Happy Birthday, Let’s Go to the ER

I broke my left arm when I was eleven. On my mother’s thirty-sixth birthday.

Wow, that just drives the nail right on in the coffin, doesn’t it? I was eleven when my mother was two years younger than I am now. And she already had two children and two husbands–not that I’m trading my husband in, mind you.

But yes, that’s what happened. We went to the park, and I fell off some playground equipment and snapped that sumbitch pretty dang good if I do say so myself. I freaked right the fuck out.


My mom claims she heard it; I’m glad I did not. She and my stepfather gathered my sister from wherever she was playing and loaded everything up in the car. My mother rode in the back seat with em, supporting my arm since we had nothing to splint it with. Not a fun ride, take my word for it.

That ER has changed so much in the past twenty-seven years. I’m not sure that there’s anything left of the place I went that night, where I kept whimpering as a team of doctors struggled to set my arm, giving me more and more sedation until finally I was unconscious and they could push and pull as needed. I woke up a bit when they were X-raying my arm inside the first cast and finding out that I’d moved enough that it was no longer set properly, and they had to cut that cast off and start over. I don’t remember the ride home with my new cast.

But I do remember the next three days of being out of school, and being allowed to watch TV which was an absolute no any other time I stayed home from school. I don’t remember it hurting very much after the first day, but who was I to insist on going to school when I could stay home?

I welcomed my celebrity status when I returned to school, which was completely out of character for me. I talked to kids I’d never spoken to before and let them sign my cast. It was glorious. My sister had broken her arm the year before, as had my mother, fortunately at separate times, but living it firsthand was a new experience for me. I’d had ‘surgery’ before, but it was just tubes in my ears and my adenoids out, no stitches or anything else that kids would be fascinated by.

I’m left-handed, and I broke my left arm. I loved not having to write my spelling words three times each. That was probably the best part of the whole broken arm thing. No damn spelling words. I’d been reading years longer than I’d been in school, I knew how to spell. Except receive, of course.

I clearly remember the day I got my above-elbow cast off for a short-arm. My appointment was early enough that I was dropped off at school after, and my class was in the library playing Oregon Trail. I walked over to the library and waved at everyone, using my newly-freed elbow. that was quite the ballsy move for eleven-year-old me. Quite.

But it wasn’t nearly as exciting for the rest of the sixth grade as it was for me. I didn’t get half the signatures on my new cast that I did on the old one, even accounting for the lack of real estate to collect them.

And two weeks later, that was it. The cast came off, and I had the stinkiest, skinniest, flakiest, palest arm I’d ever seen. The wait began to see if it would grow, since the doctors were concerned that I’d damaged the growth plates, but no one outside the hospital cared about that. I was no longer the sideshow freak at school, and I faded quickly back into obscurity.

P.S. It grew just fine to match the other.


Scrambled Eggs and Danger

Stephanie rolled out of bed with a purpose, sniffing the air as she came upright. Scrambled eggs–and danger. She could hear her mother rattling pans in the kitchen downstairs, but the air currents didn’t feel quite right.

Evidently someone had left the front door unlocked. That’s practically an invite for robbers! Stephanie felt her heart skip a beat. The panic was beginning to kick in.

She ducked behind the scraggly house plant at the bottom of the stairs to peek around the corner toward the foyer. Nothing seemed out of place. She tried to shake off the eerie feeling of suspense as she straightened her spine and turned left to enter the dining room.

“Surprise!!” everyone shouted together. “Happy birthday!!”

Stephanie clutched at her chest in mock terror, then laughed as she slid into her place as the table. “Thanks, everybody,” she answered, digging into her eggs on toast.


Happy birthday to Stephanie at Adventures of a Bibliophile!



The tickle in the back of her mind gave her pause, and she looked around to see if she was leaving anything behind. She saw nothing that screamed to her, so she pulled the door until she felt it latch. A last rattle of the knob, and she was on her way. 

Without the advice her sister had given her, tucked into the unopened birthday card. 

Happy Birthday to Me!

It’s been a great day, thanks to the best husband ever. 

Also, we met Disturbed last night and got the link to our photo today. 

It was a dream come true for my best friend’s daughter. You can see she’s a little nervous. It felt so good to be able make a memory like that with her. 

Photography 101: Water

Today I’m recycling. It’s been raining for the past twenty-three or so hours; while that is water, it’s not what I had in mind.

This is from hiking on my birthday at Bodcau.

Visiting Hours

Today is my stepfather’s birthday. He and my mom are visiting this weekend so we could all go see my brother this afternoon.

This morning we got up and ready, and on our way to Monroe stopped at the best donut place ever, just down the road from our house. The donut lady gave Ian their card so he could call first next time to make sure they have some plain cake donuts ready for us because they never make many, even though they taste so good.

We traveled and arrived safely. Unfortunately, my brother can only have three visitors at a time, so my stepdad waited outside for the first two hours, then swapped out with my mom for the second half. Ian and I were very appreciative of that, since we hadn’t seen my brother in months.

It was so good to see him! He’s gained about twenty pounds since he’s been there, but he was underweight before. We all had to talk about the new fuzz he’s getting on cheeks and chin. We brought in a ton of snacks for him, and he ate most of it over the four hour visit.

We had a great time talking shit to each other and hearing about things that have happened, both before he got in trouble and more recently. He seems really optimistic about getting out sometime next year, and while I would love for that to happen, I can’t put a lot of faith in it. He’s screwed up and screwed up, and I don’t know if just a year will be enough to show his judge that he’s changed.

Ian and I are going to talk to his counselor to see about getting a weekday visit scheduled so we can bring Abby. She’s so cute carting his school picture around, showing her uncle to the cats. He’d love to see her again as well.

It was terribly hard for me not to cry when we hugged and said our goodbyes. He’s so close, but he might as well be so far.

We went home and made sure that our cats hadn’t killed my parents’ dog, then went to Olive Garden for dinner. Don’t they have the best salad? We had a nice grownup dinner, with wine and dessert, while laughing at the couple on a first date at the next table trying to impress each other. It was even funnier when a woman walked by with a newborn, who spit up on the floor. The waitstaff acted as though it was a toxic waste spill, getting a guy out with gloves, a broom, and cleaning solution to scrub the carpet for this tiny spot, even finishing up with a liberal application of Lysol.

We came home and chatted a bit, and now it’s time for bed. Oh yeah, that’s two, count ’em, two nights in a row of nothing but plain old regular insomnia. Time to try for three! Maybe I’ll dream about those leftovers I’m having for lunch tomorrow.