Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What a weekend!

Stressful, hot, fun, tiring, energizing...I got to see Columbia in the dark twice, and the vibe wasn't negative. The train's fun, and infinitely more comfortable and cost-efficient than the bus, but it's an interesting trick actually getting comfortable enough to sleep. His sister's shower was a blast; I spent almost the entire time chaperoning the hostess's two smallest boys. Samuel is a typical 2, serious climber, no fear, southpaw, an absolute ladykiller with his cute face and dark blond curls; Manning is 4ish and has some form of ASD. It's definitely not true autism, so I hope they stop calling it that. That kid can sit in a room full of people all talking at once without the slightest freakout, plus he's quite tactile--I kept trying to go inside to get him sunblock, and he'd reach right up and grab my hand to pull me back into play. Plus he cuddled right up next to me at one point, when I was trying to wind them down with a movie. Can't wait to see them again; we'll probably go back up in July after Kara has the baby.

Family drama of different sorts kept things a little stressful, plus car shopping in our delightful southern heat can be exhausting. We finally found a 2004 Nissan Sentra with only 32K miles on it for a nice price in a kind of celadon green (reasonable facsimile courtesy of Les stayed up in SC to get insurance and his license renewed, but I had to get back home before the cats died of thirst, so I grabbed the train back EARLY this morning. Poor Jordan's so pissed, he didn't come out from under the bed for the entire time I was getting changed for work :( We've been gone 5 days; definitely gonna have to smother them with love for the next couple.

Their home is comfy; I'd sit in their side yard to get away from stuff, and took breakfast out on the back patio at least twice to enjoy the morning before the heat kicked in. I got some inadvertent sun and ate well without going apeshit on the snacks. His grandmother's on the mend, but her operation definitely took the wind out of her sails; she's very weak and pretty quiet still when people come to visit, but they managed to get her into a rehab facility that's just a mile down the street from their house--very convenient, but also means you have absolutely no excuse if you forget to visit her on a particular day.

I got all kinds of complements on the baby stuff; naturally didn't get to take pictures, but the final tally was the Big Bad Baby Blanket in Encore, sage green; 1 basketweave hat, 1 umbilical cord hat, 2 sets of mittens, and 1 set of basketweave booties in Encore, white; a simple baby bib in Wool-Ease, Heather Rose; and a pair of baby Uggs in Wool-Ease, Wood Multi base with Jiffy in beige for the body. I did a row or 3 on the SSS after Sunday, and tried to start the Beginner's Triangle, also from A Gathering of Lace, but I must've forgotten how to do ssk properly or something, because it got ripped out twice for looking like crap after half a dozen rows. Will probably take another swing at it this weekend.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Almost there!

Holy God, but am I ready for my little mini-vaca!!!

I feel absolutely trapped at work today; my mind is packing the rest of our stuff, praying that Cyril will come through for us this weekend so I don't have to worry about our furry kids too much. We're gonna let him have free rein of the joint so that he can check up on our furballs and feed Jordan the moist stuff at least once a day. I'm gonna worry anyway, it's only been a month since Jordan's vet visits and he's still too skinny for my liking, but with no car, there was no way to bring them with us this time.

I just can't concentrate. I'll finally get to see Columbia, albeit only a glimpse in the dark. We roll in tonight around 1 in the morning, but the Amtrak station is right downtown, so I'll at least be able to catch a vibe off the place once I rub the sleep out of my eyes.

In classic Johnson timing, Les got the flu last night, so he'll make a perfectly miserable traveling companion in all likelihood; with a little luck, he'll sleep the majority of the trip and won't be able to bitch about his inability to smoke on the train. I'll be knitting; been so frickin' busy with laundry and getting ready for the trip that I still have like, 17 rows of seed stitch to polish off on the B4. That's the priority; any washcloths or extra bibs I can turn out between now and Sunday are afterthoughts.

It's gonna be a high family drama weekend, but at least it's a change of pace and locale. I can't wait to get there!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Wanderings of the mind

graphic courtesy of Reasoning for graphic placement as yet undetermined. Just dig Bloo. He's my bud.

Still can't eat anything too heavy. What's up with that?

Not that I'm complaining, I'll take anything that keeps the weight creeping down and keeps me eating healthier. Had pizza last night and felt like crap the rest of the evening. Les was all set to put a Hungry Man TV dinner in my bag for lunch and I said no way! The coffee's regained its flavor, but sodas haven't. This could be the beginning of a beautiful new food relationship.

Taxis are frickin' expensive! I can't imagine taking one on a regular basis unless I lived in NYC. They're also mostly vile, driven by an element of society that I'd rather not associate with on a regular basis. Had a nice old man driving me this morning, but when we passed the cluster of Hispanics that live in my neighborhood and make a living as painting contractors--they were waiting for the van that picks them up everyday--he let slip the comment, "illegal immigrants," under his breath. Please, for all he knows, they could all have green cards; I've never thought twice about their legal status, I see that they're hard workers and notice the care they give to keeping the van clean--beyond that, who cares! Probably too complacent an argument in the face of the "we're paying their taxes" frame of mind that the right is foisting on us, like it happened yesterday. But the border issue being the hot button topic to keep our minds off our boys dying in Iraq, is only serving to cultivate a fresh form of bigotry in what's supposed to be a free society.

Give me the bus any day! Problem is, the bus is logistically impossible for me. JTA's schedules are a clusterf*ck, no two ways about it. I could take the S1 from the front of my complex to the Avenues Mall, but it arrives at exactly the same time that the van for Gran Park is leaving. Getting home is laughable; I can grab the van a little after 5 at my place, but when I get to the Avenues Mall, I'd have to wait an hour to catch the bus home. Shoot, give me a month, I'll be able to walk from there--it's only 3 miles. Hey, that's not a bad idea at all, except for the lack of sidewalks up Southside Boulevard. Between the flu and the car sitch, I've got a chance at getting healthy this summer without trying too hard.

So I had to wash my brand-new dress sneaks because I'd managed to decorate them Thursday night. Was thinking that that would make the plopping noise go away. Only worked on one sneaker. ::sigh::

We're taking the train to SC tomorrow night!!!!! I haven't been on a train since I was like, 6. I've done subways and stuff, but the only other time I remember taking the train was when Mom, Dad, Cyril, and I went to NYC for a tourist day. We went to the Twin Towers and Benihana for dinner; it was our first Japanese steakhouse and we were hooked! Cyril couldn't have been more than 3; he fell asleep in Dad's arms on the way home. Funny the things you remember...anyway, I'm totally psyched to go on the train! :)

Started a baby washcloth and the border on the B4; I'm bringing the SSS up to SC, can't wait to start working it again when the baby stuff's done.

Monday, May 22, 2006


What, you people don't recognize a warm fuzzy when you see one? (graphic courtesy of

If there was any solace to be had after Thursday night's display of intestinal pyrotechnics, it was the fact that the KB crowd that night was entirely made up of folks whom I consider to be true friends. With the exception of Terra's mom, who I met on the spot that night pre-side show, everyone there was from our core crowd, folks I've hung with outside of KB, whether at the park, at Pagan Pride, or on a cool night at a bonfire under the stars at Green Lynn's house. I was embarassed to the very tips of my hair, but I couldn't stay upset because I knew everyone there already accepts me, warts and all. Or in my case, spare tire and all, heh heh...anyway, very reassuring feeling.

The thing is, I don't get sick. And I have the digestive system of a goat; my family jokes that I could probably process a tin can. Sure, I get the occasional cold, and once every couple of years, I'll run a fever with it, but I literally haven't been sick to my stomach for reasons that couldn't be attributed to overenjoyment of alcohol, since the 7th grade. I'm 36. So it's been a while. Plain didn't recognize the symptoms as being that bad. (yeah, until the hallway at Panera, ::snickers, hides head::)

Enough of that! Rebounding, still weak, back at work, no appetite to speak of. Also no car. In true Murphy fashion, I caught the flu on my husband's birthday, and we had the car repossessed that same day. Needless to say, he's been a little depressed too. We still don't know what we want to do about that. His folks will front us a grand or two, but they're of the opinion that it would be more prudent to throw that cash into another used car, free and clear, rather than continue paying on ours. The problem we see in that is having a repossession then on our credit and $3K+ to still pay on a car we no longer own, never mind that any $2K car would probably be a piece of excrement. I ache for a little capital. Thank the Goddess we're past 7 years on my bankruptcy and everything else, furniture and stuff, we own free and clear.

Making plans to take the train to SC this weekend probably, if we don't have our wheels back, which means leaving on KB night. I'll try to take pictures of all the baby stuff I made before I give it to Kara. Finished the last mitten in a burst of energy between sweats this weekend; will start finishing the baby blanket tonight. Still having delusions of grandeur involving knocking off a couple of little washcloths or something too; shower's not til Sunday.

I need a haircut.

Can I go home yet?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Killing time

One Word Survey

Taken from my Lil Sis...One word? Yeah, right. How do you narrow stuff down to one word? I'm a writer; ain't gonna happen. That's why God invented parentheses.

1. Yourself: Sleepy
2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend: Fuzzy
3. Your Hair: Cooperative (again! !@#$%^&*?!)
4. Your Mother: Compassionate
5. Your Father: Intelligent
6. Your Favorite Item: Purse
7. Your Dream Last Night: ???
8. Your Favorite Drink: Barq's Root Beer (oops, that's three)
9. Your Dream Home: Efficient
10. The Room You Are In: Huge
11. Your pet(s): Cats
12. Your fear: Death
13. Where you want to be in 10 Years: PTA :)
14. Who did you hang out with last nite: Husby
15. What you're not: Conservative
16. Your best friend: Husby
17. One of your wish list items: Yarn
18. Your gender: Tomboy
19. The last thing you did: Breakfast
20. What you are wearing: Capris
21. Your favorite weather: Balmy
22. Your favorite book: The Fifth Sacred Thing
23. The last thing you ate: Eggo with peanut butter
24. Your life: Adequate
25. Your Mood: Sunny
26. The last person you talked to on the phone: Lil Sis
27. Who are you thinking about right now: Green Lynn, Izzy

That's a toughie, I mean, beyond the ones that have to have more than one word, like the favorite book; there's stuff like when I say I want my dream home to be efficient, I mean earth-efficient with low-flow water, solar panels, maybe even a little wind turbine, and definitely a compost heap named Marjory (graphic courtesy of .

Worked B4 last night, should start end border tonight. Last night was spent measuring and saying, ok, two more rows, then measuring and saying, ok, one more row...repeat...I'm nearly there. Also just one more mitten on the size 3s...I don't think I'm going to make the cords that the pattern calls for; they seem dangerous, something the baby could inadvertently wrap around its neck. Maybe I could fashion some kind of binder clip gizmo for the baby's sleeves. KB tonight!!! See y'all there!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


graphic courtesy of

Dontcha love when you've had your eye on a pair of shoes for a while, you finally find a way to purchase them, you put them on right away to break them in (say, at work), and discover they make a borderline embarassing noise when you walk.....

I've been dying for a new pair of dress sneaks, like Keds but for people who wear more than a frickin' A width. Something to wear with jeans or capris--I can get away with being way casual at my work, and I've always been a comfort over fashion kind of gal anyway.

So today I had to dress up because Google was in town (yes, THAT Google!), and my pantyhose self-destructed upon dressing this morning, so I threw on my brown Skecher heels bare-legged and raced to work. Didn't have time to buy fresh hose on the way in. However there's no full-length mirror in my house, so it wasn't until I got to work and caught a glimpse of myself in the window that I noticed just how much those Skechers destroyed an otherwise classy outfit. Great, an entire day of compounded self-image issues!

Not if I can help it. Since my need to impress people ended at lunchtime, I scooted over to Kohl's on my break and hunted for something in the footwear department that wouldn't have me feeling like crap about myself the rest of the day. Yes folks, sometimes stuff like this is necessary. I don't do it often, but we're close to payday, and today I got lucky and found the dress sneaks that I've had my eye on since Spring first poked its green head up around here, which is oh, I don't know, mid-February. They're perfect for days when I don't feel like wearing my platforms with my capris.

I get back to work, change shoes, and go back to plunking away at Mods. Get up later for a pee break and notice it immediately. Plop, plop, plop, plop....what the hell is that? I check the soles back at my desk, but there's no loose spots; everything seems intact. Must be my orthotics. I take them out, work some more. Get up for a Coke break...plop, plop, plop, plop......sonofa...the damn things announce me as I'm coming down the hall. I think fast for a one-liner in case anybody comments, egotist that I am ("hey, I'm no shrinking violet, you're just jealous because your shoes don't talk."). Upon returning to my desk, I investigate further, and I'm pretty sure that if I wear socks and/or break the canvas in further, that sound should dissipate. It's the snap of new canvas at the toe. Still, while I'm more comfortable wearing them the rest of the day, their usefulness with regard to remedying the original issue has definitely been called into question.

Y'all check out the lace patterns on I'm looking forward to getting done with the baby stuff; definitely ready to finish the SSS and try my hand at some feather and fan.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Superfluous vent

Knowing's half the battle, right?

Given: Melanie watches too much TV

Thought I'd get that out of the way. Thus it stands to reason that Melanie pays too much attention to what goes on on TV too. Like the networks unveiling their fall schedules this week. Who pays attention to that besides teenagers and closet cases? Ah well...

Given how terrific Grey's Anatomy was last night, I was thinking how I'd like to get into watching it again. I've only seen like, half a handful of episodes since it started this year, because of one or another distractions and then later in the season, Big Love on HBO (strange, neat character drama about polygamists). But last night's finale, even with me flipping back and forth to catch Everwood (which'll be the subject of a separate vent in a sec), was rather exquisite TV, full of emotion, nicely written. Big Love's finishing up soon and will go away for a while, so I'll have my 10 o'clock block on Sunday free.

As quickly as I was able to think that, they put out the ABC schedule this morning with the announcement that they're moving Grey's in the fall to, you guessed it, Thursdays at 9. Thursdays at 9, I'm usually driving across the street to hang with my bitches, or heading home from knitting, which is about a 20-minute trip. No biggie, you'd think, that's why God invented VCRs. Except NBC released their schedule Monday with the announcement that Studio 60, the new drama with Matthew Perry and Bradley (sigh!) Whitford would be shown in the fall, yup, say it with me, Thursdays at 9!


And don't get me started about the rumor Michael Ausiello was kind enough to impart on we Everwood fans to soften the blow: that he has it from 2 reliable sources that the CW isn't planning to carry Everwood over in the fall. They're renewing the dead horse 7th Heaven to give themselves a good start, but 86ing the best damn family drama on television in the process. Can we say, cutting off nose to spite face? That kind of stuff makes me crazy, like when CBS 86d Joan of Arcadia, but brought Ghost Whisperer in the next year. Joan of Arcadia had a phenomenal ensemble cast, but in the world of money and ratings, it gets bagged in favor of Jennifer Love Hewitt's face.

So mind's wandering a bit today, if you haven't noticed. And I've certainly punctuated to my handful of readers the distinct lack of life I currently have. Think the coffee finally kicked in though.

If it's Tuesday, this must be Belgium!

Isn't that a line from a movie?

Had a bird glance off the hood of the car as I was hauling up the ramp to 95 today. I don't think I obliterated the little dude, but he'd obviously taken lessons at the Woodstock School of Flying, hence today's graphic (courtesy of

I think it's gonna be one of those "ain't enough coffee on the planet" days. Where little things frustrate me. Like my hair looks good today, which oughta be a good thing, but when you're giving serious thought to taking off another couple of inches because it NEVER looks good anymore, then having it suddenly cooperate is quite disconcerting. I've discovered that there's a direct corellation between my level of depression and my desire to cut my hair, so I've been careful to wait out my blues...but I'm pretty sure this weekend I'm going to get the layers taken out, so to have them fall all pretty along my shoulders this morning is a little exasperating.

The blues are getting better, at least. The grief is past, and summer's coming. Memorial Day weekend will be busy with family up in SC so there's that to look forward to...should be some family drama with Kara's baby shower and Grandma fresh from the hospital (hopefully), but they live in a really pretty neighborhood, in a corner lot, where the tall pine trees shut out the traffic sounds from the main road. You can sit in their side yard where the sturdy wooden outdoor furniture is, reading or knitting, and hear nothing but nature and the occasional neighborhood dog. Their front yard is great for grounding; I sit with my back against one of their pine trees and just listen, down deep. Family drama be damned, I'm looking forward to getting up there!

Finished the 2nd baby Ugg last night and knit another mitten. I must've been stalling on the baby blanket, but I definitely don't want to be rushing the blanket at the end, so I'll put in time on that for most of this week. Only little stuff left is one mitten and then 2 cords to attach to 'em. Say it with me, Melanie: it's too late to start anything else new.

Probably need to tape that one to my forehead. In backwards writing so I can see it in the mirror. And write it on the walls of my house for good measure.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Just some thoughts...

I wrote a letter to the editor of the Times-Union expressing my disappointment over Much Ado about Books this past weekend. The children's section was paltry and consisted of way too many folks trying to sell you stuff and not enough people reading, doing fingerplays, engaging kids. But the reason I wrote was because the hotel where they held it had ballrooms on multiple floors and no maps displayed, and you could just tell the old farts were having a time of it. Which got me thinking...radical thought coming, watch out now...why didn't they hold it in the Main Library?! The ground floor of that sucker is an immense hallway with ballroom upon ballroom for the panel discussions. Better yet, weather permitting, they could set up the children's stuff right in the children's room off that terrific patio on what, the third floor. There's that whole garage for parking next door, and it's centrally located. It's probably not equipped (too small) to handle the potential population that shows for Much Ado, but I can't help thinking that that's also why they stagger the panel discussions, so you never have an hysterical amount of people in the main areas at any one time. If they just planned logistics a bit better, staggered the panels to end 15 minutes apart maybe, instead of all at one time per block, then downstairs at the Main Library would have potential. And show the donators and taxpayers where their money's going.

I think it was the movie "Never Been Kissed..." Drew Barrymore and Molly Shannon having lunch at work, near the beginning of the movie, and a rather large female coworker sits down with them, toting 3, count them 3! Budget Gourmets stacked one on top of the other for her lunch. It's worth quite a chuckle. Thing is, anybody ever eat some of them low-cal meals? We've hit desperation food time here at Chez Johnson, so I brought a Lean Cuisine to work. Not only was it devoid of flavor, but by 2:00, I was rooting through my desk drawer for the truly desperate pickins', oatmeal, so that I could make it through the rest of the afternoon without a hunger headache and a bitchy demeanor.

Grandma's on the mend. Didn't get a whole lot of knitting done this weekend; gotta concentrate on the 2nd baby Ugg and the baby blanket for next weekend, ACK!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Such coordination

Graphic courtesy of
If only I could be that graceful.

When you're big, the last thing you want to do is draw attention to yourself. ANY attention to yourself. You wear nondescript colors in your wardrobe, unless you have enough pride to override the flab. You try not to be loud. You practice invisibility, camouflage. If you're forced into public situations with strangers, you turn on the charm, smile more—I'm pretty, look at my face, not my bod.

And then you trip over boxes.

Worked one of the H Magazine tables last night at "Girl's Night Out," one of those shindigs where you get free samples, sign up for drawings, and everyone tries to sell you cosmetics or get you to host a party in your home.

Mom was on the other end of the food court working the silent auction, and my size 11s got caught on one of the boxes behind the table I was working. It was like my shoes were suddenly tied together; my attempts to extricate myself from the tangle of box and magazines nearby, caused me to go down hard, turning an ankle and bruising a knee. In an instant, I was up, straightening stuff out, mopping up the spilled soda that had tumbled off the table, waving off the concerned looks of the women around me asking if I was ok (I'm fine, no problem, next show's at 10, enjoy the veal), but my face must've given away how humiliated I felt. I was suddenly immensely tired and couldn't wait to get outta there.

Luckily I didn't really hurt myself, it appears; left ankle has soreness when I turn it certain ways, but I can walk fine, so I'm trying not to feed my self-pity by making it hurt. It was just a blunt reminder of how desperately tired I am of being this big, how I ache to be healthier, yet let week after week go by without exercise and with crappy nutrition. I'm so tired of loving myself on the inside and loathing myself on the outside. Whine, whine, whine. 'Nuf said.

Knit up to the instep on the 2nd baby Ugg last night before my exercise in flexibility and grace.

Prayers to my grandmother-in-law, please! She went in for emergency gall bladder surgery last night; she's 85 with a host of other health issues, so this will definitely lay her flat for a while.

Happy friggin' Friday.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

At least I don't work for AOL

Now, explain to me how we can have an 800-person call center right here in town, and every time we call AOL for something, it sounds like we get rerouted to New Delhi.

Guess it's immaterial now; the center shut its doors yesterday. 800+ people with some form of call center experience looking for work in Jacksonville today. Terrific. Les's main experience is call center work. Another nail in the Jacksonville coffin in my book. Like it needs nails; I've never liked living here. I love my friends and I've made a life here, but I couldn't be more sick of Florida if it were July right now and my hair were 6 inches longer. That probably doesn't make sense...I'm thinking of trimming my hair some more, and I can't stand Florida's heat. I know it won't be a helluva lot different climate-wise in Columbia, SC, but a girl's gotta dream.

Grieving for Neil has definitely turned into pre-grieving for Nanie. I've gotta start walking or something, get my mind off my mind. Not just walking, working on the apartment some more would help. When I think too much about the future, it means I'm not happy in my present. If I'm going to tough it out 1 more year here, then some attitude adjustment and reorganization need to occur, or I'll just be a sad sack.

Finished 2nd mitten, started 2nd baby Ugg, and sewed the crotch on my fave pants last night, busy little bee that I was. Feels like Thursday today, wish it was.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A new day

More whales courtesy of

"But things always look better in the morning..."
~ To Kill A Mockingbird

Feeling better. Much, I think. Which is odd, because the sky is still gloomy from last night's rains and we're out of money again. Lord knows we need the rain; they just declared a state of emergency down by New Smyrna Beach because of the forest fires.

Tonight I'll continue on the mitten I started last night, start the other baby Ugg, and work the baby blanket. I can feel myself winding down on baby stuff; will probably do one other set of mittens and maybe a bib too, but I'm definitely ready to turn my attention back to knitting for me. That new issue of Interweave coming out mid-May looks orgasmic!

There's a bunch of new TV tonight and a load of laundry to do. Normalcy, the mundaneness of life helps; but I definitely don't feel as raw as I did last night. Must've turned a corner.

Monday, May 08, 2006


My apologies to my select few readers; this post is going to be a little dark. I have to write because when you live in an apartment, you can't scream for no reason, and when you're married, you can't go for a drive on a whim in the middle of the night.

Background: When I graduated college and began looking for solutions to my depression, I made the decision that I was going to live an honest life. I was raised by secret keepers. Whether it was a poor grade, a broken plate, or a schoolyard fight, secrets were kept, mainly from my father, whose tendency was to explode verbally with anger and beratement. I wasn't going to have that in my life outside of them, and I made it clear by action. When Les moved in with me, I called my family to tell them that night, even though I lived 5 hours away and could easily have kept it to myself and eased them into it. Dad didn't speak to me for the better part of a year, but at least I wasn't living a lie.

Present: I've mentioned that my Uncle Neil just passed away, Dad's 2nd brother. Nanie, Dad's mom, is 94 years old; she lives in a nursing home (one of the few good ones left, run by the Sisters of St. Thomas in Norwalk, CT). She's winding down, bless her heart; running at about 40% , I 'd say, as far as cognitive function and long-term memory goes. I'd initially heard that they weren't going to tell Nanie that Uncle Neil had passed, and I thought, well, good. This is one instance where I'd definitely agree with keeping the truth from someone. I can't imagine a grief worse than losing a child, and when you're infirm and have enough trouble remembering that you have 4 kids, what good can come from that honesty? She's obviously a strong lady, comes from good Irish stock; her own mother lived to be 96. But that's a grief, in my opinion, that she could be spared. Worst case scenario, she recognizes what's going on and must bear that grief, of losing a son. Best case scenario sucks too; I mean, what if it's an open casket at the wake--which is still a big fave among the Catholics--and she's confused into thinking she's at Popie's funeral. She gets to relive that grief all over again, for a husband who's been gone for 26 years now. I just have trouble seeing the point.

Catalyst: Mom calls to tell wait, she thought I'd be happy to know that Dad visited Nanie today, and the brothers had made the decision to tell Nanie about Neil. They're getting her an early viewing at the wake, so she won't be confused by all the people. Well, that's fine, that's caring certainly; I know Dan, Dad, and Tom mean well and will circle the wagons around her like pros. But the way Mom said it, you could tell she thought that my original opinion would've been honesty, so I should be relieved by this turn of events. Good thing we were talking between commercials, because the rage hit my throat almost before I hung up the phone. I had a good cry, and wished I could be up in Norwalk, at Notre Dame, in Nanie's room, in bed with her, cradling her in my arms and telling her stories to remind her about how she would braid my hair when I was little and how she doted on me, because while she loved her boys, she'd always wanted a girl too, to name Mary Jane and braid her long hair.

So I'll ache a little longer, it appears. And maybe I won't get up there before she takes her final rest, but I think I have to try. Apparently she didn't take a fall recently, rather she took her sweet time waking up recently, which may have been a mini-stroke. Well, good, I said, she and Dad can compare notes on TIAs.

Finished my 2nd baby hat tonight, started another mitten. I believe it's time to polish off the Haagen-Daz now.

Turning points

I love whales. That's the only reason for this graphic. I think they're pretty f*cking exquisite creatures. This one's courtesy of

For once, my brain's a little clearer on a Monday. A weekend of rest, some grieving, some life-and-death reconciling, a little beer, a little knitting, and I'm getting back on track.

I was a little off on some of my obit stuff for Uncle Neil, but the meat of it is correct. Don't sweat the mention of life-and-death reconciling, all that means is wrapping my mind around the idea of never seeing him again. It's kind of a bummer. They'll put him in the ground on Wednesday; somebody in the family scraped up the dough for a traditional Catholic wake and funeral. I don't know if they've told Nanie; given this family's penchant for keeping things secret for a person's own good, I wouldn't put it past them...and though I loathe that level of dishonesty, if her senility has hit a significant level, I'm pretty sure the knowledge of losing a son would do more harm than good, so I'm not sure I'd disagree with them if they did keep it from her. It's a toughie, that's for sure. I still ache to be there this week, to hug some family members, and to see Neil to his next phase, but I'll have to content myself with lighting candles and meditation here at home. Say some prayers for my dad if you get a chance; this trip is the type of thing to give his ulcer a workout, and the level of drinking that occurs at an Irish funeral certainly won't help.

Worked on the baby blanket a bit this weekend, did some reading. Feels like the 2nd baby hat is taking forever, but I know once I get it on the double points, it'll be finished in an evening, so I'll probably focus on that tonight.

I'm pretty sure I've come to my senses again unfortunately, on the Avon walk. Not this year. Five months just ain't enough time to prepare, not as big as I am. I'm thinking of mailing them back the fundraising stuff, so that I'll stop flip-flopping about it. I've got work to do, but it needs to be for me. We'll see. Feels like the first time in what, a month and a half, that my energy is reaching normal levels again. Relief, relief, relief. Time to do something with it.

Friday, May 05, 2006

A Crossing

When you come from a family as large as mine, it's easy to lose touch with folks. The Internet's been great for keeping track of the extensions upon extensions of family that are the result of my mom's 9 brothers and sisters, but Dad's family is a little trickier. They're not the greatest communicators (ok, that's way sugarcoating it; have a phone conversation with my dad sometime and you'll see what I's like pulling teeth and very formal), so more effort is required, and unfortunately stuff slips through the cracks. If a family member decides to try and live their retirement as an alcoholic, there's only so much you can do to keep tabs on them; and you leave the rest to prayer. The Goddess came and took my Uncle Neil this week. My mind's been full of childhood memories since finding out, so here's a little vent.

Cornelius J. Lyons was born approximately 70 years ago to the late Cornelius J. Lyons and the still-kicking Mildred Grace Lyons of Norwalk, Connecticut. A taciturn man and devout Catholic in his youth, Neil owned an automotive transmission shop in Norwalk for many years. He married Jill (last name unknown) and produced 5 beautiful children: Colleen, Neil Jr., Lynda, Kelly, and Allyson, only to have Jill succumb to cancer around 1975 (time approximate, but I wasn't more than 6). He married Patricia Hicks (that last name's a guess, it's been a while) and continued to run his automotive shop while raising his children in a fairly bucolic lifestyle on a mini-farm in Redding, Connecticut. His children grown, retirement took he and Pat to Bonita Springs, Florida, where unfortunately the marriage dissolved. He moved back to Connecticut, where the difficulties of his life appear to have caught up with him. He finally moved to Danbury, where he suffered a recent fall, which lead to the discovery of internal bleeding and multiple cancers. He was placed in a drug-induced coma and never awoke.

Sounds like a downer, I know, but all I've been thinking about is sweet memories of growing up in Connecticut. We lived 40 minutes from Redding, an hour from Norwalk, so we visited Dad's side of the family pretty frequently. Nanie and Dad's older brother Dan's family lived in Norwalk, 4 cousins on that side + Neil's 5. Neil's place in Redding was really pretty; big Colonial house, small barn/carport with fenced corral for cows and pigs, small backyard for running around. I learned the small jolt that an electric fence gives if you touch it. Cyril and I rolled around with their dog, Precious, so much one day that we both went home with allergic reactions around our eyes. We saw a nest of tiny baby rats. The pigs were really cute and clean, and the cow ate something called Crunchy 16—Dad loved the name of that stuff. Nanie and I were penpals back then. The air's cleaner up there.

I ache that I can't go up for the funeral, and so I write. We just don't have any savings; even if it had happened last week when we were rolling in my quarterly bonus and the tax return, it wouldn't have been realistic. I pray we find a way for me to go up there when Nanie passes. She's pushing 95 and just took a fall too—I've reconciled I think, with the fact that seeing her in 2002 was the last time; but saying goodbye is quite another matter.

It's been probably 15 years since I saw Uncle Neil, I think I was in college. His hair had gone entirely white, and he looked the most like Popie in the face. All the Lyons men are quiet guys who keep their cards close to their chests. As they age, the eldest, Dan and the youngest, Tom, have suffered significant hearing loss so it seems more appropriate for them somehow, that element of taciturn alertness. Laugh-out-loud funny to think of my dad as the most gregarious of the four, but you really have to have grown up with him to appreciate the humor—the man has mellowed markedly since we kids all moved out. He listens more carefully, he's more open to suggestions, and while positive emotion still baffles him, he's less likely to shut down if presented with it.

What am I getting at? I think it's that even though we all knew Neil's lifestyle was going to shorten his life, I just didn't expect him to pass away. This sounds awful, but Dad's supposed to go first. I'll never be prepared for when it happens, but the plain fact is that the man is a medical miracle walking around and going to work everyday. His carotid artery is entirely blocked on one side. Normally the blood in your body goes up one side of the carotid, feeds the brain, and goes down the other side back into the body. He's got one side doing the work of both, which means a life of medications and mini-strokes. His doctors say they can't go in and fix it, because a) they're able to control the condition with medication, and b) they'd most likely lose him on the table anyway if they did go in. So he gets up and goes to work everyday, mows the lawn on the weekends, and monitors his BP and sits nice and still when a transient ischemic attack (TIA) hits. What else can you do, ya know? He'd balk at someone else doing the lawn, and besides, it's good for his spirits and his health outside of that little condition.

And this is outside of the 24-year-old Dacron graft holding his aorta together. You know the thing that killed John Ritter? Dad had that back in 1982. It's f*ing remarkable that he's with us today...and Meara for that matter, she was born in 1983.

So today's my Beltane. The sun's at 15 degrees Taurus. I'll go outside tonight and light tealights to lives gone and lives to come and meditate and move on. Because there's still so much left to this year, sortings and packings and plannings and yes, maybe even baby making by Christmastime. My life is full to bursting, and I'm terribly grateful.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

::grumble, grumble::

Things are rubbing me the wrong way today.

First, my insurance company was kind enough to send a memo on April 28, stating that as of May 1, one of my generic medications would be increased in price. The memo was kind enough to suggest Prozac as a possible alternative med. That really pissed me off, and I've written my insurance company a scathing letter to let them know. I tried Prozac for about a year, in 1996, and quite literally went out of my mind on the stuff. That year almost beats my college years for pain spent in depression, I was a wreck; I couldn't sit still, pulled at my hair, banged my head with my hands, and bruised myself constantly on Prozac. I talked to myself so much, my employees couldn't take me seriously. For them to nonchalantly suggest that Prozac is an alternative for me was galling, and I let 'em have it.

Then I just did a site for an astrology and psychic shop in LA. Fairly harmless shop, they offer new age products like Buddha figures and candles, as well as provide psychic readings and yoga classes. In our notes, it showed that the first designer passed on the site because they disagreed with the content. I'd forgotten we do that; management offered a while back that if there's a particular site that you know you can't give your best to, because you disagree with its content, then you can ask for it to be assigned to someone else, no harm, no foul. I've never had to exercise it because, as a Unitarian, I really have no problem doing the occasional church or ministry site; to each their own. To read that someone has a problem with stuff I believe in, though, sets me on edge. I take pride in my religious decisions in my life, and hate the feeling that I have to hide them to make others comfortable. People can spout about Jesus in this country til the cows come home, but bring up Gaia and they shrink into their Bibles. I'm not being fair; for all I know, the person may believe in chiropractic over Reiki and that was what made them ask for another site. Still, it grinds me.