Sunday, March 19, 2017

It's not paranoia if they ARE watching you. And not even through the microwave.

My work station is in the corner of what used to be called "The Dining Room" - which is funny because we usually ate in the living room - and I have this nice sunny 3-pane bay window next to me. I keep the shades up to get the natural light, and my view is basically my van, some trees, a bit of the driveway, and a corner of my mom's house next door.

Also I'm like That Old Lady Neighbor who sits by the window and peeks out through lace curtains to see what you might be doing and keep track of your comings and goings.

Not really.
Well, kind of.
Accidentally.

Because I look up every time I hear a car in the driveway past my house (it's a horseshoe drive in our little 'compound') because what if it is the UPS or FedEX man and they need a signature and I have to put pants or a shirt on really quickly??
Also I can see part of 15th street outside and I know when the mailman comes.  Since a large part of my business involves the USPS, this is important information to have.

ANYWAY.

I have mentioned before that I can tell when I've been reading too many detective/espionage books in a row because I start checking for tails every time I leave the house.
I get suspicious if I see the 'same' vehicle too many times making the same turns & lane changes that I do.
SHUT UP I KNOW.
But hey, I've been trolling the "president's" twitter feed so YOU DON'T KNOW. IT COULD HAPPEN.

Anyway ANYWAY.

So I'm sitting in my little corner nook, working away, and the back of my neck was prickling.
Usually I put this down to peri-menopausal hot flashes but my head wasn't drenched in sweat so I knew that wasn't it.
I turned my head to the right and glanced over my shoulder...




AND HE WAS STARING RIGHT AT ME.
I mean I'd seen a hawk sitting on my mom's back fence a couple of times so I guess he lives in the area - which, I might add, is ripe with big fat squirrels for the pickin', surrounded as we are by trees and trees and trees.

I slooooowly turned my chair and tried to zoom in a little...


OMG YES I KNOW MY WINDOWS & SCREENS ARE FILTHY SHUT YOUR TALK HOLE.

I thought I'd creep over to the window that has no screen and get a better shot...


Y'all this guy is YUUUGE - I must've spooked him because right after I snapped this he flew toward my backyard and I swear his wingspan is as big as mine.  He landed on my patio rail so I was sneaking into my room because I'd have had a straight on clear shot out of my bedroom window but as soon as I brought the camera up he flew off again.

#PeepingTomhawk

I'm onto you now, mister.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Happy 22nd birthday! The age of no particular significance.



Every year before I revise and repost, I remember. I relive. And even if it's just for one shining day, these memories make everything else fall away: all the petty irritations and frustrations, the dislikes and grudgy feelings...all of the things that, in the long run of life, aren't worth the importance we place on them. 

It's been a long tough journey that has passed in the blink of an eye.


DUN DUN DUNNNNN! THE ANNUAL BIRTHDAY POST IS HERE. YOU WILL READ IT.



Seriously, 22? How is that even possible? Just yesterday they were like...13 -- and some days they still act like they are.

My teeny-weenie micro-preemie 1 lb babies. ONE. POUND. I know, right??






twins



THE DUE DATE: June 4th
THE BIRTH DATE: February 13th. Preemies for pre-valentine's day.
These children clearly get their lack of patience from me.  They were born at 24 weeks, or about 3 and 1/2 months early. They weighed just over 1 lb. each, and were about a foot long. I'm talkin' teeeeeny tiny. Micro-preemie, I think is what they are called now.

Anyway, this is my boy, at about a month old:



I woke up the morning of February 12th, headed for the bathroom, and after about 5 minutes I called out to the baby daddy, "Either I've lost all control of my body functions or my water broke".
I'll give you a hint - my functions were still under my control.
So natch we rushed to the hospital, where the stupid ass snot face condescending nurse (actually I love nurses in general, but this one? NOT SO MUCH) had me lay on a gurney for an hour and then said that I was fine, no fluid was "leaking" (I know, gross), and the pains in my back and belly were just muscles stretching, NOT CONTRACTIONS...and then she tried to send us home. 
Me being me, I caused a scene.
Hey, guess who ended up being right about me being in labor?

Here is my little girl, at about a month old:



The doctors tried to stop my labor for 24 hours, but apparently my kids were having none of that. On the 13th of February, my boy arrived in the usual way - of course, I was knocked out for the entire thing. My daughter was still safe and secure in her bedwomb -- the idea was to let her 'cook' a little longer (which would have been weird to have twins with different birthdays, right?).  So they were wheeling me into recovery when Miss Contrary's heart rate dropped to zero, and they did a SUPERFAST emergency C-Section to get her out. Evidently she didn't like being alone.
So it was like Twins Two Ways, with extra Mommy Staples.
This is also where I discovered my love of morphine. MMMMMMORPHINE.

Their ears were still folded down (WEIRD! I didn't even know ears did that until my kids were born. It was like puppy ears or something), and their lungs were not completely developed, and their little hearts were working overtime/doubletime.

They struggled for every single breath. They fought to live.

And so they did. And so they have.
Thank you, God.

Thank you for this little miracle....(my girl at about 2 months)

and this little miracle...(my boy at about 3 1/2 months)



The doctors gave them less than a 50% chance of survival.
Fortunately they got my stubborn genes as well as my temperamental ones, because my kids wouldn't listen to percentages; they went all HAN SOLO and were like NEVER TELL ME THE ODDS!

Their hearts were overworked, their lungs were and are covered in scar tissue, they are cursed with keloid scars as well as scars from perc lines and picc lines and a million little junkie scars on arms and feet from being pricked with lancets every hour. They have scarred veins, they had damaging bleeding in their brains, preventing brain growth. And yet...    

Becca's first day home from the hospital! Nearly 4 months old and not even 5 lbs. I still have this amazingly tiny dress - I swear it's barely bigger than Barbie size. Those booties she has on? The foot part is less than 2 inches long. Each twin came home attached to oxygen and an apnea monitor - whenever we all went anywhere together it looked as though we were leaving home for a month, so laden were we with electronic equipment, oxygen tanks, diaper bags, strollers...which is partly why I became the hermit I am today. #Lazy


Here they're about 7 or 8 months old, I think (did I ever mention that I am TERRIBLE about labeling pictures? Because I am). Clearly Becca was already trying to wear some sort of tiara:



One morning I discovered that my daughter knew how to climb into her brother's crib.



When Becca was about two, this is what "Go get ready for bed" meant:



Josh had the softest, wispiest hair so I let it grow and grow... until that time I gave him a buzz-cut and he's been sporting a Greg Brady WhiteBoy 'Fro ever since. Unless I cut it myself, in which case he looks sort of like he's got the mange. #TrueStory






Josh 2007

Becca 2007






There were middle-of-the-night phone calls with doctors on the other end of the line telling me that they didn't think THIS twin or THAT twin would make it through the night- so we'd rush to the hospital to sit and put our hands in the "baby terrarium", as I thought of them, and listen to the beeps and the whooshing of the ventilator and wait for the inevitable.
There were six months in the NICU and 3 or 4 Thanksgivings and Christmases spent in the hospital. For awhile I thought they were going to name a wing of the children's ward after us, or at least keep "our" room in reserve.

There was RSV and BPD and ROP and a bunch of other things with initials that I barely understood.
There was double hernia surgery and laser eye surgery and surgery to correct crossed eyes. 
There were staph infections and even a broken arm that was caused by changing my son's shirt whilst in the NICU - he of the tiny little brittle bones. There were breathing treatments and nebulizers and oxygen tanks and albuteral and lasix and digoxin and tegretol and synthroid and constantly changing medications and frequent seizures and paralyzing fear (well, that last thing was *me*).


I remember a tiny Becca setting her pacifier down in something that had spilled...she picked it up, took a suck, and said, "What the hell is all over this?!" It made me laugh so much that I couldn't even correct her.


I remember one single sentence of absolutely clear speech from Joshua in 21 years...he was sick and angry and yelled, "I WANT MY BOTTLE!"  It was astounding and amazing and thank goodness my mother witnessed it or I would have thought my ears were playing tricks on me.


TWENTY ONE
(or The One Where Joshua Gives Duckface)


This milestone is especially important for Joshua, as he has already outlived all early predictions of life-span. Though it's a little like living under the Sword of Damocles, we do not give in or give up. And despite the fact that they were and are so fragile health-wise, for the last 10-12 years I can count on one hand the number of times they've had to go to the doctor or hospital. 

And now HAPPY 22nd BIRTHDAY!
(YES, Winnie The Pooh is still on the walls. Joshua loves Pooh bear)


How could I not believe in miracles? When I look upon those miracles every day of my life.
I love you, my babies. I have been and will always be thankful for every breath that you take, every blink of your eyes, every morning that you wake. I love you with everything inside me.

You still make me laugh, you still make me cry, you still make me want to smack you upside your silly little heads.

If all the world was a beach, I would love you more than all the grains of sand added together. Times infinity.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Lost In Translation II

When I said: "Agree to disagree."
What I meant: "You are still SO VERY WRONG but I'm bored of you now."

When I said: "Have a blissful day!"
What I meant: "Ignorance is bliss and you are a ginormous ignorant assclam."

When I said: "I can't even!"
What I meant: "I'm fixin' to cut a bitch."

When I said: "Of COURSE it's not about you!"
What I meant: "Of COURSE it's about you!"

When I said: "I HATE EVERYONE."
What I meant: "I HATE EVERYONE."



If I made crayons, they would be named "Depression Blue" and "Hot Flash Red" and "Bitter Envy Green."



One thing Nicole and I discovered on our Haunted Road Trip Adventure is that NO TOWN is too small for Dollar General. No, srsly.





Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Haunting: A Very Very Very Very Long Mostly Pictorial Account of Adventures

The good news for some of you is this: there are many pictures and few words. That way you'll be sure to understand and follow along.
Kidding!
Probably.
Whatever.


I am ashamed to say that I am JUST NOW sharing the events from October!
My partner in ComicCon crime, Nicole, and I decided since the object of our stalking affection - one Mr. Bruce Campbell - had to cancel his Tulsa ComicCon appearance this year, that we would try something new for your (and our) entertainment.
Of course MY boyfriend James Marsters is still scheduled to appear, but WTF NO VIP ACCESS?? That means no special treatment, no first in line for a make out session photo, no first access to his panel where I could sit in the front row...I would've had to push, stab, maim, kill, fight my way through the whoreds hordes of women and JUST NOT ONLY NO BUT HELL NO BECAUSE PEOPLE.

Plus we were ready to try something new, as our rare weekend away is sacred to us.

So without further fanfare or ado, I give you...

NICOLE and SHANNON'S HAUNTED ADVENTURE. 
HALLOWEEN WEEKEND, 2016

Since it was Halloween weekend, and since we invariably end up in cemeteries even in the midst of conventions, we would visit 'abandoned ghost towns' and 'haunted locations' and graveyards.




As always, it's hard to tear myself away from my precious babies! Thank goodness it only happens once or twice a year.
BYE FELICIAS
It's okay my darlings, mummy will be back the day after tomorrow! Be strong, my little troopers! (Normally I would insert a picture of my leave-taking here, but I was in such a hurry to leave so sad to leave it was just unbearable, so you'll have to make do with this)





WE SO ORGANIZED! We had an official Binder and everything:



We carefully plotted and planned our route to maximize the experience - with options to change due to time constraints (oversleeping, short fall days, etc):


(OUR ACTUAL ROUTE):

We blame Siri. He rerouted us in some big circle three times through the same three towns, none of which were the towns we were looking for.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.
First stop: The Haunted Circus Ground (Gandini's Circus) in Edmond OK.  We drove up & down the same 2 miles of road about eleventy-five times before we saw the "hidden" entrance. We tried to park in an office complex a block away and sneak through the woods, but eventually were thwarted by a ravine. Luckily it only took us 3 hours or so to find our way back through the 100 feet of woods to the parking lot.

It's okay though, we found berries so we wouldn't starve:



This was probably some sort of burial mound, judging by the smell. We did not explore it thoroughly.

Safely back at the car, we decided we'd boldly pull into the driveway which would lead us to the haunted, abandoned circus ground. AND SUCCESS! Except for the No Trespassing signs everywhere and busy offices directly across the street that were prolly WATCHING OUR EVERY MOVE. Yes, I'm afraid we are cowardly ghost hunters and also somewhat paranoid.  We went to see what we could see whilst keeping the car in sight, since we din't have bail money for the car if it got towed.
First the crop circle.
And then the partial corner of a Circus barn.



We also found an awesome portal in the woods:


Which was apparently some sort of wormhole because we ended up possibly in London for a minute:



**Let me just take this opportunity to say that we should've called this trip MYTHBUSTERS, because most of the "uninhabited/mostly uninhabited ghost towns" were definitely HABITED. Even the houses that looked as though they should be abandoned, weren't. So if you want to visit ghost towns and you get your info from AbandonedOklahoma...yeah, no. They are way off base.

We didn't fully explore the few truly abandoned houses we found because either the weeds were head-high and hiding padlocked fences or because there were neighbors...who all had Trump/Pence signs in their yards so we decided discretion was the better part of valor. The Dueling Banjos we heard in the background really was the deciding factor.

Like this house in Bridgeport - we stopped for photos and THEN A DOG and MEAN OLD FIST-SHAKING LADY appeared! We hauled.


Some places took at least 4 u-turns because *RIIIIIGHT* where we needed to know where to go...there was NO SIGNAL and we lost Siri in a tiny little dead spot







. And sometimes we didn't even know if we'd made it to our actual destination or just happened upon some other abandoned place with no name.




TRIVIA: Our loud car singing convinced us that we should probably each start a band when we got home, and what we saw In The Wild inspired our band names. Nicole will be in The Exploding Skunks and I will have The Suicidal Butterflies.

We did find some great graffiti here and there - I think that guy thought we were stalking him. MAYBE WE WERE.








Lots of excellent graffiti on this "haunted bridge," where supposedly a spirit roams after she jumped to her death.
1. You *could* kill yourself jumping off this bridge, but I'd bet most people who try it would just end up considerably broken but alive.
2. They definitely have strong opinions and feelings for Harambe
3. Penis








No spirit encounters, unfortunately, although I *DID* try to capture an EVP.
Did not happen.  Also, it was cold and windy and 10 miles from a bathroom and I almost peed myself. #TRIVIA

Then we headed down south to the "haunted" Parallel Forest, which was pretty neat - it's a cedar forest and all the trees were originally planted exactly 6 feet apart. It's pretty still inside the forest but you can hear the wind whooshing through the tops of the trees, and they creak and groan as they sway in the wind, so I can imagine it would be pretty creepy around dusk.
There's allegedly a river flowing down in there somewhere with a flat "altar" rock where "satanic rituals have been performed, but we never saw it.
Probably because 10 minutes after we got there it was all PEOPLEY. With teenagers EW. and they were throwing rocks at trees. And by the entrance there was this whole photography setup thingy because some family was having their portraits done.
OMG. GO AWAY.



This guy was all I GROW WHERE I WANT. #MyFavorite


Also we didn't stay long because once again - you guessed it - no bathrooms for MILES.
**TRAVEL TIP: If you've had a couple-few kids and now you're getting old, wear Depends or something because you have to pee ALL THE TIME. #OldBladdersMakeExploringHard

We visited a few more little "abandoned"/not actually abandoned towns and took some quick photos, often under the suspicious gazes of neighbors.





And OF COURSE THERE WERE CEMETERIES!
They're really quite peaceful and lovely - truthfully some of the people we saw in the "ghost" towns were way more frightening than anything you could ever find in a graveyard.




My 18th birthday:

Is MARG STILL ALIVE?? Was she buried in the wrong place? WHERE IS THE FINAL DATE? WHERE IS MARGORIE?? #Mystery



From Sacred Heart Mission - in the segregated cemetery.






"Here lies an old Union Soldier." #RIP



Random abandoned place on some state highway near nowhere and somewhere else:


And they were SO SERIOUS about NO TRESPASSING! They will give you the boot, mister!


Then we went to cotton-pickin' LOVELAND, which was not at all what we thought :(


...except for the actual cotton pickin'. #BreakinTheLaw #rebels #RoadsideCottonPickin #NoBollWeevils

Okay so this right here was a town. No really. I wish I had a better picture but this was it. A big long building with like a diner/general store next to a fenced in "Weekly Auction" place. Apparently this was the place to be on a Saturday evening. It actually looks like a dead end until you notice the state highway shooting off to the side, nearly hidden until you circle the...circle.


AAAND of course some Fun With Googly Eyes at the hotel.

Jesus is watching you.

Booo! Time to head back home. I has a sad.



BUT JUST YOU WAIT UNTIL OUR SPRINGTIME ADVENTURE.
It's going to be EPIC.
Well, epic for us.
shut up.



If you're weird and want to see the rest of the (FAFILLION) photos I took on the trip, they're in a facebook album.