Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Archive for January, 2018

Photo Albums

One Sunday, our Pastor was making a point about our insignificance.  He described this well known statue near Wisconsin’s State Capital.  When he shared details of this man made of metal, riding a horse, many people nodded that they were familiar with the statue.  The Pastor asked the audience of 800 or so Madison area folks who could tell him the name of the guy the statue was made to commemorate.

Crickets.

My day job involves promoting the city of Madison. I was blank; no idea who the guy on the horse was.

The point our Pastor was making was this:  Look at this guy that was so important, people made a statue of him for cripes sake. Yet, we don’t remember him.  What about all of the people who have come and gone who do NOT have a statue? What do we remember of them?  Who will remember us?

Not one person, eventually.

Gee. Thanks, Pastor.  That’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard. I’m going back to bed.  I see no point.

I guess the Pastor actually meant this as a pep talk. Like, quit your worrying, pal.  Won’t be long before you’re dead and gone, and no one will care one bit about what you’re worried about today.

A real crowd pleaser.

I didn’t really mind this reminder.   I interpreted it as a message from God:    We’re not as big of deal as we think we are, and neither are the things we worry about. So, please.  Let’s all just calm down.

This week I helped my Mom move my Aunt into assisted living.  I tried really hard to act like one of my older sisters, and pull my weight.  I avoid being in charge.  I  did a medium job of it. I kept getting side tracked.  There were the best photo albums, and lots of stories.  I LOVE STORIES.

My Great Grandpa was an intelligent and well educated man.  He played basketball for the University of Chicago in the 1890’s.  He raised a family, and before he died he was the Superintendent of one of the largest school districts in Wisconsin.  According to my Aunt and Mom, my Great Grandpa was ambitious and curious. He was always reading.   His ambition led him to a variety of Administrator positions in education. He had little personal time. Most of the child raising was left to Great Grandma.

 

Great Grandpa Keller

 

One of the last big things my Great Grandpa tried to do was develop a new program called, “Industrial Education” (Tech Ed) in public schools.  Grandpa thought, “Wouldn’t it be useful to train students who were not likely to pursue secondary education in more useful skills like, welding, home economics, and auto mechanics?  Wouldn’t this training help prepare these students without the resources or inclination to go to college to find jobs that match their interests and skills after high school?”

The school board said that would NEVER catch on; they rejected Great Grandpa’s proposal.

This rejection caused Great Grandpa anxiety and frustration, but not enough to squelch his ambition entirely.  Grandpa soon went on to run for Mayor of the city of Eau Claire.  He did not win.

The only record we have of what happened next was Great Grandpa’s obituary.  The obituary actually says this, “He died of a mental breakdown after a short illness”.  He was 59 years old when he died. My Dad said that the back to back disappointments wreaked havoc on Great Grandpa’s health,  and mental health, apparently.

Thank you, God. For a glimpse of my Great Grandpa’s story.  It sounds like it ended in tragedy;  here I am living my happy life, having had no idea.

What if God could allow us to go back in time?  I’d love to whisper in Great Grandpa’s ear that he needn’t worry.  His sense of failure was only an illusion. Soon to be forgotten by everyone (until his Great Granddaughter blogged about it).   In the end, nothing he did, or said,or contributed would be measured or remembered.  The only thing permanent was his soul. I hope he took good care of it.

 

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Here are some good looking people for you to see.  That’s my dad with the glasses, and his cute little girlfriend (Mom), on his right.  My Grandma is next to her, and my Aunt and Uncle are on the other side of my Dad.

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Hello.  We’re models for J.Crew.

 

I found all sorts of pictures of my family standing around the piano, singing jolly ol’ tunes. The pain I endured.

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Is it just me? Or, does this all look a bit forced?

I’m sorry.  Maybe this is breaking the rules, but PULEEEZE, enough with the singing already.  It isn’t for me.  No one believed me in my family.  Every one of those suckers was born holding a musical instrument with a melody in their heart.   I swore to Mom and Dad they were wasting their hard earned money on me.  Not to mention the  years I took  off my  piano teacher’s life.

My protests fell on deaf ears.

Now my parents know.  They accept that I have no talent, and even less interest.

What no one wanted to admit, but what I always KNEW, was that I was born to do was Dance.   And wear sequins and fringe:

 

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This is what happiness looks like.

And, just because I can’t stop, let’s end all this with a look at Mom’s “Swiss Miss” stage:

 

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Christmas Recap

Post Holiday Blues.  I am suffering from this.

If you ask me why my 10 days of work-free (day job) living were so outstanding, my answer would not impress you.  Like 60% of the population in Wisconsin, I was sick for most of my break.  Some how, being sick did not lessen my enthusiasm.  Maybe being sick made my break better?

Weird.

If you are a busy gal with all sorts of responsibilities at home and at work, then I know you will hear me.  I pulled my weight through Christmas. I showed up.  We did all the fun Christmas stuff.  Our families politely ignored my hideous coughs, and hid their dread that I was probably for sure infecting them.  The day after Christmas I felt like I did not have another day of pretending good health in me.  I stayed home while my family hit our last gathering.

When Scott and kids returned that night, they told me they wanted me to go to the Doctor.  It was night time, which meant I had to go to the ER.  Meanwhile, my Dad was having my sister send me texts every hour on the hour, telling me to go the Doctor.

Can you tell me what is nicer than being a 45-year-old woman with a Dad who still worries?

I won’t lie to you.  I didn’t hate the attention.  Honestly, how many Moms spend time at the center of their family’s concern?  Just short of never, I’d guess.  The concern is usually going in the opposite direction. From us to them.

Going to the Doctor really isn’t for me, but that might change. Basically, I went to the spa.  These healthcare professionals are top rate.  They are all care and concern.

Them:

“Are you warm enough?”

“Oh, that cough sounds  bad.”

“Can I get you something to drink?”

“You should not work.”

“You need to rest.”

“Take this, it will help you sleep.”

Me:

“Are you sure you don’t need to keep me here for the night for observation?”

I tried to squeeze a few additional coughs out that probably were not legit so this would never end.

I did attend a two day wrestling tournament after the doctor visit, but otherwise? I did almost nothing that required physical stamina or thinking; it was GLORIOUS!

There is nothing hard charging about me.  Managing a busy grown up life takes all my concentration.  I’m not a natural, and I am not that good at it.  What I AM good at is Netflix, books, Farkle, puzzles and naps.  That is what I did.  Doctor’s orders. No guilt required.

Best vacation ever.

Eddie was home for a short visit over break.  We would have liked more time with him, but we take what we can get.  It seems that Eddie is about 85% man and 15% boy.  When Scott and I were first married, Scott still watched cartoons, dragged us to arcades,  and loved to play wiffle ball. So, I don’t expect Eddie’s man/kid ratios to change much in the near future.

Eddie and I were talking about how we all have transitioned to what seems like his permanent departure from his childhood home.  He told me again that he is a  bit surprised by how well I have taken it.

Eddie is old enough now that I can confide in him with some deep life truths.  I explained that those first 18 years of HIS life,  I was playing the most convincing role of MY life.  It was only my fierce love for him that could keep me in character for that long.

When the kids were born, I knew God’s job for me:  Protect them. Keep them safe.  Help them launch.  Do you realize how many details are involved in this job description?  Moms are drowning in details. We are eyeball deep before our feet hit the ground in the morning.   It’s so scary.

I told Eddie the jig is up.  He is old enough to know the truth.  I pulled back the curtain, and let him see that behind the “The Mother of Oz”, is just a kid pretending to be a grown up.  Don’t worry. I assured him I can tap into that adult when he needs her.  It’s not like I didn’t learn anything along the way.

But, mostly I told him I’m entirely relieved to hang out, have fun and be his friend.  Those things are super easy for me.  I never wanted to be in charge.

If you are my friend on FB, you may have noticed a lot of discussions about my family and shoes over the years.  Well, mostly talk of Eddie’s shoes. Lack of shoes. Silly shoes.  Rotten shoes.  It’s a thing.  I don’t know if the issue is the males in my family don’t value shoes, or if they value them too much.

Eddie wore tennis shoes the entire vacation with his toes peeking out of the large tears on the sides.  I asked if he lost the new pair of tennis shoes his Dad bought for him at Thanksgiving.  Without a hint of sarcasm, he told me he was saving those shoes for when the shoes he was wearing wore out.

Remember,  I’m not in charge of shoes or anything else any more.

Straightened up the tennis shoes by the door; I noticed Zeke and Scott are not innocent in this shoe game either.  What are these even?

 

old shoes

 

Happy New Year!!!

 

christmas 2017

 

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