Blessings from my Sister

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Sometimes I feel like there’s a hole inside of me, an emptiness that at times seems to burn. I think if you lifted my heart to your ear, you could probably hear the ocean. The moon tonight, there’s a circle around it. Sign of trouble not far behind. I have this dream of being whole. Of not going to sleep each night, wanting. But still sometimes, when the wind is warm or the crickets sing… I dream of a love that even time will lie down and be still for. I just want someone to love me. I want to be seen. I don’t know. Maybe I had my happiness. I don’t want to believe it but, there is no man, Gilly. Only that moon. –Practical Magic

Sis and I were never close, but it wasn’t from my lack of trying. We were just too different, she and I. I was the Black Sheep, and she was the perfect one. Sure, I was smart, but she had the drive to get good grades. I was in school for the social aspect of it. Sis ran with the right crowd, but I ran with the wild crowd. I drank, smoked cigarettes and weed. Hell, she was even a cheerleader.

Our weddings were within three months of each other. They were over 25 years ago, so I don’t remember much. However, I do recall spilled champagne on my bridesmaids dress, dancing with my future husband and dirty dancing to the song, “Time of my Life”. I remember that Sis looked beautiful, like she always did. Where I was curvy, and what I perceived as ugly,  she was neither of those things. To me she was perfect; athletic, smart, popular, beautiful, driven, and the list goes on and on.

She and I raised our kids differently. I was the free spirited mom that gave my children room, but reigned them in when necessary. She was the stricter mom, that enforced rules and gave lectures. Our children turned out to be pretty damn great adults, so who’s to say which of our parenting skills was better.

Throughout the years, she divorced and remarried. She had a couple more kids while her older two were teenagers. Our oldest ones were all born within a few years of each other and it was fun to watch them all grow and change, and achieve. Sis and I were blood, but we never crossed over to being friends. Then I decided after 24 years of marriage to divorce Roger Darling, and she became my strongest supporter.

I finally let go of what I perceived were our differences, and let her in. Sis has been there for me when I’ve been at my lowest. She has gotten my groceries and run my errands while I was laid up from a major car accident last March. She has on more than one occasion yelled at me and told me to get my head on straight now that I’m walking again. We’ve learned we can lean on each other, no matter how different we are.

She’s my sister and now my friend. I don’t know if we’d ever be able to live together, but I’m proud to say she’s one of my loudest cheerleaders. Who knew those skills of hers would come in handy all these years later?

Can love really travel back in time and heal a broken heart? Was it our joined hands that finally lifted Maria’s curse? I’d like to think so. But there are some things I know for certain: always throw spilt salt over your left shoulder, keep rosemary by your garden gate, plant lavender for luck, and fall in love whenever you can.-Practical Magic


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And…We Have Touch Down

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“When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home.”-The Outsiders

The opening lines from The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, floated around my head while Meggie drove me to my follow up appointment with Dr. Perdue. The day wasn’t particularly sunny. In fact, the skies were threatening rain and the humidity slicked my skin with moisture. All I could think about was taking my first steps after a 95 day journey that changed my life.

Meg helped me with my last wheelchair ride, all the while calling me an ‘old lady’. We laughed together, me and my Chica. We checked in, had x-rays taken, and were guided to the surgeon’s cast room. I hopped up on the exam table like a pro, and removed my boot cast. I conversed with Meggie and the nurse while my vitals were taken.

“Is it hot in here?”, I inquired after the nurse left.

“No old lady, you’re anxious”, Meg chided. “Stop fidgeting.”

As we waited, I surfed through the pictures on my phone, until I landed on the ones I took at my two week check-up. There, in full color was my ankle, purple and swollen. The three incisions still angry and fiery red. Black sutures protruded from my skin looking like railroad tracks to hell. You would have thought I would be disgusted by the sight, but I was utterly fascinated. I grinned as I slid my finger across the smart phone screen and viewed the progress of my recuperation. I had come so far.

“Mom, you look weird.”

“I’m…Just…Happy.”

Dr. Perdue and Pete the PA joined us in the cast room. The surgeon smiled his teddy bear smile and shook my hand. We chatted about progress and recuperation. He said the Talus bone was turning white, meaning it was getting blood flow.

“I’ve never seen healing like this after such a traumatic injury,” Perdue said.

“Are you saying we are like Wolverine from X-Men?”, Meg asked.

I giggled anxiously, “I just did everything you told me to, I didn’t want to screw this up.”

“You’ve got good genetics.”

“And I had lots of people praying for me. I prayed a lot. I yelled at God too, but mostly I prayed.”

We talked about the future. That I wasn’t out of the woods yet, when it came to the Talus bone dying. For right now, we focused on walking. I got the go ahead to stop hopping on my left foot, and start walking on both feet. I laughed like a little kid and shook the doctor’s hand. After 95 days, I was going to learn to walk again. The busy doctor left the room and I secured my boot cast. I ruminated on the exam table.

“So…are you going to walk?”

“Gimme a minute, I’m trying to psyche myself up.”

Meggie aimed her smart phone at me and took video of me walking for seven seconds. Every tendon, ligament and muscle from my right knee to my foot screamed as I bore weight. Right foot first, then left foot. And so on. I…was…walking. Again…

We pushed the wheelchair out into the vestibule by the elevator. Meg carried my purse as I took my first walk outside in 95 days. Sure, I’d been outside, but it was not on my own. It was in a wheelchair or hopping with the support of a walker. No, this was different. I could walk on my own. In sunshine, moonlight, darkness or rain. I was free.

The rest of the afternoon was a blur. Lunch with Meggie and Adam Boy. My phone being blown up by friends and family asking if I was walking. A script filled and then home. For the first time in three months, I walked up the 13 steps to my apartment door. I unlocked the door and there in front of me was an old friend, my wheelchair. I burst into tears when I realized the magnitude of the change in my life. I had been reborn.

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Last night rain poured down, and I craved to walk in it. I wanted it to wash me clean while I drew in the scent of clean earth. To baptize me. Though exuberant, I was too sore and tired go outside. My right knee hurt more than anything.  I’m thankful for the pain, because it’s nothing like I’d felt three months ago. My body ached, but my spirit is soared. You know the next time it storms, this woman will be out in the middle of it. In a summer dress and barefoot, hopefully.

An Open Window

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The Velcro bites into the fabric of the ace bandage that holds the Fiberglas square in place. After a few fierce tugs, the teeth yield to my whims and I’m able to remove the binding. I put it aside, pop out the square and set that next to the bandage. My fingers unfold the cotton and lightly stroke the tender skin that lies beneath. I grin from ear to ear, excited by the sensations that I feel. Heat, heartbeat, pain, and nerve twitches. I tickle the tender skin on the arch of my foot. I feel electricity in my fingertips, as they bring the pale skin back to life. Often, I experience little bee stings around the surgical sites. I welcome the feeling though, it means the nerves are reconnecting.

My tattoo of Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas is hidden by the half cast on my right leg. The cast serves as an anchor, holding my injured leg and ankle in a neutral position. I miss being greeted by her melancholy face when I stretch my shapely legs, as I awaken each morning. My hand slides into the cast, and I caress her face. The skin is flaking, from Fiberglas and cotton that wicks all the moisture from my skin. There’s atrophy in the muscles, already. I try not to focus on it though. Eight more weeks my leg will be encased either in plastic or Fiberglas.

I peer back into the window and scoot the cotton around to find one of the three incisions. It’s still pink, but completely heeled. Excitement runs through me as I realize that the numbness at the site is gone. Replaced with warmth and a pulse. I pinch the skin, just to be sure and realize all of the feeling has returned. Joyously, I grab my ultrasound bone healing system and begin the 20 minute process of stimulating bone growth.

With the ultrasound fastened on the opening in my cast, I depress the on/off switch. The machine comes to life and sound waves seep into my skin. 20 minutes, twice a day and lots of prayers are what help the broken Talus bone stay alive. If it stays alive, it will regrow stronger than before. I may never dance or run again. But the use of the ultrasound may give me a better chance at walking without pain. That’s my main focus right now, putting weight on the right foot and taking a step. Finally, the machine shuts off and I wipe the conduction gel from my skin.

I need to close up the window, but my curiosity gets the best of me. I want to keep touching my skin. Touch is a balm for me, calming my anxiety about the future. Putting the Fiberglas square back in place, I begin to wrap the ace bandage around it. The end of it is fastened back in place with hooks of Velcro into material. I lie back on the couch and continue drinking strong, hot coffee laced with cream and Sweet and Low.

And so begins each day of waiting. Waiting and healing.

 

Journal Entry-Happiness and 180 Days

Happiness“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”-Confucius

Yeah, I know it’s been awhile, but I’m back.

The holidays were different this year, but none the less special. My ex-husband, Roger Darling and I shared the expense of buying gifts for our four kids. We prepared dinner together. Prime rib, mashed red skin potatoes, and a wonderful salad bar. We ate heartily and laughed exuberantly. Even though our family is now fractured, there is still happiness and laughter.

We spoiled our children with good gifts like we always have. And filled their stockings with everything they could possibly want. Thank you God for the dollar store!!!

The kids drank wine and beer, but it didn’t bother me. I drank Diet Coke and quietly celebrated my own milestone of another day without a drop of alcohol. I know Roger Darling keeps track of my sobriety, which I’m kind of honored by. I will never understand how a man who’s heart I shattered could give two shits about me. Never mind, I do know. Even after everything we’ve been through, he still loves me. I may not love him the same way, but we will always have a connection. We were a family, once upon a time…

In this New Year, I celebrate that I’ve been sober for over 180 days.

Many times I’ve stood in the liquor aisle and stroked the bottles of flavored vodka. They called to me like they were my lover, but it is a siren’s song. I knew if I took a drink, I would crash into the shore of my own self-destruction again, and again, and again.

I made myself walk away from those bottles of poison, more than once. No matter how lonely, depressed or angry I got, I never drank.

I just knew the next day would be full of hope, promise and at least one reason to smile.

I’m still finding my way back to happy. It isn’t in the bottom of a vodka bottle.

It’s within me.

My heart, mind and soul are happier, sober.

I’m no Pollyanna. There are days that I can barely get out of bed. I force myself to get up and face the day. Just waking up without a hangover and going to work is blessing enough.

Happy New Year my dear friends. I hope that 2014 is a better year for all of you. May you all let go of fear, and live the lives you desire.

Love,

A sober and somewhat happy Sparkly Girl

Bloggers for Movember – My Homey G Chowderhead

My Homey G Chowderhead asked me to contribute my lovely photo with a proper douche stache to show my support for Movember (aka No Shave November, aka Prostate Cancer Awareness). Hey men over 40, get your ass to the doctor, and get a digital violation. It’s once a year and can save your damn life. We women go to the damn gyno once a year and birth children. One finger up the ass once a year isn’t going to make you less manly. Hey, you might find you like it. Hahahahahahahahahha!

While I’m not a participating blogger, I decided to show my support by donning some Fuck Me Red lipstick, Pinup style eyeliner and a stache.

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Even Cinders my devil cat decided to show her support. Obviously, she was fucking pissed about it. You should have heard her growling at me. I thought for sure she was going to scratch my eyeballs out when I set her back down on the floor. It was for a worthy cause, so she endured. Kitty bitch didn’t scratch me, but I’m sure I’ll find a puddle of piss on the bathroom floor soon. That’s how she retaliates. With piss. GREAT!

Cinders the Devil Cat

Many of my blogger friends are having Movember contests. Visit them to find out more.

25toFly

Sips of Jen and Tonic

Brother Jon

The Life of JWO

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I’ve removed my mustache and my FMR lipstick. Still got my Pinup style eyeliner on. This old girl has to look pretty when she goes grocery and business suit shopping. Yes, the single life I live is so damn exciting I could pee!

Have a great Sunday my loves. Remember, every day we wake up above ground is a day to be treasured. MWAH!!!!!!!

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Maybe I’ll write some smut later. Hmmmmmmm, we’ll see.

31 Days and Counting

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“Fear is stupid. So are regrets.” – Marilyn Monroe

Step 1: I admitted that I was powerless over alcohol that my life had become unmanageable.

Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than myself could restore me to sanity.

Step 3: Made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understood Him.

Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself.

Ay, there’s the rub, catch, or whatever you want to call it. The searching and fearless moral inventory of myself. It’s not easy for a procrastinator like me to park my ass in a chair for a couple of hours and list all of my resentments.  My flaws. Wrongs that I cannot right. Pieces of my past I gloss over. Only to bring them up again so someone can point out how fucked up I am. It’s unnerving and it makes angry. It’s why I gave up going to AA the last time I got sober. I became what you’d call a dry drunk. I didn’t drink, but I didn’t do the work to stay sober either.

31 days ago I’d had enough. I bought a Big Book and began reading it. I even got a sponsor. Of course being the pig headed woman I am, I tried to move ahead and do some of the other steps before completing Step 4. Super Sponsor called me a cowboy and told me to do the program by myself if I was so damn smart. Thing is, I’m not smart. I’m frightened beyond belief. When I finally admitted that to myself, the work began.

My sponsor told me to remember that I wasn’t writing prose. I’m a writer though, and it’s what I wanted to do. I wrote my list in a way that maybe someday my words could be used as a soliloquy if I ever got to do a big Share at an Open AA meeting. Of course I look at the sentence I just typed and laugh at my arrogance. That’s not what Step 4 is about. It’s about letting go of resentment and all that other junk that weighs us down.

Last night I sat at the kitchen table and completed parts I and II of Step 4.  With all the courage I could muster, I texted my sponsor and told him I was finished. His response, only three little letters, ‘ILY’. It made my night to know that he was still in my corner. Still cheering me on.

There’s more work to be completed, but I’m closer than I was two days ago. I’ve been sober for 31 days. I’m not going through withdrawal anymore. I can sleep through the night without having horrific cravings and nightmares. I don’t want to beat the shit out of everyone I come in contact with. I’m generally a happy person to be around again. I’m snarky, sarcastic, fun loving, a smart ass, sparkly, and basically a raving lunatic. So yeah, I’m pretty much back to normal.

What I find most difficult to do at the moment is find my muse. She or he is hiding in plain sight I’m sure. Pray, keep your fingers crossed, dance naked in the moonlight, or whatever you need to do to help me find it again. I’ll be sitting at a table, working on part III of Step 4.

Love and kisses,

Renee

Guest Post for Daan van den Bergh

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Today I share with you a link to a guest post that I did for my friend Daan van den Bergh. It ain’t pretty, but the best stuff I write seldom is. It’s a cautionary tale of addiction and redemption. My redemption has barely begun. Please be sure to share my story. If you’re living with addiction, get help, go to a meeting, and/or find a sponsor. Message me if you need to and I’ll point you in the right direction. I’m too new at sobriety to be of any use to you yet.

Triggers, Guilt and Alcoholics Anonymous

Insignificance

SPARKLE!This is not going to be a Debbie Downer post. It isn’t.

I disconnected this weekend. I stayed away from Facebook. Steered clear of WordPress too. Until Sunday when RG and I put the finishing touches on a story that we’d been writing for a few weeks.

I kept to myself. I enjoyed the rainy days and the January thaw. I watched bad movies.

I laid on the couch on Saturday night. Snuggled close to the husband and watched (Ick!) football. Peyton Manning was playing, so I didn’t mind it too much. I think he’s such a damn doll. Funny too. Give me a funny man and I melt. The Wonder Schnauzers draped themselves all over us. We went to bed at 10:00 pm. Slept in till 8:00 the next morning.

I went to the movies with Roger Darling on Sunday. Zero Dark Thirty (go see it!). Did an early dinner. Folded clean laundry. Wasted time. Drank coffee. Got food around the week. It’s time to eat healthy again.

I have to tell you, it was probably one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time.

When I logged into Facebook this morning, I didn’t feel the draw to it I usually do. I didn’t feel it too much when I was on WordPress either. I checked my work email a bit and I’ve been working on reimbursements and all kinds of other office paper work. I’ve stayed off of my iPhone too.

My mind isn’t racing. My thoughts aren’t scattered. I’m breathing easy and not anxious. There’s no depression; anger. For today anyway. I’m smiling. Not apprehensive. My soul is quiet. Not tortured.

I’ve come to the realization that I’m but a speck of sand on a beach. A mere ripple of wave in a vast sea. I must quell my need for significance.

I’m here to get on in this life and live the best I can. To love those around me.

It’s nice when you realize your own insignificance and fade into the background.

To let go.

Love and kisses, An insignificant Sparkly Girl (and I really am okay with that.)

Regrets Collect Like Old Friends

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My loves the results are in. Everything came back negative. I’m going to be okay. Thanks for all the love. The sweet words. For everything. Now onto my theme song from one of the women I most admire. Shake it out baby. Shake it out…..

Regrets collect like old friends
Here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
And all of the ghouls come out to play
And every demon wants his pound of flesh
But I like to keep some things to myself
I like to keep my issues drawn
It’s always darkest before the dawn

And I’ve been a fool and I’ve been blind
I can never leave the past behind
I can see no way, I can see no way
I’m always dragging that horse around
And our love is pastured such a mournful sound
Tonight I’m gonna bury that horse in the ground
So I like to keep my issues drawn
But it’s always darkest before the dawn

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaaah
And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah

I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart
Cause I like to keep my issues drawn
It’s always darkest before the dawn

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah
And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back so shake him off

And given half the chance would I take any of it back
It’s a fine romance but its left me so undone
It’s always darkest before the dawn

Oh woah, oh woah…

And I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t
So here’s to drinks in the dark at the end of my road
And I’m ready to suffer and I’m ready to hope
It’s a shot in the dark and right at my throat
Cause looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Well what the hell I’m gonna let it happen to me

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Surgery

Renee and Heidi JoThat’s me and my Heidi Jo. She knew I wasn’t feeling well last night, so she stuck to me like Velcro. She laid on my tummy to keep it warm. Must be she knew exactly where I hurt.

I decided to become a comedian!

I should have known what I was in for when the nurse asked me to pee in a cup before she could prep me for surgery. I looked at her and said, “Seriously. I had a sterilization procedure over a year ago. I’m not pregnant.” She laughed and replied, “Honey, just give me three drops.” She left and I locked the door. I sat there for about five minutes willing myself to go. I gave her nothing, nada, zip and zilch.

I headed back to Amy with my empty cup. She just laughed at me. She said, “Let’s get you prepped and then try again. I told her, “I’ve got nothing left in me. I swear.” I proceeded to hold up my fingers in a Girl Scout salute. Our conversation went to hell from there. I took off my clothes and put on my gown. I could only reach the draw string around my neck, so that’s the only one I tied. Yes, my ass was hanging out, but I was going to be lying down so I didn’t care.

Amy brought blankets that had been warmed in an oven. I told her, “Bless you honey, cuz I’m freezing my ass off!” I put my hands underneath the blanket to warm my veins. I wanted them to be ready for the IV Amy was going to shove in my hand. As she’s doing her thing, Dr. P the anesthesiologist introduced himself. He was sweet and friendly. He harassed Amy in a loving way as she flitted around the room. I told him “Thank you, you’re very nice.” The nurse said “I’d like that comment in writing please.” I told Dr. P, “Come back and I’ll gladly write it down.” I gave him a bright smile. He said to Amy, “See, she has good taste.” Amy replied, “She’s being nice because you’re going to give her good drugs.” I laughed uproariously. The whole damn room could hear me.

There were more nurses to greet me, an intern working with Dr. K and the doctor herself. I love that woman. She’s about 5’1″. She’s energy, light and fire. I love her matter of factness. She’s a dream. She signs off on my surgery band and heads to her locker to take off her coat and hat.

Amy comes back and sticks my hand with a light dose of Lidocain, then inserts the IV. I told her not to go digging around in my vein or I might have to slap her. She giggled at me. I told her I was serious. As she was taping the IV down her nose started to run. I said, “Oh honey let it drip. It’s not the worst thing I’ve had on my hand.” She replied, “Just don’t go digging around, right?” I said, “Amy, if you start digging in your nose, I’ll throw up.” She told me, “Stop making me laugh so hard or my nose will start running all over your hand.” I answered back, “Ewwwwwww you’re gross!”
She hooked me up to the IV bag and let the fluids run fast. I still needed to pee. I grabbed my cup and asked Amy to tie up my gown. She called me a brazen hussy. I replied, “How did you know!?” She said she needed to get me an IV pole. I yelled across the room, “Be careful now I might have to dance around it.” The woman across from me laughed. I’m glad she did too, because two minutes before that she had the most distraught look on her face. She was talking to her daughter that was going to have surgery. I could see she was putting on a brave face, but she was nervous as hell.

I took my pole and cup with me to the bathroom. Finally peed, washed my hands and headed back to my bed. Sitting in the chair next my bed was my rock. My Roger Darling. Amy helped me with my IV and covered me back up. I looked at RD and said, “My nurse had the nerve to call me a brazen hussy because I told her I was going to dance on my IV pole.” He laughed and shook his head. Said, “Babe even before surgery, you can be a nut. He heard the other patients and care givers laughing at me and he gave me the warmest smile. He asked, “Are you okay?” I replied, “Yep, I’m ready for good drugs and good night.”

Dr. K stopped by and said she was ready. She chatted with Roger, he kissed my lips, and headed out to the waiting area. Dr. K said, “He’s so chill. So calm.” I told her, “Yes, he is my rock. My other half. My friend.” They wheeled me to OR 1. As we entered the room they said they would draw the shades. I told Dr. K, “Good. I don’t need everyone seeing my hoo hoo.” She laughed at me and said, “You’re a funny woman.” I replied, “Yep, now give me drugs.” They did and I was gone.

I woke up an hour later to the sweet sound of my nurse, Molly telling me it was time to wake up. I didn’t want to though. I was dreaming. Of what I don’t remember, but it was good. I think it was anyway. Now I’m home and resting. Taking care to write and read. Nothing more. Results will be in by the end of the week. Here’s hoping it’s not the big C. And if it is, it’s only a little c.