Monthly Archives: July 2015

Breathe

Dad is home and doing well.  Thank you for all the support and good wishes.

The bees are liking the bee balm

The bees are liking the bee balm

I have allergies.  I’ve been doing allergy shots for 5 years or so.  Things are definitely better, but there are still a few weeks each year where I have to pull out all the stops.  This is one of those weeks.  Because of that, sitting in an air-conditioned hospital was not the most horrible thing for me to be doing.

I’ve missed some pretty dramatic thunderstorms these past weeks.  Either I’ve slept so hard I didn’t hear them or, like the night the tornado sirens went off, the worst has passed me by.  I’ve been grateful not to need to water the garden as I run out the door in the morning.

The lawn hasn’t been mowed, but the truth of the matter is that given the allergy conditions I probably wouldn’t be able to do it anyway.  I often quip that breathing is over-rated, but the truth is I’m kind of attached to it.

On a good day I can hit the top.  On a bad day…….

On a good day I can hit the top. On a bad day…….

I’ve been watching Dad work the spirometer post surgery.   He’s a champ.  So the other day I got out mine, “just to check”.  When your 79-year-old father whose just had open heart surgery literally blows harder it’s definitely time to hit the inhaler.  I had to work hard to get my numbers above the “you should really consider taking yourself to the emergency room” line.

Despite the allergies, being back to our “normal” routine feels like taking a deep breath.  The list of things I’ve “put off tending to” is long, but doable.  Orion and I went to the movies this weekend (so I could avoid making dinner as this theater comes with a menu.) which was fun for both of us.

Dinner and a movie.  We saw Pitch Perfect 2

Dinner and a movie. We saw Pitch Perfect 2

Now it’s Monday.  Rather than grumble I’ll be grateful for a new week to start.  I’ll be grateful for the summer weather and flowers that are pretty even through the window.  I’ll be grateful that my family is all where they belong and doing well. And I’ll remember to breathe.

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Open Heart

A long slow drip and a 3 hour ambulance ride to the heart hospital.

A long slow drip and a 3 hour ambulance ride to the heart hospital.

Those of you who are also friends on Facebook are aware that my Dad had a heart attack last week.  (Drove himself and my Mom to the hospital!)   Monday’s blog is coming our early because tomorrow at 11am he is scheduled for open heart surgery.  They are going to replace a valve in his heart with a pig valve.  (We’ve already started the teasing.)

It’s been almost 20 years since my Dad’s last heart attack.  He walks 45 min every day.  He watches his diet carefully.  The angiogram report was better this time than it was 20 years ago!  No one saw this coming.

He’s in good spirits, cracking jokes with the staff and generally causing trouble.  When they met the cardiologist asked about my Dad’s medical background.  Dad told him he’d worked as a psychiatric social worker years ago.  The cardiologist quipped maybe they’d met back then.  Dad, always quick with a straight line responded, “I don’t like to discuss my failures.”

Dad out enjoying the hospital balcony.  I spent a lot of post-surgery time here myself last July!

Dad out enjoying the hospital balcony. I spent a lot of post-surgery time here myself last July!

We’re all looking to get through this crisis but there’s still a ways to go.  Dad’s already planning to use this as his excuse to finally get an ultra-light canoe.  Thoughts and prayers are welcome, not only for Monday’s surgery but for the typically lengthy recovery.  (And for the sanity of those of us who are going to have to find ways around the lifting, driving and (as Dad is very pleased to tell you) vacuuming that he won’t be doing for awhile.)

Anniversary

Throwback selfie

Throwback selfie

I was thinking this month was my 3 year blogging anniversary.  I actually started blogging in 2011!  Typical of me.

My “history” has never been strong on the numbers.  I often don’t even know how old I am.  (I’m not willing to do the math.)  My children keep track, and I’ll ask them if I need a number.  Orion is happy to tell anybody how old I am.  Not sure I appreciate that as much as I could.

I was 23 for 3 years.  Really, it was a number I could remember and an age I believed in.  I even had an argument with my ex about it.  I was filling out a form, or he was, and needed my age – 23.  We went back and forth at some volume in public.  He finally turned to me calmly and said, “Which one of us knows how old we are?”  ooops.

Blogging is getting harder to do.  I am not looking forward to writing the way I was at the beginning.  I often find myself struggling for a topic.  I don’t think I’m ready to give it up, but in this next year I may be more willing to take an occasional break.  Maybe not.  I’ve been surprised before.

Readers have come and gone.  Not many of you comment, and so sometimes I wonder if I’m making sense.  On the other hand I continue to get more likes and followers.  I’m really grateful for my readers.  It’s been delightful getting to know those of you who take the time to write little notes.  It’s been encouraging to see small shifts in readership.

Blogging has been part of my daily practice routine.  Writing it requires being aware of what is happening in my life.  It requires being willing to step back and refine those moments, magical and mundane, into words.  It requires being challenged to open up and share my actual thoughts and feelings.  It requires being vulnerable and present.

I hope that I have, at least occasionally, succeeded.

Thank you for reading!

Too Much

At the lake with my parents

At the lake with my parents

It’s easy to idealize the simple small town life most of us only know from books and old TV shows.  4th of July in Mayberry RFD, or with the Gilmore Girls isn’t really a fair expectation.  Still, this year visiting “up north” with my parents it seemed very much like that kind of holiday.

Karina and Minnie waiting for the parade.  Not entirely without internet access….

Karina and Minnie waiting for the parade. Not entirely without internet access….

My parents don’t have an internet connection, which limits the amount of media available.  We still have the smart phones, and Orion listens to his playlist on his computer, but it’s less appealing to be plugged in.  They’ve lived up here in these small towns for almost 20 years and so everywhere they go someone stops to say hi!  There are things to do and people to meet that also discourage electronic connection.

Piquot Lakes High School Marching Band.  The director is my sister's co-worker.

Piquot Lakes High School Marching Band. The director is my sister’s co-worker.

The complaints of the weekend have been, “The ice cream cone was too big.”  “The fish (fresh out of the fryer) is too hot.”  “There’s too much sunshine and fresh air.”  We found ourselves taking daily naps, not typical for me, just because the weather was so perfect.

A classic.  That's Elsa from Frozen being pulled behind a tractor.  Apparently if you stop by the store you can get an ice cream and shake her hand.

A classic. That’s Elsa from Frozen being pulled behind a tractor. Apparently if you stop by the store you can get an ice cream and shake her hand.

We did all the things, but it never felt like we packed too much into a day.  We went to one of the small town parades.  Homemade floats and the high school marching band had all the nostalgia of one of those TV shows.  We went to see fireworks in the “big city”, Brainerd.  They do a fabulous job and the location is set up so you feel like you are surrounded by the lights and they are right there in front of you.

In Northern Minnesota you WILL visit Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox.

In Northern Minnesota you WILL visit Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox.

We also took an afternoon to go down to the lake.  We all got into canoes – even Orion.  It’s been years since I’ve done that, but the muscle memory is still there.  Karina and I took Minnie out with us.  The dog was not sure about that and her roaming around in the canoe was a little unsettling but eventually we worked it out.  The lake was calm, the breeze was cool, another perfect day.

Dad showing off his affinity for local wildlife.  At least it wasn't the bear!

Dad showing off his affinity for local wildlife. At least it wasn’t the bear!

We went swimming in the lake.  Karina and my Dad caught the fish that came out of the fryer “too hot”.  The ice cream cones may have been too big, but that didn’t stop us from going back another day.  There is a haze up here from the Canadian wildfires.  It makes the sunset bloody and the moon rise red.  I may have taken more regular hits off my inhaler than I would have at home, but with the air moving even that wasn’t problematic.

Wished I had better than my phone.  The fireworks were truly spectacular!

Wished I had better than my phone. The fireworks were truly spectacular!

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It’s definitely time to be back home, back in the normal routine.  There can be too much of a good thing.  With a little distance and a little nostalgia of my own I’ll appreciate having this weekend vacation even more.

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