Saturday, December 31, 2011

What's In a Dream

I don't dream a lot or rather I don't remember my dreams. I also don't sleep a lot and if I sleep in I tend to feel sick and lethargic all day. I'm not really a "short sleeper" because I do sleep a bit more than six hours a night and I don't have the other traits such as fast metabolism (darn) but I digress. My husband and kids are always telling me about their dreams which really is boring. Unless you were there, they don't make sense. I used to dread when my older two would start out on the drive to school with "last night in my dream" I don't know why that bothered me so much but it did.

So last night, I went to bed and woke up with my alarm at 6:00 AM. I decided that since it was really the last day of Christmas Vacation and I'd have to start up with the 7 AM carpool again next week that I'd stay in bed a bit longer. I woke up frequently because I'm not used to being in bed past 7 AM but then fell into a really deep sleep around 8:30. I was dreaming about all of us kids helping mom with some yard work and then for some reason I went inside a building I came around a corner only to see my dad standing there. He was my dad of maybe two years ago, not quite as sick and with just a mustache and no beard. He was wearing his red coat and had his cane. But he wasn't really using it. I walked over, which is funny because I would run if I could see him again. We hugged and I told him I missed him. I told him I wanted him to come back. But I never said any of those things, they were just assumed. Then he said "Heaven is just like Jesus said it would be." He turned and walked away. I woke up and was really happy for a moment and then really sad. But sad in a "I miss him so much, but know he's better off" kind of sad.

A few of my friends on FB say is was a vision or it was really him. I don't know. I'd like to think it was. I do believe there is more to life than this but I don't know exactly what I believe. I am a cradle Catholic so I grew up with the belief in heaven and God and Jesus but sometimes I question it. Well, often I question it. Dad had a near death experience in 1984 and he said he was not afraid of death. He said he's never experienced such peace in all his life. For that, I am happy. I want him to be safe, happy and at peace.

Friday, December 9, 2011

SWAT Team, An Ugly Sweater and a Christmas Cactus

The holidays seem to be a time where everything overlaps. AHHH. I would love to just have a low key couple of weeks but someone killed my work week. (AHEM, I make my own schedule so what was I thinking?!) I took an extra shift on Wed. night to run the code purple drill. Our emergency guy spent 1.5 years coordinating this drill and needed people. I love a good drill so I said I could do it. We all assembled at 8PM in the vacated CNC building for instructions and assignments. I wanted to be a hostage until it came time. They asked for ten volunteers and about 20 people raised their hands. Hospital workers are weird! The hostages were taken out for instruction and the rest of the assignments were made. I chose to be a patient but in retrospect I should have been a visitor or care provider.

We got wanded to make sure we didn't have any weapons and then were told to find a place that we might be when an event happened. I went into a room and sat on the table. Did exactly what one would do and scoped out the room, discovered I had a locking door and then went to the bathroom so I wouldn't pee myself during the exercise. It takes a long time to "wand" 100 people so I decided to hang out in the hall chatting. A cute nurse from internal and I started talking and she decided she would just come in my room when the drill started. 9:03, a guy walked in and started yelling profanities asking for Dr. Walker saying he was going to kill him. I am apparently a total chicken because my RN friend wanted to watch what was going on and I said, NO get out, hide out, take out!!!! We are hiding. I know, I'm a total procedures geek. I can also tell you what RACE and PASS stand for.

I shut off the lights, locked the door and pulled a scanner to hide behind. Definitely the adrenaline was pumping, they had air soft guns and were using simulated gun shots. That guy was scary as hell! I've never heard more F-bombs in my whole life. He did try to get in our room but couldn't. This was not an exercise for the weak of heart or innocent vocabulary. Then it got boring. The cops raced up and we saw that from the window, we heard helicopters hovering and then silence. Complete silence. That was kind of weird. What was going on? Should we open the door? Finally, the RN decided to look outside because help out is that last part of a code and we needed to see if anyone was dead or injured outside the door. Nothing- no one-eerily quiet. So we waited and listened and debated what to do next. In a real situation we would have just waited for the police to find us, but we kind of didn't want to get left there and miss the debrief. I told her that since five of my co-workers were there someone should notice we were missing. She said good, because she was the only one there from her area so one would notice if she was missing. It reminded me of the time when we were kids playing kick the can and Brandon Monson didn't get found. He was hiding forever and finally came out after the game had ended and everyone had gone home.

Finally we decided to open the door. Just as SWAT was clearing the area. Nothing like opening a door to find someone in the hall with a rifle and full gear looking around. We knew better than to startle them so we had opened the door slowly, stayed low and kept our hands visible. They yelled at us to go back in. We did and I hid again, I didn't want them busting open the door and killing me. Then we heard someone say this floor has been swept and is clear. UM no, what about us? Then someone said, "there is a girl in that room" We waited and waited and they finally pounded on the door and yelled to open up, police. Then I though, how do we know they are police? What if the guy had broken free, killed everyone and came back to kill us? OK too many horror movies. My new friend opened the door and they yelled at us to get down with our hands up. We did. Then we had to lace our fingers behind our heads and get up. Finally they told us to go. We had to walk past 25 guys in full gear all pointing their rifles at us. We were sent back down to debriefing where all my co-workers were waiting with coffee, hot chocolate and treats. Our CNO was shot in the head and dead. Sad, I kind of like her.

I kind of wish I had decided to be a visitor in the hall because then I could have seen what was going on. But I learned a few things. It was fun though and worth working an extra 6 hrs this week. Then I realized I also had myself scheduled all weekend. Picking up a teaching shift on Sat and doing lactation on Sunday. Being exempt has its pros and cons.

So after my hectic day on Wed I had three parties on Thursday. I managed to make two of them. First was the afterschool care/daycare Christmas Program. They are so awesome. All the classes learned a song and dance. The babies were darling singing "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth" Really, no singing occurred but it was cute. Keegan being a school ager was the last group but it was worth the wait. He starred as the cactus in "The Grumpy Santa Claus" He had no lines but was the best cactus ever!

Then I made it to the Ugly Sweater Girl Scout Leader Party. I was kind of feeling Bah Humbugish about the sweater. I went to the thrift store and didn't really find anything ugly enough. Then I got a brilliant idea. I found this bulky shapeless red sweater with a pocket. I found some little stockings with dogs on them and sewed them to the boobs of the sweater. It turned out hideously blingy. If I'd had time I would have gotten some garland or lights to put around the collar. Totally won the contest. Several of my fellow leaders are in the medical profession so we spent the party talking about things like pertussis, HPV and sexually active teens but hey, it was fun.

Hoping for some time to finish getting ready for Christmas so that when Meg gets here we can just play.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Thank You All for Coming Here Tonight

Last night I was tired. I worked longer than planned, ran to the grocery store to get the rest of the stuff for tacos, picked up Keegan and headed home. Then I realized I forgot cheese. You CAN'T HAVE TACOS WITHOUT CHEESE! I didn't want to take Keegs to the store because that is an effort in patience with him wanting everything. Luckily Brian was getting ready to head home so he said he would get the cheese.

So I sat down to check email. Our tree is up and we always have the stuffed bears and animals sitting at the base of the tree. Brian has a mini harp that he bought when he was about 19 that had been in the storage closet. Keegan brought it up when took out the decorations so it was sitting by the fireplace. I'm typing away and hear from behind me "thank you all for coming here tonight." Curious, I turn around and find Keegan talking to the bears. Then he sits down and plays the harp for about 3 minutes. Stands up, bows and heads out to play with his toys. I love that little munchkin with all my heart. He is challenging and difficult and bullheaded but he is also the sweetest kid on earth. Now to continue working on his temper.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Blubbering Ball of Tears

I probably should have skipped the make up today. Everything is making me cry. I took pizza and beer up to Fr. Dave since he and dad shared a birthday. Well, a bottle of beer and a gift card for pizza but close enough. I took thank you notes to the staff for all their help with the funeral. I held it together until I got in my car and then sobbed all the way to work.

I pulled myself together again to get into the office without anyone asking me what was wrong. And then I logged onto Facebook and saw the messages my sibs had written on his wall. And I began sobbing again. Its good though. I have always been the stoic one and I think its healthy to cry.

Its going to be a loooooong day today. I have staff meeting which has to be held in the evening. I would have come in later but my 1:1 with my boss was moved to this morning. And then it was moved to this afternoon due to the high winds up North. And now its cancelled since my boss is stuck on the freeway in Centerville. So I could have stayed home but since I'm here, I guess I'll work.

Yesterday, I had a great time running errands with Keegan. That is an unusual statement because running errands with him is not fun. He feels the need to buy something at EVERY store-"it won't be spensive!!!!!" is his war cry. Then if he gets bored he complains the whole time I am somewhere. But not yesterday. Bless his little heart. We had to go to the EVOO store to cash in my Groupon that was getting close to expiration. (If you don't have a bulk EVOO and balsamic vinegar store in your area, you are missing out!) Then to Walmart for some photos where he didn't even ask to look at the Legos. We did get his snow boots since this wind is supposed to bring snow at some point. Then to Sunflower for coffee and a few things. By then I was tired. We still needed to stop at Starbucks for gift cards and then The Pie for a pizza gift card. YIKES. He was such a trooper that when he wanted to know if we could go to the Dollar Store to spend his allowance, I told him it was a great idea. He only had 7.00 and he'd never been to the dollar store. He had high expectations and I think was a bit disappointed with the selection but found 6 items of junk that he really wanted to buy and had the time of his life!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Month, A Holiday or A Birthday

I'm not sure what it is but I was a sobbing mess all weekend. I'm not quite sure what triggered it. On Saturday, I finally had a day to get the yard cleaned up. Thank goodness Utah likes to give us a few reprieves after the first snowfall so that all those things that didn't get done can be tackled. It might have been that I was alone working in the yard and my mind could wander or it might have been because I realize it was one month to the day since dad's final words "I need to go to the hospital" The day where we all thought that a little re hydration would be the ticket and he would be fine. It also could have been that we had made it through Thanksgiving without too much sadness and I was having post holiday grief. Or it could have been the Facebook reminder that his birthday is this week which honestly felt like a kick in the gut. Regardless, it was a hard weekend with everything reminding me of dad.

Brian set up the trailer to get some books, the stored food and do a final clean up. It was such a reminder of the day we brought home the pop up last July. It was right after dad had passed out and before we knew he had lung cancer. He was still fairly weak, but he was almost more excited than we were to pop it up and try everything out. I had told him we were picking it up and almost before Brian got back with it, there was dad-the foreman. He said he'd always wanted one but it just wasn't something that worked out. He was able to get up the step and sat inside while Brian and the boys messed with every button and dial. Keegan was anxious to sleep in there so he kept saying "when is Grandpa Steve going home?!" Dad finally said he could take a hint and got up to leave. We told him that we would take him camping. Sadly, that didn't happen. We tried to get him to go to Yellowstone but he had that bronchoscopy scheduled. We tried for Lake Powell but he had the second bronchoscopy that week. We almost got him to go to Capitol Reef but it was Deacon Retreat Weekend and he wanted to go. I'm still shocked at how quickly he died. Who dies of sepsis from chemo? Don't people die from cancer not chemo? Brian did comment on how it always amazes him that we go from alive to dead so fast and that just goes to show that our body is just a vessel of who we are. HMMMM maybe there is some hope for the Catholic turned Agnostic after his mom died husband of mine.

But life does go on when you have kids. Because of Keegan and his enthusiasm, we have our tree up, the lights on the house and we are in the Christmas spirit. Kind of- I really don't give a rat's ass about my Christmas staff meeting on Thursday (dad's birthday) I'd love to cancel it and I have yet to buy gifts for my staff. I guess I better get an attitude adjustment.

I did brave the storm and go out for Black Friday, now Black Thursday. I don't like the starting at 10 PM thing. Our tradition was to go home after T-dinner, get a few hours of sleep and then be at the store at 2:00 AM. Then shop til 9:00 then head to mom and dad's where dad would make us breakfast. Mom still wanted to do breakfast so we shopped until 3:30, then took a nap on the couch and headed to the store that opened at 5 AM. When we finished, we didn't have any other stores we wanted to brave so we went home, took showers and headed to mom's. Had she not wanted to do the breakfast, we would have just gone home to sleep. It worked out though, we got some great deals and we had fun.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving and Why I Love My In-Laws


I'm not exactly excited about Thanksgiving this year but that is because we will have a huge hole at the table. But on the other hand, I am glad to be spending time with my family and also having three extra special guests this year. My in-laws and my uncle will be joining us this year. I'll get to that in a minute.


First things first. Keegan has been wanting to make me a blanket. On my birthday, we were at my in-laws being as I share a birthday with a favorite fall dress up holiday. Keegan told grandma Barbara that they needed to run upstairs and make me a quilt. She luckily was able to talk him out of it for the moment but promised she would have him over soon. So yesterday was the day. She bought material and got our her sewing machine. And she patiently taught Keegan how to sew and let him make the design for the blanket. This is what he did. I LOVE it.


Last Thanksgiving I decided to run the Cottonwood Heights 5K. Its a hard course but I did it- with an 8 degree starting temperature. It was brutile. The course is tough with all the hills and the temp was really bad but I had fun and I beat the mayor. So this year my sister Em decide to do it too. We signed up in mid-October and then dad died and I didn't run much. I hurt my knee somehow and I have bad sciatica. But we persevered. This year, we had a 34 degree starting temp. Yes, that 's Utah you never know. I had the same run time as last year and I tied with the Councilman so I still got a ribbon. Em came in under and hour which was her goal. So I am pleased with my start to the day.


Last year, when I hit the last hill, I didn't think I could keep going. Then the song Holier than Thou from the musical Nunsense came on it gave me that last little bit of energy. I thought about how dad always teased me about "soaring like and eagle when I live turkeys" and how he would give me crap about being up running in the cold when I could have been at home in a nice warm house. So this year I was a bit surprised when the second song that came on my ipod was that same song. I wonder if dad gave me a little message from heaven encouraging me to keep running and stay healthy. Regardless, it gave me a burst of energy to start the race.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

This That and The Other

I decided to repaint the living and dining rooms on Sat. It is a project I was contemplating for about a year but it kept getting pushed aside. I planned on doing it mid-October, but that kind of went to hell real quick. So last Wed, I stopped at Home Depot and got some paint. I have a rug that is blue, green, burgundy, brown and golden yellow. Since the two rooms are connected but have a natural break at the fireplace, I decide to do the dining area deep burgundy and the living area a sage (ish) green. Both colors are in the rug. My mom was sure it wouldn't work when I told her about it. So last Sat. I got up and started the job. I quickly spackled and while that was drying I made gingerbread cookies (don't ask). Then I sanded and started on the dining room. I almost immediately had unintended and not exactly wanted help from a seven year old. (Decorating gingerbread only kept him occupied so long). I tried TV, games, etc but he just wanted to paint. And not with a little brush. I got smart and called a friend to come over and play.

With the first coat of burgundy on, I quickly straightened up for the "company" and while we waited I broke out the green. Now I'm getting smarter. I figured out that if I load the roller with paint, then its not too drippy and Keegan actually does a great job with rolling as long as I can keep him far enough away from the edging (you may have noticed that I don't tape or prime. I know, not the professional way, but I was going over a very light yellow. The burgundy was paint with primer and the green was fine with me if it has a bit more of a yellow tint. I don't tape because honestly, I've gotten really good with trim and detail work- just a little bragging). Alas the friend arrived and I could get to work on the edges and then the second coat for each room. I worked all day, but by 6:00 PM, both rooms were done and drying. I was able to take Kate and her friend to see The Sunshine Boys at Pinnacle Acting.

With my fresh new room, I needed new accessories. The plan is to recover the Queen Anne chair I got from my great aunt's house because the thrift store wouldn't take it and actually it ended up to be very comfy although very ugly. I have a great dark blue fabric but a huge handicap with sewing and that sort of crafty stuff. So Em is going to come over on Sunday to help with that while I recover the dining room chairs. I can do those because they require my kind of tools; a screw driver and a staple gun. I have a great stripe with all the colors of the rug. I hope I have enough to make two pillows (or rather hand that project off to she who can sew).

But I digress. I needed to go to IKEA. I had saved my 300.00 that I won in Wendover last month and planned to use it on accessories. I'm generally cheap but this was free money so woo hoo! I bought a bunch of cute little shelves, two lamps and shelving for my laundry room. Now IKEA is not an easy little jaunt, you practically have to pack a lunch to get there and make sure you go to the bathroom so you don't have to make a pit stop on the way. OK, I exaggerate its only like 15 miles but its South I never go South it just makes it seem so far away. Why does it matter how far away? Well because I got home and found out that one of the lamps was black. It was in the white pile!!!!!! So I had to go back to exchange it. UGH!

I got back there last night which was really a pain because I picked up Keegan we got right into rush hour traffic. I know, I'm spoiled but with my work hours I rarely drive in rush hour and with the location I rarely take the main freeway, I use the belt route which is less congested. So we get there and head in to return the lamp (or rather exchange it) I get my number and sit down and wait and wait and wait. Keegan was awesome and I was pleased with his behavior (my willful/spirited child). They call my number and I get up to go exchange and this lady starts yelling at me. I had number A78, she didn't. Apparently, her number got skipped. So I tell the guy she can go ahead since I think she was there first. Well she had been sitting next to another lady who was returning stuff and they both start glaring at me. Because somehow it was my fault that my number got called first on a computer generated list. Well she went first, got her store credit and then huffed at me as she walked away. I made my exchange and then was delighted to find her in the bathroom when I went in. Being as I am passive aggressive, I made sure to use my good parenting and go on and on in my praise to Keegan about how good and patient he was while waiting and how patience is hard but its a truly good thing. I meant it for him but it was directed at her. I hope she has a better life.

So now, all is right in the world of my decorating, its gorgeous and I want to get right on the recovering of furniture. And if I ever get the battery charged in the camera, I may post pictures.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Spirited Child

There once was a girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her head
When she was good she was very very good
And when she was bad, she was horrid.

My mother in law reminds me often that this nursery rhyme wouldn't have been written if other children weren't like my baby.

My first two children were fairly easy to have. But I didn't quite feel like I was done. I really wanted one more. It took three miscarriages and four years before I finally got pregnant with him. Then I ended up having a placenta previa. I spent the whole pregnancy hoping to make it to the next stage- viable, 32 weeks, 34 weeks, until finally, I had a scheduled cesarean at 38 weeks and 1 day. I never had to go on bedrest.

I had a girl and a boy and I wanted another girl, but really I just wanted a healthy baby. And I kind of wished for a red head. I got the sweetest little boy with dark hair that eventually turned to a golden brown. We named him Keegan because I had a little boy in my class when I taught preschool named Keegan and I thought it was a great name. I maybe should have looked up the meaning. It means small and ardent or small and fiery. He is my biggest but still not a particularly big child and fiery/ardent he is.

He was easy until he hit about 8 months and from that point on he had a mind of his own. He wakes up with an agenda and God forbid someone tries to get in his way. With that determination comes quite a bit of obstinance. And everything he feels he feels intensely.

I frequently remind myself that these are good characteristics even though they are hard to keep in check. This is the child who has been sent to the Principal's office-unlike my other two.

This is also the child who when my dad died said very loudly in the quiet hospital room "all of us have to take care of grandma Annette because she doesn't have a wife anymore!" So he still hasn't gotten the concept of husband/wife but it was meant well. And then he made her a present. A picture of a broken heart. He went to great pains to wrap it and decorate the box. He also found a trinket from his room and gave that to her right before the funeral.

This is the kid who decided tonight that since it was snowing we would make a fire and gingerbread cookies. Except for rolling the dough (ok, refrigerated) opening the oven and lighting the fire, he did everything else. And then we sat by our fire eating gingerbread cookies and reading a Junie B Jones book. I do believe that Junie B is his kindred spirit and the books could have been written about him.

He is the kid who drove me crazy in school because I "was the bestest kid in the class" and the boys who couldn't sit still drove me crazy. Like the poor boy Tom who I told on every day in third grade because he was always talking or wiggling. And now I am the mother of "that boy."

So although I had a perfect little family planned out in my head and a wild zany child not what I expected, I wouldn't want him any other way.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Dad









































My memories of dad from when I was young are not like the way Laura Ingalls Wilder described Pa. Rather they are of the guy who was my dad but didn't talk much and was mostly the disciplinarian.











When he picked me up from school, I sat in the backseat because I was kind of afraid of him. Not that he ever did anything to warrant fear, he just wasn't the loving/fuzzy kind of dad.



When I was about 9 he joined the third class of permanent Catholic Deacons for the Diocese of Salt Lake. He was ordained when I was in fifth grade. I was now, the Deacon's daughter or part of the Deacon's family. This defined my Catholic school experience (and apparently my dating or lack there of it. How was I supposed to know the boys were also afraid of my dad) and my role in our parish as an adult. Not that I haven't done a lot as me, but its always been nice to be one of Deacon Steve's kids.




In high school dad got sick. Idiopathic cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure most likely the result of being a preemie which weakened his heart and a virus attacked it. When he was first diagnosed, he coded and was "dead" for a few minutes until they revived him. He remembered watching them work on him, but was trying to tell them to stop. He said he felt at peace and was happy. He was glad he was revived but also felt like he had something he needed to do on Earth.





I'm embarrassed to admit it, but at the time, I really didn't care that he almost died. I mean why should I, I was in the midst of the selfish teen years.



Luckily for us and the whole community, dad got a second chance. I grew to love him and appreciate his witty, subtle and sarcastic sense of humor. He continued to be a deacon for the church although he was unable to hold a regular job due to health issues and was medically retired at the very young age of 36. Funny how at the time, I thought it was old.



A few years later, he found out that the police dept was opening a position for a chaplain. He signed on and continued for SL and WVC Police as well as WVC Fire. He was there to help notify next of kin of a death and there to console the officers after a difficult case. The one case that never left him was when the five little girls in WVC climbed into the trunk of the car to hide. Then they couldn't get out. It took several hours to find them and by then it was too late. Dad arrived at the scene with five girls ages 4-6 lying on the grass being hosed down to try and cool them off. All the friends, relatives, neighbors gathered around sobbing, praying, grieving. Dad was there to console them, council the police/fire workers. He brought comfort to strangers.



In 1996, the medication being used to treat the health conditions wasn't working and his doctor referred him to the University for a transplant. He was admitted in June for testing and observation then sent home to wait and see. On August 2nd he got the call. It was the middle of the night and he actually almost said no, he didn't want it. He was scared. My father in law was doing rounds and saw his name on the board and scrubbed in. The surgery was text book perfect and another true miracle because it was determined that he would have lived maybe 3 more days with his old heart.




He continued to struggle with medical issues: diabetes, prostate cancer, skin cancer, joint issues from the anti-rejection medications etc. But he lived with humor and dignity. He continued to selflessly serve others.




He lived 15 years with that new heart. In July, he passed out and then was very weak. He refused to go to the hospital. We finally convinced him to go to the doctor. They ran a bunch of tests and then found a spot on his lung. He kept saying it was just this cold he had ( a horrible cough that he'd had for too many months). But sure enough it was lung cancer. I went with him to a few appointments but missed the one where they gave him treatment options. Mom was with him and she didn't say anything until after but he was told that chemo was risky with his co-mobilities.



He went in for chemo on Friday the 21st of October. Sat he was fine-he was zippy actually. We made plans for dinner at my house on Sunday. Sunday he overslept mass and didn't come for dinner so I took it to him since mom and her sibs wanted to go to a play. He was OK, weak and had some side affects. He was thirsty, but I assumed from sleeping all day and water loss from being sick. He ate some and I made him a pitcher of the drink he liked. Emily and I put his feet in Epsom salt since they were swollen and cracked. I left because I had to get my kids ready for school the next day.



Monday he was sick. The paper said that was normal. Mom let him sleep most of the day. He apparently threw up everything he tried to get down.




Tuesday, I called and mom said he was sleeping- I didn't question it.



Wednesday I got a call that he had told mom to take him to the hospital. That right there should have been cause to hear foreboding music in the background but for some reason I didn't. I was told that he was still very sick and had turned up the thermostat to 88 degrees but was shivering. I told my mother in law that I was worried he had an infection but she told me that wasn't as much of an issue as the dehydration. She told me to go find my father in law and we could walk up to the cancer hospital to see him. But I was busy in my office and my FIL had finished his patients and gone home. I kept meaning to go up but got distracted- my daughter wanted coffee and was on lower campus, a staff member was giving me her schedule, a community leader wanted to collaborate on stuff. Then it was time to pick up carpool so I left.



I called Em and she said she was going up so I went ahead with my plans to take Keegan to the Halloween festival. After we played for several hours we drove home and I called Em. She said he was weak and drifting in and out of sleep but OK. Then she said they moved him to special care for acute renal failure and a temperature. I asked if I should head up and we went back and forth. I decided to call my uncle who had been up there and is a hospice nurse. He said that he thought the night would be the deciding factor so to just wait for morning. I called my sister in Oregon and told her to hold off getting on a plane that I would call her in the morning. I drank a rum and D/C, took a hot bath and finally laid down at 11:30 PM. I couldn't sleep. Dad's life was running through my head. I dozed off and the phone rang-12:03 AM. That is never good. Mom was on the line and said he wasn't doing well. I asked her if I was heading up there and she said yes. Now the ominous music was there. Mom NEVER calls for medical stuff EVER! She didn't even call us to tell us about the transplant; she waited until the surgery was over.



I got there by 12:30 and then my sibs began to file in. I called my husband and told him to bring the boys (Kate had come up with me). I called my sister to get the first flight out of Oregon. Fr. Dave came to give Last Rites. Then we waited. Dad made it until an hour after my sister got there. Then he passed away surrounded by all his kids, half of his children in law, 9/12 of his grandchildren, his three sibs in law, the West Valley Police Chief and two Captains, as well as a few others. The bishop of the dioceses and Fr. Dave came just after he died. He died of sepsis as a result of the chemo and an already weakened immune system. If you have to die, its the way to go-quickly without suffering. But I don't want him gone. I never imagined the ache in my heart from losing him. Pa Steve, the dad who scared me as a kid and who I didn't like as a teen. The man who married me (as in presided over the ceremony), baptised all my children, was the first one at the hospital after all three of my kids were born and the person who I had learned to go to for advice, encouragement and just to talk.



The funeral was beautiful- as funerals go. More than 200 people came to the viewing, I gave my tribute, Deacon Mark did a prayer service. The church was packed for the funeral. Bishop Wester said mass and the whole left side was filled with deacons and priests. The Knight of Columbus were there as well as WVC Police and Fire and Salt Lake Police. There was a bagpipe player at the cemetery and the police sent out the final resting call over the airwaves. He would have been humbled by the number of people involved.





Here are the links to the articles written about his death:






















Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My Tribute at the Viewing

I really wanted to be able to give a tribute at the funeral. Mom was resistant but agreed that it could be done at the end of the viewing. I know that its hard to speak at a parent's funeral, but I do public speaking for a living and I like it (yes weird) This is my unedited speech written as such so that I could remember how to phrase things. Ignore the typos and grammar errors.


You may wonder why it is that I was asked to give the tribute to our dad. I’m not the oldest or the youngest or the only boy. Well it turns out that apparently, I’m the biggest loudmouth or the “mouthpiece” of the family as I was so bluntly called last week.
From his premature birth until his death at a relatively young age, our dad had a lot of health problems. But he didn’t let that stop him. His determination, will to live and sense of humor kept him going. He rallied back so many times we used to say he must be a cat and have nine lives. We also called him the Energizer Bunny since he kept going and going.
In our family, nick names are a way of showing affection. Many of the names have a story to go along with them. In addition to the Energizer Bunny, we called our dad- dad, dadio, pops, pappa, pa steve, Father, Deacon Steve, Deacon Mel and Docen Stove to name a few. We got this renaming from dad since he called my brother George, my husband- Smith, McKenzie- MacBeth and my sons were at times called Osama and Al (for Al Quida) after they acted like little terrors on our trip to Oregon. With all the pet names being used, we always knew that if he used our whole name it was bad. Hearing Mary Margaret instead of Meg being yelled from upstairs was enough to make us all a bit fearful. But the name we will remember the most fondly is that of his dog Baxter. He loved Baxter more than anything (on some days or maybe most he loved Baxter more than us) and by the time Baxter died he was referred to as Baxter Dexter Walter George Lloyd Floyd Harry Sam. And yes, many times, dad spit that whole name out when he called the dog.
Just like all teens do, we all had our years when dad was a bit embarrassing. He said things in front of boys that made us turn bright red then run away and hide, he would turn the porch light on and off, on and off as a signal that it was time for a boyfriend or girlfriend to say goodnight and go home, but most embarrassing for our teenage souls was when we would go camping and he would wear his dress socks with tevas and shorts. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he used to walk around with a mag flashlight and shine it in other camp sites. When we would tell him to stop he would innocently say- just checking things out. And inevitably, he would break out the Vienna sausages and walk around camp offering them to everyone. Dad stayed the same, but we all matured and continued to camp with him not worrying about the socks, the light or the Vienna sausages. And to this day, even though none of us like them, we always include a can of sausages when we buy food for camping regardless of whether dad would be there or not.
People always told us that dad was so compassionate and caring. But for us, he was the guy who would get mad when our friends would call after 9 PM. The phone would ring and he would say “who’s calling so late? Its quiet time around here.“ or “lets keep down to a dull roar.” At home, his affection came with a bit of sarcasm or teasing. He would often times walk up to one of us and lightly slug the unsuspecting child on the arm. Of course we yelled “hey!” and he would reply, “just giving you a love tap” When the grand babies would cry he would sympathetically say, “you sure are ugly when you cry.“ And many a time I was told that “It must be hard to soar like an eagle when I was stuck living with such turkeys.“ When we did something great he would say “ you know, all those rotten things people say about you just aren’t true” And recently when we took him to Wendover, I won three hundred dollars on the way out the door. He was in his car and I was in the other car so he didn’t know about it until mom said something on the way back to the freeway. He called me up first thing the next morning and said, “I understand that I need to punch you in the face.” But really, he was excited for me. He was never overly demonstrative with us, but when we really needed him, he was there with a hug and a kind word and then left us with this question “in 100 years, will it really matter?”
Dad loved the grand babies. When Kate was born, he was in my hospital room at about 7:30 AM snapping pictures like crazy. And he never got over the fact that my father in law had gotten there first. He always said that Kelly had an unfair advantage since he works there and had to be in for rounds at 6 AM. He followed this trend with the rest of the grand babies. Em and Ray got home from California with Marcus very late at night. Dad waited as long as he could but finally called at 9:30 AM and said he would bring breakfast if he could come over. He loved to see the grand kids develop their talents. Several of us remember when Kate got her first lead as Ariel in the Little Mermaid. He had thought that the songs were a track and that the kids were lip syncing but part way through her solo he realized it was really Kate singing. His eyes welled up with tears and he said “is that Smith? It is, that’s Smith, Smith can sing” From that day forward he was proud of her musical accomplishments. He didn’t have the energy to be a grandpa out playing with the grand kids in the yard or to take them places but he was there for the them at their t-ball and soccer games, ice skating competitions, music concerts and plays.
The thing we want to remember most about dad was his sense of humor. It was subtle and sometimes wicked. We were all Facebook friends. Think what you want about Facebook but the past few years it was one of the best ways to stay connected with him. Numerous times, and as recently as two weeks ago, one or more of us was grounded or set to our room via Facebook for bickering, arguing or teasing over the internet. He also blackmailed us. As with any family, occasionally we get annoyed with one another and feel the need to vent. A few years ago, something was said in a message that all of us kids were copied on. A bit of heckling went on (I will hold all the rest of the details for our protection but to this day I maintain that I was initially innocent) Suddenly we get a message from dad saying that he figured if we each paid him 49.95 per month he could keep that post from getting printed and falling into the wrong hands. I don’t remember what I said, but we were hit with an increase and he was now blackmailing us for 59.95 per month. Not to be outdone, Meg and I arranged to have checks arrive in the mail on the first day of the next month. Immediately after getting his mail, he called and told us we were real smart alecs (and that isn’t the word he used) but he also got a good laugh out of it. And he never cashed the checks. But he did bring it up occasionally always keeping us on our guard.
If he wasn’t disciplining or blackmailing his adult children over Facebook, he was making witty comments on our posts. I have had several friends who never met him comment that they are going to miss my dad on Facebook.
His sense of humor was often times lost on us when we were younger. Poor Jen, being the oldest was the first to attempt to learn to drive. Our only option was a car with a stick shift. Dad offered to take her out for her first drive. Already nervous, she had barely started when he pulled a rosary out his pocket and began rattling the beads. Between negotiating a clutch and the rattling beads, her first drive nearly ended in tears. She made sure to teach me to drive.
On one occasion, Emily parked her car in the driveway and dad needed to get his car out. Since she was busy at the time, she handed him the keys and he went out to move it. He came back in and said, “yo Em! Its not that your music was too loud, its just that I didn’t WANT to Walk Like an Egyptian.” And then made the Steve Martin motions from the music video.
Dad had two health problems that most people didn’t know about. Due to his prematurity, he was blind in his right eye and eventually it was removed and he had a glass eye. One morning after Christine Leneski slept over, she and Patti walked into the kitchen and for some reason, dad’s eye was in wrong so it looked like he was looking in two directions. Patti was horrified and could just say daaaaad! That time was an accident, but then there was the time we were camping and dad had to take his eye out to clean it. Meg regretted saying dad! Gross! Because he then took his eye, reached across the table and said- “Hey Meg, I’ve got my eye on you!”
The other issue he had was his prostate cancer. Despite having a prostatectomy, he still had cancer cells. It was determined that the best way to treat it was to give him a lupron shot every six months. Lupron for anyone who doesn’t know is female hormones used to counteract the testosterone and slow the cancer growth. When he would go in for his shot he always called me from the front lobby to take him up to the clinic. He said I drove a wheelchair better than the messengers. After the shot he would say “well then that wasn’t too bad other than giving me an affinity for doilies and a desire to be in the knitting club.” Then we would go get a cup of coffee together.
Our favorite dadism of all times is what he would say anytime we asked him what he wanted for Christmas, birthday, Father’s day, etc. His response was always, I just want peace and quiet. Being rather astute on one occasion, Bill quickly responded with “I’ll be Peace” one of my much younger and unsuspecting sisters replied with “I’ll be quiet!” Then she realized what she had said. From that day on we would fight over who would be peace and who had to be quiet. We’ve spent many a holiday trying to come up with creative ways to represent peace and quiet in the gifts we gave him.
So in conclusion, this one time only, I’ll ask my five siblings to be peace and I’ll be quiet.

The Birthday Chicken

On October 27th at 10:28 AM, my sweet papa passed away it was both quick and drawn out. It was both anticipated but unexpected. It was bittersweet to say the least. And I still cry at the drop of a hat. I've started to write about it but then can't so on to something light and cheerful.

My birthday. I turned 42 on Halloween. I was kind of excited about 42, I don't know why. Maybe because I am feeling a bit emancipated with my kids older and my health excellent (well except that little pre-diabetic note in my medical file- but its at bay for now). Or maybe it was because I had it stamped on my calf for over a week after my triathlon (I do shower and all but for some reason I couldn't get it off) With dad dying just a few days before and the possibility of the funeral being on my birthday (a story for another day) I was suddenly not that excited about 42.

I have great friends-truly wonderful people in my life. My friend Julie drives carpool home on Monday and for some reason her daughter and the other girl weren't coming home so it was just my son Daniel. She told him that she wanted to do something for me since I was having such a difficult birthday. So they stopped at the grocery store. She said she was going to get me a fancy cupcake and a balloon. Daniel said, "you know Julie, my mom isn't much of a sweets person. She kind of avoids sugar at all costs." Julie told him that she knows that but its my birthday and besides what else should she get me. Daniel replied with "well, she likes meat." Julie said " Oh come on Daniel, what are we going to do get her a birthday chicken?" Daniel thought that was a great idea and suggested the roasted chickens they have at the store. Julie held firm and got me a really good mint chocolate cupcake that was so delicious and overly sweet but it was my birthday so I ate it anyway.

But the story of the birthday chicken was too good to be true so I told all my relatives as we went to their houses to trick or treat. We all laughed at poor Daniel's expense.

Not to let something go, when we got to mom's, Meg decided to be a shit head. She and Em had both gotten me a small gift. Birthday gifts are hit or miss in my family. Depends on who sees whom at the time. Em had gotten me a coffee mug and Meg got me a really nice candle. But Meg being Meg, she went to my mom's freezer and pulled out a package of chicken thighs and threw it in on top of the bag Just to make sure I got my birthday chicken.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Just a Little Creepy!

There is a guy here at the hospital who works for facilities and engineering. He is one of 9 or 10 kids, mostly girls and he has never been married. He is "of the local religion" and informed me once that he was surprised I wasn't since I am so nice. Is that not offensive?! I know he meant it well but really! I swear he is stalking me. He just popped into my office and said "did you go our of town this weekend?" I said no and he replied, "I was thinking about you all weekend and wondered if you went to St. George since it was so nice." Why on God's green earth would I have gone out of town and why was he thinking of me? It kind of creeps me out just a bit. Its not the first time he has overstepped the line of "water cooler conversation." Just coming into my office is a bit too much.

In other news, dad started chemo on Friday. He is doing OK. Not great. He still has a sense of humor for the most part. I know he doesn't want to lose his hair. He keeping wondering aloud if it will come out in big clumps.

What is it with little boys and farting? On Sat. Keegan was a bit gassy and he spent all day trying to rip one and then laughing like crazy. On Sunday he let loose in the tub and that was the funniest thing ever. Then he got a whoopie cushion and spent an hour putting it on my chair. At least it kept him entertained.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

This is my mean manager voice!

Apparently, I am too nice to be a boss. Or at least that is what I was told about seven years ago when I met the daughter's of one of my staff. Sadly it was about a month later that I got to fire my first employee- wait, no it was my second. But the first kind of doesn't count since she was a per diem and they are "at will." Its easy to fire an "at will" well easy in an HR sense. And yes, they were right, sometimes I am too nice to be a boss. But this week I got a bit terse. Only three people approved payroll, one person didn't do a time card and I found out one of my staff was bullying her co-workers. But only in Spanish. I guess she gets some kind of attitude in her own language because she is pretty meek in English. Since I don't understand more than muy pocito I didn't know that. So I had to use my mean voice. I happened to post that on FB and some of my colleagues (I'm very careful about who from work I am "friends" with) gave me crap about not having a mean voice. Then Brian's cousin started in. I guess I need to work on mean. At a meeting today, I tried to show M my mean voice and I started laughing. I guess I don't have one. I did get told that although I am short in stature, I am mighty in attitude. And that's a good thing coming from this person.

On another note, we opened the lactation clinic yesterday. I so badly want this to be a success. We have been working on it for years! OK, as an aside but still its been on the back burner and now its happening. I think that half full day one was good. It will pick up- it just has to. So boring stuff I'm writing about today, but its so great to finally get a forward step after years of swimming upstream. Our NBICU team is doing a quality project with breastmilk and finally the neo's are pushing it not holding it back. One giant public health step forward! Oh and patient satisfaction and quality are in there too.

My sister called this afternoon because she was worried she should drive out since dad starts chemo on Friday. I told her no she didn't need to. Not that I don't want her here but she can't keep running out here. This sucks sucks sucks. I really do think this is the end for him, but I don't want to be less than optimistic. I told her that I would call her when I thought she should come. I really think the chemo will make him sick and weak but that he still has some time- its the surgery I am worried about. I did just send him a message that we need to go over his finances so that I know what to do. That was a sucky sucky conversation. I keep looking at the future without him and is makes me so sad. I wish I had valued him when I was a teenager. But we did get 25 years we never imagined we would have. Energizer bunny he is.

I hope to get past this gloomy reflective period in my life and start remembering the funny anecdotes from the day. That is the real reason I started this blog.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Wow what a week!

Monday begin in a rush since I was taking dad in for his bronchoscopy. I got everyone where they needed to be and got him up there just in the nick of time only to have the procedure bumped due to an emergency at Primary. His anesthesia team got sent over there. We worked out the details and I got him back for his 1:45 procedure that was to take 45-60 min. I figured I run to my office and do a few things before going down to retrieve him. At 3:00 I got a bit nervous. At 3:30 I was fidgeting and at 3:45 when they called I knew exactly what she was going to say. He didn't tolerate the anesthesia well and had a bit of respiratory distress. I went right down and found RT there. UM, I know enough to know that RT gets called when the nurses can't do any more. Turns out they bagged him 20 minutes. Well that got him a ticket to an overnight stay. Not good.

Tuesday brought the funeral for Joe. Dad didn't get released in time and mom had to miss the whole thing. That did not make her a happy camper but more of a passive aggressive martyr. I tried to help. She didn't go for any of it. Basically, she took the ball and went home. Dad did get home by evening and he did get staged at 3a. No good. I was hoping for 1b or 2a. I'm so far from a cancer expert but I didn't know that a 3 sucks. Chemo starts this week.

Wed I was a wreck. When the school called to tell me Keegan punched a kid in the mouth. I started crying. Poor principal got the brunt of week and i just sobbed. I like Mrs. Mootz though. i like how she handled the assault incident and he didn't get in trouble. He did get a talking to and the other kid really wasn't hurt. For the record, he was picking on Keegan and he'd had enough.

Thursday jury duty. That was actually fun. I've always wanted to be on a jury (I know weird) but I think it would be fun to watch the process. Since i didn't get picked, I took my 18.00, and went shopping, then got to work in time to get in 5 hrs. I got what I needed done and didn't need to claim time off.

Friday was clinical with an orientee and I hadn't slept the night before. Yikes. I like orientees. I like teaching them the way to avoid bottles and work with BF moms. But its like having a puppy follow you around all day. i couldn't get a darn thing done.

Now its Sat. Today was fun but I'm tuckered. We signed up for the Cancer run. Zombies vs humans. The humans ran first and then the zombies chase them. I had arranged for Kate to watch Keegan but due to some unforeseen events, he ended up running with me. His first run and he loved it!!!!!! He did great. We had a moment where he wanted to give up but he didn't. It was a 38 min run for me- not great- but it was a great time for him. Plus it was great having Brian and D both get excited and join in the fun. But now, I'm tuckered and ready for bed.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Winner Winner

I've never had this happen before! I admit, I have a lot of luck. I also do a lot of stupid things too but hey!

Since dad is starting chemo/radiation soon, he wanted a last hurrah! So we took him to Wendover- the closets gambling town to this here dry state. I don't love to gamble but once in a while, its fun to head out to a casino.

The drive out was fun as is any road trip with Em and Ray. Since mom was so freaked about the high winds and road conditions and had a contingency plan for if we got stuck, we sort of had a lot to joke about being as she was in the other car.

After finally getting there and going to the buffet where I was at least 30 years too young since it was mid-week AKA Silver tops and Blue hairs were the main crowd, we checked into a room so that we could take turns watching the babies. We decided to swim and go in the hot tub while mom and dad went to play Keno. (See what a huge gambler I am swimming trumps slots any day.)

Em and I went down to the casino and messed around with 20.00 bucks for a few hours. I got my free drinks and penny slots can keep you going for quite a bit of time. On the way out I told Dad I had a twenty saved for a big gamble in memory of Doug (my friend's husband who died suddenly) Now I love to "spin the wheel" It must come from my days of Wheel of Fortune watching but its just fun. So I picked a slot that had a wheel and sure enough I won three spins. I cashed out with 51.00 almost what I had spent on gambling and lunch. Woo Hoo score!

Dinner in the restaurant was a dumb idea. The waiter was slow the food was horrible and we were ready to get on the road. I told them all I was going to drive the car around but I had decided to play two more spins on a different machine. A good ol fashioned dollar slot that didn't have a million lines and options. I put in a fiver and spun. Won 6 bucks. Woo Hoo. But I did say I was doing two so I pushed the button and got Bar, Bar, Five times your payout!!!!! Well i guess those bars were worth a lot. I didn't even look. I was too busy watching the winning payout climb and climb and climb. 300 smakaroonies! I know, not a ton an amount that could pay for one of the many things I need done- shocks, credit card bill, whatever. I don't' know what I will do with it, but it was fun and that's what matters.

The drive home sucked. I almost killed everyone because despite teasing mom, she was right, there was a huge storm that had blown in and the roads were wet wet wet! A semi barrelled past me and I couldn't see. Almost ran off the road. But we are OK and that is what matters.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

TRI and TRI-again?

How was the try? It was AWESOME!!!! I got there about 6:50 AM and there were a lot of women already getting ready. I got my bike set up and myself oriented. Then I found Kami. We chatted, she got her stuff ready and then we attempted to find a bathroom. Apparently the rec center didn't' exactly agree that 400 women should be allowed into the facility before 7:45. Every door we tried we were greeted with " the event starts at 7:45, you can't come in" Well then, I guess we will all pee in your pool Mr. tucked in polo shirt guy who is strutting around with authority not knowing how many of us are writing letters to the center, to the paper and two the recreation funding source.

Once in, it was a looooooong wait to jump in the pool. Well at least for those of us who are swim challenged. I waited almost an hour before jumping in. It felt great to get in the water but my nerves were on the surface. I don't swim, I can't swim, I'm afraid of drowning and yes, I love water but on my own terms. So I back stroked the whole dang 300 meters. Well, I think I side stroked a bit and I walked a bit. Who cares, I just needed to be done with the swim.

Then to the bike. It was warm by then so if felt great to just throw a shirt and shorts on over my tri suit. That hill is HARD! I rode hard, but it took me a long time. As I approached "hell hill" I just kept telling myself that I was strong and I could do it. And guess what I made it up the whole dang hill without having to stop and walk. Almost everyone around me walked a portion. That was what made my day. The adrenaline from getting up there and looking across the valley must be like the first time someone takes crack (sorry I have no way to know for sure but lets just assume that is true) Then it was "down hill baby"

I made it back and then there is the run. Grabbing my ipod, I ran to the mat and started my timing chip. What really surprised me was that I could actually run. All the bike to runs we had done up to that point about killed me. I felt like I was running in mud and that my legs would explode. But I did fine. for about 1/4 mile. Then I walked a bit. The 800 mg ibuprofen may have had something to do with that but I'd like to attribute it to my stellar training and the adrenaline of the race. The biggest problem with the run is that by then "you got nothin" OK, theory says you can take goo or some other really sugary substance and you will pull glycogen and get a burst of energy, but I don't do goo. So it was me and my muscles with all the glycogen tucked neatly inside and not readily available for my use. But I did it. I ran most of it. And, my run time was almost as good as it usually is. So there! I AM STRONG!

When I hit the finish line, Brian, Keegan and Daniel were there to cheer me on. Them along with Kami, her friend Ally and my friends Janet and Julia. Having so many people there meant a lot. It really did.

Now I am being peer pressured like a high school sophomore to sign up for another TRI in two weeks. This one is not a non-competitive, women's only TRI. Its real. Its still a sprint TRI, but will they let me backstroke? Will people be sitting around staring at their watches while I am 30 minutes slower than the next person? I'm still deciding what to do. But TRIATHAMOM 2012- Here I come.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Another One in Theater

I kind of thought Keegan would be my sports kid. When he was about 18 months I bought a mini basketball hoop that hung on the door. Best 1.00 I ever spent. A month later we got a toddler basketball set from the Easter Bunny. He spent a much longer than the average toddler attention span practicing his shot. He would see almost anything as a chance to "hoop it" My friend Susan's lamp shade, the baptismal font at church and the fruit baskets in my kitchen. They were all meant to practice the perfect sink shot. I started him in soccer and he was luke- warm about it. He played for two full Spring/Fall seasons and then didn't want to. I didn't like forcing him to practice and games and I really didn't like one of the coaches. When this same coach ended up being the Wolf leader this year, I agreed that scouts wasn't going to be part of his 2nd grade life. So I asked him what he wanted to do. He said "just go to school." I said no, you have to do one activity and I gave him a bunch of choices. He chose theater.

I was a bit worried. I put him in Ms. Nancy's group because even though she is eccentric beyond belief she has a good heart and she handles kids well. Keegan was nervous no doubt about it. He kept asking what part he would get, how he would know what to do etc. When we got there he clung to me like the suction cup basketball hoop of his early days. And then I took him over to meet Ms. Nancy. She gave me a huge hug and then she hugged Keegan. He was taken aback- who is this lady who just grabbed me and hugged me?! She found a child how has been in the class for a while and told him to be friends with Keegan for a few minutes. I sat down and voila that was it. He smiled and laughed the whole class. Caught on to all the activities and it seems just like the others, theater is his niche. We left and he said "when do I get to go again." I'm sure there will be weeks when he would rather not go but for now. YEAH!!!!!

May shall bring about the painful to watch rendition of Rapunzel and he will get a trophy and all will be right with the world!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ready to TRI

Ready or not this Saturday is the triathamom. I was coerced into signing up and I am glad I did. I am not a good swimmer and I don't really bike much but it's good to test the ol body and see what it can do.

My friend Kami and I have done a few practice runs and it's not going to be easy. I'll just take it slow and hope to make it in standing.

I'm feeling really down right now. Between dad, Kelly and Bill all being sick, my friend Doreen's husband died yesterday. She came home and found him. Death always throws me for a loop. One minute someone is here and then- gone forever. I do believe there is more than this life. I just don't know what it is. I have faith that we will all be together again, but in what form. Our finite brains just can't capture the reality of heaven and eternity.

So here I am all melancholy. I worry about my own health and the inevitability of death. How long do I have? Will my family be OK when I am gone? I know we all have those feelings they are just prominent in my thinking at the moment.

I feel like a good belly laugh is in order!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Life Gets Crazy When You Aren't Looking

I remember the day my summer went downhill. It was Thursday evening the closing night of Pimpernel. Meg and I decided to meet Brian and the kids for the cast party at ? See, they hadn't decided on a place to go yet. We figured it would be VI for sure so we went ahead and parked in the lot waiting for the call on where to go. See we aren't dumb- most of the time- if we were already there, we could go in, get a table and order before the mass chaos. Then we would get our food at a reasonable time (1 AM?!) get to visit with everyone and be home before dawn. Well it didn't work out that way.

The cast had to strike the set. I couldn't get a hold of Brian or the kids so we decided to go see if by chance they were at IHOP. I was apparently too tired to drive because I turned too sharp and ran over the curb. Yikes! That is why now, in Sept I am still figuring out when I can buy new shocks. They weren't at IHOP so we went back to the park- oops dumb mistake we forgot that city parks close at 10 PM. Apparently we were loitering and luckily, the cop just followed us around the park until we left. But we did find the casts' cars and knew we were in for a long night. I finally got Brian to answer his phone and found out it would be another hour. We decided we don't really like the cast that much.

I joked that with all the cops patrolling the area around the park that Brian would probably get pulled over for his head light and expired tags (it had been a busy month!) And sure as shit he did. Luckily he just got a ticket.

That month we had over 1200.00 in car repairs UGH- the beginning of being broke and yet to catch up. So here I am again getting my windshield repaired and waiting for the verdict on Kate's car accident. Really, I am done with cars!

Then I accidentally threw away something very important that i don't even want to talk about. So I won't.

Then came the illness- first Kelly, then Bill then Dad. Its getting to be too much. I am finding myself unable to concentrate and I cry at the drop of a hat. Please people, I beg of you, don't be nice to me. It WILL make me cry. So Brian's solution is that I need antidepressants and anti- anxiety medication. I am so glad I have Barb to tell me that I am fine and normal and that its OK to need order to cope and that it doesn't make me neurotic or OCD.

Dad is in for another broncoscopy this morning. Lets all pray for good news. We need it.

A lot of good has come from this time as well. We bought our tent trailer- yeah! The show was awesome and we became closer friends with some amazing people. Kate got cast in Sweeney Todd and has a possible really great casting. We had two great camping trips and we have jobs.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

That's so sad about you!

On the way to school this morning Daniel reminded me of something Keegan said several years ago. I didn't let him do something or I didn't buy him something, I can't remember, but all of a sudden he said "That's so sad about you!" I said what is so sad about me? And he replied "that is so sad about you that you won't......." Ever since then we have used that to tease one another. This morning it was this, "That is so sad about you that you won't let me have a stomach ache at noon so I can leave school early"

What the broggins?! Another Keegy classic. He was so frustrated about something and couldn't get the words out so it was "what the broggins are you doing to me?!"

The hard part about being a mom is knowing when to open your mouth and when to keep it shut. I am not the best at long conversations about life. I kind of like to live it rather than stew over it. But I know Kate would love to have long drawn out one on one time. I almost worry about posting this here, but ................ She broke up with her boyfriend last night. And I wanted to jump up and down and shout hooray!!!!! My sisters did too. As did all of her friends from the theater and my friends who found out because Faceb00k is an amazing grapevine. He was not good for her. At all! Yes, they had some fun together and yes, its nice to have a constant companion in your life and in high school, having a boyfriend is important. But she couldn't see how much she was limited by having him in her life. He was a sad pathetic puppy dog who followed her around, bringing her down. I do feel bad that she knew I didn't like him and that hurt her. But I JUST COULDN'T LIKE HIM!!!!!!!! And I didn't like his family and the idea of her marrying him made me want to vomit (not that they were engaged but I knew they had talked about marriage as a possibility) So for now, he is gone and I hope to God and all higher powers that it stays that way. She is so much better than him.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Why is Fr. Paul always late?!

Last Sunday, I was doing my best to keep Keegan quiet during mass. This is no easy feat with a kid who is so active and honestly, mass to him is so boring. Just before communion he leaned over and said, "Why is Father Paul always late to church?!" I just about let out a huge guffaw Fr. Paul says the 7:30 mass, goes back to the rectory and then walks down towards the end of 9:00 mass to greet everyone. Keegan didn't know that (being as he has never in his life been to 7:30 mass) and he just sees Fr. walking down each week right at the end. I told Fr. Dave who gave a hearty laugh and said, "I better get on that, we can't have him slacking!" Fr. Paul also found it very amusing.

In other news, the parent worst nightmare occurred yesterday, Kate was involved in a car accident. I was in the other office talking to Michelle when there was a very loud knock on the door- thinking it was the mail room I opened to the door. There was Kate looking very small. She rushed in and threw her arms around me, started crying and it took a minute to figure out the problem. Apparently she inherited my ineptitude with depth perception and vehicles. She managed to get herself wedged trying to get into a parking spot. Then while correcting, she hit the bumper of the car parked next to her. Honestly, I don't need this but really, it could have been so much worse. Campus police was very nice and helpful and I will call the owner of the other car in just a few minutes. UGH!

What you might ask is a spiritual birth doula? OK, like me, you probably never asked that. My ignorance is bliss about such things has now been shaken up after a phone call yesterday. Some lady called and asked if it was a good time to talk to me. I said yes and then regretted it, immensely. She said she has written a book on a revolutionary new way to give birth. Really?! Through ones nose? or maybe vomiting the baby out? I only know of two ways out so please, enlighten me on the new way. OK, so I'm sure its some combination of birth hypnosis and other techniques. I am not opposed to giving a lot of tools for labor. But no, I will not promote your book!!!!!!!! I tried and tried to get out of it, but she is pushy. So next Wed, I get to meet with the spiritual birth guru. I can't wait- well, can't wait to see what it is all about and then get her OUT of my office.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Birthday Party and Teenagers-( unrelated}

When I was a kid, we had birthday parties until one dreaded year. Bill was in first grade and he was a total shit. Mom had spent a lot of time planning the party and I was so excited for the games and prizes. Well he threw a fit because someone else won the prize that he wanted. It didn't matter that he was the birthday boy and got all the presents he wanted that prize. So after the party mom announced that from then on we would get a party for our big birthdays-10, 13 and 16 after that, no more parties. I was crushed.

Fast forward to my own kids. The first party I held for Kate was huge. I didn't want to leave anyone out so I invited all the kids from the JCC and MOST OF THEM CAME!!!!!!!!! I think there were about 22 or 23. We had rotations and made costumes and decorated cupcakes and it was a big ordeal. I planned it for months. We did that for about 6 years before I started to mellow out the party- what can I say, I got old. It also got easier as they got into school and had their friends rather than preschool where everyone was kind of just together.

So today was Keegan's 7th party. And I didn't prepare at all. I sent invitations from Lake Powell because I didn't get them done in time. This meant that there were six kids- perfect! And I was glad there were so few when the heavens opened up and this desert became a candidate for Noah and the gang. We headed in doors for the dinner and cake and being the desert, the storm ended as quick as it started. There was no stopping them, the kids were like the fans of the winning team racing to the field. They ran me over to get back outside to the bounce house. Fine I said, who cares if your costumes get wet. So there they were jumping to their hearts' content in the post storm water. I merely apologized to the parents and none of them cared. So my completely unorganized and unplanned party was a huge success. There was even a rainbow sent down as a gift to Keegan or so he thinks.

Teens, what is wrong with their brains?!. I know, uncle Kirk calls it brain dump and its typical of them all, but really I know I wasn't like this. Daniel just called from a friends house 3o miles away to see if he can stay over night. Well, since I don't care to drive up there after the work of getting a party going I said yes. Then Brian asked him what time he needs to be picked up and he said, I'll call you back, I have to see if its OK with A's mom. Wouldn't you clear that first? So then he found out it was OK but is still calling us back with a time. I know I made plans better as a teen, I'm sure I did. But then, I am the one who spent years planning elaborate parties only to find out that a bounce house and rain are a hit. I am the one who makes real meals camping while my brother in law just buys a few cans of chili and two bags of Doritos. So is it me? or is it the gender that is missing part of an X?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sometimes Life is Overwhelming and There are Good Times

Before leaving for Yellowstone, Brian had talked to his dad. He told him that his prostate cancer was back. Any cancer coming back is NOT good. For him it is very scary because his dad died of return prostate cancer that metastasized to his brain. Grandpa Wilmer was in his early 70's and it was just after we were married. I didn't get to know him very well, but feel like I know him through the stories. Brian's dad is only in his early 60's and that is just too darn young. I know, people have been younger but still- its too young.

So on our trip my brother has a heart attack. My YOUNGER brother. Granted he has a much more stressful life, doesn't eat as well as I do and doesn't run but it scared me. Scared me to the point that I started having panic attacks which feel like heart attacks. (At least that is what I hear). So I quit running for two weeks then I sucked it up and put on my shoes and guess what- IT FELT GREAT!!!!!! Mentally and physically. I got a doozie of a cut on my foot at Lake Powell but I am trying to run through it because I'm back on the horse and I don't want to fall off again.

But then, right before leaving for Powell my dad found out he had some dark spots on his lung. I knew in my heart what that meant. He kept reassuring us that it was nothing, probably the gunk he had in his lungs that was making him cough a lot (DENIAL?) So he had to go in for a bronchoscopy while we were at Powell. He tried to not tell us, said he wouldn't have the results for a week or so but we knew. Finally on Friday I got him to tell us. He said he didn't want to ruin the family camping trip but honestly, it wasn't a shock.

I am a tough woman- too tough for my own good but I am finding myself having massive anxiety over things that would normally make me fret but not be paralyzed with fear. The Sears bill, Keegan's behavior at camp, the bank balance, all of those things are scary to me right now. As I was faxing a form earlier I almost started crying and just about told my boss I needed to go home for a mental health day but I pulled it together and I'll be OK for now.

Life is also good. We had our trip to Powell and despite the aggravation of some events I had a blast. The Jayco is AWESOME! I am so glad we bought it. The water can't be beat and other than the heat its such a great camping spot. Much better than bear camping. I prefer the snakes and scorpions to the bears any day. That said, I was stung by a scorpion- check that fear off my list. It wasn't so bad and I lived to tell about it.

Daniel oh Daniel you are a funny kid when you aren't tormenting your brother. Really, you are- don't lose that. First off, you were the best to make sure everyone had a bottle of water when they got to camp late and were a bit grouchy (no, not a bit, VERY grouchy) That was sweet and no one told you to do it. And Hug Zombie was awesome. Everyone wants to be hugged by a wet 15 year old who just got out of the lake. Well, not everyone, but at Powell, when its 100 degrees in the shade, a sopping hug is great.

And then there was our night patrol. Keegan had to have the captain hat they sold at the store. It was dang cute so I gave in. True to self, Keegs fashioned up a costume, set up lighting and patrolled the area. Just like a real watchman. Of course Em and I ended up in fits of giggles because it reminded us of The Brides Maid "I get first watch" Then I was informed that the services were not free but that we had to pay for that level of protection. Luckily, he was willing to take a dollar per family. PHEW! That kid is going to be a lawyer or a businessman some day.

So our trip was not the days of water skiing and bliss that I had envisioned but were tainted with broken boats, cars and bad news. But we did have a vacation and we are so blessed and that is what I need to remember.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Camping

As usual, my plan to get moving by 9:00 AM didn't pan out. Honestly, this time it was a good thing. We had stayed up until 2 AM getting the trailer in order and making it travel ready. Being the first time we took it down Brian went slow- very slow. The guy at Camper World said to crank it about 45 times and then walk around tucking things in. Well for Brian, that meant exactly 45 times and not one crank more or less. He wanted to everything exactly as they showed him. I get it, but that didn't make it any easier to sit in the driveway at that hour. So the extra sleep was nice.





We stopped at the Idaho potato museum and I know everyone wants to know why. Well, because they have the worlds largest potato chip and Brian really wanted Daniel to see it. Blackfoot here we come! Well the chip was honestly and unimpressive as the museum but we did get a box of dehydrated hash browns for each adult. Woo Hoo! But little did we know that they would come in handy. As it turns out, in my haste to get the cold stuff in the cooler, I forgot to pack the hashbrowns. No problem, we just re-constituted and voila hash browns. Not too shabby either.





Camping with bears is not my favorite. Its not so much the bears I minded- OK, I didn't really go looking for them and was truly grateful that I never saw one- it was really the keeping the camp safe to avoid the bears that was the issue. Every night we put all the dishes and food in the cars and the bear box only to have to drag it all out in the morning. And brrrrrrrrr it was freezing until about 8 AM. I was the only one on this trip who can't sleep past 7 so there I was shivering as I went out to get my warm clothes (which I had cooked in thus they couldn't be instide the pop up) and then pull out all the stuff to make a freekin pot of coffee. But once the coffee was made all was good. I really love camping I just prefer snakes and scorpions since they don't have a tendancy to want my food.





Yellowstone is a beautiful place with lots of stupid people. It never ceases to amaze me that people will put their kids in danger to get a glimpse of wildlife. Maybe being from Utah and havign seen moose, buffalo, deer, etc I'm not quite so excited or maybe, I just don't want my kids gored by something with horns who knows. Since we stayed outside the park, we didn't spend as much time driving during the peak animal sightings. But we missed a grizzly crossing the street by about three minutes. Bummer- we stopped to get pictures of a smoking mountain and decide it would be really fun to start pointing at a field excitedly to see how many people would stop in the road and do something stupid like put their 3 yr old in the field to look for the bear. Um yes, people did stop and we laughed about it. Then we found out about the grizzly and by the time we got up the road it was gone. I the ranger tracks them because the next time we came close to a grizzly there was a ranger there again- coincindence, I think not. How would Mr. Ranger get there so fast each time.





The not so great part of the trip was when we found out that our brother had a heart attack. UM he is 40- not 60 but 4-0. In my selfishness, I am now worried about genetics. I am female and i do run (when i'm not being a slacker) but still...... that is scary. He should be OK but wow! Not the news we expected on the trip. So that and the water that was flooding my house when we got home didn't make for a happy Liz. So let's hope Powell turns out better. Only two more days!!!!!!