Stuff* is really happening! Maybe my wish will come true and I’ll have the means necessary to write more, but for now I’ll have to be content with the occasional blog post. Have I ever told you about how much I love bullet points? No? Well, I really love bullet points. The lists that follow the points, that is. I think my brain is wired to function in two modes: bulleted lists and hazy, dreamy, abstract thoughts like distant, muted watercolors. Truly opposite ends of the subconscious spectrum. I have trouble putting my long rambles into words, so when they do surface, they appear like nerdy little Excel spreadsheets. Except when I go on and on and on… like bulleted essay question responses. Am I even making any fucking sense at all? Whatever, here is the *stuff:

  • I had arthroscopic knee surgery earlier this month for a torn meniscus, but when the docs got in there, they found not a torn meniscus but something called “plica”, also known as “synovial plica syndrome”.  The definition of this wacky thing is even wackier: it’s tissue that was supposed to have gone away during fetal development, but for speculative reasons, decided to stick around.  Chances are, plica will mind its own business and no one will be the wiser, but sometimes it can act up and get inflamed and irritated and cause all sorts of pain, et cetera, which is what happened to me.  So they took it out, and now I’m recovering.  Recovery is slow-going since my job as Mommy doesn’t allow for a whole lot of rest/sitting down, but physical therapy and pain meds are helping.  Hopefully I’ll be able to return to martial arts training someday and not feel old and creaky. Moving on…
  • I applied for college!  I’m 32 years old and haven’t been in school for 12 years (ouch, that was a painful realization), and it took me that long to finally decide what I want to be when I grow up.  I haven’t completely settled on the end result of what the “I want to be…” equation, but suffice it to say the field has been narrowed down and I am heretofore on the way of becoming something other than Mommy. A couple things led me to apply…
  • Anyone who has read my blog at all knows that my Mom has cancer. In helping her fight the disease, I try to cook/bake anything for her that she wants.  The disease itself has, in part, been related to her diet.  Now that she’s in treatment, certain food items have been blacklisted because of vitamin content or other concerns.  However, she has lost so much weight and really needs to fatten up.  Of course she indulges a bit, which is fine since she rarely has any appetite to begin with, but it’s a struggle to find healthy and nourishing food that has plenty of calories and fat without too much of the negative.  SO – my mission is to make her feel as good as I can, since this disease has me feeling helpless anyway, and has given me a new perspective on cancer as a whole.  If I can play any part in improving the quality of life of cancer patients through food, I can’t think of much else I’d rather do.
  • Further along the food chain comes another issue that’s been near and dear to my heart: food allergies. I’ve had a few myself that seem to have disappeared over time, but my 4-year old has been suffering from food allergies since birth (Jackson is allergic to dairy, eggs and peanuts).  Hopefully he will outgrow some, if not all of his allergies, but needless to say he’s kept us pretty busy with reading labels and menus and having confrontations with childcare workers (ugh).  Luckily, we’ve never had to use the epi-pen that we keep with us at all times, but we’ve had to break out the benadryl more times than I care to remember.  I thought that by watching my diet during my pregnancy with Liam, breastfeeding him exclusively and delaying solid foods until 6 months (and some longer, I know), I would be able to save him from a life of being the kid who couldn’t eat birthday cake and goldfish crackers.  Unfortunately, several triggers have appeared in the past few weeks, and the diagnosis has confirmed that my two boys will be food allergy buddies with the exception of dairy (Jax is allergic, Liam is not) and wheat (just Liam).  I confess, a wheat allergy has been my WORST nightmare.  I will refrain from bitching about it, though.  It is what it is.  What is also is, is FUCKING EXPENSIVE.  $6.99 for a minuscule loaf of wheat-free loaf of bread?! Puh-lease! But I said I wouldn’t bitch, and I won’t, because all of these diet-related maladies have lead me to pursue a career in Nutritional Science…
  • If I am accepted, I’m expecting to be, I will begin my studies toward a degree as a Dietary Technician in the Fall.  It’s an Associates Degree program, but the only one in the state certified by the American Dietetic Association.  If I love it, I’ll keep on keepin’ on and one day become a Registered Dietician (or Nutritionist, if you will).  I’m happy about this path.  I’ve toyed with enrolling in culinary school for about a decade now, but I never wanted to work in a restaurant.  I couldn’t see the point of investing all of that time, money and energy into culinary school if I wasn’t willing to spend time at the bottom rung of the ladder, getting dirty and sweaty in some restaurant’s kitchen or catering hall.  I will always have a deep passion for fine dining, and even not-so-fine dining.  I’ll always be a foodie…but someday I’ll just be helping people live better in terms of food.  Rather than simply placing “good eats” in front of them, I’ll be able to help them.  How cool is that?  Very cool, I think! Don’t get me wrong, I will still put butter in my mashed potatoes and still churn out hundreds of Christmas cookies every year. And then there’s bacon (Say it with me: Mmmm… bacon…) But woo hoo I finally have a PLAN!  I am 75% Type A, I need a plan.  I’m psyched, really.
  • My third and final session of my back tattoo will be completed on June 4th.  Hooray!

So that’s what’s happening.  Bullet points are supposed to be succinct, aren’t they?  Oh well.  Thanks for reading!


**Update! The winning ink is actually a combination of the first and second place winners.  I’m getting a phoenix with a string of wildflowers in its beak, for my Nana who loved her flower gardens.  A four-leafed clover will be drawn into the flowers for my Mom.  I go for session 1 (the outline) on Feb. 23. PSYCHED!!  Thanks to all who voted!**

My darling husband has offered to purchase my next tattoo as a gift for my upcoming birthday.  Since I have several ideas bumping around at once, I’m using a lifelife and asking the audience.

Idea #1: Something to commemorate my children, possibly just their names in fancy font. Alone or with symbols/animal representations of their zodiac signs (Scorpion and Lion, would have to search online for sample pics). Potential problem here could be if I have a third child… would have to allow for expansion!  Location would be around my right calf, where a piece of flash already exists (hoping I can cover that up or incorporate it into the new design).  Willing to compromise, as I really would love to have my boys’ names done.

Idea #2: A phoenix. I’ve wanted this tattoo for years now. A colorful, fantasy-like phoenix on my left calf, with long tailfeathers snaking around my ankle down onto the top of my foot. I love the symbolism of the phoenix; since I’ve been through my share of tragedy and crisis, it would be very poignant. Pitfalls… this might be the most expensive given the size and amount of color.

Idea #3: Something to commemorate my mother, since she’s ill at the moment… and I’ve always wanted a way to show her and my grandmother how much I love them.  My mom has a thing for four-leafed clovers, and both she and my Nana love birds and flowers. My Nana’s house had a gorgeous clematis vine that grew long and lush around her front door, in deep purple blossoms.  I could see something like that climbing around my leg.  Problem is, this idea and the phoenix idea are using the same piece of real estate on my body.  And I kinda want to get just a four-leafed clover on my chest in the same spot where my mom’s port is that is used for her chemo treatments.  I think maybe I’m too close too this issue at the moment.  Hmm…

Idea #4: The dragon from the inside cover of Stephen King’s The Eyes of the Dragon novel.  This book was possibly my first favorite “grown-up” book (graduated from Judy Blume to Stephen King, so I read this a looooong time ago).  I always have and always will be attached to the mystical side of my imagination. I believe in faeries and woodland sprites and tree dryads and all of the other endless array of probably made-up-stuff that I hope will be real when I get to Heaven.  Anyhoo, this dragon is my favorite and he’d go on my right shoulder, slightly casading down to my upper arm. I’d need a good artist to elaborate on what already exists in the sample drawing:  Click here for a sample image

So what do you guys think?  More importantly, anyone know super talented tattoo artists in the Charlotte or Asheville, NC areas?

Vote now, and thanks!

I’ve got to repost what Dooce wrote today, because it fits so snugly into the newly formed niche that has been created in my life:

In the moment

A couple of days ago I volunteered in Leta’s kindergarten class for a writing workshop they hold every week, and since I show up early for everything I got to talk to her teacher while the kids finished playing outside. She said Leta was integrating well and asked how it was at home with the newborn, and suddenly I’m reflexively gushing about how much I love it and can’t get enough.


WHA?? WHO???

And I found myself wanting to talk about how that morning when Marlo woke up at 3 AM to feed I couldn’t wait to snuggle her up under my arm and lie there with her fuzzy head up under my chin. OH! And our favorite part of the day now is the moment Leta pokes her head into our bedroom in the morning and whispers with a scream, “IS THE BABY AWAKE?!” Her head a giant mushroom cloud of tangles as she runs and hops up in between us, and Marlo looks up with a grin so wide there is no room left on the bed.

Yeah, there are really frustrating times, experiences everyone has as they juggle this kid off to school while trying to make the house quiet for the other kid’s nap. And work and errands jammed into the tiny cracks of time left in the day. But that baby… I don’t know how to explain what she’s done to me, to Jon, and especially to Leta who loves her more than anything else in her life, who now shows a level of tenderness and generosity that I didn’t know she possessed. It’s like Marlo has brought us to Here, with the capital H, that place we’ve always been trying to get to, the place that always seemed unattainable and out of reach. She’s brought us into The Now, and it feels absolutely magical.

I will always remember how hard it was the first time, and I will always sympathize with women who struggle they way that I did. But now I feel like I can understand the others who beamed when talking about life with an infant. I get it now. Yes, I know this makes me some droning mommyblogger, but I also hope that this, from the perspective of someone who has lived through the blinding demons of sadness and hopelessness, might give someone out there a glimpse of what it can be, and maybe they’ll go for it.

To elaborate, I’ve got to include the comment that I left in response:

Today is the day that I resigned from my career of 11 years to stay home and raise my two sons, one I just gave birth to 6 weeks ago and another who will be 4 in November. After battling with thoughts of suicide and feelings of doubt and hopelessness, without a shred of self-worth to my name, I’m confident that those demons are behind me. Being on the other side of this decision has been more liberating than I ever thought possible. As someone who believes strongly in witnessing “signs” of karma working its magic, your post today is another underscore that I’ve done the right thing.

Here’s to life. Here’s to children. Here’s to investing in joy and a family that’s worth absolutely everything.

Wow.  Thank you, God. Thank you.

P.S.  One of these days I have to write about my relationship with the number 11.  Today’s post has to do with it, but I’ve got to describe the back story in greater detail.  I lack the energy at the moment… but it’s coming.

This could very well be my favorite song ever. I can’t always listen to it… I have to be in a place where I can stop everything and just let the music sink in. When it’s over I always feel like I have to catch my breath.

and the video is amazing. makes me long to be a child.