Monday, July 31, 2006

A Prayer from the Faithless

I cannot fathom what either the Israeli, or the Lebanese civilians lives are like. The concept of war on a personal, direct level is beyond my comprehension. There has not been a war on my country's soil in my lifetime. I have never seen or heard a bomb - never experienced carnage of any sort. I, in 34 years, have never walked up on the charred bodies of innocent children who died in the midst of political and/or religious unrest. These things are not a part of my insulated American reality. God help me, I sincerely hope that it never is.

I don't care that I will be considered a coward if I claim nuetrality, I cannot blame either the Lebanese, or the Israelis. The Hezbollah are the guilty ones - they, and their supporters, are the reason babies are dying, that toddlers are being drug out of buildings that have been descimated by rockets. They are cowards playing a psychological war with no regard for the lives of the civilian innocents. They know that those children are the greatest propoganda possible, and a far more accurate weapon than the unguided rockets they lob over the border into Israel.

I am sad that hundreds and hundreds of people have and are dying. I am sick, literally, at the sight of children covered in a light film of dust caused by the disintigration of the world around them, beautiful faces so peaceful, and so very dead. Dead at the hand of the Hezbollah, dressed in civilian clothes, firing rockets from the center of towns, amid freshly washed sheets, careless of those that will die because, in their minds, they are not murderers, they are martyr makers.

And aside from the knot in my stomach, the lump of grief I am feeling for the dead, and for the families of the dead, and the families of those whose lives continue to be in danger - I am amazed that anyone can still sit, high on their righteousness, spewing hatred and anger, ranting about vengeance and the deserved death of the enemy - and not see that they only perpetuate the hatred and the killing and the death.

May cooler heads soon prevail, may peace soon dam the fountain of hatred and bloodshed, and dear god, may the children please please soon stop dying.

tshirt redesign



This is the graphic that will be on the Team Nova shirts for the Heart Walk. (Click to enlarge) I've considered adding pictures of Alexis and Nova, but I'm afraid that I'd be unhappy with the quality.

I'm pretty happy with the end product, though I admit I've piddled with it for entirely too long before coming up with this.

So I'm off to Cafepress to add this to a tshirt. Want one? http://www.cafepress.com/erinmonahan

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Ringing of the Bards




This week's ringing is an adventure in Cybernia, and a very above average post for someone who claims to be an Average Poet

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Tarheel Tavern #75


Heard the Word of Blog?


Welcome to the Tarheel Tavern! That's right, it's a free for all There's no cover charge and no theme whatsoever! Thanks Ogre for the signage!

This is the 75th edition, can you believe that?! Well, let it be known that this, the 75th edition of the Tarheel Tavern is to be the occasion for much celebration, as we introduce our newest Tarheel Taverner. So, suds (as well as the seats) are free with a toast to Justin and the Missus. Congratulations are, indeed, in order.

So in light of our start here, with the entrance of a new life, we'll visit Laurie first at ...Slowly She Turned -a very living, very organic blog that calls the USDA on the carpet.

We've lucked out - or I've already had one too many drinks - because Billy (and his wingman) have 'flown' in... I wonder if we can beg a ride to get an aerial shot of the iceberg at My Blue Puzzle Piece? If not we'll have to hope that the bridge isn't out!

In which case, Waterfall's dear Elton (John?) will do us no good at all!

But then again, I should be more responsible than to consider leaving the tavern and hitting the road! I might just be the next Union County resident to acquire a blogspot mugshot and become a statistic.

So what do you say we just sit back down and talk about something worthwhile? Such as hiring a freelance writer to promote your charity? Kivi can tell you how to make that decision.

Or how about we sit down with Ron and discuss his charitable interests. Or, give me a second to talk about mine! Or maybe we could discuss a bit about art! Or ponder how to be more creative!

But more than likely, as is usually the case on a Saturday night when the drinking has started and the night grows long, it will be the fact that Bora loses his head over weird sex that comes up.

But that's ok, so long as that conversation is kept at a separate table from where Dave tells us how to cause the world not to end. That would be the same table where Jude discusses the option of a ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon.

But inevitably, much to Colonel Corn's chagrin, we'll all just run out of time and forget what the heck we talked about anyway!

Thanks for playing along folks. Billy will be hosting next week, because he's my hero, but after that I've got a few more empty weeks. So if you're willing and able, how about volunteering to host one weekend!
I forgot to mention in my post yesterday that my amazing wonderful unbelievably awesome sister, who has been fundraising on my behalf through her job, brought me a rather large donation yesterday. This was collected one handful of change at a time. She runs a local convenience store and has added a bucket at the counter, where people have been donating their change from their purchases, generally less than a dollar at a time, for a grand total of $152! That means, as soon as I get it deposited into my bank account so that I can donate it, I will have met the $2000 goal. Looks like today is the day to raise that bar again huh?

Bittersweet

I have been having those days lately. The crazy mood swing days. One minute I'm great, and the next I'm bawling. The crazy thing is that many of the teary moments have been good, happy tears.

I cried when I found out the newspaper reporter wanted to do our story. All I could think was how many people would get to know Nova and his story through it. You all know my philosophy that we're here to touch people, you all know how important it has become to me to fulfill that purpose for Nova. You've all watched this happen, the SuperNova Phenomenon.

Well, it continues. And it continues to amaze me. Nova is still doing good things, touching people's lives, and making a difference in this world.

See, I emailed the AHA representative that I've been dealing with since I joined the Heart Walk. I wanted to let her know that they intended to have cameras and such there with us the day of the walk. I knew that she'd been doing some much appreciated (and completely unsolicited) networking for me, telling other people about Team Nova, using his story at Team Leader meetings, letting other CHD families know about Team Nova when she spoke with them. I wanted to thank her for that, and ask her to please keep doing it, because I want this story to be a way to increase awareness in our area, and one way I'd like to do that is for there to be a picture in the paper of a large group of CHD participants all together at the Heart Walk. Who better to help me accomplish that than the rep that talks with all new participants? Especially when she's already made it so clear that she's so willing to do that, all on her own!

Well, she of course, because she's an absolute doll, agreed to do exactly that, and shared another story with me... One of the women who was at the Heart Walk Kickoff that we attended asked her specifically to share our story with her team members. She's really been wonderful to us, and I hug her every time I see her. I just love her to bits.

Well, today when she received my letter and found out about the newspaper story, she forwarded it to the media director for the AHA, who proceeded to call me and ask if I'd be interested in "other types of media coverage." As in television. She wanted to know if I'd be interested in doing an interview with a television station!

Of course I'd be interested!

You see what I mean about the SuperNova Phenomenon? I didn't approach anyone for publicity - this is all just part of Nova's presence. He's been such an inspiration, made so much of a difference already, touched so many lives and made such an impact, and I claim absolutely no responsibility, it's all just unfolded in front of me like magic.

His story, his beautiful little spirit has facilitated so much awareness, and so many opportunities.

And so yes, I've smiled and laughed, and I've smiled and cried, and I've just all-out bawled. I am amazed by these developments, overjoyed to be a part of all of this, unbelievably blessed to have had him in my life, and heartbroken to know that I lost such an awesome, powerful little soul.

Losing him left a gaping hole, and that hole gets bigger and bigger as I realize what he's still doing even after he's gone and what a force he'd have been if he'd lived, but by the same token, he's filling that hole up with all that his story is accomplishing.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A whole day!

Oy you're all in for a long post :-)

First, we met with the reporter today. She agreed to pretty much keep Poetic Acceptance out of the story and stick with Nova's Heart for the story. This is good news, as there is much here that my immediate circle and those who will be most interested in this story don't particularly need to read. I have moved some things to draft form, but I doubt I've moved it all. So that's a relief. I mean, my MOTHER is going to read this story, ya know?

She was, by the way, awesome. Very down to earth, and she even managed to get Scott talking, which means she must have used magic or some such thing. I've never seen him be so open about this stuff with a total stranger, and, I had the pleasure of hearing him answer the question, "What was it that attracted you to Erin?" and "And what makes you love her?"

I'm not telling you his answers, but I will tell you that he's always told me it was my ass that attracted him to me. That was not his answer today. Go figure. I will say that -for the record- in case anyone doubted it for a second, I adore my husband. He's been through a lot with me, for me, and because of me, and to be interviewed by a reporter was a huge thing for him. He isn't usually a talker.

Brendon started school this morning - he has the same 4th grade teacher that Kassi had. Small town, small school, not unusual I suppose, but it is the first time it's happened. He loves being back in school - god help him I don't know how he can when he has to catch the bus at 6am, but he does. He came home with the biggest smile today, and he looks adorable in the new school uniform, his little shirts are baby blue, and so are his eyes. He has his Daddy's eyes, which by the way, were the thing that attracted me to Scott, his eyes, in case anyone wanted to know.

I also got, and took, the opportunity to talk up Dr. Watts and Dr. Bensky, and the nurses, and the whole bunch at CMC. Whom, if I haven't said so lately, I adore, and still miss. I must make up an excuse to go visit!

I came home to email from Scott's sister, her NC vacation has been postponed, but not cancelled - and she and her husband made a donation this afternoon, I am now officially only $107 from my goal. Minus the money my sister has raised (is still raising) plus the money Gretchen has raised (is still raising) and the $32 that I have yet to apply to the donation page (thanks to 3-4 day electronic transfer times from Paypal to the bank!) Plus, all of August and part of September to continue to raise money, and a promise of a $500 donation on September 1st by one unnamed amaZing woman whom I've never met.

The story won't be out in the newspapers until after the Heart Walk... they want to use the Heart Walk as a photo opportunity, which is even cooler, because it will hopefully be an opportunity to get some shots of ALL the CHD families that will be there (Mika, Gina, all the support group families who come, and the fellow I met at the last AHA meeting, who wants to have a CHD area/tent at the Walk.) There is strength in numbers, and the more of us are there for the purpose of raising awareness for CHDs, the more impact the pictures will have.

So. Anything else? I have no idea. I'm all typed out, and I have a million (important) emails to send out to various people!

Fully

Fully

I know it is a trick of
low cloud cover and street lights,
some sort of urban smoke and mirrors,
but it's eerie to see the sky
glow white on a moonless midnight.

There are river rocks in my pocket
onyx, smooth as glass -
silent reminders against my thigh
unlike this heaviness
that hovers over me,
this inexplicable tightness
I can't shake.

I've learned to be comfortable
with my inner idiosyncrasies,
come to appreciate the peace
found in a patch of toadstools
and the sadness in spring.

There is no less beauty
in dying than in life
and I've chosen to love one
on my way to the other.

What's at Stake

I'd had 3 book orders, so I was going to donate the sales to the Walk. Unfortunately, for some unknown reason, my card was denied, so I'd gone into my Paypal account to see exactly what I had to work with in there and what the friggin' problem was. I still don't know why Paypal denied the transaction, but I did discover that another order had come in that Paypal never told me about. (Bunghole Paypal!) So I just transferred it all to my bank account and I'll make the donation for all 4 from there when it shows up in that account. Redtape and technology eh? Anyway, I'll be adding $32 and 4 new names to the scrolling box in a few days. That'll bring me up to $1900. That other $100 to the $2,000 is already guaranteed, so it's just about time to raise my goal. I'm upping it to $3000, the total of the team goal. I want to be sure Team Nova raises at least that much, because we've made that much of a commitment.

We meet the reporter tomorrow. I'm really not the slightest bit nervous about meeting her and talking, answering questions, whatever. This is the part I'm excited about, this is the part that's important to me. Putting a face (or 2) to congenital heart defects. Statistics are easy to ignore, until they're wearing a sweet little smile and a pair of baby blues. I want the world to look into those eyes and understand that thousands of lives are at stake here.

I don't know how I earned this honor, but I am committed to it, with or without a newspaper story - this is just an extraordinary bit of luck, and I try very hard not to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Of course, I have no idea what to wear...

We did some more school shopping tonight, and I was not so lucky as last time. Four pairs of shoes, a backpack and some school supplies... Grand total, way more than I spent on Kassi and Bren's whole wardrobe. Ah well, they can't go barefoot. I had to get Bren's shoes tonight, since he goes to school in the morning, already. But Kassi's and Kory's went on layaway. Gotta get them while they're hot. Wait another 2 weeks and all that'll be left is flip flops and fashion disasters. The older 2 don't go back until the end of August, so they will live without them for another week or 2.

We've learned the benefit of using the self-checkout lanes at Walmart, and of course, that's what we did tonight. Unfortunately, we forgot that Terra was holding a lollipop and proceeded to walk out with it. You'll all be happy to know that I took it back in and paid for it, thereby teaching the children a lesson about the importance of honesty, and avoiding the woes of having a 3 year old with a $0.47 shoplifting charge on her rap sheet. I mean, as a minor, I'm sure her criminal records would expunged, or at the very least sealed, when she reaches adulthood, but I wouldn't want to take such a chance with youngest daughter's future for the sake of saving a few steps back into Walmart Shopper Hell... Right?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

For my Knitting Readers

I know I have knitters in my pool of regular readers, and this post is bound to interest you! See this yarn? Drooling yet? (I am, and I don't even knit!) Would you like to have this yarn?
  Posted by Picasa

Then you'll want to see Gretchen's amazing wonderful huge-spirited post. She told me she had a plan, she told me a little about it, and I loved the idea, I loved that she had the idea, and now that she's gone and done it, I'm a little bit at a loss as to how to even describe how I feel. Yeah, Erin, speechless. Who'da thunk it. Just click, read, tell Gretchen how awesome she is - and spread the word eh?

I just keep being amazed by how my little man has, and continues to, touch this world and the people in it. And that's the second time I've said that today, so it's been a huge day on the Nova front. An emotional one for me, but in such a heart warming way. I have been made very aware today of how right the things I'm doing are. I'm encouraged and reassured that Nova's purpose is being fulfilled.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Oy!

So I've been insane about cleaning crazy stuff lately (closets that haven't been opened in months, cabinets, contemplating powerwashing the exterior...) and I kept saying it was like nesting, like a pregnant woman does when she gets close to delivering. You know, the house has to be spotless for the arrival of such an important person! Ya think maybe it was some weird ESP thing, like subconsciously I suspected the arrival of the newspaper people?

Yeah, me either. Sorry, just trying to find excuses for my sudden insanity and OCDism. And lord knows I've got a ton of things that I should have been cleaning other than closets no one will ever see. Pffft. Why wasn't I steam cleaning my carpets or de-lacing my corners!?

Yeah, y'all might not be seeing much of me, I've just thought up about 3000 hours worth of cleaning projects that simply must be done!

Newsworthy?

During our time with Nova, several people emailed me and told me that they'd contacted various news outlets, suggesting that our ongoing experiences would make for a good human interest story. The first contacted The Charlotte Observer via phone from a very far away Midwestern type state, having fallen in love with the story of Nova's angel bear that Ang sent to me. The editor contacted me at the time and said that she would pass along the idea to several reporters who might be interested, but I was never contacted by said reporters.
I was, at a later time, emailed again by another woman who contacted The Charlotte Observer, but at that point, I didn't hear a word that gave me any indication that there was any interest, and so, I assumed there was none and thought no more about it.

This morning I got an email. Guess who? Yep, The Charlotte Observer, and they are very interested in doing a story. As in, we meet with the reporter at a local restaurant on Thursday at noon. I don't know if I'm more excited about having the opportunity to tell Nova and Alexis' stories for the sake of raising awareness, or if I'm more terrified at the concept of having a news crew in my living room! You guys know how weird I am about having people in my house! I mean, it's in horrible shape, and I'm too broke to renovate and redecorate in the next 2 days... But she wants to do an in depth story not only about Nova and Alexis, but of our family and our journey through all of it. I've had a knot in my gut since I read the email. I don't know how to do this. I am a notably un-newsworthy person. She said the last time I was in the newspaper was when I was in a car wreck (the one that freaked me out so badly that I still don't drive...)in 1988.

So, we'll see how this goes. Y'all know me. I can't keep my mouth shut about anything and I'm sure you'll get regular updates. Assuming, of course, that I eventually start breathing again.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Rich

Scott's online life and mine never intersect. He races and blows things up, I write poetry and babble. Venus and Mars you know. And his friends have never shown any interest in me or mine, and I never expected them to. Doesn't seem like NASCAR fans or Battlefield 2 players would have a lot of interest in poetry or the gripings of a lunatic poet/mother anyway eh?

But when Scott told his friends about Nova, he referred them here if they wanted the details. One of them did, and left comments and emailed me a time or two. He's a really sweet guy who surfs at work (it's ok, he owns the place!) And I've learned to recognize his IP in my stats. Sorry, I always smile when I know he's been here, for no reason other than the fact that it says to me that the guy thinks enough of Scott to come here and read about how things are going for Scott and I since Nova's death.

Call me cheesy, I don't care, but I think that makes him a damn good guy, which is why we intend to meet him in September on our way through to Troy.

Well, this friend of Scott's lost his mother last week. From what I gather, it wasn't an unexpected loss, but I don't think you can ever really prepare yourself to lose someone, especially a parent. So, I've been thinking a lot about Rich the last several days, hoping he's OK, and wishing I could do something for him. I'm too familiar with the process of grief to believe that there's anything in the world I could do for him that would really help any, but I can wish, you know? I mean, your mom is your mom. She's always been there. My mom and I don't always agree on things, but I cannot imagine the hole it would leave to lose her.

So he hasn't been around for a few days, Scott and the guys haven't seen him, and I haven't seen him in my stats either. So I worry about him. It's what I do, one thing I'm good at, worrying. I hope he's ok. I hope he finds some peace, a measure of comfort. I hope that he knows Scott and I are thinking of him and sending warm wishes his way while he's going through all this.

Hope you're well Rich - sending a big southern hug your way.

words do not.

I thought I was going to write a poem tonight. Instead I sat here staring at the screen contemplating things there are no words for. I spent some time hitting "next blog" and found a blog whose URL and name I've now forgotten. The most recent post was that of a 59 year old woman saying goodbye to her friends and making peace with death. Her cancer had taken all hope away, and left her with regrets, and a hospice nurse. I came back then, to the empty screen, cursor blinking, positive that I'd write, I'd find a way to decompress, let all the festering shit in my head out.

The urge comes. The words do not.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Absolutely nothing

Well, moontown cafe sure looks pretty now eh? Of course, I no longer have my MTC mail account, which means all sorts of important stuff is bouncing back to wherever it came from because the account no longer exists. Seems they switched email servers, which creates a whole host of problems for those of us that have had MTC mail for years, and used it as the address used when we signed up for stuff (as in, there are 100 places that I can no longer use the "lost your password" retrieval service should I need to.) Lovely. And of course, there was no prior warning so I didn't have the option of getting those accounts changed over to a different email account. I also lost my premier membership status at MTC, so I can't view a good part of the site.

All byproducts of well-intentioned but misdirected brilliance. I'm feeling pretty much done with it.

There was a beautiful storm last night. It was a large storm, not a small sudden cell, which means that the lightning was beautiful, and the thunder was huge and slow, and seemed to rumble across miles and miles of sky. Scott and I sat on the porch, watching and listening for a while. It wasn't a violent storm, the rain didn't fall in torrential sheets, the lightning didn't come in quick succession, it was slow and peaceful, and very Zen. It was nice.

The clouds and some rain linger today, and, at least earlier, it wasn't so oppressively hot. Unfortunately, this afternoon, the storms-in-the-area sinus headache has hit, and I can't get rid of it.

My 'nesting' continues though, the bathroom is spotless (ok maybe not spotless - I probably missed a spot somewhere, and I'm still not going to eat from the floor behind the toilet or anything but hey...) I can still see the bottom of my laundry hampers, and there's no pile of unfolded jeans in the chair in the living room. I've even taken to making my bed, which I haven't done since I was a little kid. The first thing I did when I got up was clean the dining room. And while sitting outside later, I realized that my strange newly developed OCD is reaching new highs when I decided I wanted to bleach one particularly shaded area of the outside wall of the house because the brick is growing some green substance that looks startlingly like mold of some sort. I stopped myself before I started because I knew if I did that one spot, I'd soon find myself with a spray bottle, bleaching the entire exterior, lest I have one spot cleaner that the rest. I'm considering a pressure washer as we speak...

Ang, I'm going to work out the details of the train a little later, I really think I can do it. I'll let you know!

Carnival Heaven


Heard the Word of Blog?


Moomin Light has opened the Tavern!




And Clear Candy Daily has set the Ringing of the Bards on stage.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

just the 2 of us...

When I got up this morning, I knew I had the shower to look forward to, and I was looking forward to it for the most part, but I'd be lying if I denied having some worries and reservations. Luckily none of my concerns were realized, and it was a good time. Several people backed out at the last minute, some for work, and some for the beach (how rude is THAT!?) but all in all there was a decent crowd, April racked up on gifts and the games were a hoot. We got a thousand and one pictures with the disposable cameras, but they aren't developed yet, so you'll just have to be patient until my sister gets them developed and I can con her out of a copy of the good ones. Everyone loved the watermelon (she said proudly as she curtsied and patted herself on the pointed little head) and I think there are probably 20 pictures of it.

I made enough food for the original 25 guests, and probably overdid it even for that sized crowd, so there was a lot of food left over, but there were no dishes that no one touched, so I guess none of it sucked. :-) I'm not really all that domestic, so for me to have made all that food, and managed to have NO sucky ewww-I'm-not-touching-THAT dishes, it's a miracle. You know the dishes I'm talking about right? The one that Aunt Helga brings that looks like creamed snot with some unidentified crusty stuff on top that smells like feet and dirty dog that no one is brave enough to taste...

The games were a hoot, and I'm pretty sure I got a picture of my mother with her nose in a diaper. How awesome is that, a picture of your mother sniffing a diaper. Awesome.

When I got home, pretty much all hell had broken loose. Kory and Mom had gotten into it (before she left to come to the shower), Tommy lied his ass off and completely disregarded and disrespected my wishes while I was out, and all five of them proceeded to bitch and complain and fight and argue after I got home. I proceeded to bring the rum out and now, well, I'm still typing, but I have to close one eye sort of. I had one drink for Eve's discharge the other night, but I'm tying one on tonight, just because I can.

I forgot to get the $70 in donations from my sister's customers while we were at the shower today, but I had a donation/book sale come in while I was gone. So, as you can see, the total has been updated. I'm SO close to the goal! I mean, there's a guaranteed $94 waiting to be applied, which leaves a meager $38 to go to my $2000!

There's one guy that participates every year that raises amazing amounts of money, over $30,000 last year. He's the top fundraiser this year too so far. He's raised well over $6000, which is awesome. But his little blurb on his page is sort of rude to me. He says he wants support so he can surpass his goal, and remain the top fundraiser for the area. Doesn't that seem like a misdirected motivation? I mean sure I enjoyed seeing my name in the top 5 fundraisers box for a while, but it isn't why I'm doing it, and if it were, I don't think I'd admit it, or use it as my motivational blurb to entice people to donate. Maybe it's just me, but probably not, since Scott was the one who saw it in the first place and it bothered him so much that he pointed it out to me.

So maybe it's just us.

blah

For the record: 2 1/2 hours. That's the amount of time I spent on the watermelon art. I had a blast doing it. It was creative, I didn't screw it up, I got to use a melon baller for the first time ever and it came out pretty. All around a rewarding experience. Now I'm hoping I don't drop it before I get there tomorrow.

After hours of cooking, slicing, dicing (oh the sandwiches are CUTE too, no pics though) followed by dinner and dishes and another load of laundry, I sat down to make a list of the things I need to take - otherwise I will forget something, it's how it is. I realized that I forgot to buy any drinks! I'm in charge of food for this shower, and I forgot the drinks?!

Part of me is really looking forward to the shower. I haven't ever been one to spend a lot of time away from my kids, unless I was working, but tomorrow is an all girls, no kids bash. It's bound to be fun. There is a part of me though that worries that I'll fall apart in the middle of it. I know it isn't going to be easy to watch her opening all the gifts for the baby boy she's expecting.

Anyway. Sunday we're going to the flea market to sell stuff. My sister has been collecting donations for me and has a $70 donation to give me tomorrow, and there's $24 in book sales waiting to be applied so I'm actually only $67 from my $2000 goal, but there's still $970 to raise after that to meet the team goal. I'm hoping to manage that fairly quickly so I can raise my personal goal again. $500 at a time until I run out of time and donors and doors to knock on. There are things in the works, plans in the making, donations promised and projects in the planning stages by other people that want to support this cause. If I can raise the other $970, I can redistribute the extra 2 grand into Scott's/the kids' names so that they all get their t-shirts. I'll feel really badly for the kids if they don't raise $100 each at least. If they don't, they don't even get the AHA t-shirt. They've tried so hard to raise funds and this is so important to them. They deserve a blasted shirt just for having the heart to want to walk.

I'm pretty sure there were things in particular that I wanted to say, but I'm falling asleep sitting here so I'll post more tomorrow. Maybe some of it won't be nonsense and uselessness like this post has been!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Ok so my camera won't flash in the dark, whites out when it's used outside. It eats batteries like crazy, which it never used to do. It doesn't always focus very well, and sometimes it won't even turn on. These, my friends, are as good as it gets. Enjoy.


Knitting a blanket of prayers

Gretchen is one of my favorite bloggers and one of the sweetest people I've met through blogging. She even agreed to an arranged marriage between her youngest daughter and Nova. If only...

Anyway, Gretchen has started a project in response to a letter from a life-long friend, who has been through the heartbreak of infertility treatments and unsuccessful attempts at having a baby through various methods. She has finally decided on adoption, and is searching for a baby right now. Please go to Gretchen's blog and read the letter - you might just know the person they need to meet.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

WTF!?

WTF!?
Check out the "anonymous" commenter on this post

Salsa con Queso

Salsa con Queso
plain ol' cheese, with a little spice

Today has been laundry day, as if there are days in this house that aren't laundry days. Actually, I've been a little 'backed up' and had enough to choke a giraffe and woke up with some strange need to get it all done. I tried to pass it off as gas, but that wasn't helping me find my laundry room floor, or my last pair of underwear (haha as if!) so I devoted myself to housework. Great thing about laundry, it lends itself well to multitasking.

I figured while I was up, I may as well clean the livingroom and do some dusting, ok not really, but I did clean up the toys, and did some dancing. Terra got a My Little Pony something-or-other toy for her birthday, and it plays music. One song, repeatedly, and she loves it, especially if she can con someone into dancing with her. I'm a push over. I can't resist the unadulterated joy in her little face when I'm spinning her around and I'll even admit that I think it's adorable when she pokes her little butt out and sings "shake your booooo-teeee!"

So, back to laundry, that's the bad thing about laundry, you have to keep going back to it. Into the washer, out of the washer, into the dryer, out of the dryer, then everything's all warm and fuzzy. All that in and out stuff, kind of sounds like white load porn eh? Speaking of which, what's the deal with the washer-on-spin-cycle perversion thing? I was folding a load and the washer went of balance, but I didn't want to stop folding long enough to redistribute the sopping wet laundry so I just leaned against it to stop the noise while I was folding. It might have been enough to turn me on a little, but definitely not enough to, you know, fluff my whites or brighten my colors. Maybe I was doing it wrong.

Today I also received my latest eBay purchase: cookie cutters. No, I don't bake, you all know me better than that! They're for the baby shower for my niece, they're shaped like baby bottles and baby carriages. I think they'll make cute finger sandwiches with different meats and cheeses. I also bought a watermelon. I'm going to make a watermelon baby carriage fresh fruit basket sort of like this. How artsy-fartsy of me eh?! Yeah, we'll see...

I wish I had a camera that worked, I'd take pictures of all my culinary creations (or culinary crises) for your viewing pleasure.

on the rise

The AHA Heart Walk is what I use to fill the void, it has become my baby - it is, as I've said before, the only thing I know to do right now to have some part of him in the practical world that lives on.

I am so emotionally attached to it that when donations stall out (I had two more book orders last night/this morning! YAY!) I take it personally. And I find myself wondering how I'm going to feel after September 16th, when the walk is done, and I don't have that anymore to pour myself into (or to pour into myself really.) I sincerely hope that I find soemthing else to do with myself between now and then, or that I am in a better, less needy place by then.

It's kind of weird thinking about it the way I do though, it's almost like I'm contemplating "Empty Nest Syndrome" or something... if that makes any sense, which I'm sure it doesn't... Well, it does in my head, but my brain is a little twisty lately.

So I heard from my sister last night. She has one of our posters and one of the fliers and has them hung near the register, with a jug, at the store she runs. In a week, 7 days, she's managed to raise $50 just from customers adding their change - she's aiming for $100! How awesome is that? Not just the $50, which I'm obviously thrilled about - but that she's willing to support me that way. She's already made a donation herself, and gotten two of the other local business owners to make donations too. She's been trying to get her boss to donate, but I guess he isn't feeling led to do so. My point is that she's the only member of my family (aside from my husband and kids of course) that has shown any sort of support. My other siblings haven't even acknowledged that I'm doing this.

So anyway, the total above doesn't reflect that $50 (or maybe $100) or the two book orders that just came in because I don't have the $50 - and I can't make online donations for less that $25 (so I have to apply the book order money 4 books at a time) but the actual total right now is $1905 (maybe even $1955!)

cross posted

It's yer turn Elm

This piece was written for me by Clifford Duffy of Taking the Brim. It isn't often that there are poems written for me, and it is even rarer that they bring me to tears. I won't explain this piece, not a bit because that is the magic of Cliff's style - the freedom of it, free, like he is, of constraints and definitions, which is exactly why I love his poetry (and him) the way I do. I love it, I love that Cliff thought enough of me to write it, and to put so many of my private (or maybe not so private after all!) bits, my thoughts and experiences and beliefs, in it. To explain it would be to define it, delineate the lines of it - to tie it up and choke it. So read it, interpret it for yourself, however it describes itself to you. That is the joy of poetry - the way it lends itself to each reader's unique frame of reference.

Enjoy!

It's yer turn Elm

Oh So it's yer birthday sun nights moon rises
shelves filled walls timber tremble like, like what?
(turn turning yer turning over)

a simple season of grief and renewal
upsurged around mouths which matter
and it's like this across the big city called Life
how it works and doesn't and does poetry matters
heart matters hearing matter touch matters
the breeze of its distance the city North America
(fortress or haunted castle)
big city populated by doubts, dears, shores, or harbours,
(allegories, symbols, histories, forgotten genealogies &
secret filiations)
babies gone to that other world
where we matter and don't
Eternity's pediment


& we matter or don't do and do in the doubt called Sky
or it hurts not connecting the sense of it
hanging some foot in the void
or absence not clicking
the hard of hearing the hard deaths,
the long ones and other ones, too
their hearts scraping the bottom
when the seven hussy seas ring your name Elm
their hearts baking across heaven
the continent's destiny
its heart rigging the gerry-backed ringing night and
knots of frills and dances or carry-overs
one life to another we're not sure what it means,
but it hearts, yes hearts, not hurts. hearing from one body to another
imagined lives and curses which kiss gathered by the tribes we see
and your recent grief untold and telling its terrible pill
pulled by the swallow of its bitter ending
yet other heavens reach a hand
coming from the earth upward
and in your body a song
sailor's sea trampling
overboard in the sunset of their love & each of us
hears the Ear which yells calling word to our flesh
flesh to our wound the undone baby in the dark &
others we don't know in this crazy planet of adjectives and doves
or take the incense burning burning cutting the edge of scent
or the heart's altar inching on the edge eternity & its Eye


How to find an honest poem in its going of coming and saying
its heart pelt the ruin of time the rigging of ships
our bodies sweep in the stone face of the mansion of a glance to earth
rare ward up and walking the daily dime of its truancy
we can't speak to its naming

Or fill its heart shatter of wordless star
of further dark
lighter dark
bright dark gleaming
heading heading always
the lion and panther
its heart seizing instant


(girding the hour of replay
parlaying the loves we know and speak,
those we don't speak
whispering the hulk of night's ship)


but begin again we do
beggars of nobility hipped up in the garnering sand of its tranquility
street heart of your vases theirs & mine too
huckstered by the soft spot eternity



II



And eternity matters as it rambles down the page long lines
staring back at our mortal selves body decaying
then, calling us
earthly creatures yearn for eternity's mile
angel head of a million quilts
the pierced peace we seek
a broken stage for our old tomatoes

where the gods've grown tired
the ones we've made & unmade
immaculate fairy tale of love


America America Canada Canada the women the men flowing
flooring back and forth
lakes the rivers buckling down the steam of engines
their passes No one undestands any of this
the wars "the wars" never end
the wicked men in the war rooms
war machine and the dead
the dying the thousands never named
the wounds I won't name
we'd be here all year,
naming whose wounds,
the hours of their staining, theirs ours
ours theirs hours of there
of fair and
share of hour of wound of ours
theirs is ours




But Elm you are a tree banking the river
words wooden watts worrying the tender teas of time
( a county plugged into the city's kora)
eternity's a long way from home
our steps live the everyday
lake at your lips
water tasting your breast
river swishing your hip
breaths at your thighs
the miracle wander of flesh in body
each hankied day we wake


cringe and cry the wandering seven seas
the body's pressed caked eternity and the thousand sighs


that end and begin
& end again


nuptials of bliss
on the beam of becomings
humdinger on the pistils of blossom




III
(thoughts after and ward)





She said

"And I believe that I'd like to be reincarnated as something with wings,
some beautiful flying thing...

does it work like that? I don't know."



I know I know
I know knowing knowing
its knowing


then I thought she is
she is
a flying thing
flung incarnated
in the present of its now

it goes going breathing dying breaking
rain snow plink plank of give breath
birthing

yours

Thank you Cliff!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

To the World Leaders

To the World Leaders
for the dead, the dying, and the condemned


You've seen the pictures:
.....photographs whose flesh can't crumble
..........beneath makeshift sheets -
.....images that won't rot or reek
..........or raise cheers from beyond the wall.

You've read the words, but not heard
.....the voices or the sirens wailing
..........before fire balls fall into the streets
..........where children played - where mothers
.....paw and pray over their still remains.

You looked beyond the window
.....before bombs and blowflies
.........were called to do god's work,
.....before the bones were hung,
..........like pale and brittle curtains, shading the view.

It was easier then to look away from featureless faces
.....to pretend that God is Love
..........but how, now, do you not recognize the faceless skulls
.....that are the face of self-righteous hatred?

Lebanon V Israel

I keep posting about the Lebanon v Israel conflict... I can't even pretend I have any knowledge or real understanding of it. I sucked in History class, and I'm having a hard time finding information now that isn't biased one way or another. But I have been trying to read as things happen, keep up with things at least on the level of current events. Lots of blogging going on about the situation for sure. Several of the blogs (writing/poetry blogs, all) I've added to my bloglines have a personal interest, a personal connection to the this war though. I thought I'd link to them, and a blog I've found through one of them so that you could all read some of the things they've said. It's easy for us to turn away, we're here, and those are not people they are countries or groups or foreign sounding words that we hear on the news...

I don't know enough to know who is wrong or who is right, who deserves the land or who doesn't... but I can't sit in denial about what's going on. Watch this, and see if you still can:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTBZPBJROhU
or look at these pictures:
http://lebanonheartblogs.blogspot.com/2006/07/no-comment.html
And pretend they aren't real people...

Read the words of those who are from Israel, from Lebanon, those who are still there, or who have flown back to be with family members that are still there, and from those who are here, in America, watching as their homeland is destroyed:

http://allkindsofwriting.blogspot.com/
http://carmenisacat.blogspot.com/
http://losing3it.blogspot.com/
http://archmemory.blogspot.com/

A more "newslike" perspective from the Israeli side:
http://www.iris.org.il/blog/
A few days ago, I was oblivious, blissfully ignorant and pretty damn comfortable, thinking of it all as some far away place, some far away conflict that had nothing to do with me. Now I just get more outraged, more saddened, with every thing I see or read, and amazed how people can be complacent enough to continue to ignore it all.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Israel and Lebanon

When he thought no one was listening, Bush said of the situation in Israel and Lebanon:
"See the irony is that what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this s--- and it's over," Bush told Blair as he chewed on a buttered roll.
Yup, that's the answer, call in more troops from more countries!! Are there still people anywhere that don't believe that Bush loves war? Read the whole story on Yahoo News

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Friday, July 14, 2006

Israel and Palestine

I don't like to discuss politics in a public forum such as this. I also shy away from overtly religious discussions. This post breeches both subjects. I'm talking about the fighting between Israel and the Palestinians.

Scripturally speaking (via the bible) the land in question is Israel's. The Israelis have always claimed and fought for the land based on their religious beliefs, but only in 1948 were the legal boundaries drawn.

The Palestinians have claimed the land as theirs for many many generations, I don't know the date, but for centuries, the Palestinians have lived on the land that they're fighting for.

You see, way back when, there were not boundaries and preset lines. There was no sign in the desert that said "Now Leaving Palestine" or "Welcome to Israel!" A people could basically set up camp and call the land their own, and that, by my limited understanding, is what Palestine did, way back then, when that's how things were done. There was some land in the desert where no one lived, the Palestinians came along and settled it. Generations of the Palestinian people have since lived in and fought for the land that their ancestors settled on. Then Israel says, WHOA!! Hold up! God promised us this land, it's ours, it's always been ours! Get out!

Well, Muslims don't recognize "God" or his laws or declarations. So they continue to believe that the land is theirs, and defend it. Why wouldn't they do exactly that? We have. We came over, claimed some land, and called it ours. There were no signs that said "This is Apache Land" or "Welcome to Navajo Territory!"

What would you do if, one day, or Native Americans declared that their religion, a religion completely different than the one you believe, said that the United States was theirs? If they filed some paperwork, kicked you out of your home, out of your country, and that's just how it was? Too bad, we were here first (yeah, but but... my great great great great grampa filed paperwork!!!) Wouldn't you fight for the land that you had always known as yours? Would you just turn tail and go? Of course you wouldn't.

So who is right? The Jews or the Muslims? What takes precedence? The claim Israel has according to their religion? The fact that the Palestinians have "owned" the land for eons? The decree of 1948 that states that the land is Israel's?

The two sides will never agree, there is no peace to be had. Both sides want 100%, no chance or option of compromise. There is no answer, no right or wrong that both sides can agree on, and it all comes down to religion. Christianity does, and always has, claimed supremacy. Islam has always been in a defensive stance.

I know nothing of Islam. I know a little of Christianity. I can't say I agree or disagree with either one. But why does either religion have the right to force itself on a people who believe differently? The whole thing makes me sick.

I admittedly know very little of the religious or political history involved here, and I've been doing some research, online and off, into it. While doing so, I've found the following links I'm finding pertinent -from various viewpoints and varying levels of rationality:

http://www.clivejames.com/Text/Prose/Articles/Clive%20James/On%20Anti%2DSemitism/
(thanks Martin - damn good read.)

http://carmenisacat.blogspot.com/2006/07/message-in-bottle-genie-and-arabian.html

http://carmenisacat.blogspot.com/2006/07/war-well-war-is-weird.html

http://americannepali.blogspot.com/2006/07/palestineisrael-hezbollahsyriairanis.html

http://mikegulf.blogspot.com/2006/07/not-everyone-in-palestine-iran-or.html

Cenotaph with Audio


powered by ODEO
Cenotaph

I stroke your crumbled bones,
sun baked and weather-worn
in a desert graveyard.

I fondle the ivory relics of your name,
beat them into the earth
with the drums of my feet.

You don't answer.

Have you forgotten, in sewn-eyed darkness,
or do you still whisper,
as I do, in elephant songs?

Tarheel Tavern

So Waterfall is hosting the Tavern for us this week, and she's decided she wants people to send in posts about times when they were in an embarrassing or crucial situation. Well if you know anything about me, you probably suspect that my past is chock full of embarrassing moments.

You'd be right.

See, embarrassing moments run in my family, mostly because we like to cause them for one another. I remember the first time I ever saw the ocean. We'd planned a family vacation to Myrtle Beach, and I was pretty excited to be going to "The Beach" for the first time ever. We got there in the evening and went straight to dinner. I didn't even see the water until after dark -high tide, full moon low on the horizon- it was pretty awesome. Anyway, the next morning we headed out to do what it is that kids want to do at the beach: everything.

First stop, Wings, for a new bathing suit. I was, I don't know, 13? I bought the sexiest bathing suit I could con my mother into. I was a super model in my black one-piece with the belly cut out... It looked sort of like a bikini, but the 2 pieces were held together with big silver rings, and whatever the material was, it looked like leather. It was oh-so-80's, and in retrospect, it was a bit remniscent of the S&M crowd...

Anyway, needless to say, I was hot - flat chest, knobby knees, NO tan, struttin' my stuff down the boardwalk. Man, I'm telling you every guy we passed thought I was purrrr-TEE! I figure it took my mother about 1.5 seconds to spot the behavior, consider the problem, and form a plan...

So we step into one of the million arcades along the boardwalk, play a little Skee Ball, a few rounds of the claw game, grab a drink, an smart ass me - I plop down on the quarter operated dolphin ride. At the time, it seemd like a funny thing to do, "Look at me Mom, all grown up sitting on this kiddie dolphin ride!" Yup, it was hysterical, right up until my mother runs over and pops a quarter in it. I couldn't hold on very well because I had a drink in one hand, and I was falling off, because - scrawny as I was - this thing was made to fit the butts of toddlers, not the smart asses of teenagers. So I couldn't quite stay on, and I couldn't quite get off, and my mother is laughing so hard her face is purple. Every face in the arcade is riveted on me. I hear cars crashing, Pac-Man being eaten by the ghost, Mario and Luigi's music has stopped, and on Duck Hunt, that damned dog is pointing and laughing. Suddenly, I realize: I am, without a doubt, the center of attention.

Guess Ma knew how to teach me a thing or 2 without saying a word, eh? She still teases me about the dolphin ride. I still blush when she brings it up. Cured me of the drama-queen need for attention I'd been experiencing just moments earlier. Well, I'm mostly cured, until I start drinking, as you can see by this picture of me, perched on top of a concrete lion after a weekend of drinking in Atlanta. Maybe all Ma really taught me was to avoid sitting on things that took quarters?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Another

Some days are just roller coasters, for lack of a less cliched metaphor.

The friend I spoke of, whose feelings I hurt, I heard from her this morning, and she's found it in her heart to forgive my thoughtlessness and lack of control over my feelings/tongue. I love her, and I'm SO thankful.

Then I checked the mail (that came unusually early today, thankya ms. mailman!) and in it there was a card, with a donation, and a note that said the sender loves me, totally supports my efforts for the Heart Walk, and that she'd been hurt by some of the things I've said here on my blog.

Again, I've hurt someone dear to me, because I get too emotionally charged and emotionally attached to ideas that I forget to think before I speak, and become incapable of properly expressing myself.

Someday, I will learn to sit on my hands long enough to properly string my words together in a way that says what I mean and not some jumbled mess that misrepresents my thoughts and hurts those I love.

I swear sometimes, I think I should just stop blogging, and talking too for that matter.

What you don't know can kill you 2

Yet another example of what happens every day in our country, totally due to a lack of awareness and research funding. Every time I start to get discouraged about meeting the $3000 team goal for the Heart Walk, I hear something like this to light a fire under my ass.
Teen's death result of heart defect
By Gazette News Services


HELENA -- The weekend death of a teenager at Holter Lake was the result of an undetected congenital heart defect, Lewis and Clark County Coroner Mickey Nelson said Tuesday.

Patrick Thomas Kelly, 14, of Helena lost consciousness Saturday evening while riding in a boat after a day of wakeboarding, Sheriff Cheryl Liedle said.

Emergency personnel were called after he stopped breathing.

The Capital High School student died a short time later, despite efforts to revive him by occupants of the boat and emergency medical technicians.

Nelson said he ordered an autopsy to determine the cause of death because it didn't appear to witnesses that the boy had experienced any trauma while recreating at the lake.
And this kid isn't as rare as you think... remember these?

7 dollars well spent

7 dollars well spent

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I'm a thoughtless ass

For someone who claims to be a wordsmith, I sure can open my mouth and stick my foot right in it. Seems I've inadvertantly hurt the feelings of a dear dear friend, and can't seem to manage to find the right words to undo the damage.

This friend once compared me to a Mack truck when it came to certain projects. That's me. I see/have an idea, fall in love with it, and throw myself into it with everything I've got. That's me - no self-control, and to be honest, I normally see the need for self-control when it comes to promoting something I believe in. At least, until recently that is.

The problem with the Mack truck theory is this: I put my heart into a thing, and sometimes things don't go how I wanted or how I'd hoped, and my heart gets broken, my feelings get hurt, even in situations where it shouldnn't hurt my feelings at all. I'm sensitive, tender, and -as much as I will deny this later when I'm not feeling it so deeply- vulnerable. That's normal for me on a good day.

Lately, life has not had enough good days. I've been overly-sensitive, too tender-hearted, and more than vulnerable, I've been all out naked when it comes to my feelings. Therefore, the few things that might not hurt on a normal basis, well, they hurt too. That isn't because anyone else has done anything wrong, it's just a combination of my personality and my recent grief. Even large blunt rounded objects feel like tiny razor blades, and I simply need to learn when I'm over reacting to something - or better yet, learn to keep my fool mouth shut until I do realize when I'm over reacting.

So I've offered my apologies to this friend, and I feel like dog crap for allowing my stupidity (and tourette's-like tendency to blurt things) to hurt her. I've tried to explain that I never meant to hurt her feelings, that the things I said were about ME more than about her, or her actions, because there was no wrong in her actions. Now, I sit and hope that I haven't done so much damage to our friendship that it can't be undone. I don't want to lose her friendship, but it's a real possibility. I've done all of this, and now I do it here, even though I doubt she'll ever read it, because I'm an ass for letting it all happen at all.

And for the rest of you, I'm apologizing in advance for anything I might do or say at this point in my life that might hurt you in any way. You all know I love you, and I'd never intentionally hurt you, but sometimes this mouth of mine does things on its own, or in cahoots with my slightly-damaged heart, long before my brain kicks in and has a chance to think things through.

I'm impetuous, intense, and have a tendency to follow my heart and give voice to my emotions. These are some of the things that I love about myself, and sometimes they're the things that make a thoughtless ass.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Heart Walk Kick Off

The Heart Walk Kick Off event/meeting for team leaders was this morning. Light breakfast at 7:30 am, followed by speakers and a set program from 8 to 9.

Terra will go to bed in the big bed, she will not stay in the big bed. She's up repeatedly during the night because she wakes up and isn't used to being in there and freaks out. I then have to calm her down, tuck her back in etc...

She was up the last time at 4:55am. I was supposed to be up and in the shower to get ready for the Kick Off by 5:30. Somewhere between 5am and 6:20 (when I actually got up) I had a dream that when I got there, Lauri asked me to get up on stage and talk, tell my story, motivate the crowd etc... I was nervous at first, but once I got started, boy I tore that audience up! I gave a very motivational speech, had them laughing, had them crying, had them eating out of the palm of my hand... Then I woke up.

Obviously I overslept, of course we were late (just a little, missed the first 15 minutes of the "light breakfast" and just had coffee.) But I told Scott about my dream, and he says, "You better hope she asks you to talk, because if she asks me, she can forget it!" (he's PAINFULLY shy) so I tell him how at first I was nervous, but ended up kicking butt. So anyway, I have this strange residual feeling that she's going to ask me to speak, but hey, that's ok, because I've already "rehearsed" right?! (haha)

We walk in and Lauri says, Erin! Scott! I'm SO glad you came! Oh my GOD you cut your HAIR!!!!! (insert small talk and light banter and filling out of name tags, a few introductions, etc...) And she says, "Erin, we've added your story to the line up and what I need you to do is..." (Oh dear GAWD she IS going to ask me to speak!) "...stand up and remain standing while the speaker gives a brief synopsis of your story." (Whew!. We were the last added, therefore the last to be read. The first stories were stories of survivors, each followed by applause. Then us, our story, a public offer of sympathy from the speaker, followed by a long awkward silence. It was pretty weird.

I nearly talked myself out of going to this meeting the other day, because it was so early, then I got the email invite. Then I sort of thought about skipping it again a few days later, then Lauri emailed me to make sure I was coming. Then this morning, when I'd had an hour of sleep and we were going to be late, I damn near backed out again...

I'm SO glad I went! I met someone at the meeting that stands to be the driving force behind some huge steps toward a true CHD support network here in Charlotte area. I'm unbelievably excited about it, and equally as glad to have had the opportunity to meet him and be asked to be a part of his plans.

I just hope that I'm not getting carried away and letting myself get wrapped up in something that doesn't happen. I have a tendency to throw my heart into a thing I can't control, and with as raw as I am lately, I find I get hurt by things that shouldn't. I will hope that I don't allow myself to be heartbroken, that I can remember that I cannot control what does or doesn't happen, and then be thankful for all that already has, and for the love and support that have already been so generously heaped on me.

night night

I just realized I never told yas what ever happened with my hair! So yeah, the other day I told you I wacked 8" off -just willy nilly, I didn't even cut it straight, creating the (planned) effect of having to have my hair done, and negating the option of chickening out (for another 2 months.)

When did I do that? Friday? Anyway, as of yesterday afternoon, I still hadn't gone anywhere to have it fixed, I was just letting it hang, chopped and chunky. I decided to save myself some money... My mother did my hair for the first 20 or so years of my life, I'd just ask her to do it for me. I knew what I wanted, and I knew she knew how to do it.

She was a nervous wreck! She's never been like that before. She was so freaked out that she had me scared of what she was doing. After about 45 minutes of me saying, "Just do it Ma, damn the worst that happens is I have to go have someone else do it, which I planned on anyway... just DO IT!" and her snipping 1/8th of an inch at a time... she finally just CHOPPED one good time and got the fear out of her system. Sort of. It's short - the same cut as I have in my profile pic, not that you can really see my hair in that pic. I didn't get it permed, but it looks great, I love it, but I had to go shower, wrap up in a towel and style my hair before I could even get dressed, just so she'd know it came out OK and that I was happy with it. I don't think she took a breath for about an hour and a half from the sound of the breath she let out when I came in (still in my towel!) to show her how cute it looked.

In other news: Terra turned 3 on Saturday. I don't remember any of my kids ever being as excited about a birthday as she was Saturday. She had a blast, got lots of presents, and I used her birthday as an excuse to make her start sleeping in her bed (she'd pretty much moved to the couch with me when I moved there.) She hates it, and tells me all the time that she doesn't want to be 3, she wants to be 2 again so she can sleep on her big-girl couch again.

It's now officially Mike's birthday - Happy Birthday Mike! And happy full moon too by god!

Wednesday is Tommy's birthday. He'll be 17. He's going to be the death of me. He wants everything for his birthday. He's had me doing eBay searches for months. I'm considering a lot of things, mostly cash. He's too damn fickle. Every time I'd think I knew what he wanted he'd have me hunting for something else. And he has seriously "Champagne" tastes.

I should have been in bed hours ago. I have another meeting/event thing to attend for the AHA Heart Walk. "Light Breakfast and Coffee" at 7:30 am. I had to email and make sure that it was OK if I showed up with only 1 eye open. I am SO not a morning person, and to be at Queens College by 7:30 am (think morning rush hour traffic) I will have to leave here no later than 6:15. The new 'do needs more "do-ing" than the long straight Elvira look required, so I'll be waking up around 5:30. Isn't there a law against that?!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Medical Malpractice II

My opinion on Medical Malpractice (and/or negligence) suits is that only about 1% of them should ever be filed, and that there should be a cap on the amount that can be awarded.

In a case of wrongful death, I don't think a person should sue, unless they can prove without a doubt that the doctor/hospital's actions were intended to cause death. Even then, I do not believe that there should be a monetary amount rewarded to the family. Money solves nothing in the way of the family's loss or grief.

I personally would not EVER want to feel as though I'd profited from my child/ren's death, no amount of money will bring my son or daughter back, and multiple millions will not "avenge" my child's death. I have no ongoing financial need caused by their deaths, and I'm rational and sane enough to know that by winning a large cash reward, I'm causing harm to future doctors and future patients by way of driving up the cost of Malpractice Insurance - why would I want to do that?

Besides, doctors are doctors, some of them are even miracle workers (Dr Watts is a miracle worker thankyaverymuch) but they are only human. Accidents happen, things go wrong, and doctors (especially those who do what Dr Watts does) spend decades paying for the education necessary to do what they do. They offer a service, and they offer the patient a chance at life that they would not otherwise have. They can't promise a positive outcome, nor did they devote their lives to medicine in hopes that they'd someday have the opportunity to get away with murder via their career.

IF the doctor or hospital did something to intentionally cause the patient's death, the responsible party should be PUNISHED. (Don't fool yourself for a second by thinking that winning a malpractice suit punishes the doctor. The insurance pays the settlement, the doctor's insurance rates go up, and that cost is passed along to the next patients.)

In my opinion, most wrongful death malpractice suits that are filed out of the grieving family's anger (a very normal, typical, and common reaction to losing a family member.) I think that they need to "get" something from the person/people/institution that "took" their family member from them. I think it's unfair, and I definitely think that there should be some set "cooling off" period before a suit can be filed, which would give the family time to get through, or at least understand, that part of their grief.

OK, now to address the situation my friend, and her friend, are/were in. First, let me explain Cerebral Palsy. It's a brain injury which happens near the time of birth, that causes brain damage that leads to mental retardation, physical and developmental delays, feeding problems, a lack of motor and vocal skills. Sometimes, it is something the doctors did that causes it, sometimes it happens at home for no explainable reason, or can happen if the mother goes through a trauma (like a car wreck or some such thing.) Basically, most CP babies will never be able to take care of themselves, and will have life-long medical needs and will be dependent on someone else for their care for their entire lives.

If a doctor does something knowingly to cause a child to have brain damage, then they should be held responsible for the cost of care for that person's needs for the rest of their lives. In select cases, where the doctors actions were not intentional, but qualify as just plain dumb (like leaving a mother who says she hasn't felt her baby move for 12 hours, sitting in the waiting room untreated for hours, then another several hours before actually performing the emergency c-section) then I think the doctor should be held accountable, and the family should receive, from the guilty party, a reasonable amount of money with which they can care for the patient's ongoing needs.

However, again, there should be a cap. No one requires 245 MILLION dollars to survive a lifetime. The family shouldn't suddenly be wealthy, their child's special needs shouldn't be the parent's personal lottery jackpot.

I just feel like these people (doctors, nurses, and overall hospitals) dedicate themselves to helping, and shouldn't be sued for the occasional accident.

The unfortunate side-effect of being in a position to be able to save lives is that sometimes you don't, or can't - and it's wrong for people to expect perfection, or to want to extract millions of dollars from the health care system when things don't work out the way they'd hoped.

I guess what my opinion hinges on is the idea that
A) I'd profit from the death of my child
and
B) Other families and children would stand to suffer because of me.

Nope, I don't need that kind of Karma, I'm apparently already paying for some serious screw ups from past lives or something. Besides, I truly believe that each of us experiences the things in life that we are supposed to. We die when we're supposed to, we lose family members when we're supposed to, and nothing -not even heroic efforts of perfect doctors- will change that.

Medical Malpractice

Everyone wants to sue some body for some thing. This is especially true when it comes to the medical community. Medical malpractice has been the subject of several conversations I've been part of lately.

In one of the Yahoo grief support groups I belong to, someone asked if anyone else had considered suing the doctors and hospitals where their children were treated and died. That ballooned into a flurry of back and forth posts, which revealed that 2 parents there had sued and won, one parent had attempted to sue, but lawyers told her that she had no case.

Then there is my best friend. She has a daughter with Cerebral Palsy, and she has another friend who has a son with CP. They each felt that their doctors were to blame for their child's brain injury and subsequent life-long special needs. She was told that her case wasn't provable, her friend just settled her case for an undisclosed amount.

The conversations have had me thinking about medical malpractice/negligence suits. I know what I think, but what do you think?

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Ringing of the Bards #3

The Ringing of the Bards is up - it features a selection of poetry bloggers from around the world. I invite you to check it out at:
Arch.Memory

And if you keep a poetry blog, make sure you are part of next week's carnival. For details see:
http://ringingofthebards.blogspot.com

tarheel Tavern!!



Heard the Word of
Blog?

Kivi's got the Tavern up and running at Writing for Nonprofits

Enjoy!

Saturday, July 8, 2006

I can't take it

Another walk tonight, this one a little over 3 miles, with 2 teenage boys to keep me company. Hung more flyers. Saw that most of the ones we hung last night were still up. Requested more posters from the AHA. Got some indication from a customer that they'd soon be making a donation, they requested that Scott bring them a donation form, so I'm pretty sure that's a good sign. And the same indication from a dear friend who needs some time to deal with some personal stuff. Just knowing it's a consideration is a morale booster. We also got an email from Lauri, the AHA rep, asking if we'd be at the "Kick Off" next Tuesday. We got invitations in the mail, got an invitation via email, then she emailed to make sure we'd be there. I know we're just peons in the big picture, but Lauri does a good job of making you feel important and special.

Scott decided that on Mondays -the day he sets aside for side jobs and extra work- he's going to start passing out flyers for the business to pick up new customers, and do some lawns for dirt cheap (as in, he'll be charging about what the neighborhood kid charges, for professional service) and that money will go into the Heart Walk.

I'm going to have a yard sale in the morning, if I can get my rump up early enough to make it worth it, and sell what's left of Nova's things, for the Heart Walk. Fitting I think, difficult, but fitting.

Tomorrow afternoon I'll have my hair repaired. I'll take a poster and a flyer with me. (Never miss an opportunity... According to the pep-talk-paperwork from the AHA the #1 reason people donate is because they're asked. Sounds simple enough eh?) Maybe on tomorrow night's walk, I'll stuff newspaper boxes with the version of the flyer that has his picture on it. His gorgeous little face is pretty convincing.

Tommy got a phone call tonight, from the sister of the little girl that he snuck into his room overnight 2 months ago - she says the girl thinks she's pregnant. I'm too angry (angry, because my reaction to all things: fear, concern, sadness, is anger) to have much to say about that right now. Timing seems funny according to my math, but what the hell do I know? What I do know is that if it's Tommy's baby, she conceived on May 1st - she's nearly 12 weeks pregnant already, so why in the world did it take her this long to take a pregnancy test? All I'm saying is that there will be a paternity test.

Sorry, I'll admit that I hope she isn't really pregnant, and I hope that it isn't Tommy's. If it IS his, then I'll obviously expect him to support his child and face responsibility, but this little girl is fucked up, manipulative, promiscuous, and a liar (and that's according to her sister, mother, and grandmother) so I'm not willing to just "accept" that my son is this baby's father without a healthy dose of skepticism.

Friday, July 7, 2006

Promise of Light Poetry Contest

Promise of Light Publications
is now accepting entries to its
bimonthly poetry competition.

Only $3.00 to enter.
Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!
and send 1-3 poems by e-mail
attached in some version
of Microsoft Word.

Or send your submissions
by conventional mail with
a check or money order.

Promise of Light Publications
Bimonthly Poetry Competition
PO Box 81, Milton, KY 40045

The winning author will receive a $10.00 cash prize.
Each winning poem will be published on the web site, and all
poems will be automatically entered into the editors possible-publication pile.

Deadline for the first competition is August 21, 2006.

hairy situation

I just hacked 8" off my hair.

It is crooked and chunky and generally a mess, which is exactly what I figured it would be when I finished. But you see, I am indecisive. I've been playing with the idea of getting my hair cut for months, but kept chickening out. Today, during a moment of resolve, knowing that my resolve would dissolve long before I made it to a hair salon, I made a move that leaves me committed to a new hairdo, despite any misgivings that may arise in the meantime.

Pity I have to trick myself into doing what I want isn't it?

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Bubble gum and crocs

a little over 2 years ago, I got a gumball machine, for free, from the restaurant I was working in (which was closing down.) This house has a livingroom and a den, and we were going to turn the livingroom (the room I'm presently sitting in) into a game room. We were going to buy a pool table and hang the dart board and get a jukebox (we actually had a lead on one dirt cheap, way back when) set up the bar (yup we had one, with stools) and the gumball machine was going to be part of the goofy all-in-fun decor.

Well, shortly thereafter, my mother had to move in with us because she had lost her job, and our bedroom became her room and the den became our bedroom, and the livingroom, well, it's the livingroom - and there are no more rooms available for a game room.

So, we sold the dart board on one of our trips to the flea market, the bar ended up in the shed, then in the livingroom, then in the shed, now out beside the house, holding tools and an ashtray (because I've re-enacted the no smoking in the house rule...)

Anyway (damn I can ramble can't I?) today I put the gumball machine on Union County Freecycle, and damn! Apparently everyone in Union county wants a gumball machine! I had eight replies on it in like 15 minutes. Then I had to choose who got it, which sucked. Narrowed it down to 2, and ended up having to take a blind vote from there. It ended up going to a woman whose 12 year old was about to turn 13, and for some odd reason the kid had always wanted a bubblegum machine, so this is part of his birthday gift. Pretty cool eh?

I've decided to start walking every evening - I don't know whether to call it "me time" or admit that I feel like I should probably "train" for the Walk in September. So tonight (just now, I left, mid-post and did it) I walked nearly 3 miles, and didn't even have the urge to pass out. Guess I'm not so old and out of shape as I'd feared! I walked 3 miles (taping Heart Walk flyers on business doors the whole way) in 42 minutes. I can deal with that. And Erin? The Crocs kick ass for walking :)

Danger

The funniest video I've seen in ages Only I can't get the damn thing embedded on this page, so click, watch, laugh... maybe even pee... never know!

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

not for naught?

Hey, just had an idea!

I have 16 copies of Poetic Acceptance... I was going to leave them in my drawer until they rotted away. I tried to get Shaela to make things right by donating to the Walk, but she's not exactly the generous type, and I'd make a bet that the only cause she'd donate to would be either her own, or one she could steal from, so here's my idea:

How about I sell the 16 copies I have, $8 a pop, plus a buck to cover shipping and handling, and donate that money to the Walk? I know the webpage at the AHA site won't accept donations less than $25, which probably stops some people from donating, but $9 (via Paypal) is pretty doable, right? And if I sell all of them, that's another $128 to the Walk :)

Granted, some of the poetry could use some polish, and as a collection, it does lack arc, but for a first attempt, it's decent, and worth it for a cause this good, right?

AND it would give this whole chapbook debacle a positive ending, right? So, any interested parties can click the "make a donation" button, donate $9 and include your mailing address in the "notes" section, and I'll send out a copy to you ASAP.

I'm going to keep a running list of buyers here, updating as each copy sells and the first copy has been sold!

Thank you Gretchen! I'll get it into the mail tomorrow! (sent!)
Thank you Zilla, 3 copies are reserved for you!
12 copies left!

crap - whole lotta nuthin

OK, so. My birthday passed, I survived. It was not as quiet as I'd hoped, but not as celebratory as I'd feared, so it was all good.

We went out to eat, and it was yummy. Nothing says happy birthday like a rare steak :) Especially when it doesn't come out of my pocketbook :-D

We did end up going to see some fireworks, but the local show, not the one in Charlotte, thank god. Terra insisted on wearing Scott's ear guards for the show because it was too loud. She's very sensitive to loud noises, so she walked around with a set of headphones on - remember the old fashioned headphones, with the earmuff looking speaker pieces, and the rubber shit that surrounded your ears? That's what these look like, big orange and black 1970s headphones.

When we got home, we did fireworks here... not a bunch, just one thing. It was my birthday gift from my sister, and it was perfect. It was called "Nova" and I got all sappy about feeling like Nova was here for my birthday.

There was cake: Kory aspires to open his own bakery some day and bakes at every opportunity. It was good, white cake, chocolate/peanut butter icing. It's nearly gone now :) And there was singing, because birthday cakes and birthday songs go together.

I am, for the first time in quite some time, proud of a poem - I'm rather infatuated with "Fluent" and even like the audio version, because I used my accent to my advantage within the piece. Aren't I the fucking clever one?

I had Terra sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to ODEO earlier, but for some reason it never registered on the ODEO site, so I can't very well post it. Maybe I'll do it again later.

I got a $30 donation today for the Heart Walk, the total is now $1600 even. $400 to go on my goal. Team total stands at $1630, $1370 till we hit the team goal of $3000. Looks like I better get off my arse and do some serious fund raising in the real world, because nothing's happening for the kids. Maybe they'll get some donations from their teachers and the staff of the new schools, but by the time they go back, there will only be a couple of weeks left until the deadline. We can't wait until the last minute and expect a few teachers to donate a total of $970 in 2 weeks eh?

I need to start working out just how to get that fundraising skate party is going to work out. Like, who do you invite to such a thing, and how am I going to go about it? I'm thinking I'll do it right after school starts so that the kids can pass out invitations to the kids in their classes. September 5th looks like a likely date.

What else... hmmm. I lost track (I ran off to make banana splits!) Can't think... mouth full... mmmmmm, yummy.

And the saga continues:

And the saga continues:More from Shaela
Todays flurry of emails from my ever-so-honest ex-publisher Shaela Montague-Phillips looks like this:
The first letter from her:
Hi Erin:

Although you are extremely upset at me...I have tried my best to please you.
I have decided to go to LuLu.com. I am converting all of the authors I
ever published over to them. They give a nice quality. I have converted
your book, in which it is available on perfect bound. Please contact me
immediately if you do not want your book sold on this site. You may add
more poetry or add things additionally to your bio. I think you will be
able to trust this company and so will your family and friends. So your
book is now available. Here is the site http://www.lulu.com/content/355683

Again, I am sorry for all the trouble I have caused. Any pain that I added
on to your life. I am learning alot. So here it is...please contact me
asap.


Thank you


Shaela
To which I responded with:
Shaela
Absolutely DO NOT print my book through Lulu or any where else. Our contract has been fulfilled and has expired, and you have NO RIGHT to do so. If I want my book printed through Lulu.com, I can do so myself. You think you can just keep contacting me every so often -
there will be NO MORE of you doing anything with my poetry and profiting off of it and screwing me out of it. I'm done. If you print my book through Lulu --or any other printer, publisher, or press, including Kinkos AND your friends Minuteman Press-- I can't even begin to explain how much trouble there is going to be.

You've cheated me out of my money, cheated me out of my books, chose the period during which my infant son was in the hospital to approach me with a "reconciliation" and now THIS? I just buried my son, LEAVE ME ALONE, LEAVE MY BOOK ALONE, DO NOT CONTACT ME AGAIN, and ABSOLUTELY DO NOT REPRINT MY BOOK EVER.

Why in hell would anyone want you to print their book through Lulu? Why would anyone want you to profit off of their book when it costs you nothing to publish through lulu, and they can do it themselves and get ALL the profit? I can't believe you're still emailing me. Damn straight I trust Lulu, I just don't trust you to be honest about how many copies sell, or to actually give me all of my sales.

~Erin Monahan
Which was followed by this:
Ok...its your choice...its unavailable.

Thank you

Shaela
and then, in quick succession, this:
I never cheated you out of money, believe me, it costs more to publish
regardless if its minuteman or what. Whats interesting was that it was the
same company that did the books before, you were pleased. I never asked for
any money from you. I didn't know your son was passing when I came back to
you. Oneday, I had enough time to breath and so I could afford to make
things happen again. Regardless if I go through Lulu or another press, its
the same, you could have done self- publishing along time ago with out me.
I was trying to help. Would it help you if I gave you a receipt for the
books I made, to show you I didn't cheat you, that I spent more money on
your books than what I expected. Would it help you if I went to paypal and
got all the sales to show you exactly how many books were sold. Then we
could compare notes. You have been rude and nasty, yet I have been postive.
I have had an up and down year, and nothing could be worse than losing a
child. I didn't mean to disturb you again, only excited by what I could
provide. Again the book is marked unavailable. Like all the books I make,
I print up some to sell at my shows. So you may have copies floating in
Pittsburgh. I am allowed to do that! My client list off of the net, has
been blessed. The grants that I received gave them and me opportunities. I
wish that I could have handled this another way. I lost you as a friend,
and you were a good one. I made my mistakes as far as being a new business
owner, but I shouldn't be condemned...because unlike the people you claim
that hate my work...I have 30 new authors that loved what I have done for
them. I have fought for them to have quality and experience being an
author...my online authors suffered. However, I am trying to make all this
up to everyone.

I am not a bad person. I am only 26 and learning. I don't pretend to know
everything...I learn from experiences. So I thank you for giving me this
opportunity. And on a personal note, I pray that through your family's time
of mourning that you will stay blessed.

Thank you for your time
My next response to her was then this:
OK, first of all, it is your guilty conscience that makes you continue to contact me. Your practices have been (and continue to be) illegal and unethical. My contract was with Meeting of the Minds and Chapbook Enterprises (NOT IGFM). The contract has been fulfilled, and has expired. You no longer own any copyright to my work, and no longer have the right to print, publish, sell or distribute Poetic Acceptance in any way shape or form. I'm also due 100% of the sale of all those copies sold and distributed at your local events.

As for your Paypal statement, I have no way of knowing if that's a complete listing. Those statements are easily altered when copied and pasted into an email.

You continue to remind me of how you never asked me for money, and I've already said, repeatedly, that you did not, however, you DID keep all money from my sales for an extra eight months, at which point you didn't send me the money you owed me, rather you sent a MUCH smaller than promised batch of chapbooks in lieu of my "re-order." You owed me FIFTY you sent SIXTEEN, and yet you maintain that you didn't cheat me out of anything. YOU DID NOT LIVE UP TO YOUR END OF OUR CONTRACT.

You want this to end amicably? OK,
1. REMOVE my book from Lulu (making it unavailable to the public is entirely different than removing it, I want it OFF Lulu completely.)
2. DO NOT print, publish, sell or distribute any more copies of Poetic Acceptance, ever.
3. Make a donation in the amount of the sales I was owed ($45.00) to the American Heart Association via this link: http://heartwalk.kintera.org/charlottenc/novasheart, at
which time I will gladly return the 16 copies that constituted my "re-order."
4. Admit (to me, not some big public exclamation) that you've screwed me by sending me 16 inferior quality Minute Man Express copies, rather than 50 professionally printed copies, as I was promised via the packet you sent me when we entered this contract.

I'm thrilled for the writers that have had a positive experience - but that does not in any way diminish the negative experience I've had with you. I wish them all the greatest of successes. And as for you saying "I am not a bad person. I am only 26 and learning. I don't pretend to know everything...I learn from experiences." That doesn't excuse any of your practices Shaela, and it certainly doesn't excuse the fact that you continue to defend those practices. How long will you continue to use inexperience as an excuse?

~Erin Monahan
And the final in this extension of absurdity was this:
I paid more than 45.00 for your books. I am not donating anything us. I
donated my time. I am allowed to have my private files stored at which I
keep them on Lulu. I am allowed to do that. I never owned copyrights to
your book. You are not due 100% of the books I sale privately. Where are
you coming up with this. My inexperience as a publisher was during the time
I published you. I have grown. Whether you excuse me or not this is where
I am at. I keep a private stash of all the books I print and unless you
come to one of my shows I am allowed to profit off the materials that I took
my time to produce and make with my money. You agreed to this, you know I
was going to have private shows. I don't have to showcase your book on the
net, but I can sell materials that I produced before you ended your
contract. That is ethical. I have no guilty conscience. I am just a good
person working to make my business grow. Thank you for your time


Shaela


Now, first off, she's right, I am not due 100% of the money made from her sales, I'm due 50%, of all sales made through her. My bad. I am obviously NOT getting that, nor will I ever, because I can't prove how many private sales she's made, nor can I ever count on her to be honest about those numbers. Nor does she have any intention of ever forwarding that profit to me.

Second of all, for someone who feels she's done no wrong, she certainly emails me an awful lot with things that are supposed to be to make up for what she's done to me in the past. She continues to apologize and make excuses about being young and/or inexperienced, and yet, continues to proclaim her innocence. Me thinks she doth protest too much.

Third, I love that she admits (now) that Minuteman Express was always her printer, even though in the past she's claimed that she had a different publisher, with whom she had a "falling out" and had to switch to Minuteman Express. That "falling out" was the excuse she used for holding my money for an extra 8 months actually.

You know what I wonder though? Now that she's joined up with these IGFM folks, I wonder if they're aware of her ways? I mean, I'm not the only one (despite her claims) who is unhappy with her and the way she does business - I bet the IGFM guys are clueless to this side of Shaela, and have probably been unwittingly roped into a situation where, when Shaela goes down (and she WILL, give a crook enough rope... you know) she's going to take them with her.

In the meantime, I've reported the situation to Lulu.com and I guess it will be up to them to decide whether or not she has the right to continue to make copies through them.

Anyway. I have to go make dinner, later I'll post about how my birthday went, and some other random Scata.

And Shaela, if you're reading, and I have NO DOUBT you are... I don't want to hear squat about me posting your email, there's a disclaimer there at the bottom of my sidebar stating that all email I receive is possible fodder for future blog posts, besides that, I always post your ridiculous attempts to save face, and you knew I'd post this before you ever emailed me this morning, so get over it. If you don't like how your own emails (and shady practices) reflect on you, then I suggest you change your practices.