11 April 2015

#thedailyhoop Reaches 365 Days in a Row...

12 months of hooping without missing a single day.

...with no sign of stopping. I never set out with an end goal in mind. The rules were:
  • spend at least 30 minutes alone outside every day
  • hula hoop during that time
  • no excuses
  • write five positive things about my day down
The therapist I was seeing for PTSD told me it had been scientifically proven that people who spend 30 minutes or more outside every day in conjunction with keeping a gratitude list are happier people.

What would I do outside? I don't meditate nor do I meander; I walk with purpose.

Many hoopers celebrate a hoopiversary. I guess this is mine but only in the sense that I made a commitment to myself on 13 April of last year and used daily Instagram photos to hold myself accountable.

My hoop journey started many years ago with no definitive date. I hooped as a child. In college I went to the Children's Museum on Friday evenings for their $2 college kid night or whatever it was and used the hoops there. When I moved out on my own I bought a kids hoop (silly me right?) and hooped on my rooftop overlooking Central Sq in Cambridge. Then I saw a hooper perform to The Eurythmics "Love is a Stranger" at Sister Spit. This was a real hooper. I had no idea you could do those things before that.

When I moved to Virginia I was going to start something similar and do spoken word while on my rollerskates and hula hooping all at the same time. But my real job kept me very busy.

Next I moved to Portland where, older and wiser, I knew to get a Real Hoop...and so I did. It was pink and blue and sparkle just like cotton candy made by a woman down by the river. I literally ran over the bridge to pick it up while on my lunch break. I was content waist hooping though I did try with rollerskates, too. It was going to take more practice.

This hoop was the one that traveled with me and then melted behind my TV stand in our housefire. I had also hooped on the rooftop in Philly.

I lost motivation for everything after the fire. That story has been written.

It took two years before I ordered another hoop.

Now I have...many...
Like a dozen. Including Tristan's. He has two.
One even lights up.

I'm sponsored by Galaxy Hoop! URBAN10 for 10% www.galaxyhoop.com 

They all have a purpose. The others are Rose (my large, weighted hoop), Selkie the polypro, Molly who I turned into a giant dreamcatcher because she is lopsided, Alfie who was a gift from Sarah (TeachKidstoHoop.com), I have the twins as I start multiples, and then...then I met Rachel from Galaxy Hoop and became her first sponsored hooper! Now I collect beauties from her. URBAN10 for 10% your order. Yay!

Hooping makes people happy. I believe that with all of my heart which is why I was looking for a sponsor. I wanted to find a kind hoopsmith with imaginative style and listened to what her customers need. I found that in Rachel - and she found me. Quirky and quiet with a hooping agenda.

My therapist was right. I haven't seen her in a while to tell her. I remember thinking ehh, I'll humor her. I shall go out daily and write my lists because I can't say I've tried everything unless I do - then we'll see what other suggestions are up her sleeve.

...except it worked. No matter how hard a day I've had I always feel calm when I go outside to hoop. I have been sick - I had the flu. It snowed, it poured and the winds blew.

I hooped.

I use hooping to keep myself from curling into a lazy ball of pain.

Every day I'm in some level of pain from endometriosis and ovarian cysts. Exercise is said to help. My hooping was as much for that aspect as the others. I can't say it's helped with pain but it's helped me manage it better because I'm a happier person. On days when it's really bad I take my lightest hoop outside and do off-body moves; gently.

One of my thoughts going into this was that I had gotten soft. I used to ride my bike to work every day no matter the weather. Why wasn't I applying that to something else? Something fun?

There were days I didn't want to go out. I'm sure there are more to come.

My goal wasn't a year. It's just another milestone like 100, 200 and 300 days were. I will continue counting. The only thing I can see interrupting this ritual is surgery. I've already asked Rachel for a little wrist hoop...or I will twirl a bracelet around my finger...as long as I'm spinning, right?

There is another thing that makes this all harder: I have to hoop on my city porch. If I go into the front 'yard' I am too close to the sidewalk and risk hitting people. If I go to the park I am sexually harassed. I'm harassed on the porch, too, but I feel safer because I can just turn around and zip inside.

I have a gigantic audience of commuters and city life.

I remember the days where I'd dance at Manray every week up on the stage (or the cage as it was called) - an elevated platform at the front of the dance floor. There was more space up there. I had some sort of illusion that I was less visible. Invisible. It was my bubble and if I didn't acknowledge people they weren't there. I can't totally do that here. I know which angle I can see all directions from and figure my hoop is also my weapon. I swing a fast weave. 

There are also plenty of things I can practice inside because I've gotten into tricks! It was about a month before I was like OK what else can I do? and so it went. I don't think matching a year with my skill level is accurate because I'm also a wife, mother, and small business owner/artist. I have a lot on my plate; hooping isn't my life. It's part of my life.

I've always believed in balance and tried never to become too absorbed in one thing.

Besides, I just have to take a few steps forward and that will turn me into a street performer. I'm more like a sideshow now.

Hooping is good for your soul. If it can lift me up from the darkness it can help anyone. I encourage you to try it if you've been considering it. I was happy for years waist hooping. There are no expectations only personal goals.

My rewards for making it a year include:

I don't get them until the day I reach 365. I'm writing this on the eve of 364.

Portrait done as a surprise by my husband who is also an artist.

There aren't words to express how thankful I am to Brandon for supporting and encouraging me. He takes this daily routine of mine seriously and no matter what day it is he allows me time to myself (as I have with him and weightlifting). I'm proud of Tristan for taking an interest in it, too (which has been very recent).

Super duper thanks to everyone who has encouraged me along this journey. I appreciate it and hope to return the gesture - whatever your goal may be.

...and the beat goes on.

Monday will be 366 days in a row...or 1 year, 1 day. I'm not sure how I will write it down.

Resolution of happiness
Things have been dark for too long

Don't change for you
Don't change a thing, for me.

...and for the record it hasn't felt like a year. It's just felt like joy.

22 February 2015

Galaxy Hoop Review - Where Should I a Hula Hoop?

Welcome to Galaxy Hoop where all the hula hoops are made with the prettiest tapes and filled with TLC.

EDIT: get 10% off www.galaxyhoop.com when you use the code URBAN10 - yayy! ::everybody hoop now::

I'm amazed to say that today marks 315 days of hula hooping in a row leaving me 50 more until I can say I've hooped outside for an entire year. Through rain, heat, snow, sickness and in health. The first couple of weeks were the hardest but posting on social media under #thedailyhoop held me accountable. There have been more recent days where I felt like cheating by counting inside hooping...but! while it 'counts' it doesn't towards my personal goal which is to be alone outside.

I last wrote about beginning the daily hoop adventure and hoops I was using here.

Since this past year has also included me opening my own shop on Etsy I have learned a lot about the handmade community, what I like to add to it, and what I enjoy in return. My last hoop buying experience was awful so after using a hand-me-down from Sarah from TeachKidstoHoop (whose program I have also enrolled in) I began searching for a new hoop maker.

There are so many hoops out there! I didn't want to pick at random anymore, yet the ones who came with a big presence or recommendation didn't mean it also came with a handmade feel or attitude. Some of these shops have gotten so big they're corporate comparatively.

There is nothing like waiting for your hoop to arrive!

Here's that TLC! Remember to let your hoop adjust to room temperature before uncoiling and connecting. Using a hairdryer on the tubing makes it slide right in! She includes instructions and super secret coupons!

Where are the diamonds in the rough? 

In this case I found a galaxy.

Galaxy Hoop is run by a California hooper who also likes collecting and wearing Docs with a vibrant spirit. She liked a photo of mine on Instagram and I caught her name as it passed and though ohh what's this? ::click: 

Her hoops are stunning! and we got into quick friendly conversations over shoes, hoops, and randomness. I needed a new HDPE hoop and I wanted it to be from her...and if it was as amazing as it looked I asked if she'd consider sponsoring me. HDPE is short for high density polyethylene. It is lightweight but still heavy enough for a beginner to master unlike polypro hoops which are best left to more advanced hoopers.

Every day I am asked where to get hoops but I haven't felt 100% behind my recommendations. I was just another sale in the universe of hoops. The time I had a problem with a hoop I was told coldly oh well, fix it yourself. That stung because I'd actually selected her shop based on her profile that was written as a loving mom just trying to bring in a little extra money doing something she loved on the side. That sounded familiar. She claimed her daughter helped make the hoops but when I suggested she let her daughter run with her imagination that was ignored. It felt Walmart. Warm fuzzy marketing followed by a half empty feeling upon purchase.

Galaxy Hoop's founder Rachel lives near my hometown in California. She says she started hooping in 2011 and then started making hoops so she could have "lots and lots!" Her guilty pleasure music includes listening to Depeche Mode and Wham! (if that's guilt my regular playlist is sin). Best of all was her answer to the question I ask everyone I interview but with a first time answer:

What is your favorite ride at Disneyland?

My favorite ride at Disneyland has to be Teacups. Whoever rides with me always ends up scared or sick. I get crazy on Teacups.

Twisted, right?! No wonder she got into spin arts! Leave me to gaze at the art inside Small World and dream of red-eyed yetis....

She has a great variety of both polypro and HDPE hoops. She uses a lot of color on some and minimal on others. Perfect! I wound up buying the neon reflective rainbow (as you can see!) but I was also attracted to the Betty, Blackout, and cannot stop staring at the Psychedelic Psycho or the water tape she uses on her mermaid-themed hoop...the Tim Burton inspired one...the one that looks like the feminine laces to a ballet slipper...ohh, I gaze. Maybe that's why she chose the name Galaxy Hoop. I'm a stargazer...hoop-gazer...starry hoop gazer.

I am always here to help you find a hoop that's right for you. I want more people to discover the healing and happiness hooping can bring. I waist-hooped without doing any tricks for over a decade (not every day!) before deciding to try something different. I just liked the peace it brought me. I am a special needs mom in severe chronic pain struggling with anxiety and PTSD. I'm a survivor and a fighter. I don't want those things to weigh me down and defeat me. There is something about picking up a hoop that lifts your heart and mind with it.

It's love: Rainbow Bright HD comes in both HDPE and polypro at www.galaxyhoop.com

Please feel free to reach out to me or Rachel if you're interested in starting to hoop but aren't sure which hoop size or style is right for you. I still stand behind my high recommendation of Teton Hoops if you're looking for a beginner weighted hoop (she uses fabric which feels great!).

I bought this hoop because I wanted it and have received no compensation for this review. It is from my heart. Future hoops will be provided for review but I will pay for shipping. That will be noted on future reviews per blogging review rules and full disclosure. 

So meet my first sponsor! Find Galaxy Hoop on social media for discounts and giveaways!

...and use the hashtag #galaxyhoop and #urbanflowerpot to show us each how you're doing!

If I live to see the seven wonders
I'll make a path to the rainbow's end

09 February 2015

Edge of Threeteen: Will the Landslide Bring You Down?

Uncensored Life: first few hours home with our premature son living my NICU fantasies.

Tristan just asked me to dance. "Bigger, bigger hugs, mama, bigger hugs!" He stretches his arms up. "Spin, mama, spin bigger." I had been twirling around while cleaning the kitchen with Fleetwood Mac playing in the background.

When I lifted him into my arms the songs changed and we found ourselves with a slower number (but nothing I couldn't add bigger spins to): Landslide.

My life has never been without music and dancing and I've hoped Tristan's wouldn't be either.

Free spirits. Twirling, embracing life and love.

There were two things I'd dream about in the glider during those months in NICU. I wanted to slow dance to Edelweiss with Tristan in my arms - no cords attached, barefoot in our new home. I also wanted to know what it was like to lay down with him. Two months propped in a chair that only appeared comfortable.

It's interesting how some songs can grow along with your life and remain relevant. I thought about this as my much heavier son and I danced around the room, his arms around my neck.

I've never known my life without their music.

Tristan's pasta finished cooking. He returned to The Regular Show in the other room and I listened to Landslide again...I can't imagine it fitting any more perfectly into my life than now. Who else would I build my life around other than my husband and child? They are my forever.

If I could baby I'd give you my world but until you go your own way I will be here to give you bigger, bigger hugs and twirls.

Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

Well, I've been afraid of changing
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I'm getting older too

Well, I've been afraid of changing
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I'm getting older too
Oh, I'm getting older too

NICU moms never take a moment for granted; or a moment to remove their hospital bracelet before living the dream.

30 January 2015

What Does Feminism Mean: a response to Joseph Gordon-Levitt

90's women folk-festival me speaking out for snowpeople everywhere!

Let's begin with the f-word: feminism. That's all I'll need to say to send people all over the place...unfortunately. There is no one 'brand' of feminism and so women fight about the true meaning. In a recent news article it read 'some feminists say ___ while other feminists say [the total opposite]' to paraphrase.

Definition: the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

So...a while back, Joseph Gordon-Levitt asked everyone: what does feminism mean to you?

I've allowed some time pass since first watching this video. I haven't rewatched it because I wanted my brain cells fully under my influence. My perspective on things has changed a lot over the years through thoughtful discussion and personal growth - whether it's changed or further confirmed my opinion depends on the topic.

It means equality to me. It means being heard and taken seriously. It means being valid...and yes, I am a feminist.

For a while I thought it meant I had to spread the word that "snowman" is sexist; it's snowperson, duh! I didn't want to dress or act stereotypically girlie...but if you know me, that comes naturally. Why couldn't I be a frilly feminist in an apron? I can. Though many Other Feminists would tell me I can't. I'm perpetuating a stereotype.

I don't think being a feminist means you should be anti-girl anymore than I think it should mean man-hating, anti-boy. Much of what those Other Feminists embrace is stereotypically masculine. WE are the ones who have created a spectrum. This is the world we live in, these are the things we have to express our inner/outter girl....or

...woman. Other Feminists don't like that I still say girl. It's a little more acceptable if I spell it grrrl...but not much...they often take the spelling and mangle it: womyn or somesuch. Spell it however it makes you feel comfortable but don't hold it against me if I write woman.

When it comes to taking your laws of my body? Yes, take your laws off my body - but where does my body end and another begin? I'm a carrier pigeon for life.

I did my internship at an abortion clinic in the mid-90's. I was a women's studies major for the short time I could afford college and wanted to help other women who'd been raped. I thought that a fetus was a clump of cells and it would be my right to an abortion.

But as I grew I saw flaws in my strong opinions. Where do my rights end and another's begin? When does life begin? Why do we show sympathy for miscarriages but indifference for abortion at the same gestational ages? Should we tell the grieving mother it was just a clump of cells anyway?

Does wanting a fetus make it life? That doesn't seem right.

I never planned on having a child. I was super hormonal my first trimester and scared because I could feel 'it' in me. It was alive and that scared me. I didn't think cells moved that fast but I was growing life inside me.

Then I delivered prematurely at 30 weeks. When I walked into the NICU late that night my first thought was: Oh my God...it's an abortion poster. I haven't told many people that. One pound babies made my 3 pounder look huge. They were lives, people, individual humans...and they were viable. Wanted vs unwanted.

I had two months to sit in my glider with Tristan against my chest, skin to skin, to ponder that.

Another thing I questioned: why do we hold a man responsible for a child he doesn't want? If a woman has rights over her body, shouldn't a true feminist who believes we should be equals say the man has a choice too? Why are they pursued for child support if they had no say? Why can't they just walk away? Does it make them anymore wrong than a woman who aborted a child without even letting the father know?

Gendercide. How can one be against gendercide but say it's all right in general?

There are so many gray areas for a girl who believes in law and order. My husband said, but don't you have to consider yourself pro-choice if you're a feminist. Do I? or do the laws need to be changed? I don't think they should be illegal, but something needs to be redefined. It's OK to say I don't know.

I hate that I had to spend so much time on that but that seems to be the crux of feminism...but should it? 

There are a lot of things I don't have a concrete answer to and it took me years to be able to say it. Back when I was defending snowpeople I was fairly certain I had it all figured out. It was black or white...yes or no...right or wrong. Pick one.

But all these years later I see that it's just a flow of conversation...and my knowledge isn't set in stone.

Am I afraid to share this? Absolutely.

It's fine if you disagree. Many of you will...but I will respect those differences and listen to your thoughts in return.

14 January 2015

Prematurity: they might not grow out of it after all...

He was a month old, but I still would have been in my third trimester.

They'll grow out of it: that is the preemie parent mantra sung to you from the minute your tiny bundle enters the world.

That alarm? Oh, he just forgot to breathe because his heart-rate dropped too low. We just need to stimulate him a little so he remembers. Don't worry. He'll grow out of it.

Your baby turning colors becomes an alternate reality where it's all no big deal. Just rub'em a little and they'll snap out of it. They'll be like, hey body: function! and all will be right as rain.

They grow out of it by two years.

That's what they say...
and that's what they said.

You don't have to adjust his age anymore.
Phew. ...cuz that was getting confusing!

He's six months ::funny look crosses person's face:: oh, except he's actually four months adjusted. Ohhh.

We had our diagnosis appointment this afternoon. What special need would Tristan have and how would we adjust our plans to support him? I was ready for anything. I thought possible autism...maybe anxiety or OCD. I did NOT for a moment think prematurity would be the diagnosis...

and there is that numb feeling again in my heart. The icy blood pumping through my body, the body that failed. The fire that stressed me out so badly I will never know that about to burst pregnancy horrors that so many moms whine over. I still hear the silence in the OR that was filled with so many people that it should have been loud...except we were all silent and waiting for the next heartbeat to sound over the speakers. I will never forget the night my body almost killed our son.

There are other things, too. He has a speech delay and low tone and we need more specialists, appointments, therapy, additional services, follow-ups, etc, etc, etc.

But when I asked if prematurity can just last forever the answer was essentially: yes, it can have lifelong effects. There was nothing deeply remarkable about his prematurity. He only had a level one brain bleed/hemorrhage that self corrected. He really struggled with apnea and bradycardia - both come with prematurity and in most cases do pass quickly (though it seems like forever).

However...sometimes prematurity can just...last.

He's great! Wonderful, socially engaging, and creative. Smart, quick to learn. He's just young/er...and needs help with receptive language, open ended discussion, and low tone (which he HAD grown out of at one point).

Those are his official special needs.
I'll dive into paperwork next week.

Thank you to everyone who has been supportive along our journey. I appreciate you all so much.

I'm just shocked that we're coming up on his fourth birthday and after being studied on video by one of the top teams in the country we have the same label we've always had. We just thought he'd grown out of it...

Edit: I should include that preemies now come with mega-rad medical binders with a business card holder, labeled sections, pen case, carrying handle, AND over-the-shoulder padded strap!!!! SWEET. :)

04 January 2015

Surviving Your Housefire: or how to help your friends and family

My beautiful House of Seven Gables replica canopy and heirloom hope chest.
I guess all I have left from our fire is advice...and support, of course. Everyone's experience is different - and reactions to the same fire will be unique, too. Like my husband and I have processed it in wildly different ways. We seemed to balance each other at the time and I can't imagine having gone through this without him.

Brief summary (our full story is available at the top of this site): our mentally disabled neighbor got mad at the people downstairs for telling him to be quiet so he poured accelerant down the hallway and on our doors, hoping to trap us inside. We were down the street picking up a few of my pregnancy cravings but the couple across from us had to climb out their fourth floor window and wait for the fire engines. The firestarter went back into his apartment but was later rescued by first responders. There wasn't enough to put him away and I hear he lives in our neighborhood still.

We lost everything...including both of my cats who huddled under the couch. Hidden. Dying together.

Now I'm going to pass on what I've learned from nearly four years of heartbreak and therapy for PTSD because several people have come to me asking about a loved one who is experiencing the devastation of a fire or natural disaster.

  • It is FAR worse than your worst nightmare or anything you've imagined. Remember to say, "I can't imagine." If you haven't lived through one you cannot imagine...no amount of empathy or brilliant imagination will be how horrifying it is...the smell, the soggy ashes sinking into your skin and nose so all you smell is the stink of things lost. Your feet squish on the floor which is now coated with soggy ceiling and your home is a menagerie of objects that have melted into strange shapes. Oh, that was my lamp?! Plastic hangers look like flower splatters on the floor. But it isn't real...yet.
  • SHOCK. They will be in shock. Let them set the tone. They might be cracking up or crying - or both at the same time. Find a point person/s to help organize things that will be needed.
  • Learn to accept help. Learn how to ask. It's humiliating at first. But people want to help. It makes them feel useful. I feel good giving things to people on a regular day--during a crisis I'm much happier if my favorite sweater that I never wear is making another girl feel pretty.
  • Accept help right away because people want to do the most in the beginning. The tragedy will pass quickly for them and they'll be shocked that years later you're still replacing things you never had or were donated and on their last leg.
  • Don't donate crap. I'm talking about the stuff you were going to throw out or give to Goodwill. I'd rather have one working pan than a dozen that are burnt. Remember, we've been looking at charred things for a long time. Clean is good. Finding out our style is nice too. Shoving a dollar into their pocket is one dollar more than they had before. It adds up. It's amazing.
  • Cook meals. Drop them off.
  • Do not give candles as a sorry-your-house-burned down gift (or when they get a new place).
  • Have someone keep a master list of needed items that the survivors can update with them.
  • Offer to help dig in the ashes with them. YOU HAVE TO WORK QUICKLY! Mold from the fightfighters' water-chemical mix is going to give it a healthy head start. 
  • Don't write something off as gone - it might air out.
  • Have someone look into a laundering service that can remove the smell of smoke from clothing. Makes sense right? You'll never think of it during a crisis. I heard about it a couple years later while reading Stephen King's book On Writing. He used to work at a laundromat where that was one of the things they handled. In Nowhere, Maine. I had clothes in seasonal bins that were dry but smelled so bad........I threw them out. I could cry even now thinking about how stupid that was.
  • STAGES OF GRIEF: absolutely. They will go through these - when? at their own rate. They are: denial and isolation; anger; bargaining (oh man that was a big one for me!); depression; acceptance.
Our fire happened two weeks before our wedding and then two weeks later my body gave out to stress and I delivered Tristan prematurely (at 30 weeks - story is also above). My contractions were killing him and he spent two months in NICU while we found a new apartment and tried to turn it into a home we could bring our preemie into. That was a separate trauma but the two were deeply intertwined. We also lost our jobs. I've never been through a harder time in my life.

Nearing my fourth anniversary I have finally moved into acceptance. I lingered in depression for a long, long time. Years. It still comes in waves but I've joined Prozac Nation and I am pro-active about working through my feelings. I went to a therapist that had specialized in PTSD/trauma survivors for more than 30 years. She had the experience...and I needed someone who understood. I felt petty crying over a lost home, dead cats, and a tiny baby who had breathing problems when compared to war veterans who'd seen...God knows what.

Every trauma is different but the emotions we go through are the same. They can vary in intensity but it's the same way out of the rabbit hole. She said some amazingly helpful things to me.

I still go in a few times a year. She set me on the path to being happier by challenging me to 30 minutes along outside every day and making a list of five things I'm thankful for daily. No matter how small. It can be: I like the way my bath gel smells (I do). Doesn't have to be earth shattering...but she said it's proven that people who do these things are happier.

There is a point I couldn't have done this...maybe. I got through each day as best as I could. I still hate that my Cabbage Patch Kids survived instead of my cats. But I'm no longer angry at them. They're still in a box. I have a bunch of paint and Sharpies also in a box. They survived so I felt I should keep them. Most of the paint is cooked. I will throw them out when I'm ready.

I still hurt so much...
but this is what I have to offer.

I am always here to listen if you think nobody is understanding.

I also encourage you to learn the art of asking which is something Amanda Palmer turned into a book recently for totally different reasons...though again, the feelings behind them are the same. She talks about it in this TED talk that is empowering if you're stubborn and want to do everything yourself. I have not read the book, though I feel I've written one in my heart. I will read her version one day.

My way - if you need something JUST ASK. I needed a charger for my iPod that I had with me in my purse that day. I asked on Facebook and a friend dropped off a pile of them at work that night. She happened to work at Apple.

If I needed something specific I just asked...oh, and Freecycle was a great resource for that. Join and ask.

What do I need now? My music. iTunes. I've gone digital. That's terribly hard to replace. The people who came to board up the windows so nobody can steal things...........STOLE! They stole all my CDs! It turns out the soot damage was too bad for them to work anyway...though they left my Tori Amos collection and three years later they worked all of a sudden. I'm happy I saved them.

That's all I can think of now, but I'll always keep this updated as things come to me...and they will. If you've experienced a loss like this please feel free to leave your advice in a comment.

Everyone is different - but I'm only me so this is what I can give.

Thanks, as always, to the firefighters who tried to save my world. You'll always be heroes of mine.


11 November 2014

Ashes to ashes to ashes again OR why I don't sleep until February

My insanity will prevail.

Drop to the floor digging in the soggy ashes. It’s a good thing I remembered to bring my shovel this time. I realized that the melted bed has preserved everything I stored underneath it. I dig, I claw. 

Somehow there is a way to slide out the containers that hold the brass Christmas ornaments my parents started collecting for our family in 1973 when they were married. Right there is the box with all my craft supplies, too.

It’s there. Not all of it but there were so many more things I could salvage because I’m not pregnant anymore and I’ve had almost four years to plan better ways to rescue all the things the fire took.

My heart races.

Yes, that’s it. I had my son early, in time for the demolition so I could have gone back. I could have dug. There were still things that would have made it.

Why didn’t anyone offer to help Brandon dig?
or sit by the incubator while I did.

I didn’t care about ruining my clothes and I didn’t need my beat up rose boots anymore. I only wore them that day because I was saving both new pairs of Docs til these really wore out.

They’re expensive, you know.

Gloves. I could have used gloves. Then ashes wouldn’t have gotten under my nails and stained them. Like my feet were stained from the soggy soot bleeding through leather and socks.

How do you expect me to decorate for Christmas when the pink tinsel tree is stuck under the bed and along with our childhood stalkings?

My grandmother’s crystal was ready for Thanksgiving.
I didn’t even have to try for Halloween because those things stayed up all year.

But there is more I could have saved. I know I could have carried more than I did that once
…and the cats are really gone, right? Because I stopped checking found posters this year. …mostly.

How do you expect me to breathe, while the earth is turning and our bed is burning? 
Year after year after year….