Monday, November 28, 2011

Self diagnosis

Alright, so I am very fond of self diagnosis. In fact, it is in general what I let guide my general health.

I have been examining my symptoms today and I struggled to figure out what was wrong. Then it struck me! Like a bolt of lightening. I have PMSD. You may not have heard of it before, and I truly doubt you suffer from it, it is extremely rare. It stands for Post-Mari Stress Disorder.

Is it bed time yet?

A bad hangover

It feels today like Calgary has woken up from a wild party and is suffering a bad hangover. Everyone is assessing the damage of yesterdays wind storm.

I arrived at the school with Gavin this morning and as I crossed the street chatted to two other parents, both of whom had trees downed on their properties. We lost the top of one of our trees. We weren't home but our wonderful neighbor came and collected the branches for us. Now we just have to figure out how to dispose of them. There has also been a huge amount of siren activity this morning.

But, the shocker is what happened downtown. In all my years living in Calgary I have never seen anything like these pictures. It looks like Edmonton after a Stanley cup win. 

I am very curious how my friends who work downtown managed this morning. I am also very thankful for the emergency crews who will have worked through the night helping. It isn't the worst natural disaster that could happen, but it might rate among the strangest I've seen in a while.

Hoping this note finds you all safe and sound.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Everyone needs a helper

Oh and do I get help! I've had several helpers through the years, but the youngest is by far the most enthusiastic. Its nice for Mommy to have help, as long as she also had a good night sleep (ha ha).

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Winter red cheeks

Oh these kids are so kissable!

So far today they have emptied the craft bin and glued a lot of stuff together. Mommy cleaned up. Opened a book store, emptied out their book shelf and hauled them to the living room, made money, had signs, stamped things... Mommy made them return the books to their room and dreads helping them clean that up. Helped me wrap a few Christmas presents. Mommy managed to stay sane and still wrap in my usual obsessive compulsive manner. Not easy. Wrestled them all into snow pants, coats, toques and gear. They played for a bit, while I shoveled the deck and took  pictures. They decided it was time to come in and ordered hot chocolate with marshmallows and popcorn (marshmallows were in the hot chocolate not the popcorn - just to clarify). Mommy obliged and filled order. Next??

Wes is working, hopefully he will be home soon, I'm having a hard time keeping up.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

A bit serious

I have thought different times about sharing this - since many of you have asked about it. But, it seems a bit serious and I am working pretty hard these days to not be serious at all.

This is part of the speech I gave at the Cardiology retreat in Edmonton. I have not included the whole thing because frankly it was long, and also some of it was specific to the families who participated and I don't feel comfortable sharing without their knowledge.

Here is what I will share. The following was the beginning of the speech.

Let me tell you a story.
It is a cliché but still very true that life is a journey. We are all, every one of us on a journey.
If you could stop for a moment and use your imagination, draw a picture in your mind.

You see before you, not a conference room, but a vast landscape. There are hills, valleys, forests, rolling fields of grain. This landscape is riddled with pathways. Focus your mind on one particular pathway. On it is a woman, who looks very much like me, perhaps 20 lbs. lighter, I can use my imagination too.
This woman is walking along slowly, she is pregnant and she is pulling a wagon. In this wagon are bags. Some are large. Some are small. Some look as though they hold rocks, some are lighter looking. Step by step she carries on her path.
She gets some news about her baby. It is not good news. She pauses and you notice there are suddenly more bags added to her wagon. These bags hold her burdens. Burdens of uncertainty. Burdens of worry. Burdens of fear.
Again she starts to move forward one foot at a time.
Her husband joins her. Instead of making her burden lighter this actually adds to their burdens. They have new issues that they share together. Concern for their marriage. For their other children. Financial worries.
Friends come by and encourage them. Some say things like, I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t face this. How will you do it?
The woman replies, "We have no choice," and puts one foot in front of the other.
The due date approaches and the couple finds themselves on a steep uphill slope. They look at each other in despair and wonder if they will ever reach the top of the hill. They lean forward and pull with all their might. Unexpectedly they have a bit of relief.
She glances behind and sees their parents and family. She sees them pushing hard on her wagon and that of her husbands, while still pulling their own wagons.

They reach the top of the hill. It reveals a world of uncertainty.
Before her is a large shallow body of water. There is no other way to go, they must wade through it. She gently puts her foot forward and takes the first step. As she steps further in the lake the water gets murkier. She can’t see the bottom. She has no idea where her foot is going to land. She feels confused and unsure. The bottom of the lake is uneven and she stumbles as she moves forward.

Beside her paddles up in a canoe a group of people. While they all have their own wagons too, they have made it their mission to search and help those lost in the lake. They throw this woman a rope and one to her husband.
They paddle forward and slowly guide the unlucky pair. Storms blow in. The wind tosses the boat around. The woman and her husband cling on to the rope with all they have. It is all that is keeping them on the path.
The people in the boat may want to take the burdens away, but they can’t. If they try to reach and pull away the woman’s wagon they will not only cause her to drop the wagon, but they will lose their own. They have to work as a team and keep their own focus.

The group in the canoe hunker down and work together to keep the boat on a straight course. They each bring special skills and talents to the team and together they are much stronger than they would be as individuals.
The winds blow. The rain pours down and they hold a steady path. The woman looks up and realizes the crew has wagons that they have to balance while guiding them through this storm. Her heart is filled with gratitude; she has no words to express it. She and her husband keep a tight hold and hang on as they take one step and then another.

They reach the other side of the lake. In her case the results were positive. So off they continue. Parting ways with the heroes in the boat. The path is still very rough and there is still much uncertainty. They cross paths with other parents. They journey together, supporting one another. Realizing their own blessings and celebrating with the successes of others. Some parents loose children. The woman feels sad beyond belief for their suffering and does what she can to support those families as they continue on. These families have to carry on too. No matter what the outcome everyone still travels on, one foot at a time.
Some paths are harder than others. There is always someone suffering more. And yet she hears other parents say things like, “While I would undo the problem my child has, I would not undo the things I have learned.” She agrees and feels a deeper and wiser view on life.

People come by and say things like, ‘Is she all fixed now?” The woman smiles and gives her practiced answer, “No, she has been jerry-rigged.” She understands that people who haven’t been through this don’t understand much of her life. It is a lonely journey. A surprisingly lonely journey.
She puts one foot in front of the other. There are many new burdens that come as she goes. The burden of the time required to organize and manage all the treatments, appointments, consults. All these details need to be managed. The weight of her burdens causes her to give in places she can give. She starts to cut her own hair. Unable somehow to make time for a haircut, that one extra detail is just too much to manage.

She never relaxes, never sets down her burdens. One foot at a time she makes her way.
She makes her way on her journey. She carries on. No idea what the future holds. No crystal ball. Just hope for the future and thanksgiving for what has already transpired.

Now let your eyes zoom back out and you see the wide landscape again. The landscape riddled with pathways. On each pathway is a person with a wagon. A person with unique burdens, unique struggles, unique joys, and a unique life. One of those people could be you.
This is my path.    My burden.     My struggle.    My joy.      This is my life.

I hope you also see yourself in this story.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Little story

The older kids are at school, Mari is napping and I'm about to have a bite of lunch and then hopefully do some raking in the yard - again!

This little interchanged happened yesterday.

Bronwyn was in need of my help and was whistling. As I walked by I asked if she needed help. She said she did. She then added, "Mommy, here is a great plan. When I whistle you can come and know that I need your help."

Wow. Bronwyn. This is .... something alright.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Trick or Treat

The kids had a blast running, and I guess there was a lot of running, around the neighborhood. It was hard to get decent pictures - they weren't in the mood to be still and pose for Mom.

I had a rather boring night on the home front. We had a few kids come to the door this year. The worst turn out ever actually. I think kids got word of the lady handing out toothpaste on our block last year and stayed away - scary!

Hope you all had a safe and enjoyable candy collection night!