Tuesday, October 9, 2007
© 2007 Erin Monahan
Summer passed without the fireflies
and mostly without campfires too.
There seemed to be only fire ants and sweat
and a few gatherings with friends --
some of whom have since moved on, like hope
for thunderstorms on unbearable August evenings.
Now Autumn stands at the edge of the yard,
hands held behind its back, shyly kicking at the dust
like the new boy who isn't quite welcome
at the neighborhood Labor Day parade.
And I wish I could run to him, laughing
and pull him onto the back of my bicycle and ride off,
playing cards snapping in the spokes,
let our hair blow back into July afternoons,
back to roasted marshmallows, and watermelon
that dripped, unnoticed, onto our shirts.
© 2007 Erin Monahan
There's a mockingbird in the dogwood,
and a mourning dove on the wire. Neither
takes notice of the other. So it is.
and yet, ninety degrees in the pumpkin field,
where seeds are splayed from the hulls of the dead.
They've come to feast on gnats,
and pay no mind to the music...
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Team Nova 2007 has had a slow start this year, but I'm hoping that's abut to change. I've finally had the meeting with the AHA Rep. Her name is Brenda (Laurie from last year is blissfully married and left the AHA to enjoy being a family :) Congrats Laurie! I'll miss you!)... and meeting with the Rep is always a bit of a kick in the pants. I can't believe how fast this year is flying by! We're halfway through June already! September 15th will be here before I know it!
So far, I've personally raised $650... a far cry from my $5000 goal! But Ang has joined Team Nova from Indianapolis and raised $300 (as well as creating her own team, for which she's raised another $300! Amazing!)
And Gretchen, dealing with her own child's medical issues, is running a yarn raffle again this year, and has raised
So, in all actuality, the running total for Team Nova 2007 is $2275... Just $2725 short of the goal! And only 3 months to make up the difference!
So I'm going locally, to businesses, to ask for donations, I'm planning a raffle of my own as well. And I'm hoping that, when the new school year begins, the childrens' schools will support us again the way Kassi's supported Team Nova 2006!
And yes, you guessed it, I'm going to start at it here as well. ;)
So, want to help me squelch this sinking feeling that I'll never meet my goal?
You can help by donating to Team Nova 2007 via the American heart Association's Web Site.(Don't forget to check the Matching Donations list to see if your company is one that matches charitable donations! If they are, your donation could be doubled by your employer! There are 185 pages of companies that match donations, so there's a good chance yours does!
Or you can snail mail a check, made out to The American Heart Association of Charlotte NC, and mail it to me at
2509 Old Charlotte Hwy
Monroe NC 28110
And I will forward it with my other cash donations to our AHA representative, to be added to our Team Nova donations amount.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Here is the afghan design I will be using........
Congenital heart defects are the #1 birth defect. In the US alone, over 40,000 babies are born each year with a congenital heart defect. That translates to 1 out of every 100 births.
(To put those numbers into perspective, only 1 in every 800 to 1,000 babies is born with Downs Syndrome.)
Nearly 4000 of the 40,000 born of those with a congenital heart defect will die. That makes Congenital Heart Defects the leading cause of defect related death in children.
Even though Congenital Heart Defects are the most common birth defect, they remain the most unheard of. Without raising awareness, the advances we're hoping for won't be available. Funding for childhood cancer research is five times higher than that of CHD research, although twice as many babies die from CHD's.
And yet, most people have never even heard of Congenital Heart Defects unless their child or another family member is diagnosed with it. Two of my children were diagnosed, and died, of CHD.
Donate to Team Nova (American Heart Association/Heart Walk 2007 - Charlotte NC) Today and help us help other parents. Or, if you can't donate, please repost this.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
I pre-register for my GED tests in the morning. Just a month and 10 days before I can actually take the dang tests.
I'm still waiting for the lightbulb to come on over my head... you know, the one that says, "Ohhhhhh, THAT'S what I wanna be when I grow up!" I did put in an application last night with CMC-Union though. Sure, it'll be me sweeping floors on night shift, but you know what? It's a start. Well, it would be if they'd hire me without a GED, which they won't.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
First, I want to say: I'm really journaling about all this to keep myself motivated, and to have a written accounting to look back on, in case I want to see how I was doing in which subjects at any particular point. I'm sure you guys are sick of reading it! Sorry!
So I took all the real pretests in class tonight. (Well, I took Reading last week, Science, Social Studies, Math and Writing tonight.) All my scores were high enough to qualify for taking the actual GED testing. Unfortunately I have to have 12 hours in class before I can register for that. So I've done everything I can/was supposed to do, and finished it in 9 hours. I still - in order to ensure that I get credit for the 12 hours so I can take the dang final test - have to sit in class Thursday night, for another 3 hours, doing nothing.
THEN, on Aug. 2nd I PRE-register for the GED tests (wtf is their fascination with those three letters? PRE... pretests, more pretests, then a post test, then... a GED pretest, then, pre-registration... *sigh* I don't feel like I'm getting anywhere cuz I'm still in the "pre" stage!)
And then sometime after 8/21, I'll actually get to take the GED tests. I have to wait WEEEEKS for something I had pretty much finished in 9 hours.
Have I mentioned that patience is not my strong suit?
So anyway - actual in-class pretest scores, which DO count (and must be a 500 or more to qualify for pre-registration) are as follows:
Math: 520 (yeah... not the greatest, but on the GED test, I can score as low as a 410, so I'm safe.)
Social Studies: 610 (Carla made a 750! YOU GO GIRL!)
Reading: 690 (I'm actually disappointed with this score... I can do better.)
Writing: I took the multiple choice part, and the actual score is impossible to calculate because of the essay that we don't write/get scored in class, but at this point, with just the score from the multiple choice portion, Mr. Johnson said even if I score the lowest possible score on the essay part, I still meet the 500 point requirement. Thank you Mrs. Myra Helms for being the most awesome senior English-Lit teacher ever! (For those who make fun of my spelling/grammar issue... Ha! See, it does serve a purpose!)
Now if only I had a dollar for every point I scored on my tests, my life might not fall apart. I can't wait till the end of August to take the real thing!
Want to hear something funny? Obviously, I never graduated high school. Class of '89 walked without me. That never bothered me - the 'not walking' part anyway. But when Carla and I finish these classes and actually have our GEDs, we get to walk in the SPCC GED graduation ceremony in May 2008. I didn't think that would be that big of a deal to me, but I'm kind of excited at the idea.
Friday, July 20, 2007
*sigh* I've done more tests for my GED than I've taken pregnancy tests... and consider who you're talking to, that's a lot!
Now keep in mind that these don't actually count - they're like practice tests so *I* can gauge where I'd stand on the actual GED tests right now if I were to take them.
I have to earn both a minimum score of 410 on each test and an average score of at least 450 on all the tests with a minimum total score of 2,250 and no single test score below 410. Make sense?
So, my online scores were:
Social Studies: 580
Writing: between 550 & 650 (my best estimate because there's an essay part that effects the actual grade here, and obviously, I don't know how the instructor will grade my essay)
Giving me a total of (using the lowest Writing grade) 2830 points, and an overall average of 566, which meets all the minimum requirements plus some.
I'm happy with that :)
I'm still going to study the math more, and brush up on my essay writing skills, but for now, I'm content.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Osmosis doesn't work, for the record - not for learning anyway. I literally fell asleep IN the math book, face first on the couch last night. Then, this morning, I did the math preGED test online. Didn't score quite high enough... missed one too many. More studying is in order :)
Took 2 language/reading pretests in class. Aced them.
Working on Social Studies now. I learned something - I suck at charts, but not as bad as I suck at Trig so I can deal.
The instructor is pretty cool with letting us handle it as we see fit, as far as what subjects we do, and when, and with the timing of the tests. So I'm going to do the Social Studies preGED in class Tuesday, then head for the Science. Once I score high enough on those, I can totally concentrate on Math, and I can study my ass off over the break and be ship shape for the actual testing when we start the Fall semester.
I have to sleep though. The couple hours I've been getting (because I'm up all night studying) isn't helping any. Sleeping brain cells are simply not absorbant.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
The instructor was late. Ha! He's a funny one I tell ya. Not so great at explaining concepts, but hey, we weren't bored!
A girl I went to HS with is in my class - she's not getting her GED, she's what they call Pre-D... no idea, don't ask.
So anyway, class. He let us each decide which subject we wanted to start with. He suggested we start with the ones we are best in, to get the out of the way. Did I listen? Of course not - had to start with math. So I took the (yet another) mathematics pretest, and BOMBED - I am telling you, the other one was graded wrong, seriously. But, you know what? I brought home the book and I've been studying all night, well, since I got home at 9 anyway.
The book explains a concept, gives you several examples, shows the work and the right answer etc... Then there's a practice exercise. You answer the Q's then check the answers in the back. I'm really getting it, because the answer key explains WHY the answer is what it is.
Hell, I even did square roots for the first time ever tonight lol. And it doesn't suck too bad.
So I'll study and practice some more tomorrow and Thursday and then go back to class on Thursday night and try another pretest. I actually think I could do a LOT better already. With a couple more days I'm sure it won't be an issue. I just wish this is how high school math class had worked!
I'm really psyched about this whole thing. I'm going to hate the summer break! Next Thursday is the last class until August 21st, and that'll suck!
Anyway, I'm sleeping with the book on my head and hoping for osmosis! Night all!
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Alright, there were 4 portions of the test, but they combine the 2 math sections when they score it all, so there are actually only 3 scores. The lowest you can score is a 0. The highest is a 12.9 (as in 12th grade 9th month)
I got a 12.9, a 12.9, and a 12.9 Wooo hooo!
The whole point of taking the classes is to get you to a point that you can score a 12.9. Since I'm already at a 12.9 in all areas, I could, concievably, go ahead and take the pretests (there are 5 pretests to take before you can actually take the final GED test.)
Unfortunately, because it's a government funded program with a high drop out rate, the government won't turn over the funding until you have to proven that you're not going to drop out, by attending 12 hours of class. That's 2 weeks of class (3 hrs per night, 2 nights per week.) And you can't take any of the pretests until you've done those 12 hours.
There are only 2 weeks left before summer break. It doesn't start back up till August (8th, or 16th, but I'm not sure which) so I won't actually be able to get my GED until after that.
I *know* I've waited 18 years... but I don't want to wait anymore. I *know* August isn't far off at all, but patience is not my strong suit!
(and for the record, I have no freaking clue how I scored a 12.9 on the math. Seriously. It frightens me that they don't expect you to know more math than I do in order to graduate.)
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
So there were 2 rounds of testing... the first was ridiculously easy... it just gave them an idea of what level you should be tested on for the actual placement. The second one was longer, more in depth, and a little harder.
There were 4 sections - 2 English, 2 math. I know I aced the Englih portions. No worries there. I even think I did OK on the one math section. The other math section I made lots of crazy faces at and really struggled through. (do any of you 35 year olds remember how to divide fractions, or know whether multiplying 2 negatives results in a positive or negative result? And good lord, no I DON'T know how to calculate the volume of a cube.)
So I go back tonight to find out what my scores are, what classes I'll need, and what my schedule will look like. Last night I was just so relieved to be done with the test - today I'm terrified of the test results. Guess I just need something to be freaked out about lol.
Friday, July 6, 2007
And doused!!! Happy birthday Erin!
These are a couple shots of the load of kids in my yard while we decorated the float on the 3rd... This is BY NO MEANS alllll of the kids, there were more, just not in thiese pics lol
This is Alex, Hunter and Bren (the 3 stooges) while we waited for the parade to get moving
This is the front of the house where we had the cookout after the parade. Do the banners rock or do the banners ROCK!?
And a psychadelic acid-trip pic... the kids had glow sticks as we waited in the dark for the fireworks to start
And here is Terra's July 4th get up LOL!
After the parade we headed home an undecorated the float and headed over to one of member's homes for a huge cookout. I tried to count how many showed up to it... even more than for the parade I think. It was huge. And more fun than I can even explain. (pics soon to come...)
They all (50+ people) decided to say Happy Birthday with water balloons LOL. I was drenched. Then came cake... actually 2 cakes... one with MY FACE on it... if you know my friends, you know what jokes that lead to ;)
We hung out till after 11 last night and came home EXHAUSTED. Terra was asleep in the van before we even pulled out. She's such a good kid. If only they stayed 4, it's the perfect age. Unfortunately, they turn 13, or 16, or even 17... and they make you wonder why becoming a nun seemed like such a bad idea back in the day...
It was an awesome day. It's only been since we opened OMG that I've really HAD friends... I mean, I had friends, but not like this... It's awesome to have this group, where all the families come together and hang out like family. I really think of a lot of these women as my family... Guess you'd have to know the dynamics of my fucked up (real) family to understand why that's so special to me.
Anyway. It's 1am, and I need to at least petend to get some sleep - I have a playdate to o to in the morning! :)
Sunday, July 1, 2007
You can ask Rosie questions, and she comes through and answers selected ones. She gets so many in a day she can't answer them all. I asked her a question today. I've asked it before. I asked for her support in the Heart Walk. Who knows if she has even read mine. Seriously, the volume is staggering.
at 12:09, I asked Rosie question #1304:
even if you don't donate, please post this, so others can? https://www.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=211173&supId=160575062
She's big on children's charities. But the AHA isn't really a children's charity now is it. I hope she posts it, or that I get some sort of response. I doubt I will.
My garden. LOL. It's a wreck. The heat and humidity make weeding even more miserable than it normally is, so the crab grass is taking over. I added a water feature several months ago... the wild life loves it. We have butterflies and dragonflies and hummingbirds. Actually, we have all sorts of birds that always seem to travel in pairs. And rabbits by the dozen too, not so thrilled with them, they really like my hostas.
We also have, because of the water feature, mosquitoes. Not so happy abut that either, and I've been contemplating ways to combat them. We considered some disks that ya throw in the water that kill the larvae, but I try to stay away from chemicals ...not that I'm claiming to be "green" at all... I do like my seven dust and the ocassional spritz of RoundUp... but I was afraid these disks would kill my water lilies. So I thought about some fish, but once the temperatures started hitting the 90's, the water got to be like a bath, with no shade, in full sun all day, and limited oxygenation. I don't want to kill fish, so we opted not to buy any and even try it.
So, I thought and I thought, and decided frogs would be good. I went on OMG and asked anyone if there was a creek or pond near their house where I could snatch some tadpoles and start a froggie community. The answer was a resounding no. No tadpoles anywhere. So I figured I was stuck with my mosquitoes. Until tonight. Tonight I heard music. The songs of frogs, right there in my garden, from the water. It didn't turn me on much, but I'm hoping I just don't understand the language of froggie love, cuz I want to see some serious tadpoles swimming in that little pond, and soon! And until I do, those frogs better be feasting on my mosquitoes dang it!
Saturday, June 30, 2007
She only toe walks when barefoot now (we've spent years saying "feet flat" and she'll walk right when we do, and as long as she's wearing shoes, she's got her feet in a normal position when she walks.) She's been eating better for a good while (meat even! -she never would eat meat till the last 6 months or so.) The strict bed time routine went the way of the wind long ago, and all that remains is that she prefers one blanket over the others, but will go to bed fine without it.) She even told me while we were outside today that she isn't afraid of trains anymore (we live RIGHT next to the tracks and one went by blowing the horn continuously - which USED TO set her into a frenzy)
So here's the thing. She's very intelligent, she communicates well, she doesn't seem to have any gross or fine motor delays, she's generally healthy and happy and well adjusted (albeit spoiled) and seems to be on or ahead of schedule with her developmental milestones. Whatever issues she has don't really have a negative effect on her.
And yet, they bother me. When I think about having her tested, I wonder... would a doctor even see the things I see? Are these things even "issues" anymore? Were they ever really? Would a diagnosis help or hinder her?
Am I a bad parent for not having her tested? For fearing that if she gets a diagnosis that somehow the therapies and stuff will actually do more harm than good? If she's adjusted and functions perfectly well... what is there to be gained from it? Am I crazy for thinking that we'd end up dwelling on the possible weaknesses to the point that we'd only see those? Or that it might screw up her (presently high) sense of self worth?
Friday, June 29, 2007
I have no worries at all about getting the GED with a quickness - except for the math. I'm seriously mathematically challenged. I guess I better wear flip flops so I can at least count to 20...
I'm not going to lie. I'm doing this because I want to homeschool Terra, and need a GED or a highschool diploma to do so. Unfortunately, Scott isn't so sure about this homeschool thing... So I'm hoping he'll change his mind, and if he does, I'll be ready. If he doesn't, I'll have my GED and find some other courses to take that I can use to get a good job (maybe even a career!) after she starts school.
I can't believe my youngest is just a year from starting school. Or that I'm just a year from being in a position to have my days to myself to go to school or get a job or whatever.
I'm worried I won't feel like a mom... I mean, of course I'll be a mom, but I've had a young child, not old enough to go to school, pretty much since I was 17, with the exception of 1 year, during which Bren was in kindergarten and I was pregnant with Terra.
I feel like I'm about to start a new chapter in life... And it's scary and exciting to think about. And one way or another, my GED is going to be step one in that chapter.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
I miss blogging, I miss having a network of blogs that I surf daily. I miss the idea of hitting all the blogs that are written by someone who shares an interest in stuff I love or am interested in. I miss Technorati, and Truth Laid Bear and Blogshares!
I am a blog nerd... and I have a feeling my hiatus is coming to an end.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Today, I received Alexis' block. Again. it's customized just for her. Alexis was 12 days old when she died, and at her funeral, we placed 12 pink roses on her casket... 1 for each day she lived. So her block has pink roses on it.
Nova's block has been waiting for 8 months to be added to a quilt - waiting for Alexis' block to be finished so that they can be put into the same quilt. Now that hers is done, they can be incorporated into a quilt...
I can't wait until they are. The quilts are often displayed at CHD awarenes/fund raiser events around the country, and I'm hoping that we will, someday, be able to see our babies together.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
And then things happen, little things, that make it all worth it.
Today we had one of our monthly events. One of our members, one who has been a member a while but wasn't very active until recently, came and made a comment to Stephanie (my co-owner/partner in crime.) I didn't get to go because Brendon finally came down with this ugly stomach virus that has already kicked the rest of our asses, but Stephanie stopped by after the event and told me what this member said:
I just want you to know how proud I am to be a member of this group. I'm from Atlanta Georgia, and still never knew that groups like this existed, where everyone could really be themselves...
And with those few words, it is reaffirmed in my mind that it's all worth it. That for one (bisexual, btw) person, they have found a place where they don't have to pretend or hold their breath, and that's what OMG is about... not about the people who don't get it, but about those who do.
So thank you member-who-shall-remain-nameless, for sharing with us that we have lived up to our goal! I could just hug you till you popped! You'll never know how much those few words mean to me, or how good they were to hear (albeit, 2nd hand ;) )
Saturday, June 9, 2007
So I have been accused of opening OMG to "escape my miserable life" or to "get revenge" or because I was pissed off. Contrary to popular belief, I did it because I needed to do it for myself, in order to feel like I was staying true to myself, because I stopped playing pretend when I was a little girl and if I was going to make friends, then I was going to make them in a place that made me feel like I could be honest enough with people to be able to let them meet the real (unorthodox, bisexual, give a damn) me. Love me or leave me, their choice.
But since I decided to open OMG, I've dealt with the backlash of my decision, as well as the backlash of others' perception of my motivation. Regardless, I still stayed true to myself and did my best not to buy into the surrounding controversy. I have not always been 100% successful, but I can honestly say I've tried, and that I've encouraged others to do the same.
So I made boards like The Confessional, Touchy Feely etc... because sex is a part of real life and we shouldn't have to pretend it isn't. And I also made it known that I was bisexual, because I figured if I did, others would feel that they could as well. And that's what I wanted, a place that encouraged people to feel comfortable being themselves.
Unfortunately, public opinion and "outside influences" have exerted some pressure on us and some people have manipulated things, and suddenly, we have the reputation of being "that sex board, you know, the one with all those lesbians and swingers!"
Funny thing is, all of us 'lesbians and swingers' have always been lesbians and swingers - we only got that reputation because we don't have to hide it on OurMommiesGroup. So if being honest about who we are and being accepting of others and their differences is going to result in us having a bad reputation, then so be it. Let people talk, but I don't regret creating this place, and I will never regret that we don't make people jump through hoops to become our friends.
And yes, at our recent Mom's Night In event, 2 women kissed... and somewhere in the world, 2 other women kissed, locked behind closed doors, feeling ashamed.
I am proud to be the owner of a group that allowed two women to feel like they didn't have to hide. I am proud to be part of a wonderful generous caring group of women that encourages acceptance ALL the time.
And if there is any shame involved it should be on the part of the people who believe that it's better to lie and hide than to be real. It should be on the part of the people who believe that judgement is preferable to honesty. It should be on the part of the people who just need to be intentionally hurtful.
So let them have their gossip and their lies... their games and manipulation and sneaking and scheming and badmouthing. I am bigger than that, I am more honest than that, and in the end, I am far too happy with who I am and the way I conduct myself to need to do any such thing.
I'll have no part of feeling badly based on what their small minds have concocted, because I have remained true to myself.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Saturday, May 19, 2007
I'm just overwhelmed lately. We finished up the Heart Walk last September and I got lost. That's what kept me going after Nova died. Haviong something to focus on, a goal, ya know? Ever since then I've been trying to find a goal.
I forgot to blog. I forgot how to write poetry. Hell, I've even forgotten to miss poetry. I started a mommies group. Yeah. Me. Weird huh? You know what they say about loss. It reinvents you. This new Erin runs a mommies group with a load of forums, and weekly playdates
and events for moms
We coordinate community events and local fundraisers and all sorts of things. A few weeks ago we did a fund raiser for a mother whos son died of SIDS. Last mmonth we organized a drive for the local battered women's shelter.
We do each other's hair (well ok Steph, my partner, does hair see:)
Ourmommiesgroup.com has even adopted a street to clean once every quarter.
We totally support each other through everything: diets, cranky kids, kids with allergies, new teeth, feeding problems, special needs and sickness, giving each other a ride somewhere, helping deal with deaths in the family, recommending each others' businesses. And I LOVE this group of women, and their kids too. It's been really fulfilling to put this together from scratch and make it work and watch it grow and flourish. It's been amazing actually, and we have barely begun! We've only been up and running 3 months and already have 160+ members. I can only imagine where we'll be in another 6 months.
But somedays, a lot of days really, I still feel empty and underwhelmed with life in general. I have so little motivation to do the things I should be doing, like laundry. Or fundraising for Team Nova...
I love a lot of the things this new Erin does, and a lot of the things she is. But I still miss the old Erin.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Image found at: http://www.rene-schwietzke.de/povray/povray-gallery.html
You were promise, curving
like the round of my belly
as light through crystal,
yellow to green to blue.
You were my secret, spilling
like sand from the bend of my elbow
into the way my hair tickled your face
as I lifted you.
Or was it you that lifted me?
You were hope,
now more than ever beyond grasp,
smile too wise to acknowledge death,
and recognition in your eyes.
Yes, you were promise
like dew in the boughs of the willow
curving always away.
Last year, after we lost Nova to a Congenital Heart Defect, when I started getting involved with the American Heart Association by joining the Heart Walk, I knew I had the freshness of Nova's death to move people. I never imagined so many people would be so moved, but I knew that I needed to make a difference in this world in his and Alexis' memory, and that his recent death was going to be a motivating factor, not just for us, but for everyone else as well. But I have to be honest here, I never believed that Team Nova would raise $5000+ dollars like we did!
So this year when we signed up again, a year out from Nova's death, nearly 6 since we lost Alexis... I set my goal high enough to intimidate myself, and convinced myself that the time span was going to hinder our fundraising efforts. I overwhelmed and discouraged myself. Bad Erin!
But in the last 2 or 3 days I have had so many people suddenly come to me with support and encouragment! I've (as you can see with the badge at the top of this post) been nominated for Best Charity Blog, and several of my Blogger friends have made posts and started raffles in Nova's memory that will benefit Team Nova's awareness and fundraising efforts. They've added links in their sidebars and posted about one another's support So I'm thinking it's time I get off my butt and post our donation page link - and let Nova's life continue to make a difference.
So here's that link https://www.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=211173&supId=160575062 and if you feel moved to support us in our fight against Congenital Heart Defects, please, donate there, or join the yarn raffle... and please vote for my blog, and do it in memory of my babies, Alexis and Nova.
Friday, April 6, 2007
Monday, March 26, 2007
He is taking it so well that he moved out tonight. That's right, my first chick has flown the coup. We piled his worldly belongings into the truck and moved him to an apartment with some friends this evening. My god the filth a teenage boy leaves behind!
But his room is (for now) a toy/game/play room... it echoes. Strange.
I'm happy for him, almost 18, finding himself, getting his independence, starting his life as an adult... I'm not as heart broken as I thought I'd be. I will say that the timing is kind of shitty, you know, from a completely selfish standpoint. Of course, I kept that thought to myself, wished him well... and agreed to buy his groceries for the next week.
So much for independence and self reliand\ce huh? LOL.
And so it starts. Empty nest syndrome. Just 4 more kids and 14 years to go.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
It's time for Heart Walk 2007!
In less than a month, we will be commemorating the one year anniversary of Nova's death, and so it's time to kick off our efforts for this year's Walk.
Once again, we're working with the American Heart Association to raise funds and Awareness in the battle against Congenital Heart Defects. If you're receiving this email from me, most likely, you know our story, and how we've lost 2 of our children in 5 years to the effects of Congenital Heart Defects.
Nearly 40,000 babies have been born with CHD since you last heard from me about last year's Heart Walk, and nearly 4000 have died as a result. We want to honor Alexis' and Nova's memories by doing our part in helping future parents avoid experiencing the devastating loss of a child.
Please help us battle the #1 birth defect, and the leading cause of defect-related infant death by making a donation of $25, $50 or more.
Thank you so much for your support!
Erin and Scott
(in loving memory of Alexis and Nova LeClair)
Follow This Link to visit my personal web page and help me in my efforts to support American Heart Association - Charlotte, NC
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
There are too many stars in the sky tonight
poured from the curve of an unfull moon
while midnight fantasies lie
shrouded in the sliver of shadow.
Mine though is a swelling tide
and some secrets are best
when they crash, salty, at your feet.
I saw you today,
standing pale and silent
against a blue noon,
watching as I gardened.
My hands busied themselves
with weeds and bulbs and dirt,
while my mind traced tender fingers
around your sad eyes and smiling lips
and no matter how I tried
I couldn't dig deep enough
to bury the ache.
I tried to leave you a moment
sheltered in the curl of the Canna
and for another,
safely swathed in Gardenia perfume
but found you,
again and again
where you've hidden for weeks -
warm against my chest like
a seed inside my shirt pocket.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
It's been over a year since the last time I held Nova, whole and well, alive and alert, just minutes before his open heart surgery. In roughly six weeks, I will commemorate the fact that a year has passed since he died. It's hard to believe sometimes that's it's already been a year. And yet, other times it seems like so long ago that I last buried my face in his chubby little neck.
It has been a year since he was last mine, completely mine. I relinquished my son to a team of physicians, in hopes that they'd return him in better condition than when they received him. Of course, surgery and more surgery, medication, complications and infections... They took my beautiful vibrant baby boy from me before death had a chance. In a way, the 21st is the one year anniversary of the day I let Nova go. That was the day I had chosen to kick off my American Heart Association Charlotte Metro Heart Walk 2007 fundraising campaign. Unfortunately, it was not a day that I managed to do much of anything... so today is now the day.
It is for those children, and those mothers, that I ask for your support again this year. Last year, thanks to your unbelievably generous support, I raised $3623, and Team Nova's total topped out over $5000. I sincerely hope that I can meet and even surpass that amount this year, because there simply isn't enough money allocated annually to Congenital Heart Defects research. I want to do my part to face that challenge, and to change those statistics.
So... Support Team Nova 2007, please!
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Friday, February 2, 2007
So we just got home from our appointment at the adoption agency.
I am frustrated and relieved, all at once. We were told last week that they'd do the DNA test, and that they had to order a DNA kit that would be in by the middle of this week. Then she called us on Wednesday and set up today's appointment. Does it seem that out of whack that we assumed that the DNA kit came in and that he'd be donating his genetic material this morning? We were greatly mistaken. Basically we went in to discuss the situation, more, again.
Well, I've explained the whole deal, beginning to end, till I'm ready to explode. I don't know what else they thought there was to say. But one thing they said was that we were mislead about the DNA kit and that if there was going to be a DNA test (get that... 'if' there was going to be a DNA test) that we'd have to pay for it. Yeah, back to square one. Only this time we're in the office, and my ugly was starting to bubble up right out of me -because we were, again, lied to.
Well, she must have seen the ugly coming because she called the director in. I don't like to get ugly, but sometimes, you have no choice. So he came in and we explained the situation again, and we explained the possible health issues again, and we had to emphasize the levity of that situation, again. And I told him, point blank, that the bottom line was that we just cannot afford $500, and that if we had to pay it, it just wasn't going to be done.
You see, their point of view is that Tommy is most likely the father (and we've come to agree that he probably is) and that with that in mind, they saw no justification in footing the bill for paternity testing they didn't feel was really necessary. Well without the DNA test, there's a very real possibility of one of two things happening.
A.) The baby is his, but since they don't know for sure, they dismiss the possibilities that are inherent in our family, which could lead to serious ramifications for the child and his adoptive parents.
B.) The baby isn't his and they worry unneccessarily for the child's entire life over heart issues that should never have been more worrisome for them than for any "normal" family.
Neither of those choices seems fair to the child or the family that adopted him.
Realistically speaking, although I think Tommy deserves to know one way or the other, the only real risk posed to us by not knowing is that we may spend the next 18 years getting pictures and updates about a baby who isn't really a part of our family. There is no real danger involved in that, other than some emotional hell if we were to find out in 18 years that Tommy is in fact, not the father. But for the child, and his new family, the risks are more concrete, and that is what I needed him to comprehend. I have moved beyond the needs and rights of my son, and become more concerned about what's best for the baby. Tommy screwed up, the consequences of his actions have already been put in place, and he'll have them to deal with for the rest of his life. What we need to do now is ensure that the baby's best interests are served - and to do so, there needs to be concrete information as to paternity. Period.
Well, an hour and a half into our "discussion" he finally agreed that the testing needed to be done, and that if we couldn't afford it, that the agency would absorb the expense.
So I am relieved -unspeakably relieved- to know that we filled out all the paperwork needed to initiate the testing, finally!
The agency uses a lab out of Burlington NC and they'll coordinate a day that both Tommy and the baby can visit a doctor or lab near them (seperately) to have the testing done. That should happen within the next week. Doing it this way, the results only take 2-3 weeks, so in reality, it will be a shorter wait than it would have been the other way.
I'm just flabbergasted by how hard this has been, and how much we've had to fight, and that we've had to overcome all the obstacles that have been placed in our way by the biological mother, and by the agency, and by human nature (and society's predisposition to side with the mother) and by our legal system...
I cannot imagine how many fathers there must be that have not been able to overcome it all, or how many children that have been hurt in the process because of the lack of an accurate medical history.
Thursday, February 1, 2007
B. It snowed. NC doesn't get snow. I mean, hell what we got today doesn't really qualify as snow in the real world... we got 2 inches, followed by sleet, then rain. We now have slush. It's yucky. But this morning (knowing the lifespan of snow around these parts) we got up and went out to play in it. 8am and we were having a freezing good time. We built a snowman - 6 feet tall. Then 'transgendered her' by putting her in a bikini and giving her a beach umbrella.
The rain has already reduced her to an unrecognizable (toppled and melted) mass in the yard.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
I believe that she's been urged to do so by her mother, and I try to keep in mind that she's 15 and feeling pressured by what her mother and her family want her to do. I try to temper my anger with compassion for the situation that she/they are in.
But I won't deny that I'm angry as hell that she has done what she's done to create the situation. And I'm even angrier with her family for being so unciviliazed and immature in a situation that has such vast consequences for so many people, and in so many ways. I won't even pretend to wish them good things. Good things are not what I've been wishing on them in this last 5 days.
When we met with the adoption agents, we were told, from their standpoint, what they would be doing, how the process works, and what they were willing to do to help. Frankly, it didn't seem like much, and was sparked not by 'doing the right thing' legally, morally, or ethically. It seems to be inspired only for the sake of preserving the appearance of ethical behavior. I don't think they really care that the adoptive parents know the baby's health history. I certainly don't think they're even slightly interested in finding out the truth for Tommy's sake, or even for the sake of making sure the adoption goes through without the possibility of Tommy throwing a wrench in it. It feels to me like, faced with us, they had to take measures to protect the reputation of Christian Adoption Services.
Frankly, right now, I cannot care what their motivation is, no matter what a crazy spin it may send my moral compass into. Right now, I have to do what needs to be done, however it needs to be done, to find out if this is Tommy's child. Period. I don't like admitting that. Honesty is of the utmost importance to me, and this whole thing feels distinctly dishonest.
In the last 5 days, she's given birth, named him Graden, and given him away. The adoption agency became very difficult to contact and did a lot of not-returning-calls. We got information (from other sources) that the original family that was to adopt him had backed out and we were left not knowing anything about why they backed out, or where the baby was (or would go.) And of course, that meant that we were also getting no feedback about whether or not there would be a paternity test.
And then this morning the adoption agency called. And they told us that they were indeed going to do a paternity test, but that we'd have to wait until something like Wednesday. This would be problematic if Tommy had any intention of deciding to keep the baby because his 7 day window would then be irrevocably closed. But he has no such intention, and that's a moot point in reality, but don't think for one minute that I think it's an accident or a coincidence... I believe that it is an intentional, purposeful decision on the part of the adoption agency in order to insure their interest, which is, no matter what, to place this baby with the adoptive family. That knowledge makes me even more distrustful of the agency.
Aside from that, if they hold true to their word, the testing will be done this week. Then there is only a six week wait for the results.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
9 months ago Kory's girlfriend (a 15 year old girl) snuck in Tommy's bedroom window and 'spent the night' with him. The only thing she would say to me the next morning was "I might be pregnant with your grandchild."
Of course she came up pregnant very soon after, and there is some reason to believe that she was already pregnant and looking for a scapegoat... no way to know that yet one way or the other until the baby is born though, so we're operating on the assumption that the baby may very well be his.
The girl's family has refused to talk to us, and insisted that the girl and her sister absolutely not talk to my boys. But through the miracle of teenagerdom, and MySpace, the pregnant girl still occasionally messages the boys. She's very civil to Kory, and nasty as hell to Tommy. Whatever. She's 15, I don't expect a lot from her (and she's proven me right lol) but I would expect more from her family. We shouldn't. Anyway, we got information a couple of weeks ago and apparently, she (and/or her family) have decided to put the baby up for adoption.
This isn't really what Tommy wants to happen. Of course, not even knowing if he actually is the father, he doesn't have a lot of power. It's the way the law is set up... To keep the father as out-of-the-picture as possible so as not to 'screw up' their adoption plans. But he can't afford to raise this baby, and he isn't mature enough to do so even if he had a job or whatever, so he knows that the baby is most likely better off being adopted.
Today, again, thanks to MySpace and the very strange friendship between the mother and my son Kory, we found out that it's a private adoption through a Christian adoption agency. We even know first names of the adoptive parents and their one son, we know why they're adopting, what their educational background is, what line of work they're in, their religious affiliation... We even have pictures of them and their son and their home, from the adoption agency's web page.
With all that said, remember that the mother maintains that Tommy is the father, but has not involved him in any way in the adoption process. She's basically ignoring and trying to circumnavigate his paternal rights. There are laws pertaining to father's rights, and an adoption cannot legally go through without A.) proving paternity and gaining the father's consent for adoption OR B.) Filing the proper court papers to terminate his rights without his knowledge.
This pisses me off in ways I can't even begin to explain.
So, after spending days chasing our tails, making calls and leaving messages and trying to find a way to get a DNA test to prove or disprove paternity (which we started before the new information came to light) we finally know who to contact and how to get this done, to know if it's his or not before the child is adopted.
He doesn't want to stop the adoption or complicate his son's life, he just wants to know if it's his and be listed somewhere so that the son can find him if he chooses to in the future, and of course, he wants to be as involved as they'll allow, and we're hoping they'll allow that...
Now, as much as this is not my issue, my problem to solve, and not about me, I'm going to tell you that this child was (if it's Tommy's) conceived less than a month after Nova died, so there's a certain neurotic connection in my mind between Nova and this baby.
I just lost a son, and it's eating me alive knowing that I may very well be about to lose a grandson too...
Saturday, January 13, 2007
I've had a Myspace account for nearly 2 years now, but I signed up just so I could comment on MySpace blogs. Of course, the damn thing was too complicated for me and I never did anything with it, and never even really used it to comment anywhere.
Then I joined Union CountyMommies.com and found out that basically every woman in Monroe has a MySpace blog. I resisted, I swear I did. But lately I've spent a lot of time there. It makes me feel old, but strangely connected. Not that that makes any sense really - I was already connected to all the people on my friends list...
Anyway. MySpace has a bad reputation, we all know that. It's either all teenagers, or all child molesters and rapists/murderers, right?
It also happens to be where every family member you haven't spoken to in a million years is, and it is how you can find them or they will find you. Scott has discovered that a bunch of his family members have MySpace accounts. Me? Haven't found a soul, but then, I pretty well burned my bridges along the way, and the only person that might 'find' me wouldn't be one I wanted to deal with anyway.
Christ, I can't keep up with the people in my life (on line and off) right now - like I need people crawling back up out of the muck I call a past. Can you even imagine what I'd do if my ex-husband messaged me!? Good god I'd delete my whole online existence to avoid him!
Anyway, that's just me, and I'm overwhelmed just by keeping up with laundry lately, let alone history. But Scott has had great luck, and he's happy to have found who he's found -and who's found him- because he's better at rolling with the punches than I am.
And you know what? MySpace is like quiz/meme hell. There are bulletins, that are a lot like getting forwarded junkmail, with a gazillion goofy questions to answer, and somehow, you feel like a MySpace Jack Ass if you don't fill out every.damn.one. *sigh* And yet, I'm completely addicted.
Want to know my MySpace screen name?
Ugh seriously. AND - I've even figured out how to do the layouts custom ones. I'm thinking that it's sort of like my second childhood or some shit, I dunno.
Sunday, January 7, 2007
Team Nova is up and running (errr walking) again! I'm excited about participating again this year. I just signed up yesterday when I realized that it was open again - the team isn't even completely assembled yet, but I had to sign up and post the address.
I'll make an actual Heart Walk post - like the one that floated for so long last year - but I'm not actually "kicking it off" just yet so don't worry, I won't start hounding you yet lol. I'm not quite ready yet!
Saturday, January 6, 2007
Wednesday, January 3, 2007
Go ahead, click it - it'll open in a new window. I'll wait.
Now, someone tell me why I'm pissed off about it.
See Monroe Aquatics and Fitness Center is having a New Year's special. $100 off the joining fee. This is the only time we could possibly even consider joining because we will never have $175 to join. So I go to their site today and look at their membership list and rate schedules to do the math and see if the monthly fees would be feasible. On the Family Membership plan, during the special - it would cost us $75 to join, and then $75 a month once you add on the extra kids. Not too bad. But wait, it says "married couple" -I better call and check that out...
So I call, and yes, you must be legally married to join as a family. We, then, must use 2 memberships. Scott would have to join as an Individual and then I could do the Parent/Child plan and then add the extra 3 kids. This, because of the special, actually decreases our joining fee from $75 to $50... but it increases our monthly fee to nearly $100 a month - because we aren't freakin married.
Now there are only so many reasons a place would set the "married couple" rule, and being in Bible Belt, NC, I feel safe in assuming it's a case of mandated morals. Don't want huzzies or heathens hanging out at the pool with their "significant others" now do we - might taint the water, or the kids, or something.
So, I am immediately pissed off, which must have shown because I was put on hold for the Supervisor who eventually came back to the phone, made me explain the situation again and offered this advice: "Just come in, fill out the paperwork, and don't mention the fact that you're unmarried."
OK, first, I don't feel as though I should have to hide or be ashamed of my family or my marital status, and fuck you very much for trying to make me. Second, what kind of hypocritical bunch of assholes is running this place if they require marriage for moral reasons, then recommend dishonesty? (And if you know Erin at all, you know dishonesty is her main pet-peeve anyway!) Third, if I decide to be dishonest by "not mentioning" that we're not married, and anyone questions it, then I'm forced either to lie outright (not an option, if you know Erin at all, you already knew this) or lose the money I've paid in because we all know that these things are non-refundable (also not an option, if you know Erin's wallet, you'll already know this as well.)
Now all that's already plenty to get my panties in a big flaming bunch, ok? And I don't even wear panties so that's pretty damn pissed off. I've already decided that, even if they let us in for free, there's no way in hell this bunch of fucknuts is getting our business. They can take their hypocritical moralistic judgement, and shove it up their collective ass. I have no intention of doing business with a company that operates this way.
But when I share the situation with someone else, she says to me, "...and just think, this is how gay and lesbian couples always get treated..."
Now I hadn't thought of it that way at all up till then. So I get to thinking about this, and like I said to her, I guess, if it were really important to us, Scott and I could get married (not that we'd do it for a fucking gym membership but you know what I mean...) and meet the requirements and avoid paying more for our membership, but a gay or lesbian couple can't ever meet those requirements, not in NC anyway.
So, basically, a gay/lesbian couple doesn't have the option of joining unless they pay double the joining fees and double the monthly fees. Now, isn't that discrimination?
UGH! I am so beyond pissed off right now, and all this happened HOURS ago!
I hope every god blessed kid in Monroe pisses in the MAFC pool tomorrow! Better yet... if only I had a one day pass and a handful of Butterfinger bars!
|You Are 5: The Investigator|
You're independent - and a logical analytical thinker.
You love learning and ideas... and know things no one else does.
Bored by small talk, you refuse to participate in boring conversations.
You are open minded. A visionary. You understand the world and may change it.
Tuesday, January 2, 2007
It's weird...you know the end of something great is coming, but you want to hold on, just for one more second...just so it can hurt a little more.
A sad thing in life is that sometimes you meet someone who means a lot to you only to find out in the end that it was never bound to be and you just have to let go.
I've learned that good-byes will always hurt, pictures will never replace having been there, memories good and bad will bring tears, and words can never replace feelings.
I don't know why but I'm obsessed with the moon and it's phases, and particularly taken with the full moon. Or maybe I do. I remember when I was about 13, we went to Myrtle Beach and it was the first time I'd ever seen the ocean. (Well that's not quite true. I know at some point when I was very young we went to the Jersey shore with Grammy Marion once. I couldn't have been more than 5, and I don't remember the ocean: just the salt water in my mouth, getting sand in my eyes when we shook out the blanket to leave, and being glad to leave.) I know I've told this story here before... how the moon was full and slung low on the horizon, reflecting on the heaving skin of high tide. I was awestruck. Not just speechless, but so completely enamored that even my mind went blank. I felt, for the first time in my life, as if I was where I belonged. I don't suppose that makes sense at all (as if anything going on in the mind of a 13 year old girl makes sense) but it was almost spiritual to me. The effect has lingered for more than 2 decades.
I've never recovered - never kicked the addiction. I'm a beach lover and a moon worshipper, and unapologetic for both.
So the moon is one of those things I check nightly, like normal people check the weather, or the price of their stocks. Funny thing is, I don't have to look at the moon to know when it's waxing full. I can read the phase with my own moods. For a day or two before the full moon I'm weepy and ill-tempered. For the full moon, I'm ridiculously happy and content.
This month, several things lined up to make for particularly severe mood swings and overall emotional chaos. The full moon starts tomorrow (today now, technically) and I'm looking forward to having a few days of contentedness, with the holidays, the tension, and the PMS behind me. I'm going to bask in it. But then, I always do.
Did you know that this month, we only miss a blue moon by 2 days? A month with 2 full moons. That would be awesome. Can't wait until May.
So, have you seen the moon tonight? I don't know what it's like where you are, but here, it's unbelievably clear, and the moon is just a hair from full, and true to form, I'm feeling content.
Thank you Selene.
Monday, January 1, 2007
It won't be long now and the Kintera site will be back up and running for fundraising toward the 2007 Heart Walk. I figure I won't push it too much so soon. I was so overwhelmed by the response last year that I'm actually afraid to start and find out that I won't come anywhere close to the level of success we hit last September. Of course, if I don't, I'll feel like a failure lol.
Last year, as I thought about this year's walk, I contemplated the concept of having an event to raise money, like a community cook out: free food, games for children, a live band, a silent auction.
I look at the idea now and think, wow, what a huge amount of work and capital outlay. I'm not making any final decisions on that one yet - it intimidates the hell out of me, with all the sponsorship it'd require, and all the permits and insurance and such that I'd have to get. I just have to decide if I feel it would be feasible along with all my regular fundraising stuff, and if I feel it'd bring in enough money to be worth the work. Of course, it would also raise a lot of awareness in my immediate community, so there's that to consider too.
So yeah, I'm brainstorming again. Any and all ideas are welcome (hint hint) I will say that the raffles that I did were not so successful. The one Gretchen had, the yarn raffle? Yeah, that was a smashing success. Maybe I just need to concentrate on what prizes would be most appealing. Maybe I can get Sawyer from LOST to agree to let me raffle off a one night stand, errr... I mean, a date with him?
Well, I have some time to consider all of this I suppose. And a notebook full of ideas I've jotted down over the last 7 months. Just need to sort it all out in my head I guess.
Here are the rules:
1. Yourself: learning
2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend (spouse): serendipity
3. Your hair: lifeless
4. Your mother: impossible
5. Your father: absent
6. Your favorite item: memories
7. Your dream last night: kidnap
8. Your favorite drink: Folgers
9. Your dream car: chauffeured
10. The room you are in: dark
11. Your ex: heartless
12. Your fear: unfulfilled
13. What you want to be in 10 years? peace
14. Who you hung out with last night? 'Big Daddy'
15. What you're not? normal
16. Muffins: nope
17. One of your wish list items: Pastels
18. Time: relative
19. The last thing you did: cried
20. What you are wearing: frumpy
21. Your favorite weather: thunder
22. Your favorite book: irreverent
23. The last thing you ate: hors devours
24. Your life: chaos
25. Your mood: swingy
26. Your best friend: compassionate
27. What are you thinking about right now? words
28. Your car: truck
29. What are you doing at the moment? typing
30. Your summer: distant
31. Your relationship status: complete
32. What is on your TV? Discovery
33. What is the weather like? unseasonable
34. When is the last time you laughed? tonight