Forget Black Friday

It’s Make Something Day!

Instead of fighting the crowds and spending money you don’t have (oh, or maybe that’s just me) why not stay home today and make something? I’m teaching Jeffrey and Beanie how to knit. Jeffhave about 6 rows already on his sampler (with real needles) and I’m looking for the Knifty Knitter for Bean- I think he’ll have an easier time than finger knitting.

Yesterday was the nicest, most relaxing Thanksgiving I can remember, and it was all due to my amazing friends. I sat on my duff and knitted while Mo and V made dinner, the kids all got along, no one was hurt, there was no blood anywhere. Shortly before dinner, our first snowfall of the year began.  We couldn’t have had a nicer day. Mo wrote a lovely post that actually captures my feelings very well, so instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, I’m going to cheat and just send you to read her post. Hope you all had a lovely day as well.

Now I’m off to decorate for Christmas!

Help Wanted

I need some help, friends. I need a web-designer to give me some help on a project. I’ve reserved the URL I want, and have a host all set up, but, while I have tons of ideas and can draw anything on paper, I don’t have the mad skills required to make my ideas jump to my (and your) computer screen. Anyone willing, or know someone, who would work with me?  I can’t pay much at all- but I can take it out in trade, or just good Karma. Or, I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a wicked web-design today…

(OK, I need to clarify- I have already done a design I want- I just need someone who can code and build it for me….)

It’s Like Drunk Dialing the Blog


Not that I would know. Or anything. Anymore. Moving on…

Well, it looks like the whole lot of us is headed to California for Christmas. I’m not giving out exact dates here, and to any burglars reading, we’ll have a house-sitter. A big, mean house-sitter. And a big dog. When I say big dog- I mean really big. And an alarm. So stay away- just so we’re clear. I mean it. I won’t be held responsible if my dog eats you.

We haven’t been to my family’s for Christmas since Beanie was a newborn and blogging was but a twinkle in my eye. Everyone loves Christmas, but I especially love Christmas with my family. Like everyone, we have our traditions and our quirkiness, but I can absolutely guarantee no one else has decorations like my mom. Does your mom have a  ceiling height spinning (yes, it really spins) Christmas tree? How about a bronze statue of Walt Disney that has his own Santa hat for the holidays? Or a set piece Mickey Mouse that is bigger than my children, also with attire that change for the holidays? How about a front yard so full of lights and Disney characters people come by the minivan to take pictures of their kids standing on her lawn? No? Ha! I knew it.

(I would put up a picture, but that would violate the Tracy M/Her Mom peace treaty of 2005.) 

My mom loves Christmas. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING in her house changes for the holidays. From the artwork on the walls, to the bedding on the beds, to the socks on our feet, to the plates on which we eat. She has two Christmas trees, and it’s routine for the fresh tree to have anywhere from 3-6 feet cut off because it just “didn’t look that big” out in the forest. We all just roll our eyes.

I want my kids to experience this kind of Christmas, because while I’m good at a lot of things, I just don’t ride the all-encompassing wave of the holidays quite like my mom. I’m satisfied with a string of lights around the porch and a pretty wreath on the door, whereas my mom causes rolling black-outs with her draw on the grid. My kids are going to love love love being at Grandma and Grandpa’s. So am I.

So, email me if you want me to pencil you in. I won’t have a ton of free time, but I plan on taking at least an evening and meeting up with friends. (Bek, that specifically means you!) And, Robber-person, if you even think about it, this is my preferred dog:


That is not a doctored or photo-shopped image in any way. I have owned three (yes, three)  English Mastiffs; Fooflaroo, Winston and Jackson. They could all hold a soccer ball in their mouths- even my girl, Foof. They look really dumb, but do not be fooled. Mess with me, and you’ll be messin’ with 250 pounds of big, dumb, protective doggie.

Wow. That was a strage little detour- Christmas plans, my mom’s house, and then my dog who can eat you. Guess that’s what you get when I type at 2:42 in the morning.

On a squishier note, thank you all for your kind words lately as I wallowed in my old oak apple tub of self-pitty. I have so much to be grateful for, and when I take my shoulder from the wheel to sit and whine in my weed garden, I get myself into trouble. It’s ok to feel down, I totally accept that, and I’m glad I have such an awesome sounding board and venting spot. That should be an Uncle Remus tale. The Venting Spot. They could add it to Splash Mountain. Anyway,  we are richly blessed, in spite of our current economic and personal difficulties. I just have to decide which garden I’m going to tend. Blah Blah Blah. Nice lady.

Oh, boy. Tomorrow is going to be such a blast! It’s almost 3 a.m.- that means Beanie will be up in a little over three hours, and his AIM teacher is coming in the morning for his home visit! Maybe I’ll do up some wicked purple eyeshaddow to match the fabulous bags I’ll be sporting under my eyeballs. Cool!

I’m thinking I’ll try and bake some bread too- HAHAHAHAHAHA! Time for bed, Tracy. Step away from the keyboard, now. Back away, and no one will be tasered. Over and out.

(Addendum: It’s 8:06. I finally went to bed { or rather, the to the couch} at 5:30. There are two loaves of fresh bread doing their yeasty goodness of a second rise on the kitchen counter. Beanie woke me up at 7- so you do the math. Awesome.)

Sucky Lungs, or, Why I Must Watch

(Double-posted at MMW)

100_16401The boys are out raking the yard with their dad. Thin autumn light filters through the leafless trees, making the golden leaves glow the same color as my boys’ copper heads. Their cheeks are flushed pink from the crisp air, as their little strong bodies help dad clean up the mess of autumn leaves.

I watch from behind the French doors in the dining room, the cold glass a necessary barrier for my asthmatic lungs. Black leaf mold is almost a guarantee of a hospital trip for me, and like so many things, I have to bow out. Even as I watch, in my mind I tick off the things I may need later- Do I know where the Nebulizer is? Do I have enough Albuterol? Are there clean filters and a power cord? Check, check, check…

One of the reasons I was so insistent on breast feeding my children, in spite of the herculean effort it required (backstory here and here) was that breastfed babies has less chace becomming asthmatic, have less allergies and are healthier. I wanted them to break free of the chains I’ve had all my life, and it looks, just maybe, like it may have happened. I have everything I need, should an attack happen, but thankfully, I have not had to use it on my children.

Things were so different when I was little. Less was understood about asthma and allergies, and my parents had to rush me to emergency room frequently in the middle of the night. I would be gasping for breath, the doctors would give me a straight shot of adreneline, my lungs would unclamp, I would promptly vomit then faint, they would watch me for a while, and we would go home. Repeat at regular intervals. And again.

The at-home medicines were rough, at best, and caused liver damage, we now know. They took a long time to work, and even then, the hospital was usually our final destination. The doctors would tell my mom to make a steam tent for me, and I would sit in a steamy room with towels over my head for hours. Apparently, they didn’t realize the steam made mold, and then later that night, that same mold would send me again to the hospital.

When medical knowledge finally caught on, our house got cleaned out. The old wooden windows were changed out, the carpets ripped out, no houseplants, stuffed animals or pets. The pocket inhaler was invented, and my world broadened. Suddenly I could take part in sports or play in the yard. If I had an attack, it wasn’t an immediate trip to the hospital. Eight allergy shots a week for ten plus years might have helped too, but I’m still not sold on it, and my arms look like pincusions.

I was steeled for this to be my childrens’ lot. It’s terribly hereditary, and the likelyhood of them having the same problems is very high. And yet- so far… so good. Even as I watch them, playing and flopping in the leaves, I have David send them in every so often so I can listen to their breathing.

The knot in my stomach unclenches a tiny bit each time- and I hear strong, healthy, just winded little lungs. I’ll never know what part I played in that (probably very little) and what part is just a blessing, but either way, I’ll take it. And I’ll continue to watch, from my side of the glass.

Late Autumn

The sound of my own whining is getting to me. As I look out the window over my desk, the trees are bare, save a few last straggling hangers-on, the wind is whipping the fallen leaves in eddies and whorls, and a forlorn tricycle has been left stranded, forgotten, in the middle of the yard.

It’s a adequate snap-shot of my inner-life.

Yesterday, I noticed people out putting up their Christmas decorations, and for a few minutes, I was puzzled- why would anyone decorate this early? Perplexed over the date for a few seconds, I realized Thanksgiving is next week- and it’s me, not the world, that’s off. What this also means is I have another dupioni dress to make before next Wednesday, and I thought I had a lot of time. I hate those dresses.

Thanksgiving this year has been entirely handed over to the capable and loving hands of friends. For the first time in my life, I realized I am dangerously close to the end of my proverbial rope. Admitting it is the hardest part. Thinking about the Thanksgiving spread and the work it entails, work I usually enjoy, I felt I was drowning and couldn’t breathe. Friends to the rescue- when I confessed my panic, they took the whole thing from me and all I have to do is show up. That’s love.

Being this close to the edge is like having a tattered, antique velvet purse hanging around my neck. In the old, fraying bag is all my pain and hurt and loss and anger and stress and fear from this year, and I wear it everywhere I go. People around me see it, but they don’t know what’s in it. The raveling edges and straps leave me in constant fear it may break, and all my messy secrets might spill on the floor for all to see, laying me bare and raw.

People talk about the holidays- I hug my purse tighter, and put on a smile. People talk of sales and Christmas shopping and gifts they’ve already bought- I feel a small hole in the bottom of the sac give a little. People talk of donating time and money to the children in need- and I hope they don’t see us in line- and my purse feels heavier. Fundraiser fliers come home from school with the kids, and I crumple them quickly, wishing I could stuff them in my purse, too. Emails come in, asking us to adopt a family, help the needy, contribute to a team, sponsor a marathon, and my purse slips from my shoulder, landing like lead in my lap.

Meandering Thoughts

Well, what’d that take? A month? Beanie and I missed his bus this morning. I have the time right, we get down there- and wait. And wait. And wait 20 minutes more- Hmmmmm. Let’s go home and call the bus, Beanie. Oh, hi Bus Driver Lady- what’s that? Oh, you come five minutes earlier now, and you told my husband? Yeah. Um, yeah, he forgot to tell me.


It’s the first day my pink eyes are nice and white again- and it feels sooooo gooood. I hate wearing my glasses- not because they’re not sexy in that librarian way, because they totally are- But because glasses are pain in the butt! They steam up when I open the oven, they fog when I do the dishes, they get ickies on the lenses when food spatters in the pan, the kids grab them, I have no peripheral vision in them, stairs are tricky, and they basically suck. So it was with great relief I cracked open a fresh pair of contacts this morning. Aaahhhhhh!

So my first task with my fresh new eyeballs was to drive Beanie to school. Late. Then, oh wow, since I was out by myself, I hit my favorite thrift store. Oh yeah, I don’t have any money- maybe I can dig up some change from the bottom of my purse- lack of organization is so handy sometimes. I got two skirts for 99 cents each. That’s some bargain shopping.


David has now applied for over 120 jobs. Chew on that for a while, and be very very grateful if you have a stable job and dependable income.

A Brief Station Break:

Currently, I have the worst case of pink-eye you’ve ever seen. Think “ruby slippers” red, and that’s about right. I will spare you a picture. It’s gross. My eyes are seeping down my face, I had to toss a pair of contacts and resort to the old spectacles, and I have a sucky, nasty cold to go with. Ugh.

I did get some Good Mail, from one of my favorite people, Em- and with any luck, after I unstick my eyeballs in the morning, I’ll post a picture of the awesomeness she’s sent my way.

I also want to thank everyone (everyone!) for all the wonderful wishes and kindness you’ve been directing my way. We need all the help we can get, and I can feel your goodness.

The Eleventh Day, the Eleventh Hour

Not only is today Veteran’s Day, but it’s my dad’s birthday, who also happens to be a veteran. He gets his birthday off work all his life- but now he’s retired, so I suppose it’s no biggie anymore. He’s pheasant hunting today, as he does every year on his birthday. Or maybe it’s duck hunting, or goose hunting, or whatever season it is… I hear a joke in there somewhere.

My dad served two tours of duty in Vietnam before I was born. He signed up. He didn’t wait for his card to be called and then pull some fancy public theatre and burn his card, and he didn’t run to Canada. I understand why some people did those things, but that’s not what my dad is about. He was a nineteen year old kid, like most of the kids in Vietnam, but he had a strong sense of Duty and a tremendous love of his country already. He and his best friend, who also happens to be my uncle, went down together and signed themselves up.

Beyond that, I don’t know much. Dad never, ever talked about Vietnam. Other than some old wool army blankets we always used at the beach, and a cammo jacket he used for hunting, there was no evidence at all of his time in the military. To this day, I have no idea what his experience was like, or how he felt about it- although I suppose his silence speaks volumes.

Once, when I was about 12, I was digging around in the garage and I came across a box with a bunch of old stuff in it- pictures, dog tags, letters- I knew I shouldn’t be looking or touching, and quickly put the box back. It just had that air, that hallowed, do not disturb, ghosts lie here, air; an air even a curious, dorky kid could feel.

So today, I honor my dad. He fought in an unpopular war and did so willingly, and has carried the burdens from that service privately. He’s a good man, and I hope be bags a bundle of pheasants today. Happy Birthday. Happy Veterans Day.