Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A quick update

Maureen came through surgery like a champ. The surgeon wasn't able to perform the various procedures due to the wonky nature of the carcinoid. A biopsy was done and sent to pathology. I haven't heard the results at this time.
At this point it's a matter of recovery from this surgery and consult with the oncologist team at Loyola to make a new plan of action. The abdominal mass, in essence, needs to be reduced in size so the other surgical procedures can be done. If I understand correctly, the carcinoid has a webbing effect and was leeched on to vital vessels, intestines and bowel. So, removing a large portion could lead to severe bleeding and compromise Maureen's stability while under anesthesia. The surgeon made a 2+ hour attempt to remove it without jeopardizing Maureen's health and internal organs.

I spoke with Maureen today and, although groggy, she sounded as well as can be expected. If she's able to pass the tests posed to her by her doctors and nursing staff, we expect she'll come home Thursday. I wish I had more definitive answers. I can only ask that God's divine intervention and Almighty powerful healing hands will blast out this carcinoid so she's able to live a long, productive life.
May the surgeons and doctors find the perfect treatment for her. I pray, you pray, we all pray. Thanks to all of you who have joined in as a prayer warrior for Maureen and our family. I sincerely feel the power of your words. I personally have emotional peace and a calm that I don't normally have in stressful times. That's not to say I'm not scared or concerned. I am. I'm terrified. I'd be lying to say otherwise. But I'm managing to find the words to give some comfort to my nephew and myself.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Prayers be with her

This is not a frivolous post. I implore anyone who reads this, regardless of your religious beliefs, to pray. If you're not one for praying, then send positive energy into the universe. My sister Maureen is undergoing a serious surgery tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. Loyola University Hospital.
The surgery is expected to last 3-5 hours. She'll have a tumor removed that is the size of a large grapefruit. It has compromised one of her kidneys. Therefore, they will remove the damaged one. In addition they will attempt to give her a hysterectomy. Due to excessive scar tissue this may not be possible. Depending on the damage within, she may require a colostomy.
Her liver, heart, lungs are all healthy. They don't anticipate any serious problems, but during the initial discussion of the surgery they had to give the run down of the possible things that could go wrong. Even when it's a million to one chance, they have to disclose the risk ... even death.
When I first heard that word I went into a panic. I knew I couldn't hide the fear on my face when I looked to my sister in that examining room. That single word has hung around in the back of my mind ever since. I continue to pray that all negative thought will diminish.

It's a lot to take in right now. I've kept myself busy and tried not to think about anything other than her healing. Currently, I can't even discuss it without bursting into tears. It's difficult to always look to the bright side when a loved one faces such a traumatic, lengthy, multi-tiered operation. Putting my faith solely in others truly tests my faith; yet, my faith that God will bring her through this is unshaken. I know Maureen's faith is strong. She simply wants to get this done so she can get on with recovery.

She and her two sons have been through so much already. In early June their father tragically took his own life. It's too much to fathom. Prayers are required even if you've never considered yourself a praying person. My sister is many things to many people. She's always ready with a kind word and compassion for those she meets. Even if she wasn't my sister I would hope she'd be my best friend (and she is.)
So, you might be asking, "what should I pray for in this case?" Please pray that Maureen's system will take the anesthesiology for the duration of the surgery. Please pray that the doctors will be at the top of their game. Pray that the entire team will have restful sleep so they can give Maureen the best of care. Ask that those of us waiting on pins and needles will manage to remain calm and give each other comfort. Pray that everything will go smoothly and recovery will be swift and without incident ... just pray.
Thank you. I believe in the power of prayer.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thievin' Thursday

I totally lifted this from my pally Jane aka Citizenjaney aka Suburban Diva. Color me lazy. Call me irresponsible. Call me any of the following names ...

Let's play the Name Game, y'all!

1. Rock Star Name
(first pet; current car)
Kitty Saturn

2. Gangster Name
(favorite ice cream flavor; favorite style of shoe)
Chunky Monkey Mule

3. Native American Name
(favorite color; favorite animal)
Pink Tiger

4. Soap Opera Name
(middle name; place of birth)
Lynn Kankakee

5. Star Wars Name
(first 3 letters of second name; first two of first name)

6. Superhero Name
(2nd favorite color; favorite drink)
Periwinkle Margarita

7. NASCAR Name
(first names of grandfathers)
Eugene Charles

8. Exotic Dancer Name
(favorite perfume/scent; favorite "candy")
Snuggle Cherry Ball

9. Newscaster name
(Fifth grade teacher’s last name; major city beginning with same letter)
Whitaker Warsaw

10. Spy name
(favorite flower; favorite season/holiday)
Daisy Fall

11. Cartoon name
(favorite fruit; article of clothing you are wearing now)
Mango Jammy Bottoms

12. Hippie Name
(what you ate for breakfast; favorite tree)
Nada Dogwood

13. Movie Star Name
(first pet’s name; first street where you lived)
Chi-Chi Evergreen

Monday, August 18, 2008

Signed, sealed, delivered!

Part 3 in a series of however long it takes me to finish

I'm about to tell you another fantastical aspect that helped make my birthday week a banner seven day stretch (and it keeps getting better) was what occurred when I texted a friend and former boss about my date. Whew! That's a winded sentence.

The date guy, who shall be referred to as Sum Yung Guy -- SYG for short -- transferred to another location shortly after working with me. I had nothing to do with that, by the way. Another store closer to his home needed a lab technician with experience and we really didn't have the hours to give. My former boss had transferred there, I believe, shortly before that. Former boss, KC, and I got along swimmingly. He called me his right hand. He nicknamed me jukebox and often dropped a quarter in my pocket to encourage me to sing a song. We've remained in contact.

First let me say that he was surprised; yet, happy to hear that SYG asked me out. He's a decent dude and everybody knows this girl needs more fun in her life. In our text exchanges, KC asked how things were at work. I let him in on how I really felt and with that he inquired if I'd consider coming to his store. His store would tack on 20 minutes of driving time. Right now I can get to work in 15 minutes. Gas prices are dropping, but as we all know that's prone to inconsistency. I'm having a hard time making ends meet now. The additional fuel expense could be troubling.

I asked if he was serious about the offer. He replied, "yes." I asked if my being in a musical would be a problem. He said he would work around my rehearsal schedule. It seems the planets were aligned.

We spoke later that day and he told me he talked to his general manager and our regional quality coordinator (he over sees the labs.) Both were in agreement to allow my transfer. The ball was in my court to truly consider the pros and cons. I've been unbearably unhappy with my work location for quite some time. Blame personality conflicts or whatever. I won't go into great detail, but there is need for a major change. And since the primary change that needs to happen seems to be ignored like the 800 pound gorilla, I decided this 5'10" homosapien female would do the moving.

I slept on my decision to see if I woke without angst feelings. I discussed with SYG the conditions of the potential transfer location. There's new management now. Even if there are problems, they are new problems to me. Quite possibly I'd be oblivious to their existence. My biggest issue where I am currently is the lack of encouragement, positivity, accountability and strength in leadership. Maybe it's just me. Perhaps I am the one with the problem. If that's the case I will quickly arrive at that conclusion when I get to where I'm going.

When I discussed my decision with my current lab manager (who has nothing to do with my desire to get out of there), he was very encouraging and thanked me for my hard work. He stated he would do nothing to stand in my way, but asked that I give him time to hire a new associate. I said I would as long as they didn't drag their feet, but a time limit needed to be set. I felt the week of Labor Day was fair.

He immediately set out to get my transfer paperwork in order. He called the general manager of my current store to the office to tell her. She quickly handed him applications on file. The ball was rolling. In my private conference with my lab manager, I asked that a big deal not be made over this in regards to telling people. I have my reasons for leaving and I didn't want drama to ensue.

I have to say I'm overwhelmed with the sadness about my departure. I've been told in the not so distant past that when I'm not around there is a lack of levity and joy. In many respects I wish I didn't have such an impact, but on the other hand, this might be the loss that makes the powers that be stand up and take notice with greater seriousness. I doubt it, but one can hope.

My personal happiness can no longer be ignored for the sake of others. I considered no one in this other than Man-cub and myself. It's hard for me to do that. I know I might fall flat on my arse with this move, but at least I'm falling knowing I tried rather than hiding in the shadows of fear ... and never knowing what might have been.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The roar of the greasepaint; the smell of the crowd

Part 2 in a series of however long it takes me to finish

There are fundamental things about me that you should know:

1) I am insecure as hell.

2) I laugh when in an uncomfortable situation -- rely on comedy to rescue me.

3) I will always love music and singing.

4) When I'm comfortable, I'm totally opposite of the woman you initially met. Call me Eve or Sybil.
Because of those basic aspects of my personality, I love to be on stage. For me, life has footlights, receptive audiences, an interesting supporting cast and eventually a curtain call ... let's hope the latter doesn't come for a long time.
While having lunch with my family on my birthday, I was encouraged to audition for our local theater company's fall musical: STATE FAIR (Kankakee Valley Theatre Association - KVTA.) The problem was that I was already scheduled to work during the first night of auditions and I had a date for the second night. I didn't want to lose out on a chance to return to the most cathartic thing I can do for myself. My niece, Amanda, is the choreographer for the show clued me in that she thought the director would welcome my presence and grant me an one on one audition. She gave me the director's email and arrangements were made for a Saturday morning audition. The director informed me that I wouldn't be considered for a primary role, but welcomed "your bubbly personality." Being known for bubbly and outgoing gives me a great sense of inner joy. However, not being in consideration for an actual role ate away at me. I had two choices: Cancel my date for Friday and hope he understood. Or, ask to leave work early using the threat that my healthy state of mind would benefit everybody. I chose the latter and risked losing a part to spend time with the gentleman who wanted to dine with me.
It really seemed that things were going in my favor the week of August 10-16. After having such a dismal and disappointing summer of '08, I deserved positivity. I try to put good vibes into the universe. Friends and family remind me that I'll get what's due to me in the long run. Me thinks the week setting off my 43rd year is a brilliant reminder that good things come to those who pray.
... more to come on both the audition and the date.

Lydia, I know you hate cliff hangers. Sorry, love.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Banner Week at Casa Marissa

Part 1 in a series of however long it takes me to finish

Wow! Where do I begin?

Let's start with the calendar beginning of the week. August 10. My sister Maureen's birthday. That in itself is a great beginning for a seven day stretch. Celebrating the anniversary of the birth of a loved one is always fantastic!

Unfortunately, I had to work that day. That aspect sort of wreaked, but I trudged through and ended the very busy business day with a bang! At the time I didn't think it was potential TNT.

While making eye wear I was alerted that I had a phone call. Man-cub had already called a couple of times as he was stressing about the computer getting pop-up warnings from McAfee or inquiring about what could be consumed for lunch. I answered hurriedly and mildly agitated (making eyeglasses under a time limit will do that.) The voice on the other line was not that of my offspring. A voice from the not so distant past chimed musically to my ears. A former co-worker -- short-term -- was calling from his new place of employment. Same line of work; different company.

It's not unusual to get an occasional call from a competitor. There are times when customer service requires flirting with the enemy to get the job done. This call had absolutely nothing to do with professional courtesy. Yet, flirting was involved.
WAIT! I had glasses to make in an hour and I had no time for this giggling, hair tossing and eyelash batting.

I told my gentleman caller that although I was really happy, bordering on ecstatic, to hear from him, I had no time for casual chatter. He accepted my apology and understood completely. He also asked if he might call me later. "Sure. Would you like my home phone number?"

Right. Another DUH! moment for Marissa. To be fully truthful, I have always flirted with this guy. So that portion of the call wasn't really unusual. Even when it was a professional call we flirted innocently. He had a girlfriend; I have the freedom and natural ability to flirt. Go me! **such a natural ability gets me no where fast, by the way.

The phone rang. His promise of call later meant what it usually does. Take notes AsshatRunningMan. I digress.

Throughout the call he asked about me. Listened when I spoke. I even let him talk! I was most impressed by the fact he had recollection about things we discussed in our short (2 week) period of working together. Anyone who can remember items from my blathering pool is always aces in my book.

In the time between the work call and the call at home I had convinced myself that he and his boss (another person I know through work) were wanting to recruit me for the company where they are employed. With all sincerity I didn't believe that this man would call me for personal reasons. Well, not for anything more than just playing catch up.

Little by little the questions were directed toward more personal endeavors. I shared with him the laughable, short lived relationship with ARM. I instructed him to watch Zoolander for reference points requiring ARM's intense look.

Let me veer off the road for a second. I don't know if I mentioned this before, but ARM would get this Derek Zoolander BLUE STEEL or MAGNUM look when he was deep in thought or trying to convince me that he was serious. As a result of this facial expression, I would burst into laughter. In turn, he would become frustrated. HA! Asshat!
It became increasingly apparent that this call had nothing to do with employment. My nervous laugh was on the rise. My calmer inner voice told me to relax, but the spaz ran amok. Totally ridiculous; yet, completely understandable if you know me well.
I have found that flirtation is often a narcissistic means of having one's ego stroked. I say to a man he's so adorable and touch his shoulder for 2 seconds longer than 'the norm' as I giggle and flip my hair. In return, he says something flattering like, "coming from you I'm ______" insert appropriate (or inappropriate) volley.
So, enough side stepping. This man asked if I was free to go to dinner with him. I gladly accepted and confessed that I was relieved the call wasn't about work. Tentative arrangements were made and he said he would call later in the week to confirm. Go me!
Oh! As I turned 43 this week, this particular gentleman's invitation for dinner came with a kick to my often frail ego: He's 33.
Go me! Hell to the yeah! Who's got it goin' on ? Me! That's right. I said me! Me! ME!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

But you said you blogged me!!

I work with people who rarely use the internet for things other than eBay, email and Idunnowhat.
If I discuss my blog, blogs I read, plurk, myspace, etc... I get the melodious sound of crickets.
I found this photo while searching for funny t-shirts. This hit me to the core, folks. I think I almost shed a tear.
The bottom line is that I care. So, neener neener booger eater!

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Dancing Queen turns 43 ... still young and sweet

Today was my 43rd birthday. I LOVE GROWING OLDER! I can't say it enough. I know it's not the common thing to say when one turns older. I'm supposed to go on about about "one more wrinkle," or "another year; another gray hair." Psh!
Save it. God has given me another day on this earth and it's worthy of celebrating. That goes for all you goons who want your birthdays to pass by without notice. Pardon me, but I love my friends and family. So, if I want to make a big deal out of the anniversary of the day you were born it's my prerogative. Hmmph. And if I want to tell strangers on the street that it's my birthday I will. You can't stop me.
Today was welcomed with many kind wishes and emoticons with online friends. E-cards were joyfully opened in my mailbox. Myspace, Stuck in the 80s and Pop Life bloggers wished me happy birthday. I FEEL THE LOVE! For the moment I felt like a celebrity.
My sister Mary sent a text inviting us to lunch. We broke bread and ate cake with her daughters Amanda, Aubrey and Elyssa. Joining in was yesterday's birthday girl. My sister Maureen. And naturally Man-cub came along.
I came home to even more emails from well wishers. A phone call came from a friend who sang the birthday song to me. I giggle and thanked him. Then asked, "who is this?" I didn't recognize the number. Old age, ya know.
Did I mention I feel like a superstar? While shuffling around online -- actually trying to figure out why Flashplayer wasn't working -- my phone rang. It was my big brother Rick calling. He'd sent me an e-card, but it was doubly nice to hear his voice. I love talking to my bro. He often manages to put things in a perspective that helps me feel better or see more clearly.
While on the phone with Rick, I got another incoming call. The cell rang first. It was work. CURSES! It's my birthday, people! Leave me alone. Then, the other line beeped. It was work, but bro was calling long distance. I had to cut our call short as we needed to bolt in order to get to the movie theater to see "MAMMA MIA!"
We met my sister Maureen, her friend Kris, my nephew, Kris's daughter and two other young ladies. Again, Man-cub was in tow. What a fantastic and fitting movie for me to see on my birthday. It encompasses everything I love: singing, dancing, romance, beautiful locales, hot men, charming women. I admit to probably being annoying as I sang nearly every song. The theater wasn't packed. Popcorn was free!
What surprised me most was the stream of tears that ran down my cheeks when this scene came on:
It's an unlikely portion of the movie to cry over. We were tearful during obvious spots (I won't give it away, but my sister is seeing her eldest off to college in a couple weeks . We sat hand in hand crying together.)
So, you ask why would I cry during Dancing Queen? I say it because I revisited the dancing queen within at my class reunion. There's something so freeing about dancing and not caring if anyone thinks I look good doing it. I truly danced as if no one was watching that night. I let the music take me to places the margaritas didn't.
When we arrived home I checked messages. The call that I didn't' take from work wasn't work related. Three of my co-workers, Jennifer; Scott and Stephanie called to sing. Their version of "Happy Birthday" was a colorful, multi-tiered, cacophony of joy. I got weepy because, once again, I felt so special.
I'm the birthday card lady at work. I buy the cards and make sure everyone gets a chance to sign a personal greeting. So, it's an exceptional compliment that they went an extra mile for me. I'm rather happy they left a message. I saved it. I'll go listen to it again ... a few times in the next 21 days the message is available.
With all the amazing greetings, well wishes and colorful tunes sent my way, I have to admit that nothing else tops the first and mostly important gift received today. My sleepy headed 14 year old Man-cub clomped down the stairs this morning and said, "Good morning. Happy Birthday, Mom."
He remembered my birthday. No calls prodded him. No hints.
Without fail the Man-cub establishes that he's the gift from Heaven that keeps on giving. Thanks God. You did right by me when you gave me my little boy. I'll be eternally grateful.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

My Hero; My sister

My sister Maureen is the kind of person you meet and immediately hope she'll be your friend. She's kind, compassionate, funny, comfortable in her dorkiness. She's an amazing mother, sister, friend, confidante. I say that with complete confidence because she has served as all those roles to me.
Born August 10, 1955. She's the fourth child of eight (ten when you include later in life additions.) She has this goofy ability to close one eye while the other one remains completely open. It's creepy, but that's Reenie's trademark. Photos of her as a child reveal this endearing talent. She's considered the middle child; the peacemaker.
On August 11, 1965 Maureen received a most unique gift: ME! I nearly arrived on her birthday. Due to this timing it seems we were bonded. Destined to be two peas in a pod. Wherever Moe went -- Missy followed (that's my nickname.) She never complained about having this miniature companion. If she did, she never made me feel in the least bit slighted.
My earliest memory of our sisterly time involved a red bicycle. It was a boys bike. It was not a 10-speed. Maureen would lay a cushion across the bar for me to perch upon. We'd ride for what seemed hours. I think I have a permanent indentation across my butt and thighs where my hiney sat for long rides. Up and down the hills of our neighborhood she'd tote my skinny little fanny around. My legs dangling to the side. How she managed to keep her balance with me teetering around I will never understand. A sister's love can obviously defy the laws of physics. Her keen balance with that red bicycle reflects her ability to balance life no matter what obstacles are tossed in her path.
We've shared many birthdays. Even when we were apart we always manage to be in touch. We aren't twins, but I believe we've developed the ability to read one another because of our birth bond. Maureen would hold off celebrating her birthday until August 11. She didn't seem to mind. Every birthday, Christmas or special holiday there's been a gift that suits me. One year for Christmas I longed for a Barbie Jet Plane. I didn't think I'd get it because back then it was a pricey gift. Maureen came through for me. I treasured that plane as if it truly had the power to transport me and Malibu Barbie to foreign lands.
When our mother fell victim to cancer and died in June of 1981, it was Maureen who sheltered me from the storms. She and my sister Mary saw to it that I didn't go through the agony alone. Our father had been reeling from losing his wife. Everyone succumbed to grief that left me home alone often. I was only 16 and too young; too immature; too devastated to know which way was up. By Christmas that year I was living with Maureen. Imagine being a 26 year old woman in the prime of her single life and raising a child. A TEEN AGER! She made very little money working as a secretary for the school district, but she managed to make ends meet without complaining that I was a burden.
She was involved in my activities at school. She sewed my Princess Diana inspired junior prom dress. She accompanied my show choir on away competitions. She was in charge of making up surly teen agers for our school's production of "Flower Drum Song." When I participated in the 1983 Miss Kankakee Pageant she sewed my turquoise, moire' taffeta gown -- I won evening gown! Maureen did everything everyone elses's moms and dads did.
When I got married there was no question who would serve as my matron of honor. I stood up for her at her wedding. When my son was to be born I asked her to be there. I needed her to be my support coach. Yes, Man-cub's father was there, but Maureen was the rock I needed. Maureen, nose to nose with me, got me through the most excruciating back labor without pain medication. She took a stand when the nurses claimed my contractions weren't bad. She knew our family history and insisted that once I was dilated to 5cm that I would go quickly. I tried to only rely on my Lamaz training to get me through contractions. My bambino was far more content staying in the face up position. OW!
My pleas for medicinal assistance were futile. As she'd predicted, I was too far gone to receive an epidural. Demerol was administered to ease the pain. She held my hand and let me squeeze the blood from her fingers. When they finally moved me from the uncomfortable gurney to the labor/delivery/recovery room it was Maureen who coached me. Man-cub's father, in all his effort, couldn't maintain composure. His gag reflex nearly had him white as a ghost. He helped push me up when I need to bear down. It was my big sis who witnessed the actual birth of my 9 lbs 2 oz brown eyed baby boy. It was natural for her to be his Godmother.
This summer has left our family emotionally bruised and battered. Maureen's husband of 23 years passed away. She's raising 2 teen age sons. Her eldest will be leaving for college 3 hours away in two weeks. And, most recently, she was told a carcenoid had grown to the size of a large grapefruit. There are numerous complications as a result of it's positioning. Surgery is inevitable and she goes into it like the champion I know her to be. But I also know she's scared. If she wasn't I'd be more worried. Without going into too much detail, this surgery is delicate. It may last up to 8 hours. Loyola's doctors are confident that all should go well. There's always buts, howevers and potential dangers and risks.
For the first time in what seems ever I am actually finding myself in the position of being a support to her and her boys. The roles are being reversed, but it doesn't feel uncomfortable. It feels right.
I praise God for the number of amazing years I've spent being Maureen's little sister. I pray for many more. I want to be the old ladies hitting the casinos in our gold lame' turbans and caftans. I have a lot more birthday cakes I need to share with my hero.
Whenever I hear the first song in the video below I think of my sister. She's an inspiration. She's my inspiration. I love you, Maureen. There aren't enough words in the English language that can aptly express what you are to me. You are the wind beneath my wings. You've given me room to soar higher than I could ever imagine. You remind me that I'm important when all else seems to be letting me down. No one on this earth knows me the way you do ... Happy Birthday ... and many more.

continue listening if you enjoy the sounds of Shirley Bassey. This video had the best quality of the song, WIND BENEATH MY WINGS

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Asshat Cometh

I am in need of whimsy due to a call that I received at 3:11 p.m. central time. It's a call that I knew would come, but didn't want to take. However, avoiding the necessary wouldn't be prudent. The Asshat formerly known as Running Man (or Cute Tushy if you follow my plurks) made the error of darkening my Verizon doorstep.

I haven't talked to him since July 27. He called and quickly ended the conversation with an abrupt "gotta go! can't talk. I'll talk to you later." And before I could get out the word 'bye' he was gone. At that time I shut my pink Razr phone with disbelief and irritation. A few other expletives followed; muttered under my breath. We'd hardly talked that entire week prior and no word would follow until ...

... August 1 at 11:39 p.m. a familiar chime came over the phone. I jumped with hopes it was a friend texting me from the Regeneration Tour Concert in Las Vegas. My heart fell seeing it was from Asshat Running Man (ARM from now on.) I read it. Ignored it. Forgot it.

Today the strains of Lily Allen's "Everything is Wonderful" played on my phone. I knew who it was. I gave a momentary thought to letting it Lily finish singing. Instead, I answered with a dull, monotone, short, as emotionless as possible hello.

He asked if I knew who was calling. I replied, "yep." He stammered and mumbled. No apologies for his lack of contact. I didn't want explanation. I wanted the final word.

"Did you get my text that I sent the other night?"

"I did. I chose to ignore it."

"Oh. Am I disturbing you? *incoherent mumbling again*"

"You're not disturbing me. I'm home. What I find disturbing is that you're calling me and expecting a warm greeting. WE have nothing invested in this. Your lack of contact pretty well spelled out that it/we/this thing is done."

"Uhm, mumble mumble mumble... I have to go. Can I call you later?"

"No. I don't think that's advisable. I mean you can talk to me now. But I have had my fill of you always having to rush off without explanation. You're the one who called me after two weeks of virtually no contact. I don't need cloak and dagger mysterio drama. You cut me off."

"Uhm, OK. I ..."

"yep. This is good bye." click.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Happy 14th Birthday, Man-cub!

If possible, this blog post would be tear stained. It's hard to believe that 14 years ago I gave birth to a beautiful, brown eyed baby boy. He weighed in at 9 lbs 2 oz. At 7:10 p.m. central time on August 5, 1994, I brought another life into this world. His birth wasn't difficult. Enduring several hours hooked up to gadgets and Pitocin was far from fun. As I lay there on a gurney, I weathered what any other mother-to-be goes through. Except, I didn't have the comfort of a labor/delivery/recovery room. Too many moms and not enough beds. Go figure! I finally moved into one of those pretty, cozy rooms when I was about to deliver. Go me! Thank God for Demerol!!
Shortly after the delivery of my incredibly sweet boy, I declared I could do it all gain. I would if God saw fit for me to have more children. He ended up being my one and only. With all sincerity I don't know that I could possibly love another human quite the way I do him. He's miraculous.
When I gave birth that night, I didn't think I'd be raising my child alone. The idea that my marriage would crumble seemed inevitable. Yet, the idea that Man-cub's father would be so hands off was unfathomable. Man-cub makes being a parent easy. His good behavior and easy going personality makes it seem that I wrote the book on single parenting. We are a dynamic duo. It's undeniable.
Today he went to work with me. Thunderstorms loomed in the area made him quite nervous. His fear of storms is quite rational. He's seen the effects tornadoes and high winds have on the towns they rip through. When the once bright sky turned pitch black, I told him to gather up his Nintendo DS and games. He quickly and graciously complied. He may stand two inches taller than me, but the man sized boy is still a child when it comes to bad weather. Who can blame him?
He and I had lunch together in the food court of the mall where I work. His choice: Pizza. Blech, but I went along with it. I'm still suffering, but I digress. The day seemed long as he sat in the store breakroom with nothing but his Nintendo to occupy him. We strode past the movie theater in the mall to find that Wall-E was still showing. A matinee welcomed the Man-cub's inaugural 'go it alone' movie viewing. He had no qualms about going without me. I had to get to work and I didn't want him to be bored for the duration of the afternoon. A ticket was purchased, but there was a 45 minute wait for the beginning of the show. He spent 30 minutes back at the store and then anxiously came to me at 2:00 p.m., "Mom, is it time for me to go?" Armed with my cell phone he made tracks into the world sans mom. It was almost like sending him off to Kindergarten all over. I held back the tears. He walked in that store this morning my baby boy. But this afternoon he lumbered out on his own a young man. Proudly.
So, if you happen to be in my neighborhood feel free to stop by for fudge brownie chocolate cheesecake. Like his choice for birthday cakes, he's not traditional. I wouldn't have it any other way!
"I'll love you forever. I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living my baby you'll be." -- Robert Munsch

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Celebrate good times! C'mon!

Twenty-five years later and there we were. A small assembly of people drawn together for one cause. We celebrated the 25th anniversary of graduating from high school. For some that may seem a tedious and unnecessary task. I know numerous people who prefer to never look back. This sort of declaration is made: "That was so yesterday! I hated high school and everything about it!"

When I first started discussing attending my reunion, people made such comments about their high school friends. They reminisced about the cliques: mean girls; snotty guys; jocks; stoners; geeks; freaks; nerds; sluts. In their memories there always seemed to be a level of animosity between the groups. I can't honestly recall that. Sure, there were girls I never hung out with outside of school. There were boys who'd never give me the time of day to date. Yet, I didn't feel left out. At least my current recollection isn't as such. OK, I hated not having boys pine over me or openly want to date me.

I was not one of the popular girls, but due to my height, I was recognized. I was in the show choir and musicals. That often put me briefly in the limelight. I was a nice girl. Never an honor student, but a good student. I tried diligently to keep my grades up. I worked part-time. In my opinion I was an average kid with a less than average home life. I kept my situation private. .

When my mother died of cancer in June of 1981 everything around me collapsed. Nothing was as it seemed. At age 16, only my brother and I still lived at home with our father. Both men, like me, were lost in their grief. In turn, I was scrambling for some semblance of order and sense. I needed guidance. I moved out of my family home to live with my sister Mary and her family. Around Christmastime that same year it became apparent that I would benefit more from living with my sister Maureen. In one fell swoop my sisters became my mother figures. Only those who knew me were privy to the private goings on of my life.
As I remember, my friends were protective, loving and nurturing. Their parents welcomed me with open arms. I found family outside of my own blood relations. Those friends could have been far less compassionate and steered me down a path of recklessness. Instead, they looked out for me. I am unsure if they were aware of their actions, but it certainly appeared to be that way to me then. And continues to feel that way today.

Escaping insanity by means of Celebration Singers (show choir) and musicals was my salvation. The friends I made then are still my friends today. For that reason, the 25 year class reunion has greater meaning than just catching up on the who's who, what's what of the graduating senior class of Eastridge High School 1983. Being with my classmates confirmed what we always suspected about ourselves. We represented the hope of tomorrow. We're the real deal.

Race, color, creed, economic status didn't limit us. Our friendships are what great movies are made of and books are written about. I had and have friends from all walks of life and I love it! I wouldn't have it any other way. Our reunion didn't remind us that we're all so different. It represented what makes us all so similar. We're all just human beings trying to make the most of the time we have on this planet.