Friday, January 29, 2016

Will I be a victim tonight?

Even though we're living just a block away from the remodel it looks like this new neighborhood is a bit sketchier than the last. 

I never know what kind of scary beast I'll meet in the dark.  

Will I be a victim tonight? I ask myself, my feet cautiously feeling their way around in the dark.  

Or will I merely trip over the slain bodies of previous victims that lay scattered across the unruly and dangerously unvacuumed carpet of this new and wild neighborhood?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

yes to all of the above

Robert had his followup appointment with the doctor today, and we received nothing but excellent news. The tumor was completely removed, Robert can start driving and doing physical therapy soon, and perhaps the best news of all is that he can finally take a real shower. 

Let me tell you this, when you are first dating someone and completely smitten with them, and you start to think about them being your forever partner, just ask yourself this.  Would you be willing to clean pus from their back, catch their puke, saran wrap their booboos and hose them off?

Over ten years ago, I honestly think I would have said yes to all of the above, and maybe even laughed a little about the saran wrap.

Because the appointment didn't take very long Robert talked me into going on a quick date before work - getting a cup of coffee and watching people remove windows.    

Monday, January 25, 2016

All in like 24 hours I think

More remodeling happiness!  Please note that these pictures were taken before Robert's surgery, literally hours before Robert's surgery.  It pretty much went like this:

No wall!  No stairs!  New stairs!  Tearing up driveway!  Picking out toilets!  Robert's Surgery. All in like 24 hours I think.  

There used to be a wall here.  No more!  What you are looking at is the future dining room/kitchen. This is where we will be playing lots of skip-bo and eating with friends and family.  

Stairs going in.

Poof!  Magic.

Concrete cake.  Missing the snow icing, but that was later.

Nerd playing in the dirt.

Picking out knobs/handles/gizmos is still a ways away, but lookee here.  

And here.

And today the windows were dropped off.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Furniture TMI! You're welcome.

Robert is home!!  

So, love ya Robert but back to remodeling : ).

I've been asked about floorplans.  Duh!  How could I forget floorplans?

This is the floorplan of the first floor:


Fun Facts:

* We are adding a front porch.  
* The garage is being pushed out to match the other side of the house. Architecturally this also makes the house look less like a giant kleenex box as Robert has affectionally dubbed it's current exterior state.  
* When the garage gets pushed out it makes room for a guest bathroom on the first floor.
* We are doing a custom built-in-bed which will have shelves that can be accessed from two different directions.
* We are going with a giant deck instead of a deck/patio combo.
* The stairs have been moved from the middle of the dining room/living room area to the wall. 
* The stairs will be one giant bookshelf.  Once our actual shelves are drawn up I will post them, but until then this is the image I utterly adore and have carried with me for some time.  While I know that we may not do exactly this, it's this image that planted the seed.   

 This is the floorplan for the upstairs:

Fun Facts:

* There used to be a two-story deck.  No more!
* My craft room will have a drop-down floor.  
* We have way too many bathrooms.  We just picked out toilets for all these bathrooms.  Trust me.  Too many.  
* We haven't decided if my beloved couch and loveseat from early college days will live in the living room upstairs, but I couldn't bear to sell them at the estate sale so they're currently competing with Robert's exercise equipment.  Note to self: next time you form an attachment to something you bought during a memorable experience with your mom, make sure you pick something small.
* Furniture TMI! You're welcome.
* My craft room will have a built-in desk just like the one constructed at our last house.  There will be room for yoga.  For major collage projects.  For hoarding paper.
* Robert will have all kinds of room to make as many messes as he wants in his office.  

This is a view of the front of our house.  It will NOT be beige.  

And this side view of the house is inaccurate and really not necessary.  We've moved windows around since this drawing.  But I couldn't resist posting it because of the picture the architects chose to depict me.  Hint - look in the backyard.  

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Cape Guy

Robert and I are still at the hospital.  He's working on getting better, and I'm working on my hawkish stare and also my puke-catching ninja skills.  Sigh.  I'm struggling to stay positive because there was another little hiccup - Robert has a bowel blockage due to the morphine which he's no longer on - and there has been little progress today.  I am so eager to get him home so I can nurture him until he runs away screaming.  The best sign that he's all better, right?

I've been organizing a few pictures (see below), sewing something zen (that was almost a casualty of projectile vomit), reading another Susan Branch book (A Fine Romance magically transported me to England the last two days) and researching potential places to submit my poetry to (I'm guessing any journal who publishes Donald Hall and Ted Kooser will probably like my stuff too, right?).  I'm ready to laugh with my bestie again and take him home so we can be with our golden lover pies.  

Until then, there's Cape Guy.  Cape Guy is a sort-of jogger who's faster than pedestrians, more festive than other people because he wears a cape and totally able to zig-zag on and off sidewalks.

Thank you Cape Guy for making my gloomy, snowy day a little brighter.  

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

I think they have the wrong idea about me

As most of you know Robert had some pretty serious back pain back in 2013.  Turns out that a little wad of gum - which is code for benign tumor - was back there.  You know how your mom says don't swallow your gum?  Well, this is what happens if you don't listen.  

Robert's pain went away, and the tumor didn't cause any more trouble so it was left alone but closely monitored.  The last scan at the beginning of this month showed that it was time to take the tumor out, and the sooner the better so that Robert wouldn't have any complications from its growth. Yesterday Robert had surgery to remove the tumor, or 'peel the tumor off the tip of his spine' as his doctor so elegantly put it.  

It was a success!  Robert had a dural leak, which is just code for spinal fluid leakage - which is why there's a code for it - and that has slowed things down a bit.  He was perfectly flat for 24 hours but has risen from the bed into a sitting position in just the last hour, which is lovely because I can see his face better and he doesn't have this crazed woman staring at him hawkishly through a curtain of unwashed hair.    

He is talking more today and seems a little more interested in his surroundings.  He even ate a little, and hopefully by the end of today will have the catheter removed and with assistance, be able to move around a bit.  It took longer to get him sitting up than anticipated so we'll just have to see how the day plays out.  The doctor told us he should be able to go home Thursday or Friday.  We should also have pathology results in the next couple days to find out whether the tumor was all that gum Robert swallowed as a kid or if it's the tidy little bundle of hair, teeth and kneecaps that belong to his secret twin.  

While he was in pre-op he asked me to lean closer.  

I think they have the wrong idea about me, he whispered while nodding at the nurse.  

Why, I asked.

First they stick me in a dress, he said while pointing to his gown.  Then they put me in pantyhose.  He showed me his compression stockings (once again more valuable code language), and now jewelry, he spat as he shook the myriad of plastic wrist bands.  

We giggled quite a bit about this before they took him to surgery.  Today, after nearly a day of mostly grunts and moans from him he made a small noise. A friend of ours was visiting and we paused our gabbing to ask Robert what he needed.  I think they have the wrong idea about me he croaked as he drifted back off to sleep.  

Last night, at some ungodly hour, admidst the chaos of nurses coming in and out, groaning furniture being shoved around on the floor above us and a unreasonably loud intercom, there was this:

A very jolly ladybug spent many joyous minutes moseying around Robert's phone.  After awhile the ladybug flew away, ready for its next delivery of luck.  Or it could have been Robert's reincarnated twin flying in for one last goodbye.  

Friday, January 15, 2016

I’m going to sit on the floor and wait for the dogs.

My goals for 2016 have a lot to do with my goals from last year

Family.  Spend time with Robert.  Leave doors open.  Call people.  Cuddle the furry beasts.  Any time I’ve had a few extra minutes and am not opposed to getting hairy, I just flop on the floor wherever I happen to be and wait for the sound of two goldens (and sometimes Robert), to figure out that I’m on the floor somewhere in the house.  I plan on continuing this.  I’ve checked with Rose and Ella (and Robert) and this is at the top of their New Year Resolution list as well.  Wouldn’t that be terrible if I were to sit on the floor awaiting the sound of two dogs (and Robert) to come rampaging through the house only to hear a very disconcerted grunt that means Sorry Lady. Cuddling was not one of our New Year Resolutions.  Go cuddle yourself if you need love. 

Writing.  I plan on continuing to write every day in some way whether it’s an idea, poem or blog. 

Xylophone.  I still want to learn to play the xylophone.  My dad even managed to find one.  It needs a little love, and I need a lot of patience and lessons, but I am super hopeful that I’m going to not only going to learn how to play, but also learn to play Hans Zimmer’s You’re So Cool.  I actually managed to contact a person who gives xylophone lessons last year and even made an appointment, but then Robert pulled me aside and said something along the lines of, are you nuts?!?  We’re remodeling and with tennis, writing and the library you’re already never here.  And now this?!?  The nerd was right.  Sigh.  But this year, no matter what obstacles try to get in my way I am getting some mallets in my hands one way or another.

Silliness.  What do you think?  Have I been silly enough?  I certainly think so, but there’s always room for improvement. 

Positive attitude!  Last year I wanted to give more hugs and less frowns.  This year I certainly want to keep the frowning in check.  Especially after someone told me about the whole resting bitch face phenomenon.  While no one has positively confirmed that I have one, whenever I feel like there’s something negative going on behind my face, like in my mind, I quickly think of poodles in tutus or Victor Borge’s phonetic punctuation and that fixes it.  There’s a good chance that I’ve accidentally slipped into scary clown face for a second, but hopefully everyone is too busy looking at whatever amazing scarf I’m wearing that day and won't notice any kind of face mayhem going on.

More Positivity, MORE MORE MORE.  I have a tendency to be a little insecure.  This year I’m going to make a grand effort to knock it off and try thinking the best or, if I cannot scrounge up any positivity, think nothing at all.  I am going to create a blank space and invite only positive stuff to write on that blank space. 

Embroidery.  I am just now starting to tackle some fairly outlandish embroidery ideas.  This year I just want to keep going, make art when it makes me happy.

Tennis/bicycling.  Yes.  Yaaassss.  

Balance.  I will always struggle to find a happy balance between the fried chicken part of my brain and the tennis part of my brain.  I feel like I spend some days indulging (rap music, fried food, driving/cussing/ eating cupcakes for the hell of it) and other days dizzy with productivity (tennis, sewing, cuddling).  I’m becoming ok with this.

Reaching/Encouraging/Growing.  I will continue reaching out.  I will continue helping writers in every way I can.  I will continue growing, unless I’m having too much fun acting like a 12 year old boy.  And I will continue to dance.  I’ve been doing the stanky leg every chance I get.  I’m surprised my legs haven’t gotten fed up with this and just walked it out.  HAHA.

Learning from others.  I will always look up to my brother Scott.  I’ve spent 30 years looking up to him.  This year I am going to pay extra attention looking for strengths in others like Scott and not only celebrating those strengths, but also borrowing them.

Listen.  I will also continue to listen, not only to others, but to myself, unless I’m being a total asshole and then I’m going to sit on the floor and wait for the dogs.

Yoga.  This year I really want to get back into yoga.  I have felt disconnected from my body lately, sometimes feeling a bit stiff or on the flip side, moving so fast that my spirit lags behind going whaa? 

Dream Home.  I also want to get our house finished, and really try to win Robert over on the things I’m rooting for, and maybe compromise, but in the end, have a place to call home and share with family and friends.

Extras.  I’m also hoping to make time for travel, lots of reading, and finding out how to make the perfect roasted Brussel sprouts with siracha mayo drizzle, but we’ll see what happens.   

What are your goals this year?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

I would have baked you a cake

With the holidays over and bitterly cold temperatures popping up more days than not we've had many cranky patrons at the library. One poor giant of a man couldn't get his 7 ft tall self into his smart car after someone parked too close to the driver's side.  I'm sure the weather had something to do with his crankiness when he presented his problem to library staff.  We've also had a rash of loud squabbles and temper tantrums that encompass all age groups.  

Thankfully there have been some very fine and happy moments that have mostly outweighed the negativity. One teenager, after getting a new library card, reached out and shook my hand and thanked me.  Another teenager, in a very straightforward manner, told me that he had many Hannah's in his family and that the name must mean angel because all Hannah's were very kind to him.  He left the library saying, I just met another angel!

Also, one day I pulled out a doll from lost and found and handed it to a little girl who thought it had been lost forever and the relief and joy that consumed her entire tiny self nearly overwhelmed me as well.  

And today there was a lovely interaction between two patrons.  It was the kind of interaction that fills me with contentment and a sense of belonging.  That must never leave the library feeling that cannot even be smooshed by a thousand temper tantrums.  

A lady came to the desk and started to hand me an abandoned coat.  Another lady immediately swooped in.  

Doris!  That's my coat!

Greetings and cheek smooching were exchanged.  It was very apparent these two ladies were pals.  There was a lot of loud laughter and chatter, a lot of how's so and so and are you still doing this and that and will you be there for such and such.

At the end of the conversation the lady who found the coat said, If I had known you were coming I would have baked you a cake.

I wanted to say, why not always have a cake ready in your car any time you come to the library?  That way you have one just in case you run into a friend.  If you don't run into your friend it won't be any trouble at all for the library to take the cake off your hands.

Friday, January 8, 2016

porta potty serious

Our remodel is officially serious enough to have a porta potty!

Lots of crazy structural problems are being fixed. Old stairs have been taken out.  Two headers were installed (thick beam thingies).  The space is starting to take the shape of the house it's going to be.

This is the upstairs space we were living in just a couple weeks ago!  As of today there are no stairs to get to it...  But don't worry.  New ones are going to be put in. 

Even the two-story porch is being removed.  

We are snug as can be in our little rental.  Sure, one of us has to stand in the tub if we both want to be in the bathroom at the same time, and there are scary crickets in the basement.  But it's away from the construction and hubbub so we are content.  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

I’ve always been supported

I cannot remember what prompted me to take home Demi Lovato’s cd, Confident, from the library.  Perhaps it had something to do with the song, Confident, which is pretty great.  Or maybe it’s because it was returned with another album I like.  I’m a sucker for checking out unknown cds in a pile of greats. 

I’m not sure, and quite frankly I wasn’t that impressed with many of the songs on the album.  Except for one exceptionally powerful one.  As soon as Father came on I disappeared into the stacks to listen to it.  When I first heard it I felt so incredibly sad.  It’s a very powerful song about Demi Lovato’s rocky relationship with her father, whose passing inspired this song's fruition.  

My dad has always been my biggest cheerleader and has gone to great measures to remain a constant and positive force in my life.  I am silly because of my dad.  I am musical and athletic because of my dad.  I am a writer because of my dad. 

It is easy to take my dad, and other people as well, for granted.  I’ve always been blessed with amazing people coming and going and often staying in my life.  I’ve never been alone.  I’ve always been supported.  I hope that the love I give is just as much as I receive, and just as constant and vital. 

This song really puts my relationship with not only my dad, but with all my loved ones, into perspective.  It shines a light and says, hey, who let you sing your fool head off for hours when you were a kid and not only that, encouraged you to keep singing?  Who spent hours and hours tossing tennis balls at you and then always found enough money to share a footlong cheese coney with you after every tennis practice?  Who put a French horn in your hands and taught you not only the scales, but also Tears in Heaven and all the hymns you cherished?  Who gave you time and energy and thought you were interesting even when you were annoying? 

After listening to Father again a growing sense of empowerment soon left little room for sadness.  Father isn’t a pity trip.  It’s a brazen portrait of the emptiness Demi Lovato paints with her voice, a very childlike and beautifully flawed voice that becomes raw and powerful during the chorus.  Adding grace and depth to the vocals is a gospel choir that steps in and out of the song, letting Demi Lovato take the lead when the lyrics are particularly vulnerable and adding an incredible boost of power each time she sings of forgiveness. 

If you are listening to this for the first time, make sure you are alone.  Before you call whoever it is that you’re going to say I love you to, listen to the song again.  If you listen to this song again, it will give you the gift of composure and empowerment, and maybe even a little confidence.  I certainly find more confidence in this song than the title track. 

I know some of you have people in your lives that are a lot like Demi Lovato’s father, and that you may not feel the same way I do when I hear this song.  That’s ok.  Just know that I am here, and I’m always ready to share a footlong cheese coney with you and listen to anything and everything you want to say.  Even if you want to sing it to me in a terrible voice.  I’m here for you. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

strange message

It took a handful of seconds to interpret this strange message that I found in a book today.

Do you give up? 

Activities for Today: Play, Lunch, Read, Dinner, Dance Party.

This could easily be a list of one of my days!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

starting the new year with family and kitty water

Look who we bumped into?  Robert's sisters and brother were in town for the holidays, so we all had a fabulous dinner with lots of silly and exciting conversation.  

From left: Robert, me, Jen, Abby & Teddy

Robert and I also had a wonderful New Year's Eve playing games and eating delicious food at Hunter's house.  Of course we brought the girls, who were thrilled to slobber all over Hunter and drink kitty water.  And oh, also get as close to Elmo (Hunter's cat) as possible.  

Friday, January 1, 2016

My Dog Skip

My Dog Skip is a rollicking jaunt through Willie Morris’ memories of his adventures with Skip, his boyhood dog and constant companion.  Skip is no ordinary dog, nor is the bond that Skip and Willie share.  In this playful and beautifully written memoir Willie writes about the years he spent with Skip, each page bursting with hilarious shenanigans, canine loyalty and ferocious exuberance.

Skip and Willie’s adventures are numerous and often outlandish.  Skip is a privileged dog who “drives” the family’s green DeSoto, roams the town with Willie, eats as much bologna and raisin bran as he likes and plays football with the boys.  Both Willie and Skip are pranksters who delight in all varieties of mischief.  Whether it’s mixing in a bit of flea & tick powder and castor oil into a batch of oatmeal cookies and giving them to the society ladies in town or borrowing a cow for a little surprise in the high school auditorium, the mischief is always inventive and incredibly amusing. 

Willie and Skip are rarely apart.  Whether they’re hunting roaches for a fishing trip or playing a game of football or baseball, Skip is firmly devoted to Willie.  Skip even walks with Willie to and from school, curls up with him at night and bites his toes to wake him up in the morning.

Willie’s lively sense of humor is boyish and mischievous, and his attention to everyday ordinariness is beguiling.  Each exuberant escapade will leave you mesmerized and delighted.  You will be right there in the story, throwing chinaberries on a fall evening, squirrel hunting with an enthusiastic Skip and wandering the streets of a small town in Mississippi.  During an amusing description of kudzo Willie states that a cow who tarries too long in a field of kudzo will soon disappear.  Reading My Dog Skip is a little like that old wives tale.  Willie’s memories and lush storytelling will reach out and ensnare you until you all but disappear into the story.