Sunday, March 22, 2015

Proof of Life.

I've been painting a lot lately.  Lots of scrubbing my arms to get various colors off and throwing on a sweater so my arms don't show.  Lucky it's been rainy and chilly.

My paint choices have been interesting to me.  Although, strangely, not to the people who see them.  I've had so many people say, "That is SO you."  That makes me happy.  I've begun choosing for me.  I'm not sure when I stopped, maybe before I got married, maybe when we bought the house, but there was definitely a time before we came to Texas that I starting choosing the "right" things, the "classy" things.  I only looked at the painted things, the gypsy princess things, for fun.

I like gypsy princess things.  There, I've said it.  I'm a 44 year old, comfortably plump, mother of 3 who adores all those wild colors and textures.  The feast for the eyes that is portrayed in the dusty, sultry, colorful chaos that is evidently going to be MY style.  But it's not just gypsy princess stuff, I love the cacophony of color that a pile of quilts can bring...not tasteful quilts (I mean those are pretty too)...but sumptuous quilts...jewel browns and greens...bright sunshine yellow...and I like them puffy.  And quilts usually aren' least not the ones I've made in the past.

As I paint, I'm discovering how much I like my hands.  Honestly, I've never really thought about my hands much...I mean, I unashamedly bite my nails and have since I was a this society that means we don't speak of them.  But I like them...I like washing a paint brush under water and watching the colors glide through my fingers and splatter on the's beautiful.  I like the feel of wet paint between my fingers or the slipperiness as I accidentally sink my finger into it on the unseen side of the piece I'm picking up.  The end of a project...all the colors on my fingers and hands and brush...feels like a tangible glimpse of history.

I like the medium that is paint.  It's messy and hard to remove from places it touches.  It's semi-permanent so it leaves it's mark.  I've known this about me for a long time, this joy in leaving a mark.  I have a plastic table cloth that I've used for projects since before my kids were born.  If those stains could speak, they would remember the laughter...the mess...that was my life...and my family's life in that snapshot of time.

I like the first coat of paint.  The one that you can still see through.  It's the first time the you decide whether you will love or hate the project.  If it's pretty good, you know that a second coat will just make it better...and if you hate it?  Well, why bother with the second coat? May as well pick a different color. 

I LOVE that paint is easily painted over.  It speaks to my inner Anne Shirley, "Hey look, a new day, no mistakes in it" nature.  There is very little that has ever been painted (speaking of walls and furniture NOT your beloved Dali) that can not just be painted again.  It's very forgiving that way.  Sand it down, slap on another coat.  And yet, the paint that was there never completely goes away, it's just covered over. I love that I can see that other people who painted lived here before me...I can see it with every outlet cover I remove to paint behind...the brown that used to be in the kitchen, the darker brown in the nook, the dark blue in the game room, the bright green in Monkey-Face's room. 

I love the second coat.  The one that WILL be there until you paint it again.  The brush strokes and finger prints that prove that on some Sunday afternoon you were there, listening to music, maybe dancing and singing a long, leaving your mark...your proof of life.

People don't often think of walls or painted furniture as art.  So often we look at a space and think, "Man, it is TIME to repaint," and I'm not denying that a fresh coat of paint does wonders for sprucing up a place or a piece.  But I'm starting to wonder about the hands that held the brush before me.  The layers before mine.  I'm at least the third layer of paint on my walls...probably the fourth, because it is clear to me that the paint went from bright to neutral before me, and I would bet just from the evidence left on the popcorn ceiling that there was a neutral before the bright.  So builder, home owner, painter (probably, or skilled friends of home owner, because that neutral layer was done far better than the one before it) and then me.  That's actually quite a few brush strokes.  Quite a few lives that have touched my house, if only in passing. I wonder what they were thinking when they painted.  I wonder what they are doing right now.  How has their life changed since they stood in my living room painting the walls that would become mine.  There is so much left to imagine in the layers. 

I think that may be what I love the most about paint...The history.

My life is full of layers.  It's full of memories and experiences that overlay one another.  Good follows bad, joy follows sorrow, an ever turning wheel that I can not and would not change.  My Bible, my journal and now my walls are full of my prayers.  When I close my eyes, I can see the moments, hear them, the layers of people that have built up like paint around my soul.  I'm thankful for them...those people who are part of who I am...those ones who have made a mark that will never wash off.  In so many ways, I am their proof of life...and they are mine.

See ya around...

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Just a little update...

I got the chance to talk to the people at Scottish Rite yesterday.

They said that the MRI shows an osteochondral lesion...go on kids, go look that up...basically it means that some of the cartilage that covers the femoral head is worn, probably because of the mis-shape of the bone, and because it's worn it's causing pain...just like old people arthritis. 

They want to do a Hip Dislocation Surgery...which is exactly what it sounds look at the femoral head to see if something can be done to cut into and reshape the femoral head.  Once it is a better shape they can smoosh the cartilage back on there so that it covers where all the pointy parts were so that everything is cushy and comfy again.

Okay, so maybe I'm paraphrasing a bit...

There are some big old answers to prayer if this is the surgery that they go with.  The anticipated recovery is much better than we had hoped.  Sounds like full crutches for 6 weeks and crutches for long distances and as needed for about 3 months...but then she should be good.  No wheel chair.  No walker.  I asked especially because she does NOT want to be in a wheel chair if possible, apparently the fascination has completely worn off on those modes of travel.

That's all the news that is news.  I only talked to the nurse, as her doctor is out of town, so we still aren't positive this is the final surgery.  We won't have another appointment until May 13th.  Beanie is a bit disappointed with the date being so late because it may mean that she will be unavailable to compete at the state level with her 4-H Food Challenge team at the beginning of June...but we will see.  It would be a disappointment for sure...but to get this over?  Oooh...that would be so good...

The Winning Dish - Poached Egg Surprise with Herb Crusted Onions

See ya around...

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

This, That, and an MRI

How to start.

Seriously, I've written at least six beginnings and accidentally dumped two started posts.

I suppose I should begin by saying that we went to Scottish Rite again yesterday to have an MRI on Beanie's right hip.  I should also say that at this moment we know absolutely nothing.

As I stare at this blank page, fingers poised over the keyboard, I find that I've forgotten what I've actually told you.  I think of the audience for the blog as different people than the audience/community that is Facebook.  I know that you are by and large the same people.  I find myself writing on the blog for different reasons.  I actually write here for my family mostly.  It's funny, in a way, I write for my grandmothers, both deceased, who did read it.  I know that for a long time I had a few friends that were just bloggy...I don't even know who I'm writing to anymore.  Maybe you all know this already.  I do know that I write HERE to find it again.  This is the closest thing to a memoir that I may have.


Have I told you that I'm divorced?  It's been two years and 5 months since anyone has called me a wife.  

Have I told you that Bean is almost 16 now and pestering me to let her drive MOST every time we leave the house?

Have I told you that Bear is an incredible just-turned-twelve-year-old who still cracks me up most of the time and who has become such a great hair stylist/make up artist that I have to check her before I plan to leave anywhere so that she doesn't LOOK like a 24 year old...because she's 12, darnnit?

Have I told you about my baby, Monkeyface?  Do you know that she is a fish tank owner and drawer of many things and is one of the best huggers on the entire planet?

 Have I told you that I have a ten month old gigantic puppy that I've named Teddy the Wicked?

Have I told you that we are happy most days?  Finally.

I don't know that it matters.  But for the record, y'know, maybe understanding my viewpoint today might help me (us) to understand where I am should you be reading only the Legg Perthes posts.

So over the last few months Bean has been having some increasing trouble with her right hip.  It started with a pretty awful locking incident when we were on a family trip to Arizona last July (2014).  Then the girls went to Colorado with their daddy in October of 2014 and Beanie had quite a few problems that she "dealt with herself" because she's a teenage girl who WON'T bother her father.  I wish she had because they hiked the WHOLE trip and she didn't tell him.  He would have chosen differently had he known.

Sometime around Christmas, it was getting too much for her to handle alone.

After I knew what she had been dealing with, I called, got an appointment for the standard visit, X-Rays, conversation with our doctor etc.  That was a couple of weeks ago.  At that visit, the bones looked about the same, meaning that more than likely something has changed with the soft tissue.  Perhaps a tear or some other damage. It is finally time to explore a surgical option to address the many issues of this hip.

I count March 7, 2007 as the beginning date of this disease for us.  There was some stuff before that, but March 7, 2007 was when we had a diagnosis of Legg Perthes in the left hip.  March 7, 2009 is when we had the diagnosis of Legg Perthes in the Right hip.  She did a photo shoot back then in the very same room that we were in yesterday...same baby doll, same little pretend MRI. 

Today is March 3, 2015...we are getting pretty close to 8 years of this.  This is only the second time since that first diagnosis that we've been in a position to consider surgery.  The first time we considered it was within the first few months of diagnosis.  It was terrifying back then.

Now, to a certain degree, it's about time.  Beanie at 15 is not the same person that Beanie at 7 was.  She has grown into an incredible young woman.  She always was, but chronic pain has shaped her differently than anyone that I have ever known.

Don't get me wrong, she's still a teenaged girl with all her silliness and crankiness.  She still argues about things that are pointless.

But she is calm, and ready, and unafraid (mostly).  Or, at the very least, knows how to stick her chin in the air and carry on...Oh, to be more like her.  Maybe when I grow up. ;)

The MRI was yucky...and okay.  They had to inject a contrast dye directly into the hip.  They also injected her hip with pain killer and then a further steroid that should kick in in a day or two.  BUT...the doctor (whose voice reminded both of us of Jane Lynch, so much so, I had to look at her face when she talked or I couldn't concentrate) told her that no matter how much pain reliever they give her, "bones don't like to be poked" and that it would be "uncomfortable".  Beanie said that was the only part that really hurt.

Leg Perthes kids are BEASTS when it comes to pain.  Seriously.  If SHE says it'd put the rest of us on the floor cryin like a little girl.  I don't want to know what "REALLY hurts" feels like.

The only other part that was hard was being still.  They were dealing with that Right hip, but she's also got that Left hip that doesn't like to be held completely still...and so that obnoxious thing, not to be ignored, "locked" up while she was laying there.  When she told the tech, the tech said that she couldn't move it without starting over.  Given the choice to move and begin again or be still...Beanie toughed it out. 

BEAST, I tell you.

So that's where we are this morning.  Waiting to see what's next.  I'm struggling to let her deal with it all as an almost-woman-growed while still feeling very much like a momma-bear.  I wish I could say that I was completely at peace with whatever may come...but let's be real, shall we? 

If you are praying, and I hope you are, pray that we get the "good" answer.  I don't know what that is, for me the one that causes the least pain and the quickest recovery...for her...she wants to be able to softball...ride a a "normal" the one that FIXES that stuff.  I'm not doing the research that I did originally.  I just don't have it in me.  Maybe I will once the options are all on the table, but for now, I'm riding the 8 year relationship we have with our doctor and the trust that my Lord, who has been with her from the very start, will lead us to the next place.  I'm trusting He will give her the stamina to survive the pain and recover...and that He will provide the strength for me to be able to support her physically should she be non-ambulatory.

I'll keep you posted.

There is no good place for this in this post, but Bean and I had some time to ourselves yesterday so we decided goofing off with a song that we've been playing with for awhile would pass the time.  Like I said, this is a remembering place...I want to be able to find it again, for me. 

See ya around...

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Dance with me, 2015

Brand new mistakes in it.

I can feel the pull to make resolutions that will fail in short order.  For instance, "I will lose weight," "I won't eat junk," or, y'know "I will keep a blog." ;)  I can feel these thoughts compete with the easy complacency that developed over 2014 and I realize that setting myself up to fail isn't in the cards today.

Peace...I can feel it now...peace that borders on boredom.  Peace that allows me to rest and sleep.  It's lovely after all the years of wishes so hard and impossible to bring about that every choice seemed like a diamond dug deep into solid stone.  Liquid peace is easier...easier on my chaotic mind...way WAY easier on my kids.

The reality is that I needed the space that 2014 provided.  That place of no judgement and no major responsibility so that I could see things that *I* might choose instead of picking from a list of other's choices that had been forced upon me.  I needed the quiet to allow my racing thoughts to calm so that I could see ANY choices at all.  2014 may not have been a barn burner for me...but it was a healer...and I walk away much better for it.

2015 is just another year.  Really.  It's calendar is already full of joys and sorrows, births and deaths, victories and defeats.  They are already written.  I mean seriously, look at your calendar, I've already got a car repair in 2015.  Those are all there.  And then there are those people who we've never met who will make an appearance in 2015 and never again leave us...and there are those people we've known all our lives who will say goodbye for the very last time.

It's just another year.

And yet, it's also another glorious chance to be me within it's convolutions.  Another chance to try to make my life all the things I've ever wanted it to be.  Another chance to follow paths and gifts that were set before me before I was born and discover who God is making me to be.

That is the joy, the zing, if you will, of any brand new year.  It's the smell of the new pages upon which to author you own life.  The crinkle as the journal opens...the smooth glide of the pen that we like to pretend is mostly controlled by our own hand.

It's pretense, that control we think we have.  One only needs to watch the news or leave three kids and a dog alone in a room for an hour with no supervision to realize that control is a brittle thing.  Still, for a moment in all of our beginnings, we like to imagine that we have it.

So let's dance, 2015, you and me.  I'll take my pen in my hand and shape you as best I can.  Praying the Lord will guide our steps, clumsy though they may be.

See ya around...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Excuses, Excuses!!!

Possibly there was a lapse in communication on the mother - toothfairy network.  Possibly, one of my children lost a tooth over 2 months ago and still hasn't been reimbursed...also, possibly another child got a tooth YANKED from her head almost a month ago and also has received no recompense.

See...I have this thing called a LIFE...and I can't find any quarters/dollars/five dollar bills...and yes, I know there is a change jar in my room, but it's like super way up high and kinda dusty, and who needs that kind of pressure anyway, really?


Possibly my children will come downstairs to find this note under the tooth cup this morning...possibly, I'm less crabby in my tooth fairy persona....errr...personas...


However, I do believe that the tooth fairies should seek out the services of a proofreader because CLEARLY the word "of" and the word "off" do not mean the same thing. 
See ya around...

Monday, August 18, 2014

In Which I Overthink Stuff...

I have three young just KNOW that we've sung the songs from "Frozen" a time or two.  Truth to tell, my favoritest one is "Do you Wanna Build a Snowman?"  It's totally me.  As in, that Ana character?  Me.

"Dontcha wanna play with me?"  I even do the lips-in-the-door thing.

Plus, I love all the different parodies that have been made of that song...including the many MANY created by my own children...

The thing is, THE song from Frozen is "Let it Go!" 

We also really like the musical "Wicked" over here.  My favorite song being "For Good" which I got to sing with Beanie a few years ago...looka her sweet lil 12 year old self...

While "For Good" is pretty well known, it's "Defying Gravity" that so often identifies the show to those who didn't necessarily see it.

Ah, Idina Menzel, you do know how to wail out a gorgeous girl power song.  And, to be fair, who doesn't love to wail a little?  It is why they are so popular.

That final shoulder flounce at the end of the words, "The cold never bothered me anyway" made us all roar just a little bit.  Own it, baby!!  Own that incredibly cool, freezy gift that you have that nobody "understands".

The phrase that sticks out in my head from "Defying Gravity" is also the last one, "And nobody in all of OZ, no wizard that there is or was, is ever gonna bring me down."  RAWR...again, we cheered at her strength and bravery in that moment.


In THAT moment, we cheered. 

Few of us really thought about the next moment.  The moment where she defied gravity right away from everything that she loved.  We were proud of her for standing up against lies...but she stood against lies and walked out into the next horrid phase, nearly losing Fiyero, walking away from Glinda, bearing the guilt of knowing that she'd damaged Boq to save him from her sister and he would never understand.

"Defying Gravity" may have been a girl power song...but it was a horribly sad choice that Elphaba was making.  So many people shout, "HELL YEAH!" at the end of it, without really thinking what it MEANT to her.  The real sound for the character had to be an agonized whisper, "what now?"

But "Let it Go!" is even worse.  At least Elphaba was standing up to an evil that would be conquered and she knew that people loved her even if she couldn't be with them.  Elsa was merely running away from the fear that was created by her parents.  People who SHOULD have embraced what she was and taught her, and everyone around her, how to deal with it.  Instead they heaped fear and loathing of herself upon her, isolated her from her very best friend and sister, and, it appears, any other grown up who could help her, and then DIED, leaving her the impossible task of not only healing herself from their abuse, but being responsible to Ana as her big sister AND running a country.  Gee thanks, Mom and Dad!!!

"Let it Go!" isn't about standing up for what is right, it's about isolating yourself from the millions of things that scare you MORE than your "worst" fear.  'Mom and Dad aren't around to keep my door locked and remind me to never share myself with anyone, never trust EVER, I know what I'll do, I'll build myself a big old frozen castle and hole up in it so I never have to worry about hurting anyone, especially me.'

But, it sure is pretty.  And Idina Menzel does have awesome voice.  Sadly, so many of us can relate to the story/lyrics that we hook on to them and shout them at the sky, like they are a good thing.

My poor kids.  They can't even just watch a MOVIE or sing a pretty SONG without Mom explaining the back story from an adult's perspective to make sure they don't like it tooooooo much.

See ya around...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Who's Bullying Who??

Disclaimer:  I haven't written in awhile.  I'm not in the mood for HTML. 
Love me anyway.

One other thing, my ex-husband has a side that he has not shared with
me.  This is one of those posts where you might think he was the worst person
but be wise enough to know that there are sides and while my side/experience
is absolutely valid, his side, the side you are not hearing, is equally valid.

Man, it's a beautiful morning here in North Texas.  I'm sitting out on my patio, the sun is coming up, Teddy, my puppy, is whiney-talking to the next door neighbor's dogs and they are whiney-talking back.

I started this post yesterday.  I'm glad I got held up, because it would have been a very different post yesterday.  Yesterday I read this...

Just a little story about some disgusting internet bullies who thought that it was A-O-Kay to criticize Robin William's little girl in the wake of his death.  REALLY?  The momma-bear in me took over and the writing was angry.

But things happened.  Life.  Laughter.  A great movie with a friend.  A great talk with my 15 year old.  A beautiful sunrise.

and this...

As I sit here in my favorite light of the day, I realize that there will always be a matter of fact there always HAVE been bullies.  Some of them will rip out your heart.

But I don't think it's the bullies that we need to be focusing on.  Follow me here.

See, I never really noticed bullies growing up.  Oh, sure, you don't move around as much as I did and always feel like you belong.  What I'm saying is that bullying didn't really take root and BOTHER me/change how I felt about myself until that bully was the one person that I needed to love me more than any other.

I believe I've established the fact that my parents are AWESOME.  Probably the awesomest parents that have ever lived on this planet.  If not, I would like my witnesses to stand up and corroborate the vast coolness of my parents, because there are PLENTY of people outside of my brother and I in this world who were made important and loved by Tim and Shari Perman.

And they raised me an AWESOME brother who loves me and is proud of me, FAR more than I deserve.

We had a saying in my family, when the world gets tough you stand back to back with your family and fight the world.  My family ALWAYS had my back.

From the teacher in first grade who sent me home crying because if my name was spelled with an "E", then it was CLEARLY a boy's name and I was CLEARLY NOT a boy.  (in case you were left wondering, Stacey...that's my name, don't wear it out...but please, spell it right, cuz my mom almost came to blows with my first grade teacher over it.)

To the little boy in my class who told me that my name was mother said, "Well, what's HIS name?"  "Mickey Stratanski"...she got quite a laugh over that one.  Still does.

To the boys in middle school or high school that would pick on me/throw me in the trash can/knock my books down...whatever...boys are stooooopppiiddd (which is not the same as stupid...boys are not stupid, to clarify) the girls who wouldn't talk to me because I didn't fit in their "group".

By the time high school rolled around, I was pretty comfortable in my own skin.  I'd moved too much to have any group except my family, and my role was pretty well-established as the darling youngest daughter in the best family ever.  Other people loved to join my family, and while that didn't make me "cool" in class, it still gave me a support system of people who believed me capable and funny.

So then I met and married my husband.  The man who would teach me that I was lazy, and fat, and had no fashion sense.  The one who would teach me that I was never going to be any good at sports. That I should never sing or laugh or sneeze because he hated the sound of my voice.  He didn't say these things all at once, but over the years, a little more every year, it became apparent that he hated every single thing about me.  I don't want to say that he was evil or even intentional in any of this.  He had his own demons that he was fighting and I was an easy target because I'd only ever really been loved.  Never mind that one of my personality traits, be it a flaw or a charm, is that I NEED attention from those people that I love.  That can be a hard responsibility.

In time, I didn't hear my dad's voice.  Or my brother's.  Or my favorite ex-boyfriend's.  (See, I didn't really care what the girls thought, weird, I know) I only heard his.  And I learned to hate myself.  And it was his voice that I heard condemning me.

It wasn't until my dad DIED that I could hear my dad say, "That's my girl, I'm so proud of you" again.  Maybe it was his death and my absolute obsession with everything about my father in the months following his death.  Maybe it was being surrounded by my family, so many of whom remembered him and reminded me of him.  I don't know for sure what fixed it in my head but that week of his funeral rang the death knell on me accepting that negative talk about my father's daughter and subsequently started the end of my marriage.

Interestingly enough, I've gone a long time STILL hearing my ex's negativity in my head.  When I wake in the middle of the night tearing myself apart, it is either the many things he said to me or my OWN voice taking up the hateful refrain.  "You are NOT good enough"..."You are lazy"..."You are a terrible housekeeper".  "Nobody cares, Stacey, JEEZ, Nobody cares."

Hold on now, before you go feeling sorry for me...please let us remember, I have not lived with my ex in over 2 years.  We actually have a pretty good relationship now.  He's kind and gentle with the girls.  He enjoys his life and I enjoy mine.  A few months AFTER the divorce he apologized for his mistakes and I forgave him, absolutely.

So who's doing the bullying here?

IT IS NOT my ex.  The man who broke up his family so that he wouldn't hurt us anymore and went on to try to get help so that he could climb out of the hole he'd fallen into during our marriage.  Honestly, leaving us turned out to be one of the most noble things that he did in our marriage.

My friends reading this are probably saying, "For crying out loud, Stacey, WE love you, WE tell you great things about you, why, ON EARTH, can you not hear OUR voices?"  Oh, how I wish that I knew.  I do know that it is pretty common.  I used to teach computer classes and we were evaluated at the end of every class.  There was an interesting phenomenon that occurred.  You might have 16 students, 15 of those students might have considered you a straight up 10...and one, might have given you 7s and 8s.  You know which one most of us focused on?  That's right, the low score.  I think it's arrogant to never consider that you might need to improve something and only believe your greatest fans.  But COME ON!  Many of us walk through this world only believing our greatest critics...BEING our greatest critics.

You wanna know who does the most damaging bullying?  We do.  To ourselves.  Sometimes we hear the bullying in other people's voices because that may be where the slur started, but every single time we repeat it to ourselves, WE ARE KILLING OURSELVES.  We are killing our potential for the day or the year or our life.  Every time we say those words in our heads that point out our weaknesses, we are forgetting our strengths. 

You know who does the SECOND most damage to our souls?  Those people that we love the most.  I avoided being too awfully bothered by bullying as a kid NOT because the bullies didn't exist, but because my parents and brother mattered more.  My parents were too much a part of every aspect of my life.  They were too ready to love and accept any friend of mine into our family exactly as they were, and build them up, too.  People joined my family because my parents didn't take no guff AND loved the stuffing out of you. PERIOD.  If you ate at our ate what mom served, happily.  And if you didn't, there was always some low level of joyful mocking.  And as much as she could dish it out, she could take it and laugh and make you feel smart for your humor.  Him too.  My daddy would tell us, when we were looking particularly lovely, that he might be drunk, but we were ugly and at least he'd be sober in the morning, with a twinkle in his eye that let us to know exactly how beautiful we were to him.

With that kind of adults in our lives...both mine and my could we believe any of the nonsense that the bullies threw? 

There will always be bullies.  Idiots who should know better.  People who are angry and believe that they are "helping" by saying the most hateful thing at the wrong moment.  Sophomoric fools who think it's funny to tear people down.  Trolls.

What we need is the kind of insulation that my parents provided with their love and acceptance to my whole community of kids.  Because with that kind of insulation, eventually you can HEAR the foolishness in the unkindness.  Because it is foolishness.

Stop looking at the the insulation. 

See ya around...