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    Friday, March 26, 2010

    Rainbow Update

    Red: The color of my daughter's conjunctivita in her left eye, with the right soon to follow, surely(translation: we've got pink eye going on here, folks...yuck), but the drops will help soon. Poor baby girl.

    Orange: The fruit of the week in my fruit bowl - when Aldi has a 5lb bag of GOOD oranges for $.99 (not per pound, but TOTAL), we're eating oranges. And loving Aldi. Have I mentioned that? Yeah, I do.

    Yellow: The color of the daffodils that have peeked their way up through the earth in my back flowerbed. OK, they're not yellow yet, they're just stalks poking up, but they will be. And I giggled when I saw them.

    Green: What color things are FINALLY starting to turn around here. And by Tuesday we'll be at 72, and then things will REALLY start to "green up". Bring on the spring!

    Blue: The color of my kitchen curtains, that need to come down to be washed, along with everything else that needs a good spring cleaning. It's on the list. It's a long list.

    Indigo: Gosh, do I have anything in my life that's indigo? Hmmm...The package of the Finneus and Ferb fruit snacks laying here on my counter is pretty close to indigo. That may be the best I can do today for indigo. (Hey, they can't all be brilliant little thoughts, can they?)

    Violet: The darkest shade of the spring flowers that I carried down the aisle when I married my best friend on April 5, 2003. Seven years coming up, readers. More to come on that. But purple tones in general always make me think of our wedding day...and I smile.


    There. A rainbow of updates. Just makes you smile to see those colors together, doesn't it? Let's hope we all see some real ones soon!

    Happy Spring, my lovelies!

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    There Be Leprechauns

    And ours left treasure and notes for my kids. Very serious business, this.

    First, he turned the orange juice and the milk GREEN. Then he put a note on them that said "Green Drinks for you - BOO HOO!!"

    Then he put notes in each of their rooms, taunting them with his presence and telling them to look sharp next year. Then he left them each a piece of treasure (a quarter).

    It's St. Patrick's Day for certain. Happy kids 'round here this fine afternoon. AND the little guy brought the sunshine with him. THAT's better than a pot of gold. Almost.

    Wednesday, March 10, 2010

    Birthday In Absentia, Take Two

    Another special day going on here at FMFO. My sweet friend Aimee would have turned 32 today. But she won't. We lost her a year and a half ago, and this is the second birthday we've had to live through without her. So instead, we celebrate the short-but-wonderful life she had, but still grieve for the life she missed out on living. I was telling Greg last night that surely this milestone would be easier; that I would be able to only remember the good things and smile, and not need to weep with my head in my hands. I was wrong. The tears come easily, and the pangs of heartache are there, just as they have always been. And that's OK. She is still worth every tear, and the pain of losing her still stings inside of me.

    But I found myself examining this morning (while on the phone with my awesome friend Sara) the reasons WHY it continues to be so hard, and why we who loved her best continue to struggle with letting go and moving above the sadness.

    I think the bulk of it is this: this is not like losing a grandmother who lived her whole life, or even like losing someone young who takes their own life. It's not even like losing someone who was sick and was taken too soon but who had time to at least examine the possibility of dying. I am not discounting or devaluing those losses - I'm just saying they are different. Because Aimee's loss was sudden, confusing and unexplained (still is, largely) and I believe with every fiber of me that she fought with all her might to stay alive. I believe that she fought for her life, for her baby's life, and she lost. And that sucks. And I grieve that reality over and over, as many who loved her do, because it never makes any more sense, it never gets easier to accept, and it never leaves less of a hole in our lives when we revisit it again and again.

    I wonder if she knew she was dying. I wonder if she was afraid. I wonder if she was screaming inside her head but couldn't get out more than the cry that came from her lips just before she was gone. I wonder lots of things about where and how she was in those final moments. And I grieve. Not even just for me, for Greg and our kids who will miss out on the beauty of Aimee in their lives as they grow. I grieve for Nik who had to live through it and watch it all happen in their own home, in their own bed. I grieve for her parents who lost their only child, their only grandchild, and their whole world all in one fell swoop. I grieve for their families. I grieve for Dar, and Jess and Jared, and all of her close friends in IA who know how keenly losing her cuts through every day life. I grieve for the friends who lost touch but who always thought there would be more time to catch up, as we all do. We always think there's more time, we tell ourselves that it's our nature to believe that. But the true nature is the nature of our bodies and our world, which all prove to us over and over that NONE of us is guaranteed more time. None of us have been promised tomorrow.

    And I think that's her gift to us on this day, her birthday: a reminder. A reminder to say those words you haven't said, to whomever you need to say them. Pursue and become the person you want to be. Do that thing for someone that you've been meaning to do. Tell someone who matters that they matter. I know there are people who Aimee would have liked to have said "goodbye" to (or "eat a dick" to) before she went on and left this life. And I can hear her voice in my head, reminding me not to wait; to do it now, today. There are things she didn't get to do, and it honors her memory when we do those things.

    And it's coming to me as I type that it also honors her memory to try our best to be happy while we're here. It's easy, comforting even, to get lost in the sorrow, to soak in it and let it surround us in a blanket of tears and self-pity for all we've lost. But what would Aimee give to be here today? And how would she want me to spend it? How would she want YOU to spend it? She would want us to laugh about all the fun, crazy, silly, hilarious shit we did while she was here. She would want us to eat a piece of cake, dammit, and enjoy every bite. She would want us to live. That much I do know. And Aimee was usually pretty good about getting what she wanted, so I'm guessing we're all better off just trying to do our best to do what she wants us to do.

    I'll try if you'll try. Deal?

    Happy Birthday, Aimee. There are no words, not for my lack of trying, to say how much you mean, how much you're missed, and how much we wish we could share this day with you. Love and hugs to heaven, my dear friend.

    Saturday, March 6, 2010

    March 8th and Old Posts

    Big day coming up - on Monday, March 8th, we come upon my mother's 60th birthday! Not that she looks 60, or probably feels 60, but all points indicate that she is, in fact, turning 60. We are not talking about how old that makes ME.

    In honor of Mom's big day (which we'll be celebrating tomorrow with friends and family), I give old blog. Ha ha. No, really, this is a blog post I wrote a good while ago, after one of Mom's treasured visits to our home. I shared it with her recently, and thought that this weekend would be a good time to share it with you again in case you missed it back in 2007. While it is a tribute and somewhat a pre-memorial (forgive the slight morbidity of that), it's a celebration of who she is to us in this life. Enjoy!

    Oh, and Happy, Happy Birthday, Mom - we all love you more than you'll ever know, and we thank God for you every day. Hope your day is perfect.

    Post is HERE: I'll Miss Her Finger

    (ETA: be clear. Click on the "I'll Miss Her Finger" right ABOVE to read the actual POST about Mom. I'm feeling anal today, apparently. Yeah. Just click. Go! ;-) Thanks. )


    Monday, March 1, 2010

    Things of Which to Remind Myself in March 2010

    I am writing this to myself in late August of 2009. It is set to publish now, in March of 2010. I may very well have forgotten about it by now. I also probably won't remember these specific things by now, which is why I'm writing them in August 2009. Call it my own personal little time machine - I'm heading off into the future to tell myself things that I need to remember later on.

    So this is just between me, myself and I - but you might do well to heed the warnings I'm going to give myself if you have gardening aspirations for Summer 2010.

    Cathy - it's spring now, and knowing you as only I do, you've undoubtedly thought about buying seeds (if you haven't bout them already) and starter sets, potting soil, etc. You are sure you want a garden, mostly because you are so sick of winter you could throw up and you just want to get out there and dig it up. After all, you tucked it away last fall, tilled in good stuff and covered it in mulch, put away cages and fencing. And I get that you think it's time to start thinking about the new garden to come. But stop and think. Think REALLY hard about whether or not you REALLY want a garden again this year. Really. Think it over. IF you decide to proceed anyway, remember these things:

    1) Don't buy seeds. Nope, don't. Just. Don't. You know they don't grow for shit because you don't water them regularly enough, or you water them too much, whatever; and the kids don't keep their fingers out of them, and then the ones that DO grow, grow too fast and you don't get them in in time. Just buy transplants. It's cheaper in the long run. Fine, it's not, but do it anyway. Forget the seeds. Put them down. DOWN. I don't care if Menard's already had them out and they're on sale and they're organic and pretty and promise a hearty yield.

    2) Four tomato plants is too many. Way too many. Unless you've purchased canning equipment by now, March of 2010 (which I doubt), you don't need dozens and dozens of tomatoes sitting on your counter. Ya just don't. TWO plants is the maximum you should plant. Maximum. I mean it. If they both die, it's just not meant to be.

    3) Don't plant cucumbers. You and Greg like about 2 meals of cucumbers and then you're over them. And again, unless you've gotten a canner and the necessary accoutrements purchased, you're not making pickles any time soon. Get a few from the farmers' market in July and move on.

    4) Don't plant onions. They don't grow well in this soil, you've tried several times.

    5) Plant more green beans. Like two or three rows. They were nice last summer to get enough for a meal every week or so, but those are something we SHOULD grow lots of and freeze, because we actually, you know, EAT green beans all year 'round. They're not sexy, but now you know why Mom had rows and rows of them.

    6) One squash hill. ONE. O-N-E. And it'll still be too much, unless it ends up like the weirdo moldy one. Then you're just screwed. But again - that's what farmers' markets are for.

    7) Don't ever use black landscaping tarp in the garden again. The grass mulch you used last year worked just as well, didn't blow and whip all over (like the tarp did when the thieving little squirrels ripped it out of the ground), and is FREE.

    8) The expensive, stinky rabbit repellent works best, so if you were smart enough to bring it in the house out of the garden shed (so that it hasn't frozen and been rendered useless over the winter), get ready to use it. Use it early, use it often. Just keep the dogs away from it, they love the stuff for some ungodly reason. It's made of rotten eggs and assholes, or some shit like that. Which might explain why the Great Poopeaters enjoy it.

    9) Last year: tomatoes on the west end, vines on the east. This year: swap them.

    10) Greg just reminded me of this one: NO RADISHES. I think Greg ate one. The rest ended up in the trash. I know they're a quick yield and that feels good, but seriously - skip 'em. Keep your eye on the prize.

    11) The whole point of a garden is to save money on food. So in summary: don't buy more than you need, don't buy more than you'll use, don't plant stuff you don't love to eat and preserve; in short, keep it simple.

    Happy Gardening, to me and everyone else. It's almost spring!