Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I Hate Whiners...

Truly I do. I have been called a serious bitch just because the whining gets on my last nerve and I don't mind just walking away in the middle of it. And yet, as I look back over the past few posts, it could definitely look like a shitload of whining.  Not my intention at all.  Honestly, I find it amazing that all these things could happen in one family.  Thank God it's not every family.  And yes I do need an outlet sometimes.  But it really is about the fact that our lives are sooooo full of drama it blows my mind.  My intention has never been to have people feel sorry for me or my family but to share the experience so that others may see that they're not alone in their own difficult situations as well as share the humor in everything going wrong at once.  Because that's how I see it - how ridiculous that just when you don't think it can get any worse it does... and it does... and it does.  It just goes to show ya!!! 
I know, I know, that's not all the whining I've been doing.  I've been whining about poor pitiful me and my current scrappy situation.  Well, I actually find that funny too.   I do feel sorry for myself at times as I was so used to just getting whatever I wanted (I never wanted anything outrageously expensive!) and now I'm scraping bottom of the scrap heap (get it - bwahaha). But it's the fact that I'm so obsessed during these trying times that is so hilarious to me. As a matter of fact, my mom said yesterday (when she literally couldn't get out of bed all day and I was putting my dad in bed from his wheelchair) that she could never do anything to let me know how much I'm appreciated.  My response?  No worries, I have an entire list of scrap supplies in my head.  Thank goodness my mom knows my sense of humor as we laughed through our pain.  See, it's just a joke... sort of. 
So apologies to everyone if you thought I was whining and searching for sympathy... that is just not who I am. 
On to bigger and better things... don't you love to make cards?!  I do for the simple fact that it's instant gratification - and I love instant gratification.  (And it's a great way to use up scraps!  Little do those non-scrappy people know when they receive these handmade cards that I was just using up the crap left on my desk, bwahahaha!!!!).  Unfortunately, I am the worlds worst at actually mailing a card; but, I do have a friend in Alabama that I exchange cards with.  When I started making cards, I put so much more thought in them than I do now and Alabama didn't do anything crafty so my cards were the bomb!  Now, she papercrafts every day so she makes my cards look like the work of a 5th grader.  But she says I was her inspiration - and that makes me feel like a million bucks!  Oh well, back to talking about me making cards.  I also like trying out techniques on cards - often I'll use new punches or dies on my cards before actually using them on a layout just so I can get the hang of them and how they actually look with different papers, etc.  So, today I am going to share a few pix of the cards I have in my stash that may or may not ever be seen otherwise.

Easter Greetings
Birthday Greetings

Thank You
Get Well, Thinking of You, Anniversary
Misc Greetings
Miss You
Miss You

So that's what's in my box now.  Some have been made with stamps; others with just printing from my computer (especially the Miss You cards in bottom photo).  I've been thinking of seeing if 'Operation Write Home' is still in business and donating some cards, but I don't think I've got enough yet.  But I probably never will have enough as we do use them occasionally (get it - all-occasion cards used occasionally, bwahaha).  I know they aren't beautiful, but they were fun to make.  If you want to see some really lovely cards, check out Cynthia's at The Wandering Buckeye and Aeryn's at Creative Explosion - they are both so talented (my bird Thank You cards are Martha Stewart stamps done with colored pencils inspired by Aeryn's copic work; and, while not the works of art Aeryn creates, I like them so am very appreciative). 

Okay, you're turn - create something!  Go on - just do something small like a card.  It doesn't have to be perfect, the sentiment is what matters... well really what matters is that you made it yourself.


"Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better." - Martin Luther King, Jr

Monday, May 28, 2012

Gigi here!

Hi guys! This is Gigi here. Nonna, has a SERIOUS head ache right now, and can't do her blog! No worries, I'll fill in! So today my Nonna ran to her house to pick up her scrapbooking supplies correct? Well, she wouldn't tell me what she was doing! But when she was finished, it look incredible.! Here is what she made, today ( :

Sunday, May 27, 2012

It's Time...

Today I caught up on the Adventures of Glitter Girl and realized that I am forgetting how to scrapbook.  Sounds impossible, right?  I mean, after 13 years it would be like riding a bike.  It's a creative process... no right or wrong... so how can you forget??!!!  Well trust me, it is happening!  I realized that all the progress I've made is fading to the background and that the few scrapbook sketches I've made of late have started looking more and more like the layouts of the past:  very structured and plain with little layering - you know, the stuff of years ago when it was all getting the pictures on the patterned papers, and the creative process had yet to take root.  In other words, remember when we started and all our pages were about letter stickers and premade diecuts and all pictures were matted and placed side-by-side - what I've heard some people refer to as the Creative Memories style of scrapboooking (though, I have a friend who sells Creative Memories and her pages are beautiful - CM too have evolved).
So enough whining - it's time to talk about the fact that it's time to talk about... me. I watched this (last ?) week's episode of Glitter Girl regarding scrapbooking about yourself.  I used to have a serious problem with this concept for the following reasons:
  1. How can you scrapbook about yourself when, out of every 250 pictures, there may or may not be one of you.  For instance, I have apparently missed the past 10 Christmases - yet there are approximately 150 pictures taken every year with my camera. There were over 750 pictures taken during our trip to Disney World with my camera - and I am definintely there proven by the 3 (yes 3) photos of me.  Hmmm.
  2. How can you scrapbook about your past when your brain is a total blank?  Okay, I'm going to blame this on the MS - and that's the truth to a great extent.  But I am also the posterchild of the fact that any type of partying destroys brain cells.  Since I kept all of mine regarding logic and intelligence (until the MS), my destroyed cells were delegated to the memory part of my brain.  For instance, I have pictures of the Prom - and yes, I know that I went with Dan what's-his-name whose brother was dating my bestfriend; but, I have to admit that I don't remember a single thing from that night - not being picked up (evident by the photos), not going to the dance in my 70s semi-formal, not going to dinner afterward, nada damn thing.  Hmmm.
  3. When did scrapbooking about yourself become the thing to do, about 8 years ago?  Well, up until the past few years, I really thought that was seriously indulgent.  How can I scrapbook about myself when I have these wonderful grandchildren that deserve my supplies? How can I scrapbook about myself with all the events that happen every month with someone else in my family:  grandchildren, child, parents, siblings, etc. that must be scrapped for prosterity?  How can I scrapbook about myself when I must use my supplies to create mini-albums and cards to give as gifts?  How can I scrapbook about myself when almost all the supplies I buy (that are not for my grandchildren) are for the 140 years of photos (with stories) that must be put in scrapbooks before my mom passes away?  Hmmm.
A few years ago I decided that my grandchildren need to know about me more than they need to know about my great-grandparents.  For instance:
  • They need to know about my top ten favorite things every year.  So there are documents stored in my computer featuring these lists. 
  • They need to know how I felt about turning 50.  Okay, "Why?" you may ask.  Because 50 is a really big deal to every woman I know.  And the year leading up to my 50th birthday, was a real doozy.   Also, my life at 50 is certainly not where I expected it to be when I was 13 or 20 or even 30.  They should know that things don't turn out the way you expect them to, especially if you don't work to make your future happen.
  • They need to know, that even with how crappy our lives seem right now, how proud I am to be with my family.  I say these things, but I'm sure the next time shit falls apart, that statement is totally lost in the drama.  It will be good for them to know later how very much I love them and the rest of my family; and, especially during these trying time, how very lucky I feel to be able to be here to take care of everyone.
  • They need to know how I feel about God and the faith I have in Jesus Christ as my Savior.  I am not a religious woman.  I do not attend church on a regular basis.  In fact, my views regarding religion and God in general may be considered very different than the rest of my family.  But I am a deeply spiritual woman whose faith is based more on intellectual study and observation than on what I learned in our church.  I really don't feel this is an appropriate age for them to try to reconcile my thoughts with what they are learning in church.  And I really believe what they are learning is important - after all, that's where I started my journey.  But I also believe that it's important for them to know how much I study and how strongly I believe as well as what I believe - especially in the event that they may start to waiver in the future.
  • They need to know everything we have gone through mentally, emotionally and physically.  Dealing with my daughters illnesses can cause some very negative feelings (and possibly memories).  In addition, though they lived through all the trials of the past few years, it has been a very confusing time.  Why is it that I missed the entire football season, yet here I am taking care of everyone?  Why is it that their mom can stay up all night shopping, but can't get out of bed for days?  Why do we freak out about my mom's "sugar" reading and why can't she remember making promises that aren't fulfilled?  How are we mentally and emotionally dealing with my dad getting worse physically and mentally?  Why do I seem so mean so often, especially because they know that I will do anything anyone asks of me?  They need to know how all of this has affected me and how I "see" it in broader terms.  And they need to know how strong we all are.
  • They need to know how I feel about the things beyond my control.  Like how I feel about having MS - about the pain, the challenges, the regret, the despair, the anger and the fear - because this is affecting them so very much without them really even knowing that it's my MS that has utterly changed their lives and how it's changed mine in ways they don't see.  Like how I feel about living in "paradise" and why I hate it so very much.  Like how I feel about not working and how I miss it.  A minibook like the one I'm working on perhaps??!!
  • They need to know what our lives were like when I was a kid.  I tell them stories... but like all stories at that age, they don't really take root in their minds and hearts.  They need to know about growing up on both sides of the coin - very poor on the one hand and very wealthy on the other (especially my grandson who has the same sort of lifestyle in a very real way, but unfortunately he doesn't experience or understand the grandness of each of these lives).  They need to hear the stories of slaughtering hogs and playing in cotton fields while at my grandmothers as well as having season tickets to pro-football games and shopping at Saks with my mom all in the same year. 
  • They need to know how my brother and I grew up together - about my mom working and the fact that I practically raised him, about the fact that we fought so very hard, about the fact that I love him so very much because of all those experiences.  As siblings, they have a very different relationship than the ideal their mom feels they should and I have to jump in sometimes as she really doesn't understand this dynamic.  They need to understand that just because you don't always like someone doesn't mean that you don't love them with all your heart. 
  • They need to know about my marriage(s).  I don't talk about these; and, again, though they've lived through this last one, it was so against the norm of what marriage is supposed to be that it has to be very confusing.  They need to know why things have been this way - and it's really something that I can't necessarily sit down and talk about even though I can probably write about it.
  • They need to know why other things are important to me.  For example, why scrapbooking is such a big deal... and this changes all the time I think.  No one layout will ever give credence to what's important about it today.  Yes, it's the telling of legacies, the memories of moments, the creative process - but it's also my life raft.  To me it's akin to taking a power nap.  So, because these things (and more) are always revolving, it probably takes more than one layout to get this idea out - another minibook I've started maybe???!!!
  • They need to know about the things I dream about:  the house I wish I had and what it would look like and how it would be big enough for the entire family; how very much I would love to see England and (because I'm already across the ocean) Ireland, France, Italy, Greece and Laos; the dream of buying an RV and spending the summer taking the family all over America; having the money set aside for their cars and college education to ensure these things happen if I'm not here; why I love Harry Potter and Hobbits; and, why I'd live in Disneyworld.
Now I know you're wondering, "With such an extensive list, how much have you got done?"  Nothing.  Nope, not a bit.  Well, maybe a couple of layouts (maybe) with two minibooks started.  But it's time to get serious about this ME stuff.  I am starting to have more current photos of me to work with because I have finally gotten past my ego and handed the camera to someone and said "Take a pic of me today."  And I've taken a few myself on the days that I just don't look so good (and on the days when my gray roots have grown out and it's time to color those babies).  I have also figured out that photos are not a must, especially in minibooks.  But most importantly I have figured out that I am not guaranteed another day, so I better get off my butt and get some of these stories told.  Yes, the kids current events are still the priority... but I've decided I will come next.  And if I get bored thinking about me, then I'll work on those 140 years of photos I need to get done - and if I don't finish them I'll do the same thing my grandma did, I'll pass them on to GiGi to do. So maybe this evening I'll go pick up a few supplies - at least a dot runner, trimmer and few pieces of cardstock.  Tomorrow is Memorial Day, and since my family has been instilled to remember our servicemen everyday of our lives (my dad is a retired Colonel and served in Korea), I think I'll take the day off of doctors' appointments as an opportunity to get a little scrapping done in between all those other little emergencies.  After all, I can stop and start and move around at will when I'm scrapping.  I may even get GiGi to grab her stuff from home and bring it over to create along with me.

Anyway, gotta thank Shimelle for always motivating me - especially with her Glitter Girl videos and especially with this one.  Did you see it?  Did you love it?  Did you do anything about it?  Well then, go on - tell the world about yourself.  I've said it before... if you don't think you need to because you don't have kids, remember that knowing all those wonderful (and maybe not so wonderful) things about you will be appreciated by your parents and/or spouse as well as yourself when you start looking back in the future.  But no matter what you do, create something about something!


"There is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.” — Martha Graham

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Just a minute...

Yes, really, just a minute to say hello and a rundown of our chaos.  No, it hasn't gotten any better around here.  My MS is kicking up a fuss... by about 5:30 everyday I can barely walk - I even ouch, ouch, cry, cry all the way to the bathroom.  But I'm not asleep.  I'm too busy.  I'm exhausted, but I'm not asleep.
On the up side, I did get my mom's house clean, top to bottom, front to back.  It was work - hard work - and then I fell totally apart.  But it got done and I am very proud of myself.  Now if I can just keep it up.  Hmm.
My mom and dad came home Sunday.  You are not going to believe this, but my dad fell at a Rest Area on the way home.  He fell really hard... so hard that my mom drove straight to the ER in Pensacola before coming home.  Someone had to literally lift him out and into the car.  When he got home, GiGi actually helped him into the wheelchair from the car (still haven't figured out how that happened) and when he got to the door I had to pick him up and into the house 3 steps so they could get the wheelchair in.  While the Xrays and bloodwork at the ER showed nothing, we went yesterday to the orthopaedic surgeon who had done his hip replacement and now he needs a bone scan (tomorrow which means next week before we hear anything).  In the meantime, I lift him in and out of bed.  My dad is 6' tall weighing about 190lbs and I'm 5'4" weighing about 145lbs, so wonder how long I can do that?  We will definitely see... amazing what we can do when we need to.  What's really worrisome though is that his mind/memory seems to be going away very rapidly.  I am sincerely concerned as to what the next few weeks hold.
My poor momma walked in the door behind my dad on Sunday saying her back hurt.  It's steadily worsened to the point that today it hurts to lift her arms.  Momma is not in good shape and I'm not sure what we can do before her appointment in two weeks for a steroid shot.  I know she really wants to help me, but she just can't.  Also worth mentioning, my mom experienced a few health issues while in Tampa - these experiences made her aware that there are so many situations regarding their health and medications that only I know about.  It has become fairly obvious that maybe I should be making this my permanent home.  Hmmm.
JC went back to his dad's on Monday.  But then on Tuesday, he came back to spend the night with us and then went back on Wednesday to return next Tuesday.  I really miss him badly.  And I worry about him.  Do we ever trust anyone else to care for our loved ones the way we do?  I think not.
GiGi has gone through some things since my last post about our current events.  But I can't go into this in respect for her privacy... let me just say big changes in the teen-girl department.  This has been more than a little dramatic for my GIrlyGIrl and her doting grandmother!!!
And then the past couple of weeks have been full of our family's usual drama... the kind of drama that surpasses all of the extraordinary events of the past couple of weeks by miles and miles.  This is the drama that puts us over the edge - made all the worse because we can find no way out of it. Ever. 
So, needless to say, my stress levels are somewhere pass Mars.  I have to apologize to my family over and over for being short and/or loud (I have an extremely loud voice anyway, so when I get excited, upset, or stressed it becomes even louder).  I need my scrap stuff more than ever.  I need a place and 30 minutes to just do one (yes, even just 1) layout so that I can find my own personal nirvana.  But, alas, it's not to be.  Nor do I have time to get all the blog posts out of my head and into blogworld.   I haven't even glanced at my facebook!! 
Okay, enough of my whining.  I have faith that God will not give us more than we can take.  I have faith that whatever happens, it is what is meant to happen.  I have faith that there is a reason for all of this.  I have faith, I have faith, I have faith... please God, make me strong.
And there has been good - JC and I are closer than I ever remember us being.  GiGi and I have renewed the strength of our bond.  My mom and dad are here with me - and we're starting to realize that a new dynamic in our relationship is taking place.  And I am so good with all of those things that, even as I sit here hurting/stressing/depressing, I have to have gladness in my heart.
But do me a favor... please do something totally fun and creative.  And I'll thank God for you in my prayers. 


P.S. Since I cannot do a layout at this time, I'm indulging in a few pix - I did get an iphone about a month ago (no, not the 4G... puhlease) for data purposes - bwahahahah... so I am having fun with hipstamatic and instagram!

JCs 2nd Cast (also to his hip joint)

JC's First Cast (yes it goes to his hip joint)

5'6.5" at 13 - my long tall GiGI is
the tallest female in our family

Lest I should forget: Pretty Kitty
Clockwise from top left:  Princess,
Prince, Fifi, Duchess (my fave, shhh)
before their haircuts!

"One must still have chaos in oneself in order to give birth to the dancing star." - Frederich Nietzche

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I'm So Pathetic...

Okay, so I really wanted to win the Cover to Cover class being given by Shimelle.  It's the one class that I thought I really needed.  I'm really sad right now... I'd like to say that I'm happy for Shannon who won, but that would just be a lie.  I'm not happy for Shannon.  I'm wallowing in self-pity.  It's definitely unattractive and not a trait that I like to admit.  I'm so pathetic.

I just knew I would win because this is my year for great things to happen (okay, we won't count the past week - but even it was great because I really have spent some quality time with my babies and JC & I have become closer than ever... almost, until today - another unattractive story).  But I won my laptop at Christmas and who ever wins a decent laptop on a Hershey sweepstakes drawing that you do at a store while shopping for electronics?!  I mean, it's actually the laptop that I would have bought myself - not a super duper great laptop, but its 15", has a buttload of memory and has all the essentials I need to include Microsoft Office 2010.  I love it - it was totally free and delivered 2 days before Christmas.  So if I could win a great laptop, it must be my year for great things to happen.  I should win everything I really need - well maybe except the Lottery even though I really need to win it so I can get us out of the debt we've incurred in the past couple of years and buy the kids and me a great new house big enough to fit all of us as well as my parents and maybe a scrap room.  But you know, I really need to take the Cover to Cover class.  It's the one.  I needed to win it.  I'm so pathetic.

So now, in the paranoia that rules my life, I'm starting to get nervous about my hearing again.  If I didn't win the class, am I going to win my hearing?  I know they have nothing to do with one another, but it's how my mind works.  It's because of my bad luck.  And because I'm so pathetic.

The laptop was only the 2nd thing I ever won.  Exactly thirty years ago I won a trip for my husband and I to Hawaii- I had entered a drawing at our apartment complex in Tacoma.  Problem was that it was announced that we won the day after I got on a plane - a one-way ticket kind of plane.  I wonder if he had a good time.  See, now that was bad luck.  If I had only stayed one.more.day. I could have gone to Hawaii - who knows, that trip might have saved our marriage.  But no, fate said, "Get the hell out of here today!".  Do you know why?  Because fate insists that I have bad luck.  I am doomed.  I'm so pathetic.

Well, honestly, I don't have time for that class right now.  My plate is pretty full until about the end of June/July.  I don't even have time to write this blog or even get on the internet most days.  I'm still here at my mom's for at least another week.  I'm still taking care of the kids.  I'm still watching the dogs.  I still haven't finished cleaning the house.  I still have my to-do list for my mom.  I haven't even made a layout since the last one I posted here.  No, life is definitely full and certainly no time for classes right now.  It's so pathetic.

Well, GiGi has come and laid down - it's time to go to sleep.  The last thing she said to me before the sandman took her was, "Happy Mother's Day, I love you.".  What wonderful words to go to sleep with.  Life is certainly good right at this very moment.  Nothing pathetic about being loved by such a beautiful person.

I hope your Mother's Day is oh so very beautiful and you are the Queen of the Day - even if those who love you just give you time to yourself.  And never forget: if you are a mother, you have already created your most amazing art.


"A mother's life, you see, is one long succession of dramas, now soft and tender, now terrible." - Honore de Balzac

Friday, May 11, 2012

What a Circus....

Okay... I am still alive, I do remember that I have a computer, I do remember that I have a blog, I finally got five minutes to go thru my "reading list"  - but I will admit now, as time is limited, I only got to go back on my reading list a few days so please forgive me and know that I will try to keep up better in the future and still plan to finish catching up on your blogs - and have to try to squeeze this post into today (bwahahaha, as if I actually do anything else!).   I just read Shimelle's post at pretty paper.true stories. and decided that, even though I'm a day late, I'm going to list my 10 things which are actually the 10 moments of superduperdrama in my life this week.

1.  As I stated in my previous post (forever ago!!), I came over to stay with my mom for a little while as I was feeling so terrible and just needed to get out of that RV for a little while or for whatever reason it was that I did come over here as I have totally forgotten it now.  While I had no intention of an extended stay, on May 4th my mom left me here to house/dog sit while she and my dad headed down to Tampa for about 18 days to see my brother.  When I say dog sit I mean it too - she has four (yes 4) very sweet, adorable, lovable toy poodles (mom, dad, and their two daughters).  One is too fat and one is too small to jump on the furniture so I spend a good part of the day lifting them up and down from their favorite sitting spots, usually wherever I am sitting.  Of the other two, one doesn't mind worth a darn and the other (the only male) you really never see unless it's potty or food time.  And yes I have my favorite - but I try to give each one of them some special one-on-one loving time.  Oh, and in case you thought I was being mean about the too-fat comment, as all of us middle-aged women will understand, momma dog has had a hysterectomy and has a thyroid condition - so she's a little plump!  At any rate, all four dogs have completely different personalities and, while totally funny, the 3 females make me realize why they call them bitches.  Also, I am doing spring cleaning on my mom's house for her while she's gone.  She is just in no condition to do it herself and with 2 weeks to get it done, no problem.  But....

2.  Friday night, about 11:30 pm, I woke up with my stomach hurting.  Hmmm.  Well, I was pretty wide awake and went outside to smoke a cigarette (horrible habit!) which usually calms my stomach if it's upset.  But while I was out there I got seriously dizzy and wierd feeling - very very wierd feeling.  So I put out that cigarette after only about 1/4 was smoked and started making my way back in the house.  Apparently, I passed out on the deck at 11:35 pm.  I woke up and my right flip-flop was inside the door, but I was laid out on the deck!!!  I got in the house and could barely walk, I laid down on the floor once on the way to the phone and then once I got to the phone I had to lay down again - right there where I stood.  It took forever for me to get the phone dialed and I had to lay on the floor while I was talking by which time I was sweating from head to toe so badly that all my clothes were soaking wet.  Hmmm Hmmm.  I called my daughter and told her that I was in some bad shape and needed her to get the girls (GiGi and friend) and come stay with me.  By the time she got here (1:00 am!!), I had stopped sweating and changed tops and was lying on couch as I still felt like I couldn't sit up.  Now I will say that I had a similar episode (without passing out, but sweating/dizzy/unable to walk without lying on the floor) while staying here at my moms back in Nov of 2010... just that once while GiGi and I were here alone.  Was it my heart?  Was it my sugar (if I follow suit of my grandmother and mom, it's about time for the diabetes to set in)?  Is it just something wrong with me being alone in the house? Hmmm. Hmmm. Hmmm.  Then....

3.  As the kids were supposed to come over on Saturday and stay while my grandson was home, they just got here extra early.  Did I mention that a refrigerator fell on my little buddy on 4/26 and broke his leg in 3 places - two bones above his ankle in the growth plate and a fracture in his foot - and that there was so much blood on his knee and so much swelling that they weren't sure how much damage was done and no cast could be put on for over a week?  So he was going to spend the day Saturday with his mom and go back to his dad's on Saturday night... but since they were staying here and it's so much easier and more comfortable than the mobile home, he just decided to stay 2 weeks - he knows that as long as he is here I will take care of him.  And that's fine!!  I'm glad he's here, he is fun and I love taking care of him.  However...

4.  National Scrapbooking Day, which I have been counting down all year for some reason, was totally missed.  In all the chaos that comes with taking care of the four dogs and JC and my daughter and her dog and GiGi, I totally missed NSD.  I didn't even see my computer that day.  I didn't watch TV much that day.  Even worse, I didn't even realize that I missed it (hardly recognize that it's May) until today.  Now I'm just a little pissed off - but I'll get over it.  Considering...

5.  We took JC to the doctor on Monday and there was a bright green cast put on his leg.  Also, he got to finally return to school the next day as long as he was in his wheelchair.  Did you know that now they have determined that there will be no wrapping the cast for baths (only sponge baths with those baby wipe thingys), no being in a steamy bathroom, no humidity allowed whatsoever, no going outside because he might sweat, etc???!!!  He's scheduled to go back on Tuesday to have X-rays to make sure everything is still in place and that there is no "skin-rotting" under his cast.    I made two trips to the grocery store that day to get things to make for dinner as well as his and GiGi's lunch the next day (GiGi had a field trip).  So...

6.  On Tuesday, I drove JC to school and took him in where we talked to the 7th grade guidance counsellor about his situation... no gym, no going outside at all, no getting out of the wheel chair, etc.  JC was to report directly to the library in lieu of going to PE.  Then I went back to get him after school and picked up GiGi while I was there.  We made a trip to their house to get more clothes (got there and had to get a load of laundry out of the washer and bring home to rewash and when I started getting them out, realized that "someone" had put about 3x too many clothes in the washer!  More work, oh well.)  then made a trip to the store to get a few odds and ends groceries for lunches.  When we got home, GiGi started on her homework and we found out that mom's printer isn't working and that, as its the last day of the week's sale at Publix, we needed to run and get a couple more BOGO taco dinners.  So JC and I run over to my RV and I get the printer and my box of genealogy files (gotta have something to do as all my scrap stuff is at home).  As I was walking out - printer under left arm, 15 lb filebox under right arm - I step on a HUGE nail while coming through my gate. (I had nailed a small piece of plywood onto the bottom of my gate until I could get around to fixing a gap there - someone had broken it off and just let it lay on the ground - and I had used a BIG (roofing??)  nail so that it would stay!)  Yep, I stepped down hard as all that weight was on my right side and I was stepping around the gate.  Plomp, right down on the ball of my foot with my lightest weight espadrilles on - little rubble soles thinner than my flip-flops.  But it didn't really hurt.  I did say a loud "OH SHIT!" because I realized what I had done, but there wasn't any intense pain.  So once I had put the printer and filebox in the back seat, JC asked what had happened and I told him.  He asked if it was bad and I said that I didn't know, we should probably look.  I took off my shoe and blood comes pouring out of it... and when I look at my foot, it's pumping blood out.  JC nearly got totally sick while I said another Oh Shit.  Well, I didn't want to drive on that foot because I drive with the ball of my foot and didn't want to pump anymore blood out than was already spurting - the floormat was already full of blood.  But there was no one to come get me, so I drove home with my left foot.  (While not impossible, obviously, not ideal either as, even though I gassed fine, everytime I stepped on the brake it was like Bamm, we're stopped... no easing into a stop when doing it left-footed.)  When I got home, GiGi was outside cutting back my rosebush (totally another funny story; needless to say, all my dozens of rosebuds that were about to bloom are gone!) so I asked her to grab the stuff out of the backseat while I limped in the house.  JC jumps out of the car with his crutches shouting "Nonna stepped on a nail, Nonna stepped on a nail and she's bleeding to death!!".   Bless my daughter's heart, she jumped up and started running around like a chicken while I limped to get a washcloth from the hall closet and then limped to the other side of the house to my mom's bathroom (GiGi and I are staying in her room while Star & JC each have a guest room).  She comes running behind me with a pantyliner and 3 different kinds of first-aid tape.  I washed it well with anti-bacterial soap (but I did not pour peroxide on it, I'm such an idiot!) and dressed it with half a pantyliner and three long strips of paper first-aid tape.  Still didn't hurt... I'm in good shape.  Almost...

7.  I promised Star that she could take me to get a Tetanus shot on Wednesday a.m. after we dropped the kids at school.  (The only down right annoying thing about JC's broken leg is the fact that we have to take him and pick him up from school... the one chore I hate as it has everything to do with poor school location and tons of traffic... but he'll never know that I hate doing it.)  So after getting GiGi off and JC in the wheelchair all good-to-go, we take off for the local ER.  (Let me state here that I have had an entire blog post about the crappy local ER and the fact that if I were gut-shot go ahead and risk the other 45 minutes it takes to get to a real hospital - however, they are pretty good for minor cuts and things that just require a shot of Dilaudid like kidney stones, etc.).  When I get there I explain that I stepped on a nail, that it only hurts on the top of my foot where there is a bruise where the nail came in, I probably need someone to deaden it and clean it and look at it as it went in so far - no, it doesn't really hurt but then again I have MS; well, at the very least, I need a Tetanus shot.  No I don't have insurance, I am awaiting disability.  The person at the ER proceeded to tell me that I just needed to go get a Tetanus shot and that I should go to the local County Health Clinic to get it. 
I'm going to interject here, of course.  First, let me just say that whenever you have a disease whether it be MS, diabetes or whatever that causes neuropathy, getting a serious injury to your feet and not feeling pain is a very. bad. thing. - especially something like sticking a nail in your foot to the point that it goes in so far as to bruise the top of your foot.  Second, I'm awaiting my disability and am destitute - the County Health Clinic charges you a minimal fee if you don't have insurance, Medicaid or whatever, while ERs having billing practices (Medicare will pay retroactively) and programs for the destitute.  Just sayin... 
I went to the clinic and was charged $35 for a Tetanus shot.  (I happened to have money that my mom left me for gas to take the kids to the Dr, school, whatever  - guess they'll have to miss a few days (hmmm)).  I will say here that you couldn't have asked for a nicer bunch of people.  The clinic doesn't usually give vaccinations on Wednesday, and I didn't have an appointment, but as I've got a serious hole in my foot we'll go ahead and get it done. The nurse was amused when I told him it was a pantyliner on my foot as we had no gauze and I hadn't been to store yet; but he said that it was better as pantyliners are made to soak up the blood and gauze just gets wet and leaks.  Other nurses stopped me on my way out and told me all the things to be aware of regarding caring for my wound and when I should go ahead and go to hospital - because with the MS I may not feel like anything is wrong.  It was a very pleasant experience indeed and I'm feeling pretty good.  Until...

8.  When I got home from the clinic, I got on my mom's computer to pay her bills... at her desk... in her office.  As I was sitting there, I noticed that my foot was starting to ache - not really the kind of ache like I would expect but more like the circulation was being cut off and that I had to get that bandage off right now!  It wasn't as easy as it should have been:  my foot had started swelling; thus, the tape had gotten tighter and harder to just grab and tear.  Once the tape was off, I noticed that my foot had swollen considerably and that I couldn't move my toes.  Then they started screaming.  When I say screaming, I mean that someone had hooked each of my 3 smaller toes up to a car battery and flipped the switch!  Oh my!!!  Then my leg was aching.... badly.  (No red lines so nothing to worry about.)  Oh, and lest I forget, now I can't walk on that foot at all because I had been walking on the side of my heel and it had gotten raw.  Why had the feeling come back so suddenly  now?  I haven't a clue.  But I should say that the hole in my foot still doesn't hurt, the ball of my foot is slightly tender when I put my weight on it but, oh my God, I can't walk on my heel or my poor toes.  I hit the recliner as fast as I could.  Star got the footbath out and filled it with warm water & epson salt.  It occurred to us that maybe it was time for the peroxide.  So we poured the peroxide on my foot with it hovering above the footbath.  There was no foaming bubbles on my wound... only a large black spot on the pad of my foot.  Hmmm.  Good sign or bad sign?   We added about 1/2 cup of peroxide to our epson salt footbath and I sat there until the water got cold.  Then I leaned back in the recliner with my foot elevated.  Every once in a while, when the stabbing pain went from my toes up my leg all the way to my thigh, my eyes would glaze over and my lips tightened.  And then something else, I became very very tired - sleepy in fact.  I spent hours dozing because I couldn't keep my eyes open.  Of course, someone (human or canine) would wake me up about every 15 minutes.  Finally about 5:00, I got up and made spaghetti for dinner.  We ate and I washed up the pots and pans and went back to my recliner where I dozed in 15 min intervals until we finally went to bed about 9:00.  In the meantime, JC says his foot is sweating; so one task during my wake-ups is going in & blowing cold air down his toes into his cast with the blow-dryer and giving him Tylenol PM & a Benadryl.  Because...

9.  Yesterday I woke up at 5:00am, took the dogs out whle the coffee was finishing, got the spoon of peanut butter & thyroid pill for momma-dog, got my coffee, and sat on the porch while I gave her meds to her.  Got GiGi up at 5:30, JC up at 6:00 - foot sweating, blow-dryed his foot and gave him some Aleve which usually takes care of the pain all day. I made their lunches, made sure they had everything they needed together, got GiGi on the bus at 6:15.  Star took JC to school while I staightened up the kitchen then went back and laid down - I never do this.  Not this early.  No matter what time I get up and get them off, I usually can't lay down until at least 9:00.  But yesterday was different, I was still exhausted feeling and dozed until about 10:00.  About 12:00, the school nurse called and said that JC was there with his foot hurting.  Well, that's odd because the Aleve has been working; but, he had been complaining extra about the heel of his foot the night before - he had already worn a blister on his heel while wearing the splint; they had put a medicated pad on it when doing his cast and said they would keep an eye on it when he went back for X-rays.  This was especially worrisome for fear of skin-rot.  So Star called the school back and they said that JC had gone back to class.  She decided when she was leaving to pick him up from school that she would just go ahead & take him up to the Dr's office to see what she should do.  When I told her that I just could not go along, she became a little concerned, I think, and said she would have GiGi ride the bus home.  By the time GiGi got here, I was in bed asleep again.  I slept until about 5:00 when Star called and said they had just left Dr's office - they had put a new cast on JC's leg.  The reason he was hurting was that the other cast had somehow become too big in the past 3 days.  Now I watched them put that original cast on his leg - they squeezed it so hard that his eyes glazed over - it fit like a glove when he walked out of there.  How in the world had it become too big in just 3 days?!  So now JC has an orange cast - the top half of the green one sits next to his BB gun and at first glance looks like a foot and leg wearing extra long green pants - kinda scary in the dark!  Finally...

10.  It's Friday again.  I got up early this morning, got the kids ready and drove them to school... I have to leave in about 10 minutes to pick them up.  I feel pretty good - my foot hurts a little, is tender on the bottom where I walk on it, but at least it fits in my flip-flops again.  I found out on the way to school that the guidance counselor never talked to JCs PE teacher about the fact that he was in the library so she got pissed off and is giving him extra work.  Also, she has made some derogatory remarks about the fact that he doesn't run fast because he's related to GiGi (who runs just like her mom did when she was little - we thought it was the JRA but we don't know why GiGi runs like this which isn't really running at all) and that he's a smartaleck like his dad's family.  What's that about?!!!  No bullying, right!!!  But teachers can get away with making derogatory remarks - something is very wrong!  Anyway, it's been a long week... throughout all these big events, we've had the usual drama over and over, as well as GiGi's dad's seriously wrong drama making her miserable.  So my stress level is pretty damn high.  However, GiGi and JC are going to be with me this weekend, so no matter what, it will be a good one.  And even though I certainly didn't plan to be at Mom's this long, it's been great being out of the RV - it makes me realize just how small and dark it really is.  But my stuff is there, especially my pix and scrap stuff, and I miss. my. stuff. so badly!  I can't create anything from here - actually with the drama and feeling under the weather it's hard for me to feel creative.  Still I'm not being totally lazy - I've been working on my genealogy (looks like after 23 years I'd be done by now!).  And that always leads to a new album so I know there's one in the works.

Hope your ten things were better (and shorter) than mine.  I guess I really did my ten things in my last post when I wrote about why I can scrapbook, so I guess I'm caught up for next month too!
Whatever you're doing, have a creative mind and things will not look so bad.  To be totally honest, I can't wait to scrap about JC's broken leg, GiGi cutting back my rosebush and the fact that I poked a hole in my foot at 50.  Just thinking about scrapbooking these events makes me smile and makes the entire load lighter.  Hope your load is light and that you can find your creativity in it.


"Anxiety is the hand-maiden of creativity." - T.S. Eliot

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I got a note from Allie... She had left it over a week ago, but I wasn't able to read it until last night.  Allie has fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.... I know these illnesses.  My daughter has these illnesses.  As I've noted, the MS consists of the same symptoms along with others.  Sweet Allie's comments spoke of the frustration of others because she can scrap but it's so difficult to help with chores.  I am all too familiar with this strange phenomenon.  No, it's not picking and choosing what we are able to do.  It's so much more complicated than that.

Cooking and cleaning are chores because they are hard to do.  It's that simple.  Yes, there are some people who love one or the other or both.  Makes them no less hard to do.  Chores consists of doing a specific thing usually in a specific place at a specific time.  For anyone with physical limitations or fatigue, any of those things is quite nearly an impossibility in and of itself.   One of the main reasons that I cannot work is that I can not do anything at a specific time or in a specific place.  I never know when I will be able to sit or stand; nor for how long I'll be able to do either.  Let's face it, you can't be in the middle of frying chicken and just go rest.  That's not going to happen.  I've even ruined a few grilled cheese because of that very reason.    

In the past I have alluded to some of the physical limitations I experience; but now I'm going to explain the emotional baggage I have (and apparently these are fairly commonly felt by most people who deal with chronic illness): 
First there is the guilt.  Oh so much guilt.  Guilt that we can't work and make our own living anymore.  Guilt that we can't help out around the house.  Guilt that people worry about us.  Guilt that we can't do more taking care of other people or do things that we feel we should. 
Second there is frustration.  Oh so so much frustration.  Frustration that we can't work.  Frustration that we can't earn our own money.  Frustration that we can't help out around the house.  Frustration that we can't do what we once could or what other people our age do.  Frustration that no one really understands what we deal with.  Frustration that we can't change anything. 
Third there is anger.  I want to say here that the one expression that I hate above and beyond all others is "Suck it up".  In a time when 'suck it up' is the general consensus, it is horrible to feel that to express how you feel is considered "whining".    I'll just say it... our lives suck!!!  We have all these physical issues and emotional baggage - and on top of all that, we will never get to do those things that our heart desires.  I will never again wear a pair of 4" heels with my suit going off to work.  I never get to drink a beer with my pizza because of my meds.  I can't take my grandchildren to the beach because I can't go out in heat.  Every morning I wake up in pain.  And, because I said it out loud, I'm considered as whining.  Now that pisses me off!
Finally there is depression.  The depression stems from the guilt, frustration and anger as well as the fact that we often feel utterly useless.  No one should ever feel useless.  No one should ever feel that they are not capable of taking care of themselves or anyone else.  No one should ever feel that they are not good for anything.  No one should ever feel that they are not worthy.  Uselessness can become devastating.

Now back to it... How can I scrapbook if I can't work or do household chores... especially after the last few blog posts about how "hard" it is.  Well, I don't know about everyone, but here's my top ten reasons (in no specific order) that I can continue to scrapbook even though I feel like shit:
  • I pick and choose where I scrap.  Sometimes it's at the table, sometimes at the counter, sometimes on the floor, sometimes in the middle of my bed.  The portability of my hobby is essential; as only God knows in what physical position I will be able to function from day to day or even minute to minute.
  • I pick when I scrap.  I don't have to do it on anyone else's schedule, but just whenever I feel like it and only as long as I feel like it.  Best of all, unlike fried chicken or grilled cheese, I can walk away and come back to it later.
  • I get a serious sense of accomplishment.  I have turned into an "instant gratification" kind of girl!  Okay, so maybe it's not entirely instant, but layouts come together fairly quickly - even if it takes a couple of hours, that's still quicker than most of my hobbies of the past.  Sometimes I keep going though in excruciating discomfort just to get it done.  Then, you know what I do?  I hang my layouts where I can look at them.  Seriously.  Until I create something to take its place.  Because I need to know that I have accomplished something, anything.  I need that reminder (And then I rest for hours or days).
  • It takes my mind off of everything else.  And trust me, that is welcome relief.  Those who don't deal with a chronic illness have no idea how often it is on your mind.  Not just the feeling sorry for yourself, but the pain and clock-watching until your next meds.  (Or wondering where your prized possessions are and pissed off you can't find them!).  
  • I have to get those memories in the books because no one else will do it.  Yep, that's right, I'm important - truly!  And even though I don't believe I am going to die in the next 20 years from this disease - because I live with it, it's always in the back of my mind that dying is all the closer.  It makes no sense, I know.  But mortality is all the more vivid just because I feel so terrible most of the time. 
  • I need to exercise my brain.  I can't read anymore - I have to read the same passages over and over for comprehension and sometimes I just fall asleep at the turn of a page.  But watching TV or just surfing the web all the time turns my brain to mush.  Especially because between the disease and the meds, my brain doesn't work just right anymore - so I must think constructively so that I don't become as dumb as a rock.
  • I need my creative outlet.  I need to exercise my heart.  I still have something beautiful inside me and this is my way of letting it out.  Just because I'm a whiny, mindless bitch doesn't mean that I am soul-less.  And there it is on paper.  My favorite pictures of my favorite people and places set in my favorite artistry. 
  • It steers away my depression.  (Okay, I admit it - this can currently be a two-edged sword.  I can't afford new scrap toys so that's a little more depressing.)  I think that fussing with papers and embellishments, putting everything just so, is a little perfectionistic in its way - making up for the chaos and lack of control in the rest of my life.  At any rate, spending time selecting beautiful papers and embellishments, favorite pictures and telling the stories really does ease the frustration and especially the anger.  I am never happier than when I am scrapbooking.  I am never more at peace than when I have just completed a layout. 
  • It's fun.  Because life especially sucks most days, it is more important than ever for me to find some fun in life.  And to me, this is it.  I can't go to the beach anymore.  I can't shoot pool because of the optical neuropathy.  I can't do oh so many things anymore.  Mainly I don't even feel like doing those things anymore and, even if I had my old income, wouldn't really be able to afford it with doctors and prescriptions, etc. (and now I know how important it is to save up some money for those emergencies).  So this is it.  I wrote yesterday about how excited I got about finding my fave adhesive.  It's a good life when something like adhesive can make you dance a little jig. 
  • I love it.  I've been sewing & crafting all my life, and never have I ever loved anything or been as excited about anything like scrapbooking.  And the only way I know how to explain that is this: I can create things in many ways.  Beautiful things.  Unique things.  But in no other craft have I ever had the chance to create something beautiful and unique that included a photo of something or someone I truly love.  It's the photo that completes the project; and it's the photo (regardless of what or who) and the memory created therein, that makes the project truly beautiful.  Often I scrap to preserve memories.  But sometimes, ever more frequently, I scrap just because it's the photos that I love - and I use those photos on more than one layout -because its all about the wonderful creation. 
So that's my story and I'm sticking to it. 

Creating Keepsakes magazine has a recurring article entitled, "Creativity Heals".  I believe this with all my heart.  Furthermore, I have taken up the actual project this article refers to.  Create a page, a mini-book or an entire album regarding how you feel, whatever it may be.  You can use photos of yourself, your family, or from the web - whatever you want to use, however you want to do it.  I suggest anyone with a chronic illness or depression to try it.  No one else ever has to read it if you don't want.  But it's so very emotionally and mentally helpful to let how you feel - physically, emotionally, mentally - out loud, on paper, however you want.  Be creative!!!

Love to you all.


"It's important to do the work that leads to our renewal, clarity and inspiration - and then remember to taste it, experience it and let it flow."  - Linda Saccoccio