The Swamp Thing; Sweat, Tears, and Triumph

I think back to my sappy post from a few weeks ago and am amazed at what all happened between then and now.

I will admit that yes, my husband is sweet and caring and thoughtful and good in bed. And yes he missed us like crazy while he was gone. Yet I found myself rolling my eyes when I saw the fourth text from him within an hour. Wasn’t he supposed to be busy doing all that fancy biomedical training?

He left us with big hugs and kisses and even the sweet little journals, but he also left the pool looking like shit. I mean Swamp Shit. I asked him for weeks if he could get the pool up and running before he left on his trip. I never really paid much attention to what he was actually doing, just that he was working on the pool. Besides, he knew what he was doing. And what a relief, because it was going to be getting hot and the kids were going to want to swim. Come to find out after he left (he was lucky he had already left the state of Oregon) he actually filled it with water after almost a year of non-use. My only guess was that he thought he could do shock treatments daily and the pool fairy would come in the middle of the night and voila! (I’m sure there is a pool fairy, but she’s probably a smart, sassy undine who didn’t want to help him anyway). He had to have been hoping I didn’t go and look over his shoulder or check on the progress he wasn’t making. Honestly, I don’t know what he was thinking, but I sure as hell know what I was thinking.

It was very warm that first week, and the kids were wanting to swim so badly. But after one look at that nasty water I knew I wasn’t letting them so much as dip their big toe in that pool.

So I did what any crazy Mother Bear with fibromyalgia, CFS, ruptured discs, spine hardware, and an “I’ll show him”attitude would do and spent the day draining the pool. Early the next morning I scrubbed and shop vac’d as much and as fast as I could because I desperately needed to refill it before the plastic hardened (the temperature was going to reach the high 90’s that day). I refilled it, scrubbed and rinsed both the filter and the pump and sprayed out the skimmer. For the next several days I spent hours using the broom and net. I checked the chlorine and pH, and added more chlorine. The levels were fine but there was still some debris floating in the water. The skimmer wasn’t doing as good a job as I had hoped. It was also still a bit cloudy. So I gave it a dose of shock treatment and by the next morning the water was clear but all the the debris had sunk to the bottom forming a gross sludge.

Here I was at the end of week one and also at my wit’s end. But I wasn’t about to give up. I began rigging a pool vac. I had no idea what I was doing other than slowly morphing into an absolute lunatic; but I was cleaning that pool even if it killed me. I had wielded my nightmare into becoming my quest and I spent 5 hours, a ton of duct tape, an extra garden hose, pool hose, and shop vac hose…. and after a ton of trial (the original pool vac was completely useless by the way) and error, cuss words, and more trial and error, I must say I’m proud of the crazy looking thing I thought up. With a good siphon trick, (with a little added suction boost from the pool fairy who had been watching all of my hard work and was obviously now on my side) I was well on my way to victory. I was going to conquer the monster from the bottom of the pool and the demon within.

Towards the end I felt a burst of much needed energy as I pictured my significant other sleeping at the Marriott getting fresh towels daily and his bed made for him. I was sure he had already swam plenty of times while I had been here working my butt off so that our kids could get the chance to. He was fed meals during his classes and given a $27.00 per night dinner allowance while I was too tired and in pain to cook, doling out freezer meals to the kids that I had warmed in the microwave.

Several hours after I had finally finished the pool my husband called. He asked why I hadn’t answered any of his texts. I curtly responded that I hadn’t had much of a chance to look at my phone. Without much pause he told me about his Sunday afternoon. He went for a walk to the city center where he decided to watch the new Star Trek movie and then wandered around the mall for a while. Then on his leisurely stroll back he sent me pictures of the scenery, the park, the neat statues, etc. He then made an offhand comment about me sending him some pictures of myself later on.

That was it. I felt like an enraged cartoon character (think Tom the blue cat or Wile E. Coyote) red with anger, whistling like a steaming hot tea kettle about to blow. I had held it together, kept my complaints to a minimum, was supportive of him. But now all bets were off. I spoke through a clenched jaw to keep my voice down as I explained to him what kind of Hell I had been living in. My fingers were cracked and raw from all the stupid tape and I had a horrific sunburn. And on and on went my tirade. I felt so much better afterwards and had a good cry. All while he was still on the phone.

I had done one of my crash and burn cycles plenty of times before, and I spent the next 7 days recovering from the pain flare that I caused myself. The kids did get to swim a lot the next few days while I lounged in the adirondack watching them splash each other and play “shark”. All I needed then was a cute straw hat and an ice cold lemonade.

And as much as I hated to admit it, I also felt a deep need for my husband. Maybe it was my triumph. Maybe I was proud to prove to him I could do it. Perhaps it was because I realized I had the strength to do something so physically challenging by myself. Or quite possibly it was after faithful daily Qigong practices of the 8 Brocades, some heartfelt journaling, meditation, a myofascial release massage, and extra helpings of pain medication and supplements. Maybe a combination of all those things. All I knew was that I actually missed the lazy ass.

Many Blessings on Your Journeys of Triumph )O(

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Forgive the Pain

Guilt. It’s a nasty word that seeps deep into the pores of even the most thick-skinned of people. I can personally say, without a doubt, that my biggest guilt issues have occurred since becoming a parent.

I know that I have blogged here and there about guilt; little snippets of should’ve, would’ve, could’ves in my parenting strategies, coping skills, chronic pain, depression, and all the rest of the ugly mix-matched and beat up baggage I have acquired over the years.

Ugh.

I pressed a new page down in my journal today, but not before reading my previous entry from the week before. This entry compels me to readdress guilt and particularly the release of it during this New Moon.

Below is my journal entry from Monday September 7, 2015:

I sit here in bed, propped up by pillows, trying to write as much as I can before my muscle relaxers and oxycodone set in. Need I mention it’s been a horribly painful day? Again? The aches, the burning, the locking up of the hardware in my back…none of that compares to the agonizing feelings I have over the loss of my children when they return to school tomorrow. Another summer has come and gone and it’s time for them to enter a new grade.

Please Universe, I’m pumping the brakes as hard and fast as I can, but it only seems to cause the opposite effect.

I’m so pathetically sad and tearful as I look back over this past summer and all the things I wish we could have done. Oh how I hate writing through the blur of tears! There’s so much guilt over spending afternoons in bed when I should have been teaching my daughter more about the Tarot or encouraging my son to look more closely at bugs. Summer is now over and what have I got to show for it?

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Memories…yes I know there are the memories…and photos of course…but…

I’m afraid of all the time wasted and opportunities lost. Things my chronic pain takes from me. From Us.

And it pisses me off!

After reading that entry I thought long and hard about that day, remembering very well how I felt both physically and emotionally. I was a total wreck. Unlike that awful day, today has been good to me. I feel functional, happy, productive and my pain level is manageable.

But the words that kept playing in my mind over and over again were, “I’m afraid of all the time wasted and opportunities lost.” By typing those words right now I find I have to fight back the feelings of sadness and guilt. As today went by I paid close attention to each time those words and feelings sprung up. When they did I would gently remind myself that there’s absolutely no proof that my children are suffering or living in constant disappointment. There’s also no evidence that they feel unloved or ignored. I know this in my heart of hearts because I do the best I can with what I’ve got to give on any certain day. Every choice I make for my children I make with love.

What we do is what we can do, and there have been many days where my children will climb into bed with me and we will watch cartoons, read silently, talk, laugh, discuss spirituality or even play cards. Those may be the bad pain days, but the day itself remains positive, supported by love.

When I reflect on this past summer it becomes clear that some of our best moments were the quiet ones. It didn’t matter how often we traveled, how many things we went to, or even how much money we spent, all we really wanted was to be content; to just ‘be’. Sometimes that included travel and money, but it didn’t have to. Enjoyment came from lots of different things, and I am now beginning to question my feelings of guilt caused by my fear of what we weren’t able to experience together as a family.

So to put it into perspective I’m going to start typing out everything that pops into my head that we did this past summer, and I’ll stop when I begin to slow down. So here goes…

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We went camping, spent a week at the beach, took several long nature walks, went fishing, horseback riding, out for dinner at our favorite pizza place, then a fancy restaurant, and a greasy diner. We did a picnic lunch in the backyard, and even celebrated several birthdays.

We stayed up way too late to watch the stars and satellites move across the night sky, took time doing a family collage, baked all kinds of delicious awful-for-you goodies, had a lemonade stand, colored with crayons, painted with water colors, walked underneath a giant waterfall and had a “Fairy Tea” in the garden.

We researched animals that interested us then talked about what we learned. We played board games, went to the movies and watched movies at home. We did hilarious shadow puppets on the ceiling before bed, read lots and lots of books together quietly and to each other. We roasted marshmallows and told ghost stories during the backyard bonfire. We harvested herbs, had a puppet show, and spent countless hours on our fairy garden.

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Oh, and we swam. A lot!

So when I look back on this past summer I can quickly and easily tick off many of our adventures. Some required travel, and some had to be rescheduled several times due to my health. Some cost money, but a lot of them didn’t.

I can say with conviction and honesty that all in all we did what we had set out to do this summer, even if sometimes things had to be modified. I would even go so far as to say that we had a successful summer with moments of fun, travel, and loads of laughter. What matters most was the time we were able to spend together. It’s okay that I wasn’t always on my A-game especially on those painful days that were spent mostly in bed. It’s okay that I felt the need to sleep or not up for company. It’s time to release the guilt about all of that.

What touches my heart the most is my husband and children’s natural compassion and understanding. Were there times of disappointment? You betcha. But the good definitely outweighed the bad, and maybe I shouldn’t say ‘good’ or ‘‘bad’ because no one else in my family would describe those times as such. So let me rephrase that, we did more things together than we did apart, we smiled more than frowned, we enjoyed more than we lacked, and we most definitely loved the whole time.

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It’s more than time to release the guilt and I think I’m finally ready and capable of doing so because I’m ready to forgive the pain. It’s time to forgive the pain. That statement might not make sense to some, it’s even a bit foreign to me. But right here, right now, as I come to the end of this blog post, in this quiet moment of writing and solitude, those words made themselves to my fingertips, where i pressed the keys and then shared them with you. I ask that you please read those words again and allow your heart to lead them to the right place and that you freely accept what they mean to you.

Let this New Moon be a time of releasing guilt and/or shame for the things you had no control over. Let go and freely forgive yourself, in all the ways, in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

Create Garden Goddesses

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My kids and I got Craft Happy and made some cute little Garden Goddesses to grace our little Fairy Village currently under construction beneath the holly bush/tree. I grabbed some small clay pots, I thought they’d be a sturdy base, and turned them over creating the ‘skirt’ if you will. The bodies were made with another tiny clay pot turned upside down secured in place with a small wooden dowel through both drainage holes and then secured with help of a glue gun. Actually the entire project incorporated the use of a glue gun. I bought my kids a low heat glue gun and I use my regular one. The kiddos still need to be extra careful because hot glue can blister little fingertips.

 

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The upside down clay pot for a sturdy base and shape for the 'skirt'.

The upside down clay pot for a sturdy base and shape for the ‘skirt’.

 

I also grabbed my Craft Crap Box that has you-name-it inside and found plenty of fabric scraps, including tulle (didn’t even know I had that) and muslin, different types of craft moss, flower embellishments, seashells, straw, twine, feathers, etc. We also went outside and gathered twigs and other interesting items, and then we were set.

We each had full reign of our individual Garden Goddess, designing and constructing them with our own vision. Not surprisingly, each of the Garden Goddesses came out very different from one another, and were as unique as we each are. When we were finished, we named our Goddess and told a little bit about her personality and purpose.

I made mine as an Earth Garden Goddess to bring magick to the soil and to nurture seedlings, roots, trees, and everything in-between. She will bring blossoming energy to help create a perfect environment for our Fairy Village, enticing the Fairy Folk to come and occupy the garden. As an Earth Garden Goddess, she will give protection to all creatures big and small, blessing our Fairy Village with stability and abundance.

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My 9 year-old daughter’s Garden Goddess is named the Whispering Willow Goddess. She will bring song, laughter and joy to our Fairy Village. She plays the flute and sings in harmony with the fairy folk, and if your heart is open, then you too can hear the merriment. Her voice whispers on the wind, and her giggles land softly on the outdoor wind chimes. Her happiness and mirth is the dandelion fluff that floats through the air on a warm sunny day breeze. She brings whimsical happiness to our Fairy Village.

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My 7 year-old son’s Garden Goddess is The Seashell Goddess, who has come to help the fairy Village stay green and happy by bringing rain from the sea. The life giving water is essential for the survival of the Fairy Village and the woodland and creatures all around. As a Shell Goddess, she is deeply connected to ocean waves and the pull of the moon. She reminds us to look at the sky on the night of the Full Moon and admire her beautiful glow, which will also light up the Fairy Village for their Full Moon Dance!

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I do hope you try these cute Garden Goddesses with your children. We can’t wait to place them in the garden to watch over our new Fairy Village beneath the holly tree.

Many Blessings on Your Journey )O(

Beautiful Beltane Blessings

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Hearts Awaken, Fairies Afoot

Beltane is on or about the halfway mark between Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice so here in the Pacific Northwest the weather usually becomes milder and the daylight noticeably stretches further and further into the evening hours.Thursday, April 30, May Eve, was when Mercury entered Gemini, remaining there until the beginning part of June. This is a time to feel inspired to travel and learn, maybe even take on a new class or venture out to a new destination. With Mercury in Gemini I need to remember one key element for a continuing successful Beltane weekend. Communication. I’ll need an open mind and to embrace spontaneity to bring Beltane Blessings into the hearts and lives of my loved ones, and to effectively extend the loving energy flow to our Mother Earth who so desperately needs it.

On Friday my children and I gathered moss, fallen twigs and bark and created a fun little fairy playground to place under our giant holly bush. We made a little gazebo complete with a swing, and a giant slide with ladder. A welcome sign pulls it all together. We have planned to continue making things for the fairy folk throughout the summer. This morning we are finishing up a house and the kids are really involved. Who am I kidding? I think I’m just as much (if not more) into it than my children are!
Last night my husband and I had a quiet evening at home for our private Beltane observance so I cooked up some sensual pleasures to share with my him to honor our union of Mind, Body, and Spirit. Our ritual was wonderful, beginning with a massage and went on from there. *wink*