Saturday, January 29, 2011

La Solidarité

For the times when we have all been there...
(I just ran across this.  Liked it.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Forced Appeal?

My Papa would want me to be happy.
So today I woke up, thought to myself, I am gonna put on a headband, some hazel eye-hightening eye liner, and a hand-made button brooch.
And I did.
Then I talked to my mom.
Then I got sad.
Then I drove to work and got to school feeling sorry for myself.
But then all the kids told me I looked cute.
And then Mr. Sisk hugged me.
So, then I said to myself: "Papa would still want me to be happy."
Then I forgot about myself.
Then I got sad.
Then I realized how selfish I must be.
Then I remembered my well-being.
And so then I started to find things that would make me smile. Well, actually some things just started falling into place.

*(In chronological order for the most part)*:
One of my 9B basketball boys, who is super cool, who I've know for 3 years, and who teases me all the time because I guess I am one of those teachers of his with whom he can connect, tried to call me out on being racist (he was joking of course, and we both knew this).
I think that he was trying to get a rise out of me. He knew that I had been upset.
He said: "Can I get a high-five cuz I've done my homework lately?"
I was on the out, about to go to the copy machine to get some papers to give to them, so I looked at him, gave a smirk, and said: "Hmmmm, maybe later...", just to mess with him. He knew I was messing with him.
Anyway, he goes: "Why, is it cuz I'm half black?!"
It was hilarious. I'm just like: "Why do you have to bring up being black?! That's racist!!"
Then it was over, and he had made me laugh, and he laughed, and the whole class laughed, and I gave him a high five like 20 minutes later out-of-the-blue.
I had given my 9A Speech class an assignment: "Lord of the Flies Talk Show". They had to have select characters, a rubric, get in a group and act out an Oprah-esque talk show.
Well, I have this genius kid who worked on his own, and he made a green/split-screen video (that he showed to the class today) where he actually acted all of the different roles by himself.
It was clever and HILARIOUS. The kids thought it was so funny at how hard I laughed.
Then I got a text from a friend after I told him that my parents were driving home to AR: "Are you going to have a family pow wow when they get back?" It made me smile.
I should make feather headbands and bring kettle corn ;-) It'd make my mom smile ;-)
Then I got a text from another friend. I told her that randomly "What Sarah Said" came on my Pandora. She said: "Ow wow, that is almost too creepy. Like, 'Hey Papa DJ of Pandora in the next life, thanks for sending me a shout out.'" That made me smile. My Papa would do that.
Then I saw how pregnant Jen is lately, and it made me smile
Then I was "spacing" through my Google Readers, and I saw several things that I'm gonna share with you. 
Abstract quilt!!

It's a tree branch!!
Then I remembered a video that always makes me happy: 

My brother has a new puppy named Lance. I love it without ever having met it, and I get to meet it tomorrow and he told me that I can make it a crocheted collar!!!
I'm stoked. I will be crocheting that on the way down to the Bethel Cemetery near Castor, LA on Wednesday. He also told me it was okay if I "carried it around like it's my friggin' baby...toting it around and letting it lick me all day."
My brother loves me. I think this new Weimaraner puppy (which he got Sunday) will love me more than him ;-)

I have this sweet, sweet 6th grade student, who had given me this last week, and I found it again on my desk. She picked the right day to be EVEN sweeter, and she doesn't even know it ;-)
I also have another 6th grader who made a Lego watch! I promptly asked him to take it off so I could have my photo ;-)
I took a photo of my button brooch.

And this is me currently.
And this is me currently for the next few moments: 

I want to thank you all for keeping me and my family in your thoughts and prayers. 
I know it'd 'uh been hard without you-especially you and you and you. 
Merci mille fois,

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Waiting. Unfinished Business?

There was a lot of this going on today.
And a lot of this.

What is going on!!? LOOK UP! It doesn't have to look so dark!   

Yes, keep looking. It'll get lighter.

Riddle me this:
12 years on an oxygen mask. 12 years dependent. 
12 PM 1-22-2011 take off ventilator.
11 AM 1-23-2011 still breathing on his own. 
That's almost 24 hours.
No sense at all. 
There are some things in life that we will never understand until...
Such as: 
*What is he waiting on?
*How is he breathing?
*Why are we having to go through this?
*Does he want to go out with a bang? Stubborn as ever...?

You can't answer me this.
This is torture.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Older Chests

The Dreaded, Joyful Exit

Today my mom got a most dreaded phone call that no one should receive:
"Your father is not doing well; he's gotten worse. We don't anticipate that he will survive through the night."
My Papa not only has emphysema, COPD, a ventilator, a feeding tube, and pneumonia, he is now carrying VRE
Family members have to guard themselves against this latest illness when going in to see him.
Also, the lining around his lungs has inflated, which has caused the rest of his body to take on air, causing him to look bloated.
My mom was planning on going today to OKC to be with him, and then the weather hit, and she was not able to. She wants to go tomorrow. 
It is dreadful that we all have to go through this, especially my mom and my Papa's wife, Jo. 
When I was in OKC last week with mom, we had to walk away from Papa, after having to say goodbye to him, knowing with a heavy burden that we may never get to see nor talk to him again.
I have only once seen my mom so small and that was when my Nana passed away when I was 9. 
I don't like the memory at all. Either of them. I think, no, I know, this time is worse since I am so much older and mature. I never want to see my mom that small again. Ever. I never want my mom to crumble up like that again.
That is what is dreadful for me. The memory of seeing my mom like that and seeing my Papa propped up and poked on in the hospital. 
That is what is going to haunt me. 
I can talk about my Papa. I can talk about my Nana. My mom and I can talk about them. I think that is where the joy lies-in the good memories and the love that we give them through talking about them.
I also think that the joy lies in knowing that Papa is not going to have to go through the hospital stays any more, and that we are not going to have to see it...I'm glad that we'll be able to talk about it. 
I guess that's a joyful thing. 
I feel selfish because I'm writing this post about the people who are not "suffering" instead of writing it all about my Papa, who is suffering. 
But we are all suffering in mental health. 
I think that I am ready and starting to be at peace with several exits
I am ready to deal with my Papa's passing. I am ready to be there for my mom and Jo in my Papa's passing. I am ready to be joyful that he is not suffering anymore. I am ready to be joyful that we don't have to see him suffering anymore. 
The aftermath will be hard, yes, but at least I know that I will not dread thinking about the good stuff. And hopefully the good memories will slowly erase some scar tissue.
Please be with my family and I, if in at least you send us kind thoughts. 
Please be with my mom as she will undoubtedly travel tomorrow. 
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Girl from up There

Now, this is the story all about how
my life got flipped-turned upside down, 
and I'd like to take a minute
just sit right there
I'll tell you how I became the friend of a girl from up there.

In east Wisconsin born and raised
eating cheese curds is how she spent most of her days
chillin' out maxin' relaxin' all cool
and thinkin' up magic, followin' every rule.
When a couple of songs,
which were sang oh so well,
started peakin' her interest, started ringin' her bell.
She heard one little show tune, bought a ukulele-
set off to create a beautiful world fo' us to see.

I met this (now) woman in an odd, odd way
Came up, told me she wanna be my friend one day.
I said, "Uh, I was thinkin' the very same thing"! -Click!
From that day on, she and I was in this tight friendship.

Faith Laska: yo, you is rad
crafting with you is like: "WHAT!"-so glad.
Is this when life must bring some light?
Knowing you as a friend? ..must be alright!

Intermission ('cuz this song is getting ridiculously corny! And Kermit can't possible make this more ridiculous! Can he!?):

(I cut the song here for you all.) (You're welcome!)
(And last verse!)

Yo, we take what we given,
we say "screw it" and spit back.
Tell me yo' problems and Imma nurse yo' slack.
Lean on my yes's and I'll give no no's.
We gonna hold each other up--emotional car jack.

(Now go back and re-read this and imagine me playing basketball with some sagging basketball shorts and a backwards cap on.)
(I just shot a 3-pt and made it.)

La fin.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Forget-Remember-Begin to Hope

I've made things...after I got rid of things.
I got rid of all of my plastic CD cases and opted to create CD jacket sleeves.
I used to make these quite often, back in the France days, and now that I've picked it back up, I have a whole alphabetical collection for ALL of my CD's.
They are all stocked in two cute organizational boxes on the bottom of the Neon's floorboard.
Cardstock, magazine clippings, CD album art, alphabet stickers, and packaging tape

Et voil√†.
Also tonight, at the Rice Street "December House", Thomas, Faith, Brad and I all had a "Create-your-own-Pizza" Pizza Party. Twas fun ;-)
Over a period of a few days there was much debate on what pizza I would be creating, I finally remembered that there was no debate at all. 
I was to make lahmacun. And that is just what I did. 
I first learned how to make it in my Turkish Cooking classes. 
It's funny how you forget and then miraculously just, well, remember ;-)

Lahmacun sans the dressings
Anyway, I sadly didn't get photos of all the pizzas, but here are a few: 
Brad's pizza

Oh, and before I forget (because I remembered!), I bought a ring off of Etsy
Fabric button with wire
I like it a lot. 
I broke it this morning. 
That's okay cuz the only reason I bought it was to mimic it. 
I'm going to start making wire jewelry again...something that I've been meaning to remember to get back to recently. 
Begin to Hope. I've remembered some things. CD sleeves, lahmacun, and wire jewelry.

Thank God for Regina.
Laters gators-Jess

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I am neither here nor there.
She is neither here nor there.
He is neither here nor there.
This song helps.
It helps with the memory and the inevitable recurrence of elevators, spit, urine, tubes, ventilators, tears, doctors, nurses, documents, wills, hallways, waiting rooms, quiet, needles, curtains, beeps, etc.
A will...
The will...
Some will...
The Joneses and the Brooks are all suspended at the moment.
I pray that we will all be able to keep our senses to keep on going.
  • " faithful until death, and I will give thee a crown of life." [Revelations 2:10]
  • "This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life." [Psalm 119:50]
  • "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." [Romans 8:18]

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day Squared

Quaker House

Inches printed
I wonder how many inches we got. By my calculations, I'd say half a ruler. But I'm not the greatest of measurers ;-)

Tomorrow there is still no school, and unless these side streets and hills start clearing, I'm gonna have to "scrapper le windshield" just to get to work, not to mention dig out of my house, car, and street lol!
Time will tell, I suppose.
The snow sure is pretty though ;-) A real snowfall in Arkansas-who'd 'uh thought?!

Thomas trampled through the snow this morning, pounding on my door, waking me from my slumber. We made Paula Deen's "Creamy Macaroni and Cheese", watched "The Mummy", took naps, and I finished crocheting a blanket.
Ah the laziness of snow days ;-)

"And finally Winter, with its bitin', whinin' wind, and all the land will be mantled with snow." -Roy Bean
Have a good one-

Starting new. Or trying to.

Starting new. Or trying to. 
Happy New Year 2011 ;-)

I start with a fresh coat of snow, a blanket of white covering everything in sight.
This photo was taken at around 8:00 pm. No doubt, it is thicker now ;-)

I now turn these winking smile emoticons into something that I probably don't want to divulge, but will, since I am writing and sitting down to open this vein.

I continue with a poem that I think defines how I am feeling at the moment. Emphasis on every word of the poem, as it is the rawness of my sorrow.
My mom's father, my Papa, is very ill. It is unlike the other times when he has been in the hospital. He's cheated death so many times. 9 lives and going strong.
But this time is different, and I see it in him, in my mom, in my dad, in me.
Times are rough at the moment.


No people are uninteresting.
Their fate is like the chronicle of planets. 

Nothing in them is not particular,
and planet is dissimilar from planet.

And if a man lived in obscurity
making his friends in that obscurity
obscurity is not uninteresting. 

To each his world is private
and in that world one excellent minute. 
And in that world one tragic minute
These are private. 

In any man who dies there dies with him
his first snow and kiss and fight
it goes with him. 

There are left books and bridges 
and painted canvas and machinery
Whose fate is to survive. 

But what has gone is also not nothing: 
by the rule of the game something has gone.

Not people die but worlds die in them. 
Whom we knew as faulty, the earth's creatures
Of whom, essentially, what did we know? 

Brother of a brother? Friend of friends?
Lover of lovers?

We who knew our father
in everything, in nothing. 

They perish. They cannot be brought back. 
The secret worlds are not regenerated. 

And every time again and again
I make my lament against destruction. 

-Yevgeny Yevtushenko 

Pre-Eulogy? Perhaps. Pre-Eulogy by many years? We'll see.
I'm really struck by the words: "In any man who dies there dies with him/his first snow and kiss and fight/it goes with him."
For my Papa, I'm sure this stands true, as it does with all men and women who withstand so many years. I wonder what he's thinking about. I wonder what memories don't matter at his point in life. I wonder how trivial many of our memories must really be.
I wonder how many I'll withstand.
I think about these things in the hour of my mortality.

Are we as immortal as we think we are?
God is laughing at me right now; I am sure.
One day we will recall the memory of me asking the question: "Are we as immortal as we think we are?", and God will laugh, and I will look at Him with an uneasy, fearful corner smile, realizing that it is not about me being immortal on Earth, no, it is about me being mortal on Earth and immortal with my dying breath. And I'll not know what to say.
And He, before I even get a chance to react, will know what my thoughts were going to tell me in our silly conversation, and I'll know that I am His before I even react to his laugh.
Maybe I'll never have to physically speak to him.
Yet, what is physicality in Heaven?

I pray that my Papa has this peace of mind, this wit, this levity, this "let go" in his breath...whenever that may be.
Hopefully later than sooner.
But, who am I to keep him mortal?
Who are we to keep any of us mortal?

In short, please keep us in your prayers. For I at least know that Papa will one day know of all the prayers he's received, and he will smile.
Much love-Jess