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Obviously, if you’ve read more than the last recipe, you’ll notice about a four year gap in posts.  This is actually a fairly old blog, as blogs go.  It began when I was parenting a toddler known at the time as either Beelzebaby, or Hurricane Owen, trying to be a decent partner to Sweet Hubby, struggling to work full time (ok, trying to make a full time job out of trying to get fired from a job as a faceless phone jockey for The Company That Shall Not Be Named) with a shiny new auto-immune condition that has yet to have an official name, and helping to care for an aging parent who had just started dialysis, as well as performing with wench band, Nero’s Fiddle.

But life happens to all of us.

The toddler is now an almost 9 year old, attending a school for the highly gifted, who splits his time between video games, all things Lego, trying to electrify anything he can run 9v through, and inventing things.

The Hubby is still here, (14 years in now) still sweet, but now adds ‘long suffering’ to his resume.

The parent on dialysis died a little over year ago, forcing me to pack up all of my unresolved baggage and put it away once and for all.  No matter what your relationship to your parents, holding their hands while one quietly dies, and the other whispers ‘I’m not ready, I’m not ready, I’m not ready….’ is a moment that will stay with you.  We’re still shuffling the tiles around to make room for the surviving parent, my Dad, now that the shape of family has changed for us, while adjusting to the absence of the chaos that we’d all become accustomed to in the last years when my mother was so sick.  If there’s anything good that’s come of that, it’s been getting to know my Dad as a person, having only really glimpsed him in the background while growing up, almost always eclipsed by my difficult relationship with, and giant personality of my mom.

The annoying auto-immune thing has taken up a lot more of life than I like to discuss, so I mostly haven’t.  I’ve been off work from The Company That Shall Not Be Named, having been forced to put my permanent campaign to get myself fired on hold for a year now, while we try to figure out how to stop my hyper-active and remarkably stupid immune system from attacking itself with an enthusiasm that’s seen me in and out of hospitals with massive arthritic flares, pericardial episodes, pancreatitis, sudden deafness, internal bleeding, you name it.  None of it life threatening, all of it annoying and distracting.  I’m one of those people with an ‘invisible illness’ as mentioned in all of the irritating Internet forwards about such things.  I spend all day, every day, trying to function through pain more or less equal to that of a stubbed toe, whacked funny-bone or smacked head.  Only all over.  ALL THE TIME.  It can be very tiring, and believe it or not, writing costs spoons.  I’m due to start a new drug next week, that we’re all hoping will help me get back to what passes for normal around here.  But in the meantime you’ll have to give me a bit of a handicap when it comes to occasional bouts of stupidity.

Sometimes it’s very, very hard to concentrate.

I got this shit handled

Also during the gap, my perpetually cranky twin brother and his family have moved into the opposite end unit of our row of townhouses.  We form bookends.  It’s a little cozy for my tastes at times, but I’m from a gigantic, messy family that’s always been close, even when far flung, and and that’s how we roll.  Love ’em or hate ’em we all look out for each other as we can.  Also my son loves the company of having sisters very close to his age, and the freedom to send them HOME at the end of the day when he’s all sister’d out.  It means that while technically I’m the parent of an only child, I’m just as often doing everything times three.  It makes keeping my newly widowed dad involved a lot easier as well, since we’re all more or less in one place.

Making occasional cameo appearances in this arrangement are The Mormons.  Door to door proselytizers who have long since given up on my soul, and now I think just visit purely for the entertainment value.  That, and to bring back my coffee cups, which have a habit of wandering all over the neighbourhood (see note about difficulty concentrating).  It’s sweet that they recognize my china pattern now.

Protip from a friend: Mormons will help you clean your house.

A little further from home is the older sister that I’m actually quite close to, who at 41 is expecting her first, and likely only child, a daughter, very, very soon.  The only child of two quantifiable geniuses, both with high tech careers, strong views, and really eclectic interests is bound to add interest, and we’re all looking forward to meeting her, and watching THAT personality as it emerges. I suspect she’ll shake things up for all of us.

The wench band is also still alive and well, and in it’s best incarnation yet.  While we’ve seen members come and go, and our family has grown to include our much loved alumni, and adopted ‘baby brother’ band, with a not inconsiderable amount of cross-pollination with the latter in the last few years, including the odd crossover piece, in a loose collaboration nicknamed ‘Clusterfolk!’.

So it’s all good.

I haven’t died.

You’re all caught up.

Clusterfolk!

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