Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What A Concept!

Being a fan of Wonder Woman, I get made fun of, sent jokes, stories, etc. Everyone once in a while, a gem lands in my lap (fun!) and today, it's a big ole rock of a diamond!

I have a high school friend who sent me this fabby website. I absconded this pic from that site and decided to forever enshrine it in my blog. There are several wonderful giggles on the site, however, this one not only made me laugh, but it also made me think.....

What a concept!

Grown-down Land. *wheels a-turnin'*

You'll have to read it to get the best concept description, but here's a fun display of it:

'Tis a bit naughty isn't it? It's funny, eye-catching. I love the vintage-ness of it. And the wink! THE WINK!

There is much more to be said and explored. Have fun!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Trust Fund Baby Dream#3: Sisterhood

Solitude. Charity. Obedience.

My soul is compelled to go there.

There are a lot of things left to learn about this faith I've chosen to practice. Realistically, in my lifetime, if I had 24-7 to read for the rest of my days, I still would not know everything. In retrospect, I know I was called to conversion into the Roman Catholic faith. It was that or Judiaism. I considered the Jewish faith long before I ever dreamt of being Roman Catholic.

One aspect of Catholism that I have always been intrigued by and attracted to is the idea of the convent.

I want to be a nun.

I want to be the bride of the Church; the Bride of God.

Sometimes. More and more.

When my best friend in Virginia was married in 1995, she was visiting with a Sister. I am embarrassed to say that I don't know why the two of them had a friendship. However, I remember going with my friend to the convent to visit this nun.

The convent was serene. Quiet. A calm I've never known before then, nor experienced since. The season was Spring when first I travelled there. The meadow around the property was abloom with lavish flowers, tall grass. Butterflies, birds and a lull of a breeze were some of the naturistic gifts I recall from that day. Sister was not dressed in the stereotypical black and white. She did wear the head-dress and a skirt as I recall. Her face, old yet friendly, full and smiley. I remained in awe of the convent from that moment.

That moment, I was agnostic.

I was searching.

I wanted to believe, but I didn't....not yet.

Years go by. I am in Dallas now, a whole new and different life have I. When times are especially crazy, I find myself yearning to go to a convent to find balance. I sometimes see the nuns at Mass. I watch them obsessively. They are such a distraction to me! If anything were to happen to my family, there is no question that I'd look into entering into the convent.

Tonight, I re-read some notes I keep about potential blogs, specifically about my Trust Fund Baby series (is it a series yet??). I haven't blogged lately and have been wanting to, but most of the stuff that's jumped out at me to type about is mostly about my father in law. I'll update that situation later....

Then I went to fetch a picture on Google images of a cloistered nun. I ran across this fun blog.
So... I were a trust fund baby, I'd donate the fund to my home church and enter monastic life. In reading that nun blog, I have already learned so much! I am anxious to learn more about it. For example, I want to know what constitues orders and how does one decide which order they enter? Or does The Church assign you an order? I wish there was a book of visual pictures of all the different orders of monks and nuns and their vestments that I could use as a reference. I have so many questions about it. You know what I like most? NO MAKEUP! You know what I like least? NO SEX!

Being a nun is important work. It's a way that a woman who is subtly empowered can move mountains. For all those critics of Catholicism who say that the Church undermines women do not understand how untrue that rhetoric is. Just because there are no female priests does not mean that women are not influential. This is true today. It's been true since biblical times (i.e. Mary, Mary Magdalene, Ruth, Esther). One way that's so very true is monastic life.

Would you walk away from your trust fund, or even your house, if you were tapped on the shoulder and asked to leave it all behind like Peter did?

Monday, October 22, 2007


It's raining in Dallas today.

For me, I'm glad.

It suits my mood. It suits my phase of life. It suits my general affect.

The temperature has dropped, too. We've been experiencing unusually high temperatures -- mostly in the high 80's and even the low 90's sometimes. In October! It is one of the things I love about Texas....unpredictable weather.

Yesterday, we had a 90 degree day. Today, we'll be lucky to get out of the 50's.

I'm wearing a powder blue sweater, and charcoal grey pants. It feels weird to wear closed-toe shoes.

I'd love to check into a hotel room, keep the room cold and dark and burrow into the plush, pillowy bed.

I'd surely be missed. And that's a good thing. :)

Rain rhymes with pain.
Pain equals growth.
No medicine, please.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Tonight, my FIL signed this universal sign to his youngest daughter.
He remains in a medically-induced coma, healing and strengthening.
He is responsive when spoken to, yet, he seems so trapped. I wonder constantly what his mind is doing. I daydream about what the brain is doing while in this extreme condition.
Since October 12th, we've started (dare I say it??) to overcome the shock.
My husband's family has been discussing all the differently levels of life their father/husband might have if/when he comes out of his .... whatever this is. They discuss the possibility of death....and the levels of death. Will he have any dimished capacities? Will he want to be like that? How do you measure quality of life? And during surgery, if his heart stops, does the medical team DNR or R?
But tonight -- a glimmer of hope that might -- maybe, just mayyyybeeee -- take that decision away from my husband and his mother and sisters. Maybe, just mayyyybeee, my father in law will make the decision for himself after all.
And by the blessing and miracle of him rousing enough to sign "I LOVE YOU" to his baby girl....well, the cup is overflowing with gratitude.
I speak on behalf of my husband's family, and of course, directly from myself when I write: thank you ever so much for your love, your support, your meals, your kind words of compassion, your quiet times of tears, your profound prayers and all the love that you show each and every one of us.
I'll keep you updated.....

Monday, October 15, 2007

Thirty Seven

This day, thirty seven years ago, my parents got married.
Mom had a beehive 'do. She wore a light aqua green dress, with a white sequin design up the middle of the dress. The hem was about mid-thigh, and it was a rather form fitting dress. The year was 1970, so that gives you a clear picture of fashion and how she looked. I'll see if I can dig up and post a picture of their wedding day later....
My mom was six months pregnant with me when my folks got married.
They lived in Alaska.
My (half) brother was about two years old. My dad was playing pool at a family bar that was along the walk home Mom used to make after doing laundry. Mom and Brother stepped into the bar. Brother ventured over to watch the soldier men play pool. Dad propped Brother up on the edge of the billiard table and said, "Boy, where's your momma?" And that's how my parents met.
At the age of thirty, my mom had already been married and divorced twice. My father, thirty-one, married and divorced once before (no kids), was on his way to war. She mentioned to him that she was pregnant but she didn't expect anything from him -- just wanted him to know he'd have a kid out in the world. So Dad says, "Well, hell! I am not such a bad guy to live with. Let's get married." Mom, "okay".
True love! *sigh*
They were married at Santa Claus's house in the North Pole.
I am not kidding you.
Good story, huh?
Happy Wedding Anniversary Mom and Dad....I love you both.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Zeta H

Apparently a victim with an unknown identity at a crash site is assigned a greek alphabetical name as they enter the hospital. (I hope I'm articulating that correctly -- if you are emergency personnel, please feel free to post a correction or clarification.)
An aside: I typically post fun, amusing and hopeful stories on my blog. Sometimes they are serious (e.g. the posts about my dad). I haven't blogged about the more trying times that I've endured this year; suffice it to say, 2007 has been one of the roughest of my life. Today's blog is beyond "trying" and "serious". As always, I appreciate you for you reading my blog.
Back to the story....
My father-in-law was Zeta H for a brief time on Friday.
Friday was a bad, bad day.
It, quite honestly, still feels like Friday.....
Without getting into too much greusome detail, my in-laws were in a horrific car accident on Friday. They were slowing down due to an accident on the highway ahead of them. Then, they were rear-ended by an SUV going no less than 100 mph on a major highway. The wrecker service said there were no skid marks at the accident scene.
My mother-in-law is expected to be discharged from the trauma hospital tomorrow. She has a broken arm and radial nerve damage. She'll be living in my house for an undetermined amount of time.
My father-in-law, who was driving, thankfully also survived the car accident. However, his condition is critical. Most of his trauma is abdominal. The shakiest physical condition is an aortic aneurysm. It's going to require surgery, however, it's so delicate at this point. He remains in a medically-induced coma and we are all hopeful he's going to pull through. There have been miracles along the way that defy medicine. Blessings and light. God is indeed GOOD, even in bad times.

My requests today:
Please wear your seatbelts!
Go the speed limit!
Pray for my family -- lift them up to the Lord and pray for God's will.

~~Thank you for being my light.~~

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Seven Nineteen

So my kids hit milestones this week. My Eldest is an Official Seven Year Old and My Little One is an Official Nineteen Month Old.

Okay, so nineteen months isn't much of a milestone in terms of how we are used to having them: one year, 18 months, 2 years.... But I'm making it a milestone dammit!

And, true, seven isn't exactly a milestone either, but is moreso than nineteen months!

My Eldest had a jam-packed day on Monday. No school because of Fair Day, I took the day off and we trekked to the State Fair of Texas (I typoed that as Taxes -- uh oh). The Jonas Brothers were playing in concert. She loves all those Disney musicians right now. The girls got their faces painted and we packed our bellies with Fletcher's corny dogs, frito pie, pink cotton candy, 7up, Blue Bell ice cream, catfish and fries. I'm sure I left something out. We also endured the most humid, hot Texas day in the blazing sun. Around 6:30, the sun surrendered to some rain clouds and thankfully the temperature dropped. It eventually rained on us and we were wet rats with smeared face pain running down our skins. Yes, I got slimed by glitter paint at some point in the rain. *sigh* Anyway, we had birthday presents before the Fair and cake after the Fair. All in all, I'd say she had a pretty fair day. Pun intended.

So My Little One, whom I blog-neglect (sorry Monkey!), hit nineteen months just today. She's so little and sweet. She's so blonde, still and I can't believe it. She says things to us in sign language and spoken words. She maneuvers her body in ways I've never seen a baby do -- much like Tony Romo avoiding a sack. She loves her Mommy and follows me around every step of the way. When I leave the living room to go to the kitchen, she fusses at me. When I carry her to the bathroom and put her down so I can undress and sit (sorry for the visual), she fusses at me. We are inseparable almost. To watch her curl up in a ball and stick her butt in the air at bedtime is so cute. She worms her way to the corner of the crib and gets in sleep position. "Music" she softly asks. I turn on Raffi's Rise and Shine (odd for bedtime, don't you think?), and she's off to Dreamland. Sometimes she'll smack her lips asking me for a kissie. I ooze with flattery and oblige effervescently. I sweetly smack her all over her face with my kisses.

So, here's to milestones!


Saturday, October 06, 2007

Tree of Life

I spent most of my childhood planting shallow roots.

My father was in the Army. We moved from time to time. We settled in West Texas....a dusty border town called El Paso. Fort Bliss to be exact.

When I was 21, my parents empty nested. That is the last time I lived in the same town as either of my parents. They moved to Hawaii for my dad's final station, and I stayed in El Paso to learn and live life on my own.

I planted deep roots in El Paso. Lots of firsts: boyfriend, job, marriage #1, checking account, credit card. Good friends, lifelong memories all sprinkled with the border culture. My tree is part Mexican (explains my love of tortillas con manzanilla y chile).

In the mid-90's, Dad retired. He and Mom planted their roots in West Central Texas. A town called San Angelo. Dad grew up there and died there. Mom stayed there after he passed away, but has original roots in Oklahoma and California. In (as we call it in Texan) Angelo, she sprouted a new life. I was not at all surprised to see her stay in Angelo even though my brother has his family in Georgia, and I have mine here in The Big Bad City.

With her amazing green thumb, she parted the dry desert-like Earth. She provided loving nourishment resulting in her new roots strengthening. Lo and behold, a tree was born with a mighty trunk of fortitude.

Mom's widowed life evolved into bowling on five leagues, frequenting a lil bar in town, and watching a heckuvalotta TV. She got a dog affectionately named Wild Z. Chihuahua. ("Z" for short.) I never worried about her surviving after my dad died. I imagined two scenarios. One: Mom would have to leave because she is no longer able to care for herself, and the practical reason to move would be for medical necessity (and she'd leave kicking and screaming the whole way!), or two: she'd die out there on that little slice of God's Earth to which she tenderly attends.

Ten years ago, I stretched my own roots from far West Texas to Northeast Texas, specifically the Dallas area. Corporate job, new friends, marriage #2 (there aren't any more of those to report. hahaha), two new saplings (kiddos), a mortgage, yadda yadda yadda. I feel solidly planted here, but admit to feeling very much like a leaf in the wind, fluttering in the wind and breezes, trusting it will take me on adventures.

Today, a new adventure.
Today, a new tree being planted....or rather, roots aspread.
Today, change.
Today, a new life for me.
Today, a new life for Mom.
Our family tree continues to be sinuously writhing through Texas.

Mom has made the decision to move to The Big Bad City. We've spent the last week getting her an apartment. It's just up the street from me. My husband and kids drove four or so hours last night to Angelo, spent all day today packing and loading a UHAUL, then drove back to Dallas. Drove Mom HOME. It was about a six hour trip. UHAUL, Mom's packed car, and my packed minivan convoying HOME. Together. All. Of. Us.

Tomorrow, we unload the big orange truck. And it will be done. The Tree of Life lives on.

Everyone in my house is sleeping right now and I'm enjoying the quiet. I'm soaking in all of the goings-on, and trying to digest the events. Truthfully, it's overwhelming.

Y'know, this is a *big* move for Mom. I can't describe the magnitude. For a 68 year old fiercely independent woman, this is a concession almost. I wonder if she feels as if it's a surrender? I wonder if she feels defeated by aging? I wonder if she thinks about this the same way I do?

It's a big move for me, too. I have not been particularly close to Mom most of my life -- geographically or emotionally. I don't have that deep friendship with her that so many mothers and daughters have, although as she and I have both aged, we have fewer defenses and more commonalities. I'm trying to keep the "no expectations" rule in place, but I admit to feeling very nervous and worried. I worry that we'll have to endure a "boundaries" growing pain.

Metaphorically, trees symbolize strength, longevity and life-giving. They rarely know boundaries. Or do they? City trees do. Mom is now a city tree.

I am more hope-filled than fear-filled. My hope is that our roots are intertwined in harmony so that our family tree is always giving life to others around us, recieving life from those same others, and mostly creating longevity, strength, and a shady picnic spot accompanied by musical wind-played leaves to those who need it.

Photo credit: me. Taken on my wine-tasting trip to NY and PA on September 7, 2007.

Friday, October 05, 2007

About A Boy....

I have never met him, but I know his father. I know his father very well. His father is my first ever boyfriend.
I wasn't allowed to date until I was sixteen. I turned sixteen in January. By March of my sixteeth year, I had a boyfriend.
This boyfriend was a football player. A big one. He was (and still is) a good bowler. We met at a teen bowling league. He was a year ahead of me in school, and attended a different school than me. Socially I benefitted by that circumstance because I attended *two* proms, *two* homecomings and all that jazz. I dated him for two years. Half way through my senior year, I broke up with him, mostly because he was the jealous type. I didn't (and still don't) tolerate insecurity. So we split.
We attempted to be friends in the coming months, and that summer of 1989, he moved to California. He got married and had a babygirl the next year. We fell out of touch.
In 1995, his sister got married. She and I have been friends as long as I have known him. (She is my age.) By the time her wedding rolled around, her whole family was living in Washington state. She asked me to be a bridesmaid, and I accepted the honor.
When I arrived for the wedding, a lot of attention was on me. My first boyfriend's wife wasn't too keen on me. I walked into a cauldron of emotional danger. I hadn't seen or talked to the ex in about five years, and was really nervous. I did my best to keep to myself but was naturally curious about his life. It was a complicated visit -- tense, strained, heavy. The wedding came and went, as did I.
I kept in close touch with his sister for many years, but now we rarely speak. Perhaps once or twice a year she and I will exchange a phone call. It'll be a long one, and it's like time has not passed. I would ask about him from time to time, keeping up with him peripherally.
I remain amazed at the divine intervention that drew he and I back together -- in a new level of relationship. Friendship. God weaves such a perfect fabric in life.
Back in February, my mother was having surgery and I was in the waiting room. On my road trip to Mom's, I called his sister since it had been quite a while since we last spoke -- just catching up. She wasn't home, so I left a message. She called me back as I was waiting for Mom's doctor to finish surgery and come give me a report. The first thing she tells me is to call her brother because his youngest son, who is only nine, has cancer -- an aggressive, rare cancer.
She relates: He almost died at Christmas, Jackie. We all went and said good bye to him, and the doctors started doing some treatments and he's stilll iffy, but he made it through that initial scare.
Me: How is your brother doing with all of this? It's got to be so hard.
I half-way listen to her answer because I'm imagining how hard it must be for their family, and I'm praying thanksgiving that mine is healthy.
Me: Well, I think about your brother often; you know that. Just let him know that I understand to some degree what he must be going through and that I'm praying for him.
Her: Why don't you call him youself?
Me: (hard swallow) I can't. You know how his wife feels about me, and I don't want to cause any extra stress. No.
Her: She's grown up a lot. I think it would do my brother good to hear from you.
Me: I can't...that would be so weird. Just tell him I'm praying for him, okay?
Her: No, Jackie. This is his number.
I jot down the number.
Her: Call him.
Me: I'll think about it....
We hang up. I look at the clock and wonder about my mom. My heart raced and I slightly panicked at the notion of me possessing his phone number.
Wits gathered, I decided to give him a call. After all, this isn't about all that teenage stuff; this is about a human reaching out to another human.
He answered the phone and I was a mess, but kept it cool. The relief I felt just hearing his voice was incredible. I was so excited and nervous.
He was shocked to hear from me....and elated.
We spent the next 30 or so minutes on the phone. He explained to me the complications and the events how they've played out. I shared my private story of how my dad died of cancer, and all the impact it had on me. I sympathize with his situation. We also do quite a bit of catching up: How is your brother? What's he doing now? How old are your daughters? You get the idea... As we spoke, he was sitting next to his wife and in his son's hospital room.
I cannot tell you how despondent I felt during that phone call, in spite of my joy. It's not right that *anyone* should outlive their kids. And it's all the more horrific that I have an intimate history with man who is experiencing the death of their child. My heart cringes just typing this out.
Since that February day, my first ever boyfriend and I have kept in fairly close touch. We talk to each other about twice a month. While I went on vacation last month, I got a call from him.
Him: Amazing news, Jackie! It's gone. The cancer is gone! They've run all the tests, and it's gone!
Me: (crying) What a miracle! Oh My God.
I spread the news. I remain in awe.
It had been a couple weeks and I hadn't heard from my first-ever boyfriend. My mind became heavy with thoughts and my heart began to worry. Something is wrong. I sense it. In the depths of my being, I felt the reason I hadn't heard from first ever boyfriend is because the cancer isn't really gone. It's back. And first ever boyfriend is coping with something sad. It was a hunch that turned out to be true.
Yesterday, he called. I didn't even say hello when I answered.....
Me: I'm so glad you called! I'm worried. Your son has been on my mind. Is everything okay?
Him: Huh? What? Oh! It's back. The cancer is back, Jackie. He's gonna...pass away.
Me: Oh no. Oh no. ohnoohnoohno What are the doctors saying?
Him: They can't tell me when it's going to happen, but they confirm they can't do anything. It's all in his head. Tumors all over his brain. It's in his liver and in his bones. He's had a seizure, and he'll probably have more. We have a pharmacy of medicine at home!
He and I talk about the medical facts and he relates the family decisions that've been made. He also chokes up and of course, I am crying.
His son is at home. They checked him out of the hospital and took him home to die. Hospice has been arranged, and now it's just about comforting him in pain, sickness. It's about helping him cross the Threshhold to Heaven.
I am crying and grieving for a boy who I have never met. I will never meet him. I've never even seen his picture. And I'm sad about that. I'm sad that my first ever boyfriend and his wife and two daughters have to endure this nightmarish fact of life. It doesn't seem fair. Of course, turning to my faith, I *know* that death is a part of life, and that there is a life lesson being taught/learned. I will rely on my faith in the coming months as I pray no behalf of this family, and for God's mercy to take the little nine year old quickly, with minimal pain.
The first-ever boyfriend doesn't think his son will make it till Christmas. If that turns out to be the timeframe, it marks a year of fighting the Good Fight. A year that that little boy has pulled people together in amazing ways. A year of pain, of laughter, of making peace in places that peace didn't know before. A year of growth. A year of God's amazing work.
I am imagining wrapping the sick yet blessed child in the Perfect Blanket woven by the Fabric and Hand of God.
Godspeed, little boy. Godspeed.