Sunday, April 10, 2011


" A Day In which Hope was optimistic about spending time with her son, enjoying the beautiful weather and getting in another long bout of aquatic movement, but instead spent many hours horizontal, alternately stretching and moving the most painful parts to see if the pain could end."

and it feels like nobody gives damn.

When I say it, however, I realize it sounds like I am not grateful for my friends. I am grateful, very much so, but I don't know how to work it the right way somehow.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Grr. Argh.

And not in the good "Buffy" sense. I feel like I have only been able to stay out of bed little bits at a time today. I had imagined a day grocery shopping, swimming a mile, deciding what to do about the car and making arrangements, paying all the online bills, figuring EXACTLY how much money I could spend on the car, cleaning house completely, and going out tonight. So far I have managed to eat twice, walk out to the car and get my book, take some medicine, read a little on facebook and make my game moves and sleep, oh and sleep, oh, and sleep some more. This is even after I came home from work yesterday, went to bed, slept until about 10:00, ate a little, went BACK to bed, slept most of the night, woke up about eight o'clock and then slept off and on again until about ten o'clock!

I worked super hard this week, swam twice, had the emotional trauma of the car problems and I guess it has just all added up. I did have some insomnia, but I think I slept more through the week this week than I have been - it's hard to remember. It was all a blur. I guess today is my lesson in remembering that I can't do it all at once, and that my body is not what is used to be. Even though I am doing a lot of things that are good for me I am still chronically fatigued and I need to remember that and give myself the breaks and rest that I need. And with that - I think I am going to lie down and try to watch an episode of The Office, during which I will probably fall back to sleep!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I'm here!

It's on my list to blog today. It has been such a long time! Not as long as some of my relatives who shall remain nameless, but who seem to have forgotten that their blogs even exist. I am kind of sad because it was a really good way of keeping up. I also expected some holiday letters and pictures, but they never came. I know I didn't send any this year either, so I guess I can't hold that against them. My children are getting so old, however, that it's not like I need to report that they now walk, talk, learned to tell jokes or all those other cute things. I actually started one, but it turned out to be mostly Michael as he finished his high school career. Maybe that is what I will post today... Another reason to not send a holiday letter was that Emily got mad at me for last year's letter. She sent me an email that bluntly told me about it. It hurt my feelings because I love her and I am proud that she is out and on her own and in some ways I feel like she does so much better at so many things in life than I do (relationships, for example)... She got over it, though and we "kissed and made up." She'll probably get mad at me for writing about it here! She told me that my "honesty all the time" policy is not always best for everybody. I think she is correct in a lot of ways. Maybe it doesn't matter if I am all honest about MYSELF, but other people have a right to have their privacy respected... I'm trying to learn the code that other people must somehow innately know!

It's posted below. I am going to read through and make sure I don't need to edit it for the reasons above. If I choose to remove portions. I will put some **** so you will know.

Here we are again. Another year nearly passed and the annual recap begins… Main focus seems to be on the transitions in our lives as we get older and move on to new adventures.

Michael has probably had the most adventurous year of all. He finished high school with a grand exit. The orchestra traveled to Atlanta Georgia this spring and competed in the National Musical Adjudicator’s Competition and excelled as usual. He also traveled to Neosho, Missouri with the solar bike team for the annual race. After an excellent win at State, the Science Olympiad Team competed in Nationals at the University of Illinois in Campaign. The team did well as a whole and Michael contributed to their success by winning a first place medal in the Physics competition. Part of his senior year was spent in a self-directed class that he invented. He spent time at the Community Bike Project doing more than his usual volunteer work. He had a mentor who directed him in a BIG project – which was to make a BIG bike. Michael learned how to weld and made a “long bike” by welding the frames of two bikes together. He also made a cargo rack to fit the long bike. He planned to bike to Kentucky and back at the completion of the building, but with all the rest of the end-of-the-school year events, the trip didn’t happen. He is ready now, however, for some BIG bike trips! Michael graduated with honors – although he didn’t attend Commencement, because it was the same day as the bike race in Missouri – priorities, priorities… He spent the summer resting up and making the final decisions about college. He was heavily recruited by every engineering and science school in the country! Michael has always been interested in engineering, but another one of those trips at the end of the school year, to Fermilab up near Chicago piqued his interest in particle physics. The final decision was to study at (drum roll please) INDIANA UNIVERSITY, right here in Bloomington. The physics department is run by one of the best particle physics guys in the world, the scholarship money was right AND IU also has the Jacobs School of Music. So Michael is currently matriculating at IU studying physics. He will also have an individualized major in “Electric String Instrument Technology” which for him means building electric cellos to play heavy metal cello – yes, it exists – yes, I’ve heard plenty of it – yes, Michael is pretty darned good. One more perk to IU – a little thing called “Little 500” the bike race featured in the film “Breaking Away.” Michael is training with the team sponsored by the dorm. I don’t think he could have found a better mix of all his interests than IU – just 5 miles from home.

Emily is still in the Chicago area, in a suburb called Romeoville. She and Scott are happy with Miss Kitty and their robo hamster and it seems like every electronic game, gadget or toy a person can imagine! Scott exhibits his engineer side by purchasing all the newest technology available, I think! I hope to inherit a few of their hand-me-downs sometime, if they are not too difficult to understand. I am a little technologically impaired. Michael and I have had a couple of visits. It never seemed like Chicago was so far away until Emily moved up there and we miss her so much! She seems to be reconsidering her life-long interest in all things medical and has begun looking into graduate programs for Nurse Practitioners and Physician’s Assistants in the area. Illinois education funding has dropped considerably and even a science degree no longer guarantees a job in your field. Another transition may be taking place soon, back into student life! Who knows? This is one where we will just have to wait and see.

I have spent the year on three major projects: The first is just living – still plugging away at the eight to five job, trying to be healthy and loving and hating it all at the same time. I began a series of “dancefit” classes which include Zumba, Hip-hop, belly dance, Bollywood, and burlesque! They are extremely difficult for a fatty like me, but they are so much fun I smile all the way through and just laugh when I can’t keep up with the choreography. Project number two is Hope’s Homemades – my in-home baking business. It began in 2009 and little by little I have been working on building a customer base, developing recipes and techniques and learning how to market in the modern age - which means using social media such as Facebook, Twitter and email alerts to customers. I focus on recipes that use whole grains, no trans fats and try to use locally produced ingredients as much as possible. Look me up on Facebook! Hope’s Homemades took a hiatus through a lot of the summer. I spent a lot of time on project number three which was another BIG transition. Mom and Dad decided it was time to get out of the house. I spent many weekends trying to get my own housework and stuff accomplished on Saturday. Sunday I would drive up to Lafayette and work on helping Mom and Dad sort out 60 years of accumulation. They moved into a very small one bedroom apartment, designated for the elderly. It is not a full care facility, but has many safeguards and programs that help with independent living. I’m still not sure if they are happy with the move or with my idea of what was or wasn’t necessary to keep or not. I feel much more at peace, however, knowing that they are surrounded by lots of other people where they can build a sense of community as well as having the safeguards in place just in case. There even was one “just in case” when Dad suffered another minor stroke this fall. This one seemed to have no serious effects however, and he was only in the hospital about overnight, just to be monitored and make sure.

Some of the highlights of the year were all the trips – I went with the orchestra to Georgia and to part of S.O Nationals in Illinois, our visits to Emily, which tend to be very mellow and relaxing, a very nice change from home, where I feel a drive to be “productive” all the time. We also had a great visit from my friend Elizabeth (Lu) and family from Montana. Nothing like high school girlfriend time! I got to meet up with a long-time internet friend, Erin and her family for breakfast as they traveled through Indiana. Such a treat. It’s amazing how intimate friends can become through writing and electronic media! We don’t even talk on the phone, yet we are deep friends! I have also reconnected with some high school friends on Facebook, and ...

...and that's where I quit, stopped, gave up, whatever you want to call it. It must have been written before Michael got the good gig playing for "A Christmas Carol" before I fell and broke my knee, before Michael started playing with the group that does the puppet shows, and before my incredibly depressing and lonely Christmas filled with physical pain and emotional angst. Thank goodness I am done with that emotional angst crap. On top of the usual physical ailments of various kinds it made life almost unbearable for a while. One of my therapists commented on how my inner workings are, that no matter how depressed or whatever I am classified as "functional." I think during November and December of 2010 I almost lost the right to be classified as such. Poor Michael came home from the dorms for Christmas to a mom who got out of bed, went to work, came home, climbed back into bed and that was about it. I'd often wake up again just as he was going to bed and try to accomplish a little bit of household or personal tasks, yet even most of my waking time was spent on distractions such as watching television shows or just playing on FB. No real writing, no real creating, no real enjoyment.

I feel like I am in a somewhat better place now. The knee has healed some. I have a new diagnosis that makes me feel like many of my symptoms are now "valid," I have tried to become more social again and renewed some local friendships (okay one) and tried to strengthen my other friendships again. I am going to be able to start physical movement again with my membership in the Y. I went once and only walked. I went once this week and swam (an embarrassingly small distance), and it did NOT make my leg swell, nor aggravate my remaining knee pain. I think I have my appropriate swimming attire problem solved, have found my goggles and my cap and I am ready and raring to go again! I planned to go yesterday after work, but I had an extreme "worried mother crisis" with Michael. I left work early because I was crying and I have been forbidden to cry at my desk or I will receive a formal warning for unprofessional behavior - assholes. I am assuming Michael is okay right now. He's gone to Tennessee on a trip with others in his dorm. He has severe cell phone suckage so I can't call him and check on him. I am assuming however, that 99.5% of the other students have phones and would loan him a phone to call if needed. Also his RA is aware of the problems and has my number to call if needed. I am still a worried mom, but I no longer feel like I want to act as if it is a crisis and can wait until Michael returns to get things handled appropriately.

When I first came home from work I was freaking out stressed so I cradled both phones with me in the world's coziest sleeping bag and SLEPT. Debbie called and I don't even remember what she said. I do remember that she hoped I was going somewhere and could bring some dinner for her and Leandra. I told I didn't feel well enough and went back to sleep. A couple of hours later Debby (with a Y) called and asked me if I wanted to go down south to the casino. I have never been before and I had slept enough by then, that I decided a distraction would be good for me. I got up and showered and got dressed and for the first time (except in Las Vegas) went to a casino! Debby goes often so she had a member card where we got free food and drinks. She gave (loaned, I can't find my debit card) me twenty dollars. I used one dollar to tip a bartender and gambled on slot machines with the other nineteen. I ended up with a voucher for $19.81 so I was able to pay her back (mostly) the $20 right away. There was also a DJ and good music and I really was pleasantly distracted - although I did check my cellphone frequently - and had a good time. I think I'd like to see if Scott and Emily would like to go down there sometime. One BAD, BAD thing however, was that people smoke in there. I am used to Bloomington, where you really can't smoke ANYWHERE, not even in bars! So I awakened with a raging headache today... I even had to postpone my meeting with Priscilla, my web developer. I didn't think my head could handle sitting in front of a computer - but look at what I'm doing now - but I am pretty sure I couldn't have handled sitting in front of a computer and learning to post things. She has the site set up and live, but it has fake content. She is going to put in the basic real content, but then teach me how to add things so as I develop new products I can add them myself and also can announce my sales and stuff. It is less expensive for me to learn that than to have to pay her to do it for me when it needs done. I'm all for saving money. After the Ben fiasco of feeding and boarding him for three months and still ending up with no website and the gazillion (not really) dollars I am paying Priscilla, it is ending up costing at least twice as much as it should have. Sigh..

Well I do think my head is telling me it is time to get away from this computer, eat some protein and drink some more water. I have another post I need to make soon about my interactions and thoughts with a woman here in town, but somehow today all this seemed more immediate.