Monthly Archives: July 2012

A long week

I’m just saying hi.

I spent over a week in the mountains with my husband, my youngest kid, and my inlaws. It was fun, beautiful and exhausting. The mountains were gorgeous, the house was gorgeous, and we ate and drank like heathens. I keep threatening to detox for the week but then I remembered I have two weeks left until summer break ends and the kids go back to school. At that point I’ll have to have a weekday clause of “no drinking”. Well, maybe. Most of the time at least. I know that getting my son, an about to be Freshman, out the door before 7 am means an early start for me the first few weeks, so that means I need all my brain cells functioning and 8 hrs of sleep accomplished.

I’m truly exhausted. I’m happy to be home. My cats are beyond THRILLED we are home. Though bringing the dog back home, I can’t say they feel the same. I think they were secretly happy she was gone. They had this “Oh Shit” response when we came back from picking her up from my friend Jess’s house. However, our(My) cat Wally has been attached to me at the hip all day and meows from over the railing with his head hanging over, periodically throughout the day to express his joy we(I) are(am) home.

This morning I killed a wasp in my house. My orkin dude was in the neighborhood and swung by. I like him. Seriously. He’s awesome. I’ve had him for two summers. Then 20 minutes after he leaves Charlie screeches from his room because he discovers a huge(I thought it was monstrous, later I was proven wrong) wasp on his wall. We shut the door and ran. Took two hrs but Orkin Jim came back again(did I mention I love this guy?), found the bastard and killed it. He also showed me all the possible ways it could have come in. However, C mentioned to him that he was at his dad’s family cottage in Wisconsin over the weekend and they were all over the place. He came home last night and didn’t open his backpack until this morning. Orkin Jim said yes the bastard probably hitched a ride inside with Charlie. Oh LOVELY. 

Thankfully he reassured me they won’t travel in packs and that was probably the only hitchhiker. However, knowing all the wasps we have outside and screen issues I’ve informed/gently asked Josh that we take care of/secure all areas around the house this weekend to make sure no more of these jerks make it in again. Two in one day was too much for me.

Did I mention I had to go get Charlie clothes at one point(he was in pajamas) so I armed myself with a can of scrubbing bubbles and went into his room very, VERY, carefully? Highlight of my day.

I worked on a couple of pieces up in New Hampshire but really the in and out and the amount of people up there was too much, and I had the concentration of a gnat. Hopefully being inside all week to escape the impending heat will help me a bit this week.

Don’t be surprised if by this weekend three posts pop up at once!

Over and out, I’m freaking exhausted. And two weeks of True Blood in 24 hours is making me want to cleanse my eyes and brain cells.

J

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Tonight, anything goes

I’m trying really hard to come up with something really amazing and thought-provoking to write tonight.

I keep coming up with nothing. The week has been long, the overwhelming heat has returned, and I’m sitting here drinking Trader Joe’s wine out of a tiny paper cup decorated with flamingos. I’m that cool.

I have two better posts in the works but my brain cells have been depleted, once again, by the ridiculous heat. Mother nature seems to have it in for us this summer. And my MS has gone on strike. Or rather the MS that usually hangs out in the background minding its own business has gone on strike, from being boring. It’s being a brat. That’s the only way to describe it.

However, today I had to say goodbye to my son as he drove off with his father for ten days. We’re heading out of town for our summer sojourn with the inlaws out east. This is somethingj we do every year. Usually we end up on the seacoast, tomorrow however I get to reside in the mountains for several days. And I have to say I’m crazy excited about this. I’ve been to the mountains once before, but this was in Denver well over 20 years ago.

That’s actually a pretty strange story, and one I forget about from time to time. Someday I’ll write about my my brief time living out there but not tonight. I will say this, that one experience in the mountains was a camping trip with several other people. The next morning I was the first person to awake so I pulled on my shoes and headed out of the tent. I was drawn to the giant white peaks that loomed up ahead of me through the rising sun and the parting fog. I found myself walking down a small mountain and up one that was much bigger. I walked up it a short while and found myself looking out over a beautiful forest. I stayed there for a while until I noticed the rest of the campers awaking.

This is still one of my favorite memories ever. Even if the night before I did accidentally take a punch in the face meant for someone else. Again, a story for another time.

Tomorrow we leave crazy early, without my son this time. I’m sad to be away from him because this summer is the first summer he hasn’t gone with us, and he’s spent so much time with his father already that I feel as if I’ve barely seen him. As much as he drives me insane, I love the kid something fierce.

Esme is my just turned 6 yr old, I’ve never mentioned her here before. She’s a little spitfire with light brown hair, big green eyes and a little grouping of freckles that spreads out across both cheeks and her nose. It’s one of my favorite parts of her. She’s a great combination of both her father and I. Which means she’ll be very artistic and also extremely stubborn. The cups with the flamingos? Leftovers from her Hawaiian birthday party. I figure they have to be used at some point or another.

Anyways, I’m heading out and I’m sure I’ll be touching up the other two pieces I’m working on between a two-hour flight and then a four-hour drive up to the mountains. Or I’ll be counting the minutes until I can unpack and have a drink. Flying usually stresses me out. As Josh put it tonight to friends, that’s a gross understatement. He’s usually lucky if he walks off a plane without his hand broken because of me.

Hopefully I’ll be posting one or two of those writings via my cell phone(be kind if there are misspellings, I don’t type well on my iPhone) within the next few days!

Oh and a VERY big shout out and thank you to a wonderful woman and an incredible friend, Jessica! She has the heart of a saint and she offered to take my crazy dog for the week while we’re gone. I owe her a million! And not only that but she reminded me I forgot about my cats and offered to come in and feed them while we’re gone. If she hadn’t said anything I’m afraid of what we’d have found when we returned. Which would make me sad.

So until I can find a way to post again, au revoir!!

J

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Fifteen Years Old

Fifteen years ago I awaited your birth. You were late. 8 days late. Which isn’t really surprising now that I know you because you really do have a tendency to move extremely slow, but I think you just like taking your time. As you surely did back then.

Being pregnant with you was one of the easiest things I’ve ever experienced. Awaiting your arrival was one of the hardest. Before I even had my 5 month ultrasound, when they would tell me whether you were a boy or girl, I already knew I wanted a boy. I had hoped and prayed you were a boy.

And that day they told me you were. I was ecstatic. Your father was ecstatic.

I planned and prepared those last four months. You were wanted my dear, you were loved.

Naming you however was a complication I wasn’t prepared for. Your father and I had very different ideas of what your name should be. I was the writer. Since I was a kid I sketched out what I would name my kids. I liked strong, classic names. Names that had deep roots in literature and mythology. I wanted to name you Nathaniel. Lucas. Gabriel. Your father wasn’t having any of this.

He wanted to name you Johnny. After his favorite guitarist, Johnny Hickman from the band Cracker. That did not go over well with me. We both lost.

During those last few months of pregnancy I found myself standing in your grandmother’s kitchen with her and your great-grandfather. We were talking names. They laughed over the fact that we were still having problems naming you. Suddenly a name popped into my head, Charles. I loved the strength of it. How classic it sounded. I loved it.

An odd look came over your grandmother’s face when I said the name. I didn’t know why but it was a look of melancholy not disgust. It turns out that this was the name of your grandfather’s father. Someone I never knew as he had died many years before I ever came around the family. I honestly never knew his name. So I think the fact that I came up with it there in the kitchen that day surprised us all.

It was perfect. I told your father that night and he smiled so big I knew it was the right choice.

We waited a short while to tell your grandfather, it was a surprise. We told him father’s day weekend on the way up to the family cottage in Wisconsin. He cried in the car. He was so happy you were going to take the name of his father.

The middle name was a breeze compared to your first name. Both of your grandfather’s shared the same first name so that was the logical choice for your middle.

Things proceeded like normal. We eventually found an apartment and moved out of your grandparents a few weeks before you were born. You were due July 2nd. I was kind of excited and hoping you’d make an appearance on the 4th. But those days passed.

It was hotter than Hades.

Your aunt and I shared the same Dr and she had your cousin Mia just a couple of months before you were due. There was an issue with Mia and the Dr was terrified of a repeat performance, thinking your aunt and I were one and the same so she kept a close eye on both of us after that.

There was an issue and I was told you were probably going to have to be born by a C-section. You just refused to make an appearance.

After a week she told me to come in on the 10th. That morning I was sent to Hinsdale Hospital to be induced. All of your grandparents were there at some point or another. I honestly wasn’t that scared. I think I was more frightened of the horrible hair I had been sporting the last few weeks and how I’d look in pictures later(horrible, I have proof).

I knew I would love you. I knew you would be fantastic.

After several hours of being induced and you still being the most stubborn baby on the planet, the Dr came and announced she was going to lunch but “in an hour we’ll proceed with the C-section”. I was too tired and excited to really care by the lunch part. Your dad almost missed me being wheeled into the operating room. He had gone to get something to eat himself. He arrived about one minute before I was to go in.

It didn’t take long. You arrived. You were cleaned up and handed to your dad. Who showed you to me and the first words out of my mouth” he has my nose. No one has my nose”. Which is true. You and I are the only ones in all of my extended family that has this nose. I have no idea where it came from. Next I noticed you had my mouth.

Later it became a joke that if people really didn’t know any better they wouldn’t know you were your father’s son. You looked like me from day 1. So much like me it was scary. And it was that way through most of your life. The blond hair, the large dark eyes. Now you’re starting to look like your dad. Which I think could spell trouble as you go further into your teen years.

We gave you the best of what we had when you were little, you were my one and only. You were so good-natured and sweet. So inquisitive and creative. You still are.

Later things were rough. Your father and I divorced. Though we have always stayed friends, making sure that when we both remarried and had other children our families were close. We just knew it was for the best and we never hated each other. We just grew apart.

After that you had some school difficulties. There were other issues at hand.  ADHD and Aspergers. You’ve always been this amazing child.

I have always loved you. We have always loved you. You’ve weathered many a storm both personally, emotionally and physically. You’ve always managed to pull through and I know that you have my strength to persevere through it all. So you always will continue to do so.

I know I’ve been hard on you, but that’s only because I want you to be the best you can be. Even if it means you sometimes hate me.

The teenage years were never something I would be prepared for. The first couple years were the worst because of your conflicting hormones and that always lanky body growing taller and taller. You’re 5’8 and towering over me and if you inherited your Grandpa Niemann’s genes as we suspect you have, you’ll be minimum 6’2.

This year you’ve had the most amazing growth, both physically and emotionally. I see you getting stronger. I’m starting to see little glimpses into who you may be some day down the road, into the future.

In one month you start High School. And with everything you’ve gone through I admit I’m a bit scared, but like you I’m excited. Because I think this could be when you come into You.

However it was yesterday you turned 15. You’re no longer a little kid. There’s such a big difference between 14 and 15. And I’m seeing it now more than I ever thought I could.

I’m proud of you. I enjoy being with you. I’m looking forward to the next few years of you as a teenager and helping you navigate those murky waters. Next year you’ll start driving.

But for now…

I will Love you always, no matter what.

Happy Birthday Charlie, you’re still one of the most amazing accomplishments in my life!!

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A Heat Wave

This will be short and sweet. Well maybe not.

I haven’t posted the last few days due to the holiday, the kids being obnoxious and the 103 average a day weather here in Chicago.

It’s been hot. Ha. That’s an understatement right now. Chicago is sweltering and roads are buckling due to this record breaking heat.

I hate the heat. I hate summer(I’ve mentioned this before).

What I hate is that I’m not a complainer when it comes to my MS. I rarely complain , I will suck it up and endure even when my legs are tired and I don’t feel myself. I hate annoying people.

This week however I have been brought to my whiny knees. I’ve experienced brain fog- twice this week I dropped my purse or left it in a cart and walked away. Both times nothing was stolen. Which is amazing. But the experiences shook me.

To add to this I’m exhausted . I can’t accomplish anything. Leaving the house just plain sucks.

The last two days my legs are sore and resemble jello. They’ve gone on freaking strike. Last night they hurt so bad I cried half the night. Today I found myself complaining on Facebook about it all. I don’t ever do that.

This heat is an unforgiving bitch.

Thankfully my friends are awesome( one took my 6 yr old for a few hrs) and my husband told me I’m allowed to go on strike until this heat abates. Add another great reason as to why I married this man.

I have 4 blog posts going in my head . The dam has broke open. Give me a couple days in the 80’s and I’ll be back.

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I still can’t figure this site out.

I’m really wishing there was an instructional guide that went along with this site. I’ve looked around but nothing shows me how to create links to sites I like or bloggers I follow. How am I supposed to pay homage to my favorite burlesque dancers with blogs if I can’t link to them on my front page?

I suppose this will turn out to be one big trial and error. Kind of like walking in stilettos after 3 bottles of wine. Something I’ve never done. Well the three bottles of wine possibly, but not in stilettos. High heeled boots perhaps, stilettos frighten me. When I lived and worked in the South Loop I used to see women dressed in short, tight dresses and stilettos all the time. This was your average “going to the grocery store” wear.

I don’t care how respectable you think you are honey or how much money your husband/boyfriend/sugar daddy has, you look like a hooker. No two ways about it. Add the “purchased” breasts that spill out of the tight(and always in a bright color) dress, and the long blond extensions and you find yourself not staring at them out of admiration but “holy shit I hope she doesn’t catch pneumonia and I hope I don’t catch an STD from standing next to her in the checkout lane”.

Living where we did in the south loop was always interesting. I worked at a spa at the time(R.I.P Spa Ariel I still miss you) and from the front window I could people watch all day long.

There were the young, wannabe hipsters across the street at Columbia. Some days I wanted to go over there and yell at these kids in their ironic haircuts that you KNOW were done at 50 bucks a pop on the credit card daddy gave them for emergencies that dressing the part doesn’t mean they have really lived the part. I really shouldn’t get started on these kids, they’re young and they don’t know any better. But watching them all parade around in their skinny jeans, smoking their skinny cigarettes made me want to punch someone.  At one point I became even more obsessed with watching them when I realized that my (quite a bit) younger husband had run into the girlfriend he had before me outside the school. She was still a student there. I wanted so badly to know what she looked like and was she better looking than me. He explained over and over that wasn’t the case, and to this day I have no reason but to believe him. But still, which little girl in black skinny jeans with her hair tousled just “so” was she?

One of the other interesting things about living around this area, Roosevelt/Wabash/State street was that on one corner there was an abandoned building(later a Binny’s), on one a hip breakfast place with overpriced sandwiches, the other a Starbucks and the fourth? A BP that seemed to be the resting place of many a homeless man asking for change. Now normally the residents of this area were accustomed to this sight. And I say this without sounding uncaring, but it became frustrated when you couldn’t even cross the street or go get coffee without feeling the need to hand over your change to the same man in dreads day in and out. After a while you had to wonder how much money he was making just by standing in front of this locale.

My two normal reactions depended on my mood that day. One was to hand over whatever loose change I had. The other was to put my head down and hightail it across the street as soon as possible. Often I had either my then 10 yr old with me or later my then infant in a stroller.

Backing up a bit though, one night before I was pregnant with my second(my husband’s first) child there was a particular night when J had a show at The Horseshoe. J is my husband. And he’s a musician. He doesn’t get to play out as often as he used to, but what he has done is pretty amazing. I’ll get to his music some other time, because he’s really good. And there are many other people not related to us who agree.

This night was exceptionally odd because J was in a weird mood. This was a solo show for him. His longtime band Riviera was on a slight hiatus. It was summer and I’m not a fan of summer(more on this later-I have a huge post all about this brewing elsewhere). Back then we both smoked. A lot. Now this night I had a couple of drinks in me and so did he. He played his show and it was pretty fantastic per usual. I sat off to the left of the stage at a small table by myself. At one point I noticed a thin brunette sitting on a chair in front of him rather mesmerized. Now I don’t usually get jealous with him. We’ve both always been secure in our relationship with each other. However Ms. Curly hair was being a bit too interested in him. After the show before I could move out of my seat I notice her go up to him, she’s speaking to him and as she does so she grabs his arm in a way that reeks of a come on. I did a big ole “hmmm”. Then she left. ???

He told me a few minutes later upon my asking that this woman just walked up to him, grabbed his arm and told him how his songs just changed her life. And then she left. Well yeah, I noticed the last part. But still I was a bit fascinated, repelled and a small part of me was smug thinking “my husband is one hell of a songwriter”.

Well I had to get home because I had to work the next day. I think. So I went to grab a cab, but I was out of cigarettes. As we’re standing outside I asked him to go grab me some of his and he said no, your cab is here, I’ll see you later. I was pissed the whole way home. It was about 1 am. No one goes out on our block at that time unless you’re selling drugs or an idiot. I guess I fit into the latter category that night. Because the cab let me off and I ran that block like FloJo to get to the BP without getting mugged just to get a pack of Marlboro Lights.

I ran in and out. And from sheer adrenaline and a few rum & cokes, I found myself handing over $5 in change to one of the many “gentlemen without homes” that frequented the front of this gas station.

And then I ran back home. And smoked three in a row, had a drink and cursed my husband for making me go out so late. A couple months later we quit for good. Considering all the trouble those damn cigarettes have caused us, I think it was the smart choice. Well that and that we’ll live longer now.

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