Calamity Jennye

Monday, October 31, 2011

Just the beginning of a happy holiday season

Here's to a very successful Halloween!
Esme was very happy with her choice of a cat costume. And she really loved my face paint.
We had fun walking the neighborhood with friends. She came home with a bag of candy practically heavier than she is.
I walked more today than I have in a week and didn't even get dizzy! And I had a glass of red wine tonight which sounded good for the first time in a week.

All in all I deem this holiday a great success.
As a little health update I'll just share that I haven't passed out since the episodes last week but I have continued to experience extreme dizziness especially when laying down. I go back to the doctor tomorrow and they are going to check on the possibility of anemia as well as inner ear/vertigo issues.

We also celebrated the churchy version of Halloween with an All Saints service in church on Sunday. People were supposed to bring a picture of anyone they wanted to remember and then there was a time where we could also remember them aloud.
Many of us did not get the memo about bringing a photograph and so were encouraged to write the name of a loved one and place that on the alter with the photographs. In true Jennye fashion I went back and forth about how I felt about including my mom's name but decided at the last minute it would be nice for Esme to place her grandma's name on the alter.
Then it came to the sharing...People somehow drifted into a pattern of sharing something their loved one had taught them and so my thoughts frantically steered in that direction as could I sum up one thing my mother taught me in our short life together? I just couldn't.
So with tears I could not hold back, I shared how there wasn't just one thing my mother had taught me. How lucky I had been to have her as my only teacher and my mother until I was eight. That more than just one thing it felt like she taught me everything I knew, right up until the day she died.

I've continued to think about this since church and to realize how much, more than I could ever know, she did in those early years to make me the person I am now. I think because of her I spend a lot of days interacting with Esme and thinking if this is all she has of me what do I want it to be.
I don't mean that to sound morbid at all (or lasseiz faire) but it really is a formative thought as a parent. How do you infuse into each day, each interaction, the values you want your child to grow up cherishing?
I can't help but think that thoughts similar to those must have weighed heavily on my mom in her last years. I remember times when she seemed demanding and her standards seemed high. I also know she had me involved in every activity under the sun.
And now I can thank her, for helping me to have so many options for becoming the person I am, and for, at the same time giving me distinct direction in the important things. The how to be a good person, friend, mother things.

So, on that note;
Happy Halloween!

Outfit of the Day

Meet Olivia and Elizabeth
(To avoid confusion...Olivia is the Pumpkin Moonshine and Elizabeth is the kitty)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I thought my kid was supposed to take care of me in my OLD age?

Just when I thought my luck was turning...
Someone (okay probably more than one someone) once mentioned to me that perhaps my blog is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Perhaps there are so many calamities because I'm calling them into being.
Well after this week I may be inclined to agree.

Wee in the hours of Wednesday morning I woke up from a sound sleep thanks to cramps that felt exactly like the ones I experienced a year and a half ago when I had a cyst rupture. Back then the pain was so intense that the doctor I saw scheduled me for an appendectomy. I had even the met the team of surgeons when the tests they did showed that it was instead a ruptured cyst (those guys looked so broken hearted).

Anyway...I lay in bed thinking this is not good. I got up to get advil and a heating pad and in the course of my tasks I woke up twice laying on my bathroom floor. The second time I distinctly remember waking up thinking, "Why do I keep laying down on this floor... it is not even comfortable?" That was the moment it hit me that I was not laying down.

I was fainting!

I made it back to bed with the heating pad, having taken the advil, and woke up the next morning feeling much the worse for the wear but with the cramps gone. I made it to work, but felt very off all morning. Everyone said I looked pale and my head felt fuzzy. But I didn't really have any other "symptoms" so I carried on with my day determined to ignore my "offness".

About mid-day I ran an errand for work and as I was getting back in my car I suddenly felt it start moving. I panicked thinking "why on earth is my car moving" and braced myself as hard as I could between the door and the body to stop it's descent down the driveway. As my vision came back and the world spun around me I realized the car hadn't budged an inch, and had I not braced myself so solidly I would have been back down on the ground.

I finally gave in and called the clinic. I saw a doctor who of course was mostly at a loss as to what could be causing this. She was great! She listened to me and asked really thoughtful questions that helped me realize things I wouldn't have thought to include. They ran some tests (good news, I'm not pregnant!) and discovered we really just need to run some more tests. The doctor has some good ideas of things that might be causing this and apologized for "sending me back out into the world to faint left and right" but I'll be back in the clinic next week to look further into some of her theories.

In the meantime I got to come home and teach my daughter whose picture to look for on my phone (thank God for smart phones) if I seem to be "sleeping" at a funny time or in a funny place. I then taught her how to dial 911. She handled it all really well. She got just a bit nervous that something really bad might happen but then she was so excited to learn how to handle it. She spend the whole evening saying "can I practice the numbers again mom?"

Today I have felt like I'm running at about 80% for most of the day. I've felt almost normal right up until these out of the blue moments where I feel so exhausted I could just lay my head down and fall asleep anywhere. Then that passes and I feel pretty good again. I've only had to slow down my steps or brace myself about twice and I've only felt nauseous once. So all that to say, I guess this isn't nothing, but I haven't fainted again and that at least seems like good news.

I'll keep you all posted on the results of things as they come in. And if you get a call from Esme in the next couple days... well... stay calm, have her put the phone up to my ear and yell really loud!

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's not like I'm going to melt

Well, I guess it goes without saying that Friday night was a bit of a rough night...
I went back and forth about posting, and then I went back and forth about deleting the post once I had.
But as I re-read it on Saturday I realized I actually felt really good about being honest. This is a roller coaster I'm on and if the reality of my emotions can help someone else feel less crazy in a similar situation then I definitely want to share them. It's no fun to feel crazy.

I can't thank those of you who commented enough, for what you said. Your words were helpful and I really appreciated that you took the time. It takes a village!

I do want to clarify a couple things from my little meltdown.
First, and most important...I'm not feeling like I need someone right now. In fact quite the opposite, I'm well aware I'm not ready for someone. I just know I want someone eventually and that's enough pressure all in itself.
Second, I did realize at some point on Saturday that I was asked out on a date once. One time. I mean, I guess that's 100% better than what I posted on Friday so huzzah! Way to blow things out of proportion me, clearly I've over-reacted about nothing.
Also along those lines, I wanted to clarify that this predicament I think about when I'm feeling lonely and down about myself is not a new one. These are the same thoughts I had for all the years of high school... and college... and after... when my friends were dating and I was not.

I'm not sure how to explain it, but, I feel very secure about myself as a business woman, as a mom, as a sister, or a friend. I just don't understand (and thus don't feel secure when it comes to) how men see me. And there aren't a lot of men you can ask about this, Who's going to speak up and say: "well, you're too clingy, you're psychotic, maybe if you fixed your lazy eye or your uni-brow". You see my point.

If this were some new, post wrecking ball vs marriage situation I don't think I'd even be thinking about it. But instead it's the one lingering insecurity left from my adolescent years. I was just hoping I'd never have to face it again.

So none of this feels pressing. I'm not in a race to find a new man. It all just lingers...

It is like being on a theme park roller coaster, only this special, ahh-mazing roller coaster was built entirely in a big pool of water, and it's a drizzly, just slightly too cold, overcast day outside (you know the kind where the whole family goes home with those florescent tie-dyed sweatshirts cause no one dressed appropriately). Anyway as you race toward the bottom of a big hill and you see the pool of water that the coaster sits in you know you're going to be even more wet as soon as you get down there. Normally you can ignore the wet. Hell, on a sunny day that water can feel divine. But today... more water is just not what you need. So the drop is even more dramatic than normal, you're screaming not just because it's all happening so fast but because you're really tired of being wet.

Friday night I just really didn't want to be wet, and I really hate those damn sweatshirts. But, after a few days of sunshine, friends and time with my daughter I realized things are fine, they will always be fine. The peaks wouldn't be nearly as great without the valleys... and what's a little water? I mean I did grow up in Oregon after all.

Outfit of the Day

Puppy Edition:

Apparently it's puppy week here in Grand Marais. At least 4 times a day Esme asks, "When can we get a puppy, mama?" So thanks ya'll!
Last weekend our friends adopted little Ruby Junebug from a shelter in the cities.
And this weekend our favorite family adopted a Bernese Mountain Dog, Statia Bubbles:

And my M-I-L and her partner adopted a Golden Retriever they named Sophia:

Friday, October 21, 2011


there are these moments...
moments where life just feels too weird...where I have to wonder what caused it.
This morning. I went for a jog and the best song on my pandora "running" station. The song where I jogged from the red car in the driveway past the hospital (ps that's a long way, longer than the song itself actually) But the song that started it all was...
"all the other kids in their pumped up kicks better run, better run faster than my bullet.."
I don't know the title but it's about a shooter at a school.

Then tonight, I'm having a feel sorry for myself night. It's been a few days of "do I stay in this Godforsaken town where I will probably never meet another man...can I be happy here...sometimes I'm happy here...where woulld I go?"

Anyway it's one of those nights and I'm watching my addiction. Nay, my obsession, Greys Anatomy, I wish I even understood why I love this show so much...but the episode I watch tonight is a school shooter.

And I don't even know what to think..."all  you other kids with the pumped up kicks". And all the people on the show are rekindling love and really I feel like "all the other kids" because you know what. You know what I the middle of this episode?

I've never, never ever, in my entire life, been asked out on a date.

So what chance do I have?

There clearly must be something wrong with me. I have honestly no idea what it could be. But, I make bad choices and I've NEVER been asked out on a date.

I'm screwed! Or really not, never ever going to be screwed which is what seems more important in this current scenario.

So...what do I do?
Any ideas?...please submit them...there is a comments section. I get about 35 hits a day, at least 5 of you must have some idea what's wrong with me.

Lay it on me...I'm open, wide open. What's a soon to be single girl to do? My kicks clearly ain't pumped up, how am I going to outrun this bullet?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A little bit o' luck

Last Sunday Esme and I went for a walk before church.
We have had the windiest week here and as we turned back onto our road about half a block from home we could feel the full force of the wind immediately.

Seconds later a large branch blew off the tree five feet in front of us and crashed to the ground.

As soon as it hit I started laughing out loud...
Look how our luck is changing, that branch did not crash onto our stroller and impale my daughter!
It didn't even come crashing down on my head rendering me unconscious and leaving the stroller free to careen down the hill with Esme inside!

It's going to be a good week, things are really turning around up here  :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

damned if you do damned if you don't

So last night I had a bit of a meltdown. A crying on the couch all alone meltdown.

It's not like it's a revelation that I'm all alone...if I'm not with Esme these days I'm alone. And I feel very alone. And that was the breakdown. I know this is what everyone says in these circumstances but it's very true...this is not what I planned/envisioned for my life. I wanted to be married for a long time (and only once) I wanted to have multiple kids. I guess really when it comes right down to it that was all I had planned (not actually a lot to ask one would think).

Obviously I'm not immensely picky about where I live, I've been equally happy in hundred degree heat and 30 below. I've survived the jungles of New York and the forest of Northern Minnesota. I love the ocean and the mountains. As long as it's not Wisconsin or Indiana I've been pretty happy, really.

But last night it just hit me all over again, I'm where I would not choose to be, and my life is not where I want it to be. I left what I didn't want and ended up stuck in something I really didn't want.

So I had this horrible thought, maybe I just leave. Esme would be fine, really she might barely remember me, she would have her dad and his girlfriend, who I know love her. Maybe I just leave and start over again. And then it hit me...if I did that I WOULD DIE! Literally, I don't think I could stand to be without her, I barely make it the two days a week I am without her.

Really the important story here, that I haven't been able to tell yet,(you know it's big when I need processing time before sharing) is what prompted this breakdown...

Last Saturday (as I've already mentioned) was our friend Ella's 8th birthday. About a month ago her mom asked me to help chaperone the 6 girls at the pool portion of the party, she thought it would be helpful to have two adults keeping eyes on all those girls.  I said no problem, as I generally have fridays very free.
Our friends go to the pool every friday afternoon after school. And it just so happened that the week before the party my husband and his girlfriend took Esme to the pool on Friday. Alyssa filled filled me in on a bit of the pain of watching them playing, looking every bit the happy family...told me how glad she was I hadn't been there.
Then the next thursday she said "You know, you may not want to chaperone, what if they're at the pool again?"
"Well, dollar night at the pool is probably a pretty tempting cheap shower for two people who don't have running water." Said I "But I can't imagine they'll be there two weeks in a row, and I'm not altering my life for them...this was my town first. I'll be there."

So I was. And 20 minutes after we got there so did they. And it was painful. But not as much as I thought it would be. The happy, splashing family wasn't painful because I've been there, was there for years with this man and I know it's not real. I know he's not capable of real, that part just made me sad for the other woman, who doesn't know it yet.

The hard part came at the end. Esme did pretty good the whole time, aside from asking me to watch her do things every now and then she pretty much ignored me. Alyssa even commented on how odd it was that she already seemed to know the rules of a game so new to all of us.

But then, just as it was time to leave, when my husband had already left and Esme was still there with the girlfriend, she came over to give me a hug goodbye which quickly turned into the clinginess of a drowning child. "I don't want to leave mama, I want to stay with you. I won't leave you."

I peeled her fingers off, trying not to make eye contact with the girlfriend, attempting to keep her distance but clearly close enough to hear every word. I told Esme very seriously that she had to finish her time with daddy, I would see her later that night, she would still sleep at my house, everything would be fine. Then the girlfriend came and pulled her away.
Esme quickly darted away and jumped back in the she played on the steps, insisting that she wasn't leaving the girlfriend did what Alyssa assured me would come naturally to anyone who had observed even a minimal amount of my parenting:

"Esme Beverly, you need to start being a good listener right now!.."

Let me tell you it took every fiber of my being to not stand up on the deck of that pool and scream "I never want to hear my mother's name come out of your mouth to discipline my daughter, ever again."

That was what put me over the edge. You already made yourself right at home with my husband. My daughter has no idea why she shouldn't love you just as much as she always has. And now, now, as if that weren't enough you're going to throw out my dead mother's name as if you have every right to that too.

It was the first moment where I truly thought "This town is not big enough".

And so, last night I cried, sobbed actually, on the couch as I thought:
I can't possibly leave this town. But I can't possibly stay.
What is a girl to do?

Outfit of the Day

My new computer wallpaper
I have nothing more to say

Monday, October 17, 2011

spinning right out of control

Every now and then I forget how much I hate trying to create art.
All my life I've had great friends who are great at art...I just am not!

It's too much pressure, to try to create something beautiful, creative, unique, appreciated by others. I can never handle it. I end up failing every time, and then it is no fun.

Last week I let my mother-in-law talk me into taking Esme to this bowl making event. There's a local fundraiser they do every year where people in town donate money to make bowls, then there's a big soup dinner and at the dinner you can buy the bowls people made. I love the idea of all of it so I got talked into going...Also ME (the M-I-L) and Esme do art projects together all the time. She is the arty influence in my daughter's life and I am so grateful for it (takes a lot of pressure off me).

So I thought how bad can this be? We'll take Esme together, there will be two of us to help her, it'll be fun. And I have always wanted to try a pottery this is a good excuse, plus ME will make sure everyone knows it was her idea to bring Esme so I won't look like the crazy one showing up with a three year old.

Well...mid-last week ME and her partner came down with the plague...or something equally debilitating, seriously, they've both been really sick. But I didn't actually think at all about how that might impact this evening. Then! Today at work I came down with what I think might be the second migraine I've ever had in my life. So painful I left work early, came home and took a nap.

By 6 my head was still slightly pulsating so I started trying to call ME to tell her I couldn't go and she should swing by and get Esme on her way. As she is one of the only houses left on the face of the planet without call waiting, her phone was busy the first five times I tried. Before I could try again my phone rang and it was her calling to say she couldn't go (thanks plague).

These are the moments where I truly love being a mom. Pop two more advil...and reiterate to the concerned child how excited you actually are to go embarrass yourself in front of a group of people you barely know  learn a new and exciting form of art!

Needless to say I was the one with the crazy idea to bring a three year old bowl making.

So off we went...and let me tell you, high school memories do not always fade...I still suck at art. And there I was, in class with all the cool kids who knew exactly what they were doing with their perfectly round bowls, smoothing the sides as they raised higher...while mine?
Well...there was the one time where my nail sliced the top of the bowl right off the bottom as the wheel spun around. Then there was the attempt where Esme and my fingers went right through the bottom of the bowl, then there was the time where the bowl got so out of center (don't be deceived the bowl was out of center every time, this one was just really bad) that one side folded over on itself in this really cool wave design.

That was the time Esme said really loudly "look what my mom's bowl just did, that's a cool wave!"
I have to say honestly if I hadn't lost all confidence by that point I would have left the cool design and tried to salvage my pride and my bowl. That wave action had a lot of potential. But as the woman was teaching us she had talked about people filling their bowls with soup, and nourishment, and our contribution, and I looked at my bowl and thought no one can eat out of that.

I guess what I should have thought was that  people need beauty as well as nourishment and maybe this is a funky bowl...maybe they drink out of this bowl. But my confidence was too far gone and yet again I forgot that I was still in control.

I did leave determined of one thing. I'm going to try again, someday when I've trimmed my nails and don't feel like all 12 people standing around are watching and judging. I definitely want to try again. I guess I'll just have to leave my fear  of failure at home.

On the upside, by the time we left my migraine was gone!

I realize a picture of our clay caked selves would have been the perfect addition to this post but we were both so exhausted by being there 1/2 an hour past Esme's bedtime the idea slipped right past me...ah well.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Who ever said I couldn't be a farm wife?

I haven’t had much to say lately because I really haven’t been feeling like myself.

Esme’s best friend is exactly a year and a day older than she is. The two of them are like siblings. So much so that they play really well almost all of the time, but when they don’t play well together, boy oh boy you better watch out. That’s where we’ve been this week and we’ve been teasing Liv about being a grumpapotamus (one of my favorite words for extreme, unexplained grumpiness).

That is exactly how I feel. So grumpy as to fill a whole room with my grumpiness, I could squeeze all the oxygen right out and fill it back up with my discontent. The problem is that I’m mostly discontent with myself and not matter what I do I’m still right there in the room with me.

Lately I’ve been a grumpapotamus about my husband’s girlfriend. I’ve spent way too much time fixating on my husband and his girlfriend and the way their existing screws up my life. I’ve been wallowing, feeling bitter and angry. I hate it most because I barely recognize myself when I’m this person. This is not me. It does not feel good but I just can’t stop.

So yesterday I decided I would stop. 
It was doing me no good! 
This decision was the result of, ironically enough, the girlfriend’s husband’s (or ex or soon to be ex) blog. He had a great post about being in control. How we are often more in control than we realize, even when we feel like we are merely reacting to what life is throwing at us…
“I feel like in life we are often on our heels, cornered into a place where we are on the defensive and forced to react. It’s only when we realize that we actually do have control that we can take charge and move on.”

So I think he may have posted this just for me…As I read his words I realized I have given them way too much power. I let them suck all the oxygen out of my room. And I got nothing out of it. It did not feel good at all to be angry. I really didn’t like it. I think there were some real situations that I needed to be angry about and I think it’s important to feel that emotion in a situation like this.

But, Boy! Did it not get me anywhere. And just as I was trying to figure out how to move myself past this emotion I was torturing myself with, I read my friend’s blog. And I realized it was so obvious. 
I am in control. 
Of all of it. 
I get to choose what bothers me about their actions, their lack of apologies, his lack of support for his daughter…better yet, I can take Sandra Boynton’s advice and Be Like a Duck.
So that’s what I’m going to do: 
“Maybe you stroll, maybe you fly, maybe just float and let the river roll by.” 
“When the rain starts fallin’ let it roll off your back. Just open up your beak and go quack, quack, quack.”

So, I’m taking control. My life is mine again. Apparently I’m kicking the grumpapotamus out and replacing him with a duck. It’s animal week here at the Ashcroft homestead…

Outfit of the Day

These are the daughters of the family that has mostly adopted 
Esme and I.

Tomorrow is Ella's birthday so I thought it only fitting
that today's picture be all three girls...
They were playing school just before I took this picture.
Luckily this picture was taken the night before we walked in on 
all of them playing naked school :)
I do have to draw the line somewhere for what I post right?

I figured if we're celebrating Ella for a minute here it wouldn't be right
to leave off this wonderful ode to childhood I photographed
in the Hedstrom basement a few nights ago.
nothing worse than a maen dab :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

I think I should be awake soon!

Sorting through old cards today I found one from this company:
I'm a sucker for cards and when I went to the website this one really got me

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dial 0 for O- S-H-I-T

Today was another one of those horribly adult days for me. A couple months ago I got a letter from the IRS about my income being reported incorrectly for 2008. They had apparently been attempting to get a hold of me for two years but with all the address changes and poor mail delivery in this area (read: my husband’s inability to pass my mail on) I was unaware this problem existed until a couple months ago.

I finally tracked down someone at the IRS (after an entire lunch hour on hold) and learned that a company I had never heard of issued me a W2 for the year 2008. Turns out my old company contracted with a third party for my maternity leave and given said maternity leave/new baby haze I did not remember that the leave check I received was from a third party. Thus I did not miss the W2’s I never received from that company.

Anyway, two + years and $500 + fines later (oh and did I mention that entire lunch hour) my 2008 taxes were finally sorted out. The other fun news that resulted from that same call was the very kind man I talked to (the one who noticed from the information on his screen that my husband and I now have different addresses on file, and commented on it in a very appropriate and understanding way that I can’t quite recall) who told me at the end that it was his job to ensure I knew everything about my tax status and did I know that we had never filed our 2009 taxes? I could tell just by the way he asked the question that he had already presumed the answer; you know, given the differing addresses, my lack of mail delivery and all.

So for the past two weeks I’ve been tackling the 2009 taxes. Turned out they were mostly completed. My husband had just needed to complete one, one page form and get it approved before we sent them in. I’m not sure about your husband’s but for mine, this took nearly two years! Yes….TWO. YEARS.

With form (finally) in hand I called H&R Block and played phone tag over the last two weeks with an essentially very kind, although also very confused woman who helped me get the taxes completed. Thank God we could do this over the phone as the closest office to me is 2 ½ hours away and I just needed this to be behind me.

So after another full lunch hour on the phone it is now officially behind me. For the first time in years I will be a tax payer in good standing soon and can continue to move forward with the rest of the financial wreck that is my divorcing life.

Speaking of which, having tackled the taxes with such great results I felt I should push my luck by attempting to call the hospital and sort out the confusion that is my bill there, from my ER visit for my broken ankle. Now…I heard a rumor from the most reliable source in my life (three year olds hear every word you say, you know that right?) that my husband’s girlfriend is now working at the hospital here in town. No one I know is sure what department or even if it’s true but today, when I had to call about my bill I got a recording that said “This extension is no longer in service, please dial 0 to be redirected to the correct party.”

I pressed 0 and as the phone rang I felt a fear grip me…What if SHE is the correct party? I couldn’t face it. Before the operator came on I slammed down the phone.

So…anyone wanna call the hospital and find out who the new person in billing is?

Outfit of the Day

So it's very hard to see in the picture but the brown color you can see on E's right sock...
That is the color of her entire previously white outfit.
They play hard on Babka day's...let me tell you.
This is why I say I should own stock in Oxi-Clean :)