Monday, October 28, 2013

My 10 Favorite Natural Remedies

I am not going to go into a long discussion, like a little old lady, on all of the health issues I have experienced over the last year, but I'll say that it has not been fun.  August to August.  Just not fun.  But now I know that the majority of my problems have stemmed from low iron and an immune system that was just not what I was used to having.  The fabulous thing is that I did  not have to be seen for any of my issues, but was able to successfully treat them at home.  I really should have gone to the doctor for some of them, if only to learn that my iron was low to begin with, but will always opt to try a natural ingredient first.  That's just how I am.  Here are my favorite immune boosters, infection fighters, natural antibiotics, and skin health aids.

I am not a nutritionist, a trained homeopathic healer, doctor, nurse, or educated in any way in the medical field, and am in no way giving medical advice with this post, just sharing a few of the things I love because of how well they work for me.  My information on each item is opinion, and has only come to my attention through personal research.

1.  Raw Garlic ~ I slice it and allow it to sit for at least fifteen minutes.  The allicin in the garlic is said to increase after the garlic has been cut, and is reported to have antimicrobial benefits.  I read one person's account that stated that the cut garlic can be as far away as 6 inches and still work to kill the viral or bacterial cause of an infection.  I have successfully used it for an inner ear infection and for colds by holding a cut clove near my nose or ear. This is first on my list for a reason!

2.  Elberberry Juice Concentrate ~  I use this as an immune booster and infection fighter.  I dilute it in water and take it at the first sign of a cold or infection.

3.  Turmeric ~ This amazing spice works internally and on contact for me in fighting infections.

4.  Echinacea/Goldenseal Supplements ~ It is claimed that echinacea is an immune booster and that goldenseal can act as a natural antibiotic.  For someone who has had allergic reactions to antibiotics, this is my first line of defense when I experience a problem that I suspect is bacterial in nature.

5.  Raw Apple Cider Vinegar with the "mother" ~ I can't count the number of bottles of Bragg's that my family has gone through in the last year.  Just look it up.  You will be amazed.

6.  Peppermint Essential Oil ~  No more one-sided headaches that take two days to go away.  I used to get them every single day at work when I was a line cook, just from getting overheated. I also get them during the summer when I work outside.  No longer.  I recently started getting migraines again for the first time in over 20 years.  The piercing pain, vision problems, nausea...whole nine yards.  I believe they were due to the hormonal fluctuations I have experienced over the last four months, but they never were able to take hold if I jumped right on them and used my peppermint oil.  I use Aura Cacia, the strongest I have found, by putting a drop across my forehead and temples if I already have a headache coming on, or just hold the open bottle under my nose if I feel one starting. Works every SINGLE time.  Fortunately, I think the migraines are gone for good, now that I'm hormonally rebalanced.  I get itchy welts where I put the oil on my face if I use it repeatedly, so have begun using it with coconut oil.

7.  Coconut Oil ~ Raw, virgin, cold, expeller pressed ~  I have been putting a spoonful in my coffee every day since '06.  Too many benefits to list.  The only thing it doesn't work for, topically, is my rosacea.  My skin just can't handle the oil even though it's so beneficial.  It does work on insect bites and rashes I get from dog or cat hair, or whatever it is outside that bothers me in the garden.  I can't pinpoint what plants are so bothersome to my skin since I believe that many are.  Even green bean leaves flair up my forearms and wrists while I pick beans.  If I don't wash and use coconut oil immediately, the rash will set in and I will be taking Benadryl for a few days.

8.  Silver Hydrasol Nasal Spry ~ 3 times every day keeps my skin trouble away.  Hey!  I made a jingle!

9.  Vitamin C ~  My father the chiropractor taught me this valuable lesson from the time I was old enough to munch an acerola chewable.  So important for blood vessel maintenance, a strong immune system, fighting infections, etc.

10.  Natralia Eczema & Psoriasis Cream ~ Oh, thank goodness for this miracle goop!  Because of it, I can look in the mirror and recognize the face looking back at me and not wonder where I've gone.  It is not specifically labeled for rosacea, but when I was frustrated last winter and looking for another natural product to try, I read the ingredients in Natralia and decided that I had nothing to lose.  Avocado, lavender, aloe, licorice, and lots of other things that are recommended as natural ingredients for treating rosacea, are in this cream.  My face peeled and peeled when I first started using it.  I didn't freak out. I don't know why I didn't, but I kept using it.  My face reddened and my skin dried all the way down to my neck. I did start getting a little nervous when it became so dry that I lost sensation in my skin, but I kept using it.  Once it peeled, and I do NOT mean in a chemical peel kind of Freddy Kreuger freaky way, I mean, in a wintry dry skin that was easily remedied with a little Tate's moisturizer kind of way, I had new skin. New, NEW skin.  My old face back. I still get little patches of redness on occasion, but people don't even know I have rosacea any longer.  I have finally found my cure. I was determined to find a natural remedy to avoid being prescribed a lifetime of topical antibiotics.  I couldn't be happier.  The only problem is that rosacea sufferers are all different. What works for one person may not work for another.  I really hope and wish that this works for everyone.  I plan to keep spreading the word, just in case!

And NO (I know people will wonder) I do NOT spend a fortune on my favorite remedies at the natural food store every week.  And that is because the ones I need last simply forever.

I have purchased 4 tubes of Natralia since February at $13 a tube.  Much cheaper than most discount store skin care products.  And who knows how much I'd be spending on the medicated this and that they'd be selling me at the dermatologist's office?

I use a jar of coconut oil in about 2 weeks.  That does get expensive at around $11 a jar, but the long-term health benefits I will receive from my daily dose will be so very worth it,and, hey...some people spend money on beer and cigarettes every week.  It think my coconut oil is a good buy in comparison.

My nasal spray lasts for months and months.  I have been using the same bottle since August and it is just over the half-way level.  I know for a fact that it saves me at least $100 a pop at the drs. office before buying the first bottle of prescriptions, and started using it on the advice of the owner of one of my local natural stores who suffered from the same recurring problem I had until he started using the spray every day, decades ago.

I buy a $7 bottle of Aura Cacia peppermint in the organic section of my favorite grocery store every couple of months, and that is only because I am stupid and take the stopper out. I always end up spilling half a bottle.  Every bottle comes with a dollar off coupon.  That's $6 every few months. Between sets at the last concert I attended, I was divvying out drops of the stuff to those around me who were complaining of headaches.  I'm such a dork, but headaches were evaporating and people were very quickly becoming sold on the idea.  It really works, and I no longer go anywhere w/o my peppermint oil.

Elderberry juice concentrate is expensive, but one bottle will last us all winter.  I use it by the tablespoonful.

The ACV you can buy by the gallon or make yourself.

All my favorites are worth the money I spend and make me a healthier me.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Lavender Pink Himalayan Bath Salts

Lavender is one of my favorite aromas.  It can help to calm me through the most difficult situation.  I've also become a fan of Himalayan salt and its beneficial properties.  It is said to contain all the minerals that the human body requires.  I don't know if this is true, but it's all I cook with any longer.  It also makes a noticeable difference in my skin when I bathe with it or use Himalayan salt soaps.

I only use Aura Cacia brand lavender oil.  It and this brand's peppermint oil knocks my socks right off.  They seem, to me, to be more concentrated and potent than the expensive, pyramid scheme brand of oil I've tried, but have a natural herbal undertone to their scents without the imitation smell of the expensive brands.  From what I've learned, the higher priced companies may heat their oils after distilling to bring out the aroma, which could be why some peppermint oils have that inorganic Christmas tree candy cane scent.  Aura Cacia's is even mintier than the direct selling companies' oil, but still smells as if it comes from a plant.  I love it.  The aroma of their lavender oil washes over me and instantly brings calm.  It also lasts and lasts!  That saves me lots of money because I don't need to reapply it to my hands or surfaces as often as the less potent oils.

I get approximately 18 packages from one batch of my bath salts.  That's 18 baths!  Here is my simple little recipe:

Lavender Pink Himalayan Bath Salts
10 oz. pink Himalayan salt crystals
20 drops lavender essential oil
2 T dried lavender flowers

I use 1T per bath, and fill my little gift bags for the market with the same amount.

Can you say tension tamer?  Even mixing it is relaxing, like running your fingers through sea shelly beach sand.  But then the lavender aroma comes up into your face and...ahhhhhh....

Friday, October 11, 2013

I Feel So Good I think I Need To Get My Blood Checked

When I learned that I was pregnant a couple of months ago, I also found out that I was anemic.  It's not a good thing when the person running your blood to check your hemoglobin levels says, "OH!", when the number comes up.  I knew nothing about anemia except that it was bad.  I thought that maybe I should cook more of my food in a cast iron skillet to add iron to my diet.  What I didn't realize when she made her exclamation was that I had been anemic for a very long time, most likely years, other recently discovered health issues indicate, and that it was so low that it would be six to eight weeks of taking iron supplements and adding high iron foods to every meal before I would feel a change. 

The miscarriage only made things worse.  I miscarried for twelve days beyond the point when I had assumed that I had miscarried and told my family and friends that I had.  Almost two weeks beyond the follow up appointment with my doctor to discuss it.  It was an emotional and physical roller coaster, to say the least, waiting to see if I was still pregnant.  Blood tests continued to show high hCG levels and low iron, but ultrasound showed that a miscarriage was most likely imminent.

Needless to say, after all that, I wasn't feeling any better.  I guessed that I hadn't been able to improve my iron levels one bit.  The symptoms of anemia?  Fatigue, irritability, mood swings, lack of energy, trouble concentrating, restless leg syndrome, headaches, and the list goes on.  Yes.  Yes.  Yes. Yes. Yes.  Yes.  Yes. Me.  Most of them.  For years.  I truly thought I was just getting old.

I would fall asleep if I was riding in a vehicle anywhere near 3 in the afternoon, and avoided driving at that time of day.  I don't take naps at home, but my husband always teased me when he would see my head lolling around next to him as I rode in the passenger seat.  "Yup!  It's 3:00.  Ingrid's sleepy time."  I felt so old.  I could drive all night to get us to Florida if I started out from home, but I would never be able to drive for long periods of time in the middle of the day.  Add to this afternoon fatigue, nightly insomnia.  I was just miserable.  So unproductive, even thought I still kept trying to bulldoze through life.

My symptoms caused a lot of guilt.  I just wanted to be better, so a lot of times I overdid it.  I'd stay up all night to get a project done, rather than letting it go or pacing myself.  That, of course, only compounded my symptoms.  It never occurred to me that I was deficient in anything. I'm serious with my herb and mineral supplements.  Green tea.  Coconut oil.  Spirulina.  ACV.  All the things that were supposed to give me energy, keep my immune system running at top speed, and keep cancers and heart disease away.  I hadn't had my blood checked for over a decade.  Such a simple fix. 

Doing the GAPS diet and avoiding grains earlier this year didn't help, I'm sure.  Now I enjoy all the grains, and just avoid white sugar and flour.  I'm not very good at staying away from them completely, but I'm doing pretty good.  I eat like I'm still pregnant and keep taking my prenatal vitamins along with my iron, as directed.  I plan to be pregnant again as soon as my body will allow it, so these things are so necessary.  I don't avoid any one food, and after years of omitting this or that it's wonderful.  I've even started having that one cup of caffeinated coffee every day that nutritionists say is allowed, even though I quit caffeine years ago. That really helps take the edge off the sleepiness so I can get up very early and still be able to crash around ten at night.

But I really started feeling better last week.  I sleep like a baby every single night, now, and straight through. I don't know what iron pills have to do with a sound sleep, but I'm getting it and it's fabulous.  I finally have the energy that I've been craving and hardly anything can shake my good moods.  I still get a little sad and angry about not being pregnant, but only for moments.  The general good feeling is really nice and it's new and I'm only looking forward to feeling better.  "I want to yell it from the rooftop..."  I feel so good that I keep wondering if I should make an appointment to see if my iron levels are better. I'm really curious to know.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

All Mixed Up

Some of the things on my To Do List for order:

~Make Butter
~Kettle Bell
~Make Double Chocolate Biscotti
~Swiss Ball
~Make Pie Crust Dough

I love the contradictions that are my life.  They make me giggle.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Some People Just Need To Go To Goodwill.

I was sitting and reading a book with my first cup of coffee, morning chores done, sun shifting across the yard to shine on my breakfast room table, exactly where I like it, when a thought came to me.  The male character in the scene I was reading, who can only think scientifically because he has Asperger's, was wondering in his very technical manner how he could express himself to the girl he has come to understand that he loves, in spite of his emotional limitations.  He has had experiences with lots of girls, so doesn't need to worry about the mechanics of a physical relationship, but this one he wants to keep.

My thought?  Yeah.  I'm like William.  I try on people like clothes, and when they don't fit I toss them away.  

That's really sick.  Really just kind of mean and cruel, and I surprised myself with the realization.  But then I understood that I don't fit them, either.  I am not one for keeping clutter around, and pick and choose people in my life the same way I decide which garments stay in my closet and which ones need to go.  The ones that fit will always fit, no matter how I change, the same as some of my favorite dresses and blouses.  Fortunately, I haven't expanded and contracted so much over the years that they've been permanently pushed from my life.  If they don't fit the way I like at a certain point, and they are the kind that give and stretch a little and don't mind waiting for me to try them on again when I'm at a different place, I may look in the back of my closet and find that they are the most beautiful things I've ever seen.  I may wonder why I didn't just change a little to fit them rather than thinking that they no longer fit me.

Some I've torn into rags because I thought there was no hope for them, only to regret it the next minute.  Others get hastily shoved to the side as soon as I try them on.  Then there are those that just sit there, never being worn, until I wonder why I ever brought them home in the first place.  I have some that were given to me and I just keep them because, though I've never worn them, I've grown to love them and just like having them around.  They aren't clutter.  They've earned a special place.

Every once in a while I come across a piece of clothing that is so beautiful and genuinely good, maybe even made from organic, natural fiber, that I have to have it.  But it ends up being so uncomfortable to wear that it chafes.  People I find in this category I can't bring myself to part with.  Though they irritate me to no end, I just smile politely at them every chance I get and hope they never, ever suspect how badly they rub me the wrong way, and cross my fingers that others don't feel the same about me.

I rarely make frivolous clothes purchases, but try my best to care for what I have so that I can keep things I love around for as long as possible. There are always those one-time only garments, however.  Bridesmaid gowns, cocktail dresses, costume pieces, things that never get worn again. You only needed them for that one event and they were fabulous fun while you had them.  I love it when these "one-time-use people" come into my life.

I attend as many concerts as I can.  It's my thing.  It's not my husband's, so I usually go alone.  But always, as I stand in long lines to enter a venue, or at the foot of a stage waiting for the opening act to emerge, someone around me will introduce themselves and we hang out together enjoying the show for the remainder of the evening.  We usually exchange emails or I'll say yes, I have a Facebook when they ask, which I know they'll never find because I keep it private.  It was fun while it lasted, but it's so nice to know I never have to see them again.  I've tried them on. They fit only for that one occasion.   

Others I've tried on a couple of times, just to see if I'm looking at them from the wrong angle, only to decide that they've got to go.  My favorites you will see me wearing in countless photographs, the ones I love having around to wear every day, or just can't ever seem to part with. 

I don't think I'm being cold hearted, though that was my first thought when I realized that I "try people on", it's all about self-preservation.  I've had some spontaneously combust while I was wearing them!  You only let that happen once.  And sometimes I can feel the heat as soon as I get near a person and know they're going right to Goodwill.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


  This boy's voice!  Okay, he's not a boy, but when you're as old as I am, anyone whose age is within a decade of your own son's is a boy.  Okay, he's out of that range, which makes it acceptable that someone my age might get tingly all over when he sings.  My point is that Matt Walst has a voice that can melt your heart or stir your blood.

It was a few years ago that I first heard this "boy's" voice.  His band, My Darkest Days, and two other bands were opening that very long, loud, fabulous night for Hinder, the headlining band.  I was intrigued, entertained, excited when MDD started playing, but when they did a cover of Duran Duran's Come Undone, I just about came unhinged.  I've been hooked on Matt's voice ever since, and fortunate to live in an area of the country where hearing him perform live has been easy.  Last year it was when MDD opened in Atlanta for Nickelback with Seether and Bush, and then again last night when he performed as front man for 
Three Days Grace.
Such a badass!
The post-apocalyptic Vegas themed set and body make up was awesome.  Lighting was amazing! 

 Matt had his stage persona down pat, absolutely pumping up the crowd every time he moved or opened his mouth. 

 He wasn't unprofessional, by any means, the first time I saw him perform, but last night he just seemed to have reached a whole new level.  And he appeared to love every minute of it.  
I think Adam Gontier's retirement was the best thing that could have happened for Matt, the band, and definitely for someone who is thanking her lucky stars to have one of her favorite voices paired with such impactful lyrics and powerful music.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Halloween Decorations

I found lots of creepy "decorations" in the woods on my morning saunter.  I love fall.  At 55 F with leaves already on the forest floor, it certainly felt like the second day of autumn.  The photos aren't very good.  My iPhone doesn't do miniscule detail well, but I still wanted to record them here.
Moss covered dead man's hand.

Zombie ears.

Hitchhiking creepy crawly.

When I shook off my hitchhiker I realized how I had picked him up.  Dangling by a thread.

Beautiful, but I'm sure, deadly, flowers. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Girl That Won't Shut Up. The Book That Writes Itself.

I always feel better when a writer, a real published author, talks about characters that won't shut up, as I am familiar with dialogue between characters that can wake a person in the night.  These characters must be heard and don't stop talking until they are.  The fact that others experience this same phenomenon, the brain working hard on something while its owner sleeps, may mean I'm not just completely loopy.  I'm hoping that's what it means, anyway.

I don't know if I'm any good, if I could ever have one of my novels published.  I really don't care.  But when writing becomes almost otherworldly I sit with my jaw hanging and just do what I'm "supposed" to do and scribble down what's being "said", always on paper because I'm such a slow, clumsy typist. 

Well, Novel 1 has been bothersome.  It's been going for my entire adult life and I just can't finish it.  I think maybe that I don't really want to.  Maybe it's just mine.  Something I use for practice, or as a creative outlet when others bore me.  Something no one else ever needs to see.

Novel 2 is my favorite.  I am passionate about every detail of this historical book.  Though I've put a lot of effort into getting the story told seamlessly, it's really as if it has written itself.  I come up with an idea, set a scene, add a detail, and it all fits in perfectly with the historical events that bracket my chosen time period.  I have basically reverse researched it.  All I've had to do is double check to make sure the lives and actions of my characters are appropriate to the time.  They always are with this book.  I don't know how or why.  I just trust that the story will get told.

Then there's the character who just won't shut up in Novel 3.  I don't even know who she is yet, I just write what's in her head.  What she sees, what she does, what she thinks, where she goes.  I had an eerie "encounter" with this girl the other day right on the X that marks the spot on the planet where the opening scene of Novel 3 takes place.  I didn't actually run into her, of course, but I swear it felt as if she had just turned the corner and hurried out of sight.  Where I was standing, where she is standing and moving through chapter one, was as familiar to me as if I had stood there before.  But I hadn't ever physically been there.  I had only seen the location through her eyes and an old 19th Century map.  And when my feet led me down the alleyway to the open plaza in which my story unfolds, I stood in utter amazement.  Everything looked just as it had when I was writing about it because I remembered what she was seeing.

The funny thing is that I had intended that afternoon to do the five minutes of picture taking and research I needed to finish Novel 2, as both have scenes that take place in the same historical city.  The girl from Novel 3 had other ideas, I guess.  She simply refused to be ignored.  Okay.  I "hear" you, Miz Priority One.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

3 Little Things...Okay...One's BIG..

Um...let's see if I'm too prudish to post all three.  Here goes...

1.  I went to a Depeche Mode concert the other night.  My second.  I'm sooooooo spoiled to have even had the opportunity to hear that voice live once, but twice?  Lucky, lucky girl.  So glad all my old faves are a: still touring  b: still living

 2.  I sat, for just a moment, in one of my favorite places in the world, enjoying one of my favorite meals.  We were informed Saturday evening that my aunt's viewing was going to be the next afternoon.  That gave us just enough time to get to the funeral home to be with my family and pay our respects.  So even though we were wiped out from getting up at 4:30 a.m. to sell at the farmer's market, we threw our clothes in the car and drove all night. We spent two hours with my mother's side of the family and an evening and a breakfast with my dad and his wife.  Then we did what we always try to do, but never really have the time to fully enjoy.  We stopped in St. Augustine on our way out of Florida and practically ran down St. George St. to Columbia Restaurant for 1905 Salad.  Heaven! 

We "run" because St. Augustine is a 7 1/2 hour drive from our door, and any time we stop my husband must be at work the next morning.

We have done NOTHING this summer.  Nothing.  Haven't donned a bathing suit or even put a toe in the water. We obligated ourselves to sell every week at our local farmer's market, which left no time or energy for anything else, on top of the commitment I had made earlier in the summer to two families, cooking for them several times a week.

I was happy.  I loved it.  But then my husband started a new job 2 hrs. away...And then there was the miscarriage.  No fun.  I kind of just want to erase this past summer off the calender, but it was life.  It is what it is and I am still grateful for every moment of it.  Especially when I know we have simply joined the masses of people who never get a vacation, who don't have relatives who live in FL and work at Disney who can put them up and get them free passes, how we usually vacation.  Depeche Mode, 1905 Salad...all the holiday we needed.  And all crammed into one week.  So grateful for the escape.

And here we go.  #3.  I'm still a little shy to say it, but...

3.  My husband and I are putting in a wholehearted effort this weekend (giggle) to get pregnant.  Mow, Weed Eat, trim shrubs and trees...make a baby...  We have never had to try to get pregnant before so feel confident that everything on our to do list will get done.  Wish us luck!!!  Those trees really need pruning.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"House Cleaning" on 9-11

I feel so bad because I feel so good.  It's been a lovely, care-free, upbeat day.  No shadows or clouds following me around as I bee bop through the house doing the things I need to do.  But then I remembered that it was 9-11.  12 yrs. since that horrible day.

I'm supposed to pause and think.  Do you have any idea how much pausing and thinking I've been doing over the last few weeks?  I'm so sorry for the memory of all those lost and for their family members.  I'm still furious and I hurt for our country.  But I'm not going to do it today.  I'm just not.  I haven't forgotten.  I remember.  But I refuse to dwell on anything dark today.  If I do I'll sink.  I've been "cleaning" my house and ridding it of anything that makes me feel stressed, worried, or sad, and I'm just going to keep on feeling the sun shine in brighter and brighter.  Right on through 9-11. I can't forget, but I'm not going to let it freak me out this time.

That's okay, isn't it?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

My Hands. Her Hands. His Hands.

So I spent part of my birthday with my mother.  This is an amazing thing when you consider that this is the first time in over 3 yrs. that I've decided on my own, without being asked by her, to visit.  The simple fact is that for the first time in my life she has earned my trust.  I trust her with my heart, I trust her with my children.  I've even trusted her with my cooking blog, which I was sure she'd rip apart with "constructive criticism".  She's only shown support.  This I am NOT used to.  But I'm accepting it and trusting that I'm not going to get hit upside the face with negativity when I least expect it.  I think, hope, as I always have, that it just won't happen.  It's a pretty big thing.  I think she really knows now not to mess with my kids, and though there have been times when she's been critical, I give them the are you okay? look and get a satisfactory answering nod and we skip right over it and try to enjoy her in all of her craziness.  She's crazy.  Absolutely bonkers.  And that makes for lots and lots of laughing. 

The single most critical healing episode in our relationship occurred this last Christmas Eve at my mother's house.  My husband, sons, and nephews were sprawled all over the living room and game room, even under the pool table, if I recall, fast asleep.  My stepfather was still crashed in the upstairs bedroom while my sis and her boyfriend were still in the guest bedroom, wiped out from our all night Monopoly game.  I was up early and then Mom came downstairs.  She made us coffee and then we took all of the German pastries we had out the night before to the dining room table and sat down and...talked.  Talked. 

We had never talked before.  It has always been a sore spot with me that the only mother/daughter talk we'd ever had in my life was when I was eighteen.  She'd told me that if she had to do it all over again she would have chosen to not have children.  I think in her mind she was giving me a fabulous bit of advice that no other woman from her generation would dare voice.  I know now that she was wishing at age forty with a preschooler that she had made other choices, and wanted me to explore my options and live my life before falling into the whole marriage/children "trap".  I knew this, understood where she was coming from, but I also understood her view on motherhood from a very early age.  She never liked it.

But here we were, sitting at the table sipping coffee together and TALKING.  I have subjects that I've promised myself are off limits with her, things we will never agree on that only make me feel bad, so I just steered us around those and it was lovely. 

Then we started talking a little in my message box on Facebook and have never stopped.  When she said something that just floored me, I saw that she is like me. She can write or type things that she could never say out loud.  Kind of like my little blog here.  I can't voice what I can bring myself to write here.   She typed in her message to me, "I have always loved you to the bottom of my soul!"  From day one as a mother, I have made it a point to make sure that my sons felt loved.  That I didn't just say it, but that they felt it without me having to open my mouth.  With her words I felt it, and I felt as if I finally had a real mom, rather than envying everyone elses. 

I bit the bullet and decided that since my dad was driving over to see me the day before my birthday to take me out for a birthday dinner, that I wanted to see my mom for my birthday too.  I rarely get to see my parents together since the divorce, so I figured that seeing them both in two days was as good as it gets.  And that's what I wanted for my birthday.

No monopoly, no vodka, or the usual Jack Daniels.  It was poker and mojitos at Mom's.  Oh my, we laughed until we cried...through the night.  And the whole time I couldn't stop looking at my mother's hands.  They were her mother's hands, but lacking the gnarled knuckles and bulging veins that my Oma earned with rough work.  Then I realized, as I looked down, that they were my hands.  The boys tease me and say that I look 28 until you look at my hands.  They are really showing my age and my knuckles are always nicked up this time of year from outside projects.  And, for the first time ever, I noticed a resemblance between me and my mother, a physical resemblance to her and her mother.  It was weird.  I don't look like her.  She has enormous, sparkling blue eyes like her mother.  I have my daddy's reddish brown hair and chestnut eyes.  But now I look down at my own and see my mother's hands.

Friday, I took my family with my dad and his wife on a Father's Day picnic.  My dad has never had to earn my trust or build a relationship with me.  He has never damaged ours so has never had to work to repair it.  We have been buddies since day one.  That was it.  Buddies.  I adore my father.   

We were standing on the river bank fishing when my dad walked past my son and me to give us the fabulous spot he found, going to find another. My son said, after Dad had moved on through the brush in his khakis, "Grandpa looks like someone you would see in The Walking Dead." I laughed and said, "Yup, that's my daddy. I wouldn't want to be in a zombie apocalypse with anyone else. We always said Indiana Jones reminded us of Dad. That's my daddy." He nodded, understanding completely. I love that my sons see how awesome he is too.  But then, when I was standing with Dad while we were tying fishing lures onto our lines,  I looked down at his hands.  They were my hands.  They were his father's hands.  I saw my hands and Grandpa's in them.  There were the same splotchy patches near the thumbs where his skin lacks pigment.  The same as my "reverse freckles".  
 Pretty cool.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sensitive Mom, Sensitive Child

It helps to remember when things get difficult around here with my sensitive child, what it was like to be a sensitive 12 year old.  It was the worst year of my life.  Nothing that's ever happened since could be as traumatizing or defining.  It helps to remember, and thank goodness I remember like it was yesterday, but it doesn't always make it easy. 

We didn't have terrible twos or threes or fours.  It was tricky, especially before I learned about our personality type, but was never anything I couldn't handle with understanding, sensitivity, the occasional crack-down on absolute unacceptable behavior and a hug.  But I dreaded twelve with my little guy and here we are.  I can't help thinking, however, that it would be worse with a girl, for sure, because she would have been just like me, and that we could have had terrible twos, threes, and fours, but we didn't.  I also remind myself that an occasional bump in our road is nothing to worry about.

I could never call this The Terrible Twelves.  It just isn't terrible.  There are unpleasant moments that are few and far between.  I can live with that.  It will be okay.  He will be upset, but he will survive.  We will survive.  If I don't bail on him and hold his hormonal, sensitive kid outbursts against him, but remember what it's all about, we will be just fine.  If I take offense or don't look at the bigger picture but only in the moment of a frustrated outburst, I am stretching our bond-- that invisible rubber band that was created between each of my boys and myself that I promised from day one that I would never stretch or break.  Sigh.

Okay.  He has had a moment to calm down so I'm sure is ready to "need" his mama.  And in the words of Scarlet O'Hara, "tomorrow is another day".

Aw!  Sure enough.  My poor, sweet, little guy!  I love being the mom to these two precious boys.   Thanking my lucky stars for the privilege!