Idle Thoughts

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Mood: sinking
Music: Fuel - Hemorrhage; Deftones - Change

I didn't write on the 2nd anniversary of my father's death. There was nothing to say that I hadn't said before. The same hamsters on the same wheels, turning and still getting nowhere but perhaps feeling cheated and angry and ...well, grieving. I'm tired of my own grief, in a way, but can't let it go. Can't let him go. We had him cremated and his ashes divided in two for my sister and I, because neither of us could bear to put him in the cold, cold February ground. Half of Daddy sits in a handsome urn on my bookshelf, where I pass it every day and know that I'm still not ready to let him go. Pain and a solid stubborn streak make for strong cement.

I didn't write on my 37th birthday, either. I'm not upset about being 37. Granted, there's a tiny part of me (probably my mother's voice) that whispers "only three years from 40 now", but there's a bigger part of me that looks over her shoulder at the first voice and says snidely "Yep, and I still won't have grown up". I think my refusal to act my age is my way of exacting revenge on my mother. There is a dark core of me that is far older than it has a right to be; forced into old age and cynicism. But on the outside - I look far younger than my mother did when she was my age; probably because she smokes and insisted on sun(baking)bathing. Now, and I hate to say this, she looks nearly as old as her own mother, and her skin looks leathery to me.

I'm not a high-maintenance girl. My face is lucky to see moisturizer once a month, I don't wear makeup most of the time, and it just seems silly to me to be so wrapped up in creams and lotions and such. I admit to a certain amount of vanity, though. I mean, I wouldn't go out to dinner without putting on makeup. But I'm not particularly fussy. I cut and color my own hair, straighten it with a flat iron now and then if we're going out, and call it good enough. I'm just not into spending much of my life in front of a mirror.

I have to laugh - I just remembered a visit to my mother's where she just gushed that I had to try this new face stuff she'd found. I let her drag me into the bathroom, where she applied this lotion and then looked at me expectantly. At first, there was nothing...until a tingle started..and then a burn..and then my face was melting. Seriously, that's what it felt like (it burns! it burns!). I grabbed a cloth and washed it off, and Mom looked disappointed. She chided me for being silly, saying it couldn't have been that bad. The woman just doesn't get it - she's totally a different skin type and tone than me. I'm a redhead with sensitive opposed to her tougher (hide) skin.

Ugh. I'm starting to sound mean-spirited, and I don't like it. Not where Mom is concerned. I know we have vast differences, but she's the only parent I have left, and I really do love her. Deity bless her, but she tried as hard as she could to make me into a kinder, gentler woman. It's not her fault that I turned out not to be the daughter of her dreams. And I really shouldn't antagonize her; I have a knack for being blunt, and some wicked little girl in me just loves to shock her with life's little truths. That little girl hates the rose-colored glasses Mom has lived her life behind and pounces at the chance to pierce them with a little reality. But then I feel bad, because Mom is who she is, and at the end of the day, I love her and wouldn't change her for the world. She is my balance - the Pollyanna to my Eeyore.

Of course, I could never shatter her illusions once and for all with the truth of the past. I just couldn't do that to her; though I strongly suspect she'd go so far into denial as to accuse me of lying. Then our relationship, such as it is, would be gone. That is not acceptable. As much as I'm loathe to admit it...I need my Mom.

Well. If this descent into the black was a game of Shoots N Ladders, that would have been a water slide. Oh, hell.

Now I miss my sister, too. I don't ever seem to get to talk to her. I don't get emails from her, except when her kids have gift lists to pass around. Sounds awful, doesn't it? Well it is. She and I used to be very close, and I miss that terribly. I don't know why the silence from her; she isn't upset with me that I know of, and when I finally do manage to get ahold of her on the phone, she sounds tired but glad to hear from me. *sigh* Life's too damned short for this shit. Didn't she learn anything from Dad's death?

Bleh. BLEH, I say.

File this under A for apathy, B for bleh, C for cynicism, D for disgust, and E for ....hmm...F for fuck it.


Monday, February 02, 2009

Mood: Retrospective
Music: none

Ten years ago today, I was in a car accident.

I was four months pregnant with my second child at the time. My then 2-year-old daughter was in her car seat in the back. Fortunately, the girls were both okay. Aside from losing consciousness for a few minutes, some whiplash, and some other issues with my back that still nag from time to time, I was physically okay, too. We were lucky - it could have been far, far worse.

Looking back, I have a half-formed idea in my head of a sort of parallel between the situation in which the accident occurred, and my life at the time. A sort of overlay on the whole thing.

It was a Tuesday afternoon. I was working for H&R Block, and had an evening shift since we were also living in and managing a small motel in Erie (we lived in the house on the grounds). It was payday at HRB, and I was going to go pick up my sister in one direction before heading the other direction to the office to pick up my check, go to the bank, and take her out to lunch.

I was trying to pull out of the motel parking lot. Where it was situated, there was an intersection to the right, and the right turn lane began just after the driveway. It was a fairly busy time of day, and I was trying to make a left turn. This meant crossing two eastbound lanes of traffic to enter the other two westbound lanes. Not fun even when it's not lunch hour.

The light had turned red, and I had been watching up along the line of traffic to a banked curve, where I had a nice view of both oncoming lanes (to my left). A white van had stopped just before the driveway to leave me room to get out, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw him motioning. I glanced to see him waving me around, indicating I could pull out and make my turn.

I nodded, turned my head to look left again (habit), and saw a little green car coming up the shoulder right at me! The dumbass was trying to cut up along the shoulder (and across the driveway, where I was sitting) to get to the right turn lane. Well, the van driver had given me the all clear, I could still see the curve beyond the green car and it was clear, so rather than get hit by the green car, I pulled out. Mind you, this all happened in the space of seconds.

I pulled out and heard the single most horrendous sound I've ever heard in my life, accompanied by another sound that took me a second to recognize - my own scream. It took seeing the white hood of my car come up in front of my windshield (it had folded) for me to realize I'd just been plowed into. After that, it was in slow motion and silent - the hood of the car lowering and the blue Ford F250 that had hit me coming into view as our cars bounced back a bit, the slow, slow skid as his momentum carried us a few feet, the odd little hop of the truck body up, then down as it came to a stop.

And then suddenly, everything was at normal speed and terribly loud. I could hear the engine of my car revved up, roaring like it was redlining. I distinctly remember thinking "That's not a good sound for it to make" and reaching up to shut it off. I shut it off, dropped my hand away from the ignition, and that's the last thing I remember until a young guy, probably in his early 20s, managed to pry open the door on the passenger side about a foot and squeeze in beside me. I looked around, and there was chaos everywhere - fire trucks, an ambulance, people in yellow firecoats all over the place. And I was stunned. But it didn't occur to me at that point to really wonder where they'd all come from, or how long it had taken them all to get there.

This guy starts asking me questions, starting with "are you okay?" and I just automatically nodded out of habit, not really having figured that part out yet, or even bothered to wonder about it myself. He asked me if I'd lost consciousness and I said no. It wasn't until later that I realized that I obviously had, and didn't realize it. I think by this time, I was probably in a bit of shock, because everything had a sort of surreal, dreamlike quality to it.

A fireman managed to open the driver's side door and asked me if I was okay, and I said "I think so" and my hand automatically dropped to my belly - I was 4 months pregnant, not to the obviously showing part yet. His eyes got big and he asked if I was pregnant and I told him yes. Well, after that, everybody freaked out. They wanted me to go to the hospital. In the meantime, mention of the pregnancy had reminded me that my 2 year old was in the back seat behind me (she'd been quiet this whole time), and I was a bit alarmed, trying to get turned around to see if she was okay, and the EMS folks were alarmed, trying to get me to go to the hospital. Chaos for a bit.

I got turned around, and there was a woman who looked remarkably like my aunt talking to my daughter. My daughter was absolutely fine - she wasn't upset at all! She was chattering away at this woman, laughing and smiling as though nothing had happened! I was utterly relieved, and SO grateful that this woman (who was part of the ambulance crew) had thought to check on her and keep her occupied and calm (while I was pretty much a zombie).

Well, they made me sign a form that I refused to go to the hospital. I would have gone, but what would I have done with my daughter? My husband at the time was out with my sister's husband, looking for a part for a car they were fixing. I couldn't very well leave my daughter unsupervised, and I would have worried about where she was if anyone offered to watch her while I went to the ER. So, I didn't go, but made promises that I would go see my doctor. Which I did (be proud of me).

Anyway, things seemed okay. So then they had me get out of the car so they could move it back out of the road. I did, and was standing off to the side with a couple of the firefighters as another bunch of them pulled the vehicles apart (the truck had actually ridden up onto my car a bit, so I think there was a tow truck pulling on the truck). I was fine, until they got the vehicles apart and I saw what was left of my car. That's when I fell apart. I was hysterical. I was hyperventilating and kept saying "oh my god, my husband's going to kill me" and "oh my god, my car!". I was starting to lose the ability to stand up, and the guys sorta dragged me over to sit on the porch, and that wonderfully helpful woman came over and helped me calm down. Bless her!

Well, after that, they were making arrangements to tow the car. They were chaining it up to a truck, and I had to get stuff out of the car. My daughter was still in the car seat, since we all agreed she'd be safer there than running around the scene. I was in shock. Trying to think of what was important enough to get out of there. My husband's tile tools were in there - he couldn't work without them. And if you've ever been in an accident, you know that every single item that is under the seats comes out. And you find yourself with a hell of a lot more stuff than you ever dreamed was in your car.

So I'm sorting through this stuff, taking things out and shuffling over to the porch with them. I lean into the passenger side back seat and am gathering things when someone starts unbuckling my daughter. I start objecting, saying "Hey! Leave her there!", and by the time I get my head up, my voice dies away and I'm washed with a feeling of utter relief. It was my husband. I immediately said "I'm sorry". (yeah, yeah, I know)

He asked why they were getting the car ready to haul away, and I told him they were taking it to some yard somewhere. He said "Hun, we run this place. The car can sit in the back corner of the parking lot for now." I blinked, then yelled at the salvage people "Hey! Unhook this thing!". I felt like they'd been trying to take advantage of me, despite the fact they had no way of knowing it was okay to leave the car there.

So anyway, that was the accident itself. Then the trips to the doctor, the chiropractor, etc. We were moving to NC in a month, and were down to one vehicle. I went to work that same night of the accident, even though I couldn't stop shaking. Dressed up in my office attire, shaking like a leaf, doing taxes. I'm an idiot.

The thing that catches me now, though, is that at the time, we were planning on moving to NC. Tile jobs were few and far between for the ex. We had come back to PA for a year, after living in NC a year, and now were headed back to NC again.

PA or NC. The green car or what's beyond the white van. Either choice, you end up smashed, but at least the path of the van had odds of being clear. And that's sort of how we viewed the move to NC. We were barely surviving in PA, and NC held the chance that the ex would be able to find work. The coastal area is huge for building, and they put a lot of tile in those big beach houses. But there were no guarantees.

Fortunately, NC worked out better than what lay beyond the white van! We still ended up 'smashed' was November 4 of that same year that I began the process of getting away from him. By April of the next year, I was on my own with a 3 year old and a baby. Maybe the accident was part of what made me reevaluate things, I don't know.

After about a year, I met my current husband, and about 8 months after that, moved to where I am now. For the first time in my life, I've lived in one house for more than 2 years. I've lived here for 7-1/2 years now, and while the place has seemingly shrunk as our family has's home.

And the driveway is far from a busy intersection.

Shaggy Loop Bracelet

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Well, here is the second bracelet in my jewelry-making attempts. This is a design called "shaggy loops", as all the outer rings are connected at only one point, making them sprawl and dangle freely from the core of the chain. This seems to make a beautiful chain that shifts a bit with movement and catches a lot of light.

There's just no way the picture does it justice! This one took about 212 rings for an 8-inch bracelet. Again, the rings are 20-gauge 4mm gold-plated. This one just might be something I keep for myself. *big grin*

The First

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Well, I just finished my first bracelet in my new chain-making hobby. The result is pictured. I used four different colors of rings, all 4mm and approximately 20-gauge. The silver and black are aluminum, the green is anodized nobium, and the gold ones are gold plated.

My daughters love it, and I might let the oldest wear it to middle school to see if there's any interest there for further pieces. Middle schoolers are forever hopping on fads, and it would be kinda cool to have my stuff be one of them for a bit. Not to mention potentially profitable.

I've got more rings coming, and am already shopping for my next batch after that. I think I like working with color an awful lot. Of course, I plan to eventually work my way into precious metals, but that won't be for a while yet. I have much to learn in both technique and theory. But I'm quite fired up about it at the moment! :)

Pacing My Cage

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Need: basic, primal, urgent,

Male: skin, scent, power,

Female: soft, sweet, yield,

Together: desire, savage, raw,

Prize: calm, safe, peace,

Denial: frustration, futility, insanity,


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mood: pretty decent
Music: Evanescence - Anything for You

Can you tell I hate coming up with blog post titles?

Well, Christmas went well. A couple days before, I had this wonderful sense of peace and calm. A rare gift at any time of year, and absolutely unheard of during the holidays. I was happy with the gifts I'd gotten everyone, and didn't care that hubby kept saying he felt bad that I wasn't getting much this year. It just didn't matter to me (still doesn't). I had finished the afghan for my mother (she loves it), and I actually got everything wrapped on the 23rd. Christmas Eve was, for once, not spent wrapping gifts at the last minute. Amazing!

After all was said and done, and the girls were picked up by their dad, Mom and hubby and I sat around Mom's kitchen table and talked. The topic turned to Dad, and Mom brought up that she still wanted to talk to Dad's second wife, who was there when Dad died (she was renting a room from Dad and his girlfriend). Mom said she couldn't understand why the second wife (let's call her V), who was a nurse's aid for years, let Dad go 24 hours complaining of chest and arm pain and not feeling well before he died.

My jaw hit the floor, I think. That's not at all what I'd been told by V about Dad's death. I'd been told it had been pretty sudden. She lied to me, and I won't even go into what that's done to my opinion of her. She's made it to the Unforgiven list, let's just leave it at that.

To think that V should have recognized the signs and either didn't or ignored them.... I'm speechless. Come on, ask anyone what the symptoms of a heart attack are and one of the first things they'll tell you is chest pain, and right behind that is pain radiating down one or both arms. I can't help but think that Dad would be alive right now if V had gotten him help. He'd never had any more trouble than high blood pressure, which he was taking medication for. I think nowadays men are more likely to survive a first heart attack than not. If I felt cheated before, that's nothing to how I feel now. the same time, knowing this doesn't bring him back. I can be angry and upset and hurt all over again, but...he's still gone. I don't know if that helps or not. In a way, I'm angry that it doesn't change anything. I mean, shouldn't he get a do-over or something? It's not fair. It's just not fair....

*takes a break to compose herself*

Okay. That was painful. But on to better news. I get the girls back from their dad today! I miss them so much; the house is just too quiet without them. And little man misses them terribly, too. He wouldn't go to bed Christmas night - he told me he was waiting for the girls to get home. I finally, at about 2:30am, got him to understand that they wouldn't be home for a few days, and he went to bed. He wasn't happy, but he slept. He's been asking about them every day since then, and when he found out last night that they are coming home today, he was thrilled. This morning I was greeted with "Good morning, Mommy! We go get the girls? I get my shoes!". Hated to tell him we don't leave until this afternoon, the little guy is so excited.

Well, I should fix some lunch and get ready to hit the road. Two and a 1/4 hour drive this time, since the ex doesn't seem to have the gas money to meet me halfway. So, I get to meet his girlfriend on her way to work, about 30 minutes away from their house, toward our house. Lovely. Don't get me started on his girlfriend, she pokes her nose in where it doesn't belong far too often, and one of these days I'm just gonna lay her out.

Damn, that thought makes me smile.

Pluggin' Along

Monday, December 22, 2008

Mood: neutral-to-good
Music: Seether - Rise Above This

It's one of those days where I'm just plugging along and puttering around. Playing a little Holy War, listening to some music, and waiting to get over this stupid congestion that's taken up residence in my chest. So not amusing - I've filed eviction papers, but you know that takes forever... *chuckles*

Being sick isn't fun, per se, but it can get interesting when your defenses are down a bit and things come to play. Little crawly things that speed around at the edges of vision, darting for cover when I turn my head. Fear and paranoia that are not my own, but thrust upon me from some outside source. I'm not amused by that, either, but at least it seems to have stopped.

So. It's three days to Christmas and I have nothing wrapped, and still have shopping to do. Nothing new there. I'm supposed to take the kids shopping so they can buy presents for people. I'm supposed to bake a gazillion Christmas cookies. that one might get done, since I've had a vicious craving for sugar cookies for days now. And not just any sugar cookies, but the ones we used to make in my mom's little pie shoppe/restaurant. Incredibly yummy. I'd share the recipe, but I'm not allowed - family recipe, proprietary info, etc. So, I'll just make a batch and think of all my friends while I eat every delicious morsel. *wicked laughter*

On a more sober note, my cousin is supposed to get test results back today - they did a biopsy and a scan of what they suspect is a tumor on his chest. Mom says that he could be in surgery before Christmas if it comes back as malignant. Scary stuff - he's one year younger than me. We grew up together, a set of four cousins; he and his brother, and my sister and me. Our mothers are sisters, and it seems our families were always together. In any case, I'm crossing my fingers for him.

And on goes the day, just plugging along....

Cleaning up the blog

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mood: industrious
Music: the backyardigans (on TV)

Well, I've spent some time converting my old template from HTML to XML, and am in the process of doing little tweaks. I tried lining the header up with the body, mostly because some part of me said it must be aligned, and decided I didn't like it that way. Since I'm unconventional to begin with, this way suits me just fine. ::grins::

So anyway, I was going through my comments, weeding out the bits of spam, and I discovered a comment from 2005 that really surprised me. Well, the comment didn't surprise as much as the author did. Back in 2005, I had no idea who Gena Showalter was, and read the comment without giving it a thought other than "why, thank you". Now, though, I know who she is, having recently read her Lords of the Underworld series (which is great, by the way - go read it!). You can find her blog here.

How cool is that? ::happy dance::

On a sadder note, I discovered that one of the people I regularly communicated with in the blogosphere seems to have disappeared. His blog has sat inactive since 2006. Of course, I can completely relate - the whirlwind of life just has a way of picking you up and tossing you to places where blogging is the last thing on your mind or what you have time for. So, I hold out hope that he'll return, much the way I keep doing.

I have again come to the conclusion that my blogging is mostly for my own amusement, and that putting that into some narrow topic like all the blogging 'experts' recommend is counter-productive for me. I am eclectic, and my blog reflects that. Works for me. ::smiles::

Time to go play with some more of the new Blogger toys that didn't work with the HTML!

Happy Frippin' Holidays

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's been ages since I wrote last, I know. But I had decided to let this blog just die out, like so many before it. Don't ask why I do that. I don't have the answer, and maybe it really doesn't matter in the long run.

I do know that I only seem to write when things are bad. I can't really write cheerful, perky crap. It's just not me. And I write best when it comes from somewhere deep, and the only time I get to that deep place is when something forces the lock on that door open. Because it is usually firmly locked, to keep That Which Must Not Win from consuming me entirely.

Anyway, back to the topic of this poor excuse of a post.

We put the Christmas tree up today. I do this with some reluctance in these years since Grandma died on Christmas morning. I used to love Christmas. Now, I endure it. I hope someday I come to a place where Christmas will let me remember her with love and fondness, rather than with pain and sorrow.

So anyway, while we were putting up the artificial tree (I dislike real ones), I had Dad in the back of my mind. He and I used to assemble our family's tree together when I was a kid. So there's the subconscious weight of Dad's memory in my head, and the three strange dreams I had this morning are still rippling the waters of my mind, and the girls won't stop bickering. I mean -constantly- at each other. And then daughter 12 told daughter 9 that their stepdad doesn't control her actions. And I blew up at her. I told her that as long as she lives in this house, and until she is old enough to support herself and be on her own, we WILL be controlling her actions. And if she chooses to demonstrate that she can be responsible and mature, she will be given more control over her own life. But until then, she can empty the damned dishwasher like she's told!

Well, that settled down a bit, and I went back to putting lights on the tree while the girls continued to bicker over the dishes. Finally, lights on tree, dishes done, I told the girls they could now decorate the tree. I came back to my computer and was checking on Holy War stuff, when I heard a small thud combined with the soft sound of fine glass breaking.

Little man, age 4, had gotten past the girls to 'help', and had dropped a large hand-blown glass ornament that was still in its box, and the ornament had broken. I got up and took the box, and couldn't say anything for the tears rolling down my cheeks.

Dad had given me that ornament, years and years ago.

That ornament had survived three 800-mile moves between PA and NC, plenty of shorter moves, years of being put on the tree, and several cat-induced tree tipovers. And in the blink of a four year old's eye, the slip of his fingers, the short drop to the ground from his's gone.

And he's too little to understand the blow he's dealt to his mother's grieving heart, and why.


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Finally. After what has become a blurry length of time.....a peaceful night's sleep. Dreamless. Restful.

I woke this morning feeling not so much like a new person, but like a person who has been granted some sort of reprieve - like someone covered the spikes in the bed for one night. I don't feel tormented and confused this morning. A little fragile, yes, but the kind that will solidify if given the chance.

My body feels different. I didn't realize I was carrying around that much tension, but the absence of it is astonishingly noticeable. I move freely. I realize now that I had been walking around as though something hurt inside. I guess it did, but I didn't figure it was that severe. Now, not having that stiff, careful quality to my movements...I feel almost like dancing.

But for now, I just want to sit here and take stock of things and enjoy the liberated feeling. At least until I have to start dealing with the things I stopped tending to during all this. I think I can do that, though, with this sun that has come out from behind those big, dark clouds.