Friday, December 31, 2010

Blogging

My first year of blogging was in 2006. I blogged 371 times that year.

THREE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-ONE TIMES!

I must have had an awful lot to say that year, as I blogged more than once. In 2007, I blogged 140 times, 2008, 186 and in 2009 121.

In the year of our Lord, 2010, I have blogged a total of...

Drum Roll Puhleeeeeeeese.....

46 times.

I said...46 times. With this post it will be 47 in total.

Now, either I had nothing to say this year (which is laughable for those that know me) or I was otherwise occupied. Or it may just be that I didn't know how to put into words what was going on in my life.

Sometimes the latter was very much the case.

As I sit here in our newly finished basement family room/bedroom and watch my 14 year old play piano, I am content. We haven't had a piano for her to play on since we moved here 3+ years ago and it has grieved me. My in-laws send me birthday money each year so this year I used it to purchase a piano so my children can once again make beautiful music. My three oldest play piano and guitar and when I listen to them my heart is happy.

Happy is good.

For Christmas this year we purchased a Kindle for each of our children. I am thrilled to see them so excited about reading and finding new books and filling their minds with new ideas and adventures. They each have the scriptures on their Kindles plus books they are in the process of reading.

Reading is good.

Family can be the most joyous and the most irritating part of life. For the most part this year, it has been joyous, with a few bumps along the way. Friends may come and friends may go, but your family is forever. As I watch my children struggle through the vicissitudes of teenage-hood and young adulthood, I am reminded that to struggle is not always a bad thing. It helps you grow, painful as it may be during the process. We learn from our trials. We mature. We grow.

Growing is good.

As 2010 draws to a close (only 6 more hours left) I want to express my gratitude for the blessings in my life. For my family, my friends (you know who you are!) For those that are my friends on facebook, for that have unfriended me on facebook (thank you!) and for those that I first met when I began this blogging adventure and have stayed with me all these years. They are, in no particular order, Vicus, Tom (are you still out there Tom dear?), Mike, Richard, Suicide Blond, ,Donn, Kelly and Dave. You were the bloggers I connected with in the beginning. There were others that I met along the way but you are the ones that have stayed with me even on Facebook.

And for those that reach my blog by searching for The Infatuation Monster (which is how 90% of my readership arrives here), thank you for reading.

Happy New Year to you all. May the coming year bring you peace, jobs for those that are seeking, weight loss for those weight-lossing, travel for those who need to get away from it all (you know who you are), and love.

See you on the flip side!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I believe....

I believe that people are basically good. I see it everyday---good people, making good choices.

I saw a huge pile of food and cups with Starbucks logo on them that were given to the homeless guy on 145th today. I didn't see him, but I saw the evidence of giving that was left.

I saw a sister in our ward (who didn't see me) hand food to youth collecting for a food bank.

A young man held a door open for me today.

I believe people are basically kind and compassionate. I've been the recipient of that human kindness many times over the years. Most recently, due to my accident, good sisters in our church have brought dinners in to us every other day for two weeks. Two weeks. These are busy people with busy lives and yet they have taken time to care for me and for our family during this difficult time.

When my mother was dying and we were taking care of her, some of these same sisters came and cleaned my house.

People are good.

But sometimes people make poor choices. I've made many poor choices in my life--but I hope the good choices I've made out weigh the bad. I try. Sometimes I fail. And sometimes I fail spectacularly.

Someone asked me tonight if I believed that a man could change. If a man could find God and repent and be a changed man. I answered yes. I know that man can repent and change and become better than he was before. I know the Gospel of Jesus Christ changes people's hearts and people's lives. I've seen it. I've experienced it.

I know it is possible.

I believe that because we are sons and daughters of the Most High God, that we are heirs to the kingdom of heaven. I know that people are good---they are born sinless and pure. When someone has broken our hearts or deceived us, we can turn our backs on them and leave them to their ways or we can forgive. Forgiving them and helping them find their way back might not be easy---but it's right. We don't abandon the sinner--- Christ didn't. We shouldn't.

Personal choices are everything. There have been times when those I've loved have used their ability to choose in ways not consistent with moving in the right direction. I've made poor choices that have not served me well and I've learned to turn around and face the light again. Choosing light over darkness is always the best choice. The right choice.

I'm thankful for the ability to choose. I'm grateful for the blessing of repentance.

I'm especially thankful for the beginning of the new year and new beginnings.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Our Morning



She wasn't as nervous as I thought she'd be this morning. But then, she's usually a trooper at the hospital unless needles are involved when she's conscious. She had already been assured that she wouldn't even see a needle while her eyes were open.

And so it was. I hobbled back to the operating room with her and her nurse. She climbed on the bed and looked up at me. They'd given her the option of going to that room with just her nurse and she looked at me. Naturally she was old enough and mature enough but was I?

No, I wasn't. So I held her hand as she was given the option of strawberry or rootbeer or orange in her mask. One nurse lauded the rootbeer odor while another shuddered and said she couldn't stand that one and orange was best.

Ash opted for rootbeer. The nurse sprayed a bit of it in the clear mask and then placed it over Ashley's nose and mouth. I watched her eyes as she breathed in and out. They switched on the anesthesia and I could smell it from where I was standing holding her hand. "Smells like dirty socks, doesn't it? said a nurse. Ash slightly nodded her head.

Her eyes had been closed but then opened. Glassy and moving---back and forth. I watched as she let go of my hand and drifted off. Ushered out to the waiting area, I debated going to the cafeteria but I already hurt enough walking as far as I had that morning so I settled into a couch, put my leg up and pulled out my Kindle. I'd read several chapters in Bush's autobiography, 'Decision Points' when they doctor came out to talk to me.

Endoscopy went well, they had taken several biopsies and we'd know the results in a few weeks. He showed me pictures they'd taken of the interior of my little girl's intestinal system. Interesting.


A bit later the surgical nurse came and escorted me back to the post op area. Ash was lying in her bed, her gown off one shoulder and looking a bit loopy.



One stuffed ducky and an orange popsicle later, she was put into a wheelchair and off we went. Picture this...I had to give her my cane to hold so I could push her wheelchair. At this point I was glad not to run into anyone we knew.

So we're home now. She's resting. I'm resting. We're glad it's over.

I do so love this child.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Best Day since...since...since...

since ten days ago when I fell through some decking I actually got to go somewhere kinda fun.

The first was the Christmas party for my older sister Cheri at her new unit at Fircrest. The residents there and their families fill the dining room with mountains of food. Delicious food. Food designed to make you happy. Food that indeed gives you a taste of the holiday season while adding massive calories to your intake.

But I digress.

The food was amazing. Since I've graduated from crutches to a cane (stop laughing), I hobbled over to sit by my sister and others brought us plates of food. I helped Cheri eat, talked to family and and other families and met her new caretakers. Cheri was dressed festively, as she should have been. Tis the season, no?




For those you who don't know me, Cheri is a special person. An amazing person. I love her immensely and stand in awe of her innocence and goodness. I've been blessed to have her as my sister.

One of her friends there at Fircrest is Wayne. Every day of the year you will find Wayne sporting a suit coat, tie and slacks. Each and every day. He must have thousands of ties, but still wants more. Each year in December, Wayne transforms into Santa Wayne, complete with costume. It's a Fircrest tradition.



He's such fun. His trademark lines are "She's a peach!" and "Cher-iiiii!" with an almost French affectation. Adorable. Cheri and Wayne are great friends. I'm so happy they're finally living in the same unit.

After we left there, Lance took me to Home Depot. Here, instead of walking with a cane, I was zipping around in one of those little scooters for people of limited ambulatory skills. You know, like moi. As I said above, don't laugh. This might be YOU one day. I must confess, it was FUN! Zipping here, zipping there. They might not look like it, but those babies can corner. Seriously.

And also? That whole beeping-while-backing-up thing that I probably should have been doing my whole life? Yeah, those little carts do that too. Very cool. And juuuuuuust a tad embarrassing.

We picked out the flooring for the basement room, the base boards and a few other items. Then we went home where my amazing husband and my in-training-to-be-amazing son soon got busy in the basement, putting in the flooring and commencing the caulking.



Isn't that cool flooring? I think so. It's going to be a GREAT family room. Can't wait for the kids to have a slumber party there, play their Wii and their xbox, Rockband and any other game they can come up with. I'm thrilled for them. It's been difficult for them here because they've not had a place to go to be free and have some fun.

Here's my wonderful son helping out.



This week we'll be playing musical bedrooms. Chris is moving down to the basement, Lance and I are moving to his room, Alli and Steph are moving into our room and Ashley will finally, finally be moving into her very own room after sleeping on the floor in our bedroom for almost three years. She's so excited.

I think I need a baby monitor.


And now it's late. I've done too much today. For me anyway. I'm paying for it with stabbing pains in my leg. It's time to dream of sugar plum fairies and Christmas shopping to be done. Ok, that's not a dream, that's a nightmare.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nativitatis apparatum interrupta

I was given some wonderful treats today---twice actually. The first was when my husband came home and brought me some goodies from my work. Today was my work Holiday luncheon. I couldn't go. I wish I could have but I did too much yesterday by going to the doc and then the hospital for my doppler exam on the busted up knee. Doc thought I had a blood clot because my leg is incredibly swollen and hard.

No blood clot. I'm so thankful my wonderful husband was there to hold my hand while the technician pressed the device into my bruised leg. It was unpleasant. Except for holding Lance's hand. I'm so grateful to have him.

So, today no party for me. However, my husband stopped in at my office and picked up several goodie bags that people in the office had given me. Such delights!

Then it dawned on me. I can't reciprocate. I have no way to do my usual Christmas baking frenzy and I feel so horrible about it. I always, always make tons of goodies for Christmas. I bake sugar cookies and spritz cookes, snowballs and sour cream cookies. I bake them to give away. This is the first year ever that I've not been able to do so.

All because of some rotten wood.

I'm frustrated. Nine days to Christmas and you know how many Christmas presents I've bought? One. No, two. My list is immense.

But I've gotten off topic. The subject was goodies. After the delivery of the goodies, dinner was delivered by a sister in the ward. Shannon made THE best cheesy taters, meatloaf and salad. PLUS, the huge tin of Christmas goodies.

Oh my goodness. Yummies. So yummy. All different shapes and sizes. My mouth was once again in a state of bliss.

And then it hit me again; I can't reciprocate.

I understand that in the grand scheme of things it's really not a big deal. It's not. I know. I get it.

And I'll be fine with it. I think I'm allowed a few moments of frustration. Also, I'm learning. All experiences are for our good. We learn, we grow and we come out on the other side of our trials all the better for them.

There. Frustration gone.

I've been decorating 30 stockings by writing names on them in glitter. They're for Christmas Eve. It's something I can do while sitting down with my leg elevated. I think they're very pretty.

Despite everything, I'm thankful I know that my Father in Heaven is aware of my heart--and the hearts and trials of my family. He's there for us and as we prepare to celebrate Christ's birth, I cannot help but say God is good.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Rockwell Moment Destroyed

(Note: the only reason I am writing this somewhat coherently is that the pain meds have worn off. I am taking this searing-agonizing-between-oxycodone moment to regale you with my hilarious evening out with the family. Enjoy. )

We were having such a lovely family moment Wednesday night. All four of our children together for Santa pictures, then a trip to the Hallmark store to get our yearly ornaments.

"Honey, we could be a Norman Rockwell painting. This is so wonderful" I said to my husband. He laughed and agreed. It's an amazingly content feeling having all my children with us. I really did say that thing about the Rockwell painting. Honest.

However, I've not seen a Rockwell moment end in screaming, blood, sirens, medics and did I mention the screaming?

That's the way our Rockwell Evening finished up.

With our busy lives it's so hard to get everyone together, even for a meal. But we have one very important family tradition each and every year for the past 22 years; Santa pictures and ornament buying. I have two very large frames that hold each memory of these events, lined up by year. Each Christmas I bring them out and hang them on the wall to embarrass my children see my children as they've grown up over the years.

So we got the picture taken, purchased it and went on our way to the Hallmark store in Canyon Park to pick out ornaments. Each year each offspring gets to buy a new ornament. We mark it with their names and when they marry and leave home, they'll take a lifetime of Christmas memories with them. I know, very Norman Rockwell, right?

We finished buying ornaments and on our way home we were driving past Country Village, which as you might expect, looks like a country village.

It was a dark and stormy night. I know, I know, but it was. Dark AND stormy. Raining too. We parked and proceeded to the boardwalk. And when I say 'boardwalk', I literally mean we were walking on boards. Tiny little rotten boards. But I'm getting ahead of myself here.

My three daughters spied a boutique clothing store and we followed in right behind. I'm not big on shopping--ask anyone who knows me and they'll tell you. I hate shopping. However, I enjoy browsing nice independent shops with interesting and different offerings. As my girls were ooohing and ahhing and trying things on, my 19 year old son Christopher and I stepped out for some air. It was kind of warm in that little shop and I don't do warm.

We walked out and around a corner to window shop. I told him how happy I was to have him with us and he laughed. "Don't laugh, I remember when you didn't want to go anywhere with us--ever" He then said the words every mother of a teenager would pay dearly to hear. "I know. I was pretty stupid back then. I just didn't understand" We then talked about Canon Beach Oregon and the time we took him there and he spent the entire time being mad at us. For taking him to one of the most gorgeous places on earth. It was nice to hear him say that he'd been dumb and then APOLOGIZE for how he'd acted that way.

I was incredibly happy at that moment.

We walked back to the clothing boutique to see if they were done yet. They weren't. Alli had a beautiful white coat on. I agreed we should buy it. Ashley had a shirt she liked and Steph was sporting a new hat. Ashley asked me to come outside so she could show me something else she liked. We walked outside and she went ahead of me to another little store with some purses outside on a table. The one she liked was $40. I told her sorry, but she wouldn't be going home with that purse.

I turned and walked back towards Chris, who was outside the other boutique the others were in with their clothes. I put my left foot forward and down, you know, like people walking are wont to do.

All I remember of this horrible moment is a loud crack like a gunshot and instant agony. I was down with my left leg wedged to the thigh in what felt like a vise. I heard screaming and realized it was me.

The medics asked me later if I'd lost consciousness. I wish I had been knocked out. The pain was intense. Lance had run out from the store and pulled my leg free---oh--oh--oh the pain. I was screaming and sobbing and laying face down on the wet boardwalk.

I remember hearing Ashley sobbing hysterically that it was all her fault because she'd asked me to go outside. I knew my crying was further upsetting her and I tried to calm myself so she wouldn't get so hysterical that she'd have a seizure. I tried to take deep breaths---it wasn't easy. I called out to her from the ground as the medics were working on me that it wasn't her fault. Mommy would be fine. It. Was. Not. Her. Fault.

I was on my back and rain was falling on my face. Blankets were placed on me, someone's coat was under my head and still the rain fell. I heard Stephanie asking if anyone had an umbrella--apparently no one did because she took off her coat and held it over me so the rain wouldn't drown me. I was shaking so hard, sobbing and trying so hard to stop so I wouldn't further frighten my children.

The put a brace on my leg and eventually put me on a board to get me off the wet cement I was laying on. Shaking...crying....shaking. Hands were holding mine. Some were my family, one was a lady I didn't know who leaned down to tell me how sorry she was, that she knew I was in great pain and tried to help me get my breathing under control.

The ride to Northwest Hospital was a new adventure in pain. I hadn't realized there were so many bumps in the road. Really hadn't noticed them too much before--now each one made me wince and cry out. Ashley was riding along in the front seat of the ambulance with me.

I won't bore you with every little detail now of the multiple needle pokes to get an IV going on me, or the x-ray and MRI and several shots of Dillauded they pushed into my IV to help my pain. Suffice it to say that the fall through the boardwalk tore my medial collateral ligament and tore my meniscus in two places. I'm purple from my shins up to my middle thigh. They say I'll need surgery to repair the damage. I'm hoping to see the Orthopedic Surgeon today to find out when and what the surgery will entail.

So this Rockwell Evening didn't end as I'd planned---with us all having hot chocolate around the piano while Alli played Christmas songs and the family sang along. It wouldn't have worked out anyway.

First of all--we're sans piano at the moment so that wouldn't have happened. We do have hot chocolate at the house but I guess I'll never really know how the night should have ended.

All I know is that Rockwell never painted a picture like this...

Sunday, December 05, 2010

I know I just wrote a new post.....

but as I was looking at a friend's picture on Facebook just now, I started laughing. Then I laughed harder. Giggles, chortles and some mighty guffaws.

I know there's a fine line between hilarious and hysteria. I may have inched a bit too close to that line just now.

But I swear---once you hear my reason, and if you're the mother of more than one child AND you're not overly OCD, you'll understand. I promise.

The picture that made me laugh was of a tiny infant, wrapped so beautifully in a blanket, sporting a lacey headband and bow. Only her perfectly sweet face was visible. She was swaddled and laying on a shelf. Next to her were some nicely folded pink blankets and on the shelf below her were two gorgeous baskets decorated with pink fabric with large brown polka dots.

Inside these two baskets were disposable diapers, all lined up in rows. It was so sweet and perfect and I laughed.

Can you guess the reason?

My husband did. I showed the picture to him and asked him if he knew why it had made me laugh.

I love that man for getting me so thoroughly. I'm not sure it bodes well for his sanity---but I do love him.

And now...back to the hysteria.

Starting Over

Making a decision that's wrong is sometimes difficult to see right at the beginning. After a time, you can see that the path you rejected was actually one that would have been beneficial to you had you stayed on course instead of quitting.

Sometimes it takes time, distance and maturity to see these things clearly. I'm amazed at the way my 12 year old has come to a very wise decision all on her own: she shouldn't have quit her swim team.

Last year, as she was qualifying to go to the Nationals in her disabled category, she adamantly refused to continue. She quit.

This week she talked to me before an appointment she had at Children's Hospital and told me she wanted to join her team again. I was elated---especially that it was her choice and not the decision of her parental units.

It had to come from her.

During a break at the hospital we talked to the wonderful woman who leads the Shadow Seals Swim Team. Kiko never made her feel bad about quitting and welcomed her back with a huge hug. She knew that decision had to come from Ashley.

And so it did. She's baaaaaaaack!