Friday, May 22, 2015

Flying Words are Better Left Unsaid

It is Fly on the Wall day!  Come on in, wipe your feet, and make yourself comfortable.  I'm here to dish out the dirt, along with 16 other bloggers.  At the end of the post, you will find links to them, so make sure to visit.  You won't be disappointed!

Here’s a little musical gem from my mother:
There was a little peanut, sitting on a track; his heart was all aflutter.
‘Round the bend came a Choo Choo train; Woo woo, peanut butter! 

Baseball season has officially started for us.  We are the Reds (Bigfoot) and the Mets (Little Sasquatch).  So when my parents visited, we played a lot of baseball.  Which means I was running.  Me + Running = terrible idea. 
I ran out of my shoes twice – sandals.  The second time I told the entire park “I left my shoes in Arkansas.”  No, I don’t know why I said that.  Apparently it was hilarious, though.  
It’s going to be a long season…

I try really hard to contain my language when my parents visit.  Unfortunately, during the aforementioned baseball scrimmage Bigfoot hit a hard one out over my head.  I was unprepared, so I shouted out “Shit!” as I chased the ball (running out of my shoes – again).  My dad “ran” the bases and he looks at me:
Dad:  I've never heard a ball called that before!
Oops.  At least they were laughing.

I got spring’s first sunburn… and then the second.  Back to back.  No one was allowed to touch me.  I gave myself the nickname “Lobster Tits”.  Effing blisters and everything – ouch!  Now it won't stop raining.
Like I said: it's going to be a long season.

Bigfoot, my teenage boy, has yet to reach the stage where showing me affection is the most embarrassing thing ever.  He is also taller than me, by inches.  It’s terrible.  So he comes to give me a hug and I wrap my arms around his neck and take a deep breath… and was assaulted by a smell.
Me (as I push him away): Oh my god.  You smell like a dude!  Gross!
Something which, apparently was hilarious to him.  I think he is still laughing as I type this.

This conversation about Taco Bell:
Bigfoot: I was watching a YouTube video on Taco Bell and they were singing a song about the Golden Anus.
Me:  You know what?  I’m eating.  La la la la la lala ala.
Little Sasquatch:  It makes me want to sing “I've got a Golden Ticket”.
Me:  Oh.  Oh no.  Now you've done it: “I've got a Golden Anus.  I've got a Golden Anus.”  
*laughing*  You only have yourselves to blame.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Rainbows Come From Where?

It's Friday, so ...  Blogging Challenge!  This week is Use Your Words, where participating bloggers pick 4 - 6 words or short phrases for someone else to use in a post.  The blogger must use each word/phrase at least once and each post will be unique, as each blogger gets their own set of words.  

Here's the twist: no one knows who got their words, until now.  Make sure you stop over and visit the other blogs featuring this challenge!

My words areblister, rainbow, vacation, smile, laughter
Submitted by: Disneyland in Kentucky

I could try and make this into a story, like last month, but I'm still stuck on the one from last week.  For those keeping tabs, I'm powering through a day at a time and it is coming along... slowly.

So, word association it is!

Blister:  what my shoulders did when I got a sunburn on my sunburn - they are still peeling!

Rainbow:  why are there so many songs about rainbows?  Sung in Kermit the Frog's voice, of course.  For some reasons that particular song has been coming into my head often lately.  It makes me think of unicorns, too - since they poop rainbows and all that.

Vacation:  What's that?

Smile: Something that can brighten almost anyone's day, you are my sunshine my only sunshine - you make me happy when sky's are gray.  {You're welcome}

Laughter: what you're probably doing right now, since I'm clearly failing at this challenge.

Onward and upward, precioussssses!

Evil Joy Speaks       

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Beaded Barefoot Sandals

Welcome to another Blog with Friends collaborative, precioussssses!  In case you're new, a bunch of us got together and wanted to create a themed monthly post.  It's pretty awesome.   If you are interested in participating in all the fun, message me on any Social Media and I'll give you the deets!

If you couldn't already guess, this month we're celebrating flowers!

In a recent post I mentioned finding a new bead shop in my area, which I'm really excited about.  The lady who owns it also holds how-to classes.  On our (yes, I said our - my husband is reason in my chaos) first trip there, she was planning a class on how to make barefoot sandals.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend, but it did spark an idea... I went home and did some research.  I found this tutorial on YouTube and thought it looked easy enough.  Yeah... maybe if I wasn't overly ambitious and started simple, I'd still have all my wits and brain cells.  Maybe if I'd just followed directions.  Ha!  Obviously this isn't my style, so this... this is the hard way.

I did, however, show my daughter how to do make these (like in the video) and she was beading right along with me... the first run, anyway.

She had so much fun, but I think she wants to remake them.  It's funny how one bead can throw the whole thing off...

...not that it happened to me, or anything.  I'm a "professional".  *looks at the ceiling*  Totally.

Quesadilla did amazing!  Not only are her sandals adorable, but she finished both on the first day.  Showed me up, that's for sure.

She didn't have to remake them over, like I did.  Twice.  Actually, I re-beaded the first fail at least three times.  The finished product was too big!

The second fail I beaded twice.  It would have been once, but when you are trying to bead during the wee hours of the morning, after hours of getting to that final piece, things can go wrong.  Oh so wrong.

Like me, giving the finished product one last fitting before closing it off and having it get caught on my fat foot, springing free all my hard work onto the kitchen floor.  I spent the next hour scouring the floor for tiny beads; silver ones, white ones, even clear ones eluded me... until I turned off the lights and used a flashlight.  I found every single one, then went to bed.  I was sooooo done.

When I finished this one, it was too small... or too stretchy.  Arrrgh.  It was like Goldilocks!  I had to rethink the whole thing, but I was determined - this project was not going to defeat me.

On measurements for your cord: I used Stretch Magic 0.5 mm, to fit the pearls I used around the toe.  If you remember the Butterfly Set, pearls will require a smaller gauge cord... wire... whatever you're using.

Measure around your... index toe?  Yeah, that one.  Keep in mind, as your measuring, the loop will create a double strand, so you won't want to use pearls up the foot and you'll want to take into account the pinch that brings the two sides together.  I used a silver ridged flower bead for the transition.

From the pinch, measure up to the top of your foot.  I wear a size 9 in shoe US Women and my measurement was approximately 5 and 1/2 inches.  I found these awesome copper-plated diamonds, which were perfect for the native tribal theme I was going for.

Pearls.  Every girl should have pearls, even if they are on her feet.

So, you'll single thread the toe, double thread up the foot, then single thread around your ankle, which means separating the cord at the top of the foot.

These are my pearls... I mean, my toe ring.

Since the flower element I picked was an antique silver and turquoise, I kept with the silver theme with my other beads.

This is the detail on the ridged flower.  I'll be honest: they weren't my choice, but if you fail, like I did (twice), and the you are pulling your hair out at home while on the phone with your ever-so-patient husband, who is at the craft store, which is sold out of your original choice (which I already bought), take what you can get.

I will also say that I don't totally hate them, so all is well that ends well!

This was the plain flower I walked out of the store with, not knowing I did not buy enough.  Still cute, still silver.

I also used silver bells and these amazing silver leaves I found when I was out looking for clasps.

Like with my Nature Beaded Bracelet (which, incidentally is my favorite accessory), I chose a feature bead with a double backing.  I believe this is the reason I had so much trouble getting it right.  Due to the nature of the beads, I needed to wear the anklet up higher, which doesn't leave much room for a natural drape.

Closing this the way I did the bracelet was also not going to work.  Having used stretchy cord, the anklet was easily stretched out during the process of getting it over my foot.

So I went and got a couple copper-plated slide lock clasps.  Done and done.  Finally!

If you are looking for something fun and easy to do at home, I recommend you follow the video I linked to.  I tend to make things more complicated than they need to be.

That's it for me, my preciousssss flowers!  Check out what comes next:

Stacy has a May Flowers Table Runner sewing tutorial, which, if you make, I'll be really jealous!

And these cuties are Flour Flowers from the ever talented Karen!  Do I see royal icing?  Yum!

Happy Spring!

Friday, May 8, 2015

At the End

I ran.

The faint sounds of their shoes hitting the dirt accompanied my heart, pounding in my ears.  They were gaining ground.  I pushed myself harder, my lungs begging for every breath.  Something dripped into my eyes, blurring the countryside and I wiped furiously at them.  I glimpsed the edge of new civilization; it didn't look like I was going to make it.

At the edge of the soft glow of artificial light still shining from the homes on the outskirts of the village, I stumbled.  There wasn't enough air left in me to cry out for help.  The only sound I made was a muffled 'oomph' and the pop of something dislocating.  I tried to stand, but excruciating pain lanced up my arm as I tried to put weight on it.  This time when I fell, I tasted dirt, mixed with the salty tang of tears and a trace of copper.  I couldn't feel it, but I was bleeding from somewhere.  I rolled to my back as they reached me, their feet kicking up dust as I gulped for clean air.

couldn't see them, but I knew who they were; friends, family – people I had known my whole life.  One grabbed my arm roughly and yanked me to my feet.  It hurt like hell, but I clenched my teeth and refused to make a sound – out loud, at least.  Inside I was screaming and not just from the pain.  My whole world was upside down and I couldn't shake the feeling I knew how life had strayed this far from normal.

I should have been scared, but instead all I felt was a creeping numbness, starting in my head.  These were people I loved and who I thought loved me, but here we were, in the middle of nowhere and anywhere, with me being half-dragged, half-carried back to a place I no longer accepted as home.

A sneeze worked its way out and one of my captors twitched with surprise.  Ah.  Julius.  My… what was he now?  Before he was one of my closest friends.  He was going to be the best man at my wedding, not that it mattered now.  It surprised me he was out here; he wasn't exactly what one considered daring.  A homebody, maybe; a scholar, absolutely.  How much of a person’s true character can really be faked?  I had a feeling I was going to find out.

Our little troupe made it back to the woodland I had recently burst from and I started to squirm.  All my life I’d never feared the trees and the things living among them.  I ran through without incident just moments before.  Now Julius and the others wanted to take a leisurely stroll through them at night, with only a quarter of moonlight to guide them and suddenly I was terrified.  The grips on my arms tightened and I no longer had the strength to fight them.






Okay.  Here's the deal.  I love, love, love this prompt (thanks Jenn!).  I want to do it justice.  Unfortunately I am tired, blocked, and distracted.  So...

...I will continue to work on this and post an update or updates when I write more.  There is definitely a story here, people, and I am determined to find it.  Come back to find out the truth of what happens to me, Julius, and the rest of the anonymous bunch!

This was a blogging challenge.  We took last Friday off, but it's Friday again and that means: Secret Subject Swap!  Sixteen bloggers braved the unknown by coming up with a secret subject for another blogger, while getting one in return.  No one knows who got what... until now!

Below you will find links to the other participating bloggers.  Don't miss out on the fun. Visit them all and see what the fuss is about.  And you bloggers can always join us - just ask!

My Subject isYou find out that your life up until this point has been controlled by the powers that be-think Truman Show-and everyone you know is in on it for some unknown reason. These people aren't really your friends or family but then again they are all you have ever known. Why are they fabricating this life for you? What are they hiding/protecting you from? Do you stay or leave?
Submitted by: Sparkly Poetic Weirdo

Onward and upward, precioussssses!

Searching for Sanity

Disclaimer:  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

At the End ©Robin Allen 2015

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Private Struggle: Losing a Pregnancy

The past couple months have been a time of cautionary joy and private sorrow.

Life is strange and wonderful and cruel.

Most of you know I am the mother of three beautiful children.  I talk about them, their antics, and their constant influence on my life through my blog and social media.  What may be not readily apparent is the fact I was done having babies at the age of twenty-three – years before many of my generation started families of their own.

I never put much stock in the ticking of the biological clock.  My twenties were passed raising toddlers and elementary-ages with no desire to continue.  While not traditional, our little family was complete and we took precautions to keep it that way.

My thirties hit and I came to realize the biological clock was very real.  Though I already had three children, I began feeling the urge to procreate.  The amount of married friends I had skyrocketed and babies were popping up everywhere.  Even my youngest brother, who is nine years older than me, married and they now have three children of their own.  I felt left out.

Knowing we were not financially capable of caring for another child, I contented myself with raising puppies and surprising my husband with ambush discussions of expanding our family.  The looks on his face were priceless... for a while.

A few years ago, my shunt started to fail, even though scans, X-rays, and tests continuously came up clear.  There was no physical proof to validate my symptoms.  So I started to think I was pregnant.  Tests confirmed I was not and I eventually had my shunt replaced, but one little glimmer was like seeing an oasis mirage in the middle of a desert.  I wanted another baby.

But it was never right.  My husband worked a shitty job, got fired, and started a new (better) one.  We were in between insurances.  I got sick – again, and had my shunt replaced – again.  Mere months after surgery, I started having symptoms again.  The physician’s assistant at my neurosurgeon thought my scans were off and it seemed I was in for another shunt replacement.

Something nagged at me, though.  Perhaps it was the memory of symptom mimicry or the fact my symptoms were much worse this time around.  Maybe it was the fact, although I had an IUD in place and my periods were irregular, I still felt I missed one or the fact my breasts were sore.  If I was fated to have another surgery, I had to know for sure.  I took a test one night.

Three months ago, I found out I was pregnant.

Despite all the wishing and wanting, I was in shock.  The odds of getting pregnant on my IUD are zero-point-zero one percent and can be dangerous.  Knowing this, I called my doctor first thing the next day.  After explaining the situation, I was able to get on the schedule immediately, thus beginning one of the longest days of my life.

First it was my primary doctor’s office, where they confirmed a pregnancy diagnoses.  From there, they wanted an ultrasound done at the local hospital, in hopes of locating my IUD, plus a blood draw.  Then I met with a midwife at a nearby OB/GYN’s office – one that could get me in that day.  If I did not know it was serious before, it was painfully clear by the time I got to the midwife and I was stressed out and terrified.

Finally, we found out my IUD was missing – the first bit of “good” news I’d had all day.  The risk factors dropped exponentially and I breathed a sigh of relief.  My hcG levels were rising, but the progesterone was low, which was a potential problem.  From my labs, they were not sure if the pregnancy was even viable or if it was just really early in the pregnancy.  They wanted to keep an eye on me.  

The waiting began.

The next week I was informed my hcG levels were rising slowly, but the progesterone was maintaining a low level, so I had an ultrasound at the OB’s office to check how far along I was.  At the time, they could not be sure, but the gestational sac was clearly visible and in the uterus where it belonged.  Another sigh of relief… until we were surprised to find another gestational sac – we might be expecting twins!  I had yet come to terms with one; now there was one more thing to worry about.  They sent me off with another blood draw and a ‘see you next week’ appointment.

In other news, it seemed I would not need another brain surgery.  I had an appointment with my neurosurgeon in two weeks.  On the other hand, I had started bleeding…

By the next week, the second sac was gone and my levels were not optimal.  I was a bundle of nerves – from the first week I was told to expect a miscarriage, but it never came.  I finally saw one of the OBs in the office and he was gentle, but told me it did not look good.  My options were to wait another week to see if my labs improved or to get a shot of methotrexate, which would dissolve the pregnancy. 

I was a wreck.  Although I knew the odds were not good from the beginning, over the past weeks I had become attached to the idea of being pregnant again, even the possibility of twins.  I was tired of the constant unknowns, of waiting for the loss of my pregnancy, of just waiting – and I could not do it anymore.  It was obvious something was wrong, so I broke down – I was not going to wait anymore.

The doctor sent me over to the hospital to get the shot, but due to scheduling, I was not able to get it the same day.  They would call me when they could get me on the schedule.  I cried… a lot.  We finally told our friends that weekend, to explain why I was not myself.

Two days later, it happened.  My heart-wrenching, private moment happened in a spectacularly public fashion – while I was waiting to see my neurosurgeon at the aforementioned appointment.  I was devastated and mortified.  My husband did not know what to do and a sweet lady acted as middle man as I text him through my tears from a stall in the women’s restroom.  The nurses were sympathetic and I was able to reschedule my appointment so I could go home.  The Big Guy was very gentle with me and I could see it was killing him to see me in such pain.

A miscarriage – a nightmare.

I cried and wanted to curl into a ball to sleep for days.  I called my mom and talked for hours.  I cried some more.  I kept thinking ‘the baby never grew’ – that I had not really lost a baby, just the idea of a baby.  The thought did not make it hurt less.  So I cried.  My husband did his best to be consoling, but he was hurting too and I know it hurt him to see me fall apart, even momentarily.

Weeks later I was still bleeding, so I saw the doctor again.  This time, instead of a shot, I was scheduling a D&C.  I wanted this to be over and I thought it had been.  The stress of waiting, or the unknown, was taking its toll on my mental state and my marriage.  Seems my body, as well as my mind, was unwilling to let go.  I cried again, but we were able to get the D&C done the same day, so the end was near.

During this process, I kept a happy public face.  I was honest about my struggle without being specific.  Those who know me and care about me knew there was something wrong, but did not press the issue.  I grieved in relative peace and for that, I am grateful.  Seeing happy, pregnant women caused my heart to break a little; for those I knew personally, I was able to muster a smile for them and their joy, but I could not watch commercials with babies in them.  I could not bear to walk past the infant section in a store.

My husband is stoic, but at times I can see the loss behind his eyes and makes me love him more, even if he will not admit his vulnerability.  It is not just my loss, it is ours.  I think sometimes people forget that, myself included.  I know better now.  After all, I didn't get pregnant on my own, I didn't struggle alone, and the loss is not only mine to bear.  I am grateful to have the man I do, to stand by me, for better or for worse, for the rest of our lives.

After the D&C, I felt better.  I am still sad – it has been several weeks – but the experience has opened up an honest dialogue between my husband and I about possibly trying again later.  Sometimes I still cry.  It has given me a new perspective on life, love, and loss. 

As for babies, we raised three and continue to be amazed by them every day, even when they are driving us crazy.  And I will continue to grieve the loss of our little sac, whether we decide to try again or not.