Sunday, December 26, 2004

The day after...

So I’m still at my parents’ house. Today was kid-full. Everyone was here from about 1:00 on, and everything was pretty smooth until the last 10 minutes. As Dane was packing up everything the boys brought, the diaper bag, the Xmas toys, random sippie cups, he paused to play with Claytie, who was hanging on his leg. Dane often “rough houses’ with the boys, they love it and have grown up with it, and he has never hurt them – they’re just burly boys, y’know? Anyway, by some timing mistake and shoe impediment, somehow Clayton tripped and fell forward, neatly hitting his forehead HARD on the sharp edge of my parents’ fireplace hearth. The jagged, brick edge. I happened to be sitting right there, and it happened in slo-mo, just like they say. He did not fall far, but it made a juicy cantaloupe sound when it hit, and the fact that he didn’t cry right away because he was in shock was not a good sign. Then everything started moving fast, as I guess they do in crises situations. Dane grabbed him and said ‘it’s bad” as Clayton started to scream, I ran into the kitchen to get ice, my mom was grabbing a towel, Cole was in the middle of everything going “I wanna see where it split, I wanna see the split”, Nicole was nursing Cooper in the back room. I got her, grabbed Cooper, and after 10 more minutes of panicked muddling and my dad, mom, Dane, Nicole, me, all talking over each other trying to figure out where to go and with whom. At one point my mom was going to accompany my sister, but thank goodness somehow my brother took her instead. (He's much more of a "rock" than my mom.)

The rest of us stayed here and waited for about 2 hours – which is relatively quick for an ER visit, especially on Xmas day. Cole was weirded out and scared, very clingy and asking lots of questions about whether his brother was going to be okay. Oddly, even though Nicole hadn’t finished feeding Coop, he was fine – the chicks passed him around all evening, and he even fell asleep in my arms for about 30 minutes (boy, my arm is going to hurt like a mofo tomorrow…). Side note: there is perhaps nothing more peaceful then holding a sleeping baby in your arms. Anyway, me and Dane were sitting in shock like deer in the headlights —I was feeling guilty because I was sitting so close when it happened and couldn’t reach him in time, Dane was feeling guilty because technically he was playing with Claytie when it happened, although it was totally one of those things that just happens when you have 3 rambunctious boys. I could tell he was totally worried about whether Nicole would be “mad”, and I also knew it wouldn’t even enter her mind to be “mad” -- it truly was no one’s fault, and they’re not like that anyway. The time seemed to pass slowly.

Long after the three returned, triumphant, Claytie proudly sporting a glued gash on his forehead (they don’t even use real stitches anymore!), long after they all packed up and left, I have felt edgy and weepy. For the past few hours I just sat in the den with my parents, my dad napping and my mom knitting, watching The Saint on HBO, and the whole time I’m holding back tears. I just feel deeply disturbed about the whole thing. It makes my stomach ache. I can’t put my finger on it – everyone is fine, it really could have been so much worse. Claytie wasn’t even crying by the time they got in the car to go to the ER; I just feel sickly. And I wonder, is this a maternal instinct I might be experiencing?? For the very first time? I don’t know how else to describe the weird panic/calm mode/fear/ache I felt when I saw Clayton’s gaping forehead. It was this wildly protective feeling, and I wanted to just swoop him up and fly him to the nearest hospital. It broke my heart to hear his tears of pain. I don’t think I’ve ever heard those before.

After they all left my mom asked if I was stressed out today – because often too much familial stimulation makes me slightly woozy – and honestly, they didn’t. The whole cracked-head thing just put a real damper on everything (well, duh.). Maybe I’m worried that Clayton is going to have a scar on his beautiful, perfect, creamy forehead? Maybe the panic ER feeling reminded me of my own trips to the hospital? Maybe holding a normally wise-cracking 4-year old as he shook and cried in fear for his brother just brought out that instinct I didn’t know I had. But in any event, tonight I realized for sure, although I had suspected it before, but I knew for sure that my love for my nephews is certainly a maternal type of love, even though they didn’t come from my womb. I know that I would surely dive in front of a car or a bus or a lion in order to protect one of them. And it’s weird to realize that about yourself. So even though I may never be a “real” mom with my “own” kids, I hope I can be a positive influence in their lives, forever, I hope I am a special Auntie Lisa who they will be comfortable with. Who they feel they can talk to as they grow up, maybe like a surrogate mother. An extended family. I never had that in my life; we were always pretty isolated from our cousins/aunts/uncles because my dad was in the army and we moved a lot. I’m glad I’m growing up with the boys. I’m glad I have chosen to stay in Texas for that reason, and tonight I realized it really was a valid reason, a real reason, and not just an excuse for why I haven’t packed up my shit and moved to Europe yet.

Although I have to admit, watching the Saint, all those European scenes, I did get the old Europe yearning going again. I’m DEFINITELY going in 2005. Today marked the 7th year since I met Rocco in Barcelona. And that is too damn long. You only live once – carpe diem, for real.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The magic of the season

Last night I unwillingly went to the mall, AGAIN, in another attempt to finish my Christmas shopping. I had a loose list in my head of what I still needed, but I tend to lose it with oversensory shopping overload -- once I get INTO the mall, I promptly forget why I'm there. So I wander around, and eventually little glimmers of purpose come back to me. But it sometimes takes a while. So after I'd been wandering about an hour, and had even managed to buy some stuff, I was in phase 2 of my aimless wandering when I ran into my friend Anita, coming out of The Limited. This was kind of funny because before I had left work, I had moaned to her how I had to go to the mall, and she was saying she thought she could avoid it. So here we were an hour later, in the large thriving metropolis of Austin, during the craziest time of the year to even be at the mall, bumping into each other outside the Limited. We were glad and somewhat relieved to see each other. She had actually called my cell phone, but I hadn't heard it in the din of Xmas joy at Barton Creek mall. We quickly agreed to go eat somewhere (drink wine) before continuing the hellish conquest.

We had a nice dinner (and wine) and chatted, and I was feeling a lot better (with the wine) about being at the mall. It's always nice to be with a friend in these stressful situations. And to drink wine. So as we prepared to continue the hunt, I was expressing how I'd like to find that store Brookstone -- the Sharper Image knockoff. I wanted to see if they had something cool for my dad. Anita and I wandered like champs, stopping at two different mall maps and realizing there wasn't a Brookstone at this mall, dammit. So we switched missions and went to Pottery Barn for some other stuff. As we emerged from the comfy depths of Pottery Barn, with visions of hip rugs and silky curtains swirling in our heads, I looked up and my breath caught in my throat. I grabbed Anita's arm and choked out "OH MY GOD-- LOOK." And there we stood, in the glow of the Brookstone that happened to be DIRECTLY ACROSS THE WAY from the Pottery Barn. I swear it hadn't been there when we went in. We were both awestruck. Anita, without skipping a beat, said in serious awe, "It's a Christmas Miracle."

And so it was.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Moving furniture

So yesterday, in a heroic effort of last-minute Christmas-shopping procrastination, I decided to rearrange my bedroom. I've been thinking about doing this for years, but it's quite a feat for single me to move my heavy stuff. I guess maybe I thought I'd have a boyfriend to help out by now. HA. Plus i'm just plain lazy. I had to start by picking up all the crap off the floor. This took about an hour. The offending objects included a broken VCR, an empty bag of cough drops, and a couple of dishes, just to give you an idea of the carnage. At least one whole cat had disintegrated under my bed, judging from the size of the fur ball I pulled out. So that was step 1.

Step 2 was to get the little furniture out. Well even my little furniture is heavy -- my bedside table contains every book i've ever read as well as my awe-inspiring lotion collection and other odds and ends. And to pause to remove the drawers? So passe. By now, the steps all blurred together. Once the small stuff was out, I started trying to maneuver my dresser. This proved impossible. Even using my entire body weight, with my legs pushing from the wall, it didn't even budge. I did have to remove some drawers from this in order to move it. I won't bore you with all the details, but let's just say it took a couple of hours (including time for me to lie on the floor and pant) to get the big furniture shifted almost into position.

I say "almost" because I had a brilliant idea towards the end of the big shuffle. I'd always wanted a reading chair in my bedroom -- why didn't I take this opportunity to move my big puffy chair, the one taking up a huge space in the living room, why didn't I move that into my bedroom? Just throw it in there with all the other furniture? Perhaps by a window? The next hour was me taking off all the cushions and then shoving it, on one arm, across the living room, kitchen, and eventually into the bedroom doorway. Where it became stuck. With me in between the doorway and the chair. For several death-defying and worrisome moments. Eventually I worked my way out, and this was one of the few times i've been grateful that I'm squishy. So once I was removed from the mix, it only took another 20 minutes or so of shoving, cussing, and marking up the wall, before I got the chair into my room. And realized it wouldn't fit where I wanted it to go. Did I measure, you ask?? Hell no -- measuring is for amateurs.

I eventually found a space for it, and while l'm still not sure I like it there, i'm sure as hell not ready to move it back OUT of the room anytime soon. By now it was dark. I had successfully avoided going to the mall for one more day. Last night, as I cozied up in my bed in its new position by a window, as I stroked the cats that flanked me on both sides, I thought to myself, I'm a Strong, Independent Woman, and Life is Good.

And damn, I'm going to hurt tomorrow.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

The aftermath of the Christmas Party

My company Christmas party was actually last weekend, but I've been pondering it all week long. It was at one of the company's partner's houses, very fancy, very new, and rather nerve-wracking. We were all in our best clothes, on our best behaviour, trying desperately not to spill red wine on the white carpet. To the best of my knowledge, no one did. I, however, had eaten very little and had a couple glasses of wine, so when I headed home I was not drunk, but very very sleepy -- that's what wine does to me. Very sexy, I know. If anyone has been thinking of seducing me with a bottle of wine, well STOP RIGHT THERE -- not the best strategy. Anyway, I got all gussied up in my black girdle and all. All night I couldn't wait to peel the thing back off. So when I walked in my front door at 11pm, I headed straight for my couch and sank into its downy loveliness. And there I stayed until 6:30am Saturday morning, when I awoke to cat whiskers/lips gently nuzzling my face. I opened my eyes, and Jess, all 21 pounds of him, was sitting on my belly and staring into my eyes, willing me to wake up and top off the food dish. The first thing I realized was, wow, I slept in all my makeup and all my clothes. Then, wow, Jess usually hurts my innards when he sits on my tummy like that, why can't I feel him? Then the dawning of understanding: I couldn't feel him because I HAD SLEPT IN MY GIRDLE and my entire abdominal area was numb. That, and the tight stretchy black fabric brutally holding in my fat had formed a rather trampoline-like surface for him, and he was enjoying the unusual springiness of my belly until i knocked him off and sat up, gasping for breath.

I peeled off the girdle but it took about 10 minutes for me to feel my guts again, and even longer for the dents of the seams to puff back up from my delicate white skin... guess i'll retire the black girdle until the next Christmas party or unexpected hot date.

Friday, December 17, 2004


Yesterday was the first day in over a week that I went straight home. That is, I had no plans to stop at any shopping establishment, bar, restaurant, or anyone else's house. I was about 2 miles from my house when everything went horribly awry. I was driving behind this big, white delivery-type truck. I was in "the zone" -- you know, when you're almost home, you're picturing yourself on your couch, in your sweats, watching Law & Order... Anyway, I was rudely snapped out of "the zone" when this truck just drifted over to the right and HIT this parked car -- so hard that the parked car bounced up in the air and came down partways on the curb. While I was recovering/processing that, becuase this all happened very fast you see, the truck then itself bounced up over the curb and ran through one front yard, over a bush, and into this giant tree. The tree was large and the truck sort of crumpled around it; the whole cab was split in half and smooshed.

I pulled over, and by now I was in going into shock-mode. I called 911 and they were like "where EXACTLY are you on Slaughter" and I was like "I don't know because i've been in "the zone" for the last few minutes." Anyway, it was a mess. The guy seemed to be alright -- by the time I moved my car out of the way and walked over to the scene (the police said I should stay around since I witnessed it) he was out of the truck and wandering around the front yard of this old lady standing in her doorway staring at the tree with a truck through it. He looked very out-of-it to me. He was grinning, almost sheepish -- and I'm thinking, sheepish is inappropriate for the amount of damage and stress he just caused. There were pieces parts of car/truck all over the sidewalk, street, front yard; there was broken glass; and there was that smell. That acrid car wreck smell, of burning plastic/rubber/who knows. And that is the smell that took me back to my own car wreck last year. I must have been completely in automatic mode because it's all kind of blurry here. I'm not sure long i was there, but when I finallly talked to the police and got in my car to leave, I couldn't believe how bad I was shaking. And then the sobbing started. It was SO WEIRD. But I was freaking out, and it wasn't because of some stupid truck driver who dozed off or whatever, it was because I was totally, in that moment, back at my own crash site. Only at my crash site, there were GIANT pieces of car and truck. A bumper here. The engine over there. Oh yeah, that's the hood bent back over the roof of the car. Would that be a tire over there? And mostly, the awful smell. And the dead feeling, the feeling of being in shock. Of watching it all from outside my body. Of watching myself become hysterical, crying, walking around in piles of fire ants, unable to calm down; watching and thinking "damn, i must be in shock, this is totally irrational". Of not feeling any pain yet because of the incredible adrenaline charge. I flashed back to that place, and it wasn't pretty.

I made a quick grounding phone call to my friend Hope before I drove myself home, verrrrry slowly. She was wonderful and kind, said the right things to calm me. When I got home I felt, physically, like I'd been through the wringer, my body was totally exhausted and I was still shaking. I went to bed early and of course feel much better today.

But I remain amazed at the power of our minds, our memories, what we store. How a smell can trigger such a violent response. How I will never forget that moment when I opened my eyes after being knocked out in my collision; I felt like you feel after anesthesia; not sleepy, just awake, and totally clueless as to day, time, place. And in this case, the smell brought me to reality first. The smoke wafting up out of my deployed airbag. My arms were pinned to my sides and my chin was resting on top of the airbag, in fact. And everything was dark, because my black hood was curled up over the windshield. I remember being achy and feeling/hearing a loud buzzing in my head. This whole realization part probably lasted one second, and the next thing I remember is looking curiously out of the passenger window where there was a man (the other driver) standing there calling to me, asking if i was alright, me trying to respond but only being able to croak "I don't know" and then realizing there was no glass in the window. How odd. But I think the shock really set in when I climbed out of the car, barefoot because the impact had literally knocked my socks off, unable to see because my glasses were somewhere in the backseat amongst the glass, when I stepped away from the car and really SAW it and realized how lucky I was to be alive.

I hope the man in the truck accident last night has that same realization and that he gains the same insight, peace, and sense of curious calm I had when I realized I was left alive for a PURPOSE. I don't know what it is yet, as I haven't done anything particularly remarkable since my wreck, but I know there's a reason and it must be pretty darn important. I hope he remembers the concerned lady in the jeans and black sweater asking if he was alright, as I remember the first responders to my accident -- a couple who was just leaving their driveway in time to see/hear the whole thing. I remember them, and all the people who subsequently helped me that day, as angels. I don't need to be considered an angel, I just hope I had some positive effect on this guy. I hope he didn't find out hours later, after walking around on his own, that he had a broken leg or a blood clot. I hope he was really as he seemed, just fine.

It's been almost two years, but I am just fine too.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

I can't think of anything

interesting to say, yet i feel pressured to write SOMETHING. So...

Maybe a list? ..................... Well. That was a great idea, but i'm at a complete loss. This is really lame. I think i'm going to just not post this and stay quiet until I think of something interesting to say.

yeah. so, later...

Friday, December 10, 2004

The complexity of friendship and sisterhood

So I originally posted an earlier blog (Once Around) partly for myself, to just get it all out, and partly to diffuse any possible misconceptions or worries my friends/family might have. However, I think it might have backfired. You see, i posted it and then just left it alone. For some reason it didn't even occur to me that my sister would freak out when she read it; in my mind, I was quietly announcing something and stating my feelings. I thought the lack of response meant people had read it and gotten it and decided I had my eyes wide open and i know what i'm doing, or at least that i'm willing to accept any consequences.

But now I see that to her, I have been withholding something major, and why? because i'm ashamed? embarrassed? I know my sistah and these are the things she might be wondering right now. Has her older sister lost her mind? Am I a complete idiot? Am I foolishly setting myself up for the same drama to repeat itself with this person? Is this relationship toxic with nothing but bad things to come? And if so, am I going to be shocked and heartbroken again?

Well, no. Part of the reason I posted Once Around was to clarify and organize my thoughts on the matter - both to myself and to anyone reading it who knew and cared. But I felt really bad yesterday when I realized that it might have seemed to her like I chickened out by not mentioning it sooner. The simple reason why it hasn't come up is that it's not the focal point of my life. That is, there are lots of other things going on with me that I'd rather talk about and share in the limited time I have with my sister. I consider myself very close to her, I think she's the coolest person ever and a total role model for me if I ever become a mom and have my own family. She's always been...cooler than me. Her whole outlook on life is different than mine, yet also the same in many ways. While we share the same history, it affected us differentlly and we are both very different people. But that's just one thing I adore about her -- her viewpoint on everything, from our past to the present, is so refreshingly different than mine. She helps me to see things in new ways.

However, we have had disconnects in our relationship here and there over the years, and the disconnected feeling during these times really sucks and I hate it. We've had situations where we both felt frustrated and misunderstood and even hopeless that the other would never "get it" -- but because we are sisters and we love each other, we always get over it and accept the differences eventually. It is hard that we live in different towns, have completely different lifestyles and we can't talk or visit as much as we'd like. Naturally, there are going to be things in both our lives we don't know about the other. I considered the current situation just one of those things -- not that big a deal overall.

But I concede that I didn't think it all the way through. And I wish I'd told her sooner so she didn't find out on the Internet. And I'm sorry, sistah, I really am. Please know that I wasn't hiding from you. I'm really sorry if I've stressed you out. Please accept my sincere apology for being somewhat of a dumbass.

I had dinner with my friend Anita last night, and as we were discussing the CJ situation, she said something really interesting and cool; she said she would never judge a friend for doing something potentially stupid or harmful; however, she reserves the right to remind them, upon disaster, that they knew this would happen and simply chose to do something stupid. And that is everyone's perogative.

So if the whole thing with CJ crashes and burns, well, there you have it. I am hereby announcing that I am very aware of that possibility and I will live with it if everything goes terribly awry. But for now i'm living in the moment and he fits in every now and then. Will it last till tomorrow? Is it truly impossible to be "friends" with an ex? I have no idea, but I'll letcha know when I find out.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

One more reason to hate the grocery store

So last night I bit the bullet and forced myself to go to HEB. I despise grocery shopping. I put it off as long as possible. However, I recently learned that if I stop shopping like I did in college and just STOCK UP on things I use up, I can go even less...brilliant, I know.

Anyway, there I was, shopping along, somewhere in the frozen food department, hating every moment of it, when I noticed my basket was not moving along as smoothly as before. In fact, one of the wheels seemed to be caught on something. I glanced down and used my foot to push whatever it was out of the way and it was -- and I kid you not -- a chunk of raw, slimy chicken breast.

I really have nothing more to say about that.