What Would YOU Take?

Pieces of Eight

I am copying this theme from two of my good friends, Mo (Mo is Blogging, I think and Judith: Creativity to the Max) Read their answers on their blogs.

There’s a blog dedicated to that very subject created by Foster Huntington.  Here’s a bit of what he says about his blog:“The Burning House” showcases photos and lists of the things people would take with them if their house was burning. The project is a little over a month old and so far has received over three hundred submissions!”      

Read More of Foster Huntington’s interview on  http://www.gq.com/style/blogs/the-gq-eye/2011/06/something-different-the-burning-house.html#ixzz1WOJsaa4y

I had to face this for real since our house is unlivable because of various horrible problems, think mold, carpenter ants, rotting wood etc. Before Hurricane Irene came and before my husband’s surgery we stopped at our house to dash in and get certain things. This is my list….

Went through that just two days ago with the Hurricane on the East Coast. Not to mention that our house is unlivable, literally so we are in one room in a hotel. I took my old stuffed  yellow and black monkey,  (Nokey because I couldn’t say Monkey) that my dad bought for me on my 2nd birthday, I took a necklace with good luck charms that my dad used to wear when he was alive, a favorite black and white picture of my mother, laughing, many years ago on a beach in Israel,  I took a photo of my daughter and me when we were on Cape Cod, when she was little, something my son found for me: a piece of wood with the number 8 (that number was always special, some day I may reveal it’s significance) on it, and his picture, my computer and books. I will not be able to move back for months but the immediacy of Irene made me make a choice. I chose things that could not be replaced in my heart. I don’t know when I will be able to go back home, it could be months. I have the things I need right now, but I miss having a home.

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Something I Wish I Had Done Differently

Stop Signs Mean Stop

Stop Sign-State Property

This happened 20 years ago and I am still mad at myself. I was driving to work at Boston College and stopped at a stop sign, like the cautious driver I am. (My son thinks I drive like a grandma.) I was ready to go when I was rear-ended by a sports car. I was upset, It was obviously his fault however, here was the red-faced blustery aggressive man who started yelling at ME. “This is your fault you know” and then he proceeded to pull out his reluctant 9 year old son from the car and said “he’s my witness.” I didn’t fight back, I didn’t yell, curse or call the police I was in total shock. He kept yelling and I kept cowering; it couldn’t be my fault I knew that but he kept screaming loudly. I wish I had called 911 and made the man stay there but while I told him I was calling, he said he would leave. I was a cowardly wimp, a mashed potato, a limp piece of asparagus. In short, I was a wuss. I hated myself for that years later.My husband and I both called this angry, nasty guy but we got nowhere. Months later, I was rear-ended again and I jumped out of my car and yelled at this lady, taking all my aggravation from the past, on her. Sorry, lady. I guess I was just practicing. To the guy who rear-ended me all those years ago, you are an ass and a bully and a horrible parent to try and involve an innocent little boy. Shame on you.

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Haiku Heights – Breathe

Crimson Rosella [Platycercus elegans]

Image by JIGGS IMAGES via Flickr

I hold my breath tight

My lungs have to work very hard

There is no calmness

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I sit yoga-style

Trying to breathe slowly, calm

It makes my heart sing

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Unable to speak

I am caught up in worry

Of all things unknown

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The last breath I take

Will be for my children’s love

They complete my world

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Breathe and lift the sky

Soar with the blue and red birds

Sing along with them

Who We Are, Now

260/365 Days: Who are we in this complicated w...

When I was in my early twenties I had a very painful tonsillectomy. As soon as I was in the hospital I had to change into the soft, faded blue and white hospital gown. I had my plastic ID bracelet branded to my wrist and I became another person. I felt it as soon as I sat in the patients’ lounge; I was no longer the same person, I was a patient. We were in a special club, wishing each other luck, asking each other what surgery we were having, social rules had changed dramatically. There were no expectations here and our uniform bonded us together, the rules had all been changed and we intuitively knew that.

I hadn’t remembered that strong feeling of changed identity until recently, when our house was deemed unlivable due to prior and present damage and destruction. Two days before we supposed to move to a motel, my husband broke his Achilles tendon, We waited hours in the ER and he needs surgery, very soon. He has been on crutches in the motel for the last five nights.

We are living in one room in a neighboring town’s motel. Two parents, our seventeen year old daughter and our nine-year old dog. It’s tight and airless, the windows don’t open. Our clothes, shoes, food and drinks  all over the room.  We look through big, black garbage bags with holes to find things; there is no organization just disarray. Right after that, Hurricane Irene came blustering through, roads are closed, electric wires are down, basements are flooded and fallen trees block the roads. I take our dog on many mini walks outside to see a different scenery than the pulled curtains of our small beige and brown room.

I am not the same person I was. I find myself wearing one or two tee-shirts with sweats, I brushed my hair once or twice in five days. I wear it in a very loose and messy ponytail and I don’t care what I look like. I lack affect. I can barely remember to brush my teeth. I am in another world. I walk differently, talk differently; I am quick to feel anger and frustration and unfortunately, it shows on my face. I am not charming,  I feel happy about nothing, I don’t chat on the phone unless I absolutely have to.

As a chronic patient myself I find it physically and emotionally draining.  I have been working through my pain, I have no choice. There is no one who can help me.  I am trying to hold my family together whose inner souls have invisible cracks; at least the cracks in our house are visible.

When we went back to our house yesterday for ten minutes to pick up more clothing I felt detached and distant. This was not my cozy nurturing home anymore this was a house that had betrayed me.  Tomorrow we check out of one motel and into another, with empty hours in-between. Tomorrow might be my husband’s surgery, we won’t know for sure until the morning. Sleep gives us all pleasure, it’s the passing of time to ease the pain.

Blowing Off Steam (Plinky: How Do You Blow Off Steam?)

LifeLife’s Lessons

I find walking my dog as one great way to blow off steam (and I have had a lot of steam to blow off the last few weeks!!) I’ve tried doing deep breathing but that doesn’t really help me as much as it should. Listening to music and singing out loud works well too. As lousy as I may sound, it makes me feel happier. I don’t want to spread my anger and bad mood around…..I try the best that I can but I’m certainly not perfect. My teenage daughter blames “my bad mood” on everything. Life will have to teach her how to claim and work through her own bad moods, I’ve tried my best but failed. Time and life’s lessons will teach her, of that, I have no doubt.

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Haiku Heights – Lullabye

Baby

Something must  stop me

From worrying and crying

Darkness, a sad song

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Many years ago

I would sing to my children

To soothe them at night

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Soft lush tones whispered

Sometimes we are all children

Happy for a lie

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My mom sang to me

In a soft foreign language

My eyes fluttered shut

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9 And A Half Minutes

Shark

For those of you who are new to my blog (welcome)  I want you to know that I occasionally write a blog post called 9 and a half minutes. It’s basically a shorter, nicer version of Andy Rooney on 60 minutes. I do complain, wonder, question and kvetch ( to be disgruntled or complain) but not in an insolent, condescending way. In no particular order here are today’s topics:

My one true love is the ocean, now I am concerned with sharks and jellyfish and scary biting fish. Now people are dying because they swam in the lake. Did I hear correctly that the news said “brain eating amoeba”in the same sentence? I love water, a pool has lots of chlorine and to me, it is not as much fun. Soon just soaking in a tub will be off-limits.

I can no longer watch the news because it puts me in a depression or I feel hyped up with craziness and worry. There are too many atrocious things happening: bombs, terrorists, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, tragic accidents, cancer and hundreds of thousands of other diseases. There are perfectly innocent and beautiful sick children, children who die from one second to the next with no explanation. What kind of fair is that? I know someone whose son, age 6, passed away and they still haven’t gotten the autopsy report and it’s been three months. That is just plain wrong.

I am cranky, disgusted and fat. My chronic pain illness is getting worse and it’s an effort for me to get out of bed, walk downstairs and feel stiff and in pain all the time. I’m getting worse, not better. Doctors are putting chronic pain patients in chronic hell because now doctors don’t write out a prescription for medication WHEN YOU ARE SUFFERING AND NEED IT. Dear Doctors: we have no intention or interest of becoming drug addicts, we just want medication when we hurt so much we want to scream and throw plates at the walls. I know a doctor who prescribes vicodin by the mouthful but when it doesn’t help and the patient would prefer something less strong, he won’t do it. Does that make any sense?

What’s next? Going out in the sun of course can produce melanoma. Sitting inside during the winter can produce SAD, (Seasonal Affective Disorder) that makes you depressed. Go out for a walk, just be careful that there are no bears in the neighborhood or coyotes who swoop our precious little dogs and eat them for dessert. I will not let my dog become a wolf’s brownie.

Lastly, my baby tooth (I know, I know) has a chip and a cavity and will eventually have to be replaced with some expensive artificial tooth, I miss Gray’s Anatomy and I don’t think I will ever get over losing Oprah in her time slot. I actually miss Oprah too much to even try watching OWN. I’m trying to eat dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate bu, to me,t there is no comparison and it is a complete stretch. Meanwhile mosquitos are french kissing my skin and I am scratching at my arms in desperation looking like a coke addict.

Tomorrow the workers come back with their little demolition derby and our four-day respite will be over. It’s Sunday night and I have always hated Sunday nights. I need to love my dinner on Sunday nights which includes dessert. When we came home tonight I was eagerly looking forward to tasting the cake batter ice cream that I bought for the family. There was none left, my son ate it all today. So much for a pleasant Sunday night, I’m already dreading Monday. Truly.

Our Dirty, Shameful Secret

Description: This image shows a Carpenter ant ...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m coming out of the closet to explain my bad mood of late, my stress, tension, anger, depression and exhaustion. The big reveal: (drum roll please..)  CARPENTER ANTS. Yes, sad but true and I can’t keep this shameful secret to myself anymore.  I need help and support. What I really need is the Extreme Home Makeover crew AND the most adorable and beloved style/designer cutie- patootie, Nate Berkus.  I also need Oprah for moral support and the understanding of these life lessons.

We have a truckload full of carpenter ants. A friggin’ marching army carrying weapons of mass destruction.( At least I have proof.) What started as an exciting renovation for the kitchen has become the project from HELL.

The renovation is on hold until we completely rebuild and tear out the kitchen, bathroom and part of the basement. For now. We won’t know about the upstairs officially until they tear that apart too.

Basically, our family life (what family life?) stinks right now. We’re minus a bathroom, a family room, a kitchen and part of the basement. The only relative good news is that our son is leaving for college this week and he will escape the constant noise and demolition. The rest of us, my husband, daughter and I (plus the dog) are not that lucky. We are stuck here. When someone suggested moving into a rented apartment for three months, I laughed. The money pit can only go so far, folks. Our daughter will be going to college next fall.

The kitchen renovation project  (PCA: pre- carpenter ants ) was going to last 4-6 weeks and cost a set amount of money.  Now, we are talking a minimum of at least three months and A LOT more money.  This was NOT in the budget. That said, our cozy little home, my bastion of sanity, love and serenity has been destroyed. The gosh-darn ants have eaten their way down the stairs like starving people dining at a free smorgasbord. Oh and before you ask, yes, we did have a company come in and spray year-round to prevent the little suckers. There is no guarantee so please don’t ask. I feel used, stupid, resentful (no comment)  and violated.

My once beloved cozy cottage looks like a crime scene and the amount of money that is draining from our savings is practically enough to stabilize the economy. My husband talked me into this kitchen renovation and now it has become a major project, MAJOR. If we had known now what we did when we bought the house…..well, I can’t go there. My emotions have ranged from fury to laughing hysterically, depression, anger and annoyance and resentment.  It’s no wonder I am in a vicious flare up of Fibromyalgia, and TMJ and daily, throbbing headaches. Every day brings bad news, more things to fix and more money to spend.

The only thing I try to remember is to keep this in perspective. It is annoying and depressing and draining, financially $$$$, physically and emotionally but we are not in a Radiology Department waiting for ominous test results; in other words, it’s not life- threatening.  I’m rolling with the (expensive) punches because basically, I have no choice.  Is this a catastrophe? Yes, I mean No! It’s an annoyance and a lot of money down the um, drain, pipes, frame, tube?  I’m taking it one day at a time; one very costly, day at a time. There is no other way.

If I Were An Inanimate Object

Vase

Image by marlana via Flickr

Vase As Art

The very first thing that came to mind was a beautifully colored and shaped vase. How can you not love something that’s purpose is to hold flowers and give you joy. Even by itself, a beautiful vase, made of blown glass, pottery or any material is lovely to enjoy.

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What I'd Name My Own Clothing Line

Donald Trump

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Real People Inc (RPI)

My clothing line would be called Real People Inc. (or RPI). It would cater to all of us so that all men and women from teeny- tiny to large and extra-extra large would be accommodated in the same store. Why should people have to go to different stores to buy clothes? I think it is unnecessary and I also think it categorizes people into groups. There’s no need for that. We need to encourage tolerance for everyone. This is for men and women, young and old, boys and girls.

My style is comfy, with a touch of bright color, usually in an accessory (my 17-year-old daughter taught me that.) Take all the Big and Fat, Husky and Hot, Size 00, 0,1 and 2 stores and blend them together. It’s one way of not dividing people but including and appreciating everyone. We all need to embrace TOLERANCE. This would be a start. If I had the money, I would design that line and build that store. If either Oprah or The Donald needs a new investment, please have your people call my people. ( I don’t really have people but I can pretend!)

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