Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fun time

We went to a birthday party for our friend, D.
We had a blast!
Miniature golf is almost impossible with two 4-year olds - at least these two.
The rollercoaster simulator is pretty fun, though!


In my opinion, the leaders of our team (at work) aren’t really close knit. (“Hi” to the two who read this blog. I think that we agree on most things relative to this post, but I won’t speak for them.) We work pretty well together because, well, we have to; we’re paid to, and I truly believe that we all have the best interest of our company in mind – all of us. We get along, but we aren’t “tight.” Well, anyway, we were collectively lamenting on how we haven’t really bonded even after a couple of years. Blah, blah, blah. So, I suggested that we do something together. I’m not sure if anyone thought that I would really find something (because I sometimes don’t follow through with stuff – because I’m flaky like that – and I really don’t like that about myself). Anyway….. I figured that we could volunteer our time at The Road Home (the homeless shelter in Salt Lake) during their once yearly big to-do: The Radio-Thon.

Basically, all of the radio stations owned by a particular local media mogul do a contest where the listeners pledge money and coats/toys/clothes. One radio station “wins,” but I’m not sure exactly what they win besides bragging rights. Well, because our awesome company provides a person for the board of directors of The Road Home, I figured that we should spend our time and efforts there. I got us set up to help on one of the donation days. It was a good day to donate because other people from our company were manning the phones at different hours of the morning. It was a good day for our company to represent!

We were stationed outside. Half of us (my half) were directing traffic, half of us were collecting coats and stuff from out of people’s trunks. One of us was the “bouncer,” who basically kept the “riff-raff” away from the radio broadcasters. There were, like, eight or nine stations just inside the lobby. Off track – how do they all talk and not be broadcast on each other’s stations?

How cute are we?

ANYWAY (gawd – one topic….. right?), my friends, B-Dub and Lish, were directing traffic with me. Of course, there were a lot of homeless people around; we were at homeless-central…. So, we noticed that there was a lady milling around a little flat-bed truck with a tarp over the top. This didn’t surprise me. I expected to see people holding on to their last possessions – like cars – because, well, why wouldn’t you? So, I wasn’t surprised by her. I was saddened, and I was grateful that it wasn’t me, but I wasn’t surprised.

So, the tarp was domed, so it was obviously pulled over something. Then, we noticed that something moved underneath the tarp. Ug. Someone else. Look. There is a tent under there. Someone slept there overnight. (We were chilled. It was cold!) So bummed that someone is sleeping in the bed of their truck! Seriously, this is hard! We decide not to completely stare at them, because that’s just rude. So, we turn our attention away because it’s the right thing to do.

A few minutes later, Lish says “Don’t look!”
Oh, come on. If there is not a more compelling phrase to make you look, it’s “don’t look.” So, what did I do? What could I do? So, I looked.

There, the woman was getting a boy dressed. Well, he got “dressed” in the tent, but she was helping him get his coat and scarf and gloves all on. It was just a glance, so I thought that he was about eight years old. A few minutes later, after dad got out of the tent, I saw him a bit closer.

He was five years old, maximum.
Seriously, he was the same age as my little people. He was tiny. He was cold. He was innocent.

I started to cry – well, teary eyed – I don’t cry in front of coworkers. But, oh! That poor little boy! I felt horrible. And I felt grateful. And I cried later in the day after I talked to my boys. And I hugged them close when I got home that night.

PS – note to volunteers: when you are offering your services to a place like this, drive your “clunker” car. When you drive your Lexus or your Mercedes or your Beemer, you look like you’re rubbing it in.


I don’t re-gift often. OK – once in a while – in an emergency – or when I have 50 of the same thing due to a certain in-(not)-law who has a shopping problem. But, really, I generally believe that people put thought and effort into finding a gift that is right for me because that is what I try to do for them. If I can’t find a good gift, I will make some food or buy them dinner; who doesn’t like food, right?

But, I must confess this (and only because the boys aren’t going to read this blog until they are grown-up): last night Bub and I set aside about ten gifts that they received for Christmas with the sole purpose of giving them again for their birthday. I don’t think of it as bad parenting but rather economical parenting. Good parenting, even, if you consider that they are only four years old and can’t possibly have the attention span necessary for EVERYTHING that they received. There was so much stuff that Bub and I didn’t even know what was there. There was stuff that she helped one of them open that I never saw, and stuff that I helped the other one open that she never saw. Cool stuff, yes, but seriously TOO MUCH. At one point, my dad said “I’ve never seen so many toys – and there were FIVE of you kids!”

The evidence:
After Santa visited, but before Papa and Nana got here, here are the presents - on BOTH SIDES OF THE ROOM. There was barely room to walk. They stretch from one end of each picture to the other end. They were in the corner, under the tree, by the piano, by the closet, in the recliner, on the table. It was insanity.

It was just overboard. Everything was overboard. Bub and I went out of our spending limit just a bit for the boys, but not by far. Granny and Grandpa went berserk, and then Uncle Norris sent (too much) money to be spent on the boys which Granny and Grandpa did happily. Santa, cousins, uncles, aunts, god-mother, neighbors. Papa and Nana seemed to keep a handle on it until we got the “experience” cards. This means that they bought two pre-loaded “gift” cards that are for the sole purpose of going out and doing stuff (like the aquarium, the zoo, the aviary, bowling, movies, Chuck-E-Ch**se-type settings).

The one thing that the boys didn’t get too much of was clothing which is GREAT (and surprising) because their closet is already stuffed (see above list people ready and waiting to spoil them).

The problem (besides that they will never play with this much stuff) is that a dangerous expectation is being set that Bub and I will have to meet, surpass, or readjust in coming years. Honestly, as long as Granny and Grandpa have a credit card and can drive (car or motorized old-people-scooter), there will be no point in trying to readjust.

So, we have started a stash for birthday presents six months from now. I don't care what anyone says.....

And, here is a picture of the spaz. Sadie's no Gus, but she's still a good dog.


Years ago (10? 12?), I was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease. The symptoms were extreme vertigo, nausea, and the “spins.” These episodes sometimes last for days, always at least one day. I can’t drive, sometimes I can’t walk, can’t even sit up in bed. Movement is horrible; prone is good – well, at least until I have to potty. It’s quite miserable. The worst part, however, was the knowledge that I would eventually lose the hearing in one, possibly both, ears.

The episodes were thought to be brought on by anything that was a vasoconstrictor, specifically alcohol, aspirin, salt, and caffeine. When diagnosed, I stopped drinking all caffeine immediately. I missed the occasional Diet Peps!, but didn’t really care about the coffee. (I drank it for the flavored creamer, anyway.) My diet was also immediately very low salt until my body would revolt, and I would go overboard on a bag of chips or something. (Your body just needs salt sometimes, you know?) I never get headaches, but I had been taking aspirin at the behest of my doctor to prevent colon polyps since my mom had died from colon cancer. As long as I didn’t get wasted, I could have a few beers here and there. My quality of life was fine (actually healthier), and I learned to control the circumstances that seemed to cause these episodes.

(Episodes, by the way, make me sound like a little old lady, don’t you think?)

Still, I would have three or four episodes each year. This is mild compared to other Meniere’s sufferers who have an episode every day for hours at a time. Gawd! These episodes seemed to be out of the blue, but if I thought hard enough, I could somehow link them to eating too much popcorn while watching a movie or sharing a bottle of champagne to celebrate a big event. But, still, they seemed random and strange.

At the urging of my doctor earlier this year, I finally made an appointment with an ENT to have my hearing level checked and just have a general re-assessment. I couldn’t remember who I saw the first time, so I just picked some ENT off of my provider list and made the appointment. As I talked to him about my symptoms, my episodes, my experiences, he would tilt his head or look puzzled and ask me more questions. Finally, we did a new baseline for my hearing test. Turns out my hearing is great. After ten+ years with Meniere’s, I should have some hearing loss in at least one ear, but not so. Then, they tested me for ear pressure. This turned a bit more interesting as one ear has a lot less pressure than the other. Then, they tested me for pET (patulous Eustachian Tube – or floppy ear drum). Ding, ding, ding!

My understanding of pET is that the Eustachian Tube(s) stay open instead of closing like normal people. Therefore, the person’s tube(s) can become dehydrated or an imbalance of pressure can occur. (This is actually more rare than Meniere’s.)

We won’t know for sure until my next episode, but it is likely that I was misdiagnosed all of those years ago. I don’t blame the doctor at the time because the symptoms are pretty much the same, but the cause is different. The problem with Meniere’s is constricted blood vessels. Like I said before, the problem with pET is dehydration or pressure imbalance. Oddly, the triggers are basically the same – alcohol, sodium, caffeine, (I’m unsure about aspirin) because they all dehydrate you. Of course, running long distances ('thon training!) also dehydrates you! This explains some of the unexplainable episodes! If I had been a good patient, my situation would have been re-evaluated years ago.

After my appointment, I went for a run. Sugarhouse Park was close by, and I had the rest of the afternoon off for my appointments anyway. (I saw my dermatologist, too.) I felt great during my run. It was all psychological, I’m sure, but I felt free. I was free from a deaf sentence (oh, that was clever…), and it felt great. I still need to watch my diet, and I can’t get dehydrated – that’s going to be hard as I train for a spring marathon, but….

So, the first half of my run was celebratory. Yay for me, right?!?! But, then quite UN-like me, I started thinking. If I had been misdiagnosed with Meniere’s all those years ago, what else have I been misdiagnosed with? I don’t mean physical ailments, because I’m pretty healthy (minus those 40 extra pounds that I’m carrying around). But, what have I done to myself? What have I done to others?

I’m a middle child, so I exhibit all of those behaviors. But, do I do that because I’ve told myself that I am that person or because I actually AM that person? I’m overweight, and I have no self control when it comes to sugar. But, really? Or is it just an excuse to be lazy and not have any accountability? (There – did I just "misdiagnose" myself aain – am I really lazy? – for Pete’s sake, I got my Masters while working full time, being a mommy, and training for a marathon.) How am I limiting my life, my self, my soul?

And others? Are they really who I have labeled them to be? Sometimes, people just make mistakes. Am I holding the mistake(s) over their heads and causing them to be “that” person in my eyes because I have “diagnosed” them that way? I am notorious for holding a grudge – and for what? – where is it getting me or them? – is it doing any good for me or them?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this in the past two weeks, and I think that this will be one of my goals for the new year. I want to re-evaluate my relationships with others and with myself and really try to see people (including myself) for who they are, not who I believe them to be. Maybe I will have been right all along, but maybe not. I owe it to them, and to myself, to find out.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

scared smokeless

So, Terrie, ten time cancer survivor, really freaks the boys out when she comes on TV. (Bless her! See her story here.)

Boys: Mommy, why does she talk so scary?
Bub: She had to have her voice voice box taken out.
Boys: Why?
Bub: Because she used to smoke, and smoking makes you sick. It's dangerous and yucky.

So, then Bub got sick, and lost her voice. Then, it started to come back, but it was gravelly - you know, like Terri's. So, I walked in the door after work at the height of her crummy week.

Meatball (incredibly worried look on his face): Mommy! Mommy!
Me: What?!?!
Meatball: Mommy Kel had her voice box cut out!!!

I thought he was going to have a full-blown panic attack! He's ok now. So is Bub.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Jensen Family Holiday Party, 2011

Like I mentioned before, Bub was far too sick to come to this party. The boys and I headed out at 9am, and after two hours of good music and making a huge mess with breakfast (muffins - what was I thinking - crumbs everywhere) we were in Mt. Pleasant and greeted by a practically empty parking lot. No biggie, I thought, because my cousins and siblings would be along shortly. Sadly, I was wrong. This was the most poorly attended family party of my entire life. In that way, it sucked.

START RANT: I'm a little irritated that more people didn't show up. My aunt goes through a lot of trouble to rent the hall, get Santa to come, and make goodie bags (out of her own pocket) for everyone. She was left with about 40 extra goodie bags, and I'm pretty sure that we didn't cover the cost of the hall. What makes it worse is that we voted as a family to continue having this party after my grandma died. Now, we're not showing up. Pissed. OK - END RANT.

We had a fun time regardless of the fact that so few people were there. I got to catch up with a bunch of cousins and squeeze the cheeks of a new baby (who has the cutest Charlie Brown head with the fattest cheeks of any baby I've seen in a long time). I spent a lot of time running from Peanut to Meatball and back again about 700 times. Would it kill them to like doing the same thing at the same time? Sheesh!

Here they are with my cousin R and his wife K making their own bouncy balls. Meatball was all over this. Totally fascinating. Peanut just happened to stop by to see what the fuss was about.

Most of the time, Peanut was on the stage playing trains. Thank goodness that my cousin's daughter (two years younger than the boys) wanted to play cars and trains, too.

After eating, the boys sang a song for Aunts C and D. They did a really good job. Then, wouldn't you know it? We heard jingle bells at the door! Both boys looked at me with the cutest, widest eyes in the world. "It's Santa!" they both declared.

Santa and Mrs. Clause walked down the hall, and Peanut went completely ape shit. "Santa! Santa! It's Santa!" and on and on. Meatball, on the other hand, looked right at me and said "Mom, that's NOT the same guy."

Yes - it's true. We saw Santa at the pharmacy and sat on his lap not a week earlier. Oh, crap.

Me: Oh, it's the same guy, honey. It's Santa!
Meatball: Mom. It's not the same guy. He looks different.
Me: Look! He brought Mrs. Clause!
Meatball (not falling for the distraction): Why is he different?

What is a mom to do?

So, Santa sat down and started pulling gifts out of his bag for the kids.
Peanut: Santa! It's Santa! Saaaannnntaaaaa!!!!!
Meatball just sits still.

Of course Santa pulls Meatball's present out first.
Mrs. Clause: [Meatball]! Where is [Meatball]?
Meatball (whispering): That's not the present I asked for, mom.
Me: Oh, the elves are probably still working on that, honey. Go see Santa!
Meatball (whispering): No.
Me (pushing him off of my lap): Just go see him.

Meatball approaches Santa very warily, completely eye-balling him the whole time. He looks at Santa (super suspiciously), then to Mrs. Clause, then to me, and back to Santa, up and down. He takes his place on Santa's lap.

Santa: Ho, ho, ho! How are you?
Meatball (through clenched teeth): Fine.
Santa: Have you been a good boy?
Meatball (teeth still clenched): Yes.
Peanut (whispering): Mom! Look! Look! Mom, mom, mom!
Santa: What would you like for Christmas?
Meatball just looked at me with a See-I-Told-You-It-Wasn't-The-Same-Guy look.
Peanut (whispering): It's Santa!!!
Meatball (low voice and clenched teeth): Pet Vet.
Santa (looking confused): What was that?
Meatball (still...): Pet Vet.
Santa just looked at me.
Peanut (whispering): Oooooo, it's Santa!
Me (loudly, for Santa's benefit): Oh, yeah. That Pet Vet is going to be fun!
Santa: Oh, yes! The elves are working on that right now! Now, to get this present, you have to be a good boy. Have you been a good boy for mommy and daddy?
Meatball is completely exasperated at this point and thinks that Santa is the dumbest human on the face of the earth.
Meatball: I don't have a daddy.
Santa (stunned): Uhhhhhh......
I wish I knew what Santa was thinking right then.
Peanut (whispering): I'm so excited!
Me (to Peanut): I know, honey. Me too!
Meatball: I have two moms.
Santa: __________ (silence, but at least he has closed his mouth by now)
Meatball: One mom is sick and at home. This mom (pointing to me) is not sick. This is my not sick mom.
(Gee, thanks. I'll alert the religious right.)
Santa looked at me for some guidance. I had none to give him.
Santa: OK - you be a good boy! Ho, ho, ho!
Peanut: Oh, I hope it's my turn! (It wasn't. It was Aiden's turn instead.)
Mrs. Clause: [Peanut]! Where's [Peanut]?
Peanut (practically rushing the Clause couple): It's me! It's me!
Santa: And, what do you want for Christmas?
Peanut: THOMAS! And Gordon and Lady and Diesel 10 and a wooden Percy and Iron 'Arry and Iron Bert, and blah-ditty-blah-ditty-blah on and on about trains.
Santa: ________ (silent because he couldn't get a word in edge-wise)

In the end, they were both happy with their little gifts, and they even sang Santa their song before he left the building. Then, afterwards, we took a walk around the buildings there and looked for reindeer tracks where Santa may have parked his sleigh. We found some. Well, they could have been dog tracks or ostrich tracks or elephant tracks, but I managed to find the deer hoof outline. (No matter that there were no SLEIGH tracks...)

And, now, gratuitous child/Santa pics:

I even sat on Santa's lap. (How else was I going to get my goodie bag? It had a rice krispie treat in it, for pete's sake!)
I asked for new running socks.
I hope that I get them since I only have two pair (unless you count the mis-matched pair that I have to wear once in a while...).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Here's one of my favorite parts of the valley that I grew up in: the view of the Horseshoe mountain. It's actually half of an ancient volcanic crater, and it's beautiful year round.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Growing up

Yesterday, we were driving to the annual Jensen family Christmas party. Bub was sick and couldn't come, so that meant that I got to listen to music that she doesn't really like! Bummer that she was missing the whole thing with a horrible sore throat and general achiness, but yay for 10,000 Maniacs!

Until "How You've Grown" came on. Here's the part of the lyrics that got me:
Every time we say goodbye
You're frozen in my mind
As the child that you never will be
You never will be again
This used to really get me when my (36-year-old-not-so) little brother was in the National Guard and stationed in Iraq.

But, I made the mistake of looking in the rear view and visor mirrors during this song to see these handsome little men:

Did I get all teary-eyed? Oh, for the love! It was practically a sob fest! My babies aren't babies anymore. They will never be this little again. They are going to go on and do wonderful things, sure, but mommy is going to miss these little guys. Bub and I already miss the true babies and the learning to walk and the learning to talk and needing help to swing and the frosting on the face birthdays and all of that.

Here is my view of me. Yes, I was at a stop sign and after the tears had subsided a bit. AND, since I had just taken surprise pictures of the boys, they somewhat knew what was up and kept saying "smile, mommy." Hence the (partial) reason for the wrinkles around my eyes. (OK, fine. I'm old.....)

Hugs and kisses to my little stinkers. No matter how big you get, I will always love you. ~Mommy

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dance your pants off!

I just found these pictures that were taken at Joe's Crab Sh*ck earlier this year. The boys thought that it was cool that all of the waiters started dancing at the same time (even though the waiters don't seem to like it all that much), and they decided to join in. Sadly, Peanut didn't do any breakdancing.....

Christmas movie night

A couple of nights ago, one of the cable stations was playing a grundle of the old claymation movies like Santa Clause is Coming to Town, The Year Without a Santa Clause, and etc. I try to limit the boys' TV viewing time because I know that they already get too much, but c'mon! How can I possibly turn them away from the classics?

The dogs were watching with us. Well, ok. The dogs were snoring. The boys thought that Sadie the Spaz needed to be wrapped up. Here she is with my "snuggly, cuddley blanket" and a heating pad. (Don't worry, it was only on her for about three minutes. After that, she had to get up and run around the house again for no apparent reason.)
Sadly, there are no pictures of Liz because she was hidden away in her favorite corner (probably shedding big black tufts of hair while sawing logs).

Bub was (and still is) sick, so she had gone to bed at about 6pm. No fun for Bub! :-(

But, here are the three of us having a good time. (Shockingly, neither had scratched or chased or pulled-the-shirt-collar-of or pushed or kicked the other for about 15 minutes at this point. Yay for claymation movies!)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

awake early

Five a.m. hit, and I was awake. I tried to go back to sleep, but it was no use since I get up 45 minutes earlier during the week. So, I thought I might go for a run; Spaz-dog (and my ass) could surely use it! I decided to wait a few minutes until I was, um, ready.

Not five minutes later, the Peanut was in the TV room with me. I swear, that kid can hear a pin drop. Or, maybe it was the brush that I dropped while combing my rats nest. Whatever.

So here I am - laying on the couch with a sleeping Peanut sprawled across my lap. Lizzy is snoring on the floor at my feet while Sadie takes up the other couch (which she's not supposed to be on). Meatball is in the big bed with Bub (who snored so loudly last night that it woke me several times - it sucks when she is sick). By this time, Meatball has tossed and turned himself around so many times that Bub will accuse him of literally walking on her.

This would be a great time for some self reflection, but I'm too shallow for that kind of nonsense. I'm watching Sex/City reruns instead.

And, now I'm hungry. Can't wake the prince, though.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Rainbow Tree

I was running yesterday morning, and I saw this tree in a store front window. It's hard to decipher it because of the window reflection, but it's funny nonetheless. I totally want this tree for our tacky, shag carpet, paneling basement!

Thanksgiving place settings

To keep the boys busy while the turkey was cooking, we made some place settings. CUTE!

Halloween dresses

Yes - dresses.
Peanut insisted on being Rapunzel, so we went to the thrift store and bought him this little pink number. Before I spiffed it up and added to it, he wanted to wear it. Well, then Meatball was bummed because he didn't have a fancy dress to wear, so I grabbed one of my sarongs and he cheered right up. How cute are my dressed up boys?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Where is the logic?

I am a logical person. I like things to make sense. I plan. I do not typically fly by the seat of my pants. I like logic. Today's examples of illogical behavior:

While reading an article about health: "it's ok to keep looking and getting second opinions.". Um, there is only ONE second opinion.

While waiting for my mammogram office to open (TMI?), I had to potty (again, TMI?). Manual flush toilets and faucet handles? Really? In a brand new hospital where we're trying to CONTROL the spread of disease? And it's not like the building is old. It's maybe 3 years old, so I know that the technology for motion sensor restroom appliances was around when the "old fashioned" stuff was installed. At least the paper towels were motion sensor. Sadly, they are 20 feet away from the faucet, so nobody is going to walk all the way back to turn off the running water.

Where is the logic, people?

Monday, December 5, 2011

A thought to remember and live by

This quote was published in our holiday newsletter at work and is attributed to the company's Chair of the Board:

"There is no more certain path to joy in life than a thankful heart." ~Carolyn Tanner Irish

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Bub was yammering on about making a tunnel for Peanut's train out of one of those big metal popcorn barrels.

Bubba: But - I would probably cut a finger off.
Me: Yes, you probably would.
Bubba (knowing full well that I'm right): Oh, ye of little faith.
Me: Come on. Have you seen your finger? (She cut half of her index finger off on a band saw 20 years ago.)
Peanut: I want to see your finger!
Bubba: OK. See this finger? I cut it off!
Peanut (in all seriousness and shaking his head): Oh, that's a shame!

Yes. We cracked up.

About my family

I don't mention my siblings very often - primarily because we don't do anything together. For some reason, for years I was under the illusion that we were a close family. After my mom died, I realized that we really weren't, aren't, and probably never will be. It's a shame because there are five remarkably different personalities that could create a raucous good time if we would only have our little pissing contest and move on.

I joke about them a lot. There is some truth to the jokes, but everything I say is from my perspective: a middle child who constantly aims to please but can't seem to ever get it quite right, the one who will never be quite good enough, the peace maker. I do love them all. I honestly do. But, collectively, we are a bunch of jackasses who can't seem to get out of our way to save ourselves.

The Conspiracy Theorist: The oldest - scarred by a young life in two dysfunctional families - nervous about anything that the government does (and I'm starting to agree with him in some aspects) - surprisingly stable - the BEST fisherman since my grandpa (from whom he learned how to get trout to practically jump into the boat) - the keeper of our childhood home - the one with the biggest heart - the one that never holds a grudge - the one that will be there, no matter what.

The Nutcase: She really is crazy - for years, I thought that she was certifiable, but now I realize that she is just incredibly independent (a survival technique) and doesn't really give two shits if you like her or not - she's crazy enough that she will retire ten years before the rest of us fools, and she is never home because she has too much to do/see/experience - she has a loud laugh, a wild sense of humor, and is always on the lookout for an adventure - she used to let things worry her and weigh her down, but now she just lets it all go (I'm actually kind of jealous!).

The Golden Child: He just seemed to be perfect as we were all growing up - the successful bull rider (yes, seriously, professional and everything!), funny, and popular (but not in a quarterback kind of way) - everything just seemed to fall into place for him (of his own making or just by luck, I may never know) - he's the one that got the majority of our dad's attention and affection, and it's very possible that we all still feel ripped off to this day (or maybe it's just me - yes, I have issues) - he used to be really easy going, but I've recently come to realize that he carries a grudge longer than anyone I've ever known - he's nostalgic and, surprisingly, he believes a bit in spirits.

The Bitch: That would be me - I am the quintessential middle child, and I'm far too realistic and responsible for my own good or for the other siblings' taste - I'm the one that gets to do things like work with the guy that created my mom's headstone, disburse her meager life insurance policy, notify all of her contacts about her death, etc. etc. etc - I will say what needs to be said unless it means confrontation with my dad or a sibling and then I dance around the subject or just take care of it on my own - I am blunt and can be a bit mean - I have a master's degree but still say "left" when I mean "right" - I don't express my love to people very often even though I always want to say it - when I get hurt, I carry a grudge - my relationships are difficult - I am often hard to be around(good gawd - is there a therapist out there?) - when I make a true friend, I am a friend forEVER.

The Angry One: As the baby of the family, I don't think that he's supposed to be angry, but he can certainly get that way - it's not a surprise that he and I get along pretty well - he really got the shaft when our parents divorced - we don't really talk about that, though - he's a former Marine and Army National Guardsman (I'm pretty proud of that) - I think that his tours of Kuwait and Okinawa were good for him, but his tour of Iraq really soured him on the inherent goodness of people because he has a hard time seeing that now - he's crafty and ingenious and can fix anything - he's a good dad - he, too, carries a grudge.

But, I love them all. I love spending what little time we have together because we almost always manage to laugh more than cry or fight. Sometimes their spouses really piss me off, but mine's no saint, either. I try to get us all in the same place at the same time at least once a year which shouldn't be hard since we're only separated by two hours of drive time, but it never works out. I don't think that we all really, truly want to be there. We haven't been together since 1999 - pathetic. I'll just keep trying.....