The show must go on…

As you are reading this, I will be silently sitting backstage waiting for the show to start. Honestly, I don’t feel excited or nervous. I just feel frustration.

The show must go on…

Tonight the show that we have been working on since January starts. I am ready for it to be over so I can get back to my regular life. Maybe I have lost my passion for community theater?

The show must go on…

This has been a record month at work. Many times, like today, I had to walk away leaving things unfinished. It bothers me to leave things undone…it demands my attention.

The show must go on…

I feel unbalanced yet again. This show is taking a big chunk of my time now. Besides work, my first race is less than a month away. Only a few weeks are left until my 18 mile weekend trail running race. Yesterday it was snowing again. I haven’t been able to run outside for a long time. The trail is filled with snowy mud. I feel like I am falling behind on my training this week because I didn’t have the time.

The show must go on…

I haven’t had the time to write. This is probably my record for the least amount of posts per week.

The show must go on…

I am sick with a cold that has been hanging around for weeks. My ears are plugged and I am snotty. It makes it hard to sing. The last couple of weeks the whole cast has been sick with laryngitis, colds, and/or the flu. There are people back stage with fevers as you read this.

The show must go on…

Two of the cast members lost parents since the show started.

The show must go on…

The cast includes many more children than adults. Sometimes their chatter and childishness annoys me. They ask stupid questions that takes up the directors time and I don’t get home until very late at night. Does it really matter what side her hair is parted or that his costume has a tiny rip. Who gives a rip??

The show must go on…

We also have a dog in the show. He has been great so far, but the last few nights he has been skittish. He might be picking up on the stage fright of the actors that are handling him and sometimes he has been running off the stage. Some of the lead characters have extreme anxiety.

The show must go on…

This is the first show that I am the old lady. I am really having a hard time with my new identity. I don’t feel happy. I am not sure that being in this play was worth the other things that I had to give up. Maybe I am having a midlife crisis??

The show must go on…

I always had beautiful dresses to wear. My costume this time looks frumpy. I look ridiculously ugly. Call me vain, but this is the first time I feel really bad about my appearance. My costumes are ugly. They are ill fitting. My dresses are about 20 sizes too big. I am not kidding. I have to tuck the bust area into my belt that wraps around me twice. Someone asked if the new director was out to get me. Even my wig doesn’t fit. The cast has been super nice to me about this.

The show must go on…

Despite not liking the show nor the part I play in it, I have met some interesting characters. I have always been drawn to the eccentric type. They are pretty easy to find in the theater. There is the young man that had a failed kidney transplant and is going through dialysis. Hearing the stories and struggles of others and the friendships built help make the experience worthwhile. It puts things into perspective..

The show must go on…

It is a huge time commitment and I am not sure if I will be doing this again for a long time. But I kept my commitment even though I felt like walking away. In another week, I will be able to leave this behind me. Then I will have time to examine why I feel the way I do..probably on a very long run..

Until then, the show must go on…

Wings without roots

Last weekend Paul went ice fishing with Darryl. (Yes, it was still cold enough here despite the calendar saying something about spring).

Paul and Darryl talked about fatherhood. Usually when the guys go out on the ice, they talk about nothing even if they are gone for the whole weekend. There is never any interesting gossip to share. Unlike getting together with a group of women which usually includes emotions, crying, and gossip galore.

Darryl told Paul that he was working on his will. Darryl wants Paul to be the executor of his will. Paul told him that he didn’t have to worry about giving us anything. After all, he isn’t Darryl’s real son and his mother is gone now.

Darryl has two sons. He kept his landline for years just in case they called. After Martha passed, Darryl was in rough shape. He really wanted to contact his estranged sons but didn’t have a way. I was able to find one of the sons on Facebook and told him to give his dad a call. Both sons called, but didn’t attend the funeral or even send a card. That was really upsetting to Darryl.

I always thought that Darryl would’ve been a great father. His ex-wife left him and moved out of state with their two boys when they were little. She was bitter and poisoned their minds against their father. He had the boys every summer for a few weeks. They were always trouble. They would steal money that wasn’t hidden away. They got in trouble for shoplifting. Both boys spent half of their adult lives in prison.

Martha always had that over Darryl. Look at your sons in prison while my son got an MBA and started a business.

So it went on for many years…Darryl wanting his sons…a father without his sons…Paul wanting a father…a boy without a father..

Regret…

Too bad Darryl came along after Paul grew up.

Darryl told Paul that he was a wonderful father for never having a father

Then the conversation turned to the identity of his real father. Darryl thought that Paul’s brief step-dad in early childhood was his father..

How can you be married to someone over 20 years and not know the identity of their child’s father??

I found that shocking. Wouldn’t you??¬† I guess that secret has been buried with Martha.

I asked Paul if he ever wanted to find his bio dad. Now would be the day and age to do it..We only have snippets of info to go on..his name was legally omitted from the birth certificate…but we have an approximate age…69…last name Wilson…no first name, just initials…in a Chicago motorcycle gang…from somewhere else…Kentucky or Tennessee…red hair…green eyes…

He may have died in Vietnam…he may have tried to steal Paul…he wasn’t interested at all in being a dad…the same conflicting stories told over and over that never made any sense.

Is any of it real??

I admit to being a little curious over the years, but Paul never wanted to know.

Sometimes, I google variations of the name on Facebook or online. Is that your father?? Is that your dad?? Sometimes the temptation to open Pandora’s box is rather great for me…But I can see that the problem with opening that box is the risk of knowing what is inside..We can’t unknow things after they are known..but sometimes, just sometimes, I want to peak inside..

Maybe I am looking for the wrong things…

Am I blind to what is right in front of me??

I should focus on the here and now without looking back…appreciate the man with strong wings to fly alone…and not look for hidden roots…

Maybe some things are better left buried…hidden in the past…forgotten forever..

The last conversation

Death…lately it has been swirling around nearby…but it has yet to come knocking at my door..

Of all of my grandparents, three died of heart issues. One of a heart attack after having long term health issues. Two others of congestive heart failure after open heart surgery. They all made it to or past 80. I think that I can beat the heart problems that run in my family by running and taking good care of myself. I have low blood pressure and cholesterol. I am doing what I can.

My other grandparent died in childbirth at the age I am now. I think I can pretty safely surmise that that will not be my demise.

There is something about watching a close relative pass that makes me ponder my grand exit…or at least face the fact that I won’t be here forever.

Last week my last ‘great’ passed away. Now my parents are my oldest living relatives. This is frightening…where does the time fly to after it has passed?

I also found out recently that my great aunt passed away from a rare genetic lung disease that apparently two other relatives have or had. There is some confusion at this time because we really don’t know for sure.

I remember my aunt passing away from this horrible disease. I was really young then, so was she. She was on the lung transplant list. She couldn’t get around and needed her husband care for her.

Having my aunt and great aunt pass away from this and another relative has had it for over a decade now…I have to wonder or face the fact that it could happen to me…The first few days after I found out, I was really afraid.

Saturday morning, Paul and I sat in the hot tub and drank our coffee in deep conversation. I told him that I wanted to talk about this and that I would never talk about it again. I asked him if he would still love me if he had to take care of me.

Would you still love me if you had to give up sailing to take care of me? What if you had to give up all of your dreams the last few years of your life to take care of me?

As a very active person, a marathon runner, nothing torments me more than the thought of sitting still…being dependent on others…being a burden..

Until death do us part, but not together forever unless we die at the same time. He said that sometimes it is difficult for him to show he cares because I am so fiercely independent. Also, I care so much for others but refuse to let other people care for me. I rarely ask for or admit that I need help.

Paul said that his step-dad Darryl felt important and needed taking care of his wife during her cancer. Darryl took great pride in making her shakes. He patiently doted on her and it made him feel good. She wasn’t a burden as much as caring for her was a blessing..It showed us the power of unconditional love…

I also saw the genuine care and love that my uncle gave to my aunt while she was ill.

I found both situations very tragic yet touching to see such great care and love.

Sometimes I worry about Paul. His mom passed away from lung cancer last month and his uncle passed away from it last year. His grandpa had a massive heart attack a few years older than Paul is now. He has a family history of heart disease and cancer…the other side of his family history is completely unknown.

Would it be better to know?? I don’t know..

Despite the seriousness of the topic, we had a nice conversation over coffee…I felt that whatever happens I won’t be alone. Paul said if it comes down to it, we can sit together on the beach hand-in-hand sharing the same oxygen tank.

But until then, I decided that I am not going to worry about it anymore. Whatever happens happens. I am going to live my life to the fullest now.

We won’t be talking about this again.

This will be our last conversation about this too.

 

No escape??

And just like that Angel’s college break is over…she is on her way home(?) even as we speak..

I felt bad since she was sick the whole time she was home. We did get a lot of appointments checked off our list, but we didn’t have a whole lot of fun things planned.

That is why I booked a family outing to the escape room on Friday night. Alex’s girlfriend Baylee joined us too. It has been on my bucket list for awhile. As the event drew closer, I admit I was a little nervous. I had to sign a waiver saying that I wouldn’t hold them liable in case of death, domestic disputes, panic attacks, etc… Wait? What? Panic attacks?? I briefly remembered my extreme fear of being trapped…my panic on airplanes..What did I get my(self) whole family into??

My mind was put at ease the minute I entered the room. They did have an escape emergency release button in case of a fire, natural disaster, or bathroom necessity. Of course, the fire code! Now why didn’t my worried mind think of that?? Must be because I gave up worry for Lent. Ha ha..

We were given an hour to figure out puzzles and riddles to escape. We were in a dimly lit room. It was hard to see with my old eyes to put the codes on the locks. I found myself good at holding up a lantern. But as for solving the clues, I don’t think I think that way. My son Alex was a genius at it. When we finished, they offered him a job which would be a perfect fit for him.

They were really excited to hear that he has some work experience in the field. A few years ago he worked as a zombie for a paint ball place at Halloween time. He got paint in his eyes and mouth, welts all over his body, frostbite, shot at close range by drunk guys, almost got hit by a vehicle because he couldn’t see out of his mask, and I had to pick him up after midnight..He did all this for $30. I don’t even think that Darryl would do that. (Last time I mentioned my step-father-in-law was picking up bodies for $50).

We were successful in escaping the room with 3 minutes to spare.

My friend and her family were not able to escape a different escape room and her kids are all geniuses. Is it bad that I am so competitive?? Challenge accepted.

Afterwards, we went out to eat. When we got home, I was so exhausted that I went to bed right away. I had Paul wait up until Alex got back from taking Baylee home. I was drifting off to sleep when I heard the phone ring. Alex hit a deer with his car. The deer landed dead in the middle of the road and did some damage to the car. Alex had to drag the deer off into the ditch and drove home with one headlight.

I told my mother what happened. She was worried that Alex was crawling with deer ticks. Did I check him?? Well, no.. It’s cute, my mom thinks I don’t get my worrying from her.

It was sad to see Angel off, but things have been better since my last post..

Why worry?? Why?

I really shouldn’t be here talking to you right now. I simply don’t have the time. But if I don’t tell you what has been going on the last few days I will go absolutely crazy! Oops…sorry…CRAZIER..

My daughter Angel is home for spring break…it has been absolutely freezing out by the way..It all started Tuesday…I was going to leave work for an early lunch to go train. The plan was to swim and then bike 20 miles. When I stopped at home, Angel said that her ears hurt and she needed to see the doctor. I set up the doctor appointment…there went my work out over lunch..

Technically, I didn’t need to accompany Angel to the doctor since she is an adult. But her brother is being treated the second time for a bacterial colitis he picked up from being on antibiotics while visiting his dying grandma. Seeking treatment meant the possibility of catching something a lot worse. Plus she didn’t have a car.

How could my day get worse??

Then Paul told me that he was coughing up blood. Since his mother died last month from lung cancer, I told him to get it checked out. I am terrified that he is going to work really hard and die before he sees the fruit of his labors. Lately I have been telling him that I don’t want to retire and walk the beach hand-in-hand with someone else. Harsh, I know. Although he is also a runner, he has the tendency to drink and eat too much under stress. A couple weeks back he wolfed down a whole bag of chips.

I worry…He drinks..

For Lent, Paul decided to give up drinking during the week. He said that he wants to be more self-disciplined like me. I want him to be healthier. That is when I decided to give up worrying, or should I say excessive worrying because I want to be more carefree and positive like him.

So far it is not working out as well for me as it is for him..

Paul made a doctor appointment for the following day.

How could my day get worse?? Then my mom sent me a text saying that my aunt had a stroke and is unresponsive. Perfect!

After Angel’s doctor appointment, I decided to swing by work to take care of a few things that I needed to do before hitting the gym. There was a big problem with a new large client that I ended up getting sucked into. I missed the open swimming time. I barely had enough time to squeeze in 20 miles of biking.

I missed my last scheduled run on Saturday. The kids had solo and ensemble. My son was one of the few kids to make it to state for a very difficult band solo. We realized for the first time how gifted he is in music. I have 2 kids that are extremely talented at music and one that is not. Arabella did a vocal trio. One of the girls didn’t show up and it didn’t go well. All of Arabella’s friends from the theater watched her and she was mortified.

I had planned to go to the gym when I got home Saturday afternoon. I got back later then expected and had been battling a cold for a few days. Instead, I fell asleep for an hour and a half. Paul said that maybe I should give up all my racing and just be like everyone else since I seem to be having such a hard time finding balance in my life.

After my 20 mile bike ride, I left the gym and drove 40 minutes in the opposite direction to pick up Arabella from her after school activities. She played her music really loud on her cell phone. I told her to turn it down. She said that I was annoying and that is why she hates me which was frustrating.

This all transpired on Tuesday.

Wednesday morning I awake to a text from Arabella’s coach saying that her drama team is going to make it to state. The top two teams competing in each challenge make it to state. There are only two teams competing, so they automatically go to state. This wouldn’t be a problem except that they changed the date of state this year because of Easter and moved it to the weekend that we are going to be performing in a musical. Of course, I didn’t find out about this until a commitment was made to both events. So I am faced with either pulling her out of the musical last minute for one or two shows OR have the team go to state without her and having to rewrite the whole script without her in it last minute.

Maybe things will be better at work…When I get to work, I drop my keys between the seat and the console. They wrap around under the seat and I can’t fit my hands in to get them out. I spend the first half an hour of my work day trying to dislodge my keys. I cut up my hand and get blood everywhere but can’t find bandages. I also lost my key charm in the fight, but got my keys out.

Work is the busiest I have seen it this year. We had to hire a new employee and if it doesn’t slow down we might have to hire a few more. This is all wonderful, but stressful especially since one of the employees called in sick yesterday.

The doctor said Paul has an upper respiratory virus. He came into work with a fever. I need him to pick up the slack from the employee that called in. Then I am faced with the decision to either stay at work late or go with my mom and uncle to visit my ailing great aunt. I walk away from a big pile of work and choose family.

After I drive my mom and uncle over an hour to visit my aunt at the nursing home, we get there 15 minutes too late. She already passed away. We walk in through the closed door to find the nuns and nurses anointing Aunt Doll’s head with holy water. They put water on my finger to anoint her too. Then we sing Amazing Grace over her body. We cry. Enough of the death and dying already!

The most horrifying part was that it wasn’t the stroke that killed her. I found out last night that it was a genetic lung condition that killed her. The same lung condition that claimed the life of my oldest aunt. One or two of my mother’s cousins are also afflicted with this disease that renders them wheelchair bound and hooked up to oxygen. Oh my!

Is everything that I am doing right now in vain?? All of this eating healthy and working out…Will I be like them? I don’t think I could handle it. Will I have to watch my mother die this way?? My daughters?? It seems to present itself in females more than males.

Last night before going to sleep, I said my nightly prayers…as I was praying to God I could hear my dog puking outside my bedroom door…

God, I can’t take this anymore..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Funereal unreal

When I was in my last month of college before graduation, I took a career and aptitude test. The test results said that I should be a funeral director. Seriously?? I didn’t go to school for that. Was it the school’s plan to have me stay for a few more years?? Why didn’t they do the test before I picked a major??

I could see myself being a good funeral director. I am very serious, calm, and have a deadpan demeanor about me.

But sometimes I have a strong urge to laugh when least appropriate. Maybe that is a common fear of extremely self-disciplined stoic people. Let loose…quit being so serious…but do it to the extreme…laugh at a funeral…swear in church…dance and sing down the aisles of a grocery store…scream in the library..

It probably wouldn’t have worked well for me.

A few months ago, right when my MIL was in the last few weeks of her battle with cancer, her husband Darryl’s job of several decades was on the line. The company that he was working for got bought out. He lost his job as a forklift driver and his hours got cut in half. Just what he needed with the mounting medical bills coming in.

Over the years, he had other second jobs to make ends meet. He cleaned a clinic, plowed snow, and was a chimney sweep just to name a few. He worked as much as possible before work and after work. Plus he maintained a large garden, fished and hunted for food, fixed his own vehicles, and chopped his own wood to heat his house. One time he even cut his leg with a chain saw. He was even good at sewing and stitched up his own leg to save a doctor’s visit. Not at all squeamish…

Maybe you know where I am going with this..

Right now Darryl is working part-time cleaning the meat room. Not a fun job. The last time I saw him, he showed me where he got electrocuted on his finger. Eccentric man, that Darryl. So I didn’t think it was all that strange when he told me he asked the funeral director if he had any work..

Now Darryl has a new second job. He will be picking up bodies. Fifty bucks a stiff. I can picture Darryl now with a couple of bodies in the back of his pick up truck…

We briefly talked dead seriously about starting a new family business…

 

Not my cat!

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One summer day, my cat ran away…

He never ran away before and he hasn’t run away since..

He didn’t even take a suitcase.

There was a bad storm.

He didn’t come back.

It was getting to the point that I was debating whether or not to throw out his litter box and donate his food.

Nothing brings a cat back faster than giving all of his things away…

He had been gone for several days…

I kept an eye out for him when my friend Lisa and I went running around the neighborhood.

That day, Lisa spotted something orange in the ditch…an orange cat was floating in the water of a flooded ditch.

Lisa found a stick and tried to get it out of the water unsuccessfully.

Did I finally find my lost cat?

I was pretty convinced..

A missing orange cat…an orange cat in the ditch…two women wet and muddy trying to pull a dead orange cat out of the flooded ditch…sweaty….possibly crying..

I had my husband bring a shovel to the ditch to carry out the cat for a proper burial..

When we got home, my orange cat was sitting by the back door innocently like none of this ever happened..

I wish I could hear his side of the story…

I also wished things turned out better for his stunt double…

Remember that time we were out running and you thought you saw your cat dead in the ditch??

Lisa reminded me of the story a few weeks back..

How could I forget??

It was one of the strangest things that happened while out running…

Winds of change..

IMG_1988It has been very windy around here the past couple of days. It hasn’t been the kind and gentle whistling wind that reminds me of my grandparents…the wind that whistled through the back window of my grandpa’s pick up truck.

No, it has been the harsh destructive kind of wind. It’s the kind that bends us without breaking us.

As many of you know, this past month hasn’t been the easiest one for us. A month has come and gone since the passing of my MIL from cancer. Over this month, several others have gently slipped away…parents of acquaintances…someone I knew my whole life but wasn’t close to…gone….swept away by the winds of time…loved ones mourned..

The wind blew away the dead leaves..yet left behind the empty nests..

Sickness swept through the house…even the pets had fleas…sometimes I want to burn the house down and start over…cleansing fires…(If the dryer starts my house on fire, I never mentioned this)…

Junk, plastic bags, dirt covered receipts, a mysterious sock, and things unwanted blew away when the whirls of wind billowed by.

My mom called a few days ago. My dad has gout (probably from his birthday dinner) and can’t get around. He missed a doctor’s appointment..

Bows and party streamers wrap around the empty branches. When did we have fun last?

My autistic brother Matt has been removed from all of his medications..after long term use, his liver is showing signs of strain…his numbers are reaching toxic levels…The first few days were rough. He slept only 4 hours the first three days…All of the symptoms the medications were controlling came back…his anxiety…his insomnia…his Tourette’s…the tics….the gagging…throwing up..

Sometimes the wind is so cold that it seems to blow right into my very soul. I have to bundle up to stay warm. I don’t let people see the layers beneath..

All of his symptoms are taking me back to the late 90’s…he was very ill then…he also has GERD, like me…Tourette’s caused gagging…extreme weight loss…vomiting meals, at the table or all over the bathroom floor…or somewhere on the way…usually only in the morning…until his valve closed between his stomach and intestines…then he kept no food down…plus having Celiac…not absorbing nutrients…his body starving…emaciated…yet he had no understanding of what was happening to him..but we did..

Sometimes the winters can be so lonely, dark, and cold. Why can’t it be a breeze? How did we ever make it through?

Yet, while this was happening to his body physically, his mind was attacking his body as well….he heard voices…he became agitated and randomly attacked people…he was violently autistic…the main people he attacked were family members….my mom…myself…as he was kept out of public as much as possible…for awhile, he wasn’t allowed in the public school because of his violence..

Why is it that the season before spring is so desolate and devoid of the hope of the warmth to come??

My wedding day in 1997…I told my mother I didn’t want my brother there…It was hard…Mother, I would be crushed if Matt attacked a wedding guest…It would ruin MY special day…I felt horrible about it…We took time away on our wedding day to have photos taken with Matt in a hotel room…Matt was so sick, my mom thought he would die…I said he couldn’t go to my wedding…Matt didn’t go to my brother Luke’s wedding either in 2002…he stayed in a hotel room…I asked a friend to be his caregiver so my parents could attend the wedding…when my brother Mark got married a little over a year ago, Matt attended and was fine…Now will this medicated stability go away??

I saw a decaying leaf fly away in the wind. Are all leaves different like snowflakes, I wonder…

Last weekend my mom told me that I need to write the story of Matt. I almost told her about this and all of the kind folks here, but didn’t. I couldn’t be honest anymore. I would have to protect her. Maybe I will drag out another diary soon…It’s been awhile..

Sometimes the wind is cleansing. It dries up our collective tears that puddle on the ground from the winter thaw. It removes the death and decay from the cold barren soil preparing it for new life.

Even though I can’t see it right now, I have hope that life will be better for us.

The winds are blowing the last few harsh remnants of winter away. Soon it will be spring..

 

 

Unbalanced

This morning I went dumpster diving and it was the most joy I found in weeks.

Am I unbalanced?

I was thinking lately about joy, about balance. The main sectors of my life for the last several years has been family, work, and training for marathons, etc.. I like things clean. I am happy when these sectors don’t collide….when they don’t interrupt other sectors..

Now my sectors are colliding and I feel unbalanced.

Yesterday I took time off of work to train..I didn’t get all of my work done at the end of the day.

Work is so busy I feel guilty for doing anything besides work…I don’t worry about money because of my hard work, but I don’t have time. I drive my car fast because I would rather pay a ticket then lose a few moments of extra time. I tell my son not to speed.

Work pulls at me when I am with family. Another email that needs responding to after hours. It will only take a few minutes.

I eat my lunch while driving to work out or while pacing around the kitchen.

Sometimes I am too busy to write. I should be working. I didn’t get caught up today.

Then the kids pull at me. There is always something going on after school that I have to take them to or be at. Then there was the last couple of weeks spending every moment with my MIL as she was in the final stages of cancer. Then I have to decide which kids to sacrifice the other kids for. Do I cancel out on my daughter’s first opera to stay home with a sick kid??

Then there was my son who was having issues with colitis and he couldn’t get treatment until he gave a sample. He couldn’t get a sample. Then this morning after another call to the doctor, I got the idea of taking a couple of specimens and making it into one sample. Great idea, but it involved me going out into the dumpster with rubber gloves and digging around. But I was successful! Now my son is on medicine and I feel so happy about it.

But I was late for work..

It is so hard to keep my life in balance.

Being very busy at work for the last 3 months, having to hire someone, having to train someone, more work, more customer service issues because we are busier..

Being busy at home running kids around, housework, laundry, dishes, sick kids, a death in the family…

Training for an 18 mile trail run, a marathon, and a Half Iron.

This morning I jokingly said to my husband that I wake up with shit on my lips. Sounds disgusting, I know. I wake up stressed. I mutter to myself oh shit off and on all day. I fall asleep at night stressed and exhausted.

Is all of this effort worth it?

Most of the time I can keep up, but I feel so unbalanced right now… I want to do everything well, but sometimes I have to leave some important things undone and that bothers me.

 

I’m (not) worried

I don’t really feel like writing today. The weekend went really well and poorly.

Paul and I were really stressed out this past week.

Thankfully, Arabella’s fever was gone by Saturday morning. She wasn’t 100%, but was up for a 4 hour road trip to see my daughter Angel perform.

Alex wasn’t fairing as well. His bacterial colitis was acting up and he couldn’t get treatment until we brought in a specimen.

By Saturday morning, I was feeling pretty stressed. Still no sample. I decided to work out Saturday morning like usual.

Paul and I were not getting along the last few days. While I was working out he sent me a text. I think you are a great mother. What did that mean?? I took it as an attack. I responded back with something like SCREW YOU and found out that he really meant it later. Misunderstandings..

We took separate cars since we had a large crew going out to the show…a ten mile run…a long drive…no sample..

I picked up my mom on my way.

It was my dad’s birthday. He turned 70. I rolled down my window and said happy birthday in a rushed murmur as I pulled away. A card and gift forgotten. Guilt. My dad didn’t go along.

The show was excellent! I am so proud…my daughter, the only freshman girl with a lead in her first opera. Magnifico!

I was expecting an introduction to the new guy she was talking about. Nothing. He is out of the picture. She told her ex to not bother coming to the show. Instead Mitch made the long drive to our house when we were gone to drop off Angel’s things. He dropped off 2 sweaters. Okay?!?

No fight between two guys out in front of the university cathedral like I was expecting.

After the show, a few of us went out for drinks. It was Darryl’s first time out since his wife passed away. After we got settled in, my son said that his stomach was hurting and that I was a terrible mother. We all raced back to the hotel right away.

I didn’t sleep well.

The next morning we visited over breakfast before the long drive back. I told everyone that I gave up worrying for Lent. Some snickered, others laughed. Don’t feel bad if you can’t do it. Maybe next year I will give up depression for Lent. Will that be easier??

Then we started the long drive back home. On the way, I killed a dog. Maybe I should clarify…when I was exiting a small town on a 2 lane highway…a small black lab puppy trailed by a purple leash ran out of nowhere. I slammed on the brakes. I had to maintain control of the car. There was woods on one side and a bog on the other. Stay on the road..Smack…I hit the puppy with the purple leash hard. Gone. He took off. I pulled over..Car and trucks whizzed by. No damage to the car. No sign of the dog..

My son got out and walked up and down the highway..no dog..we kept looking..we drove around. Where were the owners?? There was a truck parked by a trail. Alex walked over and talked to them. It was their puppy. He got away.. I was proud that my son took care of the situation..Where was the puppy?? Injured somewhere, dying in pain? I hit him pretty hard. Don’t worry..Why, why me?? Do you want me to stop worrying?? Wwwwhhhhhhyyyyy???

After about a half an hour, we finally left…the owners of the dog keep searching…I am shook up..I just killed a puppy…a baby dog…I can’t get the image out of my mind…My daughter texted me. How could you?? As if I didn’t feel shitty enough about it.

I get home later than expected…late to play practice…I just miss my big scene by seconds…I feel so angry and frustrated I want to scream out obscenities…but there are children around…I sit down and smile…and start the hardest act yet…pretending that everything is okay..

Can we just start the year over??