Sunday, November 29, 2009

giving thanks

Yes I know today is not the Thanksgiving Day. For some reason, even though I felt thankful for many things on that day, it's taken me this long to be able to put that thanks into words. So, here goes.

1. I am thankful to be alive and I am thankful for the lives of those I love.
2. I am thankful for every bit of time I am given with those I love.
3. I am thankful for the beauty of the world that I see every time I look for it and sometimes even when I'm not looking for it.
4. I am thankful for good food, clean water, and warm shelter from the cold.
5. I am thankful for the miracles of science and technology that improve my life everyday.
6. I am thankful for my body--my muscles and bones and nerves and organs and senses, and my amazing mind.
7. I am thankful to learn and relearn always.
8. I am thankful to feel joy and happiness again.
9. I am thankful for sleep, sweet, deep sleep and the incredible restorative powers of sleep.
10. I am thankful for wee toes and fingers, inquisitive minds, the pure sweet scent of freshly washed bodies, curly hair, freckles, chubby arms and legs, wide-open eyes, little button noses, and the delightful sounds of coos, giggles, and "Gwamma, you here!" I will forever be grateful for these blessings. Lest my children think I love them less than their offspring, let me clarify. I love my children more than anything else. I love their children because they are an amazing extension of my children. It is as if I get to relive that blessed time in my life all over again but with newly re-awakened eyes, a tad more concern, and a bit more wisdom.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

and then today

Not giardia.

Not sure why not.

Not sure why it would have been.

Not sure exactly what it is.

Not feeling worse, but feeling significantly better.

Not changing his course of treatment.

Not staying another night.

Not anybody's favorite place to get a couple of good night's of sleep.

Not much longer before pietime.

Not missing another holiday with the kids.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

my how time changes the perspective

Just two days ago, my blog almost started with these words:

Stu has the flu. How can four tiny words, just twelve letters hold such significance?

And yesterday, my blog almost started with these words:

Why is it that when my kids were little and they got a scraped knee or bumped elbow, I could ask them if it would be better in a while and they always tearfully nodded yes and my amazing mom skills were always correct and they were better sooner rather than later. Do mom skills take longer to work as kids get older? So instead of a few minutes of healing time, it takes months or years to heal?

But today, my blog is starting with these words:

Stu has been at the hospital for a day now and will likely go home tomorrow. His temperature went up to almost 102 a couple of days ago and he had nearly nonstop poopers, which is the surest recipe for dehydration ever invented. Sunday morning, he went to the ER where they tested and checked and rehydrated him for nearly 12 hours before sending him home. And Monday morning, he went back and checked in for more testing and fluids. I could not help but think sad thoughts, wondering if this was his life--something more like that to be expected by someone far older than even I am, but certainly not someone under 30.

But then today, Stu called and I could tell from the sound of his voice that he felt better. I mean really better. Physically and emotionally better. BETTER! And the words he said made me understand why he felt better.

"The doctor says I have giardia. I don't know how or where I got it, but I have giardia."

Maybe you have to be here to understand the huge relief it is to hear that your kid has giardia. Something that anybody can get, something that is not related to his new liver or the fact that he has no colon. True, his body will probably always have more intense reactions to viruses or infections or giardia, but this diagnosis, this giardia is something that requires a bit of medicine and he can go home tomorrow in time for Thanksgiving with his family. It is a parasite that would lay a perfectly healthy person low, let alone somebody who is 2 1/2 months post-transplant.

Giardia. Who would have guessed.

Giardia. What a relief.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

i want this


The Word of the Day for November 22, 2009 is:

mollycoddle • \MAH-lee-kah-dul\• verb
: to treat with an excessive or absurd degree of indulgence or attention

Friday, November 20, 2009

it's already friday?

I cannot believe I haven't posted since Sunday. Where has this week gone?

let's see...working, homework, basement remodel, virus...

yes, it's the virus that has definitely caused me to lose track of this week. I have that deep voice, which is alternately kinda hot or very scary...

The last two days of resting and masking and painting and resting some more have been very--well, very restful. And colorful.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

a bit of snow--so much joy

It snowed a few inches yesterday. JoJo--the dog who will only go out to pee if I stand on the deck outside while she races to the grass, keeps her eyes totally focused on me, and if I make a move towards the door, if I even look towards the door, stops peeing and bolts for inside--that dog, LOVES the snow. Especially LOVES the snow when she has a ball to toss and catch and bury in the snow, pretend she can't remember where she dropped it, run figure eights around it, and eventually snatch it from the snow, racing into the house, panting and nearly giggling.

Friday, November 13, 2009

perhaps i do need a vacation...

This morning, while Jack and I were driving to work, I was checking my email on my crackberry, trying to get caught up before I dropped him off and then headed north to drop off some documents and pick up some documents and then scan the documents and do some other work and then return the documents to their owner and then drive back to pick up Jack.

So there were a lot of things swirling through my brain all at once. That's when Stu called to see if Audrey was coming for a visit tonight, at the same time that Jack noticed the durango in the lane next to us was for sale for $2,500, and since the drummer's explorer's transmission has stopped shifting and his engine temp light is indicating an overheating problem it looked like too good a deal to believe, but he couldn't read the phone number on the for sale sign, so I unlocked my door, hopped out while we waited at a long red light, noted the phone number, hopped back in the truck and continued the conversation with Stu.

But then I realized I had been checking my email on my phone before I got out to get the phone number and I couldn't find my phone. I started wondering if I'd dropped it when I got out to check the phone number on the durango and after a few seconds of searching frantically I started to talk to myself out loud, muttering about whether I'd dropped it or put it in my purse and that's when I said to Stu, "I can't find my phone, I'm think I may have dropped it when I got out of the truck back there."

And that's when Stu started laughing and said, "Uh, mom, you're looking for your phone while you're talking to me on your phone?"

And I said, "Hm, what have I done with my glasses--oh, here they are, on my face."

And Stu said, "Sorry mom. Much funnier that you're asking me where your phone is while you're talking to me on your phone than when you can't find your glasses because you're wearing them."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

remodel update

So last night Jack and Jr and I were downstairs, doing remodeling, of course. Jr was looking for a tool (one that I have never seen before, Jr) and was looking everywhere, including under the sofa cushions on the sofas that were moved down there for the big Halloween eve bash a few days ago.

As he lifted one of the cushions, we both, at the same time, saw something move deeper into the couch, immediately out of sight. I looked at him and he looked at me and he said, "Spider?" and I said, "No, lizard."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

i am not the sun

I am not the sun--

But I warm those who are near to me.
Occasionally, I burn those who get too close
But not because that is my intent.
Everyone has boundaries.

I am not the sun--

But I am surrounded by beings, planets perhaps
or stars that are drawn to me, circle me,
need my warmth and light, would be
lost in the dark as surely as I without them.

I am not the sun--

But I am made of the stuff of stars
as is the sun, at least, according to Carl Sagan,
who, I believe knows. Or knew.
Or perhaps knows more surely now.

We are all a sun--

A light, a warmth, a sure force of gravity
That keeps someone, somewhere, safe
in an orbit connected with the orbit of another
and another and another.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

month two

It has now been two months since Stu received a healthy liver. He has gained ten pounds, which may be related to the prednisone he still takes, but is gradually stopping, or it may be that his body requires fewer of the calories he takes in for healing and is using more for growing new muscle and other tissue. Either way, he looks better. His color is healthy, his cheeks are more full, and he has greater endurance, as in, he can come over for dinner and not look exhausted after two hours away from his home.

His incision is all scar tissue except for one little bit on his side that is still a bit of scab. But if my eyes were seeing clearly tonight, when I asked him to show me his belly, (which, by the way, I haven't said to him since he was a toddler) he lifted his shirt and he wasn't wearing his binder, yet another indication that he is healing and gaining strength.

He did say that he's noticed that he has no feeling below his horizontal scar, which was probably caused by the surgeons cutting through the nerves in the area. They may grow back and regain feeling, or they may not. He is not complaining about the loss of feeling in the skin on part of his belly.

In fact, I don't remember the last time he complained about anything. I know, I'm not married to him and I don't live with him all of the time anymore, but considering everything, he seems more than a little content.

The other day at work, a coworker asked about Stu and as I told him about the surgery, he asked about Stu's age and whether he was married or not, had children or not. I told him about the major events in Stu's life over the past ten years (amazingly, I'm getting pretty good at telling that story briefly--I know, who would have thought?). I finished by saying that Stu has a good employer that has been very accommodating through all of this. My coworker paused for a moment and said that while the past few months seem almost miraculous considering the way that everything has fallen into place, that none of it could have happened unless Stu was the person he is. My coworker pointed out that good things often--not always, but often--happen to people who do their part of the work. I had to agree when he said that Stu went to college, earned two bachelor's degrees--one in computer science and one in math--married a great girl, kept going to school even when he was very ill, interviewed well and got a good job with good benefits, bought a home they could afford and felt comfortable living in, and are raising two sweet girls, that it wasn't really all just luck. He's done his part of the work.

I'm very proud of that boy.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

i forgot to mention

1. In the class I attended this week, there was a girl who looked like that actress who plays Ugly Betty, another girl who looked like Tina Fey/Sarah Palin, and a woman who looked like what I imagine the wicked witch of the west would look like if she got a decent haircut, some new clothes, didn't have green skin, wore a bit of makeup and glasses, and smiled instead of cackled.

2. Flight to Florida: middle seat on exit row between two skinny guys. The one on the left kept himself in his own seat; the one on the right kept his elbow on my side of the armrest even after I tried to slide my elbow under his to gradually edge him back to his own side of the armrest. Could not get him to get out of my space. For the whole four hours and fifty-eight minutes.

3. Flight from Florida: window seat in the back part of the plane. As I approach my row, a really, really large man rises from the aisle seat, steps out and moves back so I can take my seat by the window. Then he settles himself back in the aisle seat and tells me he can promise that no one will be sitting in the middle seat because he has purchased two seats. He makes sure the flight attendant gives me an entire can of diet coke, offers me his emptied lunch sack to put my sandwich wrapper in, and tells me to feel free to put my things on the seat between us.

4. When I left for Florida, my trees and shrubbery were still heavy with leaves. When I returned, the leaves were all on the ground. Even the leaves on the neighbor's grape vine had dropped, exposing the remaining clumps of grapes, so that today, Janey and JoJo shared the last few bunches.

5. We have scheduled installation of carpet for two weeks from today. The Saturday before Thanksgiving the basement will be finished. Cannot believe we are so close to finishing this project.

Friday, November 6, 2009

i'm home

where the dog is delighted to see me, progress has been made on the basement remodel, jack and jr have many new and improved ideas for the basement, i am more than ready to sleep in my own bed, can't wait to see the grandgirlies (and their parents of course), and their are no more lizards.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

about florida

Things I like:

1. Beautiful weather
2. Lizards that do not fly
3. Lizards that do not hiss
4. Lizards that eat bugs
5. Beautiful weather
6. Lizards. They're no JoJo and they're not cats, but they're not mice or grasshoppers either.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

weird dream time

I was late for class this morning. (Before I go any further, two completely random things. First, doesn't Derek Jeter seem like a pretty good, non-steroidal guy? Two, there has been no decrease, none at all, in the number of little lizards here in Florida and everybody but me seems to have no problem with them, in fact the constant response to my statement that there are a lot of little lizards out there is, "you must not be from Florida." Please, if you have a good response to that comment, give it to me. Thank you.)

So, I was late to class this morning because, well because I got a late start. Last night was way more than the usual number of hours long, or at least it seemed that way. I dreamed that the guy who was my boss several decades ago, Tosh, was going to be my boss again. (note: I hadn't seen him for decades, but last year when Jack was sick in the hospital, I thought I saw Tosh at the hospital. I wasn't sure, and really wasn't in any state to talk to anybody, so I didn't speak to him, but a few months later, my mom told me she'd read an obituary for Tosh's wife. I think it probably was him at the hospital with her.)

So back to the dream. Tosh was going to be my boss again. And the office was my old house. Sort of. And my friend at work, Eileen, was in the dream too. She called my phone for Tosh and he got on the phone and said it was time for me to get back to work and I needed to start getting there on time. I agreed that it had been long enough for me to be away from my job and said I'd get there on time.

Then I noticed that he'd moved his own bed (king-size with a white bedspread that was covered with yellow and white daisies) into Jack's and my bedroom at our old house.

And the alarm on my cell phone kept going off. And going off. And going off. I couldn't find it to shut it off. And when I did finally locate the phone, I couldn't get it to stop making that damn alarm sound. I even tried to get the drummer to take the phone apart to make it stop doing that alarm sound, and he ran it through the wringer on an old fashioned wash tub (because we must have had one at the office/house?) but even that wouldn't make it stop ringing.

That cell phone alarm ringer was really bugging me by then, enough that I wondered if I was stable enough to even go to work, but I did, and when I got there, Eileen said I needed to clean off my desk because it was a mess. And the phone alarm started to bug her too.

And, you've probably guessed by now that the alarm I was dreaming about was my cell phone alarm, trying its very best to wake me up this morning so I wouldn't be late to class.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

problem solved

I've taken care of the lizard fear.

Today, I didn't wear my glasses while walking to and from the conference location.

Voila! Didn't see a single lizard!

All that rustling in the bushes and grass? Probably leaves falling from the trees.

I am so smart!

Monday, November 2, 2009

you will not believe what i just saw

I don't think I mentioned that I'm in Florida this week for another government contracts law class. I know a week in Florida sounds great, what with the temperature in the 80's and the humidity in the 90%s or higher. Yeh, sure, the whole room to myself, remote control in my control, eating wherever I feel like eating and sleeping whenever I feel like sleeping thing is great.

But. I am not on vacation. It's a government contracts class. Taught by a defense attorney. Who has a loud voice. And knows his stuff.

So okay, that part is probably good. But this is the second in a series of three classes and the last class was eight hours a day with homework each night and I had this crazy idea that I wouldn't have any time to sightsee, so why get a rental car that would just sit in the parking lot of my hotel.

What was I thinking?

Besides that it would do me some good to walk the half mile each way to my class every morning and afternoon.

I must admit that the walk is nice, but man do I miss my bike.

Did anybody tell me there are critters scurrying around in Florida? During the day? All along the sidewalk from my hotel to the class location? Critters you say? Yes I did say critters.

The first one was in a parking lot that I crossed and I noticed it and remembered having seen little lizards somewhere, sometime, but I couldn't remember where or when. By the time I got to my hotel, I had seen at least 25 of the little guys and one chipmunk. And I heard much scurrying about in the shrubbery.

I did my best to stay calm as they ran in front of and behind me and alongside me, but once I let out a little "eek!" when one of them ran from the lawn on the right side of me to the lawn on the left side of me and I nearly stepped on him. And the biggest one I saw gave me the creeps when he refused to move and stared me down as I waited to cross a very busy road near my hotel.

Yes, I know they're little, they're harmless, they eat bugs, which, Lord knows Florida has a lot of, but really, they are creepy enough during the day, let alone at night. What if they go in at night and that's when the alligators come out? My cabbie assured me there are alligators everywhere here.

Think rapters in Jurassic Park. Just try to convince me you wouldn't rather be riding on a bike with your feet up on the pedals when a bunch of these guys are tearing around on the's like this place is a jungle or something.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

about halloween

Try as I might, I cannot remember one single Halloween costume I've worn in my life. Unless you count the shirt I wore this year that is covered with black skulls with crossbones and little red hearts (comment at the Halloween Eve party: Mama Wilde, that shirt is so cool. It's like poison...but you've gotta love it. such clever kids!)

So, as I was saying. I don't remember any costumes except for the year that my older brother who was probably around 10 was a mummy. My mom wrapped him in strips of white sheet and pinned it all together with safety pins. It was a fine costume until he had to use the bathroom.

The only other thing I remember about Halloween from my childhood is the timewhen I was maybe six and my younger brother was probably 3 or so. The day after Halloween, I got this great idea that since we'd had such fun trick or treating the night before, why not do it again? I pretended to be the mom and dressed up my brother as a little girl. I don't remember exactly what I clothed him in except for my flowered mint green and ivory apron that I tied around his waist. I also tied a scarf around his head so you couldn't tell he had a buzz haircut.

We went to the next door neighbor's house, which is when I realized we didn't have a pillowcase to hold our stash. But quick thinker that I was, we decided we'd just eat the candy before we went to the next house.

We knocked on the door and when the neighbor answered, we hollered, "TRICK OR TREAT!" The neighbor lady, Lila, smiled and commented on the cute little girl I was with, and then, glory be, she gave us each a piece of candy. We said thank you and wished her a happy Halloween and skipped off the porch and down the driveway.

Before we went any farther, we (and by we, I mean I) decided we needed a container to hold our treats, so we headed back to our house where I located a little cloth bag with a drawstring that I kept my doll clothes in. We dumped out the doll clothes and headed back out of the house.

We walked down the sidewalk to the next house, knocked on the door and greeted the neighbor kids who lived there with a loud TRICK OR TREAT! The girl, Leslie, who was three years older than I, stared at us and said, "It isn't Halloween today." And then she shut the door.

We were stunned, but not enough to slow us down. We went to the next house. That neighbor lady said she thought her candy was all gone, but she told us to wait a minute and she came back with two boxes of raisins.

The next neighbor gave us candy. As did the next and the next and the next. We went all the way down the street and rounded the corner, not stopping at the corner house because those people had a big, black dog named Tarzan who lived inside of their fenced front yard. Tarzan loved to chase kids all the way along the fenceline of their yard and we'd heard he had rabies, so there was no way we were going in that yard. We also skipped the next house and then crossed the street to my Gramma's house.

Baum Baum (my dad's mom) was a sweet, sweet little lady who had many, many grandchildren and great grandchildren and every one of us thought we were her favorite. When we knocked on her front door and hollered TRICK OR TREAT, she opened the door and seeing us, exclaimed, "Why look at that cute little girl and her big sister!" Then she invited us in and gave us both a handful of candy for our bag.

We told Baum Baum that we couldn't stay long and she said she understood, and then we headed back to our street to hit the houses on the other side of our street. I don't think we even got to the first house before our mom came tearing up the street. I suspect that Baum Baum ratted us out. Even though I was only six, I quickly realized somebody had done something very bad. I don't remember exactly what she said, but the message was clear--Trick or treating was a once a year deal, what we had done was almost like stealing, and we were now going to take back everything we'd hauled in--just like the day she made me take back the orange slice candy I took from Sharp's grocery store before I understood that just because candy was on a shelf you could reach did not mean you could simply take what you wanted without paying for it.

Talk about a kill joy. Let me say that it was no where near as much fun returning the candy as it was getting the candy. Several of the neighbors tried to get us to keep the candy, but we knew that would never fly. We insisted we could not keep it and we apologized for taking it in the first place.

It had seemed like such a good idea. And while some part of me seemed to realize there was almost certainly a flaw in my plan--I mean, seriously, how often do people just give you candy because you show up on the doorstep in a costume--my brother did make a cute girl.