Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Notice Housecleaning is Not On the List

Since I have last posted here I have:

  • Turned 31, which is not spectacular in itself and I really didn’t care much about it except that the week following my birthday turned out to be sucktastic in various ways and I started wondering if 31 was to be a curse to me.

  • Took care of Faith who has been battling an ongoing cold and a bout of pinkeye, and James who has had the same cold, a painful ear infection (which warranted a weekend trip to the emergency room). Also, James slipped and fell on our tile outside of the bathtub which has resulted in a huge, painful-looking bruise on his forehead. Oh, and my mother-in-law has organized grandkid Christmas pictures this weekend! I’m thinking of makeup over the bruise. . .

  • Finished my fall semester and my final grade for the course is an A. Normally I’d be all whooping and hollering and feeble attempts at cartwheels, but I just feel satisfied and that, hell, I deserve that A. I worked hard for it and I would be sour and bitter with anything less.

  • Started trying to enjoy my winter break, but the weather is too cold! (indulgent whine here)

  • Decorated the house for Christmas, and I love it so much I don’t ever want to take any of the lights down.

  • Attended Jeff’s holiday party with him. I was so excited for weeks because it was an excuse to dress up, since I live in jeans or scrubs and those things does not make one feel The Pretty. So the day came and I dressed in my short white and black dress with the bell sleeves, and my high black boots and I wore black hose so that I would not show too much skin and Jeff spiffed himself up and my mom loaned me her expensive black coat with the (faux) fur trim collar and off we went and I felt pretty snazzy if I say so myself. Upon entering I saw crowds of people in khakis and some jeans, sweaters and cardigan sets. An occasional dress or two here and there but they were of the older-woman-at-church variety. Well, didn’t I feel like the over dressed harlot.

  • Become obsessed with Dexter, and the series has taken over my brain and life.

  • Indulged in cheesecake, crackers with gourmet spreads, onion roll sandwiches, peppermint coffee, and other various foods. I need to get out of this house and start doing something besides eating before I won’t be able to fit through the doors anymore.

  • Watched Thanksgiving come and quickly go. It was …eh. The kids ate biscuits and gravy and nothing else at my in-laws, and we didn’t even all sit together, and for my side of the family we were over at my sister’s for the food and then quickly over to my mom’s to get her Christmas stuff out of the attic. I mean, I like Thanksgiving and all, but when I was a kid it seems like I remember it being a Big Deal, and now it just seems like another dinner with the family.

  • Gotten sick. As in right now. Once again I am reminded that the job of “mother” never gets a sick day, and it particularly sucks when your husband works night shift.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


And now I have a five year old. Her hair, which has never been cut, is not unlike Rapunzel’s. Long and golden and reaches her thighs. I meant to give her a haircut on her birthday, I really did, but I paused and in that moment I knew I would not. I will, of course, I’m not a freak, but she didn’t want to really, and neither did I. Just last week I was at a little fall festival at her school and when it was Faith’s turn to stand up and go get her cookie I heard a couple of mother’s gasp at the sight of her hair. It is her trademark, and so she will undoubtedly cut it short and dye it black when she’s a teenager, but for now I get to have my girl, peaches and gold, and long silky hair that curls at the ends.

Her freckles really came out this year in the sun and she has been developing her sense of humor. I worried for a moment that I was complimenting her too much because she started becoming matter-of-fact about how nice time spent with her must be, but I can’t help but to show love. With words, with hugs and kisses, she surely does not doubt how much I adore her. And while she is a cute child (as if I would say my own is not) she has a beautiful soul and a tender heart. I have tried to instill in her that it is much more important to be beautiful on the inside rather than the out, and so I have a sweet child and that is a blessing that I cannot describe.

She is intelligent, always has been and I’m sure always will be. She is imaginative and enjoys playing with someone or by herself, always creating story lines for her dolls and barbies. She has become much more interested in pregnancy and babies, often working a child on the way into one of the plots of her toys, and has told me that what she wants to do when she grows up is to have babies. And live with me. And I can help her take care of them, won’t that be fun?

She enjoys singing with her kid’s songs on cd, especially a church music for kids one that my mother-in-law had originally bought. She enjoys movies, and some shows, but more than anything likes other kids. She’s made friends with our neighbor’s kids and still struggles to find her “best” friend at school. She wants to help me all the time, and I try to let her as much as possible to see the satisfied look on her face. She says her prayers every night and enjoys reading with me. She is blunt and to the point when telling me something that I need to know and won’t hesitate to put her hands on her hips or shake a finger at me if I’m not doing as she thinks I should.

She is a true joy to be around. She is special, that one. I still thank God every day for her, my sweetheart, my very own strawberry blond, freckled little girl.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


My James is three years old today. While I know that I am supposed to say that I can’t believe it, and it is true that time has flown, it seems like there was no me or us before James. He is a powerhouse of personality, a key figure in our whole family and universe, it is hard to believe that he is ONLY three.

He’s always been such a boy, to the point of making me paranoid and ever-watchful, but he has gone from being rambunctious and rowdy to outright defiant and violent at times. Faith gets the brunt of this, mostly because she taunts him into action, and action is exactly what he provides. A swift kick, or a toy thrown at an impressive speed. My poor girl sported bruises on her school picture day because of Jamie’s inability to just calm on down.

On the flip side, the boy has charm. My father once said that he’s going to smile his way out of trouble all of his life and truer words have never been spoken. He already does it. James is in possession of one of the sweetest smiles I have ever witnessed in my life, the kind that lights up his whole face, the kind that lights up the whole room. I have gone to him, fuming and angry over something awful and deliberate that he has done and he has looked up at me, eyes twinkling and crinkling, and I have been disarmed by his smile, having to catch myself from smiling back. I will have to find a way around that smile, it will be my kryptonite.

Ever since he was old enough to have a preference over anything, he has loved trains. Perhaps a better word would be obsessed with trains. Of course Thomas the Train became a favorite and still is. There are trains and tracks littering my whole house. The trains were essential in potty training. The trains are his best friends. The trains go everywhere with us. In the past few months he has started broadening his horizons, enjoying cars and loving the movie Wall-E, but trains are still the elite of his likings.

I’m so relieved at his appetite that includes a willingness to try anything. His easygoing attitude about going here or there, no need for any sort of routine. His need to cuddle and be loved, hugged, and kissed all throughout the day. He is an affectionate boy, not stingy with touch, willing to give it to anyone who seems to be in need. He will climb onto my lap, look deep into my eyes, and just kiss my nose, my cheeks. I laugh and kiss his neck, savoring these moments, afraid that they will be gone too soon.

He is my heart, my three year old boy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

He taught me Nawlins and Spanglish too

This is such, SUCH, a bummer but I think I need to get this out.

I just found out that an old co-worker died. He died several months ago, but I found out about it by boredom, snooping around on the internet. I found his facebook page and instead of just his name, it was followed by “memorial page” and then after frantic googling I found his obituary, stating his death as being in March.

I’m just shocked right now. This man was not just a co-worker, but a friend of mine. I started working at a small construction company when I was barely twenty-one and he was about forty-five at the time, a small man with an ever-reddish nose and a permanent grin on his face. He was hilarious, and had one of those laughs that was just contagious, whenever you heard it you wanted to laugh too, even if you weren’t in on the joke. He was a nickname type of guy, he had one for everybody. Mine was “Woodstock” because he had an image of me, long-haired hippie chick, peaceful and free-spirited. Our entire office started calling each other by their nicknames and we even had an official nickname board which needed to be updated every so often.

Whenever I was distressed at work, he was always there with grounded guidance and he was one of my favorite things about that job. I loved seeing him come down the hallway and always couldn’t wait to hear what he had to say. He made my two years at that company immeasurably better.

He had a great love for music and we had many a long conversation about it. When I told him that Jeff played he was overjoyed and often sent home music or videos with me for Jeff to watch. He’d ask me every so often about Jeff, wondering if he was “still pickin’ and grinning”. He was from Louisiana, which oozed out of his voice and was a great sense of pride for him. I learned all about Mardi Gras from him, proper Mardi Gras, not just the partying (although he told me about that too).

I left that job one summer, after management shifted and things got to be unbearable for me. He pursued other avenues as well, for the same reasons. He kept in touch afterward and when I got married I made sure to send him an invitation. His R.S.V.P. card was the fastest one returned and at my reception he was waiting for me with a big hug and an even bigger grin. The last time I talked to him he said that I needed to go ahead and become a mama, and then time sped by on warp speed and I never talked to him again and it breaks my heart I wasn’t at his funeral.

He was a good man, with a wife that he loved very much and three children that are way too young to have lost a father.

I’m remembering good times Andy, and I hope to see you again someday.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Jeff and I took the kids camping this past weekend and it was The Awesome. We went to Stone Mountain which isn’t deep in the woods or anything that proper camping should be, but it’s so much fun for the kids. They went to the pumpkin festival, we watched a 4-D mini movie that I think may have traumatized James, we went on the sky lift that I know traumatized me (I had a “bad imagine” as Faith would say, about us all plummeting to our deaths. *shudder*), and we went on the train, we walked around the top of the mountain, we went to the old plantation houses and petted the farm animals. At night we roasted marshmallows and made smores.

It was the weekend that we’ve been looking forward to having with them for, I don’t know, forever. Just Jeff and I, and our children, all in one place, doing wholesome family type things. It was rather dreamy, actually, and not in a Stepford way because they were still screamy, terrifying children at times, but just . . . good. It felt good.

Then we came home and back to the grind. I washed my hair three times and it still smells like campfire smoke. The clothes are still in heaps in the laundry room, and I’m already behind in my nutrition class for the week. This is all okay, though. This is life, this is what happens, I don’t live in movie land where things behind the scenes get magically taken care of except for comic relief purposes. What really does get to me, however, is that real life settles back when Jeff starts his work week.

Having a husband that works nights SUCKS. There is no poetic way to put it, it just sucks. He’s on a different schedule than we are, he’s always tired. I feel guilty for waking him up at 11:00 a.m. because I know he’s exhausted and I feel like crap for the mornings he has to wake up at 7:30 for me to get to school. We both feel awful when we’ve squandered away the moments that we do get to share by bickering about some non-significant Thing. I get irritated sometimes, thinking that he could bathe the kids on his nights at home, or make their dinner, or play with them, or settle some argument since I do it by myself all the time. I immediately get angry at myself for the irritation thinking that while I’m home with the kids, he’s at work, in a shop, on his feet, at night, lonely, deciphering intricate blue prints, all to support us.

It’s not just hard on our marriage, it’s hard on our kids. Faith goes four and a half days without seeing her father. EVERY WEEK. I try to fill him in on the little things, but sometimes they get lost in translation. I feel so blessed, for all the things I have, and then I feel a little wistful, I suppose, wanting someone to share them with daily. I want us to be a family, to be whole, every night together.

Here’s wishing to a brighter future.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Random - Just to hear the keys go click

I spent the entire weekend studying for my first exam, which was today. It covered several huge chapters out of our main text, a couple dozen chapters out of our secondary text, three chapters of medical math, and four chapters of medical terminology. I must be learning something after all because after it was over I thought to myself “well, that wasn’t too bad”. Then I came home, changed into completely unflattering gauchos and a huge t-shirt, made myself an enormous burrito, and have tuned into mindless television shows and looked at silly things on the internet because MY BRAIN WANTS A BREAK.


Jeff and I were planning our upcoming weekends and we have something planned for every weekend until the end of time. On one hand, yay, stuff to do! On the other, boo, whatever happened to lazy weekends where we stay in our pajamas and watch old 80’s movies? I don’t even know the last time we’ve done that. With Jeff working nights, weekends are the only time we have together as a whole family. It’s also the only time we can spend with his folks, or mine, or any of our friends. It’s the times when we do grocery shopping, or house projects. I hate that he has to work nights. It ruins everything. And makes me cranky. This post will start getting out of hand, so I should probably change the subject.


Faith’s teacher brought her out to the car last week (which is new to me, this whole escort to and from the car thing. Just what are they trying to keep the parents from seeing inside?) and told me that Faith had had a good day, but was a little disappointed when no one else wanted to play pretend with her. She was stuffing animals and/or dolls up her shirt and pretending to be pregnant. I laughed and shook my head and tried to appear like a normal parent and informed the teacher that it’s been a big thing with her lately, playing “pregnant”. The teacher eyed me, probably trying to figure out if I were pregnant which would make more sense and so I made sure to tell her I didn’t know where it was coming from, and we went home. Where Faith continued to play pregnant, made her barbies be pregnant, and drew pictures of babies in bellies. So I decided to really blow her mind and showed her the video of her being born and she was FASCINATED. I asked her if she wanted me to have another baby and she said no, that she’ll just have one some day when she grows up a little bit and I could help her take care of it. I’m so proud of her. She wants to have a child, doesn’t care if she’s married, and she’ll make me take care of it. I must be doing something right in my child rearing duties!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Not long ago Jeff and I were looking through old pictures on the computer, click click click and we were transported back two years and three. There we sat, mouths hanging open as we viewed our children back then. James, bald, wide gummy smile. Faith, short curls, baby-face. The videos are more extreme, tiny voices that are now loud. Of course, in a few short years I’ll think that these are the tiny voices (hard to imagine) and that time has again back-handed me and left me stunned.

Chubby cheeks are starting to narrow, and short legs are lengthening. Diapers are non-existent and temperaments are well in place. I can hardly lift Faith without a verbal exclamation and James is much more boy than baby. I watched the videos and looked at the pictures wanting so badly for another baby, another tiny thing to feed and hold and be a BABY, but I know that another would quickly grow out of “baby” and into “kid” in lightning time.

I’m trying to make it last. I’m trying to keep our old habits. I swaddle them in towels and hold them in front of the mirror after the bath, something I started with Faith when she was just a wee thing. I sing the morning songs, the patience songs. I cuddle and carry and use our own language whenever possible, transforming hand to “hammy” and flip-flops to “clip-clops” and they are moving on when I refuse to.

It is obvious that each stage is a new wonder, a new sense that I must hang on to this, this right now, and wish forever for the memories to stay clear and never leave my ever-evolving mind. They are wondrous and aren’t I the lucky one to get to experience this? How silly it feels sometimes to complain about this small thing or that inconvenience when I have the privilege to watch them be.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

An Experience

I’m not quite sure what I was expecting. Something sad, I suppose. Old people, feeble-bodied and weak-minded, sitting listlessly around a bleak room, lonely and depressed. I figured they would all be sickly and incoherent. I’m not sure why I thought this way, but I suppose I had heard so many stories about the sadness of nursing homes from my in-laws that I expected the senior center I visited today to be the same.

It is part of the nursing program I’m in, a community service type of assignment. We spent some time with seniors today and we’ll go spend some time in an elementary school in a couple weeks. While I was looking forward to the elementary school (a little) I was sort of dreading today. So imagine my surprise, just ten minutes into my visit, when I thought to myself “this is awesome”.

The people I met were upbeat and energetic people. The woman I spent most of the day with, Wilma, was easily one of the most effervescent, witty, quick, charming people I’ve ever met. Her hands moved quickly with her crochet needle, her eyes easily picked up the mistake I made when she was trying to teach me, she had comebacks for every taunt thrown her way in record time. She is 86 years old. Her and another lady, who is 90 and proclaims that she is healthy as a horse, made easy jokes towards one of the only men at the center. They are both widowed but they don’t want “an old man”. Wilma was married for 57 years and her husband passed six years ago. She told me that they were very close and had he been alive she wouldn’t have been out at the center, but that it’s helped her a lot. It keeps her from looking at four walls all the time.

Wilma enjoyed me being her pet today and I didn’t want to leave her side even though the room was full of older people, all in their own groups, all full of hearty laughter. I laughed so much today that I felt my cheeks starting to hurt. Wilma reminded me of my grandmother, my father’s mother, who was quick like her, feisty, and would give those big, toothy, loud laughs when something amused her. I tried my hand at crocheting on a loom, and admired all of their handiwork, beautiful hats, scarves, blankets, afghans, quilts. All made with ancient hands and carefully stored away to be sold at a craft fair to raise money for the senior center. I told myself that I would be there and purchase Wilma’s Christmas quilt.

Every time my eyes met someone else’s I gave them a genuine smile and received one in return. Here were folks who had spent most of their lives, if not all, in North Georgia and spent their days at the same center with the same people and I could just feel a current shift by my presence. They were happy to see me. They wanted to tell me their stories, and hear mine. They were pleased to hear I was in nursing school and that I was a Christian. They were not stingy with common affection, touching my arm, patting my shoulder. They talked about the children at the local school where they sometimes go to read books with the first graders. They are proud of those children, praising their intelligence, as if they were their own. They would like Faith, I think, with her quiet manner and polite ways. They would like James, with his charming smile and his crinkly eyes.

It was time for me to go, it came by too quickly. I went to get my purse and had the director sign my paper saying that I had indeed spent time there, and as I walked back to Miss Wilma to say goodbye, I saw dismay in her eyes.

“Are you leaving, honey?” she asked.

“I am,” I replied with some sadness. “But I’d like to come back and see you again. May I?”

And she smiled and pulled me into a hug and kissed my cheek, said that of course I could, and then told me goodbye and that she loved me.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Riding Down the River

Somehow, it is the last day of August. My summer, which was filled with endless good intentions, has ended. Faith is in school, I am in school, we are all newly adjusted to our fall schedule and all is well, but man, I kind of wish summer had lasted just a LITTLE bit longer. It just seems like we didn’t get to play enough.

It is wonderful, however, to be able to open the windows for the first time in months without feeling like we’re suffocating from the heat and humidity.

In one last summer hurrah, Jeff and I and some friends went down the river. In what might be the most redneck mode of free entertainment, we basically just sit on inner tubes and ride them down the Chattahoochee. What would be a ten minute drive on back roads that parallel the river is a five hour ride on tubes. We take coolers full of drinks and food, and shove them into their own tubes, which we tie onto ours and we just sit back and let the river take us down a little farther south. We always bump into rocks, cover ourselves with bruises, and occasionally flip over when we try to navigate little rapids. We have sometimes lost the contents of our coolers and almost always lose our sunglasses. When the river is down we have to scoot along the more shallow areas and when the river is up we fly along in a more fun and terrifying ride. We always try to cover ourselves with sunscreen but most of the time we end up getting burned anyway. We always straggle out of the river at the bridge where we end our ride, dragging our tubes behind us, soaking wet, red, sore, and dehydrated, usually missing some article of clothing that we went in with.

It is one of the most fun things we do all year.

We always get into the Chattahoochee up near where we live in Northeast Georgia, where the river is clean, long before where it gets near Atlanta and is . . . not so clean anymore. Once on the river we occasionally see kayakers going by, but most of the time we are all alone in our little group. We’ll see houses sometimes, high on the banks, cabins isolated from the rest of the world. It is quiet and peaceful and tranquil. It feels like it is some part of nature untouched from the rest of the world and it’s our luck to be able to enjoy it. It’s several hours of the kind of fun you have when you’re a kid, just a thrill to be moving fast with the sun on your face, laughing until your sides hurt. It just makes me feel alive.

Now, it’s nearly fall, and the river will quickly get cold. And another year until the next river ride.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Too Much Booty In the Pants

Not too long after I had Faith, when I was still in that awkward time of being too small for my maternity clothes but too big for my pre-pregnancy clothes, I decided to start taking very small, very comfortable baby steps. Those tiny steps led the way to bigger leaps and one day, nine months post-partum, I was the most fit I had ever been in my life. I allowed photos to be taken of me in my swimsuit on vacation and didn’t want to burn them when I saw them later. I enjoyed shopping for clothes. I enjoyed having a level of energy that I didn’t have before.

Then there was James. I thought I would re-create the post-partum magic, and it was going well for awhile and then all of the sudden, it halted. There was a few pounds that I just couldn’t shake. Actually, no, it’s that I wouldn’t shake them. I just lost the drive. I lost the motivation. I started eating late at night, after the kids went to sleep because I enjoy eating and I enjoyed being able to do it without some sort of interruption. I started buying more junk. I stopped exercising. Anyone who does this knows that it’s very fast to start moving downhill. In no time I went from being about 6 pounds from my goal weight to 20.

Now the summer is almost over and the fact that I wasted much of it bemoaning my own lazy self has kicked me back into gear again. If that hadn’t of, then my nutrition class surely would have. One of our projects for the fall is a self health assessment, which I’m about halfway through with now. It’s an eye-opener, for sure. Even some of the time when I thought I was making healthier choices, I really wasn’t.

So here we go, baby steps again! Hello, treadmill. Hello, cauliflower. Goodbye, chips and queso (until the weekend that is).

Sunday, August 22, 2010

School Days

I am now already knee deep in my fall semester at school although it only started last week. Yet, I’ve already had nearly ten chapters to read, in several different books, and an essay to write.

Nursing school, I am predicting, is going to kick my ass.

I should have known from the start. We had an orientation that was like no other orientation that I’ve ever been a part of. It was an event that lasted all day long, with various faculty and former students taking turns and talking about the program, its difficulties, and how even though we would most certainly lose hope at times if we stuck with it then one day we would graduate. It wasn’t the most, ah, motivational thing I’ve ever heard. In fact, it was terrifying.

We ended up pairing up afterward, each first year student with a second year student (those who passed anyway), and my partner had some words of advice for me. I actually was making good notes, and got some surprisingly good study tips, and then the ax fell. I was told that after they spent four to five hours a day studying that their final grade was only a B.


I am a 4.0 student. I have made the effort to be a 4.0 student. I love having my GPA at what it is, I relish in being the dork who makes only A’s, I can’t help it, this is what I’ve become. And honestly, I need it. The state of Georgia has an excellent financial aid program that funds tuition for those who make the grades for it, and by crackity, I’m going to get my financial aid!

All the stress aside though, I must say I enjoyed looking through the syllabus. Whereas my other lab modules consisted of things like dissecting brains, kidneys, fetal pigs and the like, and occasionally examining the molecular structure of the basic cell, our first lab module included things like “making an occupied bed”, “giving baths”, “lifting a person”. Begin at the basics we did, and I actually had fun in lab.

I’m excited about this semester, and I’m not even going to pretend like I’m not. It is, however, going to be a lot of work. Here’s hoping I can get through it.

Monday, July 26, 2010


This summer my family has enjoyed the best of both worlds. We live in a comfortable and pleasant house in the mountains, in which the only pointed decision we made about where to place the furniture was where we could see the most mountains out of each window. Sprinkled throughout the summer were trips to the beach at Tybee Island, a surprisingly easy five hour trip from our door to the white screened creaky door at the sea blue beach house. Evenings spent here at home could be lounging on the swing in the back, watching the sun cast off peaches and lavenders over the creeping gray on the mountain tops. Evenings spent at the beach could be leaving our warm seats on the front porch under the lazy ceiling fan and walking over the boardwalk to the sand, to the surf, and watching the sun cast off golden pinks and dreamy blues, watching the moon rise over the ocean, seeing the lighthouse turn its light on for distant ships.

There have been countless sweet moments where I feel blessed. Truly blessed. Not luck. Not chance. BLESSED.

Seeing my happy, healthy children experience pure joy in life is the most I could ever ask for. Hallelujah.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Big Country

Before Jeff and I had children, we had talks about how we would raise them. Birthdays would be a big deal, we’d spoil them at Christmas but not too much, and we’d raise them in the country. We would give them a childhood much more like Jeff’s than mine.

Jeff and his sisters and cousins rode four-wheelers all over the place long before they could drive. They could ride their bikes down to the old country fill station without ever encountering a car. Hours spent outdoors far outnumbered hours spent in. I, on the other hand, lived in a condo in Decatur, Georgia. There was no yard, just a public grassy area that several condos surrounded. There were shootings down the road and only one neighbor we were friendly with and me being outside unsupervised just was not going to happen.

We could have chosen a happy medium and settled our family down into suburbia, where we lived before we moved up to the mountains, but staying a weekend up here and then going back down there . . . things quickly became clear for us. We couldn’t stand wasting our time in traffic, or paying too much money for a house that only looked out onto other houses. Driving through the towns meant seeing strip mall after strip mall, interspersed with chain grocery stores and industrial parks and buildings. When we first moved up here I constantly was amazed by the views that followed me everywhere I went, on daily errands, or gazing out of the kitchen window. Every night we are treated to sunsets that never cease to move me with their beauty, things I never seemed to see and appreciate before.

I’ve never once regretted giving up things and places to get those things in order to live out here in the mountains. We once said we’d much rather have a small house and acres of land rather than a huge house on a tiny lot. Now, we have a perfect sized home and we still get to experience North Georgia at its finest. Being a part of these tiny towns, with produce stands populating the sides of windy mountain roads, historic homes and buildings still being used for their original purpose, fields of farms housing old and aging red barns, it always feels like a blessing.

Just to be here.

Friday, July 2, 2010


My aunt is dying.

She is my mother’s brother’s wife and she has been dying for some time, I suppose. She was diagnosed with COPD some time back and has just been slowly sliding downhill ever since. Every once in awhile there has been a dramatic dip and a scary shift and every time we would wonder, is this it? Is it time? She would pull through, however, and go on in what is now her new normal. Her new normal is so sadly different from her old normal and I don’t she can reconcile the two and I don’t think she’s happy. We’re at that weird stage where we start to wonder what we’re even hoping for anymore.

It was like this with my grandmother, my mother’s mother, the first Faith. She was diagnosed with cancer, given six months to live and ended up making it for ten. Towards the end she viewed everything as a chore; eating, walking, sitting, talking. She told me that “this is not living” and, oh how I loved her and it made me happy to just breathe the same air as her, but I knew she should go and I knew that was what had to happen. It broke my heart, it eased my heart. It’s impossible to describe the overwhelming sadness but the slight relief it gave me when she passed.

I’ve been thinking of my grandmother a lot recently. This whole thing with my aunt is bringing up these old feelings and it is summertime, which makes me think of being with my grandmother in Savannah. It was always happy times with her. I was never bored; I never had to be constantly entertained with expensive toys or activities. Just me and my grandmother in her tiny house, going on walks, or running errands, playing checkers, reading books, doing crosswords, and talking. Always talking, all day long. Those were some of the easiest and happiest times growing up.

This never fails to hit me like a ton of bricks, this passing of time. It seems like there was never this life before Faith and James, yet there was. I was the child, my aunt was young and vibrant, my grandmother was healthy and alive and my friend, now time marches on and people start to drift out of life.
Yet the memories are there. I can only hope to pass some of those on to my children either by voice or by action. I can channel my Granny, laughing hard and deep and raspy, getting on the kids level, appreciating them, and appreciating little parts of life.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


The past couple of months have been surprisingly hectic. I thought that by no longer working and only having school that I would have so much more time, but . . . eh, not so much!

When I haven’t been delving into human anatomy and physiology, which is making my brain overheat and steam up a little with all the thoughts and memorization and conceptualizing of complicating miniscule processes, Jeff and I have been spending every free moment doing SOMETHING. We’ve been to Tybee Island a few times; we’ve spent weekends with friends and some with family. We’ve cleaned the garage and built a fence (I use “we” very loosely on these last couple of things) and I’ve studied and studied and so on and so forth. Occasionally I’ve absorbed some sun and spent some quality time with my new treadmill and there has been the junk food of the television world that I like to watch mindlessly while I check out of the real world for short periods of time.

Suddenly, it’s June. Gone is May, one of my favorite times of the year, and I have to try hard to remember parts of it though it is near enough behind me to still glimpse it in my rearview mirror. I want time to slow down a little bit. These are the last months before Faith is in pre-school, seriously this time around since last year was more of a trial run. I wanted this summer to go on and on since winter stole too much from us and I looked forward to sun-induced freckled skin and sweaty lower backs and seeing my children’s tiny legs skip in the grass while the sprinkler sprayed them. I wanted to laze in the yard on a lounge chair while the kids played “jenny and jeff” in their little house in the backyard. I wanted to read more books and listen to more music and write some of the trailing stories that have been knocking around my brain for the past few months.

Instead, I am learning about the human body and the understandably and amazingly interesting minute cellular processes of every small and large thing that we humans do. It boggles the mind and it takes up a lot of time. And while the sun is shining, I’m sitting in a classroom that has a breath-taking view of the north Georgia mountains, trying not to look outside for fear of my mind being captured and swept away into the blue yonder.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

No, I Don't Have Any Shame

My mom was talking to me on the phone yesterday and she asked what it was like to start this week by not going into work. I told her it felt wonderful but at the same time it was like I was forgetting to do something. It's an odd feeling, to not have to BE anywhere. One of my classes is finished for the semester and the other one is online so I don't have to be back in a classroom until the second week in May and until then . . . ho hum, diddle dee. I suppose I'll sweep the floors and play with the kids and read some history and RELISH EVERY SECOND OF NOT HAVING TO WORK!

The major drawback is, of course, not getting paid anything anymore. So there's that added guilt of wanting to get a pedicure this week and then wanting to show off those freshly polished toes in a new pair of taupe heeled sandals, which I've been eyeing online. I'm sadly up a few pounds and after dropping those in (hopefully) a couple weeks or so, I'd like to get a new pair of jeans. Or shorts. Or AND shorts. Unfortunately, I'm not actually contributing to the family bank account anymore so either I take some of the tax return and treat myself and play dumb (and sneaky) or . . . I owe Jeff some "favors". And no, I'm not above that.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


I quit my job. I walked into Dysfunction Junction one sunny day and gave my notice, telling them that I was making school my focus and I just wouldn't have the time to devote to work anymore. They were sad to see me go, but not angry, and offered me a place to come back to if I ever wanted to. Now it is Sunday evening and I don't have that grudgy feeling in the pit of my stomach. You know what I'm talking about.

I prayed for it. For the moment. For when Jeff would say, "Yeah, Jenny, we can swing this". For not spending my hours in a place that I didn't want to be. Now, for the first time my hours at school will be spent on a specific matter that I've invested myself in. I'm working towards a career and not a job. I'm so filled with purpose right now that it's a surprisingly easy feeling to incorporate into my life. I'm happier spending time with the kids, more patient as a tackle whatever incredibly important thing that they need me to at the moment, knowing that all my time will be distributed between things that I WANT it to be.

It's funny looking back on all the wants I've wanted this past year. There were some job opportunities I prayed for (begged God for is more like it) that didn't pan out. Now I see why. I wouldn't have been able to have those jobs and go to school. It's like I say "A-ha!" and a voice says "see?".

So I quit my job. Ever the Jenny I of course took off two weeks before summer semester starts. I need to have a little time off. Right?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Throw your hands in air, say oh-yayer

The past three years or so have been hard. We sold the house we loved and moved across the state. Since then we’ve had to live in places we didn’t want to and take jobs that we didn’t like. We were “past” those places, but forced to still exist in them. James was born in the midst of all this and the one bright and shining reason why I wouldn’t want to just entirely block the past three years out of my life.

And suddenly, the sun is shining. Everything is so bright that it’s like a straight blessing directed at us, showing us that good things come to those who wait, those who pray, those who have faith.

We live in this incredible house that’s already more than that, it’s already our home.

Jeff got a new job. It pays more money, he enjoys it more and he’ll have every weekend off.

I’m still at my job (still waiting on a miracle there) but something even better has happened. I got accepted into the nursing program. One out of 110 accepted out of 1000 that applied.

We have money in the bank. And clothes on our back. And plenty of food in the fridge. And finally, something shiny in the future.

Happy happy joy joy! (Ren and Stimpy throwback.)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Resolution

Right now I am drinking coffee, cozied in my completely pilled-up grandma-ish type sweater, and in my office! Or computer room, or the room where everything has gone that doesn’t yet have a place (hence a frightening mound of blinds that seems sort of dangerous to walk around). This room has a giant window that looks out towards farmland and right now it shows a world covered with snow. Here in the south, snow is quite infrequent so its arrival is A Very Big Deal. There is non-stop news footage of flurries, announcements of school closings before anything is even sticking, but I’m all for it. I missed work yesterday for the snow and ended up spending half of the day in my pajamas getting caught up with my television habits and apparently that was exhausting enough a task to warrant a two hour nap with James later. I am ashamed of my laziness.


So, nine days into the new year and I’m finally going to write a few words about it. I am not a resolutions type of person really. I make wide generalizations that leave much room for interpretation or error, things like “be a better person” which, really, is rather silly. Does that mean to give to the homeless or not yell as much or do twenty more sit-ups? I don’t know. So I got a little more specific this year.

You see, there are things about my life that I don’t really like, even though I love my life. I don’t like having to work, obviously, and I don’t like the struggles with money and the predictable pitfalls of having both cars suddenly give out or some other technical difficulty that really screws with day-to-day life. However, I can deal with all that. I can make the best of it. What really bothers me at those moments where I get all mopey and melancholy is how I’ve spent my time. I see other people (or read about them) who have work and kids also but also spend time devoted to fitness, or some other hobby. Women who actually make real dinners and go shopping for bargains and read books and throw parties. Women who take their kids to the park, museum, restaurants, home to make crafts. Women who take the time to WRITE.

I suppose my resolution is this – take the time, or make the time, for the things I love. Stop doing just enough to muddle through the day, stop doing just enough to keep up with the house, keep the kids fed and clean and then the day is over. Do more, or do it better, or whatever it may be.