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Mamallama update

Hey, y'all! A lot is going on...

* My Grandma is doing a lot better. She's surprising everyone!

* I'm going to go to grad school

* I've been published! Several times! Woot!

* The kids are all getting so big and grown up!

* I just took the 3 big kids to Washington DC -- it was an awesome trip!

* Things with Mike are going pretty well.

I have been writing in my new blog at http://www.rebeccaburch.com so if you haven't made it over there, yet, follow the breadcrumbs. :) I don't get to post to LJ anymore because it's blocked at school and I don't get much time at home to blog.

I'll try to set up an RSS feed for you guys. I miss you!
Hi, all.

I hope everyone's doing fine. I'm going to try to make it around to my flist today. It looks to be a pretty chilled-out day (I hope!)

It's Joseph's 9th birthday! We're going to celebrate by putting up the Christmas tree, renting a good movie, popping some corn and making some hot cocoa.

It hardly seems possible that he's 9 years old! It seems like just yesterday that he was born. I went into labor after a day of heavy-duty Christmas shopping, but didn't feel like I was really, seriously in labor. After Isaac's labor-a-thon, I felt like it had to suck a lot more to call it "labor." So I got up, painted my nails, watched a movie on TV, and just kind of hung out. My water broke at some point, but I wasn't sure (it's not like it is in the movies.) Finally, my Mom got up and found out that I had been up all night and was in labor and was like "GET IN THE CAR!!!" He was born not much longer after that. It was a really easy birth, except for having the cord around his neck. They ended up having to get him out really fast, and he ended up hanging out in the NICU for a few days becasue he had aspirated fluid. He came home on December 6 -- my brother's birthday.

He's almost as tall as I am! Not that that's difficult for anybody to achieve, but still... I am really not prepared for my kids to be bigger than me. Isaac already is! I know that's the point of raising kids -- they grow up and you want them to get big and healthy and independent. But Isaac's like having another adult in the house and he's only 11! And Joseph's so tall and can do so many things on his own and he's only 9! It seems like they should still be little kids.

It was good to have two helpful big people with me yesterday, though. I took the kids to the Clay Center to see the Lightscapes exhibit, and all went well until time to go. Jonathan decided he wasn't going to leave and threw THE BIGGEST hissyfit. I mean, I've had 4 kids so hissyfits are old news, but this was the worst I've ever seen. People were coming around the corner to see if I was beating him or what. He was screaming and twisting and writhing around... it took Isaac and myself, both trying to shove him down in his stroller and buckle him in to get him out of the building. It was 9 kinds of ugly. I was so embarassed!

We did get to go to visit my Grandma, though. She was having a pretty good day, and was able to talk and get up on her own. She even talked to my brother on the phone for a bit, and ate a hig dinner! (She hasn't been eating much.) Jonathan and Olivia gave her lots of hugs and kisses, and that made me feel good -- I didn't know how they would react to her, because she is so frail and shaky. Thanks to everyone for all the prayers and good wishes. I couldn't believe how well she was doing yesterday! I know I can't expect a full recovery, but it is nice to see her feeling well. She keeps asking if it's Christmas, yet. She loves Christmas with as much excitement as any little kid, and always has. I hope she stays well at least long enough to enjoy the holidays.

It's weird how these mini-strokes (TIAs) work. They're like temporary strokes, and when she's having one, you can't tell the difference between those and a fullblown stroke without medical testing, unless it's a pretty mild one. She can be paralyzed and unresponsive and it's scary as hell. They seem to last for about a day or two, and then she's back to almost-normal. (Almost normal is very weak and frail and confused... she never gets back to normal-normal.) It's still bad... she will probably have a fullblown stroke at some point, and if not the cumulative effect of these TIAs will eventually get pretty ugly. But it amazes me how bad she can get and then come back from it. It must be hell. She is so tough! Tell you what... the women in my family are badass. All of them. They are as tough as the men and then some. And the men are pretty daggone tough, themselves.

She cracked me up one time during one of her first really bad episodes. It's really not funny, but it is. She couldn't talk. She was trying to tell me something and I just couldn't understand it. She kept saying the same mumbled sentence over and over and I could tell she was concentrating so hard on forming those words, and they just weren't coming, and then she said, plain as day "Awwwww, shit!" I couldn't help but laugh. Then she made a sound that could have been laughter, but her face was not cooperating so she couldn't smile. I'm not sure. I hope it was a laugh. I know it's got to be really frustrating and scary to go through that, though.

new pics

Because I can't talk about sad stuff ALL the time...

Here are some fun pics:

Jon's started potty-training. It's going well, I think.

More here... not about potty training, though. I wouldn't do that to you.Collapse )



So the Doctor sent a Home Health Bureaucrat/RN or somebody to my folks' house to check up on my Grandma and see whether she should be hospitalized or whatever (because if she's hospitalized, they can put her in a better long-term care situation immediately, without having to be put on a waiting list.) He took her blood pressure and basically told my folks that his job is to keep people from taking that route, good luck, have a nice day, TTFN.

He did recommend a home heath care worker who would come in twice a week per his orders, so that will help my Mom a lot, but damn, what do you have to do to get hospitalized? She has had a very rapid deterioration and I think maybe a fullblown stroke (or maybe this is just the effect of having a whole bunch of these ministrokes, or TIAs as the doctor calls them.) So another nurse is coming tomorrow for some kind of "intake" and they'll discuss options from here on out.

She can't sit up half the time. Her face droops, like she can't move her facial muscles anymore. She can only say um-hmmm and unh-huh, and her arm is curled up most of the time. I can't believe how rapidly this ... whatever... is working on her. Just a few short weeks ago, she was mostly normal. Now she's like an infant, but it's been progressive... not like one catastrophic event that caused the damage.

Anyhoo, if you have a second, pray for her, send good vibes, offer burnt things to the gods, or whatever you do. I'm pretty sure it's all good. I can't imagine what it must be like from her perspective. She expresses emotions, so the terrifying thing is that she must be aware of what's going on. It makes me sick to even think about what it would be like, and watching her go through it is too much.

Then, after you do that, go bury your face in your baby's hair, or nuzzle your face into your lover's neck, or call up an old friend you haven't talked to in ages -- capture a moment and lock it away in your memory for good and hold onto it. Life is too damn short, and death doesn't seem to care enough to wait for you to be ready for it.


Drive by, part deux

Oh, look! Two in two days!

* I'm planning an awesome museum trip to see an exhibit of sculptures and installations on the theme of light. It's a holiday thing, at the Clay Center, about 3 blocks from where I work, so we can just walk over there during class time. It's going to be pretty awesome. I'm excited about it, and the principal said she might go over with us during a class period. She's an art lover -- she actually wanted to be an art teacher at one point, but decided to go with English.

* My Grandma's health is deteriorating pretty rapidly. Last time I saw her (Saturday) she could shuffle across the floor and feed herself. Now she can't even talk or get up. It's really sad. In a way, it's a good thing -- if she's going to go, I guess it's better that it happen quickly. But that's not what we want, of course. I want her to just magically get better, and get back to making wiseass remarks that crack everyone up and running around, wearing everyone out. This really sucks. A home care RN is coming in the morning to help my parents figure out what's going on with her and what the next move should be. I'm hoping they'll just say "oh, it's these two medications we overlooked. We'll switch her and she'll be normal again." But I'm afraid that's too easy to happen like that anywhere but on the Hallmark channel. Part of me wants her to just die in her sleep while having a really nice dream, and be welcomed into heaven to be with everyone she knows and loves who went before her. And Cody. And part of me doesn't want to give up just yet. I guess that's the deal with this death thing -- no matter which side of it you're on, you're never ready to let go.

* Mike's doing well. He's gotten some specialty automotive work -- engine go fast vroom, vroom, yay cars. I don't know what he's doing down there in the garage, but it involves grinding and shiny metal parts and has something to do with making the car faster. That's about the extent of my automotive knowledge, but apparently, he's a guru of sorts in this department and people actually want to pay for him to do this stuff, so he must be really good. It's time-consuming, but he enjoys it, and it's kind of neat to watch him doing his thing when I'm not trying to keep Jonathan from watching him doing his thing. Maybe I'll eventually learn what all the pretty, shiny parts do.

* The kids have accepted that Cody is their angel dog and that he is looking down at them from doggie heaven when he's not playing with the other angel doggies and getting angel dog snacks. This really works for them. It's like the kid version of "he's in a better place." They're taking it better than I am, so I feel like a big dorkus. But it hasn't even been a week, yet, and grief always has this way of sneaking up and kicking your ass when you least expect it. I have a feeling that I should be expecting it quite a bit in the near future, unfortunately. We're going to make a little stepping stone memorial for him sometime this weekend.

* I've decided to try once more to jury in to some art associations. Remember, I started to do that but just didn't get enough pieces together/had some personal things to deal with/chickened out before. Looks like most of that won't happen until Spring, but I have plenty of time to get a bunch of photos printed up and matted and framed, portfolio (hard copy, not computer) put together, and snazzy outfit bought before then.

* Got a badass haircut. It's an "inverted bob" kind of Maggie Gyllenhaal sort of 'do. It's curly and bouncy and really easy to deal with in the morning. Yay! I'm back to shorter hair, so I guess I'll have to update my userpic. Again.

* That's more than I meant to write. I really should go to bed. I've been trying to get better sleep, and it is paying off. Sleep is gooooooood. I keep telling myself that when there are so many things I really want or need to do and there are just not enough hours in the day... but it does make a difference when I get enough sleep. A huge difference. I just am not one of those people who can get 5-6 hours of sleep every night without it totally screwing up my life at some point.

*G'night, y'all.

Drive-by, with bullets

Hey, guys.

Just a drive by posting... with bullets, even.

* I'm doing good. I still love teaching, love my school, and my home-kids are doing great. Olivia's still a little "ahtist", Joseph is still as sweet as ever, Isaac is so mature -- he's physically bigger than me, now! -- and Jonathan is learning a million things each day.

* We had a little tragedy. A big one, actually... our dog, Cody, was hit by a car. He didn't make it. He was hit on my birthday-- the day before Thanksgiving -- which really sucks. We're all just heartbroken. He was the best dog, ever.

* My exhibit went really well! I haven't sold anything yet (that I know of) but it was a nice opening, and some local artists have dropped me a line to tell me they enjoyed my stuff. I got to meet a lot of other artists during Artwalk, and a bunch of my Spencer friends surprised me by showing up and taking me to Sitar of India for dinner afterwards. Mike even went and had a good time, too.

* My Grandma is really ill. It's a weird situation because she didn't raise my Dad, his Grandma did, so she is like his sister. She has moved in with my parents and is deteriorating pretty fast. It's pretty sucktacular. I hate seeing her this way. She's always been so independent. Now she can't even eat by herself. Getting old sucks, and I am totally not down with death. I want her better now.

* I got a photo published on the December cover of Two Lane Livin' Magazine and an article published in the newspaper. Yay!

* My brother is moving home. He got a job he's really exciting about that seems to be something that will challenge him, which is a good thing. He does well when the stuff he's working on is just a little over his head and he has to learn as he works. That makes it fun for him. He seems to have hit it off really well with his boss-to-be -- he's already called on him to fix a computer problem. My bro rawks!

All-in-all, I think things are going pretty well, despite a few really bleak spots in my life right now. I'm still posting daily photos to my art blog, with the occasional commentary:


or syndicated for LJ at

I miss you guys!

Drive-by, with bullets

(the text bullets... not the kind you shoot.)

* I got this in my email:

Rebecca - Took some time to look through your website today and really
like your work. We should talk about a show.

Give me a buzz sometime - 555-0123.

Peace -

Really Cool Gallery Owner,
Really Cool Gallery



* I am learning to sew. Yah, really... me! It's going well -- see what I've been up to at my art blog: http://carpethis.blogspot.com . My students are making a story quilt.

* Midget League Football Season is almost over. Both kids are in playoffs. Regardless of how it ends, it will all be over in 2 weeks. I love my kids and I want them to be happy, but... sweet baby jeebus, I want this season to be over! I'm exhausted.

* I love Feist. I think I like her older stuff best... but I really, really, really love "The Limit To Your Love." Yes, that song is oddly autobiographical.

* Black Walnut Festival went really well. Parades, rides, cotton candy, art show (I won some awards but my students took the show!!!) and no drama from the inlaw-mama.


Best. Dress. Evar!

1. It's in petites.
2. It makes me appear to be thin. Not thin like the model wearing it, but thin, as in having a waistline.
3. It's feminine and twirly.
4. It fits perfectly.

Now I just need a special occasion. :)


Black Walnut Festival is going well. Everybody's actually having a good time. Whee!!!

I won some art awards, and my students did, too. My kids are having a blast! It's crazy busy, though. We've had houseguests all weekend (since Thursday!) and everyone's got to be in different places at the same times... chaos, as usual. But everyone's being nice (so far!) so life is good.

I have time for bullets. :)

* Olivia has to get ear tubes put back in but we can't do it for a month because the insurance says we have to try Claritin for a month, first. And she can't hear. Seriously. She's, like, deaf in one ear.

* Joseph has to have a baby tooth extracted by an oral surgeon because two adult teeth came in around it and trapped it in place.

* MIL comes in tomorrow. She is very excited to see "the kitchen that Michael built." *bitingtonguebitingtonguebitingtongue* But I love her. And I am excited for her to see the kitchen and the kids and hope she has a good visit.

* I learned how to make chilies rellenos. They're kind of tricky if you want to do them right, but once you get the technique down, they're simple.

* I made a video of my students making packing tape sculptures. Wanna see what my class is like?

* The weather was gorgeous today.

* I colored my hair. It's too dark, but I still like it. I need to boof it up on top so I can look like Amy Winehouse... minus the eating disorders.

* Okay, time's up. I could stay up late and clean the house, but I'm not gonna. I need sleep -- this weekend is going to be chaos! (Black Walnut Festival.)

* I miss you guys!

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February 2008



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