Latest update: My dad was supposed to go home from the hospital yesterday, but he developed a fever and had to stay another day. They didn’t find anything seriously wrong with his heart or arteries. My mom remembered a friend of hers had chest pain before having gallbladder surgery. So she asked the doctor if he thought my dad’s gallbladder should be tested.
That’s what’s going on today. I also had my hair cut. I’m trying to decide if it’s short enough. (I do like it, though.)
Also, I’m all about the zombies today: read this and imagine seeing that during your morning commute. Also, check out this soon-to-be-released book. Awesome.
My mom called me this evening to fill me in on what’s been happening the past 48 hours. Yesterday, my dad had major angina pain—which freaked the heck out of him because he has already had two heart attacks. (The last one was something like 17 years ago. He’ll be 81 in March.) At first, he thought it was indigestion. When it worsened, my mom insisted on taking him to urgent care. The first clinic they went to was closed, so they headed to the next closest clinic. As the staff was whisking him inside, getting nitroglycerin, etc., they asked my mom why she didn’t go to the emergency room.
Same reason she didn’t call 911. It didn’t occur to her. She was in trying-not-to-panic mode.
Anyway, they sent for an ambulance to take him to the hospital. Funny enough, the hospital my mom would have chosen if she’d been thinking more clearly wouldn’t have been able to take him. Their emergency room was overflowing. He ended up at a different hospital, where he was given immediate attention. Serendipity.
So he’s been having tests, getting medication for the pain, and being constantly monitored. Coincidentally, the doctor is the same one who did both his angioplasties many years ago. Everyone seems to agree he’s in great shape for his age, and it appears he didn’t have a full-blown heart attack.
Tomorrow he’s getting an angiogram. They’ll be prepared to do surgery if necessary. I made my mom promise to call me as soon as she knew something, because I didn’t find out any of this until about an hour ago. She’s keeping up a good front, making jokes about having to take out the garbage tonight and so forth. (Same as I would do, actually.) I talked to my dad a few minutes ago. He said not to be worried, but I told him of course I’m worried. I feel optimistic, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be anxious. And a little shell shocked.
The universe seems to be taking care of things pretty well so far, but any positive vibes you can send our way are much appreciated.
We finally convinced Peter to work on his German dialog, which is 60% of his final. (Tomorrow is the last day of finals, which were pushed back a few days due to dangerous windchills, school cancellation, blah blah blah.) Moon is helping him, because of course hers is done, despite the fact that she would have an A in the class even if she skipped the final. Because that’s how she rolls.
Anyway, I thought I’d remove myself from the situation because I know if I’m sitting there I will interject unwanted comments, and my deep desire for Peter to pass his classes will emit desperation rays and distract everyone from the task at hand.
This has been a busy weekend. Moon and Pete had master class at Good ‘n Loud yesterday, which was a wild ride of difficult music including Rush’s YYZ. (For some reason, my mind shuts down when I speak that song title. I’ve called it XYZ, XYY and XXY. Hey, there aren’t any lyrics, so it could be about chromosome abnormalities.)
I’ve been knitting as usual and have already finished some new projects. Now I’m back to working on my Cassidy. The back and front panels are done, and I’ve started the first sleeve. At this rate, I won’t finish until spring, but that might be okay. The yarn is kind of an in-between weight.
In other news, I convinced the family to get AT&T U-verse, which means we have (1) DVR, and (2) way more channels than ever before. The DVR thing is way, way better than having to use videotape. And it’s been a culture shock getting used to watching quality programming such as The Colbert Report whenever we’d like. Remember when I eschewed television as opiate for the masses? And was proud that I’d never seen an episode of Friends? Yeah. I kind of think TV is awesome now.
This is why I want a Pom.
(No offense, Foxxi – I love you, but someday I hope to have a dog I can pet fearlessly. You are definitely Moon’s doggy.)
Obstacles are a natural part of life, just as boulders are a natural part of the course of a river. The river does not complain or get depressed because there are boulders in its path. — The *I Ching.*
We’re all doing much better, thanks. Also, as of last night the kids and I are completely caught up with Lost. Which means we can watch new episodes with everyone else, yay. My mind is still kind of reeling from the finale, but fortunately there are some cool and helpful special features on the DVD set. (A collection of the flash-forwards in order, for one.)
I haven’t been back to the pool yet, but I’m thinking about going tomorrow. One must be sure to be virus-free before sharing fluid space with others.
Christmas was great, but since then we’ve been wrestling with an unwanted visitor. Namely, the stomach flu. It’s been like the movie Alien around here. Who will be next? Which ensign will be found with his innards eviscerated?
First, it was Moon. We came home from our post-Xmas/gramma’s birthday celebration from my parents’ house. The dinner theme was Casseroles! so Moon was complaining that the food was giving her an upset stomach. She put on her brand-new PJs (from gramma, featuring a penguin that lights up when you move, which is actually cute and fun) and we started watching some Lost Season 4 (one of my presents).
A bit later, she ran to the bathroom and started puking so violently I couldn’t believe it was all coming from her. Basically, the puking kept going on and on until the runs kicked in. And chills, she also had chills. At one point she decided to just lie down on the bathroom floor to rest.
But her penguin PJs were certainly cheery, lighting up with her every move!
She was much better by Monday night. At that point, my stomach started doing strange things and I interpreted it as “hunger” when I should have been thinking “possession by evil viral spawn.” So I had a bowl of — wait for it! — leftover split pea soup. With wasabe peas and some Christmas cookies.
A few hours later, it was like a scene from The Exorcist in slo-mo. Needless to say, I was up all night with chills, cramps and vomiting. Like Moon, I attempted to sleep on the bathroom floor.
In the morning, my body started ejecting from the other end. This went on and on. So on New Year’s Eve, I’m weak and still ejecting a bit. Moon is much better. We’re thinking about playing games and having family fun. Except… Pete is sitting in the kitchen, doubled over, with his forehead on the table.
Another man down! About an hour later, Peter is crabby, crampy and testy. On the up side, neither of them had eaten any dinner. Peter had skipped lunch. So at least they hadn’t been eating split pea soup.
I just made a run to the store for some more popsicles and chicken & rice soup. Par-tayy! Happy New Year, and with a start like this, the end of 2009 ought to be awesome.
Here are some Christmas-y things I’ve done this season:
- Sold a bunch of my knitted stuff at a holiday craft fair
- Baked cutout cookies with Moon. (Photos are still in my camera.)
- Ate said cookies.
- Went shopping on Dec. 23, which turned out to be quicker and easier than any of my previous excursions.
- Put up our pre-lit, artificial tree.
- Smiled about all the snow.
- Sang winter carols at church. Played “Carol of the Bells” on chimes. (My notes were F5, F#5, D6 and E-flat6.)
- Drank eggnog, eggnog lattes and eggnog chai lattes.
- Made a wish list.
- Bought a present for the giving tree at church.
- Wrote a Christmas newsletter. Stood in line at the post office to buy nutcracker-themed stamps. Mailed cards on time.
- Felt thankful, contented and happy. (And at turns, frantic, disorganized and unprepared.)
- Put antlers on the dog.
- Decorate the Christmas tree. It isn’t even wearing a skirt.
- Hang any outdoor lights.
- Get out the stockings. (Got to find them tonight, I guess.)
- Get depressed or anxious. (Thanks, modern pharmaceuticals!)
Hope your holidays are awesome.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): In the Broadway play “Passing Strange,” the narrator Stew says, “You know how one morning you wake up as an adult and you realize your entire life is based on a decision you made as a teenager?” If that description applies to you, Cancerian, 2009 will be the best year ever to do something about it. In the coming months, you will have the power to correct errors or misjudgments you made way back when. You’ll be able to figure out how to start over in an area of your life that you’ve always assumed you were doomed to accept just the way it is. You may even find that you can, in a sense, change the past and reconfigure your memories.
- “Everywhere is walking distance, if you have the time”, comedian Steven Wright.
- Commuting to work has been reported to be the least enjoyable activity in the survey performed by Princeton scientists: Noble laureate professor Daniel Kahneman, economist Alan B. Krueger, David A. Schkade, Norbert Schwarz and Arthur A. Stone.
- “If we use an increase in our incomes…simply to buy bigger houses and more expensive cars, then we do not tend to end up being any happier than before. But if we use an increase in our incomes to buy more of certain inconspicuous goods – such as freedom from a long commute or a stressful job – then the evidence paints a very different picture.” says Robert H. Frank, economics professor at Cornell University..
- “You can’t adapt to commuting, because it’s entirely unpredictable. Driving in traffic is a different kind of hell every day.” says Daniel Gilbert, author of “Stumbling on Happiness” and a psychology professor at Harvard University.
- “There’s a simple rule of thumb: Every ten minutes of commuting results in ten per cent fewer social connections. Commuting is connected to social isolation, which causes unhappiness.” says Robert Putnam, a Harvard political scientist.
- “We find that people with longer commuting time report systematically lower subjective well-being. If your trip is an hour each way, you’d have to make forty per cent more in salary to be as ‘satisfied’ with life as a noncommuter is…” from the article “Stress That Doesn’t Pay: The Commuting Paradox” by Alois Stutzer and Bruno S. Frey, University of Basel and University of Zurich.
- Read New Yorker article about commuting There and back again by Nick Paumgarten.
The International Wolf Center is a fine organization, and I get their emails because I bought their 2008 calendar. Today they sent a message about holiday gifts that help support their work.
Which is cool, but this illustration puzzled me:
So, do these sweaters make it easier for the wearer to be attacked and eaten by wild animals? If that’s the case, then I’m thinking my family might not appreciate the sentiment.
Well, hello. Guess what? I feel good. I knew that I would, now. And to keep myself from breaking into song, I’ll give you this week’s horoscope from Rob Brezsny:
CANCER (June 21-July 22): I’ve got three related questions for you, Cancerian. 1. Are there any roles you play in which your selfish and unselfish tendencies overlap? 2. What situations allow you to be most completely yourself as you provide a fine service to others? 3. Which of your skills generate the most blessings and gifts? The next 12 months will be a favorable time for you to identify these roles, situations, and skills, and cultivate them to the max. You’ll have prime opportunities to express your special genius while doing good deeds.
Anyway, winter has arrived quite dramatically here in Wisconsin, and my attitude has changed so much in the past month. The earlier sunsets don’t bother me anymore. Night doesn’t freak me out. I like it right now, and I don’t have the need to skip ahead to the future and obsess about all the unknowns. (And the knowns, i.e. eventual death.)
Plus, snowplows have been special to me since the last time I was recovering from a major anxiety episode (1995 for those who are counting). They were a reminder that people are out there, awake in the middle of the night, taking care of things. Very comforting at the time. Hey, whatever works.
School was canceled today, and my son hugged me when he heard the news. (Moon murmured a bit and went back to sleep.) I decided to go to the Y and swim before work, since the snow didn’t stop Pete from his regular 2-mile jog to his office. The roads were nasty, but I made it there. I took a later-than-usual lunch and then decided to work from home. My neighbors had a hard time getting up our shared drive and into their own garages. We had a pushing party.
In other news, did you hear Oprah gained some weight? I really liked what Kate Harding had to say about it. And that’s all for now. Stay cozy.
Okay, I posted every day through the 17th (which really is some kind of record for me), and then I fell off. What happened?
At the beginning of the month, I was going through some serious sh**, due to an ill-thought-out decision to go off my anxiety medication six weeks earlier. (I had made some cool lifestyle changes, so that ought to be enough, right? Guess not.) Posting to my blog every day in November had a special appeal to me this year, because it was one more way I could try to hang on to what sanity I had left. Frankly, most things made me think about death, and writing about it (well, parts of it) was a welcome distraction. I could kind of remove myself and be an observer of what was going down in my brain.
Yes, riding in the car made me think about (accidental, violent) death. Happy old people made me think of my own inevitable decline and demise. Cute little kids made me think about how they would grow up too fast, get old and die. I had a constant sense of anxiety — fight or flight! — that made everything a source of panic.
At one point, before deciding to call the shrink, I told Pete, “I feel like I’m already dead.”
This is my brain, not on drugs!
So, the first six days of the month were me trying not to lose it. The second six were me getting my mojo back. And the rest of the month, well, I’m busy living. Most of it is fairly mundane stuff. The internet does not want to know what I had for breakfast, right?
That’s my excuse for my NaBloPoMo failure. I won’t call it an epic fail, because in so many ways it’s a resounding success.
So I failed 2008 NaBloPoMo. That’s fine, as long as I don’t fail Thanksgiving. I’m making my second-ever bird, and I did some last minute shopping for food items — butter, onions, potatoes, crackers, cheese. (The last two we’ll need because we’re waiting until 3 pm to eat the big meal. Moon has to work.)
All I really want to do is knit, but I’ll get my chance to do that Friday during our big car ride to Sis #2’s house. I’ve been making lots of little things for an upcoming craft fair: 3 moebius scarves, 4 hats, a bunch of coffee cozies, some small felted bowls. And I’m still cranking out the small stuff. It’s very rewarding to use up extra yarn I’ve had sitting around. Of course, it makes me want to buy replacement yarn, but I’m resisting that temptation so far.
Hey, I lasted a fairly long time with the NaBloPoMo this year. So things got a little hectic these past few days. There’s always the puppycam.
Moon has the idea that she wants to go see Hamlet this evening because her work schedule and so forth means tonight might be her only chance before it closes on the 29th. I’m game, but our one-car situation means that Pete would have to feel benevolent as well. We shall see.
That’s what Pete asked me today. A few short weeks ago, I was tearfully telling him all my innermost woes and fears. Death was my constant inner companion.
“I’m a lot better,” I told him. And it’s true. I can hardly believe how different I feel already. In fact, I haven’t felt this normal in a long time. Not even before I ran out of medication two months ago. So it’s not all being back on meds. I think part of it is that I’m getting regular exercise, which apparently is more important to my mental health than I realized. Another factor, I think, is that I’ve accepted where I’m at and have a certain peace about it.
There’s also the thing where it feels good when you stop being whacked in the head with a brick over and over again. Not getting a brick in the head isn’t neutral, it’s great.
Finally got to see “Role Models” today, just me and Peter. Watched the Bollywood comedy later in the evening. Moon had her first real day of work, cashiering. That’s about all.
I can’t remember if I mentioned that Moon had a job interview yesterday and was hired on the spot. Her training started right away (last night), so I ended up running around with her trying to get a work permit and not being able to find her social security card, then going to the social security office to apply for a replacement, but having everything work out despite not being able to go to see “Role Models” as we had originally planned. (Peter, who was with us, wasn’t too happy about the turn of events. We’ll try again.)
Today I had swimming lessons and did a small amount of shopping. I’ve been collecting yarn for afghans lately. Acrylic stuff to crochet. I worked on my prayer shawl this afternoon and got quite a bit done. We caught the end of the Wisconsin/Minnesota game on TV. Moon was there in person with Brooke’s family, and seemed to have a good time despite the way the game turned around in the second half. The Paul Bunyan axe stays here. Woo?
And that’s about it. I think I’m back.
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Here’s the whole set (and I really do suggest you look).
This embroidery is my contribution to the ensemble. I was nervous because I don’t really know what I’m doing, and I had to work directly on the finished pocket—which I then had to machine-sew in place. Moon lightly sketched the image for me in pencil.
She looks pretty good as a blond Evil League of Evil member.
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