Thursday, December 24, 2015

A few personal pictures from Christmases past

Ah, the memories!

The year was 1979. This Santa was obviously an impostor.

My room in either '87 or '88 with my old Ambassador 2020 shortwave radio and QSL cards all over the walls!

Also in 1987, the one year we got the famous chemical covered Christmas tree. We're lucky the thing didn't spontaneously combust.

My great-grandmother opening her annual box of Christmas candy in '87.

Another view of the '87 tree.

Yet another view of the 1987 tree and this time the California Raisins are having a party under it. Also, note the Rodney the Reindeer which I still have and display every year.

A camera misfire of Christmas dinner.

I think this is Christmas 1988 and there is another box of candy, of course!

Real trees. This was one of the better ones we had, probably in 1989.

This tree was a disaster. I think this was in 1990.

Another view of the disaster tree. It looks more like an overgrown hedge than a tree!

A white Christmas! I believe this was in 1993 and this is taken from the porch at my parents house.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Birthday party in the garage!

Finally, tonight is my youngest daughter’s birthday party. No, her birthday is not tonight and it’s not even next week. It’s not until December 9th. Why she wanted to have it tonight is beyond me. I just work here and I do what I’m told. Unfortunately, she wanted another outside shindig like we had for oldest daughter a few months back but we are getting a ton of annoying rain today so that is not going to happen.

We ended up turning the garage into a party room instead. Hopefully, they will find it adequate. They don’t do much at these parties. They stand around, talk, giggle, and barely eat. I just don’t get it but it seems to be what they enjoy and at least they are not out causing the mischief!



Saturday, October 31, 2015

I missed a few days

It’s been very busy. That’s my excuse. Sara (my oldest) had a birthday yesterday and we had to have her whole crew/posse/whatever the kids call it now over in our backyard. Why kids like standing around in a backyard for three hours is beyond me but they seemed to enjoy it. We certainly put enough work into getting everything set up.





I think we worked on getting things ready for this all week. It seems like there is always something to do. I still have to clean up the firepit after I get done writing this but that is the last thing. Today is Halloween and we have no candy to pass out so obviously we’re going to have to keep the lights off and hide in the back of the house. I tried that last year and it worked wonderfully.

In hospital news, not much has changed. I think my mother is hanging in there and just needs to get over the hump of getting off the respirator. It’s a numbers game. There are so many different things the doctors are monitoring and all of them are slowly improving. But it’s going to take time. The improvement comes in very small steps. I know I would be going nuts just laying there all day.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Day 28 and other thoughts

Life is now all about a continuous back and forth between hospital life and normal before hospital life. I am trying to settle back into a normal work schedule and returning to some of the things I enjoy doing (podcasting, blogging, etc.) while also still spending time at the hospital where I have been assured that no news is good news so no real change, positive or negative, is about as good as we can expect and things might stay this way for a while.

I miss writing here. I updated the blog to winter colors today and that matches the dreariness of the weather we have been having lately quite perfectly. Of course, there is no snow (there is rain instead) but it is gray and gloomy (perfect pre-Halloween weather) although it doesn’t feel like Halloween. I haven’t pulled out one decoration this year and that’s the first time that has happened since we moved into this house. There is just no time to fool with it and I don’t think the kids really care about it any more so it what’s the point is where I ended up on that.

I’ve been reading quite a bit lately. I talked about that some on the podcast today but you can also follow my reading endeavors on Goodreads. I’ve been reading real books again so my Paperwhite is just resting on my bedside table, another thing ignored here in the new way of things. I have also stopped watching television. I haven’t seen any new shows this fall and doubt I will. None of that stuff seems important at this point.

I am keeping up with podcast listening and YouTube videos. They are nice distractions. My new Nintendo 2DS is also a fantastic distraction although I don’t fiddle with it as much as I would like. I stay tired most of the time and I seem to be building a resistance to coffee so I am pretty much exhausted when I get home from the hospital and typically end up going directly to bed or I linger on the couch half-asleep until I give up and go to bed.

That’s how it is lately. I am hoping that NaNoWriMo will keep me busy. I would like to finish again this year although I have not figured out what I want to write about yet. I didn’t figure it out until the day before it started last year so I guess that is fine. Maybe something interesting will come to me.
I’m going to try to get back over here each day with at least a small update. We’ll see how that goes. I also have the podcast and this blog auto-posting to my Tumblr now so Up In This Blog is now one-stop shopping for all things me! I know that’s exciting. (Meh.)

I hope all is well with you. Let’s keep on keeping on, shall we?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Day 23

I struggle sometimes to remember what life was like before all of this began. That’s my main thought this morning as I write this update and as I look at the calendar in which I track the days. Day 23 of the whole ordeal, day 14 in ICU.

I’ve spent so much time at the hospital that the cafeteria cashier has tried to give me an employee discount. Currently, I try to work at home in the morning, go up to the hospital for lunch, come back to work for a bit and then go back to the hospital in the evening.

My mother’s condition is unchanged and we know we are running out of time. We met with the doctors Monday. We agreed to wait until today to see where we stand. Today, we have to get aggressive (more surgery) or stop. My mother said many times that she does not want to be hooked up to machines but that is where we are and where we will be after surgery. And, we don’t know the length of time or what the future looks like at this point.

If we proceed, we’re rolling the dice. She could end up exactly as she does not want to or she could improve. Unfortunately, she never filled in any directives to guide us. I had records pulled from her cancer surgery in 2007 and she refused to fill out the living will per the record. I guess she assumed I would do what was best. She signed the consent form to put me in charge here also so the decision is mine and, as I write this, I am still not sure what to do.

I know that this current life is not one she wants and I don’t know if the future is promising enough for her to want that either. I just have a hard time walking away while there is still a chance. The doctors have not said that there is not a chance. It’s just too hard to tell what will happen. Things could get bad but the possibilities are still there.

That’s where we stand today. Maybe by this afternoon, the picture will become clearer.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Day 12

A lot has happened since I last updated here. I am wri􀢢ng this post in ICU where my mother has been since her emergency surgery Thursday afternoon. All three of us, my parents and myself, found ourselves on Thursday at the point where a decision had to be made - death within one to three days vs. emergency surgery and a 25 % chance of survival. The doctors laid out the best case scenario and it was not pretty at all.

We are not at all out of the woods yet. We’ve been told it is still hour to hour. If she does get through this phase of the ordeal, recovery is going to be very difficult. I think I have been through every possible emotion of the last 12 days since this started with an ambulance ride to the emergency room. I find myself fluctuating between the peace of knowing we have done what we could and the guilt
of knowing that this is a terrible ordeal for my mother to go through with no guarantee that things will work out.

My goal is to return to work Monday after being away for nearly two weeks. I have decided that I need to get back to at least a bit of normality. My father is here a lot of the time so that covers us during the times I cannot be here. I am not sure what the long term will bring us. There are times that I have a tough time remembering what life was like before last Tuesday because since last Tuesday, we’ve been swept up in the ups and downs so much that there is not much room for anything else.

I was sitting in the car earlier for just a few moments of private time. The windows were down and the fall breeze was flowing through. It is a perfect day for marching band contests and football games. Those days seem so far away now.

I feel like I’ve aged ten years in the past twelve days. But, I have faith that many normal days lie ahead and no matter what the outcome ends up being here, we have tried. Some􀢢mes that is the most you can do.

Thank you to all of you who have reached out via various ways. I have not listened to a podcast in a long time but I hope to hear from all of my fellow podcasters again soon.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

A personal note

I started this blog as my mother was first diagnosed with cancer, mainly as an outlet and a diversion during what was a very difficult time for her and for our family.

This past Tuesday afternoon, my mother became seriously ill. As I write this, she remains hospitalized. I recorded this update yesterday as I drove back to my home from the hospital before the conversations we had today with the doctor.

As of today, we are having to accept the fact that there is a strong possibility that she will not recover.

There is much to do, much to accept, much to remember and much to reflect on and although I have tried to prepare myself for this day, knowing that the situation was becoming worse over the last few months, it is still a very difficult time for me.

This is why I have decided that I need to take an indefinite break from my online activities including Twitter, the blog and the podcast.

Almost thirty years ago, my mother cut out an article from Ann Landers and shared it with me. I have had a copy of it all of these years (I am looking at it now). On Wednesday night, I was going through some of her papers and found the original. In the article there is a poem which I feel is quite appropriate to share at this time.

THE TIME IS NOW
If you are ever going to love me,
Love me now, while I can know
The sweet and tender feelings
Which from true affection flow.

Love me now
While I am living,
Do not wait until I’m gone
And then have it chiseled in marble,
Sweet words on ice cold stone.

If you have tender thoughts of me
Please tell me now.
If you wait until I am sleeping
Never to awaken,
There will be death between us
And I won’t hear you then.

So, if you love me, even a little bit,
Let me know it while I am living
So I can treasure it.