We were the closest family possible. Our world was turned upside down on 05/03/09 when my best friend, the person I love most next only to our children, my sister Trina was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. Her body gave out on her on 01/09/10 but she will ALWAYS be a part of our daily life and will continue to be in my posts. I started my blog to chronicle our daughter's international adoption from Guatemala and have continued to use it as a journal.

What you will find is my family trying to adapt to our new lives that were handed to us.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Walls - 3, Cameo - ????

So I finally got my three orange walls (or whatever the hell color I said I was using). What's the problem?

What's the problem you ask?

The shade.

I have no fewer than THREE fucking shades of "orange" painted above my fireplace. Now if you were to know what the real color is you would be telling me "but Cameo, really? Isn't there just one shade of that color?" You would think. You would think.

But not me! I have managed to find three shades that I like.

I swear this family room is going to send me to the looney bin.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Does anyone else feel so incredibly incompetent and inadequate for the life they were given? Is it just me? Does anyone else feel like they are woefully unprepared to live the life they have? Does anyone else feel like they have failed everyone in their life?

Or is it just me? 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Locked And Loaded

Mom and I went to the fabric store today to look for inspiration for the family room. We went after our weekly therapy appointment in which I was told I do too much, I'm ruining my back, I'm putting my mental and physical self in danger, I'm pushing everything away including my pain, blah, blah, blah. Dr. B also said he could sit there and tell me the same thing for 2 1/2 years and I won't do it until I decide to do it. I don't know why he used a 2 1/2 year ruler other than there must have been something we had worked on in the past that took me 2 1/2 years to realize/do.

Whatever, I popped some more pain meds and off we went (against Beya's suggestion of going home and letting me lay down -yawn-BORING-yawn-)

We picked out some really pretty fabrics, too many actually, so we had to whittle some away and we got it down to two that complimented each other.

"You do realize that once you buy fabric you're locked in and there's no turning back, right?" Mom asked me. We had gone around and around and around.....and around some more on the color scheme so the time had come. Do I go with my original color theme? Do I go with something else that Norm hates knowing full well he won't do a damn thing after I get everything done? Do I do want mom wants? Do I go with what I want? What DO I want? Am I ready?

All of this and more went through my head before I finally knocked myself upside it and remembered one small truth;

It's not cancer. It's a fucking family room design. It's colors for shit's sake. It's not life and death.

So I am the proud owner of seven yards of fabric that Beya is going to magically transform into new drapes, a cover for sissy's rocking chair that I have and a few throw pillows. We also bought some fabric dye because the couch I have in there now won't match once we're done but I have an extra tan cover that we can dye.

I can't wait!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Walls - 4, Cameo - 0

I swear this whole redoing the family room is going to be the death of me. I have admittedly become a bit obsessed with it as it is something mindless to occupy my head space but I just can't make up my mind!

Yesterday I slapped up the "orange" to see how it looked next to the "green" wall. 'Eh, it wasn't really calling out to me. I asked mom her opinion and she agreed, we weren't really loving it.

Back to square one.

We drove back to the little mom and pop paint store where I had bought the samples from and the lady was happy to see us. She asked how it was going and I gave her the cliff notes version of what had happened. "Now that I finally got my way, I don't like it" I told her. Mom and I went through the whole store, holding up paint chips together, looking at the four walls inside the paint store which are all different colors, trying to see what we liked and what we didn't. We had decided against the orange and green and were looking for something else. Right in the middle of our conversation my phone rang. I knew it was Norm. I wasn't going to offer up my location to him.

"Where are you? Whatcha doing?" he immediately asked.

I was fucked.

"I'm at the paint store with mom" I admitted.

"Uh oh, that sounds like trouble."

Oh, he hit the nail right on the head!

Mom and I wandered around some more and found four completely different colors. The other times I had been lucky in having to buy only about 4 oz of paint because it was going out of stock but these four, well, instead of trying to find a sample one close to the same shade I just figured screw it, I need to get it done and I need the right colors so I sprang for the quart in each color.

You should see the wall above the fireplace now. There are no less than seven colors painted above it.


(That just reminded me of George Costanza. You can't tell me David and Posh aren't closet Seinfeld addicts.)

And I still haven't decided which one I'm using. There is one mom and I are leaning towards. Norm was out of town working yesterday so tonight will be the first time he will see the test wall with the new colors. I'm sure as shit not going to point out the one I like best because I know he'll fight me on that one. The thing is, mom and I are thinking of painting all four walls this one color.

And if Norm comes out and says that is his least favorite color?

He's going out of town for about 4 days sometime next month so it can get done while he's gone!!!!

However, now that we've zero'd in on one (maybe) color, I don't know what other colors to decorate with.

Family room, you have won for now. But I am gunning for you and I WILL make you sparkly and new! Someday.

Hell, I've had it like this for six years, who's to say I won't like my rainbow wall and just leave the test patches up.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Smite or Smote

Yesterday at soccer practice we were told by our coach that our team had the opportunity to play in four tournaments for free. They will be for fun, meaning it won't further our team towards any goal but it will be great practice for the kids. Coach told us what Sundays they would be but didn't know what time of day, he wanted to take a consensus as to what time would be better, morning or afternoon.

"I know a lot of you might have church so I wanted to ask first" coach said.

I couldn't help but try to stifle the loud snort that was trying to escape from me.

"We're in!" I said instantly.

One of the perks of not going to church is you don't have to work around any schedule on Sunday's, haha. There is a pastor on our team and I adore his wife and kids so I'm not completely slamming the church community. Anyway, there's a soccer mom that gets on my nerves so much I can't stand to sit next to her during games, she just annoys the hell out of me. During one of the first practices mom and her were talking and during the conversation mom explained our situation and then went on to say that I have chronic neck/back/spinal pain. Most people don't know about my back because I don't like to talk about it, it sounds so "poor me" and that is the furthest thing from my mind. But once the issue of back pain came up the flood gates opened. The soccer mom just went on and on and on about all of HER problems, that she's had this done, she's had that done. I wanted to interrupt her and say "have you had cancer too? Because if you haven't I don't want to hear about it." From this day on I've referred to her as Miss Hypochondriac with mom.

So, yesterday after coach talked about the tournament, Miss Hypochondriac immediately started in;

"Well I go to church in the morning. If it's in the afternoon we can make it but not if it's in the morning. We have to go to church. I don't think God would be too happy about us not going to church for a soccer game! No, God would smite us! We can't miss church for a game!"

I kid you not, she said those exact words. I was so shocked I was speechless and if you know me, you know it takes a lot to make me speechless. After a few seconds I wanted to turn around and say to her "What God do YOU believe in because the one I believe in would WANT me to have a fun day outside watching my kid play soccer which is his passion. God wouldn't 'smite' me for that!"

Then, as usual, a U2 lyric came to mind:

"I can't tell the difference between ABC News, Hillstreet Blues and a preacher on the Old Time Gospel Hour stealing money from the sick and the old.

Well the God I believe in isn't short of cash, mister."

U2  "Bullet The Blue Sky"

After I told mom about the whole thing today (she was home during the practice and didn't hear the threats of God smiting us) she laughed. 

"Oh, I'd love tell her that God already smote us!" 

Of course mom wouldn't have said that any more than I would have quoted U2 but it sure fit the situation. In fact I've often said that I worship at the church of U2. 

Luckily I can attend my church at any time of any day without any risk of being smote. 

I also think my church would encourage a soccer tournament with my kids. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cameo-3, Norm-1

Norm and I have been arguing on the colors I want to decorate the family room in. It's in desperate need of updating and I want it to be fresh and bright as that is where the kids play. The east wall is the one wall that has the fireplace flanked by bookcases that go almost all the way up to the ceiling so there's not much wall space there. Then we have the opposite, west, wall that has the french doors to lead in and out of the dining room so again, very little wall space. The largest wall is the north wall which has the french doors that open to the back deck and the south wall is where the couch is backed up to and I have some book shelves hung up so again, not very much wall space. Ok, TMI but this is necessary for the story.

(FYI, the colors I'm saying here aren't the real colors I'll be using because I want it to be a surprise when we finally do get it done. That and someone I know who copies EV-REE-THING I do would up and redo her family room in the exact same colors.)

So I've gone through all the colors with Norm. He keeps vetoing all my choices. He wants beige. BEIGE!!!! The whole living room and most of the dining room is beige! The kids' rooms and bathroom are colorful and I want the family room to be also, hence this major redecoration! Finally we agreed on two colors, green and orange (again, not the real colors although I did like orange. That was the first one Norm threw out). I wanted to paint the fireplace wall green and the other three walls orange. I even went so far as to buy a few sample paints to show him. He agreed. About three weeks ago I slapped up a splash of the green above the fireplace to see how it looked and I loved it. Norm asked me why I was testing the one wall that was going to orange with green paint. I just looked at him, dumbfounded.

"This wall is going to be green, the other three are going to be orange" I explained to him, confused as to why he was questioning me when we had already agreed on the colors.

"Oh no, no, no, no, no" he asserted. "You aren't going to have three orange walls! The one wall is going to be orange, the other three green."

"Uh, NO, it's the other way around. I have one green wall and three orange walls" I argued.

We went around and around on this for about an hour before declaring a stalemate. I told mom the next day I was going to get my three orange walls.

"He's not going to budge" mom said.

"I'll get my way" I assured her.

Things have been busy lately and the family room decor has taken a backseat to life. I had been at the fabric store yesterday and found a beautiful print that would make the perfect drapes for the family room in our color scheme. I showed it to Norm and he didn't hate it. Score one for me. Yay! So I went into the family room to try to picture the drapes and decided that maybe the north wall would be the good one to make green but still do the other three walls orange. That's when I got to looking at the walls. Hmmm..... the east wall is really small, it wouldn't take very much paint to cover it. In fact it couldn't really be considered a wall at all. Aha! I found my way in! Valentina came into the family room and asked what I was doing.

"I'm trying to figure out if daddy will give me two orange walls" I said innocently but loud enough to make sure Norm could hear me where he was sitting in the living room.

There was a pause.

"Yes, I'll give you two orange walls" Norm said. I could hear a slight smile in his voice as he knew he was  caving halfway but had made me so happy.

If I could have, I would have jumped up and down in excitement.

"I get my three walls! I get my three walls!" I exclaimed.

"TWO!" Norm shouted.

"Well, see this wall?" I pointed out the east wall to Norm. "It doesn't really count as a wall. And the fireplace wall won't really show so really, you win because you get a BIG wall and I just have the leftovers" I smoothed over.

The first thing I told mom when she came over this morning was shriek "I GOT THREE ORANGE WALLS! I GOT MY THREE WALLS!" Mom was aghast and asked how I managed that. I told her and after some more talking we decided to stick with the fireplace wall being green and the other three walls orange. Ooops, I guess the bulk of the room WILL be painted orange.....but at least Norm can't argue with me. I'm also sure as shit not going to tell Norm which ONE wall I'm painting green until it's all done and he comes home to see the room already painted.


Cameo - 3

Norm - 1

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Shrink Wrapped

I saw my psychiatrist today. I've been needing to see him for about two months or rather I've felt like I needed to see him. The thing with him is, he's pretty much just a med doctor. Don't get me wrong, he takes his time and listens to me bitch and listens to my side effects but unless we change my mental medical cocktail there's not a whole lot he can do. Right now we both feel like this is the right protocol for me. I've been on this slew of meds for a few years and it seems to work the best for me, it keeps me as level as I can possibly be. So for that reason I always walk out of there feeling both let down and relieved. Let down that there isn't more I can do and relieved that I'm doing all I can do. It's nice that he had treated sissy and me together so he was able to see our bond and see how close we were/still are so he can understand why I'm in such a downward spiral of grief. Like my therapist, he says that nothing is going to change for a few more years. Grief is grief and the fact that sissy and I were so close was such a gift while she was alive but it makes her death that much worse on me.

I told him I read the book "Weekends At Bellevue" by Dr. Julie Holland. He had heard of it but not read it. I recommended it to him and told him how much I appreciated him choosing his profession as he is a wonderful psychiatrist and he has helped me in more ways than one. The roller coaster I was on before I was diagnosed and subsequently treated for bipolar was insane. I still have a roller coaster and the grief is compounding it, along with my chronic pain, but there's nothing I can do but just sit back and try to push things away as hard as I can. Not at his recommendation, of course, but that's how I am dealing with it, or not as the case may be. Both he and my therapist agree that I am pushing things away but that I can't deal with the intense emotional breakdown that comes with having to realize that my sister is, indeed, gone forever. So instead I push, push, push away, jump, jump, jump up and down trying to cram it down as far as I can.

I see my grief as a seed that is planted and I keep trying to keep it from growing. I stomp on the ground, try to pat at the ground, try to keep the roots from planting and pushing the seed up towards the light which is my consciousness. No matter what I do the plant HAS taken root and I DO have to deal with it but I keep trying to keep it at bay at all costs. It is costing me my mental and physical health but I figure I might as well try to keep it away as long as possible.

Just as something can't stay shrink wrapped forever, I know I can't keep my grief and loss at arms length forever.

But I continue to try.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ho Bag

I call this my ho bag story. 

Well, I don't, I just came up with that term but I told a cousin about it and she said "but Cameo, then people will think you're a ho!" That's the whole point of this silly little thing I do with strangers to make them think one thing when the reality is just the opposite.

I have done this a few times with various people. I tell them I have two kids, a boy and a girl. When we get to talking I subtly get it in the conversation what the kids' last names are....and what mine is. We all have different last names since I never took Norm's last name but Valentina did and obviously Asa has Josh's last name. They look at me kind of funny and then I stick it to them, "they both have their dad's last name." After that sinks in with them I light the fire, "my husband and I have been together for almost 20 years." 

Well, they see the kids are young and they come to this conclusion;

I've screwed around on my husband and had at least two children that weren't his. 

I love to see the look in their eyes and see them look at me differently and quickly make their exit away from me, the harlot who has not just two children out of wedlock, but while I was in wedlock with someone else. 

Just my fun way of screwing with people.