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Sunday, March 26, 2006

origami bunnies

Sunday Post ~ "Origami bunnies can help you feel better." -- LG Fairchild

Psalm 27
(aka "the origami bunny Psalm")

file under: &Sunday Post

Friday, March 24, 2006

Back in the Land of the Living

Reunited, and it feels so good
Reunited, 'cause we understood,
There's one perfect fit,
And sugar, this one is it
We both are so excited 'cause we're
Reunited, hey, hey

I walked through the door this afternoon with a big smile on my face, and was greeted by an equally big smile, a warm, long embrace, and an enthusiastic, "Oh, sweetie! You're back! It's been way too long!"

I happily returned the hug, and added a quick kiss and replied, "I'm back! I've needed this so much. I'm all yours, now, baby. Just do me. Do anything. Do everything!"

That's right. I was reunited this afternoon with Sally. My hairstylist of over 20 years, whom I hadn't seen in months. I'm an every-six-weeks kind of girl, with the hair thing. And it was way before Thanksgiving since I've been there. That should give you some idea of how I have only been doing the bare minimums of caring for clients and family, and less than the minimum of caring for me, during the European odyssey. I mean, that will give you some idea, if the fact that I made out with my hairstylist upon arriving and departing the salon didn't, um, give you some idea, already.

I am still doing the stone thing. But I am returning to normal life, too, thank God. I got me a new, bouncy, flippy hairdo. When I left the salon, everyone on the street smiled at me, and I thought, "Damn! My hair looks GOOD!" And Sally is good; but upon further reflection, I think it was because I was walking down the street smiling. That hasn't happened in a while. I'm getting me back.

I even went (whispering) SHOPPING! Just a quickie. A shirt. A jacket. A purse. A pair of shoes. All necessary, to accessorize the bouncy flippy hair. Y'all know I've had some trouble with shopping, here and there. But today felt really good. And I needed the lift that a new hairstyle and new shoes can give. Looking in the mirror lately, I was reminded of the Kohl's senior discount incident. A couple of months of pain can do not-so-nice things to one's appearance. That and not bothering with lotions, potions, makeup and the like. But I'm getting back into that stuff, too, because it's fun, and I like it. When I'm not preoccupied with peeing rocks. I think I'll be back to normal soon.

Normally, I think I don't look like I'm entitled to a senior discount. I've actually been quite fortunate, for a former sun- worshipper, not to have a lot of wrinkles. But I do have two that I see first thing, every time I look in the mirror. Two starting to stake their claim between my eyebrows. When I first noticed them, I started trying to figure out, why them? Why there? So I made faces that would accentuate them, to try to solve the mystery. Ah, mystery solved. I know how they got the idea that they could claim that territory. Once I accepted that they are there to stay, and will probably get more noticeable as the years go by, I named them: Migraine and Orgasm. I realized that my facial expressions for those two biological realities are pretty much the same. Thankfully, I've had many more of the one than the other; I can't really be upset with my face for telling part of my story. Maybe wrinkles are the face's way of blogging.

Anyhow, all this to say, I feel not too bad. I'm thinking about fun things, girly things, happy things. I'm getting back to normal. Thank you to each of you who has been so caring during this bump in my road. I'm in the home stretch; my very good docs are on top of everything, and I am confident the worst is over.

Sunday, March 19, 2006



Sunday Post ~

"The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith
You take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part." -- Tom Petty

Isaiah 40:29-31

I am still waiting. And my waiting, as tough as it is for me, is lightweight waiting, compared to Deb's. Remember to keep loving her (comments :) and praying for her.

file under: &Sunday Post

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Weekend Update: Pee-Nut Diaries

OK, those of you not on drugs, is this still hilarious?:

"Do we need to shrink Dennis Quaid and send him in there to break stuff up?"

I knew it! Thank you, Bucky :)

I have nothing new to report. The pain, when I allow the meds to subside (which, in all honesty, ain't happenin' anymore) is like nothing I've ever experienced or imagined. I am taking huge amounts of painkillers plus something called Flo-Max. Nothing like subtlety in naming pharmaceuticals. Doc tells me it is normally used to help old men with enlarged prostates pee, in spite of their large prostates. But, he goes on to tell me, that is not why he's giving it to me. Mmmkay. Even heavily drugged, I still know some things.

The Church of the Sunday Post may be delayed tomorrow. But we will have services, even if I have to tap one of the four people in the world who know the password to get into this blog, and have them be the substitute pastor. OK, I'm thinking of those four people. Dear Lord, I have to be better by tomorrow. There is just no telling . . .

And I remembered something I need to tell you all, left in my brain since the era of my life when I learned the Urethra Franklin joke from a couple of posts ago:

Spell "pig" backwards, then say "funny."

Pee-Nut Diary Entry

&*%$!!!! Even with the pain, I was doing OK because I was making progress. Now, not so much. Suddenly, this morning, a stone is stuck, um "near the exit." A new and different kind of pain. Docs are wonderfully accessible and responsive. Best case is double the pain meds, plus take a new med that relaxes the relevant parts to allow this larger one to pass. Worst case is to the hospital for another blasting or an actual (cutting) surgery. All you pray-ers, do your thing. Please. And thank you. This is me, double-drugged. Not one damn funny thing . . .

You do the funny for me, wouldja? Be back just as soon as I can.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

It's a Funky and Low-Down Feelin'

This is about the sixth installment in the "Pee-Nut Diaries," so-named because it IS all about the pee, here, and I feel very much like a nut for having started down this passageway. However, I find I'm quite incapable of writing, or even thinking about anything else, particularly today.

This was, by far, the worst day, pain-wise. I am amassing quite a collection of stones. Passed stones. There's a Mick Jagger joke in there somewhere, but I am too drugged to find it. Yes, although I missed Bucky and Jim's "drunken blogging" event last week, I am making up for it with drugged blogging tonight.

The good news: The exploding of the big stone apparently worked because...

The bad news: I have passed over a dozen OVER A DOZEN kidney stones. And I'm just gettin' warmed up!

My husband had this malady years ago. He appeared to be near death, with the pain. I showed him my stone collection today. He was speechless.

"What, is that what yours looked like?"


"How many did you have?"


"ONE? Do you feel appropriately sorry for me? Appropriately in awe of me, now?"

"You are tough. I would be dead."

So, yea, there's that. And there are more to come. Many, many more, I fear. See, I thought the procedure I had was to dissolve the large stone, so that it would pass with grace, with subtlety, insouciance . . . Nah, not so much. What the procedure actually did was to implant a little group of convicts in my kidney, a chain gang of criminal types, in there swinging their little pick axes and "making little ones out of big ones." I am a (renal) penal institution! (Yes, I just gave you a grab bag of one liners. Knock yourselves out!)

It gets harder to look on the bright side, but I keep on trying. Oh, you know how I hate my freakin' pink countertops? I've been wanting stone. I was ready to start shopping the granite showrooms. But why spend all that money, when, turns out, I am a walking quarry! I'll be the only kid on the block with a kidney stone breakfast bar :) Y'all wanna come over for muffins?

I'm still peeing in the strainer cup. And I know I'm a spoiled, middle class American, but I wanted more than one. I have to do this for weeks, so I wanted a cup in each bathroom that I use most often -- powder room and master bath, plus one to keep at work. I don't like walking around with my peecup in hand. My maiden peecup is quite stylish. It is collapsible -- it accordians to full cup size, but squishes to almost flat when not in use. And it has a matching stone box with lid :) The Eurologist gave it to me. So I go to the pharmacy yesterday to try to buy another one or two or three. Struck out completely at the first drugstore. The second drugstore, the one pharmacist tells me they don't carry such things. But another pharmacist beckons me surreptitiously to the side, you know, with the head and eye movement that says, "Pssst! Over here, honey . . . "

So I go over and she says to me, conspiratorially, "Keep this on the down low, but I can tell you how we do it in the ghetto..."

How we do it in the ghetto? Goodlord, I was intrigued . . .

"We pee in a cup, and then we pour it through a kitchen strainer . . . "

*blink* *blink*

"Uhhh . . . OK. Yea, I can do that. Thank you." I'm going to call the Eurologist and see if I can trade a STONES t-shirt for another peecup or two. Three.

I blove you crazy kids. Thanks for checking on me. Some day I'll stop being all pee-brained, but I can't say just when that will be :(

Hey! What's pink and sings? Urethra Franklin!

OK, now I need me some Aretha:

Rock steady baby!
That's what I feel now
Let's call this song exactly what it is

Step n' move your hips
With a feelin' from side to side
Sit yourself down in your car
And take a ride

And while you're movin'
Rock steady
Rock steady baby
Let's call this song exactly what it is
(What it is -what it is - what it is)

It's a funky and low down feelin'
(What it is)
In my hips from left to right
(What it is)
What it is
Is I might be doin'
(What it is)
This funky dance all night
(Let me hear ya gotta feelin' in the air)
(Gotta a feelin' an ain't got a care)
(What fun to take this ride
Rock steady will only slide)

Rock steady........ rock steady baby
Rock steady........ rock steady baby

Monday, March 13, 2006

IP Rocks!

No, I am not extolling the virtues of Internet Protocol. I am giving you an update. I am telling you about my new hobby, as of this evening: I P rocks. Little ones. Into a strainer. That is my first new hobby. My second new hobby is taking Percocet. Guess which hobby I like better?

They tell me all went well. They also tell me -- and I didn't expect this -- that I may P rocks for up to three weeks! But it could also be for just a couple of days. Guess which prognosis I like better?

Thank you for checking in. It does mean a lot to me. I am in pretty serious pain, after the initial anesthesia wore off. It does feel like I've been punched in the kidney. At least, it feels like I imagine that would feel. I think tomorrow will be better.

I also want you to know (I am telling the truth here!) that the first words out of my mouth as I was waking up from the anesthesia were, "Circus Kelli is out front selling kidney stone t-shirts with tongues," followed by giggling. I should be thankful they didn't ship me directly to the nut hut at that point.

Thanks, you all. Blove you :)

The Stones' Farewell (European)Tour


Today will be the final European performance of the (infectious kidney) Stones, before they are "blown up." I'm off this morning to the surgi-center to get some of my parts pulverized. Good times.

The brilliant entrepreneur, Circus Kelli, has designed t-shirts (above) to commemorate the occasion. She has obtained a vendor's permit and will be hawking the shirts outside the hospital during the procedure.

I won't be having much fun, but I certainly don't want that to stop y'all. So, if there's anything you'd like to sell, or any performance art that you'd like to perform, or whatever, please state your intentions here in the comments, and you, too, will be granted a permit to do what you do. As long as it is a tasteful proposal -- you know, as tasteful as a depiction of a kidney stone with a tongue coming out of it :p

Sunday, March 12, 2006


Sunday Post ~ "It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hebrews 13:1-3

file under: &Sunday Post

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The List

A long, long time ago, Kristine, the Princess of Blogworld, posted a list that her then boyfriend, soon-to-be husband and Prince, Shaun, wrote for her. It was a list of 40 things he loves about her. This list caused quite a stir in blogworld. There was much whining and arguing among those who have no such list. I don't whine much in real life, probably only because I've never found it very effective around here. I did whine in someone's comments, though, and in blogworld, comment-whining actually can be effective. I got me a list! It wasn't from my husband, it was from kalki, but still, it was very nice, and I've kept it :)

More recently, Kristine and Shaun decided to stir things up again, when the Princess posted a list of 40 things she loves about Shaun. Then I started thinking, cheez whiz, Jif probably wouldn't even READ a list of 40 things I love about him. But it was pretty easy for me to think of 40 things. Tomorrow is our 23rd wedding anniversary. So as one of my gifts to him, I decided to extend mercy and not force him to read 40 things. I will however, force him to read these

23 Things I Love About You, Jif:

1. You know how to tell the right lies. For instance, when someone clearly doesn't like me, you say, "It's only because she doesn't know you."

2. You clean projectile puke off LG's wall, and don't even wake me up, only tell me about it when it's all over.

3. You're a very fine griller.

4. You can't fight with me, because I can make you laugh.
Yes, I can.
Yes, I can.

5. Laundry. You do it.

6. Dishes. You do them.

7. You make me proud. People trust you, with pretty much everything. People count on you. Because they can.

8. Massage. Good at at. (*Ahem*, slyly embedded in certain parts of this list, and I'm not saying which parts, but in some parts, there might be HINTS as to something that might be a GOOD IDEA...)

9. Unlike me, you can do 4th grade GT math.

10. I like the sound of your snoring. (Yes, you do.)

11. You sleep like a petrified log, except that, the faintest mumble of that one little word has you instantly awake and heading down the hall: "Daddy." You sleep through alarms, hurricanes, dog assaults, but not through "Daddy."

12. You indulge my extreme blogging habit. You actually "get" how blogfriends are real friends, and you ask how they're doing. Or what the hell they're doing. Something like that.

13. Every night when I come to bed, even if it's long after you, even if I wake you up to do it, you do it. I wake you up and say, "Tell me a good thing." And you do. You tell me something nice about me, or about us, or about what we did that day or what we'll do tomorrow. That's the best.

Apparently, I'm not the only one who needs that. Someone even wrote a book about it.

14. And this is one of the reasons I knew I would marry you. You told me that you actually LIKE having cold feet put against your warm legs in bed. You told me that many years ago, and I have never been foolish enough to ask if it is still true. I certainly behave as though it is, though, and try to keep you very happy in that way :)

15. You are a rock. This means a lot of different things to me. I have loved rocks my whole life. I keep them.

16. You tell me I can write.

17. When I get in way over my head, when I create for myself a real "What was I thinking?" crisis, I just say to you, "Tell me." And you know what to do. You tell me that I can do it, that it will be OK, that I've been in worse situations and pulled it off before. And then I always make it happen. We always make it happen.

18. You do crazy-ass things like this:

We're putting groceries away -- groceries that you bought . . .

S: Oh, this is a new kind of barbecue sauce . . .
J: Yea, I thought we'd give it a try . . .
S: Did someone recommend it . . .
J: No, but look at that guy on the label. I said, "Now, there's a man that knows something about some barbecue . . . "
S: (silently) WTF?

"LADIES and GENTLEMEN, I'M a COOK," says Mr. Stubb.

19. You really are my home. I am safe and warm where you are. I'd live in a tent with you.

20. The way you misbehave in restaurants with LG. I scold the two of you, because I'm the mama, I have to. But I love that you two enjoy each other so much.

21. Family. They don't get to you. Mine, yours . . . you love them, forgive them and perpetually give them a break.

22. You pray for me.

23. Every "next" thing I have thought of in making this list is something, the likes of which is not usually posted on this normally PG-13 blog. How to say this and not lose my PG-13 rating . . . it has been very difficult to list the things I love about you and not get an NC-17. And I love that about you, about us ;)

Happy anniversary, Jif.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

What It Isn't -- Because I Told You I'd Tell You

On my birthday, in addition to the goofy and self-indulgent, which I do here pretty regularly, I also revealed some rather private, rather sensitive information, which I haven't done so much, here. And a part of me regretted doing so almost immediately. And another part was glad that I did. That's the part I'm talking about today.

First, I won't tease you, I won't go for suspense: I'm OK. I am going to be just fine, and I think it won't be long now, like next week! But I didn't know that until very recently. And I want to thank everyone who has prayed for me, and thought about me, and written to me, checking on me. This is, first and foremost, a thank-you note to you.

A little background (I am going to be a bit medically graphic here; if you're squeamish, go to the next paragraph NOW): In late October, I saw blood in my urine. I had a fever, and I felt lousy. I was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection (UTI). I had never had one before. I knew they were pretty common; I think most people have had them before this point in life. I was treated with antibiotics, and the symptoms mostly went away, although I still didn't feel quite right. Just after Christmas, the symptoms reappeared with a vengeance. And with back pain and front pain so bad that I couldn't get out of bed. But still none of the burning, painful urination that most people with a UTI report. Back to the doc, for a very serious conversation. The symptoms were all there, but cultures revealed no infection, so nothing to treat with antibiotics.

Then there was the matter of family history. When my mother was just my age, and I was just LG's age, my mother had the same symptoms that I have. She was treated for UTIs for two years. She did't have UTIs. She had bladder cancer. She is still alive today. But her life, and my life, changed when she was diagnosed. Due to the illness, and the many surgeries, and the many drugs prescribed to deal with pain, my mother was largely unavailable to me for the remainder of my childhood. Following her diagnosis, my life went places it should never have gone. I experienced things that should not have happened. And I'm sure I didn't experience some things that should have happened. When she became ill, I grew up. I had no choice.

When I, at the same age, developed symptoms that were the same as the ones she had; and when there was no UTI, I became frightened. I was referred to the "Eurologist." That's where y'all came in. That Eurologist was not right for me, to put it kindly. He said to me, among other things, "It could be cancer. But if it is, it's no big deal. Bladder cancer is almost always treatable today." See, I think when you have cancer, you want it to be a big deal to your doctor. Maybe that's just me.

I scheduled the peepeecam with him, but a number of things happened that necessitated postponing that. And I was relieved. Which meant that I felt suffering with my undiagnosed symptoms was preferable to getting the tests I needed and getting treated by that man. Which told me that I really needed to find another doc. And I did. And she's great. I have had scans, and peepeecam, and X-rays and whatnot. And I have an "infectious kidney stone." I would never have an ordinary kidney stone, because I only do the medically exotic. Next Monday, I will go to the surgi-center, and, under twilight anesthesia, I will have the stone "exploded," as LG says. And then, after recuperating for a day or two from what they tell me will feel like I've been beaten up, I will get back to my normal life. After months of pain, blood, fear, etc. I am blessed.

Once again, I want to thank everyone who has prayed for me. After next Monday, you're off the hook there -- just keep it up a few more days. And to everyone who very tactfully, so very unobtrusively mentioned in comments that you were thinking about me, and to everyone who wrote and asked me what the hell was going on -- and everything in between -- thank you. And three specific Thank Yous:

The rockstar Nikki. Thank you for asking me the right questions, that helped ME ask the right questions, that helped me get to the care I needed. I have a good plan now and it's going to work. You are dear and generous and lovely, and I am more grateful than I can say.

And to Evil Uncle Dave, who has proven time and again to be a Master of Distraction. On the day I told y'all about this, I got an email with something like "this is probably the last thing on your mind," in the subject line. And he was offering to pimp my blog. And hell, yes, it was the last thing on my mind. But in weeks to come, over hundreds of emails, it became the first thing on my mind. With "what do you think about this," and "which of these do you like better," and I would just forget that I was frightened and in pain, because here was this strange person that I didn't know very well at all, spending hours and hours to try to distract me from my troubles, because he liked what I write sometimes. I got a shiny new blog, and a shiny new, and very dear friend. All highly distracting.

And Jess. First a little background. Shortly after Christmas, JessicaRabbit wrote a post about how her mother had given her entire family not one, but TWO sets of matching St. Bernard t-shirts. They are a wonderful family; but they are not your matching t-shirt kind of family. The post was so funny, I begged to see photographs. Jess has always sent me pix when I'm feeling blue. NOT the kind of pix most of you would like to get from Jess. She has sent me pix of her giant puppy girl, and they always make me smile. Many of you know, Jess is rather well-known for various beautiful and abundant attributes. I want to go on record here today as saying that the largest and loveliest part of Ms. JessicaRabbit is her heart. So when I begged, she sent me -- you're going to be so jealous -- actual photographs of the people in her family, lined up in their dog shirts. When I paused from my howling laughter long enough to call Jif over to look at the monitor, he said, "The only thing that would be better than that is if the dog were in the picture." Don't you know that in the next picture, there was the big girl, Hermione, looking at them all like "WTF?" Not many people have such photos. But I do :)

I'm going to show you something, an email I wrote to Jess, that makes me look small and pathetic. That's OK, I was small and pathetic. I am usually a glass-half-full kind of girl. I do not tend to awfulize things; I tend to look for something to celebrate. But I was in pain. And I was frightened. I wasn't frightened for me, for my future. Even if the worst happened, I'm pretty OK with that; I believe what I believe and I'm good with that. But I was terrified for my little girl. Feeling that way, and having just cancelled most of our holiday plans, too miserable to have the parties that I had planned, or the company that I had invited, I sat there thinking of just how bad things could get:

To: Kitty Kat
From: "whatwasit@comcast.net"
Subject: please thank your mother
Date: Saturday, January 07, 2006 21:58:26

My thoughts this evening: I could have cancer. I could have just celebrated my last Christmas. I might not see my daughter grow up. She might be someone whose mother died when she was 10 years old. That will shape the rest of her life (tears come, panicked feeling starts) . . . then, an image comes to mind:

JessicaRabbit's entire family has matching dog shirts. . . .


So. Thank you, Nikki, Dave, Jess, Jess's crazy mama, and all of you. I see the light at the end of this medical tunnel. And I am very, very happy and thankful for what my illness isn't. And because you really seem to care -- God bless you -- I wanted to come back on here and tell you what it is.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


Sunday Post ~ "Love is a fruit in season at all times and within the reach of every hand." -- Mother Teresa

Galatians 5:22-23

file under: &Sunday Post

Friday, March 03, 2006

Ten Things About Me #5


41. I loves me some socks. I love to buy socks, and to receive socks as gifts. I love the pretty, silky patterned, trouser socks. And fuzzy socks. And socks with monkeys, ladybugs, flowers and whatnot on them. And plain socks in pretty colors. And practical colors. And sneaker socks. Lotsa lotsa sox.

42. I hardly ever wear socks.

43. I collect some things:

Miniature porcelain boxes. I have um, a few dozen, maybe. Some cost $100s -- Limoges, Halcyon Days -- one cost $1 at an antique store in Wyoming. Their monetary value isn't the appeal; just their appeal to me is the appeal.

Hedgehogs. I love them. I have a few -- stuffed; cast iron, on the hearth; resin for the yard . . . I'm not sure when I started liking them or why. Long ago, and just because they are whimsical, I think :)

Mother and child sculptures. And this can be interpreted very broadly. People, animals, little girls with dolls . . . One of my favorites was given to me by a friend and sits on my desk at work. When I removed it from the box, I noticed there was a chip in it. She was immediately embarrassed and apologetic. I loved it even more for that. How perfect -- there is always a chip in the mother-child relationship, always some blemish. And it's no less beautiful for that.

44. I am medically weird. I don't respond the way most people do to medications. And I have had bizarre symptoms appear (e.g., about 6 weeks when my hands "didn't work," off and on -- scary) and then mysteriously disappear, without ever having been diagnosed or treated. My own doc understands and believes me now. So that, I can call her and say, "I think I have pneumonia, because I am really tired all the time," and she'll send me for an xray, and I'll get my pneumonia treated. This has happened, more than once. No cough, no fever, just feeling limp. I always tease my doc that I am there to keep her from getting bored. I am SO rarely a textbook case, with anything. But I am pretty much in tune with my own body and what's going on in it.

45. I did not attend my own father's funeral, in 1994. I had surgery, actually, two surgeries, the day that he died. I was not able to travel for the funeral.

46. Seven years ago this month, I had a client commit suicide. It was one of the worst things that has ever happened in my life. I almost didn't want to do what I do anymore. I might write about it some time. Her family actually gave me permission at the time to use her story to write anything that might ever be of help to anyone. A lot of things changed in me, then.

47. I have Panic Disorder. It is very rare that I have symptoms of it, now. I pretty much have it under control. But once your brain "goes there," it can always go back. I'll write a post about it some time, because I know now that many of you reading have it, too. And maybe we can be of some help to each other. So, yea, some day I'll write about that.

48. A few times a year, I get serious bouts of insomnia. Most recently, just a week or so ago, I had maybe 2 nights with no sleep at all, surrounded by maybe 3 nights with 2 or 3 hours. This is not good. Someone functioning on that little sleep is literally not in her "right" mind. Thankfully, it always resolves itself and I go back to sleeping normally.

49. I have encountered a few famous people. I ate dinner in local restaurants next to Pat Sajak and his family, and (another night, another restaurant) Charles S. Dutton and a woman who was not his wife (probably his sister, I'm sure). I once had a brief but lovely conversation with Mary Chapin Carpenter, in a club where she was performing before she got "really big." And I once had a long, enjoyable telephone conversation with David Copperfield, when I interviewed him for a newspaper article I was writing. I never cared much for him before that, but he was charming as all get-out. He informed me that he was in bed, in his underwear, and I woke him up. (Um, just to be clear, that is not evidence of his having been charming; that's just um, more information; the charming came later.) And of course, I must mention that Rosie O'Donnell commented on this blog, because I've been thinking about this blog and all that's happened here, because . . .

50. Today is my blirthday! My first blogiversary! I swear I never thought I'd be here for a year. I read blogs for about eight months before I took the plunge. I even "guest posted," if you could call it that, on Bucky's site, after emailing her soft-porn Gumby pics :) (Um, the later hardcore stuff, that was all her, OK?) When I first started looking at the whole blogging phenomenon, I thought it was a total freakshow. I could not believe you crazy-ass people on here telling everybody your business.

And now, I have to say, this is the most fascinating, most fun hobby I have ever pursued, and it is, by far, the hobby in which I've made the most and dearest friends.

*sniff* Thanks, you crazy-ass freaks. *sniff*

For the other "things about me" lists, for which I am too lazy to write links, see March 28, May 5, July 13 and August 15, of last year. After a whole year of blogging, I still don't have my "100 Things About Me" that every blogger really should have. So, if there's anything you want to know, ask me here, and I'll either answer in the comments or save it for elaboration in the next "10 Things..." post. You know, unless it's something that's none of your damned business :p

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Susie: The Early Years

There are some schools of thought in psychotherapy, that place very heavy emphasis on earliest memories. These theories say that earliest memories may reveal to us messages about life that we keep with us throughout the years, and also may give us a foreshadowing of what will remain important to us for the rest of our lives. I don't particularly practice those therapies, but I have a new client who had a previous therapist who did, so we are spending time looking at those things, and that's fine with me.

And it has gotten me thinking about some of my very earliest memories. For some reason, two stand out today.

The first day of school, first grade. Mrs. Schabinger's class. Mrs. Schabinger was writing words on the blackboard (confusing that she called it that, because that board was green), words like "cat," "car," and "no." Of course, we couldn't read yet (this was long before anyone knew you were supposed to teach 2-year-olds to do physics), but many of us had memorized a few words from our travels. We were allowed to call out without raising our hands, if we knew the words. I felt wonderful because I knew every single word. That is, until Mrs. Schabinger wrote, "go." Everyone in the class, even the quiet kids, even the kids I suspected of being dumb, knew this little word. But I didn't know it. Only two letters and I did not know it.

To make matters worse, Mrs. Schabinger made the kind of "g" that is two circles, connected by a squiggle, with a small ear on the top right. Not only did I not know "go;" I didn't even know the first letter! My mother had lied to me. I had been led to believe that I knew my ABCs. And clearly, here was one ABC that I had never encountered. This was my first experience of embarrassment in school, and it was only years later that I realized no one else was aware of my deficiency. I thought everyone knew that I did not know. When I got home that day, with my mother eager to find out how first grade was, I burst into tears and accusations.

"I didn't know 'go!'" I shouted at her. "Oh, Mommy," I sobbed, "you didn't teach me 'go.' You should've told me about 'go.' You should've told me about the g with one ear!"

The message: From this I could have learned that human beings will let us down, without meaning to. That even the very best, and those who love us the very most, will sometimes disappoint us profoundly, just because they are human beings. Looking back, I could have learned that lesson then. But I didn't. It would be over 30 years before I really got that one.

The second memory that has drifted to the top this week is from a few years later. I was about 10. My mother, younger brother and I were driving from Delaware to North Carolina to visit my grandmother. We stopped at a gas station, and I put money in the soda machine. I got my soda . . . probably at that time my choice would have been an Orange Crush, and my 35 cents came back, too. I told my mom, and in typical my-mom fashion, she had me go into the gas station and give the attendant the 35 cents. The attendant was a boy, probably not over 16. He was very tall (I was 10, he may have been 5'5"), had brown hair, blue eyes, just a hint of fuzz on his upper lip and cheeks. He had a sweet smile, and the most perfectly beautiful skin -- fair, smooth, luminous -- which was blushing for some reason. I handed him the money and told him what had happened. He pressed my quarter and dime back in my hand, and told me to keep the money and the soda, "for being honest." And he gave me a bag of Sugar Babies and a pack of Juicy Fruit, too. Are you imagining this scene? Imagine little cartoon hearts coming out of my 10-year-old eyes :) The boy, the blushing, the treats -- the sweetness nearly knocked me out.

I got back in the car with my mom, and told her most of the story. She said, "See, honesty is the best policy."

Several miles down the road, still thinking of . . . um, how important it is to be honest, I said, "Mom, you know that boy back there? Is that what they mean by a 'peaches and cream' complexion?"

My mom looked at me with what I now understand was a mixture of amusement and terror. I only just understood that last weekend, when my 10-year-old asked me if I think Jesse McCartney is cute.

The message: Honesty is the best policy, for sure (almost all the time). And . . . it is fun to get gifts from cute boys? I don't know, still working on that one.

And the foreshadowing
of what would always be important to me, from these two memories? Let's see . . . education, words, sweet boys and treats. Yea, that works :)

So, when you think of your early memories, what messages stuck with you? Was there something in those memories that remains important in your life today?