I apologize for the confusion; the trial is set for next Wednesday, not today. The 8th and the 9th, actually, and hopefully that will be it. I guess I will know more specifics after out meeting on Friday with the PA. Gosh, I HOPE I will know more by then! You remember, the 8th. Eli’s birthday. Isn’t it terrible that first we had the preliminary hearing on Hannah’s birthday, and now the trial is set to start on Eli’s? I tell you, sometimes you just gotta shake your head and laugh, even when it isn’t particularly funny.

We are holding on. Hannah had a bit of bad news (as if she needed more, right?) on Monday in that her dad told her he wasn’t going to come down (even though he has been telling her since January that he would….), and now isn’t answering her phone calls or returning her messages. So she was very teary and sad last night, and also confused and hurt. We do have a few other people who are going to be there, though, so at least she will be able to look up and see some friendly faces. I am not sure that we actually get to be in the courtroom until we are called as witnesses, but again, I will find out more on Friday.

So far so good. I followed my own advice last night and had a quiet evening reading (of course) after the kids were in bed. I am currently reading a book about the Dalai Lama, which seems almost cosmically put in front of me when I might need something to help me center myself. This morning, I got up a few minutes early so that I could have some absolute alone time before any of the kids got up, where I could sit and cup my warm coffee in my cold hands and pray. Read my daily meditations. Pray. Listen. I don’t know yet if the Big Guy is listening, but I know that for me, this is what I am supposed to do, and I feel better. Maybe that IS the answer.

Tonight? More of the same. We are having what we call Fry Night at our house, with fish for Steve and I, chicken for the kids, and we usually do some zucchini and broccoli and, when they aren’t $1.79 each, red and yellow peppers. Mushrooms too sometimes, that is until Hannah learned that they are basically fungi grown in piles of shit. For some reason that bothers her, though I don’t know why (tongue in cheek there). I think maybe some brownies are in order, too. Not because any of it-the food itself-matters, but because we can be together making and eating fun food and thereby be somewhat distracted.

Just-breathing, and it seems to be enough for the moment.

The Call Came In

The PA finally called last night at 5:00; we are going to trial on Wednesday. Via his attorney, CF said, “I didn’t do anything wrong; there will be no deal.” We have to go in to meet with the PA on Friday afternoon to prepare for the trial, as both Hannah and I have been subpoenaed. It is odd. I knew this would most likely be the case, that he would take it all the way to trial (after all, what does he have to lose?), but somehow hearing the words out loud was like a punch in the gut. Don’t know why-I guess just realizing that there is no way to protect Hannah from having to testify, no way to keep her from having to sit in a courtroom filled with a jury and, inevitably, lots of spectators, and say out loud to strangers what was done. No way to prevent her from having to talk about it in from of him. I have a long diatribe started about victims rights (nil) vs criminals rights (thousand fold) but I just don’t have the energy to go into it right now. What is that old saying, that depression is anger without enthusiasm? That fits me today. It won’t-can’t-last; there is too much at stake now for me to indulge in the selfish luxury of depression and apathy. However, for just this moment, this small span of time, I am allowing myself to feel every single emotion brought about by this turn of events without trying to stuff them or pretend they don’t exist. Later I will be able to put on the brave, strong front that Hannah so desperately needs, but right now, it just is what it is.

This is what I know, though. Not how I feel at the moment, but what I know. I know that the only thing that either one of us can do is go in and speak our truth as clearly and forcefully as possible. I am fairly sure at the meeting on Friday that strategy will be discussed, from what to wear to how to appear, but underneath it all is the fact that the only thing we can do is tell our story. That’s it. Will it be enough for a jury to convict him? Here in the blog I can say that I doubt it. Too many people still think that what happened was maybe not okay, but not enough to warrant prison time; after all, he didn’t RAPE her. However, the truth is all we have, and I believe that no matter what the ultimate outcome, as long as we do what we are supposed to do, there will be healing.

I also know that aside from the repercussions for Hannah, this is the opportunity for ME to stand up and confront my own abuse. In standing up for my sweet girl, I am also taking and stand and confronting the fact that things happened to me that were.not.okay. There is something very powerful about having that opportunity. Of course, I would rather it didn’t happen in this manner, but if the opportunity arrives to put to rest a huge part of my past, then I would be a fool not to take it and run with it. Everything in life is intertwined; I know that no matter how shitty the circumstances are, there is the chance for great good to come of it as long as I keep my eyes open and my heart willing.

There is finally in my life the sure knowledge that we are loved and supported, which is no small thing. The people whom I love the most-even the ones who don’t understand where I am coming from these days-have never once questioned Hannah. They know and love us both well enough that when told, the reaction was not “Are you sure you didn’t misunderstand?” but was instead, “Okay, baby, this is what we gotta do.” They have listened to me pour my heart out and rant and rave about the injustice and how bad it hurts to watch things spiral far beyond what little control I have; they have fed us meals and sent emails and been on the other end of the phone line. They have provided shelter and protection for not just Hannah but our entire family, knowing how close we all are and knowing that the safety and well-being of one affect all of us. God, am I blessed. And maybe I didn’t know this before; maybe I didn’t know that no matter how high the fall or how fast I approached Ground Zero, there would be a safety net. No matter what happens, I can lean back and let go, and fall into love. That? Can’t be taken away.

There is no doubt in my mind that things will get a little dicier as the trial comes nearer, no doubt that we are all going to have our moments of freaking out and being afraid and angry and frustrated. For myself, in order to take care of myself as best as I can in order to be able to be there in a meaningful way for Hannah, I plan on being as gentle with all of us as is possible. Evenings of simple comfort foods and bubble baths, mornings of quiet reading and meditation. We will think of something fun and distracting (and free) to do on the weekend, and I will try to help each one of the kids nurture themselves through this. I have to believe that all will be well.

Weekend Recap Plus Update

I have to say this was one of the best weekends we have had in a long time, and we have had some good ones. Friday night Steve and I went to the AA Speaker meeting, which was an exceptionally good one. I was glad to see my friend P. there, the mother of the man who died last week; I am amazed at her courage and strength, and am glad to know that no matter how difficult life is at any given moment, she knows where she needs to be so as not to drink again. I talked with her very briefly, but she is still so raw and freshly grieving that we didn’t TALK; she seems to be holding herself together with everything she has, and all I could really do was hug her. I love AA; I look around the room and see people that I love, who love me, and it is really powerful for me to go there and know that no matter what, I don’t have to drink again. Powerful and humbling at the very same time.

Saturday was spent-what DID I do Saturday? Well, I had borrowed $100 from Steve so as to make it through until payday, so I went to buy some groceries (which was of course lovely; I had a better attitude and FELT better as soon as I knew that there was enough in the house to last until I get paid), and then we spent quite a bit of time outside playing. The house next door to the one right next to us has been bought and the new owners are in the process of gutting it, so there was lots of activity. I don’t know what the deal with the other folks was, whether they owned or rented, but they left EVERYTHING in there, including two cats. Which makes me angry indeed.

Steve and I went out on Saturday night, and it was so, so nice. We went to the next town over specifically to go to Costco, which we found out closes at 6:00. On a Saturday night-WTF is up with that? So we didn’t get to go there, but instead went to lots of other places. Barnes and Noble, Tuesday Mornings, the Asian Market we love that has moved and expanded, downtown to find the cooking store we have heard so much about (and I cannot WAIT to go back there; it is my idea of heaven, I tell you). It was really relaxing and a lot of fun to just browse around places. We then went into Karnation, a lingerie and adult store, which was, um, interesting and a little embarrassing, even for me, but also fun. Last, we went to eat at a place called Sushi Ya, which obviously was a Sushi joint. I was my first experience with sushi, and man, I am hooked. Totally hooked; what an interesting and fun combination of flavors and textures! And this, from a woman who won’t eat meatloaf! I will definitely go back, and be more adventurous the next time. It was an excellent night simply because there was no underlying tension, the uncertainty and confusion about our relationship not in the forefront like is has been. The trip to Barnes and Noble was reminiscent of our first date, as is was the first place we went to that night over three years ago; we were both wandering around the store with our coffees, not together but knowing that the other was around somewhere, and it was a comforting feeling.

Yesterday was miserable, weatherwise, with terrible wind and icy cold pellets of snow flurrying around sporadically, so we spent the entire day in the house. We cleaned some, and read a LOT, and the kids all four were sweet and happy to just be together. A nice change from the days when the slightest wrong look or comment can cause World War Three! We all napped in the afternoon, had a simple dinner, and topped the evening off with popcorn and a movie. These are the times that make me fall into bed feeling oh-so-grateful and blessed.

This morning, I had the pleasure of writing out a check to Amber for the money that all of you so generously donated to her. The total was $427.00, and I want to thank you all. I will say that I still owe her $127.00, only having written the check for $300.00; I made the mistake of having the money deposited into my new checking account instead of my existing savings account, so there was a delay in that Paypal had to verify the account and then deposit the money. Because I am paranoid about money and checking accounts in general, I told her that I would have to give her the rest in a few days just to make sure everything is cool. Anyway, I am hoping (hint hint) that Amber will be willing to write a guest post this week telling you all about what happened and what has transpired, at which point I will list all of the people who so generously gave of themselves to help this family. Thank you, to all of you, for your willingness to help a stranger.

Now, I am simply here at work, waiting for a phone call from the courthouse to let me know what happened this morning. It would be very easy for me to assume that I know what transpired, but I am working really hard to keep from doing that, because I really DON’T know, and can’t even venture a guess. I am on pins and needles, but know that I can’ call their office until after lunch anyway because court is still in session, and I might not even hear anything until tomorrow. The waiting is a killer, you know?

Monday Afternoon Update: Did I get a call from the prosecuting attorney? No. Did I have to call them? Yes. Did they have any answers? No. What I was told when I talked to the Prosecutor on Thursday that I would know BEFORE court this morning what the plan was, and that I DID NOT need to go to the hearing this morning because I would already know what to expect. So when I called to find out I was told, “Well, I am sure that what he MEANT was that you would hear from him before the trial.” Yes; I am sure. Since my daughter and I are the two witnesses and the trial is in less than ten days now, I sould surely HOPE I would hear from him prior to that. More and more I feel discouraged and upest by this whole thing; so far I have been dicked around, lied to, had information withheld, and been accused of being too emotional; doesn’t bode very well for the outcome of this fucking thing, does it? And yes, I am angry, just in case any of you were wondering, and yes, it is also “helpful” to be angry.

Friday Fragments Virgin

So I have decided to start participating in this thing called Friday Fragments, which is the grand idea of Mrs.4444. I have kind of been lurking around her blog lately, and definitely need one day a week where I have some structure. If you want to know more about it, head on over to her place and check it out. Actually, you should go check her out anyway; she is pretty neat.

**I talked with the prosecutor on Wednesday, and at this point we are still anticipating going to trial. I hadn’t spoken to him in months, so it was good to find out that he is still on the same page as he was in the beginning. He does not have a deal to offer; he will listen to what they propose, but he isn’t going in there set to place something on the table. We talked about the whole “deal” thing and agreed that in the end, one felony guilty plea and a guilty plea to one lesser charge, in exchange for dropping two of the felonies, would be acceptable. We already know we aren’t going to get a plea on four felonies. So it looks like in less than two weeks Hannah and I both have to take the stand.**

**Owen has been getting up in the middle of the night, taking his diaper off, and going in to go potty. We have been working with him during the day, of course, and I think he is doing amazingly well; he wears a diaper at nap time and bedtime is all. But it completely blows my mind that he gets up on his own and goes in to pee. Not every night, not consistently, but a definite leap in progress. And I cannot BELIEVE I just totally did a “mommy blogger” and wrote about potty training. Shoot me now, please.**

**If I were a cop, I would just automatically suspect and pull over anyone who saw my car and slowed down to 10 miles below the speed limit. Especially if they weren’t even speeding before they saw the car. That just smacks of trying to drift under the radar to me.**

**Sam has this amazing ear for music. He knows the correct words to these really obscure songs that we don’t hear all that much. Last night coming home, we heard Come On Eileen, and while Eli was cheerily singing “come on Riley,” Sam was correcting him. He ALSO has a strange fascination with Freddie Mercury; I wonder if I should be worried?** ***And I am editing this to say that I misspoke or perhaps gave the wrong impression; not only do I really have no IDEA whether my child may or may not be gay, I don’t give a rip. But come on guys, Freddie as a role model? Why not Doogie Howser instead?***

**The birds are starting to gather twigs and leaves for their nests; I can see the flurry of activity outside the window. Which is really quite fun, watching them choose juuuuust the right bit of material. The not-so-fun-part is remembering the fact that the office is by the bar, where people puke on the sidewalks and in the gutters, which is where the birds are rummaging for their scraps. Makes me gag just a little.**

**Barbara Taylor Bradford wrote this really great book called A Woman of Substance, and then followed it up with, I think, four other books about this same family. I have read the first three, and they are wonderful. So when I was ill, I went to the thrift store and picked up some books, and one of them was called Voice of the Heart by old Babs. I was pretty excited to find it, and for 20 cents no less. But I found out why it was only 20 cents; it was terrible. I spent the entire, lengthy book just waiting for something to happen. I have a personal “rule” that if I start a book I HAVE to read the whole thing, and man, that was a waste of my time.**

**I have a theory about how women in their 30’s are supposedly at their sexual peak. While I don’t doubt that we want it more now than we did back in the day, I don’t think it really has anything to do with biology or hormones or any kind of scientific reason. Simply put, I think we just enjoy it a lot more because we know what we want, how we like it, and we are less willing to just lay there and let the man do the work. Also, and I do believe this to be true for ME, I think it really is better if you care deeply for someone. I know that isn’t the case for everyone and I am all like meh, whatever, but for me? Yeah. **

**At M.’s funeral on Tuesday, the music selection was just as honest as the rest of the service. They played this song and this song, and all I can say is**

So there you have it; some of the little fragments zipping around in my head lately. I am sure you will all sleep better knowing these little things, right?

Food For Thought

I am thrilled; this post was just picked to go to syndication on March 30th. This is the second time one of my posts has been chosen, and it is incredibly exciting. Of course, I will add here that it might perhaps be simply a lack of other options; posts have been slim over there at the Rocky Mountain Moms Blog, so maybe I was the best one out of, oh, three. No matter; it is still very exciting for me, the very barest beginnings of what I would LIKE to be my career. If any of you run across this in your print newspapers, please cut it out and send it to me.

It has been a rather interesting week on a lot of different levels. First, of course, there was the funeral for my friend, which brought up a lot of conflicting emotions. While I thank you all for your condolences, I want to reiterate that while he was my friend, we hadn’t spoken in a very long time due to his addictions, so I am not deeply grieving on a personal, I lost-a-great-friend level. Instead, it is a much more generalized grief; sadness for a life wasted, for two children who no longer have a father, for a wife who can no longer hold out any hopes that he will find a way to pull himself out of the pit. It is grief for a mom who has tried her hardest to help a son who didn’t want help, and for the grief she feels at finally losing someone who has been in the process of killing himself for years while she had to sit back and let it happen. It sucks-I am not saying that it doesn’t; but I am okay, and while I am sad, it isn’t a debilitating, life-altering sadness. I don’t mean to sound COLD, but I probably do.

Speaking of COLD, my boss and I ended up having a deep discussion a couple of evenings ago that started out simply enough but ended with me in tears, feeling as if I had just gone through a particularly strenuous therapy session. Before I go any further, please know that my boss is nothing if not unfailing kind and caring; his words, no matter how they might sound on paper, were said with love and kindness. We were talking about how I feel completely inept at this parenting gig, how I don’t know how to approach this having a teenaged daughter era because I have no good example to fall back on, blah blah blah…and it progressed to him telling me that I am very guarded to my own detriment, that I am way too hard on myself, and that he feels like I am on the brink of something really big in my life, I just need to get out of my own way. And you know, it hurt my feelings, and it upset me a little bit, and it has been on my mind ever since; this emotional response to his words indicates to me that his words were accurate, or I would have just mentally shrugged my shoulders and moved on.

I have been thinking about this a lot. I even had to look up the word “guarded,” because hey, I thought that was a good thing, you know? It isn’t. The adjectives used are “cautious, suspicious, non-committal, wary, cagey, leery…” Those are not words I want to ascribe to myself, yet I look at them in black and white and know them to be true. My boss said this, and I agree, that there are legitimate reasons I have become so guarded; I have had to learn to keep my thoughts and feelings to myself, I have learned to not give away too much of myself to any one person. If I give too much away, I am much more likely to be hurt.

***This paragraph deleted, so sorry if this no longer makes sense***

The thing is, though I recognize this as a problem, I don’t know what to do about it, and to be 100% honest here in the old blog, I don’t know that I WANT to do anything about it. By that I mean that I know that not all people are untrustworthy. I also know that part of being in a relationship-with anyone-means that there WILL be hurt feelings and misunderstandings and even anger and upset. I get that, I really do. But for me, if holding myself back from people is how I can make it through without being terribly hurt again, well, yes, it might be worth it. You all know a LOT about me through these many, many pages, especially if you have been reading them for any length of time. However, what you know is really only a small fraction of my life and who I am, and please just trust me when I say that I do not know how much more heartbreak I can handle.

This is all just food for thought for me, something to mull over and process in the back of my mind in the coming days and weeks and months. There is always internal healing work to be done, and maybe this is my next step; I don’t know. I do know that if I leave it there and let it percolate, if I take time for quiet and reflection and listening, I will get an answer as to what I am supposed to do next.

There were a few other things that I wanted to write about today, especially the conversation witt the prosecuting attorney yesterday regarding the upcoming trial, but I have already been long winded enough, I think, and will have to save it for tomorrow. For now, I am simply going to attend to my work, revel in the sunlight shining through the window, and try to keep an open mind and heart.

This is NOT Beautiful

My latest post is up over at the Rocky Mountain Moms Blog this morning, should you feel the urge to go check it out.

I went to my friend’s funeral services yesterday afternoon, and it was, in a word, terrible. I have never really understood why people describe such events as “beautiful;” there was nothing beautiful about it. Yes, the flowers were pretty. Yes, the chapel looked nice, despite the fact that they grossly underestimated the amount of people attending and therefore there was not room for everyone. Still and all, it was funeral; the flowers did nothing to disguise the fact that just underneath them was the dead body of someone who was loved. There is nothing beautiful about a funeral, in my opinion. I will say that it was a very honest service; his partner of 12 years, who because of his addictions hadn’t spoken to him in a year and has been raising their kids on her own, spoke from the heart about how he really was, and that she loved him so much anyway. It was-terrible.

I was able to see my friend, and that was good; she was holding up okay on the surface, introducing herself as M’s mom to the many people who didn’t know her and putting on the professional facade. When she saw me she kissed me on the mouth, looked closely into my eyes and didn’t say a word, just kept going to the next person; it made me very, very glad I had gone, even while my heart was breaking for the pain I saw there. I also saw M’s step-dad, who is also a friend, and again, sometimes words aren’t necessary.

I don’t know…I don’t want to go into it all because it is too sad. There is a lot to process, and I am just not able to do so in a coherent manner. Instead, I will copy for you what was written on the back of his funeral program, and maybe it will break your heart a little like it broke mine, but it sums M. up just about perfectly.

Some people
Test everything by pushing the limits…
Dancing in danger
Eventually they crash. If you could ask them for honesty, they would say…
Please don’t save me,
even when I beg you.
It’s my fear that makes me forget that
I don’t need saving.
You are not responsible for my pain.
Sometimes I want to blame you and even
worse, you continually blame you.
But living can be hurtful and if
your need to protect me me prevents the natural
process of action/re-action, I am robbed of
my power. Which is worse, a broken body
or a paralyzed soul? Let me fall,
so I know who I can become.
Love does not rescue, it ALLOWS.

~Cass, 2000

Check Out My Crib!

Eli’s room. I would apologize for the mess, but it wouldn’t do any good.

Hannah’s room. The other two walls are the same brown as Eli’s, which is actually much prettier in real life than it comes across in the photos.

My living room rug (and dog).

These two are the basement; one area is the craft/games/stay out of mom’s way area; notice the pipe hanging down? So far everyone save Owen has gotten up too quickly and hit their head on it. Good times, good times.The bathroom. Jacquie and I painted and put up the border in there. The shelf above the toilet isn’t always empty like that, we are just currently out of clean towels.

Living room/kitchen. Isn’t the light lovely?
Kitchen. A lot smaller than I am used to, but again, the light is what got me.

This is my room; you don’t get the full room picture because my bed isn’t made, the dog ripped down the other curtain, and there are still unpacked boxes in there (I WILL be a size six again someday, right?). However, check out the awesome mirror I found at the thrift store-major score. Also note the little paper chain hanging from it-Sam made that for me when I was ill last week.

The little boys’ room.

The other corner of the living room.

My favorite reading/writing spot.

So there you have the pictures of the house. I wish I could have gotten some of how it looked before we moved in. It was not very clean at all and rather shabby looking; it is amazing what some hard work and a few coats of paint can do. I ALSO wish I had some pictures of the old house, so that you could compare the two and appreciate why we are, in fact, thrilled and in love with the new place.
I am taking a very late lunch today and going to the services for my friend, which will be-well, not GOOD, but necessary. Steve is meeting me there, which will help. This has hit both of us tremendously hard, for some reason. I mean, I wasn’t close to this man in the sense that his death is going to leave a huge hole in my heart; I hadn’t had more than passing conversations with him in the two (ish) years since he went back out into the drinking/drugging world, but instead have been told of his life by him mom, who IS my friend. I know it is the same for Steve. I think part of it is that it is a reminder, however harsh and unwanted, of where I used to be and what WILL happen if I relapse. It is also just such a waste; he had so much potential, and he he has these two great kids and a full life ahead of him and now, he is just another body. So, so sad.
An odd mix of feelings, sadness and gratitude all at one. Sad he didn’t “get it” or could
n’t keep it, that which he learned in AA, but gratitude that I did and have. It’s a funny old world, isn’t it?