goodbye 2010, don’t let the door hit you in the…

Each year I do celebrate the exiting of the old one with a huge sigh of relief, but this year I feel it even more.

We lost Marcus.  Our family has struggled to find footing in the middle of our own economic battles.  My kids see less of me than ever.

It feels like every step taken forward resulted in two or three back.  Still, there were some small and not-so-small blessings that I’ve decided to count…

The little rental house we’re living in feels more like home than anything has since the house we owned went up for sale.  This place may be falling apart and held together by a few rusty prayers, yet the beat up walls and strange layout suit us just fine.  I like being here in the peace and quiet.  I love our neighbors.  Our boys will have good memories here and so will Todd and I.

I finally promoted.  After 22 years in the work force, I finally promoted to a professional-level position that makes me stretch and think.  I wish it had happened before the kids, so perhaps I could have enjoyed the feeling of working hard and being appreciated for my quick mind.  If all goes well, I’ll make the most of this opportunity and then, when the time is finally right, I will be able to finally achieve the goal I’ve had since I was a small fry myself.

Todd is returning to the university where I work and we’ll be able to use the fee waiver to get him through his degree.  This brings me an incredible sense of relief – a feeling that maybe things won’t be so bad.  And his financial aid will help us out once again, alleviating some of the overwhelming pressure I’ve been under for the last year.  We still have to work on his exit strategy where his low paying part-time job is concerned, since he needs to finish up his degree in a reasonable amount of time…  My sanity depends upon this.

The boys have been healthy since the summer.  We’ve had minor illnesses come through, but nothing like we faced in July and nothing like we had the last couple of years.  Todd and I seem to be hanging in there too, so I’m sending out many wishes for the new year that this will continue.

I’ve got a wonderful family – both by blood and by marriage.  I have friends that I treasure, even though I see them infrequently and I’m not the most social creature in the world.  In this life, relationships are what matter most.  Everything else is just the “noise” that surrounds us.

Maybe this is brief and much less than I intended to write, but I feel like it’s enough. I don’t have more rants to share for 2010.  I don’t have wimps and moans.  I survived this year.  Now let’s see what the new one brings.

cheers and have a safe New Year’s Eve,


Call me “Towel Goddess”

Forgive the wee rant.  I’ve got my typical insomnia (broke through Ambien in just 4 hours… yay me) and I feel like I need to write, even if it’s just this little thing.  Christmas has become faintly painful for me.  You know those stories about odd things that people get from well-meaning family members?  Well.  I have received over 40 towels over the last 5 years.  Two years ago alone – 8 towels.  Last year – 8 towels.  This year, I kid you not – TEN towels.

I have lovely towels that are thick and beautiful, in colors I love.  And every year it’s the same thing… more of these bath towels.  And trouser socks in polyester and nylon that I cannot now nor ever could wear.  And hand lotion that gives me violent headaches.

This year, when I opened the gift bag, I felt that nervous, hysterical giggle bubble up and I almost began laughing.  I reigned myself in and made it through, but next year is definitely in question.

I have come up with a perfect solution:  The pretty tropical ocean colors are going to my mum.  Two of them we kept as replacement for a couple that simply have outlived their usefulness.  And four are going to the Women’s and Children’s Alliance (along with the nail stuff and the hand lotion, as well as the socks).  Mum will totally love the colors of the new towels, the two that we kept are excellent replacements (although I’m getting rid of at least 6 because who the hell really needs this many towels??!) and I’ll feel happy about passing on some nice new things to the WCA that might make a family feel better about their situation – or at least go for a decent amount of money in their thrift store to support them.

I feel like I’m caught between a rock and a hard place now, though.  Each year they give me tons of the things and each year I have to hunt down homes for them like some lost little kittens.  I can’t say anything without hurting feelings, which I won’t do.  Yet, it makes me insane each year and I’m worried that sooner or later I’m going to blurt something out.  Opening gifts has become this weird effort in self-control.

On an opposing note – my beautiful sister in law gave me a box of herbal tea, fuzzy socks, chocolates and a gift certificate for Barnes & Noble.  I just about started crying.  Honestly the tea and the chance at some new books was beyond wonderful.

My sister was also completely wonderful with the boys…  She’s a student (and doesn’t this sound familiar?) and much like us, things are tight…  She sent two wonderful presents for the boys that made their day.  My little guy is insanely happy with his RC car and my oldest and I are digging into the chemistry set, since completing his quilt got full-stop since my 8 year old sewing machine desperately needs a tune-up and won’t “go.”

Gramma Donna gave funds to get me something for the holidays and new winter boots for Todd.  Both have been on hold while we got through the holidays, but it now appears that Gramma Donna (my mum) will be funding my sewing machine repair bill.

Other family both blood and by friendly “adoption” provided gifts of money which allowed me the wonderful Christmas present of being able to afford to do gifts for a few family and the Mie Mie children.

So here is my note, in advance of next year:

Dear Santa,
Please help me keep the towels at bay and if you could arrange more tea (I love decaf Chai) and books, that’d be lovely.  If we could also squeeze in some time for sewing and maybe make the laundry pile a bit smaller, that’d be lovely too.

Thanks so much,


As for the new year… no, we are not going out to brave the noise and crowds.  I can’t think of anything more hellish than that, honestly.  I expect that we’ll hang here at the house, with a decent bed time and hopefully a nice breakfast in the morning.  I would rather not be social that evening, but would like to be with Todd and the boys, here snug in the house.

Well I’ve been up since 2:50 this morning and it’s now 5am.  The kids will be up in a couple of hours and I’m thinking that some sleep would do me good or it will be a long miserable day.  Actually a cup of tea and a book still sounds good – hmmm…. book/tea or sleep?

Yeah.  I’d better sleep.


off hiatus

Sitting here, staring at the blank screen and realizing that there is a lot I could write about…  I survived stats, although I won’t have my grade until December 23rd.  Will it be a happy Christmas or a lump of coal?  Not sure, but I will say that my final was the easiest final I’ve ever had.  If I didn’t do well, it was strictly because I had not done enough work during the weeks leading up to the final.  No excuses whatsoever.

I’m seeing a nurse practioner in my OBGYN’s office next week.  The PMS has become so bad that the crying jags are interfering with my work.  It is distinctly tied to my hormones, so something has to be done.  I am hoping that they will be able to advise me beyond the realm of treating the symptoms (ie, depression and anxiety-like symptoms), perhaps looking at the “why” behind whatever is triggering this.  Am I going through peri-menopause?  Are my reproductive hormones off?

The chest pains are continuing, although they come and go, as does the pain in my arms.  I have been operating on the assumption that it is reflux… until I received notice from my doctor’s office that Darvocet has been pulled from the market due to heart issues.  I was using Darvocet rather frequently during 2009 due to the 2 bouts of viral meningitis and the chest pains started about a year ago.  I’m torn between feeling like I’m being silly about this, being tired of the ridiculous chest pains, and thinking that I’d be best off being checked out so I can just eliminate the thought that the two issues are connected.

Leads me to an interesting question:  Do we try to resist giving the rest of the world the impression we’re a hypochondriac or do we get checked out because what if the stupid pains are a very bad thing?

And no… it is not panic attacks.  Been there and they have always been sharp, specific pains.  This is a tightness and pain in my chest, along with strange pains down through my upper arms (shoulder to elbow).   If this is simply reflux, which is truly more than likely – I’m totally fine with taking the generic Prilosec (whatever the hell that stuff is called).  So long as I don’t ignore something important, I’m fine with whatever this is…

I’m sharing this because there is a chance that someone might read this and say, “oh yeah – I’ve been there and this is what I’ve experienced…”  I hope so.  I’d love to eradicate this nagging feeling that I shouldn’t ignore the chest pains.

This isn’t simply meant to be a recitation of where I am from a physiological and psychological standpoint.  It’s a status check – a stop in the progression forward, where maybe I can look around and decide to make some changes.

I felt like I was losing my mind this week.  I began to understand the term “nervous breakdown” and wondered if I was going to keep it together, not losing my job in the process.  I’m seeking out help – spiritual, psychological and physical.  Where this will lead me is hard to say, but the first part was understanding today that I am truly functioning in the midst of a battle – my heart vs my mind.  I’ve been working from the “mind” place and it’s time to listen to my heart.

Time for my family.  Writing can wait… but for now this is where I am.  What I learn over this next while could be very interesting…