Sunday, November 23, 2014

Being Thankful

I first heard this poem in church about 15 years ago and it stuck with me..  It is called "Let us give thanks".

This year I add that I am thankful for my health and recovery from brain surgery.  Thankful for my family, including my mother in law, who turns 97 today.  Thankful for my husband, children, sister and the rest of my family.  Thank you for being in my life!


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Let Us Give Thanks - Max Coots
Let us give thanks for a bounty of people:
for children who are our second planting, and, though they grow like weeds and the wind too soon blows them away, may they forgive us our cultivation and fondly remember where their roots are.
Let us give thanks:
for generous friends … with hearts  .. smiles as bright as their blossoms;
for feisty friends as tart as apples
for continuous friends, who, like scallions and cucumbers, keep reminding us that we've had them;
for crotchety friends, as sour as rhubarb and as indestructible;
for handsome friends, who are as gorgeous as eggplants and as elegant as a row of corn,
and the others, as plain as potatoes and as good for you;
for funny  friends, who are as silly as Brussels sprouts and as amusing as Jerusalem artichokes, and serious friends, as complex as cauliflowers and as intricate as onions;
for friends as unpretentious as cabbages, as subtle as summer squash, as persistent as parsley, as delightful as dill, as endless as zucchini, and, who, like parsnips, can be counted on to see you through the winter;
for old friends, nodding like sunflowers in the evening-time, and young friends coming on as fast as radishes;
for loving friends, who wind around us like tendrils and hold us, despite our blights, wilts and witherings;
and, finally, for those friends now gone, like gardens past that have been harvested and who fed us in their times that we might have life thereafter;
for all these we give thanks.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Happy Birthday Nick

Nick had a birthday today, November 16th.   Yesterday we celebrated it a day early because  Chance was home from Richmond (college) and so we had Austin and Chance and Nick and myself. 

I made an angel food cake (gluten free) and Nick cooked burgers and fixings.

Today Nick and I went to Red Lobster with Nick's mother and we had a quiet, second birthday celebration.

The kids who are away from home texted their dad with birthday wishes.  Nick is a very loved father, and husband!

I took a few pictures of the cake yesterday and I will post them here.


Didn't have enough powered sugar to frost the whole cake, so I made a glaze
It's not easy to get a picture of Nick smiling!  He is conducting as we sing "Happy Birthday"!























Friday, November 14, 2014

My life right now

I sit and watch TV and feel sort of calm and sort of lost.  Like I just want to zone out.  I notice things around the house, that, at one time in my life would have either made me mad "why doesn't anyone see this mess but me", or energized into doing the tasks myself.  I have always been a list maker.   I make lists of appointments and lists of chores and tasks that need doing.  At least that I think need to be done.     I have lists saved in my computer that are titled "what Mom wants for Mother's Day 2006 (pick a year)".  These list are all made up of chores I would like to have done.  I don't really need any things.  And my kids don't need to spend money, but they can do physical labor.  Of course, they are all grown up now pretty much.

And now, at least today, I don't care.  I might tomorrow.   I do notice and appreciate when someone takes out the trash or sweeps the floor.  Or whatever.  I think I am just mainly feeling sort of worn out from being so overwhelmed.   This has not been the best year of my life.  Not the worst, but not the best either.

Funny though, the other day, when I was in the house all alone, I got really charged up.  I pulled the furniture out and vacuumed behind everything.  It felt so good.  I think maybe that is part of what I am living with too- the lack of solitude.  Not that anyone bothers me, that's not it.   I just want to be the only human in the house sometime.  I don't want to share the air with another person.  No, not all the time.  But some of the time.   I think I am a sieve.  My energy flows out when I am not alone and it flows back in when I am alone.   Yes, I am an extrovert.  But I still need to be alone.

I know the expression "a champagne life on a beer budget" or something like that.  I feel like I am a high energy person running on empty, or close to it.

As I said, I am a list maker.  If I don't' write down all of my upcoming appointments, of which there are way too many right now- I will forget something.

Here is my current list, and I am sure things will be added in as time goes by.

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Mom’s Schedule        

Mom’s Schedule        (updated December 1, 2014)


  December-January 2014-15   


Tu    December 2, Nancy for swallow study at P.W Hospital 2:00 pm

W    December 3, Gym with trainer at noon

Th    December 4, Nancy to neurologist 1:45

Sa    December 6, Chance’s birthday!
       Nancy to attend BCGW party

 Su    December 7, Christmas party at our house

Tu    December 9, Starbucks

Th    December 11, 11 am:  M&B Matters luncheon at La Madeline

M    December 15, Nancy to Dr Clayton

Tu    December 16, Starbucks

Th    December 18, LLL PM

Sa    December 20  8:30 pm sleep study

Tu    December 23, Starbucks

Th    December 25th, Christmas!!

M     January 5 Pulmonologist 10:00 am Reston Office   

M    January 26  11:15 Endocrinologist

W    January 28  7:00 am Endoscopy at Fair Oaks Hospital

Th    January 29  11:00 am Periodontist   



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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

This is what I wrote on Facebook today

So, my brain, according to the MRI, is fine.
 Having an eye exam next week to see if a new eyeglass prescription might help.
Meanwhile, I have a headache.
Went to my gastroenterologist and learned that I have dysphasia, also known as "difficulty swallowing". I have to have a barium swallow study done followed two weeks later by an endoscopy to see why my esophagus isn't working right. It was recommended that I eat pureed food since I have so much trouble swallowing. We'll see.
 And tomorrow I see my therapist in the morning and my periodontist in the afternoon to start work on dental implants. If I am not about to die, I might as well have working teeth!
Turning 60 has been much more work than I expected!


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Full moon

Actually, I think that the moon was a bit fuller (more full?) last night.  Either way, it is lovely.   I like to go outside and howl at the full moon.  Of course, unless I am alone or with young children, I risk being committed or arrested or something.

Thursday I went downtown (that means D.C if you grew up here), on the Metro.  My first time on the Silver Line on my own.   There's a good deal of walking to find the trains on the Reston end, and a good deal of walking- three + blocks to get to where I was going.  It was cold and drizzly and I was sweating in my efforts to walk fast and not be too late. And now I have a terrible cold.  Oh well.

I spend most of the day at the Breastfeeding Center of Greater Washington.   I have had a contract with the center for years, but since I have been "away" (dealing with my brain tumor), it seems like a good idea to come in and shadow other lactation consultants.  And to learn the new system of paperless reporting.

There are all sorts of items in the center that a new mom might want or need.   As a result, there are moms and babies coming in and out all day!

I enjoyed a mom who came in with her 4 months old to check out the baby's weight.  A beautiful, healthy, chunky baby it was.   I loved watching the interactions between the pair.  Mom says something, baby gazes into mom's eyes and smiles.  Mom smiles and coos.  When I compliment the baby, mom is so pleased with herself.   She says "can you believe that I did this all by myself".  Oh yes, I can.  I remember that feeling of amazing confidence and right.  Knowing that you have the milk and the love that it takes to build a baby is not something that can really be put into words.   It's the look on the mom's face and the way she carries herself.   The way the baby crinkles her face up before mom gives her raspberries in her neck because she knows that this is the dance that mom and baby do.   So symbiotic.   So perfect.  So intense, and so so fleeting.

This is why I love me "job".  I see new moms who are tired.  Exhausted to the point of tears.  They feel so unsure of what they are doing, and if they are doing it right.  Often they have their own mothers and partners saying what they think are helpful things.  And the mom is even more unsure.   This whole, small person depends on you for his very breath, it seems.   The baby cries, poops, looks cross-eyed and often has baby acne.   The new moms think that their baby is the most beautiful.  Sometimes wondering what they have done.  Where did this creature come from.   What was I thinking?  And then they try to nurse and it hurts.

I try so hard to help these moms as if they were my own daughters.   I hear them.  I understand most of their feelings, and I listen.  Sometimes I hug.  I give back rubs and breast massages.  I don't do diapers or baby baths.  I do not want to take the baby from the mother, I want to give the baby to her.

I know that there are times when it just doesn't go as planned.   And we have to improvise.   Babies become attached to eating from a bottle and mom feels rejected.   Mother in law tsk tsks and says "I never had any trouble with breastfeeding"  or "I didn't breastfeed and all of my kids turned out fine".  Yeah, not helpful, but grandmothers feel at a loss and helpless too.

The best moments are the ones where I get the mom to latch on and laugh at the joy of "getting it".   I have put so many moms to bed with their babies and shown them how to enjoy nursing and resting at the same time.

When I see the moms and babies at my Breastfeeding Cafe' every Tuesday, I am so pleased to see these now confident moms and happy babies.  And watching the "regulars" warm to the new, tearful mothers and comfort and welcome them.  They share stories and resources and phone numbers.

Mostly I sit and knit and observe.   I am there if there's a question.   I feel like the mother hen.   It makes me happy.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

It's that time of year

Days are getting shorter and so are tempers and moods.  I love the winter and the snow and cold.  I do not like how short the days are though.   It makes it harder to enjoy somehow.

My life has been a merry go round of appointments it seems.   And one appointment leads to more appointments.    Raising five kids and getting them all to the dentist and orthodontist, but sick appointments and routine appointments, I probably spend more time in doctors and dentists offices that I can even remember.

So, why is it now all about me?   I guess it is at least in part because I am over 60 now.  Maybe having a brain tumor is part of is.  And a goiter.   And all the other stuff.  I have made three different appointments this morning with three different specialists.  I guess that makes me special!

I am not sure what "normal" is, or even what normal is for me.   I do very well actually.  I can talk (boy can I).  I can drive.  I go to the gym.   I am funny!    But somewhere in there I hope that I can be better.  To "get" better.  

I guess I've gotta have a plan.    Maybe that's why I have a headache.  My brain is really trying to get me organized!

But for now, I need to eat breakfast, take a shower, vote, and go to be with "my" group of moms and babies at Starbucks.  And maybe knit too.