Friday, October 26, 2007

On My Own

The song "Here I Go Again" by Whitesnake is probably as cheezy of a song as you could pick for a "Life Soundrack." But if I were to sit down and figure out a soundtrack to my life, that song would pop up several times.

Every time I made a change in my life, I'd get in my car and turn on the radio and Whitesnake would be playing, "I've made up my mind, I ain't wasting no more time. So here I go again."

It seemed so routine. I felt like it was a sign from God to keep me strong. I know, "Sign from God? On the radio? Take it easy, crazy lady!" That's not the point.

I had it down. I knew when my time somewhere was up. When the tension builds between you and the friend you're staying with or you find a piece of paper in your boyfriend's wallet that says Hot Blond - 612-555-9008, you pretty much know you need to be moving on. I could have everything I owned - anywhere I was staying - in my trunk in under twenty minutes. Then I'd hop in to take off and that song would play. And for some reason, it always made me feel better, like everything was going to be okay. Whether I'd left a cheating boyfriend, lost a friend in an argument or had another blowout with my mom - I knew I would be okay. Even when I didn't have anywhere to go, I knew I would be okay.

I guess that's why being on my own never scared me much. I'd left home at 17 out of what I saw as a necessity. My life after that - for four years - was a whirlwind of safe havens, crack houses and mirages of home. I did what was necessary to take care of myself and never really saw a reason to be afraid. Covering myself with my clothes so I could sleep in the backseat of my car, sleeping on disgusting carpet - whatever it took, I had the strength to get through it. I just always felt like the two people I trusted the most - God and myself - were on top of everything.

So while I do suppose I owe Whitesnake a good amount of gratitude for helping me through all those crazy years of my youth, I have a message for them:

Dear Whitesnake,

You wrote the song that kept me strong through every bad boyfriend, ill-fated friendship, job loss and family fued of my young adult life. Could you please write one for me now? Something rockin' with good guitar riffs and a catchy chorus about working too much and needing a vacation?

Thanks! Love you!

Forever Your Fan,

Amy of the Butrfly Garden (My Official Title)


This post was written for Novemberance's October Writing Project and is cross-posted in my Cre8Buzz blog.


Monday, October 22, 2007


I was driving down my street, slowing to turn into my driveway when I saw a pink streak zoom across the road in front of me.

When Sunshine realized I was turning in, she scooted her bike out of the way and waved.

“Sorry.” She said through my car window while pulling off her bike helmet.

“Sorry for what?” I replied.

“For parking in your way.” She didn’t understand where my sharpness had come from.

“Oh, I see. I thought maybe you were apologizing for racing across the road on your bike without checking for cars.”

She put on her “Busted” face.

“We’ve talked about this. This is your last warning. The next time I see you do something dangerous like that, I will take your bike away. I would rather you not have a bike than me not have you.”

“Okay.” She said, sounding a bit defeated. I felt bad for yelling at her as soon as I got home.

“Are you coming in?” I asked.

“No, I’m going to ride my bike a little more.”

“Okay – you just make sure you’re CAREFUL. It only takes a second to look for cars. You’re not too busy for that!”

I went in the house and started on dinner. The Man was downstairs playing games with Ninja Boy.

Twenty minutes later, the spaghetti was nearly done and I called my boys up and asked NB to call for his sister.

“She’s not out there.” He said a few minutes later.

This was not the first time she’s been late coming home. It was not the first time we called for her and she had gone out of hearing range (usually inside a friends’ house). I walked down our sidewalk and called both directions for her, then went in to eat.

“Well, her dinner will just be cold, then.” I said, trying to cover my anxiety.

We all ate. Then started to clean up dinner. I couldn’t hide it anymore. I shut of the water and threw on a sweatshirt. “I’m going to walk to the end of the block.” I called as I ran out the door.

I walked up the block, then back down to the other end. I peered around the houses to check the back yards. I looked for her bike hiding by bushes. I called her name.

Stopping back at home, The Man informed me that her bike was there the whole time. She had switched to her scooter. So we both walked, again, up and down the block searching for a sign of her.

I walked down to the park that, even though it is out of her “play area” in the neighborhood, is not too far for her to get to. No luck there. I walked back through the field where some kids take their bikes to “jump.” That was when the feeling flooded my body. I had fought it off, disguised it as anger, pretended it wasn’t there. But there it was, full on and fierce: fear.

I have an absurd knack for envisioning the worst situation possible. Not just thinking, “Oh, I hope THIS didn’t happen.” No. Perhaps it is due to all the graphic images my mind has taken in over the years, but I SEE the worst happening. My ‘visions’ come more when I’m driving, but they are never as bad as when I’m looking for my child in a vacant field.

What if someone snatched her? Just pulled up and grabbed her? What could she do??

What if they didn’t TAKE her, but just harmed her and left her somewhere? How would we ever find her?

I tried to shut it off. “That didn’t happen. She’s fine. She. Is. Fine.” I muttered to myself repeatedly.

I went back home and told The Man I couldn’t find her. He got in the car to patrol the neighborhood. He could see my lips quivering and told me to wait at the house in case she called.

I looked at Ninja Boy with desperation in my eyes and asked him if he would be willing to go door to door to check for her. He obliged.

I walked calmly in the house, into the bathroom. I closed the door, then fell to my knees sobbing.

“Please, God. PLEASE. Bring my girl home okay.” I cried over and over.

My crying was interrupted by Ninja Boy, who burst through the garage door yelling, “HERE SHE COMES!!!!”

I thanked The Lord, wiped my face and ran outside.

Sunshine met me with a smile. “Oh, no!” I cried, “Where WERE you!?”

“At…my…friend’s house.” She said meekly.

“What friend?”

“Um. My friend right down there.”

“So…you went to someone’s house that YOU don’t even know their name…and you thought that would be okay!?? You didn’t think we would be worried!?”

She didn’t know what to say. She knew she had done wrong.

“I’m not even going to yell at you because Daddy is very mad and I know he will.”

She sat, sullen, at the kitchen table. I put her plate in front of her and kissed her on the head. “I was very scared, doll. VERY scared. I didn’t know where you were and I was scared and upset. I love you so much.”

She got her Daddy Lecture, choked down her cold spaghetti and went straight to bed.

When I tucked her in later, she told me she was sorry she had scared me and “I’ll never do that again!”

“That’s good, baby, because I don’t think I could handle worrying about you like that again.”

But I know – I have eleven more years before she’ll venture off on her own. Eleven years – mostly teenage – during which she is going to forget to call or be she’ll be late getting home. During which she will get a driver’s license and go on dates. Trips with friends, sleepovers, lock-ins, parties and The Yet to Be Determined. And then she’s going to leave me to be a grown up and I’ll have a whole new mess of reasons to worry about her.

I think I had better trade up for a stronger heart.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Because I really should get some work done...

You can entertain yourselves with this...

Or this! (Thanks, Judy!!!)

Aren't I GORGEOUS??? I love me in cartoon!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Green Children...They're not so bad.

Over on "The" network for bloggers, Cre8buzz, I learned about something I had to participate in from Cable Girl. It's called Blog Action Day.

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day
It didn't even take a second thought to know what I wanted to write about: Kids.
The efforts we take today will mean very little if we don't teach our children why we do the things we do. It's easy to get caught up in just getting our tasks done and not stop to explain the "why's" and "how's" of daily life to our kids. But we have to remember that once these guys are on their own, they become the consumers of America. They become the people buying products and throwing them away. It's our job to teach our children how to take care of themselves - but it is also our job to teach them to take care of the place they live.

Getting them involved doesn't always seem easy. I try to get the kids involved with making our family sustainable without shoving it down their throats. I don't want them to resent recycling or composting, I want them to embrace it as the way they live and will continue to live their whole lives.

Mainly, I've done this by making them the honoree compost taker-outers. While I realize this is not a very cool job, I do what I can to make it cool, like needing it done when they are grounded or need to be getting ready for bed. I'm still working on a way to make taking the garbage and recycling out fun.

There are more subtle ways to pass a green attitude to your kids. (Seriously, peeps, it isn't that hard. You know me. Impossibly easy. Impossibly easy lifestyle changes, that is!)

Some ways I do it:

~I've stopped saying "Throw it away" as a blanket statement and replaced it with "Recycle it." I would say , "Go throw this away," assuming they would know that I meant for them to recycle it. Could I really blame them when their school papers ended up in the garbage? When I make a clear direction for it, they pick up on it. Now they ask me ifsomething is recyclable.

~I ask them for ideas. When we have a container that is going to be recycled or thrown away, I ask if they can think of something else to use it for first. They don't always think of a use for it, but at least I know I'm getting those wheels turning.

~I talk to them. I point out things that are eco-friendly and things that are not. I explain why for both reasons. I know that they know that trash doesn't disappear when the garbage man comes.

~I don't buy them everything they ask for. In fact, I hardly ever do. We too often (and I was so guilty of this until a couple years ago!) make purchases that we don't even need. A little toy here and there never hurt anyone...but that insanely plastic-filled package it came in will. I also let them know why we make these decisions - so they can take that knowledge and ask for something with less packaging remember it the next time they ask for a toy.

~I don't let trash rest outside. Whether it's in my yard or at the park I always make a point to pick up trash I see on the ground. Long-time readers may already know this, but my Sunshine has become quite the complainer when it comes to litterers. When she sees garbage, she immediately picks it up and disgustedly says, "Why couldn't they just THROW IT AWAY!? Sheesh! I'll do it!"

~We bring up the Energy Hog. This creepy character was introduced to our family over the summer. He serves as a reminder of what we don't want to be. "Lights on? Let's not be an energy hog!" "Shower's a little long! Let's not be an energy hog!" Because the character was already introduced to them in a much cooler environment than home, they caught on to this pretty quickly.

These are just a few simple ways to introduce a greener life to your kids. Find what works for your family.
Change what you can. Work on what you can't. Be proud of the changes you make and the ideal you set.

If you'd like some more ideas on teaching green, check out this link from iVillage.
Also check out some more of the Blog Action Day participants at!

October 15th

In honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day, I wanted to share this poem I just got from Robyn Bear, founder of

Comments are off for now.

Tonight we light a candle for Isabella Grace.

And for all the other babies who left the world too soon.

"A Pair of Shoes"

I am wearing a pair of shoes.
They are ugly shoes.
Uncomfortable shoes.
I hate my shoes.
Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.
Yet, I continue to wear them.
I get funny looks wearing these shoes.
They are looks of sympathy.
I can tell in others eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.
They never talk about my shoes.
To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
I now realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes.
There are many pairs in this world.
Some woman are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them.
Some have learned how to walk in them so they don't hurt quite as much.
Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go by before they think about how much they hurt.
No woman deserves to wear these shoes.
Yet, because of these shoes I am a stronger woman.
These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.
They have made me who I am.
I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child.

~Author unknown

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


As much as I like to joke about the churches in my area labeling me a “sinner” and refusing to marry me because The Man and I have been living, well, in sin – It’s mostly a cover-up.

“Ooh, those Baptists!” I say as we drive by. “Too good to let sinners like us in their church!”

I stick my tongue out at the beautiful Swedish Lutheran church on the lake between my mom’s and my house. Because they never even bothered to answer me when I inquired about their “strongly request” statement.

And I do it all with a smile on my face. “Haha, just kidding!” I say.

But really – I’m not kidding. I’m angry with them. I’m angry that they took it upon themselves to judge me – not knowing a damn thing about me, except that I live with my fiancé. I’m angry that they made me feel like I was less of a person because of the life I’ve chosen.

I want to ask them, “What would make a better Christian? Someone who took on two children to raise as her own – with no legal binds, no monetary supplement, no promise of any future. Or someone who passed up that opportunity because doing so would require that I live with them and that just doesn’t fit what you call ‘God’s Plan.’”

I have fought the urge to call them up and ask just why they still felt that be so necessary. Why they feel the need to make ME feel like I am just trash.

I had the opportunity to say something Wednesday. See, someone from the office of the Swedish Lutheran church responded to my membership inquiry asking if someone had gotten back to me yet.

Some of you know that my tongue can be awfully sharp. I don’t always think about things before I say – or type (and send) – them.

I wrote what I felt and then edited it to make it a little more appropriate. I was polite and expressed my thanks for getting back to me.

But I left in one line that was not friendly, but also not spiteful like I tend to be – It was just honest.

I have started driving to my old church in _____ and plan to have the wedding there now. Location means nothing when acceptance is the real issue.

That was immediately returned with a rush of apologies.

I'm so sorry that you didn't receive a response to that inquiry. I have not heard that this church has a policy regarding living together before marriage, and doubt that would be an issue regarding your upcoming marriage. We (the church) are in the midst of a search for a pastor (Pastor M is our interim pastor) and expected to call a new pastor in October. Pastor M may have assumed he would not be the pastor who would be here when you plan to marry. I sincerely hope you will attend a service here. The members of this church are friendly and caring. Pastor M is a wonderful minister. Please let me know if I can help you in any way. And thanks for the quick response! Since I have your address, I will send you our October newsletter.

That was nice. It was nice that she reached out to me. It doesn’t give me back the night I spent crying in bed feeling like trash because yet another church deemed me ‘inappropriate.’ And it’s too late to change my plans now. But still, it helped me feel better.

Then, shortly after, I got an email from Pastor M. titled, “sorry for the misscommunication![sic]” Among his apologies for the “lost” email and an explanation of his interim duties was something that angered me again:

The only policies Spring Lake have concerning marriages are in the info I sent you. There is no policy concerning couples living together.

Because I am neurotic and save EVERYTHING, allow me to pull the fourth paragraph out of the file he is talking about…the one called “Wedding Policies:”

Our congregation prays that you will be happily married "as long as you both shall live." We hope that you treat each other as gifts from God. We also hope that you will hold off in some things until your marriage date. Our congregation strongly requests that couples refrain from living together and from fully expressing their God‑given gift of sexuality until that time. It is worth the wait!

Since he IS the interim Pastor, there is a good possibility that he didn’t write the policies. There is a good chance he’s never even really read them. And there is an even better chance that he never saw the email in the first place. I appreciate and accept the apologies. I will let it go and might even stop in for a service.

But I learned something through this misunderstanding. See, when the Baptists wouldn’t marry us, I wasn’t that upset (not until it became a pattern, anyway). The Man had told me they were a pretty strict bunch. But I was raised Lutheran and had never in my life been harshly judged by one. They not only left me feeling like trash for the decisions I’ve made – they left me questioning where I even belong as a Christian.

I once again found myself in the embrace of the United Church of Christ. The church that was there for my single mom when she needed them. Who provided an apartment for our family while they had people working on our house. The church that provided - with no fees - the pastor who baptized my daughter and then the sanctuary in which we held her funeral.

Even though the Lutherans weren’t being as judgemental as I had thought, I never even had to question it with the UCC church. It never even crossed my mind that I wouldn’t be welcome there.

It was kind of like home to me.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

From Behind The Stir-Ups...Your Worst Ob/*Gyn Stories

Hi, there! Look at you, all dolled up your paper gown! You look cold, dear. Why don’t you hop up on that table and I’ll get your blood pressure taken.

You seem nervous…everything okay?

What’s that? Bad experiences here at the OB/*GYN office, huh? We get a lot like you. A lot.

So many, in fact, we started to document it. Just look at them all (We're also documenting them at Brillig's place, don't forget to add your link there as well!):

From Behind The Stir-Ups...My Story

**UPDATED 11-20-07 - If you're a damn pervert looking for porn, look elsewhere you sick bastard. Thank you.**

The story that started this whole gynecological fest was about my old doctor, Dr. H. I thought it was only fair that I talk about him again.

When I got pregnant, it was a … surprise. I was at a time in my life where I was just starting to live a responsible life - working, taking care of a family. But I had yet to get myself on a regular schedule with my physical exams. And yes…even my gynecologist visit. I still went every year, it was just randomly done in response to my mom’s nagging. Usually because she wanted me to make appointments for both of us. So we could go together! (So, you’re starting to see how this whole experience has been for me, right?)

That led to me calling every professional clinic in the area of a certain suburb asking if they had a female doctor named Chris. Because that’s all I knew about ‘my‘ doctor.

So, back to me getting pregnant. I thought it was time I started seeing, you know, ONE doctor. Maybe learn his name, get to know him a bit. So I looked at the pictures on the internet and whittled down my selections.

“She looks like a beeee-otch!” (She did, like the bad lady in Austin Powers!)
“He looks too old.”
“Hey, Dr. H, huh? He looks like a nice guy. Good looking, but still too old for me. That’s my doctor.”

Turns out, that is NOT the best way to pick your doctor. Hmph.

Dr. H was a nice guy. And he was good looking but too old for me. But he was also very timid when it came to talking about my lady parts. I would like that in a regular guy, but not my gynecologist. After all, it IS his job.

When he did my b*reast exam, if I looked down, he looked away.

He stammered and blushed any time he had to say ‘b*reast’ or ‘v*agina.’ And, of course, anything associated with the br*east or v*agina.

And I mentioned before how chronically late he was, but just to document it again: Standard hour wait in the waiting room and half hour wait in the exam room. An hour and a half. Of just waiting.

But all these flaws were just minor things. Crap, it’s not like I’m marrying the guy, right? He’s just gotta keep an eye on my goods for almost a year.

That all changed the day he called me fat.

I must have been eight months along. I knew I was putting on weight. I may not have understood the way calories worked exactly, but I knew eating brownies, marshmallows and chocolate syrup on chocolate ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery wasn’t exactly keeping me slim. But, HELLO? I was PREGNANT! That’s what my family said! “Honey! You’re NOT fat - you’re PREGNANT!”

Yet here this man, who asked me about my sexual partners in a ‘round about way’ was flat out telling me, “You’re gaining weight too fast, you need to watch what you eat and start walking more.”

“Well, I TRY to walk, but it’s been a hundred degrees outside! That can’t be good for the baby!” I pleaded. How the hell could he be telling me to this??

“Then try walking at night.”

“At NIGHT? That’s not safe!”

“Sure it is.” He said smugly.

“Where do you live? Edina??? Because where I live, it is NOT safe for a hugely pregnant woman to go walking by herself late at night!” And it wasn’t.

I went home that night more pissed than I ever had been at a doctor. I had doctors tell me I was overweight before. (I lived with my grandparents for a while when I was younger. They liked to feed me.) But I had never had one do it with so much arrogance.

I kept him on as my obstetrician until the end of my pregnancy with my 6 week exam. But ONLY because I loved his nurse and she knew a lot about me.

But after the boob incident, that sucker was outta there.

VirtualSprite said of male ob/gyns, “My feeling, if you don't have the parts, you don't have an opinion.”

And I couldn’t agree more. My new doctor is a woman.

**Don't forget to throw your link in the post up top and then head over to Brillig's place to read hers and add your link there, too!**

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Come Out, Come Out, Whoever You Are!

The Great Mofo Delurk 2007
See that perty little button? Schmutzie says "Delurk, Mofos!" And I have to agree.

I understand lurking. I do it myself from time-to-time. Sometimes, you just don't have anything you'd like to add to the conversation. Or some other excuse.

But today is a special day for bloggers in which our lurkers come out and say "Hi! I'm _____. Not a psycho stalker!" And that makes us feel a little more secure in the fact that our "Returning Visitors" number is much higher than the number of comments we get. It lets us know that you're out there.

So, if you would kindly...DELURK! And we'll all be a little happier. Well, I will anyway. :D

(I'm talking to YOU, too, People Who Know Me In Real Life! Please! Let my e-friends know I really do know people in real life! Click "Comments" below...You can even do it anonymously and just sign your first name, okay? )


Monday, October 1, 2007

On High Expectations

I don’t think I ask for a lot.

Even when it comes to my wedding – something I’ve been secretly planning in my head for at least ten years – I don’t think I set really high expectations. At least not compared to a lot of the “Bridezilla” stories I’ve heard.

This is what I wanted:

We marry in a small, white country church near our house. All of our friends and family move on to the cocktail hour at the banquet hall while we take pictures out front by the steeple.

When we arrive to the beautifully (but simply!) decorated banquet hall, everyone greets us, then we move into the dining area where we feast on our moderately-priced dinners.

After dinner, The Man and I bust out our dance moves for the first dance, then everyone joins us on the large dance floor to groove to our DJ – my iPod (which I have, for no reason, named Sam).

After cake and dancing and night of fun, the adults are happily (but not overly) intoxicated and shuffle into the rented bus back to their hotel.

Simple, right? I don’t think that’s too much.

So how can one girl encounter so many problems with such a simple plan?

The only churches that resemble my vision met us with this response: “We expect couples to honor God's design and purpose for marriage by not living together before marriage.”

Hmm…would it be better if I went to live with my mom for a bit? Does the fact that we’ve already had a child play into this at all?

I thought I had found a loophole when one pastor wrote “we strongly request that couples refrain from living together…” and responded with “Strongly request? Does that mean you’ll accept us if we ARE?” To which I never received a reply.

We have found a church a little closer to the city. My old church, as a matter of fact. A Congregational church, where they only care that you love Jesus, not how you’re loving your mate. They don’t make me feel like a dirty whore. I like that in a church.

On to that banquet hall…the only places I’ve checked are golf courses. In my area, there is an abundance of golf courses. Some are very nice and some are a little run down. To avoid making visits to places I couldn’t afford, I got all their menus and policies from them via email or their websites and added up every amenity, gratuity, fee and tax I could think of. And realized that I can’t afford it. Any of them. Okay, maybe the one with the wood paneling, brown folding chairs and dance floor the size of a bathtub – but do I really want it there? No.

I have called off the wedding three times (only to people that know I will change my mind, of course) and have given up on the planning at least fifty times.

I would really like to get us some more time. After next year, we’ll have a little equity in our house that we could use. We’ll have another year of tax returns to put toward it. We’d have more TIME.

But then I’m met with “You can MAKE it special. It’s not about where you have it – it’s about you two getting married.” Which sounds nice and all, but it’s kind of a lot of bullshit. I don’t really want to spend $4,000 on the caterer to eat it in the basement of the VFW. I don’t really want my family to fly in from all over the country to eat KFC (which, judging from my disappearing money outlets, is going to be our caterer of choice). I’m secure in our relationship. Especially now that I have my ring. This wedding is supposed to be the “grandest party” we can throw to celebrate our choice to be together forever.

Is it really too much to ask that it be just a little bit like I’ve pictured it??