So, you may have been wondering where the hell I’ve been. Not that I flatter myself by believing that I am much more than a constellation of ones and zeroes in a universe of code, but I do feel like I have this place, and so I should tend to it now and then.
It’s 2014, and I have not written much in the last six months. I’ve been on hiatus, closed for business, out to sea in a lot of ways. But now we are almost a month deep into the new year, and I feel like I’ve got to come back, or risk never coming back at all.
The thing is, we lost my father in September. He was an amazing guy, the kind of person who lit up a room, brought the party, made you feel like all was right with the world. He was just the best kind of father, and King of the Grandfathers. The kind of grandpa who dotes on his grandkids, slips them candy and money on the sly. I’ve written about him many times here, including the time that he totally saved my butt, which was just one of the many many times he did. He was in the hospital for a couple of weeks, complications from a procedure performed on his heart, that ended in a blood-splattered night of dashed hopes and tears. In the wake of the loss, I’ve kind of been empty and had a hard time putting thoughts into words. Also I feel like I need to address the issue of losing my dad before I can write anything else. Does that make any kind of sense?
I sat by his side, taking my daily shifts in the hospital, and we had the most wonderful conversations. I think he knew his time was short, or at least he feared that it was. I don’t know if other people let him feel those feelings, but I did. I let him know it was okay to be scared. And I feel so lucky because he basically told me everything I had ever needed to hear him say. That he loved me. That I’m smart, strong, a good mother. That my husband is the best kind of guy.
He didn’t believe in God or heaven, but he said on more that one occasion that he thought he would achieve immortality in the hearts and memories of the people who loved and remembered him. Whether or not he had that right, I know he will never leave me.
2013 was a good year in a lot of ways. Both the boys had lead roles in their school plays. Edison made the all-state chorus, and his scores at the audition earned him the rank of number-one baritone in the state. We had a great summer vacation in California. We got a dog. But all that has been under the cloud of the worst thing that happened last year, not necessarily robbing me of joy in the good, but tarnishing it nonetheless.
My dad always told me, whenever I felt sorry about losing my mother, that I had to concentrate on what I have, to make what’s here now my focus. In the end, that’s some of the best advice he ever gave me.
So now it is a new year, and though the holidays were difficult, I do feel like the baggage is just a few ounces lighter. So much to look forward to this year: Edison is going to high school, and Clooney’s going to middle school. Every day is a gift, and there’s a lot of laughter and love around here. So now I’ve said it, and hope that, at least in a blogging sense, I can move on.
My dad used to end every phone call by saying, “Okay, if you need me, you know where I’ll be.”
Yeah, I know.
March 10 – Loud
March 11- Someone I talked to today
March 12 – Fork
March 13 – A Sign
March 14 – Clouds
March 15 – Car
Sadly, too many people are like the woman described here. Maybe you know a few…
I wish I knew more people like the officer who wrote the tickets.
I actually meant to write this as a post for this blog, but I accidentally wrote it on the Practice What You Pinterest site. I couldn’t figure out how to move it without ruining the format, so I just reblogged it. You get the idea.
I put up this feeder over the winter, and just recently caught a few birds in photos. I know the second one is a tufted titmouse, but I’m not sure about the first one. It looks like some kind of woodpecker. It had a hard time finding purchase on the feeder, hence the angle.
It started as a little cough. I’ve had mild asthma for several years, so when I get sick, it always goes to my chest. I had switched doctors not too long ago, because my former GP had decided to go into teaching and leave her practice, and because of the change, I hadn’t renewed my Albuterol prescription in so long that it had expired. And as I got sicker, I found that I no longer had any working inhalers in the house, so I made an appointment at the new practice in hopes of getting a refill for those.
Since she could see me sooner than the doctor, I went into the office and saw the nurse practitioner. She’s really great, very thorough, and took a good look at all the things I was complaining about. Basically at that point, I had sinus and upper respiratory infections, so she gave me prescriptions for Augmenten (antibiotic), Tessalon (cough suppressant for day time) and Promethezine (cough suppressant with codeine for night time), and she renewed my script for Albuterol.
Two weeks later, the Augmenten was all gone, but the cough stubbornly lingered; not only lingered actually, but worsened. It was as if the cough had been waiting for the Augmenten to clear out of town and then just bloomed once it was. I waited another few days, and then went back to see the nurse practitioner, who figured that a low dose of Prednizone would knock out the cough, and she also upped my dose of Advair, a steroid inhaler that I take every day to maintain the asthma.
But, all that had no effect, so a week later, I went back to see the doctor, thinking that another opinion might help to get rid of this thing. She thought I might have whooping-cough (though I had a vaccine for pertussis in 2010) so she gave me a prescription for Zithromax, and thinking that the cough may also be caused by post-nasal drip, added a steroid nasal spray called Flonase.
Three days later, not only did I still have the cough, but I was completely a mess. Between all the steroids and the six weeks of Promethezine, I felt like a dozen ping-pong balls were bouncing on the inside of my head. My heart was racing. My chest hurt and my skin was clammy. I took the kids, who had the day off, to the grocery store, and I felt like I was going to pass out in the cookie aisle. I was afraid I might be having a heart attack. And then I remembered, I’m on so many drugs, I don’t know what day it is. It was like Brave New World over here.
So despite my fear that they might throw a net over me when I got there, I went back to see the doctor. I finished the Zithromax, but I stopped all of the other drugs. And I felt better. My head is stable and my heart is back to beating within the confines of my chest. I still have the cough, but at least I can see straight. They ran some blood tests, and it’s all normal, no worries.
I’ll be glad when the cough is gone, but overall, I feel like the attempted cures were worse than the underlying condition. February was quite the pharmacological odyssey.
One of the problems I have every year with these prompts is that it takes me a day or two to think of an answer. That being said, I’m sure you will look at a few of these and think, That took her time to come up with? Jeez. Click!
So, without further adieu…
December 3 – If you could meet someone new in 2013, who would it be? Or would you rather spend more time with someone you already know?
No, I do a pretty good job of socializing as it is. I’m kind of making a career of it. Who would I like to meet in 2013? Anyone but my maker.
December 4 – What was the wisest decision you made this year?
They ask this one every year, and if I can think of anything, it’s stupid material stuff. I got a minivan that has made it easier to load the kids into the car and has cut down the squabble factor. I bought a new toaster oven that seems to do the trick. I started Practice What You Pinterest, but I can’t say that has turned out to be wise. Decisions? I didn’t really make any major ones this year, and I make too many little ones every day to single any out.
Oh, wait! I decided to avoid MSG. It’s made a world of difference with my migraines. That counts as wise, right?
December 5 – Interview 3 people about their favorite moments of the year. Share what you heard.
This was a fun one, and I actually got several good answers:
Michelle H. said that her best moment was her sister’s wedding and seeing her own daughters all dressed up for the event. She also enjoyed a moment the day before the wedding when she threatened to bitch-slap her sister.
Nadia had two as well. First was the day (May 23, 2012) when she had lost enough weight to fit back into her wedding gown. (Way to go, Nadia! I’ve kissed my gown goodnight until my daughter can wear it.) And October 31st, when she had officially lost 100 pounds.
Robin said the day after Election Day was the best moment for her. (Yes, many of us felt we could breathe easier that day…)
Meredeth gave some silly story about her daughter becoming potty trained, until she remembered that she had met George Clooney. Not to belittle A’s milestone, but duh, M. I would deal with diapers for a decade to have that guy press his shoulder into mine like that.
Michelle M. enjoyed seeing her daughter graduate high school to go study veterinary medicine.
Several friends said that their moment was when Notre Dame beat USC to go to the National Championship.
Three friends had babies this year, so those moments trumped all the others for them.
Kelly’s daughter underwent surgery that changed her life for the better.
Bill got pulled onstage during a concert to sing and dance with the band.
Kevin had a great one too. He said his moment was seeing his wife present their son with his high school diploma on a stage, where they shared an affectionate whisper. It was a message. “Tell Dad,” the graduate said, “the Phillies are tied in the tenth.”
For me, there were a million little moments. Edison’s excitement waiting in the audience at Asbury Lanes for the Potter Puppet Pals to begin; watching Craig, one of my fellow wizards “bonding” with two “gnomes” made out of potatoes, while sitting on a bench looking serenely at the lake; laughing with Manfrengensen until tears came out of our eyes; asking Clooney whether I tell him I love him enough and his response, “Uh, duh”; laughs with my lady friends who lunch/and/or/breakfast at Panera; hearing my son referred to as “a ringer” during a Quidditch match; meeting our new niece and our new nephew; almost passing out while driving Manfrengensen to the hospital after his bike accident; holding my daughter’s hand; watching her try on the shoes I wore to my wedding; The Book of Mormon. I’m surrounded by magic every single day.
December 6 – How do you want get involved in your community this year?
I did a lot this year to get involved in my community. I still cook once a month for a local soup kitchen, and I started teaching Sunday school. I will continue to do those things in the coming year, and I will look for other opportunities, chiefly ones that involve aiding the poor in our area.
So there, all caught up…now let me get to the myriad other things I have on the docket today.
Today’s prompt from ThinkIt:
Unplug for an hour, a half day, or a whole day. Choose a time that feels a little uncomfortable. How did you feel? What did you do? Reflect on your experience. How much did you unplug this year? How does this experience make you feel about unplugging in the coming year?
I did spend an hour unplugged today at church, which is nothing new, and not really any kind of sacrifice, but it does put me in touch with my thoughts. I do tend to feel the absence these days, when not connected to those unseen but so-compelling forces that draw us to whatever place this is. We used to live our lives in a moment. Now we kind of live it in a binary state.
The Monsignor does his usual thing. I am glad all that singing of the Our Father is over. Never could get into that. Not to mention that the Monsignor sings like an alley cat in heat. Plus it’s nice to see the purple and pink of the Advent season. I love the holidays.
Two rows up I see the lady who brings her two young sons, one of whom always insists on being held while she’s standing. The kid has to be at least six or seven years old. How does she hold him up like that? She must work out. I wonder what she benches. I should try to bench something. Who am I kidding? I lift the lightest things I can find when I go to the gym. And that phrase right there is laughable. When. I need to start doing that…
So here I am, sitting in a Catholic church feeling guilt. Shocker.
Three rows up, there are those two ladies…are they sisters? Are they twins? They have the same sort of fashion sense, and totally the same hair style, like the one Lucille Bluth has in Arrested Development. I wonder what they talk about.
The Monsignor steps up to the plate for the Gospel. I swear, I don’t know anyone else in the world who consistently makes the word “you” a two-syllable one. After the Gospel, he reads his homily, which is all about…I really need to be sure to clip Clooney’s fingernails today. And the Princess really needs to wear leggings under her dresses if she’s going to sit like that. I wonder who cleans this place, and how often. The lady behind me just coughed into what sounded like her hand. I’m going to have to shake that hand in a few minutes, and then, would it be rude to use hand sanitizer before I go to get Communion?
The lady at the end of our pew is the lady with the terrible RA in her hands. I wonder how much pain she is in. How does she deal with that?When I shake her hand to wish her peace, her hands, despite being covered by wrinkled papery skin, are as soft as kid gloves.
I wonder what people think when they shake my hand. Can they tell how many times a day I wash my hands? Do I have the tell-tale sandpapery fingertips of someone who uses her hands all day in the kitchen?
I have not unplugged much this year. In fact, if anything, electronics have coiled their sparking tentacles even more tightly around my brain. I used to think that I didn’t need all of this, and I wonder at what point the changover in thinking occurred. Knowing that makes me think I should try to step away a bit more in 2013, but is that just another layer of guilt to lay on?
It’s that time of year again, and this year, I really hope to keep up with ThinkIt’s Year-End Blog Wrap-Up. The prompt for December 1st is the Year in Pictures. I had a hard time reducing it to one moment, so I collected these, in no particular order:
I’m surely leaving out many memories of the year, but hopefully they will come back to me as we continue this process over the next few weeks.