For the taking (Part 2)

Part 1 is here.

I had a spot where I went to think, to write, to just be. I shared it with others. Sometimes we would drive a friend's dirt bike around the area; other times we would climb down to the creek, skip stones, cross at all the low points, sit along the "shore". We shared the day's events, the plans for the weekend, our fears, our dreams, silly jokes, laughs.
I shared this place with Kevin. It was the place we hung out after school, when we both wanted to hide from home, from parents, from aching stresses. It somehow became "our" place.
I went there after the paramedics arrived.
I parked, slid down the dirt to the shore of the creek, grabbed some stones to throw. I couldn't quiet my insides. I didn't know what to do with myself.
I heard through mutual friends that he was okay. He was now forced to take notice of his blood sugar, and be responsible with his diabetes. He hadn't eaten, and he didn't have anyone who noticed. If I hadn't of stopped by....well.

We somehow started talking on the phone. Someone told him I had found him. He thanked me. I cried.
I graduated high school without ever seeing him again. I started college, discovered college boys, fell hard for a guy in my Tuesday/Thursday History class.
A park was built around our place, a running path shadowing the curve of the creek. Houses went up in the field. I ran 3 miles a day on that path. At the 3rd curve, I would stop, stare down at the creek, and ache. Wonder where he was, how he was, if he was still playing the guitar, skateboarding in the dark, wishing for his "perfect drug". I was so dramatic.
To be honest, I have absolutely no idea how we found one another. All I know is I got ahold of an address, I wrote a letter, and received a response. He was in California. Had moved there with his younger brother and mom, who was recently remarried. He was clean & sober. He was eating.

He called me. We began talking all the time. I had to buy phone cards. I would lie on the driveway under the pear tree, stare at the stars, and listen to his voice. My life revolved around those phone calls. I would write lyrics & send them to him. He would write music to them, and play the melody over the phone for me.

We made plans. I applied to a college near his home. He got a job. He started looking for apartments. We wrote one another non-stop; I would receive at least one letter a day. There was an old house several blocks from the beach with our names on it; he'd called me as soon as he'd seen it. I can still close my eyes and imagine my sitting on the front steps with a journal on my knees, while he skateboarded on the sidewalk.

We made plans. I was his for the taking.

He was lonely there. His brother was growing up, and had his own friends. His mother was a newlywed. He was sober. I convinced him to apply for jobs, make new friends. We were counting down the days until I would be there.
He got a job, made a few friends. He sounded happy. He would call me late at night, and tell me how peaceful it was to sit along the rocky part of the shore at dawn, just before he surfed. He promised to take me there; it would be our new "place".
The phone calls became a bit sporadic, the letters almost non-existent. I would call and his mother would answer, telling me he wasn't home from work. I worried. That bitch with no self-esteem took over-I was afraid maybe he didn't want me after all? Maybe he didn't want me to move out there? Maybe...?
When we did talk, he was vague, saying he was working extra hours to save up for our house together.
One day I met the mailman at the edge of my driveway, pulling in from class. He handed me two letters: One was an acceptance letter from the college near his home. The other had a California postmark, but I didn't recognize the handwriting. I sat down on the driveway hard, when I read it.
It was from some chick, telling me to leave him the fuck alone, that he had moved on to better things, and suggesting that I do the same. It ended with something about how he was great in bed. My mind twisted those words around and around until I felt like vomiting. I don't even know.
If she was hoping to upset me, she succeeded. I called his house, and got his mother. She was pretty upset, saying she hadn't seen him in three days.
I called back a few days later. She still hadn't seen him. She had a bad feeling, and so did I.
He didn't stay sober. He never called me back. He never wrote me again.
I didn't move to California. I didn't transfer to the school there. And I didn't hear from him for 12 years.


Beauty stuff (GTT)

Beauty secrets revealed! *snort*

  • Sexy bras! Sexy bras can do a lot for you. Not only do they make you feel beautiful, but they put those bad boys (or girls, as it were) exactly where they should be-picked up and perky! And men (and women!) love a sexy bra, even if it ends up on the bedroom floor in 4.2 seconds.
  • When I don't want my naturally curly fuzzy/clusterfuck hair, I use a Chi flat iron. I promise you it is worth the cost. I had a cheap one for awhile, and omg, it was so frustrating!
  • Closely related: Turn Up the Heat Protection Spray This stuff works great! A little goes a lonnnnng way. It smells like cotton candy, it makes my hair shiny, and it protects it from all that Chi heat. Suggestion: spray it on your hands and work it through your hair.
  • Beauty Snob-I might not be able to afford many (or any!) of the beauty ideas they discuss, but I love it anyway!
  • Sephora- I truly never thought I would be a beauty whore, but I love this place! I love trying new things, little samples, a shiny lip gloss, etc. The free samples & great deals help too.
  • White eyeliner-I use it in the corners of my eyes (outer and inner) and under my lower lashes. I smudge it with my finger. It helps me look a bit more ALIVE on those mornings after being up all night with the sassy girl.
  • MOISTURIZE! Once in the morning, and twice at night!
  • I don't ever fake bake my face. I use bronzer. I love this one and this one. They both look natural, feel light on my skin, and don't clog my pores.
  • All bullshit aside, here's a big one: Trying to accept myself just the way I am. Loving the skin I'm in, taking care of myself the best I can, and being comfortable with myself. It's HARD, don't get me wrong, and I will be the first person to list the things I want to change on my body (jelly belly, waistline, shitty skin on face), but every day, I work at looking at the positives (eyes, smile(NOT teeth), boobs *rolls eyes*), and accentuating those things.
And....there's my useless post for the day. ;)


For the taking (Part 1)

When I wrote this post, I didn't know what I know now. I was in an oblivious stupor, something I wish I could take back.
As I said in that post, I haven't written about him other than the brief entry here. But I am going to do it now. I have to.

Here is what I previously wrote about him:

"I met him when I was almost 17. It was a hard, dark, lonely time in my stupid teenaged life. He was younger than me, by 2 years. I remember standing at my locker, and feeling someone's eyes on me. When I turned around, he was across the hall, staring. When I caught him staring, he blushed, but did not turn away. He maintained eye contact, and amazingly, smiled. There was weeks of this before I finally broke a mutual friend, begging for him to introduce us. I shouldn't have been nervous or worried.

We met in the hall. We were both late to class; the bell had already rang. I was so down that day; I was staring into my locker, when he said my name. I turned around and there he was, same smile, same shine in the eyes.

I fell hard for him. My friends made fun of me, since he was 2 years younger than me. It was I who picked him up when we would get together; he didn't have his license. He was quiet but not with me. He was silly, goofy, kooky with me. He was so brilliantly talented with music. He was one of the first in well over a year that I allowed to read my poetry. I opened my journals and my heart to him. He wasn't like any of the others. He didn't dress like them, he didn't act like them (other than the quiet part). He acted as though I was fragile when we were together, but helped me break myself when I needed it. He taught me to skateboard (I sucked). We talked on the phone for hours. We laid on my driveway & stared at stars while telling one another our deepest thoughts, our strongest fears.

I took his virginity. He broke my heart. Twice. He deserted me when I needed him so badly, the first time. The second time he deserted me, he fell deep into drugs. I couldn't forgive him, for years. I spent YEARS hurting because of him, because of us. I still get angry & disgusted when I think about how we ended. I still ache when I think of his eyes, his voice, his devotion, his dreams."

His name was Kevin.

He was the middle child. His older brother was the same age as me, in the same grade, but never around. He had a younger brother that he was really protective of. His father wasn't around, and his mother worked hard to provide for her boys. I vaguely remember a boyfriend of his mom's, and Kevin telling me that he didn't really like the guy, that the guy scared the shit out of him and his younger brother.
When we met, he smoked weed with other friends in my group. But when he heard from a mutual friend that shit bothered me, he stopped. At least for awhile.
When we were all hanging out, there were times we would drink. And he was a lush. It still makes me smile, thinking of him stumbling all over the place in our friend's house one night. He had two left feet when he was drunk, and he was a gigglebox.
I remember our first kiss, full of beer & Skittles, lust & fear. He was leaned against the living room wall of the now-abandoned home of one of our friends. Why do I remember the look in his eye, but not the taste of his lips?
He was full of music and life. He encouraged me to write. I argued with him about his diabetes. He played the bass guitar while I wrote lyrics to songs still unsung. We fell asleep on the phone many times- I would wake in the morning to the dial tone at the other end of the phone. Or, sometimes, the soft purr of his snore.
He said sweet things that he meant, that crushed my heart.
He was non-judgemental, and careless with his blood sugar.
I took his virginity. I cried.
He wanted more; I wanted more.
Somehow, we wanted different things.
I remember arguing in the kitchen of my father's house. I remember seeing an anger I had never seen before, directed towards me. I let him walk out the door.
Months went by; the rest of the summer burned off, and school started again. I would hear his laugh in the halls sometimes, and my stomach would drop.
I really missed him.
I had heard from others that he was doing drugs, skipping school, working to help his mother pay the bills. I heard he was still ignoring his blood sugar.
I am not made of magic, but I drove by his house anyway, skipping class.
I stood outside the door, nervous and close to tears. He didn't answer. I walked around back, hoping no one saw me. I knew how to sneak in the back door.
I slid up the stairs to the room he shared with his younger brother, melodies luring me behind his closed door. I knocked, whispered his name.
I opened the door and found him sprawled on his bed. He looked peaceful.
He wouldn't wake up.
I'll spare you the details, but I can say that I have never pushed a needle in someone's skin before, or since. I heard my blood rush in my ears. I couldn't breathe. I called 911. I shook him awake, barely. Blood sugar. I ran down the stairs, let the paramedics in, and bailed.
That was the last time I ever saw him.


The sound of silence

Each house has it's own distinct sounds, don't you think?

I remember being a little girl, lying on the bed in the childhood room of my mother, and hearing the traffic a few blocks away. It was loud in the mornings, a rush and blur. The sound of my grandmother's cat, padding up the stairs or meowing in the backyard. The sizzle of the eggs and bacon in the morning, the murmurs of my grandparents in the kitchen, talking over the morning news pouring out of the small black and white tv on a tv cart. In the evenings, the sound of the Yankees playing in the den, or my grandmother scraping the ground in her garden.

Later, growing up in my own childhood home, the sounds were much sharper: the sound of the Simpsons playing on the TV, my mother drying her hair, my father's voice rising up from the living room. My music was always on, no matter the hour. Kids yelling, playing, screeching on the block. Someone always bouncing a basketball across the street. At night, crickets and doves sang together.

At some point, the sounds changed in my childhood home. My mother left, and I had to buy my own hairdryer. My father's tears, rage, sadness. My brother's anger, fear, and arguments.

I wish I only remembered good sounds.

The first home I owned with my hubby was about less than a quarter of a mile away from railroad tracks. A small municipal airport backed up to our house. Trains wailed all hours of the day and night. Plane engines lulled me. The sound of the dogs' nails on the wood floors. The icemaker always made noise at night. Sleeping with the windows open in the Spring afforded us the sounds of our neighbors comings and goings: squeaky brakes, car doors slamming, the grind of the garage door opening, dogs barking, and voices of welcome.
I still miss the trains.

When we moved to Springtown (which I've written about a ton here), it was so quiet. Hubby and I laid in bed at night and marvelled at the silence. No trains, no planes. Every once in awhile, a car would speed down the country road in front of our house.
It was an old house, older than both of us. It creaked. Mice scratched as they ran in the walls. Insulation moved with the mice.
We got cows. And then we began learning the sound of the cows outside our windows. Mooing, running, munching the hay by our back door. The dog down the street barked at every car that drove down the county road. The people across the street got donkeys, and they were very vocal. Paco, the only male, was so outnumbered, by non-affectionate females. He hee-hawed non-stop, all the time. I would open the door and yell to him "Hey Paco-I'll give you lovin' if you JUST.SHUT.UP."
At night, there were coyotes howling, Paco hee-hawing, crickets and locusts and other bugs. The frogs were so incredibly loud-the pond was right outside our back door. There was a rooster somewhere up the hill that started in about 4am. And then the chickens joined. And random dogs barking, always. The laundry room light buzzed. Birds constantly built nests on both the front and back porches, so squawking and tweeting was the norm.
Eventually, the county road got busier. Cars sped down that road all the time- That became the train sound for us. The wind blowing through the ancient pecan tree was waves crashing on the shore. The wind created a soundtrack there.

This was my girl's first home. It was filled with her giggles, her cries, her first words, her noisy toys, her snores.

The house we just sold: more dog nails on wood floors, traffic speeding by so close, bullfrogs and swamp things competing for space in my backyard. When we didn't hear traffic, we worried. Donkeys half a mile away from here, so we hear the hee-hawing again; I love it. The dogs snored more in this house; they are aging. My girl's words, her giggles, her full-on sentences. Phineas & Ferb, Charlie & Lola, The First 48, Deadliest Catch. All the doors in this house squeaked, especially the pantry. The -click- of the sprinkler system, followed by the spray of the water. The constant running of the toilet bowl in our bathroom. The creak of the garage door. The dryer constantly tumbling & thumping.

When that house flooded, we moved into an empty house in our neighborhood. Tinkerbell's movie, crickets on the back porch, my brother's muffled music pouring down the stairs, water running through the pipes in the ceiling.

Now that we have sold our house, we are living in another empty house in our neighborhood. I sit here in my living room, and I hear quiet sounds: Daisy's even breathing, Max's snores, scenes of a show I'm not watching. The walls don't creak; the doors don't squeak. The fridge doesn't cycle. I can't hear the donkeys, unless I'm outside. My neighbors are silent: one is never home, the other deceased. The doors -ding- when they are opened: sometimes, the door leading to the garage opens on it's own. A woodpecker gets stuck in the high ceiling of the front porch. I often find him on the back porch, pecking the stone fireplace, after he's worn himself out flapping on the front porch. The leaves get caught up in the wind by the garage, swirling 'round and 'round; my eyes cross if I watch too long.

My girl is scared in this house. She says she hears things. She's never slept upstairs before. I lie in her bed with her, all hours of the night, and strain my ears for something, anything, that would equal fear. Silence.

We fill the silence with words, jokes, silly songs, & the classical station. I find myself trying to fill the silence in this house often. It doesn't feel like home. It is too quiet.


GTT-Getting on my nerves is NOT advised

This week's discussion is about our pet peeves. Oh, my, do you really want to get me started on this? Herrrrrre goes!:
1. Crunching ice-It drives me batshit insane when people crunch their ice. Seriously, just suck the shit, will ya? Or, better yet, just leave it in your damn glass so it can do it's job keeping your beverage cold.
2. The misery that is clothing sizes-And I don't just mean women's sizes either! First, what about kids's sizes? Is it just me, or do most 3 month olds wear 6 month clothes? And the 4T-5T-size 4 phenomenon? What the fresh hell is going on with that? How is it that size 4 pants fit perfect (in length) on my girl, but 5T pants are too long? Yet, sometimes it's the other way around? Also? What the hell is up with the difference in juniors and women's sizes? Why am I a size 8 in women's, but an 11 in juniors? Why am I a medium in a women's top (most of the time), but a f-ing XL in a junior top? Way to make me feel like a tub o' lard, fashion industry.
3. Being woken up & talked to or poked & prodded-And yes, I do mean that 'poked'. I love my sleep. Please don't wake me up and have a long conversation about stuff (see last week's post about my girl's middle-of-the-night ramblings). Don't expect me to make a bit of sense if you ask me where I put that one piece of paper with the random phone number on it, or why I left the light on in the entryway (FOR THE DOGS, by the way). And for the love of all that is sacred, please don't expect anything sexy or fun-loving if you want a little action at 3am.
4. Arrogance- This includes those that think their shit don't stink because they have a shit-ton of money. Need I say more?
5. When people take up more than one parking spot just because they can-Really? I mean, you love your toyota corolla so much that it's necessary to park fucking sideways? Sigh.(And I'm not knocking the corolla, I swear, so if you have one, rest-assured I don't care one way or the other.)
6. People who chew with their mouth open &/or take ginormous bites-This one really really REALLY annoys me. Dude, cut your damn food up and take a human-sized bite! You really don't need to shovel it in like that, all at once. Also? I don't want to see said baseball-sized bite rolling around in your mouth, and if you spit on me one more time....I'm gonna lose my shit.
7. People who are constantly WOE IS ME-I just can't handle it. Look, you make your own reality in the sense that YOU have control over how YOU handle your life. You can be joyful, feel happy about YOUR BLESSINGS, look to the future, etc., or you can be Debbie Downer, bitching about every fucking aspect of your life, never seeing the positive side. Also? It's not all about you. Quit fucking making every little situation ABOUT YOU.
8. People who are insincere-No patience for it.
9. When my dogs spend 20 straight minutes licking themselves-Bahhhhh! I don't want to hear you lick your empty ballsack another second! Or your damn paw! You haven't even walked yet this morning, so what could you possibly have on your paw that needs licking???
10. When someone thinks they are the expert on something & they are non-stop shoving it down your throat-Yes, I get that you lived in another country for 14 years and you know alllll about such and such because of it, but is it necessary to constantly tell me? Or how about the person who has to pipe the fuck in your conversation, "Oh, I've been there." "I've done that." "I know what you're talking about." Shut it.
11. Using a wet towel-When I get out of the shower, I don't want to use the towel that my hubby just used an hour ago. It's damp. And it has nothing to do with it being his towel, or anything like that. It just oogs me out to use a damp towel, regardless of who used it last. Of course, I don't go apeshit when it happens; I just use the damn towel anyway, with a slight scowl.
12. When people just don't get the fucking point-So, I'm kind and sweet and don't like confrontation; we've established that. However, when I sweetly defer or say 'No' or blow you off, I am really screaming in my head "NO MEANS NO MOTHERFUCKER QUIT BEING A CREEP". I very rarely say these words outloud; I'm just that way. But that DOES NOT MEAN that said creep should take advantage and CONTINUE TO BE A CREEP. I'm talking about people who get touchy feely when it makes me uncomfortable. I'm talking about people who KNOW I'm a social worker and talk shit about poverty, single-parenthood, other races/ethnicities, the President, etc. I'm talking about people who obviously fall under #4 (with or without the money), and think they can get away with shit just because.
**If you are confused, read Holly's post. If you read her post and got all red-faced, then YES, we are talking about you. Even her post was what could be called "nice", but if you continue your shit, we will not be nice.**


The souls of dogs

I received two books for Christmas: one, Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom, I had really been hoping for, and the other, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. I will admit that I knew nothing about the second book-I had barely noticed it in passing. In fact, I remember seeing the cover, with a partial of a sweet dog's face, and actually avoiding it, for fear that it would make me think of Marley & Me (which I read long before the movie came out, which I did NOT see), which would inevitably make me think of my old man dog, Kooter. I didn't want to think about that. 
I was happy when I opened the packages from my sister, thinking of starting Have a Little Faith the next morning, if at all possible. My mother said immediately, "You need to read The Art of Racing in the Rain." I nodded, thinking I would open Mitch's book first. I have read Mitch's other books, and I remember finishing the last one in full-out sobs, it was that striking for me. He's a great writer; his books are concise, yet full of real, raw, life-changing emotion.
Just after New Year's, my mother asked if I had read the book yet. I had not, as I was finishing a book I had started in August, The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society. (As a sidenote, let me just say that book was fabulous. I loved the characters, the ease of writing, and I would have read it all in one day, if possible. Go read that book!) She kept asking me if I'd read the book yet, every few days.
I started the book last Monday, and was immediately hooked. I was laughing out loud within a few pages. By page 39, I was already in tears, with my husband looking at me like I was a nut. If I didn't have a child, or a job, or 7000 things to do, I would have finished that book the same day. But, I can only assume there was a reason it took me all week to read it, no?
I don't want to ruin it for anyone, but I can say this:
If you are a dog lover, you must read this book.
It has given me insight into the mind of my dogs. Although I know it is fiction, I truly do believe there is truth behind the sentiment of this story. It is written from the dog's point of view, and it is fascinating to look over at my Daisy snoring on her dogbed, and wonder what exactly she thinks of me, what she would tell me if she could.
I finished the book five days after beginning it, sobbing uncontrollably, sitting in my oversized chair with my sweet boxer Max laid out next to me, all four of his mighty paws in my lap. I was thankful to be home alone, knowing full well that my hubby would give me that look if he saw me (The same look he gave me when I finished The Five People You Meet In Heaven, while pregnant. He came out of the bathroom to my sobbing in bed, trying to explain just why I was so incredibly struck by the story, between hiccups.)(Go ahead and run away screaming now; I know I'm a bit emotional about things, or SENSITIVE, as my mother likes to call it.). I was unable to stop my tears, pushing my face into Max's neck. I then went into the living room to find Daisy, who spends most of her time sleeping on her dogbed these days. I frightened her with my sobs, waking her. I laid on the floor next to her, sobbing, telling her I loved her sweet face.
I know, I know. (RUN. NOWWWW.)
See, the thing is, I've always talked to my dogs, telling them what I'm doing, how I'm feeling, and having one-sided conversations with them. I ask them things, knowing they can't answer. But this book? It got me thinking about what exactly my dogs would say if they could answer me. And the end? Oh, it's bliss. Heart-wrenching bliss.

A year ago today, I had to put Kooter to sleep. My sweet old man dog. And a year later, I still doubt the decision. It actually took the breath out of me when I noticed the date on my desk calender. How had a year gone by already? How had Daisy and I made it without our sweet companion? It amazes me that it's been a year. We've moved again, we've taken so many walks, without him. His leash is still in the drawer of the laundry room; I can't bring myself to get rid of it, or use it. His picture, from that day, is still on the desktop of this laptop. I see his sweet face looking up at me every time I open it, several times every day. And yet, somehow, it's been a year.
My dreams of Kooter have slowed. Maybe that means he has moved on....maybe he knows that I am happy with another dog who takes up my time and bits of my heart, every day. I feel a twinge of guilt at loving Max so much, even though I can feel the love for Kooter still right.here.
Each night, as I read this book, I fell asleep thinking of my sweet Kooter dog, wondering where he could be now, if he would come to me in my dreams soon. And so far he has not, that I recall.
And then I would wake up thinking, maybe I am living too much in the past with my dogs. Why am I not thinking about the remainder of Daisy's life? Am I doing her a disservice by continuing to think about Kooter? Am I holding back with Max out of guilt?
If you don't have a dog, you are probably shaking your head at me right now, thinking that there are things far more earth-shattering to be pondering. But for me, right at this very moment, I sit watching Max dream, nose twitching, jowls shaking, eyebrows shaking. I glance over at Daisy, running in her sleep, eyes rolling in the back of her head. (Just what are they dreaming about?) And I know that they are an extremely important part to my story. I know that I would not be exactly who I am if it were not for these dogs, these domesticated animals, in my life. I feel blessed to have had them in my life, am blessed by the presence of their souls.
I can only hope that they know how much I love them, now, and even after they are gone. I can only hope that they get what they want out of life, that they get the chance at reincarnation, like the book claims. And if they do come back as humans, I truly hope that I was a good enough person that they would remember me and seek me out.


Today, my Spring semester begins. Today, I begin a journey in an internship that is sure to be much more successful than my last one. I will be interning at a facility on 27 acres in South Dallas, where they have residential community care, alzheimer's care, dementia care, rehab, hospice services, and independent living for the aging. I am extremely excited, as I have never worked with this population; I always worked with children and families, with lots of other populations mixed in for good measure. I will spend several weeks in each program, learning about assessment and other social work-y things. I am looking forward to the things I will learn, the people I will meet, the relationships that will be formed. I imagine I will have a ton of stories; I cannot wait.

I'm also taking an aging class, a class on Violence in Families, and doing an independent study on juvenile sex offenders. I promise there is a post to come about that, as it's a matter close to my heart, although the phrase turns people off.

The downside to this day is that I will be absent more, from this blog, from Twitter, from your blogs, from your every day lives. I've got a shit-ton of posts saved up, so hopefully I won't lose what few readers I have. I hope they last until at least Spring Break, when I can stock up on more posts.

Until then, if you need me, you know where to find me (alittleleftoflost@gmail.com)!


Music Lover Monday-To my new love

Norah Jones' new song "Man of the Hour" on her new album, which I am all SQUEEEEE! about, of course.

It speaks to me, as many of her songs do. You really need to listen to the words. If you are a dog lover, you will feel the same twinge I do, looking down at my silly Max, lying stretched out on my feet under my desk. He is very alert, and looks at me with those kind eyes when I speak to him, or when I sing. He's vocal, growling & whining when he wants my attention. He has learned the word 'walk', and gets all perky and intense when I say the word. He's stealing bits of my heart, every day.


Sweet somethings

[First off, thank you to all of you who responded to my whiny-ass post. I am still on the fence (who, ME??), but I feel like I'm not off-base on my feelings. I *know* that I am a good friend, that I am loyal and kind; I just have to let go of those who don't give me any part of themselves. I am blessed to have a couple of wonderfully kind and loyal friends, as well as a good set of online friends that support me and care for me. What more can I ask for, right?]
My girl has had a horrendous cough & stuffy nose for almost a week. There's no infection, no fever, no green snot, etc., so we've been doing the rounds: breathing treatment, Delsym cough syrup, humidifier, Vicks on the neck & under the nose, tylenol, rinse & repeat.
We've also been doing very little sleep all week.
She goes to bed okay, other than the fact that she can't get used to her bedroom being upstairs. She hears noises, she sees things out her window, she's scared. She now sleeps with the classical station on, to help with that. And 3 night lights. And a flashlight. And a teeny angel on her night stand. 

Right about my bedtime, she wakes up: "Mommy.....mommy....mommmmmmyyyyyyyy!"
I groan. I shuffle through the house, up the stairs.

"Mommy, can you sleep with me until the morning?"

I climb into bed (thank goodness we finally got her a full sized bed! I couldn't do this sleeping-on-the-floor-next-to-her-toddler-bed crap anymore!). She coughs, sighs, and smiles.

"Mommy, can we close our eyes now?"

I close my eyes, only to open them 4 seconds later, watching her sink into her pillow with a smile on her face. She lets me fix the covers around her, move her hair out of her face, and cuddle her. She moves closer to me.

I watch her for a few minutes before I crash. She's getting so big. She's tall and lean and only looks like my baby in the middle of the night, by the light of her nightlights.

I'm asleep long enough for my brain to clear-I'm not dreaming yet-when my girl begins:

"I'm hungry. Can you hear my stomach? Are you sure there are no ghosts or monsters outside? Is Max in his crate? Can I turn the radio up? Is the nightlight still on in the bathroom? Mommy, I need to go potty. Can you get me some toilet paper? Can you zip up my pjs? My nose is stuffy. I can't breathe. I can hear God talking. I don't like the shadow in the corner. Want to play 20 questions? Tell me about that book you are reading again. Are you sleeping, mom? Mooommmmmmmmm!"

Fuck me.

And then she starts tossing and turning, puts her pillow at the foot of the bed, pulls the covers around, turns the fan on, tosses, turns, looks for her cup, coughs, sniffles, and asks me "Does your tooth still hurt?"

I will readily admit that I love my sleep. I don't like to be woken up in the middle of the night. Once I'm out, I just don't want to be bugged. It must have been all those years that I didn't sleep at all; I am spoiled by this good sleep now. So, it's hard for me to remain patient, although I swear I try. I answer her questions, I call her honey, I kiss her, I cuddle her, and then I begin to beg, swear, and threaten:

"Please go back to sleep. Pleeeeeeeeeease.""I will go downstairs to my own quiet bed if you don't hush up right now."

"Mother humper, cheese & rice, shut the hell up."
Yeah, Mother of the Year Award RIGHT HERE.
On the nights that I seem to find more patience, we talk about all sorts of things: our next house, my school, her starting Kindergarten in September (NOOOOOOOOoooooooo!!), her next dentist appointment, our old man dog, Max, Daisy, the relatives she loves and misses (even if she has JUST SEEN THEM), my friend Amanda's middle son, Mikey, whom she has a huge crush on and wants to marry, God, prayers, food, and babies.
She wants a brother or sister. Depends on her mood, but she knows she WANTS A BABY IN MY BELLY. After one of these rambling conversations, I am almost asleep the other night when I hear her groggy voice from the end of the bed (we were lying head to foot):
"Mommy, if you had a boy, just please promise me you WILL NOT name him Bob*."
I cracked up and she sat up in bed, pushing her hand in my face. Shaking her finger at me:
"I mean it! It's an awful name and I will NOT call him by his real name if you name him Bob."
Between laughs, I ask her, "What would you call him if I named him Bob?"
Her response: "Kid."
I know this time is fleeting. Sooner than I think, she won't want me in her bedroom. Someday, she might not want to talk about random things at 4am. Someday, she won't fit comfortably in the curl of my body. Someday, we won't fit in her bed together. I have to keep this in my mind when I feel the urge to threaten her to go back to sleep. Someday, she will no longer be JUST MINE. But for now, I secretly love the sweet somethings coming out of her mouth as we share her bedsheets.

*My brother calls everyone Bob due to my mom finding a little dog named Bob that she wanted to adopt. So now, any time my girl asks me someone's name (even people driving down the road that I have no.way.of.knowing, I tell her "Bob". It drives her crazy.*


Where I whine & complain (& maybe lose some friends?)

So I have a minor dilemma (besides "Chocolate cake-to eat, or not to eat?"), and who better to ask than the internet, right? I mean, I have like 4 readers left after my long-ass mystery disappearance, so, it can't hurt to ask, right? Hell, the people I'm referring to (below) probably don't read anymore anyway.

I find myself to be pretty laidback. Low expectations, easy going, kind, funny, fun to be around. I mean, I don't think I'm exaggerating here: I'm a decent friend. Loyal, caring, blah blah blah.

So, when I ask something of others, it's usually important, right? Like "Hey, every holiday my kid is the only kid at my house, and it's sorta lonesome for her. How about this year you stop by with your kids, even if only for 30 minutes, so my girl isn't alone". I know it's someone else's fault that my brother and I are 10 years apart; my sister and I are 19 years apart-so I get that it's not my friends' fault that I have no nieces or nephews, no cousins for my girl. I get that.
And I know it's someone else's fault that I have 3 nephews and one niece on my hubby's side that we never see. As in, the last time I saw one of them, he was a toddler, and now he's in middle school. And it's certainly not my girl's fault that these cousins and uncles have absolutely no relationship with her.
And I get that the holidays are a crazy time. Everyone is running between 4 different houses, and just one more stop is the pain in the ass. I get that.
So, yeah, I'm asking a lot. I get it, for pete's sake.
So I send an email out, letting all my friends know it's no biggie, but it would be greatly appreciated. I had several people right off the bat say that they couldn't make it because they would be out of town. No biggie. I had about 20 people (including their spouses and kids) say 'Sure! We will stop by for a bit somewhere around blah o'clock.'
My girl and I pick out presents for the kids of said friends.
And my hubby and I buy a shit-ton of food.
And then it snows.
So there were a couple of people who couldn't make it because of the weather. And I totally get that. No biggie.
But only one of them even bothered to call/email me.
The rest? I had to text them.
And a couple, had absolutely no excuse.
And a couple STILL haven't returned my text. It's fucking January 14th, people.

And all day I had to play it off, fielding my girl's questions: "When will so and so be here?" "Is so and so coming to play with me?"

Fuck me.

And I'm not even gonna bother to lie about this: It really hurt my feelings. I mean, seriously. I feel like I do a great job of being there for others. I go out of my way to watch other people's kids, set up playdates, support birthdays & parties, and just be there emotionally. And it's not like I didn't tell any of my close friends about this MONTHS ago. They KNOW how much it bugs me that my girl is the only kid in the middle of adults who drink too much and ignore her (not all of them; just some of them).

So, I tried not to cry, put away all the food, and carried on. Because I didn't want my girl to see me cry. And I didn't want my own feelings to affect my girl's holiday. So I told her the snow had slowed people down, and she played a ferocious game of Hungry Hippo with my dad, brother, and sister.

I said I was over it, but the reality is this: I took down my Christmas tree, and there are still a dozen presents from my girl to other kids under the tree. And every day, my girl asks me "When can I give so and so her present?" And I tell her "Soon, baby, soon". But really?
Today I put the gifts in the hallway closet. And I haven't emailed those friends since New Year's Eve, when I was dumb enough to invite them all over for New Year's.
I am not over it. My feelings are hurt. I am angry. I am feeling let down.

I am not talking about the one that emailed me because of the weather, or even the two that responded to my texts by saying the weather was keeping them in. I'm talking about the ones that didn't bother to respond to my texts, after they were all gung-ho about coming over in the first place. I'm talking about the ones that had shit-hole excuses.

And then begins the huge descent into the valley of disgust:

Am I fooling myself into thinking these people are really my friends?
Am I annoying?
Am I as annoying as my father?
Am I a bad friend?
Did I do or say something wrong?
Am I reading too much into this?
Do I value their friendship more than they value mine?

And I'm disgusted that I let it affect me like this. I'm disgusted that I am all wishy-washy about what to do with these gifts, that are still wrapped, for these kids of these friends who could give two shits about me and my daughter. I'm so disappointed in a couple of them. I mean, seriously? I've been to almost every birthday party of every one of these kids. I give birthday presents to these friends. I invite them to do stuff. I'm just flat out disgusted.

So advice please:

-Do I return the gifts? Or do I keep them and give them when these people finally hang out with me again?
-Do I say anything to said friends? Or do I just let it go and continue being my usual self, emailing regularly, texting, etc.?
-Do I continue the friendship? Or do I let it take a backseat to the friendships with those that did show up?

I just don't know what to do at this point. I don't want to appear whiny or desperate (well, FAIL there). I don't want these people to dote on me, beg for forgiveness, or kiss my ass. I guess maybe I would just like some acknowledgement that they hurt my feelings.
Aw, fuck. I don't know.

Happy fucking new year.



Newly found

So, while I've taken a long hiatus from my blog (Do you really want to know what I've been up to? Nothing supa-dupa exciting, but I could lay it all out for you if you want.), I have become a part of a couple of new websites, and have found a few others that intrigue me. I figured I would share, since sharing is caring, or some such shit, right? I'm sweet like that, remember?
1. The Book Lushes--Started by the lovely Jonna of Jonniker and Jennie of She Likes Purple , this is an online reading club. You read the book, and discuss amongst yourselves. This month's book is The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I ordered mine from Amazon, but I'm pretty sure you can get it anywhere (even Target!). Won't you join us?

2. Next up is {W}rite of Passage, started by the talented Mrs.Flinger. This is a brilliant idea, and I've tried hard to stay up to date on the challenges (yeah, failing miserably so far). Basically, she provides writing challenges, you post on your own blog, and if you want any feedback or critique, you link your post to the website and voila!-Sit back and enjoy new readers! (And comments) I love love LOVE this site, and the challenges really make you think. 

3. Next: I am SecondVideos are posted of both famous and every-day people, talking about their struggles, and finding their purpose in life. It's actually pretty uplifting, and totally interesting. People included are Brian Welch (formerly of Korn), Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys, and Michelle Aguilar from The Biggest Loser.(I think I like hers the best).
Go. Listen. Find some hope. Strength. Motivation. Inspiration.

4. Next: Media that Matters. This is a wonderful website with short films that have a purpose. Some are about the environment. Some, like the one below, are directed towards social issues. Take a second to watch this one.

Knock Knock. Who's There? (Violence Against Women) from Breakthrough on Vimeo.

It moved me. What about you?

Any new websites you've been to lately? Ready to share?