Monday, March 31, 2008

A review for a book that hit me where I live.

First, a confession: When Mother Talk offered "A Road Map To Holland" by Jennifer Graf Groneberg up for review, my first thought was "Aha! I want to be on this book tour - I'll be able to relate."

When the book arrived, however, I had misgivings. I wondered how it might affect me emotionally. Well, typically I like to be affected emotionally by the books that I read, but I worried that it might be a bit too much. But I'm generally pretty comfortable discussing the circumstances of my own children's premature birth, so I dove in.

And wept my way through the entire book.

Five days after the premature birth of the author's twins, one of them was diagnosed with Down Syndrome.
It plunged me right back there, thirteen years ago in the NICU...feeling the same fears and heavy guilt and grief and helplessness and the ever-present "It's NOT FAIR!".
Struggles with disrespectful and uncaring doctors and nurses, with friends who turn away, with the TELLING of the news...and the love and support from so many unexpected sources.

"I hate my weakness. I hate my fear. I hate my selfishness. I hate the NICU, and the cheery nurses in bright colorful caps. I hate the niceties, every 'Good morning!' and 'You look wonderful!' and the standard response to any question about the babies: 'They're doing great!' As if I can't see the state of affairs clearly, as if I'm a child that needs to be handled, or an imbecile."

I also spent some time angry at the author for some of her feelings, only underneath it wasn't really anger, it was shame - because some of those same thoughts could've come right out of my head. Like wanting to run away, or stick my head in the sand, or just...not deal with anything.

"Breathe, baby, breathe."
"Please, baby, please. Please, come back to me."

People ask, "Hoping for a girl or a boy?" and we reply, "Doesn't matter, as long as Baby is healthy!"
But what if Baby (or in my case - and the author's, BABIES) is NOT healthy? Does that mean you don't have to step up to the plate and parent? Is that a deal-breaker?
No, of course not.
If I'd have ever been pregnant again, my answer would've been "Doesn't matter, as long as Baby is alive."

"I haven't held the twins. I've barely even seen them."

Jennifer's twins were born several weeks early, by C-Section. It was difficult, having them whisked away to NICU immediately. No cuddling, no bonding, no shared happy tears. Only the vague nausea from the anesthesia, the sort of...emptiness and sadness, the feeling that something is off.

"While we were waiting, a nurse I had never seen before comes up to me. 'I wanted to tell you,' she says, 'that there's a waiting list for babies like yours. People waiting in line to adopt them.'"

Jennifer Graf Groneberg takes us through her spectrum of overwhelming emotions, being brutally honest about her reactions and thoughts. Courage is something she doesn't appear to lack, because it's hard to admit to some of those feelings. It's shameful to admit when you think of just running away, or consider (however briefly) letting someone more "qualified" have your baby.

Man, this is hard.

Jennifer brings you into her life, on the journey from birth to the NICU through the first couple of years...and it's a heartbreaking and beautiful story.

Whether you have children or not, whether they're disabled in some way or not, read this book.
At the very least, it will help promote understanding, especially if you're faced with a situation in which you don't know what to say or how to be a friend to someone with disabled children.
You'll thank me later, I promise.

"Emily Perl Kingsley is a mother of a son with Down syndrome. She's often asked to describe the others imagine how it would feel.
It's like this, she says: expecting a baby is like planning a fabulous trip. Everyone you know, including you, is planning to go to Italy. But after months of eager anticipation, you get the news that your arrangements have changed. You still go on a trip, but not to Italy. The place you're in isn't a bad place, it's just different. Slower-paced. Less flashy. Instead of Italy, you're in Holland. She continues the metaphor, allowing for the disappointment of missing out on Italy, like everyone else. But still, she says, once you get acclimated, you might find there is much that is good about Holland."

I live in "Holland" now, and there's no place I'd rather be.

Friday, March 21, 2008

It's finally Friday, thank the sweet baby Jesus.

9pm CST, 10pm EST, 7pm PST

(courtesy of Nicole and Miss Meliss)

It's like an audio edition of Tiger Beat, only with less pictures.
Can you handle the Cassidys? Leif? SPRINGFIELD?


The Mosh Pit will be open!

Hey baby, what's your sign? will be brought to you by Random Nicole!

Some of the cool kids will be there. Don't you want to hang out with us?

Dear Seattle,

Keep your stinking basketball team. Srsly. Shut up the bitching. Sure, I agree you deserve a nice new arena...but if the fans would've been more supportive BEFORE NOW, the move wouldn't be in question.
So suck it.

Love and kisses,

Dear Grant Hill,

You and the basketball you rode in on, pal. You just sound ignorant when you open your mouth.
FYI, it's only cold here like three months out of the year.
So you can suck it too.

And PS your friends Shaq & Charles Barkley can suck it as well. We have more than chickens here, we also have gay-bashing politicians, mullet-wearing rednecks, and judges who whack off whilst hearing cases on the bench. We've got plenty enough to be embarrassed about without you throwing poultry in the mix.

Love and kisses,

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Stuff you might miss if you don't follow me on

...because, you know, USED to I'd have a post drafted and every time I had one of my strange little thoughts, I'd just add it to the draft until I had enough to make one single post.
Stupid gets all of them in real-time.

I think I'd like for my obituary to start with: If you had my name in today's Dead Pool, CONGRATULATIONS! U R A WINNER!

Booze actually makes you smarter because it hunts and kills off the weak and dying brain cells, leaving the healthy ones to get stronger.

I wish I hadn't spent my booze money on dope.

Aaah, I still remember that sweet day when I discovered that "hors de combat" did NOT mean "hookers in a cat-fight".

I think I have an internet stalker.
I feel all Single White Plus-Size Female.

Okay, I forgot that my dad & stepmom had given me the gift of Triple A last year, so I got my car towed to the shop FOR FREE.

The even better news is that it's fixable. Expensive, but fixable.

Thanks again for all the support. I needed it.

That is all.
Have a day.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Words aren't always enough

You don't know it, but you people lift me up.

So, you know...thanks. And stuff.

I love you. Pass it on.

Monday, March 17, 2008

LOVE Bitching, but hate whining and complaining, however, I'm willing to make an exception.
There will be angst, whining, and self-pity in overabundance.

In fact, probably you should just stop reading and go listen to this instead. It's way better.
WAY better.

So I've spent the weekend being angry and upset about things which are totally out of my control. Yes, I know it's stupid to worry about things like that. Got it, thanks Mom.

My car died a little over a week ago.
For those of you who may not know, I'm poor (monetarily, that is, but rich in friendships). However, as much as I'd like it to be so, friendship doesn't pay for new wheels. :) I don't have savings, I don't have...well, much of anything beyond the basic necessities of life, but I'm not complaining about that at all. I'm luckier than so many other people to have what I do have. It's all good.

But then the car died.

I don't have a way to get to work. Last week I rode with my sister, because on alternate weeks my mom babysits my niece and my sister was here anyway. This week? I'm fucked.

My uncle's minivan was on loan to my mom for a bit, whilst mom was taking care of grandma after grandma's recent stroke.
So I sucked it up (I really REALLY hate asking anyone for favors. HATE. LOATHE. DO NOT LIKE AT ALL. Inherent fear of rejection) and called my uncle to ask if I could borrow the van this week (as he has another car that he uses - one person, two vehicles, okay) just to get back & forth to work.
He said, "No. *pause* Sorry."

Yeah, that's it. After a few awkward moments (in which I could tell he was scrambling for an excuse), he came up with "in fact, I was just getting ready to call your mom & tell her I needed the van back because I need to get it into the shop for a little work."

Me? "Oh, okay, thanks anyway, bye."
Then I cried like a little girl for awhile. And called him some names.

But I can't really be angry, it's not like he owes me a favor or anything, it's his van and he's got no obligation to loan it out. But MAN.
I shouldn't be surprised, really; this is the guy who bought lavish, expensive gifts for his best friends AND THEIR CHILDREN... but didn't buy either of his sisters a SINGLE THING for Christmas. Or his sisters' kids, for that matter, but I don't care anything about that. I was TOTALLY pissed that he didn't get my mom anything, especially when she quit her job & turned things upside down because SHE was the one elected to take care of grandma. When my uncle has, in fact, LIVED with my grandma since he's been going through his divorce.

But whatever. That's just my meanness talking, because my feelings are hurt since he turned down my request.

I know, I KNOW I'm being a big baby about it. I get that. Dealing with it.

And then there's the Sperm Donor.
There's a need for a good headstabbing if ever there was one.

The original plan was to either meet halfway between our houses (he's about 3 1/2 hours away) so he could take the kids overnight this weekend...or for me to take them all the way to Texas (which would've been okay, because I could've spent some awesome time with Nicole).

Well, obviously, with no car that wasn't going to happen.

So I'm chatting on the phone with Sperm Donor & tell him that we'll have to figure out some other way.
Then he does the thing that he ALWAYS DOES, which makes me so angry...goes into a litany of woes and money issues and whatthefuckever.

Starting, as always, with a dog.
See, he recently spent thousands of dollars in leukemia treatments for his dog. Sadly, after a brief remission, the dog died. :( I AM sorry about that.
Okay fine, whatever. Why he finds it necessary to tell me this stuff, I'll never ever know. I never said anything though.

THIS TIME it was, "Yeah, I caved, Shirley (wife) and Trevor (her son) decided we needed another dog. So we rescued one from the "kill shelter", and I just spent ANOTHER $150 on *blah blah blah blah*."

I blew up. "You can spend thousands on your pets, and meanwhile, your kids can't go to the doctor because we have no insurance. FUCKING NICE. Here, talk to your daughter, I can't deal with you right now."

You'd think he'd get a clue.
Next time I talk to him? "Okay, I guess I'll just come up there & stay in a hotel & spend the night & take the kids. It'll max out my credit cards, because I'll be staying at the Residence Inn and the pet deposit is nonrefundable. But it's cheaper to bring the dog than board him in a kennel. And I'm in the truck, so it'll probably take at least 3 tanks of gas to get there and back, that thing is a monster gas hog, and *blah blah blah blah blah*"

I mean really, what am I supposed to say to all that? And why does he stay at the MOST EXPENSIVE hotel in town? And it's 30 minutes away from here? There are nice, fairly new hotels five minutes away (I should know, I used to manage a couple of them), and they take pets.
And guess where his wife was this weekend? Vegas, with her sister.

Six months ago I had to hear all about how the truck he had was almost paid off, he was so happy about that, that was one less monthly payment.
Once it was done, he immediately traded it in and bought something new. And they'd just bought Shirley a new car six months before THAT, after they bought their new house.

I just do not get it.

I'm so angry.
I don't know what to do.

I KNOW. Pathetic and pitiful, innit? I TRIED TO TELL YOU. Blah.
I feel like such a GIANT ASS when I complain.
Go away. You don't want to be here right now.

Oh yeah, Happy St. Patrick's day.
May you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you're dead.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Okay, I'm the first to admit that I have very little knowledge about organic foods - the process that makes products "organic". So when Mom Central offered me the opportunity to review a product from Horizon Organic, well, of COURSE I jumped on it because I really, really, really really love to get free stuff hey, I'm here to do the dirty work for you and guinea pig myself. Because I love you that much. Really.

I did wonder how well the reduced fat milk would travel in the mail...AND I feared that my chemical-laden body would immediately reject anything "healthy", so I did what any good mother would do: I made my daughter try it first.
Just in case.
Don't worry, I made her smell it before she drank it.

It was sort of anti-climactic; she said it was good, tasted like milk. What do you do with that? So I had to try it myself with much the same reaction - it was tasty and fresh and didn't taste like 2% or reduced fat milk, which normally to me tastes like watered-down milk.
This tasted like whole milk, and it was as good as anything from our local "dairy" store, Braum's (and anyone local knows that Braum's has awesome, rich-tasting milk).

If you're a numbskull (like me) when it comes to organic stuff, here's a little info on the Horizon Organic Milk:
It helps support a healthy brain with DHA Omega-3, it's produced WITHOUT the use of antibiotics, added growth hormones, or pesticides, it's ultra-pasteurized and has vitamins A & D added.
One thing which seems to be important (yet made me giggle a little) is that they use holistic veterinary medicine on the cows. It just conjures visions (for ME, because I'm uneducated in this area) of a vet wearing crystals, burning incense and playing soothing music for the cows.

ANYWAY, anyway.

The process is healthier for the animals, healthier for the environment, and the milk is purchased from family farms that are transitioning to the Organic way.
Even the whole "making the products" is done with wind energy, reducing pollutants in the air.

See what kind of stuff you can learn from a single carton of milk? It's made me smarter ALREADY!! Also I noticed that if you use the Amazon grocery shopping service, they sell Horizon Organic dairy products.

Are you going organic? You should try this. PLUS ALSO! I have THREE COUPONS to give away to the FIRST THREE PEOPLE TO EMAIL ME, so that you can try a Horizon Organic product (milk, cheese, butter, whatever!) FOR FREE. FREE! WOO!

Feel free to leave a comment, but if you want a coupon, be one of the first three to email me.

BIG THANKS to Horizon Organic and Mom Central for hooking me up.

Got milk? Want some? HOLLA.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Self Promotion, because my middle name is Vanity

Plus I need the comfort of the ego-stroking, since my car died yesterday and we're waiting on the autopsy to be complete before we can bury it. *sob*

Can you believe it? Someone put an old post of mine on Digg; maybe you could digg it, baby.

I didn't campaign for votes last year...but what the hell, everyone else does it and I'm just a black sheep anyways:

VOTE FOR ME! I'm totally the UNDER underdog. Like the one at the very bottom of the dogpile.
I know some of 'em are a real stretch, but just do it, 'kay?

My site was nominated for Best Podcast!

My site was nominated for Hottest Mommy Blogger!

My site was nominated for Best Blog of All Time!

My site was nominated for Best Blog Design!

Yes, I totally voted for myself. But I voted for some of you guys, too, so it all works out.

9pm CST, 10pm EST, 7pm PST

Good covers, bad covers, covers you didn't know existed.


The Mosh Pit will be open!

Some of the cool kids will be there. Don't you want to hang out with them?

Last but not least:

Listen to the podcast of me on the air with Jeckles on Shitty Blog Radio -- at least, listen to it as soon as he gets it posted tonight.

That is all.
Have a day.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Games People Play In The Middle Of The Night

That's right boys and girls, it's that time of year here in OkieLand when the weather goes a little psychotic and you get to witness our finest citizens on the's redneck heaven.

There's something almost...sexually exciting...about the charged atmosphere during this time of year here in OkieLand. The weather makes my heart pound and my spirits soar. The black clouds that boil up almost out of nowhere ... driving down the road during a thunderstorm that makes you feel as though you're trapped in an overturned bowl of lightning ... seeing the dark clouds before you and slowly dimming sunshine in the rearview mirror--the contrast amazes me every single time. That spectacular quality of the light when a stray shaft of sunlight beams down with all the black, menacing clouds filling the sky all the way to the horizon and beyond as the backdrop ... it's surreal.

Tornado Season has arrived with a (BIG) bang, and you know what that means: time to stock up the liquor cabinet and settle in to watch hours of stormchaser footage and weather reports.


The Gary England Drinking Game

Originally posted April 27, 2006

I can sit for HOURS mesmerized by the changing screens of the Doppler radar and NORAD, hypnotized by the weatherman's voice, listening and watching and watching and listening.

There's something about the weathermen that make me feel safe and soothed...because they know JUST what is going to happen, JUST when and JUST where.
I love them with a deep and abiding passion.

I suddenly have a strong need to go hug a weather dude.

So, I stole this from Sleeping Mommy, and if you have ever lived in Oklahoma this game will make perfect sense to you.
Hell, if you've ever visited Oklahoma in the spring or summer, it will make perfect sense to you.

Have fun!

(I left SleepingMommy's comments in parentheses because they made me giggle)


*1. Everyone selects a storm chaser other than Val Castor.
(Monty sez: I choose Hank when I just want a little buzz. He doesn't get as much action)
(Val lives in Stillwater and Gary talks to him CONSTANTLY.)
Every time Gary talks to your storm chaser, you take one drink.
Take two drinks every time we see footage from your storm chaser.
Take four drinks if your storm chaser says "tornado on the ground!"

2. Everyone selects a county other than Pottawatomie County.
(Because we are always hearing about Pottawatomie County.)
Every time Gary mentions your county, you take one drink.
Take two drinks every time we see footage from your county.
Take four drinks if a tornado touches down in your county.

*One drink

*1. Take one drink every time Gary says the following:
Hook Echo | Updraft | Metro | Doppler radar | Wall cloud |Ranger 9 | Underground | Mobile home
2. When Gary gives a list of counties, take one drink for every county in the list.
(Oklahoma has 77 counties but somehow they all get mentioned at some point.)
3. Take one drink every time Gary interrupts a program.
Take one drink if Gary says "You’re not missing any of [program name]." (This is a major concern damnit!)
Take one drink when Gary says "We’ll keep you advised." (Like we had any doubt that you wouldn’t.)

*Two drinks

*1. Take two drinks every time Gary says the following:
Baseball-sized hail | Waterloo Road | Pottawatomie County | Deer Creek High School (How many times has that high school been hit anyway?!?)
2. Take two drinks every time Gary mentions the following towns:
Altus | Burns Flat | Dill City | Gotebo | Hydro | Lookeba | Meeker | Mulhall | Oktaha | Olustee | Shattuck | Slaughterville | Tryon | Vici |Waukomis | Wayne (or Payne) | Weleetka | Wetumkah (The only one that is even slightly big is Altus.)
3. Take two drinks every time Gary talks to Val Castor. (Now we are gonna get really drunk!)

*Three drinks

*1. Take three drinks if we see footage from Val Castor.
2. Take three drinks if we see footage from Pottawatomie County.
3. Take three drinks if Gary mentions the following:
Immediate tornado precautions | National Weather Service | Mesocyclone | Portable Radio | Take shelter | Tornado warning in effect until ...

*Four drinks

*1. Take four drinks if Ranger 9 must land to refuel. (Notice it doesn't say when it lands to take cover, we don't land our aircraft in a tornado around here, we fly AROUND them.)
2. Take four drinks if Gary issues his own tornado warning, not recognized by the NWS (He's a renegade that way) or says the following:
"Will someone please answer that phone?" (He takes this stuff seriously damn it, answer the phone.) or "Do you see the power flashes?"
3. Take four drinks if a shirt-less tornado victim is interviewed. (Redneck land, yo. There is a reason I get dressed and put on shoes when a storm is in the vicinity.)

*Finish your drink

*1. Finish your drink if someone uses the word tornado as a verb or if Gary mentions the cross streets nearest to you.
2. If Gary says "We’ve lost Val," pour a little out for your homies and finish your drink. (Poor Val…)

If THAT won't get you drunk, it can't be done.

Now I've got to go move all the crap that lives on top of my cellar door, which for some odd reason (although I'm grateful!) is set into the floor of my bedroom.