Friday, February 26, 2010


My sweet boy, T, has been getting into so many accidents lately.  For 7 years he has been so cautious, barely ever scraping a knee, or getting hurt... It seems he has broken his cautious streak. Jumping off swingsets, slides, falling off of bikes, skateboards and trees. All normal for a boy his age right?

Lord help my nerves.

My worry is that he has inherited my clumsiness... 

I. am. a. clutz.

Today I was reminded of one of my dumbest shining moments.

My best friend, Jeni, who turned 30 this week, is coming to visit this weekend. So that constitutes cleaning (not too much though - she has seen my house in every possible state). 

Standing in the kitchen, putting away flatware and cutlery from the dishwasher. I reach in, singing, not paying attention, and slice my finger on a steak knife.
(Have I mentioned that the sight of blood makes me dizzy?)

I get a bandaid and some water (to help with the dizziness) and I remembered the last time I cut myself with a knife.


It was right after Christmas (we drove to Texas that year) and I was unpacking all the gifts we had received. T was six months old, and sleeping snugly in his bed ( I miss those days) and Nate was at work.

 Christmas carols playing in the background, the house was a jumble of coats, suitcases and all the great mess that returning home from a trip brings. I was in the kitchen unwrapping a gift from my mom.

It was a gourmet set of cheese knives with a handy little cutting board (Love cheese!). The knives were wrapped in cellophane and nestled into the side of the cutting board. I think a man must have packaged this product - no woman would have put it there...  Therefore, I blame this whole fiasco on a man (ha!).

Poking my fingernail into the cellophane pretty vigorously (I was singing Mariah Carey's "All I want for Christmas is You") and whammo, my finger slides right through the cellophane and right into the blade of this shiney gourmet knife.


Instantly there was blood, so I grab a dishtowel and panic.

Have I mentioned that blood makes me dizzy? Oh yes - Well it does. (I am a little dramatic... I have come to accept this)

Those little fuzzy spots start floating in front of my eyes, and the room spins. I blacked out momentarily.

Getting up from the floor in a panic, still clutching my maimed finger in a dishtowel (which probably wasn't even clean!!!) and I do what I knew best.

I called 911.

Operator: "911, what's your emergency?"
Me: *Panicked, embarassed voice* "This isn't really an emergency. I cut my finger and blacked out. Do I need to hold my arm above my heart?"
Operator: "Ma'am, are you bleeding profusely?"
Me: "Umm, I'm not sure... I have it wrapped in a dish towel and I'm afraid to look."
Operator: "Ma'am, please stay calm, I'll send an emergency vehicle out right away."
Me: *Horrified silence* "Gulp. Ok."

Hang up after a few minutes exchaning information etc...  Oh my word! What do I do?? 

I called Nate. "Babe, don't be worried. I cut myself and 911 is sending an emergency vehicle."  Silence on the other end. He had hung up on me. (He told me later that he just hung up the phone, told his boss I had an accident, and flew to his car.)

Standing there, still clutching this stupid dishrag around my hand ( haven't looked at my finger yet) and gazed at the discombobulated mess that was my house. I started grabbing things with one hand and shoving them into any available closet.

I hear knocking on my door. I answer.

Lo and behold... 3 firemen stood at my threshhold.

They spill into my house with all their equipment and one asks in an authoritative voice.
"Where are you injured maam?"

I held up my dishrag, trembling slightly.

He brings me to the table, sets down this massive bag filled with medical paraphanelia, and unwraps the rag, listening intently as I tell him what happened.

My eyes were closed, so when he laughed, it startled me and I jumped slightly.

Opening my clenched eyes, I look right into a face that was screwed up into hilarious laughter.

He held up my arm for the other men to see - "This is the best call we've had all month!"

At this point in time, the front door, flings open. It was Nate. Poor guy looked winded.

Mr. Fireman held my arm up like a champion prize fighter and jovially said,
 "Don't panic sir! We are going to get your wife a bandaid!"

*Epic Blush*

Yup, all that drama, for a bandaid.

I will never live that one down, and still giggle when I think of it.
 (You should feel some empathy for my Hubs... Look what he has to put up with)

I need to have a serious conversation with T about using his head and avoiding sharp objects.

*This story you have read is true. No names have been changed to protect the innocent. Accounts, views and opinions expressed in this blog do reflect the views of the author... She really is that clutzy."

Monday, February 22, 2010

Pick up lines at the checkout line...

Have you ever heard some really tremdously awful pickup lines?  I have... 

Now, I'm not vain. I know I am no rare beauty. But I am relatively nice looking, I bathe and comb my hair, I smile a lot and look really young, which must be a giant billboard inviting all the wierdos schmoozers to talk to me.

Some of the more memorable ones I've heard ...

In Stockton (at the local SCARY Walmart) I was looking at pasta, when a particularly seedy man comes up to me and said (and I quote), "What you looking for baby? I'm right here!" 

I blushed (which I am prone to do frequently) and didn't quite get the words out that I wanted to... Like "Honestly? Has that line ever worked for you?" or "You smell like beef and cheese, please stand aside and allow me to continue with the penne pasta." or "Speaking of babies, I have pushed 2 out of my body. Still want to talk to me?" 

Instead, I looked blankly at him in befuddled amazement and held up my ring finger not saying a word. He didn't look too worried, just shrugged his shoulders and walked on. (I think he must have had other patrons to terrorize.) I stood there for a moment, grabbed my purse and left my full cart of groceries right in the middle of the aisle. 

Another time, in FL, I was getting a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Standing in line in front of me, an older, harmless looking gentleman smiled at me.  I smiled back - I was in a great mood - caffeine was coming! 

This must have been an open invitation that, of course, I thought he was the most charming man who ever lived.  He proceeded to tell me his entire story, beefing up every part that involved himself (so humble) and then said, "I could take care of you, you know. I'd buy you a house, a car, anything you'd like..." 


Again, I blushed and thought of several pointed things to say, but instead, I grabbed my chai so quickly that it sloshed out over the side, burning my hand, and I said, "Well, that's nice - I should have let you buy my coffee..." I whirled around and hightailed it out of there, ears burning.  

(Looking back, I should've had him buy me 2 venti's after that nonsense)

So keep that all in mind for today's encounter... And the fact that Nate has been out of town for the last few days while I've been home sleeping with every light in the house on and mulling over self defense options if some crazed maniac broke into my house - mace, hand weapons, tazers, Kung-Fu Panda moves, etc. (ok, maybe I am a little paranoid...)

 Ran to the store to grab a few items for dinner (delicious lemon chicken soup), pushed my cart around while chatting with my sister.


At the checkout line, the gentleman behind me, who looked familiar, struck up some small talk with me. No big deal. "What strange weather. What do you think about all this rain..." blah blah.  Smile. Perfunctory nods. Etc. He acted very familiar with me - whatever. Didn't really notice.

As I grabbed my bags and headed out in the rain, I noticed him looking at me strangely. 

My over active imagination immediately went into over drive.I clutched my groceries and made for the door.

I noticed him walking quickly in my direction.  He was looking straight at me!! 

After a quick inventory of the items in my bags that could be used as self defense weapons, I determined that a lemon and the bunch of celery could be used to cause a distraction while I grabbed my purse to retrieve the manicure scissors in my makeup bag. I could wield these close to the attackers eyes and scream for help. If all else failed, I could take off my nine west flats and hit him repeatedly on the head until he was knocked unconscious.

I made it to my car, in record time, as he was closing in behind me. Not saying anything, just holding his bags and walking towards me persistently. 


 Looking over my shoulder several times, I knew he was coming closer.  Infact, he was trying to say something to me now - no doubt trying to lure me to his car to sell me to the black market. 

I shoved everything into my car and was frantically trying to find my keys.

There was knocking on my window - Oh Lord!! It was him!!! 

I was just about to jam my keys into the ignition and speed off when I heard his muffled voice come through the window - "You left one of your bags of groceries."  I looked in the back seat and counted...

Sure enough...

He was holding the bag with the lemons and celery. 


And it turns out he lives two houses down from me...

Poor guy - he's probably thinking "There goes the neighborhood."

(Good thing I didn't tell him he smelled like beef and cheese...)

Friday, February 19, 2010

My little Angel

Out of the blue today, while Madeleine was sitting at our kitchen table, surrounded by crayons and craft paper, enjoying her snack, she piped up in her little voice, "I think I've seen your Mom and Dad before Mommy..." 

Now, understand, we see my Dad, "Poppa" every year or two. We last saw him when we lived in Stockton.  So May of 2008 - Madeleine would have been 5 years old. I was suprised when Madeleine seemed to remember him, and asked when we were going to see "Poppa" again.  (Hopefully soon!)

And then she said, "Well, I've seen your Mommy too"... 

My Mom died of stomach cancer when I was 5 months pregnant with Madeleine. 

I softly and gently explained that wasn't possible because Grammy went to heaven when Maddie was in my tummy.

Maddie tilted her head to the side, and paused in contemplation for a moment, and then stated, "No Mom! I've seen her.  Sometimes, when I'm sleeping she stops by to tell me "Hello".


I'll never forget it - The morning my Mom passed away, she made a point to call each of her kids. 

I remember my phone ringing at 6am and seeing on my caller ID that it was my sisters number (my mom chose to stay at my sisters home with the help of Hospice rather than a hospital) and all of a sudden I could hear my heartbeat - a slow, irregular, dreadful pumping with a roaring thundering in my ears. 

I answered with a hasty "Hello?"  

It was my mom, feeble voiced but on a mission. 

I had to strain to hear her words - she seemed hard pressed to finish some sentences, so some of those words that were in her heart never made it to my ears...

But I knew.  I knew what she was saying.

She was whispering her goodbyes. 

I wish I could recall with clarity everything that was said on that brief phone call.  I wish I would have had the foresight to grab a pad of paper and scribble everything down.  But I didn't...

I wouldn't understand the magnitude that her passing would have on my life until months, even years later. 

This was my first time losing someone I loved.

I listened, crouching on the floor by the corner of my bed, hand pressed to my mouth, trying to contain my emotions.

I don't think I said much.

The beginnings of our conversation are blurred forever, try as I might, I can't recall them,

But this much I remember, My mom, the woman that I loved more than any one person in my life,the one who gave me life, who taught me how to walk and talk, and who prayed incessently over me, the woman, who as a teenager, I battled against, cared for, rolled my eyes at, and silently cursed sometimes 
apologized to me....

She said, "I'm sorry if I ever let you down.  I'm sorry if I wasn't a good mom to you at times... I love you Janelle and I am so glad you are my daughter and that I got to be your Mom. I love you." 

I was horrified!  The last conversation with my mom and I didn't expect an apology.  I didn't need one.

Hurriedly, I pushed aside her words "No Mom, no apologies.  I love you and you were a great mother to me. I love you so much."

Silence on the other end.

I felt sick...

"Mom? Are you still there?"

"Kiss my new granddaughter for me. I wish I could see her..."


That was it.  The last conversation I would ever have with the single most important woman in my life.  I tried to hit redial but the line was busy. 

She was calling my brothers... 

I tried the number again, desperate this time. I had so much more to say to her.

Busy... Beep beep beep...

I laid on the floor, and cried.

Beep, beep, beep...

No answer.

I called my husband who had worked the night shift that particular day. He was due home in a few hours.

"I think I just had my last conversation with my mom.. Today is the day - please come home."


I don't remember how long I laid on the floor before I heard Tristan stirring. I heard him in his crib, laughing and babbling, banging something against the railings (trying to get my attention no doubt), and I let him stay there. 

I laid with my face buried in the carpet, weeping.

Grieving for moments remembered and moments to come that would now be short one special lady.

Finally, I knew T was getting fussy, I went in and opened the door to the nursery. His little blonde face peering through the rails at me, dimpled mouth all wreathed in smiles "Mamma-mama!" 

I picked him up, made a bottle and rocked him for a while, thinking of my mom, with tears streaming down my face, his chubby hand pressed in the crook of my neck.

She passed away a few hours later.

My sister, Kim, was there with her when she passed. Reading her Psalms and singing to her. I am so thankful that Kim was there with my mom when she made the transition into the eternal.

My two hero's in one room. 

We found out a month after my mother passed that we were expecting a baby girl.

Madeleine Leone
(Leone after my Moms middle name).

So for Maddie to tell me that Grammy stops in to tell her "Hello" every once in a while...


I believe in God. I believe in angels and I believe in heaven.

Do you?

Tristan and Grammy 3 days before she passed.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Thoughts from an occasional Insomniac

I have insomnia...

Well, tonight I do (this is not a normal occurence) normally by 10 pm my body is powering off and I can fall fast asleep on any surface at any given moment.

(Is that called narcolepsy or just mommy exhaustion?)

So for me to be wide awake at 11:48 pm? Unheard of... Especially after such an exhausting weekend.

We had a ladies getaway this weekend for Christ Life Church at The Fairmont Resort in Scottsdale. 
The resort was gorgeous - here's a pic of my room (shared with a fun and lovely friend, Andrea)

(pardon the light - that's an iPhone for you...)

and here's a picture of Pastor Sharon, Tamela, and myself

It was a wham bammo of a weekend - I was on the worship team (we rocked the house! I love good harmony), I played Jezebel and a small boy in a skit (HA!) and was also a small group facilitator. 

I loved this weekend.  It was nice to get away, spend time with a new group of ladies, laugh and soak in the sweetness of God. 

It was just what I needed - a refreshing time away.

I got home to a clean house (Go Hubby!!) and a family that was happy to see me. We ordered pizza and played Monopoly together -which was like taking candy from a baby, as our kids think the highlight of the game is to go "banked-erupted".  We tucked the kids in bed early, spent some time together and I prepared for what I was supposed to do at church in the morning.  

And, now, enter the drama....

4:30 am
My sweet girl comes whimpering into our room complaining of a tummy ache
4:40 am
She vomits repeatedly
5:30 am
Hubby just gets up and starts getting ready for church (he has to be there early today)
6:00 am
Hubby leaves for church/our strong boy comes into our room with a tummy ache
From 6:00 am - now
Both of my poor children are violently ill, I use/wash/use every towel, sheet, blanket in the house

(I wasn't kidding)

My day was spent running room to room with water, ginger ale, fresh linens, Lysol, saltines... 
 I cried when my son would look up at me with big tired eyes and say "Mom, this needs to stop... I'm all empty..." I prayed with them as I held their heads while they were sick, and I cried from a mommy's heart that wants to make it better, but can't...

I started feeling really sorry for myself when I started feeling nauseous too.

Finally, they both fell into a fitful sleep and I laid down (on a bed with no sheets or blankets - they were in the wash) and I tried to get some rest.

And I couldn't...


So, I laid there with my mind racing and my thoughts wandered to my mom. 

My mom passed away from stomach cancer 6 years ago (I was 4 months prego with Maddie). She was diagnosed the week of Mother's Day and passed on June 30.

It was unanticipated, jarring and the most inescapably painful time of my life. 

There is something quite vulnerable about losing your mother.

  During family holidays, there are times where I look up and expect to see her sitting there, not saying too much, but always watching with a smile. When a big change happens in life, I want to call her just to let her share in our excitement or ask for prayer.  When my kids are sick, I just want to hear what she would do for them and listen to a voice of encouragement.

Sometimes, I wish I could call just to know she was there, we wouldn't even have to say anything...

I remember vividly the way she smelled once when I was sick - it was a cross between Bleach/Windex and some random Avon product (Skin-so-Soft, I think).  I can, to this day, remember climbing in her lap (I was about 8) and nestling my head in the crook of her neck while she prayed for me with her cool, soft hand on my forehead.  I can still recall that smell and that feeling of comfort and safety.

It struck me today, while I was laying there

I am providing those memories to my kids.

They might not remember mommy swiping up dirty sheets and rushing to the laundry room, or the bedraggled hair, mismatched pajamas and swollen eyes from lack of sleep...

More than likely, they will remember my smell -Vera Wang (leftover perfume from yesterday) mixed with Lysol, the warmth of my touch on their little faces, and the whispered fervent prayers for their healing and protection.

In this small way, I am passing my Mother on to them...

(Notice the mismatched sheets... )