Tuesday, July 23, 2013

When did this happen?

Austynn 15 and Bri
It seems like just a few days ago I was sitting in the dentists' office watching my adopted son, Austynn playing with the waiting room preschool toys.  Wait!  It was just a few days ago - in fact, it was last Friday.  So you see, dear friends and blog readers, you can imagine my shock when I saw this picture of the two of us last night.  When the Hell did he get so big?

Today my kiddo will be turning fifteen years old; however, in my mind he's still my sweet eight year old who'll ask neighbors for "side hugs" or at times a demonic, autistic adolescent calling me a "fucking whore bag".  Why does he call me that?  Because he's caught in the subversive act of not washing his hair.

I have to admit I'm surprised either of us have made it this far.  On June 11, 2006, his adoption was official.  It's been a wild, interesting roller coaster filled with tears, laughter, and yes - a lot of rage on both sides of the aisle. I know the ride isn't over by a long shot. In fact, we have some tricky maneuvering ahead. I'd love to say the worst is behind Eric and myself. Austynn no longer bites, kicks, or physically battles us.  Thank God for this.  I'm obviously a wee bit too small (comparatively) for that nonsense any more.  The language?  Just words.  My husband and I can't look ahead and see his future either.  College?  Living on his own?  A decent paying job?  No parents have a crystal ball yet there are so many variables that families with neurotypical kids take for granted which we must place on hold.  

I need to be more patient.  I literally broke my ankle trying to escape his non-stop chattering last year.  That was a lesson; Bri, don't run down the stairs with a tray of dishes even if Austy begins detailing his Lego creation for the fifth consecutive time.  I need to remember that he outweighs me by 40 pounds and snuggling on my lap is no longer a comfortable option.  Even though he's fifteen years old now and almost a foot taller, he still has the emotions of a child.  If he wants to hold my hand in a scary movie, a busy grocery store, or an amusement park ride - it's okay.

Today, July 23, 2013, I celebrate Austynn.  I must admit, I'm usually grumbling about him but honestly - my life would be boring without this quirky, lovable feller in it. 

Thank you my "peckish" dude for making every day an incredibly interesting adventure.  "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be." Mom.

**The following song was played at Austynn's adoption party

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Blackbird and the Parakeet

There couldn't be a stranger scenario, yet two of the most opposite women somehow collided in a dingy psychiatric office in the middle of suburban Colorado.  One was introverted the other extroverted.  One brunette, the other blond.  One had dark, intense brown eyes and the other bright, animated blue eyes.  One woman was Jewish and raised in Florida, the other - Catholic and a Southern California native.  Dear friends and readers, those of you who know me personally or who've followed my blogs can guess which bird I happen to be.  The two birds became friends immediately.

This post is written for my wounded, feathered friend - no one else.  I've discovered that I suck at communication both verbally and in text; however, it seems that when I write for virtual reality, my magic marker seems to find its color.  So today I'm hoping my words flow with pretty purple, glitter ink because even though it would be a little over the top for this Parakeet, I know it would make my Blackbird happy.

The term, "Bull in a China Shop" describes me perfectly.  I bluster through life with absolutely no consideration for delicate objects around me.  I say and do what I'm thinking when or how it occurs to me.  I've always been impulsive.  I've been told I'm impulsive...accused would probably be a better term.  I don't like being accused of anything.  Unfortunately, being impulsive is one of my many downfalls. 

I've jumped into pools from rooftops.  Thrown an expensive ruby ring into the sea because I felt the romance of the moment compelled me to do it.  Based on the horrified look on my boyfriend's face, he apparently did not feel the same way.  I slapped my husband's face not once, not twice, but three times only to gauge his reaction.  Surprisingly, it was NOT a pleasant reaction.  And now, after struggling through a few misunderstandings and miscues with one of my best friends - the most impulsive thing I've ever done is I've given up a friendship.  I tossed in the towel.  AND the ugly and most shameful admission is that I didn't have the courage to tell her to her face; I did this nastiness in a text message.

How can I say I love someone one day and then the next just give up?  Love isn't easy.  It's not supposed to be; especially between two bullheaded, Bipolar, stubborn idiots like us. 

So, this bullheaded, Bipolar, stubborn red-headed idiot says she's sorry from the bottom of her heart.  Where's Lucy without Ethel?  And, after all, I'm only Lucy because you talked me into dying my hair red.

I don't expect you to forgive and forget.  Just understand that I am who I am.  I'm also trying to understand you.  Everyday there's a new dimension to my Blackbird that I've never seen before.  I also know you have a beautiful voice and I'm glad you're finally sharing it.  Now if I can just learn to shut the Hell up for more than five minutes at a time...

Thank you for sending me this song once upon a time.  It rings more true today than ever before.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Be careful of those Catholics..they're of Satan!

There are just simply days when I don't want to do a damn thing.  Shower?  No.  Get out of my pajamas?  Absolutely not.  Brush my teeth?  What's the point?  Yes, this sounds like the classic onset of my bipolar "deep dark" period kicking in.  Honestly, this couldn't be further than the truth.  I've eaten too much junk food.  At this moment, I feel like the queen sloth of Northern Colorado.  The only inspiration I have to move out of my overstuffed, green, high-backed chair is knowing that my Psychiatrist will charge me $100 for missing my 1:00pm appointment this afternoon.  Jackass!  Nothing motivates me more than fried food and wasted money.

Yesterday was my husband's birthday and I've determined that since my own celebration in February was rather lack luster, today I should celebrate it again.  This made total sense while I was devouring the rest of Eric's leftover chocolate cake at 9:00am along with my candy bar in a bowl (aka, my coffee).  Since I haven't gone grocery shopping after hosting his party over the weekend, the house is void of everything except copious amounts of salsa.  My dogs don't digest Pace Picante Sauce well.  Off I went to the local fast food establishment for hamburgers (no, my pets aren't spoiled) and yes, I also ordered two nasty fried tacos for myself.

I'm certain you, my dear friends and blog readers, are questioning - didn't Bri comment she was still in her pajamas?  Truth be told, when it comes to junk food, I feel my Cookie Monster pajamas are apropos for any and all drive-thru restaurants.  Only if it's snowing will I actually consider a jacket and boots.

This afternoon I MUST go to the store for some sort of food outside of cookies, potato chips, and lunch meat.  I am failing in my housewifely duties and excelling in my alter ego, sloth mama extraordinaire.  Enough of this.  I have an actual blog with substance to write today.  Here I go...


Be careful of those Catholics..they're of Satan!

I know I've mentioned in several of my posts that I'm Catholic.  I've been raised a Catholic and for some I would be considered a "Cradle Catholic".  I don't mind this term.  I take no offense by it.  My parents were also raised as such.  We Bryants and Baxters go back a long way through Southern California's Catholic schools and churches.

There have been periods in my life when I've been extremely devout and others when I've fallen away.  I'm liberal in my views which makes those true to the faith skeptical of how I consider myself an honest follower and yet my theory is that only God can and will judge me in the end.  There have been many times - including now - which I consider myself a hypocrite.  I don't take this lightly and it hangs heavy on my conscious more than I care to admit.

Many of my closest friends know that I could care less which denomination or faith one belongs to.  My ultimate belief is that if you're a good human being, we're all connected spiritually.  Whatever deity one chooses to place one's faith in, if It, He, or She brings courage and decency to one's existence, then praise be.

I've always loved working with the old and infirm.  After my employment as a CNA and eventually becoming a homemaker here in Northern Colorado, I had some free time between school suspensions and housework (God bless my boys!).  Because of this, I chose to enlist as a Hospice Patient Care Volunteer for a couple of years.

As a volunteer, one of the things I would do would be to sit once or twice a week with a dying patient and either keep them company in a nursing home and/or allow family members a chance to have some respite time for themselves.  Watching over a loved one 24/7 while they're in the process of dying is a little like dying yourself.  I've seen it.  It wears family down.  Unless you've been there personally, it's almost impossible to explain.  It's heart wrenching.

One of these patients was *Norma.  She lived in a nursing home and was my oldest assigned patient at 104 years old.  I sat with her an hour twice a week for three months before she eventually passed away in her sleep.  There was nothing physically wrong with her other than she was extremely hard of hearing and she was well..old.  Okay, and forgetful.  The latter - the forgetfulness - is what makes this story such a joy to tell.

Every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:00am I would knock loudly on her door and yell, yes - literally yell, "Ms. Norma are you in?"  The lovely lady would give me the same surprised, curious look and say in a mild voice, "Why yes dear and who might you be?"

Now, I've been told more than once in my life that I'm quite an unforgettable character but apparently Ms. Norma didn't seem to think so.  She never remembered who I was or our conversations from our prior visits.  Twice a week, for three months, I listened to her life story. I never grew tired of it.  Some times she added a bit more information, other visits I'd ask questions.  This shocked and amazed her that a complete stranger would know her history with such detail; however, there was one topic which never, ever wavered; our opening introduction.

You see, Norma was a devout Christian Fundamentalist.  This sect translates the Bible literally and feels strongly that Catholics are heretics or in her very words, "...of Satan." 

Once I introduced myself to Norma, she would tell me about her faith, hold my hands, pray to the Lord, Jesus Christ and ask Him to protect my soul from the Satanic cult of those devil worshiping Catholics.  She would then look up at me with her beautiful blue eyes and ask me if I happened to know any those heretics.  God bless her, I couldn't lie.  Every time she asked, I promised that I didn't worship Satan but that I indeed was a Catholic and tried my best to be a good and decent person.

This was always the turning point of our visit.  She would burst into a silly, embarrassed grin and I would laugh out loud.  Of course, she would apologize and I would claim no harm done.  She assumed I must be an exception to the rule as I was so precious to visit a little old lady such as herself.  By the time our visits ended, we always ended up in a warm embrace.

Now that Norma is in Heaven, and I know she is, I hope God has sat her down and explained to her about us Catholics.  There's always a few rotten eggs but I don't think we're all that bad.

*Name has been changed for privacy purposes


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Happy Birthday, My Love

Last night I sat in a familiar outdoor pub with a dear friend.  It was my turn to be the designated driver so I sat several hours nursing my watered down coke laughing with her and sharing silly stories while she relaxed over a few double rum and cokes.  She's had a difficult few months; we both have.  It's nice to get away from the stress of my autistic teenagers and housekeeping duties from time to time. 

One of our topics turned sharply into relationships with others - both past and present.  It seems lately we've been disappointed by people.  It's not that we have high expectations; however, we seem to have reached a point in our lives where it's too damn hard to work so damn hard.  Does this make sense?

I'm the first to admit that I'm a narcissistic bitch.  I tend to make things about me.  This isn't a difficult confession to make, in fact - I've made it before.  If I'm aware of the problem then I'm obviously trying to fix it. It's taken me 46 years to come to the conclusion that yes - other people are suffering in this world and not necessarily from a paper cut.  My other realization is that if my paper cut hurts and it's deep, I will announce it.  I'm not a martyr.  Salt or lemon hurt like Hell if those damn cuts happen to slice the skin between the fingers.  So, okay - I AM a pain pussy.  I own it.

I expect honesty.  Up front, in my face honesty.  I've been accused of playing games.  I don't think so.  I say it like it is.  I don't want to hurt people.  That's the LAST thing I want to do.  If I'm asked a question, I'll tell you the truth.  I'm not going to come out and say, "You look like a fat slob in that dress." I might suggest, "Perhaps a different color or style would be better."

I love my friends yet I tend to open myself up far too much too quickly.  There's no grey matter with me; it's all or nothing.  I was told once that I'm too passionate.  The adjectives, reckless and unpredictable were also thrown at me with the same careless, cavalier attitude as the words they define.  If this is what I am; passionate, reckless, and unpredictable then I suppose my heart deserves to be broken every so often.  On the flip side, I've put myself "out there", met some amazing people, and formed incredible bonds.

Relationships are a lot of work.  The question before me now is am I willing to invest this kind of energy into the difficult ones?  I don't think so.  No more apologies and no more pretending to be someone that I'm not.  If you don't like my politics, then don't bring them up.  If you don't like my cussing, they're just made up words.  They don't mean anything and they certainly don't define me as a human being.  In fact, oftentimes I use them for shock value only because I find the entire idea of curse words silly.  Religion; everyone needs something to believe in or not.  I hold every faith sacred as well as every life.  People have a right to love whom they choose and believe in what they find holy.  To find contempt in this theory is dishonorable.

While writing this blog, I realize that there has been one consistent friend throughout my life.  He's listened and never judged.  Granted, he's tried to fix things from time to time but he is a guy after all.  Dudes are born with tool boxes by their sides.  In fact, over the last couple of years, I've asked for things which would have broken most marriages.  He's never wavered in his devotion for me - we're actually stronger for it.  A few days ago, my marriage was challenged by someone.  I know this sounds vague but for this particular person's curiosity, my husband's words were simply, "I know you love me and you'll always come back to me."

Eric is right.  I'm devoted to him.  I will never allow him to be hurt by anyone.  He is my greatest love, my dearest friend - my best friend.  I've never had to work at our relationship.  I've been able to tell him everything, from the most painful admission to the silliest realization and after all of this...he still holds me in his arms, tells me I'm beautiful, and chooses to spend the rest of his life with me.

Happy Birthday, My Love.