Update on my brother

an anniversary portrait

Hi, all. This is just a quick update on my brother. I don’t know if many of you have been following the news on my twitter feed but my brother suffered from some heart pain and pain in his left arm the other day. He spent several hours in the emergency room getting tested. All the tests came back inconclusive but it looks like he has congestive heart failure, an enlarged heart and lung. He seems to be okay now though. He is on his way back home from Oregon (he is a long-distance trucker) and will get more tests when he gets home to figure out what is going on. He can’t drive right now (obviously) so one of my cousins is driving up to get him in Oregon and will bring him down to Red Bluff and from there CC will drive him home.

We’ve all known this could happen. My brother pretty much looks like a walking heart attack, not to mention it runs in our family. My grandfather had six heart attacks before he turned 40 (I could have my facts wrong but it was something like that). Shawn has been cutting back on his food intake for years and has been off red meat for a long time. Making life changes is of course a big issue here, but when I talked to him on the phone yesterday he seemed even more worried his job and family.

After many many years of failed careers it seemed as if he’d finally found something he enjoyed, was good at and actually came with a decent paycheck. It was a big leap for him to become a trucking teacher because he is surprisingly shy but he turned out to be really good at it. We’ve all been so overjoyed by this latest success.

BUT now that he is at risk of heart attack, he will probably lose his job which is exponentially damaging to him and his family. As you know they’ve barely eked by for years. If you are the praying type maybe you could add Shawn and his family (and especially CC who shoulders most of the stress) to your list.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I might try and put together some kind of fundraiser for them…so if there is any kind of art, coloring sheet etc. that you’d like me to sell for maybe a $1 a download or something, let me know in the comments. I’ll try to get on that ASAP. Also I’m donating all profits from my etsy shop to them too.

(photo taken at their 10-year anniversary in 2007)

SAJ takes Ballet

SAJ takes ballet

I decided Bug didn’t need to have all the fun in ballet class so I joined one too. This local studio has a really cool program where you can enroll the whole family and take unlimited classes for a flat rate. But by far the best thing about this studio is that it is catered to moms and when you take classes they have free childcare right in the same room. So while I jumped around and plie-ed, I could watch Bug out of the corner of my eye.

I thought this might be a bad thing as Bug could watch me as well and throw a fit causing me to have to leave class and go fix whatever was wrong but thankfully that didn’t happen. They had crafts going on in the next room and she was happy as a clam. I love our new dance studio!

Now I’m just afraid this studio is going to blow up with popularity. I’ve had that happen before. I used to take a lot of yoga classes back when I was working full time and my favorite class kept getting more and more crowded. It was terrible. You couldn’t turn around without whacking into another sweaty body.

One day I was so claustrophobic I walked right out of the class and took a blanket with me accidentally. The office staff ran after me, apologizing for the crowdedness but I was really embarrassed so I just kept walking all the way out to my car with the blanket in tow. I still have that blanket and it still humiliates me whenever I see it. I should just take it back to the yoga studio and be done with it. It’s seriously been five or six years, I’m sure they would have no memory of me by now.

So anyway back to the ballet class. I really like it. It’s just hard enough to get me sweating but not too hard that I’m gasping on the floor while everyone else flounces around me. The only problem is that all the other girls appear to have been real ballerinas in their lifetime before motherhood. Their necks are so long, their arms are so graceful and their legs are like giraffes. I feel short and squatty and of course I’m as graceful as a mack truck.

I’m not letting my discomfort get the best of me though. I know this is just my perception of reality. I’ve come to realize that I’m just a very visual person and I’m prone to notice differences when I’m in a group of people who are different from me. I notice things like I’m the only one with bushy out-of-control bangs while everyone else has their sleek hair swept back into a neat bun.

Does that help me change and become more sleek? No. Well, maybe a little tiny microscopic bit over a long long time but I think my quirky character is pretty ingrained. I’m okay with that. While I might not have grace or super long bendy limbs, I do have a strong will and I know giving up just because I feel awkward isn’t going to get me anywhere. Though maybe next time I will try to find a shirt that doesn’t have paint stains on it.