Wednesday, April 26, 2006

love and war

if you have read my blog for any length of time - you know i had a sincere and enduring relationship with my paternal grandmother. she has been gone a little over two years and i still carry a deep love for and connection with her. i find myself thinking of her often. daily even.

grandma had a unwavering devotion to her family. ALL of her family. i have said it before - she helped raise several nieces and nephews - in addition to my dad and his brother. we had a family christmas party/reunion every year when i was growing up at her brother's home - their parent's 'home place.' we called it The Brown Christmas Tree - as her maiden name was Brown. so her siblings got together. their kids and their kid's kids. and so on and so forth.

and thanks to this annual holiday celebration, i got to know cousins i might never have otherwise even met. kooky, crazy cousins i could deny genealogy with in front of a crowd with a straight face. other kooky, crazy cousins i wouldn't trade for nothing. my cousins. my generation. our parents were first cousins. our grandmothers were sisters. our great grandparents - the same.

one group of cousins escaped up to north mississippi. my dad's first cousins. a certifiable bunch - if you know what i mean. attorneys, a judge, tenured college professors. i've always thought of them as the crazy north mississippi family branch. i have never ever wanted to know how they thought of my family down south. their kids - my age and a bit younger. okay - some a lot younger...

over the years, i kept up with them through my dad. through christmas cards and letters to my grandma. a few college football game tail-gating parties (State Sucks!) and now - through my own christmas cards and the beauty of technology - email and blogs.

i have always thought of this group of cousins as gorgeous, educated, talented, athletic, poised and a butt-load of fun. OMG! are they fun! and did i mention mischievous? you can count on there always being something (probably a bottle rocket) up at least one or two sleeves!!!!!
i remember sitting with one of my dad's first cousins at my grandmother's wake - me 10 1/2 months pregnant (big as the side of the barn) and him telling me dirty jokes. no kidding. and me laughing so dang hard it's a wonder i didn't pop that boy out right there on the parlor floor. we got several dirty looks from others in attendance. but had my grandmother been sitting with us, she would have been carrying on too!

i wish so desperately i could tell you their names - they are notorious in their parts. it has been so fun for me through the years when i meet people from north mississippi. the conversation always went something like this...

ME: "i have some family up in North Mississippi. you might know them."
THEM: "really? who?" (them thinking "yeah, right - like i know everyone in itawamba county, mississippi")
ME: "Do you know the Hatcoys*?"
THEM: EVERY SINGLE TIME - "uh, yeah - i know OF them."

i don't recall a single person ever claiming to actually KNOW them. but EVERYONE knew OF them.
i don't know why - but that was always so much fun for me...
* names changed to protect the guilty...

there is a point to this story. one of these young, beautiful, intelligent, athletic and mischievous cousins is in a bit of a fix. you see, she is a marine lance corporal, 2nd intel bn. injured in iraq last month - a week before she was scheduled to return state-side. she is now in the hospital in bethesda.

it was some sort of vehicular accident - i don't have the details. don't really need them. all i need to know and care to tell you is that my kin - my family - my blood - this young woman serving her country - MY COUNTRY - is injured and is fighting a very serious battle for her recovery.

and i do not doubt for a second she will recover. i know she will. i do not waiver in my faith of the eventual outcome. i am, however, concerned for her well being and the stress and strain she is under. i detest that she is in so much pain. i fret a bit about the virulent bacteria that is running it's evil course through her already ravaged body - i confess this. but i am not the least bit worried as i KNOW she will come through this with flying colors. and make no mistake - those flying colors are RED WHITE &BLUE.

the family calls her JR. she will be 27 in October. and while i haven't spent time with her since we were kids - she's one of the ones we heard a lot about down our way. she played HIGH SCHOOL football. with the boys. she was the punter. and tough as nails.

her sister, AR, has kept us updated on her progress via emails. and in these emails, she has regaled us with stories of JR when they were growing up. 'it's never dull' seems to be a theme in the Brown family blood line - let's just say that.

while this is not my story, it is my family. JR is not out of the woods. she is still struggling. the following excerpt is from an email her sister sent me earlier this week.

"JR has a resistant form of bacteria, called VRE. This bacteria is naturally found in the body but when you've been on antibiotics for so long the bacteria becomes resistant. One in three infections in the Intensive Care Units are caused by VRE. This is sorta common, and is easily treated. BUT, the results of the VRE is lots of vomiting and diarrhea. Poor JR is having it all, plus she had a new drain tube put in through her ribs.
JR is in a lot of pain. In order for the doctors to ease this for her, the pain meds knock her out. She thinks that is good thing, but then she does not eat or get up and move around. Eating and moving help build up her strength. So the doctors do not want her to sleep all the time. The pain specialist wants to place an epidural on her right side (liver side) to help give JR some pain relief. This way she will be awake and not in pain.
I was able to talk to JR for few minutes on Thursday night. She is worn out from all the pain, nausea, vomiting and more pain. The phrase "Sick and tired of being sick and tired," is how I would put her attitude. I just keep reassuring her that she is going to be just fine and out of the hospital soon. She is miserable in that hospital room. Like an animal in a cage, she just wants out.
JR's pneumonia is getting better, but she is still on supplemental oxygen. Since she has the VRE, everyone who enters her room has to wear sterile gown and gloves.
The 24th will be a month that JR has been at Bethesda."

regardless of your political beliefs (and mine) - our young (and not so young) people are serving, fighting, sustaining injuries - some dying. but thankfully most, like JR, are on the road to recovery.

and she will eventually read this entry - or so i am told.

i want her to know how button-popping proud i am to call her family.
then, now and always.

JR's aunt bill (what all the nieces and nephews called my Grandma) taught us all the importance of family. and aunt bill would be busting at the seams with pride over JR's service to her country. i know i am.

so now i ask you to send her your best. tell her - with your words and your sentiments - how thankful Americans are for people like her. how folks on the world wide web she doesn't even know are pulling for her to get better.

but let me caution you now - when she does recuperate - and is back to herself - steer clear. there ain't no telling what that girl will be up to...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

er... Houston. I think we have a PROBLEM!

my last post - about my sweet, precious FIVE YEAR OLD daughter savvy. a few tongue in cheek tales of our recent experiences together. a semi-sweet recollection of her personality in action.

so i read it to her yesterday after school. she was slightly amused.

i read her the comments. especially the one from Buddha Girl's Lil Sis - the one about knowing a real life prince in Virginia. bad idea. very, VERY bad idea. we have created a monster. every word out of her mouth since has been about marrying a real life prince.

SHE: what's his name?
ME: who?
SHE: the prince in virginia?
ME: oh. his name is prince.
SHE: no, what's his real name - like eric or adam?
ME: i don't know - i will ask.
SHE: go ask your blog.
ME: yes, i will do that.
SHE: now!
(NOTE to lil sis - make up a name - ANY NAME!)

SHE: i don't want to wait till i grow up to get married.
ME: you have to wait. you don't know how to cook.
-- realization sets in. SOBBING (albeit pretend) --
-- ah ha moment --
SHE: i'll cook us peanut butter and jelly!
ME: you cannot feed a prince peanut butter and jelly all the time.
SHE: will you teach me how to cook?
ME: yes dear.
SHE: in the morning will you teach me how to cook breakfast?
ME: yes. but wait, we are out of eggs. oh no, what shall we do?
-- (me - emoting - something i am very good at!) --
SHE: that's okay - you can teach me how to cook cereal.
-- pause - take a breath --

SHE: i can't wait to get married when i am grown. what if he marries someone else.
ME: i will tell him NOT to marry someone else - that he has to wait on you.
SHE: what if he doesn't listen to you and marries someone else anyway? sniffle. pout.(as SHE does not listen to me - she knows it is very possible the prince will not listen to me either!)
ME: if he marries someone else, we will find you another prince.

SHE: MOM! sister wants to marry my prince!
ME: she can't marry your prince - she has to find her own prince.

SHE: i still want to get married now.
ME: you can't get married if you still wear a pull up to bed.
SHE: hmmm. i actually see a look on her face indicating i might have a point on this one.
( i see a serious methodology developing on the cessation of bed wetting - at least for one child!)

SHE: did you ask your blog what his name is?

Yep, we have a problem.

Monday, April 24, 2006

la princesa

i have two daughters. sam and savvy

you have heard an awful lot about sam recently.

today you will hear about savvy. (lucky you)

savvy. aka la princesa. she is five. she turned so at the end of march. i was so caught up in all the other goings on in our world tha
t i failed to blog about her birthday. bad mother.

so, here goes...

She asked for (demanded) a flat iron for her birthday - and as you can see from the picture - she got one.

she was recently punished. very poor decision in the behavior/attitude department = consequences. she lost every barbie doll, barbie doll accessory, bratz dolls (aka mutant barbie dolls from hell) and her mini barbies and bratz dolls. upon removing the last remnant of barbie/bratz doll from her room, she looks up at me, tear rimmed eyes and asks "momma, are you going to play with my dolls?" i turned, looked her straight on and with every bit of seriousness i could muster, i responded with a decisive "PROBABLY!" she feigned devastation.

they all now make their cozy little barbie home in my bathroom. i kinda like the company. i have 50 little beady barbie eyes watching while i bath, get dressed and put on my makeup (they can't see the potty from their current location). i got tired of looking at them nekkid so one afternoon last week, i decided to dress them. i did my dead level best to put the right dress on the right doll. and i gotta tell you, i thought i did pretty good.

saturday morning, savvy is in my bathroom to have her hair 'done.' i proceed to point out to her what i great time i had playing with her barbie dolls. she turns, checks them out, realizes they are dressed. her face lights up. she starts to smile and then BAM! "Mother, Mother, Mother - SHE doesn't wear that dress. that's anika's dress. can't you tell?! - it's doesn't even match her crown! and that dress goes on bianka. oh and mother, you can't put that dress on her - no, no, no, that's all wrong with her hair color!"

did i mention that she's FIVE??? just barely FIVE??? i don't know what was the worse punishment - losing the dolls or knowing that they live in my bathroom with the wrong clothes on.

for her birthday, her daddy sand-blasted and painted an old metal bed we got from my Grandmother's place. it is P.I.N.K and gorgeous. it is a princess bed. and SHE is the princess. yesterday, daddy and fred hung the barbie butterfly lights. she insisted i take a picture. she is pretending to be asleep - so she could see what it would look like at night in her room while she sleeps. not kidding.

and have i mentioned that she wants to be a princess in real life. not a pretend disney princess - but a REAL LIFE princess. i patiently explained to her that since she was not of royal lineage (dammit) she would have to marry a real life prince to become a real life princess. "fine," she says without batting an eye,
"i can do that."

in her very next breath, she tells me she wants to move to oklahoma. oklahoma?! (do what?) and then i recall that our favorite baby sitter and her family moved to Ok. "savvy, you do realize if you move to oklahoma, your chances of meeting and marrying a real life prince are diminished greatly. you do realize that, right?"

she is undetered. moving to Oklahoma and marrying a real life prince. that's the current plan. anyone out there have any connections to royalty you can hook me up with? preferably in the north texas - oklahoma area...

and finally, my precious, too grown up, sassy, attitude giving daughter has the heart of a child after all. the easter bunny brought her this Peter Pan movie.

We saw it as a family in the theater when it was first released and she has asked for it often ever since. (i love this movie too - btw)
so yesterday, i was watching it with her - and she is asking me questions about tinkerbell and peter and wendy. she has picked up on this love triangle and wants to better understand why tink doesn't like wendy and does peter really love wendy and tink? yes darling - love is very complicated...
anyway, it gets to the part where tink dies and peter and the rest of the cast are chanting - softly at first - "i do believe in fairies - i do! i do!"
she's watching. then louder "I Do Believe in Fairies - I Do! I DO!" and before i realize what's happened - savvy is standing on the couch, red-faced, arms stiff at her side, fists clinched - yelling at the tv - at tinkerbell - "I DO BELIEVE IN FAIRIES!! I DO!! I DO!!"

and tinkerbell begins to glow and savvy has brought her back to life by sheer will.

i believe in fairies too, la princesa.

i do. i do.

but most of all, i believe in you.

love, mom

Thursday, April 20, 2006


tomorrow is friday.
i just glanced at my calendar and it is empty.
how'd that happen?

no dr's appointment
no customer demo
no teacher meeting
no work conference call meeting
no customer discovery call
no trip to take
no kids out of school
no nothing
i don't even have to pack Sam's lunch as one of the mom's is providing a pizza party.

i know i shouldn't say all this out loud - much less write it down. knocking on wood...
i am totally jinxing my day tomorrow - a day when i plan to sit at my desk and catch up with my regular work.

but i am so overworked and sleep deprived, i am not in my right mind any longer. left that place a few weeks back. i need a significant raise and a week of sleep. IS ANYONE LISTENING???
sorry, just gotten used to yelling to get my way around here...


at this point in my life - given the choice between sleep and food, i'd take sleep
a nap or sex - a nap
a siesta or a trip to the mall - a siesta
catching ZZZZZzzz's or a kiss from jon bon jovi - the Zzzzzz's
dozing off or a million dollars - okay, i can be bought - a million dollars...
i'll sleep when the money's all spent...

i do miss you guys. thanks for all the support. i read your comments and it really lifts me up. i hope to get caught up soon and get back to blogging regularly - but i must confess - given the choice between blogging and sleep,

Post Note:
For the record - and not that it matters - but i just got in trouble due to the Sleep over Sex decision.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Proof exists

that God has a sense of humor!

allow me to explain...

i am sick - allergy induced head cold, sinus drainage, cough
husband is sick. he is here - at home. allergy induced head cold, sinus drainage, cough
we are both exhausted from a long weekend of little sleep (due to illness) cooking, cleaning and entertaining.
our baby sitter is sick. she is NOT here today.

my three (count them - 1.2.3) kids are healthy not to mention still extremely hyped up from all the Easter candy.

and both girls are out of school today.

i rest my case.
God DOES have a sense of humor...

Sunday, April 09, 2006

cautious optimism

i have no business being here.
more to do than i can tell you.

i hate to leave you hanging. plus, you guys have been so awesome. i tried on two different occasions to respond to your comments on my last entry. once i wrote a personal note to each person - it got blown away. thanks blogger. another - more generic - got blown away too. Kiss my grits blogger!

so before the world - THANK YOU.
this blog is my sanctuary. and you make it so by your presence.

so to update you...

we went to the pediatric psychologist on friday. hubby, sam and i. he spent a lot of time talking to us. all of us. he listened. asked questions. allowed us to ask questions and then he punched me in the stomach.


he gave us his opinion. a preliminary diagnosis. told us he is about 75% sure this is what sam is dealing with. i almost sucked the air out of the room when he said it out loud. would have sobbed if sam had not been with us. saw hubby's eyes redden too.

here's where you will have to forgive me. i am not going to put his preliminary diagnosis here. not yet. not till we have more of a confirmation. not till we have absorbed it ourselves. i trust you understand and accept my decision on this.

we've told very limited people so far. what if he's wrong and our daughter is forever 'labeled' with this diagnosis?

and what if he's right?

we are going forward on the assumption that he is and have started a new medication. what he called a heavy duty medication. the potential and rare side effects can be serious and some are irreversible. he told us there are risk in treatment and there are risk in not treating.

and the irony is this - i feel relief. i picked up a book he recommended on the way home. been reading it. googled this diagnosis. and yep, she fits the profile. hubby and i agree on this.
no, i am not relieved to find my daughter (may) have this disorder.
but i feel relief in having a bit more information than we had last week. relief in having a potential path for treatment.
relief in having a doctor that seems to understand where we are coming from and has treated similar children successfully. (i asked - oh yes i did!)

cautious optimism.
this is our current location.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

going downhill and picking up speed

it's one of those weeks.
one of those weeks when i neglect my blog.
so please don't take it personally.
i miss you too.

but work is a bear.

my company was bought out two weeks ago.
last week almost 30% of my co-workers and friends were laid off.
i have been with this company for almost 10 years. one of my dearest friends was one of the unfortunates. it hurts.

my workload has increased by at least 30%.
HUGE two day on-site demo in Springfield, Missouri next week.
anyone know anything about Springfield???

my teammate in support that covers the same products i do is on vacation this week.
week after next, demo for client in seattle. don't know if i am traveling for that one or not. would like to as i have never been to seattle. isn't that where dr. mcdreamy is???

another two demos in the works for THIS month. keeping in mind that presales (demo's) are NOT my primary job function. i LOVE it. but i have another full time job responsibility in support.

my daughter's new med is not working out. found out it is not tested or approved for children under 12. she's 7. apparently this is true for the majority of pediatric meds out there. i think i knew this - but somehow forgot. this past weekend was from hell. hubby worked saturday and i had all three kids on my own. had to run errands with them. walmart. mcdonald's. grocery store. just shoot me now.

sam's new med - the one i am currently weaning her OFF of, has magnified the behavior issues we were trying to correct. hubby and i are ready to slit our wrists.

i spent the better part of yesterday on the phone with doctors. i had to BEG to get her into my pediatrician's first recommendation for a pediatric psychiatrist. i am so not above begging - specially when it has to do with my kids.
she has an appointment on THIS friday. apparently i'm a pretty convincing beggar - as the first thing they told me when i phoned was that "the doctor is not accepting any new patients." remember me telling you that i don't take 'No' very well. i rest my case.

i just keep thinking that we are going to map this out. going to figure out what will help Sam. i got a note from her teacher on fFriday about behavior issues and an email yesterday morning about performance issues.

She attends a private [expensive as hell] school for kids with learning differences. she is in a class of eight. they have a full time teacher, full time speech therapist, occupational therapy, physical therapy and several other specialist working with these eight bright, special kids. this school, the staff and her program in particular are phenomenal. and she needs to get every single drop she can squeeze out of this educational opportunity.
i have to make it so she can do that.
this is my job.
as her advocate.
as her mother.

and i must be patient with her
and love her
and be patient
and encourage her
and be patient
and support her
and be patient
and understand her
and be patient
and still do everything possible within my power to give her the tools she needs to build the life she so richly deserves.

and be patient...