Making Progress

So, I’m still getting ready to host the neighborhood party tomorrow night. The thinking I started on Monday is slowly turning into a situation where I’ll shortly run out of time to think and have just enough time to actually do what I’ve been thinking about. And what better way to prepare for a party than by treating myself to a pedicure?
Our house is clean and the yard looks as good as it could with the cool evenings of Fall and the drying up of summer flowers and foliage. Yesterday evening, I cleaned the cement patio. Yes, I come from a long lineage of patio and sidewalk washers. I’m sure it started in Sicily, made its way to Brooklyn, NY, Florida, Long Island (as if it’s it is it’s own state), Pennsylvania, and alas, here in Virginia it has descended on me. Oh, and my oldest sister in Florida gets high on having a clean patio too. I just don’t like to be surrounded by cement or bricks which are stained. And besides, how could I have the neighbors over without first scrubbing the ground with a gallon of bleach and a broom. And, oh, the power of the “jet” on the dial of the garden hose nozzle really cleans things up. While quilts that need to finished and possibly started float through my mind, I scrub the back door too. If it weren’t pouring rain today, I would have scrubbed the front door just before I left the house for this fine pedicure I’m enjoying.
While on the ride here, I had WTOP news on the radio. I had to shut it off. Holy shit is our world in a mess. For fifteen minutes I forced myself to listen to the news about serious turmoil everywhere which is dividing nations by religion. “Serious turmoil.” Is turmoil ever not serious? It’s frightening and fucked up all at once. I’m careful right now to project a neutral stand on politics. What good officers’ wife wouldn’t? However, our president has not maintained our Nation’s long-standing stellar reputation that our country is a force to be reckoned with, and that scares the day lights out of me. Sure, I worded that phrase improperly , but not turning back. Ooh, this foot massage is good.
I still have wine, beer and grocery shopping to do, but not necessarily in that order. And, have to settle on what main dish I will be preparing. I’ve thought about it–don’t worry–just have to choose which one I’ll make. And now, during this amazing/ pressure-point filled foot massage, the fear of more deployment for our friends, acquaintances and a jillion other American military members is swirling in my mind.
I plan to take photos tomorrow evening. It will be a happy time I just know it.

Encountering the Equinox

Photo on 9-22-14 at 12.36 PM

View from kitchen table right now.

It’s a Monday.  Not just any Monday, but the Monday which marks the beginning of the week (actually five days) I have to prep our home for a neighborhood party.  For me, the beginning stages of getting the place ready (it really isn’t bad at all–in fact, just surface organizing) means that I have to sit here at the kitchen table just to think while gazing out the window and crunch down (lunch) on some chips and salsa (my guilty pleasure).  It’s perfect thinking weather–outside.  I am inside.  Ooh, I think I’ll make a pumpkin/floral display like I did a few years ago when my parents were here for a hurrication.

The Fall Equinox will be here this evening just after 10:00pm.  So, this is sort of the first Monday of Fall, as well.  A thought just popped into my mind to go with a bit of a Fall theme for the party (I never claimed to be a genius).  These gatherings are a monthly event in our village and we take turns rotating and volunteering our homes for the evening.  Block partys, bunco, book clubs, walking club and play groups are something very commonplace when you live on an Army Post.  Neighbors become family.  Our family has been extremely fortunate to have and have had some great neighbors who we will always welcome back as neighbors again–if you are reading this, and lived by us at some point and we were friends, you are indeed welcome back too.  If that does not make sense to you, then you probably don’t understand the military life of moving or not moving, but having your neighbors frequently move away–and then being somewhere long enough to actually see former neighbors move back.  Our is a unique situation because we have been on this Post waaaaaayy too long by most (okay, all) standards.  Oh, and we are sort of hosting this event at our house with our immediate neighbors and, since they have a brand new kick-ass RV and my husband has a Harley, and the neighbor two houses down has a camper, we decided to give our cocktail party the theme of a Recreational Vehicle Show!   An alley runs behind our house (we are five houses in a row with nothing but woods behind us), and we have invited all the neighbors from the rest of the hood to park their RV’s or motorcycles out back.  How many RV’s, campers and motorcycles could actually be in our neighborhood you ask?  We will see.  We’ve had a good RSVP, I just hope people actually participate and bring theirs to show off.  I’m thinking of playing the music of the 1950’s–which should be easy through Pandora or iTunes Radio.

Photo on 9-22-14 at 1.10 PM

Heap of Junk on Kitchen Counter

The air is crisp and the sky is bright blue–perhaps you can see a glimpse of it through my kitchen window photo?  My husband is TDY for a few days, which usually means I will stay up too late and NOT sleep very soundly.  My sleep neurology is really wacky, so I take meds to stay asleep (not meds to fall asleep), and when my man is away, I take a quarter of a dose because I will otherwise sleep so soundly that neither I nor one of my five alarms would be able to wake me up on time to get the kids where they need to be in the morning–like, school, for example.  We picked up two giant, potted, yellow mums this weekend and I’ve set them symmetrically on the front stoop (‘porch’ if you are unsure about ‘stoop’).  I’ll need a clean sweep of the countertops in here, and ideally, I should clean out the coat closet in the front foyer.  Nothing says, “Welcome To Our Home,” by not having a proper place for your guests’ jackets and coats.  Just look at the mess on that section of counter.  Notice the spot in front of the bat phone?  Yep, you guessed it, that belongs to my husband–a barely noticeable teeny, tiny stack of envelopes and a notebook.  My side is complete with 3 different purses so I’ll always be able to quickly match an outfit before I walk out the door (actually, the beautiful black leather favorite is upstairs for some reason today).

Fall brings about an energizing motion of cleaning and organizing.  I’m hoping I get that kick in the butt any minute so that I’m not scrambling to do everything on Thursday or worse–Friday morning.  That would suck if I procrastinated that long, but it would not be the first time.  After all, I’d like to have the entirety of my ‘thinking’ done before I can even start doing.  Just they way I roll.

Is It Obvious?

So, I just happened to glance up at my blog name and header.   If you ask me (go ahead, ask), how long its been since I’ve sat at my sewing machine, I would tell you that I am there quite frequently.  When I glance back at the past two years’ posts, I’ve written nothing about quilting.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve even posted on the subject in at least four years!  Yes, I am still the hobby quilter I’ve proclaimed myself to be, but I’ve turned into more of a sporadic quilter.  Another thing I’ve noticed and may have written about eons ago, is that quite a ridiculous amount of unfinished quilts are lying about around here.  I think I’m up to twelve or one or two more than that, which is definitely more than I’ve ever written or spoken about.  I could use some help getting those to completion.

Sometimes, I think that I would benefit greatly from a life coach.  But not just the type that I would visit once a week or so, but more like the type of coach who could be here to accompany me all day and she would carry a stopwatch and be forever steering me in the right direction.  I need to be kept on a short leash (I have dogs so I can’t help but use that phrase).  Seriously, my kids are disasters with their personal stuff, and at this moment, there are stacks of clean, folded clothes longing to be put away, but they can’t.  The drawers in the kids’ rooms are hideously overstuffed with rumpled up mounds of everything.  When I do organize their drawers (at least twice a year), the kids “ooh” and “ahh” for a few days and when the novelty of knowing exactly where everything is wears off, they are back to shoving and turning over and digging to ensure that all of my beautiful folding handiwork is destroyed.  A life coach would help me manage my time and my kids’ time properly so we are all on a regular schedule of organizing our clothing and other essentials.  I use the term ‘we’ loosely; my kids don’t do shit on their own unless I’m standing over them furiously pointing out what needs to be picked up, thrown out, put away or burned.

A life coach would be with me in my sewing room (which I really love being able to refer to it as such) steering and directing me to stay on track while aiming to finish everything before I start anything new.  I try.  I plan.  I envision what it would be like, but still, I get sidetracked and my creativity conquers all sense of priority and I wind up spending time choosing and cutting up fabric for hours and then spend weeks turning it into something amazing and then, just before I am about to finish it, I get bored with it and set it to the side.

So, I wonder, is anyone reading this crap, and has it been blatantly obvious that I have not written about what I enjoy doing most?  I was not even aware of it until this evening.  Maybe a lower level of consciousness prevents me from mentioning my embarrassing habit (no, it’s more like a character flaw.  Maybe it has become obvious that I should remove the header that reads “A hobby quilters journey with MS,” and replace it with “A persistent un-finisher’s journey with MS.”  Maybe.

P.S.–I just proofread this, and I am so pleased that I did not once mention how that fuckin’ disease made me feel today.

Pound Salt

Two days ago, my SIL called to tell me about an article she had read of scientific research which linked dietary salt consumption to MS flares. Followed up by her telling me, “so cut down on your salt.” While I so very much appreciate her looking out for me, I’m not going to cut out salt or stop using it. In fact, while preparing dinner this evening, I munched on tortilla chips dipped in salsa–both very salty and delicious. After dinner, I cleaned up the kitchen, grabbed my iPad, got comfy on our luxurious leather sofa.

I opened Facebook for the first time today, to see that a dear friend posted to me what is probably the same article that my SIL spoke about, except I know that the friend fully read and understood the article for what it was. It was not a warning nor did it provide a definitive result which would lead to thinking about lowering your salt intake to avoid a flare. Protecting yourself from complications due to high blood pressure, yes, but not to avoid a flare. If it were that simple, that information would already be known, and although people would still have MS they would be completely flare-free. And, I’m so tired of the people who claim that flares will diminish if I tried to have a lacto, ovo, wheat, meat, eggplant, tomato, coffee, tea, chip, chicken wing free diet. I’m not tired of my friends and family, I’m tired of all the infomercials and healthy living websites aimed at startling into submission.

And, here is something to think about…if reducing salt avoids flares, what would MS then be? Here is the article, should you be the slightest bit curious about it: http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/high-salt-diet-ms-attacks-is-there-connection/

A Reader From Malta

I’m curious about my readers.  There are very few readers, but I’m interested in where they are from, and for no particular reason.  So, I checked out my stats, and I had three separate visitors.  One is from the US, one from Canada and the third from Malta.  Hmmm…could there actually be a human being in Malta that somehow linked to my blog.  No way.  However, if you are reading this, and happen to live in Malta, how did you find this?

Four Hours For Driving

I have two kids. I retrieved one from middle school at 3:15 and brought her home. After a two minute bathroom break, I was back in the car and sat in sloooow moving traffic for one hour down to the high school. My girl and three others in our carpool got in the car after Cheer and Field Hockey (my kid is in Cheer) and we began the ride back up. I dropped three carpool kids off at their homes (whew–one of them lives 6 miles north of our house–that was ridiculous because then it was 6 miles back down south) and then back on base to come home. It was 6:58pm when we pulled in. Holy road travels! Between the two schools and drop offs, I was behind the wheel for four hours. Four Hours! I’m flippin out of my mind exhausted. I have pain behind both eyeballs and my vision has been blurry all day. In fact, there was not one road sign I could see well enough to even read. I was on I-95, and could not read the giant green signs that indicated the name of the upcoming exits. I don’t have time for pain or any doctor visit, test, evaluation or treatment. I’m praying it away. That works for fundamentalist types all the time. In fact, when I was in high school, I met a girl who prayed her virginity be fully-restored. Really. She said it worked. The fact that she had already had a baby at 17 meant nothing, because her prayer was heard and she had been SAYYVVEDD! Pain pain go away, you’ve fucked up enough of my day…

Why’d I Bother Getting Out of Bed Today?

  So, really, why did I bother getting out of bed today?  I’m on the verge of something.  I just know it.  I’ve had the telltale pangs of fierce flashes of pain sporadically dashing through my head for about a week.  Until today, I attributed it to the extreme heat of last week.  And, yes, while heat can certainly trigger an attack, so can inadequate sleep, as well as, well–anything, really.  The slightest bit of stress–whether it seems like real stress or not–is what gets me.

  I’ve had a summer free of pretty much any outside stressers at all.  We went on an amazing eight port European cruise on the very first day of the season, and there was the typical stress my kids can create which has not been a big deal at all, especially since the youngest has been on ADHD meds.  For me, I define “outside stress” as anything that requires urgent action.  For example, getting a child to school before the first bell rings, or having any type of appointment on my calendar.  Yep, those things stress me out like you would not believe.  And it may not even feel like stress at all to me.   In fact, I’m cool with all of it.  Kids are back in school now–just began their third week.  If you followed my driving patterns from Point A to Point B, back to Point A and then of course, back to Point B, and then another round of Point A to Point B, etc., you would quickly detect a zigzag pattern spanning too many miles.  It’s ridiculous, but I guess probably typical for a “stay-at-home-mom” who has 2 kids each in a different, remotely located private school.  We could have sent them to public schools and have them commute by the big yellow school bus, and my life would be free from all of that commuting stress, but we want our kids to get a classical education (the kind where cursive handwriting and proper grammar and sentence structure is critical).   So, while aggressive, road-rage, red-faced driver types are what most would consider key elements of a stressed individual, I am not at all any of that.  My brain and body tire easily just by deep thinking, moving, temperature change and decision making.  Decision Making.  How ridiculous.  Even deciding what to write about here is a strain.

  Today began at 4:30am by dragging myself out of my warm bed, which is covered with 800 count/100% Egyptian cotton sheets, bordered by four posters and lots of luscious fluffy pillows…  Into a teenage daughter’s room–enter if you dare–seriously, she has crap strewn everywhere in that room.  Somehow clothes seem to jump off of her body and on to the floor.  During the night, some even jump off of the hangers and out of the dresser drawers as well.  It’s always an obstacle course in there.  I constantly hear my voice telling her, “…if there were ever a house fire…you’d be tripping over stuff to find the door…”  Anyway, waking her is always a pleasure.  On my way back home from driving her to the bus stop, I found myself at red lights and not being sure if I stopped when they were green rather than red–like: did I let them turn red while my car was already at a standstill?  That was clue number one that I should get back in bed after my next kid drop off but, no I did not listen.

  At 6:45am by dragging myself upstairs, I put medicine in the mouth of my soon-to-be an actual teenager and coaxed her out of bed–this too is always a pleasure–not.  Waking my kids up is like waking the dead.  I got her to school by 7:50am and then a quick trip to the grocery story, where it took me too long to make the decision on what cut of meat to purchase for dinner.  That was clue number two that I should get back in bed when I get home but, no I did not listen.

  At 9:30 I tried to put the groceries away, but got sidetracked after I took the dogs out, went to the bathroom and read 3 different daily news sites–it was all horrific news anyway.  An alarm went off on my phone to remind me to leave the house at 12:30 to go back to the almost teenager’s school to volunteer in the library.  So, I dragged my sorry self to the kitchen to finish putting groceries away and boom!  The glass bowl I had previously washed which was ready to return to my neighbor–she had brought us some gorgeous tomatoes from her garden 2 nights ago–yeah, that bowl was nudged with my knuckles when I moved some food items on the counter and it skipped across the counter and on to the floor.  It broke in about 500 little slivers and pebbles of glass.  Out came the vacuum.  It took a long time–glass was everywhere–the kitchen, the laundry room, the dining room and near the back door.  I almost tripped on the vacuum.  I was clumsy with the cord and draped it over the back of my neck to quit stepping on it.  Then, I almost strangled myself in it as it caught the hose attachment I was using when the darn machine actually fell on my back when I was down on the floor under and around the refrigerator.  It was time to dump the canister as the filter was all gunked up with glass AND dog hair.  As I poured the canister in the kitchen garbage can, my hand slipped and most of it was poured onto my feet (I had flip-flops on) and back on the floor.  All very evident third, fourth and fifth signs I should go back to bed.  Before I left, I made this sign and taped it to our back door–the door we all use to get in and out of here.  IMG_4862

  I arrive in the school library.  Head over to the cart where about 40 books were waiting to be reshelved.  They were Fiction.  Easy peasy, alphabeticals.  I worked on that for forty minutes before I realized I fucked that up.  A simple task.  A numb-nut volunteer I am; they are going to ask me never to step foot in the library again, I just know it.  These books were not just Fiction, oh no they have a tiny “F1” above the call letters on the spine.  Who knew.  I did not even notice they differed in any way from the books that have the tiny “F” on the spine above the call letters.  Yeah, you guessed it.  The “F1” books have their very own section and that stack is clearly labeled ‘F1” in big, bold characters.  So, I hunted and pecked around to find most of the wrongly shelved forty or so books and then reshelved in the proper section.  By the way, or BTW, “F1” is comprised of fiction books just for the First Graders.  Duh me.  Was this the sixth or seventh sign that I should go back to bed?

  I finish my volunteer stint, my kid and I leave and go straight home.  Believe me, she tried and tried to get me to stop at Starbuck’s, but I refused.  Our car almost got hit by an oncoming taxi cab who swayed over the double yellow line, but my catlike reflexes and adrenaline took the wheel to avoid it.  Definitely need my bed now.

  Ahhhh, we are home, and I get a big cup of ice water and carry it upstairs–to bed!  As I am slinking under the covers and between my luxurious sheets, the almost teenager Facetimes me!!!   Really?  She knew I was on the verge of tears I was so tired.  Tells me she would like to ride her bike to the Shoppette (it’s like 7-11, but it’s not), and I ask her to stay home because I can’t stay awake another minute and I’m too tired to fight with her (the meds wear off just around 4:45pm and she turns belligerent–I know you don’t believe me, but its true).  I’m there, I’ve dozed and I’m enjoying the drowsy–I’ve got boring 5 o’clock news on the bedroom television and it has lulled me to…the phone ringing!!!!  It’s her!!!  Oh, yes, she hit a curb and her bicycle tire popped and it scared her real bad cause she thought it was a gunshot, and I could tell she’s got a lump in her throat making it hard to talk and I could hear the tears welling up in her eyes.  Yep, I have to pick her and her bike up.   I so wish that I had taken a photo of  the back of my car–we shoved as much of the bike in the trunk as possible and let the rest hang out, put the hazard lights on and drove soooo slow home that I almost fell asleep–go figure.

  Ahhh, home again.  The sign remains on the door.  My husband arrives home from work and I could cry I’m so happy to see him.  Soon after, the teenager arrives home–looks (but does not read) sign on door–kicks shoes off and walks in the kitchen.  I give up!  I get in bed for one full hour of uninterrupted rest, and it was good.