Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Cast, a Quilt, and an Angel

Tomorrow, he loses the cast.

From quilt and cast

For Wally, the cast has been a nuisance standing between him and his pirate ship in the bathtub, an everyday accessory of his favorite color, and a hindrance to his getting a good grip on the rock climbing wall at the playground.

For his brother and sisters, the cast has been a weapon to be feared in the car, and, as of yesterday, the culprit of "what's that smell"?

But for me the cast carries fond memories of that night.

That night that followed that day.

We awoke with a start. Down an adult, since Somebody was traveling, we had only 20 minutes to get everyone ready and out the door, with extra pressure having played our "overslept" card the day before.

With my own hair wet from a quick shower, I asked Kennedy to put the boys in the car while I did Ellie's hair, and a ponytail's time later Wally was crying in pain.

The sound of the school bell loomed, so with no time to solve the mysterious arm cry, I buckled him up and scrambled to beat the clock.

When we got home, I found the door from the garage to the house locked, and remembered Somebody nagging me to carry a key, which I hadn't gotten around to yet. The only key was with Kennedy, at school where we had just left. Now grateful for having thrown shoes into the car, I drove back, walked in wet hair and all, and grimaced as the receptionist announced over the intercom, "would Kennedy please bring her house key to the front desk for her mom".

And Wally was still crying.

I went to make Stevie's lunch, and found grain moths rampant in the pantry.

And Wally was still crying.

I went about my day, running errands and doing whatever it is I do that sucks time, talent and energy and leaves nothing but crumbs to show for it.

And though Wally had taken a break from crying he was not using his arm.

I picked up Ellie from dance that evening.

And Wally had returned to crying.

Sensing a bad night ahead, we went to urgent care for 2.5 hours of being trapped with all 4 kids in one room, where the nurse felt so bad for me she brought my kids popsicles, crackers and juice boxes and me a Diet Coke.
From quilt and cast

And Wally was still crying.

We left at 8:30, still no dinner, to run to Michael's for the supplies to finish the science project, then got dinner at a drive through.

And Wally was still crying.

Pretty much that night, Wally was still crying.
He couldn't get comfortable in bed, so I finally resigned myself to the fate of the two of us spending the night in the big leather chair. Fall is a fleeting flirt in the South, the sun warms the days, but leaves cold nights. You don't know whether to run the AC or turn on the furnace, so you do neither. This night I was uncomfortably cool, so searching for something to keep us warm, I happened upon the quilt, the heirloom quilt.

I love heirlooms, but own very few. This quilt I begged off my mom, not because I knew some great history behind it, but because I was drawn to the retro vintage fabric in it. I learned it belonged to Grandma Nelson and was likely quilted by her mother, Grandma Johnson. I got it with the intention that it would keep me warm, not realizing it would also keep me company.
From quilt and cast

As I sat that night, drifting in and out of sleep as Wally whimpered in pain, I felt so alone. I was exhausted from a chaotic day, and now I couldn't even take respite with a few hours of sleep in my comfy bed alone, and it would be another day before help would arrive. It was 2am, there was no one to call to buoy me.

As I snuggled beneath the quilt with little Wally, I felt a strange but calm sense of strength and love exude from the stitches. I thought of my great grandmother I have never met but is revered as any woman could be in my family. I thought of her struggles, losing her husband with a house full of children in the Great Depression.

I thought of Grandma Nelson, a woman I never knew to say a bad word about anyone, a woman who found a contagious joy in every child she loved. I thought of my mom, as solid as a rock, who never sits down and never seems tired. I found strength in these women, in my heritage, and in the quilt. I felt their spirit and their love wrap around me through the quilt. And when morning came, I didn't want to fold it up and put it away.

I heard the most wonderful talk in my church's conference where a leader discussed how God sends us angels to comfort and help us, some living some not:

In the course of life all of us spend time in “dark and dreary” places, wildernesses, circumstances of sorrow or fear or discouragement....But I testify that angels are still sent to help us, even as they were sent to help Adam and Eve, to help the prophets, and indeed to help the Savior of the world Himself.

So to me, the cast reminds me of that night, and a small part of me will be sad to see it go, but my heirloom now has another story.
From quilt and cast

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Love Letters . . . from the edge

warning - schmaltzy blather ahead, written by a desperate housewife

Dear Somebody,

It's the end of a long week - my nerves are frazzled, my patience worn thin, my coping skills at rock bottom. We are all wondering, "when is Daddy coming home"?

I like to see myself as an independent woman, who can run her life with no interference from a man. And my relationship with you is more like Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" than Air Supply's "Two Less Lonely People in the World". But you are my partner. My Depeche Mode "Somebody".

I want somebody to share the rest of my life . . .

. . .listen to me, when I want to speak, about the world we live in, and life in general

From love letters

. . . though my views may be wrong, they may even be perverted, he'll hear me out, and won't easily be converted (well you could be a little more easily converted)

From love letters

to my way of thinking, in fact he'll often disagree, but at the end of it all he will understand me
From love letters

someone who'll help me see things in a different light
From 2007

all the things I detest I will almost like ohh, there were too many pictures for this one :)
From love letters

but when I'm asleep, I want somebody, who'll put their arms around me and kiss me tenderly
From love letters

though things like this, make me sick, in a case like this I'll get away with it

So, somebody, come home. And I hope you're still wearing your tie, cuz I'm going to grab hold of it and pull you close for a kiss you'll remember every time you get on an airplane without me.
From Nashville

Love, Punk Rock Girl

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Swing Voter

From election

So, it was every bit as fun as I thought it would be to vote for Obama. And McCain I have to say gave one of the most gracious concession speeches I've ever heard. I was proud of him, and grateful to have the old McCain I actually love and respect back.
From election

But as much fun as that vote was, I felt a victim of geography of sorts last night and would have loved to cast votes in a few other races, such as:

Senate Race in North Carolina - Hagan v Dole

Senate Race in Minnesota - how fun to vote for Al Franken

Prop 2 in California - standards for farm animals

Prop 8 in California - equality of marriage

House Race Minnesota - Bachmann (diarrhea of the mouth surrogate) v ?? don't even care who

Senate Race in Alaska - Stevens (the convicted felon) v ?? again don't even care who

House Race Florida - Mahoney (crazy scary philanderer of interns I would like to disown from my party) v ?? again I don't even care who

And most of all:

LUMPKIN COUNTY GEORGIA SCHOOL BOARD - Unc (aka Brandon Reynolds) - but he was a winner even without my vote!! Yippee!!!
From election

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Party On

From rally

When I picked Stevie up from preschool yesterday they told me they'd held an election.

Me: "Who'd you vote for?" (cringing and worrying since I'd failed to properly educate (brainwash) him)
Stevie: "I voted for ROCK OBAMA" (it sounds pretty hip when you say it that way

The results:
Obama 2
McCain 7

Ellie's class was pretty similar
Obama 4
McCain 15

All this talk of schoolyard elections got me thinking about my childhood. I first discovered I was a Democrat in the 3rd grade when I was one of 7 who voted for Jimmy Carter (I think there were more than 100 in my grade - ouch).

I hear a lot about people being proud to be registered Independent instead of belonging to a PARTY and I began questioning whether I'm less intelligent or open-minded by limiting myself to my PARTY. And of course, I decided, NO.

Just because I don't agree with every Democrat or everything they do, doesn't mean I can't join the PARTY and be proud. It doesn't mean I have to vote for every Democrat. It just means the place I find the most of "my people" happens to be there. And I will not hold my nose while I vote or hide behind being undecided. I am Decidedly Democratic.

So, last night I decided to teach the children how to PARTY and took them to the Democratic rally at the state capitol. It was so thrilling to hold signs and cheer for Obama and the other Democrats.
From rally

From rally

I must give proper credit to the calendar gods who so nicely put election day on the heels of Halloween though, because the boys were mostly entertained by their candy.
From rally

But the girls got into the music and the mood. They know how to PARTY.

Today, we've lived up election day - first PARTYing with the playgroup (we also made blankets for wounded soldiers and piggy banks to save change to help the poor) and after we vote, we head into town for a results PARTY.

We're making history, my PARTY and I. And as I face the lines this afternoon to join them, I will remember to PARTY ON!
From rally

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Matchless Masquerade

When he insisted he was going to be a pirate for Halloween, my heart sank.

I live for Halloween. I go to great lengths to create costumes. I was on a quest to beat Elvis, Einstein, Marilyn and Jackie from last year.
From halloween

And we were pirates two years ago.

I tried to get everyone on-board for a "resurrection Halloween" where we all recreate our cutest costumes (Anne Geddes flower in a pot? fairy with lights sewn into your dress? anyone? anyone?) but to no avail.

Finally, I came to the realization (after an intervention from my sister and husband) that Halloween, as much as I love it, is not fun if your mom picks your costume (maybe it was a little overreaching of my authority). So, I caved, and no one matched or won a contest, and, to my surprise, it was still fun.

The boys were Pirates of the Caribbean - Captain Jack Sparrow and Davy Jones (for those of you like me who thought Davy Jones was a member of the Partridge Family, no this is the guy with octopus-ish snaky stuff all over his face and body).
From halloween
From halloween

The girls gave up their original idea to be a "Cousin Sandwich" after we saw Wicked. So they were Elfaba and Glinda (and their cousins were Glinda and Nessa). I have to admit, the recreation of the wicked whisper was pretty fun.
From halloween
From halloween

From halloween

And getting Randy to don a wig and stuff himself ala Homer Simpson, was, priceless.
From halloween

When the kids were crying because their candy bags were too heavy to haul up to one more door, we pulled the plug on trick or treating, headed home for witches brew (aka Frito Pie in the South) and the opening bell of the Annual Candy Trade (wallstreet has nothing on these shrewd cousins who take their loot very seriously).
From halloween

From halloween

Wally could not have cared less about the trading, he just sat and quietly ripped into his candy, probably eating his weight in it based on the tell-tale wrappers scattered beside him.
From halloween