Monday, March 31, 2014

Brotherly Love

Alex calls me out quite a bit on how I seem to love to record our boys nice, shiny, happy moments, but not the not so special moments. Okay, maybe not just "not so special", but you know, the brotherly kick and scream matches, the moments that turn into hours where you just are wishing, hoping, and praying for some MOMENTS of peace and love. Or heck, just wanting them to leave eachother the heck alone so you can NOT feel like you're wanting to bang your head against the wall.
So yea, I'm not so good at capturing those moments.
But I do have some sweet ones for you! I think I like these ones as they help me remeber these boys potential, and yes, this too, shall pass, (oh I dearly hope!) and yes, they do have the ability to be nice human beings, hopefully for more than 20 seconds at a time, in the not so distant future, (like by college??!!)
Forrest has been extra special these days...oh Forrest. So when he had some sweet moments with his younger brother, I was glad to capture them. I do miss, with film that is, a lot of awesome times between these two boys. Forrest loves to "teach", (okay so not teach, rather, be a downright bully and dictator to Talin, there I said it!) but at times he CAN be very loving and is a great teacher. In fact when we need Talin to, say, brush his teeth, or do something Forrest can do very well, Forrest is often the only one that can persuade little brother to go along with the show. I think Talin enjoys Forrest's positive energy so much that he'll just about do anything for it!
This was all Forrest. Talin has shown NO interest in potty training. But tonight, "Come on Talin, lets put some big boy underwear on you and go pee pee!!! I'll help you!" "Come on Talin, oh is your pee pee stuck? You must have a blocked.....*&^&&" okay you get the picture, and on, and on :-)

Brushing teeth---"GOOD JOB TALIN! "

"Do THIS Talin, yes good job! Good flossing!"

"Talin lets take a picture with Chester under the rainbow! Smile Talin, look at Mama!!!"
Oh life is great sometimes isn't it. I guess these are my "The hills are alive, with the sound of mussssiiiiicccc...!!!!" moments that really do help get you through the head banging times that are well upon us.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Garden Update, 3/30/2014

So, I feel obligated to provide an update on our beautiful garden...
That is full of...
Well, not totally true, full of potential, full of strawberries that need endless dead leaves to be pulled, an aspargus patch and artichoke bed that needs mucho weeding to be done, and a lovely hoop house dealio Alex built to keep the pests out, that, well, needs something to be planted in it!
Yep, not so much on the ball over here with the garden.
But this evening we did get out and get a start on it all.

Alex raked and tilled the bed in the hoop house priming it for lots and lots of brassicas....broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, yummm.

 And I got a small chunk of our strawberry row cleaned out. We already have a few blossoms coming out!

And I got a small chunk of our strawberry row cleaned out. We already have a few blossoms coming out! Berry season is near, got to clean these babies out! There were so many dead shoots and leaves we used scissors to help. The kids loved the idea....for about 7 1/2 minutes and then they were all about helping Dad. Looking forward to lots of garden time in the future :-)

A goal in mind....

 Starting in January this Mama has had a goal in mind. As most of you know, I like to ride my bike and every spring several key rides start to approach, and therefore my time on the bike increases....ideally at least.
This year, is no different. Except I'm gunning for a big one this year! Only one, so far. The Tour of the Unknown Coast. I did the metric century with my Dad last year, as well as several other sub 100 mile rides. This year I'm going for the full 100 miles, with 10,000 feet of climbing. I havent completed this ride since before kiddos existed, 2009 to be exact! And it was tough then! This will be # 3 if I can get it done. It is billed as the "toughest century", which is arguable as there are plenty of hard rides out there, but it is, hands down, the most beautiful century. Imagine starting your journey through huge redwoods, then climbing and descending into the most lush secret remote river valley you could ever imagine, and then, finding yourself along the most remote stretch of coast line on the west coast. And the most beautiful! Then you rise above, on the infamous WALL, above that gorgeous coast, climb over the equally as infamous, endless hills, and descend into Ferndale, our little Victorian captiol of the north coast. Seriously if you never are as crazy as me to ride the 100 miles, please, all of you, drive it. It really is amazing!
So, back to the point, I've been riding, a lot, at least for me. And I have a riding buddy this year! Mary Beth is a nurse I have the pleasure of working with at times, and also a neighbor. She is an animal and it's been fun to have someone to go and climb some endless remote hills with in our neck of the woods.
She didn't make the ride today, but I stuck to the schedule and left my warm and cozy house, (oh did I mention the quite feisty 2 and 5 year old and amazing husband...can't leave them out...left them at home too ;-)
I climbed and climbed and climbed. I think about 6500 feet of climbing in 32 miles. Ouch. Today was actually NOT the beautiful and sunny weather we've had this year. It was showery, cold as cold can be on a 3,000 foot descent when you can see snow on a neighboring ridge, but also very beautiful and remote.

I had to stop on the descent and warm up....taking panoramas :-) Then I could feel my fingers again to apply my brakes!

No people watching around here! Did see about 6 deer though!
 I've grown to love hills actually. Especially on a day like today. It was SO cold, I was comfortable on the climb, but that downhill just got to me. It gets to me on a warm day even, that cramped curved back, hands on the brakes position. Not your normal downhill in my area as everything is super steep, pot holes a plenty, and despite my great track record of not falling, I can't help but think my time is bound to come...
And, alas, a lot of my riding has been on my trainer. I love this thing. Wired with a baby monitor if I have napping kids, my Pandora blasting, and my water, I'm set. I pedal to nowhere quite often on this sucker. Yes, it makes me crazy after awhile, but after today and my chilly ride I was actually thinking this way of riding isn't so bad!
May 10th is the big day....5+ weeks away!

Thursday, March 27, 2014


“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love …” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations


Life gets to you at times, doesn't it? I don't often write about work. I think it's because I have desensitized myself to a lot of the human emotion I deal with on a daily basis, purely on a survival mode. I have probably interacted with 50 different patients today, performing surgical procedures, helping them with their pain, sometimes the worst pain of their life, other times talking them and guiding them through their recovery, sometimes successful, other times not so successful. I think if I actually processed all that human emotion, actually thought about each individual person and what they carried home based on their current issue, be it their gallbladder, their gangrenous toes, their occluded aorta, their metastatic cancer, or maybe just their painful clotted varicose vein, or even their incidental cosmetically bothersome spider vein, (oh yes, it happens,) I would become an anxious crazy mess. 

And then I write, or start to process these thoughts and I do think about all this STUFF, for lack of a better word. It's not often. I guess I seek solace in knowing that most of the time, heck I hope all of the time, I at least make a good attempt and TRY to make things better for people.

Until that doesn't happen.

Today started off a bit hairier than most, but not entirely out of the ordinary for Katie the PA-C. We've had a run on gangrene lately. I think I started my morning with three different patients, among 15, fathers, grandfathers, husbands, friends.....who had gangrenous toes, feet, etc. One recovering from a vascular surgery, the other suffering from diabetes and renal failure. Both not having much sensation thus being able to withstand in office debridement.

So there I find myself, sniping, excising, swabing, placing pressure, and repeating, dead flesh, dead toes, dead tendon, dead, dead, dead. Until blood flow is reached, healthy pink tissue, having a fighting chance. We stop. We've chatted though the whole thing, one patient teary eyed, visibally disturbed at the awful site of his own foot, another rather cofused and somnolent, another very calm and collected while his distressed 6 year old grandson looks on, myself trying to focus on the task at hand, trying desperately to ignore the nauseating smell that I've become accustomed to, trying to find life in their limb, trying to distract the child, trying to calm my mind in wondering WHY this child has to witness this, why is their parent letting them witness this sight.

This is all rather common place. Pus, blood, dead tissue, alive tissue. I work with it, configure the appropriate treatment using surgery, fancy dressings, wound vacs, antibiotics, and move on, expecting success, planning for failure. Death is apparent, but in small pieces. Dead tissue, a dead occluded artery, a ischemic dead portion of the brain, infected dead bone, etc. A small piece dead, but the person as a whole is still very much alive.

Until cancer.

Today I had to tell a dear 60 year old Mom, Aunt, Niece, Sister, Partner, Friend, Patient that her pancreatic cancer had spread, quickly, and was now causing common bile duct obstruction. 

This really isn't news. Except she had just had surgery, a huge surgery, weeks ago, for palliative measures, to help prevent this very thing, or at least give her more time. To prevent her extreme yellow glow, her vomiting bile, her unrelenting pain.

She had been CONVINCED of surgery. This Friend, Mom, Aunt, Niece was not immediately a fan of surgery. She would rather not know of the cancer and die that way, she told me in her own words. I'm not sure if it was her family or her that made the final push to have the surgery, but it happened. As well as a filter to catch the venous clot, it happened too, placed in her vena cava, to catch that inevitable clot that would become a pulmonary embolus and kill her. Kill her QUICKLY. Where now she is dying, leaving this world, rather slowly, quite yellow, quite uncomfortable. 

My brain can get the best of me in situations like these. I explain the CT results. Tell her of her growing cancer pushing on the very bile duct bypass that was created to bypass the original cancer. Listen as she tells me this is it. No more procedures. Listen as she tells me she wishes her filter wasn't in, as she wouldn't have to suffer, as the CT shows a big clot the filter has caught...saving her life...for what? She asks. 

I get on the phone to hospice, which she has not wanted until now. Too tough, too thrifty, "too much money", "I'm not bad enough" was what she said before.

Now she says, please, soon, NOW! I'm ready now.

I can't get them to her soon enough, is what I feel. I should have gotten them there last week, last month, last year....

"At first do no harm"


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Half a Decade Ago...

Roughly...give or take a few days...I was making pizza. LOTS and lots of pizza. Or so I thought. I was deep in that nesting stage, overdue, and wanting to do something, ANYTHING, to prepare for our first kiddo.
It's like jumping off a cliff, isn't it?
Or so people liked to say.
It is a club of it's own kind, this having kids thing.
5 years ago tomorrow Forrest made me a Mama. 5 YEARS! Wow!
Happy of Happiest Birthday to my wonderful, dynamic, spirited, intelligent, caring oldest son.

If you happen to be in our neck of the woods on Sunday, come on by to celebrate!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Tour of California

Last week I had a planned week off of work and the boys and I rented a nice SUV, (lust worthy for moi, and no need to worry about putting 1700 miles on my Subaru...1700 miles!!! Ahhhh!) and took off down the coast for a nice tour of Coastal CA! We stayed with my parents the majority of the time, but also hit Pismo Beach, Santa Barbara, Sacramento, and Napa in between for some fun. The boys were great travelers actually. I timed the drives well I think to help our cause as I was traveling solo, and didn't want to get in over my head. I also borrowed an idea from old college friend Alison with special gifts or treats every hour or two on the first day to keep the monkeys happy...and happy they were! Playdoh, new books, glow i the dark worms for night time, you name it, we probably had it. We only watched one car movie the whole ride and they were super excited and stoked to be in a new cool car and visit family. MUCH better than flying I'll say!!! A bit is left off here, including a momentous birthday party for my Dad and a visit to the fire station for the boys...they will come up later, I promise!
Enjoy the no particular order...

Talin enjoys some book reading with Grampa...

Forrest and Talin loved the Kidspace Museum in Pasadena. The thing they liked the most...the artificial river!!!

Believe it or not this is Forrest's first real experience at trike racing. Concrete is rare where we live. He rides his off road trike around plenty but just getting the thing to move is a chore. Racing, yea right! He had a blast getting better and better at following the arrows, getting the hang of merging with other trike riders, and having the occasional collision or two ;-) This was also at the Kidspace Museum in Pasadena.

Finishing off their ice cream treats at Kidspace Museum.

Enjoying some sweet reading time with Granny!

Bike ride with Grandpa! This was Forrest's longest ride yet. 14 miles on the kiddie tandem hook up we have. This was a stream runoff that the kids had fun playing in.

Cogswell Cyn bike ride, lunch stop. Leave it to my Dad to find the most beautiful spots in LA county.

Playing with the Panorama...Wait...two Talins?

That Forrest can push on my last nerve!!! ;-)

14 miles finished!

Visit to Granny's T-K classroom. This is her last year teaching. So glad my boys got to see her classroom. They love that their Granny is a Kindergarten Teacher!
We started and ended the trip enjoying Santa Barbara. The kids had SO MUCH FUN building sand castles, joining in on other kids projects of digging holes, jumping in the waves, etc. We were blessed with beautiful weather on our trip and made the most of it!