Wednesday, December 04, 2013
I got my Christmas Cards put in the mail yesterday. I put a lot of time and effort every year into a nice newsletter with lots of pictures. Some people complain about those "awful Christmas newsletters," but I love them. I also love any kind of written note, but if it's a mass-produced newsletter, it sure has a lot more information about what everybody was up to last year and I love catching up. I have heard from other people how much they like my Christmas letter, so I just keep putting it out, hoping they're not lying to me. I also wonder, as with everything I do, what next year and Christmas 2014 will be like for us. I hope everything is the same, but that is probably being too optimistic, isn't it?
Today, I got a lot of shopping done from the comfort of my kitchen. In recent years, I have really used Amazon.com extensively for Christmas shopping and since my daughter-in-law buys a Prime membership and adds me to her membership, I get free 2-day shipping on Amazon Prime items, which is very nice. Everyone in the family makes me nice lists so I know what they all want. Still don't have lists from my two youngest sons, and with Duane, I always try to pay attention to hints he drops, but it's hard to find just the right thing sometimes. This year he told me exactly what he wanted, so I got it ordered and it's hiding in the basement. But then I have to think of other things for Du, to tell the kids so that they know what to buy forhim. That's the tough part. I do my best.
The house is all decorated. We had most of that done before Thanksgiving. I did discover a few more boxes when Du got out the "outside decoration" boxes, that were actually "inside" decorations, so added them to what I already had out on display.
It has turned cold here, after a high of 63 on Monday. June, Chris & I took a nice long walk Monday. Juno did great, a lot of times she can't go that far, but we went about a mile and a half and she did fine. She did sleep all evening, however. Now it is to be really cold, I think we are to get the temps they are having out in Colorado, I just hope we don't get their snow. I used to like snow before Christmas, now I could do without. It just makes getting around so difficult. Even this morning, Du e-mailed me from work to be careful if I went out, he saw several cars in the ditch, it was slick. He had to work late last night and hit a skunk on the way home. GREAT! Then he almost hit two deer. I told him he needs to be sure to get home before dark from now on. The wildlife come out after dusk.
Got the stitches out of my hand yesterday, from the surgery I had two weeks ago for my trigger thumb and finger. It's sure nice to be able to get my hands wet again without covering my right hand with a plastic bag. Showering was tough, washing my hair was tougher, and washing dishes? Well, let's just say it's nice to be able to get my hands wet again. Fixing Thanksgiving dinner and trying not to get my right hand wet was a challenge. And I went through it last year too....I had surgery a year ago on the thumb on my left hand. I think I'm done with trigger fingers and thumbs now, at least I hope so.
Du had a shot of cortisone in his hip at the doctor a few weeks ago, it has helped with his soreness, and the antibiotic he got for his UTI has made the fevers he runs periodically less severe and less often. He's also taking a new water pill because he had such swelling in his legs, and his ankles/legs have shrunk! I'm glad to know there are things they can do to make him feel better.
I'm really getting into the Christmas spirit. Can't wait for the gifts I ordered this morning to arrive, so I can get them wrapped and under the tree. I'm going to wrap big paper boxes (the kind reams of paper are shipped in) in Christmas paper, and put little stockings with people's names on top of them to serve as our stockings this year. Our regular stockings never held all the stuff we all buy to stuff into them anyway, so those big boxes should work better.
This is the sheet of pictures I put in with my cards and letters I sent out yesterday.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Today, I am thankful for these people who gathered at my house to celebrate our late Thanksgiving:
My Wonderful Family!!
A few months ago when Mark & Laura and the kids were out for dinner, Duncan decided to play a game where each person named their favorite this or that. He picked the first topic, then the rest of us picked more topics, because it was so much fun. Today he wanted us to name our favorite game, since he is a huge fan of video games. It is sort of a take-off on what we are thankful for, since nobody at my house ever wants to do that. After we picked our favorite game to play, we named our favorite place in the state of Nebraska, and then our favorite place in the world. When it was my turn, I said, "My favorite place in the world, is this room, right now, with all of you." They own my heart, I love them all so much, and I hope everyone is still well enough to be able to celebrate this way in another year. I used to say a silent prayer that next year I would still be able to wear all the same clothes. (Meaning I hadn't gained weight!) I know that is an important goal too, but my primary goal these days, is just to maintain the status quo with Duane's health. I just want him around as long as possible, and I know time is going way too fast. I was reading about a new drug they give for prostate cancer after the hormone shots quit working, which is usually after 12-18 months. This new drug kept the men taking it alive 14 months as opposed to 11 months without the drug. That is much too short, and scares me to death. So my prayer on this Thanksgiving is that next year we are able to celebrate in exactly the same way as we did today.
Here's another picture I had Brady take, so I was in one of the pictures....
Family is another word for LOVE.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Today I just want to remind everyone to be thankful for all you have in life. If you have your health, you have so much! I told Du, I went through my life assuming my health and those of my loved ones would always be good. Then Du was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I knew I wasn't doing myself any favors with my morbid obesity, so knowing it was within my control, I made the changes so that I could regain my health. I realized that I was lucky, since I had control over my health. Du, and others with cancer do not have that opportunity.
Losing Du is nearly incomprehensible to me and I know I have not come to terms with it. I may never accept it, it's just too awful to even consider. But somehow I thought the worst had happened to us, and I was dealing with it. I may be avoiding thinking about it, but right now that is the only way I CAN handle what we are facing. Even as much as I try to avoid thinking about it, I still obsess over it, and believe me, the knowledge that he will die way before he should and leave me alone is always there.....the reality of it never goes away.
But when I got a call from my very upset daughter-in-law today that my son Mark had a seizure while at work and was now unconscious, and they were headed to the hospital, I fell apart. I let Du know immediately and he came home from work, and we headed to the hospital ER, the same one we have been to many times for Du's clogged catheters, but always in the middle of the night. I also was there in 2008, after falling down the stairs on Christmas morning (carrying too many stocking stuffers) and breaking my finger. We are way too familiar with this particular ER.
A sick child, and even though this child is 41 years old, he's still MY CHILD, is very scary. We have been lucky. We raised three active, athletic, outdoorsy boys, and never had to visit the ER once for them during those years. They were rarely sick and had no health problems, no allergies, no broken bones. Mark takes care of his health. he runs and watches his weight, and eats healthy food. He even asked me for (and got) a juicer for his birthday in August, so he could make fruit juice to drink after his runs.
Mark has no memory of the seizure but his co-worker called him when he got home from the hospital this evening and filled him in on the details. Mark began seizing in his chair sitting at his desk, and the co-worker got him to the floor. They turned him on his side so he wouldn't swallow his tongue or aspirate on vomit. He seized for about a minute and turned purple, before the co-worker yelled "MARK.....BREATHE!" Of course Mark doesn't remember, but thinks that somewhere inside of him he comprehended, because he took a breath. Then he began seizing again for about 30 seconds, at which point he was turning purple again. His co-worker yelled "BREATHE MARK" again, and he did, but had another seizure, which ended in about 30 seconds. My brain can't let go of that image....of my beautiful boy laying on the floor in his office not breathing. I think the not breathing bothers me more than the seizing. They ran tests in the ER, and found nothing. The doctor told us something in his brain had gone "haywire," the neurons weren't firing the way they were supposed to. It might be epilepsy. It might be an isolated incident, but if it is not, medicine might take care of his problem. He may never have another seizure, but this might just be the beginning. They will need to do more tests, a EEG wouldn't be reliable right now, since his brain was all "haywire" (that was the doctor's very technical term) from the seizure. He sees a neurologist next week, they will do an EEG and further testing then.
So just when you think the worst has happened, your child gets sick. Mark's wife is expecting another baby in May, they already have 7-year old Duncan and 4-year old Amber. I'm sure she is beyond worried. She asked the doctor what she should do if Mark has another seizure. Of course the doctor told her to try to get him on the floor so he doesn't hurt himself falling. He weighs almost 200 lbs., that would be difficult even if she wasn't pregnant! She is to call 911. But if the seizures recur, even with medication (which they haven't given him yet), at some point in time, they will just deal with the seizures at home and not seek medical intervention. That just doesn't seem right...but I know lots of people probably deal with seizures that way.
Mark says he woke up in the ambulance, and they told him he had a seizure. He yelled, "No I didn't!" He has no memory at all, starting from the time he got back to work after lunch today. I think the seizure was a little over half an hour after he returned to work. Of course he is worried about his co-workers since they saw it happening. I told him, it's not high school anymore, there won't be any jokes or teasing. People will be curious when and if he goes back to work Monday, which is the plan. But to be fair, I remember worrying that I might have a heart attack at work, when I was obese, and had such fear over what my co-workers would say and see and think about me."
Leaving the hospital, Mark was still pretty shaky and a little woozey, so he used a wheelchair. This is not a sight I ever wanted to see.
I guess it is smart to be thankful for the status quo in your life, even if it is as horrendous as my future appears to be be, because it could get worse, and even scarier.
Happy Thanksgiving one and all. Be grateful for all you have!
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Today I am thankful for my love of all things CHRISTMAS! It has always been my favorite holidays. I decorate the house extensively, and every year buy a few new things, that I really have no room for. Chris (youngest son) wanted to decorate BEFORE Thanksgiving this year, since he said, "Thanksgiving is SO LATE this year!" So he carried all the storage boxes downstairs, and I started putting things up. I'm trying to finish up today, so I can move on to Thanksgiving cleaning and cooking, even though, our plans are up in the air. We are celebrating with a family Thanksgiving dinner at our house, sometime between Thursday and Sunday, but we're going to find a time when Chris can be home to celebrate with us.
Next to the decorations, what I love most about Christmas is the music. I have been listening to my own Holiday CD's for several weeks now, ordered a few new ones, and as of Nov. 15 or so, Sirius (which I have in my car--cause Du loves it), there are two stations devoted to Christmas music. Something about the music just makes me feel happy, especially Karen Carpenters' "Merry Christmas Darling."
I used to list the food that we make at Christmastime as one of my favorite parts of the season, but I have learned you can celebrate without over-eating. I no longer do much baking, practically nothing before our actual Christmas Day celebration. No cookies, or fudge, or candy (I love homemade peanut brittle--and do miss it!). I try to take a small helping of everything I like at our big meals, and no seconds. I also try to get out for a nice long walk sometime during the day to try and counteract some of the calories I am going to be consuming. It's not always easy to find the time, however, and I'm not a big fan of the cold weather this time of year. But the last few years, Chris & I have managed to get out there for a walk sometime during the day.
Christmas Eve is the most magical night of the year for me. I continue the tradition that my mother started, and my whole family gathers at my house for a soup supper, and some holiday snacks, a very light dinner. I guess it is the anticipation I used to have as a child that made me fall in love with Christmas Eve, it is a love that has followed me well into old age. My idea of a perfect Christmas Eve, would be a cloudy foggy day, leading to a light snow in the evenings. It rarely happens that way, but my fantasy is to someday take a sleigh ride in a Christmas Eve snowfall.
I love the family time at Christmas, with the kids and grandkids. I'm not a huge fan of all the gift-giving, although it is usually a pleasant time, it requires so much effort and stress and worry about getting "just the right gift," and then there's paying for all of it. We have cut way back on our gift giving at my house, exchanging names between the adults now. Of course, as a Mom, I still insist that each of my sons and my daughters-in-law get at least one gift from Mom & Dad, so I still do too much buying and it gets expensive. With our uncertain future, I'm going to have to cut back what I spend this year, trying to save for future expenses, which are headed our way. So gift-giving is probably my least favorite part of the season.
My absolute favorite part of the Christmas season, is that feeling you get. That deep-inside happy, good holiday feeling, when you tell everyone you meet, even strangers, "Merry Christmas," and there's joy and love everywhere. To me....that is Christmas....and I love it very much.
Our new kitty (Tiger Lily) likes the tree too!
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Yesterday we celebrated my middle son's 36th birthday a few days early. He wanted to go to this fancy new Brazillian Grill/Restaurant that has opened in Lincoln's newly renovated Haymarket Park/Railyard area. Brady is a super-sized guy and he likes food, much like his mother.
I have avoided buffets/all-you-can-eat restaurants for the most park in the last four years, but since it was Brady's birthday, it was his choice. They did have a nice salad bar, but lots of options other than salads to tempt me. Then they start coming around with hunks of meat. All kinds of meat. Since it was Sat. lunch, they did not have the lamb and fish choices. But oh my goodness, all kinds of pork, beef and chicken were offered to us in individual-sized bites. I didn't really care for much of it, and quit eating quite early. I still probably consumed too many calories, and the bad part is--I didn't enjoy it all that much. I like to enjoy those few calories I allow myself every day!
But it was good time with family and I always enjoy our dinners together. Brady reminded us that yesterday was national adoption day. So that brings me to my Thankful List for today---ADOPTION!
On August 23, Mia was adopted into our family by my son Brady and his wife, Ann. I am so grateful for a system in our state (at least) that allows people to become foster parents, and if an adoption is possible, pays for all the legal costs involved. Otherwise, they would not have been able to afford the expense. Mia is a beautiful little girl, full of joy, much love and so very bright. Those grandchildren of mine just amaze me when it comes to electronic devices. They are better with their iPads and computers and smart phones than I am with mine! They don't have these items themselves, but play with mine and their parent's all the time! Duncan especially is a huge video game fan, and I think Amber has started playing games with him from time to time. That is a big step for those two, and Duncan is very generous to allow 4-year-old Amber to play with him.
Brady & Ann tried for several years to have children, but the methods they could afford were not successful, and IVF is just way out of their price range. So they turned to fostering children and right away Mia and her mom came to live with them. Mia had just turned a year old, today she is four, so it took three years to get to this point, but it was worth the wait!
Grandchildren certainly complete the circle of life for this old Grandma! I am loving it more than I ever knew I would--and am so grateful for a system that allows children who need a home to be partnered with couples who really want to be parents.
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