Monday, January 31, 2011

30 Days of Blogging-Day 1- A Favorite Song

Hub has asked me many times through the years exactly why I am not more disgruntled about my childhood. It wasn’t a good time by many standards. We were poor, my parents’ house was foreclosed on, we moved in with neighbors, and then finally in to a large apartment above a pizzeria in the Polish section of The City. Our clothes were hand-me-downs, food often came from the food pantry, and I have vivid memories of standing in line for cheese. We only sometimes had a car, sometimes had cable, and rarely had anything extra.

“But your mom always had cigarettes and booze, right?” Hub reminds me. And she did. But we were always warm, never hungry, went to Catholic school, and it always seemed like enough. When you’re a kid, normal is whatever your experience has been. It was normal to walk to the grocery store and push a cart home. I didn’t know any better, so it was fine. And later when I was 11, when we moved to a far off suburb because my parents were doing better for themselves, and I started going to public school, I learned what it felt like to be seen as different and not enough. It didn’t matter that I was clean, or that I was nice. It mattered that my clothes came from layaway at Hills and that my white high tops were knockoffs. And that my perm and my olive skin made me look “mixed”. Things that never mattered before mattered now. And that’s when I started to grow up, and continued to grow, and try to be just like everyone else. From the time I was 11, until about the age of 14 I tried really hard to be one of those girls. Saving my babysitting money to buy better clothes and better shoes. Going out of my way to prove that I was just as good as everyone else. And I was miserable. And then high school came, and I settled in with my group of friends as myself, and I never looked back.

That was a bit of a digression, I suppose, but in my long and drawn out way, what I was meaning to say was that when times were “bad” I was happier and better adjusted than when they were ”good”. Then, I had no idea that my mother was drunk; she was just Mama. Everything was as it always had been. Normal. We might not have had luxuries like designer clothes and name brand cereal and it never mattered. Something we always had though, were my dad’s records. And boy, did he ever have a lot of them.

My parents were old school in their musical tastes. If we weren’t listening to “oldies” on the radio, we were listening to my dad’s rock albums from the 70’s. Queen, Yes, and Meatloaf to name a few. And if we were in a mellow mood, my mother had Cat Stevens, James Taylor, and one of my favorites, the soundtrack from The Sound of Music. And really, music was what we did on the weekends. We would crank it up, and dance in our family room like it was nobody’s business. And these are the memories that I have from my childhood. Dancing my fool head off with my parents and my brother like nothing in the world mattered. Because really, it didn’t.

So without further ado, I give you my 2 favorite songs of all time. The first, my favorite long before it was a karaoke staple: Meatloaf, Paradise by the Dashboard Light

And the second, long before Wayne and Garth headbanged to it in the early 90’s: Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody

Though I’m always adding songs to the list, these have been my songs for more than 20 years. Do you have any songs that have stood the test of time?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

4 small and 1 large (bullets, that is)

• Card making was fun. I guess I didn’t really know what to expect, but we got there and the lady had pre-selected 3 designs for us and put the kits together, and taught us all how to do them. And even though I am the least crafty person on the planet, I made cards that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to give to someone. I can’t find my camera cord, so you’ll have to deal with a cell phone photo, but here they are! I made 4 of each kind. All by myself!! I might even go back!

• I am ridiculously in love with my little home office setup. Once I get all the clutter cleared out (read: never) I will post some photos. The dark red is really doing it for me. And it is so quiet. I’d like to ask Hub to not move his desk in to the other corner, and maybe put a recliner and a TV down here and have it just be my room. Oh well, a girl can dream, right?
• Saturday was my girls’ night out with Lucy and Liv (Hub, Bud and my brother went to Canada to see Monster Jam) and I had been going back and forth over whether or not I would take them to Build A Bear. I got a $25 gift card through work, and well, figured I would spend it. So I asked on the Facebook how much I could realistically expect to spend. People were talking like $50-$100 PER BEAR!! With a big thought of “Hell NO!” I decided that we would not be going to Build a Bear. The girls and I ate at Mighty Taco ($9 dinner for all 3 of us…BONUS) and then headed to the mall to look at clearance. On our way out of JC Penny to the bathroom, Lucy spotted the girl with the Build A Bear box. “Oh Mama, can we ever go there??”, she asked me with her wide brown eyes. And I told her we could check it out to see how it worked. And I can only say that the people who answered me must have been crazy? Or smoking dope? Or bought out the entire store? Because it worked like this: the girls each got to pick out skins for their bear, basically the unstuffed bear. Lucy’s was $18 and Liv’s was $14. Included in that was the stuffing, and the special stuffing ceremony, and the placing of the heart inside of the bear. I could have paid for sound, or a ticking heart or wtf ever, but I didn’t. And then I told them that they could each pick out one accessory. I know what happens to doll outfits in my house. They are lost and discarded. So I could have paid for the limited edition Selena Gomez outfit, or pets, or chairs or anything I could imagine for the darn bears, but I didn’t. Liv picked out some slippers, and Lucy got a crown and wand. Then we got to go to the computer, and name the bears and create the birth certificates, again all included in the regular price. The girls really enjoyed naming their bears (Lucy’s is Julia after a new friend she made in gymnastics and Liv’s is Babycakes because I call her that a lot (or Hanniecakes, or just plain “cakes”)) and then watching them get packed up in to their houses. Out of pocket, I spent $20, but if you throw in the gift card it was $45. Which well, I have to say was worth it. The girls haven’t put their bears down. And Babycakes rode in the truck with Daddy all day yesterday while Liv was at school, and did really hard work. They are special special bears. So anyway, I was pleased with the experience.
• I am really digging the 30 days of blogging thing that is going around, and I think I’m going to do it. Only not on the weekends. So if I start next Monday, that will give me 6 weeks of blog fodder. Which is cool.
• Finally, thank you all so much for your kind words about the FIL situation last week. It is a huge suckfest. Thanks for recognizing and supporting that and all that mush.

Friday, January 21, 2011

How I came to be going out tonight

I’ve never really made it a secret that I have a hard time making friends. The friends that I do have, that are not in my computer that is, are the same friends I’ve had since middle school. People I grew up with, who know me and accept me and blah-de-blah blah. We all have separate lives though, and I don’t live in my hometown, so we don’t see each other very often. And I have work friends, you know, and we’ll do the occasional shopping trip, or dinner and drinks whatever, but mostly I’m an antisocial homebody.

And really, I am ok with that.

So anyway, Hub and I have been very active on our school’s Pee Tee Aye (hereafter referred to as TAP like my friend Misty always did for fear of being found) and in doing so, we’ve made a lot of new friends, right in our neighborhood. Hub is a very social talkative kind of guy; I am not such a girl. This works for me. We have fun at the meetings and at events, and while we’re putting activities together. It’s good. Now, for as social as Hub is, he is horrible with names. And he knows he is, so he does his best not to use people’s names unless he has to.

This is where my story begins.

A few weeks ago, Hub stayed after the TAP meeting to help a couple of the girls up in the attic. While he was up there, he got a phone call from K, the VP. While they were talking, one of the girls in the attic yelled to Hub to ask K if she wanted to go card making. The name situation got in the way, and he just randomly said in to the phone, “I’m supposed to ask you if you want to go card making.” Which she took to mean that I wanted to go, and got excited about it, and told him she’d call me. He didn’t remedy the situation for fear of looking dumb.

He came home and told me about it, and I didn’t really give it any more thought, until she texted me the next day. And here we are, the night of, and I am kind of shitting my pants about going out for a night with people who I don’t know very well outside of school. Every socially awkward situation that could happen is running through my head. From the time K picks me up (first) to the end of the night. I need a valium or something.

Plus, I have no idea how to make cards, you guys. I’ve tried to be crafty, OH, have I tried. I’m pretty good at stenciling. But cutting? Gluing? Yeah…no.

So, this all occurs from 6-10:30 tonight. I am generally looking forward to it—my own issues aside. A girls’ night with people my age. And it will be fine, I’m sure.

Plus, I hear there will be wine.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

(insert title here)

When FIL finished his treatment for prostate cancer over the summer and came back with a clean bill of health, we were relieved. The doctors did their scans to ensure the cancer wasn’t just gone from the prostate, but that it hadn’t spread anywhere. It hadn’t. FIL was feeling well and was back to his old self. Midway through the summer though, he started having horrible pain and an odd numbness in his hip. He went from chasing the kids around the yard to being able to watch them from a chair, to not being able to sit or stand for long periods of time at all. This occurred in a matter of weeks.

So he did what anyone would do, and called the doctor. They ran some tests that were inconclusive and began treating him for arthritis. There were pain pills and he now had a cane and walker. Still though, the pain worsened. And back and forth he went from doctor to doctor, from test to test, with nary a diagnosis. Finally, his primary doctor called in the oncologist. A biopsy was done on the hip. They found cancer in his bone. It wasn’t bone cancer though; it was coming from someplace else. Which warranted a PET Scan. Which showed lung cancer that had spread not just to his hip, but to an arm and his back as well.

Then there were pain patches so there was a constant stream of medication in his system. There were calls to the pharmacist to talk about the pain patch and how it might affect his COPD. There was the draining of his waterbed and buying him a new mattress. There was a trip to Target to get new bed linens and pillows. There are now daily trips to radiation, shuttled by Hub or me because he just can’t do it on his own. We are fixing his meals for him and delivering them to his room because walking to the kitchen and carrying a plate takes too much effort; hurts too badly. We find him slumped over, sleeping with his head on his table because he’s too tired to make it to the bed.

He still makes it down the stairs to go outside for a smoke though.

When Hub’s mom was sick, it was different. It was in her head more than it was in her body. Even as I saw her in the hospital on the day of her death, I never believed that she was actually going to die. She had acquired an infection while in the hospital. Treatable, if they got her breathing under control. But, she chose to stop all treatment and died in Hub’s arms within a matter of hours. Still, until it happened, I didn’t believe it could.

This is different. When we read the literature about prostate cancer, it spoke to how it was hard to gauge recurrence over a 5-10 year period because men were typically older when they were treated. Often, they died of other causes before the 5 or 10 year mark. This really made us think, you know? FIL is 69 and not in very good health to begin with. How long does he have left?

Now especially, who knows?

We have 12 more days of radiation and then he starts chemo. I hate to think what effect that’s going to have on the kids, who are so eager to spend time with Grandpa, even if he can’t make them snacks, or take them out in the yard or to McDonalds anymore. It’s going to be worse before it is better. And what if it doesn’t get better?

I don’t think I can even think about that right now.

We all know that we’re going to die someday. We know that we’ll lose our loved ones. But there is no way to fully prepare for it. Or to prepare your children for losing, really, their 3rd parent.

So what do we do, besides press on? Keep on keeping on, right? We’ll do everything we can to help him get better and keep things as normal as possible. But damn it sure does suck.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Resolve 2011

Oh, yesterday should have been the big resolution-y post, you say? My procrastinating ass says no, it shouldn’t have because I was too busy still summing up 2010, damn it! Though I did actually start in on my resolution yesterday…I just didn’t tell you all about it. First of all, I’ve joined Jennie’s Biggest Blogging Loser competition. Really, this is mostly for fun since I’m not about to go renegade and try weird shit just to lose weight. It’s going to be fun to be a part of something though, where I am somewhat accountable for a period of time, with a bunch of other cool chicks.


I’ve never been the person who was all day-after-new-year’s at the gym gung ho. I was always the one who’d been at the gym all along, looking at all the suckers who would likely only be there for a month or two before giving up on their dreams. I was the one who waited anxiously for these people to just get it over with already, so the gym could go back to its less crowded regularness. Not this year though; NOPE! This year I was there bright and early on First Monday. I was one of those suckers. I don’t know how that actually happened, BTW, but my gym time plummeted over the last 6 months from 4 times a week to 3 and then 2, and then to driving by in the morning and deciding to grab an extra large coffee and coming home instead, to finally just saying “Fuck it! It’s too damn cold!” and keeping my ass in bed. I told myself it would be easier once I was working from home and I fooled myself in to believing there was nothing wrong with what I was doing. I fooled myself in to believing that I was still somehow going to the gym….I did make it, um ….three…no wait was it two?ONE whole time in the month of December.

Cut to day 2 of Resolution Sara and my ass is dragging. And I haven’t even started back in on weights yet. Thankfully I seem to have not lost any endurance, but the physical aspect of getting up and going again is taking a toll. As soon as I lay down last night, I was out cold (and this is not me at take me sometimes HOURS to fall asleep). And a few hours later, I woke up shivering uncontrollably and ice cold and could feel my blood rushing through my veins; my metabolism all like ‘WTF lady??”. I also had to pee like you wouldn’t believe thanks to the 60oz of water I consumed yesterday.

So yeah…oh! I was talking about resolutions. Mine need to be broad otherwise I feel like they are weighing me down. And pressure stops me from doing anything at all.

Make a Consistent Effort to Work Out: I will get up and go to the gym in the morning if it kills me. And I will remind myself that Hub asking me whether or not I went is not actually him saying “GO!! GO!! OR I WILL FEED YOU TO WOLVES!!” or putting any sort of pressure on me. He is asking legitimate questions. That is all. Maybe I’ll do that Total Body Boot Camp crap. But maybe I won’t. But even if it’s kicking a soccer ball outside with the kids, I will be working out.

Drink Water: This seems like a no-brainer, and it really is. It’s not even that I drink pop or juice or anything. It’s that I forget to drink throughout the day. I’ll suck down my coffee in the morning, have a few sips of water with lunch, and a few with dinner, plus when I swallow my pills at night, and that’s it.

Count Calories: Not in the sense of “I only get 1200 calories for the day” but more so as a way of keeping track of what I am putting in my mouth. Keeping me accountable.

Cook More from Scratch: We eat a lot of Hamburger Helper type meals. I’m not saying that we’ll remove them completely from our repertoire, but seriously, how hard can it be to throw together some noodles and meat and sauce with some fresh, never dried, and low sodium ingredients.

Tell Hub When I Need Alone Time: Or if I need to sleep in etc. Instead of gritching around that I NEVER get any time without the blasted kids hanging off of me, or I NEVER get any sleep, I will simply ask.

Spend More One on One time with Each of the Kids: Hub and I are real good for splitting up: Girls with girls, boys with boys (in the words of my Lucy). I rarely do things with just one of the kids, especially Bud. Granted Bud doesn’t want to do things like go to the grocery store with me anymore, but I need to try harder to give each of them their own special time.

Well, that’s a hardy list now, isn’t it?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Bye Bye 2010--

Stolen from so many….

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?
Jumped in to a job that really scared me.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
My resolution was to take better care of me….and I did ok I think, but I can always do better.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
2 cousins

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No. Thank goodness

5. What countries did you visit?

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
A better work/home balance.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
None in particular. It was a pretty uneventful year.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting a new job. Successfully convincing the powers that be that working from home was a good idea.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Being all gung ho health kick and then letting it fall by the wayside because it was hard.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Not really

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Hmm…I wasn’t the one to buy it, but the Kindle is pretty great. I just bought my first Vera Bradley bag too…and that is pretty awesome.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Hub’s. Dealing with his dad’s cancer after losing his mom….he was great.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
My mother’s. I won’t elaborate.

14. Where did most of your money go?
The mortgage and groceries. Yay. I’m boring.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Bud winning first place trophies for TKD, Lucy’s Bieber cake. Hub’s and my first trip without the kiddos.

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
“Baby” by Justin Bieber because I have heard it nearly every day for the last 6 months.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier
b) thinner or fatter? Maybe a bit fatter….sigh
c) richer or poorer? Richer, thanks to my new job and Hub’s successes this year.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Working out, spending time with just me

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Yelling. For sure.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Same as always—Christmas Eve wit Hub’s family, Christmas day with mine. Our annual Christmas brunch….and nobody barfed *ON* Christmas this year, so…

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?
No, I don’t think so. But as Liv has turned in to this amazingly exuberant toddler, I’ve loved her more and more, even with the wicked mood swings and lack of reason. I’ve also (mostly) accepted that she will be my last child, and so I’ve tried really hard to embrace and remember this time.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Modern Family, Burn Notice, Psych

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Nope. I’m a lover, man. Not a hater. But let me tell you, I came SO close to losing my cool with one person so many times this year…and well, I’m glad that I’ve moved out of that situation now.

24. What was the best book you read?
I really enjoyed Something Blue by Emily Giffin.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

26. What did you want and get?
A Kindle. An Android phone. To be able to work from home.

27. What did you want and not get?
A steam mop. A svelte body.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I really liked Red. I saw Julie and Julia too this year, though I don’t think it came out in 2010….and loved it. Toy Story 3, The Town.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 32. Spent the day home with Hub and had cake with the kiddos that night. I got my Kindle and bakery donuts.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
The willpower to stick to and back up my goals.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
Um….lazy. Jeans and sweaters. I barely wore any of my heels. I felt bad about myself and it showed in my wardrobe.

32. What kept you sane?
TEH Internets. My husband. The gym (and I wish that I could remember that…)

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Always Robert Downey Jr. ALWAYS. And Howard Stern….he is just so fascinating.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Gay marriage.

35. Who did you miss?
Still, very much though she was a huge pain in my azz, my MIL.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
I met her years ago, but ran in to a girl at a school function who (along with her husband and baby) has become a good friend. It’s nice to have somebody close by.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.
It’s ok to want things….and to ask for them.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
I never have an answer for this one.