This book is intended as a place to blog about my life and things I'm interested in and answers to prompts from various blog prompt sites here on WDC, including "30-Day Blogging Challenge" and "Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise"
I'm not sure yet what it'll turn into, but I'm going to have fun figuring it out.
|If a butterfly lands on you, do you think it is a message from someone who has passed?
I've heard of this particular superstition, but I have never really considered it. I've never had a butterfly land on me. So, I've never thought about it one way or another. However, I do believe that those who have gone before us have us in their thoughts and that sometimes they are very close on the other side of death.
My sister, who lost a baby at five days, (she's the same one who has the twins I've been helping with for the past seven weeks) talks to him in her dreams--long conversations. That's a blessing that I've never needed.
So, I wouldn't say it couldn't be, but I think that the dead choose the message that would best touch the one they want to communicate with, and that sometimes we don't hear because our hearts aren't quiet and listening enough.
|“Respect was invented to cover the empty place where love should be.”
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
This quote makes me come up with the question ‘which kind of love?’ and the thought, ‘I’d rather have respect instead of some kinds of love.’
What kind of ideas do you get from this quote and what do you think the quote really means?
I think I understand what it's trying to say--however, I'm not sure I agree. First off, I think what he's trying to say is that in some relationships--and here I think Tolstoy was talking family more than less intimate friendships--when the relationship is more formal, respect is given instead of a more emotional connection. However, I'm not sure that respect should be considered as separate from love.
My father has spent a lot of time thinking about what love is--I think he started with what Plato said about the differences between brotherly love and romantic love and companionable love (I don't remember--are there seven different kinds of love--including jealous love which doesn't feel like love at all to me) and concluded that if you brake love down to what it is at heart, his definition is love is helping someone or something complete its purpose. And respect is a part of that.
So, I think for the kind of love that I believe in, that builds and makes people into the most they can be, respect is an integral part of the equation. After all, I couldn't say that because I love someone that I cannot respect them. That makes no sense. And so I fight against the implied definition I see Tolstoy using for both terms.
And on a related note, I've been thinking a lot about love and family recently. On Friday, my sister's second twin (Laurel--Lily has been home since about day 4) finally came home. She was in the NICU for over a month--but when she was first born, they thought she might be there for three months to a year, so we're doing well to have her home at just over a month. And it's been an exciting weekend, full of changing a colostomy bag (it was Rachel's second time ever, first time unsupervised) three times so far (I think we're averaging a day and a half--they theoretically last 2 to 5 days when an experienced hand is doing the changing, although I think that infants might be a special case that might be more wiggly and difficult) and teaching the kids how to hold her. We were hoping she'd be home by Thanksgiving, so this is a good thing. Today she had the first of a good many appointments that will take up the next bits of her life.
So, what is love? It's a big sister who is willing to hold the baby in the afternoon when in the morning the sight of the colostomy made her faint. It's a big brother at six who wraps the string of a balloon on her car seat so she can see it when she wakes up, and another brother who leaves it there even though he is three years old and has wanted to have both balloons ever since the nine (ten the day after Thanksgiving) year old's party on Saturday. It's tired faces and obsessive cleaning. It's friends bringing meals for the past month so that we still have leftovers that we're slowly eating--we have a lot of salad to go through. It's the lady who ran us down in the church parking lot with a casserole yesterday, because she had been thinking about us and wanted to make sure we were fed. It's looking down into Laurel's perfect eyes and smile--and remembering her less than perfect body and holding her so carefully that my arm cramps.
And a tired auntie writing this after the noise quiets in the other room and I set my alarm for tomorrow.
|Clarity. Hope. Intelligence. Use these words any way you want in a Blog entry.
Well, the babies are three weeks old--four weeks tomorrow--and today, Laurel, Baby B, had her fourth surgery. Our poor baby. I met her last week for the first time, and while she slept through most of it, I saw some of the stubborn strength that has surprised the NICU.
As I write, I'm holding sister Lily. It's slow typing left handed and one fingered. She's mostly sleeping. and Rachel (my sister) needed a break. There's a dull roar from the next room where older sister and brothers sleep.
But, how does this fit the prompt? How can't it?
I've spent most of the past month finding clarity of what is important and what is not. And first for me is family.
As Laurel has continued to thrive. At first, her doctors were predicting three to twelve months in the NICU. Now theyre saying things like Thanksgiving and Christmas. There is hope. Miracles do happen.
And intelligence--well, that one is less direct, but I consider all the caregivers we've met and the care and the wisdom . . .
I'm just looking forward to what new miracles await.
And I get to hold the baby. She's sleeping on me right now. I keep on pausing to listen to her breathe.
|Life has gotten a bit complicated. I'm at my sister's house, helping with the kids. The twins were born last Thursday. One little girl--I just met her today. Baby B (who remains unnamed) is more complicated than they thought in utero. Two operations so far and another one scheduled for the morning. Before the birth, the doctors were saying 1-4 weeks in the hospital, now they're saying 3-12 months. The prognosis is good, however, there keep on being problems that could kill the poor child. And I've been here at home with the rest of the kids, doing the homeschool thing and trying to keep them on track.
They're good kids. That's the good thing. But half of my mind and heart is off with B. Now that Rachel and A are home, I'm also acting as Mother's helper. Today, that meant helping her wash and disinfect her new breast pump. She's so small--born at 5lb 8oz--B was 4lb (I don't have the exact weight) but she already has a personality and definite opinions.
But I should get to sleep. After all, tomorrow, I'm going to have to repeatedly remind a three year old that his Mama is feeling delicate and can't pick him up.
|Happy World Smile Day! Share a list of ten things that make you smile.
1. Finishing a project
2. Talking to a sibling--can this count for 5? I mean, talking to Maddie is more smiley than just about anything I know, except maybe talking to Joyce or Rachel or Rose or Lorenzo. Right now, they're all so far away, although I'm going to see Rachel fairly soon. And Rose is coming home at the beginning of next month. That's a smile right there.
3. Nieces--I have four and a half right now.
4. Nephews--I have eleven and a half. So they should count for more smiles . . . maybe . . .
5. My sister is having twins. Potentially any day now (we're pretty sure at this point that one is a girl but the other is only probably a boy)
6. Mama has this sly sense of humor that means she seldom laughs. We have made it a mission to trick her into laughing. Maddie is the best at it, of course.
7. Dad is terribly punny. But I smile at him anyway.
8. Lawn ducks. Yes, there's a story here. Joyce and I were wandering through ebay a while ago, and managed to end up on a group of listings for clothes for lawn ducks. Not the lawn ducks themselves, but clothes to dress the lawn ducks as they were sitting on the lawn . . . we seriously laughed for ages.
9. Being warm--not hot, just warm. We don't go by whether Rhyssa is cold.
10. Painting my toenails gold.
|Is there anything you can think of that hasn’t been yet invented but you would really like it to have been invented? What kind of a thing or machine or even a law could that be?
I think, personally and practically, the thing I'm most interested in is an artificial pancreas. Something that would kick out insulin without my having to input anything or do any calculations. If it was internal, that would be a bonus. People have worked on it in the past and have come up with some really interesting things in the ninety years since insulin has been processed for human consumption (in contrast, diabetes was known to the ancient Egyptians, according to texts--four thousand years of a disease and the only treatment less than a hundred years old) including constant glucose monitoring systems and insulin pumps, but there is still a need for human input. And that means, eating involves mathematical computations.
People should be able to just eat without having to do maths.
There are probably other things I'm also interested in, but none come to mind at the moment. I'll have to think some more.
|Write about water rising, overflowing or flooding such as a creek, the River Seine or any other river, the ocean, a swimming pool, a bathtub, water in a glass...any water.
One of my recurring nightmares is about flash floods. I'm in a car--backseat with someone else driving--and the water is rising so fast that the road is becoming a river and we're floating down a hill that's becoming a waterfall and I'm waking up . . .
Needless to say, a disturbing thing.
I know where it comes from. I live in a town with an older storm sewer system that flash floods in torrential rain. Which happens at least once a year in our area. So, when the storms come, the streets flood, sometimes to the point that they're impassible. We generally try to be home when it happens, but we've been out sometimes.
One time, Dad had come home early from church because he had to go in to work (he could walk) and parked the car on the street so that Mama could back in the van when the rest of us came home. Massive rain happened, and when we got home, our house was in a small lake that came up to our walkway (the house was probably five feet above the street, the walkway only two) and the car was standing in water up to its windows. We waited an hour or so until the water went down, rented a shop vac, but the water had come up to the dashboard (the cupholders were full) and that was an automatic total. We'd only had the car for about two months at the time.
Another memorable day, we were going to lunch (Mama, Dad, and I) through the back roads because Mama likes them). We were on a street that was a straight line from the major we'd been on to the major we wanted, but there was standing water. People were stopping before it, and the brave were driving forward, with wakes of water breaking away from their tails. We made it through the first one no problem, but there was a car a little bigger than ours stalled out in the next intersection. We backed up and went to a different restaurant.
The water rises worst in the intersections and on the edges of the road, were the dips are. There's a road (the major just north of our house) that actually feels like waves as you drive along past each intersection as the road humps up and back down--it makes me sea sick, sometimes. And when it rains, that's a bad one. One day we were driving home along it and finally cut south so that another car wouldn't drown.
|“The best stories don't come from "good vs. bad" but "good vs. good.” Leo Tolstoy
Agree or disagree and what do you think Tolstoy meant?
This is an interesting quote, and I agree. In realistic fiction especially (we're not talking about fiction in which good and evil are simplified to make things simple--Sauron is evil incarnate, but he's designed that way. If he was complicated, the story would not be a myth) the characters should be realistic. Ignoring the fact that we are talking about something that can't be done (characters are necessarily edited, and so fall short of the real) the fact that we want realistic characters means that the motivations of the characters should also be realistic. And every character should have some angle where looking at them makes them the hero.
In other words, people don't set out on a path saying "let me be bad." They come to that through a series of choices--a story line that makes the horrible things they do feel inevitable and justifiable when seen through their eyes. Now, I know that there are real life people who do bad things, sometimes for no reason whatsoever, but we're talking characters. And characters need to have some place where the reader can latch onto, to make them real, to make the things they do more horrible by giving the reader a place where they can empathize with the character.
That's why Sauron isn't as scary or real as Saruman.
As readers, we want our heroes to be human enough to have flaws. We're not interested in Lancelot the greatest knight who always wins and gets all the ladies. We want him to suffer defeats and unrequited loves and try to be honorable but fall in love with the queen anyway. And we're not interested in unmotivated evil. We want the villain to love his mother and think that his actions are the right ones, justified, even while they get more evil. Whenever we think about a character's motivations and say "well, he did it because he's the bad guy, duh," we're wasting the opportunity to come up with the point of view that says, "The sheriff of Nottingham is overtaxing the people because he grew up poor and gets panic attacks if he doesn't have all the gold" or "Mordred fights Arthur because his mother feels betrayed and ignored, and he loves her."
That's what I think Tolstoy meant. A good story balances something that's good in the protagonist's eyes against something that's good in the antagonist's eyes--making it more complicated, interesting . . . compelling . . . than good vs. bad.
|Write a blog entry about what happened in your life today.
Well, starting with the past. Eleven years ago yesterday, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Three years ago today, Rachel's youngest was born.
This week in general has been interesting. After a long, drawn out process which involved two weeks worth of airports, my sister Madeline got into town with her children. They've been doing the standby mode USAF flights because her husband is stationed in Germany. So, a week ago last Sunday (the 14th) they got here. And we've been having a good time, mostly involving the kids on Netflix (she has 3--a girl and two boys, 10, 7, and 3--the youngest is amazingly articulate for a 3 year old) and Madeline talking about everything. With everyone. A few shopping trips. It was her oldest's birthday (June is 10 on July 2nd--yes, I know. Confusing. Apparently June is a family name) so Grandma got her a 14 in doll because she wanted to make 14in doll clothes (my Mama knits and crochets). Lots of fun has been had.
Sunday (21st), Maddie headed up to her husband's parents house so that they could have time with the grandkids. In the mean time, Rachel (who is 5 months pregnant with twins at this point but handled the trip beautifully) came up for a visit so that cousin time could happen. So, we had one day of peace before Rach and her 4 with additional two guinea pigs overtook the bedroom again.
Lot's of fun. Swimming, going to restaurants with play areas, watching the girls (June and Hayley, who is 12) have their first experience with press-on nails (I think they both thought it wasn't worth in) and a birthday party with cake and singing and presents for the other two who have recent birthdays (Two of Rach's--Eddie was 6 at the end of June and got a hot wheels race track and Charles, who's 3 today, got a train with gears that doubles as a pull toy) and a bonus package for June with a crocheted doll dress in a yarn she'd picked out. Lots of fun.
But we were talking about today. Today we met for lunch and then brought everyone to Grandma's house to pack Rachel's car and send her home (without a dvd which her 8 year old apparently misplaced under the bed). Maddie and her family stuck around for a while but headed home at about dinner time because they have a pool at Gigi's house. And then, I spend the rest of my evening resting.
I might recover soon.
Apparently, Madeline is going to start trying to get home tomorrow because there's a potential flight that could get her home. And school starts August 12 in Germany. Of course, if she doesn't make this hop, Joy is coming to town on Saturday to visit and see niece and nephews before they head home (their daddy's on deployment now for the next few months).
I just need to sleep more. But I wouldn't trade my day (even though it involved a trip back to the restaurant because June forgot she'd stowed her purse under the booth where her Mama wouldn't see it. sigh.
|Sometimes, life overflows with complication. Maybe that should be always. I guess I'm fortunate that my recent complications have more to do with happiness than otherwise.
A few months ago, my sister and her husband announced they were pregnant. This is Rachel, my sister who lost a baby at five days, who got an infection behind her eye which resulted in a detached retina and loss of vision in her left eye. They have five babies, four living. Hayley, the oldest, was twelve in January. Danny is eight. Caleb, who died, was born third. Eddie was eighteen months old when Rachel went half blind turned six last month. The youngest, Charles, is about to turn three and never knew his mother when she had full vision. Charles was a breech birth delivered in a rush at home (in fact, all but Hayley were born at home)--no major trauma except to her husband's nerves which were shot when he had to catch. So, a big family already. With a lot of trouble in their past.
A few weeks ago, they called again to say that they were expecting twins. Both girls. And we were excited, of course. And nervous. There are twins all over a bunch of branches of the family tree. Ed's (Rachel's husband) mother is a twin, my mother's grandmother was a twin, my father's grandfather had twin sisters. So, we know that twins can come with health complications. Major ones.
And then, a few days ago, Rachel called. They'd gone in for another ultrasound and determined that while one of the girls was a normal weight and appeared healthy, the other was small and was displaying signs of several potential complications. Signs of the potential for spina bifida. Signs of underdevelopment in kidneys and bladder, signs of lack of movement in legs. They were able to see her brain, but signs of potential fluid on the brain. Of course, there's the chance that the baby will be born healthy, but a greater chance that she will have some developmental issues that will make life difficult for her.
And I know that my sister is capable of anything. I know that she is a wonderful parent and would be able to provide a loving environment for any child. And I definitely hope the little girl is born alive because losing Caleb was hard. On everyone in the family but especially Rachel and Ed. I feel sick with worry about her and about my sister and brother-in-law and niece and nephews.
And I feel so angry that this is happening. It feels--you know, when you are starting to write a story and you start feeling sadistic because in order for things to work, you have to throw things at your characters until they break? You push them to the edge and give them sorrow and joy and trouble until they ache with it because only then will the story function correctly? Well, I have to tell you, I hate living in a story. It infuriates me that we might lose her even though, in some ways, she's not even real to me, yet. I hate it that there's nothing I can do. I probably won't even be able to go down and help when the twins are born because something about birth makes Rachel hole up in her cave, not letting anyone in to hold the new baby until she's good and ready to put her down.
I'm lost. And this is something I can't talk about with my family because I need to be one of the ones who remind Mama that she shouldn't talk about the little one as though she's already dead (Mama is a worrier and she automatically goes to worst case scenario) because she might be fine and the twins are only at about 24 weeks so we have four more months of waiting on the precipice, wondering what is going to happen and if we're all going to fall again and wondering how painful the landing will be.
And so I brought this here. sorry. I guess I should really get some sleep because that might stop the insane spirals in my head.