spiraling down

it’s like things couldn’t get any worse. and then they did. unimaginable. the comfort and safety i once felt in having home was taken away from me, twice more. once, by an irresponsible roommate who failed to mention all the facts. second, by my alcoholic mother who i have abandoned all hope for.

in the past thirty six days:

  • i’ve moved my family five times (tomorrow being the fifth, and i’d like to think final)
  • i cried when i had to tell my daughter “good bye”. it was the hardest two weeks of my life.
  • i stood out in the rain, not sure which direction i should go.
  • i spent 7 days in a hospital. reassessing all that was good. all that is bad.
  • i’ve slept in seven different beds. only one of them being my own.

and then i rejoined reality. faced up to the things i knew i needed to do. the boundaries i had to break. people gave me hugs, patted my back. i listened to the stories of addicts, how they survived their disease. i went a week without speaking to my baby, seven days. consecutively. all those disturbing thoughts resurfaced. and then i spoke to Father Ambrose. {he says, “establish yourself”}. visited by my Pastor {he says, “things are bad, but you aren’t at your worst”}. Saturday morning hours ticked away. and then she came home to me.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

we are running away together, so to speak.

tomorrow, Monday, we are going to be leaving l.a. county and moving to ventura. it makes my insides feel like jelly when i think about it. the moving around is very unsettling. i crave stability. routine. a reason to make me wake up every morning and fight this brain disease. i trudge through the day, taking the medications that they really don’t know much about. i eat out of necessity, i try to make sure the kids get to eat first. so when i make that move, i have this painfully hopeful expectation that things will get better. i know that they could get worse, i’ve seen them get worse. but my outlook is a brighter blue than the dreary gray area in which i live. i will have a bedroom. Scout will sleep with me, filling the empty space between us. she has a better chance at getting an invaluable education. she will see more green around her. most importantly, she won’t be around the people who hurt her.

i have plenty of goals, to do’s, if you will:

  • buy our own bed
  • open my Etsy shop
  • get part time work in a veterinary office or dog grooming salon
  • finish reading “the lady of the rivers
  • finish knitting Frippery (with obligatory shots of cuteness all around)
  • maintain budget with tax refund. commit. be serious. make it work.
  • try the best to fit in somewhere else. starting over.

starting over. that’s pretty heavy. but that’s what i’m doing. i’m not even going that far (maybe 20 miles away). but far enough that i have a new chance. my dreams of walking into class tomorrow morning have, once again, been upset. there will not be any college courses this semester. but i took the initiative: i filed for the most recent financial aid paperwork. i applied for admission in a college close to where i’ll be living. i’ve already researched veterinary assistant job openings. i’m polishing my resume, long forgotten for nearly ten years. i’m making bigger decisions. i’m choosing not to live in my anxiety. i just don’t have the stomach for it. literally. i have to move on. i have to forget certain incidents that have occurred the past seven months. i am just learning this thing called forgiveness. i have to learn that giving up is not an option. thinking of what my actions could have done to my daughter, they frighten me. she is six. i hope that she will grow up and forget this. i pray to Jesus, just let her have a chance. i want her to have the chance that i didn’t choose to take.

tomorrow. it seems so far away.

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In Real Life

In real life there are no commercial breaks or retakes. The most break time I get is when Scout might take a nap or when I’m reading into the wee hours of the night because the Ambien hasn’t kicked in yet.

In real life relationships are quite complicated. They are not the fairy tale stories of Disney where there’s always a happy ending. Relationships take a lot of work, effort and time. Sometimes they flourish into a loving marriage. Other times they are destroyed by the alcohol that one is addicted to.

In real life there are endless hours of being on the phone, making appointments, dropping off library books, football practice, laundry, taking the dog for a walk, grabbing the mail, going to the grocery store, and on, and on, and on.

In real life there are those rare moments. Late at night the rain is still dripping from the palm tree fronds onto the puddles that have pooled outside our bedroom window. I trace Scout’s shadow and tell her how very much I love her. I tell her how things will be ok. I tell her that I will always be there for her. I even talk to Dalton. Some nights I find myself petting the bed where he used to lay in the crook of my arm purring ever so gently to rock me back to sleep.

Yes, there are those moments when life ceases to exsist if only for a moment and I can just be. There are accomplishments, heartbreaks, bouts of laughter, shaking my hips to imaginary music, dreams, inspirations. A plethora.

I think of all of these things as I watch Scout twirl around in her big girl birthday dress, pressed and pleated.

I think of these things as I carefully make the stitches that bring a present together, something I hope the kids will enjoy unwrapping on Christmas morning.

I think of all of these things when I pet Rogue and realize she’s gotten so big in the past three weeks that we’ve had to adjust her collar one notch and start walking her with a choke chain.

It’s in everything I do.

Feet

When I was born, way back in 1980, I was born a month early. I should have come on December 27th. Instead, I was impatient. Not much has changed. I decided that November 27th was a much better day to come into this world. Such a good day that my mom had to leaving the holiday cooking and her two pumpkin pies. And even though she reminds me that she couldn’t have her pies, (I was a C-section baby), I still think that she was ok with me coming into her life a month early.

But not all was great. I was born with club foot. I was born 5 lbs. 10 oz. When I came home from the hospital my feet were adorned with tiny casts on my feet. I only weight 5 lbs. coming home. Nine months later I had corrective surgery.

For years I had to wear corrective shoes. And back then, they were not the least bit cute. Not to say they are today. Corrective shoes haven’t come very far, design wise. And in those years I went through all types of teasing. I’ve come to hate my feet. They are completely unperfect.

There is a little extra skin that comes over my big toe. Of course, I could have cosmetic surgery. But really? Who has the money to waste on that? I have a little mole on my right big toe. My pinkie toes curve underneath my fourth toe. My feet have high arches and wide circumference. They are completely unperfect.

When I was in 11th grade I thought it would be cool to ditch school with friends. We’d decided that spending a day in class was nothing compared to spending the day at a pool. I suggested we walk right out the front of the school. What could be easier? But the boys. Sigh. The boys decided it was safer to climb the fence by the continuation school and walk the block and a half to the pool. That particular day I was wearing overalls. Overall clips are dangerous. Mine got stuck on the top of the fence. Rather then scale the fence slowly, as I was making my way to freedom, I decided to jump. Unfortunately I jumped down too hard and shattered my right foot.

Fast forward a few years later. I was playing softball, with my then boyfriend, at an army base. You’d figure an army base would have well trimmed baseball fields. But alas, they don’t. As I was playing left field I went for a fly ball. I ran. And ran. And then my right foot got stuck in a gopher hole. My foot went one way, my body the other. I can still remember the feeling of that tendons tearing. My ankle dislocating. And the warm rush of blood that went to my face.

It’s been six years and my foot isn’t the same. I can’t walk on the sand, or any uneven surface, without the pain. I can’t walk for long periods of time. (I’m a complete drag at the fair or Disneyland.) And every morning I want to scream to the heavens. There are times when I dream of finding an African medicine man to heal my foot. Sometimes I ask Shawn to hobble me, like in “Misery”. Yes, the pain is that bad.

So finally, (bear with me, I’m almost done), I found a Dr. that will be performing a miracle. Tomorrow. Yes, I know. Short notice. I do apologize. Tomorrow this miracle man is going to put a pin into my ankle joints and fuse them together. This will straighten my foot, stop my joints from rubbing each other, and it will, virtually, eliminate the arthritis.¬† I won’t be gone for long, a day or two at the most.

The healing is what will be the hardest part. I will be in a cast for 6-8 weeks. Three casts, mind you. And then in a non weight bearing walking boot for about three months. Then physical therapy. My hopes are that I will be able to walk in the next six months. Without crutches. Without a wheelchair. Without a cane. Without the help of someone else.

feet

Just with my unperfect feet.

30 Days of Happiness

Over at Erin’s blog she started a Thirty Days of Happiness theme. I wanted to follow suit because the past few days, and I’m sure the days to come, have been and will be emotionally rough.

Inside I’ve felt anger, hopelessness, sadness, guilt and fear. Dalton’s death is still too new. Sometimes I coast through the day and I don’t give him a thought. But then I look under the coffee table as I sit on the couch to knit. He isn’t under there swatting his tail, left, right, left, right. I expect him to be sitting on the balcony soaking in the setting sun. But then I open the door and there’s nothing there but stucco and an empty herbal pot.

I need to dig down and find some happiness. I can not let his death consume me. I know that he wouldn’t want it that way. So I’m going to buckle down. I’m going to live 30 days of happiness.

The pictures all represent some type of happiness I have in my life, this minute.

It’s the end of the Summer.

I’ve been sketching and drawing in my spare time. Shawn bought me a new book and Derwent pencils, (my absolute fave).

I’ve been knitting the Rhiannon socks, but truth be told it will be slow knitting. (How hard does a sock have to be? Try knitting four charts at the same time. Mind you, they don’t all have the same row count.)

I also picked up a copy of Ysolda Teague’s new pattern from Twist Collective: the beautiful Vine Yoke Cardigan. I’m using some Cascade Ecological Wool that I had in my stash and already I’m quite pleased. I am thinking I might have someone make me some special buttons to compliment my new sweater.

And I have to say I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading. I think it’s suffice to say that it will be keeping me quite busy next week. The low down: I was born with club foot and had corrective surgery when I was a day old. Then when I was sixteen I jumped down off a fence and landed so hard on my right foot that it broke. Then I broke it again, playing softball, in 2003. The second time it didn’t heal and for the past six years I’ve had a lot of swelling, numbness and pain. I found a Dr. who can reconstruct my ankle and foot. It’s going to require a 3-5 hour surgery. A few days in the hospital. Crutches. And a lot of books. A whole lot of books to get me through 5 months in a cast/walking boot.

Any suggestions?

Littleness

I am a little stressed. I stare at the computer screen. Words are not flowing. There is no fathomable rhythm. There is no starting point and no ending. Today is just one of those monotonous days.

You know, the type of day where you just go through the motions. I didn’t ask myself why there were so many dirty dishes in the sink this morning. I just used a little soap and washed them.

The type of day where it doesn’t really matter if the bed is made or not. I just pulled on the corners of the comforter a little and made it a bit more straight.

The type of day where I answer the phone and I really don’t have anything to say to the person on the other line. There’s very little to discuss that hasn’t been mentioned before.

There are little problems around me.

I say little because I am trying not to make a big deal of them. At least until the time comes.

But my best friend in the world is dying. Little by little. My Dalton, my sweet Dalton. The cat who thinks of bringing me pigeons, mice, rats and squirrels as offerings of love. The cat who prefers to drink out of my cup rather than a water bowl. The cat who stretches himself¬† as far as possible just to lick the last bit of yogurt from the cup. The cat who I’ve loved relentlessly the past 9 1/2 years. My friend. My friend who squints his eyes in love and understanding. Each day gets harder and harder. I know what I must do. It’s a matter of being prepared. I think to myself that once he’s gone a piece of me will die with him. I think it already has.

In the shadows of this situation there are others happening in which I want them to be little problems. Things that can be fixed with a little ingenuity. But they are overshadowed. School can wait a semester until funding can come through. School will always be there. Another surgery? My hopes and dreams of feeling normal. Being able to walk in the sand instead of limping to the coastline. Being able to go for a run rather than cry into a pillow. Being able to walk for hours and not have to rest for “just a little while”.

It’s the little things, isn’t it? The phone calls in the middle of day. I love you. No, I love you. I love you more. Popsicles that drip down the back side of our hands. A bowl of popcorn while watching a much loved movie. Closing the bedroom door and reading a good book. Taking a nap while my arm envelopes my baby, making us one once again. The feel of fabric long forgotten in a dusty box. A handwritten letter.

And even a little knitting. On little needles. And little yarn. And just a little progress.

Rhiannon

Summertime

I will be the first to admit that I am not a summer lovin’ kind of gal. I much prefer the colder temps of Autumn and Winter. I especially don’t like racking up a high electric bill for central air that doesn’t really keep us cool. But there is one thing that I do appreciate about our one-hundred-and-four-you’ll-burn-your-feet-on-the-asphalt type of weather: the pool. We are lucky enough to have five different pools to choose from, (luckier when they are all clean). So today the kids and I had an little outing to the cool oasis. There were ruffled butt bikinis and a lot of brave diving and flips. And a bit of soaking up the sun, (which is very nice when you spend a week in the confines of a sterile and bleach infested hospital, again).

So I’m home and only enjoying some of the Summer. I am looking forward to the cool nights where you can walk around barefoot and not worry about blistering toes. I am looking forward to knitting with heavier, and warmer, yarns. I am looking forward to taking another college class, (still yet to be determined exactly what class). I am looking forward to warm drinks and early evenings.

In the meantime I’ll try to enjoy the Summer in the best way I know how.

SundaraUnderthesea

: With Sundara Yarns:

Dalton

: With spending extra special time with Dalton :

Couch

: And with trying my damnedest to get a still shot of my Monkey Girl and her two year old antics. :

It’s good to be home.

I Can

  • I can make my own strawberry jam.
  • I can still ride a horse.
  • I can sew a quilt.
  • I can read Scout a story that will make her fall asleep.
  • I can speak French and Italian and I know American Sign Language.
  • I can tell you anything you want to know about Marilyn Monroe.
  • I can memorize a knitting pattern in a matter of minutes.
  • I can preserve memories.
  • I can write a poem, short story and maybe a book, (one day).
  • I can dye and cut my own hair.
  • I can scrapbook for 32 hours straight, (I really did this once).
  • I can sell the most Girl Scout cookies.
  • I can recite every word from “Clue” and “Candyman”.
  • I can tell you every song that plays on my iPod on the first beat.
  • I can spay/neuter a cat/dog on my own.
  • I can still remember the one time my dad took me to buy an ice cream.
  • I can recall every moment of Jem and Scout’s birth.
  • I can stretch a dollar.
  • I can pitch a tent on my own.
  • I can save a life.
  • I can creat my own recipes.
  • I can knit for myself, I can knit for others.
  • I can throw a baseball faster than anyone I know, (still).
  • I can bowl a 180, (on a good night).
  • I can change diapers with my eyes closed.
  • I can capture a moment with one photograph.
  • I can still quiet the room with my cooking/baking.
  • I can sing every song from “The Little Mermaid”.
  • I can still roller skate.
  • I can eat an entire 1 lb. box of See’s Candies in one sitting, (I don’t recommend this.)
  • I can remember to stop and smell the roses.
  • I can appreciate a sunset.
  • I can make a friendship bracelet.
  • I can pick out the freshest cantaloupe.
  • I can raise my eyebrows and make Scout laugh.
  • I can beat Shawn at Spades.
  • I can make my own jewelry.
  • I can sew my own clothing.
  • I can wrap a gift like a professional.
  • I can connect with other people.
  • I can appreciate the smell of the dusty old stacks of our library.
  • I can remember the exact moment Shawn told me he loved me.
  • I can remember the feeling of Scout kicking me when I was pregnant.
  • I can.