Sunday, September 1, 2013

My Happy Place

I don't know what it is about standing on the beach next to the ocean that makes me feel such an inner peace, but I feel like I could just close my eyes and let it take me away.

It's different from being at a lake. I don't know if it's the sound of the waves or the seagulls overhead, or just the unbelievable size of the body of water, but I am always overcome, sort of lost in a daze. I'm content with just walking along the edge, maybe dipping in up to my waist, but I have never had a desire to challenge it's strength. If you offer me a cruise, I will most likely turn you down. There's just something "too big" about it that I can't explain.

So for me, it is always a special treat that I will never take for granted. If I walk away with tears in my eyes, I may not even know why.

For two years in a row I have had the privilege of enjoying the beach on the east coast because we were lucky enough to be there for weddings. So far there is nothing planned for summer that I know of, so I may just have to take my daughter and go sit on the beach with her and let her feel the rumble of the ocean. I think we're about due for a mother/daughter vacation. I would love to see if it has the same affect on her.


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Have I Lost It? Hmmm....

I have been spending so many weekends alone this year because my back has kept me from traveling. Just ask my husband. He has spent just as many weekends alone at the lake. I don't feel completely bad for him, because most weekends he has enjoyed the company of our amazing friends that we have at the lake, but I know that he would like to have me by his side. I am usually the loud to his quiet, the slightly naughty to his well behaved, definitely the duster to his non-duster. And although he seems to have been able to hold his own, he's lonesome too. I can just imagine the divorce rumors that have been floating around from those people that don't know us that well. Oy!

So, in my boredom I decided it was time to make some new friends. I swear that I have watched every single show that Comcast has to offer. If I have to watch another CSI rerun I am going to scream! So today I was just laying here with my headphones on listening to music with my eyes closed imagining that I was at a great summer concert. Here's where you can decide that my being cooped up is truly making me lose my mind. I swear, no narcotics have been handed out yet. I am looking so forward to that day! The countdown has begun. 25 days and counting.

Anyway, I have three glorious ice packs that have been serving me well, and I have decided to name them. Yep. If they are going to be my weekend company, then I might as well look forward to seeing them and greet them like the old reliables that they are. Please don't call anyone. I know how ridiculous this is.

Ice pack #1 has to be Bruno Mars. I have to believe that if he was sitting here on the bed serenading me about how he "SHOULD have brought me flowers and held my hand, and taken me to EVERY party because all I wanted to do was dance", I would be feeling a heck of a lot better right now. Yep. Sing it Bruno.

Ice pack #2 has to be PINK, without question. She would have to be the best girlfriend to party with EVER. Can you imagine how much fun it would be to dance and sing with her! I love everything that PINK stands for. If she called me right now and asked me to come over for a swim and a long island iced tea, I would so go! That girl is fierce. I swear there isn't anything her voice can't do.

And Ice Pack #3 has to be Adam Levine. If you have to ask why, you are not a female. OMG! This wasn't my image of choice, but I wanted to keep it PG-13. lol!

And there you have it. It only took me fifty years to officially lose it. I'm off to enjoy Ice Pack #1. Later.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Patient or Patience?

*Written with Janey's permission
**Terrible cell phone quality photos

Contact Information for Mom
Luther Hospital, Room  4121, 715-838-3414
Eau Claire, WI

I decided to put the update on my Mom (usually referred to as Janey) on my personal blog.
It gives me the option to expand on information, and the option for people to read it if they want to, or not. If you don't want to read the technical stuff and just want to read about a prank my silly Mom pulled on a nurse, head to the bottom. I will put it there. So, here is what we know today. 

We have to learn to be very patient. Yep, that's what we have to learn. The doctor made his visit this  morning, and there has been very little change in Mom's INR since she was admitted to the hospital on Monday. An INR in layman's terms references the clotting tendency of blood, taking in to consideration the use of warfarin dosage, liver damage, and vitamin K status. Mom's level is 1.1. It was at 1 when she was admitted to the hospital, and it needs to get up to a minimum of 2 before they will even consider letting her go home. In 2010 when she had pulmonary embolisms in both of her lungs, it was eleven days before she reached that level. This time there are "only" clots in her left lung, so maybe it will only be ten days? We're thinking positive!

She had an echocardiogram done to check the condition of her heart, and there were no negative results. We were really glad to hear that. The doctor's concern was that she may have a small hole in her heart that was allowing clots to pass through. Don't quote me on that one. We got so much information on how the clots can travel through the body that my brain was hurting by the time he left! I can definitely see why it is SO important that people have someone with them to have a second set of ears when listening to results, making major medical decisions or getting information on how to take multiple medications.

Also, when a body is under stress, it has a big affect on diabetes. This happened the last time also, so the hospital staff is working with mom to try to get that regulated again. She feels like a pin cushion! Her blood is tested before every meal, at bedtime and for whatever other tests they need during the day. 

On the bright side, she is in wonderful spirits. She is a tough lady who doesn't like to be laid up, so she is definitely getting stir crazy, but she's very thankful that she recognized the signs  of the embolism much sooner, and went to the clinic. She said she had to do something to get me to come home and visit her. Ohhhh Mom......

Carsten (her adorable boyfriend) got pretty tired out from all of the stress of the situation, as well as staying overnight at the hospital with mom the first night. They had brought a cot in to mom's room so he could get some "rest", but the nurses were in constantly drawing blood and checking on her, and some times when they came in they would actually have to fold up his cot and take it out of the room. Carsten is 88, and even though he is no where near that age in his own mind, his body gets tired. So, on Tuesday night I took him home for some rest. He decided it would be best to stay home for a couple days and get back on his feet. Carsten has congestive heart failure, so it's extra important for him to take care of himself. I picked up a reading light for him to use in the hospital. He thought that was pretty awesome. :) I think he is adorable. 

So, as for what my Mom did to that poor nurse:

I needed to use the restroom, so we decided we would go for a walk together down the hall. Just as we were going to leave, mom got a phone call. I told her I would be right back. In typical Janey style, she didn't wait for me. She headed down the hall looking for me. 

She's walking down the hall with her IV pole, hooked up to all kinds of tubes, and she's sort of near the elevator area. A nurse went walking by her, and Mom looked at her with a perfectly straight face and said "I'm going home". Amazingly, this nurse just kept on walking. Seriously! 

I headed back to Mom's room and found her out in the hallway. I asked her if she still wanted to go for a walk and she said "absolutely". So we're walking down the hall and she starts telling me this story. We both laughed so hard that we couldn't even walk. My mom...

Later in the evening her Heparin drip had run out. Apparently it's such an awful medication that it needs to be signed by two RNs, so Mom's nurse called for a nurse to come in and co-sign with her. Anyone want to guess which nurse came walking in? Yep. The nurse that probably thought my Mom had escaped from the Psychiatric floor. Amazingly, she still didn't say anything! She must be a nurse in her own world. 

Have a safe evening everyone. Don't forget to tell your loved ones that you love them. It's never too early. <3

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Sound of Silence

The most peaceful place I can think of.

I have had a lot of time on my hands (or back) to think lately, and I'm not sure if it has given me clarity or confusion. This post may end up all over the place, but my hope is that by the end of it, all of the little scattered pieces will come back together to make sense.

For those of you reading this who haven't followed my other blogs, I have been somewhat laid up with back issues for several months. I can function, I just can't travel or sit for more than a few minutes at a time. Now that our children are grown, the majority of our social life takes place at our lake home, which takes, you guessed it, travel. So, I often send my husband and dog Brutus on their way on Friday afternoon to enjoy themselves at the lake, and I stay behind with the three cats to keep me company.

I'm sure there were gasps out there. What??? He leaves you there alone every weekend? Trust me, most weeks I am more than happy to see those boys go! I can honestly say that I love to be alone. I make that statement, but it's only partially true. I love to be alone.....MOST of the time.

I have referred to myself before as being somewhat anti-social, and my friends have laughed at me. To be honest, that's my fault. On Friday nights when we meet up with our group of friends at the lake, it isn't uncommon to laugh and talk and have a great time well into the morning! What they don't know is that it will often take me a week of being alone to refuel for another weekend of fun. There are people who love to go out to shop and eat and visit often. I'm just not one of them. I fall in to that "occasional" category.

I also have depression, and often feel tired. I have thought about this aspect of my personality too because there was a time in my life when I did feel much more of a need to get out and about, but I have had depression for the majority of my life. I don't think that there's any denying that depression and the medications to keep it in check can take a toll on a person's energy. Plus, depression has a tendency to have it's ups and downs. My personal experience with depression is something that I don't discuss openly with very many people, not by my choice, but simply because it makes people uncomfortable. It's still a hard illness for many people to understand. I look normal and healthy, so what's the problem? I think that we've made HUGE strides, but there is still a long way to go. If anyone was ever to ask me about my experience, I would never hide it. My personal feeling is, if we don't share we don't learn, and learning means moving forward and growing. Moving forward means familiarity which gives comfort and often means acceptance. There was a day when people thought cancer was contagious. Now we can all see how wrong that thought process was. Information is invaluable.

I'm going to jump again here. Today I read an awesome blog written by an artist by the name of Kim Klassen. I actually took a class from Kim to learn how to use Photo Shop. She lives in Canada, and gives online classes that are amazing. Anyway, she had written about being an introvert, and it took me by surprise. Here is this amazing woman who teaches classes, travels to give lectures and sells artwork. She is known in many countries, and, she is an introvert? It didn't jive. Then I read her story, and it was like I was reading about myself! She talked about using her social energy for a big event and then needing complete quiet to rejuvenate. YES! I totally understood what she was saying. She writes so beautifully. Actually, everything she creates is beautiful. I highly recommend reading her story. Could I possibly just be an introvert?    Thoughts on Being An Excellent Introvert

Nothing like a small town bar
The last lost road in this story I want to bring in is my photography. It is something that brings me so much peace and happiness. The summer Don gave me my new camera I was living at the lake. I was able to wander around during the day snapping photos of anything that inspired me. I hadn't learned how to do any editing yet, so everything I did was a new learning experience as far as taking pictures was concerned. There were times when I didn't talk to anyone but the dog for three days in a row, but I was in heaven. The weekend would come, Don would show up and the social fun would begin. On Friday night, without fail our large group of friends would gather at the local tavern on the lake. Phone calls didn't need to be made, and no one was left out. There seemed to be an unspoken rule that if you were available, you showed up, and most often we all did. Saturdays we sometimes had dinner with just one or two couples for a quieter evening. Once Sunday rolled around, Don would have to leave and the weekly routine would begin again. We don't have cable TV at the lake, so aside from nature, it was mostly silence. As good as this sounds (to me), here's the bad thing. I have gotten so used to having this silence now that I tend to get a little pissy, yes, I said pissy, if there is any unwanted noise around me, or if I have more than one thing scheduled to do during the week! That can't be good.

My Beautiful Daughter
The only time that taking pictures doesn't make me happy is when I'm photographing people. I say that because I have yet to photograph a willing participant. My heart takes pictures that are candid. I don't like photos that are posed. Obviously, some can be posed to a degree, but the whole "sit perfectly and smile" thing just doesn't work for me. I love pictures of laughter, talking, movement and love. My all time favorite picture of my daughter is a side view that was snapped of her while we were on the boat at the lake. It's so relaxed and gorgeous. She is such a beautiful girl all on her own, but she hates having her picture taken. By taking this candid shot, I was able to catch a natural moment of happiness. It also may go to the difference between practicing something that you are book trained to do and practicing something that you do instinctively. Telling me about aperture or shutter speeds isn't going to impress me, but capturing a gorgeous flower with the morning dew on it will. 

So, to bring it all together. Am I anti-social, depressed, introverted or in need of total isolation? BAH!!!

Drag's Pizza = YUM!
Here is what I think. I may be anti-social in the sense that I don't like to do stuff ALL the time, but you will never find someone that loves their family and friends more than I do. When you do see me, I am warm and huggy, and every one of those hugs is sincere. Fair warning; If you are narcissistic or have willingly hurt an animal, chances are you won't be on my friend list. I am a big animal lover and advocate, and probably won't give a rip about how great you are. Do something for someone else, and I will be impressed. Also, if you really want to see me, just ask me to go to Drag's Pizza in Rice Lake, WI, for a deep dish pepperoni pizza and I will be yours for the night! I have yet to find a better pizza, and trust me, I have tried a LOT! I miss my Friday nights with friends at the lake so much, and honestly, I think that a person NEEDS their friends. There's nothing better than a night of belly laughing for a little free serotonin!

Yes, I have depression, but it's nothing new. It's something I will always have, and as much as I try to let it not define who I am, there are times that it does. If you feel me pulling away from you, I'm sorry. When I am feeling blue I tend to withdraw even more. Part of it is that I feel physically so much more tired, but I also feel the need to just protect myself and heal. Hopefully you know me well enough by now to know that if I am actually upset with you, I will care about you enough to talk to you about it. I would never play games and just be mad at you. That is so not cool to do!

I truly am the happiest with the sun in my face and my camera in my hand. I love it. What can I say. I know that there have been times that I have started talking about how much I love it, and you have felt like crossing your eyes, but you have sat there and listened patiently. Thank you. I am not amazing or great at photography, but I feel passionate about it. If everyone in life could be lucky enough to find something that they can do that they feel passionate about and love,  it would be so amazing. I didn't find photography until I was in my mid forties, so don't give up. You never know when something might land in your hands that sends an excitement through you that you can't explain.

Even after going through all of these things, I still haven't figured out why I need the amount of silence and alone time that I do. One thing I do know for sure is that I am far too complicated to put just one label on. So, let's go with this; I am a person with many different aspects to my personality, that just happens to require many hours of silence and alone time per week. How's that.

I hope that you and your beautiful complicated self have a lovely day,