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

Posts tagged ‘Work’

Losing my Brain Power, and the Awesomeness Hall-of-Fame

I went out for dinner with some girlfriends last week.  While we were eating, I got a call from Zeke.  He wanted to know when his appointment was to get his hair cut.  I couldn’t remember.  I made the appointment that morning.  I had to call the hair stylist to confirm the time during dinner. I called Zeke back to let him know.

After that conversation with Zeke, I must have had a bad look on my face.  My friends looked a little worried.  I told them that there was a tiny chance I was experiencing some disease related memory loss.  Jumping to conclusions always seems like the best course of action.  I’m good at it.

I do worry.  Lately, I’ve become weary of my brain’s shortcomings.  It’s hard being me.  I just don’t know any other adult women who lose mittens daily, forget the names of common objects with such annoying regularity, and more often than not have the wrong time and date.  For everything.  I’m really not trying to be cute when this stuff happens.  I just haven’t figured out how to correct myself.

I must have looked genuinely nervous (I was) after my call with Zeke, because my friends jumped in to comfort me.  I told them that I was just forgetting so many things lately.  I was kind of losing trust in myself.

My friends all said, of course, they forget things all the time too.  I have so much on my mind, I couldn’t possibly be expected to remember every hair cut appointment.  They’re the best lying friends a girl could have.

I was worrying about this fading memory of mine some more on my way to work the next morning.  By the time I got to work I was thinking this:  my brain might be losing power, but it is still serviceable.  You know why I thought that?  Because I made a list.  I wrote down everything my brain had permitted me to do by the time I sat down at my desk at 8:10 that morning.  Here it is:

1. Made a Doctor appointment for Zeke

2. Arranged for a friend to take Zeke to that Doctor’s appt

3. Arranged a ride for Olivia to her basketball tournament the next day

4. Arranged for someone to feed and walk Reggie when we were all gone on Saturday

5. Called my parents to make sure they know that if they’d like to watch the kids participate in athletics, and the weather turns bad, they’re welcome to stay in our newly refinished basement

6. Sent a group text to some friends with a message I thought was funny

7. Put some nonsense on Facebook

That’s not terrible.  And, I didn’t include  getting ready, making my bed, packing a lunch and walking Reggie. I think I could do that stuff without brain power, right? So, I thought maybe that stuff didn’t deserve to make the list.  Believe me.  I wanted to put it on there.  That’s why I told you about it any way.

I had to make this list.  I had to reassure myself that my brain still works, because I really need my brain.  My clients and family need it too.

The list made me feel a little better.  But, not much.

The other thing that’s on my mind is awesome people.  I love awesome people.  Awesome people should be celebrated.  Here’s today’s awesome people list:

Ellie and Austin

Ellie and Austin are sweet and funny kids.  Their family is involved in the wrestling program, and that’s lucky for us.  I’ve posted Facebook messages about Ellie’s little brother, Austin.    Austin is one of Scott’s good friends.  Austin told  Scott to PLEASE keep coaching until Austin was done with high school.  Austin’s convincing argument was, “You can’t just wet me westle for a stwanger.”  Which, of course, is true.

Scott gave Austin the business this summer, because Austin was going to miss a summer school wrestling class for some kind of event at the fair. This event included cake, which Austin said was the best part.  Scott made sure to let Austin know that the least Austin could do was bring Scott back a piece of cake.  Austin didn’t.  Instead, he brought Scott an entire cake.  Austin delivered this cake to our front door.  He made it himself. From scratch.

Ellie is Austin’s sister, and she is my friend.  Sometimes I sit by Ellie at wrestling meets, and she makes me laugh.  Not like, “Oh.  I’m laughing to be nice, because you’re a kid and you’re supposed to be nice to kids,” type of laughing.

Real laughing.

Ellie is smart and sharp as a cute little tack.  I love hanging out with her.

One wrestling match last year, Ellie came with her crochet needles.   She was learning to crochet.  She had a little stretch of something that she had started.  It was about as long as a ruler, but she thought it might eventually be a scarf.  I told her she should make me a scarf some time, and then I laughed.  I never thought about it again

The wrestling season has started again.  Ellie was at the first match.  She walked up to me, and gave me a beautiful blue and green infinity scarf.  She told me she thinks it took her two months to make it, or maybe one, she thought.


So, I guess the point of this story is never tell these sweet kids that you want something.  They’ll feel obligated to provide it for you. And,  if you want to know how to make sweet kids, you should probably ask Ellie and Austin’s parents.  They have two other sweet boys too.  These parents know what they’re doing.

Some more awesomeness I have been considering is the Wood family.  The Woods have four kids too.  Maybe that’s all it takes to be awesome.  Ben Wood is the son of one of the finest couples I’ve had the pleasure of knowing.  We don’t see this couple much anymore, but they’ve been mentors to Scott and me in our lives.  This couple focuses on all the right things, and they’ve shown Scott and me that long marriages can be fun and full of adventures.

The Woods have two great kids.  Ben is their son.  He is a Pastor in Wisconsin.  Ben and his wife, Jen, and their four kids will be headed for Thailand soon.  They have decided that they are going to join a ministry dedicated to preventing child trafficking.

Ben, Jen and their children are God’s answer to my prayers.  When I’m out walking, I pray for children and pets who have no protection from evil.   I’m haunted by these thoughts; I try to turn those haunted thoughts in to prayers.  I think God hears me.

Our family is going to financially support the Woods.  I can’t think of a better use of our resources:


Yes. That shiny head in the back ground IS Grandpa Wood.

The last person of distinguished awesomeness, is Scott’s Dad, Marcus Smith.  Scott inherited all sorts of admirable qualities from his Dad.  One of my favorites is gentleness.  Marc is incapable of being overbearing and in your business.  He just quietly loves you to pieces.  Marc and Scott’s Mom, Gail, came to Scott and the boys’ first wrestling meet.

Scott and Marc gave each other the best spontaneous hug before we said goodbye.  I was mad I missed it, so I asked for a redo.  Marc loved that.  He made a little joke, and pretended like he and Scott had to keep posing for the picture, because he really just didn’t want to stop hugging his son.  It’s hard for me to believe that my husband, and the father of my children, was this guy’s baby.  But, he was.   Parental love is so fierce.  It never stops. Adult children should try to remember that.

Scott Marc hug


That’s it.  This was my Awesomeness Hall-of-Fame.  I liked doing that, and you deserve to be on the list of awesomeness list for reading it.





Chicago and my Ice Skating Skills

Chicago, I love you!!!   At least what I’ve seen of you, which admittedly is only your bright and shiny parts.

chicago sign

I had the opportunity to spend the day in Chicago this week with many of the lovely people I work with every day.  We lit it up, baby! I blogged about this same trip last year too. Just in case anyone remembers that, I’ll try not to repeat myself.

No one in the group I was with in Chicago cared about stuff like Nieman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.  We cared about seeing new things, and having fun. So, that’s what we did.  My friend/co-worker/and former Chicago area resident had a full itinerary for us to follow. We were busy.

At one point, we did take a shortcut through one fine store.   A flashy silver and purple bracelet caught my eye there.  I think I told my friend, “Oh, I love this!” The bracelet was sitting right on the jewelry counter with a bunch of other pieces I assumed were costume jewelry (the only kind I wear). The bracelet wasn’t costume jewelry.  It was the kind of bracelet that costs one-thousand-dollars.  I apologized to the salesperson for even looking at it.   I need to get out more, and meet more people.  I really didn’t know people bought thousand dollar bracelets.

Here’s how we started our day.  We arrived in Chicago around lunch.  We ate at the “Signature Room” on the top of the John Hancock building.  Here’s the view:

signature room

I’d definitely recommend this experience.  The view was crazy, and lunch was only $20.  By Chicago standards that means it was free. Of course, if you were one of the unlucky suckers who ordered a glass of wine, the cost of your meal doubled.   I guess that’s just another rich person thing I don’t understand.

After the John Hancock building we plowed down Michigan Avenue.  We did have to stop in one store, because (you’re about to be shocked), I lost one of my mittens on the bus ride.  I had to buy another pair.  The sun was out, but it was cold.

I found a super cool hat at this store, and what I thought were awesome mittens too.  Here they are:


I know what you’re thinking.  These are the stupidest mittens ever invented (But, what about the manicure?  I’m fancy now.).  Your thumbs are meant to be exposed when you wear mittens, right?  I guess they think thumbs don’t get cold in Chicago.

I didn’t try these mittens on before I bought them, because why would I do something silly like that?  I came out of the store, and pulled the mittens out of the bag.  Right away, my friend said, “Are your thumbs covered in those mittens?”

I hadn’t noticed before that.  But see, my friend was a Valedictorian.  She’s highly intelligent, and can spot tiny flaws right away.  Average people couldn’t be expected to see this thing.  Really, I think I was swindled.

I put my thumb-less mittens on and we kept walking.  We visited Macy’s, and saw their giant Christmas Tree.  This year’s theme at Macy’s is “Believe”.  Macy’s always has a theme at Christmas.  The Christmas tree is in the middle of a famous restaurant called, “The Walnut Room”.  There was an insanely long line of people waiting to get into “The Walnut Room” to eat.  Maybe all those people were waiting, because the waitresses were dressed like princesses.  The princesses were waving magic wands over the guests’ heads.   Or, maybe all those people just really wanted to eat some of the delicious walnuts served at “The Walnut Room”.   I don’t know.  I’m new here, so quit asking.   I just know I was glad I wasn’t waiting in that line. I wouldn’t do it.  Not even for great walnuts.

After the Christmas Tree viewing we grabbed Latte’s and went to buy me more mittens.

Our group consisted of four women and one man.  The man in our group had to go into a store for something. It took him longer than we thought it would.  We made a joke about how maybe he was just trying to shake us.  Maybe he wanted to hang out by himself.


When he finally got out of the store, we headed down the street towards Millennial park.  One of my friends wanted to make a joke about our guy friend trying to shake us.  Only she mistakenly said (yelled) to him, “We won’t let you shag US, buddy.”  Which, of course, is true, but certainly goes without saying.  Turns out that even worldly Chicago people turn their heads when they hear a lady yell that on the street.  I sped up a little then, and tried to put some distance between my friend and me.

At Millennial Park we took our picture at the silver bean again.  Then, we went ice skating.  This was the part of the day that I was most looking forward to doing.  I tried keeping it on the down low, but what I was excited for my work friends to see is that I have skills.  When I was young, we were poor, but we did live across the street from a lake.  In the winter we skated a lot.  Had I decided to go on to the Olympics, let’s just say a gold wouldn’t have been out of the question.

The way I pictured this ice skating thing happening, is  that we’d all get out on the ice, and then I’d do my triple Salchow to a double toe loop, and everybody’s jaws would drop open.  They’d be like, “Miki, oh my Gosh!  You didn’t even tell us what an incredible skater you are.”

Then, I’d be kind of shy, and say, “Oh, I’m not.  It’s just that we were poor, but we had some old skates around, and I taught myself some tricks.”

Then, they’d all be like, who knew Miki has so many hidden talents?  She’s so awesome and great.  Plus, she’s so modest.

Then, I’d be all like, “Can I make more money?”

Only, that didn’t happen.  Because, guess what?  Defective equipment.  The ice skates were ridiculous.  I felt like the inside of my ankle was being rubbed raw, and that’s just a shame.  I was gonna have a big moment.   I shuffled around the rink a couple of times while my skinny boss showed off her respectable skills instead.  That really made me mad:

ice skating

When we were done skating we headed back towards the John Hancock Building.  We finished the day in a warm restaurant, eating delicious food.  That’s a fun day.

I loved this outing.  I liked being silly with my friends from work.  I thought about my family while I was in Chicago too.  When I got home from Chicago, my whole family was sleeping.

Before school the next morning, I noticed the package of beef stew I told Scott to have while I was gone was still in the refrigerator.  Before I left for Chicago, I had a really clear conversation with Scott about what to have for dinner.  I think I told him twice for sure, maybe three times.  I even said, “I feel like you’re not listening to me.”

I saw that unopened package of stew, and I asked Olivia what Dad made for supper.  Then she remembered she was disgusted and said, “Dad fed us Reggie’s food.”

He really did.

Of course, Reggie eats real people food, so it’s not the worst thing that ever happened, but still.  You wouldn’t eat it on purpose.  There was a crock pot full of Reggie’s weekly mix on the counter; I guess Scott thought that stuff looked too good to pass up.

The lesson for me here is: seriously, why bother?  Most of us moms have learned this lesson before, but a lot of us can’t stop ourselves from bothering any way.

It’s Celebrate a Good Guy Day!!!

Sometimes men in the United States get a bad rap.   I mean, we do have that whole not letting women vote thing to hold against them.  Those idiots!  I’m still holding a grudge.

Men show up in the news a lot for cheating on their wives,  committing violence,  and operating drug rings.  Sometimes men deserve a bad rap.

I’ve heard plenty about men who suck.  I’m grateful to be living in a country where women have a voice.  Women in the United States are strong; they have the means and opportunity to accomplish whatever they set their minds to accomplish.  THAT is something I don’t take for granted.

I could just as easily have been born in a country where the sucky men outnumber the intelligent men.  A lot of those sucky men are still getting away with oppression.  Those oppressive men are making the good guys look bad.

I know a LOT of good guys.  I was thinking about all the good guys I know.  I mostly ONLY know good guys.  I wish the bad guys would start paying attention to the good guys, and copy them.  That would be a nicer world.

I’m going to devote a blog now and then to a good guy.  Then, all the bad guys who read my blog will see how wrong they’ve been.  They’ll decide to change their ways, and start acting in an intelligent and decent manner.  We will have no more oppression or wars.  Families will stay together, and the world will be an infinitely better place to live.  You will have me to thank, and I can finally rule the world.  I’ ve always wanted to try that.

Publicly honoring good guys is no small task.  Do you want to know the number one thing good guys do NOT like?  Good guys do not like being recognized for being good guys.  Good guys do not like being recognized.  I’m going to have to work my way around that.  I’ll do my best.

If you’re wondering what makes a good guy a good guy, I can’t exactly say.  I can tell you what won’t put a guy on the good guy list.  If a guy has #1 and and his career on his license plate, he won’t be on the list.  If a guy has told anyone other than his wife what a good athlete he was in high school or college, he’s not on the list.  If a guy is married, and he’s super romantic and flirtatious with a woman who isn’t his wife…yeah.  You know.

My first Good Guy award goes to my Brother in Law, Lee Rahn.  Let me tell you what, you should thank me for this.  Getting Lee’s approval to say nice things about him in public was no small task.  I had to do some quick talking, and use a little trickery.  I’m not above it.

Lee Rahn goes in the Good Guy hall of fame for a lot of reasons.  I’ve known Lee for 18 years.  He’s married to my sister, Heidi.  Aren’t they cute?



Lee and Heidi have two children: Naomi and Caleb.  Aren’t they cute?



Lee grew up on a farm.  He has worked hard his entire life.  He was fixing tractors and machinery before he hit middle school.  Lee was a quiet kid at school.  He didn’t cause problems.  Well, there was that one time a bully was picking on a boy with special needs on the bus ride home.  That made Lee mad.  That didn’t turn out  well for the bully.  Lee got in a little trouble.

Lee might have been happy to stay a single, working guy for the rest of his life.  He loves to work.  It’s his favorite.  But, then Heidi happened.  She messed up all those single plans.  Lee liked Heidi a lot.

Lee added Heidi to his list of favorites.  After Heidi, Lee worked, hung out with Heidi, sang, taught children in Sunday School,  and worked some more.  His life was still pretty simple.

Here’s a picture of Lee with the kids he taught in Church.  These are “Cubbies”, on a Wednesday night.   It looks like a Cubbie’s Christmas tree.  Cubbies love Lee:




Over the years Lee has served on the school board, taught little Cubbies,  sang in the choir, taught kids in  Sunday School, sang  on the worship team and set up endless number of  chairs.  Lee volunteers a lot.  When Lee tells you he will be there to help you, he will be there.  He will be early.

When people need practical help, they call Lee.  Lee has fixed snow blowers, garbage disposals and fences.  Lee has helped move more pianos than he can count.   Lee won’t let you pay him.  If Lee sees someone stranded along the side of the street, or an elderly person carrying too many bags, he stops to help.  He doesn’t consider not helping.  He doesn’t know that option exists.

If you’re having a crabby day, I hope you run into Lee.  Lee is friendly to strangers.  He smiles at them, and chats with them too.  He’ll probably ask you what you’re having for dinner, and you might forget you were crabby.

Lee loves his own kids.  He loves them a lot.  Lee’s kids have a lot more than Lee had when he was their age.  Like most teenagers, Lee’s kids like technology and staying in regular contact with their friends.   Lee doesn’t understand, but he’s patient.

Lee’s teenage daughter loves her Dad.  Now that she’s older, she’s an awfully big fan.   When she was younger she used to complain.  She would ask her Mom why her Dad had to be so old fashioned!!!  Lee IS old fashioned.  It has never once occurred to Lee in his entire lifetime to try to be IN fashion.   Too bad for a young teenage daughter,  good guys are never motivated by being in fashion.

Lee was too busy working on the farm when he was a boy to play sports.  Lee’s a big guy.  He may have liked sports.

Lee’s teenage son LOVES sports.  His son is very busy with a full sport’s schedule.  Lee’s son excels at almost every sport he tries.

One night Lee’s son was talking about his hopes for breaking a school record in track.  The track meet was the next day.  Breaking that record was all Lee’s son could think about or talk about.  His son was nervous and excited.

Lee didn’t run track.  Lee didn’t  have any advice to give his son on how to build his skills, or   improve his technique.  The morning of the track meet,  Lee walked into his son’s bedroom at 5:30, before work.  Lee put his big hands on either side of his son’s head.  He said, “Son, it’s okay if you don’t break any records, the sun will still come up in the morning.  If you do break any records, remember to give God the glory.”  Then he walked out.

Lee’s son broke a record at the track meet that day.  Lee’s son gave God the glory. Lee is not perfect.  Lee is definitely a Good Guy.


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