Monday, October 31, 2011

SURREAL TREATS

I had another surreal moment tonight when my role as a grandma superimposed itself against the mother role. The sensation is similar to what I would imagine an out-of-body experience is like. I have patiently waited for Rylee's Halloween as a three-year-old because I believe it's the age when a child fully comprehends trick-or-treating for the first time while enjoying it with pure innocence. After a long and excruciating Monday at work and an even more excruciating commute home I had absolutely no desire to walk around the neighborhood. But I am no stranger to the hyper speed passage of time especially in regards to children so I bucked up and shut up. I couldn't miss my only granddaughter's first real Halloween. 

We had a mini photo shoot before she went out to collect her Halloween bounty and I tried to ask, then ordered, her to wear a jacket but she was adamant about not wearing one. Her bottom lip quivered and tears pooled in her eyes, "But I want to look beautiful in my costummmmmmmme!" Oh brother! She also insisted on wearing her pink plastic princess heels instead of tennis shoes but Chloe and I were exhausted from work and gave in. We're suckers, I know. 

It wasn't until we hit the neighborhood and walked up to the first house that I had my surreal moment. When she held my hand and followed me up the walkway I looked down at her and a memory of my children at her age trick-or-treating in the same neighborhood materialized in front of me. The familiar sting of nostalgia and melancholy pierced my gut while I shook my head in disbelief. How did I get here so darn fast? With my camera slung across my body I walked behind my daughter and granddaughter documenting their own memories of trick-or-treating. I wondered when these moments would cease being surreal and if my heart's age will ever catch up to my numbered one. 




Flying Fairy
Popcorn is her favorite!



 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

CLOSE TO HEAVEN

I recently read a book where a character expounded on his belief that heaven and hell are states of consciousness deep within us. It was one sentence in a book that I vaguely paid attention to but in recent weeks the words have badgered my brain. I immerse myself in prayer because it is the only thing that sustains me twenty-four hours a day. Even in slumber I know my spirit is deep in prayer because I cannot disconnect myself from the circuitry that keeps me sane and human. Lately, most of my prayers consist of cries of anguish, despair, and torment. Sometimes I wonder if God has both hands covering his ears and thinking, "Oh stop! Stop it already! ENOUGH!" It is only in my waking moments that I am consciously aware to praise God for my blessings. I force myself to enumerate those blessings to swing my focus away from the negative. 


I told my friend that I didn't mature and grow up when I had children or when I became a grandmother. I reluctantly grew up when my dad's health deteriorated this year and the indomitable father I once had became a frail, old, sickly man. Every day I feel like I'm juggling a bowling pin, an apple, and a golf ball while standing on one leg with my eyes blindfolded and one arm tied behind my back. I could deal with my grown kids and their needs or my granddaughter and her needs or my sister and her needs or my boyfriend and his needs but I am helpless under the weight of my parents' dependency on me. My parents have never asked me for anything but when they ask that I accompany them to my dad's doctor appointments or trips to the emergency room I know their requests aren't made in vain. 

On the days that I am in the office at work I have many moments of panic and anxiety. I remember the innumerable nights I've spent in the emergency room with my sick kids and the recent hospitalization of my dad holds much more desperation than the latter. Insensitive people have reminded me that this is the cycle of life. Yeah, no sh*t. Those same people have graciously added that health care just plain sucks. Really? You mean the words "health" joined with "care" is an oxymoron? I often wonder what their reaction would be when THEIR turn comes to care for aging parents? 

Thus, the hell I live daily.

To combat my hell I've learned to seek my heaven. In Joel Osteen's book, It's Your Time, he talks about staying away from negative people. "You shouldn't go to lunch every day with somebody who is always crying the blues and talking about how bad the economy is. You can't do that without it affecting you." Those words were like musical notes to my deprived eyes. On the days I work in the office I've decided to take advantage of my close proximity to the beach and utilize my lunch break to run/jog/walk there. Alone. It is as close to heaven as I can get. And for the rest of the day my spirit is at peace unfettered by negativity, anxiety, and fear. I am reminded to choose Faith over fear.



I use my Nike+ application on my iPhone to track the miles during my runs and to snap photos for my Year of the Instagram Photo A Day project.







Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A TURTLE LESSON

Last Sunday, on October 23rd, Ray and I stole an afternoon for ourselves to commemorate the 3rd year of our "reconnection." I'm not big on anniversaries of the unwed kind but October 23 is as significant as my children's and Rylee's birth dates. It marks the beginning of something that was meant to be. And I say "stole an afternoon" because between Ray taking care of his mom and my being available for my parents we hardly have time for each other AND ourselves these days.

We headed toward L.A. because 1) I <3 L.A., 2) we wanted to go to Chinatown, 3) we wanted to check out Occupy L.A., and 4) I itched to do my street photography. For a few hours we abandoned our troubles, worries, and stress to enjoy the day and our togetherness. It might have been the carefree attitude that ignited my impulsive nature to purchase two baby turtles for Rylee. We walked past an Asian man selling two baby turtles for $5 and I thought I would gain cool grandma points with Rylee if we gave her a pet. She's been asking for a dog, a hamster, and a rabbit. Two turtles? Nooooooo problemo! Easy-peasy! As usual, I was wrong! Oh, SO VERY wrong! 


There was no denying her excitement when we brought home the turtles...
or her wonderment...she named them Summer and Leah...
and the turtles looked pretty keen on their new home...
She couldn't stop watching them...

It wasn't until I noticed that they weren't eating the food we bought that I decided to research on the Internet on how to care for turtles. What I discovered made my stomach burn with acid. This is what I found on turtle care
  • It is often thought that turtles do not require much care because it looks like they just lie around or swim all day. However this is far from the truth. Turtles like most reptiles require a specific diet and living environment depending upon their age and species type. This is why it is not good to give a turtle as a novelty pet. 
  • The buyer should be aware that pet turtles can spread salmonella which is common for pet turtles to have. It is very crucial for you to wash your hands after every time you pick up a turtle. This is a reason why pet turtles should not be kept around an expecting family, one with small children, elderly adults, or anyone with an immune system problems.
  • You should also plan a visit with a reptile specialist sometime within the first year and every year after that. Keeping your turtle in check with a vet is your new friend’s best defense against possible diseases. A reptile vet specialist will be able to recommend any changes in diet as well as things to look out for. 
When the words "vet", "salmonella", "reptile specialist", and "specific diet' assaulted my eyes I knew I was doomed and was going to break my granddaughter's heart! The word "vet" flashed these signs at me ---->>>> $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. I could barely afford my monthly prescriptions so how could I afford to take two turtles to the vet, buy an aquarium tank, and provide mealworms and other turtle dietary needs? Who knew?!  I also read that I wasn't supposed to pick up the turtles or change their water when you brought them home but Ray did exactly that before we presented them to Rylee. 

It is now Day 3 and I had to separate the turtles since one was dominating the other and both are lethargic and obviously sick. When I explained to Rylee that Summer and Leah were sick, she looked up at me with those huge limpid eyes and asked, "Turtle medicine?" I apologized for not having any turtle medicine and in her three-year-old baby voice I hear, "I have medicine I take when I'm sick so I can give it to them." I didn't think it was possible for my heart to splinter in a million sharp slivers. If I could beat myself up I would for putting Rylee through this.

In conclusion...heck, I have no conclusion, except the fact that I continue to learn a lesson in curbing my impulsive nature. I just didn't think it would come in the form of two baby turtles!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

MOTHER TO DAUGHTER | BIRTHDAY PRAYERS

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It’s been  a year since I began the tradition of writing a birthday blog for my kids, Ray, and Rylee. I started with Chloe’s 22nd birthday and my brain is incapable of wrapping itself around the fact that she has reached another milestone. At 23 I was a wife and mother of three rugrats under five-years-old. I've prayed with fervor that my children wouldn’t perpetuate my actions that my knees have worn out. I thank God every day that Chloe is Rylee’s mom and Rylee’s mom ONLY.

Dear Chloe,

In the past year I’ve watched you with bated breath, surprise, and admiration interspersed with a few twinges of disappointment. Watching you mothering Rylee is like watching a daily movie reel of my own triumphs and failures of parenting. It's like a daily reminder of what I could have, should have, would have, done! I can honestly say that I am proud to see you doing it better. I know that being a young single mom isn’t easy and the road you’ve chosen isn’t paved with gold. The rewards aren’t forthcoming and accolades aren’t doled out like ecstasy at a rave. As your Mom I always want to fix things but I also know you must Live and Learn. I don't expect you to walk the walk sans mistakes but I DO expect you to learn from them, move forward, and elevate yourself to the next level.

For your 23rd year I bestow these prayers on you. They are powerful and invaluable so they can't be squandered.


  • I pray that you will continue to do your best to be Rylee’s mommy. She loves you so much and you’re both blessed to have each other. 
  • I pray that you grow, mature, and rise above the broken pieces of your heart; for when those pieces are rebuilt a stronger one emerges with more resilience and wisdom.

  • I pray that you will always strive to excel in ALL your endeavors, challenging yourself to become a better version of yourself.

  • I pray that you will find the balance of being a responsible Mom with enjoying Life. I don’t expect you to play it safe all the time or not take risks. 
  • I pray that Fear has no hold on you and that it doesn’t asphyxiate the boldness of your dreams. It’s okay to take the unconventional path as long as you don’t get mired in complacency.

  • I pray that your mind will open to the truth of this world and that your eyes see clearly the lies you’ve been told. Freedom is not of this world.  
  • I pray that you don't lost your sense of humor during those moments of insanity, frustration, and hopelessness. 
  • I pray that you will see and listen to Rylee’s love, spirit, character, insecurities, voice, and tears with a discerning heart so that you will speak blessings over her and build her up. Protect and guide her always.
  • And lastly, I pray that yours and Rylee’s hearts will always align with the Father who knew and created you. If you seek Him always, your darkness will always have sunlight, the storms will eventually turn to tranquil waters, and despair will transform to hope. 

HAPPY 23, CHLOE! MAKE IT SHINE! 








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