Monday, March 30, 2009

Ahhhhhh

Ally and I just got back from the gym. I went every day last week and even though it's Spring break for the kids and me this week, I promised myself I wouldn't fall off the wagon.


No, not that one.

I've fallen off so many times I've got callouses and other assorted damages from hitting the ground. We'll see how this works out this time. One day at a time, right? I can't do more than I can do. Whoa, how profound is that?

You're right. Not very. I'm fighting a cold right now---scratchy painful throat, ears that won't unplug and a heavy feeling in my chest that I fear does not bode well for the rest of the week.

Not that we're taking a vacation. We'd love to of course, but what with times the way they are and the things we need to get done here, it simply wasn't an option.

So what are we doing for our spectacular spring break? I'm glad you asked.

We're cleaning! Yes, you heard right. And my kids (Ok, the younger ones at any rate) are even excited about it! The reason being that what we're cleaning out and fixing up is a big basement room which will then become a family room here!

So we all donned dust masks, gloves and dug in. I think the kids had more fun than the adults, in fact I'm sure of it. They treated it as though it were an archeological dig.
"Hey Mom! Look at this! What is it?"
"It's a jukebox"
"What's that?"
"It plays records"
"What's a record?"

Ok, maybe it was an archeological dig and this is a picture of me standing next to our jukebox. Yeah, ok, not really. My hair is longer. But the jukebox looks like the one we have in the basement.

It used to be a big hit with my friends when we were in high school. You know, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and when you said some one was gay it meant they were happy.

But I digress.

The archeological dig cleaning will continue through the week. We'll let you know if we find Jiimmy Hoffa.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ch-ch-ch-changes

As I was driving my mammoth suburban on the freeway, all four of my delightful progeny riding along with me, a song came on the radio. It was David Bowie's song Changes. Suddenly I was fourteen years old again, and wondering how in the world it came to be that I was driving a car with four of my very own children inside with me. How did I get so old?



It's ok, go ahead and listen. There really isn't much video going on there--just the song and the picture of Bowie.

It came out in the 70's. Eons ago for many of you. For me? Not so much. Seems like yesterday.

The song always reminds me of my friend Kathy. It was the song we listened to when we were both quite young--though we felt old and mature at the time. It was the song playing on the radio and on the 45 record in her bedroom over across Aurora at her house.

It's the song that always takes me back to Kathy.

As I drove through the pouring rain on I-5, listening to the song, I wondered where Kathy would have been now had she been allowed to live. Would she have children? Would we meet for lunch once in a while and talk about our kids and the struggles of having teenagers? Would we reminisce about our time together as teenagers and laugh about how silly we were? How daring? How.....innocent?

Kathy is frozen in my head and my heart at the age of fourteen.



There was a time in the not so distant past when I thought I could write her story. Sure I could. I could do it. So I went to the courthouse and gave them a FOI request. As I was a columnist for some newspapers, I was considered press and I was allowed to sit in a room for a few days, completely alone save for the boxes and boxes of court documents, photographs, coroner's reports and notes written by the detectives in charge of the case.

I learned things I never, ever wanted to know. I saw things I wish I hadn't seen.

I wrote to her killer in prison. He wrote back. I felt as though I was immersed in a dark, dank place. Light could not enter.

I let it go. I could not write her story.

When Kathy died, she had a baby sister named Char. Adorable, delightful and Kathy loved her so very much. A week or so ago I got an email from Char. We've since exchanged several emails and last week I talked on the phone at length with her sister Sherrie. We're going to get together soon. Char, Sherrie and their mom Sally. We don't live too awfully far from each other and Kathy still holds us together in some way that I can't explain.

So David Bowie and his song, Changes

I still don't know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets
Every time I thought I'd got it made
It seemed the taste
was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I've never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I'm much too fast to take that test

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the stranger)
Ch-ch-Changes
Don't want to be a richer man
Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the stranger)
Ch-ch-Changes
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can't trace time

I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence and
So the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware
of what they're going through

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the stranger)
Ch-ch-Changes
Don't tell them to grow up and out of it
Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the stranger)
Ch-ch-Changes
Where's your shame
You've left us up to our necks in it
Time may change me
But you can't trace time

Strange fascination, fascinating me
Changes are taking the pace
I'm going through

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the stranger)
Ch-ch-Changes
Oh, look out you rock 'n rollers
Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the stranger)
Ch-ch-Changes
Pretty soon you're gonna get
a little older
Time may change me
But I can't trace time
I said that time may change me
But I can't trace time


Bowie was right. Time did change me, but it will never change Kathy.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Keeping up Appearances...

I read a book written by my friend Stacey. It's called I Never Asked to Become a Butterfly.

In it she talks about the transformation she's undergone with her debilitating illness and speaks about how much the change in her appearance has affected her.

I'm generally one who sticks my fingers in my ears and goes la la la la la la la I can't heeear youuuuuuuuuuuu if there is something I'd rather not talk about and in this case it's more of a la la la la la la I can't seeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee youuuuuuuu when I look in the mirror.

Mostly I tend to avoid mirrors and anyone who knows me understands that pointing their camera in my direction is grounds for having to purchase a new one because I've stomped your offending one to tiny pieces.

Reading Stacey's book has caused me to think. (Note to self: remember go thank Stacey by whapping her over the head )

Mostly what I've thought about is the disconnect between who I feel I am and what I look like to others. It's not a pleasant subject for me to delve into, and when I'm feeling good about myself, then I feel good about myself and that's that. At those times I don't really care what complete strangers think about me.

When I'm not feeling confident and walk with my head down and don't make eye contact with others is when I believe what others think of me when they see me. I'm not talking about the family and friends that love me---I'm talking about people out in public who don't know me from a hole in the wall. People....who sometimes aren't all that nice to me. On my good days I blow it off. On my bad days, well it's not pretty what it does to me.

The disconnect between who I think I am, who I feel I am and what I look like is as vast a divide as the Grand Canyon.

I will jokingly say that my children think I look like the Crypt Keeper, and it's really not a joke. I remember when my babies were little and loved me unconditionally that I feared what they would think of me when they were older and realized they had a hideous looking Mom. Honestly, I didn't blame them. I still don't.

You see, I, like most females I have some fairly severe self esteem issues. Mine are mostly self-caused and yes, I know I have no one to blame but myself and I understand that whole part of life. It's simply that my issues are out there for the entire world to see,unlike others whose issues are easier to hide. Mine aren't.

Want to hear something funny? When I was having my third (or was it my fourth?) child, I wanted to have picture of my other children in my hospital room with me. I wanted the nurses and other health care workers there to see my beautiful children so they wouldn't think so poorly of me. You see, they would say, "Hmmm...she's really incredibly disgusting, but look at those beautiful children she has given birth to. She can't be all bad then"

When I've been at my lowest points emotionally I would refuse to go to the store alone. I'd make sure to take one of my gorgeous babies with me as if to say to the world, "Yes, I am nauseating to look at, but I have these amazingly beautiful children and a wonderfully handsome husband who loves me so I must have some redeeming qualities"

Bear with me here, this is turning into a longer post than I thought it would be.

On second thought, I think I'll cut this short and just say one or more things.

I do not want my girls to feel about themselves the way I feel about myself. Ever. I also do not want their sense of self-worth tied to their physical appearance. I hate that the world we live in makes that such an incredible priority. I tell them I think they are beautiful inside as well as outside. I let them know that inner beauty is more important and certainly more lasting than outer beauty.

I pray they get the message.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

First Day of Spring

The day was beautiful....so of course I decided I had to do our taxes. While I worked on those, Lance took the girls out. This was a wonderful thing because it meant that Ashley was finally feeling well again. It's been days since she's been out of bed--much less out of the house.

Sooooo, I finished up the taxes and then met them on Queen Anne and then we went down to Myrtle Edwards Park. It was lovely...and beautiful...and all kinds of fun with our girls.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

It just keeps getting better...

For those of you not feeling well, take my advice and avoid going to the ER. This is where you are likely to pick up some really ugly nasty buggies that will make you feel worse than what you came into the ER for in the first place.

Trust me on this.

We ended up back at the pediatricians yesterday with what I assumed was strep throat. Having four children who haven't exactly had stellar immune systems has given me a bit of an idea of what to look for and when it came on her so suddenly, I was sure it was strep.

It wasn't.

Seems there is an icky bug going around the Puget Sound that starts out pretending to be strep throat, with the horrific painful swallowing and then high fevers for three to five days, then moves on to a cough and congestion. Sound like fun? Why yes, yes it is. At the rate my baby girl is going, she's going to have to repeat the fourth grade. To that end, I got an email and a phone call from her teacher saying that we should probably get together and talk about Ashley's issues.

Now I know it seems that all I do lately is talk about the bad things that are happening in my life. The problems with Ash and other assorted fun aspects of parenthood.

There are good things going on as well. Let me see if I can list them...

1. We both still have jobs. In this economy, that's a plus.
2. None of our children have been raised by wolves. (Their opinions on that don't matter of course)
3. I was just published in the Puget Sound Business Journal. I know, I usually have my columns put in other papers and I don't usually write about business, so this
was a stretch for me.
4. I'm not playing the lottery, so I'm not losing any money down that particular hole.
5. I have a spectacular husband.
6. I have enough home remodeling projects to keep me from being bored until approximately the year 2030.
7. My knee feels better and all without surgery!! Yay!
8. I ran into someone today that I've been wanting to see for a few years and tell her how sorry I was about how things ended the last time we met. She'd made a huge difference in my life when Ash was first diagnosed with having had a stroke. She was the director of the birth to three program where Ash received her therapy. Later I was part of the Executive Board of Directors that had to let her go. I've felt that burden for so long and we hugged and talked and I felt a huge weight lifted from my shoulders.
9. I'm thankful for being bilingual and being able to read novels in my second language. I'm just about finished with La Sombra Del Viento.
10. I have four children who delight and distress me on an equal basis.

So there, see? It does just keep getting better.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Another night in the ER

We went from the pediatrician's office who sent us over to the ER at Children's Hospital.


Seven hours isn't bad. We've done worse.

She's feeling better this morning and we're going to be seeing the GI people soon. We've got yet another Rx for her as well. Wheeeeee!

We were going to do some fun things today, but with the lack of sleep last night, our plans for today got canceled.

Oh well, it's a sunny beautiful day and we're going to do some work outside in the yard. Allison has a youth temple trip today, and I'll be going with her.

And that, they say, is that.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ashley Loves Her Swim Therapy

Each Tuesday morning we drive to Children's Hospital so Ash can splash and swim in the pool there. I've posted some videos of her in the pool here before, but never one of her swim therapist.

Here is the wonderful Trina and Ashley this morning before they began their session.

Photobucket


Before beginning these lessons, Ashley was unable to hold her head above water. I'm so thankful for Trina and her patient teaching. Ash has come so far.

Even though she wasn't feeling well today, she still went. Afterward we usually take her back to school, but today she went back home to bed. She had a bit of rough time this evening as well. I hope she can go to school in the morning.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Mondays

Are usually my favorite days. Back to the work week, back to a schedule. I love having a schedule. It helps. Keeps me sane. Ok, saner.

I taught three Spanish classes today and took Ash back to see the doc. They still don't know what's causing her problems. We had another bad night last night, which is why I took her back in. They're sending us to a specialist now, so I'm hoping this will mean that we can figure out where her pain is coming from and what we can do about it. We also began her new seizure meds this morning, as we taper down the others.

Other than that....the weather was insane today. Massive snow, tons of hail and it took hubby forever to get to work through the snow up north. Here? Nada remains. Elsewhere nearby it's like a winter wonderland.

After teaching today I went to the (gasp!) gym and spent some time on the treadmill and a bike. It wasn't horrible.

And now I'm really, really going to bed. I said I was going earlier then my lil Ally came to me with some issues she's been having at school and I felt the need to fire up my laptop again and write an email to one of her teachers. So, email done and bed ready. G'nite.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Oops

I keep forgetting to update this now that I've discovered the joys of Facebook. Oh, and agony of dealing with other issues. Like having the neurologist increase Ashley's seizure meds twice in one week because she's had seizures and then finding that the side effects are possibly worse than the seizures themselves. Now we're weaning her off the one med and slowly adding another one.

I'm tired.... I've lost count of the nights I've spent holding her as she cries. She's missed so much school lately.

You know what would be wonderful?

To not have to do this anymore.

Yes, there are worse things in this world. I'm quite aware of that. I was actually thinking about that the other day when I parked in front of the house and had a mini-melt down while sitting there for half an hour. Sometimes it just feels good to let it all out. I'd been holding it in for far too long.

So, onward and upward.