Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that is just beginning to be understood. As a hoarder, I have acquired things over the years with a specific purpose in mind at the time of the acquisition, used some of those items for their intended purposes, forgotten the goal for different objects, but now that I find that they have outlived their purpose in my life I am struggling to rid myself of those same things.

You can read the start of my journey here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Neither snow, nor rain, nor dark of night, nor rain, etc., etc., nor rain...

No. I don't work for the US Postal Service. But we've needed to rely on their motto to make it to our nephew's wedding. The weather has been horrid at best, and it's caused signficant delays along the way. A thousand mile trek is long enough in it's own right. Add torrential rain, hail,wind, and fog, and it gets a lot longer.

I'm not complaining. Really, I'm not. I'll take the delays we've had due to bad weather (the first 230 miles took 5.5 hours to drive on the interstate due to hail, rain, and accidents) over the tornadoes and flooding that so many in our country have dealt with in the last several weeks. The delays are simply an inconvenience. They're not actually life altering.  So like I said. I'm not complaining. We are incredibly thankful for the safe trip we've  had so far.

It's amazing to see all the different hues of green in the landscape of the Midwest. From the lush green grasses to the budding trees and the newly plowed and planted fields, (one of my favorite sights ever), it reminds me that there is life out there that is bigger than my own. That my existence is but a drop in the cosmic bucket of life. It's a nice reminder. It doesn't make me feel small and insignificant, but rather it reminds me that I'm part of a bigger picture. A picture that is ever changing. 


And growth is good.

Growth is change.

We've talked a lot about how things have changed over the years. The last time we made a 1000 mile trip was well over a decade ago. If the car broke down, we had to hope for a passing car to stop and help us out or hope to limp into the next town without ruining the car completely. We had to have maps stowed away in the glovebox to be spread out in the front seat, so we could see where we were going. Back then, it seemed like a much bigger problem, if we missed an exit.

Now, we can call the tow truck ourselves from the safety of our car, rely on GPS to make sure we don't make a wrong turn, and browse the internet on our way across the country. We can find out with the click of a few buttons, if there are any stores in the upcoming miles where we can buy much needed toiletries or snacks and what their hours of operation are. We can call the Highway Patrol of any state to report a drunk driver, an accident, or a fallen tree that's impeding traffic. 

We'd have to bring books of all sorts and games to try to keep the kids occupied in the backseat in days gone by to keep the, "She's touching me!"s to a minimum. Now there are MP3s and personal DVD players and portable electronic games to fight over. They have an upside, though, because they give a kid more to do than to fight or get sea sick while trying to read when the wind picks up.

Yep. Growth and progress are good.

Except when they aren't. 

Like when the little gadgets that keep a person entertained entertain them so well that they no longer no how to connect with people around them. Like when a person is so wrapped up in the video game/phone call/text/Facebook/MySpace/instant message thing that they don't even realize their family is falling apart. 

Or on a much smaller note like when the newly purchased headphones and MP3 player that Hopper was using disappeared sometime during our overnight stay in Lincoln, and we didn't realize it until we got to Des Moines, and poor Hopper had a total meltdown, because she loves music, and it soothes her and makes a 1000 mile trip more bearable. Thankfully, we'd stopped at a Target store when we noticed, so we were able to replace them without too much of a fuss, but not before the stress level was raised fourfold. My back is still spasming from it.

Then, about an hour outside our final destination, we hear Hopper from the backseat...

"Ha ha! Find it!" she pulled it from a pocket in her bag that somehow had been missed when we tore the back seat apart looking for the thing.

Yep. Technology is a good thing.

Another good thing about technology? It can allow for you to call en route to a wedding 1000 miles away and pretend you're not able to make it, so it can be a fun surprise that you actually made it.
As long as it's used for good and not evil, technology can be a wonderful thing.


And yes. They were surprised. 

In a really good way. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Innocents Lost

Warning: This post's content is of a disturbing and graphic nature. I advise you to stop reading now, if you are a person who is profoundly affected by bad and sad news.

I've been in a bit of a funk lately. If you read my blog, you probably caught that with my last post about the inlaws. But that was only the beginning, and now it seems so trivial.

Every other day this last week, there's been a report of another child dying or being horribly maimed at the hands of their parents or another adult that they should have been able to trust. Some have been recent cases. Some happened months or years ago but are in the news again. 

Little Paris Talley, who I heard about for the first time this week, because the woman who gave birth to her (I refuse to call her a mother. A mother could have never done something so heinous) was finally sentenced to life in prison after her third trial . Baby Paris was 28 days old when she was microwaved to death to get even with her father.  

The man and his wife who killed his 9 year old daughter, Genesis Simms, several years ago and buried her body in the crawl space of the home they rented. Her body was just discovered in the last several months.

Little Isa Romero, age 2, who died over the weekend of blunt force trauma to the abdomen. Her mother's boyfriend was arrested. And while I in no way condone shaking a baby, I can understand how someone can get to that level of frustration. But how does someone get to the level of frustration that they punch a 2 year old in the gut?

Then there's the case of 20 month old Alexis Salaz. The crime she committed that warranted permanent brain damage? She knocked over her aunt's drink. So the aunt bound her wrists and ankles and then taped her eyes and mouth shut. She then put her in the shower, sprayed the little girl in the face with water. The 19 year old, who gave birth to her, walked in, saw what was happening, walked out and went to bed. The 50 year old aunt then left her in the shower with the water running and went to bed. The 7 year old little boy who found her and called 911 will be haunted for the rest of his life. He will wonder why he hadn't walked in sooner. He will forever wonder what he could have done differently to save her. Unfortunately, little Alexis won't even be able to wonder. She is in a permanent vegatative state with no hope of recovery. 

Her 22 year old father? Joseph Saunders didn't even know she existed until he saw the news story and realized he might be her father. He requested a DNA test to see, if he was the father. The tests came back proving he was, and now he and his new wife are in the process of petitioning the court to take care of her. To take her home and love her. To care for her medical needs. To give her something that she never received before even, if she will never be aware that he's there.

Last week, Shannon Paolini, a 27 year old mother, called 911. She and her boyfriend could be heard arguing in the background. The sheriff's department showed up just in time to see her running out of the house. Her boyfriend came after her, firing his gun as he chased her into the street. He hit her 5 times, went back in the house, killed their 2 year old son, Gavin, and then killed himself. Shannon somehow survived the attack, that left 9 entry and exit wounds, but I don't think anyone could possibly survive something so horrific emotionally.  

Yesterday, a woman killed her 6 year old daughter and 9 year old son. They're names have not yet been released, but it was an apparent murder/suicide gone wrong. After she killed her precious children, she called the police to let them know she was going to kill herself, too, but she just never got around to it. 

And of course little Caylee Anthony, who was just shy of her 3rd birthday when she was killed, is in the news again, as the woman who gave birth to her goes on trial for her murder. You all probably already know the details of her death that have been released to the public so far. That there were traces of chloroform found in the trunk of the car where her body had been at one time, and that she may have been drugged, so the woman who bore her could go out and party. Seems as though the chloroform may have been used as a babysitting tool, and this time poor little Caylee was overdosed. 
It just never seems to stop. 

And these babies need to be remembered. In my opinion, the people that committed these horrible acts against them should be forgotten. That's why I never mentioned any of their names in this post. They don't deserve to be recognized. They're not the victims. These poor, precious babies are. 

And I'm not exactly sure why the news is so full of these stories any more. Is it linked to the economy? Are financial strains causing the stess to be too much for people, and they snap? Is it just that the media jumps on stories like these in the attempt to be the first to spread the bad news, because bad news sells, and things like this have always happened? Is it that Armagedon is fast approaching, and Evil has taken such a tremendous hold in the world?

I'm not sure what the cause nor the solution is. I just know my heart aches for the betrayal these little ones must have felt. For the suffering they endured. My  heart aches for the survivors. For the families who lost these precious little beings, whose lives will never, ever be the same. 

Praying is all I can do right now, and pray I will. I will forever carry them in my heart.

My. heart. just. aches.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A bitter pill to swallow.

I've been up to my elbows in pinata juice today. We were busy over the weekend finishing up the raised garden bed The Hubster made me for Mother's Day. Everything's been planted, and I couldn't be happier! Still. Working on it made me forsake my pinata making duties, and I need to get this thing finished, so it's ready in time for the wedding.

Normally, I love painting, sewing or making pinatas, because they give me time alone to think and reflect on things. It's a good thing, unless I start going over and over the same thing in my mind and second guessing myself and wondering, if I'm overreacting to a situation or whatnot. I hate obsessing about things, and I usually don't do it, but I find myself doing it more often, when I'm alone with my thoughts.

Today has been no exception. 

I've been obsessing over The Inlaws.

It all started when I noticed that Bugster became friends with her cousins and aunts and uncles on her dad's side on Facebook. I just wasn't expecting it. It took me off guard, and before I knew it, my stomach was in knots. My stomach was doing flips like it was competing for the gold medal in the Olympics. 

The thing is, I want Bugster to keep in touch with her cousins on both sides of her family. I think it's wonderful that she is in contact with them, and I hope she can get to know them better than she does right now. But something about seeing my husband's brother and his wife totally threw me off.

I don't like them. 

I used to like them, but then I got to know them.

I didn't like what I saw when I saw the way they treated our girls, and now I can't even stand the sight of them. I get angry when they happen to cross my mind, and I hate it. I am afraid I'm becoming bitter toward them, and I don't want that to happen. I don't like feeling like this at all, but they hurt my little girls' feelings, and I have no use for them anymore.

Several years ago, we attended Hubster's family reunion. It was small. It consisted of his parents, our family and the families of his two brothers. So it was decided we would all go to the mall to go shopping together at a gigantic mall in Scottsdale. We'd have much rather spent the time visiting than shopping, but we went along, since that was what was on the schedule.

The plan was to go shopping and all meet back in the food court of the mall at a certain time. While all this was being discussed, Scooter had walked up to her Aunt Kay and started holding her hand. It was Scooter's way of saying that she liked Kay, and that she liked hanging out with her. While Kay smiled and acknowledged Scooter's presence when she walked up and took her hand, she simply let go of Scooter's hand and walked off without a word to our little girl. Scooter was absolutely crushed. She clearly understood that Kay didn't feel the same way about Scooter as she did about her.

And as much as this incident made us want to scratch and claw her eyes out write Kay off for good, we somehow maintained our composure. It's probably a good thing, or I think I'd have been arrested for handling the situation like I did in my head.

But wait! There's more!

During the same family reunion, Bugster was constantly quizzed by Kay, a former school teacher and now principal, about what she'd learned, read, and whether or not she ever got out of the house to socialize with other kids. Poor Bugster couldn't relax and have a good time while she was there, because she felt there was always a pop quiz right around the corner. And while I can understand a question here or there about Bugster's homeschool experience asked as a result of genuine interest, the real reason Kay was probing had to do with her feeling of superiority. In her mind, the only way a child can learn is from a teacher, and I was not a teacher. 


A few years later, we had yet another family reunion. We'd met in a small ski town to spend the day having dinner, shopping and whatever else deemed fun. It was decided that after we ate we'd hang out and go shopping. However, The Hubster was invited to ride around the mountains a bit with his dad, brothers and nephews. Hopper asked, if she could go with them. She can never seem to get enough time with her daddy, and she wanted more time with him as well as getting some time alone with the guys in the family. We stood there stunned, as we saw her grandfather shaking his head vigorously and making sure we knew that she was not welcome.

Talk about a blow. This time, Hopper was crushed, and Hubster was absolutely devastated. He couldn't believe his dad had done that. We would have totally understood, if they'd have taken us aside earlier and explained that they were hoping for some man time, But the public manner in which it was done, right out there on the sidewalk in front of the cafe where little Hopper could witness it was almost too much to bear. She was absolutely crestfallen.

Being the stand up guy and adoring father that he is, Hubster chose to spend the time with his girls instead of going riding with the guys.

But wait! There's more!

Not only did the guys make it perfectly clear that our girls were not welcome to spend time with them, but his mom made it clear she didn't want the girls shopping with her, either. As we were getting ready to follow her into the store, she turned and told me that she thought the stores were too small for Hopper and Scooter to shop in, because they might break something, so they'd catch us later. It didn't matter that Hopper and Scooter are good shoppers and don't maul the stuff on shelves. She just didn't want them around. Fighting back tears, I just tried to explain to the girls why they couldn't shop with their aunts, cousins and grandmother and tried to heal their wounded hearts.

But wait! (Are you sensing a theme yet?) There's more!

Everyone had agreed to meet in one spot about 5:00. It was just up the street from where we'd been shopping, so we knew it would take no time to get there. So when Hubster, Hopper, Scooter and I all came out of one of the little shops around 4:30 and saw his parents in one car and his brother's family right behind them headed back towards home some 50 miles away, we were taken a bit off guard. His parents slowed down a little, told us they were heading home, and they'd see us for supper.

Poor Hubster. Talk about being slammed with reality, (and a sucky one at that), over and over and over again for the day. It was very obvious that we were not wanted. We were not good enough to be in their presence. He was totally devastated. 

I mean, seriously. Who does that? 

He told his parents not to expect us, but he wanted to tell them something else entirely, and it wasn't pretty. So our little family came together that night. Bugster had already finished shopping with her cousins and, thankfully, was oblivious to all that had transpired, met up with us, and we spent the evening together as a family - enjoying each other's company, a skate board competition held downtown, ice cream at the local ice cream shop, and just hanging out. We made it through together as a family.

His parents came through town a few years ago. They wanted to take us to lunch. I asked, if they could let us know when they'd get to town, so we knew whether or not to send the girls to school, or if we should pick them up instead. I was stunned when they told us they didn't want us to bring the girls. They told us to leave them in school. They only wanted to spend time with us, because as adults, we "don't get out for adult conversation enough." 

They hadn't seen their granddaughters in 2 years. 

And while I allowed myself to be bullied, (by them...never by Hubster), into going without the girls, I will never, ever again meet them anywhere without the girls. In fact, I could kick myself for meeting them in the first place. 

They can suck my big toe.

All of this has been running through my mind today. And I just get angry when I think about it. This is why my stomach started training for the Olympics when I saw their pictures this morning. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with Bugster and Bubster's upcoming nuptials. Although I know my mother and father-in-law will be here for the celebration, I'm really hoping that his older brother and Kay don't make it. We can tolerate his parents one on one, but when the older brother's family is around they're even worse.

And while all of this is running through my mind, I wonder, if I'm blowing things out of proportion. Should I be trying harder to stay in touch with them? Should I be encouraging Hubster to try and strengthen his family bonds? Am I overreacting, or am I justified in my feelings? Am I just becoming the bitter sister/daughter-in-law? I know I don't feel very Christian toward them at all. In fact, I've had many decidedly un-Christian thoughts toward them. 

I told Bugster of my concerns this morning. She said, "Yeah, but Mom, maybe they don't know how to handle the pink elephants in the room" that are her little sisters. "Maybe they just don't know how to react, and so they react poorly".

And all I could think of is that pink elephants have feelings, too. And when our little pink elephants' hearts were crushed, when their countenance was fallen, our family of 5 banded together, huddled around them, and protected them. 

Our herd may be small, but it is mighty. 

Thursday, May 12, 2011


I was sore today from yesterday's fall, but I'm very thankful it wasn't worse. I tried taking it easy and tried to rest up today, but I'm not so good at resting anymore. So I decided to work on the pinata, since I hadn't done anything with it for a few days.

I made some fresh wall paper paste out of cornstarch and water and waited for it to cool a little. While it was cooling, I sat down to tear some paper. Instead of tearing large pieces of paper into small strips, I grabbed 2 of the rolls of adding machine tape that I came across while sorting boxes in the basement. Mom had gotten it for Bugster to draw on when she was little, and she did use an entire roll, but there were 5 left. 

Instead of throwing them away or donating them, I realized they would make the perfect strips for doing the paper mache on the pinatas. So I tore about half a roll into strips 3" to 4" long. By the time I was done tearing the strips, the paste was cool enough to use, so I set out to put another layer on the pinata. However, there was a problem

Every pinata I've ever made has started off with a rather large balloon. I typically put several layers of paper strips on said balloon until it's ready to add the strings. I've found, if I add the strings followed by a few more layers of paper strips, it balances well, and it hangs much more steadily than, if you try to tie it up when it's all been decorated, and the strings don't break. It's a win/win.

As things dry, the paper becomes hard almost like cardboard. It's amazing how strong it can be. At some point, the balloon needs to be popped, but because the paper strips are pasted directly to the balloon, when the balloon is popped, there is a chance of the balloon deflating too quickly and pulling the paper along with it into the center of the pinata. It's really frustrating when this happens, as I usually have to start over.

So when I started applying the new layers to the balloon today, I was so frustrated when I noticed that the balloon had shrunk since I put the first layers of paper on it a few days ago. I had not gotten enough layers on it the other day, so the pinata started to collapse in on itself as soon as I started adding strips of paper to it, which meant only one thing. 

I needed to start over.

So I went downstairs to get another balloon. I blew it up and set it down while I checked on something else. Several hours and several boxes later, the balloon still sits, inflated, where I set it. 

The good news is that I got several more boxes of craft stuff sorted and put away. 

The bad news is that I have to start over on the pinata. 

Hopefully, I won't get distracted quite as easily tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Today, my world turned upside down.

Or rather I saw it upside down. 

Or maybe sideways. 

A little bass ackwards, as it were.

I had to run to the store today, and when I stepped out the front door, my foot landed on the edge of the rubber floor mat outside. I twisted my ankle and felt myself falling in slow motion.

And then I felt myself land.


Thankfully, I have plenty of padding in my rear end that it softened the blow a bit. Except I didn't just land on my behind. I landed on my elbow, and it's like it jarred everything in my neck and shoulder as they absorbed the shock of my fall. 

My left hip is a bit sore tonight, but it's my left shoulder and neck that hurt the most. 

Unfortunately, it means I didn't accomplish much of anything today. I'm hoping after a good night's sleep and some pain medicine, I'll feel well enough tomorrow to get something done. 

After all, I have much to do.

Monday, May 9, 2011

These area few of my

*Scooter's old EpiPen.

*Wedding gifts still in the box from my grandmother and my aunt along with sweet notes from each of them expressing best wishes for the newly wed couple that was us 25 years ago.

*A sock craft that Hopper made at least 15 years ago that looked like a possessed scarecrow.

*Our tax returns from 1997 and 1998. 

*A 35mm camera from when we were first married.

These are just a few of the things I found when sorting through boxes of craft stuff downstairs today. Granted, not all of them would be categorized as crafts, but they were in boxes on the side of the room that has boxes of crafts stacked to the ceiling that came in from the storage pod on the driveway. These were just some of the the things I found today.

I started a new collection of expired medicines that I'll collect until there is another medicine roundup in town. We dropped off quite a bit of medicine at the last medicine roundup a couple of weeks ago, and I know I'll have quite a bit more by the time there's another one. The EpiPen went into the latest collection of expired medicine.

The wedding gifts were put aside for now. I'll be keeping them, but my mindset is on crafts right now, and I don't know yet where I'll be putting them just yet. I am so glad I came across the cards with the sweet words of my grandmother and my aunt. They brought back wonderful memories of  2 very beautiful women that I miss so much. I'm so very thankful I had them in my life.

The sock craft Hopper made so many years ago had me second guessing myself for awhile. It was a head made of a sock that had yarn hair and felt facial features with stickers for eyes. It had a green felt scarf tied around it, and that was it. It was just a head. It was horribly stained, and I thought about washing it for a moment or two. I wondered how it would fare in the washing machine but figured it wouldn't hold up well. So I considered washing it by hand, but then I looked at it again. It was downright ugly and half scary looking. I could think of no reason I would ever display it, and I realized that as a result I didn't need to wash it. I had a small breakthrough and threw it in the trash. I had several small breakthroughs throughout the last few days, but that was the biggest by far. I look forward to seeing what other breakthroughs I might have in the rest of the boxes.

The taxes? Put in the bag of shredables. I've always struggled with which paperwork to keep and what not to keep. So while it was fun seeing what our income was in 1997 and 1998, we didn't think it was necessary to keep the records any longer. I still had a slight twinge of regret over not keeping any of it, but by the time I acknowledged it, the papers were already in the bag. I could leave them there.

Besides. I'm thinking that the more paperwork we have around that has social security numbers on it, the higher the risk of identity theft. So in the long run, I was thankful we made the decision to get rid of them. 

Speaking of identity theft...enter the 35mm camera. 

When I was 9 months pregnant with Bugster, we got base housing for the first time. We went to some sort of introduction meeting where different aspects of living on base were discussed. During the course of the meeting, we were advised to engrave Hubster's full name and social security number on any electronic device we owned to make it more recoverable, should it ever be stolen. We could check out an engraver through the military police to mark everything, so being the dutiful military wife, I did just that.

At this point, I don't remember what all I marked, but I shudder at the thought of electronics that we've disposed of over the years having my husband's full name and social security number engraved on them! I'm just glad that it was 24 years ago, and well before the age of computers and rampant identity theft, and that hopefully any electronics that still have his information on it has long since been buried deep under mounds of trash in a landfill.

The 35mm camera I came across today was one of the things I'd engraved with almost everything needed to steal my husband's identity. Thankfully, I remembered to check the bottom of the camera before sticking it in the box of stuff to be donated. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the data on the camera and how close I came to sticking it in that box without a second thought. 

Thankfully, I was able to gouge the offending information from the bottom of the camera without too much of an issue. I'll be keeping my eyes peeled. I don't want anything like that to slip through my hands and find its way into the wrong hands. 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Catching Zs on Mother's Day Eve.

Woke up this morning with chest and head congestion. It could just be a result of having our windows open over night. I'm really hoping that I'm not getting what the rest of the family has been dealing with lately, but I'm not holding my breath. I've had a headache for the better part of the day. Shoot, I've had them the better part of the week, and I'm not one to typically get headaches. I guess I'll know before too long.

All things considered, I'm happy with what I got done today. 

I got 5 loads of laundry washed, dried, folded and put away. I got 5 totes of clean clothes packed away for further sorting once things slow down around here. They're clothes that Bugster will eventually go through to see, if she wants to use any of them for her little ones. 

And then...

Are you ready for this? 

I found MORE laundry!

Thankfully, it wasn't a huge box. It was just a plastic under the bed storage tote full of clothes I'd washed before I put them in storage years ago. The bad thing is that they smell super musty-on the verge of mildewy, even. I'm not sure what happened that they smell the way they do. I think it has to do with the basement flooding 2 years ago and then the tote going into the storage pod on the drive. It doesn't matter why they smelled so rank. They won't smell that way for long. I've got the washing machine full and soaking overnight, and I'll finish the rest up in the next day or so.

I worked downstairs today in the craft area, too. I spent a couple of hours straightening things up, so the area was more conducive to sorting boxes and actually putting things away permanently. I still have a ton to do down there, but rearranging things and picking up a bit made it possible to empty 2 boxes before stopping for the night.  

All in all, I'm satisfied with what I got done today. I feel it was a product day. I'm just finding it amazing that even when I feel like I have productive days I'm not getting nearly as much done as I did when Mom was here. She was such a tremendous help!

Still. I have to remember what my grandfather used to say about situations like this. "When you're feeling bad about not getting everything you wanted to get done in a day, you need to look around and see what you did get done." 

I got enough done, and I'll sleep well tonight.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A little of this. A little of that.

I've been a bit out of sorts lately, but I think I'm back on track.

My Christmas gift has been in the shop for 3 of the last 4 weeks. I finally got it back last week. The Hubster was a bit frustrated that they didn't fix my netbook the first time it went in (when they replaced the hard drive), but he's glad they fixed the touch pad, and I have it back. It means he gets to use his again whenever he wants, since I used it while mine wasn't available. I'm really glad to have my computer back and in good working order again. And I'm superdeeduperdee thankful that Bugster figured out the password for the network, so we didn't have to reset it, and I can access the internet again!

Bugster, Bubster, Hopper, Scooter and Frank surprised us with a gorgeous arrangement of 25 roses that Bugster made for us for our 25th wedding anniversary. She did an amazing job, and they are still gorgeous a week later! Then Bugster and Bubster came over to our house and hung out with Hopper and Scooter, so we could go celebrate.

We spent the day enjoying one another's company and got some much needed alone time. We did a little shopping, went out to eat at a Greek restaurant that was out of this world, and went to the movies. But our favorite part of the day was spent at a paint-your-own pottery place where the customer paints the piece, and the shop fires it for you. We've gone to this little place a few times over the years for our anniversary, and I have to say it's one of my favorite ways to spend time with Hubster. There's no stress, pleasant conversation, and one on one time with my favorite guy. It's a win-win all the way around.

We didn't get to the shop in time to finish the painting in one sitting, so we'll get to go back and spend some more time together at some point in the upcoming weeks. We're very much looking forward to having that time together and seeing our finished creations. I'm definitely looking forward to finishing our mugs and picture frame, but I'm most looking forward to seeing the necklace Hubster makes after the beads he painted have been fired!

We did a lot of sitting the day we went out, and my back has bothered me ever since. I've been having problems with nerve pain in my legs and feet again lately. It happens when I'm in the middle of a fibro flare, and one started up a couple of weeks ago for me. I took a medicine I'd been prescribed quite some time ago, and it took care of the neuropathy pain within an hour. I felt so much better, but the pain started up again the next day, so I tried it again with good results. However, the third day when I took it, I made the mistake of taking it on an empty stomach, and I couldn't seem to stay awake for the next 2 days. If I sat down, I dozed off. So I stood. A lot.

I'm feeling a bit stupid for not trusting myself to stay away from the medication that I'd stopped taking once before. I won't make that mistake again. If I am as out of it as I've been after only 3 doses, I know that it's not a medicine I can ever take again. I just have to try to figure out how to keep the fibro from flaring, so I don't have the neuropathy issues as often.

I am hoping to get some help this weekend to make a raised vegetable garden bed, so I can get my tomatoes and peppers in the ground. As much as I love my umbrella planter, I don't think I'll be doing upside-down tomatoes in it anymore. I don't think they get quite enough sun to really flourish, so the tomatoes and peppers are going to go in the ground this year, and I think I'm going to try flowers in the planter. The strawberries looked great last year in them, and they did okay, but they didn't come back this year, so they're out, too. I can't afford to buy new strawberry plants every year.

Right now, I'm going to go work on pinatas and dishes and laundry and such. Maybe if I get something done, my head will stop aching. 

One can hope.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It's that time of year again.

Time to make pinatas!

I've been up to my elbows in papier mache paste today working on a pinata for another nephew who is getting married soon. He's always been a huge fan of Mario Bros, so I'm making a Mr & Mrs Yoshi for them. He will be blue. She will be pink. And they will both be adorned in wedding attire. It will be interesting to see how they turn out.

I'm also contemplating making one for Hopper for school. This is her last year, since she'll be 21 in the Fall, but she's not going to walk for graduation. She has a severe social anxiety disorder, and I think she's have a heart attack waiting for her name to be called. Then she'd likely have a major meltdown, and she'd never make it up and across the stage. So she will quietly end her school career, and I'll send out graduation announcements to close friends and family explaining the situation and that she would love to get a note in the mail from them.

It's sort of a hard situation to figure out how to handle. I am not even sure what sort of an announcement I'll send out. But the occasion does need to be marked in some way. And I will be calling the school tomorrow to ask, if I can make a pinata for the class to commemorate Hopper moving on. If I can, I'm going to have to hustle, since school ends in the next couple of weeks.

My mind is getting sort of fuzzy from some pain medicine I had to take for my back, so I think I'll stop writing while I'm still sort of making sense. 

That is, if I'm making any sense at all. :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Uff Da!

I've been meaning to write more often than I have since Mom went back home, but I've been busy, and by the time I sit down to write, I'm either so tired I fall asleep, or I can't put my thoughts into words. It doesn't help that we've all been sick around here, and I've had daily headaches for over a week. But blogging has helped me work through things by talking about them, and I need to make it a priority again. I may just have to switch up the time of day I sit down to blog and see, if that helps.

I've been working on the boxes of paperwork that came in from the garage. I've gone through 6 or 7 boxes so far. I've thrown out a gigantic black bag full of trash, and I've gotten 10 bags of shredables from it all, so it's definitely progress. It's really exciting to know that I won't have to ever sort through the stuff that has gone to the shredables or out the door to the trash. What a relief!

There have been some adorable things I've come across, like Bugster's drawings from when she was tiny. She was just under a year old when she drew her first face, so some of these drawings are absolutely amazing and precious, both. I'm glad I dated so many of them at the time she was drawing them. Some of the cards she made when she was about 5 are precious. She says how much she loves one of us on the front of the card, fills the inside of it with Xs and Os or with hearts to make sure we know they're full of love, and then she writes, "The End" on the backs of the cards. 

And right now, I just can't throw them away. If I do ever get to the point I do throw them away, I won't do it before scanning them into the computer, so I have a digital copy of them. They're absolutely precious, and I can't bring myself to part with them just yet.

That being said, I am simply amazed at some of the things I saved over the years. Not only did I hang onto the little pictures Bugster drew, but I can't count how many pieces of paper I came across that only possessed a scribble or two. 

I can tell how stressful our lives were at the time each box was packed away based on how many things I find that I failed to give myself permission to throw away. Some boxes correlate withe exceptionally stressful times in our lives and are full of page after page of scribbled papers, proofs of purchases and UPC codes that take up as much as 1/8 of the box of paperwork. 

I also realize that I didn't throw a single receipt from a doctor's office over the years, and I kept each explanation of benefits that we received from the insurance companies, as well. I wrote before about not knowing what I was supposed to keep and save from paperwork, and while I have tossed the vast majority of these in the shredables, I wish that I'd at least kept track of the dates of service to put a timeline together of the doctors' visits over the years. It would have been staggering. If nothing else, it would have been interesting to put together a timeline of hospitalizations and trips back and forth to Norfolk, and I still may try to piece one together from the paperwork I've saved, but I am not going to try to dig anything out of the shredables to do so.

I've come across used gift wrap that I found pretty at the time and for whatever reason found irresistible enough to squirrel away. I'm sure some I saved for craft projects, but I allowed myself to let it go. I've already started a second big black bag for trash, and the gift wrap has found it's way to the bottom of the bag. 

I know that some of the paperwork has been saved, because I was overwhelmed at the time it was tossed into the box and I didn't have the time to sort through it. Most boxes so far have contained everything from newspaper articles to shut off notices from the utility companies (paying the bills were the last thing on our minds when Scooter and Hopper were in the hospital, and we didn't know, if they were going to come home or not!), to candy wrappers and greeting cards. And none of that really came as a surprise, because it wasn't uncommon for a table or counter's contents to end up in a box when we were getting ready for a birthday celebration or the holidays.

There have been a few things I've found that took me off guard. Like poems I'd written in junior high and high school that make it very obvious looking back that I had depression issues. Like my little red vinyl wallet with the blue heart on the front from elementary school that still had pictures in it of kids I knew growing up. Like mildewed black and white portraits of me, 1 of my sisters and 2 of my brothers that I'd salvaged in the hopes of getting them restored.

But nothing quite prepared me for the last thing I found carefully placed in a sandwich bag....

Scooter O'Shea's belly button!