22 December 2007

One feeling: PAIN

I realized today that I vacillate between complete numbness and exquisite pain. At times the pain is so real that it feels physical, not just emotional. It seems like a movie is playing over and over in my head. Mom has told me countless times that when I was born Jim was so excited and that he used to come home from school and ask, excitedly, "Is Cyndi awake? Can I wake her up?" In some ways I think that his excitement never waned. He was always so eager to give me advice, even if,.....ahem.......some of it was unwanted. A couple of weeks ago I said to my husband,"who is going to give me all that advice now?!"

I realize that none of this is articulate. I think I have lost that ability at the moment. It seems like all I can say is that this hurts, it's wrong and I'm sad. In real life, I say nothing. I have no desire to engage in conversation. I keep hoping against hope that, sometime soon, someone will come and wake me up and say,"I'm so sorry, we were just playing a joke on you, Jim is fine!" Please, God, make that true! Please make him okay again. Please make him the argumentative, conspiracy-theory-loving, cynical Jim we know and love.


Because, God, I can't breathe while he is dying.

14 December 2007

Denial is a stupid word

I now hate, loathe and despise this word.

My brother was diagnosed this week with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. He has 3-6 months to live. If you knew my brother at all you know that he is so strong and works harder than some men who are half his age. (he is 47, by the way) He is a Certified Arborist and threw trees that were over 200 pounds. Now he can barely walk. His speech is hard to understand.

This disease has robbed us of our Jim so quickly. He knew he was getting sick, but we didn't know exactly what the illness was. Multiple Sclerosis? Lou Gherig's Disease? Parkinson's?

So, back to this word I hate. Every single moment of my day I find myself thinking,"This can't be true, he is so strong" or "I don't think I heard the Dr. correctly, this must be wrong." I told Katy's Girl Scout leader last night about the diagnosis and thought to myself,"Now, why did you just tell her that? I don't think it is true!" And, yes, I've taken Psychology, too, I know that it is denial, but this week it sounds like such a stupid word!!

06 October 2007

The moments we don't photograph

I have been thinking all week long of all of those moments that we never seem to photograph. We take pictures of weddings and other celebrations, but we never seem to get the ones that spell out our regular, everyday lives.

This afternoon I was making lunch and throwing together a batch of chocolate chip cookies. I looked up to see Jake's sweet face perched on the edge of the counter. He was saying, "cookie. cookie. Mommy baking". It just about melted my heart. When he wakes up from his nap it is always a toss-up. Is he going to be really sweet and cute and ready to take on the world or just really ticked off and in a bad mood? We never know til we get there. Claire dances every single time she hears music. It is these little things we can never fully capture in a picture.

I came home Thursday night eager to tell Kirk and Mom that I got a good grade (much better than I expected!) on my Chemistry test. Before I could get the words out she told me that my brother is back in the hospital and couldn't walk. It was one of those surreal moments that takes your breath away and makes you forget whatever it is you thought was important just moments ago.

It was one of those times we never photograph. That look of horror on someone's face when they get bad news, that tearful sigh when we realize we don't know what is to come. It is those moments that hurt so deeply, but those are the ones that our memories are made of. It's too bad we can't capture all of it, the good AND the bad.

30 September 2007

I was lied to. (Don't let this happen to YOU!)

Dear Sunsweet Growers, Inc.,
You lied to me. I believed you. Why shouldn’t I? I have never known you to lie to me in the past, so when I saw your commercial on television proclaiming that your individually packaged prunes tasted “just like candy” I got sucked in. I believed you. I bought a cylinder full of your lies. I brought it home hopeful that I could like this fruit that had eluded my love in the past. With one bite my faith in you was shattered. I believe that what you meant to say in your advertisement was, “it’s a prune. It doesn’t taste like candy at all, but we hope that you’ll buy it anyway”. Is that what you meant?

I have news for you. All of you at Sunsweet Growers in Yuba City, California, please take note: Your prunes do not taste like candy at all. They do, in fact, taste rather similar to very large raisins. Please do not mistake them for candy in the future.
And, for the record, I consider your ill-placed “75 cents off coupon” inside the container to be a very cruel joke indeed. Of course I would like to save money, but not if it means buying any more of these so-called “candies” of yours.

Thank you for your time,

P.S. Your website proclaims that your prunes are “irresistibly delicious”. Please……stop the deception.

22 September 2007

Roasted Green Chilis....Mmmmm!

This morning Claire and I went to the Farmer's Market. They have all sorts of wonderful stuff there-fresh produce, homegrown herbs and potpourri, homemade soaps and lotions, mums, etc. Oh, and freshly baked breads, pies and cookies. I like looking at the baked goods, but I don't buy them. It just makes me want to go home and bake them myself, ya know?

So, for the second time I bought these roasted green chilis from Wayne Whitmore at Whitmore Farms. He roasts the BEST green chilis in the whole world!! I bought three bags of them today because the ONE I bought a couple a weeks ago only lasted about 24 hours. Here are some pics.

This is Wayne actually roasting the chilis in front of God and everyone. Don't they look good? I wish you could smell 'em, they are just amazing!

Here's another one:

I'm using this pepper as an air freshener in the car. It makes it smell like a Mexican restaurant in there!

I came home and made Chicken Fajitas. Oh,yum! Tomorrow I am going to make a baked potato and green chili with cheese concoction.
You can find Wayne's Awesome Chilis at Whitmore Farms, 10320 W. 140th, Coyle, OK (I have no idea where that is!), 73027 or call them at (405) 466-2279. The business card reads, "call late" under the phone number, so.....a word to the wise is sufficient, as Mrs. Wingfield used to say.

Bedtime Betrayal

Our Claire is a social sort who absolutely LOATHES bedtime. Here is a picture of her despair. Every single night it is that look on her face that just screams, "how could you?!"

That is her sweet older sister Katy taking her off to bed. She's gonna remember this, Katy.

21 September 2007

What is a life worth, anyway?

I went to the Dr. Tuesday for a routine follow-up appointment because he had changed my blood pressure medication yet again. After all the pleasantries and finding out that my blood pressure is now down to normal, I mentioned that I still had that sound of blood pounding in my right ear. He got me an appointment with a Neurologist that same day.

I went to the Neurologist and after a thorough examination that included having me saunter down the hallway twice, he concluded that I needed an MRI with MRA and MRV. (MRI with angiogram and venogram) His secretary, Ashley called Aetna to get pre-authorization prior to making the appointment for me. While Ashley was talking to the representative for Aetna a very strange yet meaningful conversation took place. Ashley stated that she was calling to get pre-authorization for an MRI, MRV and MRA, with and without contrast. I heard the following statements being uttered by Ashley, “Well, Dr. Smith is wanting these tests because she has high blood pressure.” And “She has been having headaches, too” then later “She has been experiencing dizziness” then still later, “Well, her brother had two strokes in June and her father died of a stroke”.

It felt as if Ashley was being asked to justify why *I* was worthy (or rather, my symptoms were worthy) of these medical tests. It felt as if she was being asked to put a value on my life. I halfway expected to hear, “well, I don’t know how she makes her cookies”…. “Ma’am, when you bake chocolate chip cookies, do you make them chewy or crispy?......She said chewy,….Okay, you get the MRI.” OR “Her hair looks good, but she has pores you could drive a truck through. Okay, I understand, I’ll tell her she can’t have the MRI.” I kept wondering why the insurance company requires an order from a specialist if they second-guess the specialist's assessment that these tests are necessary?

It made me start thinking about what I have done with my life and what I have accomplished. I wondered if it all came down to one phone call with a stranger, how would I describe my life? What would I be proud of and what regrets would I have? Just a little pensive, way-too-introspective food for thought for this week.

16 September 2007

Metro OKC Knitters Guild

Katy and I joined the Metro OKC Knitters Guild at the library today and actually learned to knit! This group is awesome! They will teach newbies how to knit and they knit hats and (other things....more to come) for the babies at a local hospital. One of the leaders taught me how to knit and her mother taught Katy. By the time we left we had each knitted a few rows. I still can't believe it!

In other news, the Bench Knife has returned! I, apparently, had looked everywhere except the back of the top shelf of the baking cabinet. I know I didn't put it up there. Must be the kitchen elves. It was excellent timing as earlier that day we went to Kohl's to pick up some new clothes for me. (I've lost a bit and my clothes didn't fit anymore.) As we walked out to the car I looked over and it looked like this:

Katy was holding Jake's hand. Jake was holding Kirk's hand. Kirk was holding Claire's hand. Claire was holding my hand. I took it all in and thought,"We are just so blessed!

12 September 2007

My Bench Knife is Missing

We are now on Day 17 of the Missing Bench Knife. I'm beginning to worry. We have been together since Kirk and I got married. I have made bread with this bench knife for almost 14 years. We have history.

If you don't know of which I speak, look here:


I have wanted to bake bread twice in the past week, but it feels bittersweet, ya know? I don't even have a picture of it. I can only offer a verbal description.

LOST: One shiny metal bench knife that holds memories of nearly fourteen years of marraige. A bench knife that has been in every home we have lived in, a bench knife that has served us well. A bench knife that likely has the flavor of every loaf of bread, batch of bagels and bits of soft pretzels rubbed right into it. Please come home. Reward offered, no questions asked.

And, the poetry cookies went over well, but I have to say, I was really upset with the finished product. I didn't even bother to take their pictures so ashamed was I. Kids didn't seem to mind though!

In other news, since the Geography Fair is coming up in November I packed the kids up and headed to Hobby Lobby to look for a stamp for the kids' passports. As we were at the checkout I grabbed a small bag of M&M's (don't judge me). Did I say M&M's? I meant broccoli. Anyway, I asked the clerk if they sold water. She told me that they didn't, but they did have a water fountain. Unfortunately, I didn't think I could take it home. I could just imagine her explaining THAT to her manager.

The Co-Op That Has No Name went well today. I am continually amazed at how the work at co-cop keeps blending in with what we are doing at home. Case in point? They talked today about Thomas Edison, which, if you will recall, is the book we are rowing currently. How cool is that?

I'm off to burn dinner.

10 September 2007

Iron Jawed Angels (say it again, now!)

We have been studying this movie for the past week and a half. Today we watched Mary Poppins for the historical references of the British Suffrage Movement as well as to kickstart a discussion on the differences between the British and American governments, especially as they were in 1910-1920. There is a part in Mary Poppins in which Mrs. Banks sings,"Take heart for Mrs. Pankhurst has been clapped in irons again!" so we looked up Emmeline Pankhurst, British Suffragist. http://www.time.com/time/time100/heroes/profile/pankhurst01.html

We have been spending considerable time on the time.com website. They have great student and teacher resources on the movie Iron Jawed Angels.

We took a virtual tour of Susan B. Anthony's home at http://www.susanbanthonyhouse.org/

which was really cool. (Was I the only person who didn't realize that the jump rope song "The Lady With the Alligator Purse" was about Susan B. Anthony?!)

Oh, and before bed we watched the SchoolHouse Rock video about the 19th Amendment.

I think I'm going to tell Kirk that, as a go-along with Mary Poppins I need to hire two cooks, a nanny and a chimney sweep! ( ::::sigh::::: The things I won't do to educate my children! It's all about the kids, ya know.)

On to the Unit Study. I didn't realize when I started this project that THIS particular rabbit trail was going to lead to more and more and more and more. This all started from the last chapter of Homer Price (Volume 1, Beyond Five in a Row). The word "suffragist" was used and we took off from there. We are currently rowing Thomas Edison, but he has taken a backseat to the rabbit trail at the moment. They are studying inventors at The Co-op That Has No Name, so we will be back to Mr. Edison later this week.

Also at co-op, they are planning a Geography Fair, date undetermined at this point. Katy is planning on presenting Panama. I think I'll make empanadas (pastry pockets filled with meat) for her to share. I told her that if she isn't good I'll make ceviche. (raw fish marinated in garlic, onion and peppers.) I'm thinking about either Ireleand or Scotland to research just for fun, if for no other reason than to learn a little bit more about our ancestors. Potatoes and Shortbread for everyone!

Also, we are looking for some eggs to hatch for the Thomas Edison project. I have been told that the County Extension office may have some to borrow. We shall see.

Poetry Cookies

So, I am helping out in an English class in Katy's Co-op That Has No Name. My assignment? To fill the kids with a love of poetry. This week we will be discussing rhyming patterns. I baked these cookies to illustrate the rhyming patterns in Shel Silverstein's poem,"Bear In There" . I will ask the kids to pair up by their rhyme scheme, which is spelled out on the cookies. They are MASSIVE, by the way, since my icing handwriting is not great, I had to make them big to give me plenty of room to work with. (One of the words is "Fridgitydaire" I may need a whole cake for that one!)

**** Incidentally, if YOU are in the Co-Op That Has No Name and you are reading this blog, kindly act surprised on Wednesday when I hand out the cookies, mmmkay?

In other news, we are doing a Unit Study on Iron Jawed Angels. I highly recommend this movie! (especially if you have daughters.) I am writing a unit study to go with it. I will post it when I am closer to it being done. (I am on seven pages as of now, lots of vocabulary words and points of interest!)

And,...........I had a patient the other night who is 105 years old! We are researching what has happened in her lifetime.

When Watermelons Go Bad

I bought this watermelon on Saturday at the Farmer's Market. Two days later it looked like this. Those aren't soap suds, people, that is whatever evil is inside......coming out.
Now, at first I thought I might still give it a chance, but my husband is still reeling from some fruit-induced trauma from his youth. Apparently, his whole family got a hold of a bad watermelon and they hold a grudge to this day. Not a one of 'em will touch a watermelon. (Which, consequently, means MORE FOR ME!)
My husband, by the way, holds fruit grudges like nobody I have ever seen! He won't eat bananas because they made the roof of his mouth tingle one time. (That's an added bonus that you get for no additional charge, I say!) and he won't eat grapes. Grapes! I don't know how someone could have bad feelings about a grape. I mean, if it goes bad you pour it into a bottle and call it wine. I froze some grapes for a treat when we went to the Zoo lately and the kids and I were loving them on the ride home, after hours in the hot hot sun. He would have nothing to do with them. Apparently, he and fruit broke up a looooong time ago.