12.14.2010

Four Truths, No Lie

I've run away from "home"
I'm shacking up with someone else, bloggy speaking
This may or may not be permanent
I had to do something

http://remembergrace.wordpress.com/

6.08.2010

Oh Look! A Post!

Soooo long, no write again.

Stuff is percolating but nothing's ready to be poured yet, needs more brewing. No idea where the coffee talk is coming from.

Chris and I went to Mackinac Island last week, as part of a wooing session for me from work. It was lovely to be there with no real responsibilities (as when I go there for work I can never really relax and am almost always "on" in some way.) The biggest gift was that it was all free. We floated from one open-bar reception to another open-bar dinner with numerous "stations" (pasta, seafood, carving, etc.) to breakfast buffets that had enough bacon to make Chris whimper. The good thing about all that food is that one is pretty much guaranteed to walk it all off on the island. We walked downtown a few times and never took a single cab (horse and carriage) even though I wanted to.

We pretty much walked Indi's little legs into nubbins. She did really well and seemed to welcome being left in the room for a couple of hours at a time when we went off to eat. And drink. Did I mention the open bar? She was always more than happy to see us come "home" though, as evidenced by this video. Sorry the quality is so poor, it's on my cell phone and she was jumping all over the bed. Which, before you think we're slobs, we didn't have made up because we didn't want to subject the cleaning staff to a dog going crazy while they tried to clean. Thus the rumpled bed.

Also, you might want to turn down the volume on your speakers a tad because her welcome home yelps are about enough to pierce your eardrums. It's like she thought we'd gone forever, every single time we come back.

I promise a real post soon but pretty much, Indi's as real as I get these days.


video

5.04.2010

Quatro de Mayo

The last time I posted was 4/5 and now it's 5/4?! How does that happen?

Work has been nighmarishly busy. To the point where I'm finding that I am looking for patience with my boss. That never happens. Seriously, I just rarely get ticked at him but I'm finding that lately I just cringe when something comes up. I know it's totally me, but it scares me because work is the one constant that I've always been able to deal with. There are good days and bad, but overall, it's a safe place where I can function and feel productive. Not exactly a rip roaring testament to living one's dream there, is it? Uh yeah, more on that another time. I've had this nagging feeling about that for longer than I care to admit and I keep swatting it away but the buzzing is growing louder.

Right now I'm trying to maintain. My sanity and my peace, mostly.

My best friend Pam has moved back downstate and is back to being about an hour away from me. She is going through so much right now, and it's hard to see her in such a difficult space. Hills and valleys, I know, but her valleys are dark and scary for her now and it's hard to see that.

Chris and I are bridging the gap in some ways and the small signs of it feel reassuring in ways I had forgotten about. Maybe not forgotten, but hadn't experienced in a while. I am trying very hard to stay in the Now because my brain wants to look ahead at how much other stuff there is to get through and it takes away from the Now Moments. It feels like I really need to focus on those right now. To that end, we are going away for Memorial Day weekend (last weekend of May for my Canuck friends) and we never ever go away on the holidays. I can't stand the traffic and I'd rather just be home. But this is an opportunity to get away for free (another "wooing" perk I get through work) and I just can't pass it up. To be honest, without this we'd never be able to do it, we just don't have the money right now.

There's also an overnight trip to Chicago to see the inlaws coming up but I'm in total denial over that right now and am planning on recharging some batteries first a couple weeks before that, in order to deal with the whole thing.

A year ago right now, I was in a Two Week Wait. Even that phrase seems like a foreign language, and so incredibly far away. It was to be my last and if you recall, I went out in a blaze of melodramatic glory by proving that the last IUI failed when I started my period on Mother's Day. HA! That still kills me, universe. Good one! And no, I'm not still bitter at all, thanks for asking.

Ahhh yes, she still has the crazy in her.

I'm just looking to get through this weekend and I'm not sure what that's going to look like. I'd say there's a good chance it'll include wine and chocolate but seriously, this particular mode o' funk is immune to those. Scary, huh?

I feel such an urge to get all sappy here at the end so I'll make a quick getaway before I

I love and miss you guys!

Ooooh, and I was so close.

4.05.2010

Weekend Update

It was a weekend. I have some updates. Try as I might, I can't put a whole lot of positive spin on it. I got out early Friday, which was a beautiful day here. Indi and I sat outside for a couple of hours, just soaking up the fresh air and sunshine. I'm happy to say that's why these pictures are washed out. That and the fact that I was too lazy to go in and get the real camera so I used my cell phone.

















She still loves her some sticks. More fell over the winter and so she gathered them all around her. A girl needs some choices. As you can see, the grass isn't what you can call green yet, but it's at least hinting at it.

Saturday I fussed with some baking for church. I made mini carrot cupcakes and further fussed with making little marzipan carrots for the tops. I should've put something down for scale, but just remember these are the mini muffin tins, so the carrots are about an inch long. Martha Stewart gets me into a lotta trouble sometimes.




















Before I started, though, Indi and I were back outside for a couple hours, each showing our unified support.



















































Saturday night, I watched the Final Four and got just plain depressed. We - okay they - played like crap in the 2nd half but it was still hard to watch. I can't tell you how much the entire community gets into this whole experience, it's huge on every level.

Sunday morning I went to church and had a great time. The energy was amazing, the music was rockin (seriously, our church's band will blow your socks off some days) and I left feeling uplifted and at peace.

Of course I can't seem to maintain that sensibility so by late last night, I was in a funk. This is mostly because Chris and I are struggling. I'll just leave it at that because really, I think that everyone struggles sometimes. But I say that because I'm being honest and that's what is going on. When he and I are out of sync, nothing else feels balanced either and I hate it. The fact that he is on afternoons indefinitely only serves to make it harder since I don't see him during the week.

Anyway.

I feel really misunderstood on a lot of levels lately and it's making me weary. E-mails between other family members about nothing even all that important have left me clarifying and reclarifying and going back to read and reread what I said and still I'm left scratching my head and wondering how I seem to be saying one thing and others are hearing or translating it into another. It isn't that I don't see the possibility of my being (*gasp*) wrong, but seriously, it's about the smallest of things and it's still all screwed up.

I just don't know how it all seems to get so complicated.


I'm working on my 'tude here, I swear I am. And sometimes I think it gets a little easier as the week starts again and I go back to being solo. I dunno if that's good or bad, and I'm trying not to judge it.

Tonight is bound to get easier as I've slid into a regular volunteer experience that I love. Monday evenings I serve dinner at a women & children's shelter. These are women who are homeless, many jobless, and with small children. The dose of reality I get when I spend time there is the slap in my spoiled self's face that I need. And no, that isn't why I do it, it's just one of the things I see myself taking away each week. These women often have nothing more than what could fit into a couple of plastic grocery bags and yet they are there, taking care of their children, learning job skills, and trying to get to a place of safety and self reliance. I am humbled by their strength and joy and dedication to create a better life for themselves and their children, regardless of the hand they've been dealt.


And suddenly, my weariness seems a lot less important.

3.26.2010

Why'd I Do That?

I joined Facebook about a year and a half or so ago. Not exactly first to jump on the bandwagon but it feels like I've been around the Facebook block a time or two. I like a couple of the games, and I admit I like the pseudo voyeurism that it provides. I get a sense of what friends and acquaintances are doing via status updates and it does provide a sense of (virtual) community that I wouldn't otherwise have. So yeah, I like it for the bridge it seems to provide between people I wouldn't ordinarily mix it up with.

When I first joined, of course I started looking for my peeps. Friends, bloggers (usually one and the same) and family. It's that last group that was a big fat goose egg. I couldn't find anyone, not even any of the umpteen cousins I have. Nor could I find any of Chris' family, so I thought I'd check periodically and/or ask people about it.

Fast forward my forgetful brain to earlier this week and I searched for my BIL and other inlaws and was surprised to find scads of them. I instantly started clicking Add as Friend, Add as Friend! I was high on the prospect of getting lots of family (who are scattered throughout California, Illinois and Virginia, to name a few) connected this way.

It only took until the next day to see that my requests had been confirmed by my BIL and SIL and others. But those two are the ones that really struck me because as soon as I saw their profiles, I knew I'd made a mistake and I couldn't stop asking the title of this post. Why'd I do that?!

Understandably - and let me repeat that... I totally get it - their profiles are crammed full of pictures, stories and comments about their nine month old daughter. My heart was instantly in my throat and yet I was glued to all of the gushing and sweetness until I could barely breathe and that was only my SIL's page. When I clicked on Chris' brother's profile, the tears came when I saw the photo he'd posted as his profile picture:




















I dunno if you can see without clicking to make the image larger, but the datestamp from the camera is New Year's Eve. And I thought about all the things my BIL could've been doing New Year's Eve. Or what I imagined he used to do on a typical New Year's Eve. The parties, dinners, evenings out with friends. And I wondered if it struck him on that cold last day of the year as he snapped this photo how he wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else but staging a photo of his enormous shoes alongside his baby girl's tiny ones.

It was then that I wished I hadn't even looked for them, hadn't found them, hadn't added them. But of course it's too late for that without invoking some big story about why I may be ignoring them. They may not even notice, it's not like they're particularly close to us or anything. But it feels like I just coaxed yet another big fat elephant into the room and it's getting pretty dang crowded in here.

Not to seem too pathetic in the irony department, but here's a photo I took of Indi the other day that sums up a good part of her waking life. When she isn't glued to my side, she can be found looking out the windows which, luckily for her, go down to the floor. She ooches her nose around the sheer curtains and just sits there, her head turning this way and that as she checks out the neighborhood.

















This week marks five years of this blog being out there. Sometimes more out there than I'd wish, but hey, that's the way it is. It sort of seems as if that nice round number calls for getting a little sloppy and mushy. So much water under the bridge, after all but I can't focus on those oceans right now or I'll lose it.

Toodles.

3.16.2010

Blogging Backwards

It seems I do have things to blog about from time to time and I even think about writing a few of them down so that I can do the easy-out bullets. But I never get past that thinking-about stage until the next thing I know, it's been a month and I'm trying to remember what I was going to say and I can't think of a thing other than all the Crazy in My Head and that just doesn't seem to be the sort of thing to start with. So backwards or non-linear or jumping around, here we go.


I have my brackets done for the NCAA tournament. If you've been around here a while, you know I love me some college basketball. My beloved Spartans began the season with a school record 9-0 conference opening and then they just fell apart. I’m in an office pool (said to be responsible for nationwide plummeting productivity) that I’ve actually won or placed in a couple of times. But pretty much my only criteria for the pool is coming out ahead of Chris.

Just for the heck of it, I googled myself to see what came up and was more than a little freaked out that a link came up to an old Flikr account I made years ago that contained a link to this very blog. Can you say Yikes? It isn’t as though I’m naïve enough to think the internet is anonymous but I don’t want it to be that easy for anyone to find it, either. I went back and changed privacy preferences but it makes me wonder who’s lurked here before. I know it shouldn’t matter but it does. And I also know that if that particular door was open, there are probably others, too. I’m not sure I care enough to change the blog but I’ve led this double life for so long, I’m not prepared to completely out myself just yet.

I'm working on a something crafty that has an Easter theme and I've cracked a dozen and a half eggs so far. I see quiche and frittata in my future for quite some time to come.

I saw Pam last night for the first time in a long time. If you recall, she moved almost 4 hours away, back in December. We met at Weber’s in Ann Arbor, just like old times, and even enjoyed a beverage. They have some ridiculous specials on Mondays and I had an enormous bowl of mussels for less than three bucks. They also have a free hot-bar during happy hour which is one of the best-kept former secrets you could hope for when looking for cheap eats. And it’s actually really good, too.

It’s very bittersweet for me to be in Ann Arbor since it always used to mean going to the baby doc. I can’t even type that without my breath catching in my throat. Even walking in to Whole Foods yesterday (uhh yeah, some things just don’t change) felt like I should’ve just come from seeing him. I don’t think those associations will ever be totally gone. I need to write more about this but not today.

I’m getting the itch to plant things. I know it’s too early but I’ve taken it a step further and ordered some tomato seeds. I haven’t started from seed since I can remember and I don’t think I’ve ever done it totally on my own. The seeds I ordered are “iffy” at best because they’re considered heirloom and so they might not even come up but I wanted to try. If they don’t, I’ll have wasted little other than the grow light I want to look at this weekend. I hope my neighbors think something scandalous like I’m growing pot or something.

I had heard of them before but didn’t try them until a few months ago and now I’m both hooked and spoiled as these little beauties are absolutely delicious, for something that comes out of a can.



















I am obsessed with Indi’s sister (her name is Missi) who lives across the street from me. A couple of months ago, I happened to notice out my front window that Missi was off her leash and wandering around her front yard. It was just after 6 a.m., and there was a couple feet of snow on the ground. I got up and looked over to see if one of her humans was just (irresponsibly) letting her out in the morning off leash but there was no one around. I was standing at my front door in my bathrobe as I watched her slowly wander down her driveway, her nose leading the way, as she kept wandering further and further from her house. When she slowly crossed the street, I ran upstairs and got some clothes on, shoved my bare feet in my tennis shoes and threw a leash on Indi. When I got outside, there was no sign of her and so Indi and I walked up to our corner and I started quietly calling Missi’s name. I struggled to cross the street because of all the snow at the curb and the snow instantly went into my shoe. We went about half a block and then out of nowhere, Missi came running up to see Indi. I’ve played this rescue game before and I know she won’t come to me but she comes to her sister every time.

So even though I’ve played the game before, I quickly realized I’d failed to bring an extra leash and Missi wasn’t enthralled enough with Indi’s presence to walk alongside us so I struggled to pick Missi up (easily smaller than Indi but still a handful to be carrying) and struggled even more to walk in now-wet shoes with one dog wiggling in my arms and another dog trying to jump up to the wiggling dog and not one bit happy that I was carrying her sister and limiting her access.

I finally get the 3 of us back to my house and had to set Missi down just inside the door for a second while I switched the leash from Indi to Missi. Then I closed the door and headed across the street. For the record, that is the moment I wish I could do over. But I trudged back through the snow and knocked on the neighbor’s door and one of the kids answered. When I told her I’d found Missi half a block away, she started to scold the dog and muttered, “thanks” and closed the door.

It was then that I started thinking I should’ve just put Missi in the house. I mean I wouldn’t have kept her forever. I probably wouldn’t have kept her forever. But I could’ve had a really fun day with both sisters in the house together all day. The people didn’t even know she was gone yet and if they had gotten a clue, I think a little fear might’ve been a good thing. I could’ve at least kept them for the day. Hindsight. Stupid, too-late hindsight.

There have been two other instances since then when I seriously considered just going over and getting her. It was only the few remaining shreds of common sense and Chris’ constantly telling me, even kindly, “You can’t,” that stopped me. But something tells me that it isn’t going to stop me forever, just up to this point. The Make Missi Mine plan is just getting started.

2.19.2010

myTunes

I won a new toy. I've had a Shuffle for years but quickly grew bored by it because it holds so few songs. This one isn't a huge capacity like some but easily holds 20 times more than I could before.

So now I'm loading whole albums rather than forcing myself to choose 2 or 3 songs from each one. It's kinda fun. And I know that I could become addicted to wanting to buy out iTunes (hiya Rox!) hehe, but I'm going to stick with what I have now. With maybe a few exceptions.

This thing also has a few gadgets like a pedometer and a video camera but I don't see myself using those much since I have them in other ways. We'll see. Right now I'm mostly amused with one of the "shuffle" options. If you get to a song you don't like, you just shake the iPod and it changes to a new song.

That's all I got, people. Just wanted to shake the dust off and say hey. Oh, and have a nice weekend.


2.09.2010

Pour Some Sugar on Me

When all else fails (or when you just want to play) make some mini cupcakes with chocolate hearts and then eat five of them because "the frosting doesn't quite look right" on those.

Note: If the frosting looks perfect on all of yours, simply bump into them with a knife and you will have instant rejects that must be eaten to save your co-workers the shame of imperfectly frosted cupcakes.

I'm here for you, people. I've got a sugar buzz but I'm here for you.





2.04.2010

...

Today is my MIL's birthday. Chris' brother, his wife and baby girl are out visiting her. I can hardly bear to think of calling her tonight and hearing the baby cry in the background. But I'll do it because I love her.

Pam has a conference in my city and is spending the night tonight. While I "should" want her near, my highest truth is that I just want to curl up in a ball tonight and sleep. But I got up this morning and cleaned the bathroom marinated some chicken to grill and put over salads tonight. I'll leave work a little early and put some brownies in mini muffin tins because everyone knows that it doesn't count if you eat brownies one inch at a time. I'll go to bed early, even though she'll want me to talk about it but she'll ultimately be okay with it because she loves me.

Two years ago today, we got confirmation that our (latest) baby's heartbeat had stopped. Anniversaries of such things are everywhere. Like landmines or a whack-a-mole, they literally pop up in my face without notice. Without regard to the fact that I'm in a meeting. Not caring that I can barely see or breathe enough to drive. There are missed due dates, missed birthdays, missed holidays. Because there are missing people. And today is the most glaring one of all because it is the most real to me and it has become the culmination of Hope Lost. Melodrama intended.

I don't talk about this much anymore (maybe that's part of the problem, Patricia) and I certainly don't blog about it much (it all seems like so much Lather, Rinse, Repeat, Repeat, Repeat) that I don't know how to get it to stop looping. The horror of it all, I mean. I have nothing to replace it with and little sense of how to do that.

Gee. I don't sound too healthy, huh? No argument here. And no filter here, either. Not today. Today is about surviving and maybe laughing at some recorded Idol tonight and eating too many brownies. Today is to be survived, but it is also for me to pause and acknowledge the pain as well as the strength God has given me to keep getting through it. Because the babies I lost are as real to me the other 364 days as they are today, one of the Big Fat Anniversaries. And so I put cryptic status updates on Facebook and I answer that I have allergies when two people say I sound stuffed up. I even come in and dust off the blog because I don't know where else to go with this but I have to go somewhere.

Because I love them.

1.06.2010

Hands

Blogging - or the thought of it - still seems like so much work but I resolve to just let it be. If I show up here once a year or twice a day or somewhere in between, then that's what it'll be. More being, less kvetching.

I had 10 or 11 (I can't remember) blessedly lazy days off over the holidays. Every single year, I make lists of things I'll accomplish. Cleaning closets, organizing drawers, rewriting recipes. You name it, I've planned to do it. And then come up short. So this year, I planned nothing. And I lived up to it. I pretty much did squat the whole time and I was ok with that. As a result, when I actually did do something productive, it was all bonus.

It came as no surprise to me when I came back to work that my closets are still messy, my drawers remain unorganized and my recipes are a thousand scraps of paper crammed into a file. But I slept and napped and rested and lounged. And after that, I relaxed. A bit too much, really, but that's for another time.

I left my office the day before Christmas Eve at 2 p.m. with that giddy, expectant feeling of a vacation just begun. The highlight of my break pretty much started ten minutes later. I met 3 friends at our local dive. I work in the same building, but not in the same place, with two of the women and the 4th woman moved out of state a year and a half ago.

The three of us who are all in the same building chat or try to touch base every day but we rarely go out. It's like that 4th person is the glue that we need in order to work. Not that we don't have fun when it's just the 3 of us, but it's not nearly the same. We all dearly love and miss this 4th person and so when she comes back and we get to hang out, it is Pure Girlfriend Joy.

We laughed and drank (yes, the two were related but we laugh ourselves silly stone cold sober, too) and had such a good time. I needed that so badly and wish I could have more times like that.

It's hard making friends as a grown-up, she whines.

At one point, the woman who now lives out of state explained that she was telling someone where she used to live in Michigan and she used the "Michigan Map" thing by pointing to the area on the palm of her right hand.

The next part is slightly less clear to me but the conversation quickly turned to planning a group trip to getting a tattoo of what we were talking about. So I took out one of at least 5 purple markers I'm known to have in my purse at any given time and proceeded to dole out the tats right then and there. The next thing I knew, all our hands were in the middle and we all had our camera phones out, clicking and flashing away. Four Dorks Separated at Birth.

It was the most fun I've had in ages and I've opened this pic several times, to remember just that.

12.26.2009

Why don't she write?

One of my all-time favorite movies is "Dances with Wolves" and there's a scene where they are traveling across the empty plains and come across a skeleton. One of them jokes, There's a family back East somewhere sayin' "Now why don't he write?!"

That's kinda where I am. Where I've been. Asking myself that same question and never coming up with a good answer. And so I waited. To be able to answer the question and make it a good answer. Somewhere around the two month period of waiting, I realized neither were coming and that while my thoughts about blogging weren't necessarily yet at the skeletal stage, they were definitely frozen and stuck.

It absolutely doesn't feel like I'm "back" but I'm peeking in for a moment because on some levels, I've missed it. And if I'm honest, because I've run out of ways to try to deal with some stuff and so it makes sense to revisit a place that once felt familiar.

I can't possibly go back and catch up, no matter how much the linear thinking planner in me might want to. So in no particular order, life, as always, has been happening. (I'm still comma crazy, some things never change.)

Chris turned 40 in October. Can I just say that it is about dang time? Uhhh yeah, I'm a wee bit older than he is and the big numbers are kind of a buzz kill when I get to them first. I threw him a surprise birthday party, a BYOB. It was a Buy Your Own Breakfast party. To be honest, it just didn't make sense to go into debt in order to celebrate, no matter how good the reason and so I thought, okay, people are apt to be willing to go out to breakfast and pay for their own so that's what I planned. It was at a nice restaurant and I had arranged for a tower of pancakes with candles in it to be brought out when we got there.

I still can't say for sure whether he knew what was up or not, but he was gracious enough to play along if he did know. What surprised us both, though, was that 24 people showed up on a Saturday morning to yell surprise and eat eggs and laugh together. It was a fun day.

Moving along and on a completely different note, we had mice in our house a few weeks ago. Yeah. gross, disgusting turd-leaving rodents got in through our laundry room which is oh-so-conveniently-for-them located next to our pantry. I was skeeved out time and again as I realized that they were getting in there and so we started setting traps. And one after another, we killed six of them. GROSS.

And then my wonderful now-40-year-old husband did what had been scaring the crap out of me for days. He removed every single item from the pantry, threw away about 75% of it, and sterilized the cans that couldn't be questionable as well as bleached the entire pantry from top to bottom. I could barely breathe through the bleach fumes when I got home and I couldn't have been happier.

I bought a couple of large plastic tubs and put the few things that were without question, because that had been the rule when cleaning out the pantry, when in doubt, throw it out. Turns out, pretty much everything that was in a cardboard package was questionable and really, it's the only way I could do it. Just toss it all.

So I've been slowly trying to restock the pantry with things as they go on sale. A couple of weeks ago, I saw boxes of dark chocolate brownie mix on sale for a buck and I like to have it on hand in case I have to take something somewhere so I picked up two boxes. But I'd wanted to wait to put stuff back in the pantry until I was 110% sure that the little ratfinks were gone, once Chris had blocked up the area where we saw they'd gotten in. (A small space around the water source for the washing machine.)

Soon, the bins sitting in the dining room got full and so I'd come home with grocery bags and set them on top of the bins. I went into denial about the growing mountain of things in the dining room, thinking that I'd clean the pantry shelves one more time over break, just to be sure, and then reorganize things when I had time. Except that two days before my break began, Chris came home to find the house smelling amazingly like chocolate. Dark chocolate, even.

He found the empty bag and box somewhere on the first floor and Indi slightly cowering on the couch. He went upstairs into the empty bedroom to find the entire floor strewn with chocolate. The empty bedroom (it's the only thing I can call it, really, and yeah, if you've been around here for a while and think about it, you'll know what I'm not saying) was re-carpeted about 3 years ago and has had maybe 2 overnight guests per year in that whole time. I might start calling it the cocoa room.

I looked at it and was just stunned. Chris had waited to vacuum it so I could see it and yeah, it was the only way. It can't really be described. We need to rent one of the big machines to clean the carpet but I'm not sure it'll ever get it back to its new state. All the time Chris was ranting and raving, I was in a place of resignation. I mean, it was too late to get mad at her, we didn't catch her in the act of doing it. To yell and punish her then would've been a waste of time. More than that, I was worried about what all that chocolate might be doing to her. Not that it was a total surprise because in addition to the cocoa room, she'd been uhhh booting from both ends all. around. the house. We're talkin dark chocolate poop and puke, people.

So while Chris is still cleaning up, I called the vet and told them what happened. They said they'd check with the doctor and call me back and when they did, they instructed me to feed her nothing but plain rice 3 times a day for two full days. If she continued to be sick, she'd need to come in. So off to the store I went to get rice (because of course, that was one of the things lost in the pantry) and came home and cooked it for her. When I put it down for her, she just looked at it, tried a bit of it and walked away. She pretty much did that for 2 straight days. Wouldn't touch it. But she finally stopped puking and so we stayed with it and on the 3rd day, I'm pretty sure I saw a tear in Indi's eye as I placed before her the old dry stuff she was used to. She seems fine now. But I might be off brownies for life.

I'm off work until the 4th and have been pretty much lazing around. We had a very quiet Christmas with church services on the Eve and a lot of lounging on the Day. We made Asian dumplings/potstickers yesterday, to keep up our tradition of eating Chinese food on Christmas. They were delicious and Chris made a dipping sauce that I could've slurped through a straw.

Today I'm struggling to tell what day it is, always a good sign of being on vacation. And yet the day sort of creeped up on me and pounded me on the shoulder. I knew it was coming and yet the true anniversaries of things are sometimes not as hard when you halfway prepare for them. Vague much?

Like anniversaries of bad things, I mean. If I get it in my head, then sometimes it sort of comes and goes without much to them. Of course that pretty much ensures that it'll come out another way but hey, that happens anyway, no matter what I do. Vaguer much? Two years ago today, I got my ultimate gift, my 2nd positive pregnancy test. And then I enjoyed ten weeks of bliss until there was no bliss to be found. I thought about it yesterday and told myself that it's just another day. And it is. But it isn't. Even now, it isn't. Even now, it hurts with a sharpness I didn't know could still be here this far down this road. I can only skim the surface right now because the surface is overwhelming and painful and looms large today.

So I came in to my office to feed the birds and animals outside our building because I was going to a nearby store and the birds don't exactly understand a thing like vacation and are still hungry. And on a whim, I opened blogger and felt like I was revisiting old journals from years ago or remembering a dream that is half fuzzy and doesn't seem quite real. Even finding the link above, I began to linger in the posts of doubling betas and had to leave because it hurts too much.

To those who have sent e-mails both to me or to others on my behalf, I thank you for your concern and your love. I still don't have a good answer as to why I dropped off or even a reasonable promise that I'll post much from now on. But I'm doing the best I can and trying to get past the high emotions of the holidays where I know that both objects and emotions are closer than they appear. Some of you may still see me on Facebook, as a status update has proven much easier than a blog entry. If we know each other here in the blogworld and you'd like to add me, drop me a line. Otherwise, I'll catch you on the flipside sometime down the road in Twenty Ten. How weird is that?

Happy New Year.

9.17.2009

I made the call.


And was coasting along... and then my world sort of vomited and here's yet another cryptic post. I am seriously sick of the drama.


I hope your world is treating you well.



9.02.2009

Accountability

I know this won't make sense but I have to put it out there in order to nudge myself into doing something.

I have a phone call to make.

There, that's it. My big fat announcement.

I realize it's not so big, and it announces very little. And I hate to be cryptic but that's what I'm going to do for now. I've had this big scary thing hanging over my head for a while now and there's at least been some movement in the process and so it is time to act. Except I've been waiting to act for so long that my muscles feel frozen.

It's the reason runners and swimmers don't take their mark more than a few seconds before the starting gun goes off. They'd get stiff and be unable to react quickly and naturally. Well I feel like I've been in the starting block about something and the gun's gone off and I'm still just sitting here. I've been waiting for it, striving towards it and now that it's time to go, I'm stuck.

Inertia lives.

So I'm putting this out there, obscure as it can be, so that I'll at least come out of my denial and get real. Where's Dr. Phil when I need him? It's Wednesday afternoon as I post this. I'm giving myself until Friday afternoon to do it. And I swear, it's a good thing, it really is. No one's sick or divorcing or anything like that.

*sigh* Why can't I just be normal? Feel free to leave me the answer to that question in the comments and I'll alert Blogger that there will be a spike in comments.

8.20.2009

Bullet Points Minus the Bullets

I don't often crave the newest gadgets and such, but I find that I want an iPhone in the worst way. My current phone is a piece of crap. Has been since the day I got it and I've literally been waiting 2 years for the contract to expire so that I can switch because I didn't want to pay for a different one. I wish the iPhone wasn't exclusive to AT&T. I swore I'd never go back to The Man again and now here I am, trying my best not to bat my eyelashes at him and giggle and swish my hair.

Pam's youngest daughter is moving to Chicago to go to school. I am meeting the two of them tonight for dinner. I wanted to get her just a little gift to take so I got a box of magnetic poetry, the college edition. I really want to not cry when I see her. I go months without seeing her now, but somehow knowing that she is moving out of state is really making me weepy this week. It's not an overstatement to say that I helped raise her and her sister from the time she was a year old. I know I'll have to be a dork tonight and remind her that the first day I met her, Pam had decided it would be Anna's last day on the bottle. Anna used to love to have me tell that story and I never grew tired of repeating it.

Chris is going on the men's retreat from church this weekend. He leaves this evening (though I won't see him beforehand) and returns late Sunday afternoon. I'm looking forward to some alone time. Plus, he's been a complete turd lately and I hope that the time away does him some good and he comes home with a better 'tude. I can honestly say that I think my 'tude has been remarkable, considering how he's been acting.

I love Facebook FarmTown and I'm not too proud to admit it. I was telling the lovely Ally yesterday that it's like playing Barbie without the awful dolls. I know that doesn't exactly sound like a positive thing, but it is. I just like organizing the stuff; the buildings, the flowers and the designs keep me entertained for longer than I'd like to admit. Oh and I have $1.2 million dollars to boot. Errr, coins, actually. If only there were an exchange office for that.

I've decided not to subscribe to Sirius after my trial is up. If I don't go with the iPhone, I'm going to put that same subscription money away each month, toward an iPod. (I'll get an iSomething outta this somehow.) I have an iPod shuffle but the port in my car doesn't support it. It wants the real thing. And so do I. I use mine less and less because all the songs seem so tired; there's not enough variety.

My home computer died. From what I can piece together, it happened a couple weeks ago during a very nasty thunderstorm. I don't get online at home every day and so it had been several days since I'd tried. When I went to log on, it wouldn't boot up. Near as I can recall, the last time I'd used it was before the storm. Chris says he has a friend who might be able to look at it to see if it's actually dead or just mostly dead. I'm not terribly motivated to do otherwise, so I'll wait and see if he follows through on it.

Monday is a Yellow Sheet Day for me. I'm taking Indi to the vet for her annual exam, shots, etc. That's gonna be a pretty penny. Especially when I add on a few months of flea medicine. I can complain about the money all I want, but she's worth it. She still saves my sanity on a daily basis, I swear, and this weekend, it'll be just the two of us. I can hardly wait.

Peace.

8.05.2009

It's Me!

'Scuse me while I dust this place off for a sec.

PHOOOOOOO!!!!

*cough cough* Sorry for that cloud.

Once again, it's been awhile.




I am still in some Sirius love with the satellite radio. I've been surprised to find that it doesn't work under any kind of structure. I'm used to regular radio getting sketchy when in a parking ramp but it can't even handle the overhang at the ATM and skips out when going under certain underpasses on the highway. All in all, I'm gonna have a hard time going back to regular radio.

I got something else I never in a million years thought I'd have, much less enjoy.


Yes, I am now one of those annoying people who appear to be responding to internal stimulus and talking to themselves.


Acutally, I haven't used it much outside the car but having a 5-speed, it's a must if I want to take or make a call and it's totally hands-free since it's voice activated. You can't tell from this (giant) pic but it's positively tiny, about as big as my thumb, down to the first knuckle.

I'm still liking the car, too, and still learning things about it. A couple of weeks ago, I came home after dark and when I opened the door, I realized I hadn't switched the lights off. I was surprised and irritated that I wasn't hearing any kind of beeping noise to alert me that I'd left the lights on. A handy idiot sensor, in my opinion. Just when I was starting to think that I'd really have to pay attention to turning them off so I didn't drain the battery, I noticed the lights weren't on at all. If the door is opened while they're on, the car simply shuts them off. Nice.


I went to lunch with a woman from church yesterday. Took the day off and everything, so that I'd be able to take my time, as well as run a few other errands. This is someone I've often felt a connection with and almost always touch base with after church. But I'd been thinking I'd like more of a friendship with her than visiting on the way out the door allows. And yet I was unsure. That same feeling from junior high... will they like me? Will they want to eat lunch with me? Does that feeling ever leave? Well I finally just asked if she'd lilke to get together and she said yes and yesterday was the day.

We ended up sitting there for 3 hours, talking and laughing. Don't look now but I might have a new friend. Wonders never cease, since I don't do that very often or very easily. And... she's totally crafty!

Our new pastor has been on board for just about a month. He has done many things to get to know us all, one of which is a one-on-one conversation. We were invited to sign up for an hour with him, just to talk, get to know one another, and have some prayer at the end. Well the thought of it kinda scared me and so I took that as a sign that I should do it. My time slot was last night and sure enough, I started getting butterflies on the way to his house. But it turned out okay.

We hit the usual topics - family, work, school, hobbies, church, etc., and then came the one I had been waiting for.
So I don't remember seeing any kids with you and Chris.

Even thought I knew it was coming, I still stammered my way through things. I told him how many years we've been trying. Told him that if he'd ever read about or seen on 20/20 those people who do all those crazy things for fertililty, I was that person. My voice got very thin when I told him we'd come close twice and I averted his eyes as I tried to just get through the absolute basics. When I thought I was safely on the other side, I glanced at him and saw such genuine compassion, that I had to look away again and couldn't begin to blink without the tears rolling down my face. I quickly - and obviously - changed the subject and he smoothly allowed me to do so, and I was grateful for that.

All in all, it went well and I'm glad I did it. One more boogie man bites the dust.


I guess that'll do it for now. Wouldn't want to spill all the beans at once, right? And trust me, there are no juicy beans left, but I'll try to come up with something sooner rather than later. Believe it or not, I miss this place. Which is weird to say because I'm the one that's kind of been staying away.

And as
Renée Zellweger's character from Cold Mountain would say, that there's what you call a conundrum.

7.24.2009

Obligatory Post

Nothing much is going on. Seriously.

Well. Little things. Little, tiny, can't-be-counted-as-things things are happening, of course. But they don't count much for me, so why on earth would they count for anyone else? I suppose that sums up most of my blog though, huh?

Meh.

I'm just sort of in a boring and bored funk lately. And yes, I always remember that when someone is bored, it is often because they are boring. You know, because I always have to take on the guilt and responsibility somehow.

Eh.

That pretty much sums things up. I'm in a rut at work that is slow and boring. Nothing much going on and it makes for long, boring days.

*sigh*

I just can't seem to shake the lethargy, the boredom, the zzzzzzzzzzzzz. I am fighting the sense of a lowgrade crabbiness at much of life these days. I don't like this. I am not, by nature, a crabby person. I know I need to shake it off. Mix things up. Change my 'tude, change my scene. And maybe I will, just after I sit and rest a while.

I'm still doing stuff. Loving that my tomatoes are finally ripening. I had some with tuna today and the homegrowns are infinitely tastier than the plastic at the store.

I'm loving my free 6 month sample of Serius satellite radio way more than I thought I would. I'm constantly cruising between 70s, 80s, 90s, classic vinyl, all over the place. I don't miss the local DJs chatter a bit, not to mention the commercials. One particularly odd thing is to find all the old (literally) MTV veejays on there. Alan Hunter, who didn't used to love him? Martha Quinn still sounds just as annoying (sorry) and Nina Blackwood really needs to quit smoking, she's beginning to sound like Wolfman Jack.

Those are my small joys lately. Any ideas on how to shake things up would be greatly appreciated. However, you must not use the word "vacation" or "trip" or any other similar suggestion, it's just not in the cards right now.

Have a good weekend, peeps.

7.15.2009

Reno Pics (Lots of After, Not So Much of Before)

I think I might've mentioned that we painted the laundry room over Memorial Day. Chris really worked hard for two days. The thing is, there were about 12 days of work to be done. And so I did all the rest. I grumbled and mumbed about it but if I'd waited for him, I'd still be waiting. And I felt really good about finishing everything and about how it came out. The thing is, it just never ended.

When the walls were done, I couldn't imagine putting the nasty old wood cupboard back up on the pretty walls so that had to be sanded, primed and painted. And since I painted it red, it had to have umpteen coats. And then I decided that it might be nice if the tiny little trim on it were painted yellow to match the walls. This was PITA #1. And notice I've only allowed myself to store two items on top. This area used to be my own personal Jenga game.


















Then when I saw the ugly doors up against all the clean paint, they looked horrid so they came down and I primed and painted them, too. All. Three. Doors. Within a six foot space, I can pretty much open up three doors to almost touch all of them at the same time. So they all had to be done. The back door, the garage door and the little half bathroom door. Thennnnnnnnnn when the gross looking brass hardware went back on them, I hated that so it had to come off and be painted, too. I mean, it just never stopped.



















And this morning when I took these pictures, I saw three things that still need to be done, too. The bottom framing of the back door is plain wood and I think it wants to be painted white like the rest of the trim. I have to hang a silly little picture that was in my house growing up, just because it's one of those things to keep forever, I guess. And I have to caulk and paint holes left by the screws where the cupboard used to be. They had it way down low and off center. Eventually I want to get a shelf or small cupboard for more storage area under the cupboard. Oh and we also have to get a new light fixture. I just noticed that, looking at the next pic. We've replaced almost all of them in the house with the same style so why not one more in here.
























It's a long narrow room so pics are hard to take but that's a couple of angles. The only thing I hate about the laundry room now (because can I just tell you how much I love a main floor laundry???) is the washer and dryer themselves. They came with the house and we were happy to have them but really, the people's sticker about a kennel has got to be painted over. I've ignored it all this time but no more. And it isn't as if painting the dryer can make it any uglier. But what's really needed in here are a pair of those fancy schmancy front loading machines. I'll take them in red, please.



















I also got (and had to hem) matching curtains for the bathroom (pics to come if Chris ever finishes it), the window and the back door. They all used to have either nothing or these heavy, gross lined drapes. Now it's much lighter and airier. I also got the same ones to cover the opening to the pantry seen here. You know. The one where I keep the yogurt.

















7.14.2009

A Senior Moment Already?

Watch out, two days in a row.

Saturday I went to an overpriced but interesting grocery store that has a lot of organic products. Just to look around, just because. I had gone to Kohl's to do some dreaded shopping and thought I'd treat myself.

I found some nice looking strawberries that were on sale because they were a tad overripe (althought I suppose I should've been looking at melons, eh?) I also picked up some sweet onions that weren't much more than the ones in the "regular" store. I was happily shopping along when my eye fell on the dairy case and lingered at the Greek yogurt.

I love this stuff.

It's thicker and tangier and just has more oomph than regular yogurt. It's just that the price tag always has more oomph to it, too. I've tried straining regular yogurt through a coffee filter and yes, it does make it thicker. But it just doesn't seem to have the same taste or consistency. So since I had such great looking strawberries, my mind went to thoughts of a yummy smoothie. I usually dump in some yogurt, berries, a banana, and depending on how ripe the fruit is, a little honey. Add some ice and whirl it up to frosty deliciousness.

So I decided that I was worth the price of a large - remember this part, it was a large - container of Greek yogurt. I put it in my cart and salivated at the thought of all the goodness that awaited me. Of course I balanced the goodness of the fruit and yogurt by also getting a package of Newman's cookies that I hadn't seen before. These were ginger sandwich cookies. Imagine an Oreo, only with gingersnapish cookies and creme in between. Two were good in the car on the way home. Two more were better the next day with some coffee. But I digress.

The next morning I remembered the smoothie and immediately went about hauling the blender down. Why it is stored in a cupboard on a top shelf, I'll never know. I mean I don't have counter space for it so it has to go somewhere but I always feel like I'm risking a closed head injury just pulling the thing down to use.

I got the berries out and carefully hulled them, tasting one and finding it as sweet as could be. I peeled the banana and added it to the berries and even added a splash of vanilla extract. This was gonna be good. I got out a couple handfuls of ice and then reached for the yogurt. But it wasn't there. Now I know Chris well enough to realize that the cookies might've been devoured but the yogurt was safe. Veggies, yogurt, fruit, all of it can be right in front and remain safe.

A nice piece of cheese, though? I've been known to "accidentally" put that in the crisper drawer underneath a bag of lettuce if I want it to last more than a few days. So I didn't understand why I was suddenly rummaging for the yogurt when I knew he wouldn't have gone near it. And then. Out of the corner of my eye. I saw it. Sitting there, just as lonely as could be.

In. The. Pantry.

I had somehow taken it out of my shopping bag with the other things I'd gotten and just stuck it on the shelf in the pantry along with all the other things. It had been sitting there all day and night and was clearly now spoiled (although Chris thinks it tastes spoiled to begin with and that's why it's safe.) Safe if I refrigerate it, that is.

I still don't know how I did it, but I'm pretty sure I won't be making that mistake again. And if I had to talk myself into spending more than five bucks on it once, can I really do it again? That means it's like ten bucks. The price of a smoothie is getting outrageous.

7.13.2009

Weekend Update

I met Pam for dinner Friday night at the place where her sister and her two daughters work. It was nice, but not a place where we could really talk. It was like a revolving door of people coming up to the table to chat. I admit I left feeling slightly disappointed, but it was good to see the girls, too.

Her youngest just turned 21 and used to love to have me "tell the first time you met me" again and again and again. And so I'd oblige, and share that the first time I went to Pam's house - always a big step in making a new friend - was Anna's last day on the bottle. Pam was just putting her down for a nap when I got there and made that announcement and it stuck. Now Anna is a few weeks away from transferring colleges and moving to Chicago.

After dinner we checked out Plum Market and while it was nice, my Whole Foods Market fetish is still very much intact. I avoided it, though, since we were on the other side of town. I had picked up a cargo tray and net that I'd ordered for my new car and so we decided to meet at a different place. I could've ordered the same thing from the dealer in my town but honestly, I just refuse to give them any sort of business.

Saturday Chris and I went grocery shopping and I putzed around the house the rest of the day until we were going to grill some steaks for dinner. I opened a bottle of wine and I guess the stars were aligned just right or something because oh my, did I ever enjoy that wine. It was a beautiful night and we sat outside and talked and laughed and drank our wine. We were standing near the car and I read on the roof rack that it said to place items "rearward" for less noise. Well I got it in my head that "rearward is a weird word" and I could not stop saying that over and over. "Rearward is a weird word" was just ridiculously funny to me.

I woke up Sunday none the worse for wear and after church I decided to take the old car and clean it out. Poor thing's been ignored too long and now has this fancy new thing flaunted in her face. So I took it to the car wash and vacuumed and cleaned the whole inside, did the windows in and out, the whole shebang. It made me a little crazy to go back to driving it, though. It felt like I was skimming along on the road after being up higher in the new one. Also, I must've put my foot down onto the imaginary clutch a dozen times since the new one is a stick. I'm loving the new one, by the way.

While I had fun outdoors Saturday night with my wine and my weird word, I was eaten alive by the mosquitos. Funny how the wine made them seem not to matter. Today, however, I'm an itching mess and so I'm off to buy some Pic at lunchtime. I remember having the stuff as a kid when we went to the lake for vacation. It seems so old fashioned but I remember it working and so I'm gonna try it again. I've done the Skin So Soft stuff and it works, too, but it's nice not to have to spray myself down with something. Just light a couple of coils and the bugs stay away. I've actually been looking for it in a few stores and found it online at Walgreen's so I'm hoping it's in the store.

That's all I got but hey, I technically posted twice in a week. It's a step.

7.07.2009

Family Weekend Update

This is post #777. Seems like it should be something more auspicious than just a regular old Tuesday post. Then again, my posting has been anything but regular. I wonder if they make a special yogurt for that. I'll have to ask Jamie Lee Curtis to get on that.

The trip to Chicago - not downtown, but not the 'burbs, either, just part of the endless urban sprawl - went okay. I'm just really glad it's over. The new car did well, but it sure is taking some getting used to. I like the fact that I'm up high but the center of gravity is also high, too, when I'm used to practically sitting on the ground in my Sunfire.

What didn't do so well - or should I say who - is Indi. She had a really rough time, even on meds. Which means that Chris had a rough time because her whining gets on his nerves something fierce. Which means that I had a rough time because it makes me crazy that he can't just tune it out and/or at least realize that she isn't trying to manipulate him, she's majorly stressed too. Add in the traffic and the anxiety of what was waiting for us and the drive was a bit exhausting.

We got settled in our room, including bringing in two comforters and 4 pillows from home. I wanted Indi to have scents she recognized so she'd be more comfortable when we left her in the room. And after that car trip, I didn't mind leaving her in the room at all for a couple hours because I knew she'd finally calm down and sleep.

We met the MIL, BIL, SIL and baby niece at a restaurant for lunch. We got there first and out of the blue, I had a minor meltdown. Just started crying there in the foyer, looking at the cutesy little gifts they had. It's a restaurant that my BIL works at, he's the manager. He and his wife are both professional chefs, although he has been enjoying "the front of the house" more lately than the kitchen.


I got myself together the best I could and we were seated. A few minutes later, my MIL came in and I was so happy to see her. She lives in California and I loved the fact that I could drive 4 and a half hours and there she was. I wish it was that way all the time. I pulled out the chair next to me because I needed her on one side and Chris on the other. My BIL came in next, carrying the car carrier with a little pink bundle inside. I didn't look at the baby for a good 10 minutes and could only glance at her throughout the meal. Luckily, she was pretty much out of my line of sight for most of the time.

I know I was there to face my fears and all that but it was never a safe thing to do. My SIL is basically a stranger to me, my BIL is a very nice man, but let's face it, when he and Chris get together they revert back to 14-year-olds and have the best time. Chris was very aware of what was going on for me and didn't totally bail on me but he wasn't having the same experience I was. My MIL "gets" it and bless her heart, did her best to just keep talking which okay she usually does anyway, but that was exactly what I needed.

We got through lunch, I finally looked at the baby - just three and a half weeks old - and was in awe of her perfection in a way that made my heart hurt just to be near her. I found myself looking for likenesses and family resemblances and then had to stop.

As we were leaving, my MIL asked what we were doing that night - our anniversary - and the others perked up like, Yeah, what're we going to do? Chris was a champ and said that we were just going out, the two of us. We had the perfect reason with it being our anniversary and I was glad not to have to make something up and/or endure another outing all together already. I know we were there to visit, but I knew from the beginning that I couldn't just be my real & honest self there. So I switched gears into survival mode, with the thought of at least being true with Chris, no matter how hard it was.

We went back to the room and I walked Indi around and then we all lay down for a while and took a nap. When I woke up, I started thinking that I'd really like my MIL to go to dinner with us since we don't see her very often. Chris called her and she seemed really happy that we asked her to join us. We asked the hometowners where to go for pizza - it was what I wanted - and they suggested a local place. Turned out to be the best. pizza. ever. Seriously. I don't like the traditional Chicago deep dish so my MIL and I got a thin crust and then split it. I'm telling you, it was just the tastiest thing ever. Freshest tomato taste I can ever remember having on a pizza and the crust was thin but not like a cracker and very crispy, too. Super yummy.

We dropped her off around 9:30 and went back to our room and had a couple glasses of wine. About an hour later, Chris' brother came by and picked him up so they could go be boys and blow things up. We had stopped in Indiana and bought 20 bucks worth of fireworks. I couldn't care less about the do-it-yourself kind, but they just love it and I love seeing them together. Grown men, and yet when they're together, not exactly. The fact that my BIL - the "little brother" is a father now - still leaves me speechless.

I was fine with being ditched and went to bed around midnight, which was really 1 a.m. my time. Chris came home about half an hour later and we both slept horribly. Neither of us can sleep on different beds and even though I was only in bed around 5 hours, it seemed an endlessly long night. Around 6, I gave up and took Indi out on a long walk, careful to go in straight lines so I wouldn't get lost. We packed up most of the room and left just the blankets and Indi and went off to meet everyone for breakfast.

We went to a place where my BIL used to work and so - just like the day before - most of the workers in the place mobbed us to coo over the baby. Just as it should be, don't get me wrong. Both parents beamed and were in heaven to show off their daughter. I tried not to be too obvious each time, but grabbed my MIL's arm and we went and found a table. They actually put us in a booth that ended up being really crowded for the 6 of us and there was no avoiding the baby who once again, slept through the entire thing.

It didn't stop the proud daddy from picking her up a couple times and it was all I could bear to glance at him, this 6'2" man who looks so much like my husband, basically palming this tiny being against his chest with one hand. We finished breakfast amid many visits from the staff and then made our way to the door. He had set the baby down on a seat near the cashier and so I leaned in to look at her and he said something completely innocent but kind of dumb, too. He said, She'll be more fun when she's a little older. And of course I took it totally personally and wanted to snap back (but didn't) I can't think of anything more fun than your life right now so shut up and enjoy this time.

I wasn't actually angry with him, but more angry and envious of the fact that he has exactly what I want. I know he's happy and I'm sure he's grateful for a healthy beautiful baby girl. But does he really get how lucky he is? I don't know, but it's not for me to question. It was just yet another layer of what made the whole thing so difficult.

I couldn't get his words to stop ringing in my ears. Couldn't stop staring at this beautiful baby and then of course couldn't stop the tears that were instantly there. I made my way around everyone and went out to the car, taking all kinds of time to put the leftover breakfast containers in the cooler in the back of the car. I heard them coming up behind me, and Chris came up nearby. I couldn't look at him and then heard my MIL whisper to him Is she okay? I couldn't deal with that, either, and thankfully people were starting to say goodbye. We all gave our hugs and thank yous and within a couple of minutes, we were alone in the car and I could cry all I wanted.

We went back and collected Indi and made our way home through lots of holiday traffic. We unpacked the car, started laundry and caught up on some serious couch time. In the last couple of days since we've been home, we've each talked a little about how the trip affected us and what it means for us in the future. There's still lots to talk through but it feels like a good place from which to start.

Even though this is so blasted long - sorry about that - it really is the shortest version I could tell while still trying to convey how absolutely overwhelming it all was. But mostly I'm proud of the fact that I did it. I didn't hide and send Chris off alone. I went and I was functional and I'm so happy to have seen my MIL that it was all worth it.

Finally (blessed finally) here's a pic of the new wheels. I really like this car. (Click to make it practically life size.)