Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I apologize for the confusion; the trial is set for next Wednesday, not today. The 8th and the 9th, actually, and hopefully that will be it. I guess I will know more specifics after out meeting on Friday with the PA. Gosh, I HOPE I will know more by then! You remember, the 8th. Eli's birthday. Isn't it terrible that first we had the preliminary hearing on Hannah's birthday, and now the trial is set to start on Eli's? I tell you, sometimes you just gotta shake your head and laugh, even when it isn't particularly funny.

We are holding on. Hannah had a bit of bad news (as if she needed more, right?) on Monday in that her dad told her he wasn't going to come down (even though he has been telling her since January that he would....), and now isn't answering her phone calls or returning her messages. So she was very teary and sad last night, and also confused and hurt. We do have a few other people who are going to be there, though, so at least she will be able to look up and see some friendly faces. I am not sure that we actually get to be in the courtroom until we are called as witnesses, but again, I will find out more on Friday.

So far so good. I followed my own advice last night and had a quiet evening reading (of course) after the kids were in bed. I am currently reading a book about the Dalai Lama, which seems almost cosmically put in front of me when I might need something to help me center myself. This morning, I got up a few minutes early so that I could have some absolute alone time before any of the kids got up, where I could sit and cup my warm coffee in my cold hands and pray. Read my daily meditations. Pray. Listen. I don't know yet if the Big Guy is listening, but I know that for me, this is what I am supposed to do, and I feel better. Maybe that IS the answer.

Tonight? More of the same. We are having what we call Fry Night at our house, with fish for Steve and I, chicken for the kids, and we usually do some zucchini and broccoli and, when they aren't $1.79 each, red and yellow peppers. Mushrooms too sometimes, that is until Hannah learned that they are basically fungi grown in piles of shit. For some reason that bothers her, though I don't know why (tongue in cheek there). I think maybe some brownies are in order, too. Not because any of it-the food itself-matters, but because we can be together making and eating fun food and thereby be somewhat distracted.

Just-breathing, and it seems to be enough for the moment.

The Call Came In

The PA finally called last night at 5:00; we are going to trial on Wednesday. Via his attorney, CF said, "I didn't do anything wrong; there will be no deal." We have to go in to meet with the PA on Friday afternoon to prepare for the trial, as both Hannah and I have been subpoenaed. It is odd. I knew this would most likely be the case, that he would take it all the way to trial (after all, what does he have to lose?), but somehow hearing the words out loud was like a punch in the gut. Don't know why-I guess just realizing that there is no way to protect Hannah from having to testify, no way to keep her from having to sit in a courtroom filled with a jury and, inevitably, lots of spectators, and say out loud to strangers what was done. No way to prevent her from having to talk about it in from of him. I have a long diatribe started about victims rights (nil) vs criminals rights (thousand fold) but I just don't have the energy to go into it right now. What is that old saying, that depression is anger without enthusiasm? That fits me today. It won't-can't-last; there is too much at stake now for me to indulge in the selfish luxury of depression and apathy. However, for just this moment, this small span of time, I am allowing myself to feel every single emotion brought about by this turn of events without trying to stuff them or pretend they don't exist. Later I will be able to put on the brave, strong front that Hannah so desperately needs, but right now, it just is what it is.

This is what I know, though. Not how I feel at the moment, but what I know. I know that the only thing that either one of us can do is go in and speak our truth as clearly and forcefully as possible. I am fairly sure at the meeting on Friday that strategy will be discussed, from what to wear to how to appear, but underneath it all is the fact that the only thing we can do is tell our story. That's it. Will it be enough for a jury to convict him? Here in the blog I can say that I doubt it. Too many people still think that what happened was maybe not okay, but not enough to warrant prison time; after all, he didn't RAPE her. However, the truth is all we have, and I believe that no matter what the ultimate outcome, as long as we do what we are supposed to do, there will be healing.

I also know that aside from the repercussions for Hannah, this is the opportunity for ME to stand up and confront my own abuse. In standing up for my sweet girl, I am also taking and stand and confronting the fact that things happened to me that were.not.okay. There is something very powerful about having that opportunity. Of course, I would rather it didn't happen in this manner, but if the opportunity arrives to put to rest a huge part of my past, then I would be a fool not to take it and run with it. Everything in life is intertwined; I know that no matter how shitty the circumstances are, there is the chance for great good to come of it as long as I keep my eyes open and my heart willing.

There is finally in my life the sure knowledge that we are loved and supported, which is no small thing. The people whom I love the most-even the ones who don't understand where I am coming from these days-have never once questioned Hannah. They know and love us both well enough that when told, the reaction was not "Are you sure you didn't misunderstand?" but was instead, "Okay, baby, this is what we gotta do." They have listened to me pour my heart out and rant and rave about the injustice and how bad it hurts to watch things spiral far beyond what little control I have; they have fed us meals and sent emails and been on the other end of the phone line. They have provided shelter and protection for not just Hannah but our entire family, knowing how close we all are and knowing that the safety and well-being of one affect all of us. God, am I blessed. And maybe I didn't know this before; maybe I didn't know that no matter how high the fall or how fast I approached Ground Zero, there would be a safety net. No matter what happens, I can lean back and let go, and fall into love. That? Can't be taken away.

There is no doubt in my mind that things will get a little dicier as the trial comes nearer, no doubt that we are all going to have our moments of freaking out and being afraid and angry and frustrated. For myself, in order to take care of myself as best as I can in order to be able to be there in a meaningful way for Hannah, I plan on being as gentle with all of us as is possible. Evenings of simple comfort foods and bubble baths, mornings of quiet reading and meditation. We will think of something fun and distracting (and free) to do on the weekend, and I will try to help each one of the kids nurture themselves through this. I have to believe that all will be well.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Weekend Recap Plus Update

I have to say this was one of the best weekends we have had in a long time, and we have had some good ones. Friday night Steve and I went to the AA Speaker meeting, which was an exceptionally good one. I was glad to see my friend P. there, the mother of the man who died last week; I am amazed at her courage and strength, and am glad to know that no matter how difficult life is at any given moment, she knows where she needs to be so as not to drink again. I talked with her very briefly, but she is still so raw and freshly grieving that we didn't TALK; she seems to be holding herself together with everything she has, and all I could really do was hug her. I love AA; I look around the room and see people that I love, who love me, and it is really powerful for me to go there and know that no matter what, I don't have to drink again. Powerful and humbling at the very same time.

Saturday was spent-what DID I do Saturday? Well, I had borrowed $100 from Steve so as to make it through until payday, so I went to buy some groceries (which was of course lovely; I had a better attitude and FELT better as soon as I knew that there was enough in the house to last until I get paid), and then we spent quite a bit of time outside playing. The house next door to the one right next to us has been bought and the new owners are in the process of gutting it, so there was lots of activity. I don't know what the deal with the other folks was, whether they owned or rented, but they left EVERYTHING in there, including two cats. Which makes me angry indeed.

Steve and I went out on Saturday night, and it was so, so nice. We went to the next town over specifically to go to Costco, which we found out closes at 6:00. On a Saturday night-WTF is up with that? So we didn't get to go there, but instead went to lots of other places. Barnes and Noble, Tuesday Mornings, the Asian Market we love that has moved and expanded, downtown to find the cooking store we have heard so much about (and I cannot WAIT to go back there; it is my idea of heaven, I tell you). It was really relaxing and a lot of fun to just browse around places. We then went into Karnation, a lingerie and adult store, which was, um, interesting and a little embarrassing, even for me, but also fun. Last, we went to eat at a place called Sushi Ya, which obviously was a Sushi joint. I was my first experience with sushi, and man, I am hooked. Totally hooked; what an interesting and fun combination of flavors and textures! And this, from a woman who won't eat meatloaf! I will definitely go back, and be more adventurous the next time. It was an excellent night simply because there was no underlying tension, the uncertainty and confusion about our relationship not in the forefront like is has been. The trip to Barnes and Noble was reminiscent of our first date, as is was the first place we went to that night over three years ago; we were both wandering around the store with our coffees, not together but knowing that the other was around somewhere, and it was a comforting feeling.

Yesterday was miserable, weatherwise, with terrible wind and icy cold pellets of snow flurrying around sporadically, so we spent the entire day in the house. We cleaned some, and read a LOT, and the kids all four were sweet and happy to just be together. A nice change from the days when the slightest wrong look or comment can cause World War Three! We all napped in the afternoon, had a simple dinner, and topped the evening off with popcorn and a movie. These are the times that make me fall into bed feeling oh-so-grateful and blessed.

This morning, I had the pleasure of writing out a check to Amber for the money that all of you so generously donated to her. The total was $427.00, and I want to thank you all. I will say that I still owe her $127.00, only having written the check for $300.00; I made the mistake of having the money deposited into my new checking account instead of my existing savings account, so there was a delay in that Paypal had to verify the account and then deposit the money. Because I am paranoid about money and checking accounts in general, I told her that I would have to give her the rest in a few days just to make sure everything is cool. Anyway, I am hoping (hint hint) that Amber will be willing to write a guest post this week telling you all about what happened and what has transpired, at which point I will list all of the people who so generously gave of themselves to help this family. Thank you, to all of you, for your willingness to help a stranger.

Now, I am simply here at work, waiting for a phone call from the courthouse to let me know what happened this morning. It would be very easy for me to assume that I know what transpired, but I am working really hard to keep from doing that, because I really DON'T know, and can't even venture a guess. I am on pins and needles, but know that I can' call their office until after lunch anyway because court is still in session, and I might not even hear anything until tomorrow. The waiting is a killer, you know?

Monday Afternoon Update: Did I get a call from the prosecuting attorney? No. Did I have to call them? Yes. Did they have any answers? No. What I was told when I talked to the Prosecutor on Thursday that I would know BEFORE court this morning what the plan was, and that I DID NOT need to go to the hearing this morning because I would already know what to expect. So when I called to find out I was told, "Well, I am sure that what he MEANT was that you would hear from him before the trial." Yes; I am sure. Since my daughter and I are the two witnesses and the trial is in less than ten days now, I sould surely HOPE I would hear from him prior to that. More and more I feel discouraged and upest by this whole thing; so far I have been dicked around, lied to, had information withheld, and been accused of being too emotional; doesn't bode very well for the outcome of this fucking thing, does it? And yes, I am angry, just in case any of you were wondering, and yes, it is also "helpful" to be angry.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Fragments Virgin

So I have decided to start participating in this thing called Friday Fragments, which is the grand idea of Mrs.4444. I have kind of been lurking around her blog lately, and definitely need one day a week where I have some structure. If you want to know more about it, head on over to her place and check it out. Actually, you should go check her out anyway; she is pretty neat.

**I talked with the prosecutor on Wednesday, and at this point we are still anticipating going to trial. I hadn't spoken to him in months, so it was good to find out that he is still on the same page as he was in the beginning. He does not have a deal to offer; he will listen to what they propose, but he isn't going in there set to place something on the table. We talked about the whole "deal" thing and agreed that in the end, one felony guilty plea and a guilty plea to one lesser charge, in exchange for dropping two of the felonies, would be acceptable. We already know we aren't going to get a plea on four felonies. So it looks like in less than two weeks Hannah and I both have to take the stand.**

**Owen has been getting up in the middle of the night, taking his diaper off, and going in to go potty. We have been working with him during the day, of course, and I think he is doing amazingly well; he wears a diaper at nap time and bedtime is all. But it completely blows my mind that he gets up on his own and goes in to pee. Not every night, not consistently, but a definite leap in progress. And I cannot BELIEVE I just totally did a "mommy blogger" and wrote about potty training. Shoot me now, please.**

**If I were a cop, I would just automatically suspect and pull over anyone who saw my car and slowed down to 10 miles below the speed limit. Especially if they weren't even speeding before they saw the car. That just smacks of trying to drift under the radar to me.**

**Sam has this amazing ear for music. He knows the correct words to these really obscure songs that we don't hear all that much. Last night coming home, we heard Come On Eileen, and while Eli was cheerily singing "come on Riley," Sam was correcting him. He ALSO has a strange fascination with Freddie Mercury; I wonder if I should be worried?** ***And I am editing this to say that I misspoke or perhaps gave the wrong impression; not only do I really have no IDEA whether my child may or may not be gay, I don't give a rip. But come on guys, Freddie as a role model? Why not Doogie Howser instead?***

**The birds are starting to gather twigs and leaves for their nests; I can see the flurry of activity outside the window. Which is really quite fun, watching them choose juuuuust the right bit of material. The not-so-fun-part is remembering the fact that the office is by the bar, where people puke on the sidewalks and in the gutters, which is where the birds are rummaging for their scraps. Makes me gag just a little.**

**Barbara Taylor Bradford wrote this really great book called A Woman of Substance, and then followed it up with, I think, four other books about this same family. I have read the first three, and they are wonderful. So when I was ill, I went to the thrift store and picked up some books, and one of them was called Voice of the Heart by old Babs. I was pretty excited to find it, and for 20 cents no less. But I found out why it was only 20 cents; it was terrible. I spent the entire, lengthy book just waiting for something to happen. I have a personal "rule" that if I start a book I HAVE to read the whole thing, and man, that was a waste of my time.**

**I have a theory about how women in their 30's are supposedly at their sexual peak. While I don't doubt that we want it more now than we did back in the day, I don't think it really has anything to do with biology or hormones or any kind of scientific reason. Simply put, I think we just enjoy it a lot more because we know what we want, how we like it, and we are less willing to just lay there and let the man do the work. Also, and I do believe this to be true for ME, I think it really is better if you care deeply for someone. I know that isn't the case for everyone and I am all like meh, whatever, but for me? Yeah. **

**At M.'s funeral on Tuesday, the music selection was just as honest as the rest of the service. They played this song and this song, and all I can say is fuck.me.**

So there you have it; some of the little fragments zipping around in my head lately. I am sure you will all sleep better knowing these little things, right?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Food For Thought

I am thrilled; this post was just picked to go to syndication on March 30th. This is the second time one of my posts has been chosen, and it is incredibly exciting. Of course, I will add here that it might perhaps be simply a lack of other options; posts have been slim over there at the Rocky Mountain Moms Blog, so maybe I was the best one out of, oh, three. No matter; it is still very exciting for me, the very barest beginnings of what I would LIKE to be my career. If any of you run across this in your print newspapers, please cut it out and send it to me.

It has been a rather interesting week on a lot of different levels. First, of course, there was the funeral for my friend, which brought up a lot of conflicting emotions. While I thank you all for your condolences, I want to reiterate that while he was my friend, we hadn't spoken in a very long time due to his addictions, so I am not deeply grieving on a personal, I lost-a-great-friend level. Instead, it is a much more generalized grief; sadness for a life wasted, for two children who no longer have a father, for a wife who can no longer hold out any hopes that he will find a way to pull himself out of the pit. It is grief for a mom who has tried her hardest to help a son who didn't want help, and for the grief she feels at finally losing someone who has been in the process of killing himself for years while she had to sit back and let it happen. It sucks-I am not saying that it doesn't; but I am okay, and while I am sad, it isn't a debilitating, life-altering sadness. I don't mean to sound COLD, but I probably do.

Speaking of COLD, my boss and I ended up having a deep discussion a couple of evenings ago that started out simply enough but ended with me in tears, feeling as if I had just gone through a particularly strenuous therapy session. Before I go any further, please know that my boss is nothing if not unfailing kind and caring; his words, no matter how they might sound on paper, were said with love and kindness. We were talking about how I feel completely inept at this parenting gig, how I don't know how to approach this having a teenaged daughter era because I have no good example to fall back on, blah blah blah...and it progressed to him telling me that I am very guarded to my own detriment, that I am way too hard on myself, and that he feels like I am on the brink of something really big in my life, I just need to get out of my own way. And you know, it hurt my feelings, and it upset me a little bit, and it has been on my mind ever since; this emotional response to his words indicates to me that his words were accurate, or I would have just mentally shrugged my shoulders and moved on.

I have been thinking about this a lot. I even had to look up the word "guarded," because hey, I thought that was a good thing, you know? It isn't. The adjectives used are "cautious, suspicious, non-committal, wary, cagey, leery..." Those are not words I want to ascribe to myself, yet I look at them in black and white and know them to be true. My boss said this, and I agree, that there are legitimate reasons I have become so guarded; I have had to learn to keep my thoughts and feelings to myself, I have learned to not give away too much of myself to any one person. If I give too much away, I am much more likely to be hurt.

***This paragraph deleted, so sorry if this no longer makes sense***

The thing is, though I recognize this as a problem, I don't know what to do about it, and to be 100% honest here in the old blog, I don't know that I WANT to do anything about it. By that I mean that I know that not all people are untrustworthy. I also know that part of being in a relationship-with anyone-means that there WILL be hurt feelings and misunderstandings and even anger and upset. I get that, I really do. But for me, if holding myself back from people is how I can make it through without being terribly hurt again, well, yes, it might be worth it. You all know a LOT about me through these many, many pages, especially if you have been reading them for any length of time. However, what you know is really only a small fraction of my life and who I am, and please just trust me when I say that I do not know how much more heartbreak I can handle.

This is all just food for thought for me, something to mull over and process in the back of my mind in the coming days and weeks and months. There is always internal healing work to be done, and maybe this is my next step; I don't know. I do know that if I leave it there and let it percolate, if I take time for quiet and reflection and listening, I will get an answer as to what I am supposed to do next.

There were a few other things that I wanted to write about today, especially the conversation witt the prosecuting attorney yesterday regarding the upcoming trial, but I have already been long winded enough, I think, and will have to save it for tomorrow. For now, I am simply going to attend to my work, revel in the sunlight shining through the window, and try to keep an open mind and heart.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

This is NOT Beautiful

My latest post is up over at the Rocky Mountain Moms Blog this morning, should you feel the urge to go check it out.

I went to my friend's funeral services yesterday afternoon, and it was, in a word, terrible. I have never really understood why people describe such events as "beautiful;" there was nothing beautiful about it. Yes, the flowers were pretty. Yes, the chapel looked nice, despite the fact that they grossly underestimated the amount of people attending and therefore there was not room for everyone. Still and all, it was funeral; the flowers did nothing to disguise the fact that just underneath them was the dead body of someone who was loved. There is nothing beautiful about a funeral, in my opinion. I will say that it was a very honest service; his partner of 12 years, who because of his addictions hadn't spoken to him in a year and has been raising their kids on her own, spoke from the heart about how he really was, and that she loved him so much anyway. It was-terrible.

I was able to see my friend, and that was good; she was holding up okay on the surface, introducing herself as M's mom to the many people who didn't know her and putting on the professional facade. When she saw me she kissed me on the mouth, looked closely into my eyes and didn't say a word, just kept going to the next person; it made me very, very glad I had gone, even while my heart was breaking for the pain I saw there. I also saw M's step-dad, who is also a friend, and again, sometimes words aren't necessary.

I don't know...I don't want to go into it all because it is too sad. There is a lot to process, and I am just not able to do so in a coherent manner. Instead, I will copy for you what was written on the back of his funeral program, and maybe it will break your heart a little like it broke mine, but it sums M. up just about perfectly.

Some people
Test everything by pushing the limits...
Dancing in danger
Eventually they crash. If you could ask them for honesty, they would say...
Please don't save me,
even when I beg you.
It's my fear that makes me forget that
I don't need saving.
You are not responsible for my pain.
Sometimes I want to blame you and even
worse, you continually blame you.
But living can be hurtful and if
your need to protect me me prevents the natural
process of action/re-action, I am robbed of
my power. Which is worse, a broken body
or a paralyzed soul? Let me fall,
so I know who I can become.
Love does not rescue, it ALLOWS.

~Cass, 2000

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Check Out My Crib!

Eli's room. I would apologize for the mess, but it wouldn't do any good.

Hannah's room. The other two walls are the same brown as Eli's, which is actually much prettier in real life than it comes across in the photos.

My living room rug (and dog).

These two are the basement; one area is the craft/games/stay out of mom's way area; notice the pipe hanging down? So far everyone save Owen has gotten up too quickly and hit their head on it. Good times, good times.The bathroom. Jacquie and I painted and put up the border in there. The shelf above the toilet isn't always empty like that, we are just currently out of clean towels.
Living room/kitchen. Isn't the light lovely?
Kitchen. A lot smaller than I am used to, but again, the light is what got me.

This is my room; you don't get the full room picture because my bed isn't made, the dog ripped down the other curtain, and there are still unpacked boxes in there (I WILL be a size six again someday, right?). However, check out the awesome mirror I found at the thrift store-major score. Also note the little paper chain hanging from it-Sam made that for me when I was ill last week.

The little boys' room.

The other corner of the living room.

My favorite reading/writing spot.

So there you have the pictures of the house. I wish I could have gotten some of how it looked before we moved in. It was not very clean at all and rather shabby looking; it is amazing what some hard work and a few coats of paint can do. I ALSO wish I had some pictures of the old house, so that you could compare the two and appreciate why we are, in fact, thrilled and in love with the new place.
I am taking a very late lunch today and going to the services for my friend, which will be-well, not GOOD, but necessary. Steve is meeting me there, which will help. This has hit both of us tremendously hard, for some reason. I mean, I wasn't close to this man in the sense that his death is going to leave a huge hole in my heart; I hadn't had more than passing conversations with him in the two (ish) years since he went back out into the drinking/drugging world, but instead have been told of his life by him mom, who IS my friend. I know it is the same for Steve. I think part of it is that it is a reminder, however harsh and unwanted, of where I used to be and what WILL happen if I relapse. It is also just such a waste; he had so much potential, and he he has these two great kids and a full life ahead of him and now, he is just another body. So, so sad.
An odd mix of feelings, sadness and gratitude all at one. Sad he didn't "get it" or couldn't keep it, that which he learned in AA, but gratitude that I did and have. It's a funny old world, isn't it?

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Photo Post!

Sam in the snow yesterday.
My dad-New Year's Eve 2009, with half of Steve in the background.

Owen-a little chilled, it looks like.

Our favorite tree at Emerald Lake.

Owen and Lola (Eli's dog), 2008.

The new house from the outside; this was yesterday. It was 69 degrees on Saturday, and we woke up to snow on Sunday.

Steve and Owen, New Year's Eve 2009

Christmas 2008

The above four were early fall 2008 at Emerald Lake.

Owen and Harley; he apparently thought she was cold and needed to be read to, because I came out of the bathroom and found them like this on Saturday night.
The above two are simply showing Owen's newfound ability to choose and put on his own clothing. Note the boots. Stylish, eh?

Owen in the snow yesterday. And yes, that would be one glove and one sock on his hands; we couldn't find the second glove.

Sam, who has graduated from the Easy-Bake Oven to the REAL oven, with help. We needed some brownies yesterday.

I do apologize for the odd spacing and out-of-sequence-ness of the photos; I am not yet proficient enough to get them all where I want them and in the right order, not without a LOT of time and effort invovled, and though of course you all are worth the effort, my time is limited at the moment.
A brief recap of the last week is that I have been out sick, hence my lack of presence in the blog world. I did come in for two hours on Friday to take care of some stuff that was urgent, but that was as long as I lasted. I won't bore you all with the details of being ill, but I will say a heartfelt thank you to Linda for the book and treats; they arrived JUST as I was finishing my current read! How fortuitous, no? Anyway, I was sick, terribly, and though I am back at work now and feeling better, I am not quite well yet. Haven't been that sick for years. In fact, Friday was the first day I had washed my hair since Monday morning, because it hurt my scalp to shampoo. Nasty, huh?
However, I finally got a new USB cable thingy for the camera, plus a charger, so I will be able to put more photos on the blog~THAT makes me happy. And even though we had snow yesterday, the almost 70 degree weather on Saturday gave a true indication that sometime soon we will be hot and bitching about it, and I can't wait for that.
Have some really, really sad news, too. A friend of mine was killed in a car wreck earlier in the week. Well, I should say he was more the son of a friend than MY friend, though I knew him rather well. 33 years old, leaving two small children and a bucketload of wreckage in his wake. Fucking alcohol, fucking drugs. His services are tomorrow, but since I missed all last week I don't think I will make it. I haven't been able to reach his mom yet, this wonderful woman whom I get to call friend; selfishly, I am almost glad, because I know that any words I can offer are going to be meaningless. I call and leave messages telling her I love her and am thinking of her, which is just not enough but-all I have.
With hope, there will be more to write about now that I am at least up and around and back to work. And I will practice with the photos, too, so that it isn't like some eye test to look at them! I have missed you all, though, and am glad you are still around. Thanks for being here!

Monday, March 16, 2009

My Weekend Recap-Dullish

There has been precious little going on in my life lately, or rather precious little that is blog-worthy, and I just feel blocked and dull and stupid. Bear with me, please. I have to keep writing, I actually need to write MORE, simply so I don't get out of practice. I lack discipline lately, so I am simply working hard at putting some words down every day.

My weekend recap? Mm. Friday night was dinner and a movie with Steve; it was so lovely, it was almost like a DATE, complete with him paying for everything and opening doors. It was nice to put makeup and grown-up clothes on, to sit in an adult restaurant and then go to a movie without even a single child. We went to see Taken, which was actually quite good. I love Liam Neeson, and watching him kill people right and left was pretty cool; the basic premise being that he was trying to find and protect his daughter-I could relate, even though I d0n't necessarily condone violence. Good flick.

Saturday was spent basically lolling around the house. Sam is still not 100% recovered from his bout with Strep, and now Owen is also ill, so the majority of the day was wiping noses and drawing and reading. It wasn't bad by any means, just very still and quiet. Both Hannah and Eli had friends over (though that stops after this weekend; either Hannah can have friends over or Eli can, but no longer both of them at the same time. Too many potential conflicts, too many ways for them to behave inappropriately, and I cannot stay up all night keeping an eye on them. As it was, it was almost 1:30 before I went to bed because first I made them all GO to bed and then I had to make sure they were all asleep. NOT fun.), so poor Sam felt left out some. He is, however, easily amused, so I took him to the grocery store with me and he helped me make a cake; that seemed to appease him, and I was glad.

Sunday? We went to Steve's mom's house to help her pack (because she was SUCH a big help to me when I was moving, right?); their house sold and now they have two more weeks to be out. They didn't even have it on the market; two years ago they did all this work on it and put it on the market, but then it never did sell. So they gave up and resigned themselves to staying there. To that end, they just had brand new granite countertops with a beautiful tile back splash all the way around, did some other pretty major improvements, and then someone spotted the place, fell in love, and put in an offer. Needless to say, they weren't ready, and still aren't. It was hilarious helping her pack. I mean, they built that house in, I think, '72 or '73, and I think there were still some things in the closets from when they first moved in. So I got the bathroom, and went to town: does she (or anyone) really NEED three dozen half-empty bottles of hotel shampoo and conditioner, so covered with dust that you can't even tell where they came from? Um, nope. It wasn't bad helping, and we got roast beef and potatoes and THE best green beans in the world when we were finished for the day, which was just a bonus.

And now it is Monday, the beginning of yet another week. I am looking forward to the delivery of my new camera charger and USB thingy so with hope I will finally be able to post photos in a timely manner! Yep, perhaps Sam isn't the only one easily occupied, right? And I will tell you that as quiet as life has been, I am certainly NOT complaining; it has been lovely in very meaningful ways to have this bit of peace.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Strange, But...

Talk about W.E.I.R.D. I mean, seriously strange. Exactly 17 years ago today, I married my first husband. It was a Friday the 13th then, too, and although I am not especially superstitious, there have been times when I wondered if I should have known then that it wasn't going to work out. This is one of those things that make me shake my head at myself and think, "Now, what, exactly, were you thinking?" because I look at him and sometimes talk to him and think,"Eeeeew. I actually had SEX with this man!"

That said, I have to say that we get along mostly okay these days. Well, mainly because we don't talk much. Right now I am annoyed with him because it has been almost a year since he has seen Hannah and Eli, and it is all his own doing. He saw them both for two weeks last summer, and was supposed to have them for Thanksgiving. Didn't happen. Then he was going to come down for a long weekend at New Year's. Didn't happen. Now, Spring Break starts this afternoon, and where are the kids supposed to be? Yep, with their dad on Spring Break. Clearly that isn't going to happen either. It is strange, and not really like him. Hannah has called several times and he doesn't return her calls, which just seems ridiculous to me-an adult (ish) man avoiding dealing with a confrontation by his daughter. I try to stay out of the way; they all have to figure out how they feel about one another without my interference. I mean, the three of them having been making their own visitation arrangements for years now, without my input; within reason, I just show up at the airport with the kids on the right date, and am back there to pick them up when the visit is over. Now, Hannah is angry with him, which I understand; she and her therapist have been working some on how to deal with this, and for that I am grateful. After all, it is hard to sit back and KNOW he is hurting her, whether it be intentional or not; I want to call him and chew his ass, or I want to badmouth him to the kids, and I can do neither. Instead, I have to be there to nod my head and listen and support whatever decision she makes. Sometimes it sucks to be a parent, doesn't it?

Still and all, it is what it is, and both kids have accepted that he isn't going to see them this Spring Break and have made plans accordingly. Eli will be hanging out with two of his friends at least until Monday, and then I would imagine I will have MY turn with them hanging at our house. Hannah is going out with her "boyfriend" tomorrow night, and then I think she is planning on going to one of HER friends for a couple of days...which will leave me and the little boys somewhat at loose ends. I had hoped to maybe take two days off and take them swimming to some hot pools a couple of hours away, but alas, no funds. It sucks because of the freaking trial and all that goes with it, I won't have much (if any) vacation time left even if I had the funds to TAKE a vacation, which I don't.

Which actually kind of makes me mad; there is that Victim's Compensation Fund, and if Hannah was an adult and had t0 take time off of work, she could file a claim for lost wages. But since I am the mom, NOT the victim, I just have to bend over and take it and have no hope for compensation. And yet the whole time HE was in jail before they reduced his bond, he was getting paid $25/hr. to SIT there. Not very just, in my opinion.

But oh well. Nothing I can do about it. It is Friday, the weather is shaping up and it MIGHT get over 30 degrees today, and life is good (I am in my Zen mode today, can you tell?).

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Is it Wednesday?

My latest post for the Rocky Mountain Moms Blog just went up; I have been trying to write a little bit differently, a little bit more meaningfully (it is too a word), and t his is a good example of it, I think. Unlike my springtime post, I don't think it will get made fun of. Much, anyway. I am shamelessly self-promoting because I am needy like that. Please go check it out. If it isn't too vain to say so, I actually think this is one of my best yet.

On to other news, but there really is not that much going on. I "got" to take Friday off to take Sam to the doctor for a shot of penicillin (the dreaded Strep Throat is making its rounds), and the two of us spent the entire day on Friday reading and eating Popsicles and taking big fat naps. It was lovely for me, though considerably less so for the Boy (on second thought, maybe not; he did have codeine...). The rest of the weekend was also lovely, in a calm and peaceful kind of way. On Sunday, we went to lunch with some friends and then to their house, which is aways a treat (come on, they think my kids are "delightful;" who can resist that?). They live right by the reservoir about which I wrote on Monday, so we obviously went there, and then we went to Steve's mom's house for Steve's 40th birthday party. He had taken Owen to the state basketball championships for FOUR days (a first), so we were all glad to have him back home, too.

Tonight is please god the last violin concert of the year...I think this time we actually get to hear them play as opposed to just plucking, and there is a singing part of the program as well. Sam is excited, and we will all cheer, except Hannah-who suspiciously and conveniently is ill this afternoon....hm.

There you have it, in a nutshell. If you want the meatier stuff today, head on over to the other place, because I got nothing for you here today.

Monday, March 9, 2009

An Ode To Spring

Spring is on it's way here in the valley, the tulips just starting to poke their green blades up through the half-frozen earth. In the places where the sun reaches, the ground is mud, exuding the aroma of fresh new earth and growing things, and even on the coldest days, the sun carries a hint of the warmth to come.

Not far from here, though, lies the reservoir, iced-over yet. There are still fishermen in their ice shacks, holding their frozen hands over the feeble warmth of their heaters, waiting for just one more fish to catch hold and become dinner. We stood on the banks yesterday, watching as the snowflakes swirled around and scudded across the frozen lake, white as far as we could see. The sand and rocks are a dusty brown, the smell of decaying fish and rotting leaves overlaid with the crisp scent of winter. The ice is rough where it has thawed and frozen again and again, laying in sheets upon the sandy shore. We walked out as far as we dared, our footing precarious as the snow covered the icy surface, trying to imagine how easily we could be lost in the blinding white if we tried to walk across. Finally, we stepped back to the shore and simply watched. There were ducks flying past, perhaps looking for a thawed spot in which to land, perhaps just ogling the huge expanse as we were. Soon there will be pelicans arriving from everywhere to roost and spend the summer, floating just under the spillway where the fish will be plentiful. The barren shore will slowly begin to turn green, the moss and the grass and the trees providing a cover for the birds that come to nest, the badgers and raccoons that will inevitably invade our campsite. Spring will come later here, this place which is still in the grips of winter, but its arrival is imminent.

This to me is life, standing on what looks to be the edge of the world, watching the tail end of winter swoop down and give a final blast. It is life to stand on the frozen water and smell the wind, to feel the flakes of snow land light in hair, to feel the tingle of digits as they begin to succumb to the cold. This is life, where just under the surface of something that appears dead and useless surge the beginnings of new things.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Not Alone

The old man with the cane was out guarding the bank ATM again this morning while the younger, more fit man was unloading the machine. It looks like Old Guy has gained some weight since last time I saw him; his bullet-proof vest now looks more like a bullet-proof halter top, and I imagine that it would be even easier to overpower him and run for it now. These are the things I think about when I am walking back to work from getting the mail. Today, despite my lack of criminal tendencies, I thought it would be easy to take it and run, only this time taking all four kids with me. Just disappearing.

My dreams have been strange and unsettling the last few nights, my sleep broken up into little fragments. I keep hearing things that bring me bolt upright out of sleep only to find that they are normal nighttime noises, the sounds of the dogs' clicking toenails on the hardwood floors, or one of the kids turning over in their sleep. I know well where this comes from-the impending pre-trial hearing, less than a month away, and the trial shortly after. I have talked to Hannah about it, which in turn has caused HER to have more restless nights, and even though we both know that fear and worry help nothing, it is hard to tell our subconscious minds that. We move along with life-Hannah started back to school again today-and in the waking hours tell ourselves that everything will be fine, but when the dark comes, it seems less easy to believe.

There are so many of us. So, so many. I get these emails that literally break my heart; people say, "Oh my God, you are ME. This is what happened to me!" or "A friend of mine's daughter went through this..." or "My child had this happen..." and God help me, it makes me cry every single time. I am so filled up with emotions I can't name; what a blessing and a comfort it is to me, and to Hannah, to get these emails, because we are not alone and have concrete proof of this daily, yet what a fucking mess that any of us ever had to live through such abuse and pain. I don't get it; I didn't when I was a child, and I get it even less now that I have children of my own. I have been angry; God, I have been so furious with my kids that I could hurt them-but I don't. There is enough sanity in me that I know if I touch them when I am angry, I WILL hurt them, so I take a breather and allow myself to calm down before I attempt any sort of discipline. And God knows I am not the sanest person in the world, so if I can stop myself from crossing that line, why can't so many others?

I have been reading a book that my good friend Janet gave me, and it is really quite earth-shattering. The basic premise of the book is about how even though we might know intellectually the things done to us in abusive households, we HAVE to fully face them, feel the emotions, and grieve. GET angry; feel rage and hopelessness and despair. Confront our parents (though for the majority of us survivors, confrontation is not an option, so the books advocates an inner dialogue, a journal, some way to get the rage out in a safe and appropriate venue), feel the pain, and then at some point we can learn to make peace. The odd thing is that I thought I HAD; I thought that I could see pretty clearly just how things were, and that it wasn't right nor fair, but that hey, I don't have to be ruled by it anymore. With the events of the last months, I realize that yeah, I know all this, but I have never allowed myself to be truly angry at my mom. I have been all about the whole "I feel bad for her because she was probably scared to face the thought of raising four kids on her own, so didn't leave...." or "She was terribly abused as a child so didn't know any different..." and all the while, all I have been doing is making excuses. You see, I was and AM afraid of raising four kids on m own, yet here I am, just getting up in the mornings and doing it. So poof, there goes THAT justification. There again, I was terribly abused, sexually, physically, emotionally, and every other "ally" there is, and yet I don't have to do the same to MY kids, so poof, there goes yet another justification. Janet keep telling me, "Honey, you are right where you need to be. It is okay; you have to do this if you are ever going to be free." And she means with Hannah, of course, but also in the deeper sense of my inner, truest self.

Free. I don't even know what that means. I am almost 37 years old and I still labor under the false impression that someday, my mom is going to love me and be proud of me, if I just work hard enough. Someday, my dad is going to hobble toward me, broken and lonely, and beg for forgiveness for essentially abandoning me, and bestow upon me all of the love and protection that I so badly needed. And you know what? It just isn't going to happen. It really, really sucks ass that I am finally realizing that no matter what shallow words my mom might say, nothing can and will justify my treatment-by her or any one of the men she brought into my life. That I am realizing that she never really did love me, OR my sisters; were we a means to an end? Maybe, but what end would that be? I have no idea. I am beginning to realize that even though my mom was a formidable opponent, if my dad had truly loved us in the way a father should love his children, he would have removed us from the situation. He had his own agenda, and it certainly didn't include us. Oh, yeah. Anger. Grief. All of those lovely, lovely emotions are what I am SUPPOSED to be feeling right now, so they say, but I don't like them one bit. I am smart and savvy and been around the block a time or two, but there is a huge difference between KNOWING and FEELING. No wonder I was a drunk for so many years.

But I am not alone. Hannah is not alone. None of the wonderful, beautiful, and strong women with whom I have been in contact are alone. We are collectively raising our kids to be free, and loved, and cherished, and that helps. It helps to know that no matter how angry I get and need to vent and scream, there will be women who understand, who are nodding their heads as they read saying, "Oh, yeah, I get that." Knowing that? It is a comfort, and I am grateful. Keep the emails and the stories coming, for me, for Hannah, for yourselves.

****I am leaving the donate button up for Amber and Thayne the rest of this week, just a small extension. While some of my readers have been more than generous, we are still short of my original goal by about $200. If any of you can spare $10.00, please do-it is for a good cause.*****