Wednesday, April 24, 2013


When my husband arrived home from work this evening he asked me if I had made coffee this morning. I told him that I did not. He looked at me funny and asked "well, who made coffee this morning?"

Geoff then walked through the room and I asked him if he made the pot of coffee. He was up exceptionally early because he decided that today he'd ride his bike to school, and work out in the gym for an hour before school started. Which meant he'd have to leave here at about 5:30 to be there on time.

"Um, no! I didn't make coffee. Dad must have been sleep walking this morning and completely forgets that he came down and made coffee. It wasn't me."

Doug and I looked at each other and I said to Geoff "can you just say yeah, you made it, so we could thank you? It was very good coffee."

He smiled and said "Yeah, I made it. Did I do a good job?"

Yes, except for the mess he made and sort of half assedly cleaned up. We'll do a clinic in coffee making so he does it a little better. He walked away smiling.

It's so weird, if you're a long time reader of this blog and by that I mean like 10 years, to have come to this spot in his life. I kind of like him. He's amazing.

It is almost like I'm a werewolf...

As you may recall, dear readers who aren't spam monkeys (whoever you are that keeps leaving 50 comments a day that I have to mark as spam, I'd like for you to stop, please),  in August 2011 I had surgery to stop the growth of a rather naughty fibroid.

Things seemed to go well but 4 months later things were not so awesome, and the hoped for results never really resulted. I forget what month I went in for a follow up MRI, but they discovered my body was very smart and re-routed the blood supply around the man-made blockage (called a uterine artery embolism, or UAE) to supply food to the fibroid and keep it growing.

It was actually bigger, not smaller, and all that surgery fun was for naught.

My surgeon and I discussed what I should do. He suggested we apply "watchful waiting," and just see if my body decided to rethink its decision. Or, call my ob-gyn and talk about a hysterectomy.

I opted for the former, because I really didn't want to have more surgery. It isn't like going to a hotel or vacation. I'd rather go to a hotel or vacation. And I really do not like the concepts of 4 weeks minimal recovery time.

So, that brings us to now, and we are rethinking this Watchful Waiting approach and today I'm headed to the doctor to talk about surgery... My body is still held hostage by the fibroid and its unrelenting "FEED ME" philosophy. My period is still no fun, (not that they ever truly are but ... I never had an un-fun experience like this before) as things are getting worse and worse for me.

It is almost like being a werewolf two days out of the month. I can't work, I can't focus, I literally cannot leave the house. I schedule my life around when I think I'm going to get my period. I feel like the knight in C.S. Lewis' "The Silver Chair" where I have to be strapped into a chair until the horrors run their courses.

So... that's what's going on today. I'd much rather it not be going on. But I think wishing at this point is fruitless... may as well make use of the resources available to me and go see my doctor, and find out what a good plan is. Wish me luck.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

This Past Week...

I think The Onion, America's Finest News Source, summed up this week very well. Click here to read if you like. 

And to echo it, Jeeesusss this week. What a week.

You all know what happened nearby to where I live. For those of you wondering geographically, I'm up north of Boston, south of the NH border. Thirty miles difference between me and the big to-do that went down this week. On Monday Jess and I were headed to work, and the town we work in is on the Boston Marathon route. I told her we had to be clear from the house here by 8am to not only get her to work on time but to avoid road closures and obstacles that would prevent us from getting to the office. We made it, but saw a couple of ramp closures and state troopers keeping traffic from coming off of the highway and the back up was starting to get huge ... we made it by the skin of our teeth I think.

Work was uneventful. Kids, cooking, parents and grandparents with them in the kitchen, phone ringing, email answering. The usual every day laughs with Jo, the usual every day adventures that we undertake on a daily basis.

Shortly after the early afternoon classes wrapped up, our Knife Sharpener person was sitting in the office and said "Facebook? Do you have nothing to do but be on Facebook at work?" Truth be told, I had just tweeted something from our account, cross posted something to our business Facebook page, and I was staring at my news feed... and words were on the screen that I didn't expect to see.

I tried to go to and heard Renee at the front desk say that she couldn't get a call out to her husband, and that was saying there was a bombing at the marathon finish line.

Honestly, I will say that initially I thought maybe this was some sort of domestic "right wing" terrorism because of the date on the calendar... April 15th. During this week historically, a ton of really horrible things have happened in the USA that have nothing to do with radical Islam or Arabs or anyone other than Americans... Ruby Ridge, Waco, Columbine, Oklahoma City... what am I missing? April 19 and 20th always make me nervous (by the way, I consider myself a Libertarian, not a Liberal Democrat so don't say I'm some sort of Liberal Whacko accusing the Right of doing wrong...) so I was initially worried that this wasn't the usual "date" to expect something to blow up, but it was indeed a very unique opportunity to wreak havoc.

Suffice to say, as the suspects' story unfolded, I still wasn't surprised at what was discovered either...

Friday morning as I went to get out of bed, the radio was on and I heard that my work town was under a "shelter in place" order along with other towns surrounding Watertown. I texted Jo and asked her if she was watching the news... she closed the office, Doug's boss called a little before 7 to tell him not to come in either. Doug and I planted on the couch as I monitored my facebook feed and we listened to the Boston police scanner and watched the news. The police scanner was usually 15 minutes or more ahead of what was being reported on the TV so that was an interesting listen.

Strangely, as all of this was going down, for me Facebook was the place to be. Several friends were in the neighborhood of the activities, several were far away, several were freaking out and several were cracking wise and making jokes. Gallows humor reigns amongst most of my friends. Some of my friends on the left and right were politicizing the events. Some were praying. Some were dead silent and had nothing to add and I wanted to hear from them. I got messages from friends around the world asking if we were impacted at all by this Friday development, from Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand and South Africa.

I was surprised when they lifted the shelter in place order, and within minutes all fresh hell broke lose and the excitement rekindled. What happens next will be interesting to see.

I don't have much else to say because I'm still trying to process things in my head and heart.

Today, April 21st, is the 12th anniversary of the death of my best friend. Doug and I took a wonderful long walk in Gloucester today and I thought of the Counting Crows... "It's been so long since I've seen the ocean, I guess I should." I think my take away from the events of this stupid week are that I should do things like go see the ocean, take opportunities to do life affirming activities, and get off of my couch. I may never run a marathon - but I can get up and go... and will.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Geoff told me last week that his bike seat was not stable. I tried to fix it but didn't have the right tools. We're a tool challenged family, Doug has a tool kit but it only contains "normal" things. Not things that go into bolt heads that are star shaped with thingies sticking out of them. Not fancy wrenches that are specific metric sizes. We have a phillips and flat head screw driver and a hammer. If you need a tool other than that, you're calling a professional.

Last week we took his bike to the bike shop to get it fixed. They gave it a complete spring cleaning and overhaul/tune up. We just went and picked it up and the smile on his face as he got up on the seat was infectious.

Geoff loves his bike. I bought him this GIANT huge bike (made by a company called Giant, how appropo) hoping he'd never outgrow the frame. He looks HUGE on this bike right now, I can't believe how Giant my Giant kid is.

He rode away from the bike store and I drove past him, watching him in my rear view mirror. He still had that shit eating grin on his face, ear to ear. It warmed my heart and soul.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

the bank that shall not be named update

So it has been a long time, hasn't it, since I mentioned the situation with our mortgage. I put a self-imposed gag order on my writing since they pulled all my entries about the situation out in the deposition in 2012. I've never self censored but ... here I did. I don't have much to say about it, except that it continues.

On Tuesday we have a court date where our lawyer and their lawyer meet up and I guess they go before a judge and argue the case. Neither Doug nor I will be there. We don't have to be. So my heart goes with my lawyer and my hopes are that our arguments are sufficient.

Our position hasn't changed, and neither has "The Bank That Shall Not Be Named" as my friend David called them. I want to be confident in this and say this will be the big thing that fixes all but I'm so sad and worn down from this that I honestly can't say that.

So I'm asking that you pray for me, and for Doug and for our lawyer. Remember, I've called our lawyer "my Gandalf." And Doug is my Samwise. I'm still feeling as low as Frodo before making it to Mt. Doom, and I feel we're still stuck long before the part where the ring gets thrown into the mountain... not for lack of trying but ... you know what I mean.

And then I got to thinking about the subject of prayer. Not just in this instance, but in all instances in life.  The other night I was listening to late night/early morning AM radio and Coast to Coast was on. I love that show when they're talking crazy crap about space aliens and shadow people and UFOs and the like. George Noory had a guy on who was talking about how he just thinks about something and it comes true. I don't remember the details, but he said he wanted to take a vacation and an hour later he had someone hand him plane tickets to Florida. He wanted something else and wished for it. And it happened.

He was telling the listeners that all they had to do was think about it, wish for it, without breaking a sweat, and it would happen.

That's dangerous and that's bullshit.

Now, several of you who are friends with me disagree with me about God, even his existence. But I believe in Him, and I believe in prayer. I don't believe that you ask God or the Universe or Mojo Jojo or whatever you want to call it for something so specific that it just shows up.

I don't believe in the Joel Osteen "believe in it and it will happen!" kind of prayers. I don't believe in this just think about it hard enough and it will happen! If that were the case, this would all be over by now.

When I was in college, we had a dean of chapel who would stand up and preach really hard, with amazing fervent passion, and he told us all that if our prayers aren't coming true, it's because our God isn't big enough in our heart or minds. We have to believe harder!   How painfully sad. How ill advised to tell a 19 year old that his or her prayers are not being answered because their God "isn't big enough." Over and over again I heard this, and I do know that several people surrounding me at that time gave up, literally gave up on their relationship with God.

If believing something and praying about it would fix things, no child would be dead in Africa from starvation or AIDS or war. You think those guys don't pray hard enough? How arrogant to think that your prayers here in the USA for something would be granted because you prayed harder than a child in Darfur, so you win. You got that job promotion. You got that bargain on the new car that saved you money. Aww yeah. How horrible. 8 billion of us on this earth and you prayed that traffic would be good for you this morning and you got to the meeting on time even though YOU were the idiot who overslept because you drank too much. Sorry, little kid sitting in a pile of shit with flies all over her eyeballs. My prayer got answered.

I think I've prayed hard enough that things should start exploding around me like Freaking Drew Barrymore in "Firestarter" if wishing and deep passion about this subject were the case.

You'd better believe it'd be over with if only my prayers were counted as part of the situation.

I was taught another way of praying. You never ask God to give you what you want. You let God know what your feelings are, what your needs are, and then you ASK that His will be done, and your heart be open to it, even if it doesn't match your personal vision. You ask that God's will be done. Period. I pray for the other lawyers as well as my lawyer. I pray for the judge, I pray for all parties involved.

And if you are from the Bank That Shall Not Be Named lawyer's office, as I do know that y'all have read my journal in the past and are probably still reading it, do know that I pray for you, whether or not you believe in God. I just want  everyone to be happy, I want everything to be satisfactory. I want for love and peace and justice. I want what Micah tells us God requires of us, that we love justice, do mercy and walk humbly with Him.

And I ask you echo. Thanks.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


 My alarm usually goes off at 6am, but I usually wake up at 5:45 when Geoff gets in the shower. He's not very quiet about going in there and so I wait for him to finish up and I go use the bathroom, talk to him about the day, and I go back to sleep.

Doug leaves for work at 7:30, and usually by then I'm fast asleep. I sleep usually until 9am, when I absolutely HAVE to get up and face the day.

It is this period of time between Doug leaving and me being forcibly removed from bed that I have some wacky assed dreams. Here's the one from this morning:

I dreamed that I had to go somewhere and opted to ride my bike. Turns out it was on an Interstate, and I was traveling as fast as the cars were. I was working hard, because I am so out of shape, and it was a difficult journey. There were other people on bikes too on this highway in addition to the cars. Some of them weren't even trying and were weaving around the lanes, riding side by side and talking, and they kept getting in my way. I was trying to exit and these two dopes were just blocking everything, riding lackadaisically, and I had to yell at them to move or I'd miss my exit. They gave me the stink eye and swore at me, but I made the ramp at top speed and went flying happy to be free from the highway and onto the regular road in the home stretch.

When I finally reached my destination, it was over 40 miles on this bike and I was pleased but knackered. People were congratulating me on my success, on my achievement, going so far on the bike without doing any training or being in good shape. I was exhausted but beaming with pride. It felt really really good.

But then someone pointed out to me that I ruined my tire covers because I'd forgotten to remove them. I lifted up the handle bars of my bike and spun the front wheel around, sure enough I had these pretty wheel covers made of sheep wool, and  they were destroyed. Then the same people who were just congratulating me were laughing at me for being stupid.

My feeling of incredible accomplishment was completely shot by the realization that I'd ruined something unnecessarily by being forgetful or having poor planning.

I tried to hang out with the people at the place where I'd biked to. I think that where we were was some sort of waiting area/lobby of a big hospital. I'm not sure what was going on or why we were all there, but they were all people I didn't know.

Most of them were Scandanavian and some were black, and they all spoke a secret language and avoided me, looking down their noses at me. They were all very good looking, had on different T-shirts of heavy metal bands with names I don't recognize or know...

I tried to go take a shower but no one would let me use the bathroom and they kept deliberately spilling things and throwing food on the ground near me. It became my job to clean up after them so we wouldn't get into trouble with our hosts.

Eventually many of them began to depart on their bikes, going down a very very steep incline into nowhere. I found my cousin Debi in the lobby of the hospital, and she told me we weren't allowed to leave until her brother Michael sent us pictures of the baby. She had her feet up on the wall and was playing with her cell phone. Another person I knew from high school was then there, throwing food and wine on the floor and walls. I was scrubbing the wine off the wall when I looked over at Debi's phone and there was a picture of a baby on her phone. I asked if that was the picture we were waiting for and she said yes, and went to leave. I checked my phone, and there was no message with a photo of a baby, so I knew I had to stay there.

I felt incredibly sad, but managed to clean all the food and wine up, spilled water all over a display of these rock band T-shirts. I reorganized them so the dry ones were on top and no one would see, and walked out of the lobby.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Eagle Court of Honor

Today, my neighbor and friend Thane had his Eagle Court of Honor. He completed his eagle project last summer and passed his board in October. We held off as a Troop to have his COH this spring because we've had so many recently it was kind of becoming a burden on the committee to throw the shindigs.

It was worth the wait.

Over two hundred people were there, and it was a wonderful ceremony. Thane gave a rousing speech, the proceedings were fantastic and the feast was just wonderful.

I'm really glad that this guy is my neighbor and my friend, and I'm very glad he's such a mentor and role model for my son. I'm so blessed to know him.

I've watched him grow up, I met his mom when the boys were very little, and they've come up together. I'm so glad they are in Scouts together, and that Geoff looks at Thane and wants to be like him.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

repair men

One by one, all of my appliances have stopped working.

Dishwasher, dryer and washing machine all dead. The dryer died in the late summer really, and it was easier to wash and dry everything all at once. But there were things i'd wash here for quick wash and line-dry, and when the washing machine stopped draining, it was a problem.

Then, right before Christmas we had all kinds of electrical issues in the house. Flickering lights, burning smells, absolute chaos. We had an electrician come in and tackle those issues and at that time the dishwasher shorted out.

So for weeks I've been pondering getting things fixed or replaced... and just didn't have the mental energy to do anything. This week I'd had enough of washing sinkload after sinkload of dishes, and feeling like the sink was never going to be empty... of not having anything clean to wear when I wanted to wear it ... and not wanting to schelp to the laundromat at 7pm when they close at 8.

Repairmen are at my house right now, repairing. Very thankful that I called Tuesday and they're here today as there were parts they needed to order.

There are three of them. One is out picking up a part for the dishwasher that they didn't have. The other two are working as a team. One of the team guys has Aspergers. And immediately, because I can "tell" when someone is a little different, I know how to talk to him, how to address him, and how to make him feel a little more comfortable.

His name is Zach, and he's very nice, a little shy, but he loved that I warned him about the steepness of the basement stairs and apologized for the messy house.

He and I had to go down to the electrical panel in the basement and nothing is labeled (kicking myself for not doing that when the electricians were here in December). We had fun turning things on and off and wondering whether or not the kitchen was covered... and the other team member yelled down saying it was all set... we hi-fived.

It's funny because I always wonder what my son is going to do with his life, how he will interact with people either in the work place or at college or in the military or whatever. I find that when people are kind to him, his responses are always more immediate and wonderful and friendly. It takes a little while to get past the weird exterior, and I felt that instantly with this repair man... but right now you'd think we were lifelong friends.

It's not hard to be kind. and I hope people know that when my son goes out into the world to meet them.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013


I got an email today from someone I worked with on the contract last spring. She is a technical writer, and right now is assigned to a robotics lab writing support documentation for some sciency dudes. She was offered a contract position, six months $50 an hour. And she can't take it. So she is writing me a recommendation and asked me for my resume.

I kind of feel blindsided in a way. I am not a technical writer but according to her that is "simply awesome" because they have all their documentation done, it is a rebranding and migration, similar to what I did last year at the other contract. I asked her how flexible it is, because I'd like to stay working at "awesome" on the Monday and Friday. She said she thinks that might work out fine.

Part of me is psyched for this out of the blue where the heck did that truck come from kind of thing. Another part of me is yelling "wait! What?! WOAH!"

I need a nap.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Additional Thoughs on Florida

I had completely forgotten to write about one of the things that Doug and I talked about on our mini-vacation.

No one knows who you are. You can say anything, and they'd have no way to verify whether or not you're telling the truth. You can invent an entirely different persona for yourself... You're on vacation. Reality is suspended.

The first full day we were there, after my incredibly unexpected, long, blister-causing walk, I put myself in the hot tub. There were two dads in there, talking about life and work and stuff.

One dad was from western Pennsylvania. The kids were on school break so they came to Disney. His two daughters, pre-teen, were hanging all over him, slinking around and swimming all about the hot tub.

He had to tell the truth, his daughters would probably call him out on any fabrication.

The other dad, he was from North Central Massachusetts, and he was on business. He travels to colleges and high-end fancy pants high schools selling flutes and piccolos. Not your 400 dollar flutes, but $15,000 professional instruments. He was spending a day or two in Orlando connecting with some regional prep schools and a university, and then he would be off to Texas to do his sales of super high-end tooty sticks out there.

Now, I sat there listening, not really getting into the discussion. They talked about where they lived and what they do and what they drive and how much they travel and blah blah blah... and the whole time I'm sitting there thinking of what kind of fantastic alternate reality I could paint for myself. I started thinking that I could say literally anything. Any.Thing.At.All.... and there would be no way for them to know if I was lying or not.

I wondered if flute dude was even telling the truth. He was reluctant to tell us how expensive the flutes were, so part of me wondered if he was fibbing.

I haven't gone online to check. I guess I'll take him at his word.

But that night at dinner, Doug and I were thinking that we could just chat up anyone and sell a tale. Something, anything... he could be anyone and I'm his tag-along wife or vice versa... I'm the bigshot smarty pants expert at something and he's along for the ride.

We didn't get the opportunity... we kind of kept to ourselves. But we talked about it and made up great fictions for ourselves, and suspended our reality for a bit.

the post easter update

Looking at my stats from last year they have me at having walked 95 miles, approximately. That's just what I tracked with their tool. So far this year it says I've walked 12. I may be on pace to break that 95. I hope I'm on pace to break that 95.

I aimed for 100. And fell just short. So this year I'm aiming for 100 and will get it.

I promise. Myself and you.

In Florida, I tracked about 9 or so miles of walking but it was a lot more than that because little .30 mile walks I didn't track on my phone. Walking to the shuttle bus at Animal Kingdom, Walking at the Board walk. The 2 major walks at Downtown Disney that I didn't track. I think Florida alone was about 15 miles. I'll keep that in my mind.

Saturday we took a just under 2.5 mile walk. The trails are still snowy and icy, even though the temperature has been in the 40s and 50s. It made for slow going, and I think we did a 20 minute mile on average where in Florida on the nice flat, wonderful ice-free surfaces I was doing 17 minute miles.

Sunday after church and a large amount of ham, we went to Gloucester and took a walk on the Eastern Point Breakwater. From car door to car door it was about a mile walk, but it was windy, freezing, huge wind gusts...

I long for spring. I didn't enjoy myself as much as I would have liked to being there.

Speaking of Easter, it was nice and low key for us. My parents are 2 hours south of here but we didn't connect. We didn't go to friends' houses or eat like pigs. We skipped sunrise service but I heard our church had a GREAT one and I kind of regret it now. But. I like sleeping. And God made me this way. So... I'm okay with sleeping in on Easter.

I missed our annual Easter Egg Hunt with the children because I was giving an historical tour to visitors, so I have no good pictures of all my little buddies running rampant through the church. And Jess didn't pick up on my non-verbal cue when I handed her my camera and went into do the tour... she pocketed my camera instead of using it. Didn't know I had to spell it out for her. But.  Oh well.

On Palm Sunday I brought 3 dozen eggs to church with me, hard boiled and ready for dyeing.

It was a big hit with the kids, especially a little girl with Aspbergers who freaked out (joyfully) when there was WRITING ON THE EGG!!! I used a white crayon on all the eggs and wrote things like Jesus, and drew hearts and crosses. All the kids loved it, but she was exceptionally happy.

And this, my friends, brought me great and amazing joy. Also, I was very pleased with all the kids who didn't spill dye all over themselves or make a humongous mess on the table. Three dozen eggs was not enough - Next year we bring six dozen.

The only other really important thing going on is that my 2nd part time job on Tues-Wed-Thurs doesn't seem to have enough work for me to do. I require a great deal of training for what they need, and no one really seems to have a great deal of time to teach me. My boss and good friend B says she feels awful, but that there just isn't enough time for her to train me as she's busy ... running the company. No one else has stepped up to do anything with me, utilize my skills, so ... I think I'll be switching to per diem work. When they need a quick graphics layout or screenshots customized and mocked up for a demo.

I'm kind of okay with that since I think I've been working 5 or so hours a week for her... because there is not much to do. I've been riding a power point presentation for weeks now, which I need to finish, but can't seem to bring myself to get it done.

The cooking school schedule for the office is all set, right now it looks like I'll be keeping my Monday/Friday role there through the summer unless something materializes. I spoke with a tech recruiter who seems to really understand me, and he sent me a few jobs... one of which I'm under qualified for but is a 30 hour a week job instead of a full time contract. I could see if I could work that out... but again, possibly not the right fit for my skills and I'm not sure they'd want me anyway. But, compared to two years ago, he seems to have a lot of postings instead of one once in a while... so I'm a little hopeful that there may be a good job for me somewhere. Maybe.

I feel I should spend some time with and brush up some of my skills. I'm feeling woefully not up to speed lately.

Well, I guess that's about it. Not sure what else is going on. Looking at 2 very old dogs sleeping on a couch next to me, thinking about a nap.