Posted by Linda on Oct 26, 2012 in family
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Most people I have talked to are comforted by the fact that Seattle Children’s Hospital exists. They have heard of or experienced top notch quality care for one of their family members or friends.
We have a more intimate connection with the place. For half of Heather’s first year of her life she lived there off and on. And as each year has gone by she spent less and less time there. Now she is down to 2.5 hours in Day Surgery sessions four times a year for hip injections for pain management.
Actually we are on our way out the door. We are in “transition.” ( Que the music from the graduation scene of “To Sir with Love” playing softly in the background.) Heather is over 21 and we need to find another place that will meet her needs. We all have been walking slowly toward this goal. Her doctors haven’t liked the rules any more than we have. But there is only so much bed space. So Heather and her 22-year-old self need to find other care providers.
We are working on this final medication switch before we go. It seems that one of Heather’s medications that we have been using for the past 17 years will be discontinued from the factory is just a few months. We have 5 months to switch her over to a new medication. It will be delicate and slow, to do it fast might cause seizures. We are 10 days in and so far so good. December will be the rough time when her brain lets go of the last little bit of this medication that has put her to sleep for 17 years, sigh.
I connected with a grandmother last Sunday whose grandson’s life was saved at Children’s Hospital a few years ago. ”What are you going to do without Children’s Hospital?” was what she said as we cried together. (Turn the music up louder.) These tears have been several years in the making for me. The deep, almost wailing kind of tears. Simply there is no other place like Children’s for us. Will Heather be O.K.? I think so…
Heather has a very strong spirit and deep soul and tends to rise to the occasion better than her mother. As we leave Children’s we have done one thing that is sane for us and that is our Family Doctor is the same. He has been Heather’s Doc since she was 8 months old and will continue to be that first line of defense for the regular things like colds, flu, and infections. It’s just, where do we go for the big things? We have a few ideas and we will be passed off to a clinic of some kind in the city in a few months.
Fade music and wipe tears for now…
When I think of Children’s Hospital, I see special people. I see Vic in Radiology, and Linda our favorite nurse. I see Kit Song who did three surgeries and has now moved to L.A. to be the Chief of Staff and surgeon of Shriners Hospital because he wants to serve a needier population.(That man is solid gold.) I see many nurses, always kind and generous when asking questions about Heather, rarely judgmental. I see an ever-changing place of hope, and state-of-the-art care. We are thankful you have been such a big part of our life, Children’s Hospital. Not sure how we are going to move on, just that I know that we will.
One final word for this post…THANK-YOU!
I was thinking in my living room about many things the other morning while scrolling through FB, and ran across this challenge from a photographer, MeRa Koh: “Make today all about capture images that speak to you about ‘cozy.’” I looked up and this is what I saw:
Heather’s UGG’s ready to go for a nice fall day of coziness. All day I was thinking about cozy. I will spare you the photos of dinner and what I wore to work that evening, although both qualify.
I know this is one of the reason I enjoy fall so much. I love cozy. I especially love cozy after wet. And we are getting some wet now aren’t we? I keep saying to myself, “You can get all warm and dry and cozy after you brave the weather for that walk or run or drive to the gym” (in my case pool).
And yes, I have a pair of UGGs my size I wear after swimming in the mornings. A true cozy reward.
Where do you find cozy?
Posted by Linda on Oct 11, 2012 in community
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I had a small town experience the other day, within this big city. Heather and I were going to buy me a new pair of running shoes at my favorite running store, Super Jock ‘n Jill’s at Greenlake. We parked up the hill and as we came around the corner the window display was so simply gorgeous, BAM! It stopped me in my tracks, and we just looked at it for a minute. And now since Heather is a greeter at the Zoo it has even more meaning. We were surprised and happy to see such a strong display. It’s so simple! It made me want to do the race too.
A close up of the words on the sign below…
As we were viewing, Ty, one of the owners popped his head out the door, and we started our conversation with my rave about the window display. He told me to be sure to tell the person responsible, next time I see him. Ty is a good natured friend that I got to know back in the days when I was coaching for Team Danskin. He would run my running clinics for me. I always enjoy seeing him.
Then I went inside to buy shoes. I bought what I came in for and more. As we were wrapping up Ty cleared his throat and looked over at his partner who was now standing close by. I caught the clue and told his partner how much I enjoyed the window display, and he answered back how hard they are to put up sometimes. This time the Zoo gave him a beautiful piece to work with, often times he just gets small posters. And I thought: “Who knew displays are hard for someone?” ”And who knew they need to be appreciated?”
I learned a lot that day about my favorite store and the window displays of all the races they do every year. It felt small town because I was in on the behind the scenes of my favorite store as they were promoting an innaugural race of a place where Heather volunteers. I know these two men have give a lot to make this shoe store viable over the years. I am so glad they are there.
In closing, I always hope the brick and mortar independent merchant makes it. I plan to shop there and send everyone I know there for as long as I know I will need running shoes, and great running gear, delivered with excellent service. I figure until I’m 80.
Posted by Linda on Sep 26, 2012 in community
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You were a quiet guy. Your friends called you loyal. I heard you had a wonderful playful sense of humor, but I didn’t see that side of you. I was your mother’s friend, one who would call the family phone back in the day when there was just one phone per household. You would answer, and we talked I could hear you think, as you called your mom to the phone, “I wonder if this will be a long phone call or a short one.” You were in junior high, and you wanted the phone back as soon as possible.
As I view you now on this billboard, you are the second from the left, a handsome 19-year-old. I want to scream, “Franklin, what are you doing there?” I want to say out loud, “I wish that was not you.” And mostly, “I wish in some way we could have changed the events of the day or that past year and somehow the bullet would have missed you.”
They are looking for enough evidence to convict the person who did this. We are hoping this billboard helps keep the conversations going and people break their silence.
Franklin, where should they look?
Posted by Linda on Sep 18, 2012 in community
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One foggy day, 15 of us went for a hike. Normally the foggy part wouldn’t be worth mentioning; we live in the Northwest, and foggy, rainy weather comes with the territory. But we are in a dry spell and we have had gorgeous weather– six weeks of gorgeous blue skies, over-the-top weather except for one day. Yep, the only not-stellar day was a week ago last Sunday, Sept. 9th, which our ring leader, Dana, had chosen about five weeks before as an excellent day for a hike to see if Mt. Rainier would be out. Many of us put the date on our calendar. And since I have been on this hike before and had seen the Mountain out in full glory, I was ready to go again.
The hike is on top of Chinook Pass. The Tipsoo Lake Naches Peak Loop is the name of the 3.7 mile trail that has several breath-taking views along the way with wildflowers galore. But on this day the Mountain was fogged in.
To Thirds of us on a Rock
Two thirds of us at Wapiti Woolies
We got several photos of us…but the giant photo of all 15 of us got away. We were never all in one place at one time. We even needed to catch up to folks at the coffee shop down the road, Wapiti Woolies. (And that was an excellent coffee shop, by the way, as good as it’s name.)
What I loved most about the hike was the chance to get to know people better. That happened on the trail and in our car. We played a game of the best places in Washington, or must see in Washington, and Chinook Pass would be on that list for me. Which led to my purchase of this bumper sticker for my car. I figure I can’t get into too much trouble with this on my car. Plus, it will remind me of the one day in the middle of 50+ beautiful days when 15 hearty souls went for a hike, and it was the only day it was FOGGY! Oh Washington, I still love you!
Where would be a must-see place in Washington for you?
Posted by Linda on Sep 12, 2012 in friendship
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I was in the support crew on Sunday, and I made a few mistakes. Like tell your people where you will meet them before the race. I told Tegan I would be wearing red but not where to meet. My parka was a beautiful stop sign red. I even stood up on the raised platform by the statue and looked out into the crowd for about 30 minutes but did not spot them. And they did not locate me. So I paced up and down where the athletes lined up, but still no Tegan and Beverly.
I gave up on seeing them before the race and took to the course. About 2/3rds into mile one I found a tree to lean against and waited. It’s been fun to try and follow Tegan’s Cheering guidelines from an earlier post. It was a strange position for me; I can’t remember the last time I was at an event simply to cheer. I remembered her direction to cheer for everyone. “You are taking up prime real estate; cheer for everyone or step back.” So I did, as I waited for Tegan and Beverly to come by. I’d yell, “You’re looking good!” or, “Everyone is looking strong this morning.” Then Tegan spotted me and yelled my name. (It was the red coat.) We squealed and jumped up and down, then I ran ahead and got this photo.
You might be wondering why was it important for me to get to this race and cheer Tegan on? Well, this was the race she crossed over from a walker to a runner. And she has been looking forward to this race for months.
I’m also a big believer in celebrating all of life’s achievements. I hope this run was as fun for them as wearing red and cheering was for me.
Congratulations Iron Girls, Tegan and Beverly! And everyone else who crossed the finish line that morning. You Rock!!!
Posted by Linda on Sep 4, 2012 in family
, life at home
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The idea was to go flat: get rid of the stairs, and while we are at it get rid of a bedroom and a bathroom, otherwise known as downsizing. Heather was done with her high school house, and Colin and I were ready to tackle “the move”.
Our goal was to move to a cute 3-bedroom rambler. Keeping our options open, we included condos in our search. We found a 3-bedroom condo with a pretty view– and two huge drawbacks. One: it was a short sale, and they are tricky to say the least. The second was that the previous occupant had three cats, and I am very allergic to cats.
BUT THE VIEW…
Our agent, Leigh, worked out a deal so we could rent the condo while we waited for the bank to clear the short sale. We were told that could take months, or could fall apart. The good part is we would have a pretty place with a view to wait to see what the Bank was going to do. What we underestimated by a mile was the work it took to get rid of the cat residue. We have several friends and family we will be indebted to for a while for their help that week.
The great news and the reason for this post is that we are now condo owners! We are delighted that the deal closed so quickly for a short sale. I tell everyone that I feel like I moved into a condo years about 10 years early…but we are here, and home is where love is. All of us love the view for starts, and it fits us pretty perfectly.
We know we need to warm this place up and that is where people come in. We have already had two dinner parties since we signed the papers last Wednesday. And I’m planning more. Come on by and enjoy the view, and did I tell you the Burke Gillman Trail is right outside our entrance? Perfect for walks with Heather, our outside girl.
This is news that came quickly…just wanted you to know.
I like the behind the scenes story on this swim more than the swim.
I had decided to take August off of swimming. I had pushed really hard all winter and spring and half of summer to complete the Alcatraz Sharkfest 2012, and now it was time to rest. It took three weeks before I started missing it at all; I was burnt-out a little bit.
Back up the story to a woman named Judy, who attends a gathering on Wednesday evenings with me. The last time I saw her was about a year and a half ago when she specifically came to say goodbye to me and said she needed to go battle breast cancer. I wanted to keep track of her so we agreed that Facebook would be the best way.
Judy is a light bulb, full of enthusiasm and positive energy, so it did not surprise me that on the flip side of her surgeries and radiation and chemo she was also signing for 5K walks. Then she took on open water swimming, again. I followed her postings on Facebook and from time to time she would comment on mine, especially the Alcatraz ones. So it surprised me when she posted that she was disappointed with her time during her Emerald City 1 mile swim. Others posted back: “Judy! YOU just swam a mile!” I let curiosity get the better of me and within a day or two I looked up her time. And I thought, “That’s not a bad time… actually it’s a good time if you started swimming as an adult,” and I let it go.
Then on Wednesday evening who should walk in the door to our meeting? JUDY!!! And the first thing out of my mouth wasn’t welcome back (sorry to say), it was: “What are you talking about? That was a good swim you had last week, timing and all!”
She broke into this huge grin/giggle. Then said, “The event I’m most excited about is this Sunday the Park to Park that benefits Children Hospital. We swim across Lake Washington.”
By then Hannah, a welcome eavesdropper, had entered the conversation. Hannah asked how far that race was and Judy answered 1.5 miles. Oh the same distance as the Alcatraz race? And I said,”I heard the race was closed.”
Hannah whipped out her smart phone and said, “Let’s see… Oh! It’s sponsored by my boyfriend’s company! You want to do that race don’t you?” And we were off to the registration race: “Hey Linda, how do you spell your last name?” (Don’t you think this would make a great iphone commercial?) Before I knew it I was committed to the new race.
Welcome back Judy!
It was a beautiful morning. Both Judy and I had great swims.
And Judy was happy with her time, this time.
And I think I am most happy for serendipity and quick friends with smart phones, thank you Hannah.
Next year I hope to have this swim on my radar and be recruiting others to join me.
Are you the recruiting type? If so, what and who are you recruiting today?
Posted by Linda on Aug 21, 2012 in community
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My first thought when I heard of the huge wildfires 10 miles outside of Ellensburg was, “10 miles in which direction?” My friend, Debbie, who is an artist, has a small farm just 10 miles outside Ellensburg, and I was immediately alarmed for her and for her goats. I rushed to my computer to find out where the fire was raging. Not in her location by at least 20 miles so I felt safe– concerned but safe– and listened with interest as that news story came across the radio.
On Friday a Facebook post came from Debbie that touched me deeply. It read: “I want to help those who have lost animals in the Taylor Bridge Fire. Please read, re post and forward this to those who are grieving the loss of loved ones.” Her loved ones include her farm animals, so she understands the emotional toll the fire has taken on farmers.
Debbie has a beautiful website to showcase her art. She creates in a variety of media, from drawings to painting to sculpture. On her blog, she invites fire victims to send her a photo of an animal they lost so she can make a drawing for them “as a healing remembrance.” Debbie’s heart of compassion is clear and driven; through her art and her website, she seeks connection to the people who would be comforted by a drawing of one of their lost animals. She can see herself in someone else’s shoes and wants to offer what she has, a drawing as a gift.
I’ve read articles about how the relief teams were ready for the fires, and how no human lives were lost. Debbie wants us to help her find the families whose homes have burned and let them know there are so many people who care about them– even an artist who wants to create for them a drawing of the animals they lost, as perhaps a way to start healing.
If you know a family affected by the fires, please pass along the word with the link to Debbie’s site. It might be just the email that family might need to receive today.
Debbie’s webiste is: http://www.debbieyoungart.com/
Compassion is: “I have this…and it will hurt me if I don’t offer it.” I heard that in Debbie’s facebook post. Where are you hearing compassion?
Posted by Linda on Aug 15, 2012 in community
, life at home
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This is the time we have all been waiting for, the harvest of the carrots and beets! Tomatoes and zucchini will come later, and lettuce and spinach have already passed.
But we have been waiting for carrots and beets!
Today we make a family adventure out of it. Heather has been a regular at the garden all summer watering with her adult helpers, me and Toni. But today since it is harvest day, her friends Daisa and Kaia get to be there.
The garden is magic and it has grown. Here are some photos we grabbed today.
Step one: get the soil wet
All hands in
Toni’s first beet
Toni, Heather, and Dasia harvesting beets
Yes, we ate some carrots before we got home. And more to harvest next week. This is simply exciting for beginners.
I am so glad that we got some things to grow. I am looking forward to next year and rolling on with what I have learned from this year. This was the year to just plant something, anything and see if it will grow. Many of our veggies did grow, but I also want to learn from my mistakes.
We have several hot weeks left, and I wonder how many tomatoes will ripen, and which zucchinis will get to a decent size.
What is growing in your garden? And what are you doing with your abundance?