Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Dogs should sleep inside - IT'S COLD OUT, FOR GOD SAKE!

This is a picture I took last spring in Florida while visiting my dad. I blew it up, framed it and am giving it to him for Christmas.

The beautiful thing about insomnia is that it truly gives you that time to think that you rarely get in a busy, normal day. Since I believe I've only slept for and hour and a half, since I went to bed last night at 10:25, I've had lots of time to think about our upcoming trip to the midwest. I thought of a great gift idea for my friends back home, but don't have any time left to buy them, nor room to pack them. We are leaving after work today to fly to Minnesota. I've also been able to remember that I forgot to pack a gift for Ella that I left in the trunk of my car. Good thing it's large and heavy because we have six or seven suitcases fully packed at this point. I'm sure I can squeeze in a toy ironing board with an authentically heavy toy iron.

It also allows you to keep track of things. For instance, I now know that my furnace makes a clicking noise, followed by a whirring noise before revving up into full "blowing" mode. I also know that it comes on about 3 times an hour. I know that before 12:40 am, I coughed approximately once a minute. After that time, the number significantly reduced until about 4:30 am when it started to increase again.
Another gift that insomnia has given me is the gift of patience. Since last summer there has been a dog in our neighborhood that barks excessively at night. I used to think that it was our next door neighbor. I like my next door neighbor - and his dog - so I used to try to ignore it. One evening, though, the dog was barking so much I ran out in the back to track it down. I live in a neighborhood with tiny houses. There are literally about seven yards in very close proximity to me. It could've have been coming from anywhere. I narrowed it down to the neighbor behind my garage. The one with the tall, white plastic fence. I can't really see their house so I don't know, when I drive down their street, which house it is exactly. Over the last few months, now that my windows are closed and I am back at work desperately coveting any and all sleep I can get, I am still awakened by this dog a few times a week. Each week I get more and more upset about this dog, but have yet to do anything about it. Well, this past night, I was able to listen to this dog bark - on average - 40 minutes an hour. As I listened to him/her bark, and bark, and bark, I found myself completely amazed by the energy this animal exhibits, yet also wondered WHAT THE HELL his/her owners do to sleep through all the racket. The latest conclusion I came up with (around 4:30 am) was that they must work the night shift.

One thing I have definitely inherited from my mother is the ability to worry the night away. Any and all anxieties circumvent in my head at night. I have been pretty sick with a terrible chest cold/flu thing since last Friday. I did work yesterday, but wasn't able to do much of anything to prepare for this trip, or Christmas, over the weekend or Monday. All of our packing occurred last night, so I'm sure we have forgotten a million things. Thus the insomnia.

The silver lining in all of this is pretty silver. Our original plan was to drive to Minnesota. We would take two weeks so that the drive wouldn't become the vacation. Life happens and things change. My new job had a shorter holiday break which didn't allow me to take off for two weeks. Chris' job never coordinates with him taking off two weeks, so we decided to fly. However - I had already "purchased" a ticket with frequent flier miles. The ONLY seat available for me was in first class. When we went to purchase three more tickets, we were able to get them on the same flight. Unfortunately, my husband (who had to work really late, but is still slumbering quite peacefully right now) will be back in Coach with my two-can't-wait-for-Santa-to-come-so-we're-going-to-be-EXTREMELY-high-strung-and-full-of-energy-until-he-does-children.

Because I'm pretty sure I was Catholic in a past life, I'll probably switch with him half way.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A year ago today

It's called an anniversary, but we're not having a party.

December 12, 2005
8:00 am
I didn’t sleep a lot last night. My mom was restless. Moaning and calling my name every couple hours. She hasn’t thrown up any bile since last night. My dad just called hospice and told them how bad things got yesterday. We thought she had an accident in bed, but it was a false alarm. We feel she needs a nurse to help us care for her. I’m so exhausted.
8:30 am
My dad just called again wondering why the social worker assigned to us didn’t know anything about my mom’s case. I tried to explain to him that she just started her day…that she probably needed to read the notes from the workers over the weekend. He is very upset.
9:30 am
Our social worker just showed up. She is very animated and loud, but strangely comforting. She and I just went in to greet my mom. She asked my mom if she would like to move into a hospital bed. She doesn’t. I spent another ten minutes explaining the benefits of keeping her head raised, etc. and she finally agreed. My back and arms are getting sore from running to her when she gags and holding her up.
12:30 pm
The social worker just left. There was much talk of hospice options, nurses, beds, pads, and funeral arrangements. She also told me that flying home tonight, and returning for the weekend, might not be a good idea if I want to be here when she dies. Our two to four week window has shrunk now to five days or so. The social worker mentioned that she saw a dramatic decline in my mom just in the time she had spent here.
2:00 pm
The hospital bed and wheel chair arrived. They set up the bed in the living room. Still waiting for the special bed pad that will make her more comfortable.
3:00 pm
The first nurse arrived. He’s male and seems nice enough. Doesn’t seem terribly able to gain any rapport with my mom, but he isn’t rude or anything.
4:30 pm
The bed pad arrived.
5:30 pm
My mom still moans and asks for me. I have been running in there a lot and don’t feel like the nurse is doing much. I started giving her pain pills and medication for her stomach yesterday. The nurse keeps asking me how much to give her. Isn’t that his job? I’m recording what we are doing and he is making a microwave dinner for himself. He set up camp at the dining room table and I believe he’s doing crosswords.
9:00 pm.
I just got off the phone with my good friend, Meg. She told me that she found out about her dad dying first thing when she woke up 28 years ago in December. I cried for her and for me. How awful. I feel very guilty for talking to Meg for over an hour. That nurse is not giving my mom the attention she needs.
11:00 pm
The new nurse just arrived. She is wonderful. Very grandma-like and very loving towards my mom. She is in the living room with a blanket over her lap. She has promised to check on my mom every half hour.

December 13, 2005
1:00 am
My mom stirred and made some noises. Enough to wake me, although I can barely sleep. Too much on my mind. I ran in to see her, but she didn’t open her eyes.
5:00 am
The nurse checked on my mom. She was sleeping comfortably with my dad at her side.
5:32 am
The nice nurse just woke me with these words, “Carol, your mom just passed.”

Monday, December 11, 2006

My nephew

My first photography "job." My brother and sister-in-law are going to use this photo I took for their Christmas cards. Posted by Picasa

Santa's helper

 Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 09, 2006


In high school, college, my twenties and early thirties, I was extremely social. I rarely did things alone. I had many friends, but never remember having to work at it. Life luckily just handed them to me and I had the time to maintain those friendships effortlessly.

Times change. You have kids, lose sleep and suddenly priorities change. I cherish my time alone. I don’t have a lot of girlfriends and it’s okay. Friends can be a lot of work. When I met Chris, I had a large social group. I moved from Minneapolis to Wisconsin and that group shrunk significantly. I stay in contact with one couple. When we moved to Utah, the few friends I had shrunk to even a smaller number. It's all been fine, though. Life with babies just consumed me.

Having more time at home now, I am suddenly aware that I am friend-deficient. Not that I really care, but it has just become more apparent. I have great neighbors – those friendships have come easily. In fact I cherish my Saturday night casual dinners with one couple in particular, but I think I’m finally ready. Ready to expand my friendship circle. Ready to call people and set up get-togethers. Ready to return phone calls (a problem I’ve had for the last few years). Ready to work at being a good friend.

I wait for Harry daily outside his school and watch the other mothers chit chatting. They all seem to know each other. I stand alone each day, leaning on the tree by the sidewalk, hoping that Harrison has remembered his lunchbox. Twenty five of 26 days, he forgets it in the bucket they store them in. Unlike in the past, I'm starting to feel a little left out.

However, I think I’ve met someone I might be interested in. She has a boy Harrison’s age, and a girl a little older than Ella, but in her class. We greet each other almost daily picking up our girls. We’ve had a few playdates with the kids so I feel like we’re on the right track. She’s lived in Utah a long time, but is originally from the Midwest and we seem to have a natural connection due to our upbringing.

She came over to pick up her daughter last evening and I offered her a cocktail. She excitedly accepted and ended up staying for a couple of hours. It was really easy, but I felt like I was on a first date. I told a lot of stories that started in the middle and had no ending. I apologized for a lot of things and felt a little self conscious about the flour all over my sweater (I was baking sugar cut-out cookies). She didn’t seem to mind and even helped with the dishes.

This may be the beginning of something wonderful.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

One of the many reasons I think she is the smartest girl on earth

Since I was about 18, I have struggled with my body image. I'm never satisfied but try very hard not to verbalize these feelings around the kids. I'm doing enough to screw up their childhoods without realizing it - this, however, is something I can control.

The last few weeks have been extremely hard. I finally stopped Weight Watchers and have started gaining some weight back. It's a cycle that I seem to go through over and over. I am not ready to throw in the towel - I still exercise about 5 days a week, but the holidays are really making it hard to just eat Boca burgers and veggies.

Tonight, I was in my room putting away clean laundry when Ella joined me and pushed me back onto the bed. My shirt came up a bit and exposed my stomach. I slipped up and expressed some honesty by saying, "Oops - Mama is getting big." Without missing a beat, she responded, "Oh no, your shirt is getting smaller." I laughed and corrected her, "I don't think so, Ellie. I'm just too big." Emphatically and loudly she stated, "Mama! Your shirt is getting smaller."

Friday, December 01, 2006