Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Taken way too soon....


Ben.... July 17, 2005 - December 30, 2008

I don't have the words at the moment.... I am so sad. I know I'm stuck in a state of denial and haven't processed it thoroughly yet. I am not ignorant to the injustices that some people have to endure -- I see it every day at work. But, I am still left reeling trying to understand the why's sometimes. Despite the barriers I try to establish to protect my heart, there are some kids and families that break through and take a hold, and there is nothing to be done about it. This little guy and his family managed just that. Ben could not have been more loved by his amazing parents, brother, and family. His mom has written an amazing account of this horrendous journey they have lived over the last year and a half... you can read it here. It is written with heart, humor, and frank honesty.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Christmas from Phoenix...










Merry Christmas and Happy Boxing day from Phoenix!!
Well, I made it despite the tenuous weather conditions Seattle experienced the week and hours up until take-off. And, thank you Melanie for collecting me off the hill and dropping me at the airport on Christmas Eve.
Santa managed to find us here in AZ no problem and was generous as always. I haven't spent Christmas with my Grandparents since I was a little kid, and I don't think that I've ever had it with my Aunt Bernie, Uncle Reg, or Uncle Robbie... so, it has been great to finally break that history. I am the sole grandkid here this year so I was able to present our Grandparents with their Christmas gift from all of us this year -- a new computer! Their current computer is a bit of a lemon and is always in the shop -- so we thought we would help remedy that situation. Thank you Jenni for organizing all of us...
I find myself sleeping way late in the morning and still find myself wanting to take naps in the afternoon. I am definitely embracing the R & R part of the holiday. I am being spoiled and doted on for sure and I haven't eaten so much since, well, I can't remember when.... thankfully I have found some time to run a little bit and hopefully I am successfully managing a counter attack of sorts.
The sun is out today... its not particularly warm, but I have enjoyed soaking up some rays outside nevertheless. I hope everyone is having a great holiday season...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thankful....


I am thankful for those people who truly know how to give of themselves. I have the great fortune of seeing this in action on a daily basis at where I work, but I am still blown away by those people who are overachievers in the art of giving. On Thursday we had the opportunity to mix it up at the hospital and throw a lil' winter holiday party. Gingerbread houses were the main theme and I love how everyone got into it -- not just the kids and families, but RN's, PA's, MD's and even our Attending participated fully. Competition was fierce. Side by Side has embraced our unit fully and we are a better floor for it. Generosity was abounding as we were also able to mount the new flat screen TV that 5 - 5th graders fundraised by running lemonade stands throughout the summer so that our kids and families could enjoy this new toy. Today my patient and I were able to play Santa and give fantastic high-end gifts (ie iPods, Nintendo DS's, or personal DVD players... among other things) to all the patients. It was so fun to witness how this thrilled all the kids and their families. This extremely generous donation was provided by Go for the Goal, (pictures of us unloading the goods and bringing them in by family of the founders) -- and they couldn't be more excited to make the kids' day. It is refreshing to be surrounded by such great people and organizations. It is inspiring for sure. It definitely helped elevate the holiday cheer of the kids and their families that are stuck at the hospital. (Can't show any pics of the kids... but you get the idea)

On another note, last night the girls and I decided we needed an excuse to get dressed up, have a good time, and laugh. So, that is what we did.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Cold....

I am cold and I cannot warm up despite what I do. I made the mistake of complaining to my brother about how cold I am. I received no sympathy... no courtesy pity even. I don't understand why?


This is the weather he is getting. I think I am supposed to note that with the wind chill it is minus 43 celsius.

I'm still cold though.....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Procrastination wins...

Why do I make things harder on myself? Despite the previous post, Seattle did, in fact, receive a decent amount of snow overnight to wreak havoc on the roads here -- especially when you live on top of a big hill. I quite enjoy the snow. And I generally do like to drive in snow. Stuart Sven, or Stu, as my car is named, has a good record of getting practically anywhere when the studded snow tires are on (except for that time that I high-centered him on a well-intentioned snow-shoeing trip... but we won't talk about that). So... did I pay any attention to the snow warnings we repeatedly received this week? Not really... I mean, I sat on my couch and thought that it may be time to dig out the tires and put them on. And, I was off of work for almost a week and had nothing but time to accomplish this task. But my lazy gene won out and I continued to sit on my couch, stare out the window, and contemplate life instead. So, I strategically managed to get home from work and found myself putting on my snow tires tonight, after the fact, and after working all day. Procrastination can be central in my life -- and apparent tonight. Oh well. Now I'm enjoying a glass of wine for my efforts.

I did find out that Stu is somewhat like Mary Poppin's purse however... I am the person to be with in case of an emergency perhaps. As I was digging out my jack, I discovered all sorts of things in the hatch that I didn't realize were hiding out -- for starters, I could've walked home from work, if I wanted, with my snowshoes, and then I came across my ski boots, ski helmet, lantern, hiking poles, inflatable pool mattress, thermarest, aerobed, blanket, yoga mat, first aid kit, emergency kit, 2 camping chairs, a book, and a box of thai food from Trader Joes. My condo is nice and clean and organized because I am selling it -- my car has taken a hit as a result.

Winter Storm Alert...



Seattle's snow day yesterday. Good thing the kids weren't in school as the weather was so severe......

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Phew...

The itinery has been found. I really was beginning to wonder if I had made up my holiday plans in my head and never followed-through with a booking. Thanks to all you compassionate people who invited me over for the holidays.... No coal for you in your stockings.

Ummm....

Is it wrong that I can't seem to find my reservation for my flight out on Christmas Eve anywhere in my email files? I'm pretty sure I made a reservation.... but I don't remember what airline, what time, what website... don't tell my Mom. So, if this turns out poorly, does anyone want to invite an orphan over to their Christmas celebrations? Crap. I better keep searching.

Monday, December 15, 2008

T'is the Season...

Despite the fact that Christmas is staring me in the face, I have yet to embrace the holiday spirit fully. I really don't think that I'm a scrooge about it... I just can't simply get there this year. I don't know if its because of the economic hardship of so many this year, or because of friends that are going through really difficult times, or if it just snuck up on me... But, I go through the motions and attend the functions and make the goodies... there is hope, maybe! I am an absolute disaster in the kitchen. Its not for a lack of trying... but come on. I decided to make cookies and Nanaimo bars the other day (I'm pretty sure everyone should befriend a diabetic during the Christmas season because I'm quite certain the pancreas is not up for the challenge)... For one, I cannot organize at all in the kitchen and it looks like a bomb went off... It doesn't help when I attempted to rest the beaters on the side of the bowl and I accidentally hit the "on" button and batter spewed everywhere. That was fun. And then, apparently, I'm not very good at math, because after carefully following all the instructions to make the Nanaimo bars, I ruined them by quadrupling the butter instead of doubling (those butter sticks are difficult... I should never assume how much a stick equals).
Anyway. Whatever. I may have just saved someone early onset heart issues.

Chelsea, my running event buddy, and I participated in the Jingle Bell Run this year. It was perfect because we had received snow the night before... so I gingerly walked/slid downtown to the start of the run and then we jingled our way through the city. It was a gorgeous day... blue skies and the sun shone through. It is cold though... I spent a couple of hours wrapped in my puffy jacket and blanket willing my fire to be hotter.

Last night Leann held her 5th Annual Christmas Party. She always has a theme and this year was '80's style Christmas. There were some sweet outfits -- and unfortunately I didn't capture all of them. It was scary to recognize so many familiar looking outfits from my past.... what a decade.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Another Road Trip...

So, in the interest of finally getting my Homestudy completed, I headed south to Vancouver to meet with my Social Worker yesterday. Once again, I placed my coffee cup into the cup holders, added a diet coke for extra insurance, and made my great escape amongst many many other Seattlite drivers. I know I've said this before, but I really love to drive.... this time I wasn't feeling the music and drove down in silence -- I find it very therapeutic to just think without distraction sometimes. And I am quite certain I solved all the worlds' problems during the three hour drive. Its like I needed some alone time, which is funny, because I live alone.... I am in for a rude awakening in about a year's time when I have a baby and actually will never get it!

The meeting with my Social Worker, Barb, went really well. I essentially just had to explain what my life had been growing up, who my dysfunctional family members are (ha ha... kidding right?!), how I plan to raise my daughter -- ie., values, goals, discipline etc... Its very thought provoking and a good process for probably anyone to go through that is having a child. I know why we, as adoptive parents, go through this... but it also feels funny to have to explain exactly how you plan on raising your child and have it written up in a report. It is what it is though... and like I said, it is good to think these things through anyway.

After I was done in Vancouver I scooted south to Portland to hang out with my old roommate, Finny. Unfortunately I was done earlier than expected and had to kill almost 4 hours... so, where do you go? I should have found my way to the coast and taken that in for awhile, but instead I found myself at a main shopping center and essentially "people watched" the whole time. (I am in denial that Christmas is only a couple of weeks away and have yet to purchase one gift... and I still couldn't make myself do it yesterday despite the fact there were stores all around me.) But, people watching is one of my favorite activities... don't judge me -- I find it fascinating. I did find out that leg warmers are, in fact, a current and acceptable fashion statement, that it is okay to to wear ALL your Christmas accessories and clothing items at the same time, teenagers are ridiculous and funny to watch, and don't mess with lil' old ladies who are on a mission. Finn and I finally met up and managed great conversation before I had to venture north again... All in all. A successful trip down and back... and I even managed to avoid a second speeding ticket through Tacoma. Bonus.

And oh yeah.... Crystal Mountain has opened. Yay!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

"Black Kids in White Houses"

Posting from The Stranger this week. Something to think about....

Rollercoaster...


Resilience.... Will.... Determination.... and Honesty.... Kids teach us so much and they have no idea. There is so much I can never understand. But, I love this lil' guy. Thank goodness for the good days..... there are not nearly enough of them for you and your family, Ben.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sunny Days....






I love where I live and the beauty that is surrounding me. I had a couple of days off and managed to get out and enjoy local hikes/walks with friends, and even managed a run today, which seems to be a feat as of late. Amber, precious Avery, Melanie, Leann and I attempted a mini hike yesterday that was rerouted to lunch out and a walk around the lake due to Leann's navigational ineptness (note how sad Avery and Amber are about not getting to go on our adventure....ha ha)... but fortunately, the hike that we attempted yesterday I was able to do with Kathleen and sweet Elizabeth today instead!

The sunset is absolutely gorgeous tonight... so, I'm sitting here listening to music, fire on, book in hand... and watching the colors take shape against the Olympics. I am also vigilantly watching for some sign of snowfall so that I can dust off my skis and hit the mountains in the near future... although, I am enjoying the blues skies if I'm honest.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving....

Geez... It feels like a lot of time has passed since the last post. I love American Thanksgiving. It is a great bonus holiday that I get to participate with friends and witness other people's family drama! There was none to be had this year, but I'm always eagerly awaiting for "Home for the Holiday's" in real life -- how awesome would that be?! Thank you Sue and Timothy for taking pity on me and inviting me over... it was awesome. I plan to look pathetic without a home to go to every year so that I keep getting invites. The more pumpkin pie the better.

Thanksgiving is an opportunity for me to take stock of my life and realize all the good and areas that I want to tweak. There really is an amazing amount of good in my life... I am surrounded by the most amazing of friends, family, and community. I feel so lucky to have people love me for who I am and have such giving spirits. There is a certain amount of control I have over my life and the direction it takes, but there is equally a lack of it that I must surrender and just be okay with... I guess. I will continue to strive and live the best that I can and make the most of the opportunities I have been given.... and let those in my life know how much I care about them -- I need to do better at that.

On Friday I was able to go and celebrate Ryan's first birthday -- a very special little boy. Ryan, I love your family so dearly and I'm so glad that you are here to give your parents a reason to smile each day. And I'm so glad that your brother was able to pick out your first birthday cake, one that he thought you'd love -- and you did. Thank you Ryan for just being your sweet lil' self.

I made another trek up to Vancouver over the weekend to catch up with the "high school girls". We try and get together once a year to catch up on each others lives... I hadn't been able to make the last dinner, so it was so great to see everyone.

As far as where I'm at with the adoption -- on Saturday morning my social worker came up to my place to scope it out and start working on the Homestudy report. I will have to drive down and meet up with her for several hours in the near future to so that she can ask me any and all questions relating to my upbringing and how I plan on raising my daughter. She didn't think this would all get completed until after Christmas, but at least we're moving forward.