Thursday, December 30, 2010
The entire way up she was singing a little ditty I remembered from my childhood; a sweet little song about a little fish and.......something about a..........wait a second.
I had heard this song many, many times in my life, but last night, I heard it.
As in, I paid attention to the words:
"bo wszystkie rybki maja pipki, tra la la la la la la"
which, word for word translates to:
"because all little fishies have vaginas, tra la la la la la la"
Only in my house would an 85 year old woman sing her heart out about an aquatic vajay-jay.*
Kinda puts Nemo in a whole new light, doesn't it?
God I love my life.
*My grandmother, who survived WWII in Poland, was widowed in her thirties, and raised three kiddos on.her.own in a country where bread and butter were scarce commodities is a rock star, and as far as I'm concerned, she can sing about any damn thing she wants to. And that includes but is not limited to dirty little ditties about the gynecology of fish.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
"Um, she mentioned she would like a new phone, one that she could take decent pictures with."
"Well, what do you recommend?"
I bit my tongue, a wise ass remark about his lack of the holiday spirit trying hard to escape my gritted teeth.
"I suggest the iphone. It's super easy to use." (translation: even my technophobe mom could handle using it)
"I'll take a look. Call me back if anything else comes to mind."
I grabbed my iphone, headed upstairs, and asked my mom to take some pictures of my sister and I, excited to get her hooked on what I think is the smartest smartphone around (unfortunately, I've inherited some of those anti-tech genes and feel like a superstar when I seamlessy manuever through my myriad of apps. It makes me feel like a genius. Or at the very least, much less like my mother).
I was just sure this was the phone for her.
And then, this happened:
There's like ten more of these. No joke.
I'm going to spare you the rest.
I had to call my dad, before it was too late.
"Dad? It's me. I made a mistake. I know an even better phone that would suit mom perfectly. And you can get it at Target."
"Really? Okay, which one is it?"
"I'm texting you the info now. Bye!"
Monday, December 27, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Our village truly rocks.
But one visitor stood out among the rest, and I think you'll agree that it's not hard to see why. He stopped by and brought his violin, so that he could play Andrew's favorite song about a little ol snowman named Frosty.
Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Nathan: (his adorable little sister Berkeley is holding up the sheet music, and our Ian is watching in the background)
A Boy and His Violin from Jo Ashline on Vimeo.
This was the happiest our son had been in over a week; this is friendship at it's best.
The grown ups singing though?
Not so much.
Friday, December 17, 2010
rolling down the corridors
on an unsteady office chair
a flash of dirty blonde hair
whisking by our window every three minutes
She is not tied down by an IV
or wearing standard issue jammies (the kind that make you feel exposed and vulnerable)
her tween jeans tight around her ankles
a soft mask protecting her face from the rogue germs that fester in this place
I am curious, on the fourth day,
as I watch her at the nurse's station
her backstage pass an obvious indication
that she has been here before
We strike up a conversation
her dry sarcastic humor
on par with others her age
her wry smile hidden behind
sterile gauze, but, I imagine, it is a beautiful one
I'm going home today
she tells me
her head cocked to the side
hands wrapped around the back rest
I've been here three weeks and i'm outta here at 10
going to Disneyland tomorrow
and I picture her with her friends
blending into the background
of the happiest place
I mention my son
motion to our room behind me
tell her when she asks
that he has CF (among other things)
i've got it too
she says, in between her seated pirouettes
the really bad kind
she spins in the chair
I'm gonna need a lung transplant in two years
my ears ring
and for the first time
in a long time
i am at a loss for words
and for the first time
in a long time
i do not think about my son
white. fair. blessed
i am not amused
by the irony
i watch her roll away
in the opposite direction
and later mention her to a nurse i thought i liked
good luck with that
she says to me, in a tone most use when talking about
there aren't enough lungs to go around
and I consider smacking her
for the second time
in a very short time
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
It has been a steady decline
gaining momentum in the last few months
and two weeks ago, you could no longer finish out your school day
mommy driving to pick you up, before lunch
carrying you in my arms past laughing children
biting my tongue all the way to the car
because some of the things that want to escape my lips
wouldn't sound very nice
We need answers
and no one has any
my belief in those white lab coats
Look Me In The Eyes When You Speak About My Son
A new setback
forces us to reside
in room 529
I brought your portraits
the ones where your eyes shine
and they captured that smile
the one I haven't seen in
I brought those portraits
just in case
someone makes me out to be a fool
when I tell them
that you are
disappearing on me
I made an exectuive decision tonight
waited until you drifted off to sleep
and left you in the arms of your daddy
because I am tired
and not as brave as some say
and the walls were closing in on me today
so I needed some fresh air
I am home now
who needs me too
(though it's hard to believe when I watch how strong he is, that you two are even related)
and guess what?
Someone sent us a box of Christmas presents
and it felt so good
(we will bring yours tomorrow)
and we sprayed whipped cream
straight into our mouths
and we giggled
and it felt good
and i feel guilty
I will see you first thing in the morning
and we will make this right
because there is no other option
and i love you
and i love you
Friday, December 10, 2010
It’s been a little over a year since I decided to stop watching the news. Something about waking up to a steaming cup of coffee and up to date information on local slayings, drug busts, and deadly swine/bird/armadillo flu outbreaks unnerved me and made it hard for me to focus on my job as a kindergarten teacher:
“Okay kids, even though our streets are ravaged with crime and it’s no longer safe to eat spinach without getting the runs, we’re going to try our best to focus on today’s lesson about penguins and their habitats, which I’m sure are free from illegal caches of weapons and explicit song lyrics, which studies have shown contribute to gang violence and teen pregnancy. When was the last time you saw a pregnant teenage penguin kids, huh?”
Now that I’m back at home full-time, I’ve done my best to avoid the daily drama on my local news channel, and prefer to get my information on the internet, which is always a source of reliable information on the issues I really care about, like who Taylor Swift is dating and where The Situation is holding his next book signing. So it was by mistake that I found myself watching Eyewitness News yesterday morning and by mistake I mean that I was too lazy to change the channel.
The news story du jour was about some house in Escondido that was full of explosives and after several days of deciding how to go about diffusing an entire house, the local fire department was summoned to set the place on fire. Because that makes total sense.
So of course, channel 7 did an exquisite job of really capturing the essence of this “Breaking News” and I felt as if I was right there alongside them, which made me want to jump into the burning building.
“Good morning Los Angeles. Carl Rogers here, with Eyewitness News. We are going live to Ken Adams, who is out in the field at what appears to be a house fire in Escondido. Ken, how’s it going over there?”
“Well Carl, the firefighters just started a fire.”
“Ken, how would you describe the scene?”
“Well Carl, there’s a house, and it’s on fire.”
“Okay, and what about smoke? Is there any smoke present at this time?”
“Yep. Plenty of smoke.”
“And what does it look like?”
“So there’s fire and smoke. What else can you tell us about what’s happening at this very moment?”
“Absolutely nothing. There is nothing else to tell. The house is on fire, which you can clearly see on your screen.”
“Now Ken, I don’t want to put you on the spot, but I’m going to take a risk here and ask you to speculate on whether you think the fire is hot.”
"Um, yes Carl, the fire does in fact appear to be warm in nature,”
“So would you advise people to stay away from the immediate area?
“Yes Carl. Everyone but you.”
“Thank you Ken, for that riveting play by play. Next up, what could possibly kill you in mere seconds while you are sitting in the kitchen watching the local news channel and how to lower your risk immediately and probably save your life and the lives of your loved ones, because this strikes without warning and really only happens while you’re watching the news in the morning, like you are right now. Right after these messages.”
Monday, December 6, 2010
We’ve had a heck of a time getting Andrew to brush his teeth lately.
And given the fact that his two front teeth have a combined surface area equivalent to a regulation football field, most things within a three mile radius find their way onto his chompers and we’re forced to brush. Often.
A few months ago he began to freak the hell out every time we mentioned it was time to go brush his teeth. We tried new toothpaste, a colorful array of toothbrushes, and clever little songs to help him stay focused, motivated, and off the ceiling.
Nothing seemed to help and it became a three man job: One to lure him into the hallway, one to nab him once he came out, and all three to heave him into the bathroom, pry open his mouth, and scrub the bejeezus out of those humongous teeth.
Then one day, I came upon his schedule, a new one that his lovely therapist made about the same time “let’s brush our teeth” turned a lovely afternoon into a spastic bloodbath. And on this new schedule were new PECS cards that help Andrew with his vocabulary. And one of the new PECS cards was for brushing teeth.
And this is what it looked like:
What. The. Hell. Is. That?
Good God, no wonder he’s petrified of brushing his teeth.
First of all, is that supposed to resemble a head?! Where are the eyes?! And the nose?! And why are all the teeth one size?!
This is supposed to help him understand the world better?!
After seeing this, I’m too scared to brush my teeth tonight.
I wonder if they make one for housework?
Or paying the bills?
Or eating leftovers?
Yep. Some pictures are worth a thousand words.
And this one starts with WTF.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
“Hi there. Can I help you?”
“Yes. I’m looking for some (insert name of super important overpriced supplement here) for my son, who suffers from autism, epilepsy, and cystic fibrosis. We usually use this brand, but is there another one you know of that’s better?”
“Ya…..I don’t really recommend you use that supplement.”
“Really? Why not? It’s supposed to be great for continued brain development and a scientifically proven source of vital nourishment, especially for children who are diagnosed with severe cognitive delays.”
“Right………but it’s super bad for the environment.”
“You know. It’s not eco-friendly.”
“You don’t say?”
“Oh ya. It really hurts the world’s fungi distribution on the southeastern portion of the continent of Asia, thereby affecting the natural habitat of the Purple People Eater, and at this rate, it may never recover.”
“Oh. Wow. I. Did. Not. Know. That. Um, so, instead of buying, the um, stuff that may really help my son, you know, because it’s not eco-friendly, what would you recommend I buy instead?”
“Why, this lovely, earth-friendly bottle of cabbage root of course!”
“And, this will help my son?”
“Oh. Well, I don’t know about that, but it’ll definitely keep that Purple People Eater safe and sound.”
So, of course I did what any rational human being would do under these circumstances.
I grabbed that cabbage root
and shoved it up his……
(okay, maybe not, but I really, really, wanted to)
Thursday, November 25, 2010
9. You use words like "me, mine, I, my, and myself" when asking how everyone else is doing, i.e, "I am myself curious to know, for my own peace of my mind, just how much better my life is than my sister's, who is my flesh and blood and related to myself?"
8. You go on a strict no-carb-macrobiotic-vegan-wheat grass diet and it's your turn to host Thanksgiving this year.
7. You insist on breastfeeding your newborn during the main course, so that everyone can eat together.
6. You make references about your political views whenever you have the chance: "Could you please pass the mashed potatoes, though I hardly see the point given that our current educational system is crumbling while we pump all of our hard earned tax dollars into the bloated prison system so that Johnny has somewhere to go once he drops out of third grade and bludgens his piano teacher with that protractor I got him for Christmas last year. Say it with me everyone, IMPEACH!. Mary, did you put garlic salt in this? It's fantastic!"
5. You drink your dinner.
4. Despite the "we're only buying gifts for the kids this year" rule you and your family agreed upon, you show up with a present for everyone then get pissed and vow revenge when you leave empty-handed.
3. You manage to convince everyone how much fun an "outdoor" Thanksgiving would be and offer to organize the whole thing, and when they show up at the designated spot, you're miffed to find no one else is as excited as you are to eat turkey jerky while sitting on Nascar folding chairs and waiting in line at the local Walmart.
2. You rsvp'd for one, but stopped at a bar on your way to your parents house, and after several shots with names like "Anus Burner," "Red-Headed Slut," and "The Angry German," you befriend a group of traveling goat salesmen from Peru and invite them (and their goats) over on "behalf" of your mom.
1. You announce your affair with your son's best friend's mom who just celebrated her15th wedding anniversary with her husband, a war veteran who is waiting for a kidney, and during prayer ask the Lord to "help speed things along" while winking at your loved ones.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Where do I begin?
Here I lay wedged between two boys
while you slumber away on a twin mattress below
a compromise, you say, until I get off my hiney and implement a viable solution
to what has clearly become a standoff
(I think we are losing)
Not necessarily romantic
but such is our life together
as we take turns
reaching for one another
in the dark
Though I no longer beg you to stay home
and forget work
and forget the world
just you and I and US
my heart still flutters when I catch your scent
as you depart
Job loss - not sexy
Illness- not sexy
Living with our parents - waaay not sexy
neither is an overdue bill
or crappy news from another doctor
or clogged toilets and burnt dinner
or coming home to a Do It Right Now or I'll Have Your Ass on a Platter List
But you know what is?
A man (that's you!) who loves his wife
a man brave enough to make mistakes
and man enough to admit them
a man who throws his head back and laughs when his nutty wife cries at pharmaceutical commercials
instead of putting her out with Monday's trash
Now that's freakin sexy
So step on over that growing pile of laundry, honey (don't forget to clean the litterbox on the way)
and give me some sugar
because if there's anything I've learned these past nine years
it's when the doodie hits the fan
(oh man, why is there always so much doodie?)
there's no one else I'd rather duck it with
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Ian and Mikey are spending the next four days at Joshua Tree.
Mikey calls it "an annual bonding trip for boys and their dads."
I call it Kidnapping.
Though, as far as going against your will goes, Ian was less "help me mommy, please save me from the clutches of my unstable and selfish father" and way more "Daddyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! Let's gooooooooooooo! Yippeeeeeeeeeeeee. Let's get the heck out of here nowwwwwwwwwww!" It just goes to show that kids are stupid.
I gave my husband a comprehensive list of what Ian might need during his stay at the "Rock Climbing National Park of Doom and Death Where Children Plummet to the Unforgiving Earth Below Them While Their Moronic Fathers Drink Beer and Speak Using Only One Syllable Words."
It went something like this:
I hope it's not too confusing for him.
I tried to talk Ian out of going at the last minute:
"You look like you don't feel good honey..."
"Oh mom, I feel great!"
"I'm not convinced sweetheart, let's take your temperature."
"Okay...but I'm fine..I swear!"
"That's it! You're grounded!"
"That's right...um, you're grounded for...four days! ..That'll teach you to swear in this house young man."
That's when my crazy lunatic husband swooped in, grabbed my helpless little boy, gave me a quick kiss goodbye, then darted up the stairs and out the front door before I could charge my taser gun.
Now it's been three hours since they left and he's already behind on his daily requirement of 450 communication transactions (just phone calls and text messages apply) . The only explanation I can think of is that they arrived at the campground only to be assaulted by a pack of wild desert boulder rock creatures with beady pebble eyes who were looking for the last ingredients in their father-son stew and came upon my precious offspring and his dumbass dad*.
*I knew he'd do something to make me regret changing my last name.
Dammit. I shouldn't have rushed into things.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I am Mrs. Jo Ashline.
It only took nine years, but today was the day I finally made the five mile trek down to our local Social Security office and legally changed my last name. I've been using "Ashline" on everything since we first entered into wedded bliss on November 24, 2001, but each year as we filed our taxes, my husband would give me the stink eye.
"What's wrong honey? Do we owe this year?
"You know darn well what's wrong, Ms. Bartlomowicz. Why is your social security number still in your maiden name?"
"I....don't know. I guess I forgot again."
"Dude. Seriously? Change it already."
So, with 372 days to go until our tenth wedding anniversary, I entered a crowded room on the fifth floor of a high rise building in downtown Santa Ana, and permanently removed the last remnant of my days as a single woman.
You can't blame a girl for wanting to be sure.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Today was different though.
Today 7:40 a.m. could not have come fast enough.
I was tired.
Tired from a weekend of tantrums, aggression, non-compliance, spit up food, endless drum beats on solid surfaces, and drool.
Lots and lots of drool.
The truth came to me mid-breakfast, as I gritted my teeth and endured another failed attempt at getting some calories past his pursed lips. He needs to eat alot in order to avoid the feeding tube the specialists keep threatening us with, so when I can't even get him to finish a pint sized bite of something he once loved, it's enough to send my blood pressure skyrocketing and my carb addiciton flaring to new heights. It was in this moment, as he finally let the food past his stubborn mouth only to let it dribble out in small bursts of masticated grossness that I heard the voice in my head:
Go. To. School.
My heart broke into a million pieces as they echoed over and over again, all the way to the very core of my role as his mother. In that moment, at the breakfast table, I just wanted him gone. Not forever of course. But long enough for me to remember what it felt like to miss him. Because without that feeling, that feeling of not being able to exist without him, I'm not sure I could do the things he needs me to.
Now here I sit at starbucks, and it is 11:00 am.
He is somewhere on his school's campus, where I have to believe that the staff is making sure he is happy, comfortable and safe.
I am forcing myself to enjoy this oppurtunity to sit here and work uninterrupted; the smell of eggnog lattes and peppermint mochas and the faint hum of conversations that I don't have to pay any attention to are a much needed respite from the anger and impatience that infiltrated my morning today.
And that growing familiar tug at my heartstrings when I picture my little boy is a pretty good indication that I'll be ready to greet him with open arms this afternoon; maybe not with the kind of gusto that conquers the world, but at least the kind that gets us through bedtime.
On a day like today,
that just has to be enough.
Monday, November 8, 2010
the events of this life changing day
A mother among mothers
she believes him this time
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I didn't feel the excitement that everyone seemed to talk about. It was over in minutes and I don't remember feeling any different.
The second time I was a little more prepared, though still confused. I was feeling rebellious and went against everything my parents had taught me. It was less about the results and more about pissing them off. We debated for hours while they threw around words like "risk," "responsibility," and "moron." In the end, I did it my way, though I can't say that it was profound or meaningful.
There have been several more opportunities between then and now, and I tried to take advantage of each one; despite the short-lived courtship and stale promises, I kept my end of the bargain and arrived ready to take advantage of what so many yearn for but will never experience.
Tonight though was different. I came straight from a long doctor's appointment with Andrew, and had both kids in tow. I had brought my little cheat sheet, to ensure a speedy process, because, well, let's face it, doing it with your children running around just makes it that much harder.
But I did it.
And tonight I came in armed with opinions and beliefs in causes that have evolved over time, shaped by the experiences that make up the whole of my life; having babies, raising a special needs child, teaching kindergarten, paying taxes, watching the weight of the world on my husband's shoulders when he lost his job last year.
Tonight I expressed what continues to become my developing voice as time and experiences influence and nurture my passions and desires for change.
Tonight I am wise enough to know
that life rarely comes in black or white
But naive enough to believe
that in the end
what really matters most
is that we get a say*
(even if you're clearly wrong, which, if you voted for ____________and _____________, you are.)*
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
sooooooo not me.
With my parents galavanting halfway across the world in Singapore on some alleged "business" trip, I've been caring for my elderly grandmother (do I even have to put the word "elderly" in that sentence? Isn't it implied that she's older than dirt since I'm in my thirties and she's my grandmother? I mean, she's not my hot co-ed grandmother, right?) whom I love so much. Lately though, I've been fighting a strong urge to drop her off curbside at a local Denny's just long enough so that I can hang out with people who don't keep their teeth next to their bed in a yellow plastic container.*
I don't mind bathing her (though she has a reputation for getting frisky with the showerhead).
I don't mind cooking and cleaning and laundering for her.
I don't mind the hugging and conversing with her.
I don't even mind cleaning her commode (though in all honesty, I really freaking mind)
What I do mind is that I have to do it all for free.
As if the fact that she helped raise me, loved me unconditionally, and despite the odds, managed to survive my
Honestly. What's the going rate for SUCKER nowadays?
In other news, I have a hole in one of my molars and just as I've gotten used to the throbbing sensation, a sort of blinding, searing pain has appeared, just to shake things up I imagine.
Which brings me to the photo below. Because if she's not going to pay me in cold hard cash, the least she can do is loan me her dentures when she's not using them. The only other alternative is that I'll have to go to the dentist and there's not a chance in hell that's gonna happen.
Yep. I prefer THIS to the dentist.
*My denture box will be green.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Unfortunately for you this means that I'm too busy drinking chai lattes and watching the Law and Order: Special Victims Unit marathon on USA to blog.
In fact, I'm so lazy right now I've only been flushing the toilet every other time, which is fine if I'm home alone, but can get dicey if anyone else is around.
If you still need your fix, come on over and visit me here and here.
And I'll be back soon.
Just as soon as lounging around in my jammies until noon without a care in the world while Mother Nature gives the OC a much needed scrub down gets old.
Monday, October 18, 2010
He's the world's Happiest Little Catholic.
So much so, that we've been politely escorted to the "back room" on more than one occassion.
Here's a sneak peak at his enthusiasm for all things God. (I couldn't get it to load on blogger, so click on this link.)
By contrast, Ian looks like he's experiencing gastrointestinal discomfort.
Or he just thinks mass is boring.
Nah. That couldn't be right.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Believe it or not, my husband and I have our share of disagreements. Sure, we look like a hot, steamy, ultra photogenic couple in love, but underneath all of the amorous gestures is a relationship fraught with tension; mostly because he has yet to come to terms with the fact that I’m always right.
Our latest “spat,” if you will, revolves around our youngest son Ian and his occasional mispronunciation of certain vocabulary words. I think it’s darling, and make it a point not to correct him; it’s a fleeting phase and I want to preserve it for as long as I possibly can.
My husband however, is on some holier than thou “it’s our job to teach our kids about the world, including, but not limited to, proper vowel-consonant-vowel pronunciation" rant.
So I’ve decided to compromise; I let my him correct Ian, and when he’s off at work I undo it by acting like I don’t know what the hell Ian is saying until he goes back to saying it the wrong way.
“Mommy, could I please have some noodles?
“What sweetheart? I can’t understand you when you talk in that silly voice!”
“Mommy, could I pweeze have some nerdles, goo-goo-gaa-gaa?”
“Of course sweetheart! Thank you for asking me properly this time!”
Works every time.
So far, my husband hasn’t caught on; he thinks Ian just needs a tutor. Or two.
Plus, if for some reason my plan backfires and we take Ian to the Olive Garden for his 25th birthday* and he orders the Pasghetti with Maryana sauce, I’ll just blame it on the public school system.
Or those crappy tutors I “hired.”
*because we’re fancy like that
Monday, October 11, 2010
1. I'm going to kill someone.
2. I'm going to kill someone slowly, using the kind of torture that would make Homeland Security cower in the corner.
Here's the deal.
I'm not self-depricating here people, nor am I fishing for compliments (of course, if you'd like to toss one my way, I won't try to stop you); I'm just merely stating the facts. And the fact is, I need to lose, like 60 pounds. I joke about it often, mostly because humor is self-soothing and goes really great with a double fudge brownie. Also, it's my way of dealing with an uncomfortable truth in a way that is relatable to others, for the sole purpose of deflecting rather than dealing with the pain and anguish that continues to plague my life.
So, back to the low carb thing.
I was reminded today that there aren't enough part-skim, low moisture mozzarella cheese sticks in the world to curb my cravings for enriched unbleached flour products.
Also, I may or may not have stolen a pack of sugar-free gum from Ian and chewed the entire thing at once, sucking out the sweet, potentially harmful fake sugar in a frenzy not unlike something you would see on Animal Planet.
I can't wait to be skinny!
PS. If I seem snarky today, just wait until next week. I'll be throwing F-bombs in posts about baby seals and the whimsical nature of shetland ponies, guaranteed.
PPS. I just licked the cupcake on my website header. It tasted better than what I had for dinner.
PPPS. Low carb diets suck.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
So imagine my annoyance when
"How much do you think a kidney weighs?"
"I want to surgically remove unnecessary organs for the sole purpose of weight loss."
She, of course, insists that she was kidding, but yesterday, as her doctor was marking her left side for what she described as an important and potentially life-saving procedure, she looked over his shoulder and winked at me!
So, like any good best friend, I'm going to go and visit her today, in order to cheer her up and make sure she's recuperating. I've cooked a delicious broccoli soup using
that's what friends are for.
Friday, October 1, 2010
I took Andrew to get some bloodwork done at a local Orange County hospital-affiliated lab. Since his Cystyc Fibrosis diagnosis, we've been frequenting the joint somewhat often, and people are beginning to recognize us now. Andrew is fast becoming a new favorite and the nurses and lab technicians swoon when they see him.
Which is why I'll never understand why I felt the need to have the following conversation with the nurse that came out into the LARGE and CROWDED waiting room this afternoon:
"Yep, right here!"
"Awww. What a handsome little guy. How does he usually do with the needles?"
"He's awesome. I'm a much bigger pussy than he is."
"..........................................(awkward and judmental smile)..................................."
Not only do I HATE that word, but I also NEVER use it.
In any case, I'm fairly certain I've solidified my White Trash Mom status. Of course my stained drawstring pants and leftover El Pollo Loco in my hair may or may not have helped with that some.
What. The. Frack.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
I remember my first AA meeting.
I was 18 at the time, and at the urging of some friends who were growing weary of my booze-induced antics, I grudgingly let a friend's mom, who had been enjoying the benefits of sobriety for decades, take me with her one night.
We made our way through a quiet Orange County neighborhood, and as we turned onto a street named New Hope, the irony eluded me; I was too busy seething in self-pity and anxious to get the stupid meeting over with, so I could, you know, go out and get a drink
Clenching my jaw, I prepared myself for a night of lectures. I was surprised when instead, I ended up captivated by at least a half a dozen or so stories; stories of pain, stories of loss, stories of recovery and redemption and possibilites.
There were young women who had already been in prison, or lost their children in a custody battle. Some were on their third DUI, some still smelled like liquor, and still others were perfectly coiffed and manicured, professional women, doctors, lawyers, a woman who sang in her church choir and brought freshly baked brownies to the meeting. Once strangers in the outside world, now within those walls, they, we (though I wouldn't have admitted it then if you had held me at gunpoint) were all equally diseased, each one of us in various stages of its manifestation.
When we got back in the car, my friend's mother asked me what I had thought about what I heard that night.
"Some of those women are really screwed up! I've never been arrested, or taken to jail. I've never cheated on anyone or lost my entire family."
"Yet." was all she said to me.
On June 9, 2006, I downed my last beer, the shame and denial coating my throat for the last time. I was a month shy of my 29th birthday.
It's not hard to do the math.
Over a decade after walking into my first meeting, I finally had had enough.
It didn't matter that my family, my loved ones, had had enough many years before me.
Nothing was going to change until I. Was. Done.
And that night, or more accurately, that next morning, I. Was. Done.
Last night I had, as I have been for the past week or so, another drinking dream. In these dreams, my conversations are blurry, my tongue is fuzzy, I stumble past people I do not know and avoid the ones I do. I am a liar again, and it feels so easy and familiar and I'm always missing something; my wedding ring, an article of clothing, the way back home. I wake up in a haze of doom and relief and it always takes a few minutes to sort out what is real and what has once again, been imagined by a subconsious rife with stress and anxiety. I don't know why they happen and truthfully, I don't really care.
The only thing that really matters is that each day
I am given another chance
to wake up in a reality that doesn't include the lonliness, the guilt, the self-hatred anymore
Each time I awaken from one of these dreams
and realize that I didn't drive drunk again
or break a promise again
or break my husband's heart again
I hold onto the peace that floods over me
the serenity that surrounds me despite the chaos of the outside world
I try to count my blessings but there are so many and I have to get breakfast on the table
and as I bathe myself in gratitude
I surrender myself once again to the simplicity of it all
the comforting knowledge
that this time, it was Just. A. Dream.
that i am still just one drink away
*What? You didn't know that I'm a recovering alcoholic? Where have you been? Read my very first post about it, the one that gave me thousands of pounds of relief, here.
Monday, September 27, 2010
"Girls, are you ever coming back? I miss you like crazy! I don't know how much longer I can wait to hug you in my arms again. It's just not the same without you!"
"Mom. We're just on the other couch, we can see the tv better from here."
"I know. And it hurts so bad!"
Psychologically, the dependency on us could have and probably did stem from many reasons, not least of which was a fierce and protective love for the fruits of her loins (I actually mean my sister and I. My mom didn't have some weird fondness for mangos or grapes or anything, though I wouldn't say that she had some strange aversion to them either. I think, for the record, she rather enjoyed most fruits, except for apples. Yep. Apples were not on the top of her "My Favorite Fruit of All Time" list).
But the truth was, that love was quickly turning into a ginormous pain in our little tushies (yes. there was a time that my tushy was in fact little). So much so, that going anywhere without her was becoming increasingly impossible.
"Where are you going honey?"
"For the love of God! Why?! You were just in there five hours ago! This is why I bought you those disposable underpants! And put you on that strict No Liquid diet! Is this your way of letting me know that you don't want to be around me?"
".........(quietly peeing in my disposable underpants)..........."
What I'm trying to say is that other than her unhealthy need tobethisclosetousatalltimes, my sister and I had a rather fabulous childhood filled with fond memories of............our mom.
Who was alwaysthisfreakinclosetous.
I vowed that when I became a mother someday, I would give my children all the personal space they needed, and stop the vicious cycle of holding your kids hostage.
What the hell did I know?
I hadn't planned on how completely perfect and wonderful and delicious my own offspring would be. Why in the world would I every agree to something as stupid as giving them a life of their own when the only thing that makes sense is to suffocate the snot out of them each and every chance I get?
"You don't really want to go to school, get smart, make friends, build healthy and lasting relationships, excel in sports and academics, eventually graduating from Yale and marrying that two- bit- whore you met in Econ class, who's main goal in this life is to tear you away from me and keep you all to herself, so that you can help her raise those helions she tricked you into having with her just to spite me, do you? Not when you can stay here with mommy and watch
The Price is Right....................right?"
But I'm doing better.
Why, just today, after hours of pleading and crying and kicking and screaming, I calmed down and dropped him off at school, gave him a kiss goodbye, then came home and had breakfast.
All by myself.
Just me and the cats.
And I'm fine.
It's. All. Good.
Monday, September 20, 2010
that you were drowning
as I stood
onshore next to your brother
Your tiny body fighting to stay afloat
in a ruthless sea that didn't give a $#$%
about how much I loved you
or that my world would come to a screeching halt
if you were to be taken from me
and each time i tried to make my way
towards your flailing arms
the water would swell in defiance
the ambivalent wind howling at my back
while I shouted profanities at the little faith in God I had left
wondering which sins I was being punished for
as you were being swept away from me
a fragment of my tattered imagination, I know.
Do you hear me?
that it's just the subconcious
acting out the fears
of a mother
facing uncertainties about her son's future
I awaken drenched in horror
my eyes fixated on your sleeping profile
my heart and my brain trying hard to reason with one another
because here you are safe and sound, tucked quietly under my shaking arms
yet I am still standing on that rocky shore
watching those ferocious waves
sickening reminders that
Monday, September 13, 2010
It was awful.
Worse than I could have imagined.
I was miserable the entire time.
This morning, I blow dried my hair.
In front of the mirror.
And it wasn't because I was out of towels.
People. I did it on purpose.
Right about now you may be thinking to yourself, "What the @#%#?."
But I assure you (and myself) that my intentions were noble. I did it because I'm tired of avoiding my reflection each time I go to get in the shower. Like, I literally will not go near anything that may catch my reflection as I disrobe to bathe. It's one thing to be fearful of judgment from others; it's an entirely different beast when you have to shut your eyes, feel your way across the bathroom, and hope you make it to the tub without breaking your neck, or worse, accidentally getting a glimpse of that double decker @ss you've been so generously contributing to.
So my plan is to desensitize myself by frolicking in the nude in my bathroom a little bit each day in the hopes that
1. I learn to love, respect, and accept myself and stop all of this negative self-talk that only makes me want another serving of anything
2. my pesky and nosy neighbor will be motivated to take a couple of 2x4's and a nail gun to his always open bedroom window because it's one thing to have to endure my own image first thing in the morning, but I tell ya, there's nothing purdy about a man pushing 60 attempting downward dog while you're taking your 5 am pee.
Some people have no self-respect.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
And, given Andrew's newest set of "circumstances," we're on our way to meeting many, many more.
I've taken to compiling what I consider to be significant scientific data on these "specialists" in order to pass the time during our appointments (because who wants to pay attention when they're busy with their medical mumbo-jumbo talk anyway?), and have come to the following conclusion, based purely on fact and not because I am overly sensitive and want everyone to like me and be my best friend, although quite honestly I find nothing wrong with wanting a little attention and positive feedback every once in a while and maybe even a "My goodness does that top really bring out the green in your eyes Mrs. Ashline"
anyhoo, what my data clearly reflects is that there is a definite Specialization to Ass Ratio, meaning that the more specialized a Dr. is in his field, the greater the odds are that he or she is a giant douche.
I met such one "Specialist" today and during our delightful 3.5 hour appointment , I had the distinct pleasure of trying to hold a conversation with a man whose personality resembled that of a super absorbency tampon. Of course, when I happened to mentioned that we were devasted by Andrew's latest diagnosis and felt as if we were facing his mortality for the very first time, I felt like he really dug deep and accessed a long dormant sensitive side that was just aching to come out:
"Life is a fatal disease Mrs. Ashline; we're all going to die, we just prefer to pretend that we're not."
But in the end, I came to appreciate him for what he is (a man who is brilliant in his field and whose only purpose in our lives is to help us keep Andrew as healthy as possible) and forgive him for what he's clearly not (a human being).
Plus, I have plenty of friends who were too dumb for medical school. Which means they specialize in the everyday stuff that helps keep me hopeful and sane. Like meeting me at starbucks, laughing at my jokes, and telling me (more than once) that my Ann Taylor top makes my eyes hypnotic.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
I left my precious wreath alone, bare and vulnerable and at the hands of a woman weilding a hot glue gun, while on a weekend family getaway. You'd think I'd have learned my lesson from the last time this happened.
Is nothing sacred around here?!!
In her defense, my mom is clearly experiencing some sort of psychosis breakdown which manifests itself by assaulting innocent wreaths throughout my house.
This one is a sort of fruit motif, with some plastic grapes, shiny red apples, and of course (because how could it possibly be anything else) a Jesus bookmark.
Today we are leaving for the mountains for four days.
Any remaining wreaths have been put under protective custody at an undisclosed location.
Just in case.
*I love my mom. So very much. And also I'm a little afraid of her, so keep this post to yourself, okay? I know she means well. Also,please note that you can make fun of the fruit all you want, but Jesus is off limits.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
His thick, wavy brown hair
His almond shaped eyes
His irrational fear and obsession with death
Alas. It's here. What I've dreaded but, given his sensitive and emotional nature, easily predicted all along: my son's preoccupation with dying, heaven, mortality, and the bleak and horrifying prospect of the unknown.
Which only means one thing.
In the past week he's brought up this rather uncomfortable subject matter no less than 243 times. Given the fact that I myself suffer from this irrational and often times debilitating fear, our conversations tend to go something like this:
"I don't want to die."
"Oh honey.................................neither do I!!!!!!!!!"
I've also tried redirecting the conversation and subtly changing the subject:
"I'm afraid of heaven."
"Ooh! Quick! Look over there!"
So as you can see, I've got a pretty good handle on things, but if you should happen to, say, think of anything that might supplement what I've dubbed my "Avoidance At All Costs Method,"
On the bright side, I now have a new member for my support group!
Monday, August 30, 2010
I pictured the words a thousand times, and imagined the deep exhale that would come with finally giving you all of me, creatively speaking.
But for some reason, I chose this place.
Because it felt safe.
Because it felt right.
Because at the end of the day, it doesn't matter much where I did it; it just matters that I did.
So take it or leave it.
This is ALL of me.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Who gives a flying @#%$.
Our sweet boy Andrew, who proves to us time and time again that what matters in this LIFE is Love, Patience, Hope and Strength, has tested positive for this disease.
Courage to change the things we can
and the Wisdom, to know the difference.
*and if you must know, halitosis, pneumoconiosis, neurosis, cirrhosis, thrombosis, and of course, psychosis, which at this rate, is looking very promising.
Monday, August 23, 2010
I do okay
(for the most part).
I trust that the world will see us through
though I know, from experience, that if we expect perfection
we will be sorely disappointed, time and time again.
I wake in the mornings
mindful not to dread what’s ahead
focusing instead (for the most part)
on growing the tiny seed of hope and gratitude, which flounders
under the shadow of the more persistent and powerful fear and
anxiety (which comes so easily, so naturally).
So I do okay
(for the most part).
I have yet to drag you off the bus
as you face LIFE, looming with unpredictability
with a toothy grin
changing my mind at the last second
that the only place you belong, is right here, in my arms.
Then I read a story like this
and the only sound I hear
is my quickened heartbeat
the only sight I see
is your tiny frame against the harsh backdrop of instability
the only thing I think
is that I will never let you out of my sight again
only thing I know
if anyone ever messes with you like that
Other than that
I do okay
(for the most part).
*be sure to offer your support to this family as they endure this heartache. visit the link above and leave a message for Kim Stagliano.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I know what you’re thinking.
“I wonder how Jo is doing with her vertigo? Also, what’s the deal with beauty pageants for little girls? They’re just creepy.”
The answer to your first question is that I’ve started physical therapy to try and help alleviate some of the more bothersome (read frickin annoying) symptoms. Once a week I drive to a state-of-the-art facility where I willingly allow a certified neurological clinician with a smart blonde bob make me dizzy by having me engage in various vestibular strengthening exercises while she stands by with a barf bucket. My guess is she gets paid by the bucket because the bitch is ruthless and just for that I’m going to keep my vomit to myself. HA!
What. The. Frack.
Is it even legal to airbrush someone under 18?
I suggest you write to your local congressman or woman (or local Walmart, really) and ask them to ban
1. Aqua Net
2. 5 inch heels made in size 3
3. Toddler Halter Tops
4. This Guy
5. Makeup that is labeled anything like the following:
“Gerber Blemish Stick”
and “Recess Red.”
I also have some key points for the judges of these pageants:
1. When you ask a four year old what her favorite color is and she responds with “doo doo,” that does not qualify as an “interview.”
2. Judging a six year old on poise is like judging a man on his ability to multi-task.
3. How do you sleep at night? (Probably with your Miss Bloomingfield’s Backyard Butternut Squash Bonanza 1987 crown atop your pretty little hair sprayed helmet head).
So, the bottom line is physical therapy can suck it, and mothers who put eyeliner and push up bras on their kindergartners are a special kind of crazy.
The kind you back away from, very very slowly.
Until next time, “elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist.”
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
“Do you think Andrew will ever talk?”
“Well, babe, he already does, in his own little way.”
“No. I mean talk, like you and I.”
“I don’t know baby. We’re working really hard to help him with that, but it’s not as easy for him as it is for us.”
“I know. I just wish it were easier.”
“Well honey, Let me see if I can explain it to you in a way that you can understand and relate to. Okay. It’s like, imagine if you had a backpack and it was filled with ginormous rocks and you had to carry it on your back while you walked uphill on a dusty road in the middle of the hot summer sun and you were really thirsty and didn’t have anything to drink and also mosquitoes the size of baseballs were attacking you and you had sand in your eyes and you were barefoot. There would be a pack of hungry dogs chasing you and rattlesnakes would hide behind big boulders and hiss at you. And when you finally got to the top of the hill, you’d look around and realize that there were hundreds of hills just like it that you would have to climb too. And it would take you months to get up all of those hills and you would really miss your friends and family and no one could hear your cries in the lonely and all-consuming darkness. You’d curse the day you were born and shake your fist at God, wailing ‘why me, Lord, why have you forsaken me?’ Doesn’t sound like much fun right? Well, that’s how it is with Andrew when he tries to talk. It’s super hard for him, and not much fun.”
“I’m so scared.”
Sunday, August 8, 2010
After careful observation, I've found that the following activities should be avoided at all costs if I'm to improve the quality of my life:
Turn my head too fast
Take long car rides
Drink too much coffee
Go to the movies
Take a boat ride
Ride an escalator
Ride an elevator
Pick something up off the floor
Play Wii Fit
Shake my head "yes" or "no"
Scratch my left elbow
Get a haircut
Take a shower
Flush the toilet
Feed the cats
Get a pedicure
Listen to music
Wear a bra that's too tight
Not wear a bra
Chew sugarless gum
Sing "Livin La Vida Loca" in B flat
Brush my teeth
So, it's pretty simple really.
As long as I avoid these vertigo-inducing activities, I'll be just fine!
And the good news is that blogging isn't on the list!
Okay. Let me rephrase that. As long as I don't use the following keys, I'm fine:
Of course, those keys are merely a fraction of what I use when indulging in my writing craft, and avoiding them, for the sake of my health and well being, shouldn't affect the quality of my posts at all:
i c u.
u r poop.
Monday, August 2, 2010
Superman has been keeping himself busy watching his dvr recording of Star Wars Episode I since last Thursday. I suggested, weakly and hoarsely from my bed, that he change the channel every once in a while and try to watch some academic-based programming such as Saved By the Bell, whose episodes almost always take place in a school, and well, I am a teacher after all.
Anyway, so Superman has adamantly refused to watch anything other than the same Star Wars movie and don't get me wrong, I like Yoda and the gang myself but this was starting to worry me, so I harnessed all of my energy and the next time I really had to pee I went the long way and walked by his room to check on him (being a hands on mom means sometimes having to make these sacrifices) and there it was: a ten minute commercial for Girls Gone Wild. In the middle of his Star Wars movie. A movie he's been glued to for the last five days while I've been in the middle of Snot Watch 2010. Ten minutes of drunk blondes and brunettes flashing the cameras and sucking face with each other. Over and over again. In the middle of his Star Wars movie. That we recorded two years ago. At like 5 pm. On a channel that we didn't have to pay 9.95 for.
First of all, whose the douchebag in charge of programming?
Secondly, the fact that Superman has been glued to the television and refusing to change the channel is merely a coincidence and has nothing to do with these half-naked girls prancing on the screen and stirring up feelings that his father and I are nowhere near prepared to discuss with him so we'll probably just ignore the whole thing until he's a little older and learns about sex the old fashioned way: through a misinformed buddy in the locker room.
Thirdly, I can't believe that in the two years he's had the movie on dvr, we've never noticed that particular commercial before. I don't want to sound presumptious, but, I blame his father.
On another note, I don't know what the hell Monchichi's been up to the last several days, but I bet his pull up needs to be changed.