Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Orr Family Update

I have avoided posting because every time I think about doing it, I then think, but nothing new has happened. Won't that be boring to read?
Of course, I know how disappointed I am when I go to a friend's blog and they haven't posted anything new, and then guilt piles in that I might be letting others down by not posting on my own. Sheeesh.
So, while nothing monumental has changed around here, this is my update.
1. The diet continues. The family has lost about 110 pounds altogether and I am personally down 25 lbs. I wish it would SPEED up though. The sun actually peeked out yesterday creating an unexpectedly beautiful afternoon and Nicole, Caspian and I headed over to the track. I walked a mile and then ended the walk by dancing to Glee's rendition of "Bad Romance" with my kids . . . yes, in front of people. I love my family.
2. Nicole is being interviewed for two different jobs in Alaska this week. One is on the railway and that is the one she is hoping, hoping, hoping for. She will spend time in Anchorage and Fairbanks. The other one is working at a resort in Denali. To understand how I feel about all of this, look at my last post. Thrilled and excited yet dreading the idea of life without her in our house.
3. Caspian is putting plans in place for leaving in May to live on an organic farm and build yurts. He is . . . . if you know him at all, you will know what a SHOCK this is . . . .strongly considering cutting his hair. Caspian's hair is almost all the way down to his butt and has been his pride and joy for years. He recognizes, however, that working on a farm and taking care of it, especially with out a mom around to braid it, will be hard. I haven't told him that the minute he cuts it, he will probably look at least one to two years older. Or that I will cry when he does it. I think it is a wise decision and indicates that his self esteem is growing, which is a very good thing. Although he will only be about 90 minutes from home on this farm, we will most likely only see him once a month or so and yes, that same heart pain is here.
4. Work is still coming in at a somewhat steady rate but still nothing like it was back in 2008 or so. Of course, I don't want to work as hard as I did then either. If I didn't have to pay bills, we would be fine. :) Could someone please write an excuse to the IRS for me?
5. The older I get, the more I have in common with my mom and it sucks that I can't call her and talk to her about it. I finally "get" some of what she was going through and yet we can't talk on the phone and empathize with each other. I miss her.
6. We are trying to imagine this summer with only one child at home. Maupin in the summer with ONE child? Life is Good conference with one? It will feel very strange. Can anyone say "empty nest syndrome"?

So that's an update on life. Breakfast is on the table so I am off to have some. I take my meals where I can get them these days. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ambivalence, Your Name is Mother

How is it possible, in even the most complex human brain and heart, to feel incredible excitement and happiness for something while also feeling like it might rip your heart out in the process?

I know that you guys know how close my daughter Nicole and I are. Next to my husband, she is the dearest friend I have. We get the same jokes. We communicate without saying a word. She is an amazingly wonderful person inside and out. For months now, we have focused on finding her a way to travel and see the world. We've gotten books, surfed the net, made phone calls and she has applied to dozens of jobs.

Last night one of them called her and said they wanted to interview her for a potential new job.
In Wasilla.
That would be Wasilla, ALASKA.
She had the first of two interviews today and did great.
They want her in seven to 10 DAYS.
Months? Fine.
Weeks? I can deal.
DAYS????? Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.
I'm simply not ready. It was fine when it was all dreaming and theory and some days, but now it has merged into a possible reality and I find myself vacillating between helping her looks things up and planning what she would pack and where she would live and how much she would earn with the stark and terrifying thought that she will be GONE. Not just for the afternoon, the day, the week or even the month. Just GONE. Far away.
And I will write her amazing letters and send her even better care packages. And we will text and IM and call.
And when I push past the stark pain of trying to imagine her not here, I am so excited for her, I can hardly stand it. To be 20 years old and standing at the edge of exploring the world before things like careers, marriage and children stand in the way, how could I not be excited?
But now? Next week? Really?
Anyone who thinks motherhood is easy has never had kids.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bum Nuts and Nutty Bums

Gosh, there's a title you just don't see every day, right?

So, the "bum nut" part of the title is referring to my youngest son, who, Sunday afternoon reported quietly to me that not everything "down there" felt right. It was sore, swollen and heavy feeling. I am sure I am not the only mother in the world whose first thought when children mention pain is to think dire thoughts. I asked a few questions and then asked Joseph to . . . . well . . . . check it out. He did and said yes, there was something odd there. (I almost said "amiss" but that just seemed like too cheap a pun). We asked our son to keep us up to date on what happened . . . hurt more or less? swelling change? urine changes? etc. In the meantime, I made an appointment at the doctor for him. Oh yeah. And we started calling him "Bum Nut".
Every chance we got.
And we got LOTS of chances, believe me.
Now, our son is almost 15 and the only one to have touched those balls of his are himself, me years ago when diapers were still being changed, a male doctor when our son was going in for hernia surgery almost eight years ago and of course, now his father. (Child Services paying attention here?!) I wasn't sure how he would handle a female doctor checking him out . . . .but you know, he was mature and calm and great about it. He didn't even blush and conducted himself like the young adult we all know and love. The doctor reported that the mass she felt was not in the testicle itself, which was good news. She ordered an ultrasound to be on the safe side but isn't too concerned. Affording an ultrasound will take a while for us, but we will keep it in mind as we also keep close tabs on how that Bum Nut is doing. The swelling is much less than it was and all pain is gone.

As for Nutty Bums . . . .I'd like to call them something else but was trying to be (1) clever and (2) politically correct. The people I am referring to were a family in Subway that just made me so sad. A mom. Three littles ones, about 12, 9 and 6. Everyone just being so MEAN to each other. Yelling, sniping, teasing, insulting, punishing. It made me feel sick. As I was waiting to be picked up and watching this family in horror, I was texting with one child who was on a bus to meet friends and chatting with another who just experimented with running at the track. The third one, you remember him--Bum Nut--was at home. :) And all I could think was that there was more anger and bitterness and tragedy in that family in ten minutes than our family has ever experienced.

Yes, even with the Bum Nut.

I felt grateful and blessed and took a moment to call the kids and tell them how much they were loved. They immediately asked, OK, what mother is being mean to her kids in front of you? How well they know me. I explained and they all commiserated with my sadness.

Even the kid with the Bum Nut.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Empowerment Strikes

Last night I had an unusual experience that has really stayed with me.
During the day, I went to Sandy with Nicole and after lunch and she headed to her play, I walked around town a little. I don't spend much time alone so this was unusual . . . but really nice. And walking felt easy. That was a new feeling for me. I've had hip issues for months now and usually walking exhausts me. But the sun was out and I felt great. Then, later that night,
I went to a gathering of J's friends at the Lucky Lab, a brew pub. It was mostly guys and although I smiled and politely responded on the rare occasion one of them spoke to me, I primarily texted with Nicole and read a magazine. We have not eaten out much AT all since this diet started and being in a familiar restaurant where I often got sandwiches and pizza was not easy. I was worried I would really struggle and end up emotionally wrecked.
But . . .a strange thing happened. First, I ordered a pulled pork sandwich. I took off the bread and gave away the chips and just ate the meat. I checked. Feeling resentful? No. Feeling deprived? No. Feeling hungry still? Yes. (When you take off all of the other stuff, you're not left with much actual food.)
So I went back up and ordered a caesar salad. Took off all of the croutons. Ate it. Delicious! I drank my UNsweetened tea. Didn't mind it a bit.
As I walked to the bathroom and back . . . wearing a pair of jeans I have NEVER worn because they were too small from the day I first bought them . . . I felt. . . I know that this word is WAY overused in today's world but it fits best . . . . empowered! I felt strong and confident and happy. It was a really really good moment.
The moment stayed with me today as I ran around taking Nicole where she needed to go. When we stopped in a coffee shop and J shocked me by buying one of the all time favorite cookies on the planet, I had two bites. It tasted wonderful but I didn't want anymore. When we took pizza to the boys (who were sure they had died and gone to heaven), I had one bite because it was pushed into my face, but that was it. I'm thrilled not that I didn't have it but because I didn't WANT it.
So, today I decided to capitalize on that empowerment and I dusted off my sneakers (under two years worth of dust!), put on sweat pants, t-shirt and sweatshirt and earphones and borrowed my son's iPod and then I walked over to the nearby high school track. I walked a mile (four laps) while listening to "Glee" songs and mouthing the lyrics.

I know that doesn't sound like much but six months ago, walking up and down the stairs more than once or twice was difficult, so this really WAS a big deal. Poor J called me on the cell phone to check on me . . . .and had me check BP as soon as I got back (125/70 baby!). I jumped in the shower and although I am tired and I have a suspicion that I may moan and groan when crawling out of bed tomorrow, I really feel good about me.

I guess you could say, I feel . . .. empowered. Go, Tami.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Stalled in Gresham

Hey everyone. Long time, no write, I know. Partly I've been busy doing other writing (the kind I get paid for) and catching up on letters (the kind I enjoy the most), but excuses, excuses. The honest truth is is not much is going on.

Nicole went on two job interviews this week. Both were lousy. She has a much more promising one today and yesterday, she went to a summer job fair that has her excited about finding a job in Alaska with a cruise line. If I've never known ambivalence before, I do now. Excited and thrilled at her potential opportunities and distraught and depressed about her being so far away.

The diet continues . . . almost two months now and I have totally stalled out on weight loss at 23 lbs. Grrrrrr. I need the feedback of stepping on the scale and being able to push that little knob to the left, even if it is only a few ounces. I have, however, gotten rid of more than half of my jeans because they are too big. :) I will hang in there, but am still using willpower on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. My blood pressure continues to surprise me by staying normal despite very very little medication. A definite perk to this way of eating.

I am grateful that it is March and that spring is teasing us with possibilities here and there. I am so ready for the sun and warmth to return. Spring means my sons turn 18 and 15, which seems impossible. Caspian is on the edge of launching, looking into volunteering all summer at an organic farm up on Mt. Hood. Coryn is looking up college classes and lurking on web sites in hopes of connecting with some of the other teens in the area. I love how much freedom they have to explore their interests and discover who they are and what they want to do with life. I simply cannot imagine how they would be if they had to deal with grades and teachers and peer pressures all day, every day. Homeschooling was, unquestionably, the best decision we ever made as parents. Our amazing children are all the proof we need. They are happy, smart, curious, compassionate, loving and FUN.

Work is . . . . I don't know . . . work? It still is nowhere near being as strong as a few years ago. New projects do come in but far too slowly to make me comfortable. The truth is . . . I don't want to put in the long hours I have to when the projects do come tumbling in. I'm almost 52 and aware that my drive and ambition are just not what they were ten years ago.

Other news . . . hmm. . . .not much, hence the lack of posting. I have been watching some new TV series with the family (another perk . . . we all spend the evening together watching something and discussing it). Latest discoveries include "The United States of Tara" and "Supernatural". Oh and we are re-enjoying "Jericho". Great series that, like "Firefly", should never have been cancelled. We are "Glee" fans too . . . well, Nicole, Coryn and I are . . . . Joseph walks in and out and Caspian just runs the other way.

That's it from the Orr camp. Tune in again soon and I hope to not take so long to return. And that the STALL has ended.