Monday, December 30, 2013

Siblings that grow up (NYC and Oregon)


May 2013, again

The Thursday after Ryan and Eleanor's wedding was my little baby sister who done all got growed up's high school graduation. Sniff. I still can't believe she's in college now. My parents, for the last time, walked across the stage, handed her her diploma, smiled for the camera and walked off. Just like that. Done. Done with homeschooling after 25 years.

The next morning, Jim flew home (by HIMSELF!!! WAAAAHHH!!!), and I boarded a plane with Mom, Anna, Alisa and Aunt Ronda for New York City. It was the trip Anna had been promised when she was nine.
We arrived exhausted (cut us some slack... a rehearsal dinner, wedding, wedding reception, and graduation party had all occurred AT MY PARENTS' HOUSE in the past week) and I'm pretty sure never recovered the whole week we were there. BUT... eet was vry vry fun times.

We would set out every morning looking like we were going hiking. If fanny packs were cool we would have worn them. But they are not. And never have been. Camera bags, purses, water bottles, sunglasses, scarves (yes, scarves are essential), and snacks. Snacks. Good grief. Jim and I had, by this point, told our family of the tiny life growing inside of me. To fight the swells of nausea that would break forth I pretty much carried around a mini grocery store through the streets of the city. 



We saw the sunset from the Empire State Building. Had to push a couple people off to get a view from the side, but hey... the world's overcrowded anyway, right?
This is Aunt Ronda, smiling innocently.


This is the high school graduate, perfecting the panorama.


This is Hong Kong. Duh.


Thankfully, we didn't push this nice person off, who offered to take a group shot.


Exhausted in Chinatown. But by golly, did we buy purses. And jewelry. And scarves. I think the total newly-purchased scarf count between the five of us was 18 at the end of the week. One little Chinese man called me stupid for buying a purse for less than he wanted to sell it for. It was a little unnerving but we laughed about it later. Oh, little Chinese man... be very glad my husband wasn't here.

We rode the metro and had a blast. My metro card would randomly stop working and I had to furtively jump over the railings. Actually, Alisa and Anna had to do it too. People watching is at its finest in public transportation. Germs are at their finest, too.


Of course, we saw the green lady. I actually grew her out of my head. Unfortunately, Hurricane Sandy had damaged Ellis Island a little too much for us to get very close, but the ferry ride around the city was relaxing.



Coolest Apple store ever. It's underground.


Central Park. It was surprisingly muggy for a May day in New York.


Sorry. But the bathrooms in our hotel room (the TRYP hotel was the name) were amazing!!


And Brooklyn Bridge, of course. Watch out for the bikers. They will kill you. Alisa pushed one away he got so close to her. I think he was trying to "show her" for being on the bike section. Their attitudes were stupid. It was 11:00 on a Saturday morning on the Brooklyn Bridge. If you are so serious about biking, get up at five, put on your Spandex, and then you can have it all to yourselves!

I wish I could remember all the places we ate and all the stores we visited. But I can't. That's what I get for blogging about it 7 months later! No pictures to show that we did see the Broadway musical Wicked one evening. Anna loved it. Everyone did. I was so glad because I had pushed for it and then all the Times Square ads had been for Lion King and Anna was starting to wish we were watching it instead. Phew.


August 2013

We, very last minute, decided to join my parents and Anna on a trip to Oregon to visit Caleb. Caleb works at a small boat station with the Coast Guard there and we had not seem him in a while.
It was last minute for two reasons:
1) Jim wasn't sure if he could get the time off
2) We realized it might be a while before we could travel out to see him again because, Lord willing, our family would go from 2 people to 3 people sometime around Christmas.

But go we did and good grief, what a beautiful place to live. Except for all the gluten-free food. And sometimes the hippies and get-out-of-my-way bike riders got on my nerves, but... it was beautiful. We did a lot of hiking and everyone was gracious and slowed down for the huffing and puffing pregnant girl. We even made a four-hour drive one day and met our cousin Sarah with her two kiddos, Eliora and Elijah at Crater Lake. It has always been on my "want-to-see" list and it was well worth it!

This was a rock. On a beach. Weird thing about it was that it didn't seem like we were getting any closer, no matter how long we went.


These kind of trees are normal in Oregon. You know, the ginormous ones.


My little brother with his even littler cousins.


 Oh yeah! We went to the Portland Zoo. You could view the sea lions underwater. Those things are massive! Their water was very cloudy... which just added to their stage presence.


Crater Lake. Goodness gracious was it gorgeous.


All Dad could say as he looked at this canyon was, "Man! I wish I had my fishing gear!"


We hiked a mile (not far... but it was pretty much straight up) to the top of a waterfall Caleb took us to. As we all collapsed at the top, this guy sprinted up, counted out 100 push-ups loudly on the crowded platform, then jumped up and looked around proudly. Congratulations, dude. You're in shape. And annoying.


Once again, this is just a normal sight in Oregon. A beautiful, mossy waterfall with huge fallen logs around it. You know, yeah yeah, blah blah blah.

Caleb really seems to be doing well. I know that we all worry about him all alone up there by himself and I'm sure he gets homesick and lonely sometimes (although, Caleb.... we all know you wouldn't admit it in a million years!!), but he seems to really enjoy where he is. Sure, he has his complaints about his job, living situation, money troubles... but we all do. It's so weird sometimes. Looking around at my siblings as we all become adults and make "adult" decisions. Ryan married. Caleb with the Coast Guard off in Oregon. Asa starting the architecture program at Auburn University. Anna starting college. The song "Remember When" came on the radio the other day and I started crying. Good gravy. I know it must be even harder for my parents. As I watch them struggle with how to relate/respond to their constantly changing children, it makes me appreciate them (and my in-laws) so much! Parenting... here we come.



Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ryan and Eleanor... and chore lists.

Next big life event.

While we were on the sailing trip mentioned in my last post (actually, only two days after setting sail), my brother called my parents. Eleanor, the love of his life, had said yes! He was engaged and, understandably, he couldn't wait for us to get back to share his news, out of country cell phone fees be darned!

It was wonderful. This little lady had been a true support to him over the last year of his life. Ryan had found the helpmate for his life. She accepted him for who he was, built him up when he wanted to tear himself down, and basically, fought off one of my brother's biggest hurdles in life: low self-esteem. That makes my brother sound like he has been in some huge pit of depression. Au contraire! Ryan has always been the happy go-lucky, crowd winning, talk-up-a-storm, entertaining knucklehead of the family. But when it came to his own accomplishments, he struggled with doubt before even beginning them. While he dated Eleanor, our whole family watched as she would lift him up, press him on, and not let him sink back down. Praise God for her.

Granted, we were a little concerned about their financial situation, but we knew many people who had married with less... so, congratulations you two!!

What's that? You've set a date? Oh wonderful! When?
...
...
In six weeks? Oh. Wow.
...
...
At Mom and Dad's house?
...
...
Okay. That is just wonderful. We love y'all! Bye.

I could already see the chore list being formed in my Mom's head. Thirty seconds after the hang-up and she probably had at least, oh, 57 things she could think of that she needed to do at home. Great. A once in a life vacation and Mom was making a chore list. You see, my parents... that's what they do. They had six kids, got a big piece of land and started making chore lists. Forever and ever, amen. I don't really remember a Saturday where my Mom didn't greet us in the morning without one on the counter, or my Dad NOT calling from the station with, "Okay, let me talk to a son. I've thought of some chores." Yay. We LOVE chores.

I looked at her and said, "Mom. Let it go. Eleanor's family is responsible for most of the planning. You're on vacation anyway.
She was like, "Amy!! They are having it at OUR house. In six weeks! When we get back from this trip, I'll only have five weeks!"
Me: "Mom. Stop. The house is already beautiful because you keep it that way. Don't go overboard with what you want to do. And for now, you are in the Virgin Islands for a week. You can't get back to start mopping, so let it go."

Ryan and Eleanor, I love y'all. But your timing on dropping THAT bomb on Mom was a little inconvenient.

So, we sailed and I think she really did let it go. Mostly. Every now and then I caught her tearing up because she was overwhelmed by her chore list... but I would kiss her cheek and ask if she was having fun and she would nod, smile, and stop adding onto her list.

May 11, 2013.
We were back in Alabama and lo and behold, the place was beautiful. I never doubted my parents. Ryan too had put extra work into the place, planting extra green grass at the ceremony site and even a lush, green aisle for his beloved to walk on. Lanterns were hung in the trees with care, planks placed across log pieces for pews, and tables, tablecloths, cakes, candles, chairs and everything you need for a wedding was arranged.
It was a sweet, sweet ceremony. The joining of two, true Christians always is.


Caleb, like he has in all three of his siblings' weddings, cried like a baby. We all miss him so much way
up in Oregon.

 

The weather started off foggy that morning. The air was soaking wet and the sky overcast. The number of prayers that must have gone up was evident, because the "sun came out and dried up all the rain" at 11:00. Now it was humid. Typically humid for Alabama and I think everyone realized they had only been praying for sun... and started praying again. At exactictocaly 2:00 pm, as the grandmothers walked down the grassy aisle, a beautiful breeze started blowing and remained for the rest of the day.
Isn't God kind?


Trying to obey the command to laugh. And failing miserably. I think my husband is trying to be Santa Claus.

And so, they were wed. Two became one and the females in the Porter clan are now only outnumbered by one.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Catching up with the wind

Ummm.... wow. Over six months. Part of me just wants to pick up where my life is now and ignore the last six months but... a lot happened. First of all: Our vacation in the spring to the Virgin Islands on a sailboat with our parents. Yeah. A once-in-a-lifer.

So, in no order whatsoever, I am going to list some of the many memories. Hopefully, I'll never forget them. But this life is a vapor and I can't even remember what I had for breakfast on Tuesday... so.

We flew out of Boston on March 28th with Jim's parents, Ted and Meryl. We arrived in St. Thomas and started sweating, clambered into a taxi van which zoomed and weaved through narrow, winding roads all on the LEFT side of the road, arrived at our sailboat the 'Jema Joy,' changed into shorts and learned about our home for the next week. Shortly after, my parents arrived, looking like I'm sure I did: excited and nervous. You see, the Freemans are the sailors. The Porters are not. I had only sailed with Jim and his parents on a short little afternoon trip in Maryland once. My parents had never sailed. And we were about to set sail for eight days on a 45-foot boat. The excitement was definitely higher on the scale, but the apprehension was still there.

A lot of people raised there eyebrows when I told them what we were doing and who was going with us. But, as I'm sure a lot of you know, our parents were friends before we were born. I get along with my in-laws and Jim gets along with his. Now that the fact that we love each other is all out in the open, I will continue.

I wish I had the patience to go through each day chronologically and list every bay we moored in. My two mothers did a wonderful job of keeping journals and my mother-in-law typed it up and shared it with us... but I'm not going to do exactly that here. I'm sorry, Moms, if that disappoints you.

We slept the first night in the marina and sailed out the next day. Unfortunately, my mom was seasick pretty quickly. It's kind of a damper on the joy of the vacation when you're worried that one of your party is going to be nauseated for the next eight days. That makes it sound like she was being selfish. Believe me... the color of her face was not something we were wishing we had. My dad fought it off with carbonated beverages and belches. Thankfully, on the second day of sailing, with the help of some medicine, it was easier. By the third day of sailing, she was steady-stomached.

For every night, the guys would decide where we would stay (there was a really cool map...er, chart in the boat that showed us where we were allowed to anchor or moor in various bays around the various islands). I didn't know this, so: Mooring is when there is a floating ball to tie up to. This ball has an anchor on it that has been specifically placed so the ocean floor will not be messed up by everyone dropping their own anchors. Anchoring is when you do just that - drop your own anchor. Usually it means it's sandy down below and there's nothing to destroy. This meant that either Jim or Ted would jump in and verify that we were good and hooked. This was all new to me.

Depending on the wind as your air conditioner was new to me too. It was amazing how much wind there was... it almost never stopped! So with all of the hatches open, it could be mighty gusty inside, which was lovely to sleep in. But with those gusts come rain and rain coming directly on your face and sheets is not so lovely. The flurry of activity from six previously slumbering adults to "batten the hatches" was hilarious. The immediate heat was not hilarious. Thankfully, there was really only one uncomfortably hot night.

Sailing itself was relaxing at it's best and pretty scary at it's worst. People who sail often would laugh at me... but when the wind would really push against us, the tipping of the boat was nerve wracking. It would be tipped over on it's side so far that one day.... I sat on the bench backwards. Imagine someone tipping your chair back... back... back.... until you realize that instead of just fighting gravity, it would be easier if the backrest was your seat and the seat your backrest. I wish I had had a video of the time we turned so sharply (it's called heeled over), my Dad, asleep on the couch down in the hold, was literally flung through the air. Thankfully, he wasn't hurt and I was able to laugh guilt-free.

Another new experience: trying to use the bathroom while holding on for dear life. Each foot would be shoved against any wall, door, corner, or cabinet for extra hold. One arm gripped a handle on the wall, while the other was splayed against the door. All you could do is laugh, grit your teeth, and try to relax enough to actually accomplish what you came there to do.

Probably one of the scariest moments was our very near collision with another boat. Whenever someone is using the wind as their power, they have the right away over boats using motors. So, we  had the right away. Ted saw the catamaran headed towards us but knew we had plenty of room... sorta...kinda.... well, not anymore!! Jim grabbed the air horn and rain up on our bow and blew it and someone came running up from the downstairs portion of the boat and grabbed the steering wheel and yanked it away just in time! He gave us a sheepish wave... we waved without smiling. Personally, we didn't feel like waving back. Did you seriously just put your boat on autopilot (err... autoboat?), turn it out on the ocean, and go make a sandwich?! Good. Grief.

Snorkeling. Oh. My. Goodness. My brother was kind enough to let us take his GoPro and we used it for a LOT of underwater pictures. Everyone snorkeled accept my Dad (too much fishing to be done!) Even my Mom! She hates getting her head and face wet but she did it and loved it! We saw Dory, Nemo, Gill, Deb/Flo, Bloat, Mr. Ray.... even Crush!! Augh!! Well, a smaller version of Crush.
And Jim saw Bruce.
Or Bruce's smaller cousin.
Seriously.
While we were in the water.
As we were rapidly swimming away from the spot, trying not to become terrified (too late), Jim's mom wouldn't stop asking questions about what it looked like. I was like, "What is this National Geographic?! Who cares?! Shut up and swim, woman! There's a man-eater back there and you want to know how big he was?!" (Meryl, I love you. You know that).
Jim's reply: "Well, he wasn't a baby shark... but don't worry, it wasn't Jaws either."
To which his mom said, "It was big, wasn't it?"
 I was like, "SWIM!!! SWIM FOR YOUR LIVES!!!"
And it WOULD be on the day that we were probably 75 yards from the boat. But thankfully, it was on our last day... or I don't know if I could have got back in. Yes. I know, I know. "It's the ocean, Amy! Of course there are sharks!" I KNOW!! But I like to imagine that they are never ever in the actual spot I am in at any particular moment.
Woof. But we are alive and not missing any extremities.

On Monday, (April 1st, 2013) we sailed into Soper's Hole in Tortola to check in with British Customs. The guys behind the desk charged us $16 extra because it was a holiday. A holiday? Yes. It was Easter Monday. You know... the day after Easter? Duh, tourists. Cash only, please. Wow. You aren't sketchy at all. We filled up our water tanks while we were here and bought a pizza. The mothers waited forever for the pizza and when she brought it out to them, the server said, "It's a little burned...You okay with?" Meryl looked at it and said, "Yeah. It is burned. Can we have a discount?" The lady replied, "It's not that burnt!" Sorry! You asked us if we were "okay with!"

The glory of the sunsets and sunrises (not going to lie, I only saw one) was incredible. Like His mercies, they were new every morning (and night).

Even with all the wind, the dampness of the ocean made it difficult for your towels to dry. If you wanted a dry towel for the next shower, you would need to hang it where it would get the most sun and wind, usually in a very obvious spot. You would then announce to the rest of the crew, "This is MY towel. I put THREE clothes pins on it. It has a frayed edge. It is blue." But it didn't matter to my dad. After every shower, he would somehow mention what towel he used... and I only think it was actually  his once. My mom would be like, "Dennis! Why is MY towel wet? I laid your's on the counter!!" And he was like, "Oh! I thought it was the one on the door!"After about the third day, my husband hid his in a spot so that nobody could find it. I don't think he cared if it wasn't dry... as long as his father-in-law didn't use it.

Our return trip was safe. Unfortunately for my parents, they had to fly from St. Thomas to San Juan for their flight home. This is basically a stone's throw of a flight. Translation: little bitty plane. And the pilot (according to them) looked like she was about sixteen. But they made it safe and sound, as did we.

It was glorious. And maybe... maybe we can do it again.


Oatmeal! I had oatmeal for breakfast on Tuesday! Ta-daaah!!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Feet that are there

Yesterday, I was taking care of an 87 year old woman. She was in the "alert and confused" stage. Meaning, she totally knew where she was, who she was, but... she didn't trust the clock on the wall. Or the bed to hold her up.

"You see that clock?"
"Yes."
"Well, I don't trust it."
"Why not?"
"Well, at my age, I've learned you can't trust everything."
"But why the clock?"
"I just don't believe it! It's probably wrong."
"What times does your wristwatch say?"
...looks at watch...looks at clock...looks at watch...
"Well... okay. I guess I'll believe it."

Later, while changing her sheets:
"This bed is just going to fall down. With me in it!"
"No, the bed is very sturdy. It won't let you down."
"Well, I don't trust it!"
"Why not?"
"At my age, I've learned you can't trust everything."

But most of all, she wanted to go back home.
"Oh! My feet are so cold! I miss my husband's feet."
"Are his feet really warm and help keep your's warm?"
"No.... they're just... there."


Monday, February 25, 2013

The cursed fig tree

Our pastor taught on the fig tree in Mark 11: 12-14.
Side note: When I was little I thought a Fig Newton was a fig.

"On the next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry. Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again!" And His disciples were listening."
Later on in verse 20: "As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up."

This passage has always confused me a little. I understood the link to the mostly well-known point of God hating fruitlessness... but it seemed, though I knew this couldn't be the case, that Jesus was lashing out in anger and hunger. Another point that bothered me is that it says right there that it WAS NOT THE SEASON FOR FIGS. I mean, gee whiz. Jesus knew the season for figs. He created the season for figs. So why did He go to it expecting fruit?

One third of the writings of the gospels center around this last week of Jesus' life. Why did the fig tree story even make it in there? And why was it broken up into two parts?


I've never looked any deeper into this passage. I saw it as another of Jesus' miracles in nature (a beautiful flourishing tree withering overnight) and yet another example of unfruitfulness. But that was all.

And so, if you care to read what I learned via our pastor's studies and teachings... read on.

Fig tree start producing fruit buds prior to producing leaves. Thus, a tree in full leaf has (or SHOULD have) ripe fruit. This tree was telling everyone that it was covered in fruit, but a closer look revealed the truth. Although beautiful and vibrant on the outside, a closer look revealed it was useless. It had been able to produce leaves far ahead of its season. Apparently, it had had the advantage in sun, water, and soil, and shelter. There was no excuse for no fruit. And Jesus isn't lashing out under the complaints of an empty stomach. We know He isn't because this would be sin and He lived a perfect life. It's really more like a statement, or maybe a prayer of judgement. "May no on ever eat fruit from you again."

Often in the book of Mark, we have bookends. The fig tree story starts in verses 12-14 and then is finished in verse twenty. In verses 15-19 we get to Jerusalem.
 Ahhhh. Jerusalem. The shining, city on a hill. The hill that housed God's chosen people. The ones that God had planted in the Promised Land...  the land that He had prepared for them with no enemies, good soil and water, and plenty of sunshine. They should be thriving! And they were! The city was famous as was the temple inside the city.  The temple was God's House. The place that everyone, once a year had to come to to make their sacrifices. So many many sacrifices! So many people coming to make those sacrifices! So many leaves on this beautiful fig tree inside this beautiful city on top of this beautiful hill! But Jesus, walking into His Father's house, finds absolutely no fruit. He finds people who claim to be seeing, but are actually blind. They were beautiful on the outside, professing a great godliness with their temple and their unblemished lambs, yet really knowing nothing. And Jesus clears them all out.

The second bookend comes in verse twenty. We see that Jesus' judgement on the fig tree came true. From the roots up, the once thriving tree is dead. It is no longer any use. And like that fig tree, Jerusalem showed that it was useless. And God is putting her aside because His work will no longer be accomplished through her, but through the church.

Which leads to the application part: Am I covered in leaves? Am I advertising that I have fruit, but don't? Have I fooled those who pass me at a distance... yet when anyone truly takes a closer look at my life, they quickly realize I'm good for nothing but the fire? Are you?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Week of Firsts

1) Nemo

Last Friday, a blizzard called Nemo (I'm not sure why the weather people named it after a little Pixar clownfish... because I'm pretty sure that is what most people think of when they hear that name) was about to come roaring into New England. We had heard a prediction of anywhere from 6 inches to 24 inches. We were both so excited about the snow... and then we realized Jim was working Friday night and I was working Friday and Saturday. To make it worse, the hospital called and said, "You can't call in sick, so come with overnight bags so you can work both days." Yay, a slumber party.

Thankfully, God corrected me quickly and made me realize that I was going to be at work, during my first blizzard and away from my husband. That was the plan HE had for the weekend, so get over it, dear one.

In the end, it wasn't so bad. Our house lost power and and Jim was unable to come home Saturday morning do to Nemo still pounding the coast, anyway. So, we worked. And I was able to watch snow accumulate at the most rapid rate I had ever witnessed from the warmth and safety of the hospital. 

2) Sleeping in a hospital bed

Thus, the hospital sleepover. I was imagining a room full of cots, snoring strangers, and a shared bathroom. God was very sweet and I slept in a maternity room. Like a room where moms and their new babies stay. Maternity rooms are very quiet, very clean, and big. AND they have their own bathroom and shower. I kept expecting cots to start being rolled in but I had it all to myself all night. Granted, I still didn't sleep well due to the different atmosphere, but it could have been much much worse. And I tried not to think about all of the bodily fluids I had seen on hospital sheets before I had stripped the beds of said sheets. Hospital sheets just like the ones I was sleeping on. I thought dreamily of bleach and the germ-killing, stain-fighting stuff it was and finally drifted off.

3) Sledding

Sunday morning and there was no church because no electricity means very, very, very cold buildings. Jim had been shoveling people out all Saturday evening, so Sunday, after a few more calls to check on various people, we sledded. Oh what fun it is to ride in a one butt (or two or three) plastic sleigh! Our electricity came on and a few more of our friends came over, relishing the chance for a hot shower and possibly a warm bed. One of them brought his toboggan. Yes. It was awesome.






4) Skiing.

I have been saying, "I'm going to learn. I mean... I'm terrified of the idea but I want to do this!" Admittedly, whenever the chance to do it came up and we were unable to go, I was secretly relieved. A day of looking awkward, falling on my face, and being cold did not sound appealing no matter how cool, "I'm going skiing," sounds. However, there was no backing out this time. I was so nervous and quiet, Jim thought I was upset with him. I knew I needed to take a lesson, but I didn't want to be by myself all morning. But, Jim snowboards and he admitted that, although he would gladly try to teach me, it had been so long since he had skied, he was afraid it would be like the blind leading the blind. So, I waited for my lesson to begin, relieved when other adults joined as I was mostly surrounded by children. 
The lesson started and I climbed a tiny mound without falling (the first part of a first timer's lesson is learning how to just walk around in your now 4-5 foot long feet). Then I skied down the tiny mound without falling! Yeah! This is great! Then I fell. Then I fell again. And again. I fell when I was just standing there. I flailed my arms wildly, attempting to keep my balance while just listening to the teacher. I had been warned that the first day is the most frustrating day and I was beginning to see why. Nothing the teacher was saying seemed to help. Lean forward and stand up straight? Lean forward and keep my hips in? What kind of strange bodily function is this?! At the advice of another newbie, I ditched the poles and concentrated on my skis. Suddenly, I wasn't falling! I was going uber slow, wedging my way across the hill face, but I didn't fall! I was even turning! Jim came around that time, his face red from the wind and we went to eat lunch. After eating it was on to the big beginner hills. Which meant taking the ski-lift. I had heard horror stories of these things: piles of people being dumped unceremoniously off at the top, rude lift workers refusing to slow it down despite the mound of bodies, parents desperately attempting to get on then off again with their squirming children, people face planting in front of the whole crowd at the top, but hey! What's a little more embarrassment on this very humbling day! 
I made it the first time. Then I made it down the whole hill and only fell once! Then I did it all again with the same results! Then I got on that lift for the third time and when it vomited me out I landed on my rear and slid down the hill, probably nearly impaling a stranger with my crazy pole swings. Ahh, humility, how I love thee!
Jim was incredibly supportive and stayed with me for the rest of the day, despite the easiness of the hill we were gliding down. He grinned proudly and told me I was a pro.... but he's supposed to say that. 
Also, look out for the little children. They zip around you with no fear, no poles and sometimes with their skis tied together in the front. Some parents had there children harnessed to themselves so they couldn't get away. I kept expecting them to shout, "Mush!" because the kids always looked like they were straining against their parental tie-downs.
I think we'll go again soon.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Hi! I'm an airhead and I'll be your nurse today!

For those of you who aren't nurses and don't know this, I attempt to explain the sometimes utter confusion that is shift change.

You are receiving detailed information on five people, all of whom are in different rooms, have different problems, social details, health history, quirks, oddities, some are alert and oriented, others are confused as all get out and are, as we speak, attempting to leave the unit on their very unsteady legs.
Also, we are short an aide, so you will need to check the three of your five's blood sugars. And treat them with insulin before breakfast gets here. Oh wait, it already is here. Sorry.

Also, room 322 wants pain medicine. Like, yesterday. So, she hates you already. And Dr. ____ called and wants you to call him with room 324 hematocrit as soon as lab gets it. And room 318's daughter is on the phone and wants you to update her.

So, having said all of that... please understand the embarrassing mistake I'm about to tell you.

I had two more patients to stick my head in on and say "Hi, I'm Amy, I'll be your nurse until 7pm, is there anything I can do for you?" I THOUGHT I was sticking my head in on the patient who had a very strange last name.

"Good morning! Okay, before I slaughter your name, can you tell me how to say it?"
The 70+ gentleman peered back and me and hesitated. Then his eyes twinkled.

"Smith," he said, very carefully, so that I would catch the full pronunciation. "Bill Smith, actually. It's a pretty easy name."

I could have died.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

In honor of the monster

As I approach my "It's Been Two Months Since You've Blogged" anniversary, I realize (I believe I've confessed this before) that I start to panic when I haven't kept you all updated. Several conversations/events have occurred since November 17 that I want to put on here... but then I go, "But I haven't talked about that other event yet!" It's like there is some kind of Chronological Monster that watches me as I type.
"Amy. Don't tell them what you did on Saturday. You haven't written about the events of Friday."

Thus. I just don't write.

Well.... NO MORE!! I am going to try to run that monster out of the house every time he starts to talk. I can do this!!

However, here are some pictures of Christmas in Alabama and Thanksgiving in Maine. In no particular order as I attempt to slay said monster, but still being posted in honor of it. 


In Alabama, we all drove to the airport and picked up Caleb flying in from Oregon at midnight. The three boys were happy.


As were my parents.


My mother makes bee-yoo-ti-full Christmas wreaths. I helped make some.


Oh! My husband put lights up on the two pointy trees outside of our own home. It was a surprise to come home from work to lights up and on outside!


I decorated Edel and she grudgingly posed in front of the Deer Isle Christmas tree. 
Isn't she too cute? I did not, however, buy her a Christmas present. My sister-in-law and mother-in-law, however, DID get her Christmas presents.


My in-laws bought the biggest tree ever and we helped put it up over Thanksgiving.


 The tree topper, even thought it was a star, felt scared waaaay up there....


... and kept trying to come down.


My mom started a new tradition of Whit Elephant/Dirty Santa/Yankee Swap at the Alabama house. This is the priceless picture of everyone "being excited" about their gifts. 


We played with guns in Alabama. Actually, we played with them in Maine, too.


We sat around and talked and laughed.


We watched Rhett and Link on YouTube.


We ate... get ready... EIGHTEEN pounds of shrimp. Yes. Eighteen pounds.


This is what you do after eating eighteen pounds of shrimp. Just sit there and look at each other and hold your belly. And in Anna's case, stick your napkin in your mouth for the picture. Asa sadly pointed out that I wasn't sitting with him... thus our teamship must be over. Alisa mentioned that Pepaw had always been her eating teammate... and we all kind of realized that the competition that had silently formed years ago was over. Maybe when there are more spouses and children, new teams will arise. But for now, we'll just chow down alone.


My grandmother, with more than a few tears, went through her first Christmas in 65 years without her husband. My dad, with a few moments of silent, studied remembrance, went through his first in 59 years without a father. And Pepaw was too recently gone for anyone to quote his famous Christmas line: "Don't open it, sugah! You'll lose all your little pahts!" 


We shot more guns. Jim wore his Santa hat.


And more.



We ate lobster in Maine. Yummy. I learned my mother-in-law does feel bad about cooking them alive. I had never heard her mention it so I had always assumed she was just hard-hearted. :)


Edel did not like the lobsters.


We went for some beautiful walks on the coast of Deer Isle. So many islands...


Apparently, the only pictures I took up there were some on the walk, and then a bunch of their tree!


But, once up, it was surely beautiful.


Twister, for the first time in who knows how long, was pulled out.



Jim told us that we played it too nice. He said that we are supposed to TRY to get to the easy spot before the other person so that they will have to reach further. He demonstrated what he meant.



So, you could say, I LEARNED how to play Twister.