Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ode to the Ramble

This morning I initially woke up to a text message from a man we'll call R. The exchange went like this:
R: "I miss and wuv u!! Wish u were in my cold-empty bed."
Me: "No u don't :)"
R: "Harsh! I just wanna hold u"
Me: "Yeah, but i don't think u really do. Lol, i'm pretty sure i don't smell very good, my mouth is gross, and i'm all sticky and sweaty right now lol. That's all i meant. ;)"
R: "I will give u something 2 sweat about. Jump in the shower i will bring the soap!"
Me: "Oh, R, way too early to be sexy. I'm goin' back to sleep :("

This is a poker player of mine, a man I've talked to just once on the phone, albeit for 2 hours, but still... My thoughts around this guy are shaky. I've known of his infatuation for a while, he always picks on me at work. He watches my every move when I get up or walk around or do, well,... anything. He's always asking me out or asking me about my life when the game dies or hasn't started yet. He's an interesting guy, I'll give him that. But, I'm not attracted to him. If there was ever a time in my life I wish I could force my brain receptors to shoot fireworks, this is probably one of those times. He told me on the phone that he wants to be with me, take care of me, KNOW me. I told him he shouldn't get mixed up with a girl like me. I've got too much going on, and I can't give my entire love and focus to anyone. What I meant was that I couldn't give it to him.


So, after I slept for a little while longer, I decided to get up - or more specifically, my bladder decided for me. I turned on my computer, wished strongly that there was fresh coffee in the kitchen, and had a cigarette. I considered texting my roommate (already at work), to ask about the coffee, but decided against it because I didn't want to annoy him, and that would've definitely annoyed him. I thought about Jeff and Jessica - my friends from Portland who left last night after a 2-day visit. We drank the bar out of liquor the other night - and then had a bathtub party at my house. Good times.


After waiting for what seemed like a year for my computer to start up and get moving, I checked both my emails. Hotmail delivered me some new friends on Facebook, new followers on Twitter, and one of my last Unemployment deposits in my account. But Yahoo Mail delivered something quite different. One of the most touching and sweet and heartfelt...and needed messages I have ever received. Kelly. An old high-school party friend, a new forever friend. A spectacular person. This email, her kind, thoughtful words, brought me to tears. We recently reconnected on Facebook, and discovered each other's Etsy stores, where we have used the "convo" feature to chat about stuff and business back and forth for a coupla months now. She noticed in my recent convos that I sounded a bit down, and asked if I was okay. I wrote a short paragraph telling her I was okay, but yes, a bit down, and wondering which path I should take next in my life. Wondering if I should put some things on hold until I found out if my brother was going to live or die. She didn't know what I was talking about. So, instead of asking...she found and read my ENTIRE blog. And, now she knows. Her email to me was one that complimented my writing, related wholly to my life, reached out quickly and entirely and wrapped around my heart, and asked for true friendship. Yes, is the answer. Yes, yes, yes. A friend like this one is a friend I will forever love, cherish, and give utmost gratitude for. And I can't wait to hear more about her life, share our stories, laugh, cry, and just plain relate...and love.


After making my own coffee, and complaining about it on Facebook, I sporadically watched "The West Wing", uploaded pictures from Jeff & Jessica's crazy visit/drunken escapade, and decided to write in my blog. Now "Philadelphia" is on, and that's a damn sad movie. I need to do my laundry so I have something to wear to work tonight. But I feel like writing, I feel like being lazy, and I wish I had a coffee pot in my room because the kitchen still seems so far away.


I realized the other day that I don't have any pictures of my cat on Facebook. I think I'm a bad mom.


My friend Leanna texted me this morning about how much fun she had with her family over Christmas - and that she spent a lot of time with a new boy. She's going to call me later to tell me the dish.


I'm tired of Christmas coffee creamer...I'm ready to go back to the normal stuff. No more mint and chocolate, just give me the regular ol' Southern Butter Pecan or Caramel Machiado. Christmas is over, and thank goodness for that. Not that I'm being a Scrooge, but well, I guess I am. Though it's a joyous time, it sucks too, and depressed me a bit. I'm definitely ready for a new year, a new start, a new anything. Somehow I got New Year's Eve off at work, which is a great thing. My friend Patty is coming in to town on that day, and I'm sure we're gonna drink yet another bar out of liquor on that night. Everywhere I turn in my house is a mess. Ugh. The Christmas tree is now out on my balcony, decorations and all. There's laundry in five places, the kitchen smells a little bit less disgusting because my roommate finally took the crab-filled garbage out, but it's still a big, fat mess.


So, how am I feeling? Well, a bit overwhelmed, a bit underwhelmed. A bit sore. A bit tired. A bit hopeless. A bit confused. I want a relationship, but not the ones I'm offered. I want a clean house, but I don't want to clean it. I want a business that sustains my life so that I don't have to work for anyone else anymore. But I'm losing confidence. I want to be happy, but it's a hard job sometimes. I want to stay motivated, but it's a lot of work. What I really want is to curl up in my comfy bed and sleep for a month. But, instead, I'll do my laundry. I'll go to work. I'll find something to love about each day, maybe even each moment. I'll force myself to find some light, until the light is just there again. I'll write, and that'll help. I'll love - I'm good at that. I'll hope, even though right now I don't think there's a point to it. And I'll stay afloat.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Just a Few AMAZING Women, & Friends of Mine

There's a billion other things I could be doing besides blogging. But I don't want to. I miss writing. After a month of non-stop writing for National Novel Writing Month, and now over a week of absolutely NO writing of any kind, I'm ready to say something. I'm just not sure what.

I'm going home to Oregon for ten days. I'll leave Vegas tomorrow night. I really do love living in Las Vegas, but I'm VERY happy to be going home. I miss my Mom. I miss my brother. I miss my friends the most, though. This town is a crazy place to be if you like having friends. No one wants to let you too close. The general mindset is that either you will move away soon, or they might move away, and who stays friends after that? These people are nuts. I have friends all over this country, and some abroad. Sure, we don't talk every day, or even every year, but we still love each other and care about each other. And when we do pick up the phone, it is like there hasn't been a moment that's passed since the last time. People are intrinsically the same as when you first met them. We don't change much, inwardly. And that's comforting to me.

I want to mention a few of my closest friends today, because I love them, and I'm thinking about them. And by close, I don't mean in proximity, I mean in my heart.

Tracie - My Best Friend - She's in Redmond, OR - I love her smile, I love her momminess, I love her heart, and her strength, and our memories, and even her neat-freakness. She is a miracle, a light, a life-saving breath when I'm choking on my own pain. She's beautiful.

Mariana (Eme-puta) - She's in Ashland, OR - She makes me laugh, she makes me think, she's beautiful, talented, amazing at belly dancing, and a fantastic mother and wife, I adore her. And my life wouldn't be the same without her.

Saranga (Sarangie) - She's in Washington D.C. (or Africa, depending on the year) - This woman is amazing. She has done things most of us only dream about, she is a fantastic writer, friend, philanthropist, and person. Her heart is HUGE, and she's got a brain to match. Lovely, lovely person.

Martha (Marth) - She's in San Francisco, CA - One of my favorite friends of all time. I truly cherish the absolute genuine person she is. There's no bullshit here, folks. The best writer I've ever met, a fantastic friend (the only friend I have who actually writes letters), a kind and strong spirit, and with whom I've had minimal face-to-face friend time, but always significant. There is meaning in every moment with Martha. I love that.

LeAnna (Banana) - She's in Bend, OR - Without her in my life, there would have been much less laughter. My jaw hurts EVERY TIME I spend time with her, because we never stop laughing at each other, never. We have shared good and bad times, and have always come out of it, still laughing. She's one of the most giving and caring and no-nonsense women I've ever met, and I appreciate her for all of it.

Liz (Lizzie, or LizARD) - She's in Toledo, OR - Fantastic human being. One of the most loving people I have encountered, and funny too. She's laid back, happy, and always striving to make things just a little bit better. She's raised a beautiful daughter, created a fantastic business, and did it all mainly on her own - and without complaint. True character.

Jeanine (Jeaninieeeee) - She's in Davie, FL - Spectacular new friend! Talk about caring, loving, supportive, sweet, hilarious, beautiful, and generally A-MAZING! We've only had about 4 weeks of face-to-face friend time, but I'm positive our friendship will last a lifetime. How can you beat that??

Christine (Christiner-Wiener) - She's somewhere in Indiana (I think) - There's not an evil bone in her body. And oh, the struggles she has overcome. I love her beauty, her heart, her passion, her smile, her friendship, and her taste in music! She's simply wonderful.

Andrea - She's in Bend, OR - Though we have had our ups and downs, and spent many years without communication until recently, we have always shared a deep bond of true friendship. Our love for each other reaches through everything, and somehow, we always end up finding each other again. I couldn't be happier about that.

Stephanie (Step-On-Me) - She's in California, can't remember the city - My second roommate in college, she and I have remained friends for a long time. When I think of her, I think about how hilariously sarcastic she is, and how genuinely caring too. She is downright gorgeous, in mind, body, and spirit! I miss her terribly and wish upon a star that we could get together for a drink soon.

Paige (Pagina) - She's in Portland, OR - Oh, what a glorious woman she is! I love her hope, her strength, her matter-of-factness, and her beautiful smile! I met her in college in Ashland, and I think we fought over a boy, initially. But that was a crazy (literally crazy) boy and Paige and I are still friends after all these years. She's so talented, smart, funny, and fantastic - there just aren't enough words.

Lisa & Megan (Twin Miss McCaw-wahs) - They're in Bend, OR - Old, and new friends, they've been such a support to me recently. Through the magic of the internet, we have reconnected, and I can't help but feel like I've missed out on so much of their wonderfulness over the years. They're sweet, caring, hilarious, and encouraging. They're favorite new (and old) friends, and I'm looking forward to knowing them for a very long time. Beautiful, simply beautiful, they are, and in spectacularly different ways.

So, these are a few women, friends, in my life that today, I am truly grateful for, and love dearly. I know I don't have to live in their neighborhoods, or see them every day to know that they love me back, and it'll always be that way. These are the women I know I can count on. These are the people I pile into my heart, shuffle around, and pull out when I need certain things. They all serve spectacularly different "friend needs" and they are all AMAZING people.

Take time today to call a friend. Take time to love someone. Take time for yourself. Take time to connect. You'll never know who you might find out there in that big scary world, and believe me, there are TONS of beautiful, sparkling gems to discover. These are a few of mine.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

NaNoWriMo, Scott's Story, (Final) Chapter Forty-Two - In Mom's Eyes

Chapter Forty-Two – Dreams – In Mom’s Eyes
2009, Present Day – I am 60, Scott is 35, Julie is 32

I dream that my children will both be happy and healthy one day soon. I dream that Scott will live a long life, and a life without pain, or heartache. I dream that Julie will find her niche in life, and really go for it. I know she can do it, she’s an amazing woman. When I look at her, I know I’ve done something right in my life. When I look at Scott, I know I’ve done a lot of things wrong. But I wonder how they both grew up in the same household and ended up so different. I know I treated them differently, growing up, but if anything, Scott should be more stable. I gave him more love, more care, more help, more attention. Because he needed it. He always needed it. Julie has been such an independent child, all her life. She’s had such big ideas, and big determination to match. She’s a shining star, whose shine won’t be tarnished, by anything or anyone. And that girl, that woman, has been through hell and back in this life. When I really think about all she’s been through, I am amazed. So much so, that I cannot speak, and usually cry for her. And yet, she seems to have overcome it all, and in a strange way, USED it all, to become who she is today. And that is one amazing young woman.

I dream that Julie finds someone to love her and appreciate all that she is, and all that she does. I dream that she’s able to be a mother soon, it’s all she’s talked about since she was a little girl. And she’d be a wonderful mother. I want to have grandchildren, and I’m afraid Julie is my only hope. Most days I don’t even think Scott will survive the year, let alone get better quick enough to find a wife, and have children. I dream that it’s still possible for him, but not often. I can't let myself look that far into the future with him, because I’m afraid to get my hopes up.

I do dream, though, that Scott gets better. Because the alternative is that he doesn’t. And I still really don’t know what’s going to happen if he dies. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me. I think Julie will make it through, but I worry that this could be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back for her. With as much as she’s already endured throughout her life, this may be the thing that finally breaks her. I don’t know. But I don’t think so. I guess we’ll just see what happens. I dream that he gets better so that I can too, so that Julie can stop worrying about him, so that we can all stop worrying about him. And we can get on with our lives.

I dream that someday I will find enough courage to write a book. I’ve wanted to write a book about so many things throughout my life, and I still want to do it. I still have ideas. But I haven’t got the time, and I haven’t got the energy to do it right now. It takes a lot of energy to live with Scott, it wears me out. But Julie just had a big surprise 60th birthday for me, and she put together this book of sayings and well-wishes from all the family and my friends. At least half the book has quotes from people telling me to write a book. They said some really nice things to Julie, for her to put in that book, about how smart they think I am, and how talented I am at writing. God, it made me feel good to hear that, gave me a big boost, and definitely got me started thinking about writing a lot. I will do it someday, and I don’t even care if I ever publish a thing. But to do it, to accomplish that one feat, to write a book, would be my biggest life long dream, and the one I would hold dearest to my heart if I ever got to do it.

I dream that someday my children will be independent of me, but not that they’ll forget me. I want them in my life, and nearby. They are good people, and we’ve been through so much together that our bond is stronger than I’ve ever felt for anyone else, even my own parents. I fear that when they become independent, they won’t need me anymore, or won’t want me around. But I know that’s nonsense, really. When Julie finally has a family of her own, I’m sure she’ll want to bring them to Grandma’s house. I can’t wait for that. I imagine Julie with a few kids, a couple of little girls, maybe a couple of little boys too. I want to spoil them, do Grandma things with them. Like my Mom spoiled Julie, and Scott. She treated them like they were angels, she treated them like they were friends. She let them in on little secrets, and taught them things they still remember. I can’t wait to have grandbabies to love. I can’t wait to show them all the love that my parents gave me, and my children. And all the love I have in my heart for my own children. I just hope they’ll be able to meet, and get to know their uncle, Scott.

My son, Scott, is what I dream of most nights when I sleep. I dream sometimes that he’s thin, sometimes that he’s twice the size he is now, like a cartoon character. I dream that he stops breathing, I dream that he just falls over one day, falls over dead. I dream that he gets better and laughs all the time. I dream of him with my Mom and Dad, how he was when he was little. How he followed them around and was like Dad’s little shadow. How Mom used to put him, then later Julie, in bed with her as babies, so they’d sleep through the night. And they slept there until she after she died. I once caught Julie taking a nap in Mom’s bed, after she died. She was holding one of Mom’s empty bottles of perfume, and the electric blanket was on HIGH. She was sweating, with one leg hanging off the side of the bed, and one under the covers. She was out like a light, but I swear to God she had a smile on her face. And I wondered what she must be dreaming about. Maybe it was her Grandma, maybe it was the water dogs she and Scott had caught that day, hundreds of them. Maybe she was dreaming about school or her friends, or me. But she was smiling, and sweating in that blanket, and I didn’t touch her, or make a sound. I just held that picture in my head for always. For me.

Tonight I want to make my dream what I want it to be, so let’s see if it works. Tonight I’ll dream of easier times. I’ll dream that Julie and Scott are safe and happy. That before too long, a miracle will happen, and all things good will start for us. I’ll dream of that miracle all night, and when I wake up, it’ll be here. Someone, somewhere, will save Scott, save us all.

NaNoWriMo, Scott's Story, Chapter Forty-One - In Scott's Eyes

Chapter Forty-One – Dreams – In Scott’s Eyes
2009, Present Day – Mom is 60, I am 35, Julie is 32

I had a dream this afternoon that I was dead. But I was a skinny dead person. It was really weird, and I woke up sweating. But I’m glad I was skinny at least. I don’t want to be a fat dead person. I don’t want to be fat in heaven either. I hope it doesn’t work that way. I dreamt I was floating over my old grade school in Salem. I saw all my old friends on the playground, but I couldn’t stop and play with them. They couldn’t see me, or hear me call their names. It was a shitty dream, really. Except the skinny part.

Most days I dream that I become thin, that I can move around with ease, that I am living on my own, taking care of myself, and living a normal life. I dream about going places and doing things I’ve only read about or seen on t.v. I want to travel, and see things, and meet regular people. The friends I have are losers. I don’t even like them, but I feel like they’re the only friends I have, so it’s better to have loser friends than none at all. But most days I can’t stand them. And don’t want to see or talk to them, but I do anyway, because I don’t want to be a bad friend to anybody, even losers. I’m bad at enough things, friendship doesn’t have to be one of them.

I dream about Julie becoming a mom. I know she really wants that someday, and she’s not getting any younger. So, I hope she gets it. I hope she finds a good man, and falls in love, has a couple of babies, and lives happily ever after. I wonder sometimes why she hasn’t done that yet. I hope beyond hope that it’s not because of me. She’s put a lot of her life on hold because of me, and if that’s one of the things she’s given up to take care of me, I’ll never forgive myself. I think we actually had this conversation a few years ago, and she assured me that I wasn’t the reason, that she just hadn’t found her true love yet. But I’m not entirely convinced. Especially because she tells me now that she is thinking about coming home to take care of me again. Leaving Las Vegas…for me. I can’t let her do that, I just won’t. That’s the last thing I want. And she’s really doing well there, I can’t take that away from her. But I guess I can’t really stop her either. I’ll be really pissed off though, if she comes back. As much as we probably need her, as much as I need her, I don’t want her here. She deserves to have a life. And so does my Mom, and so do I, for that matter.

I dream for my Mom to live her life to the fullest while she can. But she’s so tired all the time, and in pain too, I worry about her. I don’t know if she’s ever going to get better either. And with the stress I cause her, and the stress of her job, I’m afraid she’ll never have the energy to do the things SHE wants to do. But I dream that she finds a cabin to buy, way up in the woods somewhere, filled up with books to read, and with lots of windows for her to look out of while she’s writing her own. I dream that she’ll be able to travel again too. I know she wants to go back to New Orleans, she really loved it there. And she’s been wanting to go help them somehow after the hurricane. They still need help, and she still wants to go, so I dream that one day it’ll be possible for her. Mostly, I dream that she feels better, and is able to live a very long life. But I’m not sure how that will turn out if I die. I don’t know if she’ll break down, or if she’ll fly free. And the sad part is, either way, I’ll be dead.

I dream that one day, I won’t think about dying so much. That I will be so consumed with living, that the thought of death will only enter my head when I’m in reverie about the loved ones I’ve lost. That it won’t have anything to do with me, or Julie, or Mom. I dream that at some point, this nightmare will be over, or that one day soon, I’ll wake up thin. Just wake up that way. And be done with it. I fantasize about buying clothes in a regular store, going in a store at all, without being stared and pointed at. I wonder if I’ll always be looking over my shoulder as a result of being a huge man. If I’ll always be leery of people. If I’ll ever trust anyone fully again, outside of my family.

I dream that I could turn back time, to before I was really fat. And do it all over again. Knowing what I do now, about my body, about my mind, I dream that I had another chance. And in that dream, I turn out happy.

NaNoWriMo, Scott's Story, Chapter Forty - In Julie's Eyes

Chapter Forty – Dreams – In Julie’s Eyes
2009, Present Day – Mom is 60, Scott is 35, I am 32

I dream about doing a lot of things in my life. I dream about having a bakery, a place I go to every morning at 3am to start baking breads and muffins, and all things yummy. I dream of becoming a published writer, writing novels, and articles, and children’s books. I dream of traveling to Italy, Norway, Australia, and many other places. And I dream of getting married someday soon, having a family of my own. I’ve always wanted a lot of kids, but I’m getting older now, and don’t know how feasible it’ll be to have lots of them, so maybe just a couple. I don’t know, but I dream about it, about being a Mom. And about owning a business, and doing what makes me happy in life. Fortunately for me, there are a lot of things that make me happy in life. I’m passionate about several different arts and crafts, and I love people. I love talking to them, learning about them, helping them when they need it, and befriending them. I love being needed by people too. It makes me feel important, like I can help somebody. I think it’s so important to me because of how hopeless I feel about helping Scott. I don’t know, maybe I just think too much.

I have other dreams too, the regular kind you have while sleeping. Lately they have been strange, unsettling. A lot of people from my past have popped up, people who I don’t care to see again, ever. But there they are, in my dream. Otherwise, I haven’t even thought of them in real life, so why am I dreaming about them? I’ll never understand dreams like that. It just doesn’t make any sense. Why can’t sleep just be sleep? Why do I have to think of crazy bad things while I sleep? There’s enough running through my head during the day, enough to kill a horse. I don’t want to think about bad things when I dream anymore. But I guess it doesn’t work that way.

I dream about me and Scott going places together. About him having a family, and inviting me over for a barbecue. I dream that he’s normal-sized, though I don’t even remember a time when he was even close. I have to imagine the whole scenario, make it up. But I can see it, I can see the day when he can put his arms around me, and I can put my arms around him. I can see the day that we don’t have to worry about how to get somewhere or where he’s going to sit when we get there. I can see the day when he isn’t on pain pills, and has a smile on his face most of the time. I can see him healthy. I dream about that all the time. I want that for him so bad, for him to have a normal life, to be able to have his own dreams again, real ones, reachable ones.

And I dream about Mom being happy. Happy with her life, enough so that she decides to embark on new adventures, or find herself a new man. She’s a beautiful person with a spectacular mind. She’s amazingly talented at writing, and so much more. She is the best friend anyone could ask for, and I know she wants to do something besides take care of Scott. But at the moment she won’t allow herself to even think of it. Someday, I dream that she will be happy. That she will dream again too. That she will live the life she deserves. That Scott and I both will make her proud. That she’ll leave behind her guilt. And that she’ll do what she wants to do, once and for all, for herself.

NaNoWriMo, Scott's Story, Chapter Thirty-Nine - In Mom's Eyes

Chapter Thirty-Nine – Today, Tomorrow? – In Mom’s Eyes
2009, Present Day – I am 60, Scott is 35, Julie is 32

Today I came home and Scott was up, in the kitchen, leaning on the counter, trying to catch his breath. He was angry, and sweating and in pain. This is what I come home to most days, or if not, he is in his room, laying and watching t.v., laying and listening to music, laying and reading, or just laying. He’s in bed a lot these days. I know he gets up sometimes, because he does the laundry, and does the dishes. But he doesn’t do much else, and isn’t interested in doing much either. He’s awfully depressed these days, and I don’t know what to do about it. It takes a lot for me to even talk to him some days, because it seems like there’s nothing to talk about but his weight. And there’s nothing good about that. Julie wrote him a letter about going to the ranch in Texas. She talked to me about it too, but I don’t know what to think.

I don’t know how we’d get him there. I don’t know if he’d make it or not. I don’t know if it’s the right thing. I just don’t know. But we don’t have the money anyway, so it doesn’t really matter I guess. I won’t let my sister pay for it. I just don’t want to deal with her anymore. And Julie asked me if I’d rather just let Scott die, than swallow my pride and accept the money. Of course I don’t want Scott to die, but I didn’t have an answer for her. If that IS the only help we can get, and my pride gets in the way, how will I ever deal with the guilt of that? Am I going to cause my son’s death, because I’m stubborn? Because I don’t want my sister’s help? There has got to be another way.

Today Scott was mad because I didn’t renew his prescriptions in time, and he’s going to be out of pain pills some time this weekend. He’ll go through withdrawals and I’ll find somewhere to go, out of the house and away from his temper. He’s mad at ME, because I took control of his medicines a few weeks ago. I have them hidden, from him, and from his so-called friends. Someone had gotten into them, and taken a bunch of different ones, leaving him short last month too, way short. Who would do that? I don’t know about these people. They all have mental problems, and other problems. Not a one of them is on the up-and-up, and they’re bad for Scott. They just depress him, and distract him, and suck any energy he has away. So, I took all his pills and hid them, have been doling them out to him daily so that we don’t have a problem again. But I forgot this weekend was a holiday, and that the pharmacy would be closed certain hours. I forgot, and he’s mad. He has been crying, and is feeling really down, hopeless too. I can’t help him, I don’t know what to say anymore except that I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for the life I’ve made for him. I’m sorry that he’s in pain. I’m sorry that I can’t help him. I’m sorry that whatever I did when he was growing up made him turn out this way. I’m sorry for a lot of things, every day. But mostly I’m sorry that he’s probably going to die. Without ever having a relationship, a home of his own, or a child. Without ever traveling to another country, or even another state as an adult. Without ever becoming what he wants to be, and succeeding at life, reaching his goals. He’ll probably never experience any of that, and I’m sorry about it. Sometimes it makes me so sad, I just want to disappear. Forget about everything, start over. Sometimes it makes me so angry, I just want to punch something, or someone. But most of the time, I just feel numb.

Tomorrow is the weekend. I’ll stay in my room most of the time, play on my Nintendo DSi that Julie got me for my birthday. Lose myself in crossword puzzles or books or stupid t.v. shows. I’ll try to stay calm when Scott freaks out. I’ll try not to let this house get me down, how dirty it is, how broken it is. I’ll read the paper and lose myself in that. I’ll take a nap, or take a drive. I’ll get through one more day by sheer avoidance of it. Tomorrow is a new day, my Dad used to say. But tomorrow is the same day as today, and the day after tomorrow will be the same as that. And one day, tomorrow is going to be the day we bury Scott. And that one day might be sooner than we all think.

NaNoWriMo, Scott's Story, Chapter Thirty-Eight - In Scott's Eyes

Chapter Thirty-Eight – Today, Tomorrow? – In Scott’s Eyes
2009, Present Day – Mom is 60, I am 35, Julie is 32

Julie sent me this letter, and God it made me feel bad. I know how she feels about me, and I know I’m letting her down every day. But I don’t know what to tell her. I’m not going to that ranch. More than anything, I don’t want to owe anyone in this family anything – ever again. My aunt – the one with the money – has been treating my Mom like shit lately, and I won’t have anything to do with help from her. I don’t want it, and I don’t need it. I can do this on my own, if I can just find a support system of some sort, just find some help locally. I need a trainer. I need someone, and want desperately for someone to just come to the house every day and kick my ass into gear. Make me work out. Make me do it no matter what kind of fit I throw or tantrum I have. I need someone like that. And I need an exercise bike. Something to work out with. But it’s virtually impossible to find one that will sustain my weight. Mom and I thought we found one not long ago, but it didn’t work out. It never works out.

I talked to Julie a little bit about her letter, finally. It took me a while to be able to talk about it at all. I wasn’t mad at her for anything she said, just hurt about it a little. Just feeling depressed and exposed. I feel her hopelessness growing and it’s exactly the opposite of what I need from her. But how am I supposed to expect her to have hope? I’m a big fat loser who never does what he says. I have a bad temper. I can’t stay motivated. I lie, still, about what I eat. I don’t know why she still loves me at all. But she’s trying really hard to find me help. I love her for that, but I feel like I’m disappointing her even more every day. I don’t call her very often because I don’t want to talk to her about ME anymore. I don’t want the conversation to end up where it always does…on my diet, my exercise, my plan, my efforts – or lack of them, my sleeping patterns, how much I lay in bed. I don’t want to talk about it anymore! I don’t want to be THIS anymore. Some days I consider killing myself, but those days aren’t really very often. I just want so bad to disappear sometimes, and even try and will myself to have a heart attack. I want Mom and Julie to have the lives they deserve. I want to have a life too, but if I can’t have that, then maybe at least THEY can, without me around. I feel miserable. All the time.

I did actually look at the ranch website the other day. It looks like a pretty cool place, actually. But it freaked me out to think of going there. What if I went there and Mom and Julie never came to see me? What if they just went on with their lives, without me, and forgot about me? What if I died there? Most people don’t really know what they’re in for when it comes to caring for me. I have a bad temper sometimes, mostly because of the pain, and the pain pills. I can’t control myself sometimes, and I say the meanest things. What if I got kicked out? What if I couldn’t do what they needed me to do? The whole idea scares the shit out of me, and there’s got to be a way to do this at home. I’ve got to find a way. But, God, I’m tired. And, God, I hurt. All the way to my soul and back, I hurt.

Tomorrow I’m going to start boxing Vlad, my rubber boxing statue. He helps me get out my aggression, he’s the only work out I can handle right now, and only for a few minutes at a time. Tomorrow, I’m going to make a new plan. I’ll make a healthy grocery list, make some phone calls, try to find another exercise bike, and make Julie proud. Tomorrow, I’ll get on it, and stay motivated. Tomorrow is another day, and I look forward to it. I’ll make it happen…tomorrow.

NaNoWriMo, Scott's Story, Section Prelude & Chapter Thirty-Seven - In Julie's Eyes

Scott's Story
Today, Tomorrow?

Every day now, I picture my brother’s funeral. I’m sure we’ll have it out where Grandma and Grandpa are buried. I’ve been there a lot, so I can picture it well. For some reason I still picture him in a casket, although I know we are going to have him cremated. I don’t know why I picture that, but it’s always a silver casket, a big one. And it is a big task to unload it from the hearse. It rains on that day, like it always seems to at funerals. Everyone comes, and cries, and hugs me and Mom. Everyone is racked with guilt and sorrow. They all whisper about how young he is, about what’s going to happen to Mom and I. We go back to Gramps’ house where my aunt now lives. There is a lot of people, and food, and the fire is hot. Everyone eats, and sweats, and stares at nothing, and talks about nothing. I just wander around and look at all the food. I hate it. I want to throw it all to the dogs. It killed him, and I hate it. I can’t even eat a bite. I’ve just lost my brother, and the whole world is worse off for it. Every day now, I think of that. And I think of what else I can do to try and save him. And this is my answer. These pages, this mini-novel. This is the only hope I’ve got, and all my chips are in, my cards on the table. And I just pray to whoever or whatever is out there, that it works.

Every day now, I try to focus on losing weight, getting better. I know my Mom and Julie are feeling hopeless, and Julie is really losing it, but I’m still trying to do something. I just get so discouraged, so tired, and it’s so hard to stay motivated. I need help, there’s no denying it anymore. Julie tells me to find the help, get on the phone, work harder, find somebody. And I want to, but I forget, or get tired, or lose hope myself, or get frustrated. It’s not that easy, and I don’t know how to stay motivated to do ANYTHING, even make phone calls. I don’t think that’s going to work anyway, so what’s the point? Mom barely talks to me anymore, except about what I need to do, what we’re going to do to change all this. She’s so frustrated and angry, and I don’t blame her. I’m just a big disappointment to everyone. I really hate my life. But I still want to strive for a better life, to make something of myself, to travel, see things, move out of this town. I want to be able to help children overcome weight issues someday. I want to be a businessman. I want to move to Vegas and see my sister. I want to succeed. But I can’t do any of those things until I get better. Problem is, every day I feel worse. Every day my pain gets the best of me. Every day I don’t do what I need to do. And every day I give up a little bit more. I’m losing hope. Every day.

Every day now, I come home and go to my room. I have such a hard time dealing with Scott without getting angry, or upset, or even hateful. I don’t mean to react to him that way, I just love him so much, and I’m so worried he’s going to die, that every day I lose control of my emotions, and any hope, a little bit more. I just don’t know how to cope with it anymore, except to hide from it, try and forget about it, and become numb. I want so much to help him, but there’s nothing more I can do. I’ve tried everything I know of to try. He talks all the time about moving to Vegas, about getting on with his life. Then he does NOTHING to make it happen. It’s all empty words, empty hope, empty dreams. He’s lying to himself, setting himself up for failure. Again. And I can’t even bear to listen to it anymore. I have failed him. I don’t know what to do. And every day, I wait for him to die. I wait for him to die…every day. My son.

Chapter Thirty-Seven – Today, Tomorrow? – In Julie’s Eyes
2009, Present Day – Mom is 60, Scott is 35, I am 32

A couple of months ago, I talked to Scott about this ranch I found in Texas, a place he could go to get better. I have been researching and making phone calls for years now. But most recently spent about two weeks on the phone with every hospital and treatment center across the country, looking for a solution for him. Looking for help. Besides this ranch, Rancho Cortez, there’s nothing else out there. There are a few facilities on the East Coast, but they don’t take Scott’s Oregon health insurance, and he’d have to be a resident to get state health insurance first. Since that’s pretty much impossible, and we can’t afford to pay $10,000 to $15,000 a month for his care in a place like that, things look pretty hopeless. The ranch is still expensive, for sure. It costs about $4000 a month, and that’s the discounted work-program cost. I think he could really prosper out there, and I think it’s the only solution for him. But he doesn’t like it, and the only person that can help pay for it has pissed off my Mom, to the point where now she won’t accept help either, even if it means saving him.

Not long ago, I wrote Scott a letter, telling him how I feel about everything. The response I got was less than satisfactory. He still doesn’t want to go to the ranch, he doesn’t know what he wants, and he’s full of excuses. Here’s the letter:

My Dearest Brother Scott,

I wanted to write you a letter because I can't sit down and talk with you in person, unfortunately, and over the phone is not right either. I really want you to know how I feel about some stuff and for us to try and figure out a solution together. I love you so much and I don't think you can even imagine or understand it fully. The reason I don't think you could really fathom the love I have for you is because it is clear that you don't have much love for yourself, and I even wonder if you can really feel love from me or anyone else under those circumstances. That being said, I really DO love you so, so much, and hopefully one day you'll understand how much. And maybe one day, you'll love yourself too. You are a wonderful person with a ton of great qualities. You are very intelligent, kind, caring, understanding, giving, and loving. You have a heart the size of Mount Everest. You are a very special person and I cherish you as my brother.

I know you don't like to hear things I have to say about your life sometimes, or never. And I know you don't particularly like to talk about your issues at all most days. I understand you have a lot of depression at times, and your physical pain is nothing I ever want to imagine, or ever could. I can't and won't give up on you. I want my big brother back. Right now. It has been years and years since you have just called me out of the blue to ask how my day was. I call you quite often to ask how your day is, encourage you to feel better or stay on track with whatever the current plan is, or just to talk and share things with you. I remind you to make a doctor's appointment, or stay positive. I try and teach you ways to train your mind to be in a happier place. I try to help you however I can from a distance. Most of the time I feel like I'm just annoying you. Most of the time, I feel like you want me to give up or stop suggesting things or just plain go away. Sometimes you seem to cheer up when I call. Sometimes we have a good, hopeful talk about the future. Sometimes you aren't too tired to hold a conversation. But those times aren't very often, unfortunately, and I just want a big brother again. I want you to be in a place with yourself that you are healthy and happier, and where you actually call ME, ask how my day is, give me advice, encourage me, just plain chat with me - and laugh. Quite frankly, I don't think it's even possible for that to really happen for now. I liken it to if you were dying of cancer. I would never expect you, in that condition, to be able to care for anyone but yourself because it would be more important for you to focus on your health or recovery than on anyone else. I know you love me, and I know you have a very special place in your heart for me. But I also know you can't fully participate in that love or our relationship because of how sick you are.

I want so much for you. I want mostly for you to be happy and healthy. I want you to travel, see things, meet people. I want you to be able to work again, and be successful. I want you to have everything in life you desire. I want you to have hope. I want you to have a relationship and maybe even some kids someday - if that's what you want. I just want you to have every opportunity and joy in the world. I really do. It's been almost 2 months now since we talked about the ranch in Texas. You told me that if this glycemic index thing didn't give you big results that you would go there. I don't think you're getting the big results you were looking for. But, you still don't want to go, and now it's because you don't want family to pay for it. This may seem harsh, but would you rather have family pay for a program like that, or pay for your funeral? Or pay every day - in lost love, feeling helpless, losing sleep, losing hope, losing years? Money can be made back, paid back. Life cannot. There is going to be a payment made either way. It is your decision as to what kind of payment, and who makes it.

I know you are scared about getting a treatment like that. I know the unknown comes with a lot of fear and uncertainty. I know you would be leaving all the comforts of your current daily routine, home, and life. You would also be leaving the comfort of having Mom. Having Mom to help you with meals, help you with living expenses, and help you by having someone to blame so nearby. Honestly, looking at yourself as a singular entity is one of the scariest things to do. Giving up the security blanket that is Mom, in so many ways, is a huge deal. I know you don't want to hear it, but you know it's true. We've all done it. I'm sure at times I blamed the both of you for me staying in Newport so long. I'm sure she's blamed you for some of her misery. And I know you blame her from time to time for yours. But once you truly face yourself, without having anyone else to look at, you can be free of so much pain. It is the hardest thing, to look at yourself honestly - all the good and bad - and then find a way to love what you see, and have faith in yourself. But you need to give yourself that chance. And Mom needs that chance too. To find herself and love herself - without either one of us getting in her way. We all need that chance. I took mine, by moving to Vegas, and I think if we all stay out of each other's way, but are still able to be there and encourage each other in healthy ways, we will ALL be happy. The trouble is, at this point, we all love each other so much that we can't figure out how to let go - and let each other fly - without being enablers for each other's demons.

For the life of me, besides fear, I don't see any reason you wouldn't jump at the chance to go to Texas and start living again. I know fear is a very powerful emotion and feeling and force. But to let that get in the way of your life - or just even being able to live at all - is unfathomable. You are stronger than that. I know you. You have fought this battle for so many years - and it takes strength to even make it this far - incredible strength. I know you can do this, but I know FOR A FACT that you can't do this on your own. And you can't do it in Newport, living with Mom, and having distractions like Archie and others. And you can't do it without a professional - or team of professionals at first - keeping you on track. You have said this many, many times yourself. You know the truth in this. But, with the right place, and people, and structure, you can succeed. And every step of the way, it is YOU who is accomplishing each goal along the way. It is YOU who does the work and feels the satisfaction of that. It is YOUR life, and YOU will make it fantastic one day. You always refer back to the time you lost a bunch of weight before as a reason you want to "do this on your own". But you didn't do it on your own then either. Gary put you to work on a strict schedule. Anita fixed your meals. The guy at the gym created workouts for you. People and a system got you going - and kept you going. And when all of that went away, you reverted back to old habits and depression. And you were also 100 pounds less when you started that particular journey. Also, a lot of things and life and stuff has transpired since then. A lot has changed in your body. A lot has changed in your mind, and spirit. There is no way you can do this "alone". No way. It's stupid even to try, because you are just setting yourself up for failure, more depression, more guilt, more unhappiness, more hopelessness. A glutton for punishment I guess. I don't know anymore.

If your main concern for not going to Texas is the cost, maybe you should call and talk to the owners. See if there is any way to scholarship some or all of the cost with a promise to repay in advertising or inspirational seminars once you have accomplished your goals. Show them how adamant you are about living life and inspiring others with your story in the end. Tell them how desperate you are to get better and how hopeful you are about the progress you will make. Find a way to make it happen. But with your social security money each month, a few hundred from Mom and I, and other family support, you could be on the way to a new, happy life within weeks! Also, I understand you are physically sick - probably your gall bladder. But what if the doctors can't do anything for you until you lose weight? What if you have to lose 100-200 pounds before they can make that problem better? Are you going to give up? You won't make any major progress where you are...so why not go to Texas and make REAL progress right away? Maybe that would fix a few problems with your physical health. Doing nothing won't fix anything. So, maybe you don't want to go to Texas. Find somewhere else. But find somewhere. The only reason I searched and searched and spent hours upon hours on the phone with dozens of places across the country is because I knew you wouldn't do any of it for yourself. The ranch in Texas just seemed to be the best fit. But by all means, please look for yourself, and find somewhere that appeals to you if you need to do that. I'm just gonna say, it's a lot of legwork - and I've done it already - so I would hope that you could trust me on this one. It's a very discouraging search - dead ends all over the place. But do what you have to do. Like I said, just do something. Take charge, take control, and GO FOR IT!!

I'm hopeful for your life and your dreams and successes. I'm hopeful to get my big brother back. I'm hopeful that you'll make the right choice. I'm hopeful that one day soon, you'll find the complete serenity of knowing and loving yourself. I'm hopeful for your journey. And I love you - to the moon and back a thousand times.

I also hope that in this letter you find my love, some change-of-heart, a renewed passion for life. I hope you find some truth. I hope you understand what this letter is for - but if you don't - it is for you. For you to know how much I love you, and how much I want to help you get better. For you to understand that I am here for you, and that I want you to stay here - for a very long time. For you to realize, once and for all, that you are worth so much in this world. You deserve happiness. You deserve life. And you can do it. I believe in you. Still. And always.

Love, Julie

Rancho Cortez - Ranch number: 830-796-9339 or 866-797-9339
Rancho Cortez - Personal number - Mary/Larry Cortez: 830-796-3541

Scott’s answer to this letter came many days later. I called him, and he said he had read it. Said that I was right on with 90% of what I said. That the 10% I was wrong about was the ranch. That he wouldn’t go, wouldn’t take the money from family to pay for it. My heart broke in a million pieces. I don’t know what else to do. Today, I’m feeling very hopeless and sad. And all I want is for Scott to have a chance at tomorrow. To really have a chance. But I can’t force him, and I can’t change his mind. And I can’t do a damn thing but wait and see.

NaNoWriMo, Scott's Story, Chapter Thirty-Six - In Mom's Eyes

Chapter Thirty-Six – No Time – In Mom’s Eyes
2004 – I am 55, Scott is 30, Julie is 27

My Dad is dying. I can’t bear it, I can’t believe it. And it’s going too fast. There’s no time left for me to tell him how much I love him. No time left to tell him everything I need him to know. And there’s no time for Scott to show him he’ll get better. Scott is tormented by it. He’s losing it more and more every day. Julie and I, and my sisters, have been taking care of Dad for the last four months, spending time out at the farm, making sure he’s as comfortable as he can be. Every time I go out there, he’s a little bit worse. He’s losing weight rather fast, won’t hardly eat anything. And he has these coughing attacks that scare the daylights out of me. He can’t breathe, he can’t hardly walk anymore, and I’m losing him. We’re all losing him.

Julie is out there now, she’ll be there for two more days. I don’t know how she does it. It’s not even her dad, but I think she feels closer to him than some of his own children. Scott is doing a little better physically, thank God, because we do need Julie’s help with Dad. Julie’s been taking care of Scott for a few months now, bathing him, cooking for him, trying to keep him on track, and positive. But it’s been hard for her. She acts so strong and tough, but I know it has beaten her down a bit. And now this, now she’s taking care of MY Dad. Taking care of my son, taking care of my Dad. She takes care of everybody, and I wonder when she’s going to take care of herself. I worry about her. She’s so smart and talented, I just want her to be free. I want her to do something for herself, for her own life. Before Scott came, all those years ago, she was starting to make a plan for her life. And it sounded exciting. She was going to New York, or Italy, or even Portland. She was going to write books, and be an entrepreneur. She had so many hopes and dreams, and plans. But she stopped dreaming and hoping and planning the day Scott got here. Her entire focus switched to him. And now it’s on her Grandfather. Now she wants to be with him. Help him. Help us all. She’s got two jobs, her brother, her Grandpa, and the commuting between it all. I really don’t know how she does it. I’m in awe of her, yet again.

“Hi Mom.”
“Oh, honey, what’s wrong? Did something happen?”
“Um…oh, Mom, I’m just so sad.” Julie is crying, it sounds like she’s been crying for a while, and it’s hard for her to speak. My heart breaks for her, and I’m worried about my Dad too.
“Honey, what HAPPENED? Are you okay? Is Gramps okay?”
“I guess so, I don’t know Mom. It’s not good. He…can’t…he…isn’t able to…” She breaks off in a sob, and I don’t know what she’s saying. It’s frustrating and I’m worried. I don’t know what to say, so I wait. “Mom, it’s just, he had a hard time in the bathroom tonight. He couldn’t wipe his own ass – or that’s how he put it anyway, or screamed it when he came out. Oh, Mom, he’s so ashamed, so embarrassed, so sad and angry and upset. And I can’t make it better. Oh, Mom, I’m so sorry for him, for me, for us all. He’s going too fast, just too fast. And he can barely walk, Mom. He’s so mad. He hates that tumor and I want to cut it off for him, but I can’t. He gets his knife out all the time and asks me to cut it off, and I just want to do it. I can’t stand how unhappy he is, I can’t stand his pain, Mom. Oh, Mom…he’s so upset. I had to clean him like I did for Scott. He didn’t want me to. I told him about doing it for Scott and he finally let me. He was CRYING, Mom, CRYING. I just can’t take it right now. I need my Mom. I needed to talk to you, tell you about it. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to worry you. I don’t want to make you worry. I’m sorry. I just needed to get it out. I just HATE this, WHY HIM? He’s supposed to live forever, Mom, FOREVER. I don’t want to lose him, Mom, I can’t bear it. He’s the only father I’ve ever known and it just hurts so bad. And he was so upset, so embarrassed. I hate that for him. He’s so angry, and in so much pain. He only had a few minutes in between cough attacks today, Mom, it was a really rough day for him, and it had to end like this. I just don’t know what to say anymore, I just don’t know what to do to make him feel better about any of it. I can’t really help him. And I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.”
“God, Julie, you don’t have anything to be sorry for. It’s a good thing you’re there for him, especially today. At least you know what to do. If me or my sisters were there we probably would have freaked out a lot worse than you. You did a good job, honey. I’m so proud of you. It’ll be okay, I promise. We’ll figure it out, I promise. Do you want to come home early? I can call somebody else to come take your place, or come over there myself.”
“No, Mom, I don’t want to leave here at all. Until he does. I don’t want to miss a moment of his life ever again. I don’t want to leave him, I don’t want him to feel this way with anybody else. I don’t want him to be humiliated again. I want to stay here, but I know I can’t. And it’s killing me.”
“Honey, you need a break. I understand how you feel, but it’s not possible for you to stay, you know that.”
“I know. I just…I just don’t want to leave him. I love him.”
“I know you do, honey. Try and get some sleep tonight. Let me know how things are in the morning. I’ll have someone come out if you need help. We’ll figure it out, I promise. Just try and get some rest tonight. Tomorrow’s another day. It’ll be okay.”

Even as I say the words, I know it won’t be okay. It’ll never be okay again. Julie is broken, and my Dad is dying. My son is struggling with his life, I am lost in mine. Nothing’s okay, or ever going to be okay again.

Jewel of the Lion's Shop on Etsy's Fan Box

Julie's Blog and Beyond - A Writer's Life's Fan Box


Aunt Helen's Pumpkin Bread - FOUR (4) LOAVES - ON SALE NOW!!