Saturday, January 19, 2013


I woke thinking of this today.  It's a great work of writing.  Stick with it, and you'll see why. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

How I Feel in This Empty Nest

The first word that came to mind as I typed this post's title is blessed.  I feel blessed.

But I have to back up.

After days of sorting, donating items to Goodwill, listing things on eBay, packing and being celebrated and then sent off by friends, Mac left for Baton Rouge on Saturday morning.

It was a tearful good-bye for both of us.  We had a good hug before he climbed in the cab of that ramshackle (truth, it broke down three times and he was stranded in Arkansas for nearly 48 hours...) truck and drove off.

It was definitely time for Mac to move out. To be fair to him, he'd only been back "in" for six months while he looked for a job locally then decided to move back south.  He's 26, and needs to be independent.  So now he is, but it's just farther away than I like.

I don't think that will ever change.

However, I carry with me this ridiculously awful perspective stick, and I smack myself with it from time to time.  On Saturday, as I cried (and laughed) while helping him with some last minute tasks, the sting of that stick made me aware:  he was meant to stop to stay at Brandon's parents' home in Tennessee that night, I needed to take my vitamin that morning, and of my blue ribbon friend Jack.

You see, Brandon was Mac's "like the older brother he never had" friend who died in 2007.  While he's with Jesus--no doubt about that--I'm certain all who love him, especially his mom, would like Brandon only a few states away.

The vitamin, well it's laced with iron because I'm scheduled to give blood soon at a memorial blood drive for my friend Helen's daughter Vicki who died in 2010.  Vicki accepted Christ only hours before her death, and while that was an amazing comfort, those close to her feel a great ache.  Helen would treasure a text message or an instagram post from Vicki.

Jack.  It's "his" blue bow magnet I adorn my car with, his youthful wisdom that reminds me and any who drive behind me, "Nothing is impossible with God."  I had been instant messaging with his mom Anna earlier that week. She had "liked" some of more weepy facebook posts about this move.  What grace she showed me while still greatly mourning her son.

So I find these moments in my life to be a walk of a blessed balance.  I must allow myself to feel my pain.  Mac is my only child and he is far away.  I miss him.  My pain is real.  But he is a text, a facebook message, a phone call, a 2.5 hour flight, and/or a 15 hour car ride away.  What great choices I have to still show love and be shown love by my son.

I have typed this entry without a tear, and those that threatened didn't pool while I wrote about the distance between here and LA, but did collect when I consider the distance between here and Heaven. 

I am blessed.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Table Story Nearly Finished

I just copied this post from my old blog to this one.  I wrote it in July.  Please, humor me, read all the way through to the very bottom. There is an addition.

Last night, I spent about an hour going through family photos in order to find a picture of...a table.

I came close dozens of times, but for all the decades--six--this particular table has been in our family, it has managed to elude my camera pretty well.

In the 60s, counter space was at a premium in my parents' little ranch home.  One day, my father brought home a counter height butcher block table for my mom.  Brand new, he spent all of $5 on it.

In May of 1969, our family moved across town, and that table was cut down and used in our family room, first in that house and then in our Naperville house.  Purpose served from 1969 to 2001, family room end table. In all the years our dog Schnapps was around, he hid under it during every thunderstorm and 4th of July.   In 1988 though, my car loving boy took over that table, and while it still held a lamp and magazines, it also became his "carsandtrucks" table.  He played on it for hours a day.
When my father died and we sold the house, Mac and I got the table which we used as an end table in our condo.  See it there at the end of the couch? (This photo was snapped only weeks after moving in because those blinds went soon after!  I can't help but dig the treadmill in the living room...eek!)
I married Brad in 2007, and the table was then used in Mac's ISU rental house and NIU apartment.  It resided as a coffee table for three grad students in Baton Rouge for two years, and just this month it returned to Illinois in a stinky rental truck.  Water stained and marred, I was itching to glue the top,  which had been split for about ten years, and then refinish it.

Needing some big clamps, We took it to our friend Walt's house, put it up on his workshop bench and saw much more damage and some flaws we'd missed.  Since it now belongs to Mac, he has opted to shed its mismatched and falling apart legs and frame.
Leg--a mystery wood when compared with the top.
With Walt's help, and a little of mine, he has decided to salvage the top and find a table redesign for it.  They biscuited the top back together, then they sanded, and sanded some more. (I helped a bit.)
Not an after, but a "so far" picture.  
Once a design is chosen, supplies are purchased, and time is set aside to work, it will become a table again. 

As I composed this post, I was reminded of Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree.  This table has served us--from my mom through Mac--well, and it remains important, even in its yet to be repurposed form.  Mac might not like the expression of this, but it is my hope another child races cars across it.  In time.

January 8, 2013
Mac leaves to return to Baton Rouge, a real move, this Saturday.  He will be taking the table with him. Walt, worked with him a lot, and Mac learned a bit, but they ran out of time to stain it.  I know July to January should have been rife with opportunities, but they had totally conflicting schedules until the past week.

Here's the almost finished product:
 I like that he's taking some long time home with him.  You know?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Excellent Get Fit Plan

The steps:

1)  Get famous, at least C level
2)  Get invited on Dancing With the Stars
3)  Find some coordination
4)  Be a fan favorite so I don't get voted off until I tone up.

Did I miss anything?

Feel free to pin this, it's sure to catch on.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Uterine Ablation

I've been holding onto this post for 12 months now, I think it's time (now that I know the outcome) to share it.

I happen to be one of those people who thinks talking about feminine issues demystifies them.  Periods, PMS, menopause, and all that.  Let's face it, more than half the world is female, so why is all this so secret?  The other half of us should love all the females in our lives, so a little information can be helpful to everyone.

I'm also one of those people who is not at all medically inclined, so I'm going to write only of my experience, and you can research this from there.

For years, I had heavy periods.  There was always a day or two of each month when I had to wear a tampon and a pad.  I passed a lot of clots.  About ten years ago, though single, I went on a low dosage birth control pill to control some of the bleeding. It helped some, but I still had a "heavy day" each month.

Two summers ago, I went for my regular check-up with my gynecologist, and it happened to be on my heavy day.  We talked about it, rescheduled my appointment, and she showed some concern that this was, well, a concern.  So I went through some tests.  The two I remember were an internal ultrasound and a blood test to see if I was near menopause.  The former showed nothing of concern, and the latter showed I was seemingly years away from the cessation of my periods.

My gynecologist suggested a hysterectomy.  She said it wasn't medically necessary, she talked about the pros and cons, but she wouldn't tell me what she would do.  (That bugged me, as a woman, she should have an opinion, but she didn't share it.)

I did the math.  Major surgery.  Losing parts. Six weeks off school. Using up all my sick days.  Pain.  I added that up and measured it against maybe four more years of periods--perhaps 48 more heavy days--nearly equal to the days I'd be restricted after surgery.  Since there was no medical reason to go under the knife, I opted to keep those organs.

The next summer, right before my annual check up, my friend AB and I were talking, and she suggested I talk to my (different but still a woman) gynecologist about an ablation.  So I did.  In fact, this doctor brought it up where my other doctor had not.  I researched it, I talked with Brad about it, and I scheduled it.

One year ago, over winter break, I had my outpatient surgery.  I had a uterine ablation.  I went under general anesthesia, and I was home by one o'clock that day.  There was light bleeding for a week or two after, and since then I've only had random spotting once or twice.

No cramps.  No periods. It's been a year.

It was one of the best medical decisions I've made.  I didn't want to write about it right away because I didn't know how things would turn out.  Some women still have their periods after this procedure.  Most don't.  I don't.

This is something worth sharing.  In fact, I've since learned a few friends have had it done.  And this past spring, I mentioned it to my friend Jim whose response was to tell his wife who then had one this summer.

Heavy periods?  Cramps in your forties?  Done having babies?  Extreme fatigue during your periods?  Talk with your doctor.  I'm glad I did.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Never, Ever Lose Sight...

May you continue to be so blessed this new year.