Sunday, December 31, 2006

And here it is

And here it is

Resolution's are useless... just opportunities to fail, which of course, I always do. I have no will power. So a few years ago, I made one last resolution: to forsake all New Year's resolutions, and that one I've never broken! In other words, I'm not making any New Year's resolutions. But I do like Cheryl's idea of New Year's Revelations. Rather than swear to change, I will instead share something I've learned over the course of 2006. 2006 was full of lessons. Most of them boiled down to truth - and just how transient truth is, based on our perspective.
"Don't spend your precious time asking 'Why isn't the world a better place?' It will only be time wasted. The question to ask is 'How can I make it better?' To that there is an answer." ~Leo F. Buscaglia
My truth is that losing Nova has given me the opportunity to make a choice. Shut down, or open up. With Alexis, I had the same options and made a different decision, and thereby, learned a different lesson.

My truth is that people die when it's their time to go, not because there is some lesson being forced on you - but that we can choose to take that time to learn a lesson of our own choosing.

My truth is that, while I've been through some major shit this year, I've read some of your posts and feel that in many ways, some of you have been through much worse. And that hardship shouldn't be a pissing contest because there's no damn prize for bearing the biggest cross.

My truth is that finding myself in the dark has served to highlight the beauty found in the contrast of shade against sunlight, and taught me to appreciate more fully how the sun feels on my cheeks, especially when it's drying my tears.

And like Cheryl, my truth is also that I don't have the time or energy or motivation to embrace other people's negativity or selfish pettiness - and that I don't need to feel badly about that. That today could be my last, and I don't owe it to anyone else to waste it lost in their darkness if they've chosen to ignore the light.

And one final truth is that all of this could be bullshit tomorrow (or might have been bullshit a few hours ago) because perspective can change with the slightest shift of the eye.

Happy 2007 all - hope you're feelng at peace with your universe, and are able to accept the transience of your truth in a way that gives you a clearer perspective.

Ka turns, and the world moves on.

Ka turns, and the world moves on. If we're lucky, we move on with it.
~Stephen King
Today is the last day of 2006. The last bit of the year in which Nova lived and died... and the world moves on.

I keep having to remind myself that that's what happens, just the natural progression, and that I'm not so damned important that the world should stop for me.

You'd think that the 269 sunrises since then would have convinced me.

Maybe 2007 will find me less stubborn, hard headed and egotistical.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Inherently Selfish

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Reverend Lady Erin the Charitable of Yockenthwait Walden
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

I am Inherently Selfish

Are you lucky enough to have those days when you look at your life and think, "Yeah, this is right, this all makes sense...?" Believe it or not, I have a lot of them. I figure people probably look at me with pity and assume that I'm lost and that my universe and everything in it has gone insane. Some days, a lot of days, I agree with them. But despite the insanity of my experiences, I'm generally at peace with the circumstances of my life. That's not to say I understand them or that I can even make sense of them, but I do accept them, and my own inability to truly comprehend a purpose, assuming there is one.

A huge part of making peace with it all is to make my own purpose for what has happened (and maybe that is the purpose?) I try to find balance. For all the sadness, I try to find something happy. For all the dark places, I try to find light. I do things to fill the void.

But grief is inherently selfish, and mine is no different... I do what I do because I need to. Because, as Rosie would say, it is my yellow. So, thank you all who have said how awesome it was for me to do something for the family whose Christmas was stolen... just be aware that while it may look like I'm out trying to save the world, in truth, sometimes, I'm just trying to save myself.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Christmas comes 3 days late

Christmas comes 3 days late

Yesterday, I made a post about a single mother of two whose house was broken into, and whose TV, microwave and children's Christmas gifts were all stolen. On Christmas morning, there were no toys for those kids. When I heard the story, I'd never met the mother, or the kids, but I couldn't possibly imagine what a horrible Christmas it must have been for 2 kids, and how terrible it must have been for their mother to see them go without.

I didn't have it in me to let it go. I also didn't have it in my bank account to fund Christmas for another family just three days after our Christmas. So I sent Ma out to find out how many kids and what their ages were, I posted here inviting my readers to donate to the cause, and I posted on about it as well. The blog world moves slowly, it's perfect for things like The Heart Walk, but when working with an 8 hour time limit? Well, I think I had 5 readers while that post was up, but in a web forum setting, it went like wildfire. By the time I went to bed last night, I had a nearly $200 with which to play Santa.

Today was a lot of hustle, trying to set up a way to surprise her with the Christmas booty: trying to figure out a way to get to her place while she was out, trying to even find out where she lived. Unfortunately, we only knew her story through her workplace and co-workers who aren't allowed to give out personal info. Details were proving to be difficult to come by. So we made them promise to call us when she came in for her check and ran off to do the shopping.

Let me tell you, THAT was the kind of Christmas shopping a girl can enjoy. Next year, when I shop for the kids, I'm going to save up a designated dollar amount and go to one store, one time, and do it all at once. Man, stress free, no worries, no unexpected surprises, nada. Just lots of fun shopping and knowing that I had X amount of dollars to make 2 little kids and one stressed out mom very happy. Yup, that's my personal plan for Christmas 2007 para la casa del Erin.

Anyway we spent nearly $300 on a car load of toys an stuff. I had an extra microwave (damn near brand new) that I've been trying to sell for months, but no one would buy it. Apparently, it knew it belonged to this family and was just hanging around waiting for me to realize it. (What does it say about me that I just said that a microwave was smarter than I am?)
OK, so I spent a little more than I had, but after seeing her reaction when we delivered the stuff, I have no regrets at all. So I'll have to figure out how to make up that $50 I went over... I'll do it. Oh well. But you know, I'd do it again, with twice the overage... it was so worth it.

See, she's a single mom of 2 who lives 45 minutes drive from her crappy 2nd shift job at Waffle House - and doesn't own a car. She spent her rent on Christmas, and had it stolen. You could see it in her eyes how tired she was. You could see how emotionally beaten she was. She's doing her best and getting kicked in the teeth for it.

So anyway, Ma calls her over and tells her Santa stopped at our house for her kids, and she was like, "...huh?" Cuz she'd never met me, and only knew Mom from waiting on her the other day. So two weirdo ladies walk in talking about Santa when all she wants is to pick up her check, well... she was a mite surprised and confused until Ma pointed out the bicycles hanging out of her trunk - at which point, the relief and gratitude washed over her face, and I swear to god, you could physically watch the change in her stance and demeanor. You hear people say "it was like a weight just came off my shoulders..." She looked like she lost a 100 pounds in 2 seconds, right before she dissolved into tears and threw herself onto Ma.

It was a beautiful moment. Seriously. I don't cry in public, and I'm pretty sure Ma doesn't cry at all, but we both did today, right there in Waffle House.

She had borrowed a friend's car to come up from SC to pick up her check. She left with a check and one very full borrowed station wagon... A microwave, a new 20" TV/DVD combo, 2 bicycles, and a carload of toys, and a fat ass smile. The smile was the best part.

I wish I'd have been able to see the kids' faces as they got the presents. Sure, that's why we did it, for the kids. But the mom's reaction was plenty enough for me! I think we offered her a little hope, some reason to believe that the world isn't always all about busting ass and getting kicked in the teeth for it.

So, that's my day. Thank you to my UCM supporters who made it possible! I wish I'd had a video camera so you could all see her face!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

God, just stomp on me, will ya!?

God, just stomp on me, will ya!?

I'm totally phobic when it comes to spiders - those hairy legs and pinching mandibles and multi-faceted eyes just freak me out. They send my creepy crawly meter into overload, but tonight, and every other night for the last 3 or so, I sort of feel like a spider.

Ever sprayed one with Aquanet hairspray and watched it die? Ever played audience to that last breath, as it lay on its back, legs pointing skyward and twitching?

Yeah, that's me lately. I have RLS. I've spent plenty of nights wide awake while my legs had little parties of their own. It used to be that they only acted up when I was pregnant, but since I've gotten my tubes tied, the RLS fits are a monthly occurance. As if cramps and bloating aren't enough.

Needless to say, there isn't a lot of sleeping going on when you're pacing the floor or constantly wiggling your feet in an effort to control the creepy crawly sensation in your legs and the random spasms and kicking. Out of respect for the fact that Scott works 10 hours a day 6 days a week, I stay on the couch rather than keep him up all night too.

It's worse when I'm feeling stressed out. Christmas stresses me out. My legs have been twitching uncontrollably pretty much constantly, since 5pm Christmas Eve. It drives me insane, I can't sit still, I can't sleep. I'm sick of sitting up all night, alone on the couch - I just want to go to sleep. That should say a lot coming from an insomniac...

Wordless perfection

Wordless perfection

If there is such a thing as a perfect soul mate, Scott is mine. The depth of meaning behind his Christmas gift to me proves, again, that I am quite possibly the luckiest woman alive to have him for my partner. I never expected to meet a man who understands and loves me so completely.

I've typed this blog entry 20 times since last night - trying to express my love and gratitude, trying to share how deeply moved I am. I have failed miserably with every attempt.

Love and grief are two things for which there are no adequate words - and they are the 2 things that my husband's gift expressed perfectly, and wordlessly.

I love you Scott. I just hope that some day I can do something to show you just how much...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Romany Free

Romany Free
by Robert Vavra

"The sun will
tell you
how Romany unfree
was my open road,
that narrow
gypsy path,
thistle lined
purple blossoms

from the front cover:
"Free your mind from all preconceptions, open the book, and sail..."

Romany Free was my Secret Santa gift, and the book in and of itself would have been perfect. But my secret Santa (who, like me, totally gave away her identity) also included a note telling her Romany Free story about how she came across the book one day in 1977. How Romany Free survived 29 years of life: floods, travel, children, and how when she read my blog she knew that Romany Free had to come to me...

You see, Romany Free was a friend and life-long companion for my Secret Santa, and she feels a personal connection to the story and the character... and yet she parted with her for me.

I love the book, I love that you trusted me to understand her story and her value, and I promise to take care of her, to hold her close to my heart, to share her with my kids (Terra loves her already!) and someday, to share her with someone else who needs her.

What a beautiful gift, so personal. I'm very grateful - but I'm still not going to tell anyone else who you are, because I'm evil that way haha!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas Eve!

Wow, my kitchen is already so full of food, and we're not even half done! The tree is all lit up and the house smells awesome. (OK, that's mostly thanks to some of the best candles ever... Walmart had them on sale for $3 a pop and they smell SO good - they're cranberry scented and MAN! They make me want to eat 'em with a fork!)

So the kids are wired and wide open. I mean, it's Christmas Eve! They're crawling out of their skins with anticipation. It's sweet. It's the part of Christmas I love most - that magic sparkle in their eyes. And it's pretty special since most of them don't even believe in Santa anymore... but you should see them laying it on for Terra! She, by the way, is in the tub, because it's the one thing that will contain and amuse her all while having a nice calming effect.

Actually, I think I'd kind of like a bath and some calming effect...

Anyway, I need to go cook more. Chocolate chip cookies and eggnog are up next... for Santa (the one I have pictured here, not the real one of course...)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas Eve eve

Merry Christmas Eve eve

Home made eggnog. You know, they actually used to make the stuff before it started hitting the shelves in cartons... I'm going to try making it. Here's to hoping I don't scald the milk, or scramble the eggs.

Also, we're making cookies, again. More. I've made something like 20 dozen or so already in the last couple of weeks. I've never made so many cookies in my life. But there must be chocolate chip cookies for Santa, and decorating sugar cookies is just a tradition.

We got the last bit of Shopping done and bought the stocking stuffers too over the last couple of days so, other than some marathon gift wrapping, we're ready. As ready as we're going to get anyway. So want to hear the strangest request of the year? Kory requested beef jerky in his stocking. Not really weird in our context though, we always put beef jerky in the boys' stockings, and Kory would live on the stuff.

I've been sick on the couch most of the day though. I'm not really feeling any better at the moment, I'm just bored brainless and tired of laying there. I have a habit of being sick on the big holidays. One year I was so sick I slept right through most of Christmas Eve, 90% of Christmas (woke up, opened gifts with the kids and went back to sleep) and the entire day after Christmas... that was the flu. This, thankfully, is just some stomach bug. I'm holding out hope that it'll be short-lived.

Actually, I have to be over it tomorrow, I have a load of food preparation and cooking to do. Like the eggnog. Ha. We'll see how that goes.

By the way, what's up with this new singer Fergie? Exactly what genre is she? I'm not entirely sure I like (or dislike) her music, but one of Kassi's friends got her the CD for Christmas and I've heard nothing but Fergie for days. Fergilicious? Big Girls Don't Cry? Some pretty stupid lyrics, but the music doesn't seem to suck too much. And at least it isn't all rap. I have very little patience for most rap. Yup, one of my character flaws. Eminem is the only rapper I really like. Go figure. Quirky me.

Yeah. Going back to the couch now. Merry Christmas Eve eve!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Secret Santa has Arrived

Secret Santa has Arrived

I have been trying to pretend it hasn't come. As if by ignoring it, I can stop the burning it has created between my eyes. I am not supposed to open it until Christmas, and I really want to wait and open it then, and yet, I'm not sure if I can wait!

It arrived a couple of days ago, in a bubble-pack envelope in all sorts of bright colors and bearing the name ... am I supposed to give away the name? I'm not sure so I won't.

It doesn't rattle, or jingle... It's fairly large, and flat... perhaps a picture frame? Or maybe a picture? I just can't quite figure out what it is, but I'm fairly certain it isn't a frame... I'm afraid to feel around too much for fear of figuring it out!

Only 3 Days until I'm allowed to open it!

I sincerely hope that the gift I sent out has made it to its recipient. I'd hate for it to arrive AFTER Christmas, because this waiting bit... it's kind of maddening, and a lot of fun!

We also got several Christmas cards today. I think I love getting Christmas cards more than anything else! There were 3 today and one yesterday... one from Ang and one from Ange, and one from Scott's sister, and one from his brother - last week I got cards from Doug and Laura, and from Erin... We've gotten them from anonymous people, we've gotten them from customers... I truly love receiving Christmas cards. I am, however, admittedly selfish. I sent cards out, mostly only to Scott's family though, because I did it very last minute. It isn't that I don't love you... I swear, I love you! I just suck. Plain and simple, I can't even make up a good excuse here. Sorry.

They're naked and empty

Naked and Empty Elms

They're naked and empty against the sky
widespread and waiting. It's two
in the morning, months after the loss

and still, they wait.

There's a guaranteed prize for patience
and for tolerance and for voices kept
inside sap-filled heads where vision
is blurred and sound is distorted.

And I stare through nicotine windows and wonder -
when wind bites their tenderest parts and
ice builds them warbled-glass jackets,
is Spring enough to repay them?

Meanwhile, smiling pines, full-boughed and full-bodied,
glow like painted ladies against December nights,
with arms bedecked in gems, and knees brushed
by pageantry and plenty.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

go, speak in coffee and song...

"go, speak
in coffee and
I think I'm not entirely sure I grasp the whole piece, but I love love LOVE this opening bit of an untitled poem posted on Taking the Brim by an author named 'clare' - wish I could find clare's blog!

(read it all)



I have begun to realize I have a propensity for self-sabotage. Seriously. It came to me like some crazy introspective black-light epiphany.

Something to work on. Only, I never see it, except in retrospect.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

the last

the last

Today is officially the last day of school before the holiday break. (Did I just offend someone by not saying Christmas break? Pffft all this political correctness is on my last friggin' nerve!) So anyway, I now have 5 kids in the house non-stop until next year. I'm not really looking forward to it. My kids either ram and race, or bicker and gripe, 24/7, and I'm afraid I can't handle it. I'm already just feeling... overwhelmed, over loaded, over stimulated... over it.

You know, there are only 122 hours until Christmas is over? I hate the way we stress out over Christmas, how we've bought into the materialistic version of it all. There's so little joy, because there's too much worry about money and expectations, too much argument about what the holiday means to you or to me and whose definition is right. Too many kids with high dollar 'hot' items on their lists that I can't afford. Too much guilt about the emptiness of my wallet. I'm sick of all that... and more.

I'd love nothing more than to forego all that. To get back to the whole 'joy of giving' concept, and the appreciation of family and friends, the compassion and ... I don't now... fewer commercials, less weight on the value and size of the pile under the damned tree. (Ours is too small, and doesn't contain enough of those popular "in" gifts, as always.) I just don't know how to switch channels in the middle of 5 kids' lives.

I've teased for years about becoming Jehova's Witnesses for years because they don't celebrate the holiday - not in any material way anyway. If it weren't for the way that door-to-door god-sales bothered me, I might even do it too.

"a grave political error"

"a grave political error"
Furor in Italy over "gay nativity" in parliament
By Philip Pullella

ROME (Reuters) - Two leftists in Italy's ruling coalition on Wednesday outraged fellow lawmakers by placing four dolls representing homosexual couples near the baby Jesus in the official nativity scene in parliament...

...One communist parliamentarian called it "a grave political error" that would not help homosexuals.

A grave political error indeed, even I have to call foul on this one!
[read full story]

Matthew 7:1-5

Matthew 7:1-5 I don't understand the herd mentality of religion - or the way some people absorb an opinion or feeling from church or the bible that they can't explain, and call it "faith." (Don't understand it, or why? Too bad, believe it and act on it anyway because "God" said so, OR ELSE!!! ...baaa baaaa...) I guess I just figure that if you have an opinion you should be able to explain it without spouting a non-answer or inexplicable source. You can't tell me that something is wrong because God said so and expect me to accept that as an answer if I don't believe in your God, right?

And my lifestyle isn't wrong for me just because you and the other herd members believe it is. Period. So you don't have to be who I am or do what I do if it's against your religion - why do you feel you have the self-righteous all mighty right to tell me what I can or can't or should or shouldn't do!?

"In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from others"

What really gets me the most though is people who are so threatened by intelligent discussion that factual points and alternative opinions are seen as personal attacks.

It isn't any one religion that bothers me so much as when people feel superior based on their faith. As if they are the only right person in the room, and only those who don't question them are worthy of their friendship.

So I disagree with you, I don't believe that one book with some mythological legendary type "history" is (or should be) how we all judge right from wrong, and worthy from unworthy - nor do I feel you have the right to force it on me, no matter how right you think you are, or how much better than me you believe yourself to be.

I question anything that cannot be proven to me. I question even more when I've seen proof that works to disprove that opinion. And I will voice that opinion just like any other. Needless to say, that means I'm not welcome at certain get togethers, and it amuses me that those who deem me unwelcome don't see how that reflects on them - that they are too ignorant and self-righteous to even defend or attempt to explain their views in an intelligent and well thought out way... Nope, too busy following along and believing something they can't even explain to themselves, let alone anyone else.

So anyway, I'm ranting, but it is the total and complete lack of answers that bothers me with religion - and that holier than thou attitude that bothers me about some religious people.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas Cards

Christmas Cards
Isn't that a pretty picture? Red berries all plump and scarlet, coated in ice...
Yeah, that isn't here. Our berries turned brown, then black, then fell off, and it's 75 degrees here so there's no ice anyway. But it reminds me of the front of the Christmas cards I sent out. We bought them at 1am this morning (after a quick (childless) midnight run for Christmas shopping) and nearly all of them have been sent out today :) I am fast, especially when I'm running late. Also in today's mail (aside from 20-ish Christmas cards) was one package for a Team Nova member from the AHA, only, for some reason, I had to mail it? (Ok? Whatever?) and one secret Santa gift mailed via the Life in a Pumpkin Shell "Secret Santa" movement. That which I sent out to the secret recipient was very indicative of myself... hope they like it. It isn't like I know a lot about them, I hadn't even read their blog prior to getting their mailing info! I just hope it doesn't arrive late! And I just realized I wasn't supposed to put my name on it, but I did, and I'm just hoping she has no idea who I am so my name won't mean a thing to her!

Can I be honest here? Yeah, I know, here of all places, honesty is not only allowed, it is expected... OK, truth is, I am not feeling it this year. I want it all to be over already.

By the way, if you have switched over to the Google Beta blog thingy? Yeah, I can't comment on your blog. I've most likely still been reading, I just can't say anything. Nor can I switch over to Google because there are too many other blogs on my profile to which I belong but do not own, that haven't switched over... so until Google stops being a dickhead (which is Terra's new word, wonder where she got that from!?) just know I love you and can't comment.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

UCM Christmas party 2006

UCM Christmas party 2006

We went to a Christmas party last night. Here's the bunch of us grubbin'

Scott played Santa for 30(ish) kids. He was an excellent (if a bit thin) Santa.

Kassi dressed the part of Santa's little helper elf. The pics don't do her justice, she was adorable.

I ran one of the crafts. We decorated Christmas cookies with edible icing and sprinkles and such.

As you can see, the kids loved it. My table was mobbed all night, which explains the look on my face in this pic:

Brendon came along as well, wearing his elf hat (complete with ears, it was so funny!) and being an ass, illustrated by this pic:

Terra, as you can see, thought she was bell of the ball...

And Ryan, Trish's son, with whom Kassi is utterly in love, substituted as Kassi's hat for a minute.

The rest of these are of Trish's kids with "Santa" because I can do that!

Monday, December 11, 2006


12/25/05 I had a 16 year old son, a 14 yr old son, an 11 yr old daughter, an 8 yr old son, a 2 yr old daughter and a son who was 23 days old. This year I have a 17 yr old son, a 15 yr old son, a 12 yr old daughter, a 9 yr old son and a 3 yr old daughter. Seems like a long list, right? Well, I can't seem to get past what's missing enough to appreciate what I still have.

My bank account is in the red, and I'm 2 weeks from Christmas with more than 1/2 my shopping left to do. My husband has gotten another job, in addition to running his own company. My oldest son hates his parents (and don't even fucking try to tell me how that's "normal" for his age ok? Just bite your tongue and back out.)

I'm pretty disinterested in everything and I'm sick as a dog - no doubt there's some connection between the physical and the mental there... but I don't really give a shit.

I'm walking the tight rope on the line between apathy and total meltdown. Teeeeter totter teeeter totter.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I Need

I Need

I need... well, frankly I need a lot of things, most of which I will most likely not get. But what I need, right now, most of all, is to write. I ache to write a piece of poetry that doesn't make me cringe, or gag. Unfortunately, I have nothing inside of me from which I could build a poem. You've heard the phrase "it takes money to make mmoney" right? Well, it takes poetry to write poetry, and I am empty, it seems, of poetry for the time being.

Saturday, December 9, 2006



Allergic reactions, feeding issues, Winter sickness worries, developmental delays, new firsts possible only due to surgical repairs of the circulatory system... I don't have the luxury of these things.

Why does that feel so fresh today?

Today is CJ's birthday. CJ is my best friend's son. He died of SIDS nearly 17 years ago... he would be 17 today. The same age as my oldest son Tommy. Trish is dealing with a lot of 'stuff' in life right now and I know today is hard on her. You'd think that having lost 2 children that I'd know how to help her, or at least know what to say. I don't. But then, there isn't anything I can say that will help. So I'm keeping her in my thoughts, and holding her close to my heart as I always do.

I'm sick as a dog today, some nasty chest/cough thing that Terra is just recovering from. I hesitate to take a lot of medications because they depress the body's natural immunity defenses - but I'm pretty sure if I close my eyes long enough, I could just die peacefully. Obviously, this keeps me from the ceremony I was supposed to attend today, and it keeps me from stopping in CVRU to get my cake plate too. Grrrr.

It's cold here. Cold like 20 degrees when we woke up. It hasn't even reached freezing yet. 31 degrees. That and the sickness has really curtailed the smoking. You should see me though, when I get brave, I put my housecoat on over my clothes, wrap up in a comforter (no, not a blanket, a quilted comforter) and head for a patch of sun. Yes, I AM redneck/white trash enough to wander around my yard like that. Well, I was for the 1 cigarette I've smoked so far today.

So Scott's at work, Ma is out shopping. Housework isn't getting done (but apparently blogging is) the kids are taking care of each other, and I'm going back to the couch. Happy Saturday.

Friday, December 1, 2006

They say it's your birthday...

They say it's your birthday...

Dear Nova~
You'd be one year old today. First birthdays are the most special you know. It's the only one where I'd have let you have the cake. Yep, the whole thing, to eat, fling, wear, and destroy at will. Of course, the price for that would have been the multitude of pictures I'd have taken and blackmailed you with later, when you had your first 'real' girlfriend. You know, like I planned to do with that picture of you after your bath that day just before your surgery. But there will be no pictures of you covered in cake with icing up your nose, and that picture of you naked after your bath got cropped and added to your obituary.

So instead of having your party, we're visiting CVRU. There will be cake and toys, but not so much celebrating. And probably no one will be wearing icing, though, knowing some of those nurses, ya just never know! I might end up with blackmail pictures after all. I just hope I don't burn the cake. Guess you never had the chance to find out what a lousy baker I am.

Gretchen sent flowers yesterday. She's the one with the daughter I wanted you to marry. She's even more gorgeous now than she was when we arranged that marriage. She's so pretty it hurts. The flowers were beautiful too. She said she saw them, they're all purple, and thought "purple, celestial - Nova" and sent them. That's the kind of thing you did kiddo. There was just something special about you that allowed you to touch people despite any boundaries. You prevailed in spirit where your body failed - and continue to do just that.

Last night we went downtown and watched them light the tree in the square. I've never done that before. I wasn't all that impressed, but then I'm having a hard time getting into the spirit. I just keep picturing you... I'm sure you'd have been all in the tree this year, knocking off the balls, trying to eat baby Jesus from the creche on the table, throwing fits when I said no. You were pretty strong willed, but I'm pretty sure I'd have won...

Speaking of strong willed: Terra still thinks you're at the hospital you know? I've tried to explain it to her, but she just can't understand 'dead' yet. All she knows is that she wants her "Dophalin" back, and she doesn't do very well with the word no. She can't figure out why she can't have you. Me either to tell the truth.

Daddy and I, and all your brothers and sisters too, are still trying to get used to you being gone. I still have to remind myself every day that the kids don't have to be quiet in the hall anymore. My heart just can't grasp it enough to convince my brain once and for all. That's the thing about death, it's so final that we aren't equipped to comprehend it. I just miss you so much, I feel lost.

But I'm trying to use the things I learned through you to find my way - to make a difference and do the things I should. I think I'm succeeding, most of the time. I just hope I'm doing things that would make you happy, that you could be proud of. But sometimes, like right now, I still just wish that I could have you back.

Happy birthday baby, I love you as much today as I ever did... and always will.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Less than a week

Less than a week

Less than a week to Nova's bithday and I can't even tell you how bad that sucks. I look at kids his age and they're walking and starting to talk, and google over Christmas lights and stuff. Trish came over today and I was watching Ryan toddle around and I thought, "He's so little, Nova would tower over him..." Of course, who knows if that's really true, post-surgery heart babies have a lot of issues, especially with feeding, so maybe he'd have been small. I'll just never know, but I can't help but think about that sort of thing when I see kids 'his age.'

While she was here Scott's mom called. Our phone service is that digital phone, and it's been screwy lately - it keeps sending calls straight to the voice messaging service, which would be ok if we knew to check the messages, but when you're home, and the phone doesn't ring, you have no reason to believe you've missed any calls, and have no reason to think you need to check your messages... Well she's called 3 times in the last couple of days and has only gotten our voice mail, and has assumed we just weren't returning her calls. Now I feel badly that she thought, for days, that we just didn't want to talk to her. She and I generally don't talk a lot, and she isn't the mushy type, so when she found out Scott wasn't home, and kept talking, it was kind of weird, we just don't really talk a lot. But when she started talking about this being the first Thanksgiving without Randy... well, now I'm worried about her, that just isn't like her. I'm worried enough that I called Scott at work to talk to him about it, and I never call him when he's working.

Anyway, I'm making a cake that looks like this:

It's the graphic from Nova's blog.
We're taking it, and several toys and things, to CVRU in honor of his first birthday. I'm looking forward to it, and dreading it too. By then, we'll be working up to 8 months since his death, and I still wish I'd wake up...

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Saturday, November 25, 2006



Yesterday I was thankful. Today I'm just sad and tired.

OK I had to come back to this. It's misleading. I am not just sad and tired. At the moment of that statement, I was sad and tired and...well, wishful. But my ass didn't hit the couch before I was mulling it over. And yes, today, as always, there is still MUCH to be thankful for. Today, my house is decked out in Christmas decorations, and I have a tree in my storage building, in a bucket of water, waiting for some family to come along in need of one. I'm lucky to have the opportunity to give some other parent(s) the gift of that sparkle in their kids' eyes when they see the lights on the tree, all decorated for Santa. And this tree found me (thanks again Sheryl!) Nothing lifts my spirits more than having that opportunity. I wish I had a dozen Christmas trees to give away!

Sure I'm thankful for what I have, and I'm even more thankful for what I get to give away.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I'm Thankful

I'm Thankful

What are you thankful for?

That was a question posed on the mommy board I belong to, and I couldn't answer it without being all mushy and philosophical. Sometimes being philosophical makes me feel like a nerd, so I'll save that for here.

Truth is, I think I could get away with feeling sorry for myself this year. You guys would let me, I know you would. But I don't want to, because I don't feel sorry for myself. Much. Or often. Maybe a little, sometimes, but I think I have a lot to be thankful for.

I am thankful for nearly 15 years with the most wonderful man in the universe. I'm thankful that after a decade and a half he still thinks I have a sexy ass, and can make my toes curl. I'm thankful that he seems to read my mind, sense my emotions, and understand me better than I do myself. I'm thankful that he's still willing to wake up next to me after the grey hair appeared, after gravity struck, and all we've been through. And I'm thankful, most of all, that we've found our way to one another through the loss of our son, rather than falling apart.

I'm thankful for a hectic house full of chaos and mess, for 5 pairs of shoes and 10 individual socks that litter the floor at all times. I'm thankful for school projects and lost papers. I'm thankful for 5 sleepy kisses at the end of each day because they come from the 5 greatest kids I have, and I love them - even when they're making me insane.

I'm thankful for a best friend, with whom I can cry, laugh, bitch, joke and whine - generally all in the course of any one telephone conversation. I'm thankful that we can be there to support one another through the bad and celebrate each other's good times. I'm thankful that she loves me enough to be honest with me and tell me when I'm wrong, and put me in my place when I need it, and that she loves me enough to stop me, whenever possible, from sticking my foot in my mouth.

I'm thankful for all the people I met throughout (or because of) Nova's life.I have been very lucky to have come to know some of the most wonderful, generous loving people I could hope to meet. Their presence, be it physical or virtual, has made all the difference in my life this year.

I am thankful for the fact that I've managed, somehow, through losing Nova, to find the bright spots when I needed them, the positivities when I could have been overwhelmed by the negative. I'm thankful for every warm thought, every wish and prayer, that were, and continue to be, sent my way. They've served as oxygen when I I couldn't hold my head above water, and buoyed me when I thought I was going under for the final time.

I'm thankful for the opportunities that have arisen for me, the chances to raise awareness, and for every penny donated in Nova's name in hopes that it will make a difference in the future. I'm thankful for the compassion I've received, and the generosity that's been shown to me so often over the last year.

I'm thankful that I'm able to find places, and ways, to return that giving spirit to the world. I'm thankful for the struggle, and the reward. I'm thankful for the dark's habit of accentuating the light. I'm thankful that I can still smile, I'm thankful for love.

And I'm thankful that he was mine.

Sunday, November 19, 2006



Some days, it just doesn't pay to bother getting out of bed. Those days are easily identified. They're the ones that, when you open your eyes in the morning, you want to close them again because you already know someone is going to be mad at you (or rather, hurt by something you did, but didn't mean to do) - but can't, so you get up and every thing you have planned goes to shit. Then, because of the wealth of crap going wrong in your day, you're feeling pissy enough that you realize that - that other thing you wanted to do? Yeah, probably better not, cuz pissiness isn't entertaining at get togethers, and you don't want to make anyone uncomfortable because of your bad mood and self-puty....

Then, you say something genuine, and somehow it is misinterpreted and you get sort of slapped in the teeth for it, and you're like, whoa... wow.

Then, someone else comes along and says something that you're not really sure how it should be taken, but it makes you feel like you're getting slapped in the teeth again.

Then, someone shows up at your door to pick up some baby clothes that you agreed to part with, but all of a sudden you feel kinda melty/mushy/clingy/weepy and don't want to give them up, but you have to anyway.

Is it friggin' bed time yet? Cuz I apparently should have left my eyes, and my mouth, shut VERY TIGHTLY, this morning. It just hurts my feelings whenever someone feels like I have done something to offend them. I cry like a friggin' baby over stuff lately anyway, but damn. I could have done without crying because I inadvertantly made someone else feel badly.



So I have a new project or two. I seem to need projects that have positive endings, and that provide a point in the future on which to focus. So UCM is working with a local organization and doing a canned food drive that will benefit the poor in our community. I am broke like no one knows, but I can damn well drum up donations. So I sent my kids out with little red wagons to collect door-to-door. So far I have 4 flats of veggies, and four good sized boxes of various canned/boxed non-perishables. Not all of it was collected by them, but all I'm saying is that my bedroom is beginning to disappear under a pile of boxes full of food. That makes me smile.

Another thing we're doing is sponsoring a family that currently lives in the local battered women's shelter. The shelter has long been my charity of choice, and I donate there a lot. Over the years they have been on the receiving end of the deal when my children outgrow their toys, clothes, furniture etc... I also do a Thanksgiving dinner and a Christmas dinner every year that goes to a family that they've assisted throughout the year. But I've never been part of actually sponsoring a family's Christmas, until now.

I've gotten lucky in that I've managed to fall into a real, live, free Christmas tree for them, and the meal I always donate will, this year, go directly to them. It's cool to do the meal anyway, but this year, having an idea of who this family is just makes it more fun to do.

And of course, I'm doing some shopping for Nova's birthday too. The nurses put their heads together and decided that the one thing that the babies in CVRU love most is the Fisher Price Crib Aquarium. They had 2, but one has gone MIA, and one just isn't enough... Unfortunately there is usually more than one baby in their care at all times. So I'm going to donate one, and a few other things, and I'm making a cake. I hope it doesn't suck ;) I'm no baker.

Of course, there is Christmas for my own household to contend with. I've begun shopping for the kids, but they keep changing their lists so I'm still afraid to buy much because they might just not want what I buy if I don't give them time to come to a final decision. The older boys both want money. And haven't changed their minds. That feels awfully impersonal to me, but they each have things they want to buy that we can't afford to get them (Nintendo Wii for example) and so they've told everyone that cash is best. I can't decide if I can really just give them money. We shall see.

So all of these plans and projects put me focusing on a point verrrrrrry close to the new year. At some point shortly into the new year, while everyone is still nursing their credit cards back to health, the Kintera site for the American Heart Association will open back up. Once that happens, I have a few projects in 'draft mode' so to speak that I'll be able to kick into action then.

I hope to, eventually, get to a point where I can maintain some semblance of sanity without having to distract myself with major projects. Until then, I'm thankful that I have the projects I have, and that there are no gaping holes in the timeline between them.

Verbal Grammar vs Written Grammar

Verbal Grammar vs Written Grammar

I am a grammar freak. I write, reread, proofread, edit, rewrite, and repeat as necessary. Granted, I've been lax lately, especially with that ever-so-simple spellcheck button, but lately I have (hypocritically) higher expectations when reading others' writing than I do my own. It's laziness when it comes to my own. Just writing is enough work for me lately - but reading and automatically seeing errors in other things I'm reading is just, well, habit. An infuriating one. I'd like to be able to read something for the joy of reading (the way that lately I write simply for release, rather than perfection.) It's difficult to enjoy a book/blogpost/forum entry when you're hung up on the fact that they used "gave" instead of "given."

I find too that when I speak, my grammar is far less than perfect. I'm a fountain of colloquialisms, slang, and basic butchering of the English language. I guess because I speak like white trash, but write more formally, I assume others do the same. I am perpetually amazed to see that others type the same way they write.

But then, I'm weird. I know that. I try to embrace that. So what's this post about? Boredom I think.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


This week I have completely lost my mind in Holiday stuff I'm doing off-line and, somehow, completely forgot about the Tavern. That is until I checked my email today and saw a letter from Laurie:
Hey Erin, I see that no one volunteered for the tavern. I hate to see us miss a week! I'll do it, but give me until Sunday night to post it. Deadline: Sunday noon or earlier. Topic: just send your best of the week!
Thank you Laurie for bringing me to my senses, and saving my rear end!
Everyone send their entries in to laurie at lponeill(at)att(dot)net By Sunday noon, for a special late edition of the Tavern!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Good Stuff

I have died and gone to some alternate reality where the absurdly perfect has happened.

Dooce, queen of all that is honest, and female, and sarcastic, and hilarious, and irreverant and, well, good, is going to be on CNN.

I am, however, only the queen of forgetting that something I want to see is coming on. As in, I've been trying to watch Regan's Rants on the local news channel since Regan White interviewed me in September for the Charlotte Weekly story (scroll down to pg 10.) I even posted myself a note on the side of my monitor, where it has hung, unnoticed, for 2 months. I have yet to watch Regan's Rants. I cuss myself every Saturday. Every. Saturday. So needless to say, I am praying for an early Christmas present that consists of one of two things: A) a memory that works or B) TiVo. She hasn't actually announced the air date yet, but dear GOD let me please please remember to watch it when she does.

Monday, November 13, 2006


If you don't want anything to do with me, don't email me (repeatedly.) If my views offend you, don't continue (or re-open) a previously closed conversation.If you don't want me on your blog, don't send me links to it. Duh. And after harrassing me and insulting me, don't have the audacity to suggest that I change my long-standing email signature for you.

Most importantly though, when you realize that I'm not going to play your little psycho head games, don't go all high school. It's really unbecoming. Amusing, but unbecoming.

Thanks for the laugh though!

There are the geese, back again

There are the geese, back again

There are the geese, back again.

Seventy-five degrees in mid-November
and it seems the leaves are the only things
that recognize the calendar's truth
and abandon their altitude.

I wonder, when they fall,
if they've given in to death
or if they wrinkle up their dry faces,
crinkle-close their eyes
and wish for an easy Floridian retirement.

Their lives are so short
their lips so dry and fragile
and yet, the ones I pity are those
yet dangling, lifeless, in naked trees.

I Am Amused

I Am Amused

Tonight, I defended the concept of Freedom of Speech. I don't have to agree with what people say, hell, I don't even have to subject myself to reading it. But I do defend their right to say it.

Now my regular readers will know exactly how I feel about racism, homophobia, and any other form of prejudice or hatred. See that title up there? Poetic ACCEPTANCE. That is my philosophy, acceptance. And I whole heartedly disagree with those frames of mind that alienate any group of people based on color, race, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, etc...

BUT, I stand by my opinion that, despite my disagreement, racists, homophobes and whatever other groups of ridiculously hate-filled ignorant people have the right to express their beliefs and opinions.

Because you see, I like expressing my own opinions, and to say that people I disagree with don't have the right to speak, well... How long do you figure it would take them to say they disagree with me and say that I have no right to speak, based on their disagreement with my views?

So, here I am, trying to explain this. Trying to explain that I don't agree with racist views expressed on racist websites, but that I defend freedom. Well let me tell you, they were mightily offended! They went from zero to self-righteous in .03 seconds and immediately clamped down, refused to hear what I was saying, and... get this... forbade me to visit their blog ever again because she wanted nothing to do with a person with "these views."

OK, so... You don't agree with my views so I'm not welcome to read your blog? Well, haha, ok. So be it. Guess I'll stink up the place or something, I don't know. Struck me as pretty absurd, but hey, different strokes. I can accept that.

The part that really made me laugh? She A) questioned what I teach my children (you see, she's suddenly lumped me in with the racists now, without so much as making any attempt to learn what my views really are, and assumes, apparently, that when I tuck them in at night, I must surely tell them stories from the KKK's Nursery Rhyme pamphlets) and B) told me that the banner at the bottom of the page for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep was 'disturbing.' Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep is a network of professional photographers who does charity work by offering their services to bereaved parents, and those who have found out that their child is terminal. That too, somehow, is offensive? That one I don't get.

Want to take bets? Gee, I'll betcha a nickle to a doughnut she had no idea what Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep was, and JUMPED TO CONCLUSIONS!

I feel a bit sorry for this person. I cannot imagine how difficult, miserable, and draining, life must be when you expend so much energy on anger and self-righteous indignation! But the good news is, she has the right to say everything she said, and I have the right to blog about it.

It's a thing of beauty indeed.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


I missed Mona Lisa this year. She's already naked, save for a few bunches of deep red berries. I don't know how I managed to miss her fall foliage, I normally gravitate to her in the autumn. But then, I'm not gravitating toward the same things so much anymore. I'm gravitating toward new things. Things that are, in their own right, beautiful, but in vastly different ways. I've started really throwing myself into social situations, when those of you who've known me have always known that I had serious hermit tendencies. I'm trying to force myself to do the thing that everyone seemed to want me to do after Alexis. Get back to living, rejoin reality...

I find myself really grappling with this new sense of normalcy. There is a new Erin I haven't gotten to know yet. I think I'm trying too hard because I'm aware now that these are things I'm supposed to find. Before, it just happened (though admittedly, it didn't happen well.) This time I'm ready to find it, do it and get it done already.

I'm rushing me, and it just isn't really working out. I should know better, and just let it happen, but I don't make the conscious decision to do much of anything anymore. I'm on autopilot, and it seems to be programmed to the "go" setting. Sometimes I look up and realize I'm being dragged along, sort of like the bullrider that falls off but gets his hand stuck in the rope. Then I wonder what the hell I was thinking when I saddled up in the first place.

Weird. Passive proactive. Is there such a thing? I just do what I think I'm supposed to do without thinking about what I'm doing.

I'm pushing myself (whether by choice or not) too hard, and I know this because the people and things I've always enjoyed are no longer enjoyable. Like poetry. Just thinking of writing is draining.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


This song makes me smile:

by Natasha Bedingfield

I am unwritten, can't read my mind, I'm undefined
I'm just beginning, the pen's in my hand, ending unplanned

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Oh, oh, oh

I break tradition, sometimes my tries, are outside the lines
We've been conditioned to not make mistakes, but I can't live that way

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten
The rest is still unwritten
The rest is still unwritten

Oh, yeah, yeah
And this song makes me cry:
Hate Me
by Blue October
I have to block out thoughts of you, so I don't lose my head
They crawl in like a cockroach leaving babies in my bed
Dropping little reels of tape to remind me that I'm alone
Playing movies in my head that make a porno feel like home
There's a burning in my pride, a nervous bleeding in my brain
An ounce of peace is all I want for you, Will you never call again?
And will you never say that you love me just to put it in my face
And will you never try to reach me, it is I that wanted space

Hate me today.
Hate me tomorrow.
Hate me for all the things i didn't do for you.
Hate me in ways, yeah ways hard to swallow.
Hate me so you can finally see what's good for you.

(Verse 2)
I'm sober now for 3 whole months, it's one accomplishment that you helped me with.
The one thing that always tore us apart is the one thing I won't touch again.
In my sick way I want to thank you for holding my head up late at night
While I was busy waging wars on myself, you were trying to stop the fight
You never doubted my warped opinions on things like suicidal hate.
You made me compliment myself when it was way too hard to take
So I'll drive so fucking far away that I'll never cross your mind
And do whatever it takes in your heart to leave me behind

Hate me today.
Hate me tomorrow.
Hate me for all the things i didn't do for you.
Hate me in ways, yeah ways hard to swallow.
Hate me so you can finally see what's good for you.

(Verse 3)
And with a sad heart I say bye to you and wave
Kicking shadows on the street for every mistake that I have made
And like a baby boy I never was a man
Until I saw your blue eyes cry and I held your face in my hand
And then I fell down yelling "Make it go away!"
Just make her smile come back and shine just like it used to be
And then she whispered "How can you do this to me?"

Hate me today.
Hate me tomorrow.
Hate me for all the things i didn't do for you.
Hate me in ways, yeah ways hard to swallow.
Hate me so you can finally see what's good for you.
Listening to them back to back, on repeat, it's kind of like a manic depressive on crack. Up, down, up, down, updownupdownupdown. Weeeeee.

Actually, I have to say, it's been a good day. Most days I'm finding it really hard to get anything done. No motivation. Lots of "If I just Lay Here" (another favorite song lately - but I'm too lazy to find the lyrics for you and I can't find it on Yahoo Music. It's by Snow Patrol, if it's really important - go steal it with Limewire ;) ) days. But if I make myself get up (I manage that with varying degrees of success) and get something accomplished, it really helps. So yesterday, I gardened. Well, actually, I ungardened. I dug out and removed an assload of big cacti along the side of my yard and did a lot of autumn pruning, all in anticipation of separating all my lilies and replanting a bunch of them where the cacti were. I'm also doing some mental planning for a new flower bed in my front yard, with an arbor and a bird bath, some dusty miller and some lilies and some wisteria and something that cascades (suggestions anyone?) and some annuals like maybe pansies. Lots of color and movement, and if I can get the damn stray cat to go away, maybe even some birds. Again, I love left overs, rescues, and freecycle, we have an arbor, got the bird bath for free through freecycle, the lilies have multiplied so much I could do my whole yard in them, the only we have a new rescue azalea bush, plenty of dusty miller to separate and use, Wisteria grows like mad on the road sides in the spring... I think all I'll need to buy is a flat or 2 of Pansies, and the cascading whatever thingy.

Today I spent hours blowing leaves. Scott is the yard guy, by way of owning the equipment and doing it for a living. I, however, just like to play with his tools, and the leaf blower is my favorite of his toys. It's mindless work, and it's loud, which means no one bothers even trying to ask you anything. It allows me to accomplish something while remaining in my own little detached reality. The leaf blower affords me the opportunity to have the best of both worlds. I accomplish something, feel productive, but without having to actually deal with reality or think too hard about what I'm doing. 'Tis good.

And now I'm immersed in music, with headphones, while blogging, and chair dancing. I'll probably crash later, but right now, I almost feel human (Haven't had a shower since I did the yard work so I don't necessarily smell human, but whatever) and life doesn't suck too bad for now.

Funniest thing I've Read Today

Funniest thing I've Read Today
on Rosie's Blog, in "Ask Ro"
Michael writes:
Since Britney is dumping KFed... should we now call him FedEx?

LMFAO! That is all.

click it, quick!

I no longer enjoy blogging.

It's too much like work, requires so much energy. I read as much as Bloglines (and y'all's settings) will allow, but surfing is too hard, and replies are completely beyond me a lot of times. I am tired, and numb. And it sucks that I feel like I've gotten worse rather than better. It's pretty "normal" in the context of grief to have a sort of honeymoon period before it all comes crashing down. I know this, I expected this, but it still sucks. I'm tired of being sad. I'm tired of feeling like a lousy wife and mother and friend. I worry that those of you who were there for me all along will think I'm just being ungrateful, or just an ass.

And yet, those worries don't change a thing.

So I come here and open a new post and the cursor blinks expectantly and I try to stare it down, but usually I lose and go to bed defeated. Sometimes I start a post, like this one. Type a while then realize I'm not making any sense or that my entry is so completely disorganized that it's mostly gibberish. Being a writer with a love of the revision process is my downfall lately. I still expect the quality, but haven't got the energy to acheive it, don't feel like proofreading and editing, so I either save as a draft or just close the damn window...

Anyway, I'm going to shut up before I become illiterate, hit publish post before I change my mind.

Lova you guys.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Give up

Monday morning I woke up early, and the frost made it abundantly clear that it was too cold to go rushing out for my first cigarette. By 9:30 though, the sun had gotten strong enough to melt the rime and I headed outside. I sat on the step and lit a cigarette and mulled over the implications of the day. It was cold enough that I was having trouble figuring out when it was smoke I was exhaling, and when it was just my breath. It was Monday. It was the 6th. It was the 7 month anniversary of Nova's death. Less than a month to his birthday. It all always degrades to that. 7 months later and I still count the days and weeks, I still wake up knowing the 2nd and the 6th without looking at a calendar. Sometimes what the head doesn't know, the heart does.

There is a line of trees at the back of the yard that separates us from the railroad tracks. It runs from the east corner of our yard to the west corner of the neighbor's, and it's grown too tall to block the noise of the trains, the branches are too high above the noise to catch and hold it. The birds though, the limbs are perfect for the birds. And as I sat there sifting through the mental detritus, a birdsong filtered through. 2 actually. One coming from the tree directly in front of me, and one that answered from a tree on down the row. Dee dee dee doo.... dee dee dee doo. Dee dee doo... dee dee doo. Whatever the first said, the second repeated, syllable for syllable, until the fellow from the neighbor's yard fell silent. No matter how many times the first one called, all that returned was nothing. I don't know if I imagined it, maybe so, but the song seemed to grow sadder. The notes were the same, but they were somehow duller. He continued to sing. Over and over, over and over, but there was nothing.

There on my side porch, trying to decipher smoke from breath, my ass frozen to the concrete step, I cried for that damned bird, and for the brightness that had fallen from his song, and for the heartbreak of calling and calling, despite the absence. I cried for the pitifulness of his hope that if he just sang long enough, the other would return.

Later that afternoon Terra and I came home from lunch with Trish and some other women, and I gave Terra this toy I'd originally gotten to donate to the hospital on Nova's birthday. It's used though, and I can't donate it. Terra had heard it in the back of the van playing this obnoxious song, and when she asked what it was, I had told her that it was a toy for the babies in the hospital. When I gave it to her at home she recognized the song and reminded me that I'd told her what I was going to do with it. She played with it very happily, then looked up at me and said "Mommy, guess what!? Nova's gonna LOVE this when he sees it!"

Apparently, all this time, Terra was under the impression that he was still at the hospital, that we just left him there and stopped going to see him. She thought that he was still coming home and that all this talk of toys for the babies there meant we were going to visit him. I had to explain it all all over again, how he wasn't at the hospital anymore, that he wasn't ever coming home. I don't know if I believe in Heaven, but when she asked where he was that's what I told her. And she said, through big tears, "Dophalin had to go to Heaven Mommy? But whyyyyyy?"

He'd been gone 7 months to the day, but as far as she was concerned, she'd just lost her baby brother. She cried and cried and cried until she gave up and fell silent.

She was the second little bird I cried for that day. And damn it, I'm still crying. I just wonder when I'll finally accept that it's pointless to cry into the emptiness.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006



We all know it's out there. I'm not offended by (most of) it, and I'll even admit to enjoying a little of it ocassionally. I just happen to be of the mind that it should be enjoyed singularly, or with your partner. Am I wrong? Does an adult man who feels the overwhelming need to send out mass emails full of porn still get like cool points or something? Or is it as immature as it strikes me?

So Scott has this friend he races with in rFactor. They're a good bunch of guys and Scott loves his racing. But this one guy... I'm beginning to wonder if this guy isn't a teenager. You expect on some level for a teenage boy to be like,"Dude, check out this picture!" but as you get older, you kind of figure out that the other guys have already seen all those parts and pieces and positions, right? Don't you reach a point in life where you get over the urge to show off the pictures of the naked people doing things you only wish you could?

So anyway, this guy is forever sending forwards with porn. I always know when Scott gets one of these emails, because I hear this exasperated sigh from the other side of the room. It might be different if Scott actually liked getting the stuff, if he enjoyed the pictures or whatever, you know what I mean? Scott just isn't all that thrilled. He generally deletes them without opening them. He's asked the guy to stop sending it (Yes, really. I saw the email he sent.) but the guy just keeps sending it. I think it's kind of disrespectful to keep sending it if you've been asked to stop.

Maybe some day soon this guy will grow up enough to figure out that not every man who gets online is there to check out the porn.

Erin Monahan x12
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

God help them I hope they all have better luck than mine.

Yes, thank you for asking, I AM having a feel sorry for myself day. Terra is puking and shitting everywhere and has been for hours. She is NEVER sick, which means that A) I'm unprepared for the sudden mid-dinner onset of vomiting and B) she's finding it difficult to cope with being sick as she has no practice.

Those who have no children (or weak stomachs) stop here.

Still with me? OK, you were forewarned.

She at one point -in an unsuccessful run for the bathroom- wretched some unidentified lake of gunk in the middle of my dining room floor. Scott says "ewww" and I look at him like he's nuts (I mean, it's puke, gimme a break, right?) His reply was, "That sounded like it came out the other end too..." Being right up near the front end, enjoying the views and sounds thereof had masked any other sounds, and I missed the rear-end sound effects, but lo and behold, she'd no only puked all over, she'd left quite the odorific package behind her as well. Thank god for pull-ups. Unfortunately for me though, she's been dirty-diaper free for nearly 2 years and man did she/I/we really lose it over the shitty diaper idea. I was gagging, and she was yellin' "get it off me mommy, get it off!" I have two words for ya. Bath Time.


Plus my moods been rotten, the weather is yucky, my budget has been shot to hell by christmas shopping, and I'm anticipating QUITE the utilities bill this month, what with turning the heat on and all.

I've put in applications here and there, inquired about other jobs that wouldn't require actual applications... nothing. I've been a stay-at-home-mom for 2 1/2 years and apparently I've become unemployable. Like waiting tables is something a mother with 5 kids could possibly become out of practice for?

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Tarheel Tavern #89

+ Jude had a dream, a blogworthy dream - one to which she added photographs. Of it she says "It's all about missing a loved one who's no longer here." I have those dreams too Jude, thanks for sharing yours with us.
  • Also, Jude has moved to and those of you who have her blogrolled or bookmarked will probably want to update, lest you miss out on Jude's journaling!
+ Dave from Evolving Education had a meeting about the ABCs, and there was a special bonus portion of the meeting...

+ Marcus posts about programs in the community that improve health status and avoid or decrease "sick care"

+ Dave from AnonyMoses sent me a piece of political poetry called LET us vote then, you and I. Despite my love of poetry, I'm not typically one for political poetry, but this piece, well, let's just say I can relate.

+ ZhaK says school's out over at A Fine Dish. I'm very glad to hear that, aside from an Iguana and a snake, there were no major injuries.

+ Billy, who will be hosting our Tavern next week sends in a bit of poetry, but Beware, the B Word Cometh!

+ Laurie is travelogue-ing from Italy. I'll freely admit to being insanely jealous, but thankful for the opportunity to live vicariously through her ;)

+ Phillip, our outspoken cyclist, blogs about the lost art of exploring.
"part of exploring is noticing what’s there. The other part is making a connection with what you find."
How true that rings!

+ Screwy Hoolie did such a fine job of writing his own intro that I'm not even going to try to improve on it! He says:
"This post explains the powers given to President Bush in the latest Defense Appropriations Bill - an expansion of the power to declare Martial Law being the most disturbing. The post also describes a perfectly reasonable yet terrifically paranoid scenario in which one could be imprisoned during a period of martial law, held without a trial or representation, tortured, and Lord Knows What at the whim of an out-of-control Executive Branch.

The post is a little more "out" than usual for me, but the facts are worth sharing."
+ Trish of Bubbles and Baubles has posted some pictures of her kids (and one of our whole bunch) from Halloween. My nephew (The adorable little guy in red in the first picture) turns one this week, and I just wanted to show him off.

This just in!
This late entry is a blog I'm completely unfamiliar with, and don't think I've ever seen before. Truth be told, even after reading and reading, I can't for the life of me figure out if this blogger is from NC, but hey, they submitted through the carnival submissions form, which is pretty clear about what you're submitting to sO I'm just gonna go with it. Someone solve the mystery for me though eh? Who is Peace Moonbeam!?

And that concludes this weeks Tavern, as always, I'm happy to add late submissions so if you'd like to be included, just shoot me an email ( with the URL of your post and I'll gladly add it in!

As I said, Billy will be hosting next week, and I've had the pleasure of adding some new names on the Hosting schedule and if you'd like to add your name to the list of esteemed hosts, please let me know and I'll add you to the schedule for the Tarheel Tavern!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Need a favor!

Please vote for Jennifer Wong to win a $5,000 blogging scholarship. She's a student science blogger who needs the money to fund her education and her blog. Your vote can help deliver that!

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Halloween 2000
Look at all that blissful ignorance on my face.

Amazing what 6 years will do to you eh?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

My oldest boys

They'll both just DIE if they find out I'm posting these pictures

This is Tommy (17) and his date for Homecoming last night. He's the kid who wears his pants falling off, with as many holes as possible, and big nappy t-shirts. I haven't seen him looking decent in, well, too darn long. Mama was happy to see him in a suit :D

And this is him again, with his date, and my other son Kory (15) who was also dressed for Homecoming, only he's my crazy one - he didn't have a date, and he didn't care. He went and had a blast :) He too normally wears the most homeless-looking outfits you can imagine, and this may very well be the last picture I get of the 2 of them like this for years.

Of Loss

We kept a vigil for a long time for him, waiting for him to come back. Without him, we were a little lost.
~Sophia Landon Geier
Of Loss

The geese, like the seasons, are confused.

They dance the dance of butterflies
back and forth through Indian summer -
of sunrise and sunset, chasing light.

They, and Oakley Hall... They get it -
they grieve the loss of beauty and artistry,
and countless nameless things, but without knowing:

they are the art and motion of change
that defines the beauty that becomes of loss.


Just thought I'd post this so all of you could see what I see all day. I get on here and spend a lot of time staring at the Google homepage. I can't seem to find anything much I want (or have the energy) to do. As you can see, I'm always aware of the weather. Not just ours, but that in the town in NY where most of Scott's family lives. I keep up with the silly news stories because real news is too much for me. I keep up with our schedules here, because otherwise it'll be written on some random slip of paper that will get lost. Then there are my quotes. I love quotes. I know they say that a person who relies on quotes does so to compensate for the fact that they have nothing intelligent or interesting to say. Probably just as true in my case as in anyone else's lately. And then there is the long and greatly neglected list of bookmarks. . .

Yup. There it is. The useless, and rather boring, rundown of my homepage. That's all I've got. Wish it were poetry, but it's just blather.

Tarheel Tavern #87

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Tarheel Tavern #87 is up at Terra Sigillata!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Odd bits

Nova's birthday - December 2nd

Sagittarius November 23 - December 20
"the Archer" in Latin, called Toxotes in Greek.

The curiosity of Sagittarius is truly insatiable and the mental energy is always alert. Sagittarius is a wonderful teacher and student. Sagittarius loves knowledge, all kinds of people and often sports. Sagittarius is very frank and open with friends and lovers. This is sometimes viewed by others as inconsiderate. Sometimes Sagittarius finds it better not to marry.

Sagittarius says, "I see"

Sagittarius Zodiac Stones
Early Sagittarian (born November 23 - December 5)

Soul stone: any of the tourmalines. Born under this fire sign, you are action-oriented and very lively. Tourmaline gives off an electrical charge when it is warmed and is the ideal stone to match and propel your innate energy.

Power Stone: Amber Wear it or carry it with you for short periods of time. Ancients believed that this fossilized resin trapped the sun.

Heart stone: Chrysocolla This copper-rich crystal contains very intense life vibrancy and is helpful to direct energy in a purposeful manner rather than burn it up (as Sagittarians are prone to do!)
Tammy, whom I only know from a Yahoo grief support group called Grieving Hearts, but seriously just LOVE, has had an angel pin designed to commemorate her daughter Zoe. It's a beautiful pin, and has specific symbols that represent things that Zoe loved while she was alive. She emailed us a picture of the pin, and it's so perfectly Zoe. She had it designed by Rosemary's Angels. I'm considering having Rosemary design pins for us as well. The price is ridiculously reasonable.

I'd want 2, of course, on for Alexis and one for Nova. But I found myself trying to decide what I'd want on Nova's pin. One of those things was his birth stone. I'd never even looked up the December birthstone. In my travels, I found the above info about the different stones. Just scanning the info, I saw "Heart Stone" and clicked to see what it was. I really like that stone, and it's 'meaning' and it's the one I'd choose if I were designing the pin. Actually, I've been drawing it out in my head, and on paper, playing with the different components... I'd definitely want Chrysocolla to be the stone used though... Definitely.
I can't decide what kinds of toys to buy for the CVRU to deliver on his birthday. Any and all suggestions are welcome. I know DVDs for the older kids... cd players with speakers maybe... some children's CDs... but what toys should I get?

Thursday, October 19, 2006


I've gotten several emails lately. Some asking if I was OK. If you ask, I'm sorry, but I'm going to be honest. So don't ask unless you're fully prepared for the weeping and whining that are sure to follow. Fair warning. If you ask me how I am, the answer will most likely be "exhausted and broken." (Thank you Terri for putting it so perfectly)

I've also gotten a couple from people who seem wounded that I haven't emailed them, or even replied to their emails to me. I'm sorry for not writing, for not responding, for hurting your feelings. It isn't my intention, and I wish you weren't hurt. But I have to worry about my own feelings right now. Call it selfish if you want, but I have to worry about me more than you. I'm responsible for maintaining some shred of my sanity, no one else can do that for me. And I'm pretty busy doing that. No energy left to worry about much else. I hope that doesn't sound as ungrateful and insensitive to you as it does to me right now. But at the very least, I owe you all the honesty in that statement. I am too exhausted and broken to try to hold any of you up right now. I just hope that you can be ok with that, understand it and not ask it of me. My good friends, those dearest to me, I know they (you) understand, and won't ask me for more than I can give.

I'm doing a lot of posting at The women there are so so sweet, they're all local and we have events to attend. I need to do that - get out, go places, interact in real life. Oddly, it is partially their lack of direct knowledge of the details that helps, the fact that they weren't there when it was all happening. I go and talk and laugh and joke - without the constant weight of telling the story. I can pretend, for a little while, that it didn't happen. Avoidance.

Don't get me wrong, I've told them, they've read the newspaper stories, and if I fell apart in the middle of the monthly meet -n- greet, with my platter of strawberry crepes in hand, they'd be there to pick me up. But there is a certain allure to the fact that this Erin is the one they know - not the Erin from before. It simplifies things. They aren't sitting around wondering when I'm going to "be my old self again" like so many who've known me long term seem to.

I know my tendency (which is all too evident here in the blog world) is to withdraw and insulate myself. Playdates are doubling as sanity savers, park days are aversion therapy. Strange though, how I'm finding it so helpful to do something I'd have never thought to do before. Not really so strange I guess. Since Nova died, I've been doing all sorts of things I'd have never considered before.

December 2nd would be his 1st birthday. I want to do something to commemorate that, but a party just feels wrong. What I think I'm going to do is go buy toys to donate to the CVRU - crib toys and children's DVDs, for the kids to use in CVRU. I considered doing a toy drive, but I don't think I have the energy. Maybe next year.

It's been nearly one year since I gave birth to him, and most of that year has been without him. There is something inherently wrong with the universe, and lately, I think there is something inherently wrong with me. I feel detached somehow. From reality, from people, from my emotions. I am just empty. Too empty even to cry most days. I worry that I don't cry enough. And then I have a night like last night, when the whole world caves in after everyone goes to bed, and I sob uncontrollably for hours. And then I remember why I don't cry. It's so futile. It's all so damn useless. There is nothing I can do to change things.

It's been 6 months, 2 weeks and 3 days since he died, and I still sit in the dark with his teddy bear wishing I had him back. 6 months, 2 weeks, and 3 days, and he's still gone.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


This is Our Childrens' Memorial Walkway.
It's an area within Frazier Park.

Their dedication stone explains the purpose of this area, but it can't possibly give you any idea just how you feel while you're here. It's hard to remember that you're just a few blocks from Uptown, with its traffic and noise. It's so peaceful here. The walkway is brick, and every other brick or so is dedicated to a lost child, inscribed with a memorial written by the parents or other loved one.

Our block was dedicated yesterday at a ceremony held by CMC and the nurses of the NICU. Jerry and Skip Mudge, of Footprints Ministries, intended to surprise us with it during the ceremony. Unfortunately, we didn't know about the surprise (would have ruined the surprise eh?) and Scott had some last minute customers call and had to work, so we missed the ceremony. Instead, we met with Jerry and Skip today and they showed us our babies' brick. It's twice the size we thought it would be, and wasn't supposed to be installed until December. We had no idea that they intended to have it put in yesterday.

Jerry and Skip gave us the brick for free (it's normally $100) and the man who inscribed the wording is a local man (they're normally sent off to be done.) Jerry said he heard/read our story and offered to do the work for free. She also said it's the only brick the man has ever offered to do for free. That's what my babies do - they touch people, and the generosity they inspire never ceases to amaze me. Having lost two children, I can tell you about the void that's left behind, after their passing. But I can also tell you about the way my heart has been filled to overflowing by the kindnesses of people who've heard our story.

Jerry and Skip can tell you the stories behind each brick. Who it was that died and how, who it was that bought the stone in their name and why... I followed her around as she told the stories of the other children who are memorialized there. I managed not to bawl the entire time, but I was so so touched, so amazed at the stories. There's a brick there for Adam Petty (race car driver, son of driver Kyle Petty) one for Jon Benet Ramsey, one for the 2 sons Susan Smith drown - Michael and Alex Smith. There are benches dedicated to people, there are different areas for different groups - one for the SIDS Alliance of the Carolinas, one for the NICU of CMC, one for Mothers of Murdered Offspring. There are blocks for stillborn infants, for toddlers, children of all ages, including adults - we are all someone's child...

It's a beautiful place - full of life. Just a few feet from children squealing on swings and playground equipment. There was a cheerleading squad practicing, people playing and running and lounging. I will be going there often - that pocket of peacefulness in the middle of all the bustle of Charlotte.... My soul was fed there.

Our Children's Memorial Walkway:
Footprints Ministries:

Tarheel Tavern #86

The Tarheel Tavern this week has fallen again on to Poetic Acceptance, not that I mind, I really enjoy the opportunity to host. It gives me the chance to read posts that I might otherwise miss. And because I added a theme, it gives me some insight into how others interpret the theme I've announced. Sometimes I cheat and choose themes that can be duplicitous, just to get a feel for which way your minds twist. I wonder if I should have become a psychologist? Nah, maybe I need to start seeing one though!

So this week we have a new participant. Trish is new to The Tavern, but not new to NC. She's a life-long resident of Union County, and I've known her since I was 11. I know she's blushing as she reads this intro, and well, that makes me smile, because what are best friends for but to embarrass the other!?

Trish and I have similar feeling about the changing season, and the impending holidays, and for similar reasons. Visit Trish, my sister at heart, and see what the change of seasons means to her at Bubbles and Baubles.

Speaking of bubbles, you should see what Ron's been up to. He took a trip to Maine recently, and the change of seasons is something wholly different there than here. He's filled his Flickr with photos, and they're well worth the look. Autumn is different there. Colder, faster, and somehow, at least in Ron's view finder, it's more picturesque.

Ogre posted about one thing that, here in our area at least, is a sure sign that the seasons have changed. The leaves might not always change on time. The cold weather might not arrive on schedule, but by God, the Renaissance Festival always does, and when it does, Charlotteans know that, without a doubt, Fall has arrived.

Mr. R (isn't that just a supremely mysterious moniker?) submits a post about change, though not about the change of season, but that of a news story, and the sudden switch(es) in attitude as the truth of the situation became more evident. With a Blog called "Evolving Education" I'd think change is nothing new to Mr. R (Sorry, I just like saying Mr. R - I can hear the who-dunnit music in the background!) Read his thoughts on the plane crash in NYC, and the evolution of the reports.

Bora, the Tavern's founding father, is a science blogger. His field is chronobiology (is that the right word Bora?) The definition of chronobiology is the science or study of the effect of time, esp. rhythms, on living systems. What better place than his SEED blog to find commentary on the change of seasons and the effect of those changes on the world around us right? Well, if you know Bora, you know he's always one to throw you a twist ;) His post this week is about Elizabeth Edwards, a book signing, and a hug. It's not so much about change as it is about a difference. A difference in Elizabeth's personality that makes it possible for her, a celebrity of sorts, to know her fans' names, as well as those of their children. It's about a difference she's made (and is making) in her community, both online and off.

That's something I've noticed a lot more of lately. People who dedicate their lives to making a difference. I'm striving to become one of them, I hope I'm on the right track - and I'm using others' example to learn from. Jerry and Skip Mudge are two of those people who've set an example. I've written about them, and their mission, and how they've touched my life personally at Nova's Heart. Please take a moment to read, because I feel sure that I have local readers that might be interested in their work.

This next one is definitely about change. Billy (the Blogging Poet, the Christmas elf and pilot extraordinaire) is always showcasing everyone else's work, linking to their blogs, bragging about the things that other people do. That's what Billy does (other than poetry) is help everyone else get more exposure for the things they do. I've been the beneficiary of Billy's generous linkage many many times, but this week, it's Billy's turn to get some attention. It's video, it's awesome. Go. Watch!

Abel Pharmboy, another SEED Blog blogger, has made a post about a change in plans, one that really worked out for the best, despite the fact that he was "miserably pissed off." He might have missed the party, but I'd bet he loved that phone call. They do say all things happen for a reason!

And that concludes the list of submissions to this week's Tavern. But like Fall, this is not the end, but another beginning! Read on for the posts I swiped from various blogs who didn't email me a link ;)

Laurie has changed locations in more ways than one. Her URL has changed again, but so has her geographic location! Laurie left for Italy a few days ago, but she hasn't blogged about it yet! I'm dying to find out how awesome it is!

Waterfall knows she can imagine running 20 miles (which is a change from before!) but Friday, she did run 10 (and my hats off to her being able to!) On her 10 mile run (makes me tired just to type it!) she had the pleasure of some breathtaking views around Lake Junaluska.

has been experiencing plenty of her own changes lately. Wednesday's changes included green sisters, flying fathers, and one more. Congratulations Mandie! I've had my head up my own rump lately apparently, I didn't even know!

And Kelly posts about a story that entails a change of players

And this one - my last 'stolen' blog post - it is not about change at all. It is blissful in it's lack of change. It's so sweet that, even though it doesn't fit my theme at all, I sat for hours trying to find a way to make it fit the theme, and finally decided, you know what? I don't care that it doesn't fit, it's too beautiful not to include. Of course, at that point, I realized that it fits perfectly. It is about one constant through a lifetime of change. It is about weathering the seasons as they roll around and through and past. It fits because I say so, because it makes me smile. Go read.

See, wasn't it a beautiful post? A perfect moment to close the Tavern too.

Abel Pharmboy of Terra Sigillata has graciously offered to host the Tavern next weekend, but please, feel free to look over your schedule and ours, and let me know if there's a weekend that you'd like to host!