If you can't say something nice, at least make it funny!

Thanks for visiting Tinfoil Magnolia, a blog about my life, times, marriage, friendships and all the strange things that happen to me and with me. I hope you find something here that will encourage you, inspire you or at the least entertain you. And if it doesn't today, check back tomorrow because, my life? honestly...

Saturday, July 31

One for the Road

So, I threw out the idea earlier in the week that I wanted not to complain for an entire month. About anything. I have received lots of responses from folks who think that although it is not a brilliant plan for them, I should of course embark upon this self defeating journey all on my own. So, if I am to begin this journey you have to know 2 important things. This blog will be far less funny. Assuming it ever was funny to begin with. I have a very dry, sarcastic sense of humor and I just don't think no complaining will compliment that. Secondly, I am truly going to consider it a success if I even make it a week, much less a month. I can't cross it off my list, but I would feel pretty good about it. But if I blow it the first day, there is no do over, I am not going to endlessly reset the ticker. That being said, I may use the last 2 blogs of July to complain non stop and get it out of my system.

So lately I have been driving to a gym in a neighboring town to take water aerobics. I have lost some weight recently and I know from experience that water exercise is the best way to get toned up, especially for someone like me with crackly knees and weak ankles. And? What's more? I LOVE it! It is the only exercise I have ever done that I actually like and look forward to. The gym I just joined has a great indoor pool and there are probably at least 30-40 women in all the classes I have attended, possibly more. I don't know anyone yet, just people I have commented to who are nearby while we work out.

On Tuesday I decided at the last moment to go on and attend the 8:30 am class, thinking it might be less crowded than the after work classes I had been to previously. So I arrived 2 or 3 minutes late, and had to take the only available spot which was near the shallow side. Not really as deep as it should be for me, but it would do. As I was doing the first several warm up exercises the instructor was directly in front of me and I began to notice ... chatter. Incessant, non-stop talking coming from directly behind me. And when you're in a pool the echo is huge, so it was almost like it was coming from every where at the same time.

"Try to ignore, get in the zone, breathe, ow! that hurts, stupid knee, keep on working..." Still, coming from behind me was "...then you use kuuuul whiiiup, and you laaaayah iuuut in a biiiig glass bowlh." in a drawling southern accent. (sometimes I forget I am back in the south) Oh, my gosh. They are EXCHANGING RECIPES BACK THERE!!!!!????? good grief. "Jumping jacks, jumprope, ok, just ignore them. Kick right, Kick left..." Then we have to turn to the side. And the ladies who were behind me are now beside me and I get to see them. In all their glory.

There, standing beside me, basically just splashing their hands around in the water, are two genteel southern women of (I am guessing here based on their necks, ladies you know what I mean) somewhere in the late 70's range. Silver hair, both of them looking like they still go in for the weekly wash and set. Full faces of makeup, I am talking eye shadow, blusher, mascara, and of course, red lipstick which is always required (or at least recommended) for water aerobics. "We-uhhl it's the pah-rehut-zuls that make it soooh goo-uh. Sawlty and sweet, yoooo knoow?" They are just walking in place and calmly skulling their hands on the top of the water, like two 3 year olds in the kiddie pool.

Now, it gets interesting. We are supposed to jumprope while moving to the right, which of course puts me on a crash course with these two cool whip divas. In order to avoid slamming my giant body into Lady A's bony old body, I have to jumprope backward (no easy feat once momentum is going) and around them and continue on to the right. By the time they realize that no one is around them, we are all at the opposite end of the Olympic sized swimming pool. They slowly meander toward our end of the pool, skulling and talking non stop. I realize that literally, someone is going to have to body slam them or kick them or something to wake them up. It just might have to be me.

I am thinking "jump rope, cross country ski, move forward, move back, keep going, just ignore them, serenity now, serenity now." We are now skipping back toward the other end of the pool which puts me in the unfortunate position of being behind them. I move at the break neck speed of a turtle in mud until I see an opening and speed around them to the left. "jump rope, touch heels, kick left..." they just keep on talking, skulling, walking in place, and are now embroiled in a round of church gossip, oblivious to all that is going on around them. It is to the point that the instructor is now laughing hysterically at their cluelessness. They are completely clueless. Then I hear one of them say "Way-uhl, I tahlked to Mu-thah last niii-ght? And she said it storhmed bahd over theah."

My thoughts? "kick left, kick right, jump, jump... Mother? MOTHER? Exactly how old must her mother be? My gosh...now I am listening to them. I am going to lose it. They need to shut up. Right now. shut up shut up shut up. I literally think my head is going to explode. Yep. That's what's about to happen. Oh, well, at least I am in the pool so the cleaning lady won't have so much work to do. Although Al Gore  will curse me for wasting all this water in the event the pool has to be drained. Maybe they can just scoop it out. I bet? When my head explodes? They don't even STOP TALKING THEN!!! They will be all like 'wehl, myh myh did you see tha-aht? That reminds me of a casserole at church paht luck last week. First, you take some Ritz crah-kers...' AAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGHHHHHH. cross country ski, cross step left, cross step right..."

So I made it through the class, and obviously my head did not explode. I would at least hope something would have made it on the evening news had it done so. But I just can't help wondering how it is, when I have to budget endlessly to even be able to pay gym membership (thanks again Renita for the great family deal!) for a workout that I need desperately to get back in shape, there are people who can come use it not even to work out but as a social club. Ladies, I have news for you. If you can carry on an entire 45 minute conversation, while you are working out, YOU ARE NOT DOING DIDDLY SQAT TO WORK OUT YOUR BODY. Just go to Starbucks or Shoney's or where ever is the "IN" place for  chatty 70-somethings to hang out. Get some coffee and trade your recipes, gossip about everyone in church and talk about your mom and kids. Just GET THE HECK OUT OF MY POOL!!!!!!! You are doing yourself no good just splashing around in there and taking up space that I could use for my high kicks. Honestly...

Monday, July 26

Feels Like a Daily Devotional

Over the last 10 years or so, I  have been on a strange and wonderful personal journey. It all started because of a friend of mine who actually is no longer a friend. In retrospect although it was difficult but necessary to end our friendship 4 years ago, I truly believe the sole purpose of meeting her in 1997 was to open my mind up to personal fulfillment, new ideas, and new ways of looking at life in general, and spirituality specifically. I don't think it was ever meant for us to be lifelong friends, and now for the first time since 2006 I am actually at peace with that.

So part of my journey began with meeting J in 1997 and the fact that we shared the same church background. She was in the process of leaving the church altogether because of basic differences she had in belief. Can I just tell you ... that NEVER occurred to me? Not even once. I had stopped attending pretty much any church function, but it never occurred to me that I could just say "I am not a part of this anymore. I don't like how women are treated and expected to take a backseat to the men. I am not sure I believe in the veracity of the bible after thousands of years of interpretation, translation and editing, specifically by King James, to fit a personal agenda. I don't like the negativity. I don't like the judging which goes on among the people. More than that I hate being taught that prayer is the only solution to your problems when I have the feeling that prayer is a crap shoot, god will answer but if he doesn't then it just isn't his will."

I had long since been frustrated with the feeling of helplessness the church instilled in me and I won't even go there on the hypocrisy I saw every day. My church said no drinking and no dancing, and my parents never allowed me to go to one school dance, while preacher and elders' kids went off to every school dance and most of our church's members drank at the country club every weekend anyway. Yet,  I was the bad one if I didn't attend services. I have long since gotten over the guilt and now Sunday mornings are my favorite time of the week. A rest from the crazy week and the errand/chore frenzy of Saturdays.

Anyway, one of the most life changing things I have ever done actually came in the form of a real estate sales program called Ninja Selling. At J's insistence I participated in this at great financial cost, but I still maintain it is the best thing I have ever done for myself personally, not to even mention for business. There is a lot to the program (too much to go into here) but the basic premise is that it caused you to look at your business and life from the perspective of helping others. If you earn a living in the process, then great. In fact, you may prosper more from approaching clients from the helping perspective than a predatory perspective. There is enough out there for everyone and we should live from a positive, abundant perspective at all times.

I really make an attempt to do this every day, and I have worked long and hard to overcome the incessant stream of negative thoughts that used to run through my head. (at least 6 years) There is still a trickle but I am getting there. When you start trying to recognize negativity in your own speech and thoughts, it becomes so much more obvious in other people. I have a really hard time being around negative people now, to the point that I have avoided specific people and social situations in the past. I could be dragged down into negativity very easily, but you know what? I feel so much better being positive. And thinking about myself in a positive way. I am changing.

The abundant part is hard for me to do. It is easy when life is abundant, but when you are on a tight budget, it is tough not to focus on that. I highly believe in gratitudes, and that encourages me to be thankful for what I have not resentful for what I don't. No matter how much any of us suffer, the tendency is to focus on how everything is someone else's fault, how someone did us wrong or caused us to fail or fall short of our goal. We give so much responsibility to others for our happiness, and take so little on ourselves. Part of abundance for me is accepting my life, taking responsibility for my life, and taking action toward what I want. I try not to ever blame someone else for "stealing my joy", my joy is up to me to achieve. People can not victimize you if you refuse to be a victim.

Every single day, EVERY DAY I tell you, I write a list of 5 things I am grateful for that day. It is a way to focus on what I have rather than what I want. It will surprise you at the end of the month to read them all and see how wonderful your life really is. Then you can focus on that and not on why me? when things don't go the way you like or plan.

So, all that being said, one thing we were encouraged to do during the course of the program was come up with different life strategies which involved visions of how you will live your future and really looking inside to see what is important to you in your life. One thing I learned about was making up a "Goddard" list (or bucket list as is the current term).  It is basically a list of "big" things you want to do before you die. Today I found an old notebook from 2006 when I attended a seminar in Ft. Collins, CO. In it I wrote out my list, and I have to tell you it is interesting going back to read it 5 years later. I have thought of it from time to time and sort of felt bad that I wasn't "actively" persuing anything on it, in fact I really couldn't remember what I would have written at that point in my life.

I am not going to share all the contents of "the list" but I just wanted to say that some are serious and some are funny but I have actually accomplished one, "Having a piece of art on exhibit" OK, it was a student exhibit, but I had 2 photos and 1illustration exhibited and even won 3rd place for my illustration. I also had a t-shirt design that hung in a student exhibit in the PA State Museum and was voted one of the top 3 designs. So, cross that off. I am currently working on another, which I didn't remember putting on the list, "Receive a bachelor's degree". I was accepted at WKU three months ago and intend to get a bachelors in English and I don't have a lot of hours to complete it. But I have to tell you, my favorite item on the list was the very first one. "Have a beer in a biker bar." Really???? I don't remember ever wanting to do that! But OK...

That is the glory of the Goddard list. You commit these ideas to paper and it somehow plants the seed in your mind. Sometimes you start moving forward on things that you didn't even know were on there. Like #'s 3 and 4 which are "Sell a short story" and "publish a book" neither of which I thought I was even focusing on that long ago, but both of which I have been working on for the past 6 months.

Anyway, this brings me to the point of my writing today. When I turned the page over I found 4 lone items on the back of the page, the final one was "Go an entire month without complaining". WOW! Sure haven't done that one, but maybe I will work on it in August. I feel I must develop a very liberal policy about what complaining is.

By the way, does anyone know anyone who could introduce me to Bill Clinton?

Saturday, July 24

Nonsensical 5a.m. Thoughts

This morning I awakened at 5 a.m. apparently unable to sleep any longer. I haven't done this for a very long time. Over the past few years I have been sleeping like the dead for as long as my 40-something body will allow, which is usually the unseemly hour of 7 a.m., 8 if I am lucky. There was a time, 5 or 6 years ago, when I had a raging problem with insomnia. At the time, I thought things were OK I just had a lot going on and a lot on my mind. Looking back, I realize that everything was not fine, and that no it isn't normal to sleep 3 hours and then get up at 2 a.m., work until the sun comes up. Then watch Regis and Kelly. This went on for months, but I digress.

Anyway, I am blaming this early hour on the cup of coffee I had post-waterpark yesterday to give me a little lift. I normally can NOT do caffeine after about 2 p.m. and I don't know what got into me, but I had a cup of iced coffee around 6 yesterday. As I was drinking it I was literally thinking, "what the heck are you doing, Herndon?" But I drank it anyway, like I was still in my 20's and have no issues with caffeine keeping me awake.

Today I awakened with a Ben Folds song running over and over in my head, and as is normal for that dreamy sleep/waking state, I had a realization after years of listening and singing this song exactly what the first lyric meant. I just love Ben Folds as a songwriter. I think his prose is insightful, funny and sometimes poignant but always irrevrent. Hard to do. Anyway, the first line of this song is "Good morning son, I am a bird. Wearing a brown polyester shirt." Anyway, I thought I had the song figured out until I googled the lyrics today and had them all wrong. My lyrics make much more sense, but then I guess that is what makes Folds' lyric writing so spectacular to me. Each song on each album is like a mini-short story. As someone who has thus far proven incapable to write an effective short story (obviously I have issues following the "short" mandate), this is fascinating to me. While "Song for the Dumped" will eternally remain on my playlist, my favorite line from this particular song is when he says "you're so much like me. I'm sorry." Wow. Parents out there, can you identify with this?

Anyway, this has nothing to do with anything, except that I love Ben Folds. Check out the video for this song, it is like a Seussical modern-day "Cat's in the Cradle". (BTW what the eFF does that title even mean???) Click here to watch the video, featuring Folds' own son. It is a serious tear-jerker. Ben Folds "Still Fighting It".  Oh, and congrats to my dear sweet friend, the spectacular Bill Jakes and his lovely wife Sarah (with an "h", who I am sure is equally as spectacular though I haven't met her) on the birth of their son, William, this past Thursday. Bill, he will be SO lucky to be "so much like you".  Have a fantastic weekend everyone!

Tuesday, July 20

In Which I Recieve the Versatile Blogger Award.

Huge thanks to my friend and cousin Lori over at DeepDarkWeightLoss for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award!!!! This is a first award for my blog, and the second award I personally have received this year...2010 is good to me! You like me! You REALLY like me!

The rules are:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award.
2. Share seven things about yourself.
3. Nominate fifteen newly discovered blogs. (I am stopping at 8. Just because I can.)
4. Let your nominees know about the award.

7 Things You May Not Know About Ms. Marsha:

1.  I have a degree in graphic design. I love all things typography and design!
2.  I am child free by choice and can't imagine any other life for me. (and no, your screaming wild ass kid isn't adorable or         irresistible to me, especially in a public place)
3.  I have been sleeping with the same man for over 16 years. We also happen to be married.
4.  The words most often used to describe me are "sweet" and "nice" but if people could hear what I think, I would probably be considered anti-social and possibly a psychopath.
5.  I was raised as a Christian but left the church over 15 years ago. I consider myself a skeptic, agnostic, freethinker, possibly a deist, but most of all I feel that following without questioning is just plain dangerous. 
6.  I suffered from clinical depression for over 2 years before getting treatment through talk therapy and medication. (I had the most wonderful therapist EVER!!! too bad I had to leave her behind in PA.)
7.  I own and ride a Honda Elite 250 scooter with a basket on the back and a pink helmet. Best therapy-EVAH!

My Awards To Newly Discovered Blogs(to me anyway)

1.  That's When I Learned... (our friend Amy Dee is hysterical)
2.   Mais Faica (More for Me)
3.   Zebra Sounds
4.   The Big Dump Truck
5.   The Novel Girls  (currently on hiatus but I love their format)
6.   Life of Petey
7.   The Laughing Bat
8.   Stephanie Snowe: the Blog (been around a while, but I just discovered it and hey, she's all kindsa awesome)

There must be more, but I am stopping at 8!

Monday, July 19

Vivaldi or the Po Po?

The older I get the more I think about the past. I think a lot about going back in time to a certain point or event in my life. Most people I know wish they could go back and change things, and I guess I have my share of things that could be changed, too. Although for the most part I know that my hard-headed self would probably do things exactly the same way the second time around, too. So why bother.

No, most of my wishful thinking at 40-something years of age is just that I wish I could go back and relive some of the best moments of my youth. Look like I looked in high school or college, and just feel young and invincible again. Just to feel that feeling like I am going to live forever, no worries about wrinkles or growing old or dying. No problem with insecurity or depression or caring what people thought. That excitement of the first date with someone, or the highs and lows of your first love. No fears that each day could be the last I see my parents. No regrets over paths not taken because all the paths lie before me. All the choices have yet to be made.

I spent Saturday morning with photographer-friend Amy, assisting her in taking senior pictures for what will be our class of 2011. What an inspiring, depressing, fun, and eye-opening time that was. Not having children of my own I miss out on being around kids that age. For the most part, they are surprisingly mature and impressively confident. The 60 or so who came into the studio Saturday morning were well behaved ( I think they were more sleepy but what-evs) and I very much enjoyed watching the camaraderie that existed between them, especially the boys. They were required to wear a tie, jacket and dress shirt and I was surprised to find that the majority of them didn't own jacket or tie, much less know how to tie one. Sad, just sad. Woe be unto our casual society. So my den-mother instinct kicked in and I color co-ordinated them, tied ties for them, fixed collars, and changed jackets until they all looked presentable. I wanted to fix hair on some of them, but restrained myself. Some of the hairstyles on these boys, I just don't get it, but then my generation started the mohawk, so ....

The shocking thing was that they actually listened to me and let me dress them up like so many barbie dolls. I don't want to admit this, but it was like I had some kind of authority over them. Like I was a mom or something. Yikes. Such power "real" adults with their own kids must wield. And I got called ma'am way too many times for my liking, although it is a testament to the parents teaching manners here in my town. Even more interesting, I saw at least 5 kids who looked eerily familiar and discovered that they were the children of people I had gone to school with. There were probably more than that who went unrecognized. How are we old enough to have 18-year-olds? I refuse to believe it. Heck, I guess we are old enough to have 25 year olds, but I am not telling.

When you don't have children you are sometimes afforded the luxury of not having to admit how old you really are. Actually, you can almost always avoid it, but the fact remains that time continues to go forward and when you get the smack down from reality it hurts. Extra bad. It makes you wonder where your life went. It makes you crave the optimism and excitement from your youth. It makes you want to relive your best and sometimes even worst times, just to keep from forgetting them. It makes you question the choices you've made and wonder "How did I end up here?" (no, not the childless choice, more life/career/the road not taken) Being faced with that much youth really makes you think about being older. I just wanted to tell them to be daring, always take chances, and never stop searching for what you really want. You all deserve the best out of life, don't stop until you get there.

And, as is normal in the paradox of my life, I enjoyed a completely different experience Saturday evening as we drove to a neighboring county and attended demolition derby and lawnmower derby. It was way more redneck than ours was, and that's saying a lot. At the beginning of the evening our other friend Amy Dee (aka Peaches, who lives in said county) assured us that she had gotten us seats near the "fight zone" and couldn't wait for one to break out so she could turn on her "Po-Po" app and watch the crowd scatter. I was mildly disappointed when no one was arrested but we were treated to a huge fight on the opposite set of bleachers. This experience was only heightened by the fact that Peaches knew people involved in the fight and we actually had front row seats as two of the participants (and their girlfriends of course) told her friends their side of the story, then fled hoping to evade police. How fun!

Please keep in mind that my choices for entertainment this evening were to either go to a local winery  to hear music and have a picnic on the grass or attend demolition derby. And I truly had a hard time choosing. My life...

Tuesday, July 13

Thank goodness it isn't a Monday

The first thing I said when I woke up this morning was "It's blustery outside." Hubby was doubtful that I actually could forecast the weather without opening the dark curtains in the bedroom, but I just knew it. No sunshine streaming in, the quiet splash of rain running through the gutters, the swooshing sound as cars drove by on the wet neighborhood streets. Sure enough, it's blustery out today.

Blustery is a word I have to say I never used until about 5 years ago when I met my neighbor (at the time) Isaac. Isaac moved in across the street from us with his parents and adorable pugs. He was a little curly, red-haired cutie of about 4. When it rained or was wet out, he would don a yellow raincoat and his rainboots to take walks with his mom and the dogs. His mom was so very sweet and such a great person to have for a neighbor. She told me one rainy day that Isaac called days like this "blustery". At first I was amazed that he even knew the word, until it dawned on me that Winnie the Pooh had blustery days as well, so of course he knew the word! I thought it was so awesome that I decided to start using the word myself. I personally think blustery is the exactly right word to describe days like today. (and certain politicians and talk radio hosts but, well,  that is not a posting for Ms. Marsha or Tinfoil Magnolia)

Anyway, whenever it is blustery out I think of my little friend and his rain boots, even though he's probably not so little anymore. We had to relocate about a year after his family moved in and although we emailed back and forth for a while we've now lost touch. That is how it is in life sometimes. I was thinking this morning how strange it is that there are people you see every day, neighbors or co-workers. You might not be in their inner circle of friends, or they in yours, but you share the details of your life in passing. Sometimes you see them more often than some family members. Then a job change or a move occurs and they aren't in your life anymore. They are replace by new co-workers or new neighbors who you do see on a daily basis and you have all the details to learn all over again.

Then you have your best friends who, although you may not see them more than once a year, are always there for you. The ones who, when you tell them that you quit your new job because you hated what you were doing and it stressed you out beyond belief to work all day in the chaos that surrounds a 4 month old who comes to work with her mother every day, say "You quit your job? Yay! Come hang out with me at the pool Wednesday!" I LOVE THAT! Not, "why?" not, "you're such a princess, whatever!" not, "well, what are you going to do now, quitter?" not, "you are so flighty, what is with you? not, "you're such a slacker". Just "Yay! Come hang out with me!".

Apparently? All those other things? Yeah, that was me. It was all in my head. It isn't just rainy days and Mondays that get me down. My life, honestly...

Sunday, July 4

What Doesn't Kill You....and Whatnot

This morning as I write I am remembering a Tuesday morning exactly 10 years ago today. It was the 4th, I slept in, hubby got up for an early appointment with his newest hobby, flying lessons. I vaguely remember him kissing me before he left at 7 am. It was ridiculously hot but his lesson the previous evening got rained out by an unexpected thunderstorm so we took the opportunity to go have some fun together. We went to see a movie, play putt putt, and goof around in the arcade for hours. We had enjoyed a fun evening together but I was tired this morning, having been out so late. Hubby however didn't want to let a week go by without logging his hours so he set out early to meet his instructor.

I rolled out of bed around 8:30 and got to work on a project with the kitchen's tile floor which we had just finished installing. I was lying on my stomach in the kitchen floor a little before 9am when the phone rang. I figured it was Mitch wanting to know if I wanted him to bring breakfast or if I would like to go out with him to eat. Instead the call went like this.
Him: "Mrs. Herndon?"
Me: "Yes?"
Him: "Mrs. Herndon this is Mark calling with Vanderbilt Hospital"
thinking it was a fund-raising or solicitation call
Me:  **impatient tone** "yes?"
then thinking how in the world I could say not thank you and hang up without feeling like a bum.
Him: "Mrs. Herndon, I am a nurse on Lifeflight and I am calling to tell you..."
ok, now I am really going to feel guilty telling him no.
"your husband, Mitch, has been in an accident and is headed to Vanderbilt Hospital."
My thoughts are racing "a car wreck? He was only 5 miles away, they say most accidents happen close to home, why didn't I hear it? Why is he going to Vanderbilt? who is this on the phone with me?"
But I said something like
Me: "mmm...o..k?"
Him: "Mrs. Herndon? Are you still there? Do you understand what I am telling you?"
why is he calling me Mrs. Herndon? he needs to stop that...I am only 32
Me: "Marsha, and yes, he was in a car wreck, so I need to come to Vanderbilt to pick him up?"
Him: "No, Ma'am, his plane crashed this morning around 7:45"
Me: "Oh, what? Plane crash? Oh. OK."
Him: "Your husband is here with us, we're on our way to Vanderbilt hospital. He keeps giving me this number and asking me to call you. You need to meet us in the Emergency Room can you do that?"
At this point I am losing it. My mind is running wild.
Me: "Yeah, huh? What? Meet you? Ummmm....where?"
Him: (patiently) Meet us at the emergency entrance at Vanderbilt Hospital, OK, can you do that Mrs. Herndon? Do you have someone to drive you? I don't want you to drive yourself ok?"
yeah, someone will drive me, I will do 100mph down I24 to get myself there!
Him: "Mrs. Herndon, who can drive you. Promise me you won't drive"
Me: "My friend. My friend Julie will, ok?" I had no idea if Julie would or not.
Him: "Allright I will see you there, OK?"

But I had hung up the phone trying to think what to do now. The thought of him having a car wreck seemed so distant and comforting compared to a plane crash and it suddenly hit me that he was being LIFEFLIGHTED. That was only for the very most serious conditions. All of a sudden I broke down, but only for a moment. Called Julie, called my parents, called his parents. Cried. Broke down, threw stuff, screamed and yelled "why me? why me? why did this have to happen now? why Mitch?"

By the time I did all this the phone rang again and there was a woman on the other end.
Her: "Mrs. Herndon? This is (I don't remember her name) I am an ER nurse at Vanderbilt?"
Me: "Yes?" ohgodhe's dead he'sdead! whatamIgoingtodo?
Her: "Mrs. Herndon your husband is refusing to give us permission to sedate him. He won't allow us to give him any medication. His injuries are pretty serious and he really needs to be medicated so that the doctors can get to work. We need consent."
Me: "You tell the doctors I said to do anything the have to do to save him for me. And you tell my stubborn ass husband that he needs to let the doctors do whatever the HELL they want to do and shut his mouth, will you tell him that for me? He doesn't like to take a lot of medications but this is kind of a different circumstance. Will you tell him? Is that enough consent?"
Her: **stifling a giggle** "Yes, Ma'am. Thank you Mrs. Herndon, that is all we need. Are you on your way?"
Me: "Yes" I lied and hung up the phone. Waited and waited and waited for Julie to get there, it seemed like forever, and then headed to Vanderbilt with HER driving 100mph.

That moment, the moment on the phone with the nurse, I knew. I knew that I couldn't lose it again. I knew that I had to be hard as rocks. I knew I had to be a steel magnolia, whether it was in me or not. I had to reach up and pull myself to the surface if I was to be able to get through what was happening. I couldn't be self-absorbed. This was about him, not me. I couldn't be self-pitying, I had to be strong.

That day changed everything in my life. It began a year long odyssey of hospitalization, recovery, physical therapy and caregiving. It changed both our perceptions of life and love. It confirmed our spiritual but non-christian beliefs. It taught us both patience. It almost tore our marriage apart, but in the end it bonds us together forever.

No one really knows what we went through during those months of recovery, but one thing I will say is that I never broke down to anyone except one person. Other than Julie, not a soul ever saw me cry, be hurt, get upset or whine about the circumstance. On the second day he was in the hospital I went home for a shower and broke down crying under the water. That day I made plans for what to do if he died. I made peace with being a 32-year-old widow. I don't think I would have made it through if I hadn't done that.

Our friends rallied together to help in ways too numerous to mention. They loaned us a house, they brought us food, they took me out to lunches and dinners just to get me out of the hospital. They mowed our yard and trimmed shrubs in the July and August heat. They helped me pay bills and sent money for groceries because we were both out of work. I realized that I had great friends. I got to know my father-in-law better. I realized my own strength and the bounds to which you can endure something for the one you love. I learned that I am strong. And sure. And I learned to always look for the good out of a situation rather than the bad. It is the only way to survive.