Category Archives: JR

Hallooo…

Crap. It’s been forever since I updated this thing.

We took a trip to TX in late June/early July. Went to my in-laws’ 50th anniversary party, saw J’s side of the family, got some vitamin D. Loads of fun.

After flying back to Alaska, we had an interesting time getting back home. Flew into Anchorage, landed late at night, drove all night toward Fairbanks, arriving at Nenana sometime after 7 am. Couldn’t go any further since a wild fire had blocked the highway. Backtracked an hour or two, took a gravel road connecting the Parks Highway to the Richardson Highway, got a flat tire about 70 miles in. We only had one spare on us, no cell service, no sleep, and just a few bottles of water and some junk food. Amazingly, a few miles after changing the tire, we came across a lodge/tire repair stop. Got a room, got the tire patched, ate, slept, and resumed the journey the next morning. Another 40-ish miles and we were on the Rich, then another two-ish hours and we were finally back home. All in all, it took about 60 hours to get home from Texas.

I lost the rest of July and most of August due to some fun medication complications. JR started 1st grade at the end of August, turned 7 in September, and can now read, write, add, and tie his shoes. He’s such an amazing big boy.

J has had a couple of back operations (to repair a bulging disc) and is recovering slowly but well enough. I’ve had a lot of doctor appointments in my bid to finally find a diagnosis, as well as dealing with part of my Social Security disability appeal. Little to no progress has been made on either front.

Autumn is here, brightening my mood since it’s my favorite season. The kids discovered the simple fascination of a Coleman lantern last night in the backyard. JR very much wants to go camping, though I know that he’d be freezing and unable to last the night through if we actually did it. Next summer.

I got to see Bill Maher and Dave Chappelle when they came up here, got to visit briefly with my dad once, and meet some new people. Also have some new furniture — two new couches, and a matching coffee table/end tables set. Looking forward to rearranging the rest of the house when I have a good day or two; I plan on bringing up a twin bed from downstairs to put in a now-vacant upstairs bedroom, moving a dresser and some shelving units, and changing around various wall hangings. Eventually, I’ll get my china cabinet and antique sewing table from my parents’ house in Anchorage. When it’s all done, home will feel much homier.

Lately, I’ve been sucked into books, predominantly 18th and 19th century lit. I’ve done some writing again, and touched up some paintings. I have lots of ideas for new paintings, and hope to actualize them soon. I’ve also been making some hand-knits for this coming winter.

Ultimately, I just felt like it was time I posted something to say, “Hi. I’m still alive.”

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Jam session

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Jellybean’s Jambalaya

3 cups calrose rice
3 cups chicken stock or broth

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 large celery stalks, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 bunch of greens, chopped (kale, chard, collards, etc.)
1 Tbsp minced garlic

1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans
1 can great northern beans
1 can red beans
3-4 cups chicken broth
1 palmful sea salt
1 palmful dried oregano
1/2 palmful dried thyme
1/4 palmful black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 palmful dried parsley
1/4 palmful cayenne pepper

1 lb smoked sausage, cut into 1/4″ thick slices then cut in half
1/2 to 1 lb chicken pieces (leftover chicken is perfect)

February 20, 2012

1:42 pm. I’ve neglected this a bit. My health hasn’t been the greatest. I have retrobulbar optic neuritis, swelling of the nerve between eye & brain. Vision blurs, light hurts, red doesn’t look red anymore. And having it increases my odds of developing MS. Just had a spinal C/T MRI on Friday. Almost 2 hours strapped in a tube, ending with searing pain, like my muscles were being ripped from bone. I get a brain MRI this Friday.

I turned 33. The day itself was nice enough. Then I got word that my cousin Ignatius – Iggy – had hung himself. Sad.

Mia turned 3. She spent the day, like most, cheerful and excited. Thursday night we had cake & presents when John came home. Purple kitty boots, pink heart rain boots, “floppers,” and art supplies. Daddy did awesome.

Saturday night John took me out to dinner. We tried Vallata, Pump House, called Turtle Club, drove by Gambardella’s, wound up at Bobby’s. After, we picked up the kids and drove out looking for the aurora and stars. Awesome night.

Yesterday, John took the older 2 to see Mr Justin and Miss Hannah. Peanut and I stayed home since he was vomiting. I finished The Great and Secret Show, started Mrs Dalloway.

Today I started writing, again. Feels totally awesome to have words flowing, to have a character coming together out of nothing. Now, I’m going to get ready for a day of shopping & hanging out with sweetie.

Randomly on a Tuesday

I like Random Tuesdays.  Because they’re random.  Like me.

I’ve been in contact with one man I suspected of being my biological father.  His name isn’t quite the right match, but his age is, as well as his location at the time of my conception.

I’ve found a few other potential bio-dads.  One was a definite ‘no’, one was deceased, and one looks like me.  The one that looks like me lives in Lugoff, South Carolina.  He hasn’t responded to me yet.  Good thing I’m persistent.

My cousin Stephan committed suicide last week at age 26.  He left behind three young sons, and a lot of loving family and friends.  We drove to Anchorage last Friday for his memorial service, but didn’t quite make it.  We stopped for brunch at Rose’s Cafe in Healy, where Mia fell on her front teeth.  She bled a bit, chipping one top front tooth and loosening the other.  We debated whether we should continue to Anchorage or turn back to Fairbanks, and decided to keep on.  We hit up Alaska Native Medical Center as soon as we got to town, and good thing.  Poor Mia had fractured both top front teeth down to the nerve, and they had to be pulled.  She’s fine now, though she pronounces a few things differently, and won’t have any lasting damage to her adult teeth or rampant love of running.

We stopped at Stephan’s wake, where the place was teeming with my extended family and lots of good food.  I saw family members I haven’t seen in years, and learned that a couple of them live up my way.  We were all exhausted from the trip down so we didn’t stay long, but I was there just long enough to give my love and sympathy to Stephan’s mother, Aucha.  My most beautiful, smartest cousin, just like me.  May G-d bless you and keep you.

The kids got to hang out with a few of their cousins, Faith, Caleb, and Victoria, as well as Aunt Jessie and Grandpa.  Mia was completely captivated by all the mountains around Anchorage, poor little mountain-deprived Interior girl that she is.  We were going to take them to Beluga Point before we left town Saturday, but opted instead to take them to Valley of the Moon Park.

That’s where I got to finally catch up with an old friend, Amanda, and finally met her beau Todd and adorable son Mason.  River had fun on the swings, JR climbed on everything in sight (and has declared it his favorite park), and Mia was so taken by Amanda and Mason that she kept talking about them on the way home.  There are many, many more friends I want to see; I’ll be back in Anchorage before too long!

It was fantastic to come home after such a short trip.  My home stays messier than I want it to be, but it’s mine.  Mine, mine, mine!  The animals gave us a great greeting, as has the laundry pile.

John has a new-to-him motorcycle this summer — a 1991 Harley Davidson Sportster.  He got it late in the season, got it fixed up, and takes it out whenever he gets a chance.  I keep pushing for him to get chaps, but possibly not for the reason he wants them.  I picked up a helmet this weekend, so I’m ready just in case I get a chance to ride with him.  Hopefully he can take a long ride this coming weekend since there probably aren’t a lot of riding days left.

I’m still knitting — I have a lot of finished projects that I haven’t pictured because the kids got hold of my camera, leaving me unable to point-and-shoot at my leisure.  That’s also why there are decidedly fewer photos here on the blog.  I have a lot of knitting projects lined up, including a shawl for Amanda (because she admired the ruffly one I was wearing at the park), hats/scarves/mittens for the kids, hats for the nursery at Fairbanks Memorial, items for the upcoming homeless youth shelter, and items for various auctions like the Toys for Tots one held in Anchorage.

I’ve been reliving some drama from 15 years ago in my dreams several nights in a row.  Rather, I should call them nightmares, more appropriately.  I’m pretty much ready for that to stop.  Though last night I dreamed I was the star in a recital, and had all manner of dance training to undergo before the big show.  It was strange.

I’ve been reading about Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, tarot, and the Torah.  When I’m not reading about spirituality, I’ve been lost in Kathy Reichs books with Margaret Atwood bringing up the rear.

My cholesterol has come down over 50 points, possibly 70, since the beginning of the year, and I’m thrilled about that.  I wasn’t sure if my approach was working.  It’s still not great, but I’m getting there.

Fibromyalgia pain comes and goes.  I feel like I’m finally on the tail end of a flare.  If I hadn’t had two root canals that need to be retouched, I’d probably feel pretty good.

I’m going to scrounge up some dinner now, then hopefully finish a sock I’ve been working on for what feels like forever.

Whoa.

Holy absentee blogger, Batman!

I’ve sort of been writing.  Elsewhere.  Stuff more for me and less for public consumption.  I just haven’t been writing enough, which is likely why I feel… congested? emotionally.  Time for a cathartic dump.

I’ve been exhausted, aching, and/or ill, for what seems like for.ev.er.  I have depression/anxiety/panic issues, and fibromyalgia, and chronic back pain from an ancient injury.  Those are all the basics that are with me on an almost daily basis.  I’ve had in increase in migraines (complete with aura, awesome), a resurgence of insomnia, an uptick in panic attack intensity and frequency, and some unexplained diffuse lymphadenopathy which hit me like a freight train.  And this has all just been my shit.  Each of the kids has had their own (typical, uneventful, unremarkable, viral) illness, and John has had his fair share of ickies.

So through all this shit, a lot of things have taken a back burner.  This blog was one.  My spinning.  My painting.  My knitting too, on occasion. Reading, some writing, most frivolous/fun things.

I’ve spent more time primping and preening.  I figure if I feel like absolute shit, I will at least look good.  Hot, even.

I listen to more music than before. [Side note: each of the kids has a distinct musical preference. JR = bluegrass/jam bands, classic rock. Mia = ’80s hair, metal, industrial.  River = r&b and hip hop.  These are usually incompatible genres, often leading to musical chaos and at least one disappointed child.  Thank goodness for Pandora.]

I text more, play Words with Friends, nurse an ever-teething baby.

River’s not really a baby anymore.  He’s 26+ lbs of adventure, charm, and mischief.  He turned ONE YEAR OLD on July 3.  My Itty Bitty Baby Boy is ONE.  It’s amazing, and kind of heartbreaking.  (He got cake.  He loved it.  He took his first steps just days before that.)

I’ve reconnected with some really great people.  My friends and my music have really gotten me through some crappy times these last few months.  Thank you.

My lymph nodes are all starting to calm down, finally.  My spleen still hurts, but it too is on the mend.  I have medication for the panic attacks and insomnia.  Now that I’m getting at least 4 hours of sleep a night and am in less pain, I’m starting to feel like things are looking up.

Maybe I’ll get over this mental block I have about sharing certain things and y’all might see some more posts.

Pictures soon, promise!

Randomly, and in no particular order:

Femmer is getting bigger and more rambunctious.  He’s a very pretty, very talkative kitty.  He really loves it when I take the pet hair slicker to him, usually comes when called, and will stand on his hind legs to get a yummy treat.  Camilla is his favorite person though.  He tried to curl up on her when she’s sleeping.  Sometimes this wakes her up, which makes her furious, and then they both cry.  Still kind of cute.

Femmer, sleeping on the couch. (Click to enlarge.)

Buffle is bulking up, and is totally happy hanging out in the back yard sniffing at strange things.  Surely spring has sprung.  She’s a bloody stupid dog, but she’s mine, and she makes me smile anyway (even if she can never find the ball once I’ve thrown it).  She puts up incredibly well with the kids using her as a jungle gym and trying to ride her like a horse.  Stupid horse dog.  She just licks them.

Muttley, the ferocious pine cone chaser. (Click to enlarge.)

I found out last month that my baby sister Melinda died of dilated cardiomyopathy.  Miss you, Sissy.

Dad fell, broke his ankle, spent a few days in the hospital, gave us all a scare.  We went down, spent some time near him.  The kids, of course, love playing with their Grandpa.  It was bittersweet for me to spend a few days in my parents’ house; I miss my mama terribly, but I enjoyed having my kids play in the house I grew up in.

There was inevitable bullshit drama with my sisters.  I give up.  I hope they find peace and happiness because, until then, they’re just going to continue to tear others down to make themselves feel better.  Sad.

I finally got to hang out with my dear friend Kelley and her daughter Jazmynn — twice!  Our kids had a great time together, and I’m so glad to have reconnected with Kell.  We need to make damn sure we don’t let another 4 years go by without seeing each other again!

I never showed off my new ink here!  I’m absolutely in love with my new tattoo (that I got at the beginning of February).  Custom work done by Jedidia Reid, owner of Element Tattoo Studio in San Antonio, TX.  I vow to only get work done by him, or by an artist recommended by him.  I hope he comes up to Fairbanks to do a guest spot!

Photo by Jedi Reid, owner/artist at Element Tattoo Studio, San Antonio, TX. (Click to enlarge.)

I’m trying my hand at a garden for the first time this year.  I’ve started seedlings for cherry tomatoes, basil, green onions, summer squash, spinach, carrots, and butternut squash.  This weekend, I’m going to get a prefab mini-greenhouse and some planters, start transplanting a few things outside.  I love love love the idea of fresh homegrown food!

River can crawl!  And pull up on people/furniture!  And cruise around it!  Poor little guy has another ear infection, but he also has 8 big teeth, and insatiable curiosity and charm.  I’m a sucker for him.

River, at a rest stop on the way back up from Anchorage. (Click to enlarge.)

JR & Camilla are getting taller, smarter, funnier, and more charming every day.  They have new rain gear and XtraTufs, and just need to search out some huge puddles now.  I’ll definitely share those pics once they’re taken!

In summation…

Randomly, on another Tuesday:

  • I miss Melinda.  I’m talking to my little brother Michael again.  I’m talking to my sisters again.  I miss mama.  Loss is lonely, and each one exacerbates the others.
  • The flights down to Texas weren’t too bad.  Long, but not bad.
  • San Antonio was extremely warm the first several days, then cooled off to something tolerable for this Eskimo.
  • The kids had heaping tons of fun with Mimi, Popo, Aunt B, Uncle Schim, and cousins Matthew/Chewy, Nolan, and Colin.
  • They also had a great time with Uncle Lawrence, Aunt Susan, Brennan, and Uncle Ables.
  • Fun was also had at Chuck E Cheese’s with Uncle Alex, Aunt Kimberly, Adriana, Pops, Kyle, and Camden, Aunt Tasha, and cousins Morgan, Trent, and Natalie.
  • Miss Sally liked being chased by the kids, though she tried to pretend otherwise.  Lucky adored Milla.
  • Camilla is “kah-MEE-lah”.  We call her Milla (MEE-yah).  I’ve also written it as Mi’a.  She calls herself Illa/Iya/I’a (pronounced EE-yah).  Aunt B noted that it’s spelled/pronounced like tortilla.  I think this is going to stick with my poor girl forever now.
  • I got a tattoo by Jedidia Reid, owner of Element Tattoo Studio in San Antonio.  I LOVE it.
  • There will be a ton of photos uploaded in the coming weeks.
  • I hated the trip up to Chicago more than words can capture.
  • I loved being in Aurora/Chicago with Aunt Cara, Uncle Mike, and cousins Maddie, Ryan, and Tori.
  • The wind and humidity there make their winter just as cold and unforgiving as ours.
  • They have so much snow that I’m jealous.
  • I didn’t think I could be jealous of precipitation.  I am.
  • The trip back to Fairbanks was long, but nowhere near as bad as the one to O’Hare.
  • We picked up some kind of icky flu-ish/cold-ish bug that has us all feverish, with deep, racking coughs.
  • That hasn’t diminished the pleasure of being back home.
  • We all miss our friends, family, and travels.
  • We wish y’all were closer, and that we could see you more often.  Preferably through teleportation.
  • I’m trying to put the house back together, and will update with more details and pictures when I can.
  • And lastly:

  • Bubbles are awesome.  (recorded in summer 2010)

Random on a Tuesday

  • My youngest sister, Melinda, died at 25 on January 14, 2011.
  • We drove to Anchorage for a small memorial service for her, held on Friday, January 21, 2011.
  • It’s got me mourning my mother all over again.
  • The kids got to play with Grandpa, cousins Faith, Caleb, and Vicky, Aunts Jessie, Tasha, & Sandee, and Uncle Darrell.
  • We took family photos at my parents’ house, courtesy of Sandee Rice Photography.
  • Back at the hotel, we took the kids down to the swimming pool.  They had a blast.
  • The chlorine in the pool did crazy tightening things to the dreads forming at the back of my head.
  • Bouncing Bears is the coolest place to get kids worn out before a long road trip.
  • The living room floor is the greatest place to roll around after many long hours cooped up in car seats.
  • The wolf and the orca share the same animal spirit in Yup’ik lore.  These are the two animals I debated between in trying to identify the animal essence of my youngest child River.  JR is a polar bear.  Camilla is a lynx/mountain lion/fox.
  • I’ve spun 4 oz of a pinkish-purplish wool/alpaca batt by Bohoknitterchic Spins into 400+ yards of a fingering weight single.  Melinda loved pink.  I’m going to knit a shawl out of this yarn.
  • I’m knee-deep in laundry that needs to be done before we leave Thursday night on vacation.
  • I get a kitten after we get back.  It will go nicely with the litter box and cat food I got from John for Christmas.
  • I’m planning on getting tattooed in San Antonio and Chicago during the next couple of weeks.
  • I’ll be starting a Little Acorn Learning curriculum for JR and Camilla after our trip.  I’m excited.
  • I definitely need to get back to daily workouts.  They’ve fallen by the wayside with a marked increase in fibro pain.
  • I nearly forgot how comfortable Vans are until I bought a new pair the other day.
  • I am very clearly doing anything possible to avoid laundry and packing.
  • I have to start all that now, before Thursday gets here.

Sigh.

New.

(I’ll be back with 30 Days of Truth tomorrow-ish.  Just wanted to note this.  Workout: Complete, 20 minutes.  30 Day Shred 1, day 3 in.a.row!  Liking the burn I’m feeling.)

My guys (John and JR) got a much-needed haircut by me tonight, followed by showery freshness.  River practiced keeping his balance sitting up.  John went to bed in hopes of chasing away his chest cold.  Camilla fell asleep on the early side.  JR, River, and I hung out in the living room before they decided to go to sleep before midnight.

I thought about mama, and how we would call each other at midnight each new year, just to check in with each other.  I miss you, mama.  I thought about new year’s eves of past, shook my head, and said a prayer of thanks for my life today.  Sleep eluded me, so I came back out to the living room to do my workout as nearby fireworks rang in the new year.

New.  New goals.  New outlook.  New habits.  New hope.  This year, I’m going to reveal a new me.

Happy New Year.  May you find the newness you seek.

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