Saturday, December 27, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
I have to give kudos to DH here. He works really hard and is very good at what he does. I am terribly blessed with the men in my life. My dad is paying for my M.A. degree and if it wasn't for that, I wouldn't have been able to go back to school right now. DH works hard so I can work less hours and concentrate on school. I am blessed in ways I can't possibly put down in a single blog.
Today I've been trying to bless our house with more cleaning. Our kitchen was a mess because we've both been busy this week so I straightened it up, started the dishwasher, and started a load of laundry. I wrapped five gifts (the final ones needing to be wrapped).
I'm planning on taking a nap soon and then getting ready for the Christmas Eve festivities tonight.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Dear Husband and I will be spending the holidays with my dad in San Antonio. We're going to spend Christmas Eve with the in-laws here in Houston and then drive up to San Antonio on Christmas Day. Christmas evening will be spent hanging out with my dad at his house. Friday evening we'll either see a play or go to dinner and a movie and Saturday will be spent at the comedy club. We'll go home on Sunday. I'm really looking forward to it because it will be a chance to just relax and have a good time.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
While I was in Oregon and dealing with my mother's illness, several things occured to me that I feel would be helpful to pass on. I do not want to sound ungrateful for the support we received, I just feel the following things are important to remember when dealing with health crises among friends/family. I refer to an ill person as IP and the caretaker of the ill person as CT. If you are in the position of being a friend of the IP, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. When you call and leave a message on the IP's home phone/cell phone, leave your full name and a phone number. It may very well be that the IP is not the one checking the messages. I was checking my mother's home answering machine and half the people who left messages didn't leave their full name or a phone number, but wanted a call back. I finally changed my mother's outgoing message to ask for the full name/phone number.
3. If you live nearby the IP, pick a task and offer to take care of it as long as the IP is hospitalized. For example, offer to come over and water the plants or take care of the pets on a specific day or ask when it needs to be done and let the CTs know that you will be there to do it. Little things like that make a big difference. Yes, we could have asked that those things be done by someone, but it didn't occur to us because there was so much to be done, we had mental lapses over keeping it all straight. Toss something out there that you would like to be done at your home if you were ill. Chances are, it will help your friend and their family in a situation like this too.
4. If you really want to help, BRING FOOD. I can't stress the importance of this. My cousin and I ended up eating out a lot because we simply didn't have time to stop and cook. She works full-time, I was completing a lot of school work, taking care of my nephew, and driving back and forth to the hospital every single day at specific times to meet with the doctors and visit with my mother. I stayed for hours at the hospital and my cousin worked well into the evening. Cooking just wasn't even in the picture as a priority. It would have helped a lot if people had told us they would bring dinner and exactly when they would do so.
5. Don't call a person at the hospital frequently. It's nice to know that the IP is cared about and loved, but having to answer tons of phone calls while trying desperately to get what little rest you can in the hospital is just really tough. My mother fielded tons of phone calls and I think it was hard on her at some point.
A great example of exactly what to do and how to do it came in the form of an offer from a friend that I went to high school and college with who is visiting our hometown this week. She offered to do whatever she can to assist my mother including bringing groceries, flowers, etc. That was super helpful because she was specific with the dates she'd be in town and what she'd be able to do. That kind of offer is so very appreciated and helpful. Thanks Angi!
I have to say that I am truly, truly grateful for all the support we received, and continue to receive, from family and friends during this very difficult time. I don't want to seem ungrateful, I just feel that it's important to pass on what I learned from being the caretaker. It helped me see things differently in terms of what can be done to assist those who are going crazy with the details of a health crisis.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I am grateful for my cousin, C, who helped me out with everything. She's a true gem and it's nice that we've become friends as grown-ups. She is 8 years older than I am and we weren't close as kids because of the age gap and because we didn't live near my aunt and cousins. We really bonded the last couple of weeks. That was a silver lining to the difficult situation.
My mother is doing a lot better. She was released from the hospital after 12 days. The bleeding stopped, which is a good thing, but the cause of it has not yet been identified. We may never know what caused it. The best that can be done sometimes is pinpointing the general area and running tests to see if anything is amiss. That was done with my mother, but nothing was found. However, there are some things that general tests cannot see, so my mother will go to another hospital two hours away from our hometown to have a camera pill test. She will swallow a pill containing a camera and it will take pictures as it goes through the digestive track. That will allow doctors to see things conventional tests cannot see. The appointment for the camera pill hasn't been made yet, but it should be done within the next week or so.
I went back to work today for the first time since arriving home. I love my job for a lot of reasons, but one of the big ones is that I can take this kind of time off to care for my family without it being an issue. My boss is fantastic. She is also the owner of the company and the flexibility she allows us all is one of the many perks of the job.
I am still trying to catch up on sleep, while also completing the last of my school assignments for this term. While I was in Oregon, I wrote a 25-page term paper, which was not easy by any means, but I felt great after I completed it. This week, I've already taken two exams (one yesterday, one today) and have my last one tomorrow. I am looking forward to a little rest and relaxation (OK, A LOT of R&R) once school is done tomorrow.
Keeping with the theme of positive things to come from this ordeal: when I got home late Sunday night from the airport, I found the entire house clean. Dear Husband had done it so I could come home to a clean place. He also did the following things while I was gone:
1. Installed new faucet in the kitchen, which is SO much better than our old one.
2. Caulked the master bathtub.
3. Put new weather stripping on the back door.
I'm considering leaving for extended periods of time more often.:)
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
If it's Meckel's, surgery will be performed to correct the problem. If it's not Meckel's, they will be able to see the bleeding area on the scan and will take care of that problem. I've spent every day at the hospital and I've been exhausted. My cousin, who lives near my mom, cooked Thanksgiving dinner today so my nephew and I were able to celebrate the holiday. I have a lot to be thankful for today. My mother is strong and is coming through all of this...with God's help.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
I am going to have to tell my mother that it is time for her to move to Houston where I can keep an eye on her and assist her with getting the medical care she needs. Her health problems have gotten worse in the last few years. I've made two emergency trips to Oregon in less than 18 months - once in June 2007 and again today. The expense and the worry have taken a toll.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
We'll be spending the holiday with my dad in San Antonio. We went there last year for Thanksgiving as well, but it was not the happy celebration we had hoped. Dear Husband had bronchitis and we ended up with him in the ER on Thanksgiving Day. I'm hoping he will be in better health this year and can enjoy the holiday with us.
But before I even get to Thanksgiving, I have a lot of work to complete - the term paper I mentioned above, my general homework assignments, and keeping up with life. That last one isn't always easy when I am working by day and burying myself in books by night. Still, I am grateful for the chance to go to school, to complete this degree, to have a job. I have miles to go before I sleep, but I walk them with a heart full of gratitude for the opportunity.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I also have to continue to do the homework for three classes. It's overhwhelming, but thankfully I'm sufficiently skilled at dealing with being overwhelmed. Thank you law school and the bar exam. I knew that would come in handy someday!
I did some homework tonight and will leave work early tomorrow so I can finish some more homework before going to dinner with a friend, after which I will return to my paper.
Hopping away to my next assignment right now, which is to go to bed. That's my favorite homework to be honest. Good night!
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
We have some candy left over. Not a huge amount, but some. My favorites are in there - Butterfingers. I may have one...or two...or...well anyway, I wouldn't want to waste perfectly good candy.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
And the people who can't get a grip on their life? Yeah, those people are really driving me crazy. There is one in particular who spends way too much time on the theory of life, but never lives it. There is much discussion about faith and courage, but actually taking the plunge and living those things seems to be a difficulty.
This brings me to perhaps the most important thing in this blog posting: LIVE. YOUR. LIFE. Stop and enjoy the things you love. Make a list of 10 things you enjoy and then plant those things in your life more often. Sure, it can be hard to do with work, school, kids, husbands, houses, and on and on. There's always a reason not to do something. Find a reason TO do something.
Here are 10 things I enjoy. What are yours?
1. Cuddling up with my dog Peanut and taking a long nap.
2. Working out hard and then taking a refreshing shower.
3. Reading a good book for hours without interruption.
4. Lighting a candle and relaxing on the couch.
5. Surfing the Internet.
6. Leisurely browsing through Half Price Books or any bookstore.
7. Seeing a great comedy film and laughing hard.
8. Having dinner with a group of friends and talking about anything and everything.
9. Watching my dogs at the dog park.
10. Long bubble baths.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Here are some of the books I read as a child. Anyone else remember these?
Books by Beverly Cleary
Ramona Quimby. This was an entire series of books revolving around a young girl named Ramona Quimby, her sister Beezus, and their parents and friends in the neighborhood. I LOVED these books and read them from the time I was in fourth grade on up. They took place in Portland, Oregon and I lived in Oregon at the time I read them so that may have been part of the appeal. These are great books for young girls.
Ralph S. Mouse. These books followed the adventures of Ralph S. Mouse, who lives happily in room 215 at the Mountain View Inn. A young guest gives him a toy motorcycle and Ralph takes off on several adventures.
Dear Mr. Henshaw. This book was a single book with no series. A young boy writes to his favorite author, Mr. Henshaw. The boy shares his feelings about school and his sadness at the loss of his father to divorce.
Books by Judy Blume
Blubber - this is a great book about the pain of peer pressure and bullying.
The Fudge Series: Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, Superfudge, Fudge-a-Mania, and Double Fudge. This entire series focused on Peter and his annoying brother, who was nicknamed Superfudge.
Deenie: Deenie chronicles the life of a young girl whose mother wants her to become a model. Deenie is diagnosed with Scoliosis and the back brace she must wear ends her modeling career, which doesn't bother Deenie, but upsets her mother greatly.
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret: This book needs no explanation. I think every woman in the world has probably read this. If you haven't, you should no matter what your age.
Forever. Ah, the quintessiential young adult sex novel. Katherine, a high school senior, falls in love with Michael and they have sex for the first time. The book chronicles the journey of the relationship, the highs of falling in love and the lows of discovering that love doesn't always last forever.
Sweet Valley High - A series of books revolving around 16-year-old identical twins, Elizabeth and Jessica, who attended Sweet Valley High in California. This series also had a "pre-series" of Sweet Valley Twins, with the twins at 12. I loved SVH and really wanted to be friends with Elizabeth.
The Baby-sitter's Club This revolved around four girls who started a babysitting club. I wanted so badly to do that and to be a member of their club.
There were so many more, but these are the books that stick out in my mind. I remember reading many of them over and over, particularly the works of Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary. I identified with a lot of their books and I believe kids of every generation will do the same. They are timeless.
Friday, October 17, 2008
The thing is, some people find that medicine hard to swallow sometimes. Some people never see the humor in things or they think it's tacky when others do. But hey, I can't help thinking some things are just so weird that they are funny. For example, I heard a story today about this law firm in Dalton, Georgia that was bombed by an elderly man for an as yet unknown reason. The apparent bomber was killed in the attack and four others were injured. Now, I don't think that's funny at all, of course. However, this firm specializes in personal injury and wrongful death!! Come on now, I just couldn't supress the ironic laughter on that one.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Next semester will be a lighter load with only two classes, but I will probably be driving to Victoria every Saturday once again for one of the classes. It's 310 miles round-trip and I did it when I first started my program in the fall of 2007. I usually left early Saturday morning and spent the night. There were times when I would drive back on Saturday after class, but that is somewhat exhausting so I will likely not do that often this time around. My job is very flexible so I will switch my day off from Monday to Friday so I can drive to Victoria during the day on Friday and not have such a rushed schedule. I can go to class on Saturday and then drive back that same day since I will have been able to rest on Friday night.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
It was so interesting to see the reaction of those in the floor seats. After Jonathan signed my autograph, he walked toward the back stage exit to get ready for the next part of the show, and he was swarmed by fans. Literally swarmed!
Thanks to the Internet, some of what we saw last night is already on YouTube. This is one of my favorite routines from last night's performance: Nastia Liukin performing on floor to Ava Maria. Her performances are always elegant and beautiful.
Shawn Johnson is also a favorite of mine. This is her floor routine to American Woman. I have to admit that this is a little more "sexed up" than I expected to see, but it's still some great gymnastics.
This is the second gymnastics tour I've had the opportunity to see. The first was many, many years ago, in 1996 I believe it was. At that time, I was living in Eugene, Oregon, and I had to drive a couple of hours to Portland. Now, living in Houston, it's about a 35-minute drive downtown. That is one of the many positives to living in a large city. I can easily attend the events and performances I really want to see.
Tickets to Tour of Gymnastics Superstars: $160
Parking at Tour of Gymnastics Superstars: $10
Program for Tour of Gymnastics Superstars: $18
Bag and T-shirt from Tour of Gymnastics Superstars: $43
Seeing your gymnastics idols up close and personal: PRICELESS.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
And continuing on the happy Internet/computer theme, I got a brand spanking new laptop!! I am SO excited. It's my dad's early Christmas present to me. It's a Dell Inspiron 1525 and I love it already. Since I got a new laptop, I needed new software too. My dad was going to throw in Microsoft Office 2007 as part of the whole laptop gift and he got online to find it. He found a price of $150 for the student edition. I told him I bet I can find a better deal. I logged on to microsoft.com and found that they were offering MS Office 2007 Ultimate to students at a steep discount. Microsoft lists it as retailing at $679.95. I got it for...drum roll please...$59.99!! Yes, you read that right. Microsoft offered it to students for a HUGE discount. I downloaded it, and it's working great.
I can't complete this whole new laptop thing without paying tribute to my old laptop. It was purchased in 2002 when I started law school. I took my law exams on it and even took the bar exam on it. It has been a trusty friend and companion all these years. The operating system on it is Windows 2000, I've replaced the keyboard twice, the power cord once, and the battery is shot. Still, it works and is in good shape but for the battery so I am sending it to my mom since she isn't in need of the latest and greatest technology. It will work for her. I'm glad to be sending it to a good home. I know it sounds silly, but it really has been a good laptop and I will miss it.
Once again going forward with the happy theme, I am SO looking forward to Friday night! I got two tickets to the Tour of Gymnastics Superstars! Several of the Olympians, including Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin will be in the show as well as Shannon Miller. I had my picture taken with Shannon and got her autograph last January when she was here in Houston for a gym opening. I really want to get autographs and pictures with Shawn and Nastia. Keep your fingers crossed that I can do that. I bought the tickets almost as soon as they went on sale, so I have great upfront seats. I CAN'T WAIT!!