Saturday, May 28, 2016

TToT115: Morning in NC

Somehow I am the only adult awake with four children seven and under (Christine scoffs, no doubt). I am thankful they are mostly independent, but I'm gonna make this brief because one or two are starting to call for breakfast.

Our drive was uneventful, and we started early enough to avoid the worst traffic.

My friend's son (who had the brain surgery) is going home today! Early because of his tremendous progress! He's relearned to walk without support, and he is already talking more than he did before surgery. Isn't that extraordinary?

Again, thankful for MD Anderson Cancer Center.

I am comfortable and happy and I figured out how to get the coffee started, and it's only the beginning of the long weekend.

But now there are tears and screams so off I go.

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Saturday, May 21, 2016

TToT114: Cold and Rain, Glimpse of Sun, Rain and Cold

You know those maps that show how we'll lose our coastlines due to global warning? I think we're on our way. I think Washington DC is slowly sinking under the weight of all this rain into the Chesapeake Bay. We will all slip under the Atlantic brine while wearing our parkas. My corduroys are thinning from over-wear, and my shorts languish on a closet shelf. This is untenable.

OK, OK, OK, we did see the sun a couple of times last week and for that I am thankful. But I need more than a few hours here and there.

And during one of those times, my son and I conducted physics experiments in the creek near our house. In other words, we raced boats. (And I'll grant a grudging thank you to the rain for making the creek a good place for boat racing this spring.) You won't be surprised to find rock boats were not so effective. Even short sticks tended to get stuck, and small leaves got drowned. But sturdy leaves and tulip poplar flowers? Those make great boats for racing.

When I was a kid, we did not have a creek near our house, but we lived in a rainy enough location (from whence I think I draw my rain hatred) that we raced our boats along the curbs to the finish line of the storm drain. I remember distinctly that the stiff, curved bark of a crepe myrtle tree made an excellent boat.

There is terribly sad news in this world. Horrible, unfair news. I say it's the rain that's got me down, but it's only partly that. I have a cousin who is very, very ill. He has a rare and aggressive cancer. He is also the older brother of the cousin who was tragically killed in a biking accident ten months ago. He has a wife and twin sixth grade boys, and he is one of my favorite people in the whole wide world. We are hoping he will qualify for a study at MD Anderson. I know some of you pray; I know others send positive thoughts and energies under different terminology. I ask that you do so on his behalf. His name is Dan.

I have my coloring books. Those have come in handy this week.

And my friend's son is doing so well! Learning to walk and talk again and transferred just this morning from the hospital to inpatient rehab for the intensive therapy he needs to retrain his brain. Two weeks there at most and then home again!

How about you? Thankfuls?

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Friday, May 13, 2016

TToT113: Will You Take Me Back?

...sneaks in hoping people won't comment on her excessive absence...

I'm here, partly out of duty, partly out of loyalty, and partly because once again the world has seemed to be a sad and scary place the last coupla weeks and I was needing it. I'm ready to count my blessings, one by one, after oh, so long. (And not because of a rather pointed (though kind, I know it was kind) comment made by one Dizzy Lahling (ha, I said it!). I made up my mind before; ask Lisa.) And in that vein, many, many sincere thanks to those who checked in on me and motivated me and made me know they missed me. There's ten alone. But also...

The sun is shining at this moment. As of yesterday, our nation's capitol was under a nearly-record-setting 15 straight days of rain. That's measured at National airport (we don't say Reagan at our house). Technically, we (north of DC) didn't get any rain on Mother's Day (thankful!), and we did get a bit of a sprinkle yesterday, which National did not (thereby ending the streak). Either way, we've hardly seen the sun for two weeks, and I am officially declaring myself a victim of SAD. Hence, the gratitude for the current, descending yet shiny, sun.

We've lived here in our house for three years now. And in those years, I've reached my maximum personal output regarding garden improvement. Lest you cluck disapprovingly at my gross motor output, I must note that I did dig up my own grass and build my own raised garden beds all by meself back in the day. I did have energy and gumption once upon a time. Now I am tired and my back hurts. Enter Alex of A&A Landscaping LLC, whom I now love more than my husband (jk). Alex and his team extended our garden beds out into our yard and and adjusted all of the crowded plants I had put in. Yesterday (while it wasn't raining but was exceedingly gray and dreary), Leo and I (mostly I) slogged about our swampy yard and planted and planted and planted. It's not just tomatoes and peppers this year, folks!!! Beans! Cucumbers! And more!

And the day I went to the plant nursery (it was raining, of course, and frickin' freezing), they were running a one-day sale on shrubs and climbing vines! Have you ever heard of a climbing hydrangea? I had not, but now I own one.

And as of today, my teeth are dentist-level clean, and it turns out I didn't remove an old filling through my excessive Starburst eating a month or so ago (that's what set off the weight gain, Graviteers). I did shift the filling (or maybe it was always a little too high?) so that it caused me to bruise a ligament (presumably through the excessive Starburst consumption--and btw, did you know teeth have ligaments? news to me) but Dr. Katie filed it down for me, and it should be as good as new. A woman hopes.

As a household, we are now knee-deep in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). It's challenging mainly from the paying attention and taking notes perspective, which has never been a strength of mine. But I like to think of this sort of experience as instructive. I am learning a new field! I am expanding my understanding! This can only be good, right? And, I think its been effective.

I have a good friend whose three-year-old had brain surgery this week (part of what has made my world sad and scary lately). They removed part of his brain that was having seizures. (Again, things I am glad to know that I didn't previously know: this is highly recommended surgery for young children with localized seizures--you take out a portion of the brain (the seizing part) and the rest of the brain takes over. Isn't the body amazing?!?) It was a long and painful process, and not to say recovery won't be long and painful too, but it's good to have the surgery phase done and over. I am not a parent in this case, so my grief and worry are not a consideration, but I do hope they allow me to feel for the parents. Brain surgery is a big deal even if the outcome is good.

There are other small thankfuls: that my son currently thinks it is fun to travel up and down our driveway on various wheeled (non-motorized) means of locomotion while I cook dinner (if it's not raining), that my daughter is settling in to sleep easier on weeknights, that my husband works as hard as he does for a job he doesn't love, that MD Anderson Cancer Center exists. That last one; that's a biggie.

I have much and more to be thankful for. This was a worthwhile way to spend my time. Thanks for reading.

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