Wednesday, August 26, 2009

First Day of School

Monday was the first day of school for me at my new school. I'm excited, nervous. It's the second day today and I still feel a little like I did when I started Kindergarten, which I remember quite clearly. I wore a green and white dress with a smocked top and a bow in the back. I was petrified of the bus. Kids now don't ride the school bus like we did back in September of '78. I've never understood why this happened - why parents all of a sudden decided to all drive their kids to school themselves. I didn't like the bus at first, but pretty soon I grew to look forward to it. I met my childhood best friends and learned social skills on my school bus rides. I got to know the kids who lived near me and we all played together because we met on the bus. It was fun. I remember we had one bus driver, Miss Connie, who conducted huge bus sing-a-longs. We loved her.

I can't believe that I started school 31 years ago. That is a little disturbing. But now, 31 years later, I'm not the student. I'm the teacher. Eight years ago, if you had told me that I would be teaching college, I would have laughed in your face.

You'll have to forgive me. I'm in the middle of one of those (as Oprah calls them) full circle moments. I'm not as coherent as usual.

Here's the deal. A little over seven years ago, scared shitless, with no confidence, a destroyed person, I started taking classes at a local Community College. I was ashamed, miserable and petrified. I didn't think I could do it. I didn't think I had what it took to go to college. I knew I would fail. Monday I went back there as a teacher. To the exact same school.

A lot of my colleagues in academia disdain the CC. They feel they are above it, that they deserve to teach in fancy esteemed Universities. Not me. I'm damned proud to have the chance to teach at the school where I got my AA. Some people laugh at an AA degree, but to me, a timid girl with a GED, getting that AA degree was a big deal and a big milestone that helped me keep going. No one should ever laugh at someone else's accomplishment. Success is subjective and what might seem small and insignificant to one person, is a huge, big deal to someone else who should not be discounted. I will never, ever look down on my students. I will always be able to empathize with them because not so long ago, I was one of them.

The first class I took at Community College was an Introduction to Speech class that was required. I dreaded it. I couldn't imagine getting up in front of a room full of people and actually talking and telling stories. I would rather have worked in the strip club for the rest f my life and believe me, I did consider it. On my way to class that first day I consoled myself by saying that if it was really that bad that I could drop. This was an experiment. I didn't have to do it. I didn't really have to go to college.

But then I got to the classroom and the very first thing that I noticed was that my teacher had a tattoo on her ankle. She was a tall woman. She looked like she'd be into motorcycles and she had a hint of possibly a New Jersey or Philadelphia accent. One thing I will tell you is that Dr. A didn't look like I imagined a teacher would look. She wore sandals with her dress. And the tattoo. I couldn't get over the tattoo. On a teacher!! And as soon as she started going over the syllabus she captivated me. All I wanted to do was listen to everything this woman had to say in her strong, powerful voice. She told us stories. She spoke clearly and confidently and made sense. She didn't confuse me like other teachers had and she never made me feel stupid. Her class was never, for one second, dull. She always had us on our feet, moving, solving problems. One class we even made posters for one another. The whole class was designed to make us feel confident and proud so we could get up in front of people and speak boldly and with clarity. It was an early morning class and I couldn't wait to go.

One thing I learned from Dr. A is that the classroom is a laboratory for students. It is a safe place to experiment and that in the classroom, it's ok to mess up sometimes and that students shouldn't be expected to be perfect because they're in school to practice.

"Mess up in here," she said, "Because then you'll know what to do better when you're out in the career world."

I had never thought of school that way before. I always thought I had to be perfect all the time, but I carried her words with me as a student and later when I became a teacher too. I tell my students the exact same thing. It's ok to try something new and not have it be perfect. Be brave enough to experiment.

I experimented all through school, especially in grad school with my writing. If I hadn't had Dr. A, I probably wouldn't have been a writer. I would have taken a safer path. Even if I had still gone for my MFA, I don't think I would have grown so much as a writer and tried so many crazy things in my writing without giving myself that freedom to experiment and to mess up, and Lord knows, MOST of my experimental moments in writing have failed. But at least I tried, and for every failure I learned something or got an idea for something else that worked better. I really do attribute all that to Dr. A.

Last week I had to go do some new hire/ officey paperworky stuff. I had to go to the office of the Dean of my department to do it. I wasn't thinking much about anything other than all the tasks I had to complete before school started. The Dean came out of her office and the first thing I saw was the tattoo on her ankle. It was Dr. A!!

Dr. A is now the Dean of my department at my new school!! I had no idea because I was hired by the department chair. As soon as I saw her I got so excited that I just blurted out, rather unprofessionally:

"Hey!!! You were my speech teacher!!!!!"

And because she is so wonderful, she replied:

"HEY!! You were my student!!!!"

And we had a moment. I mean, it was almost eight years ago and the woman has had thousands of students since me, but she says she remembered me. I told her my story and she seemed just as happy as I was that I was there teaching now. She even gave me a personal tour of campus and during our faculty back to school meeting she told everyone about how I had been in her class and now I was a teacher. She made me feel great all over again and I am thrilled, THRILLED, to actually get to work with her and all of the other just as great teachers there.

It may sound corny, but I want to do for my students what she did for me.
Saturday, August 22, 2009

And How Did I Forget To Mention...

I don't know how I forgot this, but I must address the whole "Megan Wants a Millionaire" nonsense.

Of course I would know someone on the trashiest possible VH1 reality show that out-trashed all the other ones by featuring a stripper-murderer, which was so sordid and horrible and trashy and terrible that VH1 actually canceled it, which means it has to be beyond terrible. Of course I would have actually encouraged someone to go on this show. Luckily, the someone I know is not the stripper murderer. Thank freaking God, because I do not want to say that I have ever had contact with evil scumbags who abuse women or murder them.

Now there is all kinds of BS coming out that the show does background checks on contestants. I told you all months ago that at least one contestant had a criminal background and wasn't even rich, so I'm not sure how thorough these background checks really were.

I have not seen much of the show. Last week I made a feeble attempt to watch five minutes of it to see the person I (barely) knew. I couldn't handle it. For real. I have never seen such garbage in my life and the girl Megan whomever, isn't even cute. I felt like my college degree was going to be revoked for watching this drek. I'm not kidding you. I can say though, that at least, and this isn't saying much let me tell you, that the person I know did at least, in the five minutes I struggled to watch, not act like an asshole in comparison to his castmates. And I say this because my mother taught me to always try to find something positive to say about everything. At least he didn't act like an asshole. At least he has never murdered a stripper. That makes me proud.

Life is Good

Do you people know how busy I've been this week? I can not even explain to you my busy-ness. The good news is that I got everything done that needed to be done and now I can ease back into blogging and reading books by the pool like I should be doing.

I'm busy because school starts Monday and I am teaching at two different schools now. Two different schools who have all sorts of different requirements and things that need to be done in two different ways. That's what I did this week. I also made four different syllabi and one school is so over-enrolled that they are begging me to take on another class, which is tempting because the money is quite good. I don't know yet though because my sanity is more important than the extra cash. In addition to that, someone emailed me yesterday and offered me yet ANOTHER huge paying job in addition to the other two jobs and it doesn't require much time commitment, so I'm probably going to do that too. Clearly the recession isn't a problem in my field, I guess. So I'm extremely grateful for all of this and very glad to be extremely busy. Being busy keeps me from stewing and getting depressed over nonsense I cook up in my head because I'm bored.

And to think, a couple short months ago I was in utter despair thinking I was going to be broke on my ass with no paycheck. Now they're beating down my door to get me to work. This makes me very, very happy. Now I don't need to put ads on the site and clutter it all up. That is a relief. I have to say again, how thankful I am to have all these opportunities. I know there are a lot of people who don't have them now and that makes me feel a little guilty.

But on to other good news...

My sister has the most normal, nice, handsome boyfriend imaginable! They've been dating since late spring and things are going really well. I adore him. He likes to cook and read books, so he and I have a lot to talk about. My sister has also now graduated from college and is training for a half marathon. She has come so far in a year, since her horrible run-in with Brad the con man and I'm really proud of her. Her new boyfriend is so perfect that in the beginning we each kept thinking it was too good to be true, that something was going to happen, like one night he'd finally let on to her that he liked wearing women's bras and panties or something. It never happened, thank God, and at this point both she and I agreed that if he comes up with that, that he's just so great all around that she'll let him wear her underwear as long as he promises not to stretch it out too much.

My parents are still on their RV tour of the United States. They've left California and headed back East through the Midwest. They're on their way to New England now. No recent celebrity sightings.

Mommom Jewel continues to improve. She went to her first rehab yesterday and had all sorts of complaints about it, which means that she's feeling like herself because she loves to complain. I was going to go see her in October but she informed me that she is going to a hot air balloon festival in the mountains the weekend I have off, so now I'll have to figure out somewhere else to go instead. Good for Mommom.

Canela is a raging pain in my ass right now. We are currently engaged in a battle of wills in The War of the New Cat Food. I will win this, little cat. I will starve you until you eat the new food. She replies: "Silly human. You will get no sleep. I will terrorize your every waking and sleeping hour until you return the old food."

My cousin Fallon got engaged two weeks ago. Her boyfriend proposed to her on the stage of Sloppy Joe's in Key West and she accepted. They want to have the wedding in Key West as well, which I can't wait for because I love Key West and also I know that it will be full of Aunt Kiki's drunken drama and I will have things to write about for years from this wedding.

Part of the reason for my slim posting the past week is not only because I had to get ready for school to start, but also because it seems like a bazillion different publications that I'm submitting to had deadlines of September 1st. That meant that I had to do a crap ton of non-blog writing all at once and it took up a lot of time. Then, this week, totally out of the blue, I got an email that another poem of mine is going to be published in October. YAY! This also made me really happy.

So it was a good week. Busy is good. I'm happy and well and acupuncture continues to make me one with the Universe.

As my dad says all time: "Shit is just good."

And because things are so good for me, I am sending out to all of you some of my positive, busy, hardworking, healing, happy, not taking any crap, successful energy. I like to share. Have fun with it.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Not An Armadillo

I had no idea my husband was such a city slicker. He's from California though - a particularly urban, progressive part of California and before me he'd never spent any time on the East Coast and had never been to The South. Things I take for granted are completely foreign to him. Like Horseshoe Crabs. I decided to take him to the beach outside of Millpond. It's not really a real beach. You definitely can't "go to the beach" there. It's a muddy, marshy brown spit of sand and stones at the edge of the Bay. I've never seen anyone brave enough to actually swim there and there have always been rumors of aggressive sand sharks. Still, when I was little we liked to come out to this beach to pick up stones and sea glass, which is for some reason, in abundance. It's a nice change from the manicured, perfect tourist beaches. This is a "wild" beach. I kind of like the quiet of it. Anyway, this beach is like Mecca to Horseshoe Crabs. For hundreds of years area farmers have been going there to scoop up their beached carcasses to use as fertilizer on their fields. They are just everywhere, these things. As children we used to pick up the dead ones by their tails and chase one another. My cousin used to scare the living Hell out of my sister with them. Well, my husband and I were walking down the beach and bless his heart, he saw one, and serious as a heart attack, he asked me "Is that an armadillo?" I almost fell down in the sand laughing. I told him what it was and he was just horrified. He had to pull out his iPhone and try to look it up on Wikipedia except, not only was there no 3G, there was no cellular service period. Poor thing. Two minutes later he was running screaming down the beach because a "flying tick" was chasing him and trying to bite him on the leg. "My love," I explained, "That is what we call a horsefly." To which he replied: "What is it with you people and horses around here?"

Mule

Look how cute this mule is! He's so friendly too. As soon as you go to the fence he runs up and wants to be pet. The dunkies never did return. Maybe the farmer sold them or moved them elsewhere?
Sunday, August 16, 2009

Home!

Hi everyone. We got back last night around 2am and are exhausted. I'm unpacking and getting myself back together after a great trip and I will write in the next couple of days. I had a really good trip. My grandmother is doing very well. Her cardiologist gave her the all clear. She just has to take medicine and go to cardiac rehab. Canela likewise is doing very well. She is extremely angry about this trip and gave me holy hell this morning, stomping around the house rubbing her face on everything and meowing incessantly about how I had better never leave her again dammit. I'd tell you about my trip now, but I am so worn out from it. (Yawn.) I missed you all.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sugarbaby Watermelon

Ok, so I went to lunch and I got to thinking that maybe someone could have taken my mention of a black watermelon very much in the wrong direction. You know how people are. A lot of times they'll see something like two words together - black and watermelon and their reading comprehension will suddenly fail them and they'll become blind with rage and then a misunderstanding happens.

Allow me to clarify the black watermelon situation. The rind of the watermelon, its skin, is actually quite black. At home the watermelons we get in the grocery store are light green and some have darker stripes. The ones here that have me all wild with melon passion, are such a dark, solid, stripeless, matte green that they actually look as if they are black. In fact, they look like they're made of rubber, like an old inner tube. The watermelons themselves are actually black. Do we understand this people? Inside they are as deep red as filet mignon and very seedy.

I have done some asking around as to these watermelons and they are called Sugarbabies. They are absolutely superior as far as watermelons go. I have never tasted a better variety ever and I know my watermelon.

See it for yourself.

No, I am not a racist. Yes I did mention racism and watermelon in the same post. Yes I made fun of the racists here and then turned around and said I wanted a summer house here. The two are not related. I simply love the landscape. I can do without some of the people, Lord knows, but there are also many wonderful, great people too. Just like with anywhere.

I hope this makes more sense now.

Vacation Halfway Point

This shocks me, but nothing particularly noteworthy has happened on this trip, which is a wonderful thing. Everything has gone well so far, though I haven't gotten a picture of the dogs yet and I was stunned to see that the dunkies and asses are no longer. I don't know what happened. They have been replaced by what my husband called "long eared horses" because he is just not, not, not from the country.

"Why are those horses' ears so long?" he asked.

"Because they're mules," I said.

So yes, there are now mules in the dunky pasture.

Also, and I know some of you were really worried about this, so you'll be thrilled to learn that yes, indeed racism is alive and well. I thought maybe with the new president and everything we have eradicated it, but, yeah, nope we have not. Racism thrives people. Right here in Millpond. Lots of racism. Nobody likes them negroes and Spaniards. Don't even get them started on our president who comes from the country of Africa. I don't know how on earth this was a blue state last election because I haven't found a single, solitary person who can even utter Obama's name without a curse. Frankly, I'm just sick of hearing everyone bitch about politics. Many people have asked me my opinions on current events since I've been here and I think they're doing it to trap me into some sort of a fight, so I just avoid it and change the subject, which I'm going to do right now.

Mommom Jewel is doing well. She's at the doctor all day today. We took her to breakfast and then I cooked her a big dinner and she taught me how to make iced tea properly and how to make cucumbers and onions so they'd taste right. We made some funny videos of her in the kitchen. She said she feels all right but gets out of breath and she can't be on her feet long. Other than that, she's well. I think it made her really happy to have us up. She bought me some homemade jellies at the farmstand. One thing you all don't know about me is my obsession with jam. It's ridiculous and I'm spoiled, so it has to be homemade and the more obscure the flavor the better. I literally eat jam out of the jar with an iced tea spoon. Whenever I go on trips I buy jam as a souvenir. So far I have found beach plum jelly and I'm on the hunt for crab apple. Just one of my quirks, I guess. I'm also freakishly fanatical about homemade bread and butter pickles, which a lot of people don't like for some reason.

In other news, the rest of the family is well. Bella is great. Memere Marie is fantastic. I had some watermelon with her the other day. They have these black watermelons here. I think they're an heirloom variety or something, but they are good. I'm going to bring one home. They are just full of seeds, so I could maybe plant my own.

You know, I'm just having a nice time. I'm glad my husband came with me. It cracks me up watching him experiencing Millpond and smalltown life. It's so foreign to him and he can't get over the whole thing. He said it was very cinematic and like something out of "Fried Green Tomatoes." He keeps commenting about all the trees and how loud the night is with all the locusts and crickets whirring and clanging. He loves the tall, dense cornfields and the fireflies. We don't have things like that in Florida. It's a huge contrast from what he's used to. I really miss it up here. This is the most beautiful time of year, by far. One day I hope I'll be a rich and famous best-selling author so I can buy a summer home here. That is my dream.

Back at home, because of course this had to happen while I was away, we have our first Cone of Death of 2009. It was certainly late in coming, but TD 2 has developed and is rapidly strengthening. I haven't checked the news yet on it today, but I'll be home Sunday, so if it's coming for us I think I'll still have time to panic about gas, batteries, plywood and french toast ingredients. I wouldn't want to miss out on that kind of fun.

I'm meeting some friends for lunch right now, so I'm going to get back to vacationing.

I hope you all are well.
Thursday, August 06, 2009

Road Trip Commences

I just wanted to let everyone know that I am just about done packing and getting ready to leave tonight for my gigantic road trip to Millpond, which I'm really looking forward to. Much fun is to be had for me in the next week. I just know it.

I had better make sure that I remember to bring my birth certificate though, as Millpond now seems to be the hub of the "Birther" movement. All of my relatives are proud "Birthers." This should be interesting being that I'm now officially part of the University Liberal Elite. I'm bracing myself.

Now this trip I'm staying with Mommom Jewel. She lives out in the middle of nowhere in the most randomly placed apartment complex I've ever seen. It's really nice, but it's just literally in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by fields. You can see cows from her windows. It's like some farmer decided he wanted to be a developer and built an apartment complex in the middle of a pasture. Since Mommom lives in such a remote place the cell phone service is maddeningly unreliable. I can, however, get Internet from Darrell, the guy who lives above Mommom. He lets me use his wireless. I love Darrell. He drives a Viper with a license plate that says "BIG." I shit you not. BIG.

If Darrell's not around the lesbians next door will let me use theirs. They're adorable these two girls. I love them and I go say hi everytime I visit Mommom. They have two dogs named Smithers and Mr. Burns. Smithers is a chihuahua and Mr. Burns is a grey hound. I will do everything in my power to get a picture of these dogs. You will pee yourself when you see them. Never have I ever seen more perfectly named dogs. The only reason I mentioned that Mommom's neighbors were lesbians is because it makes Mommom livid when I state the obvious. She tells me it's not nice to call people names when I don't have the facts and she doesn't really know if those two young women are "that way" or not, but she doesn't think so even if one of them does look like a "fella." She thinks calling someone a lesbian is ugly, because she comes from a different universe than me. I tried to explain to her that it isn't, but she wouldn't hear of it because she really likes those two girls. She also doesn't understand that her pastor is gay too and that man he lives with - that is his ROOM MATE. I could write a whole post about how Mommom goes to the most liberal church there is and really has no clue whatsoever that she does. This never fails to crack me up. I'll save that though for when I get up there and actually go to church with her, which I plan to do.

But anyway this whole digression was basically just to tell you that while you may not be able to call me, I can write blog posts by borrowing (with permission) wireless.

You know what else cracks me up? In addition to the surrounding cows, which stink, there is also a meadow of donkeys right across the street and they are really cute. Even cuter is that Mommom calls them "dunkies." Whenever I hear her say "dunky" I can't even control myself. I just laugh hysterically, which makes her say it more and pretty soon I am running to the bathroom. Better yet, some of the dunkies are asses. One day Mommom talked for a good twenty minutes straight telling me the difference between a dunky and an ass. An ass has a black cross on its back. God gave it to it for carrying Mary to Bethlehem. Actually. This happened. But what had me going was listening to my grandmother say both the words dunky and ass a good hundred times during that conversation. I almost burst a blood vessel in my brain from laughing at her and at the end of her lecture she asked me how old I was because I was acting like a five year old. Then she said "ASS" again since it tickled me so much. This happened last October. I will try to get some photos of dunkies and asses for you all too.

So with any luck I should end up in Millpond sometime tomorrow. If we decide to stop at too many places to see nonsense off the highway and go to Waffle Houses, we should be there Saturday morning. I'll let you know when I get there.
Monday, August 03, 2009

Summers

This morning, as I prepare for a road trip to visit my hometown , I am thinking about the summers of my childhood.

Each June, when school let out, I would leave to visit my mother for six straight weeks. During the school year I saw her for one or two weekends per month. For a short while, when I think I was in the second or third grade, I was able to see her between four and eight pm on certain Tuesdays, but for some reason this didn't work out and I only have one memory of one such evening. We went to a restaurant that had a salad bar.

Each summer my mother lived somewhere new. When she picked me up I never knew where'd I spend the next month and a half and this always provided me a strange thrill. It felt wonderfully devious to me for some reason. Perhaps this is because my grandparents, with whom I lived the rest of the time, had lived in their home for forty straight years without ever changing a single thing. There was order there; schedules and time constraints. My mother was their polar opposite and I enjoyed this. With her, I could do anything. I had freedom. Sometimes I'd go days without wearing clothes. She never made me wear underwear. We did things like swim at night lomg past what should have been my bedtime. There were no schedules or rules.

The first summer, my mother lived in a mansion in Florida with a maid. She had just married my stepfather and they were in the music business. She drove a Rolls Royce and I got lost in her house. I had to fly in a blue Eastern Airlines plane from Baltimore to see her and I remember the meal I was served on that flight: roast beef and cherry cheesecake. That was the summer I lost my first two teeth. My mother made me king crab legs and banana-filled crepes almost every day. She bought me a pink record player with Disney records. I could sing along to all the songs from "Snow White" and "Mary Poppins."

The next summer, my mother and stepfather owned a nightclub at a beachfront resort town and lived in a townhouse. I fell in love with John Cougar and ate oreo cookie ice cream from the tub while they slept late because they'd been up working at the club the night before. My mother had a enormous palette of makeup. It had been an Estee Lauder gift set and had every color of eye shadow imaginable. While she slept I got into it. Sitting in the bathroom sink, I painted myself to look as if I'd been beaten and bruised. Pac Man had just come out. And Frogger. We'd go to the arcade and I loved watching my mom pop a quarter in the video games to play. She was really good. Her frog always made it safely across the highway.

There was the trailer in upstate New York, near the remote Canadian border. That was the summer a bat flew into me, the summer my grandfather was no longer with my grandmother and instead with a girl the same age as my Aunt Kiki, who was five years youngr than my mother. He had to have gotten her pregnant that July, because the baby, who would later be raised as my sister, was born the following April. There were horses near that trailer and sometimes we would fill our palms with sugar for them to nuzzle, but then the sugar ran out and we could only offer them tufts of grass. Late one night my mother and step-father took me to see Niagara Falls and I remember nothing but black railings, glistening and dripping wet. Everything shiny and black and wet like patent leather. Something happened that summer that I don't remember understanding. My grandfather came up and drove me back home a few weeks early. We stopped at a diner and I ate oatmeal. Later he spanked me and I don't remember why.

The summer after that, we lived in a rowhouse in the ghetto and all my friends were black girls. I was jealous that they had black Barbies who looked like them, while I had a peach-colored, blonde haired, blue eyed Barbie who looked nothing like me. I had a red bike that summer too and my tiny friend Lucinda was triple jointed, she said. I rode her on my handle bars. Down the street there was a corner store that had sanded wood floors and we'd buy cheap candy there. The black kids introduced me to a world of candy I had never known. I loved Lemonheads and Cherry Changs. My mother bought a small, above-ground pool at Ames and it took over a day to fill with the garden hose and before it was even ready all of the neighborhood kids were in it. They would pack in it so that there was no room to swim or to lounge, just stand. Standing room only in a swimming pool, and still there'd be a line to climb the ladder to get in and just stand. That was how much those kids in that neighborhood loved that pool.

I remember more about that summer than any other summer. It was the best summer of my life. It was the summer when we first heard of Nutra-Sweet and AIDS, when everyone knew every line to "Electric Avenue" and all the kids sang the words to "Our House" wrong. Our house. In the middle of the street. Our House. Smells like stinkin' dirty feet. Our house. That summer had the best music. I loved the Thompson Twins.

By the next summer it was the Eurythmics at a rented cottage on the brown, murky bay where you could walk along the muddy shore and pick up shells, sea glass and horseshoe crabs, but you couldn't swim. It was quiet and beautiful. The dogs played fetch up and down the beach. We crabbed and picked beach plums and a woman across the street had a magnificent rose garden. Our little house was all clapboard and screen and everything smelled like the sea. No matter how much you swept the sand still swirled over the floors. Before the six weeks ended my mother took me to get my ears pierced. This was the first summer that I didn't go back to my grandparents' house. My father, who had also lived with me at my grandparents' house, had just gotten married and he and my stepmother moved to a farmhouse outside of town. When my mother dropped me off there, he wasn't happy about the earrings.

The following summer I wanted bangs and clear jellies that reminded me of glass slippers. My mother got me both. I didn't like Michael Jackson, but was obsessed with Cyndi Lauper. My mother lived with my grandfather in a duplex that year. His second wife had left him with their toddler. My great-grandmother moved in as well. No one was happy that summer. It was unusually hot. I fried an egg on the asphalt and my grandfather got mad at me for wasting good food. Nothing went right. I didn't want to go back to my father and stepmother. This was the summer that I told my mother I wanted to live with her. But I had to go back at the end of July. By then my father had moved out of the farmhouse and into a brand new tract home. He was even angrier about the bangs than he had been about the earrings. I was grounded until Christmas and when the custody papers arrived before New Year's, he hit me, then stopped speaking to me.

The summer after that though, hairstyles and earrings didn't matter. He didn't matter. My stepmother didn't matter. There were no more court orders saying I had to be home by six pm, July 30th. Or else. When my my mother picked me up and drove me to New York, to our new house, a split level ranch in the woods at the edge of a lake, I knew I didn't have to leave after six, short weeks. There were no more court orders, no threats of legal action, no looming deadlines with the constant sense that time was running out. I lived with my mother now. I didn't have to go home before school started. I was home.
Saturday, August 01, 2009

Good News!

I just got a call from the vet with great news! Canela is fine! Her bloodwork came back and everything was within normal range, which means her one functioning kidney is doing a good job!! Of course, she still must be watched. She still needs medication and special food and whatnot, but she is not in imminent danger at all. YAY!! She will still be boarded at the vet while I am away because that way I know that she will be watched, fed properly and that her medicine will be administered. Also, if she declines at all, they'll catch it quickly.

Big sigh of relief. Thank you for your prayers. See, I told you it works.

I talked to Mommom Jewel last night as well. She sounded in better spirits too. She is looking forward to our visit and will be able to go see a movie, ride out to the DQ and maybe do a little light shoe shopping. She said she feels very good and is not bed-ridden. She said she looks a sight and is all bruised up from the blood thinners.

Interestingly Canela's issue and Mommom's issue both come from something they were born with. Canela was born with a deformed kidney. Most likely this was because her mama was a stray and didn't have proper care and nutrition while pregnant. Mommom had all kinds of tests done and she has no blockage, no hardening of the arteries and no heart disease whatsoever. The cardiologist found that her heart was simply a little too small. He said she was born this way and that it has probably made her sleepy all her life, but nothing she would have noticed. Well, physically her heart may be too small, but you'd certainly never know it. In spirit, her heart is gigantic.

This is what she told me:

"Don't waste a second of your life worrying. Don't worry about me. Don't worry about anything. Worry is a waste of time. Worry takes away from the time you could be using to spread love, care, compassion and joy to others. When you worry, you're just making up stuff in your head, thinking about things that haven't even happened yet and don't exist. Spend your time in the right here and right now, just loving instead."

Mommom is a secret Zen master in the disguise of a little, old, southern, church lady.
Picture courtesy of here.

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