Tuesday, December 28, 2010

WHAT IS OLD IS NEW AGAIN


And I suppose that's the story of life, eh? What once was is yet once again.

vicious circle.

Kind of like 'I am therefore we are' kind of thing.

Before I go any further, I think you should know that I'm thinking about changing the title of my blog to "I'M SORRY" as I'm forever apologizing to my blog friends.

While I have responded to a few of you on your blogs this morning (and will visit more after this post), I really do have the best of intentions -- and we all know where that road leads -- but I also have a little problem called procrastination, a heart that won't stop grieving and a mind that goes over and over things ('shoulding on myself' as my therapist would say) until I'm downright dizzy and rendered useless.

So many of you reached out to me and I truly have NO WORDS to properly convey my heartfelt thanks to you all.

Know that you brought me immense comfort and peace.

In other news, my post title eludes to the fact that we are making a big life decision and have indeed decided in this new year to move.

This is something -- after losing our home of 16 years two and a half years ago -- that I really didn't want to do again...at least not so soon.

However, in our hearts and for the financial health of our family, we know this is the right thing to do.

How this happened:

B has many good friends and two of them are brothers who last year moved out of their home -- that was just two minutes, if that, away from us -- along with their lovely Mum (she is European so I say Mum, of course. Just go with it.) to go live with their Grandmother due to finances in a city about half an hour from here.

One of the brothers stopped by to see us over the holidays and mentioned the house was still vacant and I immediately starting asking questions (God help me -- I am my mother after all! Just shoot me now.) in which he then had his Mom call me the next day.

Within a few days, we were brought the keys, went to go look at said house and the next thing you know, we're going to be moving in at the end of January.

While the neighborhood is a step down, the rent is $400.00 a month less than what we're paying now and includes pool service. Yes, it has a built in pool -- we've never had a pool, built in or otherwise, and the backyard is twice the size of ours and the house has two more bedrooms.

As with anything there are drawbacks -- needs a lot of work -- but the extra money saved per month sold it for us. Also sweetening the deal is that we get the first months rent free to do any fixing up and we don't have to make a down payment of any kind. We can also sign the lease for however many years we want.

It all happened quite quickly and we'll be spending our new year getting this house move-in ready for the next tenants (needs new carpet -- cheap and in a hurry!) and because we want our deposit back while simultaneously getting the new house cleaned and fixed up so it's ready for US -- God help it.

Hoping Santa has some elves available that aren't too tired from the holiday to help us with all this.

Speaking of Santa (and once again wildly switching gears)....

SANTA FUN FACT: A Nasa Physicist recently 'did the math' and said that in order for Santa to make the trip across the globe on Christmas Eve, he came to this conclusion:

Santa would have to leave the North Pole at 7:00 p.m. and travel nearly at the speed of light to land on each continent at 7:00 p.m. their time and visit 7000 homes per second to be done by 7:00 a.m.

Oh, and the reindeer? Likely all female (hello Vixen!) as male reindeer shed their antlers in the winter.

Chalk one up for the gals.

Next Christmas Eve, you can track Santa at noradsanta.org

Interesting, huh?

Anyhoo. Just wanted to share why, once again, I have been named the worst blog friend on the planet.

This explains the coal in my stocking.

Love you all and hope you had a blessed Christmas.

Peace, serenity and Happy New Year,
~Jo

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

DO WE REALLY WANT TO KNOW?


In keeping with my traditional 'keeping it real' philosophy, I recently sent out my annual Christmas newsletter in my 'no holds barred' fashion where I spilled about losing Juneau, our loss of finances due to the aforementioned and Ed's potential skin cancer.

I, of course, not wanting to be all completely Grinch-like, added a few snippets about how well B is doing in school and what his plans are. I asked for prayers for Ed and told everyone that I think of them often and that I wish them all that is good this holiday and in the New Year. And I meant it.

Due to a printer that is out of ink more often than not, I do my Christmas newsletters via E-mail.

For years I have received Christmas newsletters from friends and family talking about vacations, promotions, how Tommy got his Eagle Scout badge and that little Jenny is oh so grown up now, don'tcha know, and recently received a full scholarship to Columbia University.

I read about the jet skiing and the new S.U.V. with a hitch to accommodate said jet ski's where they vacation in Mammoth Lake while staying at their vacation home.

Okay, so, I exaggerate slightly but you get my point. We've all received them and if you're like me, you don't give a shit.

C'mon -- be honest.

My thing is this: I don't want my Christmas newsletter to make anyone feel shitty about their lives. Because let's face it, in spite of all the gooey crap they write about, NO ONE's life is as good as they want you to think it is.

And if it is --good for you (truly! good for you!) but I don't necessarily want to hear about it.

Bitter grapes? Maybe. Green-eyed monster? Sure. Whatever euphemism you may want to label it as, so be it.

I truly don't begrudge people their right to live their lives to the fullest, I'm just asking for some proper perspective in these damned things.

Give it to me straight, we can take it. We're big people.

So, after my newsletter went out, the next day I get a call from my best friend, Sue. She's the one who lives in Maine whom we were supposed to go and visit next summer after not seeing each other for nearly 20 years.

Not sure that's going to happen now due to our depleted finances in trying to save Juneau.

So, Sue calls me and I can immediately tell she's upset. She's very down and it's not long until she starts crying.

She says; "I'm just so heartbroken and sorry for you all, Jo..."

Oh, shit! What did I do???

I didn't want to upset anyone -- especially Sue. Not my intention. I merely give it to them straight.

I immediately apologized and told her that my sending out such an honest newsletter was, in hindsight, a terrible thing for me to do and that I shouldn't have ever sent it.

Her answer surprised me.

She said: "No! I'm GLAD you did. You just say what everyone else should be."

Wow.

I truly wish everyone felt that way. For two years in a row now I've "said what everyone else should be" and get ZERO response from people I thought would at least write and say: "So sorry. Praying for you. Know you're all in our thoughts."

Instead I get a call from my best friend of 30 years whom I haven't seen, again, in nearly 20, who has been through just as much crap as we have with one of her sons in and out of rehab for severe drug addiction, another son divorced with a child -- and living with her and her husband and daughter making life miserable for them all -- and a husband with his own health issues all while she works as a Cardiology nurse.

The person who has the least time and a heavy, mounting load of issues of her own is the ONLY one who reached out and shared in my grief and sorrows.

Her phone call left me a lot to think about: are people whose lives don't mimic mine and Sue's incapable of empathy?

Do they really want to hear about our dirt?

And, in turn, do we really want to be showered with their apparent good news only?

The conclusion I came to is: if you add water to dirt, it creates mud.

So, all I really know is this -- and I can only speak for myself: I feel as if my universe is out of balance and in trying to regain my footing, I may have lost my own perspective.

Every day I re-check my axis and it still doesn't feel quite right...

But I can tell you that I'm trying.

Regardless, I miss everyone here and am anticipating coming back to blogging after the holidays.

Much love and blessings to you this Christmas and always.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

AND SO THE STORY GOES...


Santa has a lot of explaining to do.

First off, I've been wanting to post and catch up before this -- and I just want everyone to know (Steven, David, Meeko, Bibi, Jaynie, Jules, Elle and Andrea all in particular) that I've read all your comments and they've brought me immense comfort. To those of you who've reached out to me via Twitter, E-mail and/or text...equally appreciated and deeply felt.

Thank you all so much for caring about our pain and loss.

With the exception of a few meltdowns here and there the past few days (something will come up that makes me think of our beautiful little Juneau and it all hits that she should be here with us...), I can honestly say that the grieving has gotten a little easier day by day and that in addition to attempting to re-build our great financial loss when we were trying to save Juneau (who died in her sleep -- for which we're grateful if she had to go that it wasn't a decision on our part but was in fact in God's hands), we're also trying very hard to find joy in the season by doing what everyone else is: buying a tree, decorating, shopping on a budget, watching Christmas specials, etc.

Please know that I do know and understand that we're not the only family going through hardships, financial or otherwise: I am acutely aware of the families who have soldiers overseas and some who have lost their loved ones as well as the financial struggles everyone is facing now.

With that said....

READ NO FURTHER IF YOU'RE SQUEAMISH:

Ed had yesterday off for a Dermatology appointment: he gets these welt like boils on his hands, arms, elbows and even a few on his knees now and then. A few years ago we had to take him to county to have one cut open and dug out. He turned sheet white and it pained me to see him in so much agony.

After one cancellation and rescheduling after another, he was finally able to get in to see the Dermatologist yesterday who said he has a raging infection and that while these festering boils are indeed likely the product of ingrown hair, that for some reason his body is "colonizing" them causing his infection.

So, he's on a ten day anti-biotic treatment.

Wait, there's more....

Being fair skinned and freckled, he also had a few suspicious markings on his body, which turned out to be easily, albeit a bit painfully, treatable as she will burn them off.

However, what really had her concerned was that Ed has a growing red 'strawberry' mark on his side that occasionally bleeds and gives him trouble: this is where more 'good news' was handed to us as she said it is likely cancerous.

Due to his infection, she was unable to remove it for biopsy yesterday so now he has to wait until January 21st for his biopsy and results.

This is excruciating and has me, to be frank, quite scared for my husband's health.

I have so much running through my mind right now that I reached out yesterday to some of my 'kids' giving them an update and asking them to please pray for Ed.

I was disappointed that so few responded: Granted, we gave birth to B -- but the others we CHOSE to be a part of our lives and we deserve a little of their time, thought, prayers and consideration.

We have always been there for them -- was it too much to ask for some words of comfort and good thoughts in return?

I know we've been drama-filled lately with the passing of Juneau and all the financial stuff of the past few years -- believe me when I say that we don't ask for this but for whatever reason, it would appear we're being tested -- and it would appear I'm failing miserably.

So, I reached out and asked for some much needed support for Ed and I both.

I think we're fundamentally decent and good people -- we do what we can for others (in fact, I recently signed up for my 4th consecutive MS Walk) and when we love we do so whole heartedly.

At the risk of inviting wrath and hurt feelings for those who read my blog, I need to say that I know it's easy to get caught up in day to day stuff with life (especially when you're in your late teens and early to mid-20's) and perhaps they, too, have big stuff going on in their lives. However, I stand by mine and Ed's initial reaction that we deserve better from them.

Not a good way to start off the Holy season, I admit.

It's not all about us, it's not all about you -- it's about our 'family' as a unit and when one hurts, the rest of us should, too.

When you've needed us, we've been there. Now, we need you if for no other reason than to pay a visit, make a phone call or even send a text saying: "Everything will be okay. We love you and 'Big Guy' (as Ed is affectionately known) and, of course, we'll pray for him."

Not a lot to ask, I don't think.

So, we will continue on with the celebration of Christmas and family -- extended or otherwise -- doing our best to keep our spirits high and our hopes up for a good outcome for Ed.

I think of my blog friends every single day. EVERY DAY. Please know that and please forgive my absence and lack of participation in your lives. I do care...more than I have words.

Your support of me over the past few years has been more than what many in our 'real' lives have given and I am so grateful to each of you -- and with that, I wish you all love, joy, good health, peace and happiness that your hearts and lives can hold.

Merry Christmas, my friends.

Love,
~Jo