Tag Archives: Daily

Another Reminder

There is so much I want to talk about and mention, so many things going on in my mind, but all I can think about is last week.

I had met Beth once in the Mall.  Although they work in different departments and on opposite shifts, my husband had mentioned her a few times and remarked on what a kind, gentle spirit she was and how he had been good friends with her at work.  Three weeks ago, he came home from work with bad news.  He mentioned how he had been working with her closely on some internal audit details and how he had been standing behind her when she made a call to her husband.  He works there too.  They wanted to work together to be close to each other.  They’d spent all their free time together out in their small piece of land, tending the few heads of cattle they owned; it’s what they loved doing.

She spoke in hushed tones:
“Can you come get me?  I don’t feel well.”

When he got to her desk, she whispered:
“There’s something wrong, I’m losing my sight, I’m going blind.”

As he was relating this to me, my initial thought was, ‘oh no, diabetes?

They then left and went to the local hospital, where a doctor told her she was having an allergic reaction to coffee — another reason I have blatant disregard for the local health care system and its staff here.

Unsatisfied with the diagnosis, her husband got her in to see a specialist 45 miles away, three days later, where they rushed her into Chemotherapy that day after they discovered she had acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) — the most aggressive of its kind.

Last Thursday morning, I got a worried call saying she had suffered a brain hemorrhage and was now in ICU.

She died that afternoon.

I can’t help but wonder how many reminders I need before I grasp the fragility of life(?).  This woman was alive two weeks ago, not knowing those were her last days.  She was just 39, with a college-aged daughter.  And her husband.  The love of her life has to just carry on.  Keep going to work.  But for what now?

Everyone has a right to their own thoughts and belief systems, but for me, it’s hard to fathom that colleagues are saying, “she’s gone, he’ll never see her again.”  What kind of hope for the future does that give?  It doesn’t.  What are we living for, if not for something far better than our imaginations can take us?  If that is true, all the love we share with others is null and void and for nothing.  It can’t be.  It isn’t.

Although I didn’t know her, it has been a eye opener for me.  A time to continue to appreciate and validate those in our lives.  A time to make the most of what we have and take nothing for granted.  A time to live in the moment and not rush to the next thing.  Life is too precious not to.
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Then The Planets Realigned…

Two days ago, a friend dropped off her 3-year-old girl for a few hours to play while she ran to a morning meeting.  I was ecstatic.  The boys’ bedroom needed some serious attention, and I could get it in better shape if Cameron was distracted by a friend.  It worked.  And apparently, his observation skills were in overdrive too.  You see, she’s in the middle of being potty trained right now, and I was in the bathroom with her 3 times in the space of three hours.  Two were false alarms.

As I was hoovering up the massacred juggling ball (I’ve had since I was 19) that he ripped open with his teeth and spilled the beans everywhere, a miracle occurred: He peed on his potty.  By himself.  And I missed it.  I was a mere 6 feet away.  Wow, I was ecstatic.  We mentioned it for hours. We told Daddy.  We clapped and jumped.  We sang a song.

img_2599It was a fluke, but a great fluke nonetheless.

I’ve had that potty sitting in their bathroom for the past 6 months, just so it’s always in his line of vision.  He’s never really shown much interest in it, but I’m not too concerned, boys are harder to train.  (Do they ever fully train anyway?)

I held him on a pedestal like a prodigy.

Until yesterday.  Yesterday, the planets realigned while I was drying my hair.

glassesHe climbed up on my bed and onto the headboard.  Behind the headboard on one of the window sills were my old standby glasses.  He found them.

Life has returned to normal.  The other lens, incidentally, was found on location at a second site twenty minutes later.  Now, if I ever need glasses, I have a good excuse to get new ones.
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Butter wouldn’t melt….

I Have The Best Husband

I have the best husband.  He rarely watches sport on tv (maybe 4-5 times a year, tops), he cooks fabulous meals — not just barbecue.  I have to say though, he rocks the grill: succulent chicken and juicy, mouth-watering steaks.  He openly admits to not being great with cars, but will read up how to fix something online and do it perfectly.  He cleans (remember, he’s a microbiologist?  It’s really rather very handy), he doesn’t hunt (although I admit it can be handy), he offers foot rubs, back massages and warms my feet in bed; he lifts me up: spiritually and emotionally; he bathes, sings and reads to the boys when he sees I’ve had a hard day.  And from the moment I met him, he gives the best hugs.

He left late Saturday afternoon to go miles south of here for an overnight campout with the Scouts. Like most married people of the womanly persuasion out there, I don’t do very well when he is gone — even if he just pops out for 10 minutes to go pick something up quick from the local rip-off merchants convenience store past the 4-way stop: the only form of traffic control in this aptly-named village of 700.

Ever since we started dating, oh, nine years ago, I felt the luckiest woman alive.  I didn’t have to settle for a quirk or trait that made me uneasy or I showed disdain for.  He was perfect.  For me.  And with that, I have always had this underlying fear that I will lose it all.

Way back when, he used drive 2 hours from University to work every day and then an hour home.  I’d especially worry when the winter months hit.  He made it half-way to work one day, phoned his boss and came home early.  I was surprised and delighted to see him.  With that type of schedule, he’d leave at 7 a.m. and I wouldn’t see him again until 10 that night.

Then he told me what happened, and my fears were justified.

A few cars were at the side of the road, parked at the median having hit black ice.  He slowed down as a precaution and ultimately stopped to offer any assistance.  Nine years ago, it’s weird to think that mobile phones weren’t as prevalent, but it’s true.  He offered his phone to a few who needed  it.

Suddenly, there was a noise that stopped time.

He looked up to see a car barrelling towards him at highway speed and quickly vaulted over the concrete median.  Seconds later, the car spun in undulating circles and smashed into the spot where he had been standing just moments earlier.

I have had a mantra since we’re been married: Tell him you love him every day.  Tell him you love him every day like you’ve never said it before.  Appreciate each day as it comes.  Appreciate it with a warm, encompassing embrace.

When he returned home yesterday just after noon — and in theory only 20 hours later — it felt like months.  We have been separated before, the longest being 3½ weeks, almost 4 when he came to Montana to start his new job, and I stayed behind to sell the house with a 2-year-old and 20 weeks pregnant.  It was rough, but we did it.

Yesterday felt worse than that.  The house was unanchored and quiet — even with the boys, and I felt lost and sullen.  Even worse, I dreaded going to bed and going to sleep.  To spite the bed, I lay facing the window instead of the empty mattress.  It was horrid.

On his return, I embraced him and clung tight, as tight as a sea urchin.  And, in retrospect, the evening was magical.  But not like that.  OK, like that. But, he bathed the boys, did the whole night routine alone and tucked them safely in bed.  I grabbed a DVD we’ve had waiting for a few days and sneaked it into the player.  I had never seen it.  All I knew was, it was good.

Two words:  The Notebook.

I have never openly sobbed so much at a film.  It touched so many truths in my mind and spoke to my heart.  I lay nestled on his chest for its entirety.  After I retrieved it from the player, we stood and embraced each other for ever, crying.

“Promise me.  Promise me you’ll come visit me when I’m old.  Don’t leave me alone.  And if I [get Parkinson’s really bad], promise you’ll come get me.”

I have the best husband.

Metamorphosis

What an ogre I was.  The Yuck had left me unyielding and unshifting, someone I’m not.  All since July.

I wasn’t letting the kids be kids.  Too much structure.  Too much control.  Order. Quiet.  Little statues to adorn the sides of my fireplace.  I have chips and a huge dent in the drywall from where my rage got the better of me and I threw a Little People garage towards the safety gate and missed.  A monument to a person I hope is long gone.  Someone I hope is fixed because I decided to change a few things.

And I have much to be thankful for: My health, my home, my family, my friends.  I have been feeling and doing much! better since I started eating better.  I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m on a diet, because I’m not.  We never really had cakes and biscuits in the house before, and now we have Costco 3-packs of Carr’s (made in Scotland, no less!) Ginger and Lemon Cremes.  Two is a serving.  I know!  Two!  And, I’ve lost weight to boot.  Eight pounds in 3 weeks.  But I swear I’m not dieting.  No, really.  All I have been doing is adhering to serving sizes on the back of the box.  It’s easy for the most part —  except when it comes to pasta.  Two ounces is a serving?  Really?!  I’d be better off buying a Gerber Stage 3 pasta dinner, there’d be more in that tiny jar, let me tell you.  I think Barilla is taking the Micky.  I mean, come on!  Two ounces?  You know they’re sitting in their cushy wee corporate offices with half a pound of farfalle between two of them, laughing till somebody snorts a hunk of it down their nose.

No, but I’m not bitter.  Yep, I’m not.

Who knew?  I’d be feeling dumpy and gloomy, so I’d eat chocolate.  But all that would do is eventually make me feel worse.  So then I’d eat more sugar, and the sinking feelings still weren’t going away. . . I was going around in a circle.  And becoming a circle!

It’s started a revolution.

So.  I’ve decided.  I’m tired of hearing it, so I’m just going to live.

Enjoy being young, you have fit legs, youth is wasted on the young.
Enjoy dating, it’s all serious business and responsibility after you get married.
Enjoy just the two of you, everything changes when you have children.
Enjoy when they’re babies, they grow so fast.
Enjoy them when they’re throwing fits and imploding, they’ll be teenagers soon.
Enjoy being in your 30’s/40’s, don’t take life so seriously now.
Enjoy your grandkids, you can hand them back.
Enjoy retirement.
Enjoy the young, they have fit legs.  Youth is wasted on the young.

I’m stopping it all.  I’m dropping out of the cycle.  Forget it.  I’m living for myself.  I keep hearing “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalms 127:3) or thinking about how Christ always went to the children first and blessed them.  Or how we should become like little children. I’m letting the kids be kids and enjoying what we have.  Lining up dining chairs and making trains for hours until we get tired of it.  I’m having water fights and making homemade playdough.  They’re eating off of the ‘good’ grown-up plates and drinking from proper glasses that have the potential to smash, but I don’t care so much, because every day is a special occasion.  They’re sitting and laughing with me and getting to know their mother.

Getting to also know she has a sick sense of humour.

I’m playing hide and seek, but not in a cute-come-find-me kinda way.  In the he-can’t-find-me-and-starts-freaking-out way.  Sure, they’ll have abandonment issues and will likely pay thousands to retreive their sanity, but for now, it’s nice to feel wanted.

One of my new favourite things to do is have Ian lie on the carpet and drop cashews into his mouth.  We laugh together when one slides right in.  We giggle and squirm when one bounces off of his teeth or slides down his neck.

We’re all learning and growing, and I couldn’t be happier.

Photo Hunt: Aftermath

This.  Is what happens when you accidentally leave two doors open: Your bedroom door and your adjoining bathroom door, leaving them to the mercy of a small terrier puppy, still the intruder two months on.  It also helps if you possess the leg reflexes of a greyhound and have the speed of a champion racehorse.  Both of which, I do not.

This dog can run about 4 times the average speed of a human (we won’t talk about how I had to stop traffic about a block from my house — and by traffic I mean I first had to run in front of a big rig — for 30 minutes to catch the bloody thing because my 4-year-old accidentally let him out).  And, he has hydraulics in his hind legs, to boot.

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I think the addition of the sock was genius.  The dexterity that took to grab it from the hamper on the way in is just incredible.

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October 2008

A Thursday Thirteen in My Absence

Today, at precisely 10 o’clock (if no-one in front of me is late, banjaxing the whole thing up), I will be sitting in a waiting room, ready to see an Internal Medicine doctor.

Almost 2 weeks ago, I sat on the phone in my bedroom, staring into a blackened monitor and hoping for a positive answer.

“…I just wanted to check and see if you’ve received my partial medical records from the Utah by fax.”

She told me they had and the doctor was reviewing them, but since it had been a few days since they had received them, she probably needed more information before we can progress and set up an appointment.

I tried to stifle my emotions surging up my throat.  A month of undiagnosis has left me feeling anxious and determined for an outcome — some sort of closure.  Anything to help me move on and finally get better.  I have plans, plans for my future, and I don’t want hair loss and unexplained anxiety to wave their large shadow over them.

“Is it the same for all new patients–?”

That was it, I couldn’t finish my sentence.  Before I had a chance to, she was answering and I got a response to a question I never really meant to ask.  I broke down and cried, and as I tried to regain some sort of composure by slow breathing and concentrating on the remainder of my question, she sat in silence patiently waiting for me.

I really was much more diplomatic, but I wanted to know, did I have to wait till the end of the line, while other “not new” patients got first dibs on scheduling?

She apologised and empathised with me, and told me honestly that the schedule was jam-packed and there was absolutely no wiggle room at all.  In the end, she knew I wanted immediate help and recommended a very good doctor for me, told me to let them worry about “that stuff, and let us deal with the endocrinology.”  So that is where I am with my list of symptoms and wrought memorisation of different aspects of how I am feeling.

For this list, I would like to thank ExpatMum and JoBeaufoix.  A lot of my complaints are the same as JoBeaufoix’s.  To show to myself that I have nothing else to hide, here is my list:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Fuzzy head feeling
  • Hair loss
  • Exhaustion
  • Lack of appetite
  • Insatiable appetite
  • Late menstrual cycles (D34-46, instead of D29)
  • Loss of libido
  • Hyperventilation
  • Mood swings
  • Unexplained anxiety
  • Surges of anger
  • Broken sleep patterns
  • Crying easily
  • Tension
  • Irritability

When I sit and think about it, I am grateful for this cluster of the Blogosphere that I have grown to love, and who so obviously loves me back for who I am.  I really couldn’t thank you all enough.  These past few weeks have been hard for me.  I feel like I have been absent from every aspect of my life.  I do what I can to get through the day and leave the rest till tomorrow.  I hope by taking steps forward, that I can get back to doing what I love best: Enjoying life.  Thank you all for being patient with me, I haven’t written or read much, and I really miss all of you.

So without further ado, here is my Thursday Thirteen:

Forget hate, envy, deceitfulness and jealousy, here are Thirteen of the Worst Feelings in the World:

1.  Chopping jalapenos wearing latex gloves and later, removing contacts only to find you nicked the gloves with your knife
2.  Discovering there’s no TP when it’s too late
3.  Breaking out some sweet dance moves on a newly-buffered stage in front of a large-ish crowd, slipping and landing on your behind, and listening to them all laugh
4.  Having your slip fall down during a wedding reception
5.  Slamming the car door shut just as you realise your keys are inside
6.  Making a sounds-like self-depreciating joke with your boss’s boss in the room, and realising his son has the condition you just mentioned and inadvertently made fun of
7.  Watching your spouse cry over hurt someone else caused him
8.  Writing out a long, well-thought-out, heartfelt, nay — INSPIRED comment only to have it not publish and you’re left having to paraphrase mangled and spewed out random words in a small attempt to salvage anything you once wrote.  You now feel Server malice and resentment that technology has left you feeling stolen of your epiphany.
9.  Waking up an hour earlier than your alarm, looking at it thinking you’re late for high school, rush getting dressed and out the door and down to the bus stop.  Wondering where all the buses are.  Getting on the not-crowed-bus for 15 minutes and walking to school the further 15 minutes and only realising you’re (still, at this point) AN HOUR EARLY for school when an old dear at the corner shop across the street asks you why you’re there “at this time of the morning”.  Then, she takes you to her place in a high flat right across from the school gates, and you sit at the window holding a biscuit and a book of the Queen she randomly handed you, and you don’t have the guts to tell her you’re not really Protestant.  And then you watch all your school mates filter up the stairs outside the gates and you feel guilty for leaving her cos all she wanted was a bit of company
10.  Making a passing comment about how funny the granny on the dance floor wearing all white and dancing emblazoned by the black light is to the yummy boy whose lap you’re sitting on who’s sitting the self-determined requisite arm’s length away, only to have him tell you that’s HIS granny
11.  Running after a bus in the pouring rain at full speed with an art portfolio under your arm and having the bus driver shrug his shoulders at you when you KNOW he could easily stop and the rest of the bus is staring at you
12.  Straddling the bathtub and the toilet seat at age 9 about to step in, when your BROTHER’S 16-year-old FRIEND opens the bathroom door and stops and stares and you stand there in all your glory feeling helpless and stuck in an unforgiving time warp
13.  Having a friend’s sister’s friend ask her who that “boy she’s with is” and it’s you, and you’re fifteen

Days Like This

You know, despite the roller coaster of emotions, we had a really great time when we were down visiting family.  We managed to pack in quite a bit into such a small amount of time.  One of my favourite days started out a little by accident.

Ian was invited to his cousins’ home for a sleepover on a Friday night.  We packed his little bag and took him the 30 minutes to their home.  They had moved to the same city we left about 2-3 weeks before moving to Montana, so it was nice to see the place again and see how much more it had grown and expanded.  Crazy to think it could have grown any more than it already had, we were there for three years and saw an amazing amount of development in that short time.  The clincher for me was I was a few minutes from all of my favourite stores and restaurants.  And then suddenly, I wasn’t.

It’s amazing how when you’re not around a place for a while and don’t have access to certain things, the first thing you go for is food.  I miss decent Mexican food, locals here will tell you it’s relatively easy to find, but when you know what it should taste like, there’s no contest.  The only thing I regret not getting when I was there was a beloved cherry-limeade from Sonic.

Anyway, moving right along.

The next morning, we drove up to collect Ian and start our big plans for the day.  We knew it would be our last time in our old city, so we drove through our neighbourhood again a few blocks over.  We stopped at a corner leading on to our street and I glanced over, seeing an old friend’s home.  We had become quite close about 2 years before we moved.  I remember talking with her a long time ago with a friend when she was looking for a new child minder for her son.  She was working part-time and loved her position.  I didn’t really have to think about it and blurted out, “I’ll do it — that is, if you’re comfortable with it — I totally don’t mind, it would be great company for Ian.”  She had a look on her face like she would be putting me out, so I reassured her, “if you can’t find anyone else, I would love to mind him for you.  Talk to [your husband] and let me know what you think.”  In my eyes it was a perfect scenario, Ian would have an instant friend three times a week and she’d have the peace of mind she needed.  Ian and her son were both around 18 months at the time.

I grew to love that little boy like he was my own.  I tended him about 15 hours a week for a year and never once tired of it.  It was easy to have him around, they entertained each other, all I had to do was steer them in the right direction and structure their afternoons together.  The great thing was they’d both nap at the same time, so it worked out really well.  He had a great little personality and they learned things from each other.  Ian taught him to shimmy down stairs on his belly (they have a Rambler), and he showed Ian how to clean off a plate of food.  The day I had to say goodbye to both of them was heart-wrenching.  I knew I would miss both of them immensely.  I had grown so close to him and enjoyed his sweet little spirit.

As I looked at her door, I knew I had to do it.  We pulled into the driveway and Ian went with me to the front door.  Her husband answered the door, he told me his wife was shopping but would be back soon.  As he called her on her cell phone, he ushered us inside and we sat for a few minutes chatting and catching up.  As she rounded the corner into her front room, I can still see her smiling face, grinning from ear to ear when she saw us all.  It makes me think of the quote by Emily Bronte:

Long years apart can make no breach a second cannot fill.

And how true that is!  I missed them all so much, they were a huge part of our lives.  I hugged him so tightly.  I also spent some time holding their sweet new baby.

dsc02452I moved Ian’s cot/crib over and they watched the rain bounce off the streets.

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friendsNov 2008

frtWhat a great day!  But it was no where near over.  After we said our goodbyes (the boys were devastated), we drove to the new train station near Bryan’s Mum’s place and rode the train to downtown Salt Lake.  Then rode what I call the ‘train-bus’, stopping just around the corner from the open-air Mall and went to see Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.

We had a great time and they boys loved the new train system, it reminded Ian (and us) of being back in Scotland a lot.  I slipped into bed that night thoroughly satisfied and brimming with smiles.  We had an excellent, packed day.  I know it’s days like these that are little memory builders for the boys and I look forward to many, many more.