Archive for the ‘introspective’ Category


Do you have siblings?

I do. I have two brothers, both younger. BroOne, who has two daughters, is two years younger than I am. BroTwo, who has two sons, is ten years younger than I am. Yes… I’m the eldest. In case you haven’t been able to tell from my writing over the years and my parenting style, I’m an eldest child.

Are you close to your siblings?

When I was growing up, I wasn’t close to BroOne but I was loyal to him. We had a lot of sibling rivalry, which I’m sure my shrink would say is due to the fact that we’re two years apart. [NOTE: That’s what she says is the reason my lovely Dear Girl has rivalous feelings towards Sweet Girl and Darling Girl. SIDE NOTE 2: Eldest of mine, Dear Girl and I chatted, and she shall henceforth be known as Bunny. That is all] We fought constantly as kids. My mom tells this story, which I remember because I was so distressed: I was little and he was a baby. I had this amazing little musical carousel for little kids, and it was one of my favorite toys. It ranked up there with Barbie dolls. We’re talking serious child currency, here. Well, my mom played the musical carousel for my tiny brother and I was devastated she took my toy and “gave” it to him without asking. I took it back, hefted it under one arm, and stomped down the stairs declaring the whole way down that it wasy MY toy, NOT my brother’s, and he wasn’t allowed to touch it. My mom didn’t do that again. She asked to share other toys that had less value to me after that, ha ha. I think that set the tone for our entire childhood and majority of our teen years.

We, BroOne and I, began to fight less frequently in high school. I think it’s because we were both out of the house less, and a lot of our friends were siblings to each other. There was always loyalty, though. We may have driven my mother up and down every wall in the house due to our constant fighting and bickering, but when it mattered we were loyal to each other. I hated seeing him in serious trouble, so I started to protect him at home when I could. Once, I locked him out of the house when my parents were out and he was so angry with me he tried to kick the door in. It was a wood door, and getting old, and it cracked in a few places. We had to press the door back into place but the cracks were huge. We found wood glue, filled them in, and then found wood stain to match it to the door. It was a bonding moment. Ha, see what I did there? Wenever told my parents until I told my mom after they were planning to replace that door. She still couldn’t tell the door had been essentially broken since I was 14/15 years old.

And of course, no one could bully him in school. No one. I’ve always been anti-bully, but to family? Oh no.

We got a lot closer when he met his now-wife. We’re close enough now that he’s Godfather to two of my daughters; I’m Godmother to both of his daughters. I have a great relationship with his wife, and always have. She’s an incredible woman, wife, and mother. I envy her in a lot of ways. I’ll bet she’d be shocked to know that. That said, we have a lot of things in common in our lives including health issues, but mostly in our views on life and parenting. I would do anything for BroOne and SisOne. Their girls are like my own daughters. People say that, but having daughters of my own, I know what that love feels like.

I think I was closer to BroTwo when we were younger. Since he was born when I was a skinny little ten year old girl, and I was thrilled to have a baby in the house, I helped take care of him. I didn’t even mind most nights when he woke up to be fed and changed; I would change him and warm his bottle so my mom could feed him. Sometimes I would feed him myself during the night, just snuggling on my bed. I begged to have him in my room. His crib was in my room until he was three years old. I learned how to care for a baby, and as he got older I learned to babysit during the summers. I loved it. We had a rough couple of years, which I believe I blogged about at one point. We have a much, much better relationship now, but it’s not like it was. We’re still working on it, finding the balance. I’m not sure he feels the distance, but what’s really good is that since his boys were born it’s been easier to relate to his wife. I love them, I love those boys. I love spending time with them. They’re generous and BroTwo is Godfather to Bunny. That’s important to me.

Do you visit your siblings often?

We try to visit with them as often as we can. We live about 18 miles away from my brothers, and around the same from our parents. When we bought our house, we were in a stage where we needed some physical space from the family where no one could simply drop in without calling first. It’s different when family lives anywhere between 2-to-6 miles away. Now, 14 years later, we miss that closeness. I think part of it has to do with the fact that my brothers both have children, and also miss getting to see my nieces and nephews from my Spousal Unit’s side more often too.

I never thought, growing up, that I would feel a need to be physically close to all of our siblings. I guess we’re lucky that they’re only about 20 minutes or so away, for the most part. One of my husband’s sisters lives about 40 minutes away. They’re all in state, so there’s that. We mostly see each other at my parents’ house but that may be changing. We also see each other for events we might host at a restaurant or something, or another family member does.

Do you babysit your siblings’ children?

Most often, when I do babysit, it’s BroTwo’s and SisOne’s girls. Recently, Darling Girl [my youngest, 13 years old] and I went to BroTwo’s house to babysit all four Littles. Both of my brothers and their wives had an event to attend, and it made sense. GoddaughterOne is seven years old now, so she’s not quite so little, but her sister, GoddaughterTwo is three years old. NephewFour [we have three nephews on my husband’s side of the family] is also three years old, and his little brother, NephewFive is two years old.

My brothers left pizza and we had a lot of [tiring] fun that evening. It had been awhile since I’d cared for multiple toddlers before; not since my best friend’s children were toddlers at the same time Bunny and Sweet Girl were toddlers.

While watching the kids, I was thankfully able to use the ladies’ room due to having brought my youngest daughter. LIFE HACK: When you babysit multiple toddlers, limit your fluids that evening.

BroTwo has crucifixes on nearly every wall in his home, and images of Jesus on several walls. He’s very, very dedicated and passionate in his Faith. He has several statues around the house too. Upstairs he has a beautiful, simple, distraction-free prayer room.

While in the ladies’ room, I noticed one or two religious inspirational quotes sticky-noted to the mirror. One says, “God, Others, Self,” which is kind of nice.

As a child, whenever my parents or the priest during homily or my CCD teachers would say,

“God is always watching you; Jesus knows your heart and is always watching,”

I would always, always get nervous not because I have something to hide but because I wanted to ask if that included showering and using the toilet and changing my clothes. Therefore…. The statue of Jesus on the window sill of my brother’s bathroom gives me heebie jeebies.

Sigh.

Jesus Statue, image from Amazon

Jesus, with a kind, loving expression on his face, one hand raised to his Sacred Heart and the other palm facing outward, is facing the toilet most often; sometimes the shower. I swear the eyes on that statue, that particular statue have a mischievous glint in them. He knows what I’m about to do, and it’s like He’s daring me. Or maybe He’s begging me, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s a bit of both. Based on stories told about him in the Bible, and stories Jesus told, I know Jesus had/has a sense of humor. Plus, if he would never force his way into anyone’s home to witness, he’d never, ever force his way into someone’s toilet.

Just sayin’.

So I take up the dare.

Every time I’m in the bathroom, I turn Jesus to face out the window to get a nice view of the trees and creek in the yard. I love Jesus and all, but I doubt he really wants to see me peeing. I say a quick prayer when I turn Jesus.

“Hi Jesus, it’s me, Jessica. But you know that. You’re Jesus. So hey, here goes.

Dear Jesus,

Most holy, he who sacrifeced his life so that we could have eternal life in Heaven, I have the utmost respect for you. My brother has this statue of you in his bathroom. Please don’t be offended when I turn it away from the toilet. I know you’re not in the statue, but it feels like a privacy thing. I’m sure you can understand. Toileting stuff probably isn’t even your thing anyway. I apologize for any offense I may have caused you. You’re still awesome.

Amen

P.S. I love you

Double Amen

And every time I come over, there’s Jesus facing the toilet. Again.

And every single time, I get the overwhelming feeling that I have to turn Jesus away from the toilet. I’m not turning away from Jesus. No, no I’m not. I’m turning Jesus away from something he doesn’t need to see. I stay out of Jesus’ toileting business, he can stay out of mine.

I finally admitted it to my brother when we were about to leave after babysitting. He chuckled. So I’mma keep on doing it.

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It’s apparently breaking news as of last night? by the New York Times that Donald Trump knew two weeks prior to his inauguration that Russia interfered in the election in order to make sure he would be elected; with the express permission and direction of Dictator Putin. He knew that it was done so that the election would turn out in his favor. Every single time he has said he didn’t believe there was election interference, he lied. Every time he has said there was, “No colluuuuuuusion,” it was a lie. Every time he lies, it’s obstruction and for that matter, a cover-up.

If you’ve followed or read my blog for the past two or three years, you know that none of this is breaking news to me. Maybe some of you thought I was a little paranoid. 😉 That’s okay. Plenty of people don’t listen to anything I say, thinking I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m used to it. I live in Connecticut, after all. I mean, we may bleed Blue for the most part but we also just had a guy on a dairy farm just get kicked in the head by a cow. And the news anchor had to make sure to say,

“He did suffer serious head injuries, but no information on his condition.”

Yes, he would since he was kicked in the head by a cow. Being in his 20’s wouldn’t keep him from avoiding serious head injuries.

I wish I could say that the things that have been leaking out, and the indictments, subpoenas, plea deals, have been vindicating. The problem is that we’re still stuck with a treacherous guttersnipe in the Oval Office. The problem is that I didn’t want to be right.

I never, ever wanted to be right. I wanted to be proven wrong. I want every single elected official we ever have to succeed, especially a duly elected president. Hell, even a president that was inserted by Russians… I was in a position where I felt forced to “give him a chance.” I wanted him to succeed. I promise, that’s the truth.

Giving someone a chance doesn’t ever mean ignoring the truth. It doesn’t mean ignoring what you already know about someone. It means giving someone a chance with a healthy skepticism and a willingness to continue to ask questions and research and fact check in order to protect yourself and others.

Investigating the election fraud and other crimes stemming from it isn’t about, “being unable to let go of Mrs. Clinton not winning the election.” It’s about the undermining of our election, our democracy, our Republic and the fact that one of the candidates in the election… the candidate that did end up in the Oval Office… was part of the tampering. He encouraged, took part in, and continued to take part in espionage.

I think the scramble by the White House, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Lindsey Graham, hell even Sean Spicer to rehabilitate Trump’s current Russian joint presser statement into something means the opposite of what he actually said is a clear indication that he meant what he said. He has always said that he doesn’t need or want other people to explain what he says because he always says what he means. And that presser? That was clearly scripted. He knew what he was saying. He was proud of himself. He was smug. The damage control is something that I’m sure Trump doesn’t even believe needs to be done.

Again… he’s told us who he is, so why don’t people believe him when he shows us?

This is not Democratics vs Republicans vs Independents vs Green Party. It’s about willingness to side with truth and justice, patriotism and America, or willingness to side with a traitor and not care about the lies and treason in favor of a larger, damaging agenda. It’s also about voting vs non-voting.

At this point, it’s also about whether people are reformed Trump voters. I’m not touching Republican, specifically because I know people of all political affiliations voted for him. I’m not touching GOP either. And yes, I’m making a very wide line between Republicans and GOP. Because the GOP has become the tool of the Tea Party. What Conservative stands for now is a warped stance of conservativism. I’m a recovering Republican, so I know. I’m heartbroken over what’s happened to the party as a whole.

That’s a whole different blog entry.

I don’t have hard feelings for the voters at this point because voting has been effecting change in special elections everywhere. I also have hope for November 2018 midterm elections. I believe that most people are good. I believe that people vote with hope in their hearts.

There’s still hope. We have a free press and freedom of speech. The First Amendment is our most important Amendment of all. Which reminds me, if you haven’t already, download a free copy of the United States Constitution. It’s so, so very important. It’s law that’s higher than the Oval Office.

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Navel Gazing, found on zuco.org

It’s been ages since I’ve talked about headlines. The news cycle went from weekly to daily. Now it seems to have gone to hourly half of the week. When I turn off all technology for an afternoon and evening, or even a full day, that’s the day that I miss several seemingly-important headlines.

Even when I don’t miss a day or two, the trick is really figuring out which headlines are the important ones. Sifting through them can be an emotionally draining chore. No one really talks about that part, do they. I appreciate having the comprehension ability to understand it out on my own. I appreciate being able to sort the facts from the exaggerations. I’m grateful for knowing how to research what I learn in order to prove or disprove what I’ve learned. I never take anything at face value. I always consider the source.

I also always make sure I have enough coffee. That’s the other trick. The comfort-food aspect makes a difference. Why? Because so much of the news is anxiety-inducing, sad, angering, upsetting. It’s important to find wholesome news and stories; uplifting and inspiring images. We need to do more than inform our brains. We need to positively feed our emotions. We need to educate ourselves, too.

I enjoy learning about new scientific discoveries. It’s exciting learning about our space programs. Finding new animals and plants is fun. I’m not beyond looking up recipes, either. 😉  I love to be able to share these things with my family.

We have to stay balanced. The headlines can’t become everything.

I know I sound like I’m tooting my own horn, but let me be clear here: I recognize that sometimes I’m wrong. ::gasp::  Oh, please, it’s not like I haven’t admitted that before.I know it seems odd but I needed to purge this before I could continue with anything else. It’s a self-affirmation I needed to see in writing.

 

 

 

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That moment when, even though you feel guilty for multiple reasons, you do something that changes your entire life.

I turned in my resignation. I did it. I did it with a letter. This time, my boss didn’t try to convince me to stay after our long discussion. This time, she understood. 15 months ago, she convinced me to stay, “just until the annual meeting,” and I promised that I would. I guaranteed her those three months, and then, “we’d talk again.”

This time, when I turned in my resignation, she had already announced her own retirement.

I have five days left, including today, and I promised I would finish up my notes for my files. I hope that I can. I promised I’d stay an extra day or two if I couldn’t finish up by my last day. I’m a sucker. I really am. I don’t know why I didn’t just keep up with my notes as I went along.

Yes I do, that’s a lie. It’s because there’s been so much work piled up with my consumers and at some point, it was the paperwork that took the hit. Now I’m paying for it. It’s okay, I’m not taking new people on. I’m wrapping up and passing my people on to coworkers because that’s the way it goes here.

So today, there’s a Board Meeting. It’s a mostly-new board with a brand new Board Chairman and he’s pretty awesome. He’s got a lot of energy and brings a lot to the table. I forget how it came about, but at the annual meeting he ended up offering to buy me a cup of iced coffee as an apology for something, and I forgot today was the board meeting so he chastised me for not e-mailing him with my favored coffee flavor. I told him, then hedged, and told him that Friday is my last day because he offered to bring the coffee next week. He seemed genuinely bothered, so I explained about my health and current family concerns, but how much I love the agency and the people I work with. He asked if there was anything the board could do to keep me here and stated that if I change my mind after a period of time I’d be welcome back any time. I told him that meant a lot to me and I’d keep it in mind.

That was kind of awesome.

Now I only have to worry about getting my SSDI application completed, and waiting three months or so for them to respond with an approval. But I have to actually stop working first. I’m nervous. I’m really nervous. This whole thing is a huge life decision. It changes my life, my husband’s life, and that of my children. I realize that it also affects the work place that I’m leaving.

I have to be selfish this one time. I have to listen to my body and my family. I can even take this as a chance to talk to my daughters about how this choice still fits in with being a feminist.

It’s time to do this. The rest of my life is about to begin.

 

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Equality. When women and other protected classes fight for equal rights to be recognized legally and for discriminatory practices to be made illegal, we are not infringing on the rights of others.

We are not diminishing the value or equality of others.

We are maintaining that others hold no superiority over us.

We are asserting our rights to make choices for ourselves in all things, as intelligent, empowered, sentient, educated people.

We are advocating for those who may not have as big of a voice as we do, who may not have as much education, but still deserve all of the protections and rights as we do.

We may make mistakes along the way, as all movements do, but we have momentum and we have justice on our side.

I get to parent three incredible daughters. My daughters and I have conversations about important things. I teach them by example. My hope is to raise them into strong, caring, loving, and generous women with high self-esteem and a good education.

I want them to be confident in their talents. I want them to continue to be self-advocates and to advocate for others. I want them to continue to choose good, supportive, and positive people to help raise them up. I want them to continue to value their family and friends. I want them to know that they have choices, and they have these choices at any stage in their adult live; that it’s never too late to create a dream and work towards it. 

Being a feminist means recognizing that the world is open to us with unlimited choices, and moving forward to remove boundaries in society.

It’s a daily fight in legislature, a daily prayer, daily action, and daily modeling of behavior.

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When it comes to parenting, the books don’t always have the answers. Each book has a special parenting method, and if you just stick with that special method you’ll have amazing children. They’re grow up to be well behaved, respectful, intelligent, daily blessings of joy and love.

Those books are lies.

Most parents figure that out by the time their children are 1-to-2 years old. Sometimes it takes longer, but that’s likely due more to the temperament of the child and not the stellar parenting as followed from the advice in those books. They just might make it to 5 years old, but if that child really is just a totally chill little human being, it takes having a second child with a completely different temperament.

The books were worthless except as kindling until our third child. By then, I had realized that it’s not the book but the child, and every child has a different mother.

Every child has the mother they need because they’re all different people. The books should really only address the care, when it comes down to it. We need books that are honest and straightforward that will be Actually Helpful to new parents of babies, and stressed out parents of toddlers and teens.

Books parents need:

Mostly Judgement-Free Parenting Series

“How to Feed My Baby: Until he’s not hungry any more”

“How to Diaper My Baby: What’s best for your wallet, your tolerance for cutting coupons, your love of Pinterest, and ability to sew”

“The Best Ways to Get Baby to Nap: Learn baby’s sleep patterns, then work around it”

“How to Get Baby on My Schedule: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!”

“Toilet Training by One: Good luck with that one”

“How to Feed a Picky Eater: Give her what she likes”

“Discipline? Yes, always, your child is not your friend or best buddy”

“Discipline: You have more options than ‘spanking’ and here they are”

“Going Back to Work After Baby: Why not, after all Dad gets to and who’s to say that Dad shouldn’t be the stay at home parent anyway?”

“Staying Home/Going to Work After Baby: Budgeting, Care for Baby, Scheduling, Family Time, Let’s Work it Out!”

“How to Prepare for Going to the Hospital for Baby: includes a tear out sheet of “List of People to KEEP OUT OF L & D and Maternity” to give to hospital staff so that you won’t have to be the bad guy to family that you don’t want there!”

“Reasonable Expectations of Success and Mistakes: your child isn’t an extension of you”

“When Friends, Family, and Strangers Offer ‘Well Meaning’ Parenting Advice: Smile and Nod, and other non-violent methods”

“OMG My Teenagers Are Trying to Make Me Go Gray Overnight! and other things parents of three teens have been heard saying”

“Organic and Homemade! the story of the crunchy mom, whose baby ate only organic until he tasted his first Twinkie and realized there was an entire aisle of the supermarket his mom had been hiding from him, and other stories of perfect parenting gone awry”

“How Not to Say the Wrong Thing to My Teens and Make Them Cry, the story of the mom with three daughters, so really you have to know that there probably won’t be a happy ending to this story”

 

 

Yup… I’d have bought those.

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I have good news! Are you interested?

I went to my pain management and spine specialist last Wednesday after work. During the appointment we went over the X-Ray results for my hips and lumbar spine due to the exacerbated pain I’ve had since the fall my beastly dog caused on a walk. There was a concern that my hip fractured or broke.

I’ve mentioned before that my lumbar spine already has bulging discs. The X-ray was for just the lumbar and hips, and since my MRI during the summer, that’s deteriorated, likely due to the fall.

Neither of my hips, which have arthritis, are broken or fractured. That’s the excellent news. The arthritis, however, has also deteriorated and has done so more significantly in my left hip. That’s likely due to the fall.

I’m relieved that there aren’t any fractures. That means that we can take “putting a pin in it”off the table. That’s a huge relief. I guess now I’m wondering what my treatment options are, because I met with the APRN instead of the doctor. When I have pain that, in the moment, is at least a 10 what do I do? I can’t support my body when I’m standing up because the pain is so severe. I feel as if my skeleton is being ripped apart and shattered with a hammer. It’s scary, and it takes my breath away.

Since I’m 42 and never had a bone density test, I’ve requested one to be ordered. I know that it’s been an issue in my family, and with the arthritis, maybe it can help with therapy. I’m already doing aqua-therapy but anything at all that might help relieve this pain and I’m in. The APRN didn’t indicate that the degeneration is severe enough for surgery to repair the arthritis, so I’m guessing that’s not an option right now. And honestly I think that has to be a last resort.

It’s funny, though… my PT for aquatherapy seems to think that surgery with additional PT is preferable to additional medications. She has Fibromyalgia, too, so I’m assuming that she’s aware that every time someone like us has a surgery it further suppresses our immune system because the body has to fight so much harder than is typical to heal, and to fight off even simple infections and illnesses. We also have to cope with having all of the medications administered during a surgery coursing through us for months which affects the medications we’re already on. Anesthetics stay in the body for up to two years, especially when it’s administered in large doses.

I would rather exhaust all other options before considering surgery. Just like before I agreed to try pain medications, I exhausted every other possibility first. And sure… I kicked myself and wondered why I didn’t go to the pain management specialist years sooner when my PCP first suggested it, but this isn’t the same thing. I have a hard enough time healing from paper cuts. 😉

I know, I’m putting the cart before the horse. It was just a conversation I had with my PT on Friday. I’m just trying to work it out in my head a bit. And maybe the APRN didn’t let on how bad it really is. She’s been known to do that.

Oi. I need chocolate. Good chocolate. Better yet, I want someone to give me good chocolate.

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