Monday, December 26, 2011

... And a Happy New YEEEEAAAAAR!

I feel lots better than I did at my last posting. Thanks so very much to those wonderful people who contacted me directly to check up on me. It really does make a difference even if I'm not always able to say so right then. I finally went to the doctor today. 7 straight days of being sick was more than enough, thankyouverymuch. I have gigantic horse-pill sized antibiotics, a little something to help with the aches, and a sore hip from the steroid injection. After just four hours, I'm already feeling better.

I guess I didn't realize just how sick I was. All I knew was that I was miserable and I wasn't 100% sure why. I thought I had kicked the worst part of the cold after just a few days, but I was so wiped out! I literally spent the last 48 hours in bed except for occasional drink and bathroom breaks. I tried to take my temperature, but I couldn't really be sure I was getting a good reading on my old thermometer so I was talking myself out of going to the doctor and berating myself for not being a better mother and wife. I mean, this IS supposed to be the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Why else would I be more interested in sleeping than baking cookies and shopping? It MUST be that I have failed as a human being and had lost ALL my Christmas Spirit.

I can not even describe the relief I felt when I decided to "gift" myself with a brand new, digital, IR, ear canal, 1 second reading thermometer only to find I really WAS running a fever and I DID have a valid reason to feel like crap. Yay! I'm not a bad person and I don't hate Christmas! I'm just sick! Rejoice!

The added benefit of having proof of being sick was that not only could I excuse myself from cooking and participating in the majority of the festivities, but my whole family instantly stepped up and picked up the slack for me. I still feel terrible that I wasn't there to actually BE there over the last few days. However, my heart is supremely warmed at the outpouring of love that my WP, my sister Spike, and her new hubby Walrus showed. They were all guests in MY home, but they helped wrangle kids, clean, cook, and even wrap gifts. Most importantly, they all let me sleep as much as I needed and didn't make me feel guilty about it. I couldn't have asked for a better gift.

Speaking of gifts, I have yet another reason to be overwhelmed with thanksgiving. This year, we were able to handle ALL of our Christmas gifting on our own, without financial help from friends, family, churches. or anonymous donors. It may not have been the largest Christmas, but everyone got at least one thing they REALLY wanted. We were even able to let each of the girls have a budget for gifting to each other (which is really the best part, I think.)

It was only a few years ago that we were gifted with our entire holiday from members of our community. Never have I been more humbled, thankful, and embarrassed all at once. Since then, it has been my goal to never have to be in that situation again. It isn't that I am not grateful. It is exactly the opposite, actually. I am so grateful and they were so generous, I would hate to take that opportunity away from someone else who needs it more. Plus, I feel if I need that type of help more than once, I would be taking advantage and not learning from my own mistakes. Sometimes crazy stuff happens and you need help to make it through. If you don't learn from it and better yourself, then any help that was offered was, frankly, a waste.

In any case, the hole we were in at that time was so deep that it has taken years to pull out of it. Along the way we have had friends and family provide more help than I will ever be able to pay back or even pay forward. We learned where we made mistakes and we have been able to see what could have been done better. I am overwhelmed with gratitude and pride that we are getting back on our feet again. Yes, we still are receiving help in the way of a very reasonable rent that is payable on our pay schedule. But, we have come a long way on our own by taking better care of our  responsibilities. Learning how to be a grown-up is tough!

So, I hope each of you is having a wonderful holiday, however you plan to celebrate it.
Be Awesome to each other.


Sunday, December 18, 2011


Today as I read Post Secret (like I do every Sunday) I realized that I have so much in common with all these people who wrote secrets, but they aren't secrets to me. I have someone I love so very much that I can tell him all the things that go through my mind. He knows about everything that has happened to me from as far back as I can remember. Every day we talk and I still tell him everything about my day and every thought that goes through my head. Most days I don't need to tell him, he just knows. Somehow, though, the telling makes it better. The happiness is brighter, the fear is quieter, the pain is smaller.

However, there are times, like the past few weeks for instance, that even sharing all this doesn't help enough. I don't know what makes it happen or how to really make it go away. The Grey Monster just creeps up and grabs a hold and I am stuck. Ugly thoughts about regrets, mistakes, broken promises, and destroyed wishes... they all come back again and again. I feel as if I am somehow not as smart as I should be because I can't make this go away.

The worst part is feeling like it is all my fault. If I had just done THIS, or avoided THAT maybe I would be as thin, and wealthy, and successful as I should have been. Every bad decision I've ever made piles up and I can't even breathe. Sometimes I have dreams where I am so angry I wake up screaming and yelling and trying to punch people. Other times my dreams are so very, deeply, impossibly sad that I wake up crying and sobbing. Why on earth does my brain need to fabricate these things? Do I not feel horrible enough during the day that I need to feel worse at night?

I will say that I am sleeping less than I used to. I don't nap nearly as often or for as long. The daily aching pain is much better, although I still have spikes of pain whenever I move around. I only get headaches once every few weeks instead of several every day.  I'm able to more easily do the normal things I need to do every day - shower, get dressed, eat, run my errands. I still don't feel "normal." I don't know that I would recognize "normal" if I ever felt it. Above all else, I feel guilty for being so self-centered and focused on my own petty issues instead of on the really big things that I could be doing to help someone else.

So, even though I can tell I have come a long way from where I was, I'm still not better. I am completely different than I ever was before, and I am beginning to accept that. I'm not happy with where I am, though, and I really need to be better. I'm not sure how.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I have ants in my pants!

Ok, they aren't exactly in the pants I am currently wearing, but they are everywhere else around here so I BET they are probably in some pair of my pants somewhere. This is just the latest surprise we have encountered in the adventure I call, "Moving in to My In-Law's House." I don't want to sound ungrateful or anything like that. My in-laws have been SUPER generous to us in many other ways other than letting us take over their house (for a GREAT price) when they retired and moved. It's just that...well, STRANGE things have been happening since we moved in. Things that no one should have to endure.

You see, there was an earthquake about three hours north of here a few months ago. We did feel the shaking, and some of the aftershocks too. Since then, I've noticed things around the house have CHANGED. Now, every house in this area is known to have foundation issues. It comes with the territory - literally. The entire area was once a mesquite grove and the roots of those tree never go away. They just keep growing and moving and destroying anything built on top of them. Because of that, running from the front door to the back corner there was already a crack in the foundation. It has been that way for several years. Now, however, there is at least one more crack running from nearly the same starting point to the OTHER back corner of the house. And the dining room is tilted enough to give visitors vertigo. And the walls are cracking further.  And, apparently, the GINORMOUS ant colony that my house sits on was disturbed. Boy, are they pissed!

In Texas, we battle all sorts of creepy-crawlies on a daily basis. That's just part of life 'round here. Anything that flies will probably bite, and anything with more than four legs will most likely sting. I still don't believe the wild tales of foreigners (from New York) that tell  me ants up there don't bite. Really? How do you know they are ants, then? Ants BITE. That's what they do! Red, black, it doesn't matter; if they are in my house they will die because I don't want me or my family to get bitten.

Except now, there are literally TOO MANY too kill at once. My kitchen floor is criss-crossed with little ant armies marching towards the peanut butter. The bathrooms BOTH have little colonies building lakeside resorts by the toilets. I have found them in every single room in my house! After I kill them, I have begun leaving their corpses around as an example to the others. I have sprayed so much Raid that we had to air out the house because we were choking on the fumes. I have tried every home remedy available - DME, Simple Green, Talcum powder, you name it. All it seems to do is invigorate them more as they learn how to overcome and adapt to my new tactics. It seems we have little military badass ants now, that are threatening to invade, conquer, and come up with a little ant way of yelling Oooh Rah! before every attack.

Then, they took my sugar. I am not pleased.

I used the sugar shaker in the kitchen for my first cup of coffee, and when I went back for another cup, it was gone. GONE! I looked in the cabinets and in the pantry with no clue. I even checked the fridge, the freezer, and the skinny little cabinet by the back door where we keep our spices. I was beginning to panic, thinking I somehow threw it away in my pre-caffienated stupor. Without sugar, there can be no more coffee.... and without more coffee.... well, the thought doesn't bear consideration.

So, as I was wandering around the house in a furious craze, I found it - there, in the living room. Now, I know what you are thinking. Surely someone HUMAN moved the sugar shaker and left it on the coffee table. But I assure you that could NOT be possible. After all, I have threatened my children with everything up to and beyond death for bringing ANY sort of food in the living room. They wouldn't have DARED to bring the sugar in there this morning while eating Cream of Wheat and watching TV. No, that just isn't possible. Not after the pleading and begging and threats of starvation and personal bodily harm.

No, I am POSITIVE it was the ants. They moved it there in an attempt to foster dissension in the opposing Army's troops. They knew how angry I would be at LEAVING FOOD IN THE LIVING ROOM, so they made a calculated attack against my psyche in the hopes I would turn my ire against my own children and, in doing so, temporarily forget my war against The Stinging Creatures With Six Legs. You never can trust anything with more legs than yourself. It is just the way of the world down here.

Oh wait... it just might have been the husband, after all....

Screw it. I'm calling the exterminators anyway.

Deb "Aunty not ANTY" Lollar

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hectic Holiday Shopping... sort of.

The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas is so... ugh! Hurry, hurry, hurry to get the gifts bought before you miss the good deals and end up with the other procrastinators at the Maul on Christmas EVE! Of course, we have to be reminded at every step what the REAL meaning of the holiday is. An also, of course, the meaning varies greatly depending on who you ask.

This year I care more about finding a little PEACE than about anything else. I just want to get through this season in one piece. With the moves, the sister's wedding, and all the other stuff going on I wish the holidays were more of a holiday and less of a chore. Take this past weekend for example. The day after Thanksgiving, otherwise called Black Friday, is the most insane shopping day of the year and I do my best not to venture out AT ALL on that entire weekend. Yesterday, however, I had no choice. The two younger girls have a uniform style dress code for school in this town, and I got rid of anything resembling a polo or slacks when we moved to the country last year. We had gotten by for two weeks or so but the teachers were starting to make a fuss so, off through the crowds I went with feeble paycheck in hand.

Thankfully, DH did not leave me to fight the horde alone. He spent the first four hours with me and all three hooflings, going store to store, shopping - in vain - for pants that weren't too tight, too long, too this, or too that. By 4:30 though, he had toughed it out as best as he could and, as luck would have it, he had to rush home to be by the computer in case of work calls. Being on-call can suck, you know?

When I dropped DH off, I left the older two girls with him so I could focus more efficiently on the problem shopper of the day. I swear, there is nothing more frustrating than EG trying on every pair of pants and shoes in THREE DIFFERENT STORES only to walk away empty handed. This child has the ability to find something wrong with ANYTHING, and have a valid point to argue against it. She isn't called the Evil Genius for nothing.

I couldn't bail out and come back another day, though. The temperature outside has dropped to pre-winter levels and skirts and shorts just aren't going to cut it out there. I had to get some pants and warm school clothes or risk getting a call from the school for sending them to school inappropriately dressed.(Yes, they will do that around here.)

The best (read: worst) part of the evening, though, was finally finding TWO pair of slacks that she liked and then trying to check out only to find my card was rejected. I hate this crap. I suck at math and if I am over my limit  by so much as a few cents, I get denied. Then I get confused and have no idea how far off I might be, so I really have no choice but to leave my stuff and come back after I check the bank balance. I even signed up for a bank service that will send me my balance if I text to them for it. Yeah,...thing is, it only works if YOU REMEMBER THAT YOU  CAN USE IT. When I realized I could have avoided the whole disaster by using something I already signed up for, I wanted to kick myself all the way down the block.

Anyway, I managed to find a pair of uniform-approved warm leggings at home for EG to wear with a uniform skirt so that she wouldn't freeze at school today and I ran back to the store this afternoon to get the clothes I had picked out but left behind. Thankfully, I paid VERY close attention to what we got last night so I only needed to run in, grab the right size off the correct rack, and go.

Why couldn't it have been that easy yesterday?

Deb "Unshopper" Lollar

Thursday, November 17, 2011


I always tell people who ask, that I am not a chocolate person. I don't crave it. I don't put it on top of ice cream. I'm not terribly fond of things made with it. Most importantly, I don't eat it plain. Every now and then I will see a candy bar or a box of fine chocolates and I'll think, "Wow! That looks good!" However, I learned the hard way that it never really tastes as good as it looks.

So why am I sitting here eating a second piece of chocolate? I'm just not sure.

I think the heart if it is that all chocolate is not created equal. The normal every day Pennsylvania brand stuff just doesn't "do" it for me. It's too sweet and gritty and not at all enjoyable. I can tolerate it when it has almonds or peanut butter with it, but alone - blech. I once got a giant "kiss" shaped candy for Valentine's. I finally threw it away after it collected dust for an entire year.Why should you feel like you are suffering through a treat? However, there are some chocolates that I DO enjoy. Dark chocolate, I've learned, can be very tasty. Dove is pretty good, too. Even the milk chocolate is quite good. I like brownies and chocolate cake, as long as there isn't any additional icing on it. Oh, and I do enjoy tiny slivers of the family dessert that is made from a million skinny layers of wafer-like cake and chocolate ganache.

So, I guess it isn't that I'm not a chocolate person, it's that I only really enjoy GOOD chocolate. The problem is that I also have developed a sweet tooth (thanks to DH) and there are times (like every day after dinner) that I start looking for something dessert-like. If there is only REGULAR chocolate around, I will eat it. I just won't enjoy it. How dumb is that to, eat something you KNOW you won't enjoy?

Around the holidays it gets even worse. Once the Halloween candy comes in, I give in to the flashy, colorful draw of the wrappers. I immediately feel yucky for eating something I didn't like (as well as guilty for filching my kids candy) but it doesn't seem to act as much of a deterrent. Christmas candy isn't much better. By the time Valentine's Day gets here, I feel like punching anyone who tries to give me any kind of chocolate or candy of any sort.

The other part of this is that I have learned that there are, in fact, medicinal purposes to chocolate.One of the reasons there are so many people who become truly addicted to it, is that it really does cause your brain to be happier. I have found that at times of stress, a small piece of chocolate really can help and what can be more stressful than the Holiday season? I'm beginning to think  that maybe the chocolate makers are REQUIRED to pump the public with all this chocolate just to keep the number of assault and battery cases to minimum between October and February.

This past week, as you know, has been a real test to my limits of sanity. From the awesome wedding of Spike and her Walrus, and all the fun and family reunion-ing, to a flat tire in the middle of nowhere, to the sudden and tragic loss of our beloved doggie, to attempting to make holiday plans without my in-laws for the first time in 14 years (they just moved to Colorado, so they can't make it back to visit just yet.) Plus, I just saw the pictures from the wedding and, sure enough, I did -indeed - look as much like a bloated whale in sequins as I thought I did.

While my mom and D were here, they bought us some extra treats, knowing that they might be needed in the coming weeks. Thank you two for your generosity and foresight! Along with the ice cream and the fancy butter (trust me, it t has to be experienced to be believed) they brought a bag of assorted mini chocolates for the kids and a bag of milk chocolate Dove bites just for me.

Maybe my brain instinctively knew that it would help or maybe I'm giving in to binge eating because of stress. Who knows? All I can be sure of is that I truly believed I wouldn't touch any of the candies, but I've had at least one every day since they got them. I have to say, I feel better and much less guilt when I just resign myself to having just one and leaving it at that, instead of fretting over it all day. It feels so opposed to who I think I am by negotiating with my brain over chocolate, of all things. I guess with age comes wisdom, and a bizarre need for chocolate.

Deb "Kisses" Lollar

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wacky Dreams

This morning, I found all three of my girls were running low grade fevers and they all had sore throats. It looks like the Traveling Plague got to them and I kept them all home on the outside chance that what they have is contagious. That meant I got a reprieve on morning duties and I snuggled back into bed for a few more minutes...okay, hours. This led to some pretty cool and unique dreams that I remember very clearly.
These dreams are just too odd and cool that I had to share them with SOMEBODY... and my husband is tired of listening to them, so here goes:

First, I was looking at a house to potentially buy. It was HUGE. The floors were hardwood that had been painted a few times. You could tell because they were worn and you could see chips of paint from the past colors showing through. Walking around this house, I was wondering why it was so big, and why were there so many different rooms? There were THREE kitchens, three or four bathrooms, a laundry room with eight sets of washer and dryers (like a laundromat, but not coin operated,) and there had to be six other rooms besides that. The previous owners had left lots of stuff behind, like furniture and decorations. That was when I realized the place had been a day care! I immediately started thinking about what I could do with all that space and all those rooms. Maybe, I could invite one of my sisters to come live with us, share the rent, and enjoy the room! There was a whole group of people there with me, most of them had worked in the place before, or were part of the team of realtors that was trying to sell the house. We all pitched in and took an area and everyone started cleaning, taking down the belongings of the old owners, and eventually they brought all my things in for me.

I was really tired from all the work so I decided to lie down on one of the beds to take a nap, and I started dreaming. (I know, very Inception-like, but my late morning dreams usually are.) In THIS dream, I was millions of years in the past and I was witnessing all the animals that roamed the area. There were so many herds of different creatures that scientists would never discover! I can't even describe how beautiful they all were. This dream became a flying dream, at this point, and I was able to fly fast and high over miles and miles of green grass and huge trees. The animals were roaming, and different herds were mixed together, just running along side each other. I tried to fly higher, over the really tall trees, but I found I couldn't go higher anymore. I started to drift closer to the ground and I knew it was time to wake up from this dream.

After that I was back in the big house with all the rooms again, just waking up from my nap. This time, it was only a short time in the future. Instead of turning the place into a daycare, I had turned it into the coolest, high-end, resale shop EVER. I had a signature fragrance that filled the air and the floors were refinished and gleaming. There were marble and brass accents everywhere, and all the employees were female, beautiful, and dressed extremely well. All the racks were filled with fashionable clothes and each of the areas was dedicated to a different style. I had a whole room for bags and luggage, another area was for belts and accessories. I had a separate section for evening wear and professional day wear. Not everything was re-sale, though. I had up and coming designers making brand new clothes that I mixed in. People were coming from all over the state to shop at my place. I was in charge of everything and the people who worked for me were all kind and honest, but very hip, and all of them bought and sold for me exactly the way I would have done it myself. As I realized that I was waking up from the dream, I tried to remember every detail so I could write it down when I woke up, because this was just the coolest idea I had ever had.

I really don't believe that other people can analyze your dreams for you. Certain things always mean the same things to me, but they might be different for someone else. Anyway, I know what all this dreaming was about, and that's really what I wanted to share with you all.

The first part of the dream is about me and who I think I am. Houses always mean "Me" in my dreams. Because it was a house I was looking at and it was in disrepair it reminded me that I haven't truly found who I want to be and I still have work to do. All the people helping me served to remind me that I can't do all this alone. I have to ask for help, and allow people to help me, and I need to go out and meet the new people that will shape my life in the future.The multiple kitchens and rooms reminds me that I have many purposes to fulfill. Sometimes it feels like I do the same thing over and over again, but there are many, many reasons I do what I do and they are all very important.

The second part of the dream is my way of finding a little peace and happiness. I love flying dreams because they always make me feel so free. The ancient animals is my way of wishing for things in my past; things no one would understand but me.

The last part of the dream is something I wish for my future. That I can be fabulous, and maybe even wealthy, but I would do it in a way that would help other people, instead of taking advantage of those who have disposable income. I have always wanted to be in charge of something that other people admired. Dressing fashionably and with class has always been a secret sort of dream for me, but I never have been able to achieve it. I am short, round, and terribly limited in the sort of money required to wear chic suits every day. Besides, I work at home...okay I STAY at home and sometimes I make money for what I do. There is no reason to wear anything more dressy than jeans. Still, if I could have a job where I was able to buy things (whether I wore them myself or not) and turn around and make money doing it... I would wear suits every day for the rest of my life.

So there you go. A little insight into the strange labyrinth of my mind.

Deb "The Dreamer" Lollar

Monday, November 14, 2011

Update, finally

Yes, this is an especially long post, but I have a lot to say and that I want to share. So, bear with me, if you will. I finally have my writing muse back.

So, after a whirlwind couple of weeks, we finally got everything moved out out of my in-laws house and all our stuff moved in. We still have some work to do around the house, but it was expected when we agreed to rent here, and I'm looking forward to it. I love remodeling houses. I have to wait a little bit longer before I can grab the hammer and paint. That earthquake that hit OKC a few weeks ago? We felt it here. And it knocked a crack in the foundation.

Anyway, two weeks after we moved, we took a family trip to Austin to get my baby sister, Spike, married off to the most wonderful man ever (next to DH, of course.) I volunteered to decorate the cake if she could get someone there to bake and ice it. She found a sympathetic baker in town to help her out (under a budget no less!) and I spent several days going to hobby shops looking for the perfect leaf-shaped cookie cutter and making home made fondant from marshmallows. Of course, nothing was prepared as early as we would have liked, and I spent more than 2 hours on Thursday night coloring, rolling, cutting, and preparing 100 little ivy leaves out of fondant. They were beautiful and tasty and I even managed to get them to the wedding in time and in one pieces (well, 100 pieces, but you get my drift.)

The rest of my Thursday evening  was spent dress shopping for the girls who were all part of the wedding party. Spike is the absolute coolest bride ever and was so conscious and gracious to think about everyone else and their budget and time constraints. All the Bridesmaids wore a green dress - whatever style or color they wanted, as long as it was green. Spike also bought the flower girls' dresses for EG (a sensible little frock from a local place) and so I only had to buy a similarly colored dress for LH and TD. I had done the window shopping ahead of time, so all we had to do was go in, try on the right size and choose some shoes to match. This seriously was the easiest shopping trip I had ever taken all three girls on. I had a dress already that had been a gift from my mother, and it was the perfect color, style, and even didn't look horrific on me. All was well.

Friday I packed the car, picked the kids up from school a little early, and once DH wrapped up his half day, we hot the road for the 3 hour trip to Austin.

The trip down there was uneventful, and we made it to town in time for the rehearsal (if not the dinner part) and We checked into the hotel rooms before it was too terribly late. Of course, weddings mean fabulous hair, so Friday evening I got to spend quality time with my niece, Monster, straightening out her hair. This is ALWAYS the highlight of my day, because I LOVE playing with Monster's beautiful, bouncy, curly, hair. Instead of a Bachelorette Party we all got some quality girly time while my other sister, Pookie, put another niece's hair (we call her Awesome) in curlers. My three girls were all bouncy and excited about the wedding and totally wired - until three seconds after the lights went out. Traveling with older kids is SO much easier than when they were babies.

Saturday morning, of course, was when everything took longer than it was supposed to, and everything seemed to be running late, and we thought for sure we wouldn't get everything done in time, but of course it all came together at the last moment. I decorated the cake with the help of Pookie, and it came out beautifully, and was delicious. DH was asked to stand in for the Officiant, and he led the ceremony with every bit of class and poise as he always does. Spike was beautiful, radiant, and happy. The groom, Walrus, was sweet, and humble, and everything I wanted for my baby sister. Mom played a set of songs for the father/daughter dance, the mother/groom dance, and the first couples dance. WP cried, because that's what he does. The grooms mother cried even more, because that's what SHE does. The happy couple whispered and laughed, because that is what THEY do.

After the wedding was over and the mess was cleaned up, we all ate a fabulous dinner at a local taco place and then we retired back to the hotel for some rest for the kiddos and the husbands while the sisters gathered in a separate room for some visiting with our mom. Actually, it was more than just the sisters. My only brother was there, too. He brought his new girlfriend along to the wedding to introduce her to the family and it was just so cool to see him happy and in love and giddy. I didn't hang out with them as long as I wanted to, because I was just too tired, but we did get some awesome shots of the five of us kids together. We haven't all been in the same place at the same time in at least 10 years, so this was a very special occasion.

Sunday, we decided to show the kids around the Capital building, both because its really cool and we wanted to wear them out just a little before the long trip home. Mom and her husband D came along with us and it was really cool for the kids to get to know them and spend a little more alone time with them. We all met at a BBQ place for lunch, swung by Spike's apartment for a few things and hit the road.

It was very bittersweet for all of us. Spike and her Walrus are moving out of state in the next day or so. Right before the wedding, Walrus got a big promotion in another state, and since Spike works for the same company the got her a job too, and paid to move them up there. Instead of a honeymoon on an island, the get to move to Arizona. I'm so happy for them to have great jobs and opportunities like this, but I am so very sad that they will be so far away. I'm very thankful that we were able to all be together for a going away party, of sorts.

Getting to see Mom and D, and WP, and all the sibs was really awesome, and it was really the last good thing that happened. Once we got on the road home, everything seemed to fall to pieces. Two hours into our trip home, we blew tire. Not just a little leak, either. A hole ripped in the sidewall more than six inches long. It must have been something in the road, because shortly after that, we saw four more cars pulled over within a few hundred yards of each other.

Our luck was really mixed up for the rest of the night. We didn't have a spare tire with us, which was bad. WP had left Spike's house a few minutes after us, and so he was able to stop and help us within a few minutes, which was good. He had a spare tire - positive. It didn't fit, and actually got stuck on and nearly ripped off the brake drums - negative. We were stopped outside a small town where my best friend lives, so she was able to direct us to the nearest 24 hour store. WP got me there just before the tire section closed, and they were able to mount the tire within 30 minutes. Then, my credit cards wouldn't work, so I didn't know how to pay for it. (I remembered after that about how my bank is changing ownership and all the new bank info is still packed away in a box somewhere in the new house.) The store took a check - and it cleared the electronic system (thank goodness!) - so we took the tire back to DH and we were back on the road.

Two hours later, we pulled up to the house with all of us looking forward to a snuggle from our doggie and good night's sleep. Unfortunately, this is where the evening went from bad to tragic. We left our dog, RO alone this weekend. He had plenty of food and water, a doggie door to go out, and neighbors to look out for him. We've done it before without issue, and we had no reason to think any different this time.

DH was the first one to get to the front door. From the front seat, I saw him stare at the door, grab something from the note there, and start shaking his head in disbelief. All I could make out was, "Oh God, please no."

There, on the door, was an unsigned note from a neighbor. They had found RO in the road. He had been hit by a car. They went to pull him out of the road, but it was too late. He was already gone. Expired, he said. RO's dog tags were taped to the letter so we would know there could be no mistake. We opened the door, praying it was a cruel prank, but there was no big, black dog there to greet. The house was eerily silent.

DH walked in and got halfway across the room before falling to his knees in grief. He was crying as if his heart had truly been ripped from his chest. The girls gathered around me. They understood that something had happened to RO, but it was left to me to explain just exactly what.

God, I never want to have to do that again.

LH went hysterical and started screaming the dog's name. TD broke down completely, crying for the loss of her fuzzy big brother. EG tried to hold it together, but  it wasn't long before she was consumed with grief as well. For a long time we all just sat there, huddled together, crying.

Then the doorbell rang. I was confused at first, until I remembered that Mom and D left from Spike's after us and were coming to stay with us for a few nights before going back home to Ohio. As soon as they came in, I told them what was wrong, and they immediately swooped in and helped. They snuggled up the girls and talked softly to them. D was encouraging one, while Mom held another. I was so stricken, myself, I couldn't even think about what to do. Scott was more distraught than anyone. I let him go for a walk by himself while we all sat there in the living room, just crying and wondering what to do.

It wasn't long before I completely shut down. The roller coaster of the weekend and the shock of finding out about RO by a note on the door had just gotten too much. I sat down on the bed and the next thing I remember, I was waking up and it was three hours later. The kids were still sitting in the living room, but everyone had calmed down and the kids were getting ready for bed. We all decided that they could stay home from school the next day and we finally got them to bed and asleep.

Mom and D went to bed on the fold out sofa-bed. I went to bed on my own. DH, however, stayed up. He decided to go through all our pictures and find all the ones of RO and put them together for a memorial slide show. He was up and down all night. By the time morning rolled around, he ended up calling in to work, as well. Normal things just don't seem possible, yet.

Since last night, we have come a long way in our grief. DH found where RO. was hit and was able to say his goodbyes in his own way. EG spent the entire day writing poetry about losing RO and putting each stanza in a Power point slide with pictures and transitions and everything. TD stayed snuggled up next to Mom or D. LH was on the computer all day and alternated between crying and being angry. This afternoon Pookie came by with her found kiddos, Little Man, Awesome, Good Luck, and Baby Face. Baby Face is only five months old, so all of us took every little chance we could to snuggle with the baby.

Having so many people around might not be what I would have planned for something like this, but it really did help. The kids were able to be distracted and so were the adults. Mom and D were able to be sympathetic without actually grieving much themselves, since they never knew our doggie. Having kids and relatives around was good for everyone and I so very thankful for all of them.

We are getting the kids ready for bed now, and tonight I hope they all sleep well. We have to get back to a regular routine tomorrow, even though no one wants to. Of course, a regular routine feels all wrong. All the little things we have to do now, just seem to drive the knife of grief deeper. We have to cancel the pet insurance plan we had.The doggie door that never really fit the sliding door will need to come out so we can close the door properly and not lose so much A/C out of it. The dog food dish is still full, sitting next to the refrigerator. RO's pile of blankets that he used as a bed is still piled up next to the dining table. I'll have to put those things away, but it just doesn't feel right.

I have never been through this, myself. We had pets growing up, but never for very long, and none of them were lost to this kind of tragedy. Over the last few years, I have witnessed several of my friends lose their beloved pets and I only knew a fraction of the pain they were in. We were just talking about how much we wanted to see RO on the way home, and how we should really get a new friend for him. Now, the thought of any other puppy around here just seems wrong. TD and EG are anxious to get a new pet soon. They are already talking about going to the shelter to rescue another dog and save him from "the pound." It isn't that they want to replace RO. They just love animals so much and our family doesn't feel complete without a puppy. I don't know how soon I can go through all of this again. Bringing another pet home, just knowing that someday we will have to say goodbye like this... I don't know if I will EVER be ready to do it again.

It is still early for bed around here but I'm going to be heading there very shortly. every minute of quiet seems eerie without RO snoring or making noise under my feet. He was my little shadow. Everywhere I went, he was right behind me. As I moved from room to room, he would follow me, lie down, and grumble at me when I moved again. In the last few years, he was really beginning to show his age. He was nearly deaf and I believe he was losing his vision as well. I'm sure whoever hit him never saw the big black dog crossing the street in the dark, and I know he never heard or saw them coming. I keep telling myself that it was a blessing not to have to watch him get older and sicker and begin to lose his senses. It feels wrong to find a blessing in any of this at all.

I want to keep remembering that the whole reason we left this weekend was to see my little sister get married. It just reminds me of how guilty I feel. Somehow, we didn't check the back yard well enough and RO found a hole to get through. Had we been more careful he wouldn't have gotten out and he would never had been hit by a car. How crazy is it that I feel responsible because I would take him for walks around the neighborhood. He got used to going out every night, so when we weren't home, he felt he needed to get out anyway.

I am going to put this to rest for now. If you all are the praying type, send me and my family a few.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Not going to do it

I can't post anymore for awhile. Wisdom says that of you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. Well, I can't say anything nice right now. I'm pissed, I'm stressed, I'm worn out, and there does not appear to be an end to it anytime soon.

In my mind I am ranting and raving and getting everything off my chest, I'm even writing some of it down so it doesn't stay put and infect my life any further. No one else should be subject to the kind of crap that is going through my brain right now, so I will let it be.

I will see you all again when I can find my happy place.

Until then, be nice to each other. Please.

Deb Lollar

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sorry guys...

I honestly, really, and truly have been writing. And I even came really close to posting one...I just couldn't. Every time I start to write what's on my mind, I end up sounding sad and grouchy and even more long-winded than usual. So, here I will try to keep it short, yet meaningful.

Two weeks ago, I felt the lowest I have in probably the past year. I did not get the job that I interviewed twice for, and what bummed me out even more was that I realized I really DID want it. The whole practice of getting ready for an interview and reviewing the details of my life to see if this job was a good idea made me realize that I have come so very far in my recovery. I want to go back to work. I'm ready.

So, here I am - sad that I didn't get the job, happy that I wanted it, and now I'm getting headaches that are some of the worst I've ever had in the history of EVER because of the stress. I don't have any migraine meds with me because I haven't needed them in a long time. So, I was curled up in the dark praying for a quick and painless death, and that was when I got the calls and e-mails from the landlord. Someone wants to look at the house. On the INSIDE. They drove past and STILL decided they were interested. I tried to convey with every fiber of my being that my house was a complete disaster and embarrassment but this lady was serious about this house buying business. I did the best I could to muster the troops and do a quick crisis clean (which is impossible because a potential buyer will always open every cabinet, closet, and drawer.) As they pulled out of the driveway after a short 15 minute tour, I was confident that my disaster of a house would send anyone running for the hills.

Yeah... apparently not, because she bought the place. Yes in spite of the mess and in spite of the fact that we are still here and aren't the least bit ready to move.

So, now we have about six weeks to find someplace new to live. I already know there aren't any reasonable choices here in town because I have been looking for months - even before we moved here. I did some quick calculations with a loan officer and she thinks we can be ready to buy in the next month or so. That opened up a few more choices since we now can decide whether we want to rent or buy. But still, there just aren't enough houses in this place to have any real choice. Everything is too small, too run down, or too expensive. Every time we thought we'd found the perfect one, someone else bought it before we even had a chance to look at it. I was so frustrated! All I wanted was a place that was big enough that we could stop paying for a storage unit and close enough that I didn't have to make my kids change schools AGAIN.

I said a prayer in my heart for God to PLEASE show me what on Earth I am supposed to do at this point and tried to relax. Then, it occurred to me that the reason we have so few options was because I didn't get that job, so maybe I should keep looking for another job so that we can afford something nicer. (I know, it takes a while for the light to go on for me.) I jumped online and started my job hunting again and I applied to almost a dozen jobs in one day. I even wrote custom cover letters for each one. Normally, I don't get any reply back from my application flurries, but it makes me feel like I am doing something other than sitting around.

The next day, the In-Laws told us that they are moving to Colorado (which we knew) and they have found a place and it will be ready at the end of October (which was a surprise.) Their house probably won't sell, but they want to rent it out so if we know of anyone looking for a house to let them know. Ok, fine. I can see what is happening here. They are moving out of their house exactly the same time we have to move out of this one. Ok, but will the house work for us? Yes, it will. It is big enough that LH will get her own room and that DH will still have an office to himself. Then, they told us about the repairs that were being done and mentioned the rent she was offering. Then she told us that for us she would work us an even better deal. Like basically the same price as we are paying out here. DH looked at me and I looked at him and we both knew. Our days in this little country town were coming to a close. 

We spent a few days discussing it and trying to come up with any alternative, but nothing has shown up. There are no jobs here and no place for us to move to. If we go back to the city , we will be in a house we know, the kids will go back to the same schools with the same friends they had before. The deal that his parents offered us on rent made this the most affordable house we could have hoped for. DH's commute will be cut 2/3 and there is a far larger chance that  I will find a job out there than out here.

We took another week to really decide before we told the kids. They were each overcome with emotions, each in their own way. All of them cried and then decided they would make the best of it, because they are the absolute coolest kids in the whole world. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to go back now. LH wants to be with her boyfriend. TD wants to be able to cheer and dance again and she will have the coolest teacher ever. EG is the least excited about it, but we told her that she can paint her room whatever color she wants and that seemed to help a bit.

No sooner had panic set in than  I found out two different companies were trying to get a hold of me to interview. One was close to here in the country, but the other one was very near the house in the city. Talk about dilemma! Should I pursue both of them and see what happens? Do I focus on one and choose to let the other one go? Which one?

It took me a little while, just because I am afraid of making decisions. I mean, I make them all the time, but I always have a fear that I made the wrong choice, should I change my mind, will it cause even more trouble to change my mind, and so on. Eventually, I decided that because we have made a decision, we should stick with it and not pursue opportunities that would distract us from our goal. Getting a job out here in the country would serve no purpose since we would have no where to live close by. Spending more than  1 1/2 hours to commute EACH WAY every day is not the way I want to spend 1/2 my paycheck. So I turned down the interview for the company out in the country and set one up for the place in the city near where we will be moving to.

I will be going to that interview tomorrow afternoon. I am nervous, of course, but not a nervous as I was before. Going back to work is a change I am embracing. That change will help us be more comfortable once we move back to the city, and that is even better.

I wish that I didn't already miss this place so much. I am afraid that LH's grades will slip after spending a year out here getting the highest grades ever. Watching all three of the girls struggle through making friends and fitting in is simply heartbreak, and more so every time they have to do it again. I hate to pull them away from the truly special people they have met here. Between the church, the schools, and the band, I have made so many more friends than I have ever had before and it just kills me to have to let them go. I have never even visited someplace where everyone was just so nice as they are here.

I had to promise my girls that we would be back up here often to hang out. WP still lives here and DH has his Indian Drum practice out here once a month. I fully plan on taking advantage of this schedule to coordinate play dates and hangouts and all sorts of other get-togethers. We are going to have to get some additional phone lines to keep up with all the long-distance talking, but I think it is a small price to pay for kids who are happy, and friendly, and social. They won't be getting FB accounts or anything like that until they are older, but I think they will all be able to keep in touch just the same. I have a stack of envelopes and stamps!

I guess this ended up being long winded and boring anyway. I guess that's just me. It hasn't changed in the more-than-a-year of been posting, so none of you should be surprised. One request though, if you haven't become a "follower" please do so or at least leave a comment so I know who you are.
Thanks for reading!

Deb "Mover and Shaker" Lollar

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I suppose it is sacrilegious but I am not going to church today. It is September 11 and everything on the TV, radio, internet, and even church will be totally focused on reliving the nightmare that happened 10 years ago this morning. Yes, I am still aching inside at the horror of it. My stomach is knots at the thoughts of another planned attack, set to take place today while everyone is still mourning and gathered together. I can't wrap my brain around that kind of insanity but my heart doesn't seem to have a problem understanding that level of fear.

I know many people go to church to find comfort and peace in the words of the Bible and the sermons of the minister. I can't bring myself to do that today. I am having enough trouble fighting back the memories of my own. I do not want to be regaled with the stories of the heroic, the brave, the tragic, and the shocking. For ten years I have heard stories piled upon stories of those who died, survived, helped, got sick, and lost loved ones. It doesn't bring me comfort. I don't need another reminder. I have plenty of my own.

It was probably the most stressful time in my life. I was staying in the hospital with LH while she was recovering from her third open heart surgery. TD was just three months old and I was trying to nurse her while caring for the other one. I hadn't been home in over a week. DH had been coming to the hospital after work to keep us company for a few hours a night but he was spending half his nights at home so he could get some sleep and still get to work on time.I woke up to the commotion of the nurses turning on TV's to watch the coverage. I called DH on the cell phone and he turned on the car radio. No one worked. Everyone just sat, staring at the TV, wondering how much worse things were going to get.

I am so very thankful for the medicines LH was taking at the time for pain. They have caused a sort of amnesia of the time so she doesn't truly recall that morning and the events that were replayed over and over on the television in her room. She only remembers flashes here and there of that entire hospital stay. I remember every minute of it, but she shouldn't have to.

That day was just the start of a horrible downward spiral in my life. Because of the attacks, my husband's company lost a lot of money. He was laid off less than a month later and it took him a long time to find a job. About a year after that, just when we thought things were getting better, I was laid off. Of course this was right after we signed the papers on our first house and then found out I was pregnant with EG. I never did find steady work again and we lost the house, the car, and fell into a downward spiral that we are only just now starting to stabilize.

That day marked the end of a lot of hopes and dreams for me. The fear and shock and the affects of it have lasted throughout the last ten years. In many ways, the terrorists got exactly what they wanted. The goal was to cause fear, panic, and financial stress for the most powerful country in the world. They did all that and more. I am ready to move on and move up and stop giving this moment in time so much power over my life. I don't want this fear and pain to continue on day after day, aching and stabbing.

Everyone has their own way of dealing with the memories of that day. I prefer to spend today in peace and quiet with my family. I don't want to turn on the radio or TV. I am staying home instead of attending church. It may seem like I am hiding from the truth and ignoring the reminders. That is not my intention at all. Rather, I want to have time and space to process all my feelings at my own pace, in my own place.

I can't protect them from the media and the constant reminders of what happened 10 years ago today. I can't stop them from hearing about the atrocities of the world and wondering and questioning and fearing. I would not attempt to hide from it, and I should not attempt to hide my family from it either. It is important to acknowledge and respect and honor the loss of that day. That doesn't mean, though, that I want to sit through a sermon about it or watch countless memorial specials on TV on it. We will talk about it together later this evening, but it will be done carefully and truthfully, and  without images of people falling out of skyscrapers.

Above all, I do not want to help perpetuate the commercial gains of the companies and individuals that are benefiting and profiting from the attack. Flags made in China to decorate the yard, commemorative plates painted overseas, t-shirts made in sweat shops in Mexico - these are not ways I want to honor the memories of the thousands of PEOPLE that died that day - whether American or foreign. Certainly, I do not want to watch any TV special where every five minutes I am bombarded with commercials paid for by corporations that I wouldn't buy from to begin with. 

Yesterday, I spent most of the day in bed, relaxing and recovering from a very stressful week. Today I am planning to spend the day at home with the kiddos, enjoying the thousands of little pleasant moments that happen by watching and listening to them when they don't know I am paying attention. I love every moment I get with them, from funny and exciting, to boring or frustrating. Even though there is a long list of chores and duties to be done, we are all going to do it together and that is my entire goal for the weekend. I want to have a little bit of family togetherness and normalcy to balance out everything else that is out there.

Deb "The Mom" Lollar

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Total Insanity!

Again, life and the craziness that ensues has interfered with my hobbies and leisure activities (how dare they!) I want to write and be creative but instead, I get to write about stuff like car a/c systems and how to rent a luxury SUV. At least it makes a paycheck, although a pitifully tiny one.

Speaking of seems that someone out there has decided that I might just be qualified to work. In their office. For real. Like every day. Scary!

I applied for a job on a whim early last week.. I really haven't been applying to many jobs lately. I don't even know what inspired me to look at the listings that particular day. Was there an unseen force nudging me towards a goal I had not yet discovered? Eh. Probably I was just bored.

Either way, I applied for a position from a job posting that I found in the local paper's online classified ads. By early the next week, I had an interview. That alone was scary enough. I haven't been in an office in any professional capacity in a year and a half. The last time I worked outside the home it ended badly. Very badly. Fighting the fear and self-loathing enough just to get dressed was an amazing feat, in itself, but I managed to do it with some amount of style.  The fact that I managed to lose 20 pounds over the last six months was a big boost along the right path. Not having to squeeze myself into a suit like some corporate sausage was the biggest relief I have felt in a long time.

So, I get all dolled up and I actually feel like I am presentable, only to realize my favorite shoes are still in storage. (It always comes down to the shoes!) So, now I have to wear my second favorite shoes which is a scary thing, because while they look smokin' hot, they have the tendency to deposit me rump-first on slick tile floors. Yeah, not a way to make a good first impression. Since I really didn't have a choice, I head out the door walking v-e-r-y carefully, hoping I look graceful instead of constipated. In any case, I didn't fall down, even a little, in spite of the entire office having slick, marble tiled floor.

The interview went very well, even beyond staying upright. I was on time (amazingly!) and I seemed to get along with both the male and the female interviewer (not an easy thing.)  It turns out that I was one of the few applicants that was willing to work for the salary they were offering. Who am I to complain about ANY sized paycheck, especially in this job market and in this tiny corner of the country? I was appalled (and also pleased) to find out that many people LEFT THE INTERVIEW because the salary was too low. Fine. Look a gift horse in the mouth. I'll gladly take the job that you snubbed.

As the interview went on, I found out that the low salary was balanced out by incredible, amazing, drop your jaw kind of benefits (I'll bet the walk-outs didn't even stick around to find that part out.) Then, I find out that the actual job is easy enough that I believe I can do it even on a bad day, but it will keep me busy enough that I won't fall asleep at the desk. I managed to ask pertinent questions they gave me good answers. Then. I wrapped up the Q&A with my favorite zinger - Is there anything that you think would knock me out of the running for the job? I love putting the interviewers on the spot after being grilled on my skills for an hour.

If they say no, then we are both agreed that I get the job. If they say yes, it gives me the chance to change their mind before I walk out the door for good. It also has the benefit of actually letting me know if they like me or if they already have someone else in mind and are just going through the motions of interviewing other applicants. In this case, they couldn't find any reason not to hire me, and they looked pleased that I thought enough to ask.

One more hurdle behind me. Suddenly, I feel like Superwoman.

Within four hours I get a call back asking me for a second interview. I was actually shopping when I got the call, but I whipped out my handy purse sized calendar and confirmed the time and date. I hope I managed to sound professional enough, even with the sounds of registers and checkouts in the background. They seemed very pleased that I was still interested. I don't know whether that is a good thing because they like me, or a bad thing because I am about to walk into a hell of a job without a clue.

The second interview is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. I don't know if I am more scared that I will get the job than I am of continuing to be jobless (in most respects.) Starting a job means continuing to do that job every day and showing up on time every morning. Consistency is something I have been more than terrible at for the last several years. Am I ready to start over and attempt to become "normal" again? Or, am I just setting myself up for failure - AGAIN? Could I possibly survive losing another job?

How awful is it that I am worried about getting before I even get through the second interview? I guess (even beyond my horrible track record) that I would hate to waste their time and mine when so many people are looking for work. If I screw up this opportunity, I might not have another chance. This is a direct hire job. I can't blame losing it on the contract agency.

I am going to try and put this all out of my mind right now. I have to finish a few more articles for my freelance gig and I still have to feed the galloping horde. I have to remember that my new 100% is not the same as my old 100% I am better at some things, even though I am not as good at things I used to think were important. I am putting this in God's hands. If it is meant to be, then it will be.

I wonder how much more insanity I can take?

Deb "The Candidate" Lollar

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Momma Bear

You hear us parents say all the time, "You can mess with me, but don't mess with my family." Someone is about to find out just exactly what that means.

I know that LH is in High School and she needs to be responsible for her own actions. I also know that she needs to learn how to stand up for herself and be her own advocate when it comes to her health. It is very difficult to balance my desire to protect her and keep her safe against my desire that she be a strong and independent person. I really do try to step back and let her deal with confrontations and such on her own because I believe that stepping in every time there is a problem will prevent her from learning how to resolve these issues on her own.

Sometimes, though, people go too far and Momma Bear wakes up. This isn't going to be pretty.

Looking at LH and seeing her interact with other kids her age, you would not know she had only half a heart. You can't tell that the combination of heat and activity can be dangerous - even deadly. Seeing her grades, you might think she is smart but unmotivated  (and you might be right) but you wouldn't think she could ever fall in the category of "Disabled." I have spent hours talking to counselors, principals, and teachers making sure they all understand exactly what differences Little Heart has and what accommodations need to be made for her. I have sent e-mails, letters, scheduled conferences, and even stopped these teachers in the hall to make COMPLETELY sure that they know who my daughter is and that they are aware of her needs. I go these extra steps because I know how hard it can be to believe that there is anything wrong with LH.

This is not my first time around the tricycle track. I know what I am doing.

When I got to meet all of LH's teachers last week, I was very pleased that at least half of them knew my kids from outside of school through church or friends, or they had been working wither her for the past month. It makes it so much easier when they have already gotten to know LH so they understand her personality better. However, it makes it that much harder for me to handle it when one of the teachers drops the ball and doesn't relate the information to their assistants.

She HATES having to take breaks, leave class, and call attention to herself. She would much rather not be singled out as a weird kid and so she does not typically take advantage of the leniency that is due to her. For this reason, when she DOES attempt to use the "Nurse/Bathroom Hall Pass" I know that it is a big deal. You can also understand that if she asks to leave class and is denied  - not once, but twice - and then she is given a guilt trip about taking a break, I am going to be pretty much pissed. However, when my child calls me crying from the bathroom asking me to pick her up and bring a change of clothes because a teacher denied her a bathroom break when she requested it, well... heads will roll.

This happened last night during after school band practice. It was her first day of school, followed by a two hour practice on the field. I got the call about an hour after her practice started. I was so mad, I nearly dropped the transmission out of my car going to pick her up - and I drive and automatic. I did speak directly to the teacher when I came to bring the child some clothes and take her home. His answer was not entirely satisfactory at that time but instead of making a scene in front of his entire band, I left after he assured me that they would apologize directly to her. I decided I would calm down before talking to him again and I took LH home. Unfortunately, when LH came home from school today, not only was there not an apology, but other STUDENTS decided that it was appropriate to call her out for leaving practice early.

He will not get the benefit of me calming down before talking to him again. I hate to be nasty and I certainly don't want to make things harder for my daughter now or in the future. However, he apparently doesn't truly understand the nature of the situation here. I am going to have to explain to him so he will understand just how gravely he has erred.

Deb "Momma Bear" Lollar

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Angels are figures that have been in media quite a bit over the last few years, and frankly it bugs me. From underwear models, to cream cheese ads, to kids shows, it seems like every time I turn around there is another tall, skinny model with over sized wings strapped to her back. Why would I have a problem with the embodiment of love, kindness, and protection? Well, I have to say, it kind of creeps me out.

Growing up, my mom was part of an "Angel Club" where ladies would get together and make angel art out of lots of different materials. We lived next door to someone that I only remember as "The Angel Lady" who's entire house was plastered with collages, figurines, and decorations dedicated to angels. My mom was best at drawing, and I remember her drawing angels in all sorts of ways - baby angels, grown-up angels, cooking angels... she has her own style and I could pick one of her drawings out of a line-up of a hundred. She even has this beautiful alphabet she made with each letter formed by angels and their wings making each shape. Anyway, angels seemed pretty normal to me. At least, they did until I had my own kids.

I mean, I KNEW what angels were, I just didn't think about it too much. My religion teaches that souls live in heaven as angels. They come down, become a newborn baby and go through life as a person. Then, when they die, they get to go back up to heaven to be an angel, again. Sometimes angels come back down to watch over the ones they loved as a human on earth and they are what we call Guardian Angels. It was a comforting thought to me that we all start out and end up in the same place, together, and that I might be watched over by someone dear to me who was no longer alive. 

Then, when LH was a baby, someone gave us a book called The Littlest Angel. I am sure it was given with the best intentions, but that book scarred me and I will never be able to look at angels the same way. It is essentially a Christmas book about all the angels in heaven looking for gifts to give to the baby Jesus when he is born. Sounds innocent enough, but of course it gets deeper and eerier. The Littlest Angel decided that he would give baby Jesus some things he had collected from his time on earth, because he was just a little boy when he came to Heaven.

Oh, holy goodness that messed me up. Just a little kid. Now he was an angel. Missing his life on earth. Because he died as a kid. Do you see where this is going?

Suddenly, I could not even open that book again. In fact, even looking at the cover today gives me the creeps. I refused every request to read since then and I haven't even picked it up except to pack it away at the bottom of a box. The creepiness of little kid angels still haunts me enough that I don't even like other kids books or shows with angels in them. Disney has a series about a family of wizards and last summer they had a three or four show story arc about good angels and bad angels and little kid guardian angels... yeah, not for me, thankyouverymuch. 

Maybe I am over reacting to this, but I can't help it. When you look at your kid and you remember handing them over to a surgeon and not knowing if you will ever see them alive again, it kind of sticks with you and changes the way you look at things. Disney World will forever be that place I took my three-year-old because I wasn't sure she would see four-years-old. Birthdays for LH are even more bittersweet than they should normally be, because I am called to not just remember her birth and babyhood, but that her first month was spent in ICU. We nearly lost her when she got a cold and had to postpone her second surgery. She spent four weeks in the hospital with a chest tube right after she turned 4. She spent six weeks during 6th grade leaving class early to avoid getting jostled and bruised after she got two stints put in over winter break. Every birthday - every single day - has been a stark reminder that she wasn't supposed to live this long or be nearly as smart, healthy, or well adjusted. All of it could be taken away in a second.

Little Heart to me is a kid, a child, a teenager, my grown-up baby girl, but NEVER will I call her an angel while she is alive to hear it. For moms like us, "kiddos" means your living, breathing, with-you-right-now, child. "Angel" is what you call the ones who did not survive. If I were to ever call any one of my kids "my little angel" there would be dozens of hearts breaking across the world who would think the unthinkable had happened to one of my girls.

That is why I change the channel whenever I see that stupid cream cheese commercial or the convenience store ads that say Thank Heaven... It seems a bit sacrilegious and irreverent to use angels in commercial advertising so thoughtlessly. Besides, I have enough reminders in my daily life how close I have been to having my own angel. I don't want to be faced with it for another 30 seconds every three minutes of television. Now, I'm not suggesting a boycott or anything. In my country you can say whatever you want and if you don't want to hear it, you can just change the channel. I'm just stating my position on changing the channel whenever another a body wash commercial decides to use Fallen Angels as a way to sell their product.

Today happens to be LH's 14th birthday. Again, it is bittersweet and emotional for me. Instead of freaking out that she is starting high school in a week, that she is a few years shy of driving, that she is only four years away from being an adult, I am going to give my teenager a hug and be thankful I don't have to hug the picture of an angel.

Ok, I won't lie. I will be thinking about all that other stuff, too.

Deb "The Mom" Lollar

Thank you for reading my posts! Let me know what you think in the comments or share it with someone you know will enjoy it!


Saturday, August 13, 2011


I am sorry for my lack of posting lately. The new job is actually taking a lot more time than I thought and it has started to drain my will to write anything for fun. I'm sure I'll get my old spark back before long.
Right now, I am just suffering from several blows to my self esteem. I keep making the same stupid mistakes and I am fighting everything I can to keep pushing forward. I keep replaying in my mind every time I've gotten fired or reprimanded. I don't know if I can go through that again, so I am really sweating over doing a good job and

Life always seems to get crazy this time of year, too. It's the last few weeks of summer around here and the girls are all gearing up to go back to school. Between gathering supplies to fill out their back to school lists, shopping for shoes (oh! the drama!), and attempting to get caught up with laundry, trying to focus on this new work stuff is actually pretty difficult.

The kids are getting stir crazy being cooped up in the hottest summer in decades so the normal activities are not keeping them occupied, and more importantly, quiet. If we hadn't moved to the other size of town a month ago, they would be outside playing and staying out of my hair. This side of town has mostly older neighbors and the only kids around are much younger or have a reputation for being rude and nasty.

I'm sure that getting on a regular schedule will help us all. Little Heart has actually been in band practice for almost a month already and that means getting her to the high school before 7:30 in the morning. As of yet, I haven't gotten up and stayed awake all day yet, but I'm working my way up to it. Of course, going to be at a decent hour would help that, but I'm working my way up to that, too. I hate going to bed at 9:00 at night just so I can get up at 6:00 or 7:00. Not only does it effectively destroy any "alone time" I get with DH, it causes him to have to take care of the bed time duties alone. No one likes that.

Anyway, I have more revisions to work on before I go to bed. Tomorrow is a day of rest and I am going to do my best to actually use it for its purpose.

Deb "The Writer" Lollar

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I totally didn't expect this to pan out so quickly. I found an add on (my favorite site for Work At Home leads) and POW! 24 hours later, it appears I may have found a regular freelance gig. At least, that's what I think is happening here. I submitted a sample of writing, the guy got back to me and asked me for a second article, and then he accepted it and welcomed me to "The Team."

Now, don't panic. I did my research before sending in my info. This is a reputable and recognized company. Is there a catch? Not really, as long as you know what you're getting into. It isn't a terribly large amount of money, but I'm just starting out here, so I won't complain. You also have to agree to produce a minimum number of articles per day and the guidelines for the articles are very specific. But, if you don't mind writing to a format and you like being given interesting subjects to research and write about, it isn't too bad a deal. Lucky for me, I do well when given specific guidelines and I love finding out about things I never considered before.

I don't think I will get rich doing this, but I am still super jazzed about it. I have wanted to write for a living for awhile now. I have even applied to a few places and gotten some feedback and requests for more. So, why didn't I do this before now? I was just plain chicken. I sat down to answer the leads and I froze up. Could I live up to the requirements being given? How could I manage to write every day? What if I got sick or had an FM flare up again? How could I walk into another job knowing how much I had failed in the past? Why should I start something new knowing I would let someone else down, just like before?

Ok, I won't lie. Those questions still scream through my head right now. The difference is, I can put a cork in it and go on about my business, now. I am sick to death of people (either in my head or outside) telling me that this isn't a good idea or I can't do that. Sure, sometimes the naysayers are right. But, if I never take a chance I will keep sitting here, gathering dust, wasting away, regretting my failures, and wishing I had acted on something - anything - before now. So, I took the leap. It might suck horrifically. Or, it just might be something to keep me awake and interested in life so that I can start to live again.

I keep looking for things that will help me find myself, but now I don't think that is really the right goal. The last several years have destroyed nearly every thread of who I thought I was. I have been humbled and shamed by my failures and there have been times that I thought I would never see the light. Now, I can feel the sun on my face again. I am healing and growing and stretching and getting stronger. Something I realized, though, is that I will never be 100% who I was before. That's ok, though. While I have had to grieve for the lost "Me", the time for grief is passed. Now is the time to figure out who this new person is that I have become.

Really, it is better this way. If I was so happy with who I was before, why did I get so sick that I couldn't function? Something about my life wasn't healthy. Or maybe, it was just fine for me back then but it wasn't who I ultimately needed to be. Perhaps all the pain and depression was necessary to destroy who I was so that I could be remade into something different, something better.

DH is a former Marine and he will tell you that basic training is all about destroying everything that makes you YOU so that you can be built up again the way THEY want you to be. You walk into this KNOWING that you will be changed inside and out. It hurts a lot. Days and nights run together when you get yelled at by everyone, sleep is minimal and food is scarce. Everything that you love and anything that makes you comfortable is denied. You are forced to do things that you fail at over and over again until you are able to do them easily. After several weeks of this suddenly, you wake up one day and realize that you are invincible. You have worked harder than you knew you could and you have prevailed, and become A M

Sometimes I think God is the ultimate Drill Instructor. Only you don't get to decide when or how or why. One day you just wake up and realize that you've been utterly destroyed by something - cancer, divorce, personal loss, financial disasters, or maybe some other trial that only you know about. Then, sometime later - maybe days, or weeks, or even years - you wake up to the sun on your face and Surprise! there is a whole new you.

Deb "The New" Lollar

Friday, July 29, 2011

Feeling helpless

I hate it when there are things that are broken and I just can't fix them. No matter how much I want to, there are some situations beyond my control. Admitting you have no power in certain situations is the first step to accepting the world as it is so that you can work more on how you react to it. But, just because I know this and understand this does not mean I have to like it.

For instance, I didn't really want to be jobless and surviving on one paycheck for the last three years, but it happened that way. Now, no matter how good I feel and how hard I try, I will never be able to go back to work at the same level, for the same money as before. It means I will have to start my career over from scratch. In this town at this current time, that actually means I need to make do with what I've got because a job isn't going to be found for ANY amount of money anytime soon. So, because we are on limited income, I had to take the raw deal that the ex-landlord gave me and we had to move. While I am extremely happy with the opportunity God provided us, I still think it sucks that I don't have the ability or power to make choices on my own. I have to do what people tell me to do and I can't fight or even argue. I have no real way of getting ahead or even saving for a rainy day. The best I can do with this situation is break even, try not to screw up too much, and hope and pray that emergencies will not be too costly.

Worrying is not  very productive, I know. However, I can't look at our situation - even with the express purpose of trying to better it - without worry creeping in. I can't control how much money we make, or whether DH keeps his job, or whether someone will decide to buy this house before we are ready to move, or if the landlords will make some other decision. The thought process makes me sick.

One of the hardest parts about all this is when I know someone else needs help, and I can not give it to them. LH has a very dear friend who is moving away from town because her aunt needs to move to find work and get stable on her feet. This poor girl was living in another state when she lost her father to murder and her mother to jail. Her aunt came to rescue her, literally, off the street where she was destined to follow her parents in a life of drugs, crime, and all sorts of other terrible things. Since then she has managed to turn her life around in a quite remarkable way. She would be going to high school next year with AP classes and as part of the Drill Team. Now, she is being moved away from the only stability she has ever known. It simply breaks my heart.

There is not a thing I can do, though. I have not the space, or the money, or the connections to help either her or her aunt out of this mess. Right now, I am just trying to get through my own mess! I KNOW I need to get stable on my feet before I can consider helping anyone else out. SO, why do I feel guilty that I'm not doing more? The girl's aunt is truly doing the best she can for her own son as well as her niece.  I know she has everyone's best interest in mind. She really has no choices left and she is making do with what she has.

Knowing that doesn't change the fact that it sucks. LH is losing one of the few good friends she has made so far, and that breaks my heart as much as everything else.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fire Safety Tips

My kids are all back home now, DH is home too, and everyone is in a good mood (for now, at least.) I made it over the hump of the last few weeks and I'm feeling almost human. As DH once quoted my saying - I feel better. Not like I could tackle the world, but maybe like I could trip it when it isn't looking?

One thing I love about my family is how seriously they take certain things like love, spirituality, friendship, fairness, health, and safety. I used to feel kind of nerdy about this stuff, but it really does make me proud to see all of my girls practice what they have been taught by their teachers, family, and parents. Just the fact that they don't roll their eyes would be enough for me. But seeing them actively take part in these things makes my own heart swell.

Tonight, I mentioned that since we moved to the new house, we hadn't come up with a new Fire Safety Plan. I decided a long time ago that I would not wait until there was an emergency to be prepared for one. While I don't have everything I need on my Disaster Check List 100% complete, I do insist on always making sure the kids know how to get out of the house and where to meet up in case of a fire.When I mentioned the lack of a plan, all of the girls dropped what they were doing to help me decide where we should meet and what to do if we can't get to one door or another.

It only takes a few minutes and it doesn't take a long, drawn-out process. Looking out the window, we decided on the best spot to run to if we needed to get out of the house. Then, we discussed which door they should run to depending on where the danger might be, and we finished with a reminder about what to do when they hear the fire alarm go off (check the door before opening it, etc.) Within 5 minutes, the kids all went back to their own activities.

When it comes to practicing the plan, I figured out a great way to have my own unplanned fire drills. Whenever the fire alarm goes off, we hold a fire drill. Yes, usually it happens when someone is cooking dinner, but what better time to hold one then when everyone is doing something else and a fire is the furthest thing from their minds?

In addition to the Stop, Drop, and Roll stuff they get in school, I have a few tips that I try to practice around here. So, I am in no way an expert, but here goes:

1. First, of course, have a plan to get out of the house in case of fire. Think about who will get the babies out and who is in charge of the pets. Make sure visitors and babysitters have access to your plan.
2. Know where to go in case of a weather disaster. Where is the safest spot in your house in case of bad weather? Do you or your neighbor have a storm shelter?
3. If you have to evacuate your home on short notice (think wildfire or floods) where are your important and financial documents (Social Security cards, birth certificates, marriage license, cash, credit cards, etc.), food needs (baby formula, snacks, bottled water, dog food), and health needs like daily medications or blood monitor devices (blood sugar, blood pressure, oxygen.)
4. Also, the one thing  people are always the most distraught about losing is their family photographs. Do you have digital backups or negatives in a fire safe area or a place where they can be gotten to quickly?
5. Where are the cut off valves to the gas, water, and electric. Knowing where these are and how to turn them off could mean the difference between an incident and an emergency.
6. Go over fire prevention and safety tips regularly. Have a schedule so you don't forget. For example, change the batteries in the smoke alarm on your birthday or have safety meetings or drills on the same day of the month.
7. Where do fires start? The kitchen and the laundry room. Absolutely, keep your stove area and oven clean and free of loose articles, but also CLEAN OUT YOUR DRYER LINT. Not just after every load, either. The vents inside and outside the dryer collect lint that doesn't get stopped by the trap.You can buy a kit with special brushes and a vacuum attachment for about $10.(Here's my favorite.) It isn't totally necessary, just very useful. Whatever you use, just do it. (Bonus: you will not believe how much better your dryer will work!)
8. Holidays are, regrettably, the most dangerous time of year. Have fun, just be safe. Every Thanksgiving someone's  turkey or pie gets out of hand and someone gets burned. Christmas lights and decorations are bigger fire hazards every year they get older. New Year's is one of the biggest nights for fire in the year. (Think about it - a week after Christmas and the tree has dried out. It's cold outside and people are using space heaters and electric blankets inside.) Don't forget about the dangers of romantic candles on Valentines day, sparklers and fire crackers on the 4th of July, you get the idea. 
9. Keep your doorways and windows clear. You know how in school they told you to keep the backpacks off the floor because of the "Fire Code"? They weren't kidding. Enforce your own Fire Code in your house to make sure you can get out or help can get in (Paramedics, for example.)

Well, go forth, have fun, and be safe people.

Deb "Safety Patrol" Lollar

Monday, July 18, 2011

Temper Tantrums

Yeah, I throw a tantrum every now and again. I used to call it "venting", but that is when you complain about something to someone else so you don't end up acting it out instead. A temper tantrum in when you act it out. I need to be a grown up and recognize when I do this. It isn't very mature to scream and yell and throw things and then tell the kids it isn't allowed. Gosh, I just realized I added "Hypocrisy" to  "Lack of Self Control" and "Immature Behavior." Three strikes? Sounds like I need a time out.

This past week I reached my limit on patience when it came to boxes and clutter and mess. When we moved here just over three weeks ago, I made a commitment to keep whatever I could as clean as I could so that removing the clutter could be easier. For the most part, that meant sweeping the floor that I could see and making sure the dishes were kept up. Sometime before the weekend, something snapped and dishes and sweeping wasn't good enough for me. I needed a completely clean house and I needed it NOW.

It started, embarrassingly enough, because I found lice on the girls. I hate that. I don't feel it is something to be ashamed of. It isn't really a sign that you are dirty or trashy. It usually means that you sat next to or borrowed a rubber band or brush from someone else who didn't know they had some and before you know it, the creepies are everywhere. Being in public school, it is almost inevitable that it will happen once or twice. Living in the country, it seems that you can pick them up anywhere at anytime. In this case, I think they came from swimming in a friend's pool or maybe in the creek. I'm still not 100% sure. All I know is they gross me out and I want them gone.

I found the first one exactly 24 hours before I found out I had to move here. That of course only added to stress of the situation. I managed to work the cleaning into the packing (as well as the shorter Summer haircuts I had already promised them.) I thought I was thorough enough, but I apparently missed something because I found another one less than a week ago. Finding the little buggers sent me on a spree of cleaning and scrubbing and washing everything that wasn't nailed down and spraying everything else that was. After I went through the whole "shampoo, scrub, rinse, comb, repeat..." process with all the girls  I spent three or more days going from room to room, cleaning off any flat surface, sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, scrubbing, washing, drying, folding, sorting (I don't put the clothes away, except for my own.) By the time yesterday even came around, I was just plain fed up with all of it. It felt like as soon as I cleaned somewhere, the mess was magically recreated in the same spot and I needed to start over. I was in pain, hot, sweaty, tired, hungry, thirsty, and I felt like everyone was making messes without thinking and no one was caring or helping me clean it up.

So, I yelled, I swore, I threw the broom in the corner. I hollered for the kids to "pick this up RIGHT NOW!" I bellowed at the dog to get out of the way.  When the kids came up to ask me for something, I snapped back to tell them to just leave me alone. If I saw them around anywhere, I felt the need to order them back to work and give them another chore to do. No TV, no video games, turn the radio down where I can't hear it. Just get back to work. I saw every mess as a personal attack against my peace.  The kids were just mindless mess makers wandering around the house being selfish and ignoring the work I had been doing. Oh poor me.

DH was there all day yesterday watching TV and trying to recover from his weekend (awake for 24 straight hours with only four hours of sleep and nearly no food.) I'm sure just the TV being on had something to do with my grouchiness (that is a whole different issue,) but that was only part of it. I was angry that he got to leave the house and have fun and socialize and all I ever got to do was run errands and shop when we were broke and waste gas we didn't have.  I was so focused on cleaning and being grouchy about it, that I missed that DH was smiling at me, and staring at me, and doing all the things that make me happy and love him as the Best Husband EVAR. He was simultaneously thanking me for my work and making bedroom eyes at me and I totally missed it. In fact, it took him standing up in front of me and stopping me, broom in my hand, with a big, slow hug, so get me to see what had been going on.

It is moments like those that make me love him even more. I realized that even though I hadn't been nearly as badly behaved as I have in the past, the Pity Party needed to come to an end. I took a deep breath, asked for help (nicely) for the last few things I needed to get finished, and then cooked an amazingly delicious and satisfying dinner for everyone. We all sat down to eat together and then everyone helped clean up. I went to bed, once again, with a shiny sink and happy kiddos and everything was right in the world again.

Today, I feel a little embarrassed for my bad behavior. The younger two really weren't affected by it. They've seen it before and (thankfully!) they know it will pass. They will even tell strangers, "We have heard all those bad words before, but we know better than to say them." Yeah, um...they didn't get it from TV. I really shouldn't have let it get out of hand because, sure as teens are moody, Little Heart came up to me right at bed time and unleashed a whole string of nonsense and started picking a fight. I was already calmed down by then, but I still took the bait and it was another hour or more before we sorted things out and went to bed. I hate fighting with my kids.

I know that one of the leading factors in all of this was that I was suffering from a spike in pain and I was just so tired of sitting still and hurting that I had to do SOMETHING. No, I wasn't really thinking clearly. The latest area the FM has decided to attack is my lower back. Because of the nature of the pain, that doesn't just mean my back hurts. It means by back hurts a LOT, and the stabbing, radiating pain causes my legs, knees, feet, and ankles to hurt like... well you get the idea. Wearing jeans hurts because even the SEAMS press against tender spots. Laying down isn't comfortable unless I have just taken pain meds and are about to fall asleep. Sitting is possibly the worst because even on a good day there isn't anywhere comfy for me to sit. So, I just keep getting up and walking around, and doing little things here and there, and getting worn out and grouchy from hurting.

If I would have forced myself to stick to the normal "rest, move, medicate, nap, move again" plan everything would be fine. Instead, I started working and just kept going. To be fair, I kept a pretty even pace, but I should have stopped more. I know when I don't take enough breaks I get just like a grouchy toddler. I scream, yell, throw things, snap at people, and generally make an ass out of myself.

There are only three things that make toddlers throw fits - Hungry, Tired, or Bored. As you get older, the same concept still applies but it gets a little more complicated. The factors can be listed as Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Thirsty, and Tired. Or, as we like to call it, H.A.L.T.T. (Or simply Call a Halt!) I probably have mentioned it before, but it bears repeating (particularly when I should have been using it myself.) When you get short and snippish and you can see the other people around you getting grouchy, too, you Halt! and ask yourself - Am I hungry? (When did I eat last and was it something that was good for me?) Am I angry at something or someone? (Is it within my control to change it or do I need to forgive and move on?) Am I lonely (and sad that I feel forgotten?) Am I tired? (Do I need a break or a nap?) Am I thirsty? (This one affects us more than we think.)

This isn't my own creation. It came from the wonderful wisdom of FLYLady (like so many other things that have saved my life!) I've taught my kids to use the HALTT system and it works remarkably well. Evil Genius is especially good at remembering this when she gets worked up. We go through the parts together so she can figure out what is wrong and ask for help all at once. Tiny Dancer is really good at taking care of her needs on her own so I don't really hear her use it out loud, but I know it works for her. Even though Little Heart thinks she's too old for it, I use it on her ALL THE TIME. I don't care if she is being all teen-aged-angsty or whatever. There is no excuse for being rude or taking your bad mood out on others. Ask for help or fix it, but don't lash out and bring others down with you. Had I used the HALTT on myself yesterday, I probably could have avoided the tantrum, and the throwing things, and the bad words.

Today, I feel much better than I have in a while. I'm resting more and trying to pace myself better. I've gotten back on track with remembering to eat and rest regularly. Now that the spike of pain has passed, I am much more able to keep my temper and remember what I should be doing. My kids don't seem the worse for my bad attitude yesterday. They've been a little more snuggly than usual, but that might be my imagination. I'm trying very, very hard to keep my cool and keep a smile on my face. I know I mess up but I just want to be able to move forward and do better.

That's what I love about having such an awesome family. Even when you DO mess up and say bad things, they still love you. My kids don't often hold grudges or bring up my past mistakes over and over again (not often, anyway.) They are always ready with a hug when they know you are feeling down, and they are always quick to ask for a hug when they know they have done something to make someone else mad or sad.

So, sound off - Do you still throw temper tantrums? Do your kids fight back or do they run and hide? What is the one thing you do to calm down when you know you are about to lose your cool? What do you do that always lets your family know that you love them?

Here are a few recent pics of a few of my Hearts:
WP Doing what he does best. Being Silly.

DH and FIL Doing what THEY do best (Scouting)
Little Heart on 8th grade graduation day.
Tiny Dancer looking smiley.
Evil Genius with a calculated smile to optimize the most efficient amount of cuteness and sweetness.