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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Labels on posts *updated*

Hi all--I hope this warm,muggy, and somewhat amazing thunderstormy day finds you well.

I wanted to let you know that I went through and have added tags to the posts (over 150 posts already--wow).  So if you are looking for a particular topic or subject, you can search by tags, rather than have to search through my not-very-informative post titles.  It is not a perfect system, I am sure I missed some, or mislabeled others, but it is better than it was.
*update*--I have added a widget to the side bar which lists the labels that can be clicked on to give specific topics.  It is below the archives list.
Have a great day and I'll post again soon--it has been a few busy weeks, and we have a few more busy weeks coming up.  I hope we can squeeze in a coupel more canoe days,a s the kids really had fun this weekend and so did I.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial and Remembrance--Thoughts on Death

With it being Memorial Day--a Day to remember those who were lost defending this country's way of life--I am reminded that there are many others that we remember.   Memorial day is a very poignant weekend regarding death due to a death that occurred a few years ago.

My dear mother-in-law (mil) passed away on Memorial Day in 2009, and while it was not the beginning of the end of our nuclear family's stability (as that demise had already begun about 10 months before that when A found the bottle again after years of sobriety), it was a huge turning point in A's life--which being my spouse and the other parent of my children, meant it was also a huge turning point in our lives.  Cleta (my mil) was an amazing woman--beautiful, giving, caring, stubborn, strong willed, and strong.  Her passing to the next phase of life was sad for those left behind, but she left a legacy with her children and her grandchildren, her love to them and through them carried her spirit on ward.  Grief and mourning are a part of life, as the passing of a great lady reminded me. 

I have had a great deal of difficulty understanding A's reaction to death--not that I expect it to be the same as mine, and obviously as it was a parent who passed, the grief is much deeper, and loss felt much more keenly--there is no return from it, only a moving forward to find a new normal for life to stabilize to.  I will not go into everything, or really anything more about A's reactions and such, as they belong to A, not to me.  (though I will mention with joy that A has decided to go to rehab (as detox just isn't sticking for more than few days) and will be entering a program next week in an effort to work through a variety of issues--And best case scenario is that she will find healing, and come out able to rebuild a life in a nearby city, and be able to be a solid, nurturing, part-time parent to our children.  Minimum desire on my part, that she will find healing and be able to build a new life.--sorry long tangent)

But I have reflected often on my views of death since then, and am finding that I do not view death the same way that many people do.  For one, I do not believe death is the end--it is AN ending, but much like the ending of one book in a long series, just as birth is not THE beginning, but a beginning.  I believe that I existed LONG before this particular incarnation of me arrived on this planet in 1974, and I will exist long, long after this body has returned to dust (and with modern preservation that is a long time).  I believe that people's spirits are connected, in non-corporeal ways, and (well I will not go into all of it) but I believe that "soul mates" are really just old friends finding each other again in this incarnation, because on a spiritual level, they are still connected.  So when you meet someone, and feel that instant connection, it is because on a deeper, non-physical plane--you already ARE connected.  And I am not talking about romance either, a soul mate can be your best friend.  On a spiritual level you attract each other like magnets.  Oh--that is actually a whole different topic--very closely related though.

When someone we love dies--we don't lose them, they are still with us--not in some "they taught you and you carry their memories and love with you" kind of way--though that is also true--but they are still as close as they always have been--time out of mind.  Our spirits are still intertwined and on that level, there is no loss.  Yes, grieve that you can not hug them or call them on the phone, or have a corporeal relationship with them any longer--yes that is hard, that does make you cry, it makes me cry--I LOVE hugs.  But it is not the end, they are not gone anymore than I will be gone when this body gives out eventually (when I am around 97 years old--I've decided that would be a good age to live to).  Death is not the end--even though the loss of a dearly beloved may bring us to our knees and wrench a bottomless scream from your throat, even though the overwhelming sadness that comes with knowing that this you will never again be able to hug that them again or hear that voice, even though the idea of living life with a hole that can never be filled but just has to be gotten used to seems impossible--the fact is, if you are tightly twined together in this world, in this life, your spirits are intertwined in eternity, and you will meet each other again and again, in various ways and various relationships. 

Death is hard...loss is hard...but remembering that it is NOT the end makes it a little easier.  I do not fear my own death...I do not fear the death of loved one...I know that anyone I love who passes will be painful for me and all that love that person.  I know that it will take time to grieve, time to heal, and time to find a new normal.  I know that everyone's time is different, everyone's grief is different...But I also know that in the end--there is no end!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Super quick post

Here is a rarity--a super quick post, just to touch base.

Life is busy--house move in and completion coming along--more on that later this weekend.

Today--I am heading out momentarily to take the boys canoeing (will post pictures afterwards if the camera works),  then to Mom's house for a BBQ in the evening.

I hope everyone is enjoying their freedom and families and friends on this Memorial Day weekend, and remember to take time to thank the soldiers, thinkers, philosophers, politicians, and WE the People who have created, developed, protected, and created the freedom we enjoy in our country--and continue to work towards greater equality, freedom, and liberty for ALL Americans and those who love our way of life and wish to immigrate here (through proper channels...after all the vast majority of us are the descendants of immigrants).

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Quite a week (lots of pictures--but not of the house)

Okay, so ....

I know I say that a LOT--I never realized how  much I actually say that vocally until about a year ago my son was saying it all the time, and I was like, "where did he get that from" and then I heard myself saying it one day.  Then I realized that he got it from ME.  So ever since then, I have allowed myself to do it in writing because really it is how I talk...

Anyway,  so I got the boys all moved in on Sunday of last week; they both slept in Josiah's room until we could get Gonzo's carpet down.  His carpet went down Monday and was steam cleaned, so Tuesday evening we set up his bed and dresser.  Then I was able to clear out my room, and then Wednesday morning my room was steam cleaned, and I let it dry for two days because it had a LOT of stuff on it (being the only carpet that went through the whole construction, as the others are being put down now) and so it had to be extra cleaned, and thus took longer to dry.  It still smells a little funny, but I am happy to be sleeping in a big bed again, as I was sleeping in a twin bed since we left the apartment 2 months ago. 

Other than that, it has been plugging away at cleaning, putting things away and moving things around to prepare to put down the rugs in the day care/family room and dining room (but all of our boxes and such from the apartment were stored there so it is a lot of moving and sorting and restoring in the garage area.   There is still quite a bit to do, but it is mostly small things that can be fit in here and there.

In addition to the house, Josiah had his elementary Spring concert, and he had some speaking lines--which he did amazingly--he is such a ham, loves being the center of attention, so he really plays it up.  He, and all the kids did a great job singing and saying their lines.  I would post pictures, but alas none of my pictures or video came out well, except the ones I took of Gonzo at the back of the gym when he couldn't sit still while the older elementary performance was on.  SO we toured the kids art work displays in the back during that time.  I did get a couple of pictures of Josiah that came out as I was picking him up in the hall after the concert was over. 

On Thursday, Josiah had his weekly swim time in the evening, and we had an appointment earlier than that with the family therapist.  So in the time we had in between, we went grocery shopping.  While we were there we ran into Josiah's PT that he had had when he was 3.  It was really great to see her, and I am hoping we can catch up with her soon to hear how things are going.  After grocery shopping, there was still an hour before swim time, so I decided he and I needed hair cuts, and we went to our favorite place (Adonis Hair Salon) and were able to snag Brenda, our favorite.  She did a great job on my hair, but Josiah refused to get a hair cut.  He sat very nicely and watched me get my hair cut.  Usually he can be talked into it, but that day he was not having anything to do with it.  So then we went to swim and he did a GREAT job of listening, swimming, and working hard for the whole time.  I got some pictures, as I realized that he has been swimming for over 2 years and I had never taken any pictures of it before.  So here are a couple of my swimming man at aquatic PT.

Here is Josiah after swim on the way to the car, telling me that he needs to take a picture

And here is a picture of me with my new haircut that Josiah took when I gave him the cell phone--of course this is after sitting in a humid 95 degree pool room watching him swim for over half an hour, so the style had slipped some with the heat and humidity.  Still a really good picture for a 5 year old with a cell phone, I thought.  And a nice haircut for me.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you Moms, moms-to-be, foster moms, mother figures, stand-in moms, and moms-sometime-later-in-the-future.  I hope that your day is filled with sunshine, that your children and thoughts of your children are shiny and rosy, and that you know how much you are appreciated.  Mothering often feels like a thankless job in so many ways, and it is good to have a day to remember to say thank you to your own mother.  And also say thank you to yourselves.

For all the things moms do:
from cleaning dirty diapers and middle of the night feedings,
to cleaning up the messy game room and feeding all of your crazy friends
from snuggles in the rocking chair and watching you sleep, thinking you look like an angel,
to snuggling together on the couch with a movie, and letting you sleep in on a Saturday.
from laughing as you finger painted the whole table and giving you kisses on your boo boos (both real and imagined,
to cheering you on in your theater, sport, music, or art event and holding you while you cried about a crush,
from proudly seeing you off to kindergarten (and quietly wiping away tears about how fast you are growing up)
to celebrating your graduation from high school and your next steps into adult hood (while quietly wiping away tears about how fast you are growing up)
from going to all your school plays and concerts, even though the quality left a lot to be desired, AND for being genuinely impressed and proud of how great you all did,
to posting and reposting on facebook all of your achievements as an adult as if they should be front page news.

To all the Love that moms give, even when they are grumpy and tired, even when they do not agree with your life choices, even when they think you are making a mistake

May you have a blessed day.

And to my Mom--
(here is my mom, click to hear her music!!)

Thank you for all that you do, everyday in every situation, for being there for me, and for not always saying "I told you so" even when you could have.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Quick post...

I think we have it--the certificate of occupancy!  So this weekend is moving in weekend!!  I'll post a picture once I have it in hand and have a chance to take a picture.  I am still hesitant to shout if from the rooftops until the piece of paper is in my hand, but....the inspector did say something like "this place is far enough along to be lived in" and we passed all of the electrical, plumbing and fire codes, so unless he changed his mind on the way back tot he office, we should have it.  (I know call me a skeptic, but I have had the experience of thinking something was  a done deal, and having people suddenly change their minds at the last written confirmation is a good thing).  Flooring is the name of the game for the next couple of days...

Okay, the other things that I am starting, now that this housing project is wrapping up and I need to return to my much neglected rest-of-my-life:

My quest for health--I have decided to follow Blobmosis for a new jump start on my path to healthy eating.  As the guy who created blobmosis has a focus on whole foods, but without being a complete health craze person, I decided it would be a good place to start, as I have been moving away from processed food, which are SO SO SO bad for the human body in so many ways, and trying to transition to just whole foods.  So, as he already has a daily menu that is emailed to you daily for the first 28 days, I thought it would be an easy way to not have to think too much about it (as my head is still on the house and starting the daycare which has a lot to do now), and still be able to start bring my body back into healthy eating.

I have also signed up for Joanie McMahon's free 17 day course on Following your Dreams as I have really gotten away from a lot of the Law of Attraction and other spiritual paths that help me stay centered, focused, and exploring/creating who I am.  So I figured a basic walk through of the ideas and concepts would be good for me again, as my focus has shifted so much to the negative and I need to start getting back to who I am and who I am seeking to be. 

The Tapping World  Summit is underway ( I know early on with this blog I had talked about EFT and said I was going to get more in depth into to, but I never did even though I did use EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or at least the basic meridian tapping with focused phrases, and found them to work amazingly, I just did not stay up with it...) and is a couple of days into it now.  It is an amazing series and I would suggest that anyone struggling with anything should at least check it out.  The basic information on the Tapping Solutions page is very valuable, even if you do not go to the Tapping World Summit information.

So, I will update more later, and hopefully post some pictures of the house, and keep you updated on the move in process!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Another step closer to finishing...

SO...This morning the electrical inspector came and did the final inspection for the electrical, and we passed, no problem.  So ONE final inspection down, and the big one to come...

The toilet is in and functioning perfectly.  Now I just need to hook up the water to the tub, and the bathroom is set.

The kitchen cupboards are being put in as we speak (I was just there helping my Dad get them laid out,and now am babysitting, but my little charge fell asleep after her morning at the arts center, So I have a few moments to update my blog).  We are getting closer and closer to calling the kitchen done.

A great gift arrived yesterday--my step-father, who runs a carpet cleaning business, was doing his annual spring cleaning of carpets at a nice hotel, and they were replacing some carpet in a few of the rooms and asked, somewhat jokingly, if he knew wanted any carpet.  They were surprised when he said yes.  So, he showed up at the house yesterday with his van full of nice, slightly used, but still in great shape carpet--and will be bringing more today--enough to do the boys rooms, the living room, the hallway, AND the large daycare area!!  So, I have been greatly blessed again by the generosity of people who were giving away slightly used but in great shape stuff for the house--and much more so by my step-father has been the one who seems to meet these people and is always keeping his eyes and ears open for--so I am truly blessed to have such a magnet in my life.  Thank you Jim!!

As the week goes on, I hope to take a few pictures and post them.  I just need to tighten up the firewall (be meticulous about going around with foam and caulk to hit any spots we missed), install the self closing hinges and correct door latch, and the firewall will be ready for its final inspection.  I think we still have to grab CO alarms as well, as I have battery operated ones, but I think they need to be hardwired, still not clear from the wording of the codes.  Aside from that, I believe we have completed all of the requirements for the final inspection, so if I all goes well, I should be able to get down to get the last of the supplies to finish up tonight, and by Thursday we could be having the final inspection. 

After the CO we can finish the flooring and molding, and move in this weekend if all goes well--Keep your fingers crossed, and your prayers/positive energy/good thoughts flowing our way.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Coming along well update

The house is coming along well.  I always want it to go faster than it is, but that is my own impatience.  Josiah's room is now ready for trim and carpet--and then is done, done.  Gonzo room will be painted and panelled today, so it is getting close to ready.  The bathroom WOULD have been done (except for trim) yesterday if the flange was not 1/4" too long, so the toilet can not be put in under we either get a different flange OR modify the hole for the toilet, which is more complicated than it sounds given that the house is on a concrete slab and the bathroom floor is raised up to accommodate plumbing drains, and everything with the holes/drains are already set in place--so changing anything with the drains and holes would just be a really big project--so I think unless another brilliant idea comes along, we will be waiting another day or so to go out of town to buy a new toilet flange....

The kitchen cupboards should be going up today; the firewall is done aside from one last go over with the fireproofing caulk to make sure there were no gaps missed; the only painting other than Gonzo's room is the big hallway where the pantry will eventually be.  So we are very close to being able to move from the renovation phase to the clean-up-to-live-there phase.

There will still be a couple of building projects to finish later--after the certificate of occupancy and official move in--many because they are not necessary, just nice to have, I do not yet have the materials to do them, and time is of the essence--so the linen closet, pantry, and coat closet will all be put in afterwards.  But those are little individual projects, and can be done on the weekends one at a time. 

So, the electrical inspector should be back tomorrow or Tuesday, and we will hopefully be able to get on his schedule this week.  And after we have that inspection, we can call in the building inspector for the final inspection.  So wish me luck, say a prayer, send me positive energy--the whole shebang.  Josiah is so excited about the house getting done, so I am hoping that next weekend can be out official move-in weekend.  :)

I will post pictures later this week....I will also give an update on the school situation later this week sometime (I hope), depending on how the inspections go.  I am trying to focus on only one stressful issue at a time, and while I am dealing with school related stuff, talking about it it, publically reflecting on it, and such is more stressful than just dealing with it (though cathartic and helps to process things a little more easily--it still takes more mental/emotional energy than I have to spare right now).  So, I will be getting back to that once the current house stress is reduced.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Busy day ahead.... is a very busy day.  I have to to babysit for an hour this morning, and after I drop my little charge off for her preschool program at the Arts Center, I have to head down to a nearby school.  I am meeting our school's guidance counselor, who is also the CSE chairperson, there to look at one of their programs.  Then we head on to another two schools to look at their programs--one being at Prospect, the school where he did preschool and still does aquatic PT.  We are all still up in the air about what will be the best setting for Josiah for next year, as this year has had so many ups and downs and all around.

After visiting three different schools and reviewing their programs, then I have an appointment with our family therapist (just me today), which will be good as life has been so busy that I have not had a chance to see her and update her as to what is going on in the family for a few weeks.  It will be good to also talk about a variety of things going on with our family, with myself, and with the boys.

After that, I have to head back home (an hour away), pick up Josiah and go back down to Prospect (an hour away) for his weekly Aquatic Physical Therapy time. 

So today is a lot of running, running running....I just hope it is productive and useful, as I could really sue a productive day.  The last couple of days, even though I have worked on the house in the evening, have been two steps forward, two steps back kind of days.  I had thought the plumbing was done and we just needed to hook in the fixtures--but alas, after relaying the bathroom floor with new adhesive (the self sticky tiles did not stick---go figure), I had hooked up the bathroom sink, which worked beautifully--until I shut the faucet off and for some reason the pipe in the wall decided to start leaking.  So I had to shut off that water to the sink and shower part of the bathroom (the other half is still not hooked up...).  Then I finally got a brand new faucet for the kitchen, as the other ones I had both had problems (used stuff can be great or can be a headache), I got that all installed (on my own like the bathroom sink), and after I turned it on, it also worked well.  But I woke up this morning to there being water all over the kitchen floors, seeping under the wall.  The sink faucet is not leaking, which means a pipe in the wall as sprung a leak....

So two steps forward, two steps back....

And I am feeling blue and lonely and a bunch of other things in addition to the crazy running around I have to do today, so that compounds the issues of the day.  I hate blah feeling days....

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Blogging, Openness, and Education about depression

There seems to be a run of emotional challenges lately, not only in my life and the people around me, but in the blogging world as a whole.  Some of my very favorite bloggers have written some really incredible and amazing posts about depression and mental illness lately.  And I am so honored by their courage to step up and talk about their personal experiences with this very difficult and often misunderstood challenge.  As I have struggled--sometimes mildly and sometimes very severely--with depression, anxiety and a few other issues in my personal life, and know that when you share that with people who never really have experienced true clinical depression or clinical anxiety, it can be disconcerting.  It can change the way a person looks at you or treats you because they don't understand it.  You don't have to understand it, I am still the same person I was yesterday and a decade ago--it is just a part of me that adds an extra layer of challenges  AND insights to life. 

As I have been struggling with a resurgence of it lately, and my ex is struggling with a really severe bout of it right now, I have been amazed at how many of my favorite hilarious bloggers have been open about it.  So I am going to post a few links to some of the things that they ahve said, because--one, I am not really brave enough to discuss my person demons online in a public blog, and two, they say it so well and so succinctly that I can not top it:

The first is Allie at Hyperbole and A Half, who does a great humorous and amazingly accurate description of what it is like:

The second is Jenny aka The Bloggess, who is just incredibly hilarious, but did this amazing post/video about depression  Jenny says quite a bit about depression and struggle with mental health,  She is incredible and amazing, and a person whose courage and openness is just wonderful. Here is another post of hers on the subject:

A third one, who keeps taking down her amazing posts about depression, but who is comical and real and raw is Emerald Wynn (whose post about a week ago I would have loved to have shared as it was very poignant, but alas she took it down).  So I will share another post of her where she is very real about depression (sandwiched in the middle of the post), as I really think it is important:  And this post and the poemy thing at the end of this is definitely worth sharing: And another one of hers on the topic that I  liked as well  OH, and Second Life, which is what Em talks about and where the pics come from, is a virtual world where you can  meet real people from all over.  For me, who feels isolated living where I do without connections to the range of cultures and personalities and idea I am used to and need in my life, Second Life has given me the chance to meet and "hang out" with a wider variety of people.  Though with the work on the house, I have only stopped in world a couple of times in the past 6 weeks, so I am neglecting my second life some as my regular life is so insanely busy.  If anyone does go on, look me up and IM me or send a friend request--I am AlabasterCamel in world, and usually be found in UUTopia, LP, or Greek Gold (I know there are thousands of worlds in second life, but those are the three I frequent most often).