Thursday, August 31, 2006

Learning by Repetition

Learning by Repetition

There have never been
enough balloons to do you justice.
Tuesday was no exception.

The rain left 12 Mylar hearts,
in screaming scarlet,

And then the sun came out.
It always does, doesn't it?
Even at your funeral.

When reverend Smith stopped eulogizing,
the rain stopped, and made steam
from damp lashes and soaked shirts.

That day though, later,
there were balloons.

They rose till they nearly disappeared,
became periods in distant eyes, because
there wasn't strength or conviction enough
for exclamation marks.

No, I was weak and young and quiet.
Now I've learned as all children learn best.
I've been taught the lesson of repetition.

I have stacked my periods one atop the other,
one longer, standing taller, but both
equally lost to the expanse of empty arms
and blue skies and hopelessness.

I know now that you are gone.

Despite the release,
regardless of punctuation,
all that is left are two short stories
and the blank page.

I will write your names,
over and over again, scatter them
to the winds of Autumn, and pray that,
like November leaf litter,
they become something fertile
and feed the springtime blooms
to become the rose corsage
pinned close to the heart
of another mother.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


See all those red exclamation marks? [!] Yes well, about 2/3 of the blogs I have bloglined (that is just a sampling, the running total stands at 83 blogs whose feeds I have Bloglined) have this little icon beside them. This means that Bloglines is having trouble reading the feed for those particular blogs. Depending on Blogger's mood, sometimes those blogs are viewable, other times they aren't and all I get is the google 502 error page when I try to visit those blogs. It usually only last 5 - 15 minutes at a time, and it comes and goes, and it's just bugging me.The same thing is true of my own blogs. I am perfectly capable of logging in to my Blogger accounts, and I can make posts, but sometimes, I can't view my blogs. Again, all I see, intermittently, is the Google error.

I know that this is simply a part of the Google Beta thing, and all the blogs being switched over to their servers and/or format. I know that it will be short-lived. I know that after everything is settled, and especially after I give in to the Google Beta format, there will be huge improvements that will make this (admittedly small) inconvenience well worth it. I know I should shut up, be patient, and stop complaining.

But I am not in a good mood. I am not feeling patient, and I don't care that Blogger blogs are free, there's just no excuse for repeated outages of any sort - even the short sort. I mean, like Google is small time and can't make this adjustment in a more seamless manner? Pffft.

So, for those of you who say you can read my blog - that's because you've been lucky and managed to visit while it wasn't being a bitch :) For the most part, I can view it too. But those times, those 5 minute spreads, when it isn't available are really pissing me off.

Monday, August 28, 2006

ironic iconic

We all knew it was coming didn't we? When we saw the new Google Beta icon, we al knew stuff was about to go wrong.

It's ironic though, that I can upload this picture and make this post, but no one can access my blog to view it. All they see is... well... the real thing. Let's see how long "30 seconds" lasts, shall we?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Another Raffle!

I just received another email from a blogger who is near and dear to me. Billy the Blogging Poet lives just a matter of hours away, and works tirelessly to create a network of poetry bloggers. He's proposed another raffle idea to benefit the American Heart Association via Team Nova. Here's what he says:
Howdy Miss Erin,
I was just over at your site ... when your latest post sparked an idea. I can donate 1 copy each of CARROT ON A STICK, COLD DRY BISCUITS, and my children's book, THE ADVENTURES OF ARNIE AND JAKE, Two Little Ants In A Big Ant Army. Signed of course.

CARROT ON A STICK and COLD DRY BISCUITS are at Amazon and Arnie and Jake are at

Arnie and Jake are not currently in print but I've a few remaining copies. The book remains rare and should the fates allow could someday be a collector's item.

You can raffle them off together or seperate (your call) and I'll personalize and mail them to the winner(s) with any inscription they like.
That's $62.23 worth of books, signed by the author, and shipped, postage free. Again, use the donation button to the right, add a note that this is for the book raffle, and for every dollar you donate, your name goes into the pot one time. This will be another to go a bit longer than the rest, I'll run it up to the 10th so that I can post the total to the Donations via the web at the very last minute on the 11th.

Thanks again Billy!

Last minute! Enter! Hurry!

I received an email this morning from Melissa who has been reading my blog pretty much from day one. (It's been nearly 2 years for goodness sakes, I can't believe it!) And she's decided that she wants to get involved in my fundraising in a more direct way than the donation she made back in June (I remember because it was my step-daughter's birthday.)

so here's her idea.

I know time is winding down for the walk, and I wanted to see if if there was one last thing I could do to help.

I'm a Tastefully Simple Independent Consultant. Basically, what this adds up to, is that I do in-home test-testing party of Tastefully Simple foods and food products. The stuff is delicious and ranges from spices, dip mixes, desserts, beer bread, soups, and more. You can check out for more information.

While I'm based in Texas, I think we could still work out a gift certificate winner.

This raffle is for a $15 gift certificate, good for Tastefully Simple gourmet foods from Melissa Gibson, Tastefully Simple Independent Consultant. After receiving notice, the winner will receive an order form and catalog in the mail. Simple fill out your order (and feel free to contact Melissa with any questions), subtract your $15 raffle gift certifcate, enclose a check (made out to Melissa Gibson) if order is greater than $15, and mail back in the self-addressed-stamped envelope supplied. Tastefully Simple offers a large variety of gift packs, and it's never too early to start thinking about the holidays! You can check out Tastefully Simple goods at

Basically, this is the same concept as the other raffles. You use the paypal button in the sidebar, making whatever sized donation you choose. For every dollar you donate, your name goes in the pot once. This one I'm going to extend right up to the last minute, I'm going to run this until 9/10 and really cut it close to the 9/11 deadline for having donations turned in. If there wouldn't be the appearance of impropriety, I'd join this one myself. This stuff looks good! I mean, the triple fudge brownie mix ... YUM!
Johari Me

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Rundown

As of the 16th - the day of the heart walk - Nova will be gone 5 months 12 days. Alexis will be gone 5 years 17 days. Weirdness in numbers, but then I see stuff in stuff where there really probably isn't any stuff to be seen at all. I mean, who cares about the double 5's, who cares that the difference between 12 and 17 is 5. There's no significance in the fact that Alexis lived 12 days, or that she was born on the 17th... right? I'm just being weird. Sort of like Nova and the 4's. He was my 4th son, lived 4 months and 4 days and died in the 4th month, he had 4 catheter procedures, and died 23 minutes after 4 o'clock, during our 4th visit to CVRU that day. None of it means a thing, right? Just me being weird.

So there are 21 days and $804 to go. Time is running out, and I'm beginning to prepare myself for not making it. It isn't like I'll be penalized or anything but I really want to hit that $3000 mark!

I'll come damn close, based on money that's pending and money that's coming and money that's promised. We'll see how close, I might still make it. Not giving up yet.

I've gotten quite a lot of new support recently, as far as people linking to me and spreading Nova's story. That's helped a little to get me out of the slump I've been in emotionally. I'm not feeling so great the last few weeks. It's a daily roller coaster, and I never really know what mood I'm going to be in from minute to minute. Plus there are frustrations from outside sources that are really effing with my head.
So I'm concentrating as much as I can on the Heart Walk and all the things I've got going, like the Photography Gift Certificate Raffle. That total so far is $15.00 (c'mon Charlotteans! Her work is awesome! And just ONE dollar gives you a chance to win $100 worth of photography services!)
Then there's Ryan's Blanket, which has a total so far of $10.00. Not much action on that either. At this point, Gretchen is the guaranteed winner there.

Speaking of Gretchen, she's still running her awesome yarn raffle.
The total so far on that is $130! So, with those 3 totals that's another $155 to go toward that $804 I'm lacking. By the way, all of those raffles end on the 1st, so if you want to enter the drawings for the yarn, the blanket or the gift certificate, there's only one week left to enter. The rest I'll just have to get by pimping out the link to my page(, and by hoping that I get some donation traffic through all the new links that have been put up on various blogs.

So, anyway, there's the rundown, and I'm just run down, so I'm going to go make everyone go to bed, even if I have to knock them out, because I need some quiet.

Deep Thoughts for Friday

Deep Thoughts for Friday:

(On September 17, 1994, Alabama's Heather Whitestone was selected as Miss America 1995.)
Question: If you could live forever, would you and why?

Answer: "I would not live forever, because we should not
live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever, then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever,"
--Miss Alabama in the 1994 Miss USA contest .
"Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very
important part of your life,"
--Brooke Shields, during an interview to become spokesperson for federal anti-smoking campaign.
"I've never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body,"
--Winston Bennett,
University of Kentucky basketball forward.
"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the
lowest crime rates in the country,"
--Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .
"That lowdown scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death
by a jackass, and I'm just the one to do it,"
--A congressional candidate in Texas .
"Half this game is ninety percent mental."
--Philadelphia Phillies manager, Danny Ozark
"I love California . I practically grew up in Phoenix ." -- Dan Quayle
"We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need ?"
--Lee Iacocca
"The word "genius" isn't applicable in football. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein." --Joe Theisman, NFL football quarterback & sports analyst.
"We don't necessarily discriminate. We simply exclude
certain types of people."
--Colonel Gerald Wellman, ROTC Instrutor.
"Traditionally, most of Australia 's imports come from overseas."
--Keppel Enderbery
"Your food stamps will be stopped effective
March 1992 because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances."
--Department of Social Services, Greenville , South Carolina
"If somebody has a bad heart, they can plug this jack
in at night as they go to bed and it will monitor their
heart throughout the night. And the next morning, when
they wake up dead, there'll be a record."
--Mark S. Fowler, FCC Chairman

Scary isn't it!?

Dr Seuss Says:

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. - Dr. Seuss
Alright, I'm guilty! The two quotes (by Mariah Carey and Al Gore) have been removed because they aren't true. I should have checked them out before posting them. It's still scary though that these 2 public figures have said enough stupid things that those 2 quotes have circulated as truth and the majority of people don't question it. Either we (me included) are that stupid, or the intelligence of those 2 people is actually that questionable!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Stuff + more stuff

As you can see, on an individual basis, we have a pretty good way to go. Each member of Team Nova, other than myself, has a goal of $200. Scott has had several donations over the last couple of days (Thanks 30+!) And Kassi will probably meet hers because her principal has decided to support her/us by having a hat day* for Team Nova.

A day or 2 before the deadline, I'll email Laurie and have her redistribute my funds into the kids' slots so that they atleast have enough to get an AHA Heart Walk t-shirt.

I think I have the sponsors it's going to take to get the tshirts. I'm still waiting to hear from Kim about the details, but she volunteered to take care of that for me because she had family members interested in putting ads on the shirts and one of them was willing to do the footwork with a local printer who could offer a better price. They'll look just like the Cafepress ones, but I won't be paying $15 a shirt. I'm anxious to see them, and of course, any that are left over will be for sale. I'll let you know what the final details are with that.

Kara, the AHA media rep called today. Looks like Charlotte Weekly is going to do a story on Nova and Team Nova and our involvement in the Heart Walk. That'll come out on September 15th, the day before the Walk. Pretty cool. Hopefully it will stir up some donations, and of course, awareness. Maybe it'll bring some people (haha I typed pwople, and had to stop and laugh for 5 minutes about it. No, it isn't all that funny, but hey, I laugh when I can) out on the 17th to get involved and to learn some things about cardiac issues, and CHD in particular (let me near them, they'll learn, like it or not!) I'm nervous all over again about this new story, but it won't be as in-depth as the other, so I'm not quite so nervous. I think.

Speaking of the other article, well, I think I'm getting nervouser and nervouser frankly. I know that she wants to tell our family's story, but I really thought it was going to be totally in context of CHD and Alexis and Nova. I've come to find out that it will include things that, in my mind anyway, just don't need to be included. One of those things is my husband's prison stint during my pregnancy with Terra, which came about because of something he did during the time that I was giving birth to and losing Alexis. He did something stupid, and did so because circumstances made him feel as though it was his only choice. It's in the past, and we aren't proud of the whole event, and I'm not really very interested in seeing it in the paper. Scott doesn't seem to be as bothered by it as I am, I guess he's come to the conclusion that it's just a repercussion of his actions that he has to face up to. I feel badly for him though, mostly because I think his motivation at the time was that he just wanted to protect me from going through more stuff than I was already coping with at the time.

So there's that, so no one will be surprised.

I had been having a hard time getting ahold of the man that I met at the Heart Walk Kickoff - the one who mentioned Little Hearts and the CHD awareness tent. I found out why - he's getting married the day of the Walk, and the woman who I'm supposed to talk with about my/our part in running it hasn't contacted me yet. The clock is ticking, I have no idea what we're going to be responsible for, and I've got people waiting to find out what I'm going to need them to do. Grrr, frustrating.

Tommy has gotten proof that the wench is really pregnant, but I still don't know if I believe it's his. Seems fishy, but I'm trying (trying) to with hold any judgment until things are sure one way or another. It's a boy, by the way. A boy that, if it's Tommy's, was conceived less than a month after Nova died. I'm struggling with it, still.

Speaking of Tommy, he has decided to go back to highschool, based on our ability to get him into Sun Valley. He enrolled today, starts in the morning. We'll see how this goes. I'm thrilled that he's going, but trying not to get too emotionally attached to the idea, in case he changes his mind, or decides to drop out again.

Speaking of school, how do schools expect a person to purchase a calculator that costs $118.00? No, not one, TWO of them (because I now have 2 highschoolers!) After taxes and shit, we're talking about $250 worth of calculators!
That shit is A-B-S-U-R-D.

Our trip to NY is obviously cancelled. No van, no trip. I'm very disappointed. There were a lot of people we were going to meet while we were making this trip. Of course, I'm sure Scott and his family are more disappointed than I am, so I won't whine.

Frankly I want to whine. I feel whiney, and restless, and not very good at sharing. As of tomorrow, 4 of my 5 kids will be out of the house. It'll be just Terra and I, and it's going to be ugly, because she's already throwing fits about them going to school. She wants them to stay home, wait, no... Better yet, she'll go with them!


In 2 days I've had 2 conversations about Christmas. I'm dreading Christmas in a way I've never dreaded it before, and I've always been a little Scrooge-ish...

Shutting up now. Sorry for the extended absence of blabber.

*A hat day is a day when the students are allowed to "break" the no hat rule and wear a hat all day, if they pay a dollar (or 2, I'm not sure) for the privilege. Very cool of the school, and I met the principal last night at Kassi's orientation - she's awesome and I'm really looking forward to getting involved with the schools that the kids are now in, because her attitude is the norm for these school. I even joined the PTO for goodness sakes!

Monday, August 21, 2006


Bloggy Gossip is a blog I just found through Rose. It looks pretty new, but I LOVE the template, and the concept behind it is a good one, plus, she's featured Team Nova today, so she gets bonus points from me ;)

I'm tired, exhausted lately, and for no real reason, or no one reason, or something. I have lots to share, and no motivation to share it. Tomorrow. Love yas, sorry I'm being so... gone.

Tarheel Tavern #78

Heard the Word of Blog?

Tarheel Tavern #78: A Light, Tasty Way to Beat a Hangover

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Rose, Ivy, Birds and Lilies

Birds of a feather flock together, or so they say. I've just always wondered how all these like-feathered friends found each other in the first place. Of course, with writers, we meet up at writer's events, poetry/writing forums, etc... But I've been amazed by the number of bereaved mothers and people who have experienced a loss due to CHD that I've come across coincidentally.

Rose is one of those people. We're actually similar in many ways, we both keep a blog that covers various topics, hers however is much more organized! I think I'm safe in saying that we both believe that sex is better than chocolate, we both apparently like wrought iron beds and ivy covered brick, we each write poetry, and we've each lost a daughter to a congenital heart defect. We also both believe it's important to continue talking about our losses as time goes on. She's been dealing with her grief for 14 years, and she still cries. It's good to know that it isn't unusual for the tears to remain so long after the loss, because I cannot imagine, even in 9 more years, that I wouldn't still miss my Alexis. And pardon my saying so, but even moreso with Nova.*

Rose found Poetic Acceptance at Jmom's house. Jmom is a blogger I found while looking for other NC bloggers. She's fairly close to me geographically, and also has a love for lilies and a problem with Japanese Beetles. She followed me back here and linked to me because my babies' stories moved her to do so, and I am grateful for that.

Apparently, these 2 birds flocked together by way of the garden, and I'm extremely happy to have met them both. They've both been wonderful with their comments and Rose and I have had a strikingly open dialogue about the loss of our children. You all know I'm not one to use a lot of religious rhetoric, but I can honestly say I feel blessed to make so many friends of so many people I might never have met if it were not for Nova's influence on my life.

*Now before any of you bite my head off let me explain: Alexis was only here for 12 days. Aside from the fact that I've spent 5 years denying myself permission to grieve her, she never came home from the hospital, and, unfortunately, the fact that we never had her at home creates a different set of circumstances that surround her death, and the way I coped with it. I do not mean to say that Alexis was less important to me, or that I loved her less or miss her less than I do Nova. The difference is in the fact that I had Nova for so much longer, that he came home and influenced me in ways that Alexis never had the chance to. They say that you can't miss what you never had, and that's true, but there is definitely a difference in what you miss about a child that never came home. Because he was so much older than Alexis when he died, we did more with him and for him, and therefore there are more things to miss without him here. I love them both dearly, and miss them horribly, but for Alexis, it is more the absence of the things you expect to do when you have a child. With Nova, I miss not only the things we will never do, but the things that we did.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

wish I was

I got an email today from someone whose address I didn't recognize, and the subject line was "please help me!" and thought what in the world is this? I actually figured it was another Ethiopian/South African bank scheme, since it went in to my spam folder. But something told me to read this one, and I'm glad I did.

You guys remember You know, the site I started that was supposed to be a charity site that collected donations to help pay for funeral expenses for families who lost babies? Yes well, I haven't yet been able to afford to get the actual charity/non-profit status, and so there hasn't been a lot of traffic because I don't want to get in trouble for collecting a bunch of money, know what I mean? But the site is still there and it gets a few hits a day, and today it got a hit from a woman whose sister lost her son. He was born prematurely (29 weeks) and ended up getting Necrotizing Entercolitis - the same thing that Nova had that caused him to need the colostomy, which caused the infection that killed him. The baby was just 10 days old, and the NEC was too far gone to correct and he passed away.

This woman contacted me on behalf of her sister, in hopes that I could help with the funeral expenses. Unfortunately, I can't. But what I am doing is contacting the funeral home and several churches in the area in hopes that I can find some folks in her community to help her out. The plot is paid for, and the funeral home has agreed to donate most of their services for free, but there are other expenses that she'll need to pay for. The major thing at this point is going to be the balance of the funeral charges. I know that the mother has been out of work for 2 weeks, and because the baby was air lifted to a hospital far from the family's home, there are some hefty long distance/cell phone charges. And of course, being out of work means that her household bills are probably going to be getting behind, so I'm hoping that I can manage something for her. It's just wrong for a mother who's just lost a child to have to worry about finances right now. I mean, the funeral home bill is nearly $2000. I'd hate to know what full price would be!

So you guys do me a favor and do some praying/meditating/warm thinking/finger crossing for this family, please? Just listening to the story has me right back where I was the day after Nova died, worrying about the bills! I wish I could just write her a check. Most days, I'm glad I'm not wealthy, but on days like today I wish I was crazy rich.
Seth Micah McGee, meaning "the Anointed Prophet," was born August 6, 2006, at Good Shepherd Medical Center, and went to be with our Lord Thursday, August 17, 2006, at Baylor University Center in Dallas. Funeral services will be 2 p.m. Monday, August 21, 2006, at Welch Funeral Home Garden Court, with the Revs. Billy and Ronnie McGee officiating. Burial will follow in Grace Hill Cemetery. Seth is survived by his parents, Samuel and Miranda McGee of Longview; brother, Sean McGee; grandparents, Billy and Beverly McGee of Longview, Carla McGee of Houston, and Robyn Mehrens and Mark Mehrens of Longview; great-grandparents, Sonny and Gay McGee of Longview, Edna McClain of Mayfield, Kentucky, Fran and Johnny Rowden of Longview, and Jess and Deana Hayes of Pritchett; great-great-grandmother, Irene Thomas of South Carolina; uncles and aunts, Chris and Carlene McGee of Longview, Donny and Meagan Watts of Longview, and Mallory and Bill Edmonds; aunt, Tammy McGee of Houston; uncles, Mason Mehrens of Longview, Steven McGee of Longview, and Scott, Shawn and Brad Meade of Cleveland, Ohio; and numerous cousins. The family will receive friends 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday, August 21, 2006, at Welch Funeral Home. An online registry may be signed at, by clicking on the obituaries link.
Donations can be sent to:

Samuel and Miranda McGee
c/o Church of Faith
1201 E. Morgan
Longview TX 75601
You Are 70% Boyish and 30% Girlish

You are pretty evenly split down the middle - a total eunuch.
Okay, kidding about the eunuch part. But you do get along with both sexes.
You reject traditional gender roles. However, you don't actively fight them.
You're just you. You don't try to be what people expect you to be.

class of '89-Friday 8/19/06

class of '89-Friday 8/19/06

What an interesting day today has been. Kory's freshman orientation was this morning. He's a freshman already, I can't believe it. My second child is in highschool. Well, as I've blogged before, they (Kassi and Kory) are starting new schools this year. They move from the Monroe city schools to my alma mater, Sun Valley, Kassi will be in middle school, and Kory goes to high school. I've tried several times to find a way to get them into the Sun Valley schools, and I truly believe that if I'd been able to, Tommy would never have quit. It's a different atmosphere entirely.

So we walk in just a bit before 8, after sending him off to the gymnasium with the other 9th graders, and sit down in the cafeteria, where the parent meeting was being held. I loved attending Sun Valley, even though I was never very popular, and managed, thanks to good grades and a solid work ethic, to be deemed a nerd and a teacher's pet. But Sun Valley is a long time in my past, and I'd become pretty accustomed to the way things worked in East Elementary, and Monroe Middle & High, which is to say, I'd gotten used to an uncaring, disinterested, hostile and disrespectful environment.

The difference in mood was apparent before we even made it into the school this morning. It was warm and inviting and the people were friendly and personable and just... gave a shit. The kids were well behaved, soft spoken, respectful, it was honestly just amazing!

The crazy part of the whole thing is that one of the assistant principals is a guy who was in my senior class. Calling him "Mr Watts" is going to be weird. And man, let me tell you, it makes you feel old as hell when someone from your senior class says, "I've been here at Sun Valley for 12 years now. I started out teaching science and did that for 10 years and joined the administration last year..."

But it was really funny that he spotted me across the cafeteria and waved. I mean, I was pregnant in my senior year, so I'm probably one of the first people he went to school with who has a child in Sun Valley. Because, he and I were never friends in school, you know? I mean, he was a super nice guy, friendly to everyone, but he had a lot more money than my family did and generally circulated in different social circles than I did.

Weird, the whole thing is pretty weird. And makes me feel old. And the whole thing has me feeling nostalgic too. What I wouldn't do to go back to a time in my life when I could still afford to be naive and idealistic, when I believed that life was always fair and good...

I miss my innocence and my ignorance and my youth.

Friday, August 18, 2006

please? (lol)

Click images for alternative ways to support Team Nova's efforts with awareness and Fundraising:

Photography Gift Certificate Raffle
total so far: $7.61
Thanks Jen, and thank you James!

Buy an Ad
Sponsor Team Nova

Gretchen's Yarn Raffle
Total so far: $75.00

Ryan's Blanket
Ryan's Blanket
Total so far: $10.00

She's Beatin' Him!

Still the funniest shit I've ever heard

Thursday, August 17, 2006


So it's been rough lately, and that's an understatement. Today though, has been surprisingly OK, considering that Alexis would have been 5 today. OK, not great, but doable.
  • There is a woman named Kim who has a 13 yr old son who was born with a CHD who joined Team Nova, she is the one who contacted The Charlotte Observer about doing the story that's presently being done. She emailed me yesterday asking me to call her, so I did, and it looks like she's making some huge strides as far as sponsorship goes. She's a go-getter! I'll know more next week. Keep your fingers crossed for me/her!?
  • She also told me about a story in the paper yesterday (or the day before?) about The Sanger Clinic. Dr. Stern and other doctors and staff volunteered their time and energy to screen a group of high school athletes to make sure there were no undetected heart problems with these kids. You know, I've posted several stories and links about kids that have died recently of undetected CHD. These docs volunteered to ensure that all these kids were heart healthy - for free. That's the Sanger Clinic docs for you. Awesome.
  • So I went to read the story at, and saw that I could run an ad for $9.95, with a picture, for 14 days, with the option of two free renewals. Yup, I'm so there. However, there was a 500 character limit. Pruning my blurb to 500 characters was so hard. I hope there's a lot of response from it. If there's NO response, I hope that it at least gets read a lot, for awareness' sake.
  • The phone rang this morning. It was the media director from the AHA. It looks like our story will be part of the motivational speech given just before the Heartwalk starts on the 16th. We'll even get to be on stage in front of the masses. How's that for awareness raising? God help them if they let me near the mic, my brain is writing a speech in the background already.
  • She also said that she expects to hear back from the other media outlets sometime next week. Awareness, awareness, awareness! Come onnnnnn awareness! I'll be thrilled to be the spokesperson for CHD awareness for any of them that are willing to listen!
  • Also, I got to spend nearly an hour doing a phone interview for the Observer story, which means that on Alexis' birthday, I had the opportunity to talk quite a bit about Alexis. This is a good thing. Hard, emotional, and good.
And for future reference, in the event that someone close to you loses someone they love, particularly a child, please understand that they want to talk about that person, and don't make it a taboo subject. I spent many years feeling like I wasn't supposed to talk about Alexis, and this year I've been able to talk so freely about her to so many people, and I can't tell you how wonderful it feels to talk about my baby girl.

Twilight in the Garden

Pardon the weeds. Lately, my pretty peaceful garden has things in it that don't belong.

no point

Have you ever tried to describe a rainbow to a blind man? And did he see it? It's futile, and fruitless, and is precisely why I haven't said much lately. I can type all day and all night, and manage only to acheive total frustration.

There is another blogger. A mother. She has the most gorgeous children. I read her every post. Her oldest started kindergarten today, and I cried. I cried because I'm a selfish ass. I cried because her 5 year old started kindergarten today, and mine, well, mine would be five today and will never grace a school bus. I cried because her son came home this afternoon. Mine didn't, mine never will.

Alexis' first birthday, her first death date: they were easier than this. And I wonder if I'm even supposed to get through this with my sanity in tact. I sat on the swing tonight, earlier, saying, inside my head, over and over, "I want my babies back, I want my babies back, I want my babies back..."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Yesterday's thoughts

When Nova was born, the only vehicle we owned was a Ford F-250. Scott's work truck. Not family friendly, or the ideal vehicle for making a lot of trips to doctors with an infant. So, when our tax refund came in January/February, we bought a used conversion van, for Nova, for his appointments, for his stay in the hospital, and the trips we knew we'd be making back and forth.

The van, like I said, was used, and the last couple of months, it's really been acting up, so we haven't used it much, because we can't afford to repair it. Apparently, it's the computer, and that's very expensive. It will run, but it will just turn off -pft- and won't start back up until it's damn well ready. Scott has fiddled enough with it to have learned the trick to making it start, but we just haven't used it much for fear that one day it won't start back up.

Tonight, we were going to my sister's house to drop off the crib, she'll be using it at her house for the times she's babysitting her grandson, my niece's baby. We took the crib down a good while back, and piled it into the van, and it's been waiting there for her to be ready for us to bring it over, so we decided to brave using the van. Anyway, Scott went out and put Terra's car seat in the van while I got everyone ready to go, and we went out to pile in.

First thing I realize: I've barely been in this van in months. I've barely been in the van that we bought for Nova since Nova died.
Second thing: Terra's seat is in the captain's chair behind Scott. The spot Nova always rode in. We are in Nova's van, Terra is in Nova's seat, and Nova is gone. We're off to a great start, and I'm not even in the van yet. By the time we got to the end of the driveway I was fighting tears.
Third thing: I realize that we were about to make a 13 mile trip - the exact same 13 miles that comprises the first half of the trip that we covered every day we went to the hospital.
At that point, it was pretty much over, I lost it. On the inside anyway. Wouldn't want to fall apart and get the kids all freaked out and shit, right?

My only outward admission of the horrible thought processes that were running wild in my mind was to tell Scott that I hated the van.

This is the van we drove to deliver Nova to the place where he died. We bought it just for him and he's gone and
We thought we were going to have to fix it, at a rather large expense. It looks like we'll be selling it instead. Anyone want a 2001(?) Dodge Ram Conversion Van with a bum computer?


We were given a fish tank. We were going out by my sister's house to pick it up, which is why we were dropping off the crib. Gas is too damned expensive to drive any more than absolutely necessary. The tank was supposed to come with a fish. It died last night, before we got it. Dropping off a crib that belonged to my dead son, only to make room in the van for a tank that belonged to a now deceased fish.


Today was Kassi's 12th birthday. Poor girl doesn't get to have a very good birthday. See, she was born 8 years and 2 days before her sister Alexis. She believed that her 8th birthday present was the baby sister, Alexis, who was born 2 days later. She was so thrilled. She barely met Alexis, the kids were only allowed to see her once, and only for a few minutes. So, for her 8th birthday, Kassi got a baby sister, and 12 days later she lost her, before ever getting to know her. It is a memory that will forever taint her birthday. I have a hard time getting excited about her birthday. It feels wrong to celebrate anything at all this month. Kassi always remembers Alexis on her birthday - it will always be entangled with a sense of loss for her, and for the rest of us.

We didn't have a birthday party for Kassi today, because her best friend was out of town (for her grandfather's funeral) so it will be this weekend, the 19th. 2 days after Alexis' 5th birthday. 10 days before her death date. Ooh yeah, par-tee time.

Yes, thanks for asking, I am having a crappy day, and perfectly fine with the fact that I've given myself permission to admit it. To not fight it. To damn well be honest with myself, and feel it.

Will you still respect me in the morning?

addendum: Well, there you have it. The computer was going out, and today the transmission went out, and we had to have it towed back to the house.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Ringing of the Bards

The Ringing of the Bards is at Naked and Ashamed and it's so colorful!

Tarheel Tavern #77

Heard the Word of Blog?
The Tarheel Tavern is up at Another Blue Puzzle Piece.

A Sponsor!

Team Nova has its first sponsor! HS Her Story Photography and Art has donated a gift certificate to be raffled off, (as with the Yarn Raffle and Ryan's Blanket) and all proceeds will be applied to the Team Nova shirts.

HS Her Story Photography & Art
The certificate will entitle the winner to a free session fee with Her Story Photography & Art. ($100.00 value)

Session Fee will be good for either Studio or Location.

Kelly Story at
28504 NC 73,
Albemarle, NC 28001
704-244-1505 or 704-986-2460
Certificate good until 12/31/06

If you want to put your name in the raffle, use the paypal button below, and for every dollar you donate, your name goes into the pot once. On Spetember 1st, I'll draw a name and send the certificate to the winner.

All photographs in this post are copyrighted to HS Studios. Do not copy without express permission from the copyright owner.

Oh Mama, errr, Papa!

OK, we all hear about mommy blogging, all the time, right? They're everywhere, and basically, at one point or another, every mother with a blog eventually becomes a mommy blogger, even if only for a while. I swore I would not become one. I was not going to blog about my children, I am not one of those mothers who has nothing more to offer the world.

Yeah, bullshit. I'm a mother first and foremost and my kids are all that exists in my universe 99% of the time. The other 1% of the time, I squeeze out a poem or some prose, or some witty funny damn accident. But, I am a mom, and I am a mommy blogger and damn it, I love other mommy bloggers.

What I have never found much of is Daddy Bloggers (no idea why that's capitalized, when mommy blogger wasn't) and I never thought a lot about it, I mean, men just don't get as involved in the rearing of the little demons, right?


I have found Daddy Bloggers, and I am in love!

First, Pickle's Papa had me with Pickle Icky simply because he didn't shy away from the icky, he made it funny, and didn't hold it at arms length while holding his nose with the other hand. Read it, it is NOT what you think. It's better, and ickier, and so damn endearing and witty!

Then there's MetroDad and his chaos theory in which he makes too many just.friggin.perfect observations for me to even begin to do him justice with a blurb. Go. Read. NOW.

And Mr. Nice Guy 's sarcasm - oh yes yes YES!

And Creative Type Dad, and Bean (and other's) Dad, and Clueless Dad and more and more that I haven't even surfed through yet. Christ, it's like a... a... shit I don't know what you call it, but I'm SO totally using them (sorry guys, but yes, I'm using you each and every one!) to get some insight as to how my husband views snot, shit, men, mothers, sleeplessness... and a myriad of other parental issues.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Running out of time!

A few weeks back, I saw that Billy was selling advertising, pulling a banner behind his plane, inland beach style. I loved the idea. He even had a banner made with his own URL on it so that he could get a feel for the impact it had, and how much response there was. Seems his stats exploded after driving around a day or 2 with his URL on that banner, and so I thought, "hey, Greensboro would love to donate to Team Nova via the AHA!" Billy explained how it all worked, and offered me a crazy discount on his advertisement rates, and I went about finding a place to make the banner. As great an idea as it may be, as great an increase in donations it might have triggered, I just couldn't afford it, and, greatly disappointed, emailed him to tell him so.

Billy's response? "Send me a wad of your fliers, and I'll pass them out in my travels around Greensboro! Free of charge." Because that's the sort of person Billy is, and if I lived in Greensboro or thereabouts, I'd visit him at least once a week, if only to take his garbage to the curb for him! (Yeah, most of you have no idea why I'd say that, which means you aren't reading Billy's blog, which means you're missing out!)

So anyway, back to the fliers. I ran out. I ran out of ink, and I ran out of money for new ink cartridges, and I definitely ran out of Kinkos-Kash. (Is there such a thing?) Meaning of course, I haven't sent him any fliers at all, and Greensboro is a huge AHA fundraising source going untapped (or, at least it's being untapped by Team Nova anyway.)

This being said, I realized today that there is less than a month before the deadline for turning in the donations, as all donations have to be turned in by the 11th of September. The date fast approacheth, and I've got 'miles to go before I sleep."

The deadline for ordering our shirts approacheth even faster, what with shipping time and the possibility of printing screw ups... and yes, I'm mostly out of Cafe-cash too, though I have $5 pending in actual Cafe-cash, I can't use it until the day before the Heart Walk!

Trish, my best-friend-sister, suggested I sell sponsorship space on the Team shirts to help with the expense there (nearly $100 to get one for each member of the team in the correct sizes, although I can do it for $70 if Terra, Bren, and Kassi all wear adult smalls.) Excellent idea in theory except that I suck as a salesman. She called me yesterday and tells me she may have found my first sponsor. I mean, wow, already!? Before I'd had a chance to even fully consider it, she's off and running! Gooooo Trish!

So I had to work out a price list and offer different size ads for different prices and explain the plans I had for the money and blah blah, and I did that last night. I still suck as a salesman, but if her contact buys a spot, and one other I've "talked to" (actually, my sister's boss, that she's talking to for me today) also buys a spot, hell, it's a start right? And I figure that the shirt would actually be a fairly effective ad, I mean, thousands of locals will be at the walk, plus the large group of people we'll (6 Team members) be talking with at the CHD tent, plus we'll be wearing them when the newspaper takes photos, plus whatever else comes up between now and then (remember the AHA is 'selling' us to other media outlets...) Not a bad amount of coverage for a small amount of money (considering the cost of advertising I mean) AND, we'll wear the shirts long after the walk, plus the money could be written off as a business expense, right?

But there's so little time left to get all of this done! And I've still got to raise over $800! Ok, actually, I have $160-ish pending here and there (The Yarn Raffle, Ryan's Blanket and money that my sister is raising from her customers.) But man, to all those who thought I could hit $10,000: I sure am glad I didn't believe you! I'd be crushed by the thought of having $7800 dollars left to raise with 4 weeks to go! Plus the shirts, and hopefully some awareness pins to hand out at the Walk, but I don't see them materializing unless several more sponsors buy t-shirt spots...

And, I'm not feeling motivated today to do what I need to be doing. So much to do in so little time, I just feel overwhelmed and want to sit on my couch with my coffee and my blankee watching cartoons and listening to the rain. Yeah, it's cold today. I mean 75 degrees is cold when you've been dealing with 105 degree heat indexes the last couple of weeks!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Garden Still Life

Garden Still Life

I have to get back to the garden
where there is still life -

where, despite being twisted
and misshapen by the weather
the rosemary thrives

where the sparse rose bush
has grown leggy and wooden
but holds shy leaves

and where the crocus
quietly voices a promise
and struggles skyward.

shamelessly reposted from a bit earlier this year, because it feels so appropos.

Timing is everything

I spent the day pissing around with little things: scrubbing cabinets that haven't been their proper color in a decade, sorting plastic containers, rearranging stuff for no apparent reason. Nervous energy I guess. The interview went well, she makes it easy. Chit chat, conversation - and I really do relish the opportunity to talk about my babies and the things I've learned from their lives and deaths.

In other words, it went well, with the exception of my table. My son sat on my glass top table a while back, and busted it all to hell, so our table has gone topless for a good while now. Glass is kind of expensive, but we finally ordered it earlier this week. Of course, it wasn't ready until this afternoon. As soon as the interview was over we went to pick it up, and my table is topped once again, but it sure would have been nice to have somewhere to set our drinks as we sat on the couch and talked...

Timing is everything no?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Thank you Daniel

Thank you Daniel for making me smile today.

Oddly Enough

Wrapper's delight

The reporter is coming!

The reporter is coming tomorrow afternoon. No photographers, just her, and I really like her. Ironic timing, though. Today it has been 4 months and 4 days since Nova died, which means that tomorrow will be the first day that he'll officially be gone longer than he was alive, and yes, I know I mention that a lot, but for whatever reason that I cannot express, it is significant for me.

I, of course, will let you know how it went when it's over, but I'm not feeling particularly nervous about it. A little intrepid, only in that this is a new experience, so there's an element of fear-of-the-unknown I guess. And of course, she'll be here, as will my children, and any one who has children will understand my concern. It introduces the possibility of some truly unexpected (and possibly undesired) elements, like 3 year old melt down, or more fun yet, potty accidents, or, more likely, a complete inability to talk to each other about anything at all because my 3 year old is a total attention hog and will be all up in her face!

And of course there is some concern that I will, because of the combination of topic and timing, go into meltdown myself, which is not something I do well with an audience. But if this story is supposed to be about my (our) journey in the last 5 years, then tears are definitely a part of that, and I suppose it's unfair to deny that for the sake of my pride. To omit the tears is to deny the pain/grief element, which would negate the value of the story, wouldn't it? So, what will be will be.

She also mentioned that they might want me to do some voice stuff, like reading a couple of blog entries, or free-talk type stuff, to accompany the story when it comes out on I have no idea what I'd say. None. But, even with how I feel about my voice (or, my accent really) I'm more than willing to do it (I mean, I'm in the south, the readers will be mostly southern, they won't even notice I have an accent!)

It's crazy how totally in-a-tizzy I was with nerves about this whole concept before, and how calm I am about it now. I'm still excited to have the opportunity, more excited about the ability to use it to promote CHD awareness, but not the slightest bit freaked out about it. What's to be nervous about anyway? She wants me to talk about something that means a lot to me.

Um, like there's anything anyone could do to stop me!?

How it went is here

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Ryan's Blanket

A few weeks before I had Nova, my best friend Trish gave birth to her son Ryan.

Trish and I have known each other since we were 11. I'm not doing math for yas, but that was 2 decades (plus some) ago. Our birthdays are just days apart and so for about a week I get to give her a hard time about being older than I am. Tricia is the one person in my real life who isn't family that is family. We consider each other sisters, our kids are cousins, bloodlines be damned.

Trish lost a child 16 years ago to SIDS, and her youngest daughter has special needs due to cerebral palsy. Without going in to too much detail (because frankly, that's her story to tell and she does a much finer job than I) I will just say that Trish is one of those mothers, who, despite the very real difficulties in her own life, never fails to reach out to others, is always a compassionate ear, and a generous soul. Since her daughter's diagnosis with CP, her life has changed dramatically, and yet she offers her name, number and hand to every other parent she sees or hears of who has a child with special needs. I could not possibly ask for a more wonderful best friend.

When Nova died, her son was having some feeding/weight gain issues, and on one of her visits to his pediatrician, the doctor told her that he heard a heart murmur. Needless to say, with Nova's ordeal so fresh in her heart, she panicked and was extremely concerned. As you all know, feeding issues are common in heart babies, and she feared that her son had an undiagnosed CHD. She promptly arranged for her son to see a pediatric cardiologist for an echo. Thankfully, it was a false alarm, his heart is fine, and his feeding issues have resolved themselves since then.

Trish just had surgery a few weeks ago too, for a hernia, and has been off her feet pretty much ever since. She has spent those weeks knitting baby hats for the heart babies in CVRU at CMC. She's that kind of person. Want more proof? Yesterday, she was reading my blog(s) and saw Gretchen's yarn raffle for Team Nova, and proceeded to brain storm for herself how she could do something similar.

She had no blog (she does now though! YAY!) and she has no Paypal account, but knew I do, and so, she's come up with this:

When Ryan went in for his Echo, he was given this quilt. It's 43"x35" and as you can see in the pictures, it's pretty darn adorable. Hand made by women who donate these quilts to the hospitals for children who go in for heart procedures of any kind. The group is called the Charlotte Quilter's Guild and bears their label, as well as one that says Made by Loving Hands (?) Quilters. (That tag is wash-worn and I'm not sure "hands" is right.) She thought this quilt would be the perfect thing for the raffle idea because it is actually intended to be given to heart babies, and because she was blessed with good news about Ryan's heart.

(Click on the pictures for full sized view)

So I'm going to do this just like Gretchen is doing her yarn raffle. If you'd like to own this handmade quilt, and support Team Nova's efforts in the Heart Walk, here's what you do: Use the Paypal button and donate whatever amount you'd like. For every dollar you donate, your name goes into the pot one time. (ie: a $10 donation puts your name in 10 times.) I'll keep a running tally in the sidebar with the name and amount of each donor/donation. On September 1st, I'll put the names into a hat, and draw one out. The name I draw will then be announced and will receive this blanket via our wonderful postal service, and the total amount of the pot will be donated in Ryan's name to the American Heart Association Heart Walk.

Eve Ensler - Poet

Eve Ensler - Poet
    a rosie view

Monday, August 7, 2006

Falling Down

Have you ever walked in front of a mirror and caught sight of some body part and thought, "Whoa! When the hell did that happen!?

I've never thought I had some awesome body or anything, but there was a time when I really felt comfortable with my body, and felt that I looked pretty good. I took pride in my abs, and heard it said a time or two that I had a pretty good ass too. But being pregnant for 9 months sort of puts asses, and especially abs, on the back burner. And obviously, I haven't been thinking much about body image in the 8 months since he was born.

That puts my flat abs and nice ass at least 17 months in the past. Nearly a year and a half.

But recently I've been trying to get my shit together, grappling with the concept of returning to real life, tossing around the idea of going back to work, and of course, I don't want to look too hideous when this story goes into the papers. I'm not vain, much, really. I just would like to be referred to as, "The mother whose story was in the paper." Not as, "That repulsive woman in the paper who... What was her story again? Bless her heart, you should have seen her!"

Now my abs, those I said goodbye to after Terra was born. They are my one concession to the joy of motherhood, and if you knew Terra, you'd know that she's entirely worth it. But, today I'm wearing these pajama type shorts, they've got wide leg holes and they're really baggie and comfy, but a little on the short side, and they tend to ride up and I have to be careful to pull them down a bit whenever I stand up. Earlier, I got up from the computer, reached back to pull my shorts down a bit, and all of a sudden, I got a quick tactile refresher course on the laws of physics-- gravity in particular. And I am frightened. I know now that it isn't that my shorts are riding up, but my ass that's falling down.

Someone tell me how, at 112 pounds, I can possibly even have enough body fat to sag? Guess I'm off to do some research on butt exercises.


It has been a difficult day, emotionally. It is the 4 month anniversary of Nova's death, and four days from now, he'll be gone as long as he was here. I have cried off and on all day. I'm weepy. It's become a normal part of my disposition. But tonight I checked my bloglines to see who on my list of blogloves had posted. I haven't done that much this last few days, so I was a little behind. While I was cruising through the posts, I found one of the most beautiful and well written posts I've ever read. Read it, once you do, you'll understand why I'm typing through tears, struggling to catch my breath, and bawling.

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Tarheel Tavern

Heard the Word of Blog?

The Tarheel Tavern is up, and wayyyy early. Billy really flew through all those submissions! Looks like a good sized turn-out too! Awesome.

Again (or, as usual) I'm in need of hosts, for next weekend in particular. If you'd like to host Drop me a note and I'd be more than happy to add you to the line up!

Saturday, August 5, 2006

glow angels

This is a photocuddler. It's like a stuffed animal, with a picture frame face.

After Alexis died my mother got one similar to this (but it's a bunny) and had Alexis' picture put in it, and had it set under a glass dome. It holds a little tiny panda bear, it's really cute, and meant a lot to me that she had it made up like that.

When I started Poetic Acceptance, because I had one, I decided this was definitely something I wanted to carry in the 'gift shop' and I have about 100 of them (all angels) that never ever sell. Like, never. No matter what I've tried I get NO traffic to that site.

When Nova went into the hospital, I took one of them (another bunny, the boy version) and put Nova's picture in it, and it stayed with him the whole time he was in the hospital. Now I have a matched set on top of my entertainment unit in the living room, along with all the other stuff, pictures and things, from both of them. I also passed a couple of them out to other parents that had children in the hospital while Nova was there.

So, here's my idea, since that site is a miserable failure, and I have all of these angels that were supposed to be sold for charity, I'm going to sell them for $5.00 (they're usually about $10.) Half of that will go to the Heart Walk, and the other half will go to another friend of mine who is doing big stuff in her area as far as CHD awareness and stuff.

She's started a program for parents that find out that their child has a CHD, like a workshop, where they can ask questions and learn about their child's defect. They have speakers come in and they want to offer each parent a copy of a book that has been considered the leading source of information for parents whose child has a congenital heart defect.

It's an awesome program - but she's not rich, and there's an initial outlay for the books and supplies and such that she needs. I want to help her out if I can. My Paypal accout ($5.54! woo hoo!!) is already promised to her for this, but she needs $200 bucks like now. I know I've tapped you guys out and here I am asking for more but this chick is doing all the things that I want to be able to do here, and I know what kind of support I'd need if I were doing what she's doing. So c'mon help a total stranger out eh?

1st Ever "Hang Ten" Surf Saturday

I have done nothing today, nothing but surf, I grabbed my (key)board hollered, "Hang ten!" and headed out (blog)surfing. So, in the spirit of Hang Ten (or maybe just in the number - what do I know about the sppirit of Hang 10?!) I'm sharing ten of the blogs I've visited today. You may very well have seen some of them before - get over it :-)

So first off I found and fell in love with many poetry blogs this morning. I discovered a pretty good list I'd never been to before (DUDE!!) and I'd tell you where they are but I think you should just visit Billy(1), to whom I forwarded said list so that he could use some or all of them in his 100 Blogging Poets Episode III. Seriously folks, he's nearing the 300 mark. You should go check out the links in Episode I, Episode II, and Episode III. I guarantee you'll find plenty of poetry to love.

Then I headed out to Old Rope(2) and found the day's treasure here(3)(read from the bottom, and read Then go here(4), and be prepared to find more of the greatest funniest sarcasm ever.

I also found this(5) and I want to that Jennifer(6) for it. I can think of several bloggers who deserve a nomination, and will be thinking on just which one I'm going to send in.

Some of the women I have in mind happen to be BlogHer(7) members, and so I headed off in that direction next, and in my travels I found this post which was interesting and evocative enough to make me reply. I was also intrigued by Trill's comment, after mine. While I was there I also found this site. Check out the mood bracelet. Seriously an awesome witty idea - but the prices are a little more than I'm willing to part with.

So then I wanted to check out the daily reads - the ones I read even when the bloglines notifier says they haven't posted. Good thing too because Zilla(8) had posted, and I damn well can't wait for her regular service to be restored because Zillahenge has GOT to be something worth seeing!

Gretchen(9) had also updated, but not posted. Actually she's got a fundraising project running on my behalf and I'm astounded to see that her total is up to $75. SEVENTY FIVE! Thanks Gretchen! If I could have any more children (which regrettably I can't) and could guarantee a heart healthy baby boy (which, if I could get pregnant, would not be likely) I would do so just to hold up my end of the pre-arranged marriage deal and to show my gratitude. I mean nothing says thanks like labor, delivery, and life-long responsibility! Right?!

And from Gretchen's place, the natural flow carried me straight to Belinda(10) who has been enjoying her ongoing saga with male heifers, Steer boobs, and Steve Oedekerk (or some facsimile thereof.)

Aiight duuuuude, s'nuff fer me man, I'ma go grubbin!

Ringing of the Bards

So it's time again to Ring in the Bards, and I have the honor of doing the deed. The past hosts have done such a fantastic job with all the creative montages they've posted. I just hope that I can do The Ringing justice. So let's just jump in here!

Daniel of Naked and Ashamed, who has one of my favorite blog titles ever (reminds me of Natalie Umbruglia!) writes
...It was an imperfect circle
scribbled where seams meet...
in Imperfect. I think you'll all appreciate the beauty of his imperfection.

Katy at Something Katy tells us about a flee market affair. The imagery here,
...the mildewed bottoms of folding tables
sagged with humidity and his figure shown
through the t shirt he wore...
without resorting to flowery language, is simply beautiful. Thanks for this Katy, it brings back memories of when I was a kid.

Bob the Average Poet, who has the most inappropriate name, writes Dash of Humanity
the odium
and run a race worth joining.
The brevity makes his point that much sharper. If only the right folks would heed his message.

Pearl of Poetry Springs Boing, Curl, Sproing gives us after crack of thunder
...a downpour leaves no part of me untouched,
it turn me over as it releases the shoulders
works a diagonal across legs, shifts, soaks,
every inch tapped, eyelid or midback equal...
The sensuality in this piece is tangible, and utterly gorgeous. Being a fan of thunderstorms, I fell in love with this piece.

Nadia at It's Clever, But Is It Art? gives us personal impressions and introspections about war in This Side of Death
...I wait for kings
who do not come,
no clash of armour,
ringing of swords.
Battlefields now
have more dimensions...
In it's entirety, I find this piece to be a rather poignant study on the Middle East conflict, without being blatantly political. I enjoyed this very much, and sympathize with the mood.

Daniel of Talking to Myself takes a more direct approach with Weep, Like a Cedar in Lebanon, yet, he still shuns the political multiplicity and embraces the individuals so torn by the war.
...And so I stand, weeping,
crying for my lost children,
the Sunni, the Shi'ite, the Christian, the Jew,
as I witness my roots failing -
my branches breaking -
my green needles wilting -
and my trunk rotting.
I weep, like a cedar in Lebanon,
and pray for the coming of spring.
This piece demanded to be read more than once, and etched itself into my chest.

Leigh at Sleight of Mind sent me Synesthetic Time and had me right from the title. Synesthesia has long been a fascination of mine. It was not what I expected as I began to read:
...Time takes on
the momentum of a surf wave
with decades morphing
into the turquoise depths
of a thousand centuries...
It was, in fact, much more.
I haven't (yet) been able to quite grasp the string theory but this piece illustrated it rather vividly, and offered more than just dots, and lines, and curves. Thanks Leigh, this piece is truly beautiful.

Shirley of House Mouse writes a rather sad piece titled Grandpa's Barn
...But I can't help recall the stalls
all filled, in Grandpa's day.
And lofty beams from which we'd fall
into the new-mown hay.
If progress has its pitfalls
it's the loss of yesterday.
It isn't often any more that I come across a sonnet. It is one of my favorite forms, mostly because I'm completely incapable of writing a proper example. This piece does exactly what I cannot, remains true to form, and doesn't lose the message or mood in the rhyme and meter. Impressive.

Russel at Yuckelbel's Canon sent in Odyssey between afternoon classes is such a wonderful retrospective piece. The texture of this piece:
...We were naked children on a deserted beach.
You turned me into a pig
And I followed you everywhere, making noises,
Teaching you to smile
Discovering you were sunlight and motion...
is completely nostalgic, and I'm still finding bits of it between my toes.

Billy the Blogging Poet gives us A PERFECT WORLD/Kill All The Children (poem for two voices.) and they are two distinct voices indeed. Two speakers who give an undeniable view of the sentiments in the Middle East conflict.
I wish I lived in a perfect world where little girls never got their hearts broke, and little boys were never the last ones picked to be on the team. Where everyone always loved me no matter the color of my skin, and the sun shined bright everyday. Where flowers bloomed and safe was every street. I wish I lived in a perfect world...

Kill all the children
if that's what you must do!
Kill them all before they grow,
perhaps to offend you!
Kill all the children!
Cut off their little heads!
Kill them while they're in the womb
and kill them in their beds...
Billy doesn't hide behind anything with this piece, but rather, bares it all, making it a rather striking contrast, not only between the voices in the poem, but between the poem and the subversive tactics of present day media and political propaganda.

And last but in no way least is Ashraf (aka arch.memory) who writes Looking Through Your Eyes
...remember seeing it through your eyes,
my country,
as for the first time.

The tight colorless street
where I grew up
choking with people,
_____ now covered with a dust
_____sinful as only humanity is...
I have never seen anything more evocative nor have I read more striking imagery. This is the sort of poem, with its truth and honesty and bare emotion, that a reader cannot deny and retain their humanity. This is more of an experience than it is a piece to be read - a perfect encapsulation of what it is to see your country be torn apart, knocked down, both physically and figuratively. I am so moved by these images and the sadness of this poem, I ache with it.

Dan of Naked And Ashamed will be hosting next, so keep that in mind during the next week, and after that will be Katy again but the weeks after that are host-less, so if you'd like to host, please visit The Ringing of the Bards to view available dates, and email Billy at idleblogs (AT) to volunteer.

Friday, August 4, 2006

I've got a joiner!

Team Nova has a new member!

One of the mothers that I've been in contact with (the one who referred me to the paper actually) about volunteering to run the CHD/Little Hearts tent at the Heart Walk has just joined Team Nova! How awesome is that!? She and her son (a 13 year old CHD survivor) are going to start fundraising in advance of the Walk, and be there at the tent with me!

I'm really hoping for a successful day at the Walk, not just the walking (hey, I can walk 3 miles! I tried it! several times, and survived every time!) but with the tent, and raising awareness, and with getting a good sized group of families that will be interested in joining Little Hearts and maybe even offering to help with that process.

I am so psyched today. I can not possibly use enough (obnoxiously overused) exclamation marks to emphasize how excited I am! (!!!!!!!!!!!)

On my hands and knees

I've been on my hands and knees tonight, getting sweaty and talking dirty (let's see how often this post gets a porn search hit!)

No, I've been spot scrubbing the carpet. I'd rather have a steam cleaner, but frankly I can't afford to rent one right now. Yes, I'm that broke. Leave me alone, I don't want to discuss it.

I hung new curtains and blinds in the livingroom (which is why I can't afford the steam cleaner!) and, though the green isn't quite the right shade, they look really pretty. Seriously. I guess they're more of a window treatment than curtains, which makes it all the more surprising that they look good. My mother can go to Big Lots and the Dollar store, spend $20, and decorate the house, which will then be beautiful, and feel rich. I never acquired that gift - or her gift with cooking - actually, I'm quite the failure in the Domestic Goddess category. But, my rug is clean, and my window looks pretty, and all the spider webs have been removed from all the corners. Wish my digital took better pictures, I'd show you! I tried, but it just wouldn't take a good enough picture. Maybe you can get a decent idea though?

Yeah well, I tried. Here are some more crappy pics taken with the camera that doesn't work worth a shit any damn more.

This is Terra, sitting in her reading area (a discreet corner full of throw pillows and books, and a few stuffed animals to read with) wearing a hat that hasn't fit her since she was about 18 months old.

And this, well, a self taken picture of myself in the bathroom. Note the weird crazed look in my face (NO idea what expression I was aiming for) and that lovely shower caddy behind me. Eve, that's for you dear. All for you. Sorry, my hands aren't in the picture (they're on the camera!)

And there's another of all the kids (minus Kory - who was off with a friend) but Blogger won't let me friggin upload all of a sudden. Asshole.

HAHA! Take THAT Blogger photo glitch!!!

And that concludes yet another pointless post.

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Breathing August

powered by ODEO

Breathing August

Summer stole my breath,
poured it into a mug
and handed it back like coffee,
steaming - a fog falling
on a world turned upside down.

It is always August,
humid and bloated, grey-blue
coming and going and coming again.

It's wilted breezes, untied ribbons
tree bound kite strings
and long nights with nothing to do
but fight with trying to remember
and trying not to forget.

But most of all it's breathing,
the swirl of cream in my cup
and missing you.

Ringing of the Bards

The Ringing of the Bards will be hosted here this week, and it's been brought to my attention that I never made a post to say so! So if you'd like to be included in the Ringing of the Bards poetry carnival, you can email the permalink for your poem to me at I'd appreciate your getting them to me by late Friday night so that I can post The Ringing on Saturday!

If you'd like to read more about the carnival and how it works, or are interested in hosting at some point visit The Ringing of the Bards.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Thank you Nova

There are people who can (or maybe they must) ignore it, avoid the pain and sorrow and tragedy in the world. You know the type, they turn their heads and avert their eyes. Perhaps it's selfishness, perhaps it's self-preservation, it doesn't really matter. The point is that they manage to insulate themselves, one way or another, from the negative emotional bits of human existence. I am not one of those people, even when I try.

But I used to be.

And as much as I can understand the need to bury ones face in one's hands when bad things are happening, I also understand the end result of that, which is self pity. Self pity because you can ignore the pain of other people, but when you choose not to acknowledge their pain, you also tend to miss seeing the good, and all that is left to see at all is your own pain. You begin to dwell on it. Then, having not seen anyone else's pain for so long, you begin to believe that you're the only one hurting, and you fold in on yourself, holding your own pain dear, like a prized possession.

Like I did when I lost Alexis.

But today, I was out doing mundane things, making purchases I could ill afford, and the sun was sweltering, heat index 104, feeling miserable, cruising across the expanse of asphalt that is the mall parking lot. And there in the median, swaying in the waves of heat as they rose from the ground, were the most beautiful plants with vivid purple foliage, and beside them were variegated purple and green plants with feathery 'appendages' (for lack of a better word) that seemed to float above the plant itself, and they were just gorgeous.

I know that a year ago I'd have never even seen them, because I'd chosen, years before, to close my eyes to the world around me and steep in my grief. But Nova has taught me better, opened my eyes to the beautiful contrasts in a world full of pain and happiness. For that, I am so grateful.

Of course it hurts, it makes me do things like continually visit the blogs and photographs from the Middle East. They leave a metallic aftertaste - all those stories and pictures, all those injured and dead and terrified people. They sit like sulfur in my chest.

But it is a lesson that has enabled me to do, to even attempt, so much in the CHD community and with the Heart Walk. Seems he was a much wiser person than I, an old soul with a lesson to teach and a penchant for teaching (and touching) so, thank you Nova. I miss you terribly, and I love you - always.