Monday, September 12, 2005

7 months...

I can't believe 7 months have passed, it has been nuts - and I keep thinking to myself, I should just write some stuff for my blog on all of this, someone else might benefit from my experience, and I would definitely benefit from the cathartic release of emotions.

I haven't any idea why I wrote nothing between February and June. Between June and now though, I have a big idea of what was on my mind, both as a potential blog topic and as a prevention of doing anything that required any higher intelligence whatsoever.

My mom.

I have posted about this wonderful woman before, but no words can describe what a gift the universe gave me when I became her daughter. I have learned so much from her that to list it here seems trite and overblown. So I will tell two brief stories, and then maybe you will get a glimpse of the depth of my admiration and gratitude that she is MY blessing.

One day a popular nationally known morning radio show was blathering on about some topic that I felt compelled to comment on - I am not going to name the radio show, because I have since determined that they are to be boycotted for their crass treatment of a well respected handicapped Denver journalist. I am also not going to name the topic, because frankly I can't remember what it was. I do remember actually picking up my cell phone and dialing the 1-800-hostsname phone number and getting through. I told the call screener what it was I wanted to say, and she put me in the queue. The male half of this show answered my call on the air and asked me what I had to say. I had my brief little tirade about how people are illogical or whatever my passion was that day... and within my tirade I said these words "A very wise woman once told me..."
The male host said nothing about what I said; he asked who the "wise woman" was... I said "my mom".
He said "Amy how old are you?" and I told him, and he said "and you still listen to your mother" in this incredulous voice as though I had committed a cardinal sin. I said, "My mother is the wisest person I know" and he disconnected my call.

Story #2 ~
I was just 18 years old, we were having our usual family Christmas morning - the entire group gathered at my parents’ house. My brother-in-law put some wrapping paper in the fireplace, we had always done this, and he had been assured that the flue was open. It wasn't. The heat from the burning paper couldn't escape up the chimney and it came out the front of the fireplace and lit the evergreen boughs decorating the mantelpiece on fire, and our stockings. The fire spread to the drapes that hung floor to ceiling on the windows at either side of the fireplace. The drapes melted and dripped onto the carpet, igniting and melting it. The drapes also melted the artificial tree and many of the ornaments - thank God it wasn't a real tree, it would have ignited. My brother-in-law yanked the burning evergreen boughs off of the mantle and shoved them into the fireplace; burning pieces fell from them and melted the carpet in front of the fireplace. The flames from the drapes and the evergreen boughs shot up to the vaulted ceiling and scorched and burned the rough-sawn cedar beams that trimmed the ceiling. The heat shot up the ceiling and across it the width of the house and melted the fronts off of the stereo speakers that were mounted at almost ceiling level. Some ran to the kitchen for water, one brother and I ran outside for the garden hose. As my brother made his way toward the front of the house with the hose, I looked in through the kitchen window and saw what looked like the entire front of my parents’ house on fire. I turned on the hose, and it spit little ice cubes at the fire. But eventually, there was water, and we put the fire out, with little water damage actually. The firefighters arrived later. My brand new nephew (4 mos. old) had been in a baby seat in front of the fireplace moments before, but had been moved across the room. When all was said and done, we had lost many family treasures, Christmas decorations that had been handed down from generation to generation, our tree, our stockings, many gifts, and a huge amount of damage had been done to the home my parents had built together to house the family that was the centerpiece of who they were.
My mother dragged us all onto the front lawn, and she made us get in a circle and do a dance together to celebrate. She wanted to celebrate that we had all come away from this safely. She took one of the most frightening moments of great loss and she showed us all how to be grateful and happy about it. She has done this every day of my life, found the good in EVERY situation, no matter how bad.
I could fill hundreds of pages with stories of her unconditional love and her positive outlook about even the grimmest of situations. She put my wedding together from the floor of that same living room because she had broken ankles, and I had the best wedding ever. She took in other peoples wounded children and helped them find their way in the world and gave them the chance to be their potential. She helped every one of her kids, whether she gave birth to them or not, through countless challenges and over enormous obstacles, without judgment or guilt. She found money when it was needed for emergencies, she found strength when it was needed for work, and she always provided love, no matter how badly you screwed up. She redecorated her bedroom when my father had a heart attack, because she wanted him to feel special when he got home from the hospital. She picked me up from school the day my rabbit died, so that she could tell me before I discovered it for myself. When I got stood up for my Senior Prom, she flew my ex-boyfriend in from Las Vegas to take me. When I was pregnant with my second baby, and my first baby still needed constant care, and they put me on bed rest for pre-term labor, she made me move in with her and took care of all of us. Every time I had to take my babies to the emergency room for all of those high fevers and bumps on the head, etc. - she was there, helping with the other kids and letting me lean on her while I was afraid. She held my baby while they put an i.v. in her, when I didn't have the strength to cope with one more minute of her tears. Most of my stories would violate some other persons privacy, so when deciding just what I was going to say about my mom, I spent a lot of time reliving difficult moments in all of our lives, all of them with a good outcome. And yes, my father deserves credit also, he stood by all of us, and he supported so many of the decisions that were made without complaint or the iron fist of most dads of his generation. However, my father would tell you in a heartbeat, he never would have had the strength or the knowing to be there without my mother's guidance. My brothers and sisters would probably tell their stories too, without embarrassment, but they are their stories to tell, not mine.
I have talked to my mother nearly every single day for as long as I can remember. She listens to my every little complaint whether it’s the price of beef or that my oil needs changing or that some teacher is being unfair to my child or something huge and global like the Middle East. She agrees with me, she disagrees with me. She offers advice, or just an ear. She tells me her thoughts and what is on her mind. We solve the world's problems nearly every morning, and then we get on with our day.

July 2nd, my mother had bypass surgery, 5 bypasses. During surgery, or during recovery, she experienced multiple bi-lateral strokes.

One day when I walked into her room in ICU I said, "Hi Mom, how are you?"... and she said "I feel like I had a fucking stroke". I was so happy to have her back, it was so hard to be the strong one, to try to do what she would be wanting me to do. To try to be strong, like her. I was so tired, I'm still so tired, so drained, and not at all myself. It's been very long, and we aren't done, and maybe in the days to come I will use this blog as my outlet, and I will share what I have learned - about strokes, about people, about family, and about myself.

Friday, February 18, 2005

This Week

It's been a hectic week. Our new SUPER software has had issues, my kids have had issues, and it seems that everywhere I turn there's a new fire to put out or someone's nerves to calm or something going on that just pisses me off. I'm hoping for a little bit of recovery tonight while my family and I are Reeking Havoc at the NBA All Star festivities here in Denver. We got a really good deal on some tickets for the Rookie Challenge (they were free actually), so even though I think professional basketball is actually neither (neither professional nor basketball), I plan to enjoy watching my kids enjoy themselves. I didn't get my Godiva chocolates with a chance to win 52 new pair of shoes for Valentines - pout pout. Two out of three of my darling children are letting their grades slip - okay how about something stronger than slip, like dive off a cliff into an abyss. And when I went to Costco day before yesterday, my membership was up for renewal. The thing that pissed me off was that even though it expired in December, I hadn't used it since, so I was renewing in February. Wouldn't you think the renewal would be good through February of 2006. Well no it is not - it expires again in December. 1.5 months is not that big of a deal, but it just pissed me off. Actually it hasn't been that rough of a week, and I shouldn't complain, but it seemed like the way to go when I got started. I take it back, it's been hectic in some respects, but I'm leaving on time today, and that beats the hell out of last week!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

stolen from my mom's email

My mom has stayed home and raised children, her own, other peoples, and helping with her grandkids since 1955! She has CONTINUOUSLY had a young person in her home, attending public school in our county since my sister started kindergarten in 1961. She worked pre-kids, and she worked a few times over the years, but not for more than a couple years at a time, and always with a schedule that didn't prevent her from being there for all of us (approximately 15 kids) at our activities, etc. She has NEVER had a job that required use of a computer, she knew NOTHING when she bought one, so like many other people with her background... I had to set up her email, therefore, I know the password - which she is perfectly happy with, I get calls "Can you log into my email and print out those pictures that cousin so and so just sent" "can you get in my email and figure out why I can't open that attachment", etc. She's not dumb, far from it, she has a college degree, and a lot of COMMON SENSE (her degree is in psychology and her father said, "well what do you want to do that for, it's just horse sense and you have more of that than you know what to do with"), and she is a quick study-when she has to know it, you should see her do her thing with her stocks and funds, but if it's easier to have me do it, she will... and she does still have some technophobia, but she's getting better - she bought a bunch of stuff on ebay last week, and even set up her paypal account. Okay so the point of all this rambling is... She left for Montana to visit a dear friend and she told me to go into her email and steal the address for the home where she was visiting if I needed it. So I did. And then I looked around (she really doesn't care, I told her I did and she wanted me to go back and read more). Because she is in CONSTANT contact with all of these "cousins" etc. who are into genealogy and they are all the time sending stuff back and forth to each other (it's a bit of an obsessive hobby if you ask me, and these people have no patience, they want 100 year old pictures that they never had during their 60 year lifetime overnighted cuz they just can't wait, lol) and her emails are therefore very interesting to me. I am very interested in my genealogy, but I don't have time to wash my underwear, I certainly don't have time to be overnighting funeral notices from 1897 to my 14th cousin twice removed in Pahrump, Nevada - so I feed my interest by snooping in my mother's email (and of course hearing her tell me each detail every morning while we have our telephone koffee klatch)... Oh yeah I had an idea for a post when I was reading her email, thats the point...

so, from Mom's email (from some genealogical contact in the UK):

But a more amusing bit in my paper today :
"I was thinking of starting a PhD, but I've realised I can't use my degrees because no one will give me a job."
This was the comment of Bernhard Herzberg who has received his MA degree at the age of 95, which is believed to make him the oldest new graduate in the country.!
The other amusing story. At her funeral in Wales, an unmarried lady directed that her will was to be read by the minister at her funeral. The relatives were staggered to discover that she left all her money of almost £1million to charity and her house & Garden to the local children's hospice. She was never a rich lady until 3 years ago she won almost £1million in the Lottery. She never told anybody about the win and kept it all secret. The relatives must have been a little dissapointed, to say the least.!

well it made me giggle


I think I have made a severe error... I have given up the 'F' word for Lent -- going to have to see how that goes. All I can say to myself is "good luck with that"

This could be me

When I am old, and my children leave me alone with my "stuff"... not quite to the ceiling now, but getting close! An Omen

Monday, February 07, 2005


Geez it's been a month since I posted (I knew I wouldn't be very good at this). My husband and I were enjoying one of those rare moments alone the other morning after the kids left for school and before either of us actually dragged our asses outta the house to go to work (okay he actually works in an office downstairs, but he hadn't dragged his ass down the stairs yet) ~ so we were enjoying this moment together, okay I was sitting at the computer reading the news and smoking and he was clear across the room surfing morning news shows and eating Fruit Loops, but we were alone in the house together ~ one of the morning news shows (Good Morning America?) had a story on about a woman who had been awarded her husband's entire collection of baseball memorabilia in her divorce and she is selling it on ebay. They interviewed this woman, and she was making herself out to be this enormous victim, how he spent all their money on baseball stuff and how he even hid it and stole from her, poor poor pitiful her... I'm just saying because you don't marry a guy and THEN find out he's obsessed with baseball. Those of us who are obsessed with baseball do have a few telltale signs that even strangers can generally pick up on. She really is accountable on some level, for marrying him in the first place, and then for being a nasty anti-baseball bitch and not supporting his hobby a little so that she had some control over encouraging some compromise "you can buy the Micky Mantle rookie card, but not the bat because we need to eat between now and next pay day". So I'm sorta talking back to the television during this piece and stating my opinion about how ridiculous the whole thing is, when she puts the icing on the cake. She stated that he sold his car to go to Cooperstown, and that was the final straw and she had to divorce him. I turned to look at my husband (we went to Cooperstown last summer, yes I was overwhelmed with emotion and cried), and I said "so?". My darling has been going around telling everyone he knows that his wife fully approves of selling the family car to go to Cooperstown. Personally, I think the guy is better off without her, too damn bad about his collection though -- I hope he gets to bid on some of it on ebay and get it back. I for one have a few rookie cards and other treasures, and I would NEVER sell them to anyone ever, because it's not about the value, it's about the love and passion and determination that went into acquiring them.

p.s. I can even understand selling the car to go to Canton, but only if you were going for the induction of someone incredible like "sweetness".

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


My husband (bless the man... but) has an addiction to shirts! He works in one of those industries that hand out shirts like insurance salesmen hand out calendars. He must have somewhere in the neighborhood of twelve trillion shirts with vendor/supplier/contractor logos on them. And the universe knows, we all need twelve trillion golf shirts. On top of that he coaches (another shirt dispensary), and our son plays competitive baseball (he too has twelve trillion shirts - they all refer to baseball) and again, more shirts for the DAD. (I confess I have far too many shirts about baseball myself). So a couple of years ago, he comes home and says "I need some shirts that don't have anything written on them. This seemed reasonable, I mean you don't want to go to every dinner party, neighborhood picnic, etc. wearing something that says "Sprinkler Guys do it in the Mud" (okay he doesn't really have any shirts that say that on them, usually just the logo thing). I gave the nod to purchasing some shirts w/o logos on them. Fast forward two years later... we are going broke on shirts. He is buying shirts like Imelda Marcos buys shoes. If he likes a shirt, katie bar the door, he will buy three in every color. The man now has sixteen trillion shirts! So, we are out Christmas shopping, and he asks me to buy him a shirt - a shirt that looks very much (if not exactly) like 14 that he already has. I tell him, fine but...(secret private threat), which he responds to by putting back the shirt and picking out a nice pair of windpants - good choice. Then after the holiday, he tells me he is returning a pair of pants that my mother got him because they were too small - seems reasonable. He exchanged the pants for that SHIRT! I think I'm going to send him to a twelve step group, or at least get him the shirt.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Machines and Movies

Dialogue shared with a co-worker just now over the *&$#)($%#! copier...
ME: "Now you've jammed it dammit... Dammit Jammedit"
COWORKER: "Don't you dare say 'I love you'"

You may have to read it out loud, and also have been a child of the 80's - classic cult movies and such

and I perhaps could have replied "It's so screwed"

oh Frankie you sexy sexy man...


I was driving to work this morning and for a short time I followed one of those trucks - the ones that say "How's My Driving" with some 800 number and then a 12 digit vehicle i.d. number in 8pt font below it. It wasn't exactly rush-hour (had to take the drama queen to her grandmother's for the day as the pain in her back was preventing her from speaking normally, walking normally, and apparently she was also unable to brush her teeth), and the roads weren't really icey (although you would think they were Eisenhower Tunnel ) aka Johnson Tunnel, but noone calls it that, and it's Sunday apres-ski (that means everyone is exhausted and half bombed on hot buttered rum) traffic and I'm hanging on to my cigarette (yes I smoke in the car, it's a terrible habit and my car stinks, but its MY car and MY habit, and it covers up the smell of the farts from my teenaged son) and I'm drinking my coffee (all day, every day) and I'm driving with one hand, and the maniac passes me weaving in and out of traffic (keep in mind they are all tired and drunk), and I see the familiar (all too familiar) 800 sticker... so I grab my cell phone (which probably has intermittent shitty service in this locale) Now I'm holding onto coffee, cigarette, steering wheel, and I've got my hands on the buttons of my cell phone in the semi-darkness of wintertime dusk chasing a maniacal driver up a mountain to get the phone number which I am trying to dial in the dark and then when it answers I envision (can you do that with audio) that it is one of those 'press 1 if you have a power outage, press 2 if you have fallen and can't get up, press three if you speak spanish (repeated in spanish),... press 997 if you are falling one of our idiot drivers over a mountain pass', and then another discourse of press this and that for what they are or are not doing right or wrong 'press 1 if the truck you are following is currently west bound, press 2 if the truck you are following is white with red letters... press 678 if the truck you are following is moving so frighteningly fast that you are having trouble catching it to get the 12 digit vehicle id number in 8 pt font below our phone number' which is of course followed by 'enter the 12 digit vehicle id followed by the # sign' - by now we have gone through the tunnel and are headed down the 80% grade on the east side and he is still barreling along despite the signs that say "Truckers use low gear - this grade is so steep you could lose control of your brakes if you were walking {along with the not so familiar to me 'double black' ski slope indicator}", I am desperately trying to read the tiny vehicle id # and punch it into my phone in the semi darkness amongst the tired drunken skiers at which point I spill my lukewarm coffee all over my lap and drop the cherry off my cigarette and the homemade tape that is in the cassette deck (I have three teenagers, and no extra dough to buy a cd player) finally switches sides after the 30 minutes of silent non-recording and blares out 'Like a Hurricane' at volume level 70..., this is when I wake up from my day-mare and realize that "How am I driving?" stickers are a menace to traffic and pull into my parking garage in lovely downtown Denver, glad to have survived my imagined terror and hoping that I didn't run any red-lights while day-dreaming again.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

My kids

My kids think I resemble the mom in Malcolm in the Middle - frightening really, I think she's a raving maniac with no sense of justice, however, I do admire the way she embarrases her children publicly. I try not to truly embarrass my kids, unless they really deserve it, but I think it's fabulously funny! I did go through a phase where I would make them drop and give me twenty if they were disrespectful to each other, including in public - it was a bit embarrasing at the ballet recital reception where everyone was dressed lovely and some grandfather gave me the eyebrow. While I am frequently telling the kids we aren't financially able to do something, in my various different colorful ways..."did you learn to crap money at school today?", we aren't actually as bad off as Malcolm's family. I do threaten frequently to sell them to gypsies, the little smartasses usually retort with something about a re-stocking fee when the gypsies return them - I would never send one of them away to military school, obviously... no re-stocking fee. Also, I'm a far more lenient on chores, and a far worse housekeeper... I had to ground my kids from watching Clean Sweep because I was afraid they would sign me up and I'm such a pack rat. Would make a great episode, but I would probably do my Linda Blair in the Exorcist impression (also know affectionately in our house as "mom's head is going to spin") when they made me start throwing stuff out. Keeping one item just simply would never cut it (reminder to self, devote a post to all the ridiculous crap in the basement). I would much prefer if they would choose another T.V. mom to compare me to - although Donna Reed never wore sweats, Mrs. Brady never drank beer, and I'm very certain that Mrs. Cleaver never used the same colorful words that I do. If they picked another T.V. mom it would probably end up being Roseanne, and really I don't like malamars very well. Although I hate the Simpsons, I wouldn't mind being compared to Marge, aside from the giant blue beehive, she really has it all together.
Tonight I was driving home from the batting cages where I met my husband (the dear man who knocked me up three times in 2.5 years) to pick up the daughter who had been dropped off at the cages after her swim team practice (so far from home, she should need a passport and visa) and the boy was beginning a mini-camp (aka coaches can't take another minute at home and away from the game... neither can the boys). The daughter, oldest, fourteen years old, managed to fill the entire drive with suggestions of ways I could spend money I don't have -- kids have no concept of "recovering from the holidays". We aren't talking cheap either, she wanted to know if we were going as a family to "The Stock Show" - this annual outing generally costs a couple hundred dollars, tickets, food, beer, more food, more beer, etc. (yes I realize that if we cut out the beer we could save a bundle, but it just wouldn't be the same - I've been drinking beer every year at the stock show since I was like 9 or something... okay probably 18, since that WAS the drinking age) She also wants to know when we can go "Formal Shopping" - both daughters belong to an organization that requires formals for several occasions - hmmm there's another $150 at least. Then to top it off she asked if we could stop at Chubby's for an horchata, I said no to even this $2 treat, for which she offered her own money, isn't that generous of her.
Got home to the younger daughter (pre-teen, oh isn't it joyful), also my "drama queen". She managed to drag her wounded body to the door to unlock it and then whimper her way back to the massage chair (I assume her back is hurting, didn't ask, asking would have just opened a flood gate of dramatic sighs and painful groans). Apparently she had the energy and strength to clean her room (funny how the threat of dad's wrath is worse than any imagined pain), and to get through her day at school, which I am certain included much jumping and leaping, etc. She wanted me to sit and watch her eat her dinner, I fed her from my breast for almost two years, ate cold dinners for another three or four years because I was either feeding her or cutting up her food... and now she wants me to watch her eat. She really is quite entertaining, and lovely to look at, but watching her eat was somehow not on the top of my list of ways to relax after work.
Yes I work, at a lawfirm, downtown, with lots and lots of women... coming home and watching sports is a welcome relief to me, so it's been very good for my marriage to super-jock sports fanatic. Almost no one at work is aware that the NHL doesn't exist this year, they have no idea nor desire to discuss Oklahoma's abysmal performance in the Orange Bowl (although there were a few mentions of the lousy half-time show), I doubt anyone (even the token men) makes picks during March Madness, and I'm certain not a one of them celebrates the return of Spring Training or Opening Day. On the other hand, I have spent the last 15 years bitching about constant sports on the t.v. - I've had to, just to keep it in perspective, besides wives are supposed to bitch... and I'm not stupid enough to bitch about his family or the things he does around the house to help out. Speaking of which, he's on his way home with my dinner and my boy, maybe I will do a load of laundry to surprise him!