godchildren, mostly for the exact same reasons that I left, and it would appear we all found the same answers in the same place. So maybe, in the end, I did exactly what I set out to do

Dead Birds

I haven’t been able to type on my computer for some time now. I have been doing pretty much everything on my phone, using talk to text or my thumbs. Currently there is not enough light for me to see the keyboard well enough, and I also generally feel stifled in the space I have set aside for writing in the bedroom. I had my own office for so long, and I am missing it something fierce. Alas, I still feel the desire to write even if sitting at the desk makes me sick to my stomach for some reason.
Today I am on my phone, but it is mostly because I am in process of setting up a new social account. If you were unaware, that massive rich idiot Elephant Tusk bought Twitter, and has caused a 44 billion dollar tire fire. Many of my Twitter folks have fled already, and many more intend to go down with the ship, myself included. However, after we sink and then swim ashore, where shall we go? I posed the question to my Twitter friends, and it looks like there are two social medias upcoming that are splitting us. Some people are going to a network called CounterSocial, which I know very little about but have already snagged my handle on just in case. It seems that a lot of people, however, are going to a site called Mastodon, so I traveled over there and got my handle as well. Hamneggs716- here, there, everywhere.
So far, my only gripe with Mastodon is that I cannot easily find my friends. I have over 6,000 followers on Twitter, and there is a good chunk of them that I will miss- so I am hoping to find them on this new app, but I am not very confident.
Quite a few of my writer friends are freaking out at the demise of Twitter, and I won’t say I am not one of them. I know this may be silly to some, but it was not until I started to expand my Twitter following and connect with fellow writers that I felt I could share my work with the world, as well. I have made honest-to-god friends through this app, from all over the place. Fortunately, many of the people that I am the closest to via Twitter have already found other ways to stay in touch, be it through Facebook or email or even one special woman who sends me Christmas cards. Still, it is sad to see something that we built- a community- go down in flames because a billionaire wanted a new toy. Not that I don’t love what the Twitter folks are doing to him…with the parody accounts and the trolling, I can feel the mutiny at hand. Many of my friends are tweeting about how much they will miss this platform when he finally runs it straight into the ground. I will miss it too. It’s not like with MySpace, where Facebook came along and was just better and we moved over there without hesitation and let Myspace wither and die. We are moving to Mastodon, but I don’t know that it’s better. I don’t know that it will have the same effect Twitter did. Someday 10 years from now, will I look back and think of my Twitter page and my 6,000 followers in the same way I think of my MySpace with my top eight? Only time will tell.
That is all for today, just a little lament for a  dying website that brought me so much joy.

Happy Tuesday.

Pep Talk

As you may know, I work in an elementary school as an after-school teacher. I spend a couple of hours each day helping K-1 students with thier homework, followed by K-8 recreation time in the library, where I exert my powers over the game closet.
You may also know I work at a car rental shop as well. These are vastly different jobs, in every way, including the paychecks. So when boss-Mark at Avis asked if I wanted some afternoon hours, my budget forced me to consider.The drawback to the school job is that it is a lot of gas money. It’s all the way across the city. Avis is ten minutes from my house. So given less driving and more money, it seems obvious that I should take more hours at Avis.  Then, something happened…and a sign was bestowed unto me.
Someone I love had a meltdown, the kind you get from clinical depression; the kind I have lived through a few times now.  I helped this person all week, while considering a job scheduling change. I was still leaning towards Avis hours when I found a meme on Facebook, with a phone number. I called it, my person next to me trying to hold themselves together, and my heart was suddenly filled with love.
If you call this number, you reach a group of children at a school somewhere in the US who are doing a school project/social experiment. They have record tons of inspirational messages and pep talks. We sat there and listened to them all, and I found my friend crying at the end, telling me how much they needed that.
The next day, they got up off the mat.  They ate, and hydrated, and slept real sleep. I don’t think it was only those kiddos somewhere out there, but I know they helped.

And so, I thought of my kiddos at the school, and suddenly a little extra money and a little less drive time seemed silly when compared to the faces I meet when I walk into that cafeteria each day.  Oh to be five, when all your worst fears and disappointments could be evaporated by a hug from your teacher! 
And I get hugs, all day every day. I have been told I am a favorite by a few students, and the competition to play games with me during recreation is fierce. I don’t think I could even give up one day of that job for the other, because even though I love working at Avis with the grownups, there is still a small part of me forever devote to childcare and education.
Anyhoo, here’s the number: 1-707-873-7862.
Seriously, you need to call it. That feeling you get? I get that everyday.

A Tough Tuesday

It is November 2nd, and I have written nothing.  Nothing for NaNo, unsurprisingly, but also nothing for my blog or Patreon yet this week, so here I sit catching up on the word game while I have a spare hour.  Blog comes first, followed by a Patreon update, then perhaps I will grab 1500 words out of my WIP and see what I can do with them.  Alas, I suspect that by the time I get to task number three, I will run out of time.  I had all morning yesterday to write, but I forfeited it to go drive down and visit my mom, instead.  She is currently in a nursing home and rehab facility in Salamanca, so the drive was a little better than when she was in Erie.

She seems ok, same as usual, and I spent a little while trying to get her to communicate with me in some way, but nothing really came of it.  So, I got frustrated, and gave her a good firm talking to about how if she doesn’t start swallowing and speaking she’s never coming home, and then she just starts swallowing, as if showing off!  “Good, now do it with some food!” I said. 

I went to leave, and I did hug-a-head.  It’s this silly thing we have always done, where we hug each other’s head and say “Hug a head!” and then the other person says “Hug a head!” and it’s just this cutesy nonsense we have always done.  So, I hug her head, and I say “hug a head!”

And doesn’t this woman respond, raspy, but clear enough: “Hug a head!”

I screamed, and cried at the same time; I was so startled, and also happy.  When I was in Salem, I was sad because all but one of my voicemails from my mother was deleted from my phone, and I wanted to be able to hear her voice.  It made me sad that I couldn’t remember the last thing she said to me.  I know it was something along the lines of “I’m sleeping in tomorrow, so don’t come over too early…” but nothing specific.  Now, I have something!  The last thing my mother said to me was “hug a head.”  No recording, but at least I have this memory until her speech expands again. 

I drove home, and when I arrived, I noticed that my car was behaving strangely, for the third time this month.  Reluctant to return to the mechanic, I spent the time I should have been writing driving to the gas station and checking the oil…of which there was none.  I mean…zero.  Dry as a bone.

Checking the little tag from Valvoline, I discovered I should have gotten it changed about 700 miles prior.  I am, of course, unsurprised that this detail slipped my mind during the past month or so.  I got some oil and put it in and then drove back to dad’s house to borrow his car to go to work.  Then…it was time to go to work.  So, no words dropped, for anything.

At work there was a gas leak, so we had to evacuate to the community center, which caused chaos to reign, particular in my K-1 class.  Little kids suck at change in setting and activity…so, of course, we dropped them in an unfamiliar building and had them do their homework in the gym, instead of at a table in a classroom.  Many of my kiddos didn’t have homework because they were evacuated before folders were handed out, so really I just had to corral them for an hour or so.  Then the littles were taken down to the basement to a game room, and I manned a computer lab that none of them were very interested in once they discovered the computers lacked both Roblox and Minecraft. 

When I got home, I was exhausted, because I didn’t sleep much the night before.  I went to bed early, again forfeiting my writing time for the day, and slept soundly until I awoke to go get an oil change this morning.

You know, I really love my jobs.  They are both very rewarding, but on days like to day I am sad that I have so little time to devote to my writing.  Even now, it is almost 1pm, so I need to wrap this up and post it before I get ready to go.  I have just enough time to finish this and post my Patreon, but I don’t think the WIP is getting touched today.  There are just not enough hours in my days anymore.

Repression, 90s Style

First, some housekeeping: There’s a really good chance I will be changing my posting schedule to Thursdays and Tuesdays.  Mondays have become overwhelming, because I work both jobs and don’t have much time in between to get into the headspace for a blog post. I am off Tuesday mornings, however, so I think that might be a better time to get the words out.  We shall see.

Anyhoo, you know who lives in my head rent-free?  Pam Stenzel.  If you are a Patreon subscriber, you probably read the monologue I wrote for a show that was sidelined due to Covid, about Pam Stenzel.  If not, and you don’t know who she is, I guess I will tell you, although life was surely better for me before she was introduced into my atmosphere.

In our 8th grade sex ed class, we watched a video of an abstinence-only speaker named Pam Stenzel.  It was funny, kind of, and she seemed to really relate to the youth, and since we were all good little Catholic school kids, we mostly just giggled and blushed and agreed with her stance.  Her main takeaways were that love didn’t mean sex, and sex didn’t mean love, both concepts which I already understood, and were a decent lesson to teach.  However, she also taught that any kind of sex would land you in hell, or at the very least, sully you in the eyes of God, as well as your future husband/wife.

Now, I read a lot, because I was a shy kid who would never have asked an adult any of my burning questions.  And I was also blessed with a mother who was an HIV counselor.  So, I knew a few extra things that my peers didn’t.  I knew all about AIDS and STDs via Mom, and I knew everything about sex from afternoons in the library.  And I also knew, through reasoning, logic, and common sense, that abstinence, while an option, was absolutely NOT the best one.  I kept this to myself however, as I watched my classmates vibe with her message. 

Fast forward a few years to me being a Junior in high school, when Pam Stenzel actually came to speak to us in person.  We watched her videos, the teachers hyped her arrival, and the whole school assembled in the auditorium one Friday afternoon to hear her speak.  We spent an hour or so being told our normal pubescent feelings were sinful, and that God would be ashamed of us if we didn’t choose abstinence.  Also, that love was no excuse for sex.  Now, I NEVER planned on waiting until marriage, as was the message they were pushing at me my entire life.  I watched enough episodes of Friends by that point to know that people slept with other people and God never smote them down for it.  Deciding to do what was right for me, specifically, as I often always do, I made the moral decision that I would not have sex until I found someone I truly cared about.  I would not be pressured, I would not give in to temptations, but I would also not marry someone and then later discover we were not sexually compatible.  That seemed so stupid to me, I still can’t wrap my head around it.  It’s like folks who don’t live together before they get married…how do you know which way they will hang the toilet paper??

Anyway, here I am now, almost 40 years old with a fairly healthy view on sex that I absolutely did NOT develop through my church, schooling, or conversations with trusted adults.  This was 100% all of my own doing, and I have never felt ashamed.  That was the biggest issue with me growing up Catholic…the shame we were forced to feel surrounding sex and puberty.  The logic simply didn’t hold for me; if God made us in his image, then why were we denying parts of ourselves?

I’m thinking of all this because I went to Planned Parenthood not long ago for a birth control check, and it reminds me of the times when I was a kid and wanted to go there to ask questions but couldn’t get up the nerve.  I bet Pam Stenzel is the sort that would picket the clinic instead of using it, likely over abortion issues, or maybe just even over birth control, another thing she made us feel ashamed about…my 16 year old self who had just started the pill felt really special then.  And still, when I say I have to go to PP, people think sinister things…mostly unaware they are the leading birth control provider in the game.  Unaware that most women who go there go for cancer screenings and pap smears.  Not even all of them do abortions, just fyi.  I’m just out here spreading knowledge, is all.  Don’t shoot the messenger.

The point of my blog is that sexual health is important and something we should be teaching kids about from the onset of puberty, not trying to suppress so that we raise up another generation of unhealthy, suppressed, shamed, and confused kids.  For instance, all my kiddos know where to get a condom.  I have four teenagers…I keep them in my house just like I keep tampons and Tylenol.  I don’t want a sick kid, and I don’t want a grandkid, and they are aware and do not want these things either.  I don’t know if anyone is active or not, but I do know that if they are, they have the tools they need.  I have been promoting body positivity and sexual health for as long as they can remember…because no one did it for me.

And I blame Pam Stenzel.

Unusual Circumstance

Literally had to reread my last post about Mark’s birthday because I didn’t recall writing it, because it occurred during a moment of clarity amid the stupor of illness.  And this time, folks, it wasn’t even my old foe, gastroparesis!  This time I had pancreatitis, which as far as I can tell you get from alcohol consumption…I was asked how much I drank over and over, and each time I said that I didn’t, really; they were surprised.  I have maybe a single drink a month…how would that inflame my pancreas?  Ah, but it is the pancreas, and I have diabetes, so is it really that hard of a line to draw?

Currently I feel relatively well.  I slept, a good night’s sleep that was restorative.  I am thinking of K right now, whom, whenever I ask how she is doing, replies “physically, or mentally?”  Physically, I am feeling okay; better, at least.  Mentally, I am still pissed off.  Several hours of conversation with my husband and others assures me that everything was fine and that yes it could have gone better, but no one expected me to be able to pull it off given the circumstances, so what resulted was actually fantastic given the grading curve.  And as Mark reminded me, no thing we have ever planned has ever gone well, so what was I expecting?  (See, this is why my sister is planning any future wedding anniversary parties.)

Anyway, after I wrote the blog and scheduled it to post (which should have happened Monday but definitely happened Tuesday,) I ended up going back to the ER on Monday morning, and found myself admitted to the hospital later that day.  I spent the night, and woke up in a different hospital, and then was sent home and told to rest and take meds.  So, I did, but then I ended up back at the ER after taking a nap Tuesday night, which then brings us to me getting home early Wednesday morning.  And it wasn’t even the gastroparesis!

But now I feel better, and I am trying to return to normalcy, so here is a blog for a Thursday.  Now I’m over to Patreon to share something very special, provided I can figure out how to link to it.  So, if you’re a subscriber over there, please be patient, and if you’re not…well, you’re missing out.  Particularly this week.  Again, provided I can figure out Patreon’s attachment limitations.  Honestly, I could be hyping nothing right now.

Speaking of hyping, I am away from the blog now and moving toward the Patreon but after that it’s time to time out my reading that is NEXT WEEK.  So, if you’re a local poetry fan, you should come to that.  Now…off to work on my list of work.  Happy Thursday.  On actual Thursday. 

Back in the Saddle

Where do I even start?  The move itself was hell on earth for me, but once I got settled down a little, things looked brighter.  I’ve been decorating and organizing like crazy.  I worked a lot these past coupe weeks at both jobs, so between that, my need to fully form my home, and some neuropathy/carpal tunnel/possible fractured pinky has hindered all my writing.  I did pen a little poem for my cousin though, about some sandwiches waiting for a bus. And the Patreon stayed updated.  But the blog, she was neglected.

In fact, I’m writing early Sunday morning for post on Monday because I don’t know if I will have time to sit down and write anything tomorrow.  I am surprised I can right now, actually. My hands have been the worst, and yesterday…was just terrible.

I have been quite well for the past couple months, and this flare-up came with absolutely no warning.  I woke yesterday and tried to fight it, but 10am found me at the ER, and I wasn’t home until 3ish.  Then I passed out until five.  This all would have been fine, had I not planned an epic 40th birthday for my husband last night.

Mark never had a real birthday party, so I wanted to give him one.  It was something Mom and I had planned to do together, so that made it all the more important to me. Not having her there really made me sad when the time came.  I went into full “Maureen-mode,” wanting everything to be perfect.   In the end, it was not.  The cake got burnt, most of the decorations were never hung, and I fell asleep in a chair about 30 minutes in.  Mark tucked me into bed, and then I woke up and everyone was gone. 

A nice surprise was that his sisters came to town to surprise him, which is a big deal to Mark.  He misses his family a lot, but we hardly see them because we frankly don’t have the car to make the trip often.  And they hardly come here, what with their gaggles of children and jobs and such.  So, it was a lovely surprise that they came to visit, and I really wish I didn’t have to work in two hours and could spend some time with them.

Still, I am sad, and depressed, and angry.  Sad because I missed the party I planned so hard for.  Depressed because I feel like I let Mark and other folks down.  And angry, because OF COURSE my stupid stomach had to act up.  When I called Dad for a ride to the hospital, he said that it was because of the stress I put myself under for the party, and he’s right, but it’s not just the party.  It’s that, plus work, plus a new apartment.  It was just too much.  I thought had it under control, but I need to remember that I just can’t take on the amount of things I used to, because the stress monster comes and makes me sick. 

So I am very sad I have no recollection of my husband’s first birthday party.  I am glad, however, that we have the kind of family and friends that swooped in to make things right for him when I could not.  Just the other day, Mark had concerns: will anyone show up?  Did I invite everyone I wanted to?  What if there’s not enough food? Wait, people are bringing gifts?! Why are you making cake if I don’t like cake?  I basically had to break down birthday parties for him, but when I woke last night at 1030, here is what I found:  a tipsy (but not wasted) guy enjoying his friends and family that were still there. Smiley and content, he showed off his presents like a little kid would.  Then, they decided to go to the casino, and I went back to bed.  I made him promise to be home before morning, and found him today snoring on the sofa,  I leaned in and whispered “did you have a good night?”  He smiled, nodded, and rolled over.  Good.  That all I wanted, really. 

Anyway, as you can see, I have my computer back together, and my hands are somewhat on the mend, so I intend to return to regular blogging on Mondays and Thursdays,  Patreon updates are always Wednesday, but if I get five more subscriptions that will get bumped up a bit (and I can also offer merch!)  And as for writing, the two things I will be working on are preparation for my reading on the 28th, and trying to decide if I’m going to do NaNo…I’d love to hit up my final draft with it. We shall see, since I can’t get in to my doctor until January and these hands just will not cooperate. (On that note…anybody have extra hand braces?  Mine were lost in the move.)

Well, that’s all…Happy Sunday. No…Monday.  You’re reading this on Monday.

The Great Escape

I have lived in my apartment for over six years now.  I watched most of my kids go from single to double-digits here.  I lived here when I married my husband, and we have very many happy (and sad) memories within these walls.  But…

The decision was made in springtime that we needed to move, for varying reasons, from new landlords to space requirements.  The boys barely spend the night, and when they do it’s on t4e couch, so their bedroom became K’s room not long ago, instead.  I keep their mattresses and such for when they do want to stay and sleep comfortably, but mostly they are out there living their lives with work and hobbies and friends, just as teenage boys should be doing.  The girls always come, so it only made sense to give them separate rooms, but the point is that it wasn’t needed.  We don’t need three bedrooms anymore. 

I looked at a lot of 3-bedroom apartments during the great hunt, and I am sad to say they were all terrible.  Either they were way out of our price range, the rooms were too small, or it was a dump in a bad neighborhood.  At one particular dump, we were about sign a lease, but then a miracle happened and my uncle told me of a friend with a 2-bedroom for rent.  I jumped on that.  I sent Mark and Bernie to check it out when I was in Salem, and when their reports came back great, I called the landlord and told him I wanted it…no, I don’t need to see it.  Yes, I have the money.  Ok, see you Tuesday…and then it was ours.

Lease signed and money paid and keys in hand, we unloaded our first few boxes yesterday.  It is smaller than the place I have now, with 2 bedrooms and no dining room, but that only means less to clean and clutter.  So currently I am purging my house.  I wish I had enough time for a yard sale, but I do not.  It is however possible I will put a sign on the lawn this weekend that reads “Free Crap” in front of whatever furniture and such I do not want to take.

What I do need is a kitchen island.  Just something small.  I found the perfect thing on Amazon, but I don’t have 80 extra bucks lying around, so it will have to wait.  That and our new tv are the only things I want added to our collection of stuff.  Everything else can GO.

I find that unlike literally every other time I have had to move, I am not sad.  Yes, I enjoyed it here.  We almost always had good neighbors, and our landlord, Frank, was a kind man.  I planted all my flowers out front, and spent summers on my porch, and put the tree in the front window at Christmas time.  Alas…I’m done here, now.  Now, it is time for change.

Neither myself nor my husband have been well this year.  Me, more of the physical variety, (though lately things have been very good, knock-on wood,) though the mental plays in heavy right now, especially with all the stress I have been under.  Mark is handling his mental health in a new way, but he’s about a mile up the path to healing now…nowhere near the end, but far enough that there no reason to turn back anymore.  And so, we look at this new apartment as a fresh start for ourselves, mostly for our health and family.

I am pleased with where we are going, and the new opportunities that are arising, and I am hopeful it means brighter skies ahead.  Now, all I have to do is pack up everything I own in the next two days.  Easy-peasy.  (No, really…I’ve had less time to leave a place before.  This can easily be accomplished with focus and discipline and panic.)

Happy Thursday.

PS If you don’t hear from me on Monday, that is 1000% my internet service provider’s fault. We are at war at the moment.