Friday, January 28, 2011

Wishing Away Winter

Is anyone else over this weather? I can generally tolerate some snow and a little wintery weather, but really! We might as well be living in Alaska this year. Except for the scary former governor, of course. Wait, we do have Mitch...equally scary, maybe. Oh, yeah, this is not a political blog. Promise. It's just that I'm an old hippy-type and right-wingers scare me and I'm a touchy, feely social worker and meanness bothers me. Stepping off the soapbox now.
This was the year I was going to forego my SpringBreak trip South. But really, not after these temperatures and that amount of snow. I need the sun, for medical reasons. I'm sure my docs would prescribe a trip to warm sunny climes if pressed. I have never suffered from SDA, but can now say I really understand those who do. Gray is just not a good color for the environment, even with a base of deep white snow. The sun is life giving, promising, warming. Humans don't operate well without sun in their life. Hearts slow to barely life-sustaining rates, moods plummet to soul-wrenching depths. The sun has the power to raise moods, hopes and inspire happy thoughts. Even the milky white haze of the sun through clouds is enpough to make us smile and feel better. The blinding glare of the sun on all this snow brings on giddiness or the rare times we've seen it.
Our girls are doing well this week. It is a week by week thing for Mackenzie, I'm afraid. The medication which they are going with for the lungs will undoubtedly cause more damage to the kidneys, but does and amazing job on her breathing. The docs tell us the kidneys are goners and we have to save the lungs. Such an extreme trade-off. Maddie is back to being Maddie! Homework is something she will avoid at all costs and she is not above "forgetting" to bring it home. Not a habit we want her to develop. She is very strong willed and her communication disorder complicates so many areas of her life. Being ill has given her an unfair advantage over the adults recently!
Our house was stricken by the stomach bug this week; Stephen King looked at me like I had brought in the plague everytime he rushed to the bathroom! Middle schoolers are so good about sharing, they want everyone to have what they have, and all 250 of them shared with me. Oh My. We had a very successful first semester, academically speaking here in the Valley. All involved have kicked it up a notch; students and teachers alike. I am proud to see so many Top Hawks recognized with a day at our local water park. Nearly 50% celebrated one afternoon when we returned to school after Christmas break. We award MVP t-shirts to the most enthusiastic student in each department every semester and this time I had to order 39 shirts. Love celebrating/acknowledging learning!
I'm wishing my life away, to quote my Mom, but I do wish this school year was over. I suppose it is because of my illness and knowing I'm retiring, but I feel as if I have nothing else to contribute here. I hate the thought of leaving, yet feel as if I'm already gone. Maybe just "senioritise". Maybe an attempt to protect myself from the pain of separating from a life I've lived for 20 years.
There is so much to do. With each day, I think of more and more that has to be done before I can walk away and leave this to someone else. Ending a job is almost as full of "to dos" as beginning one! I remember having a list of things for every month my first year. Things that only happen once a year, but have to be done EVERY year. After all this time they are done without thinking, but whoever replaces me will need to know what, how and when of each activity. And we all know, I love lists! I use the same journal to make lists of holiday menus, birthday presents, Christmas lists, etc. It is amusing to go back and see how little by little our families taste in food changed, our kids interests evolved and technology zoomed ahead. For example; Christmas 2000 Shayla got a CD player,  fast forward to Christmas 2009 Shay got a laptop, Christmas 2010 Maddie got an ipod Touch. Our food preferences went from years of Christmas turkey to a standing rib the last few years. My lists have marked the coming and going of loved ones and "not loved anymore" ones, of stilled loved and missed. Courtney has chosen Australia as home and hasn't spent Holidays with us, so we make do and celebrate each day she is here. One day her Ken will join her in a visit and our family gatherings will grow again. We have been so blessed to have the kids close and with technology, we don't feel the distance to OZ quite like we might have 20 years ago.
OK, back to lists... I make a list most mornings. I get such satisfaction when I can check off item after item of completed chores! Or in reality, at least 1 thing from a 50 item list. Lists are my tool for organizing my life; I cannot start a project, a big meal, a trip, a DAY without a list. Making a list pulls my random thoughts together and lays out the plan of action. Do this, then that, proceed on to the other. Ahhh, Bliss when a list is complete.
Excuse me, break is over... my list says Time to find the misssing locker key, check on Billy Bob's homework and make sure all the Lists have been recorded. HEHEHE! Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Just gotta love being back to work and realizing it never changes! Each evening I pray for a better tomorrow. Most days are a repeat of the one before or are even crazier, somehow. Maybe it is time I stop hanging out with the middle school kids. Maybe it is them not me. I have loved my job from day one, even though 12-15 year olds were not my favorite aged people. I found a home with them and realized they were OK. But keeping up with them at 60+ is different than when I was 40. THEY WEAR ME OUT! Physically, mentally and emotionally...especially emotionally. Only 220 more days and I'm out.
Our girls are doing better. Both have returned to school and appear to be as near to normal as possible. Mackenzie has an appointment with her doctors on Thursday, so we will know more then. She would love to finish her junior year before a transplant. Hopefully, that will be the way it goes for her. Mack has a very stoic attitude towards her health. She remains both optimistic and realistic, living day by day with faith that she will be fine. I admire her so much for being able to hold fast to her faith when I am so full of questions and concerns about her future. She has her dress picked out for Prom, just needs Mom's approval. It is so hard to imagine that our little redhead is nearly 17 and will be going to lots of Proms and dances and parties in the coming years. Grandma has wonderful memories of Tea Parties with Mack and Shay wearing aprons and setting the tea table with fresh picked flowers. They would drink tiny cups of milk flavored with a teeny bit of tea and sugar, tiny cookie and fruit slices. Sometimes there were fancy hats involved and high heeled shoes! Funny how tea parties were never something I did with Madeleine. While Mack and Shayla would pretend to be fancy grown-up ladies, Maddie would look at me and ask for just cookies and milk. She sees everything in concrete and has little patience for imaging. I've made numerous attempts to engage her with Fairy Stories. But she looks at me and says, "No thanks". She tries to be kind in her rejection of my ideas, but secretly rolls her eyes at my silliness. Maddie is a special blessing to all of us.
Southern Indiana has had its share of weather issues this winter. We are waiting for the latest snow storm to blast through here on Thursday. The students are jumpy are cats, anticipating snow-days, sleeping in and playing in the cold, wet stuff. Teaching is morphed into herding during these days. It takes only a snap to set one of them off on a fork-wielding tirade against someone talking across the lunch table. Another tosses orange peeling and cherry juice over his buddy, "just for fun". The girls are the real challenge, throwing LOOKS at everyone; friend and enemy alike. No one likes the LOOKS, especially the adults in charge. Reasoning with someone who has the power to LOOK at you is a task for a super hero, not a mere mortal. I spend as much time counseling and consoling teachers as I do students. I'm getting the cape! A nice big one to hide from the world, Black with Queen of the World in big letters.
When I am QOW, things will be different. Everyone...everyone from insurance clerks to special education co-op staff will do his/her job. Just the job, no more no less. I do believe if we all just did what we are hired to do the world would revolve on a much better axis. Who is that person who fails to notice the signature form has been completed and the boxes all have the appropriate checks in them? Sorry, the cold, gray weather has me grouchy. Or something. I am sure my doctor will cheer me up tomorrow when he explains how much improved his meds have made me! Or else explains again why nausea is to be expected with chemo, "it shows it's working". Or not.
I am looking past this trial of weather, wild kids, poor health towards Spring. It will return and we will celebrate. Green leaves, grass, and blooms. Hang in there, everyone.  Hedy

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! WE ARE BACK FROM OUR SELF IMPOSED BLOGGING BREAK. Actually the break wasn't so much self-imposed as my body forced me into it. I spent September and October in bed with a severe Lupus flare up and an infection in my head. Back to work part-time in November and in December our grand daughter's kept us in Riley Childrens Hospital. Happy to report we all are doing much better; I'm back full-time, Mack is back to school and Madeleine is home re-cuperating. I'm retiring at the end of this school year, so if I can make it for 18 more weeks, we are good!
Madeleine had to have open heart surgery on the 3rd and was home on the 8th. The next week went well for her and then she developed pneumonia. Shawn took Mackenzie along for a visit with her pulmonologist and she was admitted, along with Maddie. Maddie had turned out to be a collection of blood in the bottom of her lung and under went another surgery to remove that. A painful ordeal for her and she was slow in recovering. Mack was given breathing treatments and IV antibiotics for 9 days. She is remarkably improved. The disease appears to have progressed from her kidneys to her lungs, causing real breathing issues. She has labs each week to determine the status of her kidneys and a transplant is expected before too long. Her doctors are less optimistic than Mack is about this; she has surprized them for 8 years and plans on continuing!
Our other kiddos are terrific; Caleb, Gavin and Shayla are happy and healthy, PTL, to quote Mack. Caleb is a first grader who likes learning and likes sharing his thoughts even more. He continues to be like his father, a real story teller. His big, beautiful brown eyes have saved his hide more than once over some of his tales. Gavin, the wise one, loves kindergarten, makes friends easily and is knowing beyond his years. He has the vocabulary of an adult and is a joy to listen to. He is naive and innocent and loves the world. On the other hand, he can meltdown into a raging mess if crossed. Also a trait of his father's. Our beautiful grandsons are such a conglomeration of our sons, often displaying traits of dad, then uncle until we wonder who is who. Being with these two characters is a joy in my life.
Shayla is an adult now, at 22, she is a beautiful young woman. Quiet and loving, Shay's heart is as big as the world. She feels the pain of everyone and is the most caring person I know. She has been spending most of her winter with her other grandma, helping her with a bad hip. As long as Shay has her cellphone and ipod, she is a happy camper. She has worried herself to death over Maddie and Mack's illnesses, checking everyday for any news. She nurtures us all. I miss our Saturdays together and hope to get back to them asap. For now she is much too busy.
Our grandson, Joe, struggles with life, but we aren't giving up on him. Sometimes it takes a long while for us to grow up and into who we want to become. I have faith he will.
Stephen King continues to love retirement and fills his days with "piddling around". Never, ever boring, he claims. I hope to travel a bit when both of us are retired, but really don't know if he will have time. We are eating our way through all his canned and frozen goodies from the garden and he is planning the next one...fewer green beans and more tomatoes. His corn is fantastic, where did he learn to freeze it better that I can? Maybe I can learn from him next summer. I'm looking forward to having time for him and his hobbies.
Our mom has Alzheimers and has struggled alot this fall and winter. My sster is a blessing for her and I hope to be able to help them more with retirement. Life can be so hard sometimes we wonder why? For what purpose do illnesses like Alzheimers, kidney failure, heart defects, addiction and lupus strike? What can we learn from our suffering? Difficult questions to contemplate -  impossible to answer.  
I hope to use this blog to reconnect with old friends, meet new ones and discover some of those answers.