Friday, August 31, 2012

Things I Did This Summer Instead of Blogging -- in random order because I've lost track of my head

OK, so I had quite the event-filled summer with the family.  Much (though not all) of it was even fun.  Some lousy stuff happened, too -- and between the happy and the crappy, I was hoppin' all summer.  Hoppin' -- but not bloggin'.

And the whole summer really has gotten all jumbled up in my head, so I"ll just ramble.  Try to keep up.

1.  (Or maybe 4.)  The tall boy's freaking lung collapsed.  Again.  So once again he and I made the familiar jaunt to the Emergency Department of the good old Virginia Hospital Center, where once again he was admitted and scheduled for surgery.  This time the procedure (called a pleurodesis) was a little more dramatic, but all went well.

After five days of quality time with a chest tube and a morphine pump, the tall boy was released into his family's capable hands.  Facebook friends already know that the Tall Boy Care Team consisted of the girl in charge (very bossy, so perfect for ensuring that the grueling walks around the happy little cul-de-sac took place as ordered); the sunny girl (a total night owl, so she was a companion on those long and sleepless nights when he couldn't get comfortable, so they watched zombie movies until 4:00 in the morning); and HER (she was a little frantic with worry all the way up in Boston, so she came back for the fall semester of school a few days early, so she could lay eyes on the tall boy, and help us get him moved into his dorm room).

The tall boy's current status is: shockingly good!  He has begun the fall semester at Catholic University, and although he's still moving slowly and is not yet quite up for a game of Frisbee, he's better and stronger every day!

2. (Or is it 7?) I told you about the awesome family vacation in lovely Nag's Head, North Carolina, back in June -- and I introduced you to the fabulous small boys (so stinkin' cute!).

But as is our family tradition, we also had a little car drama while we were at the beach.  And can I just say that I am all for tradition (I even know the words to the song!), but this particular family tradition blows.  This car crunch didn't even look that tragic from the outside of the car.  It did suck though -- trust me! SHE and the tall boy had gone on a Sonic run (their good deed for the day) and were t-boned at an intersection.  A vision I wish was not in my head is the sight of an ambulance and a stretcher, with my tall boy's tall legs dangling off the end.  Dreadful.

The crappy news is that my beautiful car -- purchased to replace the P.O.S. minivan that was stolen on a previous beach trip, if you can stand the irony -- was totaled.  The good news is that the tall boy and his lovely girlfriend came away relatively unscathed.

3.  ( Or perhaps 2.)  The girl in charge turned eighteen, y'all. 

Look how pretty and grown-up she is!  Aack!  My heart can't take much more of this.

* * * * *

OK, so a whole lot of other stuff happened this summer, but I've worn myself out re-living the traumatic shit.  So -- coming up in future posts: 

    • The un-family reunion -- as fabulous as ever!
    • The girl in charge goes to college!
    • My sunny girl is a hipster.
    • Moms' Week at the Beach should be a federally-enforced mandate:  

Friday, August 10, 2012

Look how nice!

Look at this nice blogging award, which was shared with me by my dear fairy god-sister!  
She's the bomb-dot-com!

Her blog, heidiwriting, is a thoughtful and thought-provoking place, where she shares her journey through a sucky, sucky illness.  She is my fairy god-sister (we were already grown-ups when we attended our parents' wedding), so I am a little biased, I suppose.  But still -- her blog is inspirational!  She tells the truth about chronic pain and shitty diagnoses and doctors who have forgotten their manners, let alone their humanity.  But she also shows such grace, and grit, and gratitude for kindnesses of the small and large variety.  She's a wonder -- and so is her blog.

So as part of her recognition, Heidi has asked me to share with you seven things you should know about me.  So here you go:

1.  I am a sun worshipper.  I know I am not supposed to admit this kind of thing publicly, but call me reckless.  I really do like sitting, reclining, or flat out sprawling in the sunshine with a good trashy book or a magazine.  Yes, yes -- I wear sunscreen (sometimes I even wear a hat).  But you probably won't find me under a canopy or umbrella, even on the hottest days.  I would rather be too hot than too cold, so I'll just drink another bottle of water and stay right there in the sun.

2.  When I was in high school I fell while I was being a goofball at a pep rally, and broke my ankle.  The next day I was maneuvering myself down a short flight of stairs and fell -- breaking the other ankle.  Both mishaps happened at the high school; I was carried out to a car by the same friend both times; the same ER staff received me both times I arrived at the hospital.  And yes -- when they saw me again less than twenty-four hours later, those ER staffers laughed at me.  Hey -- they're only human!

3.  Lisa has been my best, best friend since we were thirteen.  Her oldest son shares a name with my father; my youngest girl is named after her mother.  She has been my sister of the heart and has loved me for so long -- including times when I was not easily lovable.  I am blessed by the fact of her.

4.  I don't have a sweet tooth.  I can walk on by when chocolate chip cookies and ice creams are singing their siren song to so many others.  But don't be a hater, yo -- I am a slave to the potato chip, the hunk of cheese, the well-salted popcorn.  Damn you, savory treats!

5.  My dad was in the military -- and I am so proud to be an Army brat!  I was born on an Air Force base in Germany, and have lived in several towns that begin with the word "Fort."  I wouldn't have it any other way!

6.  I converted to Catholicism in 1996, when I was 33 years old.  Although I had leaned toward the Catholic church for quite some time, my decision was difficult because I loved the church I attended and felt (still feel) a strong sense of family pride in the religion of my childhood; I come from Oklahoma Methodists -- a long line of believers who moved west with the nation, spreading the Gospel across the prairie.  I finally had to let go of my pridefulness (while keeping the pride in my family history) and realize that my spirit is truly home in the Roman church.

7.  I have always loved to sing, and one of the experiences that made high school a joy for me was singing in my school's choirs and drama productions.  I know the words to many, many show tunes, as well as inappropriate Boy Scout songs about boogers, gopher guts, and that great ship Titanic ("uncles and aunts, little children lost their pants . . .").  One of the true joys of my life is to burst into loud song in a public place in such a way that my urchins are humiliated.  It's the small things, people.

Heidi also asks me to tell you about seven other bloggers that I think are the bomb-dot-com.  I am delighted to do so!

1.  7 Layer Studio is a lovely blog that I find both inspirational and exhausting.  Shelley is clever and talented and I think "7 Layers" refers to the fact that she has the energy of seven normal people.

2.  Over at A Working Mother's Chatter, Polly just had a baby, y'all!  Her little girl joins two big brothers to make a perfect family!  Polly is sleep-deprived right now, and catches up on blogs in the middle of the night; since she's in Australia, you can probably say hi to her right now!  Hi, Polly!  Hi, sweet baby Annie!  Polly -- go put your feet up!

3.  This foodie blog, 2783 Miles of Meals, is co-written by a former student of mine, so I take far too much quasi-parental pride in it.  I started following partly to keep up with my student, who is a great guy who has a clever way with words. But (against my will, because I hate to cook) I tried some of the recipes and they're fabulous!  And they're very clearly explained, which is kind to kitchen-phobics like me.

4.  OK, so I couple of years ago I stumbled across a blog called "The Sullivans" that I found so compelling.  As is my way, I blew off my life for way too long and read Sara and Brady's story from the beginning.  And people -- their story is riveting!  Love, laughter, fear, heartbreak, faith -- and a baby!  The story continues at Reflections of Grace.  I encourage you to make use of the archives of this remarkable family's blog and read their beautiful story from the beginning.  Get a tissue!

5.  I read The More, The Messier every chance I get because, people, the woman cracks me up.  I feel like I could have a cup of coffee with her and all we would do is laugh.

6.  Kristen over at No Small Thing writes about all four of her kids so beautifully.  Sometimes her musings are sweet or nostalgic or just fill me with a sense of peace.  But oh, my sweet Aunt Pat!  When she writes about her youngest daughter or about the joys of being a dog owner, I weep -- weep -- with laughter.  My favorite Ella quote:  "Oooh -- my hair is killing me!"

7.  And finally, I suspect that most readers here will have at least heard of Ree Drummond, whose blog, Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, is literally world famous.  With two cookbooks, a memoir (optioned for a movie slated to star Reese Witherspoon) and a Food Network cooking show, the woman hardly needs a plug from the likes of me.  But I include her site as a blog you should read, for several reasons.  First, hers was the first blog I ever read.  Although she was already huge at the time, the tone of her blog was so earthy and real and funny -- I wanted to jump right in and join her.  Second, her blog is an exemplar of "this is how it's done, folks."  Setting aside the immense popularity and ad revenues, look at how she has laid out her space:  it's easy to read (the font is simple and big enough, while the white space gives the page a clean, organized feel); the images are eye-catching and compel her narrative forward; she posts consistently every single day.  This is all Blogging 101 stuff -- and she's a great teacher by example.  Finally, I just love to read her funny stories about life on an Oklahoma cattle ranch!  I admit it -- I have drunk the Pioneer Woman Kool-Aid!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Yes, I'm back from the beach -- but I'm not happy about it.

So I went to the beach for two weeks in July, and I have spent the first part of August moping that I'm not still there.

The generous and loving husband sent me for a week with my besties (no dudes allowed).  Then he and the girl urchins met me, and we stayed for our cherished week with the beloved un-family.

Coming home from the beach means it's time to start getting ready for school.  Blecch.

Let's go back to the beach!