Sunday, November 30, 2008

How Bad is it...

When each coughing spasm I have (I can't say *fit* because it really does feel like my chest muscles and diapragm go on strike more than over-react) makes not only my chest hurt, but my back, my shoulderblades, and my sides?

Hmm.  A *really* bad weekend to be sick during, especially considering that, um, NO doctors are available, and weren't since Wednesday (some of them since Tuesday!!).

Nothing is really helping me feel much better, ie I feel the same before taking my OTC cold meds as I do an hour or two after taking them.  You'd think it would make at least a *little* difference, right?

Ehhhhhhnnnnnn!  The answer is NO.  At least, that's what my body keeps saying to be between bouts of hysteria each and every time I *try* the cold meds again.  Yes, my lungs, they are LAUGHING at me... and then they go on strike, making me sound like a 94 year old man on oxygen.  But, without the oxygen.  Man, it sucks.

Thankfully, Grey got the flu shot on Wednesday.  So if this is indeed the flu, he's all good.  However, I'm thinking more along the lines of HE picked this up first, spun it around in his impeccable immune system for about two days, and then sent its fucking mutated cousin after me, what with his 37 tentacles and 3 eyes...  wait, you mean cold germs *don't* look like that?  Damn.

And there goes entertaining myself with images of the battle raging in what is my pissed-off immune system.

I am Jack's lungs.  I am the virus destroying Jack's lungs.  I am Jack's anger.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bah Humbug

I got *nothing* in the way of holiday preparation done yesterday.  Zip, zero, zilch.  The tree?  Still in its box.  The outside lights?  Yep, they're still in the box, too.  The cheesecake that I was planning on making?  Still just gingersnap cookies, a can of pumpkin, bricks of cream cheese, and various other ingredients.

My body is fighting hard to not let this cold become bronchitis.  I can feel it in the mornings, especially, as it tries to creep into my lungs while I sleep.  Last night before bed, I think I almost lost one of those precious lungs as I coughed myself to sleep.  I was already up *much* later than intended to due to a sneak-attack of UGLY that made its way into my house (some of you know the details - the rest of you?  Just envision yelling and door-slamming).

This morning, I am feeling no better.  Not enough sleep, due to the fact that Greyson has now not only eliminated naps from his day, but has also started the habit of chopping about two hours off his nighttime sleep time.  YEAH.  And the pediatrician said that it's FINE.  I'm a bit boggled by that, personally, since he just turned three, but, well... I'm not the professional.

My brain feels fried.  I'm looking at the book I am *supposed* to read AND do a paper on by Tuesday night for school... and am finding NO desire to even crack open the cover.  I couldn't find the movie, so I can't even take advantage of that option at this point.  I had visions of trying to make this weekend oh SO productive, and right now, I wish I could crawl into bed and pull the covers up over my head.

There are so many things bouncing around inside my head that are making it nearly impossible to think clearly, not to mention actually *act* upon any of them.  I'm listening to an incessant loop of Iron Maiden that Greyson keeps feeding through the computer he is on right now.  Even my bath last night didn't help the pain that was seeping into my bones - this time not from Fibromyalgia or herniations, but from the feeling of an immense weight crushing me from the outside (or maybe rather, the inside, deep, deep inside).

I have cried three times this morning already, mostly in response to a couple of emails I got replying to one I sent out to some people VERY near and dear to me.  And though each and every one said essentially what I *thought* they would say, each one of them said SO much more... bestowed upon me so much more than I ever really do upon myself.  Maybe I just don't see beyond the moment - maybe I have a hard time seeing through the faults and the failures, whereas my loved ones (the majority of them, at least!) were able to bring them to light for me.

Thank you to each of you.  While your words brought tears to my eyes, it was just as much for the good as it was for the realizations that what I was feeling was, indeed, real.  It never fails to amaze me how often I am surprised by the support I recieve, even when I really, REALLY don't even feel like I deserve it at that point in time.

Just, thank you.  Thank you from both me AND Greyson.  Thank you for being who you are and not dazzling me with just what I want to hear.  You are all SO close to my heart...

Friday, November 28, 2008

I Need to Just Attach My Camera to My Hand

It never fails.  The most *wonderful* photo ops arise when I am nowhere even close to my camera, my new beautiful beauty that takes photos 18,372 times better than my OLD digital... like TODAY.  Damn the beauty that I could have captured today.

I was on my way back from the library, after having to locate and (SCORE!) nab the ONLY copy of Gideon's Trumpet that our local library carries... but *failing miserably* at also snagging a copy of the movie by the same title (FAIL!).  I also grabbed a book entitled, Never Suck a Dead Man's Hand written by a CSI which should prove to be filled with examples of what NOT to do once I finish my battle to finally get my hands on my bachelor's degree.

Anyhow.  That has NOTHING to do with the reason I wanted my camera (though the library since its addition does have some rather striking architecture (do you KNOW how many times I retyped that word, fighting with just how WRONG the spelling looks??) (can you use parentheses within a set of parentheses?)).

No.  I am driving down (up?  I was going north) Green Bay Road, when all of a sudden, a Peregrine swoops out of the sky, a mere two feet or so next to my car, landing at the side of the road - I'm assuming to grab dinner of a mouse or mole (maybe even a VOLE!) where the gravel meets the grassy ditches along the side of the road.

OH. MY. GOD.  The beauty that is a falcon just overwhelms me, and even though I was INSIDE my car?  SO the closest I have ever been to a falcon.  It took sheer determination NOT to slam on  my brakes and pull over to try and take a photo with the thing-that-calls-itself-a-camera that lives in my LG Chocolate.  There was another car *right* behind me, and I so completely would have caused a pile-up right before rush hour on one of the busiest roads in this area.

I *did* still contemplate pulling over once I had turned onto my street, since it was only a block from where the falcon had landed.

What??  People get out of their cars to photograph birds all the time... right?  Just me?  Oh.

But, I was still thwarted my the mockery that is cellular phone photography.  Instead, I drove the final two blocks home and raved about how much I *needed* to carry my camera with me and ohmygodthefalcon!!  Even my dad was downtrodden by the fact that I did not, indeed, get a photo (or more like what would have been 872 photos) of the peregrine.

THAT is impressive, that my father even got that invovled in my story of the bird...  I suppose maybe that's what happens when there's nothing better to watch on television for 24/7 shifts than the programming offered by Animal Planet?  Hmm.

So, once more, I have lost what could have been sheer elegance in a photo.  Bah.

On the other hand, my camera is sitting next to me right now, and I have NO desire to take any photos of my son, even with his new adorable haircut.  Because?  His behavior has been borrowed from a rabid badger today, instead of the MUCH more amiable three year that I am hoping will come back soon.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

*WHEW*

I am *beyond* full. Yikes! This year I added two new things to the Thanksgiving melange of yummies - homemade garlic parmesan mashed potatoes and a mushroom pasta medley. Add those to the array of already filling goodies, and I'm amazed anyone here can walk.

I *did* have to put off making my pumpkin swirl cheesecake until tomorrow... this cold is beating my ass, and I am just not feeling the full effects of what should officially begin the holiday season. =(

As for yesterday, Greyson had a fantabulous day! His new pediatrician's office... wow. Not only do they have the coveted "sick waiting room," but his doctor is actually REALLY comparable to his original pediatrician that we so sadly left behind when we moved. I don't think ANYONE could honestly fill Dr. Denning's shoes, but Dr. Goldstein? Yes, a very close second. And humorous, thankfully!

Greyson is - are you ready? - a whopping *28 pounds.* Yes. That's IT. The bugger needs a *minimum* of 3T pants to cover those long-ass legs, and yet he's STILL less than 30 pounds. I'm baffled, honestly. No, he's still not a big eater, but holy hell, Batman! I would have put MONEY on the fact that he had finally broken the big 3-0! Damn. I guess at least it just puts that much LESS strain on my back, right? LOL Either way, the doc gladly reassured that head to toe, Greyson registers as *perfect* - he's followed a great growth curve (considering he was born at less than 6 1/2 pounds!), good height-to-weight ratio - the whole nine yards. =)

And his haricut? He actually didn't want to leave! That little bugger plopped himself in a Jeep, settled down with the DVD remote to watch some Clifford, and you would have sworn that LAST week? I had an entirely different child with me at the salon. Not a peep, not a tear... until it was time to try and convince him to LEAVE. That *almost* got him going - until they gave him a lollipop and a balloon for being such a fabulous little man!

Of course, he fell asleep on the way home, so the perfect haircut? Not so perfectly styled anymore. And today? HA! This is the first chance I've had to breathe, so the styling of the three year old's hair?!? Not quite top priority. Heh.

There *will* be photos galore taken tomorrow, however, as I brave my sorry sick ass into the cold to A- go to the library, and B- put up all the FLURKING Christmas decorations. I mean, all the WONDERFUL, BEAUTIFUL, GLORIOUS JOY THAT IS CHRISTMAS PREPARATIONS!! Bah Humbug. I'll be cheerier when this cold goes to HELL!!

How was YOUR Thanksgiving? Are you drunk yet? C'mon, it's eight o'clock! Put the kids to bed and pound it already, will ya?!?!? Heheheheh...

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Once things slow down a bit around here, I'll have more of a post... =P

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Today is a day...

Of admission and change.  How?

Today I actually have to come to terms and admit to myself that Greyson *is indeed* three years old - he will be having his three-year checkup in a little less than two hours. =(  Hopefully all goes well - but it's destined to be MUCH better than when we went to see that HACK who told me to shut up and then scrutinized my ability to even FEED my child adequately.  Grr - that still gets me a bit riled. 

Anyways...

It's also a day of change... Greyson is scheduled for a MASSIVE haircut after his peds appointment.  You've all seen the shaggy, ohmygodhowcanthischildhaveSOmuchhair photos of recent...  I was all about trimming it on my own at home, even comfortable with taking off a couple inches when necessary.  However, his hair has now grown out of control - he has more hair on his head than *I* do, and he obviously inherited the thickness of his Daddy's...well, the hair Daddy *used* to have.  Heh.

I've given up.  KidSnips, here we come!  We *tried* a regular salon and it just SO didn't happen, so... I'm caving in to the car-shaped chairs and video screens propped on the stylist's centers, the gaggles of movies that Grey will get to pick from to watch during his new cut, and the random chaos of useless toys that abound just within the entrance... making the haircut?  More like a trip to the movie theater and Dollar Store all wrapped into one.

I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that he will, indeed, let them cut his hair as he has promised... and not scream like his eyes are being gouged from their sockets like last Saturday's attempt to leave Shaggidom.

Not Only am I Sick...

But my meds aren't working... LOOK!  I'm posting this after THREE AM!!  Shouldn't I be out knocked out on sleep & cold meds?!?

But no.

I really hope I catch some sleep since I have *mucho* running around to do tomorrow - AGAIN - as well as a Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake I have to bake for Thursday night's dessert.  Mmm.

And to prove my latest levels of insanity?  Earlier, my Mom and I were *actually* contemplating venturing to the new WalMart Supercenter in the area for their 5am Black Friday deals!!! 

Oh.  My.  God.  I think this cold is eating up my gray matter...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Love-Hate Relationship with Photography

Now, ya'll KNOW I *love* to TAKE photos. This is not a problem.

Sometimes, someone will unknowingly take a photo of ME - which generally doesn't make me happy.

Cameras + Larissa as subject matter = APOCALYPSE. End of story.
Which is why I was in utter disbelief at THIS photo that my friend Mike snagged at his son's 5th birthday party:

What exactly happened here? I managed to actually BE in a cute photo WITH my son... for I believe the first time since, um, I have no idea. I normally hold the camera, and therefore unless I DEMAND that Ralph TAKETHECAMERADAMNIT and instruct him to take a *specific* picture? Yeah... pretty much all the ones I have of me since becoming a mother? Were taken MYSELF in some pseudo-personal-photo-CRAP-attempt.

Now this photo? THIS is usually what happens when I see a camera aimed in my general direction:

I think I have about 5 different photos taken throughout my lifetime with this exact same look on my face. It apparently started as a TODDLER.

At least I was having a decent hair day. Heh.


Stho I'b Feelwing a Bid Sthick...

Apparently, I have gotten a cold from... only GOD knows where. PT? The grocery store? Toys 'R Us? The Mall? The obnoxious Greek guy that tried to force me into purchasing a $39 remote control car from Greyson on his birthday???

It started, I'd say, yesterday, when my head felt just a bit... full. You know, the *bad* kinda full - not the good kind where it's just a bunch of great ideas in there, but the kind where you just *know* that if you touched it, it would squish. Eww.

And then this morning? I was a bit woozy-feeling when I got up, but figured, "Eh. Just not enough *good* sleep."

Middle of seminar for one of my courses tonight? WHAMMO! My throat is sore and scratchy, and I feel like someone is pinching my sinuses with a clothespin.

Ooh, yeah... it's a purty feeling, this sick-before-Thanksgiving crap.

And tomorrow? I don't even have time to BE sick! I have to:

  • Drop off my paperwork for the Dispatch job downtown, where Human Resources is 13,234 miles away from the City Hall entrance.
  • Do all the pre-Thanksgiving grocery shopping (BAH!)
  • Go to physical therapy AND pain psychology appointments
  • Find some smidgon of time to make it to the library and pick up either the book OR the movie of Gideon's Trumpet for a paper I have due next Tuesday (if I can actually GET to the library? I'll probably get BOTH, just in case. LOL)

And!?! I have to manage all this while juggling a three year old who now currently believes that the age of three is the means to it ALL, tossing out arguments and attitude as if he were in Junior High. Oh, yeah. The boy is gonna go DOWN, and soon, I tell ya!

If it weren't for the *still* COMPLETELY unsuccessful potty training completion (and the miniscule 30lb, 3'3" frame!), I'd honestly believe that somehow or another, I actually DO have a 13 year old. But then I would have had him at 14, and eh... even with *my* morals, that's just plain skeevy. Heh.

Toss in feeling like a conglomeration of wet towels have been stuffed into my sinus cavities while some evil gnomes must have been taking a whack at my throat with a brillo pad? Tomorrow. Will. Be. HELL.

Oh, and Wednesday? Yes, Wednesday will be filled with Greyson's 3-year checkup, then a haircut which is DESPERATELY needed (while I pray to God, Allah, Buddha, and all other variants of divine intervention that he doesn't scream like the hairdresser is SLITTING. HIS. THROAT. WITH. A. DULL. SPORK... AGAIN!). Once we get home? It'll be trying to throw something together for dinner, and then tackling a Pumpkin Swirl cheesecake for Thursday's feast... all before a 7pm seminar for school.

All together now... can we say, "Institutionalized?" Fabulous! Now, who can drop me off there??

Monday, November 24, 2008

Just Say DUH.

I wanted to at least BRIEFLY give a shout out to Bea...  I'm sorry I didn't mention you at the end of my photo post on Grey's birthday...  I think my brain fried out a little, and therefore your card (and gift card - THANK YOU!!) got shuffled around in my waaaay-too-jumbled brain.

So THANK YOU for the card - it arrived ON his birthday!

And THANK YOU for the Target card - his favorite store!

Hopefully, the next time he starts begging me for a movie or game when we're there?  I can just whip out that little nifty and make him pay for it himself.  (For REAL this time, instead of him asking me for money so he can pay, like, IN LINE at the checkout.  Heh.)

Love you!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

And That's the Way the Pumpkin Crumbles.

At least when it's a pumpkin cake.  Heh.

It kinda starts out looking like this:

And then moves on to this:

And finally this:
After something like, oh, THREE HOURS (no joke here, people - whew!), it turned into this:
I TOLD you he wanted a PUMPKIN CAKE.  Totally not joking on that, either.
And he LOVED it.  Even though the writing icing SUCKED (next time, I will just suffer through mixing and piping my OWN, thankyouverymuch) and the hole in the middle of my bundt pans is abnormally large (I had to use *2* pumpkin muffins to try and create that misshapen attempt at a stem)... I guess it turned out cute.  LOL
I must say, though, that any appearance flaws?  They were soooo forgotten once bites were taken. 
If you ever have a hankering for making pumpkin cake?  Add butterscotch pudding mix to the batter.  SO. DAMN. GOOD.
Now, after fifty MILLION years of cooking (I also decided that tonight was the night to make from-scratch Mushroom Chicken Alfredo... I think I'm legally insane), I am SO ready for a TIME OUT.
Too bad Ralph is literally falling asleep sitting up "watching" a WWE Pay-per-View on his computer.  Yeah.  I'm thinking I'm gonna veg in the tub ANYWAYS, damnit.  It's MY time.  LOL

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Signs of a Happy Three Year Old!

Thank You to Everyone Who Helped Make
Greyson's Third Birthday
a Fantastic One!!
Much Love, Larissa, Ralph, & Greyson =)
Crystal, Diane & Crew, Angela, Kimberly...
It will never be forgotten.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Three Years Ago Today...

Three years ago today, I went through what SHOULD have been one of the most physically painful experiences of my life... but I remember nothing of the pain.

I remember arguing with Ralph at seven in the morning, the Monday before Thanksgiving, trying to win the permission to take a shower while I was being rounded up to get in the car during contractions every three mintutes.

I lost.  I got in my Monte Carlo, and we headed for the hospital.

Man, I could still TALK through my contractions... I couldn't be THAT bad off, right?

When we got the hospital, I was dilated to 5cm, and I was having a contraction every two to three minutes.  Yep - I had won myself a stay on the maternity floor.

I remember them doing one last little ultrasound to make sure our little man was still positioned correctly.

He got the nickname "Baby Big Head" right then and there, as I realized how much larger the size of his head looked compared to the outline of my pelvis on that little black and white screen.

I remember hanging out in an uncomfortable bed, listening to my baby's heartbeat blip through the monitor.  Realizing that Ralph was *not* going to be awake with be through this process, as he drifted in the chair next to the bed.

I remember a nurse telling me that if I wanted the epidural, I'd have to decide, pretty much, right then and there.  Because they had a c-section scheduled, and they probably wouldn't be out on time to give it to me later.  I was dialated to 7cm at that point, and fully effaced.

I gave in to my fear of not knowing if I could handle the possible future pain, and got the epidural.

I regretted it every minute afterwards.

They broke my water within minutes of placing the epidural, as well as started Pitocin.  I then spent the next two hours having to be turned from side to side as my child's heartbeat decelerated with each contraction.

My uterus was smooshing his tiny little body - his heart was having a hard time battling the strength of each contraction, and they were sometimes literally one after the next, with barely a split second of recovery between them.

I remember a nurse explaining to me that they were going to have to replenish some of the fluid around him - "give hima little whirlpool bath in there" - to try and cushion him from the stress.

A resident nearly went into panic mode with the absolute lows of my blood pressure.  I remember someone thinking aloud about how I was managing to stay so alert with my BP so desperately low.

I never did feel the slightest bit tired - I was too busy listening to that beeping monitor, waiting for any signs of something still going wrong.

I remember being checked again... and being told that I was at 9cm... they were calling my doctor.

Half an hour later, all I felt was that I was ready.  HE was ready.  I sent Ralph off to find a nurse.  Now.  She wandered in, telling me that they had just checked me 30 minutes ago... my doctor wasn't even there yet.

But Greyson?  Oh, he was there.  I mean, RIGHT THERE.

In a bit of a fit, a resident was told to stay with me, and I was told to try NOT to push.  It was no easy feat.

About ten minutes later, my doctor's PARTNER walked in the room.  He hadn't scrubbed in, he literally had just arrived.

After giving him a "little push to see where we are," he immediately told me to STOP - he was scrubbing in.

One contraction in - and the connection between the absolute atrocity of the last few months of heartburn and the tremendous amount of hair on the infant entering the world was made.

We also discovered that my son - my little stinker - had decided to poop on his way out.  Fabulous.  In comes the pediatric team.

In between contractions, we discussed the name we had chosen for our son - and the doctor joked about how he'd neither be "Blackson" or "Whiteson."

Two more contractions - 13 minutes from my first push - and Greyson Raphael was born - six pounds, six ounces of determination and joy, at 2:43pm.  His first cry stole the breath from me - this was MY CHILD.

All was fine in the terms of the meconium birth.  He scored a 9 on the APGAR, followed by a 10.

Just before being bundled and brought to me,  he rolled ontp his side and peed on the nurse.  Little did I know that seemingly insignificant move would outline his tenacity for life.

After what seemed like an eternity of watching that wriggling little life instead of feeling it within me, my son was placed in my arms.

I never believed in love at first sight until that immediate moment in time.  I looked into his wide, oh-so-intelligent eyes, and never wanted the moment to end.

I remember pulling back the blanket to look at his tiny little feet.  I also remember laughing at the crooked second toe on both feet - completely mimicking the toes that I have called my own for a lifetime.

I remember the tears that swallowed up my soul, giving every single breath I would take for the rest of my life to this precious little bundle.  I knew then and there that nothing would ever be more important than the tiny baby I held against my chest.

When they took him for his first bath, it was one of the strangest sensations - the emptiness inside, the lack of kicking and squirming from deep within my belly - and no replacement for its loss in my arms.  I was separated, somehow, from the very essence of me - that baby boy with a head full of dark, dark hair and curious eyes.

I was moved to my room while they cleaned Greyson up - and I remember the absolute light that came into the room with him when he returned.

I remember laying him on my chest, his heart to mine, and him lifting his head ever so slightly to gaze right into my eyes.  Something told me, then and there, that inside this child was, indeed, an old soul... and our bond would be nothing less than a miracle.  NOTHING with this child would ever be less than the world.

Greyson spent the entire first twelve hours of his life studying the new world around him.  He was not content with being solitary for very long periods of time - already he craved that closeness, that connection between a mother and a son - and I eventually caved to the offer of a pacifier for my seemingly starving child.

At the end of those first twelve hours, I also relented to asking the nurses to take him to the nursery for a few hours.  I had been awake since 4am, and it was now closing in on 3am of the following day.

At 8am, they wheeled him back into my room in his little plastic bassinette.  The pediatrician I had selected followed the nurse into the room, bringing with him a sense of dread.  I immediately regretted being so selfish as to want time alone, time to try and sleep, time which I did nothing but toss and turn in my bed thinking about the newest member of my family.

It turns out that my little man was already getting jaundice.  He carried Ralph's bloodtype - A negative - instead of my O negative, setting him up for an ABO incompatibility.

He would need to spend the rest of his stay in the nursery under special lights to try and rid his tiny body of the excess bilirubin.  I could no longer keep my baby at my side until our trip home on the day before Thanksgiving.  In fact, there was an uncertainty that we would be able to bring him home with us that day at all.

I spent the next 34 hours walking back and forth from my room to the nursery every two hours, around the clock.  I was brought a pump to try and facilitate his feedings - they were having to push formula to help the jaundice out of his body.

The first trip to the nursery to find him under the lights with a strange set of black foam goggles over his eyes and across his tiny, tiny face was heartbreaking - the problem at hand was so small, but the heartache in seeing him even more helpless than a newborn should ever be shattered me.

I could only keep him out from under the lights for half an hour at a time to attempt feedings.  Any other contact I wanted with him had to be done through the openings in his little plexiglass incubator... his skin so translucent under the sheer intensity of the lights shining down on him.

Greyson was so sleepy, so sluggish because of the effects of the warm, penetrating lights.  Our tries at breastfeeding were difficult at best.  Each time I left the nursery feeling more and more like I would not be able to nourish my child the way I had hoped, the way I had planned.

Wednesday rolled around like a movie moving frame-by-frame in fast-forward.  Everything was disjointed, somehow, with the relentless mechanical walks to and from the nursery, the syringe feedings of formula after each attempt at developing some sort of success on our own... it started to snow again, just as it had the day Greyson was born.

I was told that the goal was, indeed, to get him going home with us that day - but he would be staying later in the day than the usual 11am discharge time.  I spent the day on edge, wondering what news I would hear each time a nurse came into the room.  Most of the time, it was more of the same - not yet.

Around 5:30pm, we were given the go-ahead.  We could officially return to our little apartment,  now three instead of just two... of course, after waiting about another hour for everything to be finalized.

I remember vividly how lost he looked inside the newborn-sized outfit we had brought to the hospital to bring him home in.  How the hat seemed to swallow his head, and how his hands and feet disappeared into the sleeves and legs of the pale blue velour.

I remember thinking about how absolutely NOTHING at home was purchased with anything less than a seven to eight pound baby in mind, how the rough estimate we had gotten on his size was on the higher end of that range.

I remember the snow falling, ever so gently, around us as I was wheeled  out the hospital doors with Greyson in my arms.  The difficulty trying to persuade myself that yes, this tiny being would be safe in the seat that made him seem just that much smaller.  The drive home with my hand never breaking that bond of touch between me and my new reason for being.  The phone call to my parents who were still on their way to our apartment, their distance to their grandson closing in minute by minute.

I remember bringing Greyson into the apartment, and just... watching him.  Breathing in the essence of him.  Counting his tiny fingers and toes, and just cycling through the disbelief that I had carried someone within me that would so unknowingly complete me.

I also remember sending Ralph and my Dad out to the store to buy not even newborn diapers, but preemie ones.  The newborn-sized ones sent home with us from the hospital covered so much more than a diaper should.  The plans being made between my mom and myself to go to the local Babies 'R Us on the Friday after Thanksgiving to buy some clothing that actually FIT my little munchkin.

2005 was the fist year that Thanksgiving meant so, so much more than it ever had before.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Here's to my laughter, my tears,
My heart and soul,
My reason for being and the reason I feel like banging my head off a wall,
My light and my darkness,
My source of everlasting joy,
My source of wonder and astonishment with every waking hour...
Here's to my son, my world, my life,
The one I wouldn't give the world to change,
And the one who has single-handedly changed my entire world.
My Munchkin, my Boo-Bear, my little big man...
Happy, happy birthday, Greyson...
As I watch you grow, you amaze me more than I ever thought possible...
Nothing could ever mean more to me than the way your smile lights up your entire face,
The way your laughter spreads to everyone in the room,
The way you wrap your arms so tightly around my neck as if you'll never let go...
I love you beyond the capacity of the spoken word,
More than even my soul can capture.

Happy Third Birthday, My Little One.
Happy days into the future forevermore.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Google Strikes Again

It's time for an installment of... The Searches that Have Led to Me!

1- Musician blogspot. Congrats! I think you may have ACTUALLY come to the right place!!

2- "out of gas" "my wallet" - Hmmm... I don't know if I can help you out, there, Buddy.

3- "wear a pull-up to bed" - Do YOU wear one to bed? If so, I think you need more than you will find here...

4- build-a-bear for nintendo ds black friday - WOW. Umm, YES, there is a game for DS about Build-a-Bear, but in regards to Black Friday? Don't know what to tell ya.

5- Crazy frog tattoo - Now THAT I do NOT have a tattoo of. Try something more along the lines of roses or music...

6- dentist cavity - Does the DENTIST have the cavity? And why? Wouldn't they have a co-worker fill it?

7- hourglass tattoos - Again, why am I the tattoo reference for Google now?

8- komposta diago - WHAT?!? I don't even understand what this MEANS, so I obviously don't have this on my blog... right??

9- missing you mamaw - Well, I'm sorry to hear that. However, I don't *think* that MY mamaw is YOUR mamaw, so you may want to look elsewhere. Thanks.

Seriously... who designs the Google search strings? And how did all of these bizarre searches lead HERE?!?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Strange Little Man...

So, this year, Greyson has stated that he wants all things PUMPKIN when it comes to his birthday cake.

Pumpkin flavored.

Pumpkin shaped.

PUMPKIN.

Did I mention he's discovered he LOVES the flavor of pumpkin?  LOL

So, my task: to assemble a pumpkin-shaped cake out of two bundt-pan baked pumpkin cakes.  Whew!  I *will* have pictures of this masterpiece / atrocity at the end of the week!

In addition?  PIRATES.  Pirate plates.  Pirate balloons.  We are having pumpkin pancakes on pirate plates on the Saturday following his birthday even.  Say THAT one 3 times fast!

I'm thinking that Halloween sunk in a little *too* deep this year... Heh.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Can I Just Say...

MIDTERMS! Aaargghhh! They are the bane of my existence.

Well, at least until Tuesday. Then they are over, and I have a full two weeks to look forward to the SECOND "Creative Project" that is due for my CJ101 course... this time, it's supposed to be *3* pages. Hah! Yeah, we'll see about that.

The good news? The early start I got on one of my midterms has gotten me an early grading as well... and I have remained at my 100% standing for grades in that class still. How I've done it, I have NO idea... but it's working!

Now to try and weasel my way up from a 99.64% in my OTHER class... Heheheh.

GAWD, I need a life. =P

Sunday, November 16, 2008

And then my car, it was possessed.

No, not RE-possessed, thank GOD.  But downright looney-tunes.  Seriously.

After a FANTABULOUS day, I was all dressed up with what my little Saturn would determine to be NOWHERE to go.

Yep... climbed on in, put the key in the ignition, and...
Hmm... Let's try that again... Yeah, THAT'S not good.

The damn thing went Pffffft! at me, and pretty much said "Up yours, Momma!  I'm not starting, I'm not going, I'm not even going to give you any solid CLUES as to what the problem may be!

Because, was it a SIMPLE problem?  Ohhh no...

First, it just didn't do ANYTHING.  No click.  No trying to start.  No NOTHING.  Okay, two can play at that game - I *don't* give up easily!

Then, Oh!  Wait!!  It's... it's TRYING to turn over.  A... little.  Maybe.  Yeah, no, it's done.

You remember how I said I don't give up easily?  Heh.

I sat and turned that key about, oh, 15 different times.  All with slightly *different* results - the last of which was the engine turning over, me trying to give it some gas, and my little black BEAST deciding that, well, you know WHAT?  I don't WANT any gas - I'm gonna fizzle out and DIE anyways.  So THERE.

I was NOT amused.  I looked briefly at my mother's van... and then remembered that it has no dashlights.  Hah!  Sorry about your luck, chica.  You are going NOWHERE.  Bah.

So, last night?  I had me a few wine coolers, curled up on the bed with my Mom and Greyson, and watched me some Kung-Fu Panda... with stubbornness abounding, because I *refused* to take off my makeup, since I had *just* put the damn stuff ON.

I must say, I was looking pretty snazzy for something as simple as a Popcorn n' PJ's Party.  Heh.

On a little sidenote here... when Ralph came home, he went to check out my car to see what was up with the damn thing.  And started it.  And backed it out of the driveway, and then back in again.  Turned it off.  Started it AGAIN, reverse, forward, repeat.  With NO. PROBLEMS.  WHAT. SO. EVER.  Gah.

I think I brought something home with me from the Weird Chicago Tour I tool Wednesday night...  According to one of the women that went with, there was apparently a FAIRY following me that night...

And YES, that is MY back... Thanks to Gina for the photo!
And YES, I actually DO wear a TinkerBell hoodie almost EVERYWHERE.  Heh.

So, Yesterday...

Was INTERESTING, to say the least.  Hmm.

I was getting ready to try and get some lunch into Grey, when I glanced out the kitchen window and thought to myself, "Who the HELL is parked in our driveway?"  All I saw at first was a new, dark gray-ish van.  With the hatch open.

Then, some blonde hair being tossed by the wind... and a mylar balloon.  Okay... OH!  Wow.  It's my "adopted godmother" - LOL - and two of her five kids.  And they have STUFF.  Birthday-looking stuff.  Wow.  And I'm standing in my kitchen looking like I just rolled out of bed.  Hah.

So, I quickly SCRATCH the immediate lunch prep continuation, and call for Greyson down the stairs, letting him know that there's a surprise coming... wow, a surprise to me, TOO, since they live out in Rockford and, well?  I had NO clue they were coming by!

I opened the back door to the three of them, armed with 1- a box full of child-sized hangers (Heh.  Yeah - her kids have NO need for *small* hangers.  Can we say linebackers?  ROFL), a Spiderman bag that I could have stuffed Greyson INTO, and a big ol' Pirates of the Carribean balloon.  Once again, WOW.

Now, I *knew* that Di (my *adopted* godmother - LONG story!) had grabbed Grey a DS game for the upcoming unveiling of the still secretly donated DS system we were so graciously given... but hello?  I'm still completely in awe of what her and her kids did for my little man.

After he stood in shock for a few minutes, and realized what was going on... oh, the presents?  WERE. ON.  Wow, are we blessed to have them as family... well, the blood-less type of family that usually winds up being a bit better than that you were granted through birth. =)

We now have Pirates plates for the big day, napkins, balloons, a special Pirate cup for him, a HUGE poster from the first movie, as well as an eye patch and pirate ring for the little bugger. =)  Oh, but that's not all... oh no.  The kids?  They came bearing gifts as well... one of which was actually purchased with money that her second oldest gave up, all on his own, just to buy Grey a present.  The kid is, what, 12?  SO TOUCHING.  And if you knew him?  SO, SO much more touching - and surprising! Heh.  But, my, was my little man shown some love.  And that was before we even left the house.

Apparently, a Toys 'R Us trip had been demanded by her husband, since the gifts they brought?  JUST from the kids.  OH boy.  I honestly had a little fear in my gut with letting Greyson loose in a Toys 'R Us with him being given the go-ahead... but amazingly, my little boy proved to be really rather humble.  Yes, he made it out of there with a good three-year-old-sized armful... but it included a BOOK, and a PUZZLE.  And after about half an hour?  He was completely okay with being done.  He even told us we were "SO done."  Heh.  Of course, I am still completely and utterly indebtted to them for EVERYTHING - I still can't completely wrap my brain around the generosity that I have been blessed with from the most surprising places in order to still be able to provide my little boy with an honest-to-God FULFILLING birthday.

I know - a lot of people claim that *three year olds*?  They don't care... they won't remember...  But you know what?  I WILL.  And last year he got gipped because we MOVED at the beginning of November, and barely had time to pull our heads out of our asses from THAT insanity for CHRISTMAS.  So, there was no party last year, either.

We had *big* plans for the little big man's birthday this year... and then my Mom was hit with the beginning of her employment debacle.  And then Ralph lost his job.  And then the second shoe fell on Mom's situation.  So, in reality, while I was stressing (and still am, honestly) about car & insurance payments, and the harrassing phone calls from collectors... I was all the while thinking about how I could still make Greyson's special day special.  About how we had *just* started the plans in motion for this great party - and he KNEW bits and pieces about it's progress.  And how it all had to come to a screeching halt. 

I didn't want to see that disappointment in my child's eyes.  Because, even though years from now, he may not remember his third birthday - I will.  But now instead of really focusing on what *I* couldn't provide... I am overwhelmed with the fact that I have such loving, RANDOM people in my life that really do CARE.  And, GOD... I haven't felt that in a long time.

Have I been rather vocal about the shitstorm we've been facing?  OH YEAH.  But I've never once asked for help.  Hell, I've never expected help - you expect something, you generally just set yourself up for disappointment.  Sad, but true... and yet here I have gifts - really COOL gifts - to bless my little boy with.  My munchkin.  My now such-a-BIG-little boy.

Again today, even, I got an email from a childhood friend of mine, who has two kids of her own... who just wanted to know what she could do to help.  I couldn't even get through typing a response to her without the tears welling up, because honestly?  She and I have *just* started reconnecting after YEARS of not even talking.  Not because of anything BAD going down, but just time... and here she was, making a stand to help out not ME, but Greyson.  And as you all know - he IS my heart and soul.

So, to everyone - Crystal, thank you for your absolute kindness, not only in sending out a DS for MY son, but for all your efforts to provide for SO many children who just happen to be in a rough spot... Angela, thank you for the Build-a-Bear giftcard, even if it WAS a random giveaway... Diane, Terry, Austin, Preston, Colton, Tianna, & Q, I am still in a cloud of euphoria from the absolute JOY you were able to put on Greyson's face... Kimberly, thank you for showing you care and offering a little piece of yourself to help us through these tough times.

All of you...  My heart goes out to you, and I only hope that someday, I'll be able to do the same for you.  Maybe it will be next month.  Maybe it will be next year.  But, with my all, I promise you - NONE of this will be forgotten.  I'm finding it hard to even gather the words together to tell you just how truly grateful I am to know each and every one of you.

For now... I'm going to go dust off my Knick-Knots and eat some government-issued potatoes.  Heh.  I know... it's only gonna be funny to *2* people who read this... And I don't care.

My love is going out to everyone... Really.  You guys are the best.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I've Been Spinning...

Or at least that's what it FEELS like.  My god, has it been this long since I blogged?  *whew*

I've been attacked by midterms.  Which means I've been a typing maniac, riddling my instructors' inboxes with long, extremely-detailed essays on landmark law cases and interview proposals on people which I'm not even completely versed on as of yet.  Meanwhile, the discussion board for one of my courses has been riddled with a classmate's attempt at humor by accusing me of being an undercover FBI Agent, therefore revealing my supposed source of knowledge in all things criminal justice.  Ha!  Apparently, the professor for that course is now also questioning whether she has been demoted to teaching assistant because of this shocking discovery.

What a sad, sad life I lead if my education is causing these types of thoughts in my classmates AND teachers.  LOL

BUT!  Along with feeling like I barely have time to catch my breath!  Ralph has been offered a JOB, people!  A real-life, PAYING position of employment!  Of course, we are now waiting on the ever-required background check and human resources paperwork shuffle before he can actually START, and ya know, get PAID.  Aye yi yi... somehow this is all seeming too familiar as Greyson's birthday looms in the REALLY close future - he started a new job two weeks to the day that Grey was born, and now he will be starting (fingers crossed!) sometime next week during the week of his third birthday.

Of course, this doesn't relieve the problems surrounding the birthday itself (Broke!  Presents?  Eh... Party?  Hah!!) and our upcoming car payment (Again!  Already!!  How DARE they?!?).

Meanwhile, I am trying to calculate in my addled little brain the approximation of when my ongoing physical therapy treatments will ENDfortheloveofeverythingholy, and also when my NEXT class term will start (Is there a break between 10-week terms?  Do classes start up again immediately?  Gah!) because I have stumbled upon a job opening for a dispatch position with the Lake County Sheriff's Department.  The contemplation to actually, finally jump back into the world of employment myself is just too great considering the INCREDIBLE starting salary - even though it means possible swing shifts and weekends and some holidays and AHHHHH!  Oh yes, and the fact that Greyson would need to be enrolled in SCHOOL.  Hmm.

It's just a LOT to tackle all at once in addition to all that has already been ping-ponging around inside my head.  I know it will get figured out SOMEHOW (it always does - whether I like it or not, I haven't yet found a way to stop the flow of time), but MAN!!  Is it taxing or WHAT?

So, sometime before the 25th, I am going to go take the speed-typing test for the department... which in its own right is really just a nuisance more than anything, seeing as though I only need a score of 30wpm or higher.  Just yet ANOTHER thing to shuffle into my schedule, somehow.  Heh.

And then, yesterday afternoon while battling my way through the onslaught of rush hour's almost-four hour clutch on the Chicagoland area, I turned to one on my pre-programmed radio stations to find... CHRISTMAS MUSIC.  In November.  BEFORE Thanksgiving.  What in sam hell is going on here?

I couldn't wrap my brain around Christmas right now if my LIFE depended on it.  I know, some people start planning for Christmas in JULY, I know!  But for this redhead?  Ohhhh no...  Only when my husband and I got together did the day after Thanksgiving mean putting up a tree... before then?  Eh, whenever we got around to it - if at all.  I know, I know... scrooges, all of us!  And this year?  I'm actually planning (see?  There I go, with the attempts to plan something!) on decorating the OUTSIDE of our house.

I think it will cause a few of our neighbors to suffer a coronary... maybe even an embolism...because?  THIS house?  Lit up for a HOLIDAY?  Be still my quivering heart. =P

So, if you happen to see a whirling dervish with the unmistakable cloud of red hair contained within?  Yep - it's just me, spiraling my way into clawing my eyes out banging my head against walls trying to salvage my sanity attempting to resemble a sane person celebrating the holiday season.

Monday, November 10, 2008

These Hands are Weary, This Mind is Becoming Fragile

What is it about bill collectors that makes them COMPLETELY override and ignore the concept of NO MONEY?!?  Once again, the SAME collector that made me CRY the last time we spoke has attacked, completely relentless and *trying* to convince me that "he, too, is in a similar situation - but HE set aside his pride and asked for help."

MotherFUCKER.  What part of "$20 in checking, no savings, and NO INCOME FOR OVER TWO MONTHS" do you not get?  How about having to borrow over $300 from a friend LAST month to pay our car payment, the same car payment that is, once again, looming in at me from 10 days in the future ALREADY.  How about the fact that Ralph has ALREADY sold some of his music equipment?  How about the fact that we are ALREADY living IN MY PARENT'S HOUSE because if we weren't?  WE'D BE ON THE STREET WITH A TWO YEAR OLD.  How about the fact that unemployment was DENIED, leaving us practically PENNILESS?

DAMNIT.  I don't know what to do anymore.  The man even asked if I could get money from my FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS to pay him $75.  WHAT?  Oh, SURE... I bet it would be NO problem - the government would be glad to take some of my SUBSIDIZED LOAN and give it to your aggravating, heartless ASS.

What DO I do?  *I* am looking for employment, too.  Even though I don't have childcare for Greyson.  Because?  His fucking birthday is in 11 days, and the only gifts he has?  Are from two blog-friends that have an absolute heart of gold and mailed me a Nintendo DS and a Build-a-Bear gift card.  Of course, he has no GAMES for the DS, and unless I find one lying in the gutter somewhere (or peddle my ASS in that SAME gutter), there won't be a game in existence for him to play on that new system.

FUCK!  I just want to stand in the streets and SCREAM.  I have another psych appointment this Friday.  And you know what?  This time, I'm going to be less coherent and explanatory, and more ohmyfuckingGOD.  Because?  I have NEVER, EVER, been in this desperate of a situation before.  Ever.  Honest.

I've been having to choke back tears at times when looking at Greyson.  Because he just doesn't know - and SHOULDN'T - what kind of hell we are in.  But my GOD, how could I have gotten this far into the pit?  How could I let this happen FOR MY CHILD???

I need answers.  Soon.  I'm applying for a dispatch position - too bad the written test for it isn't even until the middle of December, so I'm still screwed on the URGENCY front.  The staffing agency Ralph has applied with has been jerking him around by the ankles for the last month.  If I HAD anything of value, I would have ALREADY sold it!

But no.  Douchbag "Christian" of the demanding phone calls just seems to think that I have friends of 14-karat gold, and tears of liquid silver for alll he is understanding coming out of my mouth EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. HE. CALLS.  Apparently , to him there is no difference between willingness to pay, and ability to pay.  I'm *this* close to telling him to let it go to COURT, because then?  Hmm... check my bank accounts.  Check my non-existent assets.  WHERE will they find the money?  NOWHERE, just like *I* am.

God, I feel pathetic.  I feel like a big, whining sack of NOTHINGNESS.  Any self-worth I may have possibly had left?  *POOF*  Gone.  I can't even try to file bankruptcy right now, since - you guessed it - I'd still have to have SOME kind of money to pay the bankruptcy attorney.

Fuck me.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Happy Birthday!

For the last 13 years, you have been a source of laughter, smiles, frustration, tears, drunken nights and more-than-sober realizations.  We have been through not only the highs of friendship, but the lows of throwing veritable punches.  A companion, a friend, a sister, a godmother to my son - even when things are filled with disaster, it never lasts long, bringing us back to some deep-rooted understanding that no one else has truly been able to accomplish. 

I don't think that anyone could fill your shoes, Bea.  Not only have you been able to understand the unspoken, but you have grown into a strong woman and an incredible mom.  There truly isn't anyone else that I would have wanted to spend so many moments of absolute emotion with!  Even though we ride some strange rollercoaster of insanity together, sometimes riding high through the happiness that is life, and sometimes dipping down into the bitter angst that threatens to tear at our binds, it has always amazed me at how quickly we are able to close our eyes and realize that, no matter, we are still firmly seated and ready to face another piece of the tracks.

Happy, happy 27th birthday, Beazilla!  May the years bring many many more opportunities to express just how much you have meant to me!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Someone Traded My Child

Seriously.  All day long, he has been mouthy, argumentative, pushy, whiny, and just downright FULL OF IT.  Now, I am no sucker to think that I am lucky enough to have a child that is blissful 24/7 - oh, no.  We have travelled the path of MOST resistance too many times before to think that.  However, he really has been doing *so* much better lately that today?  I am ready to feed him to the wolves if it would give me more than five minutes of PEACE.  Essentially since waking up this morning (a full two hours earlier than I even HALF expected him to wake), he hasn't been able to sit still for more than a few minutes at a time, including while on the computer.  He's either been running, or spinning, or dancing, or jumping, or climbing.  Moving.  Non-stop, it seems.

And the mouth!  Oh, the mouth cannot stop moving, either.  Usually, it's simply a side-effect of his 'just can't POSSIBLY learn enough about EVERYTHING' nature.  But today?  Oh, today we are filled with whining, and arguing, and demanding, and my GOD, someone make it stop.

I'm nearing the point where he goes to bed early, no matter WHAT that means for the time he wakes in the morning.  I'd rather deal with an earlybird than what my son is acting like tonight.  Eek.

The worst part?  It's THURSDAY.  Which means that Ralph has been gone since 4pm, and will not be home until around midnight.  Because?  Apparently they just practice THAT long in Judas Beast.  Hmm.  Okay.  I'm seeing visions of yapping and incessant silly voices.  Maybe it's just me.

But, as always, Greyson REALLY lets it loose when I am left to deal with him on my own for the evening.  Something about pushing the same buttons he's been working on for almost the last THREE SOLID YEARS of being home with me all day that gets him going, ya know?  AARRGHH!

So, if in a few hours, you see a redhead screaming down the middle of I-94?  It's me.  You might want to stay out of my immediate reach, in case I mistake you for a margarita.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Good Enough

It seems the more we talk
The less I have to say
Let’s put our differences aside
I wanted to make you proud
But I just got in your way
I found a place that I can hide
Now everything is changing
But I still feel the same
We’re running out of time
What do I have to do
To try to make you see
That this is who I am
And its all that I can be
I tried to find myself
Looking inside your eyes
You were all that I was meant to be
There must be something else
Behind all the lies
That you have lead me to believe
Now everyone is saying
That I should find a way
To leave it all behind
What do I have to do
To try to make you see
That this is who I am
And its all that I can be
What do I have to do
To try to make you see
Trying to be like you
Isn’t good enough for me
I wont let you go
I wont let you down
I wont give you up
Don’t you give up on me now
What do I have to do
To try to make you see
That this is who I am
And its all that I can be
What do I have to do
To try to make you see
Trying to be like you
Isn’t good enough for me
What do I have to do
To try to make you see
Trying to be like you
Isn't good enough for me
"Good Enough" by Lifehouse