formerly Diane's Addled Ramblings... the ramblings are still addled, just like before, and the URL is still the same...
it's just the title at the top of the page that's new

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Home Alone

In my whole adult life, I have never had a home. Not really. I’ve had places where I’ve kept my stuff… places where I’ve lain my head every night… places I’ve returned to at the end of trips and vacations…

But never a home.

Everywhere I’ve lived has felt temporary. Nowhere has felt like mine. There has never been a place where I’ve been able to go and completely shed the worries and dirt and noise of the day.

I want that place.

I want to find home.

I’ve wondered if home isn’t a place, but a person. And if I find that person – that person who feels like home – maybe I’ll finally feel at home. Somewhere.


But I don’t know if that person exists. I’m beginning to doubt it.

I also tell myself that expecting another person to make me feel at home is wrong. It’s a bad idea. I have to find it on my own. That’s the healthy thing to do.


And I’ve wondered if home is simply in me. Inside me... somewhere deep inside – in a place I haven’t been able to access yet.

But I don’t know if that place exists either. I’m beginning to doubt it.

There is a place in me that no one is allowed to go. It’s not that I don’t want anyone in there with me; it’s that I don’t know how to let anyone in.

But that place?

It’s not home.

It’s not a nice warm place. It’s a dark and lonely. It’s where I go when I’m hurting. And even though people try to get in, I won’t open the door.

I can’t open the door.

It’s why, even when I’m surrounded by people who love me – people who won’t let me walk this world by myself – I still feel alone.

My friends have been able to reach in and pull me out of that place… and for that, I am grateful. But no one has ever made it inside – fully inside.

I wish someone would.

What responsibility that would be, though. That person would share the weight of my insecurities, my failings, my shortcomings.

He would hold my heart in his hand.

And that?
Is too much, I think.

I think I'm asking too much; hoping for too much.

At least I’m not expecting it.

That’s something.

But home…


Home would be nice.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Continuing Adventures of Christopher J.: Part 4

Here we have the continuing story of Christopher J. Arachington, of the Red Shed Arachingtons...

For those who don't know, Christopher J. is a lovely little spider I met some time ago. Full of the wanderlust, he began the adventure of a lifetime in the forsythia bush in my front yard. I didn't expect to ever see him again, but he came back, with a very big story to tell. I thought you might like to hear it, too...

If you haven't read the first few installments of the story, you can find them here:

First Installment

Second Installment

Third Installment

If you remember correctly, at the end of the last installment, Christopher J. was just about to share how his new friend, Julius P. Crickman, saved his life... for the first time...

“My goodness! What on earth happened?”

Christopher J. stood up, balancing carefully on five legs. He took off his bowler hat, wiped his brow with a hanky from his vest pocket, and replaced his hat. “It was really quite harrowing, I have to say. I still find the memory rather stressful.”

“I can imagine. Do you need a moment?”

“No, no. I’m fine.” He began to pace the length of the nightstand drawer, took a deep breath, and started. “As I mentioned, I met Julius P. for the first time under the forsythia bush. We chatted for a while, waiting for the temperature to drop, as it was so terribly hot. Having just decided to start our journey in the lush garden across the Great Dark Divide (Narrator's note: I determined quickly that the Great Dark Divide is the street in front of the house), we were planning our route, when we heard a tremendous rustling in the forsythia!”

I leaned forward, anxious to learn what might have caused the rustling.

“Suddenly, we heard a frightful squawk and were very nearly trampled by a rather… portly… sparrow. Julius P. knocked me out of the way, or that bird would have surely used me as a stepping stone and squashed me flat!”

“Ah, is that how Julius P. saved your life?”

Christopher J. shook his head solemnly, his eyes wide. “Oh, no. It got worse. Ever so much worse. It wasn’t long before we were to discover just why the sparrow was squawking and trying to make his way through the forsythia.”

Our spider friend sat back down on his Kleenex bed and fanned himself before going on.  “We were completely discombobulated, as I’m sure you can imagine, and I was just about to ask Julius P. what on earth he suspected was going on, when his eyes got wide and he pointed to something behind me. And then… and then… I felt it.”

“Felt what, Christopher J.? Felt what?!” I was on the edge of my seat.

Poor Christopher J. was sweating, clearly distraught at the memory. “It was a paw! A great, heavy paw! Upon my back! My legs went out from under me and I was suddenly flat upon the ground, unable to move! It was terrifying! I craned my neck and turned my head to see what had me… what was, I was certain, going to eat me!”

“And? What was it?”

“It was the Beast of the Garden! The fiercest creature to prowl our corner of the world! The monster of which legends are born!” Christopher J. had clearly given this “creature” a fair amount of thought.

“But, what sort of creature, exactly, is The Beast of the Garden, Christopher J.?”

Our 7-legged pal leaned forward, looked left and then right, as if to make sure The Beast was not within earshot, as if simply speaking about him could summon him right into my bedroom, and he whispered, “A cat.”

“A cat? Oh. Oh. I see. What does this cat look like?”

“He’s huge! And orange and white, with beady eyes and enormous paws! Have you seen him?”

I nodded slowly (and possibly a bit guiltily, I have to admit). “Um, well, yes. He’s, you know, sort of, um, my cat.”

“Your cat?!” Christopher J. squeaked in alarm and disbelief. “Your cat?! But how? How can you – you, a kind and caring soul – be associated such a creature? Such a beast?!”

“Well, he’s actually quite nice, Christopher J. His name is Pedo.”

“Pedo?! No. No. That’s simply far too benign, too gentle a name for this beast!”

“It means fart in Spanish,” I offered up helpfully.

Christopher J. snorted derisively. “While I don’t find it completely inappropriate that he’s named for flatulence, I do believe the name the birds have given him is far more appropriate.”

“What’s that?”

He whispered, somewhat reverently, I thought, “they call him El Diablo! The Devil!”

“Oh, dear. That seems a bit extreme… a bit, well, hyperbolic… don’t you think?”

Hyperbolic?!” Our little spider friend threw up his arms, clearly beside himself, and knocked his bowler hat clean off. He watched as it sailed across the nightstand drawer. “Oh, dear me,” he said, shaking his head. Taking a deep breath, he picked his hat up, put it back on, and said, more quietly and calmly this time, “have you seen the carnage? Have you witnessed the bodies he leaves in his wake?”

I nodded sadly. “I have, actually. Sometimes right on the front porch. But it’s his nature, you see. Cats are hunters.”

“But he does it for sport!” Christopher J. spat the word out disgustedly.

I really could not blame him for being upset. While I certainly love my cat, I have to admit that I’m not so keen on the whole concept of the ‘Circle of Life’ when it comes full circle on my doorstep.

“I understand, Christopher J. I do. But please do go on. What happened when you realized it was The Beast, er, Pedo, who had you flattened?”

Christopher J. took a deep breath, eyeing me with clear doubt on his little face.  I could tell he was wondering if he could trust me now, given my connection to The Beast of the Garden. I was afraid he wouldn’t go on after all. Thankfully he did.

“Well, I was terrified, as I said. Certain The Beast was going to eat me, I cried out for Julius P. to run! I thought that if my travels were over, at least my friend could go on in my memory.”

“That was very gallant of you, Christopher J. And did he?”

“No! That brilliant cricket saved me! He leapt right into The Beast’s face, landing squarely on his nose! The Beast was so startled that he lifted his paw, allowing me to wriggle loose. He slammed it down again on my leg but I was able to pull free.”

“Was that how… um…” I pointed to the stump where his 8th leg had been, not wanting to ask the question out loud.

“How I lost my leg? Oh, no. That was a different situation altogether.” He stood up and began pacing again, as he went on with the story. “The Beast swatted at Julius P., knocking him to the ground. The poor chap was stunned, so before the paw came down again, I wrapped 4 of my legs around him, intending to drag him deeper into the forsythia, away from The Beast's reach. And then?! You’ll never guess what happened!”

My heart was racing now, worried for my little friend and his little friend. “What? What happened?!”

“Remember that sparrow? The one who nearly trampled us, trying to get out of The Beast’s path?”

I nodded.

Christopher J. began gesturing wildly. “Well, he swooped in just as The Beast was about to capture both Julius P. and me! He closed in on the collar of my vest with his claw and he flew us right out of the forsythia! Julius P. was wrapped in all 8 of my legs and I held on for dear life, terrified I was going to drop him! It was spectacular! And let me tell you, I was ever so glad Mum had made sure all my vest buttons were secure before I left for my travels, as if they'd popped, we would have been goners for certain! The Beast was, for once, not quick enough to pull us out of the sky, which is odd, really, when you consider how rather chubby Spiro is, and that he was carrying both a spider and a cricket, weighing him down even more.”


Christopher J. smiled. “Yes, Spiro T. Winger, of the Great Maple Wingers. He became the third in our traveling trio." A little giggle escaped the spider and he continued, "though we weren’t certain at first that he hadn’t rescued us only to make a meal of us later!”

“Oh, my! Where did he fly you to after the rescue from The Beast, er, Pedo?”

“Straight to his nest in the Great Maple. And that? Is a story all unto itself. My goodness, it is.”

“Well, I want to hear it! But first, I need another cup of tea. Would you like some?”

“Oh, dear me, yes. Thank you. All this storytelling has me parched!”

Christopher J. sat back down on his Kleenex bed, clearly spent from reliving his ordeal, and I made my way quickly to the kitchen to put the kettle on.
To be continued...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

100 Things...

I did this silly '100 Things' questionnaire a few years ago on Facebook... I went back tonight and re-did it (can you tell I'm struggling for posts?).

1. Last beverage?  Unsweetened iced tea (which I spilled all over me)
2. Last phone call?  Ryan
3. Last text message? Ryan
4. Last song you listened to?  The Beauty of Who You Are - Marc Broussard
5. Last time you cried?  I can't remember. But I'm sure it wasn't long ago.

6. Dated someone twice? Yes.  But not in friggin' forever.
7. Been cheated on?  Oh, yes. 
8. Kissed someone and regretted it?  Oh, yes.
9. Lost someone special? Yes.
10. Been depressed? Yes.
11. Been drunk and thrown up?  More times than I care to count (I learn my lessons the hard way).

12. Blue
13. Coral
14. Yellow

15. Make a new friend? Yes, several.
16. Fall out of love?  I think you have to be in love to do that.
17. Laugh until you cried? Yes (and ‘til I snorted).
18. Meet someone who changed you?  Yes.
19. Find out who your true friends were? Yes (I already knew but they SO confirmed it).
20. Found out someone was talking about you?  Yeah. Now ask me if I cared...
21. Kissed anyone on your FB ‘friends’ list?  Yup.

22. How many people on your FB ‘friends’ list do you know in real life?  Define 'real.'
24. Do you have any pets?  Only the best dog in the world and a cat loves me... sometimes.
25. Do you want to change your name?  Yes… to ‘Mrs. Gerard Butler’.
26. What did you do for your last birthday?  It was almost a year ago. I don't remember yesterday.
27. What time did you wake up today?  4AM. 5AM. 6AM. 6:30AM.
28. What were you doing at midnight last night? Snoring. I have a cold. Sue me.
29. Name something you CANNOT wait for?  My next trip to London.
31. What is one thing you wish you could change about your life? Just one thing? Really?
32. What are you listening to right now? The sound of an electric space heater.
33. Have you ever talked to a person named Tom? Yes (and pretty much did whatever he ordered me to do)
34. What's getting on your nerves right now? My font keeps changing size.
35. Most visited webpage?  Facebook
37. Nicknames? Di-I and Bella (but only my Daddy called me those), D (when I was in college), Lady Di (but only my friend Mark called me that), Mom (but ONLY Ryan calls me that), Princess Apostrophe.
38. Relationship Status?  Quite single
39. Zodiac Sign? Aquarius
40. He or She? Um, for what? Kissing? He. Watching chick flicks? She.
41. Elementary School?  Franklin School and Elkton Elementary
42. Middle School? Thomas Harrison.
43. High School?  Harrisonburg.
44. Hair Color? Your guess is as good as mine. 
45. Tall or short? Middlin’
46. Height?  5' 6"
48: What do you like about yourself?  I know how to use apostrophes properly.
47. Do you have a crush on someone?  Yes
49. Piercings?  Ears
50. Tattoos?  Not yet
51. Righty or lefty?  Write righty… do everything else lefty

52. First boyfriend?  The cutest boy in the first grade at Franklin Elementary School.
53. First kiss?  The cutest boy in the 6th grade at Elkton Elementary School.
54. First best friend(s)? Joette Calautti
55. First concert? Chicago at JMU.
58. First date? Not fun at all

59. Eating?  Nothing.  Shut up, it happens.
60. Drinking?  Nothing. I spilled it all.
61. I'm about to?  Go home from a friend's.
62. Listening to?  The heater (didn’t I say that already?).
63. Waiting for?  The lottery win. I suppose I should play the lottery, eh?
64. Want kids? Got one.  She’s quite enough, thank you.
65. Get Married?  Never say never.
66. Career?  I haven't yet decided what I want to be when I grow up.

67. Lips or eyes?  Depends… am I looking or kissing?
68. Hugs or kisses?  Depends who’s giving ‘em.  Duh.
69. Shorter or taller?   Don’t really care.
70. Older or Younger?  Not young enough that I could have changed his diapers; not so old that I’ll soon have to change his diapers.
71. Romantic or spontaneous?  Spontaneous IS romantic. 
72. Nice stomach or nice arms?  Don’t really care.
73. Sensitive or loud?  Who wants loud?
74. Hook-up or relationship?  Depends… if it’s Shemar Moore, a hook-up (or 8) will do.  If it’s Gerard Butler, I want the relationship.
75. Trouble maker or hesitant?  Trouble.  Definitely trouble.

76. Kissed a stranger?  Yes.
77. Drank hard liquor?  Yes (and then kissed the stranger).
78. Lost glasses/contacts?  Yes (but found them again).
79. Sex on first date?  Yes.  Shut up.  He was cute.
80. Broken someone's heart?  Yes (but not intentionally).
81. Had your own heart broken?  Oh, yes (and likely will again).
83. Turned someone down?  For what?
84. Cried when someone died?  Yes. I have a heart, after all.
85. Fallen for a friend?  Yes (and ON a friend… after that hard liquor).

86. Yourself?  Some days.
87. Miracles?  Not so much.
88. Love at first sight?  No.
89. Heaven?  Probably not.
90. Santa Claus?  No.  That fat man let me down too many times.
91. Kiss on the first date?  If the spirit moves me.  Or, you know, the wine.
92. Angels?  The kind with wings?  Nope.  But I’ve met a few of the human kind.

93. Had more than one bf/gf? At a time?  Yes. They weren't exclusive relationships.
94. Is there one person you want to be with right now? Gerard Butler.  Duh.
95. Did you sing today? Yes (Did you sing well today?  Nope).
96. Ever cheated on somebody?  No. What?  They weren’t exclusive relationships!
97. If you could go back in time, how far would you go, and why?  I’d go back to the day before my dad died and I’d get my ass home in time to say good-bye.
98. Worst day of the last year? The day of the cancer diagnosis.
99. If you could pick a day from this last year and relive it, what would it be? The day Ryan and I saw Annie on Broadway.
100. Are you afraid of falling in love?  No... at least that's what I tell myself.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Libraries Raised Me

Libraries raised me. Ray Bradbury said it... but his words could have been mine. Libraries raised me.

They nurtured my love of words... and my desire - my need - to tell stories.

When I was 7, I got my first library card. It was pink and it had a little metal plate in the lower right corner. I had to sign my name on it, which proved I was old enough to visit the stacks and choose my own books.

And choose I did.

The library was the first place I was allowed to walk by myself. It seemed miles and miles away, though it was really only about a dozen city blocks. I went every week and I'd check out the maximum number of books, devouring them from Sunday to Friday, to return them on Saturday morning and start all over again.

I loved everything about the library. Everything. The quiet... the smell (oh, the wonderful smell!)... the rows and rows and rows of colorful book spines... the heavy oak tables and the chairs that scraped loudly across the floor when you pulled them out to settle in for a read... the card catalog.

In fact, I'm on the lookout for an old card catalog cabinet for my very own. Can you imagine?

The original search engine.
One of my favorite things, though, was to look at the due date cards in the books to see who might have checked them out before me... and when they checked them out before me. I loved the idea that other people - other girls my age - had been checking out the same books for years and years and years before me. I loved to think about how many hands had held the covers and turned the pages and how many people had absorbed the words and cried and laughed and waited breathlessly to see what would happen to characters - to the friends - who seemed so very real.

Libraries raised me.

The library was my haven. My happy place. The place that housed the worlds I dreamed of visiting, the people I dreamed of knowing, the adventures I dreamed of having.

I still visit the library, though not so often as I used to. I spend more time in bookstores now, as I like to own my books and not just borrow them. And when I purchase books that turn out not to be ones I want to keep, I donate them to the library. Giving back... in just a tiny way... for all they gave me... for all I gained and learned... for how I grew.

Libraries raised me.

And I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Adventures of Christopher J.: Installment 3

If you remember, we ended the last installment of the Adventures of Christopher J. Arachington, of the Red Shed Arachingtons, with me heading out to make both a cup of tea and a mental note to email my friend Todd, whose spare room, I believe, was the original Arachington homestead. 

If you missed the first installment of Christopher J.'s story, you can read it right here... and if you missed the second installment, you can read it right here...)

And so we continue...

I returned with my tea, curled up in the wicker chair near my nightstand, and bid Christopher J. to begin his tale. He took a deep breath and started…
“If you remember rightly, it was very warm last July 3rd. When you set me down in the forsythia near the street, I had to catch my breath and wipe my brow. I was deciding whether to be on my way or wait until the evening cooled a bit when I happened upon the lovely chap who would become my traveling companion for some time – Julius P. Crickman.”
“And Julius P. is a… cricket?”

 “Exactly! And a jolly good mate as well! He was off on his own adventure, you see, as, sadly, he’d been involved in a little altercation with several other crickets. He decided simply to leave the lilac bush just down the way from the Red Shed, so as not to wind up in any real trouble, you understand.”
“An altercation? What about?” Insect altercations seem rather interesting, don’t you think?
Christopher J. continued, “Well, I don’t know how much you know about crickets, but I assume you know they chirp?”
“Of course. And loudly, too.”
“Yes, indeed. Well, only the males chirp. Did you know that? It’s true. However, Julius P. doesn’t.”
“He doesn’t chirp? Why?”
“Well, he doesn’t know why. It’s the way he is; the way he was born. But those bullies teased him unmercifully about it! They called him extremely unflattering names and called into question his… male-ness.”
“Oh, I see. Poor Julius P. For the record? Things like that happen in the human world, too.”
Yes, in the spider world, too! I, myself, had an horrific experience when two of my loutish cousins, Bubba and Jim-Bob humilia…”
“Wait," I put my hand up to stop him. "I’m sorry to interrupt you, Christopher J., but Bubba? And Jim-Bob?”
Christopher J. sighed. “Yes. Their mum, Crystal Mae Weaver, of the Brown Shed Weavers, married my Uncle Jonathan Q. Arachington.”
“The Brown Shed?” I had to know.
Christopher J. looked a bit disgusted. “Yes. You know the one… on wrong side of the garden… paint peeling… a smelly groundhog lives underneath…?” He peered at me for signs of recognition.
I realized which shed he meant. “Ohhhh. Yes. I know the one.  Please go on…”
Well, the whole family knew that Crystal Mae was a gold-digger. My Granda even tried to forbid the marriage, but Uncle Jonathan was always the headstrong sort. In fact, it was being headstrong that landed him right in a woodpecker’s flight path!”
“Oh, dear!”
“Yes. And without anyone else at home to help with Bubba and Jim-Bob, Crystal Mae moved them all into the Red Shed. Much to MY chagrin, let me tell you.”
“I understand. So what did they do to you that upset you so?”

Our little friend’s face filled with such righteous indignation! “Oh! Oh! Wait until I tell you! My whole life they called me “Nancy-Boy” because I preferred to be tidy and well-dressed and spoke properly. As if using ‘ain’t’ and wearing dirty baseball caps makes one better than anyone else!”
I nodded in complete understanding (I know a couple of Bubbas and Jim-Bobs).

He went on, breathlessly, clearly reliving his ordeal, “Well, one night, while I was sleeping, they took tree sap and they smeared it over… over…” he stopped, his face reddening in embarrassment.
“Over what, Christopher J.?”
He mumbled something, “My spinner…”
“I’m sorry, your what?”
“My Spinneret,” he declared in exasperation. I must have looked perplexed because he went on, “You know, don’t you? It’s the… hole… in my… bum… from which I spin my webs.”
“Oh! Oh, dear! That must have been awful for you, Christopher J.! I’m so sorry.”
He nodded, the wind out of his sails. “It was. It was beyond awful. It took days to sort out. So much… discomfort! And those two brutes and their friends laughing at me all the while." Christopher J. swallowed hard.  "I’ve never forgiven them.  And poor Julius P. suffered in a similar way. It was completely unacceptable, it was! Julius P. is a grand chap, whether he chirps or not, and it was my great good fortune that he decided to find his own way, as he wound up saving my spider-skin on not one, but two occasions!”
“He saved your life?”
“He did. And the first time was on that very night…”

To be continued...

Sunday, January 12, 2014


We are all damaged in some way.

Life, while beautiful and amazing in so many ways, can be hard and cruel. People hurt us – people we love and people we don’t even know. Situations and events can tear us down.
And cruelty and pain and being torn down all leave marks, wounds, and scars.

We are all damaged.

For some of us, the damage is simply dents and dings; for some, the wounds are jagged and open, hearts and souls hanging out in a bloody, pulpy mess; others bear scars and aches from long-past stabs and kicks to the heart; for others still, the damage is more like a cancer or a tumor, unseen, growing and poisoning from the inside.

We are all damaged.

When I married my ex-husband, I could see, very clearly, his damage. And I believed I could heal him. Because that’s what I do. I fix what’s broken. Or I try to. And when I fail, I take on all the responsibility for, not only the failure, but for the other person’s brokenness, too. Somehow, because I cannot fix it, I become the keeper of the pain, even when it’s not mine to take.

We are all damaged.

What I have come to realize is that a person has to believe that they need healing in order to heal. That was a hard lesson learned, over 16 years with a man who believed he was whole and the rest of the world was broken; a lesson learned by holding on tightly to someone whose shattering could not be glued back together -- whose jagged edges cut me to the bone and left me wounded and reeling.

And I have learned that even when we can clearly see our own damage and feel our own pain and understand that we need healing, it is incredibly difficult to heal ourselves.
But sometimes we encounter someone who makes us believe that healing is possible.
~ A person whose damage is so much like our own…

~ A person who struggles in the same ways… whose damage has manifested in mirror images to our own… whose personality has been shaped in disconcertingly similar (and sometimes identical) ways to our own…

~ A person who needs and wants to heal, too…

I recently met such a person…
~ A person who, maybe for the first time ever, has made me really and truly understand that fixing someone else is not my responsibility, no matter how strong the desire... but what I can do is allow another person to draw from my strength without weakening myself…

~ A person who has made me realize, maybe for the first time ever, that I do not need to define and label a relationship or know exactly what it’s going to eventually be; that it really is OK to simply give up that control and allow myself to simply be present – to love and accept without expectation, on a level that is deep at the heart of a friendship that feels… boundless

~ A person who has made me see that in accepting and loving a person whose damage and flaws and failings – and positive qualities as well – are so very much like my own, I am actually giving myself permission to accept and love myself.

And that?

Is huge.

It might just allow me to fix what’s broken in me.

And I’m not sure I have ever truly believed that possible.

We are all damaged.

But there is a path to healing…
We simply have to be ready to see it…

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Be Brave, Little Girl -- Part II

So, yesterday I wrote about being askeerd when I go to the cancer center.

Legitimate fear.



But a day out and I feel better. Not completely back to normal (whatever the hell that is), but better.

As such, I've decided to go ahead a scare the full bejeebies out of myself tonight.

I'm going to watch a scary movie.

I am. Me. The proverbial scaredy-cat. The weeniest weenie of them all.

'Cause I'm a glutton for punishment, that's why.

I haven't seen a scary movie since I watched one with my friend Todd, several years ago, during a visit to London. It was The Grudge. And it was horrifying! And I was so scared, I spent the rest of the night huddled under a down sleeping bag, in an already overly-warm flat, sweating to death. But draining all my fluids through sweat kept me from weeping and peeing in fear, so it was all good.

I wasn't always this way, you know. When I was little, I got hooked on Dark Shadows. It was deliciously gothic and mysterious and scary. And it gave me nightmares. But still, I had to get my Barnabus Collins fix every afternoon. Until my dad made me stop watching. 'Cause he got tired of chasing the monsters out of my room every night, that's why.

There's no one to chase the monsters for me now (well, except for Sundance... and though that fuzzy boy barks pretty loudly, he's kind of a weenie, too [ask the goose that pecked me in the head because my pitiful dog ran in the other direction after chasing it]). And since there's no one to chase my monsters, I think it was pretty brave of me to decide to do this tonight (please note that, in this situation, 'brave' totally equals 'stupid').

See, I mentioned being askeerd of creeper flicks to a friend. And he laughed at me.

Now, if he'd laughed with me, I probably could have gone on being askeerd and unashamed.

But he didn't. It was at me. Definitely at me.

So, here I sit. Steeling myself for The Conjuring.

I've got a friend. And a blanket. And my Depends undergarments. And wine.

Lots of wine.

'Cause if the monsters get you when you're drunk, it doesn't hurt so much, that's why.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Be Brave, Little Girl

When Ryan was little, she was fearless. Fearless. Nothing at all fazed her. I was amazed at her bravery... until I realized that she didn't know she had reason to fear. She was safe and loved and protected... she knew that if she ventured farther than her comfort zone, she always had my arms to come back to, and that made everything OK.

But things changed during our first visit to Disney. She was four... and she was so excited to go. For weeks, she spoke of nothing but the teacup ride in the Magic Kingdom. But while we were standing in line, she spotted Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee at the ride's exit...

And her first real fear was realized.

She wigged. Completely. She would have nothing to do with the teacup ride... or with any other ride or part of the park at which there were big costumed characters present. And if you've ever been to Disney, you know they are everywhere.

The Magic Kingdom? Yeah. Not so magical.

I couldn't understand it. I explained they were just people in costumes. I told her they wouldn't come near her if she didn't want them to. I promised to punch anyone who touched her (I was getting desperate).

Nope. Not good enough. For the first time since she was born, I could not make a bad situation better.

I could not assuage the fear.

And I didn't know how to handle that. And it made me... mad.

Looking back on that trip, I feel terrible that I lost my patience with her. I didn't know how to handle a fear I knew she simply needed to face to get over. And I didn't know how to handle the fact that I could not make it better. I felt helpless.


Today, I had my regular appointment with my oncologist at the cancer center.

And I realized that the hospital is my (not so) Magic(al) Kingdom.

My oncologist? The cancer center?

My Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee.

I know they're there to help me. I do.

But I can't assuage the fear. And I don't know how to handle that. And it makes me mad.

And the thing is? I face it... because I have to. But facing this fear isn't making it better.


I have to hope that it will... in time.

I won't be four-years-old forever, after all.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Spider Story Continues...

And here we have another installment of the adventures of our pal, Christopher J. Arachington, of the Red Shed Arachingtons. If you missed the first installment, you can read it right here...

So, I know you’re all waiting to hear about Christopher J.’s adventures but I have to admit that I interrupted him before he really got a chance to start.
“Christopher J.? May I ask you a question?”
“But of course!”
“Have you ever been to England? The reason I ask is that there is an affect to your speech that is very British. And, quite frankly, that seems rather odd, coming from a spider from Pigsknuckle.”
Christopher J. nodded. “Yes, I can see how that might be confusing. I, sadly, have never been to England, though I do consider it my homeland. You see, my grandfather, Sheldon P. Arachinton, was from London. He raised me you understand, as my own father, Clarence D. Arachington, lost his life in a terrible accident involving a,” Christopher J. swallowed hard and went on, “involving a… lawnmower.”  He bowed his head for a moment, and I did as well, out of respect, you know. “So, it is only fitting that I sound a bit like my Granda.”
“Of course. You say he was from London? Do you know what part?”
“Yes. Wgate.”
“Wgate? Hmmm… I don’t know that part of London, I’m afraid. Do you know anything more about it?”
“Only that it’s quite leafy and green. My Granda came from the Red Room in Wgate. In fact, the color red plays quite a significant role in our family history. You see, Granda lived in the Red Room, he traveled from Wgate to here in a great red valise, and he moved into the Red Shed. Quite interesting, don’t you think?”
I nodded. “Quite. A red valise, you say?”
“Yes. Quite a big one I’m told.”
“And do you know anything more of the Red Room?”
“Well, I hesitate to say this, as it makes my Granda sound rather… peculiar… but he would often speak of two moons.”
“Two moons? Really…”
“Yes. To tell the truth, I’ve often wondered if perhaps my Granda dipped into the sherry a bit too often in his youth, but he was quite adamant about it. He said there was a moon outside the Red Room and a moon inside, as well.”
“That’s very curious.”
“Indeed. Oh, and the Red Room was also an ogre’s lair,” Christopher J. mentioned, rather nonchalantly, I thought, for such a significant statement.
“An ogre?”
“Oh, yes. He was quite fearsome, really, and heavy-footed, always chasing Granda about with a shoe or a book. But my Granda was terribly cunning and quick,” Christopher J. glowed with pride. “He used to tell us the funniest story about how he stole onto the ogre’s bed one night while he was sleeping and tickled his nose. The ogre awoke with a start and when he saw my Granda , just inches from his face, he screamed like a little girl and flailed about like a madman. Granda laughed and laughed until he saw the ogre crying in fear. Then he felt terrible. Granda was really very kind, you see, and only liked to tease the ogre. He said that after that incident, he did his best to keep out of the ogre’s way.”
“That’s all very interesting, Christopher J. I’m sorry I never got to meet your Granda. I think I would have liked him.”
“Oh, I expect you would have. He would have liked you as well.”
I smiled and excused myself to make a cup of tea. And as I was going to the kitchen, I made a mental note to email my friend Todd… Todd, who hates spiders… Todd, who lives on Barrowgate, in leafy, green  West London… and whose spare room is painted red… the same room which has a light fixture that looks like a moon… the same room in which I stay when I visit… with my big red suitcase…

To be continued...

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Rush Rush, Baby, Rush Rush

OK, so I've done a post every single day for the past month or so... but tonight, I'm not at home... and I have no ideas... but still, I feel the need to do a post. So I'm going to write something...

I watched a move this evening about cannibals. And it was kind of gross. But there were cute boys in it... so it was kind of OK.

I'm not sure what that says about me.

I'm not sure I care.

Also, I've had a significant amount of wine.

I'm thinking that's why the cannibal stuff was kind of OK. I'm also thinking that might be why this is possibly the worst blog post I've ever done.

And it's also why I'm OK with it.


So, happy Wednesday, my bloggy peeps. Have some wine. And don't eat any people. 'Cause it's really gross. Even if there are cute boys involved.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Let Me Tell You a Story About a Spider...

It's, like, 652 degrees below zero outside and I'm as sick as the proverbial dog (though my real dog is quite fine, snoring beside me). My brain is all frozen and fuzzy and I've had difficulty articulating coherent thoughts all day.

So, instead of slapping down some NyQuil-induced gibberish, I'm going to give you some gibberish I came up with when it was about 652 degrees above zero outside, in the way of several recycled Facebook posts.

Last summer, I started a story on Facebook that just trailed off after several installments, but I've been meaning to pick it back up, as several people enjoyed it and I had fun writing it. I'll give you the back-story today, as well as several of the original posts, and then, hopefully, I'll continue it periodically, until it's finished.

So, as I say, let me tell you a story about a spider...

It all began two summers ago, actually, when Ryan went into my bedroom for something... she came back into the living room and stated (rather matter-of-factly, I thought), "There was a spider on your pillow."

"Um... a spider? On my pillow?"

"Yeah. A big one."

"Did you get it?"

"Uh, no. It was a big one."

Lovely. I went to bed that night with some trepidation. I'm not afraid of spiders, mind you (like several people I know), and I "rescue" them quite often, but the idea of one crawling on me in my sleep? That gave me the heebie-jeebies.

Turns out? I had little to worry about. I became convinced, in fact, that the spider was friendly, and that he'd taken it upon himself to turn off my alarm the next morning.

Two days after Ryan's initial spotting (July 3, 2012, to be specific), I posted this on Facebook...

I met the spider last night. A lovely chap, really... Christopher J. Arachington, of the Red Shed Arachingtons. We had rather a pleasant chat. Christopher J., it seems, is full of the wanderlust, much like his grandfather, Sheldon P. Arachington (who, sadly, met his demise when he frightened a lady in the shower in a shockingly pink bathroom on the second floor of a house down on Willow). I thanked Christopher J. for kindly turning off my alarm yesterday and, since I believe in reciprocal relationships, asked if I could give him a lift back to the Red Shed. He suggested the front yard, however, as he had his passport with him (tucked into the breast pocket of his vest, so as not to lose it [wish I'd thought of that]). I obliged, quite happily, warning him to steer clear of the house 3 doors down (I helped the lady of the house with her groceries the other day and saw a big can of bug spray in her bag).

Safe travels, Christopher J.! It was lovely to meet you!

I will admit, many people who read that Facebook post thought I was a little... well... screwy. Whatevs. Wouldn't be the first time. Won't be the last.

It would be more than a year before I would hear from Christopher J. again. It was, in fact, this past August that he re-appeared. Here is the post from August 16, 2013...

Last night, exhausted, I dragged myself to my room, ready to sleep for days. Sundance hopped onto the bed, barked once, and then snuffled about my pillow. How surprised I was to see our very own Christopher J. Arachington, of the Red Shed Arachingtons, holding onto the corner of my pillowcase for dear life, to avoid being sucked up Sunny’s nose! He looked decidedly bedraggled, his vest torn, his bowler hat (did I mention he wears a bowler hat?) askew, and he was (gasp!) missing a leg! 

“Christopher J.” I exclaimed, pulling my curious dog away. “You startled me. Are you alright? What are you doing here?”

Poor Christopher J. collapsed, prone on my pillow, clearly exhausted and possibly even in shock. “I’m… sorry. I… need… a… place… to… stay… tonight…”

Given his state, I decided it was best not to press him for more information. “Of course,” I nodded, “no worries.” I lifted him gently, opened my nightstand drawer, and placed him onto an open pack of Kleenex (a soft bed for certain). He sighed, closed his eyes, and dropped immediately off to sleep. He’s still sleeping, in fact, poor little guy. His story will have to wait until later…

Now, understandably, some people were curious about what on earth Christopher J. had been doing for a whole year and I know I wanted to find out how he lost an appendage! It would be the next day before the little guy woke up, though...

I stole quietly into my room  and crept over to the nightstand. The drawer was open a smidge, so as not to suffocate poor Christopher J. Arachington , of the Red Shed Arachingtons, and to keep nosy canines and felines from injuring him further (or worse!). I slid the drawer open to find our friendly arachnid pal reclining on his Kleenex bed.

“Christopher J.! How are you? I’ve been thinking of you all day!"
He smiled and tipped his bowler hat at me, “I’m well, thank you. Much better than last night, certainly. I slept longer and more deeply than I have in a year. I don’t know how to thank you for your hospitality.”
“Aw, it was nothing, really. I have to say, though, I’m very curious to hear about what’s happened in your life since the last time we spoke.”
Christopher J. straightened up and cleared his throat, “I would love to regale you with tales of my adventures. But first, might I impose upon you a wee bit more? I haven’t had a proper meal in a few days and, well, the truth is, a bath is really in order, as I’m rather, shall we say, ripe.”
“Of course! How rude of me not to offer. But, um, I’m not sure what to prepare. I mean, I don’t really have a supply of, you know,” I dropped my voice to a whisper,”… insects...  hanging about.”
“Oh, dear me, no!” Christopher J. exclaimed. “I’m a vegetarian. Some sort of salad would be lovely.”
“A vegetarian? Really?”
He looked a bit defensive, as if, perhaps, he’s had to explain this often. “Don’t get me wrong, I used to love a good, juicy fly as much as the next spider. But then I met my friend, Spencer C. Flyby (‘Specs’ for short) and, well, as you can imagine, I was faced with a moral dilemma the likes of which I’ve never encountered! It changed my philosophy regarding ‘the circle of life’ altogether.”
I nodded, understanding completely (I felt the same way about a cow I knew as a child) and ran about fetching something for Christopher J. to bathe in (a jar lid) and dry off with (a neatly trimmed piece of thick, absorbent paper towel). When his bath was ready, I set off to find salad fixings fit for a spider, leaving Christopher J. to sort himself out (he seemed a bit reluctant to remove his vest in front of me).
As I left the room, he called out, “And perhaps, if it’s not too much trouble, a spot of tea? Earl Grey if you have it. With cream and sugar? If you please.”
I do so love a spider with good manners. Don’t you?
After his bath, dinner (finely chopped spinach, tomato, and a wee bit of grated cheese [for protein]), and his tea (Earl Grey, sipped from the lid of a honey container), Christopher J. thanked me profusely, settled back onto his Kleenex bed, patted his tummy in a satisfied manner, and rummaged in his valise. Bringing out a tiny pipe, he asked, “Do you mind?”
“Well, I do, actually. But if you’d like to sit on the window sill and blow the smoke outside, that would be fine.”
At the mention of the sill, his eyes widened in fear and he quickly put the pipe away. “No, no, really. I should quit anyway. Nasty habit, it is. Alright then, where should I begin? At the beginning, I suppose… on the evening of July 3, 2012, when you kindly set me out in the front yard, off for the adventure of a lifetime…”
And so it began --  the story of Christopher J. Arachington, of the Red Shed Arachingtons…

I'll leave off there for now... but there is more to come. Soon...