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Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Christmas Cards and Serious Stuff

It’s that time of year again when the mail is fun. Usually it’s junk and bills and solicitations for charitable donations (possibly with cute address labels). But for a few weeks as the year ends, holiday cards (and I’m going to say holiday instead of Christmas because some friends very deliberately send me Chanukah or non-Christmas-specific cards) bring cheer & sometimes glitter. I love seeing my friends’ kids get older, love seeing the cute pictures chosen to include, and it’s lovely to know someone was thinking about you, even if only for long enough to address an envelope. 🙂

Historically I have sent my fair share of cards. I like doing my part to spread joy and sparkle, and selfishly, I find you receive more cards in return if you send them out. Although I do try not to get hung up on things like, “Oh my god, I got a card from Mary Beth, but I didn’t sent one to Mary Beth, maybe now I should send one to Mary Beth!” It’s not about taking inventory.

This year, however, I’m not sending any. I ran out of time. I suppose technically I still have time but I have resigned myself that it’s not going to happen without a lot of stress and hand cramping, and I don’t really need that.

So consider this my Christmas card to you. If you’re reading this, that pretty much guarantees that I appreciate you!

I have just written and deleted about seven different versions of a sentence trying to articulate how fortunate I am to have so many friends who mean more and more to me as every year passes. Which is funny, because this segues nicely into the other thing I wanted to talk about, and I thought it was going to be a big jumbled mess, but now maybe it won’t be.

In addition to the usual pictures of cats and lists of 23 things you should do to be a more human human and pithy stati (make no mistake, I love Facebook, in spite of what that sounds like) my news feed is filled on a regular basis with people urging you to hug your loved ones and tell them that they are, in fact, loved. A recurring theme in our world seems to be not telling the people you love how much they mean to you until it’s too late. My family is a perfect example. We all love each other very much, but we don’t actually say the words very often.  So I was thinking I would like to write blog posts to each of my parents, sharing the things that are special about my relationships with them and saying the things I want to say while I still have the opportunity. I kicked the idea around a little but didn’t actually put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, to be more accurate).

And then, four weeks ago today, my dad called and said, “I just Googled symptoms of heart attack and I think I might be having one.” I thought he was kidding, because that’s how he is. I thought he was going to follow it up with a crack about a political article he’d read or some other silly line. He wasn’t kidding. And in the car* on the way to the hospital, he said something that sounded like, “If I don’t get a chance to say this later” and I told him to shut up. And then I spent two hours while he was in the cath lab sitting in the waiting room** kicking myself that my last words to my dad might be “shut up”.

Thankfully, those weren’t my last words and Dad is doing amazingly well. But I definitely have to write the blog posts now. It may take me a little while, because I’m super emotional about it still and I have to be in the right frame of mind to allow myself to get all weepy, but they’re coming.

And also, this is why I’ve been too busy to blog and haven’t had time to send Christmas cards and have just been generally discombobulated. For two weeks all that existed was Dad and work and sleep.  And now I’m catching up with life. My annual staycation is next week, and I could not be more ready.

Merry Christmas, friends. Happy Holidays. Thanks for reading, thanks for being a friend, thanks for being you.

________________________________________________________

Footnotes…

* Life Lesson #1: Call 911. Call 911. Call 911. Do not drive to the hospital yourself. It was a bonehead move and fortunately everything worked out ok for us, but it was a HUGE MISTAKE. If you ever find yourself in this situation, please learn from my mistake. An ambulance clears traffic. An ambulance can run red lights. An ambulance driver is not emotionally invested and his/her hands probably aren’t shaking while driving. An ambulance comes with a spare person to provide medical care in transit. CALL 911.

** Life Lesson #1 2: Have someone come sit with you. It’s not selfish or silly or an imposition. Have someone come sit with you. Call me; I will come sit with you. It’s nice to have company even if you don’t want to talk. And also, if none of your people come, the chaplain won’t leave and that is awkward and weird. I know this because I was stupid and didn’t have anyone come, but fortunately my uncle knew better and he came (and brought my grandma) and so did my friend Kristin. K also fed my dad’s dog and took my house keys and went home and fed my dog and brought my keys back to the hospital. She’s a rock star. And also, I need to give more people spare keys to my house.

(Life lesson #3….learn to count. Sheesh.)

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I would suck as a human mom.

Note: Feel free to skip this post if you’re not a dog person.  

Also note: I am human. I recognize the title might suggest otherwise.

One more note: I’m assuming you already know I’m one of those people who is freakishly attached to her dog. Or I guess I’m not assuming it, since I just spelled it out for you. She’s my best pal and I pity my friends for the aftermath when she goes to doggie heaven someday.  

A few weeks ago Ruby Dogwonkafonka got her teeth cleaned, and while they had her knocked out the vet removed a little wart on her side. I was angsty – I get angsty anytime my dog has a procedure requiring general anesthesia – but everything went well. Growth was nothing to worry about, dog came through just fine, improved breath – all good. All we had to do was make it through the healing process and we’d be rocking and rolling.

The first couple of days went great – I could tell a few times she wanted to scratch or nip at the stitches, I could literally see the internal conflict, but catching my eye always brought about the right reaction of leaving the incision alone.  Saturday morning I left her alone for the first time. Not unattended for the first time – she’d had plenty of solitude hanging outside in the yard. First time fully alone.

A few hours later when I returned….gack. Stitches were gone. And for the Queen of Squeamish, I thought I was going to pass out when I saw the hole in my dog’s side. (There wasn’t really a hole, exactly. But definitely an open wound.)  Gah. I was also terrified of what kind of hideous pools of blood must have been waiting for me inside the house.

I. FREAKED THE FUCK OUT.

Like, really, a lot.

The dog was all, “I know I did something bad but I could not be less concerned about the hole in my side can I go out and play and get away from your crazy?”

Further investigation throughout the house revealed….nothing. I don’t know how she did it, but my dog opened up her wound without getting any blood anywhere in my house. Either that, or she did some serious cleaning. Whichever, good dog.

When I called the vet, they didn’t seem nearly as wigged out – apparently this kind of thing happens. This had a calming effect on me. What did not have a calming effect was taking the dog back to get replacement staples. I had to exit the exam room and rock in the lobby covering my ears while they did it, and I still almost melted down when the sound of Ruby yelping made it past the less-than-effective earhandmuffs.  

We left the vet’s office and went straight to PetSmart so we could implement the Zero Freedom Act of 2013, aka the Cone of Shame. Fortunately, my friend Liz had mentioned an alternative to the satellite dish version and I quickly ponied up 3x the money for a more comfy looking style. It basically looks like a neck pillow you would wear on a transatlantic flight, and it was totally worth it.

See how happy she looks? yeah, reality had not set in yet.

See how happy she looks? Yeah, reality had not set in yet.

 

Definitely less amused now.

Definitely less amused now.

I have to say, the dog was a trooper, but I was a pretty big stress case for the better part of a week while we established our groove. Week two was better. Then the staples came out (another horrific experience that left me shaking after they made me hold her while they removed them – I mentioned I’m squeamish, right?), we kept the collar on for a few extra days, and then the first time she got the chance, she went for the wound, the little shit. Now almost a month later, we seem to be in the clear. The incision has almost completely healed and fur is growing back. 

Phew.

Which brings me to my original thought. How do you people with actual little humans do this shit? Kids must get hurt and/or require medical attention roughly 92 billion times more often than dogs. I don’t want to get so used to blood and grossness that it doesn’t make me freak out, because that means I would be seeing A LOT of blood and grossness and omg just no. But also the watching of the misery and suffering when your wee one is sick or hurt. Gah. I don’t think I could deal.

Please note, this is not to suggest this is the only reason it’s good that I’m not a parent. There are many, and I’m sure we’ll revisit the topic in the future. And there are also maybe four reasons I would have been a rockin’ mom. For now, though, I’m just going to breathe a sigh of relief that this episode is behind us and my fur baby is almost whole again. 🙂

ruby after

“My bald patch needs to grow back but at least I’m FREE!!!! Except holy crap, why does it look like I have no legs in this picture??”

Under the Influence – part deux

OMG, I just listened to it! It was soooooo much fun!!!!!!!!! I’m high on radio right now! Thank you to my friends near and far who listened – it was a blast hearing from you.

(later)

What the hell is she talking about?

As mentioned previously, I recently had the opportunity to be a guest on a local radio program, Under the Influence, to talk about five songs that have left their mark on me in some fashion. There’s no podcast available at this time so you don’t get the fun banter here, but I did promise to share a recap.

It was tricky, picking the songs. I love music. (That seems like a really stupid, obvious thing to say –  I mean, doesn’t everybody? Except I’m not actually sure everybody does; I’m always sort of surprised when I discover that not everyone listens to music all day long. Talk radio? Pass. Books on tape/cd/other? Never listened to one. Silence? What’s that? Music. Music in the car, in the office, at night to fall asleep. Music always. Oops. I just digressed all over the place.) I have about 5000 songs in my iTunes library, so limiting myself was a bit difficult. The flip side being, a lot of my very favorite tunes don’t have any particular significance to me – I just like them. You can’t really spend an hour talking about, ‘Yeah, that song sounds cool. I like piano.’ Or I can’t, anyway. Plus, my memory is abysmal. My parents have two daughters. One of them remembers every detail about every thing that has ever happened, ever. The other one is me. So remembering something that moved me twenty or thirty (or forty) years ago proved to be a big challenge.

And, of course, there was self-imposed public pressure – this was for a radio show. Did I really want to subject people to listen to things like a marching band or a Broadway show tune? (Um….apparently!!  🙂 ) But yeah, I want you to think I’m cool, so I had to consider that factor also. Although as I said before, there also were no wrong answers, so I tried not to get too hung up.

We’ll talk later about some that almost made the cut, but now let’s get on with it!

Song 1:  Free to be you and me – The New Seekers
A looooooooong time ago, back in the early 1970s, Marlo Thomas pulled together a groovy project called Free To Be You And Me. It is a compilation of songs and poems and stories gathered in a book and recorded on a record (a RECORD!) and there was a TV program as well but I only remember the book & the record, which lived in our house. And according to the foreword, a book was Marlo Thomas’ original objective; the rest was gravy. She wanted a book to read to her niece that didn’t tell her what she should be, but rather, “a book of stories and poems and songs that would help boys and girls feel free to be who they are and who they want to be.”  There’s one about a boy who wants a doll. And one about not judging a book by its cover. And one about how the moms in commercials on tv look happy when they’re cleaning because they’re in a commercial, and NO ONE likes cleaning (except my friend Heather and she is CUCKOO) and so everyone should pitch in and help out.

And I have these super cool, liberal parents who also wanted that for their kids. I grew up thinking I could be or do anything, and it’s not just because of Free To Be You And Me, but I can remember sitting with my sister on the floor in our brightly colored basement listening to the record and reading along in the book over and over again. Hey, here’s my book!

 
My book!

 

I had kind of forgotten about all of this and then Marlo Thomas came to speak at Tapestry and I was planning on attending, and I thought how cool it would be if I could have my old book signed….if only I knew where it was. We had a house fire when I was growing up. And then in early adulthood I was storing a bunch of stuff in my mom’s basphoto 2ement and we had a flood. So I wasn’t even 100% sure I still had the book. But lo and behold, I did, on a bookshelf with some other surviving remnants of my childhood. (I’m pretty sure my sister has the record.) Anyway, finding my book and getting it signed put it all back on my radar. It’s available on CD now, so I bought a copy for myself and another one to send to a friend’s kids so I know another generation will learn to love it.

I didn’t realize at the time that not everybody growing up in Indiana was listening to this. Not everyone had hippie parents who raised them to be open-minded, idealistic, and full of GIRL POWER. I’m so thankful that mine did. And Free To Be You And Me is part of the solid foundation that made me the optimistic, idealistic, independent, badass chick I am.

Here, for your listening pleasure: Free To Be You & Me. I’ll be singing along at my end.

 

So, I was reading a really, really long blog post over the weekend and maybe I have a short attention span, but I lost interest and started skimming. To cater to my fellow OOH, SHINY! Syndromers, we’re going to split this up. Telling four more stories like that all in one post just seems too long. So that’s all you get for tonight.  See you back here soon  for song 2! 🙂

Aside

My dad lies.

I thought I shared this story with you a while ago. Apparently I did not.   Klondike & I took a day trip somewhere, and I asked my dad to come by and feed the pack and let them out. (Klondike brings his two dogs up when he comes.) This conversation took place the next day…..after Dad’s report that all the dogs behaved nicely and ate their food immediately upon being presented with it.

————————————————————————————————

Me: You are so busted. Did you bring over cottage cheese (to stir into the kibble) when you came to feed the dogs?

Dad: No.

Me: Ohhhh, hahahahaahahaha! We found a spoon in the dish drainer and neither one of us had used it for anything so I thought maybe that was where it came from, and that that was how you got all the dogs to eat right away. Hahahahahaha!

(pause)

Dad: Tuna

Me: What?

Dad: I didn’t use cottage cheese. I used tuna.

Me: Um.

Dad: I had some tuna I didn’t like so I stirred a little bit into the dogs’ food and they all ate as soon as I put the bowls down.

 
Oh, my dad. He thinks he’s so funny.

Sometimes I do, too. 😉

The pack

The pack

Paleo Schmaleo

Me
11:13am
I will shove processed carbs down the throat of the next person who says “paleo” around me.

Her
11:13am
omg. dude. that made me laugh so hard i almost peed.

 

Ok, seriously. Can we please give it a rest with the over-sharing of food choices, dietary restrictions, fad diets, gastro-intestinal issues, food allergies, all of it?

I support healthy living, even though I don’t always act upon it myself. I am all for learning about food and nutrition and taking an active role in your own well being. I am sorry you are allergic to nuts or are lactose intolerant or have celiac disease. I am glad you have discovered that eliminating carbs from your diet does whatever you wanted it to do. I support your choice to be a vegetarian. But sweet fancy Moses, do we have to listen to you talk about it all the fucking time?

(And by “talk” I mean Facebook, but also the real world.)

Let’s keep whether or not it’s boring out of it. I find it so obnoxious when people go on and on about whatever life-altering change they’ve made in a manner that suggests we should all make the same change immediately. We are all different, and what’s good for you might not be good for me. We all have different needs and different bodies and different tastes. And quite frankly, one person raving about how she is now eating nothing but dirt and we should all immediately start eating nothing but dirt starts to feel a little bit like someone suggesting her church is the one we should all join.  Please stop proselytizing your food. I am begging you.

Because also, it gets kind of boring after a while.

 

And ps, my dad hasn’t eaten meat in something like 35 years, and many in  my family have some kind of health-driven dietary restrictions, so I know it’s possible to not talk about it all the time, because we don’t.

Aside

My mom is the Rain Man of the grocery store

Mom, aka Rain Man

 

Klondike says this will be our million dollar idea: the “ask Fran” grocery app.

The Narcissism Project: A Year in Review

side mirror

One of many pics of Ruby Dogwonkafonka from the phone purge….

My blog reminded me recently that it was our one-year anniversary. To celebrate, let’s take a moment for reflection on what we have “accomplished”, shall we?

Looking back at my very first post, I find myself laughing that nothing much has changed, except instead of downloading 1200 pictures off my phone this past weekend, it was more like 1700. Most of them were of Ruby. Shocking, I know.

“Write more” was my New Year’s resolution, carried out here, with a desire to average a post a week. And with this being my 57th post, I achieved that. I think this might be the first time I’ve ever seen a resolution through to completion. Completion? What happens now? Was it only a one-year project?

Negatory. I like it too much.

I will say that blogging has made me a total narcissist. Hmm. Or perhaps it revealed how full of myself I was to begin with. I mean really, how impertinent of me to suppose you want to know what I think about anything – or perhaps more accurately, about nothing in particular. And about four seconds after publishing my first post, I became a stats junkie. I stare at the counts, I marvel over the countries, I laugh over the search terms bringing people here.

The countries, yes. WordPress started tracking for us what countries the views come from. It’s kind of fascinating. I have a friend living in the UK and another in Taiwan, so when I get hits from there I chalk it up as likely being them. But Bhutan? I don’t know anyone there, but I’ve had one view from there. Since WordPress started tracking this, I’ve had views from 31 different countries. I’m totally flattered. And mystified. And hopeful I haven’t made that one person in Moldova think that all Americans say “fuck” all the time. Some of us do. But a lot don’t.

Although, that’s another lesson learned through the stats: Apparently you people like f-bombs. Especially when in reference to my family.

I find myself incredibly gratified when a stranger likes or comments or follows. In some ways it’s more satisfying than from my existing friends – and that maybe sounds awful, and I don’t mean for it to. But a stranger doesn’t already have affection for me or familiarity with my sense of humor.  It’s nice to be appreciated. I like to state the obvious, too.  😛

The search terms people used that brought them to Wonkafonkaland….oh man.

  • “purple toaster” (you know you’re jealous of my purple toaster.)
  • “Weird squishy bump on elbow”
  • “rainbow shower head misleading” – clearly they bought a different model, less awesome than mine.

Some of them are horrifying, however, and I can’t even bring myself to share them with you. Suffice it to say, they were probably pretty disappointed when they got here.

I can see who my most frequent commenters are. Thank you, Coopy and Kristin.  😀  And which posts were most commented on.

Y’all like controversy. The most popular post so far was the one about my email interaction with the small-minded aunt of a former employee. But I’m pleased to see a happier post, the one with the oatmeal cake recipe, is a close second. And it’s good to see that why being single is awesome has almost twice as many views as why being single sucks.

Hmm…..this post feels like it’s getting boring…..enough with the “me, me, me”. Thank you for all the nice comments and supportive things you’ve shared with me over the last year. To celebrate, I got the blog and me a little present: our own domain. Woo hoo, wonkafonka.com is in the hizzouse! Yeah, that’s stupid. Pretend I didn’t say that last thing. Fo shizzle.  Let’s distract you with something funny. It’s your favorite: a member of my family and an f-bomb.

I think a lot of Damn You AutoCorrect is probably fake, and this isn’t that anyway. It’s my dad using Siri’s “dictation” feature and it’s flipping hilarious.

Dad - autocorrect

Thanks for reading. 🙂