Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I mentioned in my 100 Things that I liked to crochet. That might be a bit of an understatement. I LOVE to crochet. If I could get paid for this hobby, I would do it full time.

I learned to crochet when I was fifteen. My foster mom's name was Mel, and there was no one besides us living in the house. In the hours I wasn't drugging or at school (or both), I was stuck inside with no entertainment. Mel eventually got sick of my constant complaints of boredom, and taught me to crochet.

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Mel taught me all sorts of different stitches and patterns, but I usually stick to just one. The black and white blanket is made up of 84 (currently) different squares, all sewn together. This is the first time I attempted this, and it is working out well. Eventually this blanket will be queen-sized, but for now it is probably only about two and a half feet in height.

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This is my first attempt at a blanket for Hero's baby sister. Finishing a project is slow going around here, and many days it wont get touched at all. I was in the middle of this project when my "narcolepsy" started again, and I ended up losing a stitch every here and there. Of course, I didn't notice that until I was done, and the blanket looks like a big triangle with the top cut off. If you look closely, there are two different shades of pink and white in this blanket. I crochet baby blankets loosely (or with holes) because my girls constantly got overheated when they were swaddled, and I wouldn't want to be responsible for that happening to someone else's baby.

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This last blanket is a scrap blanket. I made a very similar one and gave it to my neighbor who is expecting a boy. I guess I bought more yarn than I needed, because I had enough to do this one, too! Eventually, I will give it to someone, but for now it is just sitting in the closet. This kind of blanket (one-piece with different colors) is much, much less time consuming than the black and white one with many pieces.

My favorite project was a pink and black striped blanket I made for Hero's sister this past Christmas. It ended up looking really nice, and I added some detail that I had never thought of doing before. It was fully stitched (no holes) with single stitches and took about a month to make, with all of my free time going toward finishing.

For me, crocheting is very relaxing and comforting. It's great to finish a project and see where all the time went. Besides blankets, I make scarves and throws. Eventually I want to learn to make a sweater (which I recently learned could be crocheted as well as knit). Everything that isn't way screwed up can be given away, and people ACTUALLY LIKE receiving them. That's a good thing for too, because I am terrible at picking out gifts for people I don't know well.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

I've found that writing all that family stuff is somewhat emotionally draining. Theraputic--I'm sure, but draining none the less. Because of all that, I thought I would post some interesting links that I've visited recently, in hopes of keeping things light.

This is a riot. Really, TRY IT! Make sure your volume is on--it helps. I can only get to level 4.

This is THE SINGLE MOST INTERESTING THING I've come across. Cool to see, excellent to read, and links to freeware. Also, if you follow the story you will eventually get to a part where you can test your self....for me it was a little disturbing.

And last, we have ARTPAD. After you draw, you can replay your drawing. It's fun to make little cartoons and watch them playback, also.

See, I'm feeling better already!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006
In which I find my therapist knows more than I do.

At therapy last Thursday, Kerrie and I discussed my relationship (or lack there-of) with my mother. The conversation went something like this:

Kerrie: Do you think your mother is going to try to get in touch with you now that your sister is?

Me: I don't know, why would she?

Kerrie: There is a biological relationship between you, maybe she wants an emotional one as well. How would you feel about that?

Me: I think I have enough friends right now. I mean, I wouldn't avoid talking to her if she wanted to, but I really don't see what either of us would gain from it at this point.

Kerrie: What do you think she would say?

Me: She would cry and say she was sorry. It used to happen all the time when she was drunk and I was really little. I hated it.

Kerrie: At least she knows that what she did was wrong, and apologized. That doesn't make you think you could have a relationship with her?

Me: No.

Kerrie: Does it make you angry that she hasn't been around for you?

Me: No. These are the questions the staff at the residential always asked. Really, I'm fine with my mother leaving, I can understand why she did it. I'm not angry, in fact, I harbor no resentment. I haven't even thought about her until my sister wrote. I'd say I'm pretty apathetic about it.

Kerrie: Most of the time, kids who grow up with a lot of relationship problems with the one parent who is around all the time don't notice that they actually have much larger issues with the parent who is not always there. As they become adults, they do a lot of shifting blame so that one parent becomes "the big problem with my childhood" and the other goes mostly ignored. Like you said you feel apathetic-- do you think that you subconsiously have issues with your mother's actions?

Me: No, but that was very interesting to know. Can we talk about something else now?

Then last night there was the dream. My sister said she was coming to stay with me for a few days. When she showed up at my door, my mother was with her. I invited them in, and we talked and laughed and got to know each other. Everything went really well until my mother made some comment.....I believe it was "Your kids are so messy", or "They sure do make a big mess".....something along those lines.

At that moment, I was overwhelmed with anger. I can't really rationalize why now, but in my dream it made sense. And I flipped out. I screamed at her about maybe that's because I don't know how to teach them to be neat because I never had anyone teach me (my dream way of saying she was never around, once again not rational anymore). I told her I remembered everything -- feeding my brother sugar packets and cereal because he was hugry and no one else was home, her boyfriend coming over to "take a nap", the realization that they weren't taking naps when my dad came home and jumped through the window because the door was locked and beat the crap out of him while they (mom and her boyfriend) were still naked, my sobs after -not because my dad got arrested- but because there was a little bird dead under his tuck and I was sure he did it on purpose, etc...... And I screamed until I could no longer scream, at which point I growled. Then I woke up.

*please note that those memories were ones that me and my dad used to laugh aobut while having beers together. When you write it down it really sounds bad, but I assure you I was mostly unaffected. Also, the "realization that they weren't taking naps" doesn't mean I knew they were having sex. It was much, much later that I put all the peices together. I just knew they weren't sleeping because my dad wouldn't be that mad about naps lol.

So, I guess my therapist knows way more than I do, and maybe I should start taking her more seriously. Also, it seems as though there will be a whole new set of issues to work out.

Monday, February 20, 2006
100 things updated for 2006

My computer contracted a virus that kicked its ass, therefore this post is rather late.

100 Things

Since almost everyone else has them, here they are: (Updated)
1. I married my high school sweetheart
2. Niether of us actually finished high school
3. We both got GEDs instead
4. At the time it seemed like a good idea because we could go to college and be half way through before our classmates graduated
5. Unfortunately it didn't quite work out as planned
6. I rented my first apartment when I was 16
7. I am 100% pro-choice
8. I am a Christian
9. I have over 50 fish, 2 cats, 4 toads, and a worm bin full of worms
10. I love to read
11. I get kinda depressed if my house isn't clean
12. I LOVE when my girls ask me "Why?" about everything, even if it is 1000 times a day
13. I have an anxiety disorder that used to limit my social interactions greatly, but now (with meds) is only occasionally noticable
14. I am still working in therapy on some family-related issues, and figuring out crazy sleep issues on the side.
15. I love to crochet! LOVE. TO. CROCHET. It is sooooo relaxing, and it's an awesome feeling to finish a project.
16. My grandma raised me until I was ten
17. Then I lived with my dad for about two years
18. At twelve, I was 'taken away' from my dad and lived in many residentials and foster homes until running away at 16
19. Being self-supporting at 16 is an awesome feeling
20. Being husband-reliant from 18 on is sometimes unsatisfying
21. Some people can decide who they love more (husband or kids), I don't think love comes in specific amounts
22. My favorite book is 1984.
23. I have undeniable cravings for the following series of mindless entertainment: Queer as Folk, House, the OC, and Lost.
24. We rent Queer as Folk and Lost in seasons on dvd, and will make a whole week worth of watching them. So we try not to ever notice magazine articles, etc. about those shows.
25. I love the Red Sox
26. I don't like going to the movie theater to see movies
27. I had a nervous breakdown last year (March 2004)
28. Hero was away for fourteen months (Sep. 03-Nov.04), so I've had experience in taking care of my girls alone for a little while
29. I lived in Maryland at the time, and didn't know anyone, so some days I would literally go without seeing another adult.....It was difficult.
30. I only have three friends that I consider really close friends
31. I lived in Italy with my husband for 3 months. He lived there for 9 months.
32. Since my husband got stationed in Maryland I am happier than I have ever been
33. My husband got tuberculosis while he was in Italy
34. He also got tendonitis and gout, and had a seizure
35. That may be part of the reason why I don't like Italy
36. I "experimented" with drugs for quite a few years, (before kids) and mastered "escapism".
37. I am healthy, but overweight
38. I smoke, and have tried to quit several times this year
39. I have been pregnant three times
40. All of my pregnancies were accidents, but only one of them was because I was careless.
41. I got pregnant on the pill with my oldest
42. I got pregnant with my second while breastfeeding (after my doctor told me there was no chance of me getting pregnant while breastfeeding until I got a period)
43. My girls are a year and 3 days apart
44. I miscarried my third pregnancy
45. I was only 5 weeks and 6 days along
46. My favorite food is anything spicy, esp. romaine and spinach salad with spicy turkey chunks and jalepenos! And quesadillas with cheese, extra thin tomato and jalepenos, and "spicy sauce"--similar to buffalo sauce. Yum.
47. I don't usually drink water and I hate fruit juice
49. When my husband left for basic training I lost 40 lbs (in 11 weeks)
50. When we were finally living together again I gained it all back
51. I am afraid of doctors, and recently got brave enough to make an appointment
52. But hadn't gone in five years before that
53. I have a Boston accent
54. I was supposed to get my tonsils removed seven years ago but keep blowing it off
55. I have one best-friend who knows me better than I know myself. And vice-versa.
56. If I had my choice, I would continue to live on the east coast for the rest of my life
57. I like to garden. It is a wonderful excuse to play in the dirt
58. I never made more than two ounces of milk a day in the twelve weeks I breastfed
59. Which is why I get mad when I hear statements such as "Every woman can breastfeed"
60. If that were true, couldn't every woman get pregnant? Carry a child to term?
61. I am very happy in my marriage
62. And very happy with my 'career' (stay-at-home-mom)
63. I don't think being a working mother means your children are raised by someone else
64. And I don't think one is harder than the other
65. I often rush to judge people
66. And often feel like an ass because of it
67. I've had three jobs: Assistant manager of a video store, telemarketer, and CNA
68. I did the assistant manager thing the longest-- two years, and the telemarketing only lasted a month
69. I found out I was pregnant with my second when I felt her kicking
70. I love being outside in the summer
71. I am not very fond of snow or cold weather
72. I got my license when I was 18
73. But I drove without a license for about four years before that, and now realize how dangerous that could've been to everyone else on the road
74. For the short time I dated, I dated older guys
75. Except my husband, who is two months younger than me
76. I've lived in Massachusetts, Maryland, and Vicenza, Italy.
77. I never cared what other people thought of me
78. Because I always knew I was the best ;)
79. Little things amaze me, like the postal service, the sky at night, and the things that come out of my children's mouths
80. Like when I said "You don't have any C-A-N-D-Y out where they can get it, do you?" to my neighbor....and Sky said "I want C-F-D-A-for apple-CANDY!"
81. Or when Moon, with her mind waaaayyyy out there, unknowingly scratching her ankles, finally snaps back into reality and sings "Scratchy no scratching, scratchy no scratching" to herself, yells at her hand "Bad hand....time out", and then kisses it better.
82. Or when they sing songs together...."Rosey, Rosey, Rosey, Rosey, Rosey, Rosey, ashes, ashes, rosandweey all fall down!" Thats what it sounds like to me, anyway.
83. My favorite movie of all time is Clockwork Orange
84. The runners up are: Magnolia, Dark City, Flatliners, American History X, Clerks, Brainscan, The life of David Gale, and Crash (the new one, not at all related to the earlier movie with the same title)
85. I still love both dark blue and black nail polish, even though they went out roughly ten years ago.
86. My husband is a video gamer
87. I have a brother and a half sister. My half sister is 13 and we just established contact.
88. My husband has a brother, a sister, and a half sister
89. His half sister is only eighteen months old, which means that my girls have an aunt who is younger than them
90. My husband's mother and my father are in a relationship
91. Which isn't technically insest. And we were married for years before they even met
92. But it still is disgusting, and even more so since they are the two most selfish people in the world
93. I second guess myself all the time and want to stop
94. I can't get into country music even if I try to force myself to like it
95. I have six holes in each ear and a labret hole
96. I got promoted twice (from sophmore to senior) before I dropped out
97. So I like to blame the stress
98. I used to be smart, what the hell happened?
99. I love tattoos and stories about what they represent to the people who wear them
100. I love lifeSo there you have it, 100 useless facts about me

Friday, February 17, 2006
I have a sister! And a completed sleep study! And 100 posts! PART THREE (FINAL)

Last Monday night, I visited the hospital for my sleep study. I was excited to finally start getting results. I entered through the emergency room and someone led me upstairs to the clinic. It was beautiful.

The sleep clinic had bed linens that resembled those of a nicer hotel. The room was small yet nicely decorated. There were closets, extra pillows, full bathrooms, TV's, vcrs, and FREAKIN AWESOME beds in each room. The bed was amazing. It were so high that I (standing only 5'2") had to literally CLIMB UP onto it. The mattresses must've been quality because I've never felt anything like it. I was so comfortable there.

I arrived nice and late as I knew I would, and got comfortable. When I was ready, I went to see the tech to get hooked up. Here's the count:

Electrodes: 6 on scalp, 5 on face, 4 on neck, 2 on chest, 1 on each leg.

Oxygen meters: Nasal cannula, 2 metal prongs (one in nose, one under lower lip), Oxygen sat. taped to right arm, was allowed to "move onto a different finger when it starts to hurt"

Etc. meters: 2 belts to measure intensity of breathing, camera with night vision, big black box to keep wires in check, neat band to carry said box around neck, intercom so tech could hear me at all times.

Sleeping was hell. I must've slept in 40ish minute increments all night. Luckily, I "did what (I) needed to do, which not everyone does", although I have no idea what that means. I won't get results for another week or so, but I'm glad it is over.

The tech was great, BTW. He made me feel very comfortable, and made interesting conversation. Did you know he's been with his wife since they were fifteen? No? That's eighteen years, for the record. I love those stories because they give me hope for my own marriage. NOT that divorce is something I worry about personally, just statistically :)

At 5:00am, I was up for the day. I COULD-NOT-TAKE-ONE-MORE-SECOND of that torture. I can easily take 24 hrs of NO sleep, but broken sleep to me is much worse. As the tech and I were chatting, I noticed my nasal cannula was hanging around my neck. I mentioned it to the tech, afraid that it would affect my results. He laughed and told me that at approximately 4:00am, I rose from REM sleep, sat up in bed, yanked the tube out of my nose, laid back down, and fell immediately into a deep REM sleep again. Oops.

I noticed that I have posted 100 times. So, on average I blog every 3.5 days. 100 posts is reason enough for a lazy post, don't you think? My plan is to update my "100 Things" and post them tomorrow. How exciting?!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006
I have a sister! And a completed sleep study! And 100 posts! PART TWO

Let's see, where did I leave off? Oh, yes...Mother and picture of my sister (MY SISTER! Doesn't that sound so cute?)

The last time I heard from my mother, I was in labor with Sky (now 4). My step-mom had contacted her and told her I was having a baby. My mother had written on a little post-it note: "Dear Magnolia, Congratulations on your new family. Love, Mom". I was angry. It was probably bad timing on my stepmom's part, too. That memory of my mother--or her note, anyway--is the only memory I have of her that affected me so emotionally.

After having Sky, I easily forgot about that note. In fact, it was my dear Grandma who brought it up to me while I was telling her about my sister a few days ago. My brother hasn't officially talked to our mom for as long as he can remember.


--My maternal grandfather (my mom's dad who I mentioned got into drugs and remarried) ended up getting another divorce, becoming addicted to heroine, losing his hearing, and sobering up in the five years between when my mother went into social-services custody and when she got married. He had a few relapses, but despite that my brother and I got to know him really well. He contracted AIDS from sharing needles, and died from a cold in 1998 (or 1999? I can't really remember.)

--My mom moved to Florida days after she announced the pending divorce. That was a big part of what made staying in touch hard, I'm sure...lol.... She's on her third marriage right now, and I believe my new sister is her only other child. Also, her and my dad's marriage lasted six years after she moved before the divorce was final. (Don't ask me why, I don't know)

--My Grandmother has had the same phone number since "1942", I don't know if that is factual, as she gets a bit....out there....sometimes, but that's what she says. That phone number is what made it so easy for my mother to "find" us whenever she felt up to it.

Anything else?

Ok, my sister. I wish I could share her name here, but unfortunately it is exceptionally uncommon. For blogging purposes, she'll be called Trina. Trina is 13! That means she's been alive for roughly half my life! She's never seen snow before. I wish I could send her some. Her birthday is November 3rd. She lives with our mother as far as I know. Yeah, that's about it. LOL! I thought there was so much to tell about her, but that is everything I know so far. I am writing her back ASAP, and sending her a bear for Valentine's Day. Do 13 year olds like bears? I don't remember that far back....

Any advice at all on thirteen year-olds would be appreciated!

Trina has my maiden name for her last name. This is strange because at the time my mother had already dropped that name and replaced it with HER maiden name. So, she shares a last name with MY father, not her father or her mom. Strange.

I hope it is not too late to start a relationship with Trina. I'm sure later in life it will be good for both of us--I just don't know how to do it now. I hope writing is enough. I'm going to enclose my phone number with my letter, but I'm terrified of her calling. I have no idea if she knows any of the circumstances that led the non-existant relationship between us. What will I tell her if she asks why I never called? My freaking out is very theraputic, albeit annoying. Sorry.

To be continued.....Soon, the rest of the title: sleep study! And 100 posts! (well, 101 now)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006
I have a sister! And a completed sleep study! And 100 posts! PART ONE

So imagine my surprise when I opened up a letter from my SISTER!!! I have a sister. A real. Live. Sister. I know this sounds silly, but let me explain:

My mother's mom left her (my mom) with the police at the age of 2, where she was picked up by her father and paternal grandmother. Her grandmother died, and her father got heavy into drugs shortly thereafter. My mom's father remarried and added two step-brothers and three step-sisters to the family. My mother, along with the two step-brothers, unsupervised, set fire to a house and one step-brother died. Social services took custody of my mother and the step-brother, apparently at the step-mother's advice (the three other girls remained with her). My mother was about thirteen at the time, and traveled through the foster care system for the next two years.

Then came my dad. He was 21 when he met my mom. She was 15. My dad was a friend of my mother's foster mother's biological son, (got all that?) who was still living at home at the time. They dated for the next two years, causing all sorts of trouble, until my mom found out she had to move to a new foster home (reason unknown). A few days before she was supposed to leave, my dad found a cheap apartment and they "ran away" together. My dad worked, my mom stayed home, and there was lots of partying. About a year later, I was conceived and my mom was clear of social services.

After I was born, and my mom and dad got married. My brother was born a year and a half later. Apparently, we lived a lot of places for the next 3ish years, the biggest chunks of time with my grandmother. And here is where my memory kicks in. When I was four or five, we moved to a "summer time" town. One of those teeny towns that explodes with people during the summer.

I remember the fights, physical, verbal, and a combination of the two. My parents both drank a lot and I've been told were on drugs. My mother had an affair that sent my father off the edge (and my brother to throw Tonka trucks--a story for another day) and he spent a few days (possibly only one day?) in jail. My mother sat us down and told us her and my father were getting a divorce. I remember saying "I'm going with whoever's leaving the house." That was my dad (I'm sure it was coincidence). He took us to my Grandmother's, and that was the last time I saw my mother.

Insert years, dad's girlfriends, and much drinking here. Years full. Most of the time my brother and I remained with my Grandmother. And some of the girlfriends bought us cool toys. Anyway.....

About the time I was ten, my mother sent my brother and I a package. It contained Christmas gifts (they were T.M..Ninja Turtles toys and accessories from McDonald's--where she worked at the time-- and we LOVVVVVEEEDDD them!!! And don't listen to my brother, the belt was meant for me!) A few weeks later there were a few drunken phone-calls in which my mother cried and either my brother or I would listen in uncomfortable silence.

Again when I was fourteen-ish my mother started writing. I was in Social Services (or DSS, if you will) at the time, and living in a residential. My brother refused to write back to her, but I insisted she made a mistake and we would be like BFF from now on. She told me I had a sister and sent me a picture of a baby and continued responding to my letters for about three months. Then it all stopped. My letters never got returned, so I kept writing them for a while. Eventually, I gave up hope.

I used to carry that picture of my sister around and show everyone who hadn't seen it. I was so excited! I eventually stopped because people kept asking: "How old is she"--to which I never knew the answer (but do now!!!!) and "Why doesn't she look like you"--because she is black and I am white. I hated having to explain things, even a little, so I gave up. I still do have that picture, though.

.....To be continued. In the meantime, check out what I looked like during my sleep study-- you can imagine the boobs and a shirt yourself, join freecycle if you don't belong already, or visit Boston Native.....

Sunday, February 05, 2006
Another year

I haven't been able to post lately because:

--My girlies both had birthdays!!!!! Sky turned four on the 1st, and Moon turned three on the 4th!! My babies are growing up so fast!

--We've been alternating between cleaning and celebrating all week. One of the girls friends is having a birthday today, too. At least we wont have to clean up after it.

--It's been in the fifties to sixties since December-ish. There will be a day here and there where it gets colder. It's been so warm that all the flowers in my garden are coming up. Even two of the irises. As a result, I've been spending time in the garden to make sure the flowers are all protected in case of a frost.

--My cafepress store has been under construction. All my original images have been taken down and replaced with simple, sellable designs. No one wants to wear a shirt with a picture of nature on it! What was I thinking?

--My store has been making sales! Not tons, but some. It's hard to update a blog when you're constantly hitting the refresh button on your sales page.

--I am hoping to get approval to use lyrics from a band I looooove. I'm crossing my fingers to get the terms of use from them Monday. Hopefully.

--We (me, mostly) have tons of appointments lately. And even more to come. When I'm not gathering paperwork to bring to one, I'm filling out surveys for another, resubmitting bills to our insurance company, and making sure all referals get to me in time. My sleep study is tentatively scheduled for the thirteenth. We'll see how that goes.

So, I'm not neglectful, I've just been really busy lately. I promise.