Saturday, December 29, 2012


Not sure how many more days of doing absolutely nothing I can put up with, but something tells me I will have a few more before I get back on track.

I guess I'm just bummed because I don't really get to have real holidays anymore. Christmas Break always seemed like the BEST vacation for me growing up. Sure, we just had a week-long vacation a month ago, but it wasn't long enough and I probably had homework. Christmas break is just... pure relaxation. All my exams would have been taken before the break so there is literally NOTHING school wise that needs to be done. Plus you have two awesome holidays a week apart and you get to do all sorts of things that are usually off limits - FUN things like eat candy for breakfast and stay up past midnight IN THE LIVING ROOM. Those two weeks seemed longer than summer, some times... nothing to do except sit around in  jammies all day and play with the new toys you just got.

Once you start working for a living - UGH! Goodbye winter break! In fact, goodbye having more than two days off in a row. But that doesn't mean actually relaxing for two days in a row, it just means you only have your HOME job to do and not your WORK job, too.

Blech. Take me back to candy canes sword fights. PLEASE.

I guess I'm just worn out from working too much. Because of the freak Christmas Day snow around here, followed by a day of feeling like death-warmed-over, I only worked one day last week. I think it tricked my mind into going back in time. It must have because the only meaningful thing I have done for the last week is plead (in vain) for someone to PLEASE pick up their mess. I'm still in my pj's right now. I have cooked dinner exactly once since before Christmas Day. The house is still littered with bits of Christmas paper and candy wrappers.

My brain has definitely gone on vacation. Apparently, it took with it my entire storage of Give-A-Damn. About a week ago, we found out that the drain behind the washer was blocked. DH said he cleared it, but I haven't gotten up the nerve to test it out. So, the massive pile of laundry? Still there and getting higher. Meh.The garbage disposal stopped working completely. Whatever. Scrape your plates in the trash before leaving them in the sink for two days. Who cares? That horrific army of Latino Insects - uh, I mean Argentinian Ants - is trying to take over the house again. Hm. Spray them with Simple Green. I'll call the exterminators later... after the holidays... after the house gets clean... after I find where the hell I put my box of 'Round To Its...

I am winning no Mommy Awards this week, for sure. Luckily my kids are getting really good at recognizing that glazed look of "Oh Well..." Instead of asking for me to make breakfast, EG got a bright idea and asked me to show her how to make breakfast. She's a smart one, that girl. LH decided her laundry needed to get done RIGHT NOW and tested out the drain for me. Turns out it IS fixed. And one less load of laundry is waiting to be done. TD got bored and wanted to "make something" so I showed her Pinterest, hoping to keep her busy for an hour or two. Now she and EG are hooked on using what we already have to make things they really want.

Yep. I'm a complete failure this week.

My kids are learning to take care of themselves, entertaining themselves, even learning to cook and clean on their own. What kind  of legacy is THAT to leave!?!? ;-)

Deb "Lazy Mom" Lollar

Thursday, December 27, 2012

One of those days...

Ever have one of those days where you WANT to write, really you do.  You just... don't.

It makes me want to write something - ANYTHING - that will somehow spark my inspiration and get the crazy cyclone of thoughts to slow down and line up into a pattern I can use.

Today is one of those days, so I will share with you all the flow of consciousness that has passed behind my brain this afternoon:

I usually sing in the car when I am in a good mood. Often, I can tell whether or not I am actually happy by how many songs I have sung to and how loud I am singing. Does anyone else do this? Not the singing in the car thing - I know virtually everyone does - but the happiness gauge thing? Am I the only one who has to self analyze all the time to figure out just how positive or negative my mood is? I DO think it is a little strange that I don't always just KNOW. I mean, it's my own mood, right? Shouldn't I  be able to judge it for myself without some weird Behavior Scale? Perhaps I should, but I can't. So there it is.

And that, my friends, is what goes through my head when I am in the mood to sing with the radio but there are no "singing-worthy" songs on the radio.

Good night and God bless.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

'Tis the season for...

Life is certainly crazy around here these days! I've been working more than full time (including late hours) and that leaves very little time in the day for writing. I really can't complain, though. Just having a job is a blessing these days! That doesn't mean I don't WANT to complain sometimes, of course. But, keeping gratitude in mind helps guide my thoughts down more positive avenues.

The past few weeks have shown me that no matter how tough things get, I have an awesome family and that makes everything worthwhile. When frustration at work gets the best of me, I know that I can come home and my family will be there to love me, hug me, let me vent if I need to, and rest when I have to.All in all, I have way more things to brag about than complain about.

I have a loving husband, a houseful of kids, food in my pantry, and Christmas presents ready to put under the tree. Growing up, we never put gifts under the tree until Christmas Eve, but my kids have made their own tradition. As soon as the tree goes up (and sometimes even before) there will be little packages in the living room, waiting for the next few weeks to go by. These precious little parcels are the gifts that my kids have chosen to give each other. This is what makes ME love this time of year so very much. It is such a beautiful thing to take the kids to shop for each other. We help them make a list of people they want to buy gifts for, give them a small budget, and let them make the choice of what to give to whom. Seeing how carefully they choose these gifts and how excited they are when they find the "perfect" thing to give each other shows me that in spite of their tiffs and arguments, these kids really DO love each other. What's more? They LIKE each other. Between here and Christmas morning the kids will have fun taunting each other, "you'll NEVER guess what I got YOU!"

By then there will be so many presents under the tree that they will be spread out halfway across the room. Some are store bought gifts and others are hand made trinkets along with handwritten cards and even re-gifted items, all carefully wrapped and labeled from one kid to another. I know that everyone will have a gift from everyone else. No one gets skipped, shorted, or forgotten. That's just the way my kids are.
I can't ask for anything more than that.

All this would be enough to make any Momma proud, but last week I got an extra piece of news that made me even more so. I got an e-mail from EG's teachers that said something to the effect of this:

"Today we saw your daughter on the playground helping out a younger boy from another class. He was sitting down by himself because he wasn't getting along with one of the other kids and before we teachers could even react, your daughter was by his side, patting him on the back and talking nicely to him until he felt better and ran off to play again."

I can't even describe how good it feels to hear that your own kid does something like that, without prompting, unaware she is being watched, without thought of a reward. This is something EVERY parent should hope to hear. It means that we have taught her the right way and that she is confident enough to act that way in front of her peers.

She doesn't know this, but Santa was watching, too.


Saturday, November 24, 2012


I'm not going to list out all the things I am thankful for this weekend. I try to do that every day and I'm sure no one is really interested in how much I love my fuzzy socks and track-ball-thumb mouse.
I'll just wish everyone out there a pleasant and peaceful weekend. Whether you are having turkey on Thursday, or some other meal some other day, I hope it is delicious and filling and that you are wonderfully inspired to be happy and thankful for everything you have.

My sincerest wish is that in the coming holiday season everyone remembers about peace on earth, goodwill towards men, and love. No matter your beliefs and/or religion this time of year we are all bombarded by advertisements of giving the "perfect" gift. I'm sure we all feel the same pressure to participate and join in. I hope you do - at least in the sense that being loving and kind to others will always be the perfect gift.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

What goes around...

... eventually will end up getting me sick, too.

Yesterday I felt a little yucky, but nothing unbearable. I thought I would go to bed early because we had plans today and I didn't want to make my kids miss out because of me being sick. Then, I did that dumb thing where instead of going directly to bed when I take my  meds, I stay up, get distracted, and end up being awake for half the night cleaning. Now, cleaning is a GOOD thing, but losing half a night of sleep isn't. I noticed my throat was a little sore as I was falling asleep, but that is sometimes caused by sleeping meds anyway, so I didn't think much of it.

At 6:30am, after getting only 3 hours of sleep, EG came into my bedroom because her throat hurt and she felt miserable. Her temp was just over 100 and that meant all our plans for the day would be cancelled. I got her some medicine to help with the sore throat and fever and got her comfortable on the couch. It took only a few minutes before she passed out again. As I was heading back to bed I realized MY throat hurt, too. Hmmmm. Not good.

By 9:30 I was sore all over and by noon I was running a fever over 100, too.

DH and TD still went out today because they were both feeling just fine and I had decided I would spend the day cleaning house while they were gone. So far, I've gotten the kitchen counters wiped off and the counter by the phone tidied up. Other than that I've been sleeping. A lot. I did manage to remember to eat (as painful as that was) butt that really only because I can't take cold medicine on an empty stomach.

All this isn't completely a shocker. Everyone in the house has been sick for a week now on and off. The symptoms are all pretty similar and it appears to last only a few days. At first, I was just bummed that I couldn't go to the pow wow this evening. Then, just as I saw the silver lining to THAT cloud, I get hit by lightning when I wasn't looking.

I promise I will update again as soon as I am feeling better. Until then, hug someone you love and tell a Marine Happy Birthday today!

Deb "Sickly" Lollar

Friday, November 2, 2012

Strange Universe

I feel like I am in an alternate universe. I get home later than everyone else. Grouchy, tired, and gloomy I trudge through the house to my bedroom to get into comfy clothes and all I want to do is go to bed. Realizing that no one has taken anything out to thaw for dinner, I go over ideas in my head for delivery and/or quick dinner. Nothing sounds good. The living room is occupied by DH watching TV that I don't want to watch so I wander in the dining room which is also full. With children. With children and dice and game books. They are playing Warhammer, and all I want is to go to bed.

Friday night is here and I don't want to go out and party. Rest, and quiet, and sleep are the only things that sound remotely pleasant. For once, I'm not in a lot of pain. I'm just... very, very tired. Work has been especially draining this week. There was one entire day without The Boss there and it was productive and even pleasant. That couldn't last, of course. Micromanagement is never easy to deal with, but that on TOP of snide comments and outright ridicule is pushing me to my limits some days. The only bright part of the week was today when I got my paycheck.

Truthfully the rest of the week outside the office hasn't been all that great, either. On Tuesday, I started my morning by being woken up from a nap 15 minutes early by the exterminator. Right after he got there, LH called me because she got hit with a migraine at school. The bug buy took TWO MORE HOURS to spray while DH was waiting for me in the nurse's office. By the time I got her back home, I had just enough time to not lay down before I had to get Monster to her doctor's appointment. That was a total waste of energy because the doctor doesn't actually give the kind of treatment we were there for. It's a long story, but basically both the insurance company and the doctor's office told me they were a specialist in a particular field but when I started filling out the new patient paperwork there were big bold letters at the top that said they weren't specialists in that particular field. Crap. Back to the list of 200 providers.

Now, it was my turn to get to MY doctor for the long awaited allergy test. Of course, there had to be more surprises in store for me. The test I was prepared for was not the test I was assigned.  Since I failed so miserably at the scratch test, the doctor wrote me up for the epidermal test. The one that takes THREE DAYS. Three days of wearing 60 wells of allergens strapped to my back with lots of tape. Three days without showering or sweating. Three days of extreme discomfort.

I was not amused.

After scheduling the day off on Tuesday, I got to back to work to on Wednesday to everyone at work giving me the hairy eyeball for being out. I swear they acted more offended than they did when I just called in sick! When I asked the Billing Guy/Office Manager if I could take a lunch break on Thursday evening at 3:00, he replied that WE DON'T TAKE LUNCH BREAKS HERE. After I pointed out that lunch breaks are required by LAW, he shoved a paper in my face with the current work force law listed. The line he had highlighted said something the the effect of "a worker does not need to be allowed to leave the premises, just that they be allowed to suspend their duties during their assigned break time."

This is pure bullcrap.

Regardless, I still took the time off on Thursday because I needed to get the freaking tape off my back so I could finally take a shower. I had to deal with the nasty looks and rude comments, but there was no way I was going to be late for this appointment. Not again.

So, I get to the doctor and the pull the tape off and you know what they found? Nothing. I'm allergic to NOTHING. Actually, it turns out I am highly allergic to the TAPE, but none of the actual wells of allergens caused a reaction. The redness from the tape was enough, though, that the nurse forced a zyrtec down my throat before I left.

Actually, I would have preferred a xanax.

I should have been thrilled that I'm not allergic to anything, but I'm not. I feel let down, depressed, and angry. All this aggravation, frustration, rushing around, being late, rescheduling, and being yelled at seems like it was for nothing. Maybe I thought I would find something magical out, like I was allergic to this ONE thing and that by eliminating it I'd be all better. I would give up just about anything if I knew it would make me feel better. Without any guidance, though - not even a hint - I feel like there's no reason to even try looking any further. I've got nothing.

Right now, I just want to curl up and forget about life. I want someone else to take care of things for awhile. I don't want to worry about making dinner, or making sure everyone gets just the right food and no one gets what they aren't supposed to. Just once, I want someone to tell me that THEY are going to take care of things and actually do it. It is too much to ask that dinner be cooked (or at least started) before I get home? Must I be the only one to request chores get done and homework is finished before 9:00 at night? Is it completely unreasonable to expect that these things get done on their own after I've been asking for FOUR MONTHS.

I can't do this on my own. With seven people in the house, it is completely reasonable to ask for simple help. I'm not asking for hours each day. All I want is 15 MINUTES from each person towards keeping their own house from being one step away from a Learning Channel special.

Life is getting too loud so I'm going to go somewhere quieter. I know I'll be ok. Just give me time. And maybe a chef and a housekeeper.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Many Thanks!

I really appreciate all the kind words and supportive energy heading my way. Sometimes when I write, I don't even realize what it sounds like until after I go back and read it. Wow. I sound pretty messed up sometimes. That's just who I am, I guess. One of the many sides of me. If I pretended it didn't exist, well I wouldn't be very honest with myself or anyone else.

That said, I am doing much better. The catharsis of writing helps a lot. Just getting through the tough times and moving on is hard, but that that's just about all I can do sometimes. But, I HAVE made it past the slump, though. Dealing with migraines every week, like clock-work, for two months was draining and I seem to have gotten past that too, at least for now. I only had one in the last two weeks and I knocked it out fairly quickly. The fact that it was during the weekend was even better. It sucks giving up my days of rest and family time to something like a migraine but for now, I'd rather do that than miss ANOTHER day of work.

Speaking of work, I am doing pretty well there, too. Getting to work on time always helps. I made the decision that I need to actually commit to working full time, though. I won't be taking off a few afternoons a week or coming in late a few days when I need to. It will be 9-6 every day. Frankly, I'm exhausted just thinking about it, but I have to remind myself, that I've been working nearly that much already. The biggest difference will be that I will have to make myself go to bed early every night, without fail. I feel like across between a six year old and an 86 year old. If I stay up too late and I don't get my naps, I just can't function the next day. But, if that is the key to helping me get the rest of my life back, it isn't all that much of a hassle, is it?

Tomorrow, I will (hopefully) be getting my food allergy test done. I just want this thing over with so I can find out if what I am eating is making me worse, or if my body just decided to hold a mass rebellion of its own accord. I'm asking for prayers and supportive thoughts from everyone. Not that I don't react to anything, but that I DO react - at least to the control solution they administer before the test. So far, I've tried to take this test three times and each time I managed to take some medicine too soon before the test date and it screwed things up bad enough that I didn't react to the allergens enough to be able to record the test.  The first time it was vicodin, the pain killer. The second time it was flexeril, which is a muscle relaxer. The third time it was apparently SUDAFED. Stupid sinuses. So I'm supposed to stay away from anything that will lower my reaction to allergens.

This time I was REALLY careful not to take ANYTHING that would mess this test up. Until yesterday. I don't know where my brain was, or why it wasn't working. I just know it failed me completely as I was getting ready for bed. I have been out of ambien for a few days now (I'm supposed to get a refill at the dr tomorrow) and I've not been sleeping well, or actually at all. So, no sleeping meds, no muscle relaxers, and at 1:00 in the morning I was WIDE awake. I really wished I could take something to help me sleep. Wait doesn't benadryl help you sleep? Sure it does! I'll just take some of that. It wasn't until THIS AFTERNOON I realized - DUH! - I'm not supposed to take ANY antihistamines EITHER!

So, I'm going to attempt the test again tomorrow and hope and pray that I didn't mess up an entire week's worth of abstaining from my meds and missing sleep.

Wish me luck. I'm going to need it.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Irrational Fears

I realized something profound on Friday afternoon when I forgot my lunch. And by "forgot" I mean I purposely didn't bring anything so I had an excuse to buy a mushroom-swiss burger from the country cookin' restaurant next door to my store. Because DH and TD are highly allergic to mushrooms, I can't even have them in the house. DH is actually sensitive enough that he will get sick inhaling the steam from mushrooms cooking. We have had to leave several open-kitchen style restaurants because we sat too close to the kitchen while they were sauteing them. This means if I want them, I have to get them while I am not at home and when the are not with me. To say this sucks is a major understatement. I really love mushrooms. A lot.

Anyway, I digress. Back to the epiphany.

So, as I stood outside my shop door, about to cross the parking lot to get my burger for lunch, I suddenly felt an old, familiar tightness in my chest. No, it wasn't longing or pain.

It was fear.

At first I wasn't sure what the fear was from, so I fought the panic down and forced myself to move.forward. I had to analyze the thoughts racing through my mind to figure out what the hell was going on. Was it being outside instead of safe in the store? No. I was RELIEVED to be away from my bully of boss and the emotional outbursts of my co-workers. It wasn't the fear that I was about to overdraft the bank account by eating out. I've managed to get the accounts under control and the cost of a burger isn't going to kill my budget anymore. The, the fear crept up again as I pulled the door open and attempted to navigate the crowded restaurant to get to the check-out counter. Do you know how crazy it is to feel fear and confusion at once when there is no apparent reason why? It actually wasn't until after I paid for my burger and rushed out with my half-and-half sweet tea that I was able to pinpoint the source of my anxiety.

I was afraid of walking.

I was simultaneously relieved to find the source of my fear, and confused as to why the simple act of walking would cause such a negative reaction. So, I spent the next five minutes wolfing down my incredibly satisfying burger and re-analyzing my thoughts. Pictures and sensations sped across my brain again and I tried to piece them together in some sort of logical sequence. What I found out about myself was both disturbing and sad.

It turns out I wasn't really afraid of walking, specifically. I was actually afraid of tripping and twisting my ankle. Or running into one of the tables or chairs. Or walking face-first into the door that opens by pulling instead of pushing. It may sound like a crazy sort of "What If" but I do this sort of thing ALL THE TIME as well as smacking my hands across things, squashing my fingers between things, and bashing my elbows against things. No place is safe from my clumsiness. While working for a major cell phone manufacturing company, I once went flying, face first, across the floor in front of the international vice president. I missed the bottom stair at an apartment complex and broke my ankle. In New Orleans, on my honeymoon, I tripped so many times walking through the French Quarter that I was in pain from my hips to my toes for three weeks. The most recent time was just a few weeks ago when I was rushing up some concrete steps and I tripped on the top stair and went sprawling. I've still got a scar on my knee and shin from that one.

I've been thinking about this all weekend and I believe this fear is actually bigger than just being afraid of tripping. At the root of it, I'm afraid of causing myself more pain. Because of the FM, twisting my ankle will hurt for days instead of hours and it will throw off my gait which will likely cause me to hurt elsewhere, like my hips or my back. And it's not just tripping that I'm afraid of, either. Anything that can cause me more pain than I'm already in is starting to cause me anxiety. Walking through a crowd of people when my muscles are already tender to the touch causes my stomach to tense. The same goes for yard work, doing laundry, and shopping at Wal Mart. This fear of potential pain-causing activities is why I sometimes stand instead of sitting while watching TV or eating and why I can't seem to make myself go for a walk or do the prescribed exercises the doctor gave me.

Now that I've figured out the mystery, what do I do about it? I can at least say that I haven't let this fear completely stop me from living my life, but it is making an impact. If I acknowledge it and fight through it, is it even something to worry about? Or will ignoring it (since I can't do anything about it) cause it to get worse?  In the past, many of the irrational fears I have had are usually related to a specific event or activity, like being afraid of (what's in) the dark and being afraid of grocery shopping because of not having enough money. The fear of walking or pain, though?  How do I combat THAT?

Deb "Scaredy Cat" Lollar

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hanging on by a thread

I am reaching the four-month milestone at work and I'm getting nervous. I haven't managed to make it that long at one job in several years. Usually, about 3 1/2 months after I start working  somewhere, the store of energy and strength wanes and the momentum I've built up starts to lag. Bone-crushing fatigue from the fibro sets in and some part of my body will hurt so bad I won't be able to function. Shortly after that, a particularly devastating bout of fibro-fog kicks up and then I might as well just start packing my things. No boss wants to deal with an employee that doesn't come to work, and when she IS there, isn't effective or even very accurate. Frankly, I don't blame them. If I had the choice to hire me or not, I would surely choose someone less... plagued.

I always tell myself, "THIS time will be different! I'll push through the pain! I'll go to bed ever earlier! I'll blame my screw-ups on someone else! Then maybe, I will get to keep my precious paychecks coming in just a teensy bit longer."

The crappiest part about this looming milestone that I haven't managed to avoid is that four months is almost exactly the amount of time it takes me to make enough money to dig ourselves out of the hole we've been in while I wasn't working. By now, everyone is getting used to having food in the house (that they actually want) and we've managed to start fitting things in the budget like clothes and school supplies. At least, we've gotten to the point where we have planned to go on these shopping "sprees." But, no matter HOW confident I am in my current state of health I haven't learned not to jinx myself and keep my purchasing plans to myself.

This weekend, I let it slip that I wanted to get DH a new cell phone for his birthday. For the first time in a long time, he actually has his eye on a specific gadget and it is within the realm of "reasonably priced." His birthday just happens to be in a few weeks, so this seemed to be very well timed. Also, TD has been BEGGING for her first cell phone since she has started Jr High, and if we get DH a new one, we can pass down his old one to her. So, within 3 seconds of my mentioning a new cell phone to DH, TD was in the room jumping up and down with the exuberance that only an 11 year old girl can show. It might be a birthday gift for Daddy, but she has a lot more at stake than he does in this whole interaction.

This morning, I realized exactly how long I have been working at this job, and my heart sank to my feet. The only way to make this whole cell phone thing work is if I not only continue to work for the short term, but going forward as well, or else TD will be the proud owner of a cell phone without any service. That's just not cool to do to a kid. Now, I feel like I'm waiting for the piano to drop out of the sky ans squish me. I just don't have the confidence in my own health to feel good about all this yet. I don't want to go back on promises, and I don't want to disappoint my husband or my little pre-teen TD. Suddenly, I feel like a huge weight has been planted firmly across my shoulders; as if this horrible thing is going to happen and I just haven't figured out when.

Just now as I was thinking about this I realized Christmas is only a few months away. I've got five kids to shop for this year. We only barely made it through without help from anyone last year. I can't face having to go to charities again for presents and holiday dinner. Yeah, I know I'm stressing way too much about this and that the stress will probably cause my worst fears to actually come true. I can't help it. All it takes is one look at my houseful of loved ones, and I know I just can't let them down. I can't. I have to figure out some way to avoid the inevitable.

I know. My brain is racing down worst-case scenarios and I'm letting my emotions get away from me. However, you can only do something so many times before you start to recognize the same signs and the responses become second-nature. The only way to avoid the same end is to change your actions and reactions in a willful and purposeful way.

So yeah, I WILL push through the pain, and I WILL go to bed earlier, and I WILL find someway to get through the brain fog that I know will probably be coming along any day now. I'm praying with every fiber of my soul that something will be different this time, that I'll be able to shake off the depression that comes along with mindless screw-ups. It's that little, dark whisper in my deepest mind that tells me to just give up. Working is just too stressful and painful and I suck at this job anyway. Just give up and call-in and let them fire me already so I can get some freaking sleep. Everyone already knows that you will fail at this like you failed at all the other jobs so give them what they already expect.

No, I haven't given in to that sweet sounding monster yet. So far, I have managed to keep the worst of my demons at bay. The Gray Monster has threatened to attack a few times, but I am resisting. I don't know how long I can keep it up. I'll need all the support and prayers I can get.

Am I alone in this, or do other people have the same sort of recurring stumbling blocks in their life? Do you have any tricks to avoid falling into the same pitfalls over and over again?


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Catching Up

It's been two moths since I've posted anything. I've attempted to write a few times, but Perfectionism rears its ugly head and I just can't bring myself to hit the "Publish" button. This time, I'll try to keep it concise and to the point and just get on with it. I need to do this every now and again.

The biggest thing to happen to our house is that we have grown from three kids to five. No, I didn't have twins suddenly. My oldest sister needed some help, and helping is what families do. So, I have my oldest niece, Monster, and my nephew, The Boy, staying with us. One one hand, it has been fairly easy because bringing a 16 year old and a 14 year old into a house with 15, 11, and 9 year olds isn't that big a deal. Everyone can feed,clothe, and take themselves to the bathroom and that cuts out a HUGE amount of daily work for us. The Boy even goes to the same school as Tiny Dancer, so that makes things even easier.

On the other hand, there have been a few changes around here. First, Little Heart has to share a room with Monster. That isn't a bug deal in itself, but the need for the two teenage girls to have more room led to us completely moving around all the bedrooms. Second, The Boy is, well... a BOY. He has to have his own room so that involved us moving the computer and arts stuff out so he could have the room we used to use for an office. We were glad to do it, and that's all there is to that. It just led to a few days of downtime with my computer.

Apparently, my computer doesn't like change any more than the average human, though, because as soon as I got all set up in my new "office space" the hard drive and monitor decide to jointly go on strike. The "replacements" have been brought in, but we are still in negotiations with the Union of CPU's. I'm currently outsourcing which, I think, has caused a complete breakdown in the picket lines.
That'll show those inanimate objects!

The last few weeks have been occupied with Back to School activities and Meet the Teachers, as well as several I Forgot About my Homework's and I Swear I Thought I Was Passing That Class's... 

I've bumped up to nearly full time work, which is good because Hey! I'm getting paid. It also doesn't hurt having the extra paychecks and BOY has my sanity EVER been saved by getting out of the house and talking to REAL LIVE adults every day. It has made things a little bit more complicated with dealing with migraines and fibromyalgia. Thankfully, I am only a support person for my office. They DO need me, it's just that my position is primarily to help out everyone else. If I miss a day, I can usually get caught up by working a few extra hours here and there.

So, that's how things have been around here. Chaos is normal.

In other news, my baby sister Spike had her first baby and we are ALL very excited about it. Little Walrus is home and healthy and mom and baby are doing fine. My heart is breaking because I can't be in Arizona to help out and snuggle newborns and new mommas and everything. We don't even have hourly pictures to share in his every squeak, so I'm feeling even more disconnected.

So send us a good thought, happy prayer, peaceful vibe or whatever it is you do. Things are crazy, here, but that's pretty much normal. And normal is good.

Be excellent to each other!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Checking In

I'm not quite up to writing for real yet. Vacation really drained me and I haven't quite gotten back into the swing of things. I am by no means complaining. I had the most fun and relaxing time in Ohio and it was so wonderful to really get to hang out with my mom and get to know her hubby, D. They were so generous and cool and somehow even seemed to enjoy having the five of us girls descend on their cozy apartment. I have hundreds of photos to go through - literally - and not enough hours in the day right now. When the FM kicks my tail I have to be super careful about getting to bed early or else I end up doing what I have been doing all week - calling in late to work nearly every day. Thank God (quite literally) that my managers are as easy-going and understanding as they are.

I'm headed to bed in a few minutes, but I'll leave you with a beautiful picture of what DH was doing in Michigan while we were vacationing in Ohio!

DH is the one on the left in the blue with the wing fan. Cute isn't he?

Keep happy and hug your family!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Counting Down

This past week has been so super, totally, awesome. Yes, I know that makes me sound like a spastic 16 year old. That's ok, 'cause I kind of feel like that these days.

DH spent ALL weekend fixing the tire on the van to get ready for our big road trip. Just as our luck would have it, though as soon as he pulls in the driveway after taking it for a test drive around the block, the alternator dies. Right there in the driveway. Swearing and massive waves of depression followed quickly and DH and I both went to bed wondering just how in the world we were going to manage to get this fixed on top of the a/c that we had to repair last week and still be able to go on vacation at the end of this week.

Apparently God hears prayers and even occasionally answers them quickly enough to make your head spin. First, the problem of being without my husband's van for the week was settled when his boss allowed him to work from home all week. he had been told that he wouldn't have the option to do that any more, so we were VERY relieved that this was approved. After that, the problem of getting the car repaired was nicely taken care of as well. We have a reliable auto repair shop within three blocks of the house, and even though they appeared to have a full lot, they made room for us. Ok, so we have someone who will fix the van, but how will we pay for it? That was when the REAL miracles started pouring in. On Monday, I found out that we would be receiving a reimbursement - within the week, even - that I completely did not expect. Also, it turned out to be just a little bit more than the quote we had been given for the repair bill for the van. This is on top of the extra money on my last paycheck that was just enough to cover the repair bill for the a/c.

Since things were going better than expected, I was able to keep my appointment to get my hair done after work on Tuesday. I have the sexiest hair dresser ever, who also happens to be very capable and skilled, AND she is one of the most awesome chicks I've ever met.  I've known her since high school and she's one of those people that make you feel good just by being around. Even better, she works out of her home which is only a few minutes away from my shop. It takes a couple of hours to do my hair ('cause I never do things the easy way) but honestly it feels more like a Girls' Night Out. I get a chance to girl talk and relax and it feels... GOOD. Besides that, my hair looks awesome and my mood is boosted 100% (or more!) As a bonus, the dye took a little funky in spots so I have streaks of PINK in a few places. People pay EXTRA to get that, usually, and I got it for FREE! I'm so lucky, sometimes.

At work things were not nearly as glamorous. The computer at the office crashed on Monday and it still hasn't been fixed or replaced a week later. Luckily, Pookie and I had a few projects to keep us busy. Like cleaning the store. Again. Oh, and those boxes of paper that we have to copy as part of a fire recovery contract. These two boxes of files are too damaged to keep, but too important to throw away, so we have been carefully copying each page and scrap of paper in these boxes. One. Page. At. A. Time.

Fun stuff, I tell you! Not only is it tedious because we have to remove staples and clips and carefully separate each page without ripping them, but it is also a terrible mess from the ash, rust, and water damage. I have to wash up several times a day and as soon as I get home - especially after finding out that DH is allergic to dust and mold.

By the time I got home that night, I was ready for a break. The meat wasn't taken out of the fridge? That's fine with me! I saved the day by deciding to go out for a cheap, but incredibly delicious dinner at my favorite  Mexican place. I still kind of felt like celebrating, but I didn't want to go too crazy so instead of ordering dessert there, I stopped at Braum's on the way home to grab a half gallon of ice cream. Everyone is happy and I only spent $4 on a "splurge" instead of $20.

Friday night, it was my turn to take advantage of the Great Kid Exchange so I dropped my kiddos off with Pookie for the night and DH and I have a real, grown-up date. I was so excited for the big date that I took my lunch break and got my nails done at the salon in the strip near the store. I used to get manicures all the time, but as the kids needed more, I put little pampering things like that on the back burner. Now that I am working, and I make the budget, I can start doing things like this again. Working also means that we get to go to a dinner AND a movie and follow it up with a few drinks at a pub. I won't go into the rest of the date, but I'm sure you'll understand.

Saturday, we picked up the kiddos and had another fun filled day in pre-celebration of our own Evil Genius' 9th birthday! We got to see Brave, which is probably my favorite Pixar movie yet, and we got to do a little mall cruising. EG picked out her own birthday gift, much to the pride of DH. She bought her very own Marine's basic OD green t-shirt and I've never seen DH so proud. Those two make a good team.

No pics this week. I'll have LOTS coming up in a few days, though so just keep your eyes peeled!

Now, I am just counting down to vacation next week. We've got so much left to do! Why is it that going on vacation seems like more work than if we just stayed at home?

How do you prep for vacation? Do you pull OT the week before, or just tackle the pile of work when you get home?


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Day in the Life

This week I'm going to try something a little different. I will write a little bit about each day and see what it looks like on Sunday.
So, here we go!

Monday: Worked a full day and still made it through a workout with Dr The Mann. After some Electrical Therapy, readjustments, and stretches I feel like a new woman! Let's hope I can keep up this energy level for the rest of the week. Also, I just realized that I have less than three weeks until my first family vacation in more than six years! I'm am SO stoked to get to see my mom and D in Ohio while DH teaches some older scouts the fine art of roach making.

My smiling face after a good workout. Let's consider this the "before" picture, K?
Tuesday: I thought I was going to get my hair done but plans went awry on all parts. I'm kind of cool with that, though. I am WAY tired. Even after a nearly two hour nap after getting home from work, I was still beat. Energy and motivation level are at ZERO. We finally ate dinner at 9:00 or so because I was too tired and everyone else was too busy watching TV. Gotta love Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra. We've been hooked since it started!

Wednesday: Ok, so the fatigue from yesterday was a harbinger for the pain of this morning. FM sucks, but I REFUSE to let it take my entire life away. So, after taking some meds and going back to bed for a few more hours, I made it to work and finished out half a day. It's better than nothing right? Now, to come home and relax in a nice, cool house... uh, why is it so HOT in here? The A/C isn't blowing cold? Crap. Looks like we're screwed until Friday. At least. And maybe after that, too. Now what?
And just when I think I want to crawl in bed and pull the covers over my head (but I won't because it is too darn hot to do that) in walks EG with a picture she just drew. This girl is amazing. And she made me smile when I really needed it.
See? They look JUST alike! Notice the chainsaw and hardhat...

Thursday: DH managed to work from home and since the a/c guys are family friends they worked us a deal on the a/c repair. Ahhhh. Air conditioning is good. By the time bed time rolls around it is finally down to 82 degrees in the house. It's better than nothing, right?

Friday: The morning starts out with another doctor's appointment. This one is for a rheumatologist/ allergist who is the one who finally diagnosed my FM. I know I've gotten a lot better, but I want to be TOTALLY sure that I am doing everything I can to get better. I ask her to give me another round of allergy testing to determine if there are foods I need to avoid or maybe might be even causing some of my symptoms. The word Celiac has been used cautiously a few times and I want to make sure that wheat isn't one of the foods I need to watch out for. So, the nurse brings in the panel of allergens, gives me a poke with one as a test, and... nothing. 15 minutes goes by and, although the spot is red, it isn't raised enough to really show a reaction. Apparently I've taken some medicine in the last few days that is throwing things off. Now I have to come back in a week to try again. I've got my list of things I have to completely avoid for the next week and it includes things like antihistamines (of course), certain pain medicines (not mine, thankfully), muscle relaxers (including the ones I DO take), and SUDAFED!!! I take this as much as three times a day because regular allergy meds either make me VERY sleepy or they give me (what else?) migraines! So, the Sudafed helps control the sinus inflammation and the resulting headaches. The muscle relaxers help control the daily muscle pain and help me get good sleep at night. Without either of those things, well... let's just say this next week is not going to be very pleasant. If it helps me find out more about why I have been so sick, it will be worth it, though.

After work, I pick up my niece Awesome and nephew PJand head home. We're keeping them for a night so my sister Pookie and her hubby can have a kid free 11th anniversary. In exchange, they will keep all OUR kids for a night NEXT week so that we can have a kid free 13th anniversary. I think it's a marvelous arrangement! On the way home Awesome tells me she has a headache so I make sure the a/c is on and I give her a blanket to cover her face until we get home. Then, while we are discussing the dinner choices (pizza or Braum's) Awesome lets me know that this is actually a really BAD headache by throwing up in the backseat. Thank goodness I had enough time to hand her a plastic bag. Poor thing! I know EXACTLY how she feels and all I want to do is get her home... as soon as I cash my check before the bank closes... and pick up some medication at the pharmacy...and, and, and. In the end it turned out ok because by the time we got home, Awesome's headache was better. But the inside temp of the house was again, 85 degrees. Crap. I guess the a/c wasn't really fixed, was it? At this point we will be paying premium prices for the a/c guy to come out - again - so we decide to try and stick out through the weekend and call on Monday.
Braum's wins for dinner because it is air conditioned, relatively inexpensive, they serve pretty good burgers, and EXCELLENT ice cream. Especially because of the ice cream.

DH and I work like a well rehearsed team getting the kids in and out of the order line, getting the food served, getting everyone drinks and ketchup, and even getting them each a single dip ice cream cone. I'm thinking the evening is going well until we get back home and I remember the life sucking, brain melting heat we have to deal with (remember this is TEXAS in JULY.) We open all the windows, turn on all the fans, and attempt to convince the kids that it IS, indeed, bed time. The nephew sleeps in one room, the teenager is in her room, and the three middle girls are up giggling in their bedroom until waaaaay past midnight. Somehow I manage to get a few hours of sleep myself, although it isn't exactly GOOD sleep.

Saturday: Finally a day of rest! Ok, maybe not... Pookie, her hubby, and their younger two kiddos come over in the morning to pick up Awesome and PJ and Pookie's hubby is going to help DH replace some parts on one of the wheels. This is going to save us a lot of money and it shouldn't take long.... why do they ever say that?!?! It took two more trips to the auto parts store, borrowing tools from a neighbor, and even WP driving down to deliver an air compressor before the day was done and the the wheel STILL wasn't fixed.
Meanwhile, Pookie and I are in the house with SEVEN children trying desperately to get comfortable. By 2:00 we had had enough. I decided to call the a/c guy back no matter WHAT they had to charge us. Thankfully, as I mentioned before, these guys are family friends who just happen to own an a/c repair business. The tech comes by, helps DH change the filter, cleans out the system a bit and things are back up and running. He doesn't even charge us! As the temp slowly drops inside the house my mood slowly improves.
Ok, I think to myself, as long as nothing else goes wrong, I can handle this.
Why do I EVER say that to myself? 

If you like this blog or even just this post, feel free to share it and/or comment! 

Join me next week for another installment of our adventures around here!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sorry for not posting as often as I would like. I actually DID write some posts, but I tend to get a little bit of "writer's remorse" when I try to hit the "publish" button. Was this a good post? Is it funny/truthful/interesting enough? Does anyone else really care?

In any case, I have vowed to write and post once a week from here on out. My plan is to work on my post a little bit throughout the week and have a picture-full and witty something for you guys to read by Sunday evening. No, I don't really believe that either, but if you can't lie to yourself, who CAN you lie to?

So to start off with, I have made it through three whole weeks at my new job. I did have to call in sick one day due to fatigue more than pain. This is a reminder to me that I need to me vigilant about budgeting my energy every day. Rest a bit when I get home. Go to bed on time every night. Don't push too hard to catch up when I feel good because it will only make the crashes longer and more painful

Fine. I get it. Just because I have made progress doesn't mean I am the same "Superwoman" I was six years ago. I am a totally DIFFERENT "Superwoman" now and I need to respect that and use my strengths to the best of my abilities and not beat myself up about the weaknesses.

Two weeks ago, EG was invited to a sleepover by one of her schoolmates who has a pool at their house. Her dad found out it was TD's birthday and he went ahead and invited her over as as well (I think he's crazy, but I'm no less thankful!)

 They had a blast and (of course) got completely sunburned. The first thing I did was pull out all the sunburn stuff (Solarcaine, aloe spray, lotion.) The second thing I did was look on my beloved Pinterest for the tutorial on how to convert t-shirts into halter dresses without sewing so they could have something cool to wear that didn't rub on their burns. It took about 15 minutes per shirt, but all the of the girls LOVE them and I've made half a dozen of them so far. My t-shirt pile is actually getting smaller and the girls are actually wearing them. I'm kind of a proud Momma.

 This past week was especially crazy. I mean, even more than the typical crazy. The kids have been home alone during the week and they have started to get a little bit more lax on taking care of things during the day. Evenings were filled with a little bit more "catching up" than the needed to be. On top of that, poor DH apparently had an ear infection that he didn't know about and that has put him out of commission a bit. Last weekend we attended another pool party for the Native American Drum Group that he sings and drums with.  He decided to dive off the diving board one too many times and his eardrum sort of popped and he's been in a LOT of pain ever since. He did finally go to the doctor and he has some topical ear antibiotics which are helping...slowly. He should be back to normal soon.  I hope.

In spite of him sitting out for most of the day, we all had SO much fun! I've learned to put my fear of water on the back burner and let the kids enjoy themselves. This has a lot to do with the kids each having more confidence of their own. Sending the kids to swim without me there was possibly the best  thing ever. Each of the girls actually ventured into the deep end of the pool for the first time, each with their own version of confidence-inducing tools. LH actually learned how to swim and tread water,  and even how to dive off the diving board. No floaties, goggles, or nose plug. And she did it more than once! THAT'S the girl I've known and loved. The fearless girl who takes off on her own and will stand toe to toe with someone twice her size to protect and champion those who can't.  Not the wimpy little teenager who is afraid of everything. I am SO proud of her! TD and EG haven't become full-fledged swimmers yet, but they had pool noodles and a floatie jacket and their confidence fully intact without my anxieties getting in the way. I think I may go ahead and get that family summer pool pass I have been threatening to get for the last few years.

Once we got home and the swimsuits were put away for the next week, I decided to look at the calendar to plan out the week. OH HOLY BISCUITS! The Lollar Summer Party was in less than a weeks and there was too much left to do! I started making lists for the girls to do while I was at work, and checking in with them several times a day to keep them on task. Of course, there was still TONS to do on Saturday morning before people showed up. Amazingly, everyone pitched in and the house was at least presentable on time. On my trip to the store to get the last few party items, I finally splurged on the hinged baby gate we needed for the office doorway. For once, I wasn't worried about the babies hacking on the computers or swallowing glass beads.

Scott handled the cooking on the grill, everything else was already made and just had to be transferred to serving bowls. The girls invited a few taller friends over early and did the decorating for me. It was low-key but SO much fun. The best part was the incredible cool front that blew in just after all the guests arrived. There was a bout 10 minutes of light rain and then the rest of the afternoon was cool and comfortable. That is completely unheard of for a weekend in July on Texas. I'm not sure who's prayers were answered, but I'm sure thankful for it! Most of the kids were able to play outside all afternoon and I know the grownups enjoyed it too.

The day was absolutely magical. We had about 20 kids and around 15 adults and everyone got along. One of the guests' sons (who is on the higher end of the autistic spectrum) actually played ball with other kids and managed to both catch AND throw the ball! There was a fourteen year old boy drawing with sidewalk chalk with a three year old and loving every minute of it. One little 10 year old Casanova nabbed the phone number and e-mail address of another pre-teen girl. There was a soccer game in the back yard where the older kids each paired up with one of the younger kids so that everyone could play and feel included. I got to see my WP, and two of my sisters, and even my brother in law showed up for the first time in 11 years.

My bestest best friend since jr high made the 45 minute drive with all three of her beautiful kiddos and hubby. I haven't been able to see her or her adorable babies in at least a year and she brought the girls the most adorable matching outfits.  LH got to see some friends from the Little Country Town we used to live in.  EG's very best friend got to hang out for a little while. I don't think anything can compare to a 50 person chorus of "Happy Birthday" to all three of my girls. I just sat down a looked around and felt so peaceful and thankful.

By the time everything wrapped up late last night, my face hurt from smiling and my sides were tired from all the laughing. When I got up and walked around the house this morning, I was infinitely thankful that I broke down and bought paper plates and plastic cups for the day. I think I might have about 15 minutes worth of tidying up to get the house back in order. Actually, it's better than it was before, thanks to the To Do list of things we had been put off for far too long. I have NO cardboard boxes anywhere in my house at all. That alone is enough to give me more peace than I've felt in months. I'll tell you a secret about this whole Summer Party thing. If I host this kind of party every summer, I can be sure that my house will be completely clean at least ONCE a year. Yep. I thrive on crisis cleaning.

I think I'm going to start on a dinner of left over party food and yesterdays' birthday cake. It just may be my favorite part of hosting get-togethers like this.


Saturday, June 23, 2012


I survived my first 40 hour work week in over two years! Most of what got me through the tough times was the though that starting next week I would start my "regular schedule" of part time hours. At least, that WAS what kept me going until Thursday afternoon when the owner asked me if I wanted to go ahead and work full time for the foreseeable future. Apparently I am doing good work and the project I was given to start will take me more than just a week. So, I told the manager, "Sure! I'd live to work full time!"
Then he walked away and I realized what just came out of my mouth. Crap. What did I get myself into?!?!

My #2 sister, Pookie, is the manager of a small print store front about 20 minutes away from my house. She and I have been talking about how she would need someone to help her part time, once there was enough business to warrant it and that wouldn't happen until at least September. There would be two weeks of training at the larger, busier HQ which is roughly 20 minutes further away then I would be working out of her store. The pay wouldn't be great, but that is fine. Pookie even assured me that she would be totally understanding about time off when I had a headache or a bad day. I had begun to start looking forward to the end of the Summer when I could start slowly back into real life again.

I was PREPARED for part time work starting sometime in the Fall, after school started again. Remember, I had this whole plan made for outings and fun activities to keep my kids happy and occupied all Summer? I even told my nephews and nieces that they could join in the fun, too. When I found that this position was available now instead of two or three months from now, I decided it was too good an opportunity to pass up. Besides, I could still do fun stuff with the kids by working mornings and being home in the afternoons and evening. Working full time kinda puts all that in the trash.  Now what?

I'm certainly NOT complaining, though! I have been out of work for too long to look this gift horse in the mouth. Looking around me, I know that there are so many people who need jobs, I can't be anything but thankful that this has come along. Sure, the timing was not what I was planning on, but I have to remember that I can't always have what I want WHEN I want it. Turning any job down would be foolish. I just need to figure out how to re-juggle things. It is going to be an adventure for me, even if it will slightly less exciting for the kiddos.

The job I am doing is actually sort of cool, in a tailor-made-for-me kind of way. To start off, the filing for the business needs a lot of maintenance. Nothing has been archived for the last six years and I don't think anything has even been put in the file cabinet for at least two. I love tackling a big project and making things neat and tidy! After I get all the filing done, I will be trained on how to handle sales and then eventually how to run the various production machines. Most people would rather endure the Torture of a Thousand Papercuts than organize, file, and archive paperwork all day (although the options are really quite similar.) For me, though, it is not bad at all. My brain seems to handle boring and repetitive tasks very well and filing (for the most part) is not hard on the body.

The environment is pretty cool, too. The staff is family except for a few of us, but everyone is pretty laid back except the owner/sales manager but he's nothing I can't handle. The dress code is jeans and sneakers, which is EXCELLENT for me. Wearing dress clothes and especially dress shoes is downright painful at times! Wearing comfy clothes means I am spending less attention trying to ignore how hot and stuffy I feel and more time to focus on doing a good job. I am doing slightly-above minimum wage work for comparable pay and it suits me just fine. There isn't much stress involved with filing, especially when you know what you are doing and can do it quickly and efficiently.

I don't have much responsibility, but I don't want any just yet. In spite of my years of prior experience, I am an entry level worker. I have been out of work for so long that I have to start all over at Square One. Considering where I was a few years ago, though, Square One isn't that bad a place to be. The fact that I can handle showing up to work everyday - on time - and complete the tasks assigned to me with minimal supervision is actually a big milestone for me. As depressing as it may sound, I am thankful for just making it through each day without screwing up or breaking down. You have to start somewhere, right?

I have come to realize that this condition I have - Fibromyalgia - isn't the only thing in life that defines me. It did however, knock me down - hard. I am looking at this stage of my life as "recovery." Just like the parameters of a depression or a recession can not be defined until situations improve enough that the length and depth of "rock bottom" are recognizable, I have not been able to understand the true shape of my own low until I was able to move past it into a better place. However, "Better" does not mean "best." Having seen the improvement I have made over the last year, especially, I am confident that I will continue on this path of healing for a lot longer. I see a future for me that is full of life instead of pain. I have had to come to grips with the possibility - perhaps even the fact - that my 100% will never be the same as it once was, but my best will surely better than where I am right now.

One of the stepping stones along my path has been to acknowledge that FM has destroyed who I once was. The "old me" is in the past and the shell of who I once was is all that is left. Truly understanding that shell, what it is made of, has taken thought, prayer, and insight. Writing, journaling, and reading about other survivors has helped me define who I was, who I am, and who I want to be. When all else was gone, what did I have left? What was the one thing that told me I was still alive (if barely)? Why am I in this particular place? Did I get here on my own? Did others push me down? Who was there to help me up? In the quiet of my soul what do I feel?

I can now see that this "shell" of me is like the framework for a building built on a solid foundation. Beneath me is the "rock bottom." I can stand on it and know that it will hold me up no matter what else may come. The frame of me is what I know to be true. My experiences have shaped and molded me and made me strong. I know that as I heal and grow, my frame will hold true. With the foundation and framework in place I can begin to build the rest of me again. Every day it becomes easier to look in the mirror and be confident in what I see. I am not yet finished, but I have made enough progress that I can handle being outside in the world again. Inside I am still hollow. Not in a sad and lonely way. I feel open and ready to start filling my heart and soul again.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Unexpected Results

First of all, I am sorry for waiting almost a month to start writing again. Sometimes my mind is so full of everything, but I don't want to share. Other times, my mind is a desolate as the Siberian tundra and I can't even force a thought to form, let alone transfer it to my fingers.

Anyway, I have had a very busy month and that has something to do with not writing, as well. First, it was the end of the school year and LH had finals to prepare for (although she really didn't DO any preparing.) TD and EG had their own end of the year activities, awards ceremonies, and all manner of things taking up the evenings around here. DH had several weekend events taking him out of town and leaving me to keep the kiddos occupied. On top of that, we had huge bit of schedule changing with all the after school kid watching. I was a bit overwhelmed. Naturally, when I get overwhelmed the Fibro kicks in and I get even less done.

The biggest thing, though, was waiting for LH's heart cath. Since her last open heart surgery 10 years ago, she has to go through another cath every three years or so. It is kind of like a highly invasive check-up. No matter how many times we go through it, I always have some major nervous energy the last few weeks leading up to it. LH hasn't been doing very well energy-wise for the last few months. I was so afraid that the surgeons were going to find something serious during the cath, or that they would decide that a transplant is needed immediately, or that something freakish would happen during the procedure and... well, you get the idea. I worried.

During the cath they actually did do some adjustments to the size of the stents she has and they measured all the pressures inside the heart. Everything seems pretty much the same as it was three years ago. That is good news because it means her health is steady. The "transplant" word has been completely taken off the table at this point and LH came through the cath with flying colors. The color being red, actually. She has an itchy rash long with her clean bill of health. We're not sure what caused the rash, so we'll be going back for a check-up (the non-invasive kind) during the early part of the week. The only hiccup with the recovery was when LH had a hard time shaking off the anesthesia and they kept us overnight for observation. It took a little while, but she finally got the meds out of her system and we were released at 9:00 the next morning.

If that was the most stressful part of the week, I would be doing fine, but no. TD and DH both got some sort of a tummy bug and all weekend plans were cancelled. So far EG and I are the only ones without some sort of affliction at the moment (knock on wood) so we've both had our hands full playing nursemaid.

Now I am looking at the second full week of summer and I have that cold shiver of fear in my soul. Everyone is back on the mend and it appears I will have my nephew Roo to hang out with us during the week. I am humbly asking for prayers because even though I have attempted to make several layers of plans to avert boredom the truth is, I have no idea really what to do with boys. This is going to be fun. In the pull my hair out, try not to break down in front of the kids, good gracious what was I thinking sort of way.


Saturday, May 12, 2012


One of my good friends asked a question via Facebook concerning bullying and it got me thinking about all the personal history I have on that subject. Here is what I came up with. 

Some people are naturally appealing to predators. Head down, walking alone, hurrying all the time, nervously hoping not to be picked on. It is like having a huge target on your back. Being "different" and being bullied go hand in hand. It is a mean cycle and I'm not sure which comes first. Maybe you feel different and so people treat you differently. Maybe you get picked on and you are made aware of your differences. It could be a small insult whispered under their breath or it could be something bigger or more public like begin shoved or tripped. No matter what the “attack” is like, it all has the same affect. When you boil it down, bullying is abuse. To make it worse, it is often very public abuse. That makes it all the more difficult to understand why so few others stand up or try to help. 

How do I know about bullying? I lived it. Not just one time. Not just in one place. Not just by one person. I felt like I had been secretly marked. Bigger, meaner people just knew. This was a girl it was ok to pick on. There were plenty of things to choose from. Being a minority (blonde and fair skinned was the minority in my neighborhood,) smaller than my peers, smarter (or at least more eager to share my knowledge,) or less affluent. Those are just a few of the "justified" reasons. I was called plenty more names because of what people assumed about me. Apparently being curvy means sleeping around (despite the opposite.) Being friends with junkies meant (of course) that I was a junkie, too.  Very often, I think I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Usually I didn't have anyone to stick up for me, and I didn't stick up for myself. 

I was bullied a LOT. I don’t want to rehash it all, but here is a sample to make my point.  “Stupid white girl” was something I understood when spoken in Spanish before I was in 2nd grade. In 4th grade a bully got tired of the teachers intervening so she simply followed me home after school to beat me up. Even in high school where I had a handful of friends, there were twice as many bullies to remind me that I wasn’t worthy of any of them. One bigoted teacher announced to the entire class that she would be so happy when I finally moved away (assumedly so her class would return to its former non-white status.) Another teacher announced (again to an entire class) that I would be pregnant before I was 16. She was sure of it. My horrible blunder? I dared to hold hands with a boy. Strangers were just as likely to do something as were people I knew. I was babysitting at a rec center when I was surrounded, harassed, and groped by a group of boys who apparently wanted to prove they were “men.” 

 I have been tripped, shoved, cursed at, lied about, harassed, threated, and yes, even beat up. I thank God this happened before the Internet Age, or I’m sure it would have been online as well. Sometimes it only stopped because I moved or changed schools or jobs (yes this has happened to me as an adult.) Occasionally I went to the authorities, but so little was done it didn’t make much difference. When actions were taken on my behalf, it was often done with an attitude that clearly said I needed to toughen up and stop whining. Not always, but more often than not. Even in the workplace, when I was bullied by a coworker, I was written up for leaving the office outside of my break schedule and she was promoted to another department. 

For a long time I acted like the victim I had become. I put up with despicable abuse by “friends” and boyfriends simply because having ANYONE around was better than being alone. Singularity was terrifying.  Being terrified was exhausting. I didn’t understand the way friends were supposed to treat each other, so I’m sure I inadvertently caused a lot of my social isolation. As an adult I had a string of abusive relationships, not understanding why I seemed to attract the same sort of guy. It was the moment I realized I was within inches of being physically beaten when things changed for me. I left, and took the first step towards changing who I was. I managed to find my spine just in the nick of time. I think it causes me to be a little stubborn sometimes, overcompensating for my historical weakness.
Over the years I began to realize that people will be mean (whether or not they are actually a mean person) and if it wasn't to me, it would be to someone else. The problem wasn't with me. It was with the sad, misguided, ignorant fools who thought they could stand on top of someone else to feel taller. Do I feel sorry for bullies? Absolutely not. I pity them and their small minds, or perhaps their narrow minded upbringing.
Just understanding why things happened didn’t fix everything. It only started me down the path that eventually leads to healing. At first, I looked around at the people who seemed to have it together and I acted like them. If I wasn’t “normal” I would at least ACT like it. Then, one day I decided I was tired of feeling different and broken and waiting to be somebody's prey. I found it in my heart to forgive those who pushed me around and abused me. I realized that back when we were kids, no one else around me really knew what was going on, either, and the "bullies" were either acting the way they thought they should, or acting the only way they had ever been taught.
Not everyone comes to this point by themselves and I do understand it isn’t always as easy at it was for me. I was blessed with the knowledge that regardless of the problems with those that choose to single others out for their enjoyment, I can hold my head high, look anyone in the eyes, and know that I AM A GOOD PERSON. I am worthy of love and respect and I have the right to my personal safety. I can choose not to listen. I can walk away. I can tell people in charge if I feel threatened. I can stay in groups instead of standing alone. I can choose to act like a victim or I can be survivor. Anyone (even bullies) can see the difference. You don't screw with a survivor.
It took the threat of serious physical harm to push me out of the cycle of bullying and abuse.  I am eternally grateful for that moment of insight into the future I was walking towards.   It took a while for me to be able to look in the mirror and value what I see. I still don’t like what I see, and I know that is a lingering scar of past.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Short term plans

Last week I did what I should have done three months ago, and I finished the financial budget for my household. Flying by the seat of my pants and waiting for the trouble to come is no way to live. Especially when you hate dealing with financial matters as much as I do. I'm "in charge" of the money around here, and not knowing where we stand is a problem I have had all my adult life. There have been times when I felt physically sick just logging on to the bank website to check our balance (or lack thereof.) Things are much better than they used to be, but I still have that lingering fear that makes me want to do ANYTHING other than balance the accounts. I need to just get over it if I ever want to sleep at night without nightmares of losing everything and ending up on the street with my kids.

Anyway, I crunched the numbers and took the advice of someone very dear to me who ALWAYS has her stuff together. I used to envy people like her for everything they can do. Then, I realized - if I want what she has, I should do what she does. So I asked her - How do you keep everything in check and have such a beautiful home and your pantry is full and everything? It turns out it wasn't magic or some long lost relative giving her a million dollar stipend. The secret to her success was finding an EASY way to keep track of her money and making sure she was always prepared for the bills and emergencies that came up. It was that easy? Really?

Now, I have been trying to do just that for a very long time. My computer is full of programs that will track and categorize your spending for you, some that will download them from your bank site for you, plenty that give you pretty graphs and charts of what you have already spent, and I have even tried online versions so that I can log in from any computer. The problem I always have is that if I get behind, I will have days, or weeks, or even months worth of data to enter, or at the very least verify, before I can be sure the numbers are true. I don't typically have the time or enthusiasm to mess with all of that so I would fall behind, get frustrated, try to start over with something that is supposed to be so much easier... then the cycle repeats.

It occurred to me that I don't actually need a pie graph to know how much I spent in craft supplies over the past five years. If I ever DO need to know, my fancy program isn't likely to have all the information I need. I would still need to go back to my online account record or go through my statements and actually look. It felt like I was duplicating all the work the bank was doing and all I got for it was frustration. So, last week I let myself off the hook. I stopped trying to use separate programs to track and report on my spending and I got back to basics with what I know best. I kept it simple and made and Excel spreadsheet.

It isn't as though I haven't done this a thousand times before, but in the past I had been trying to make an easier version of something I didn't really need by making a complicated version of something I knew well. So, I scrapped the fancy spreadsheet I had been trying to keep up with and made an easy ledger. Each month has its own sheet. No colors and special formats. Just date, business name, deposit, debit, and  running balance. I update it as often as I need to. If I get really far behind, I will just start at the beginning of the new month. I If I lose a receipt, I go online and get the info I need. I check my balance against theirs and make sure the numbers meet. Each month I enter in the new balance at the top, update the formulas to automatically subtract or add each entry, and viola! I have my own tracker that is simple and easy to use. I only added one more column to categorize it, in case I ever want to check where my money goes. Suddenly, things became far less scary. The first step of tracking my money was started.

To budget for the future, I just took my list of bills and entered them in on their due dates with an estimated amount until I have the bill in hand. I still have to go in and update it as the bill comes due, but I can at least get an idea of what the next few weeks will look like. I went ahead and planned out the next few months so I can get a rough idea of what the future will hold and I was really shocked to find out something wonderful.

I'm not as broke, poor, and destitute as I thought I was.

Sure, my OLD budget said we had enough money for everything, but I could never trust it. Not when my actual statements were so far off. Looking at just the In and Out for each month, it actually looks like we will be able to do what we need and still be able to do a little bit of what we want. I can't even express what a relief it was to see this with my own eyes. It is as if the Universe put a comforting hand on my shoulder and said, "Relax. It will be ok."

What this means in real terms is that I don't have to worry quite so much about not having a full time job right now. Sure, if I get a freelance gig I won't turn it down but with summer vacation only a few weeks away, I was really starting to dread leaving the kids alone when I do start working. Now, I know that my kids should be old enough to be at home by themselves if I were to work outside the house. After all, I was younger than all of them when I started staying home alone and I am fairly certain they wouldn't burn the house down or anything. However, they are USED to me being at home. The kind of transition we would all go through would be pretty extreme, and having that happen right as they are left alone all day, every day... well, I just don't see any good coming from that. If it HAD to happen, I am sure we could make it work. If we don't HAVE to, though, I would rather put it off until they were back in school.

Besides, we have SO MUCH scheduled for this summer already. I would have to tell any employer that I would need to take off roughly a third of the time between here and September. What boss is going to be happy with that? On top of that, I don't think I could physically handle the stress of working, worrying about the kids, and trying to get everything done I need to do. Weekly appointments with Dr The Mann? Forget it. Home cooked meals instead of take out? Not a chance. Regular sleep every night? Not going to happen. My body is just starting to become strong enough to handle BEING AWAKE during all the daylight hours. Starting a job right now would be another exercise in futility.

I do know that without another income, the summer months will be tight with five mouths to feed breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. However, I've learned some pretty good tricks about stretching things and shopping wisely, and how much money is saved simply by planning meals and shopping for them weekly. I also have a really good weekly plan I created a few years back that is full of activities, crafts, and even outings that all cost little to nothing. When I used this plan a few years back, the kids had an AWESOME time and they still talk about how much fun it was. We have pictures and crafts still hanging around and they all proudly talk about things that they learned and places they went that year. I'm going to pull it out, dust it off and try to polish it a it to reflect my kids older ages and new interests.

So, my short term plan is to have a fun, loosely structured summer at home with my kiddos. This may be the last summer that they all WANT to hang around with Mom, so I am going to make the most of it. Also, so that I don't go completely crazy myself, I have SCHEDULED IN writing time for myself, no less than three times a week. I'm hoping to post something here on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and if things go well, I will have some really great pictures to show off as well.

I will need lots of prayers to get through it all. I know that the best laid plans never last beyond the first 30 seconds of battle. While I don't anticipate this being an all out war, it will be a bit difficult to keep on task and make sure the kids don't fall over and die (or kill each other) from boredom. I will attempt to post the original schedule in a day or two but, as I said before, I know it will need to be tweaked.
I am asking all of you for any suggestions you have to update my summer schedule with. Anyone who is in the area is welcome to participate in the activities and field trips. Maybe we can have a At Home Summer Group or something. I'm sure I will have at least one of my nephews here most of the time, so any ideas you have that will interest boys and girls who are somewhat geeky will be appreciated.

Deb "At Home" Lollar

P.S. Just to keep all of you informed -
The Most Awesome Spike and her hubby Walrus are visiting for Memorial Day
School lets out around here June 1
Devo's Heart cath is scheduled for June 5
July 25 we will all (hopefully) be taking a week long vacation out of state
At this point, we don't have a date for the Lollar Summer Party but I think it will be sometime in late June or early July.