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Monday, 10 July 2006
I'm Outta Here
Mood:  irritated
Topic: Tirades
Due to all the continuing problems with this site, I've moved!

The new address is:

http://westword.typepad.com/

Bookmark it and visit me there!

Edited to add: Now this stupid, stupid site won't even let me insert a link you can click on. You'll have to copy and paste to find me. Grrr.


Posted by catherino at 12:35 PM PDT
Updated: Monday, 10 July 2006 12:42 PM PDT
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Thursday, 6 July 2006
A Year
Mood:  sad
Topic: Random Stuff
One year ago today, my family's life changed forever. One year ago today, my brother, my only sibling, lost the battle with whatever demons he was fighting. He took his own life. And we'll never be the same.

The ironic part is that every other aspect of my life is drastically better than it was a year ago. So much so, that this morning when I woke up, the only thing that was on my mind was what all I needed to do to get ready for our camping trip this weekend. I'd been dreading this day for a couple of months now, and it took my husband calling me this morning to ask how I was doing to remind me that this was the day.

A little part of me felt so guilty that Scott wasn't the first thing that popped into my head when I woke up, but then I decided that maybe that's how it should be. I've grieved and mourned and cried so much. And I'm sure I'll shed some more tears before the day is through. But I'm thankful that I've got a full and happy life to lead that keeps me from dwelling on the sadness.

I just wish Scott had felt the same way a year ago. I miss you bubby. Rest in peace.


Posted by catherino at 4:51 PM PDT
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Friday, 30 June 2006
Cue the Hallelujah Chorus!
Mood:  party time!
Topic: Nicklaus
Nicklaus is using the toilet - like a real person! I hope to heck I'm not jinxing things by saying this, but I THINK we just might be able to get him completely potty-trained before pre-school starts in September.

I have been SO stressed about this, because up till now, even though he'd usually sit on his potty chair without complaint (where something may or may not happen) he has never initiated the act. The past 2 days have seen major breakthroughs.

I attribute it solely to the refinement of my bribery technique. You'd think I would have learned something with Noah, but he wasn't nearly as difficult as Nicklaus. So I broke it down into 3 day goals. Get 4 stickers on your potty chart for each day, and after day 3 you get whatever "potty prize" we agreed upon. He's now the proud owner of 2 new Thomas the Tank Engine videos.

We actually went to Trader Joe's today wearing underwear. All three of us. Yes, even me. Nicklaus' were on backwards, as were his shorts, because "I can do it myself Mommy!".

I've just been so stressed about this because I really want him to be able to attend the same pre-school Noah did. He had such an incredible experience there, plus the fact that Nicklaus already knows the teachers, the surroundings, and several of the kids who will be in his class. But he wouldn't be allowed to go unless he was potty trained.

And all kidding aside about my bribes being the reason for his success, his progress marks a real physical/medical milestone. Being able to control his bodily functions is the last of the big hurdles he faced to completely rule out any sort of neurological damage that his tumor or the resulting treatments and surgeries might have caused. So it's a really big deal. He's never shown any signs of neurological impairment, but you just don't know until you pass ALL the tests.

This week he ACED the whizzing final. WHEW!


Posted by catherino at 1:05 PM PDT
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Friday, 23 June 2006
My Yin and Yang
Mood:  lucky
Topic: Brothers
Hardly a single day goes by when I don't hear someone, be it a good friend, family member or total stranger, comment on how much my boys look alike. More times than I can count, people have remarked that they could be twins, if not for the difference in their sizes.

I know there's a resemblance there. But I sure don't see mirror images when I look at them. They look like brothers to me - but certainly not twins. It's odd - when others look at my kids, they see nothing but similarities. When I look at them, I'm more likely to notice their differences. And they are different.

Their personalities are like night and day to me. Noah is my calm, sensitive, inquisitive, happy guy. Nicklaus is much more serious, more dramatic, more...challenging, but so very loveable and snuggly too. When Noah perceives an injustice, his face falls and his eyes well up. His shoulders slump and you can usually hear a loud, put-upon sigh from him. With Nicklaus? It's righteous indignation all the way, baby. His little face gets red and his fists ball up and he'll likely yell at the top of his lungs, "HEY! THAT'S NOT REALLY NICE!".

But there are times when their respective personalities seem to reverse themselves. Lately, with summer here, there's water involved. Whether it's the swimming pool, the ocean, or the bathtub, Noah is literally jumping in with both feet, yelling "Geronimo!" (or "Ge-mom-in-o" as both boys say). Gone is the calm demeanor. He's got a huge grin on his face and will happily push himself to the limit.

Nicklaus, on the other hand, is the picture of timidity. He takes 'carefulness' to the extreme. Where Noah is diving in head first, Nicklaus is content to stick his pinky toe in, as long as no one splashes him. His normal tough-guy exterior is stripped away and if you could see the thought bubble over his head, it would say "Are you SURE this is a good idea?".

Today I bought a Slip & Slide and set it up in the backyard. The difference in the way Noah approached it versus Nicklaus was a classic demonstration in just how different they are:








Posted by catherino at 2:18 PM PDT
Updated: Friday, 23 June 2006 2:21 PM PDT
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Wednesday, 21 June 2006
Introducing the new "Lazy Boy Potty Chair"
Mood:  cheeky
Topic: Nicklaus
It's never too early for a man to develop an appreciation for a comfortable chair. That's why my 3-year old uses the new "Lazy Boy Potty Chair" with matching ottoman. Poop all your cares away in comfort and style.



Posted by catherino at 1:38 PM PDT
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Tuesday, 20 June 2006
I Am Officially Grossed Out
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: Tirades

I just saw the most horrifying thing on a tv commercial. KFC (that's what they want you to call them now - not Kentucky Fried Chicken - "your arteries won't know you're filling 'em with trans-fats if you don't tell 'em!") is now featuring something they call a "Famous Bowl".

It's a big bowl full of mashed potatoes. Topped with corn. Layered with bits of fried chicken. Smothered in gravy. And covered with "a 3-cheese blend". That is NOT RIGHT. Now I grew up in Georgia and I have eaten more than my fair share of fried chicken. And I still love it dearly, although I suffer severe guilt when I do eat it. And gravy? Gravy is a BEVERAGE where I come from. Actually, all the separate ingredients contained in this vile concoction are fine and dandy in their own right...but sweet jesus on a cracker, who is the culinary genius who came up with throwing them all in the same bowl together 'au gratin'??

First of all, it HAD to be a guy. I mean, it just had to be. Or possibly a pregnant woman with a major carb craving. But man, why don't you just serve it with a scoop of ice cream and some chocolate sauce and call it a day? It would be just as appetizing.

I think it might be a while until fried chicken sounds good to me. So for that, I thank you KFC. And my ass and arteries thank you too.


Posted by catherino at 4:11 PM PDT
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Wednesday, 7 June 2006
A Good Time Was Had By All, If I Remember Correctly
Mood:  lazy
Topic: Random Stuff

You know what's weird? The whole week we were in Jamaica, there were about 400 different times I thought, "Oh I'll blog that when I get home - that's so funny!". And now I've been home for over a week and you know how many of those awesome things I remember? ZERO. I am blaming it entirely on Beth's (the housekeeper at our villa) kick-ass rum punch. And the Red Stripe Lights. And the pina coladas on the beach. And the vodka slushy fruity things. Yummy.

So...it was hot and humid. It was both lovely and sad, the juxtaposition of the natural beauty and the oppressive poverty. The villa where we stayed was incredible:




We met some very cool local people and did some wonderfully fun things:




And I got some amazing pictures, mostly of flowers according to my husband. But they were beautiful!:




So...maybe next time I'll bring a notepad. Or you'll all just have to come with me!


Posted by catherino at 1:39 PM PDT
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The Graduate
Mood:  special
Topic: Noah

My firstborn is now a preschool graduate. We celebrated with chicken nuggets and chocolate milkshakes. I just know that I'm going to blink my eyes and there he'll be, walking across a stage to accept his high school diploma. Something tells me he won't be cruising through McDonald's to celebrate that one. Damn passage of time. It goes way too fast.

Congratulations sweet boy. I'm so proud of you!



Posted by catherino at 12:35 PM PDT
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Tuesday, 16 May 2006
VACATION - All I ever wanted?
Mood:  lazy
Topic: Random Stuff
On Saturday night, my husband and I take off for 7 fun-filled days and nights in Jamaica. I have approximately 47 different lists in various places around the house to insure that I don't forget a single thing or leave any question unanswered for the grandmothers who will be watching our kids. I have several type-written pages of notes on the refrigerator that spell out everything from emergency medical contact information to warnings about the fate that awaits anyone who dares to pour water directly onto Nicklaus' head when shampooing his hair. FYI, in case you're ever shampooing my youngest child's hair, given ample warning he will tilt his head back at such an angle that contortionists gasp in amazement at his flexability, thereby allowing the shampooer to rinse ONLY his hair and avoiding getting so much as a single drop on his face.

I've been thinking lately about the things I will be SO happy to get a break from and will not miss in the least, contrasted with the things that I'm fairly certain I will miss so badly I will ache.

THINGS I WON'T MISS ONE LITTLE BIT:


1. The nightly begging, pleading, cajoling and bargaining to get boys to eat their dinner.

2. Frustrating attempts at potty-training.

3. Changing poopy Pull-Ups.

4. Hearing conversations that contain words like "diaper-head" and "poopy" over and over and over and over.

5. Buckling car seat straps.

6. Reminding someone to a.) use the bathroom b.) flush the toilet c.) wash your hands with soap and water and d.) obviously, all of the above.

THINGS I KNOW I'LL MISS LIKE CRAZY:

1. Hearing heartfelt prayers for Superman, Wonderwoman, and all the Power Rangers (the red one, the blue one, the yellow one, oh yeah - and the pink one too).

2. Snuggling with warm little boys at bedtime and hearing things like, "Mommy - I want to give you a hug and a kiss and a butterfly kiss!".

3. Good morning hugs from sleepy-eyed boys.

4. Hearing Nicklaus say, "Mommy - you're the bestest mommy I ever had!".

5. Building robots out of Legos with a 5 year old.

6. The sound of innocent laughter (as opposed to the drunken laughter of the people we're going to Jamaica with)

As excited as I am to go, I know I'll be even more excited to get back home. And isn't that the way it should be?


Posted by catherino at 12:14 PM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 16 May 2006 2:24 PM PDT
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Friday, 12 May 2006
Getting Through the Firsts
Mood:  sad
When I started, or more accurately RE-started this blog, I thought I would probably use it mostly as a vehicle to vent some emotion. There was just so much tragedy in my life that I felt like I needed a release valve.

As it turned out, I didn't really need it so much for the hard stuff. I guess that's what that $200 an hour therapist was for, huh?! So this blog gradually became more of a place to talk about funny things my boys did or just a place to exercise my brain by making it come up with a story or two.

But this Sunday, Mother's Day, would be my brother's 48th birthday. And yesterday that hit me like a ton of bricks. This is the first birthday we'll mark without him. His family will have to get through Father's Day next month and the anniversary of his death in July. And just like that, a year has gone by since he took his own life.

As I was lying in bed last night with my husband's arms around me and tears streaming down my face, I wondered if it would ever get easier. I guess time will eventually blur the sharp edges, but for now it feels like I'm stuck in the same place, feeling the same emotions as I was the day I heard my brother killed himself.

Here's the thing I've learned about suicide: a huge part of the emotion I feel is flat-out ANGER. And the only person I can be angry at is Scott. He did it. He inflicted this pain on our family with no warning and no explanation. We're still as baffled by it today as we were 10 months ago. I will never be able to reconcile the brother I thought I knew with the person who aimed a gun at his own chest and pulled the trigger. It's still as totally inconceivable today as it was then. There's so much more to grapple with than just sadness and missing.

I'm PISSED at him. I'm pissed that he didn't give any of us a clue that he was so miserable - not his only little sister or his parents or his 3 children or his wife of 21 years. I'm pissed that he didn't reach out for help. I'm pissed that he chose to kill himself.

If he'd been killed by a drunk driver, I could be pissed off at the idiot who did it. If he'd been killed by cancer, I could be pissed off at the disease. With ANY other cause of death, I could direct my anger toward someone or something else for taking my brother's life. But because of the path he chose, my anger still rages at him. And that makes for a pretty awful mix when you add in the overwhelming sadness and longing. And on top of all that there's the guilt I feel for being angry at him in the first place. It just plain sucks.

I miss you Scott. I hope more than anything that your soul is at rest and you've found peace. I hope I get to see you again someday. Cause I'm gonna kick your ass when I do. Happy Birthday bubby.




Posted by catherino at 3:19 PM PDT
Updated: Friday, 12 May 2006 3:49 PM PDT
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