Monthly Archives: December 2009

I got a little love today…

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and with it I bought a phone and a latte.  Over the last couple of weeks, there was a “love offering” taken at church.  This love was to be divided up amongst the pastoral staff, the youth intern, the custodial staff and me, the church office manager/toilet fixer.

I have been eyeing/daydreaming about/ not quite coveting(because that would be a sin and although I do sin on a regular basis, I try to avoid it, really I do) the iphone.

So, today, Mr Bill O.  handed me an envelope, and in it was a check.  Just enough to cover an iphone, with enough left over for a celebratory latte!

Truthfully, I didn’t need a check to feel the love.  That is one thing about working at a church, there is a lot of love passed around, but I can tell you this:

Each time I use that spiffy phone, I will be reminded that I am very blessed, and yes, loved.

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Christmas Eve…

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was always the big Christmas event at our house growing up.  Dave’s family did Christmas morning.  So we compromised and now we do both.  Presents with the family on Christmas eve, and stockings in the morning on Christmas day.

back to Christmas Eve.  That is what I am talking about right now.

This year we didn’t have any plans beyond going to church and opening presents.  But that changed late last week when our friend Nancy called and invited us to dinner at her house after the service.  She said there were going to be about 30 people there, and swedish meatballs.

How do you resist n offer like that?

So we went to church, and it was, well…less than spectacular.  Things just weren’t flowing.  The projector overheated, so there were no words to the songs that were not in the hymnal.   And there were a few.  And we sang some of the old favorites, but the rhythms were either a little slower or a little faster than I was used to and so…

But then we sang “Silent Night” by candlelight, and all was right with the world.

And then it was off to dinner.  Nancy and Jim are the most welcoming people I have ever met.  I long to have a home as warm and inviting as their home.  Walking in the door was like coming home.  Good smells, lots of laughter, coffee.

For the next couple of hours we laughed and talked and ate.  and I felt like I was in Minnesota.  There were babies and little kids and teens and young adults and 30 somethings, 40 somethings, 50 somethings and even set of surrogate grandparents for my kids.

we talked breastfeeding and school and vacations and politics.  I could have been in the living room at Showalter Central.

Then we packed up the kids and headed back across town, to our cozy little house, our pretty tree and the dog, who was very happy to see us!

We sat down, talked about Christmas, what it means, how the tradition started and read some scripture, but not from Luke.  From Genesis, because Dave is an Old Testament kind of guy.

Then the presents began!  Cribbage board, Nerf guns, chocolate, a knife, a tin mosquito, a banana leaf frog, Daisy earrings, perfume, socks, a tie, puzzle, artwork, games, stuffed animal, salmon dog treats, knitting needles, audio books, movies, and about 40 books.

Seriously, 40 books.  Books about the oil industry, the Irish exodus, knitting, barbie, WW1, Antarctica, fly fishing, commercial fishing, and so much more.

It was so much fun, and the kids were so excited about each and every little thing!

And that was Christmas eve on Garden Street.

It’s Christmas time in the city…

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we got a tree today, and it is SO incredibly pretty!  Last night our kids stayed with some friends, and after we enjoyed a fabulous brunch with the Wilsons, we decided to swing by Bell’s Nursery and “take a look” at what they had for trees.  Not intending to buy a tree there, as Bell’s is a nice nursery and the trees are quite pa bit more expensive than at say, Home Depot.

One glance at the trees, and we knew that good sense would not prevail.  We were getting a tree at Bell’s.

All the trees were lovely, or maybe it was that our brains were addled with the smell of Christmas, and our judgment was clouded.

You might remember, we live in a little house.  So we started looking at 4 foot trees, there is an end table in the corner of the living room that would work perfectly as a tree stand.

And there were some beautiful trees, 2 or 3 that we kept coming back to.  This one, or that one, no, maybe THAT one!

Because we could not agree, we decided to go down one more row, just to see what was there.  And we rounded the corner, and there it was:  Our Tree.

7 ft tall, 4 ft at the base and so impossibly lovely.  It is a Normand, soft 2 inch needles that curve down just enough to make it look like the needles are melting a tiny bit.  Dark green on the top of the needle, silvery below.  And so full you cannot see the trunk.

Before I knew what happened, it was in the back of the truck and we were searching for Christmas music on the radio.

We spent the day moving furniture, and putting on the lights.

It is FAR FAR too big for our little house, but it is just so pretty!

It’s not something fun to talk about…

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but I do it a lot anyway, it helps.  I have always processed my stress/joy/fear/love vocally, I tried for a while to be that “good quiet listener”.  you know, the personality type held up as the gold standard.  That didn’t work out that well.  Ended up on Prozac trying to be that perfect church wife.

Disclaimer:  I think I am a good listener, or at least a good “let’s talk about it” person, so don’t let my prior confession keep you from talking to me!

back to the story…

not quite 1.5 years ago (a lifetime ago or yesterday) was when we got the bad phone call.  Cancer, and worse than just cancer, Rectal cancer.  NO ONE wants to talk about cancer “down there”.  But talk I did, to anyone and everyone.  Poor Dave, more people know about his health issues…  Then it was surgery and the awful, painful recovery, and then the good news that the tumor was gone.  Check ups followed, things looked good.  Summer came and went: camping, hiking, road trips, the boat.  Fun, busy, wonderful months of living life, carefree.

Then it was time for the 1 year checkup.  As the appointment date neared, we started to remember, and both Dave and I got what I like to call “impending sense of doom”.  That pit in the stomach, vague and constant.

The exam came, and with it, a date for a colonoscopy.

Can you guess what comes next?

Recurrence…  the scope found a small tumor, just 20mm in size, but growing pretty fast.  Our friendly ColoRectal surgeon wasted no words and no time.  ‘This has to come out, and soon.  You dodged a bullet last time, keep trying to go that route, one of these bullets is going to hit.”.

Dave went to work, and scheduled surgery(again) for the day after he was to arrive home.  That morning, I left work a bit early, arranged to have a neighbor pick up the kids from school and feed them supper.  We drove the 2.5 blocks to the hospital(seems silly, but there was no way Dave was walking home).   We joked and laughed a little, but not much.

Once again, we sat in the surgery prep area, talking to the nurses, and the anesthesiologist.  Then to our surgeon.  This time, it was both less and more unnerving than last year.  This time, not one nurse assured us we would not be back.  This time, the nurses said, hope we don’t see you so soon, and oh, yes, I remember you, wow, I am sorry you are back in.

Once again, I sat, trying to knit or read, or both, in the family waiting area.  Time slows down in that room.  Several times, the hospital volunteer rose from her desk, looked in my direction, and then walked past me to let some other family know that their patient was in recovery.

Eventually, the surgeon came in.  he looked serious, but not hurried(I took this as a good sign, I figured if he looked frantic it was bad news.  Serious, I could handle).  And the news was both good, and serious.  Both tumors were removed.  Completely.  That was great news.

Wait.  Both tumors?  A second tumor had started to grow in the 2 weeks between the colonscopy and the surgery.  And the original tumor?  Grew by about 50% in that time.  Those things, that was serious news.

Dave came home that afternoon, and did not leave the house, at all, for the next 8 days.  The recovery was tough, not as bad as last year, but not the swift one he had hoped for.

The pathology reports came back, and everything was happily pre-cancerous tissue.  So, no chemo, no radiation.

Today Dave had a post-op exam.  Things look good.  For now.   There is still healing taking place, and that healing seems to be progressing along just as it should.

In 7 weeks, he will have another exam, and then another scope.  And then 6-8 weeks later, another exam, and then another scope.  and so on.

It sounds like overkill until the surgeon says:  Well, if you decide you don’t want to see me, for say 5 years, if you are lucky you will just lose your rectum and your anus, but probably it would be your life.

So every 6-8 weeks it is.  Dodging bullets.

It’s not something fun to talk about, but I am going to do it anyway.

It helps.

Haircuts!!!

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gave all 3 of the kids haircuts last night.  Kjell got a couple of inches off, Broder had his trimmed all around, and Sunny wanted to go short, so we cut 8 inches off her hair.  Thought you might like to see them.

 

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They are a good looking crew~!