Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I'll Be Right Back

Seriously, I swear. I'm just not doing very well right now. The new painkiller does its job, but there is this small window in which I have pain relief AND am not too sick to move, and I have to try and cram a full day through that window every time I see it open. Knowing that everyone has already lowered their expectations of me but that I'm STILL managing to let folks down is sobering. Hang with me just a few more days, and I really think I'll be back.

We got back to our HOME on Monday evening, and I needed about a day and a half to recover. I still can't do much. Managed to prepare pancakes for Alex's dinner tonight and felt like I'd accomplished some sort of Herculean feat of strength, and then had to lie down and "spin" for a while (at least I feel like I'm spinning, though Alex assures me I'm remaining stationary).

We're having some issues with our wireless thingie (looks like a squat blue bunny, says "LINKSYS" on the front, you know the guy), so if I want to use the computer I have to go and--get this--SIT UP for the time I'm on it, so that's why you haven't seen me. Because the sitting up is not so much happening with me for extended periods of late. And I can't upload our mazillion pictures from the trip yet because they're on the 1GIG memory stick for which we have not the correct cable. It is coming in the mail, though (the cable), so as soon as I have it, you will be inundated to the point of sickness with the pictures. In the meantime, I'll post the ones my sister took to my flickr site.

I have four-hundred-and-eleventy-trillion emails waiting for my attention, many with subjects such as, "HEY!" "WHERE ARE YOU?" "ARE YOU OK?" and "WHERE THE HECK IS MY STUFF?" I'll start working my way through those (probably backward) A.S.A.P., I promise.

On the topic of BlogHer, I kinda can't imagine going feeling like this, but I'll try to make the final decision soon, so that someone can get use of my tickets if I can't. And yes, I'll do my best to make the trip. Swear.

Oh, and here's a little video. Bella had planted a spontaneous kiss on Grayson's cheek earlier, so of course while we were taking pictures, Andrea and I tried to STAGE it. This is one incarnation of the picture we got from that effort:And here was the behind-the-scenes "true story." Please notice my sister and I in unison drawling, "Do it again, but sloooooooooowly." Such fine directors we are.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Big Tease

Obviously we haven't uploaded our pics yet, but Andrea is home and working on hers. Here are a couple I've been permitted by her to post here until tomorrow:

Crashed In Nashville

We're stuck. The Methadone, she's makin' me crazy. I tossed and turned, miserable and dizzy, until 4 A.M., when I experienced a full-out panic attack and woke Alex, acting plenty crazy, I'm sure. (He can tell you that part, if he likes. I don't remember much except being convinced I was going to die and planning auditions for his next wife--so I could approve her, you know.)

This left Alex, who has an upper-respiratory infection coming on anyway, majorly sleep-deprived. We hit the road anyway, like idiots, not realizing how bad we felt, and made it as far as the Memphis side of Nashville before coming to the unanimous conclusion that this was as far as we were gonna make it today.

(Melissa, if you're reading this, expect a call!)

So now Alex and I are prostate upon the cushy beds of a nice, newer Hampton Inn, and Bella is happily tucked into a double-bed beside me, under her purple monkey blanket and wearing her "monkey and a guy" sleep-shirt, watching "Ice Age: The Meltdown" on hotel PPV. To say we're hoping for a nap would be the understatement of the year.

Someday, I'm sure, I will see my home again. In the meantime, if you'd like to apply for the position of Alex's next wife and mom to Bella in the event of my untimely demise, and are a LESS ATTRACTIVE woman than me, go ahead and send me a resume'. (Mr. Fabulous, you are not eligible.)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Brief Mid-Weekend Update

We're back at the hotel room in Tennessee, totally crashed out and trying to recover enough for the drive home tomorrow. It has been exhausting, but everything has gone really well. Angela and Zach are now man and wife, and good gracious, but they were beautiful, calm, and sweet, the both of them. Nothing is more wonderful than a ceremony for young people so much in love and so content in each other that they just radiate happiness. I wish them all the best, and envy them their early start on what is sure to be a fantastic life together.

Bella did very well, especially considering the "hurry up and wait" element so common to weddings. She was patient, attentive, and well-mannered, and made for great pictures. What more could a mother ask for? Sometimes it was hard to believe that she's only three and a half years old...and sometimes, like the point in the ceremony at which she decided it was "time to dance," it wasn't, so much. But I'd made a previous arrangement with the bridesmaid closest to her, and swept in pretty quickly and quietly and got her offstage before she escalated to outright mutiny over the non-dancing status of the proceedings. So it was pretty low-scoring on a scale of disruptiveness, and she more than made up for it with all the goodness the rest of the day.

There was a moment, there, though, that I couldn't shake the image of Mike Myers as "Dieter" on SNL. I half-expected Bella to announce, "NOW IZ ZE TIME ON SHPROKETS VEN VE DANCE!" As it was, all she managed to get out was a not-exactly-quiet, "But I thought I could DANCE now!" on the way out to the vestibule.

I haven't uploaded or edited them yet, but I think considering that my sister and I took approximately 300 pictures between the two of us, it's safe to say we may have some new flickr stuff up soon.

The new medication...is a trial-and-error in process. I've been pretty sick from it both yesterday and today, so it may take a few days to get used to it. But I actually DROVE part of the trip here, and that was really something, for me, lately. I've also been trying to get used to the resignation of No More Children, which is really sad...so far, the thought of the relief of being DONE with this disease isn't outweighing the grief over the finality of stopping my family at the size it is...but with Alex's continuing support, and Bella's continuing delightful existence, I'm at least feeling like that's a thing that will eventually happen.

Oh, and y'all...my family...they are wonderful, I love them, and I am blessed. I wish we were all together more often.

We head home tomorrow, and are considering a visit to the Memphis Zoo on the way, although I'm really not at all confident in my ability to take on such a thing at this point. Alex is seriously attempting to convince me to use an electric cart, and I just hate the notion. Yup, I'm just that feeble and pathetic, zipping around the zoo in my Hoverround. Woo-Hooo. We'll see.

A long and happy life, Zach and Angela. May God continue to bless you!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Back From The Methadone Clinic And On My Way

All righty, then! As a friend told me recently, this space is resembling a Lifetime Movie lately, and I'm ready to turn that around some. There has been grieving, and there's some more to come, but there has also been laughter, hope, and relief.

I'm gonna talk about the relief now. First, much stress was lifted from this weekend's journey to Tennessee for Bella's flowergirl debut in Zach and Angela's wedding when the sweet, wonderful (and incidentally hot blonde bombshell with equally hot-bomb husband) Melissa agreed to take on the task of caring for our sixteen (you read right) animals, plus all the wee fishies in the koi-pond, while we're gone. She's awesome--totally responsible, great with the animals, and they love her. The dogs are not overly thrilled at basically having to live a couple of days mostly crated, but if we boarded them, guess how they'd be living? Yeah. Crated. So at least they're on their home turf, with their own bunkhouses in their own home with their own classical music and all. And Melissa is a familiar face and voice to a good number of the dogs and horses, so that's great. The fish won't recognize her at all, but they wouldn't acknowledge her if they did. They're aloof like that.

Now for the BIG news. I GOT PAIN RELIEF. I'm a little astonished at the source, but after a three-and-a-half-hour consult with the reproductive endocrinologist today, I've been put on Methadone. That's right. I never heard of such a thing--I thought Methadone only came in the Kool-Aid down at the heroin-rehab clinic. Turns out, it's the going thing in chronic pain management. And I may be jumping the gun by gushing after only one dose, but MAN, I feel good, and have much LESS of a "drugged" feeling than I did on Demerol. I would encourage anyone with endometriosis who is dealing with tough pain to CHECK THIS OUT NOW. On top of everything else, it was CHEAP.

Here's the story with the Methadone. With standard pain-meds, you take them when you hurt, and you stress over having them when you need them, so you tend to "save" them for the really bad pain, and by that point, you're "behind" the pain, and it's hard to catch up and get full relief. So you take more, and besides not getting full relief, you wind up running out sooner. Methadone has a long half-life, so offers about a 12-hour window of effectiveness. I take one 10 mg. Methadone tablet every 12 hours, and have the option of taking one extra pill per 24-hour period for "breakthrough" pain, if needed. It's brilliant. I recommend it heartily. Unless you are, in fact, a heroin junkie...I'm not qualified to make recommendations in that case. But my doctor told me that Methadone is also making strides in many forms of chronic pain that are hard to treat, such as arthritis and severe back pain.

Aside from mere pain relief, I am now just beginning to see the sun peek through the clouds, and getting a taste of relief to come when, I'm guessing by Monday or so, I can rejoin the world, and do exotic things like, oh, I don't know...GO TO THE POST OFFICE. Wheeeee! Seriously...to live again? To merely fulfill my obligations? Seems like a nice thing, and I'm looking forward to it.

Tomorrow morning we depart for the much-ballyhooed wedding of Zachary and Angela, holding our breaths in the hopes that Dear Isabella will be in one of her ballerina princess moods when the time comes to do her flowergirl thing, and not in her "Batman Beyond" mode, wherein a magic-wand becomes a death-dealing weapon of doom. I might not ever live down the yelling of "TAKE THAT, JOKER!" accompanied by overagressive petal-chunking. We can only hope.

And--AND! We are travelling in style, in my freshly-detailed (and painstakingly organized by hubby) Tahoe, which is, as of this month (drumroll...), PAID OFF. O-F-F. OFF. Behold it in all its no-payments-due glory:Awwwwww, yeahhhhhhh. It's like having a brand-new car, I'm that excited. We had to stop doing so when we bought the new house, but prior to that we had worked really hard to make extra payments on the Tahoe in order to pay it off early, and we accomplished that. And now we can apply the erstwhile Tahoe payment amount to Alex's truck payment, and get IT paid off early, and then it's ONWARD to putting a dent in the mortgage, to ultimately live debt-free! Dave Ramsey would be so proud of us. Well, he'd probably disapprove of all dog-show-related expenditures, but still. It's progress, and I'm proud of us, a little.

Oh, and happiness? Happiness is a mailbox full of fresh, new, DaveToon shirts, the latest modeled here by Bella, who now refuses to give up her "monkey and a guy" nightgown.This led to a full evening of entertainment for us, beginning with her question, as she regarded the images on the shirt, "Mommy, is this a drawing?"

Me: "Well, yes, Sweetie, it is a drawing."

Bella: "Who drawed this picture?"

Me: "Dave did. Would you like to see some more?"

And so we visited the archives of Blogography, particularly the DaveToon 2006 archives (scrolling quickly past any images containing a cartoon penis--there are a surprisingly good number of these, it being only halfway through 2006 and all). I was rewarded for my efforts with a lot of delighted squealing of such phrases as, "Oh, my, he's NAAAAKEEEED!" (dream sequence with giant, banana-weilding Dave amid swarms of Bad Monkeys), "Look, 'dere's 'dat monkey agay-unn!" And my favorite:

"He is in bay-udd NAKED with a HORSIE--HAHAHAHAAAAA! And he hay-us a ba-nay-uh-na! And there is SPONGEBOB!!! AAAAH HAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!!"DaveToons are seriously appreciable to preschoolers, who thankfully can't read yet.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Last Embrace

Today ended the earthly life of a fine horse, a good friend, and an honest soul.

The false hope we had yesterday was brought on by painkillers, and once those wore off, the message to me was more than clear. "Let me go. Help me go. I love you, but I'm tired, and I hurt."

So I made the call, Alex prepared the trailer, and we began the longest hour in recent memory, waiting for the vet to arrive. I offered Montrachet any treat I could think he might want, but he did no more than sniff at even the sweetest offering.

Alex took the last pictures I'll ever have of my grand old man, and I brushed his still-glossy coat with the softest of pony brushes, especially his face. He has ever loved having his face brushed, and closed his eyes and leaned into each gentle stroke.Bella only understood that he was very sick, and we kept from her what was going to be happening, choosing to wait until afterward to try and explain. She brushed every part of him she could reach, and was quiet and respectful, even if she didn't know quite what was going on.

Alex removed the center partition from the horse-trailer, and as the time came near for the vet's arrival, Montrachet and I got into the trailer together for the last time. We listened to Vivaldi, "Autumn" from his "Four Seasons" suite. If I had stopped to think, in the moment, that we'd never do that together again, never "load up" and take another trip together, I'd have fallen to pieces. As it was, I held it together pretty well during the waiting period, reminding 'Chet of the promise I'd made him, that he'd live out his years with me, and nevermore have any concern of being sold to anyone else, and that I'd take care of him. Truly, we carried each other, in one way or another, through the years. I thought I was clear-minded; thought I'd steeled myself for the final moment, but when it came, I could not seem to let go--physically let go of his sweet face. I stood in the trailer clutching that face to mine, covering it with kisses, and sobbing my goodbyes. Doc stood by patiently and respectfully, as, indeed, did Montrachet's own sons and daughters, standing in honor of their sire. It might never have ended; I might never have let go, but for the horse burying his muzzle in the crook of my neck, after exchanging breath with me (it's a horseperson thing, this communication of breathing, and how horses communicate with each other, as well), nuzzling my cheek with his lips, and licking me softly, much as a dog would, several times in a row. This he followed with a big sigh, never moving his face from mine, and that was my release. I kissed that nose several more times, told him how absolutely GOOD he'd been, and said goodbye...and "I love you."

The end was so gentle, and Doc eased him down in the trailer comfortably and without struggle. I knelt there with him, holding his head, for those last few moments, and we passed some final, private communication. When I was sure he was completely gone, I took some scissors and cut off his glorious forelock, to keep for myself. I couldn't bear to take it while he was living, and I'm sure Arabian horse-lovers will understand that.

Then Alex went to cover him with a sheet to keep the flies off (this for me, and no other reason, and my husband to his credit never hesitated at any part of this ritual that fell to him), and I took Bella, who'd been in the cab of the truck listening to the radio, into the house to try and explain what had happened. She has not quite, at this age, grasped the permanancy of "dead" yet, sometimes insisting that dead things can be made to "get better." When she asked me if Montrachet had died like Black Beauty "before he got better," I told her that no, he had died like Ginger from the Black Beauty story, and would never get better or come back, and she cried a little. I cried a LOT.

In the morning, Alex will take the body to a state educational facility for necropsy, so that something can be learned from this death. Upon completion of that, the body will be cremated. I've kept what I wanted, and hope to plant some Montrachet Lilies in a prominent spot in my yard.

Alex lost this Father's Day to death and grief and work, and I owe him a make-up day of honor...but I owe him so much more. He knew instinctively to give way to me during the preparation and carrying out of the euthanasia, and to give me and my old horse privacy and to respect our long partnership. He knew just as instinctively that when the life-spark was gone from my friend, that I needed him to take over, and that is precisely what he did, without being asked, and without complaining. I love him, and I appreciate him more than I tell him so.

I'd like to reprint a poem that was posted in my comments section by "jensgrandma", and which really did help me along in this process.

May I Go?

May I go now?
Do you think the time is right?
May I say goodbye to pain filled days
and endless lonely nights?
I've lived my life and done my best,
an example tried to be.
So can I take that step beyond
and set my spirit free?
I didn't want to go at first,
I fought with all my might.
But something seems to draw me now
to a warm and living light.

I want to go
I really do.
It's difficult to stay.
But I will try as best I can
to live just one more day.
To give you time to care for me
and share your love and fears.
I know you're sad and afraid,
because I see your tears
I'll not be far,
I promise that, and hope you'll always know
that my spirit will be close to you
wherever you may go

Thank you so for loving me.
You know I love you too,
that's why it's hard to say goodbye
and end this life with you.
So hold me now just one more time
and let me hear you say,
because you care so much for me,
you'll let me go today.

---Written for a beloved pet & friend by Susan A. Jackson

I'd also like to repeat, that Montrachet...was GOOD. He was a good and noble horse, and there was no vice in him. Many of you have seen him become physically less of what he once was, over the last few years, and I would ask, if you love me, to remember him by his beautiful, kind children, and when you think of him, think of him thus, proud head held high:Goodbye, Faithful One. Wait for me close by. I love you.
Montrachet, 1981-2006

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Reprieve For Now, And Pleasant Things

First things first: Thank you all for your unbelievably kindhearted sentiments for my old friend, and for not thinking he's "just an animal." Bloodwork on Montrachet showed nothing amiss except for a very high white-cell count, which, along with the jaundice and dehydration, would indicate one mutha of a kidney infection. Today he seemed to feel better, so I'm putting off any final decisions for now. Doc left us with some munitions to fight this current challenge, namely electrolytes, antibiotics, and a gallon of a vile-smelling, supercharged vitamin and mineral supplement, to be added to his food twice daily.I really more-than-halfway expected him to be gone when I woke up this morning, so I'm not taking this slight uptick for granted, and I'm watching for any signs of pain or discomfort closely. He only ate about half of the mash I made him tonight, but that could very well be because of the aforementioned vile-smelling vitamin/iron supplement that's mixed into it. I'm thinking of just shooting that stuff down his throat so that he'll eat all of his food. Doc says that 'Chet very likely has a heavy buildup of scar tissue from years of ulcerative damage to his stomach and colon, and that due to that and his age, he may be unable to absorb the nutrients he needs from the food he's eating (which, really, has been a considerable amount). So there still may soon come a day when I have to put him down before his body starves itself to death--I won't let him go out like that.

So, on to the goodness, which mostly came by mail...got new grooming supplies in; new clipper blades, Kool-Lube (easy, Mocha and Erin, it's strictly a coolant to keep your clippers from running too hot), etc. Wheee! And actually, since I didn't feel like being upright, Alex was the first person to use them. Poor Reggie. He may never be the same. He looks...um...different.

Oh, and I got the blessed BCPs, which will hopefully exert some hormonal control over my whacko body and damp down the pain to a level which CAN be controlled by narcotics. That would be good, especially with Zack's wedding coming up in a week, and the travelling and toddler-wrangling that will entail. I have an appointment Wednesday with a reproductive endocrinologist here in Arkansas, who actually does the E.V.E. surgery like I had in New Orleans in 2000, AND he's in my HMO network. Apparently, word HAS gotten out in the last few years, so take heart, endo sufferers!

Also, in the mail (and providing me with a shipping box to recycle and send out someone's forgotten goods), bounty of glorious bounties, brand-spanking-new, custom-made-by-Melissa BELLYBANDS!!For the uninitiated, a TMI warning. When you raise showdogs, they must remain "intact" for at least the duration of their show careers, and of course longer than that if you intend to breed them. And a stud dog in the presence of intact bitches, especially one who has, erm, gotten some action, can become a real pain, even if housebroken, about "marking" his territory--inside and out. And being that even the most hardcore of dog lovers is not usually fond of having droplets of stinky boy-dog piddle scattered hither and yon upon their furniture, several enterprising souls have come up with various incarnations of the "belly-band." It's like a doggie-cummerbund with a purpose, which I'm sure you can figure out. Of course, I loved all the designs that Melissa came up with, but as you can well understand, our favorite of all is this one:
Also? Today? New Southern Living, y'all. I don't suppose I have ever been so down in the dumps that the arrival of a fresh, new Southern Living magazine didn't cheer me right up, at least a little. If you don't know this magazine, for the love of leapin' lizards, subscribe immediately. I am an admitted magazine junkie, but if I could only have one for the rest of my life, this is it, Baby, even over Rolling Stone. Travel! Gardening! Decorating! And OH, the FOOD!!! I don't care where you live. Get this magazine. It makes Better Homes And Gardens look like Crack-Houses And Abandoned Quarries. Seriously.

And finally, to cap off the day, Jermain Taylor has retained his title, after his bout with Winky Wright. 'Twas a draw, true enough, but that'll do for now. He remains, and will always be, our champion. The fight on HBO was a family affair at Chez Ninja (you will ignore the imposing stack of as-yet-unpacked boxes in the living room)."Go, J.T.! Go, J.T.! Go, J.T.!"

OH. And. My Mother-In-Law sent chocolate cake. Ha-HA! (And also gifts for Bella, including a bud vase of fresh-cut flowers, which Bella has insisted on carrying with her every waking minute, from room to room and table to table.)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Worried

Because I just haven't done enough lately to make this The Most Depressing Site On The Internet, and because if I don't talk about it I'll have a nervous breakdown, I'm telling you what's going on with my dear old Montrachet. He's a horse, a stallion, and he's made it to the age of 25, which is nothing to sneeze at for a horse. He hasn't always had the best life, and in fact did a leased stint in Oklahoma which very nearly killed him in his early teens, and from which he never really recovered, not to his former glory, which was considerable (this was at age 10):He and I have been together 3 times longer than I've known my husband, and 5 times longer than I've had Bella. So yeah, we've got a history. We also have an understanding, and I promised him the day I finally owned him (thank you, Mom & Dad--so much) that he would live easy for the rest of his years, and that those years would be with me, come what may.

He's been failing of late, and despite being fed astronomical amounts of high-quality food, keeps losing weight, while his young pasture-mate and concubine, Kate, gets tick-fat on the grain-mash bounty that they share. Doc has checked everything from his teeth to various blood panels, and not found much amiss, and yet there it is, right in front of my eyes. So tonight, all the alarm bells in my head and my heart went off when I saw this: To many, that's just a picture of a horse. But for me, the person who knows this horse best, it's a portrait of pain, and worse, of beginning to give up. I can see it in everything from the ears to the worried eyes to the stress in the tensed jaw, to the pain-wrinkled nostrils and fixed lips. He's thinking of quitting, and if that's what he wants, I have to be prepared to help him along. I owe him that much--I owe him more, Heaven knows, but this I can do, if I can only be strong enough.I find myself caught up in sorrowful thoughts of no longer having that wide white blaze to stroke; of missing that soft pink muzzle tickling my neck, looking for treats...even the fake bluster and stallion-bravado that he puts on when mares come to be bred. No more. I'll not have another stallion, for there aren't any more like this. Horses, yes, but stallions, no. He had the bursting-from-his-skin macho vitality to stand out in a show-ring with me riding, then could turn right around and carry a 3-year-old girl in a leadline class, looking for all the world as if he were walking on eggshells, such was his caution with the wee one.

I sat out on the ground tonight, waiting for the vet, with his head in my lap, stroking that broad cheek and scratching gently between those familiar ears...the ones that our coach, Nancy, used to ask me if I was going to bite, when I was perched too far forward in the saddle for her liking.

So now that the vet has been out, here's how it stands. This brave beast is failing. Something inside him has broken, but we don't know what, although he is mightily jaundiced. So for tonight, Doc gave him plenty of drugs to make him comfortable, and the morning will tell the tale of the bloodwork. If liver enzymes are off the chart, then that makes the decision for me, and I will do my part to ease him on to the proverbial Greener Pastures. Is it wrong to hope for that, to hope for something so obvious that it makes my part in this easier?

Because this I can say about Montrachet, to borrow a line from Anna Sewell's "Black Beauty": He is a good and noble horse; there is no vice in him. And in trying to explain to my husband what it IS with this horse--the bond between us may not be precisely what it is between Misha and myself, but the thing about, the essence of Montrachet, is that he is honest. Can non-horse people get that? I don't know, but it's the best I can do. I've always known what to expect of him, and he of me, because we've never lied to each other, neither of us. An honest horse is worth his weight in gold, and this one is definitely worth at least that.

So those of you who would pray for such beasts, do that for me, please, and for me, as well, that my hand would be guided to do what is right for him, should it come to that. If it is time for my friend to rest, I'd have him rest well, and with no further delay.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Stoned

Taking advantage of a window of pain relief that can only be brought about by a complex and perfectly-timed cocktail of three different medications, and that only once a day or so, to check in here. So forgive me if this is addled and incoherent (moreso than usual, in any case).

Some observations:

You know you've been in pain for a while when: You can differentiate narcotic pain-relieving medications in the dark by the sounds the pills make when you shake the bottles.

You know you're on serious pain medication when: You invest five minutes in an unsuccessful attempt to remove your bra, because you've forgotten that it's a front-clasp, and are futilely spinning it around your midsection looking for the hooks.

And What's With The Singing?

I'm looking at you, Bella. The waking up at 2:00 AM and then not being able to go back to sleep unless I sing to you for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Seriously, that's ridiculous. Fortunately, tanked up on Demerol, I'm a pretty good show. It's funny the songs you'll come up with, as a parent, after you've run through the basic repertoire of lullabies and children's songs, and you're just trying to come up with anything you know the words to. That means that you, Bella, get lots of Beatles, particularly the song I sang to you the night you were born, the first time we were alone, "Here, There, and Everywhere," and then pretty much the entire Seargent Pepper's album. "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" (gruesome? maybe, but it cracked me right the heck up when I was your age) naturally segues into my other childhood favorites, which my mom would play and sing for me, so we get in some Joe Cocker, Three Dog Night, Ike & Tina (like me, you think that "funkier than a mosquito's tweeter" is one of the better phrases in all of contemporary music), CCR, and of course, more Beatles.

When those run out, we hit the blues. Lots of Ray Charles, the early years. "At Last," as sung by Etta James (I wish), "Do You Know What It Means (To Miss New Orleans)," "Tin Roof Blues," and "Birth of the Blues." You only stopped me once to quiz me about such things as what is a "frail", why are they in jail, and what are they wailing about?

From there, I won't lie, it's on to showtunes. Because these are the songs, aside from hymns, that I know all the words to. Select numbers from "Porgy And Bess" (like me, you love to hear your mommy sing "Summertime," although my mommy did it better), "West Side Story," "CATS," "Oklahoma," "South Pacific," etc...always winding up with "The Sound Of Music." Because once I've been through the entire SoM catalog, I am DONE. And you're usually asleep before I can get through "Climb Every Mountain," anyway. Your favorite from that collection is easily "(These Are A Few Of) My Favorite Things." To which we've added a verse, which I wrote down one night so we wouldn't forget it:

Fairy-tale princesses
and spaghetti noodles;
Puzzles, and the muzzles
of wee puppy poodles;
Ridiculous songs that your Mommy will sing;
These are a few of your favorite thiiiiiiiiings...

Sweet blue-eyed girls
who give kisses and squeezes;
Hearing, "I love you,"
and "Bless you!" after sneezes;
Knowing you'll love me
Whatever life brings;
These are a few of MY favorite thiiiiiiings...

When the dog bites---
(dissolve into laughter at the thought of a dog BITING, then go on to the next song)

Yeah. You're kinda fun, even in the dead of night. But seriously, can we get some sleep tonight? Like, the whole night through? Please? Because when Mommy's sleeping, nothing's hurting, you see. Let's give it a shot, eh?

And for me, the light is almost visible, just a hint of it, toward the end of the tunnel. More on that later, for now I am fading.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A Guest-Post From Alex

Hello all! My better half has really been under the weather lately. I really do admire you ladies with all you have to put up with, and Belinda usually puts up with all her pains with a smile. But, this time she needs a break and may not be on here for a while. So, tonight folks you get me.

On other fronts, we promised Isabella that if she was really good at the wedding at the end of this month, where she is to be a flower girl, that she would get a Build-A-Bear. So, we went to the Build-A-Bear web site tonight where she was delighted to see that there was a poodle doll there. Have any of you been to that web site or one of those stores?! She was going wild over everything. There were outfits, shoes, sounds the poodle could make, and many, many other accessories. What a racket. Anyway, unbeknownst to her, we were actually ordering the poodle as we went along. (Sneaky, aren't we?)

Then it came time to officially register the poodle with the Build-A-Bear site to be able to find it if lost and also give it a name. Now, when she was asked the poodle's name, we suggested Princess, and the like, but she was in one of her silly moods and started rattling off nonsensical words. But, the name that kept coming out over and over again sounded a lot like Coochie Mylanta. Now, that's not a very good name for a little girl's doll, but we thought it would be a great name for a drag queen. A really ugly drag queen. Can't you just hear it? "And next on the stage, Coochie Mylanta!"

The doll ended up being named Princess Poodle, but in our hearts, she will forever remain...Coochie Mylanta.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

What's Your Pain Threshold?

Let me state up front that I can't take any outpourings of sympathy, so just tie a knot in it now, all you sentimental, sympathetic mush-heads (who I love).

Let's have a chat, shall we? What have been your experiences with pain? I'm honestly interested, because I'm wondering JUST HOW WHINEY AND WIMPY I AM. On your own personal pain chart, what, up to this point in your life, has constituted your "worst pain ever?" Injury? Surgery? A chronic condition? Childbirth? Kidney stones?

I've been down since Thursday, and down hard. Endometriosis is a weird, cruel passenger on the vessel of your body. My symptoms have been escalating rapidly for the last few weeks, and just recently the pain has become my all-consuming, ever-present companion. It hurts, and it hurts bad. I throw up, and have other digestive upsets because of it. I cry...a LOT. I can't concentrate. Blah, blah, blah. It's not just painful, this process, it's BORING. I get tired of talking about it, and I feel like everyone I know is REALLY tired of hearing about it. I've come to dread the question, "How are you doing?" Seriously dread it. I hate lying, but I hate never being able to honestly say that things are all peaches and cream, too.

Long/short of my story at present, is that I'm freshly stocked with a supply of Demerol, and have appointments pending with three different doctors (including a pain management specialist, whee), to try and assess just what condition my condition is in.

So, back to you...how has physical pain affected your life? Have you lost work? Been otherwise ill due to pain? Has it affected your parenting or your marriage? Would you prefer acute pain to chronic pain, or vice-versa? I have had my share of bone-smashing injuries, and I always say I'd rather do that than to have this constant, live-in, there-when-I-wake-up, there-when-I-go-to-sleep hurt. Seriously. Hit me with a baseball bat, break my arm, whatever--just get it OVER with, already.

We took Bella to be fitted for her flowergirl dress, and sitting in that dressing room surrounded by mirrors was a horrifying experience for me. I'm prepared for seeing myself as too heavy, having a bad-hair day, etc., but looking all around and seeing a sick person looking back...well, that was horrifying. I look like I'm in the mid-stage of some life-draining illness. Which I suppose I could be--I was before. And that's scary, so we'll stop talking about it, fiddle-dee-dee.

Other people in my life have accomplished things. Alex has got the Giant Dumpster just about filled up,and also, with the assistance of my Super-Handyman Uncle Jesse, removed the old countertops and sink in the kitchen at the other house, so that we can get going with the new countertops, paint, and get the thing listed.
Even Bella got her warpaint on, using Mommy's mascara. Lovely. How do humorless people have preschoolers? These and more at our flickr pages.