Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My Staple

This is one of the staples that was used to hold my scalp together after my brain surgery.  I think there were 40 of them all together.   They didn't really hurt as much as just feel annoying.  When I was little, I used to wear a ponytail.   My mom made my ponytail so tight, that when I took the rubber band out at the end of the day, my hair hurt.  That's sort of the sensation the staples gave me.    Getting them removed was a real relief.    That was about 4 weeks ago.

I am now more than six weeks out from my surgery.  Monday July 28, 2014 marked six weeks.     It's strange, I have had abdominal surgery that takes some time to recover from, but it is so different.   You know right away that your belly needs to heal because standing up straight and rolling over in bed are so hard to do.   You guard your belly.  Coughing makes you hold your belly tight.  The main pain I think I had from this surgery was the pain from my throat having been intubated.  My headaches from the tumor seem to have gone away with the tumor.

The difference is this.  My brain has been messed with.  I am sure I was driving and doing pretty much everything 6 weeks after each of my kids were born.  I am not ready to drive at this point after brain surgery.   I feel at times like I am running through something thick that slows me down and sucks away all of my energy.   I get depressed because I feel so immobile.

When I get out and do things with friends, I feel energized (that's the extrovert in me), but then I get really wiped out really quickly.  

It's sort of a tug-of-war.   I want to get out and about.  I want to rest and sleep.   My compromise is, most of the time, to knit and watch TV.

I am so vulnerable to bug bites, that going out in the yard, even for a few minutes, leaves me all bitten up and itchy!  With my luck I will probably get West Nile disease or malaria.

I think about my kids a lot.  A whole lot.   Like every day, many times a day.  They were my full time job for so many years and I miss them.  I am glad they are all grown up now and don't need me like little ones do because I would not be able to do much mothering.

I know that I yelled and got angry and fed up and frustrated when the kids were younger.  It's so hard being a parent.  Especially when you are the primary parent- SAHM (stay at home mom).    But there was the spontaneity.    We could make cookies, or play dough.  We could cut up apples and eat them with ranch dressing or peanut butter.   Sometimes, even when I didn't really want help, the kids would try to help by sweeping the floor or doing the dishes.  With tiny kids this involves a lot of physical action, and a much bigger mess than you started with.  With older kids you often end up hurting their feelings by trying to tell them how to do a task that they already "know" how to do.  Usually you end up with a job well done, even if it is not the way you would have done it.   For me, the hardest part was allowing the kids to find their own way to do things.   I don't think any of them paid attention to how laundry is "supposed" to be folded (according to Mom- me).    Since they all started doing their own laundry when they were 13, it really was not my problem or my business any more!

A few years ago we painted Courtney's room and put in new curtains and bed linens.  It is still Courtney's room when she is here.  But it is also the guest room, when company comes and Courtney is not here.  She lives in Oregon, so she is not here a whole lot.

The boys' rooms are something of an archeological find.   Ruins.  Chance's room from when he was little, and older brothers had not moved out yet. His teddy bear and big yellow school bus wallpaper is still there.  But not a whole lot else.   Darcy's room still has the big wall poster of a baseball stadium.  The furniture consists of a futon with a red cover, an old office chair and some sort of desk.   Morgan's old room has been taken over by Chance.  The wall poster of the Challenger Space Shuttle, from Morgan's days, is still there.  A desk and a mattress on the floor and at the moment a Kittie litter box are all that are there.  Chance is in Richmond in his apartment only coming home every month or so.

Austin is still in residence, and his room looks like it is being lived in.   There is furniture in use.  Bed, dresser, desk, computer.  Wall poster of a golf course.

The carpets in all of the boys' rooms looks terrible and cannot really even be touched by the carpet cleaner.  Not sure what all has been spilled there, but the only way to get rid of it is to toss out the carpets.

When we moved in here in 1983, Courtney was 5 and Morgan was 2.  We were a family of four.    The house was a four bedroom house and seemed very large.  Especially since both kids were still sleeping with us!

By the time we had Chance, we were a family of seven. The kids were getting to the point where they wanted their own space.  They liked to pick at each other "Mom, he's sitting too close".  "Mom, he looked at me funny".   "Mom, when are you going to cut Courtney's finger nails?"   Since we were able to, it was nice to give them each their own room.  We had four more bedrooms added making it a seven bedroom house!  Now, those rooms, as I said, for the most part are artifacts of what has been before and will never come back.

I wrote more than I had planned or expected to.   And not what I expected to.  I was going to write about love.  Unconditional love.    Next time.

Here's a sweet picture of Tigger, our 15 year old cat, inside of a shopping bag:



Sunday, July 27, 2014

Where's the spark?

The other night, as Nick and I were about to go to sleep, we were talking in bed.  I said I feel like my bursts of energy are missing.  the spark.  That's it.

It's not just that I am tired- as I so often write.  It's that my brain healing is more complicated than I realized.   I feel okay mentally.  I can knit.  I can comprehend TV shows and things I read.   I just don't have the energy I am used to having.  I guess I never really put a name to it before, or even realized that was what is going on.

So, I guess, as they say, my get up and go, got up and went. But, I know it will be back.   It will take time is all, and I am not generally a patient person.

On a different note, we have received lots of meals and treats from our church friends.  It's been really nice of them, and for us too!

Friday, July 25, 2014

a familiar theme- being tired

I slept until 11:00 this morning.  Of course I was probably up pretty late.  Babies have the right idea- they don't think about sleep, or worry about sleep.  They just do it when they need to and don't when they don't.  How come so many parents have such a hard time understanding that?   Honestly!

Most of what I did today was knit.  That's what I do most of any day lately!  At one point, when I was in the back yard with Buddy, I picked up some sticks that have blown off of trees over the last few weeks from the storms we have had.   Not many, but it needs to be done and even a little bit is better than nothing!

Nick and I went to the vet to buy some prescription cat food for our diabetic cat.  Then we went to Joanne's Fabric store, mainly to look.  It was really fun (for me anyway).  I love fabric!  Bought one small piece, and this time I even had my coupons with me.   But I found it hard to focus on the patterns in the fabrics for too long without feeling dizzy.   Nick doesn't understand why I am having vision issues.  I don't really either other than the fact that I had my brain messed with.  The space that was left when the tumor was removed will somehow have to fill up with healthy brain tissue.  That must be disruptive.    Anyway, it does confirm for me that I am not ready to drive yet!

We got a dinner from a member of our church the other evening, and another dinner last evening.  It is always nice when we (meaning Nick) don't have to cook!

Okay, now I am really going to bed.  As soon as I brush my teeth!



Thursday, July 24, 2014

Out of synch and out of sequence

I was going through all of the things I have written here in the last couple of years.  I discovered that I had not put titles on some of the posts, so they were called "drafts".  Well, I corrected most of that, but, since I did it today, those things I wrote 2 years or so ago are in the order that they would be in if I had written them today.

In the greater scheme of things it really is not important.  Just strange and confusing.  There is probably a really easy way to fix it, but I don't know it and I am not really all that concerned.

Not too bad for a woman with a brain injury!

summer 2012



We have been driving all day.  About 400 miles all told.  This is probably the longest drive of the trip.
We left Arizona this morning and are staying the night in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.  We stopped at the Petrified Forest National Park for a while.  It is so amazing to think that all those petrified trees were once upon a time real, wood trees.  One thing I learned was that all 50 states have petrified trees.  I have not done any research on this yet, but I was surprised and am fascinated.

We stopped for lunch at ArThe Hallelujah Trailby’s in Gallup, NM.   I remembered that in 1963, when I was 9, my family stopped in Gallup.  We may have even spent a couple days there.  What impressed me was that I saw a man with long hair for the first time in my life.  That man was Eddie Little Sky, a real Indian (that’s what we called him then).  He was amazing to look at.  An adult man with his hair tied up in a pony tail!  He told us that he was involved in the movie that was being filmed in Gallup, “The Hallelujah Trai”.  The actress Lee Remick and Burt Lancaster were in it.  We went to the set and watched some of the filming.  What a thing to see.  I don’t think that the movie was a great success, but we went to see it when it came out.

I saw Eddie Little Sky in other movies and always got a thrill, knowing that I had met him in person!
Somewhere along the way, maybe at the Petrified Forest, we met a couple from New Jersey.  They were in their Harley and the man had a huge, bushy, gray beard.   Later when we stopped to look at the Painted Desert, the same folks pulled in to the scenic overlook just after we did.  We said “hi” to each other and laughed.

As I have said in this blog before, Harleys bring my brother, Dale, back to me.  If only for a moment.
It was strange to go through Arizona and not know anyone there.   Ever since before we got married, my dad lived in Green Valley and then Tucson, where he died.  Nick and I stayed with my dad pretty much every time we were going overseas or were on our way home.  The first time with no children.  The last time I went with kids was probably in 1991.  Carol and I and all five kids went.
I saw my dad several times after that.  In Oregon at least once that I can remember, in 1996.  

The last time I saw my dad was probably 2000.  He was in a nursing home suffering with dementia.  The big, towering man I called “Daddy” all my life, had lost so much weight he didn’t look like himself.  But amazingly he was able to recite the Norwegian nursery rhyme he always recited when I was little.  And he translated it for me.

I have so many ghosts in my life.   Too many probably.  But I am lucky to have known and loved them in my lifetime.

Thursday August 24, 2012



Our trip is winding down.  Tonight is our last night in a campground.  Tomorrow night we are overnighting in Ohio.  Then we head for home on Monday.  We figure it will probably be late Monday when we get home.

The last few days have consisted of a lot of driving and some sightseeing.  I cannot remember it all now.  I’ll have to jot some notes so I can give the correct information next time I write.

Nick and I have really enjoyed the trip and each other’s company.  It’s funny, I brought along some CDs to listen to in the car, and we also brought a couple of audio books.  Nick recorded some Garrison Keillor and other comedy to listen to.  We did listen to a few episodes of Garrison Keillor and a little bit of music.  But, most of the time we enjoyed the quiet, or we talked.  Sometimes serious topics and sometimes so silly I could hardly talk.  We didn’t have any conflicts at all.  None.  How about that.

We talked about our kids.  They are all grown up, but it seems like they are just around the corner playing hide and seek.  How did it all happen so fast?   We talk about the old people we see, and realize they are probably the same age as us.  I wonder if they still feel like kids?  I feel like I am looking at the “grown ups” sometimes when I see these “old people”.

There is a movie, “Two for the Road” starring Albert Finney and Audrey Hepburn.   In one scene, the main characters are in a restaurant.  They notice a couple sitting together quietly.  One says to the other “what kind of people sit and don’t talk to each other?”  The other says “Married People”.   It’s true.  We often are quiet, not because we are angry or have nothing to talk about, it is because we are comfortable enough that we don’t have to fill in the silence.  There is no “uncomfortable silence”.

Both of us keep saying “wow, 40 years, that went fast”.  It really did.  We got married.  We had kids.  Kids grew up.  We got old, sort of.  How did all of that happen in what seems like a week or so?

This afternoon as we were driving to our destination; Shepherdsville, Kentucky, the GPS decided to take over the show.  We only had about 12 miles to go when suddenly it said we had another 28 miles.  We followed directions; I tell Nick what the GPS says because we keep it on mute.  We went off the highway, down some suburban street, down a few more streets turning here and there and we finally ended up back on the highway going in the opposite direction.  This was after driving around Louisville on their big, fast roads.  Many of the roads are elevated and there are a lot of bridges.  I do not like elevated roads and I am not crazy about bridges either.    Roads should be on the ground, not up in the air.  It is made more stressful (to me) when I don’t know the place at all.  I have no problem driving all over the D.C. area and the Beltway.   

By the time we got here I was a wreck.   Oh well, we are here and safe and alright. we had a good dinner and it was very reasonable.  I ordered from the "senior menu".

 I am so glad Nick does all the driving.  He is a calm driver to my crazy navigator act.

We are back on Eastern Standard Time, so it is late.  I should finish up for now.  There’s so much more to write.   Maybe I will write more tomorrow.  Maybe after I get home.



One more day

Technically

Sunday August 19, 2012

Lots of driving today.  We are now in Nebraska.    The corn we have seen "growing" along the roads we have driven has been so dry and burned looking.  Iowa's was bad and Nebraska's, it turns out, is pretty bad too.  It must be so disheartening to work so hard and have it all for naught. 

The sky in Nebraska is amazingly clear and blue.    I've shot loads of sky pictures which I hope to share at some point.

Right now, we are at another KOA camp and Nick is getting into a panic about what to do with the laundry   We washed it and it isn't quite dry yet.   Oh well.  

We "swam" when we got here.  Or I should say, we got into the water up to our belly buttons.  It was FREEZING!!!   It felt good though after driving for so long.

Last night the temperature in Iowa (we were near Des Moines) got down into the 40s.  It was wonderful to sleep with the windows open and wake to the cool air!

We are in Gothenburg, NE.  Nope, I never heard of it either.  Our cabin is right next to a field of small

Wednesday August 22, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

 
Preview
Preview

Wednesday August 22, 2012







Thursday August 23, 2012






Saturday September 8, 2012

This was something I wrote when Nick and I were on our cross country trip in 2012.  Somehow it had stayed as a draft and never got posted, so here it is now.

**************************************************

Our trip is winding down.  Tonight is our last night in a campground.  Tomorrow night we are overnighting in Ohio.  Then we head for home on Monday.  We figure it will probably be late Monday when we get home.

The last few days have consisted of a lot of driving and some sightseeing.  I cannot remember it all now.  I’ll have to jot some notes so I can give the correct information next time I write.

Nick and I have really enjoyed the trip and each other’s company.  It’s funny, I brought along some CDs to listen to in the car, and we also brought a couple of audio books.  Nick recorded some Garrison Keillor and other comedy to listen to.  We did listen to a few episodes of Garrison Keillor and a little bit of music.  But, most of the time we enjoyed the quiet, or we talked.  Sometimes serious topics and sometimes so silly I could hardly talk.  We didn’t have any conflicts at all.  None.  How about that.

We talked about our kids.  They are all grown up, but it seems like they are just around the corner playing hide and seek.  How did it all happen so fast?   We talk about the old people we see, and realize they are probably the same age as us.  I wonder if they still feel like kids?  I feel like I am looking at the “grown ups” sometimes when I see these “old people”.

There is a movie, “Two for the Road” starring Albert Finney and Audrey Hepburn.   In one scene, the main characters are in a restaurant.  They notice a couple sitting together quietly.  One says to the other “what kind of people sit and don’t talk to each other?”  The other says “Married People”.   It’s true.  We often are quiet, not because we are angry or have nothing to talk about, it is because we are comfortable enough that we don’t have to fill in the silence.  There is no “uncomfortable silence”.

Both of us keep saying “wow, 40 years, that went fast”.  It really did.  We got married.  We had kids.  Kids grew up.  We got old, sort of.  How did all of that happen in what seems like a week or so?

This afternoon as we were driving to our destination; Shepherdsville, Kentucky, the GPS decided to take over the show.  We only had about 12 miles to go when suddenly it said we had another 28 miles.  We followed directions; I tell Nick what the GPS says because we keep it on mute.  We went off the highway, down some suburban street, down a few more streets turning here and there and we finally ended up back on the highway going in the opposite direction.  This was after driving around Louisville on their big, fast roads.  Many of the roads are elevated and there are a lot of bridges.  I do not like elevated roads and I am not crazy about bridges either.    Roads should be on the ground, not up in the air.  It is made more stressful (to me) when I don’t know the place at all.  I have no problem driving all over the D.C. area and the Beltway.   

By the time we got here I was a wreck.   Oh well, we are here and safe and alright.  I am so glad Nick does all the driving.  He is a calm driver to my crazy navigator act.

We are back on Eastern Standard Time, so it is late.  I should finish up for now.  There’s so much more to write.   Maybe I will write more tomorrow.  Maybe after I get home.