Tuesday, March 22, 2011

No Differing Opinions Welcome Here Today

My dad gets me a subscription to Reader's Digest every Christmas. I think it's super cheap. But I don't think that's why he keeps on giving it to me year after year. I think he gifts it to me because he wants me to share in his love of reading it while on the John. I don't read it on the John. I don't read it near the John. I read it right before I turn the light off. I can't ever make it through a chapter. In a book. Those things with hard covers. Some have soft covers. Yea, can't do it. Too tired. So the articles in Reader's Digest are just right. Sometimes I just read the jokes. Sometimes I read about what my pilot won't tell me. Or what my lock smith won't tell me. Or what my mail carrier won't tell me. Or what my doctor won't tell me. I always practice the Word Power and I never read the drug advertisements. Just so you know.

And generally speaking I'm a pretty easy going gal. I rarely disagree with you or anyone. I hate confrontation and debate and disagreement. I know it's what makes up the backbone of this great nation. But I'd rather everyone just have a little hug and kiss and maybe a pat on the ass. I don't spout my beliefs here, mostly because I don't have any. I mean I do, sometimes, but it's rare. But today, right now, I'm on the attack. Because this topic is very near and dear to my heart.

In the September 2010 Reader's Digest there is an article entitled Laughterpedia- An alphabet soup of what cracks us up. So under the letter D for 'Defense' is an excerpt of something Ross McCammon wrote in Esquire magazine. Now, I don't know how the authors of the Laughterpedia thought this was funny but here is the excerpt reprinted in Reader's Digest:

"People give 100 percent real maple syrup as gifts. They take their kids to a farm to see it being collected and cooked. In the Northeast, it's extolled. Which is strange because it's not as good as Aunt Jemima or Mrs. Butterworth's, its mass-market imitators. First of all, syrup shouldn't run; it should ooze. Real maple syrup runs. The mass market stuff- the stuff you grew up on- that stuff oozes. It has viscosity. So instead of going straight into the pancakes, like water into a sponge, it maintains their integrity. And the taste: Mass-market syrup is sweet. Real maple syrup is a beguiling combination of sugar and resin. Which is authentic, sure. But bark is authentic. Is there anything else we eat that tastes vaguely of trees?"

Now, I realize that people can have their own opinions. But I'm sorry, this is one area where that's not allowed. No one is allowed to think that imitation syrup is better than real maple syrup. If you think so, then stop reading my blog. Please. You are not welcome here. I'm not accepting arguments (for the sake of argument) at this time. I don't care about your opinion if it's different than mine. I usually do, because you can usually persuade me (easily) to think what you think. But this time...NO.

So last night I was reading a more current edition of Reader's Digest and came across an article about the importance of writing an 'ethical will'. The author reminded us good readers of Professor Randy Pausch's 2007 "The Last Lecture". You should listen if you haven't already. And on a similar topic a woman named Jo Kline Cebuhar has written a book, So Grows the Tree: Creating an Ethical Will, in which she proclaims that leaving behind life lessons, wishes, and dreams may even last longer with loved ones than financial reward. Which is great because I'm pretty sure the spawn will only be receiving a forest of maple trees when Paul Bunyan and I pass on to greener pastures.

To my spawn,
So here lies my ethical will (this blog). I've been creating it. I will continue to create it. I will not stop creating it until I die and lay under the pine trees at the crest of my mountain. The topic for this entry of my ethical will (wishes, hopes, life lessons, dreams): maple syrup.

I wish that the trees in our woods will always leak their sap into buckets for your lifetime and for your children's and their children's lifetimes. They say the world is warming and that the trees won't do this forever. I hope they are wrong or that we can do something to make a change.

My wish is that you'll always remember how your father awoke from a long winter's nap with a smile on his face when the sap began to flow.

My dream is that every March you'll meet up with good friends.

And stoke a big fire with wood that you've collected and split from our forest.

My dream is that you'll never experience anything better than the sweet steam opening up the pores in your face as you stick your head over the evaporator.

And that you realize the importance of the 'ways' of sugar making.

And how they have been passed down from generations to generations.

My hope is that you'll feel the love.

Of Friends.

And mud.

And beer (well, unless you're an alcoholic...then I don't wish that on you at all).

But more importantly, I wish that you get to reap the rewards of collecting water from a tree.

And just by adding a little heat to it.

And boiling it to just the right temperature.

You'll find that with a little patience,

you'll have created the sweetest thing ever known to mankind.

Put it in your coffee, on your ice cream, in your yogurt, on your cereal, in your frosting, on your rice, in your pot roast, on your pancakes. Bring it with you when you leave the state. Pack it in flasks. Hide it in coat pockets. Swig it straight in the dark.

I imagine that I won't have to tell you all this because you'll already know it. But just in case someone tries to convince you otherwise, that some woman named Aunt Jamima might have something better to offer you, I just wanted you to know that this sweet maple stuff is in your blood and let's hope that it'll be in your children's blood too and that they have the chance to dip their dirty little fingers into the sap before it's syrup and sip the cloyingly sweet sugar straight out of the evaporator when it's done.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I'm Telling You...It's God's Will

Helloooo? Are you there God? It's me Margaret. No seriously. Where have you been? I've been waiting here for you, for like days. But you kept not showing up. And so I was all, like, 'whatever.' And so I took off and became stuck like a piece of beef jerky. Up all inside the space between my teeth. I tell ya, this living life stuff is hard work. So...how have you been? I've been good. I've been good. I'm sorry, I just had to say that twice. But seriously, I've been good.

I'll explain why. I have this neighbor. She used to work for a homeopathic vet and so she's really a wealth of knowledge in the homeopathic remedy field. She has offered to help my garbage guzzling Lab when she's had a pancreatic belly ache. But it didn't seem to work- she still dug herself a hole in the dirt to crawl into and sulk. Kelly has spritzed her Rescue Remedy at foaming alpacas who are stretched flat out on their bellies getting their hairs clipped. But they still spit anyway. She has most recently sent down a tiny brown bottle full of tiny white balls of something called Merc. V. It was supposed to heal Liebe's red ulcers on the roof of her mouth. But what Liebe really needed was a $600 tooth extracted and a few doses of prednisone to get her immune system in check. Kelly kept hoping that something would work immediately and that all pain and suffering would be cured from the moment the tiny white balls hit the saliva in the mouth. And that I would be sold on the benefits of homeopathy.

I have to be honest.
I was skeptical all along.
Until now.

After 8 months of antibiotics, I finished my last dose of doxycycline at the end of February. As I approached the finish line I was taking 400 mg every day. And I was scared shitless because I still felt the symptoms in my spine- mostly a numbing pain. I knew that it took only about 3 weeks of being off antibiotics (in early June) for the spirochetes to spread from my joints, into my spine, and up into my brain. So, needless to say, I was very frightened of being back where I was last June...unable to talk, write, think. So I was grasping for any doctor who would give me more. MORE! But I had exhausted all my resources and so was wondering where could I turn. No doctors in the area will treat this disease as it should be treated and so I was considering heading out of state. But I wanted to try something first, something I had heard about from another sufferer who had beat Lyme with an herbal remedy.

And so I took a risk, always thinking positively that if she could win this battle (along with thousands like her) with this remedy, then I could too.

Here's my line-up. I'm not really sure what's in it. Maybe frog's feet and crow's balls, but whatever it is I've been told it's God's Will to Heal and that everything that makes up the remedy has been harvested with prayer, so I'm feeling a little more confident that He's backing me here.

And here's the thing. I've never felt better (well, since the f-ing tick bit me). But the shit is working. Knock on wood because I'm still in disbelief and I don't want to jinx myself. So now if I follow the protocol I need to do a few coffee enemas, lots of saunas, a few Epsom salt baths, and possibly a 7 day "fast" where I only eat maple syrup and juice. Hhmm. Yea.

We'll see.

But there are some other positives. Here I am on my last day of Doxy:

I mean really- look at that honker. I was like Rudolph for 8 straight months....even with 100 block. Every kid who came near me pointed a nasty dirty finger in my face and said, "hey. You have a red nose." No shit Sherlock. I've burnt fingers and toes and ear lobes.

And another positive is that I got juices back. Ladies, you all know what I'm talking about. Praise the good Lord I Probably Should Believe In Right About Now.

Sooooo now I'm on an herbal remedy kick.

I got ass cracks in my fingers. A hairy chin. A daughter with an attitude. If it's God's Will to Heal, then bring on the healing. There must be a remedy for any of it. All of it!

There has got to be a remedy for this Spring Rite of Passage.

How can we heal this ugly Mohawk illness?

And what about my propensity to eat a whole bag of potato chips in one sitting?

Or what about the nail biting habit?

Or how to fix his baldness? Oh wait, I find that really sexy. Never mind. Well, we need to find a way to stop the head from sweating at night.

And how to stop making the dogs eat trash?
Or (at least) how to stop them from eating cat poop?
And how to make the spawn all kind and considerate to each other?
And how to get rid of anxiety?
And how to make me less lazy?
And how to help me quit mayo?

There's got to be a good remedy for it all- harvested with prayer from Mother Earth.

I know. I know. Let's get real. So seriously, if a lightning bolt struck me down tonight...

and burned the shit out of my skin, I've got an aloe plant growing on my windowsill.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I Got Nothin'

I've got a sliver of a moon belly up on the horizon. Right now. Out my window. And a sleeping dog at my feet. But I feel like I've got nothin'.

I've got a frayed t-shirt on from 1997. Right now. And a sleeping dog at my feet. But I feel like I've got nothin'.

I've got snowbanks higher than our roof right now. And a sleeping dog at my feet. But I feel like I've got nothin'.

I've got an epic ski day. Today. And a sleeping dog at my feet. But I feel like I've got nothin'.

I've got a road trip to Nationals to figure out. And a sleeping....Wha? You said Wha?

Yes, I said I've got a road trip to Nationals. What did you think I said?

You're going to Nationals? With the same team that lost almost every game in every tournament you played in this season?

Yes. I said we're going to Nationals in Detroit, Michigan.

Like, to play teams from Minnesota and Wisconsin?

Yes. To get our asses handed to us by teams from Minnesota and Wisconsin. Wanna come?

No. I don't wanna come.

Why not?

Why would I?

Because, it'll be fun. We're going to drive.

You're what?

We're going to drive.

You're going to drive? To Michigan?

That's what I said.

How long is it going to take?

I think 12 hours. Maybe 13.5 if I go with the girls who are driving in the US instead of Canada.

Are you fucking kidding me?

No, I'm not kidding you.

Why are you doing this?

Because we just won.

But you lost every game up until that point.

Who cares. We still won.

So, do you want to come?

No way.

Why not?

Because I have a sleeping dog at my feet.

That's your only reason?

Yea. That's my only reason. Why are you going?

Because. Because it's somethin'. And I've been feelin' like I got nothin' lately.

Okay. Well, good luck then.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

In One Month

One month ago Mud's daughter Addy turned 9. She had a birthday party at Pizza Putt. I'm still washing the germs off of me. I'm not crazy. I might be a germ-a-phobe, but that's all. Timmy's fever last weekend was definitely caused by a germ from Pizza Put that clung to the inside of his fingernails for this whole month. How did the germs get under his fingernails you might ask? Because, duh, he clung so tightly to the handle bars of the motorcycles in that motorcycle game. I'm telling you, I'm not crazy.

Later that night Mud made us happy chicken bathed in cream. And the children, they ate it.

And then they called to the baby inside Katy's belly. And they said, "Hey baby, you must come out now."

And Miss Cally said, well, she said, "look at me while I eat this homemade ice cream standing up on a chair."

And then that next morning while Cally dreamt about the indoor play gym at Pizza Putt Katy went into labor and with four short pushes and absolutely no drugs out came Hazen.

And then. Well, and then there came a day (Claire's birthday) when something happened like the time Paul Bunyan climbed to the very top of an extension ladder with his chain saw and cut a branch only half way through, which caused the branch to swing around and knock him off the very top of the extension ladder. And he had metal surgically inserted into his wrist so it would some day work again. Two weeks before the twins were born.

Or like the time I let Auggie stand and lean on the back of a kitchen chair, which inevitably fell because of the weight of his body and how when I tried to slow his fall with my pinky finger, which (in fact) only made me pull the chair out from underneath him, which (in fact) only made him fall directly onto the slate floor, which (in fact) made him break his arm in two places. Yes, something like that happened to the Abbotts.

We don't necessarily have to go into details. It involved a little her person on the back of a dad person, who happened to have skis on, skiing down a small slope with snow that was soft and hard and everything combined.

But now the sweet pea, the little peanut, is in a cast up to her chest.

And Mom and Dad have to lift her from here to there.

And they have to turn her like happy chicken in a cream sauce, every four hours.

And they have to make sure she doesn't get bed sores. Or infections down each of her leg casts.

And they have to feed Hazen. And rock Hazen. And change Hazen. And bath Hazen.

And they have to do the laundry, the shopping, the dishes, the vacuuming, the making of breakfasts and lunches and dinners. Oh, and the work, too.

But there is one thing that they don't have to do. And that's make this cherub smile. She was born with this propensity. I'm glad it's as contagious as the germs at Pizza Putt. Because after tonight, we're all infected with it.