Sunday, August 25, 2013

Serious matters to ponder

My oldest son, Hunter, and I, we like to ponder things together-but usually, we ponder the most random things that "normal" people don't think about.

One day, we started talking about the movie, Gremlins.  It probably came up because my kids' Furbies look a lot like the extremely adorable Gizmo, the Mogwai in the movie.  He's so cute, with his adorable little voice, and when he sings in his cute little language.

If you've ever seen Gremlins, then you know the #1 rule: NEVER, EVER FEED A MOGWAI AFTER MIDNIGHT! If you do...GREMLINS!!

Somehow, Hunter and I started to wonder...let's say you live on the East Coast (like I do), and you take your Mogwai with you on a vacation to, say, California, on the West Coast, which obviously is in a different time zone.  To follow the, "no feeding after midnight," rule, do you go by when it's midnight in the time zone you're in right now, or the time zone you live in? Does the Mogwai have some sort of internal clock mechanism so it can determine when it's midnight where it is? Does one need to stick to the, "no food after midnight" rule according to location, or according to home base??

And another thing...what time does that rule expire? If you really think about it...9:00 a.m. is still after midnight.  3:00 p.m. is still "technically" after midnight.  I mean, Mogwai has to eat sometime, right? So, how does one know when it's safe to feed it without fear of spawning a plethora of Gremlins??

My husband thinks Hunter and I are weird for even thinking about this in the first place, and he said we probably have too much time on our hands if we are capable of even thinking about it.  But really, these are important questions, and it's probably a good thing we thought about it, for the sake of Mogwai owners everywhere.  I mean, if SOMEONE doesn't think of these things, there really could be some serious consequences.  Do YOU want a Gremlin in YOUR house? Didn't think so.  You're welcome.

Monday, August 5, 2013

What NOT to tell a woman who wants chocolate

Eating healthy is something that is important to me. Obviously, in order to live a long and healthy life, fruits and vegetables are the choice foods to achieve that goal. Whatever the My Plate by USDA recommends. I love fruits and veggies-I was the only kid in my family who ate them. My grandma use to fuss at me for going into her garden and getting into her carrots and cucumbers. 

 But, lemme tell ya something, folks. When a woman is craving chocolate, and apple or a handful of baby carrots JUST DON'T CUT IT. Carrots don't taste like chocolate. Neither does an apple. If I were blindfolded and given a taste test, with a chocolate bar as item A, and a carrot as item B, I guarantee I can tell you which one is the chocolate. They do NOT taste the same, people!! And, I don't care what health nut gurus say: eating fruit is NOT THE SAME AS EATING CHOCOLATE. And, and, a carrot won't make my craving for chocolate magically disappear. I want a Hershey bar, not a flippin' carrot. Carrots do not have any milk chocolate-y goodness to them. Carrots are great-don't get me wrong. But, when hormones turn us ladies into moody, homicidal maniacs, the smartest/safest thing to say is, "What type of chocolate would you like? You look great, by the way." The DUMBEST thing you could say goes along the lines of, "Don't you think a nice apple would be better than that fattening chocolate bar? It'll make you gain weight." Because, I will throw the apple at your head and retreat into my corner with my chocolate bar, while mumbling, "My preeeeecioussssss."

Monday, July 8, 2013

This blog is a sad one...

I am currently mourning the loss of someone very near and dear to me, who passed away the day before Memorial Day.  I talked about her in one of my previous blog posts, so I'm not going to re-cap much of anything, except that her name was Pat, but I always called her Pat-o, and we lost her to cancer, and I'm taking things day by day and I'm trying to look at her loss from a Biblical perspective, but to say that I miss her is the understatement of the century, and to say my heart hurts is putting it mildly.  Here's a poem for you, Pat-o.  My special angel. 

Pat with (l-r) my sister, my brother and myself.  I was, oh, maybe 6 or 7 here.
                                           My Pat-o.

All we're left with are memories of you,
But what  I'm left with just won't suffice.
I miss you with every breath I take
Losing you has left a hole in my heart.
Sometimes I smile when I think of you,
Sometimes it's more than I can bear.
I know you would tell us to dry our tears,
Because you're OK,
But living every day without you
Makes me wonder when:
When will my heart no longer ache?
When will we say it's ok,
And finally rejoice
Instead of shedding more tears?
How do I finally accept
You're no longer here?
I miss your smile
I miss your voice
I miss you.
When will my heart no longer ache?
You were a rock people would lean on,
Your heart was open wide.
I'm not saying anyone is perfect,
But to everyone who lost you, it sometimes feels that way.
When will my heart no longer ache?

When will my tears subside?
When will your memory bring me joy
Instead of sorrow?
Time will lessen the sting
Until it no longer aches
When I think of you,
But right now
My broken heart doesn't know when.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Why my daughter will not have earrings until she is 18

The other week, I took Arissa out for a girl's day. I had to buy her a new bathing suit, so we headed to the mall. While we were there, she started a conversation we've had 100,000 times. "Mom, I REALLY want to get my ears pierced." I was 8 when I got my ears pierced, and Arissa knew this, so since she turned 8, she's begged me to let her get her ears pierced. I know my daughter. She has a VERY low tolerance for pain. She skins her knee and you would think an amputation is in the near future. I was very open with the fact that getting your ears pierced is no walk in the park-I mean, I have 7 ear piercings, so I kind of know what I'm talking about. I've told her that it WILL hurt when they pierce them, and they WILL hurt for a few days to a week after, and that she WILL have to clean them multiple times a day, which WILL NOT feel like a massage. I reiterated this, and she continued to beg me, promising me that she's a big girl and can handle the discomfort. I let her watch another girl get her ears pierced, and she still wanted to go through with it. I reminded her about caring for them, and how they'll hurt for a few days after, and that sleeping might be uncomfortable for a few days. She still wanted them, so I OK'd it. She bravely climbed up in the chair and sat there while they prepped their piercing equipment.

                           Arissa with Gilly, before piercing

 She asked me to hold her hand, so I complied. 1,2,3, and it was done. Her face afterwards should have been my first hint.

                       I daresay, this isn't the face of a happy child              

While I paid for her earrings, she complained that she felt sick to her stomach because she was in SO MUCH PAIN (which I reminded her about before the piercing commenced).  We had to go sit on the bench outside the store until she finally calmed down.  I went into one more store, and she told me that she'd feel a lot better if she had a cookie.  (That is one way I know she is my child).  We got the cookie, went home, and she immediately called her friends to tell them about her new earrings.  She even forgot that her ears hurt for a while, when we did some "Bad Furby" pictures. 

Then the time came to clean and turn her earrings.  I went ahead and popped a Xanax, because I knew this would be one of the most overdramatic moments of my day.  We put the cleaning solution on her ears, and she howled.  We tried to turn the earrings.  And by tried, I mean I chased her around the house while she screamed and begged me not to touch them.  I finally sat on her got her to sit beside me so I could turn the earring.  She told me they were too tight, so I tried to loosen the back of her earring, but all I did was look at it and she screamed that it hurt.  I told her that if we didn't do this, the earrings were coming out.  She finally sat sill for .03 seconds while I grasped the earring.  As soon as I touched her earring, she went into orbit and I pulled too hard, so the earring came allllll the way out.  I told her to stop moving so I could put it back in.  As soon as I put the earring up to her ear, she screamed at such high octaves, Mariah Carey would be green with envy.  I'm pretty sure her screams could second as a dog whistle.  She wouldn't let me put it back in.  She swore that the hole was already closed up.  I chased her around the house for another 10 minutes, telling her I would sit on her and cram it back in her ear that we had to get it back in, or it WOULD close.  Unfortunately, a 9 year old is much, MUCH faster than a 33 year old.  She won.  The earring didn't go back in, and she took the other one out.

I told her that we would re-consider getting her ears pierced again when she is 18 when she starts middle school.  Hopefully, I can convince her that she doesn't need them until she's in college.  I imagine holding down a 6th grader while turning newly-pierced earrings is a LOT harder than holding down a 60 lb. 9 year old girl.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Minecraft: I don't get it

Minecraft has overtaken my house.  For anyone who a) doesn't have a kid or b) lives under a rock, Minecraft is a computer game that apparently is very addicting.  It's really quite simplistic, graphically, and there really is no purpose in the game.  You build things.  The game uses 3-D cubes.  Everything is pretty much cube-shaped.  Like I said, graphics are simplistic.  Anyway, you build stuff.  And you stay away from creepers.  And apparently, you use the game to torment your siblings.  My kids can play on the same server, so they're in the same game, and when Scott (my husband) joins in, all hell breaks loose.  (It doesn't help that Scott is quite the instigator when he plays with the kids).  Tonight, I had to go outside, because my ears could no longer withstand the level of decibels in which the screaming reached while they played. I don't know what exactly they do in the game, but here are some ACTUAL quotes I wrote down while listening to the commotion:

-Kill it with fire!

- I need more chickens!

-Why is the wolf going after Dad?
 Because I hit it with an egg.

-Stop killing my wolves, or I'll kill your chickens!

-Tyler, stop killing your brother! (That one actually came from me)

-Leave my potatoes alone!

-He has an arrow sticking out of the back of his head.

 Well then, give me back my dirt.

-I have angered the hot dog gods.

-Dad, stop putting cobwebs on my house!

I really, truly don't get it.  But I could write a book of quotes, because people, you can't make this stuff up.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

So much for keeping up with my blog

I said I was going to try and update my blog frequently, but as usual, life has happened. In January (technically February-January 31st) I lost my grandma. I didn't "lose" her, but she passed away. She was 95 years old, and of course, I miss her, but she lived a long, happy life. Then, cancer reared its ugly head in my life. I call her my Aunt Pat, but she's not TECHNICALLY my aunt, as in she's not my mom's sister. They've been best friends since they were in 5th grade, and Pat-o has been in my life, well, my entire life. She was my mom's babysitter when mom went away with my stepdad for the weekend. Pat was who I called when I went through my dramatic "I want to run away from home" phase, and she came and picked me up for a girl's night out. Pat fixed my hair on my wedding day. Pat sat at the hospital with Scott and my mom the entire time I was in labor with Hunter (16 1/2 hours, but I wasn't at the hospital for maybe 3 hours of that time). She fed me ice chips and kept me occupied when Hunter was born and wasn't doing well. We had a Black Friday tradition where we went shopping: Pat, my mom, my sister and myself. Pat has always been in my life, and she's one of the most special and important people to me. There are no words to describe how much I love her-they wouldn't do justice. Cancer is yanking Pat from our lives. From her husband and son's life, from her mom's life, from her brother's life, from her niece and nephew's life, and from my mom's life. Pat is my mom's absolute best friend. She's being torn from our lives, too soon. None of us could imagine that something like this would happen-and in such a short time. We're trying to imagine life without her: without her smile, her laugh, her hugs, and for me, hearing, "Love you, baby," even though I'm 33 years old. I know she'll be in Heaven, rejoicing that she will no longer have pain (biggest cliche). I know that Earth is not our "true" home, and these are not our "true" bodies. I know God probably has some sort of plan from all this, although in my state of shock and hurting, I'm failing to see the good in this. But my thing is, we wanted more time with her. We don't want to have to say goodbye to this special person who should still have half her life in front of her. Maybe that makes me a selfish person, but I don't want to rejoice that she will soon be with Jesus in Heaven, because even though Heaven is an awesome place, we all want her here for many more years. But, we don't have many more years. We might have a few days, or a week, if we're lucky. And those last moments with her are spent seeing her wasting away, and writhing in pain. It's awful to watch, and even worse knowing she's spending her last days on Earth in this misery. It's a hard pill to swallow. I'm slowly working through the pain, but the cliche remarks people say trying to be helpful, well, aren't. I know people feel awkward and don't know what to say, so I'm not bashing anyone. I'm just saying, we'd love to rejoice that she'll be with Jesus, no longer in pain, but we're too busy working through the pain of knowing that soon, we'll never be able to talk to her, to hug her, to text her that we love her, or to see her. And I hope that, in posting this random, rambling blog post, people understand that everyone processes death differently, and not everyone is "ok" with losing someone because they are in Heaven with Jesus. It still hurts. A lot. So here is my tribute to my "Aunt" Pat. Patty. Pat-o, as I call her. I love you so very extremely much, more than I could put into words. You've been such an important part of my life, for my entire life, and for that, I'm so ever thankful, because even if it wasn't enough time, I wouldn't give up any of the time I had with you.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

It's been a while

I can't believe how long it's been since I've blogged! I think one of my New Year's resolutions will be to keep up with my blog. Or, at least post more often than once every 2 years.

I don't know how many people actually read my blog. In case anyone does, I'll give a little update/synopsis of life in the Graham household.

In May of 2012, I finally graduated from college. My feelings on this are divided. Sure, I'm proud that I can now call myself a college graduate, even though it's an Associate's degree in General Studies, which has very little use in the employment field. On the other hand, I started college in 1999. Or was it 1998? Yeah, I think it was 1998, because I had to go to class on my wedding day (I got married on a Friday night) because my professor wouldn't accept, "I'm getting married today," as a reason to miss class. What I'm saying is, it took me 14 years to get my 2 year degree. Here's how it went down:

1998- I took my first "real" full course load at VWCC, all core courses, because I had NO idea which career path I was interested in. I took the AP/dual enrollment English class my senior year of high school, so according to VWCC, I enrolled in September of 1996. Geez, my time at VWCC gets longer, and longer, and longer. Anyway, I finished my first semester in December of 1998 and had to take the next semester off because Hunter, my oldest, was born in April of 1999. I figured having a newborn and taking finals wouldn't go well together, so I took the semester off.

I went back in August of 1999 and decided it would be "fun" to take a Drawing I class as one of my electives. Never mind that I can't draw stick figures accurately...I get these bright ideas (or at least I think they're bright), and nothing can convince me it's a bad idea until there's an epic fail. Drawing I WAS an epic fail, and I sucked at it (I think I made a C). My instructor really didnt' like me for some reason. BUT, one good thing was, I loathed my totally insane drawing instructor, and so did this hilarious girl sitting beside me in drawing class. That hilarious girl was named Bryana, who to this day is still a friend of mine. I took 2 or 3 more semesters off when I went back to work full-time. I got pregnant with my 2nd son and ended up being a SAHM, so I decided to try and take a few more classes. Bryana and I both decided, when we were both over halfway finished with our degrees, it would be super fun if we tried for a Communication Design degree. Never mind that, in addition to lack of drawing skills, I lacked doing anything creative on the computer, and I had no idea how to use a Mac, which is what ALL Comm Design classes use. I took comm Design classes for I don't even know how many more semesters. I took Art History classes, which turns out I really loved taking, Typography, and some graphic design classes. I realized Graphic Design wasn't for me, so I looked into my options and realized I only had a few classes left to get my General Studies degree. By this time, I was in my mid-20's and just wanted to get it over with. Most of my classes left I was able to take via distance learning, which was good for me because finding time to take classes when you have 2 kids and you're working get the idea.

I worked my butt off taking my distance learning classes. I was also fertile Myrtle and was pregnant with my 3rd kiddo. Bryana and I took Biology 101 Hybrid together when I was pregnant with Arissa. I had labs one Saturday a month for 4 months. I went to my last Biology lab 8 months pregnant, and took my Biology final 3 weeks before my due date. She was born January 10, 2004, so I took that semester off, which had to be an act of God, because Arissa was born with health problems and was hospitalized 7 times in her first year. I stupidly went back in August of 2004 and took more distance learning classes. That semester was the worst semester for me, because I had to keep up with a 5 year old, a 2 (and by October, a 3) year old, and a very sick girl who was in the hospital 3 times that semester. I was fortunate to have teachers who were flexible with me; I mean, what do you say to a student who calls and says, "I can't come in and take my test, because my baby is in the hospital and I can't leave her"? I finished that semester and I was burned out. Even though I only had 6 credits left to graduate, I couldn't handle school any more.

2004 was a hellish year for me, and I was physically and emotionally burned out. Although Arissa's health issues weren't life-threatening, to ensure that she would grow and thrive, I was dealing with 3 doctors, weekly weight check-ups, bolus feedings, g-tube feedings, apnea monitors, monitors going off multiple times nightly, numerous hospitalizations for failure to thrive, a hospitalization from c-diff, corrective surgery for her, and then accusations that I was intentionally causing her to not gain weight. School was the last thing I cared about. I was burned out and decided to stop going after my December 2004 semester.

I went back to school the summer of 2011. I talked to my Academic adviser and found out that I did NOT have to take a Math class I thought I had to take. Because I had taken so, so, so many classes in my various changes in majors, one of those many, many, many classes could be substituted for my Math class. I only had 4 credits needed to complete my General Studies degree. WOO-HOO! So, the summer of 2011, I took my last class: Biology 102. I took my final exam on my 32nd birthday. A couple months later, I got the letter from VWCC stating I had completed all the necessary courses and could apply for graduation. At first, I wasn't going to go to graduation, because I think it's ridiculous that it took me as long as it did to get a 2 year degree, and I was embarrassed to make a huge show of it. After being urged by family and friends, I decided to go through with it. Here I am with my diploma. I had a lot of family and friends come to watch me walk across the stage, and I appreciate everyone who came and cheered for me.

When I try to explain why I don't think graduating is a big deal, I hear a lot of responses of assurance. "You were raising a family and working. Of course it took you longer than normal." I know it's bad to compare myself to anyone else, but I can't help but think about the fact that somewhere out there, there are people whose situations were/are a million times worse than mine who put themselves through college at a faster pace. Single moms with absolutely no help working full-time and taking college courses. Kids who worked 2 jobs so they could afford tuition while going to school full-time. Even recent high school graduates who worked and went to school. I was just an indecisive person who changed majors, took time off, then got burned out and almost quit. And I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.
It turns out this blog post ended up being all about me, which wasn't my intention. To keep this blog post from turning into a novel, I shall say...To be continued...