BACKGROUND

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Going Home

I am in Houston now. I have been to one home and come back to another. Oregon used to be my home and remains so regardless of where I actually live. Houston, my current location, is also home, but in a different way than Oregon. Oregon holds all my yesterdays, all my memories. Houston holds my todays and tomorrows, my future memories.

This past week has been one of pure exhaustion. I have felt every emotion it is possible to feel in such a short time: fear, anxiety, anger, guilt. I have laughed and cried, connected and let go. I have also felt tired. Bone tired. The sort of weariness one can only feel when one has been pushed to the limit and been expected to continue on. It is the kind of tired that only days of rest on a sunny beach could cure.

Being in Oregon and dealing with the crisis of my mother's health made me confront issues I thought were long buried. It's interesting how going home can bring a myriad of feelings to the surface. It made me confront things I needed to confront and it made me see that things I had buried needed to stay that way. It also showed me how far I've come since I left. That, perhaps, is the best thing about going home. I've changed in ways I can't explain, but in ways that make me know that my past choices were the right choices.

Going home, although a difficult experience because of the reason I went, was an eye-opener. I connected with a relative that I hadn't had the chance to really talk with before. She showed me that a pocket of sanity may exist in my family after all. I also said some things that needed to be said to my mother. And I said nothing to my brother, whom I had let go of sometime back. Sometimes saying nothing says everything. It's a soul soothing thing to feel the indifference that comes with letting go of negative emotions or negative people and to truly wish them the happiness in life that everyone deserves.

You can go home again. Home doesn't change. But you do.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Unexpected Tripping

Saturday morning, I woke up in Houston with plans of getting some things done around the house, then running errands around town. Two hours after waking up, I was on a plane to California. Not exactly what I had planned for the weekend.

When I checked my cell phone voice mail, I had seven messages from my cousin who has been staying with my mother in Oregon. The first message was from early Saturday morning around 3 a.m. saying my mother had been taken to the hospital in Crescent City, California (about 30 minutes from where she lives on the Oregon Coast). I got proceedingly frightened as I listened to each message. The voice mail culminated in my mother being admitted to the ICU with heart problems.

I immediately got on the phone with United Airlines, which is the only airline that services Crescent City (it's a small, small, town). They were unfeeling bastards if I might be honest. I was trying to remain calm, but it was tough being so far away and having no idea what was going on with my mother. My mother and I are very close and have always been more than mother and daughter, we are friends. I had gotten on the Internet prior to calling the airlines to find out when the next flight left for my destination. They had one leaving at 11:10 a.m. At this point, it's 9:30 a.m. and I had to get a ticket, pack, get dressed, and get to the airport, which was a good 20 miles away.

I explained the situation to the representative on the phone. She offered me the bereavement fare for the flight, which was $400 or so. First, she got most of my information wrong including my name, address, and credit card number. Finally, when she got that correct, she asked me for the name of my mother's doctor. I had no idea who that was. I said I didn't know. She tells me that she can put the reservation on hold and I can call back with the name. Keep in mind that at this point, I had less than two hours to get it together and get to the airport and I was already worried and scared about my mom. I said to her "no, don't put it on hold. I need to get there NOW. Can I give you the name later?" No, apparently not.

So I asked to speak to the manager and told her the same deal and she said "We understand your situation, but we have rules we need to follow." Yeah because the doctor's name is important right now, this second. She then said she could offer me the fare at the standard rate and I just said "Fine, whatever, just get me a ticket now." I had no idea what was going on with my mother and I was crying and scared to death. The standard fare? $1,000. Yes dear readers, one thousand dollars. I put it on Visa, got packed, and drove like a bat out of hell to get to the airport. I looked like hell too. Now that I'm here, I have the task of calling United Airlines and trying to get the difference in fares refunded. I'll keep you updated on that one.

Now back to the important stuff: my mother is ok. She had a dental problem and had been perscribed an antibiotic on Tuesday. By Friday, she was having chest pains and feeling badly. The ambulance was called early Saturday morning. Thank God my cousin was here to help. I am grateful for that.

My mother was in ICU Saturday - today. She had an ECG (Echocardiogram) today, which is basically a sonogram of the heart. It was really amazing to see my mother's heart from various angles. Anyway, the great news is that her heart looks fine, with the exception of an irregular heartbeat. She has had that problem for a long time and had been previously diagnosed so that was no surprise and not an issue in terms of her health.

She was moved today to a regular ward, which is good and she will be released tomorrow. Her doctor said she needs to lose weight and her diet needs to change to control her diabetes more fully. She also needs to lower her stress level, which will be a big challenge for her, but one that my cousin and I will help her meet.

SO...that is how I ended up thinking I'd be doing errands in Houston, but instead ended up 1,800 miles away in California/Southern Oregon. I'm at my mom's house in Oregon right now. I will be here through Friday so I can help get her situated at home and get things together with her new nutrition and fitness plan. And of course, making sure she keeps her stress level down. That will be the big challenge.

I appreciate all of you who prayed for my mother and my family in general. It helped more than you know.

Friday, June 22, 2007

A Smooth Addiction

Another late night blog posting. It seems that this time of night, when everything is quiet, is the best time for me to gather my thoughts and purge them onto the page for anyone who cares (or is bored enough) to read them.

It's been a good week. I've gotten a lot of things crossed off my to-do list. I have been letting so many things linger for so long that I made a concerted effort to just do it as Nike would say. A few big items have been crossed off and that is a relief.

In other news, I have a new addiction and of course it would be a rather expensive one wouldn't it? I am addicted to...Smoothie King! There is one right next to where I work and I have been getting a Smoothie every single day that I am there, which thankfully is only Monday - Wednesday. The Smoothies come in several different categories including Trim Down and Get Energy, both of which contain some excellent Smoothie choices. I don't know if it's a psychological thing or what, but I have been feeling better since I started drinking them on a regular basis.

I recommend the Angel Food, Muscle Punch or Power Punch Plus Smoothies. Add an Immune Enhancer to any of those to keep yourself in working order. Smoothie Kings are all over the U.S. and probably in other countries as well. Go try one and tell me what you think!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Army Wives

I'm not a big watcher of series television. I used to be, but that changed once I went to law school. Even though I've been out of school for more than two years now, I still haven't gone back to watching a whole lot of series TV. The exception had been The Gilmore Girls, but now that it has ended, I've found another series to fill the void.

Army Wives is Lifetime TV's new series. It is a one-hour drama focusing on several women and one man on an Army Post who are married to soldiers of various ranks. It hooked me from the first episode and that is rare for a show to do. Three episodes of the series have aired now and I have been glued to every single one of them. It is a fantastic show.

My father served for 21 years in the U.S. Army. I talked to him about the show and he confirmed that much of what is portrayed is accurate. I like it when a show gets the facts right for the particular subject it features, especially given the fact that almost all shows about law (my profession) on TV are completely inaccurate.

Army Wives features the stories of four women married to soldiers and one man whose wife is the soldier. It gives a unique perspective on life in the military and what those left at home go through not only coping with their husbands and wives fighting in danger zones, but also with the unspoken hierarchy on the post.

I highly recommend this series to anyone who is looking for a new addiction now that other TV series are on hiatus. You will be hooked on this from the first episode. The show is on Sunday nights at 10 p.m./9 p.m. Central on Lifetime TV. You can watch the episodes that have already premiered here.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Great News!

Dear Husband and I changed our date night from Friday to Saturday. We went to Olive Garden for dinner and then to Zuma Fun Center where we played miniature golf and then took a ride in the Go Carts. It was a wonderful evening! We had such fun playing golf and riding the Go Carts. Dear Husband and I rode in separate cars chasing each other around the track. We've both been very busy lately so date night was a good time to reconnect.

The great news that I have to share though is something I found out when we got home tonight. I had a message from the vet on my phone saying that Chip is going to be just fine! It was an incredible relief to hear that, Dear Husband and I have been so worried as have my parents. The doctor did say that one of the lesions removed was cancerous, but they got it all when they removed it so Chip will heal just fine. HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF. Thank you to everyone for your prayers and good thoughts. We appreciate it.

I have to put a plug in here for our vet. We recently switched vets and are now at Companion Animal Hospital. Dr. Nathan Boynton performed Chip's surgery as well as Peanut's spaying. He patiently answered all my questions. It can be hard to find a doctor (for humans or animals) who will give of their time that way and not make you feel like they want to rush you out.

Once again we thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers for our little Chip. He's our baby and we will breathe a little easier tonight knowing he's ok.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Early Morning Ramblings

It's 1:51 a.m. here in Houston. The house is quiet, the dogs are sleeping and so is Dear Husband. I am up, enjoying the first bit of silence and solitude I've gotten in what feels like months.

Today was spent running errands, mostly to the pet store to pick up needed items for our little ones and the birds as well. Peanut has outgrown her crate so she got a new one with brand new bedding as well. She's growing up so fast, I just can't believe it. In her old crate, her adorable little face was pressed against the wires and she couldn't really stretch out. Her new crate is much bigger and she can stretch all the way out with room to spare. It's a good crate for her to continue to grow into.

I had lunch with a friend and then came home and did tons of things around the house including laundry, cleaning up after the dogs, making the bed, and answering some e-mail. I finally stopped for a hot bath, which was quite relaxing, but after that I went back to getting things done. Today (2p.m.), I'm getting my hair cut and Dear Husband and I are going on a date. So Sunday will be a true day of rest for me, which is what God intended for us anyway so that works out.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Post-Op Chipper

Our little one, Chip, had surgery on Tuesday. He had to have three lumps removed: one large one on his head and two smaller ones on his body. He did quite well and has been up and about since then wagging his tail and wanting to be loved on, both of which are good signs.

He's sticking close to Dear Husband because that is how he gets comfort when he needs it. Peanut sticks close to me, Chip sticks close to Dear Husband and Norman sticks close to whomever will pick him up!

Here's a pic of our little Chip post-op. We are asking that everyone pray or send good thoughts or whatever you do to project good energy that the lumps are benign. Thank you.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Scene It!

With Dear Husband out of town from Saturday until today, my dad came down to hang out with me. We had a WONDERFUL time together! We went out to eat, watched movies, and had some great talks.

This weekend we saw:

1. Little Miss Sunshine. I'd already seen this and LOVED it. I knew my dad would too. And he did. We could relate since our family is just as dysfunctional.

2. The Wedding Singer. This is one of my favorite movies. My dad hadn't seen it and he enjoyed it.

3. Knocked Up. We saw this in the theatre and we both loved it. It was a cute, fun movie. If you're looking to just relax and have a good time, go see this. It's the story of Alison, a successful young woman, who meets Ben, an unemployed stoner, in a bar one night. They have a one-night stand, which produces a pregnancy. Alison and Ben decide to try and make a relationship work for the sake of the baby.

4. Prime. This is the story of Rafi a recently divorced 37-year-old woman who meets David, a 23-year-old man, and reluctantly starts a relationship with him. Rafi gets some assistance with the issues involved from her therapist, Lisa. Unfortunately, it turns out that David is Lisa's son. Thereafter a mess ensues as everyone tries to figure out exactly what to do and how to deal with their various connections.

It's really fun to just sit down, let go of your worries, and watch some great movies. It was one of the best weekends I've had in a long time.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Feel the Burn

Dear Husband is out of town until Tuesday. My dad has come to town to hang out with me and help me take care of the five dogs in my house:) We have three of our own, one foster, and I'm taking care of my sister-in-law's dog until Tuesday. It really helps to have an extra set of hands to deal with the dogs. And of course, it's fun to hang with my dad.

Today, I took my dad to the gym with me. He's definitely a good sport. He got on the elliptical and the treadmill and then did the stretches. It was rough for him, but he hung in there. My dad spent 21 years in the Army doing a lot of physical training, but he's been out for almost as long so he's lost a bit of the endurance he once had. He did great though and didn't complain at all. It was fun to work out with him and it made the time fly by. We chatted on the treadmill and just generally had a good time. We're going back tomorrow.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Settled


So, the situation with A is settled. I must admit that there were some things I was wrong about in this situation. I should have taken my own advice and been upfront and honest and spoken with her earlier. We ended up hanging out tonight and I spoke with her about how I felt. She started crying and said she never, ever meant to hurt my feelings. I felt bad:( Anyway, after that we had a good time and some good bonding time. I think this will help things move forward.

In the legal world, settlements are sometimes good, sometimes bad. In the relationship world, they are always good.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Authentic

So continuing on yesterday's theme, these days I really feel the need for authentic relationships. The whole polite, surface thing isn't for me. I prefer honesty, even when it's brutal. I've been thinking about the talk I'm going to have with A tomorrow and what comes to mind is how ridiculous it all is. I thought I left this kind of crap behind in high school: the whole pretend to like someone, then insult/hurt them, then feel bad that you hurt their feelings so you start doing things because you feel obligated to do them, not because you want to. Rinse and repeat.

I just don't have the energy for that sort of thing. I ponder this current situation and other similar situations that have happened to me or my friends and it just makes me think "What the Hell? Seriously, grow up people."

This is why it warms my heart to talk to my best friend, Britt, and my mom. It's like spending hours in the freezing snow and then coming inside to a warm fire, hot chocolate, and great conversation with friends you really love. Yup, that's the stuff that makes the rest of the BS easier to cope with. These days, for some reason, I'm examining the things that really matter to me and making some changes in several areas of life. I just don't want to waste my energy with things that are bottomless pits of dysfunction.

If anyone needs me, I'll be by the fireplace.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

What do you really mean?

So the situation wherein my feelings were hurt has been addressed, but not really resolved. I spoke with the person involved (A) today and made plans to meet on Thursday. It is hard to explain this situation, but suffice it to say that I think A was being less than truthful on the phone when she said she didn't want to continue doing the thing that had hurt my feelings. Seems this would be a good thing, but it is not.

I would much rather someone hurt my feelings by being honest and saying what they mean rather than backtracking and lying so as not to hurt my feelings. I can get over feelings that are hurt with honesty. What is harder to deal with is feelings that are hurt and then being lied to. If you don't want to do something, if you don't like someone, if you feel like you'd rather do something with someone else, then SAY SO! Be honest and OWN IT!! It's really ok and I truly believe people would rather you were honest because anything else creates awkwardness and surface behavior that doesn't work if you want to have a good relationship with someone in the long run.

What is bad about my situation is that all the evidence points in the direction of A really wanting to do the thing that hurt my feelings as opposed to not doing that thing (yeah, I know this is cryptic, but I can't put many details here). I'm an attorney AND a journalist. I'm observant and I remember facts and "evidence" as it were. I remember what people said and I can piece that together with the whole picture. In this case, the picture is looking rather false at the moment.

I should be clear that I do understand that A is trying to do the right thing as she sees it. I give her some small credit for that I suppose, but that doesn't work for me.

I will straighten all this out on Thursday though. I plan to talk with A and let her know that I prefer honest, authentic relationships and I hope that is what we can have with one another. We'll see. Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Pathways

It's been an interesting week. I got a job and I got my feelings hurt. It takes a lot to hurt my feelings, I am not the type who is thin-skinned or easily upset. But this week, I realized that my efforts over the last three years with a particular relationship are futile. No matter what I do, it seems that it's always going to be what it has always been - a surface, polite relationship with no real substance or sharing. And you know...that's ok. Sometimes it's best to accept that and nurture the relationships I do have that are solid, good, and deep.

It also helps to complain to those in similar situations. This is where a best friend who leads a parallel life comes in handy. Britt always gives me the best advice about these things. I keep telling her to dump the teaching gig and become a counselor. She refuses to do that, but I think she should at least get paid for all the good advice she gives.

On to the better news: I got a part-time job as a fitness trainer at Curves. I'm excited about this because it fits perfectly with other things I need to do and that schedule will allow me to pursue another goal I have that will take a bit of work. More on that later.

I was thinking this week about where life has taken me. Five years ago at this time, I had been accepted to law school and was preparing to move from Oregon to Houston, Texas to pursue that dream. Three years ago at this time, I had finished two years of law school, taken a trip to Cozumel, Mexico to nurse a broken heart, and started summer session of my last year of law school. One year ago, I was coming up on my first anniversary of marriage and about to start my first legal job with a small firm.

Now...I'm on a completely different path than I was preparing for with law school. And it's the right path. The goal I mentioned above feels SO right! I have never felt this much confidence with a life path before. I've prayed and prayed about this and got the answer I need. It feels wonderful to know that this is the way to go.

I'm being cryptic, but I promise to share more when the time is right.