Thursday, April 17, 2014

If You Need Me.....I'll Be In My Garden...


It's that season I love the most....Spring!  Winter is finally over, thank
goodness, and I can finally get out and do what I love most, gardening, and just being outdoors.  OK, I'm not a master gardener, and quite honestly if you were to walk around my flower garden I couldn't tell you
half of what I have planted, however,  I like  that I can make things grow.  Is that weird?   This is a huge stress reliever for me, and it is incredibly relaxing.  So when I've worked through the winter blahs and I'm tired of being indoors and it's warmed up outside enough for me to
want to spend hours out there, I
head to one of the many garden centers around me and I start buying things to plant.  I love bright colors, so I usually choose any flowers I can find in red, yellow, orange, blue,  with a little white thrown in here and there.  I have no plan when it comes to planting,  I dig a hole and put a
flower in it.  I'm not a designer, I'm not that creative.  Mostly I just like watching things grow.  Proof in me
not be a master gardener would be
the fact that I clearly have done something wrong this year with my vegetable garden and the seeds that I planted about a month ago, well......I'll be starting over again
next week with that project.  I can grow a good tomato, but that doesn't
mean I really know what I'm doing half the time.  I need sunshine and I need to be able to walk around barefoot....  I need to live where it's warm year round.  That will probably never happen, but who
knows, life has thrown me some pretty crazy curve balls, you just never
know.  In the mean time I'm just enjoying the beautiful weather we are having, working in my gardens, spending time down at the pond near our house, watching the ducks and geese and whatever else shows
up.  I've been taking lots of pictures, sunsets have become my favorite.
  Everything is so new again  in Spring and it's hard not to smile seeing everything coming alive all around me. I absolutely love it.   So, if you need me, I'll be in my garden, or down at the pond, or taking a long drive, relieving a little stress,
soaking up some sunshine and enjoying the world around me. 


Monday, April 7, 2014

Tired...

Not gonna lie, I've been in a little bit of a funk.  On the outside I have been acting like I'm fine and life is normal and everything is hunky dory.  On the inside I am.....tired.  I'm going through the motions, I'm trying to do things for myself to help me feel better, I'm....spending money I shouldn't be spending.  Not like I've been on this huge spending spree....I don't really like to shop.  I just don't normally spend money on myself and I hate feeling guilty about it.  It hasn't really helped anyway.  What I need to do is vent a little, because I've been holding it in and I feel like it's been toxic for me... So warning....this isn't the happiest of posts, I just need to complain a little bit...

I'm tired.... Physically, mentally....emotionally. 
I'm tired of being the strong one because I really fake it most of the time I don't feel that strong.
I'm tired of feeling a little bit trapped because of circumstances that are out of my control
I'm tired of having to take care of everything
I'm tired of having my husband be more like one of my children than my husband
I'm tired of feeling like we sleep with a wall between us....Ok we sleep with an actual wall of pillows between us, my side of the bed seems to keep getting smaller. 
I'm tired of my husband thinking I'm not capable of doing things.....some of this is in my head, but I swear if he tells me how to drive one more time I'm going to completely lose it.....that's not true I've already completely lost it with him on more than one occasion. 
I'm tired of being the bad guy and feeling like I have to treat him like a child.  The last time he saw his doctor for his liver, the doctor asked if he (Todd) was still driving.  He then proceeded to give him a lecture without me having to say a word to him about everything Todd and I had been arguing about for months now, when it comes to driving.  He then ended it by saying... "Don't make me take your license away because of medical reasons....you need to listen to your wife."  I sat there....jaw dropped, because it was like he read my mind.  He is still ok to drive once in a while, but he needs to listen when I say No.   Let me tell you what a blessing it is to know the doctor is in my corner.....and how much it sucks all at the same time. 
I'm tired of doctors appointments
I'm tired of medical bills
I'm tired of being at the pharmacy every other week.
I'm tired of his family being a bunch of assholes (sorry trying to stop swearing can't help it when it comes to them). 
I'm tired of having every responsibility in the house thrown on me even though my husband is still here.
I'm tired of working nights....really, really tired of working nights.  And I hate that I have the opportunity to switch to a day shift....and I can't, because although I'm ok leaving Todd home alone some days, I can't do it every day.  No....there is no way around this one. 
I'm tired of the unknown
I'm tired of having an adult son who cares more about himself than his family....I'm tired of blaming myself for this.
I'm tired of this school year and I really can't wait until summer....6 more weeks...I think..
I'm tired of only being able to sleep 4 hours...having to wake up to take kids to school and then hoping I can fall back to sleep for a few more hours. 
I'm tired of my house being a complete disaster and having zero motivation to do anything about it.
I'm tired of putting more responsibility on my kids when I'm at work than they deserve.
I'm tired....really tired of people who think their actions and what they do, don't affect anyone but themselves.  Get over yourselves....what you do affects EVERYONE around you.  My husbands alcoholism wasn't just his problem....it affected all of us...it still does and now I get to take care of everything because of it.  
I'm tired of being a caregiver... I am not good at this....some days I don't want to do this anymore....some days I hate. 
And finally....I'm tired of this stupid disease.....Cirrhosis....and everything that comes with it. 

And now that I've gotten that all out.....I'm tired of feeling sorry for myself, because the reality is, even though this is hard, and I have some tough days, I'm thankful for what I'm learning.  I'm thankful for what I've been able to accomplish.  I'm thankful for strength and growth and learning who I am. And, I'm thankful for knowing that holding things in is toxic and it's ok to vent and get it out once in awhile. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Laughter and Sarcasm

Ahhh....another week....another trip to the ER.  This time with a bonus admit and overnight stay.   So....because the husband has low blood platelets, due to the Cirrhosis.....blah..blah...blah, anytime there is bleeding and it's more than just a little bit, I start questioning what we should do.  Having extremely low blood platelets, means that he could potentially be at risk for bleeding to death.  This time it was too late to call the doctor.  So back and forth in my head it went....Do I take him to the hospital?  Do I wait until tomorrow?  Do I just not worry about it?  We've been through bad bleeding episodes before...I'll spare you the details....you don't want the visual.  This was not on the excessively bad scale, but it was more than a little bit.  I had 30 minutes before I needed to leave for work, so not the greatest timing and I had to make a decision.  Obviously we ended up at the ER....after a rectal exam (sorry, trust me it was worse for him), the ER doctor determined he needed to be admitted, to find the source of the bleeding.  But....there were  no beds left at the hospital....  Have you started to understand yet why I choose to laugh at my life now?  I could easily get pissed off rant and rave, throw a tantrum...this works for no one...get over it.  We've only started the story, hang in there.  Todd was being a little bit ornery....he was in pain,  he wanted something done, he just had a rectal exam, found out that not only were they NOT letting him go home, he was NOT allowed to go out into the parking lot and smoke, and he was getting transported to another hospital.  While he was in the bathroom before being transported, I was talking to the ER Doc,  I didn't have to tell her anything for her to figure out our marriage.  Alcoholic with a history of drug abuse.... She just shook her head and said, "You've seen it all, you've managed to get through it all, you're now having to deal with all this, and you have an unbelievably good attitude, with a smile on your face.  How in the world do you deal with all of this?"  I still don't understand this question from people....I really don't.   Yes my husband was/is an alcoholic...he was never physically abusive, not once has he ever laid a finger on me in anger, not once....maybe that made it easier.  I just looked at her shrugged my shoulders and said, "I just learned how to deal with it, because I had to, it's not really a choice." You either deal or you don't. What good does it do for you or everyone else involved if you don't deal with it?  I could easily curl up in a ball and be pissed off at the world, and be an all around miserable person every day of the week.....disclaimer...trust me I have plenty of days I get angry and pissed off, I don't hold these feelings in. Would you want to be around me if I was like this?  I wouldn't even want to be around myself.   Back to the story...On to hospital #2  which is in Salt Lake City.  It was about a 30 minute drive for me....Todd was in an ambulance....I drove slow and took the long way....Come on, knowing he wasn't in immediate danger....You would too.  I knew it was going to be a long night looking like he was going to have an EGD (a scope down his esophagus) in the morning.  There was no need to rush getting there, and although he never stayed once with me when I was in the hospital having babies, I know how much he hates being there, and how much I needed somebody to stay with me when I was in the hospital all alone.  Yes...I should make him stay there alone....I can't do it, that's not the kind of person I am. By the time I got to the hospital Todd was asleep, thank goodness, I'll be honest he isn't the funnest patient, unless he's cracking jokes.  I settled into the closet sized room that fit his bed and barely fit the chair I was sitting in and spent all night looking at and posting pictures on Instagram.....angelahhamilton if you ever want to follow along....sorry back to the story...again.  About 1 am doctor #1 came in.  He would be  the cute on call doctor that came back to talk to me 3 or 4 different times while Todd was sleeping during the night. No problem, he kept filling me in on what was going on, and then we would just talk for a few minutes.  He was my favorite, he had a great smile and kind eyes.  Further on in the morning came doctor #2 who told me she was waiting on doctor #3 but she felt it wasn't even necessary that I had brought him in and ordered vitamins....yes I said vitamins for him to take.  I can't wait to see the bill and see how much those magic vitamins are going to cost me,  #2 earned her number.  side note...I started numbering the doctors, to 1..keep track...and 2. because I suddenly started feeling like I was in an episode of "House".  One of my favorite shows, however, my husband does not have a mysterious disease that 4 different doctors need to discuss and figure out....Around 1pmish #3 came in and felt an EGD was needed.  2pm #2 came back and had blood drawn to determine what his ammonia levels where....Okay.  By 4:00pm Tuesday afternoon I finally talked to doctor #4 (We'll call him the boss man), who determined, that it was necessary to bring him in and have him admitted, because of his condition and his history....however....he was going to send Todd home with an order to follow up with his doctor to schedule a time for a colonoscopy.  By the time doctor #5 came in to tell us he was being discharged, almost an hour and a half later, and he may need to see a neurologist....I just looked at her and said, "Yea....I'm kind of done with doctors for today...I'll revisit that suggestion in a few weeks." She turned around said...ok...and walked out the door.  I guess she didn't find me very funny...admittedly my patience was pretty much gone by then.  24 hours....2 hospitals...and 6 doctors later, they determined the bleeding was no big deal.  NOW....do you see why I choose to laugh?  I HAVE to.....because this kind of stuff threatens to drive me insane.  Although admittedly I probably passed sane long ago.  Having to be a caregiver to someone who is sick, is not easy, it is not fun, and I have days where walking away from it all seems like a really great choice.   For the person that is sick....well....if it's terminal?  Yea they're dying....you know it sucks for them.   Why do I choose to laugh and be incredibly sarcastic....because if you haven't figured it out yet I totally am?  Not because this stuff is funny, and not because I'm trying to cover up the fact that it is happening.  I bring humor into all of this, because it helps me, it helps my husband and it helps our children to not dwell on what is happening.  Trust me there are enough crappy moments, they don't all need to be crappy.  Finding things to keep us entertained while sitting in a hospital room that looks directly out into a construction area....is a must....I must find things to laugh about.  I tell the nurses thank you and that I appreciate what they are doing every time they walk out of the room with a smile on my face. Believe me when I say I am ok.....I am.  Believe me when I tell you I have days that are definite "Leave me the Hell alone" days.  However, I NEVER want to be that person that everyone feels sorry for.  Do NOT feel sorry for me....don't.  Do NOT feel bad for me....ever.  Ask me how I'm doing every once in a while, but don't make me feel like what I'm doing is all I am.  Yes I carry a lot on my shoulders....yes I need to learn to let some things go, but I don't feel sorry for myself.  I have my coping mechanisms....laughter and sarcasm, and they help me out, just as much as the great friends and family I have that surround me.  It's alright to find something to laugh about today.....really....I promise you will feel so much better. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Finding My Happy Places...

It's been kind of a crazy week.  Sunday night my husband started feeling sick, by Monday morning he was coughing up a little bit of blood.  Now, I know things like this should make me panic, but this is what happens when for 5 1/2 years you've been taking care of somebody and you see the same things over and over.    Although it means there is something wrong, there wasn't a huge amount of blood, so I decided I would just keep an eye on him for the day.  Tuesday....I called his doctor.  They basically said what I was feeling,  It's not a lot, but, because of his history we want him to go get checked out.  So Tuesday we headed to the ER.  After blood was drawn and a chest x-ray done, it was determined that it was probably pneumonia.  He got some antibiotics in an IV and a prescription for me to pick up the next day, and we headed home, fell into bed and got up the next morning to go back to the hospital for his routine ultrasound on his liver....that was already scheduled that I refused to reschedule.  These are results I hate waiting for, so I try not to think about it.  Being high risk for cancer means we just never know.  Today....we were supposed to go back again for his weekly visit to the wound clinic to get bandages changed.....I ended up sleeping in until 10:30....Yep 2 of my kids didn't make it to school today, and we missed his appointment.  Days like this, I say....I obviously needed the sleep.  I know our house at times can get a little stressful.  I know when dad has to go to the hospital, even if I'm not that worried about the reason, our kids still worry.  So if we have a week that may have been a little stressful and a day when the kids sleep in and I sleep in, I take it as a sign that it was a needed mental health day.   When I got out of bed, I walked to my daughters room, told her to get up and get dressed, did the same with my son.....they were both already awake...and we drove down to the park and walked on the path that goes around it a few times.  Not so much for exercise....although it was a good walk....but more because I needed the sunshine.  I needed to soak it all in and recharge my batteries.  Sometimes that's all it takes. 

Life is hard....life is stressful....life is at times overwhelming, not just for me, for everyone.  For a very long time, I allowed myself to be miserable....yes, I allowed myself.  Why?  Well, because for a long time I resigned myself to believing that life sucked....it was never going to get better....I hated everything because it wasn't how I wanted it.  I put on my happy face for the world, never told anyone what I was dealing with, and going through, and pretended that everything was right in my world.  Behind closed doors, I cried a lot and argued with my husband, avoided people as much as possible, and let the stress of life tear me apart....and I. Was. Miserable.  Some may say it was depression....I say no.  For me it was making choices that during that time I regretted and couldn't admit to because I didn't want hear everyone in my life saying, "I told you so."   That was the last thing I wanted or needed to hear. 

One day I woke up and I was sick of listening to myself whine.  I looked at my life and thought it was nothing but drama.....and holy crap there is nothing I hate more than drama.  The last thing I ever want, is for anyone to feel sorry for me.....EVER!  So I started finding my happy places....we all need them.  Even on the days when it feels like nothing is going to make me smile there is always something that makes me smile.   When people see me smiling now, I can tell you it is a genuine smile, because I enjoy making other people smile.  We are going through some crappy, stressful stuff in our family.  Not everyday is a fun day, but it is important for me to stay grounded to find my happy places so I don't lose myself in misery.  Life is going to go on no matter what.  How I choose to live my life, will determine how I get through every day, whether it's a great day.....or a shit day.  I have a lot of happy places....well events or things that can pull me immediately out of a bad place in my head.   Listening to my kids laughing hysterically.  Music....singing, dancing....letting it just take over.   Spring, Sunshine, flowers, working in my garden.   Going for a walk or working out.  Talking to my best friend for hours.  Going to lunch with friends or my mom and sisters and just talking.  Listening to three teenage boys that I pick up from school every afternoon talk about girls and driving and games they play on the computer...and just kind of laughing/ smiling to myself. Going for long drives and just letting my thoughts wander. Having a stranger hold a door open for me, looking at them and smiling and saying thank you, and seeing them smile back.  Really all my happy place is, is finding something everyday that makes me smile or laugh.  That time when I was miserable because I regretted decisions I made, makes me sad to think about.  I missed out on a lot of life.  Now I look back over my life and say... "Wow.....Look at how much I have learned".  Regrets....no....not one.....they are all lessons learned that have made me the person I am today.   With all the bad things that go on in the world, and in our own lives, we still need to remember there are reasons to smile....everyday....and we need to realize that's ok.  Find your happy places....smile more...a very simple thing, that I allowed to be difficult for too many years. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I've Learned to Accept Being Different...

I'm very much an introvert.  I like being at home. As much as the Leo side of me thinks going out somewhere that  I would have to mingle, and get to know people would be fun, the real me....the introvert me hates these things.   I've always had a hard time fitting in.  Growing up a Mormon in New Jersey, and being shy....was really tough sometimes.  I felt like I was the "weird kid".   I never knew what to say, when I was at a friends house for the first time and I was offered iced tea to drink.....because everyone in New Jersey has iced tea in their fridge.  "No thank you, I can't drink that."  "Why?"  "I just can't....it's against my religion.".  "Why?" ......I have no idea, I'm 8 and this is what I've been taught.  Why this particular thing sticks in my head, I have no idea, but it had to have been one that was slightly traumatic for me.  I hated having to say I couldn't have something or do something because my religion didn't allow it.  I wanted to avoid talking about my religion growing up, so I avoided people.  I didn't want anyone asking me about Mormons, I didn't want to be a missionary.  I didn't really understand what was so different about my religion from any other anyway.   So, I always sat on the outside, and I stayed in my comfort zone. I didn't go to parties or hang out with anyone as I got older, after school.  It was so silly, that I let this one thing control my life.  When I moved to Utah, I thought.....well, maybe I will finally feel like I fit in....you know because Utah is full of Mormons and I'm a Mormon....so that's a similarity.  I won't have to answer questions about my religion, because everybody is a Mormon here. (That's totally not true by the way).   I came to Utah to go to college two years before my family decided to move here.  I was surrounded by people who were just like me.....not really.....and I felt completely....out of place.  Moving to Utah, was a shock to my system.  I have to go to church with the people I live next door to, and every person on the same street and in the same area?  I know it's a weird thing for me to have a hard time with....but I had a hard time with that.  After moving here I started going to church only occasionally.  When I was 21, I was sitting in church singing a hymn, and knew I needed to go on a mission.  The feeling was so strong that I had tears running down my cheeks.   I went in to talk to my bishop at the time, who told me I needed to go home and pray a little harder about it.   I walked out of his office so discouraged... Why was he advising me to pray harder, I already had my answer?  I never went back to his office, I retreated back to my comfort zone, only went to church once in awhile.....and a couple of years later I married my husband.



 The one thing I love about Utah, is the mountains.  Nothing for me is more relaxing than driving through them and taking in their beauty.



I've learned over the years, that I don't have to be in a building on a Sunday to know God loves me, and to feel his love for me.  All I need is a sense of peace.  Yes I feel that at church, but I also feel it here, and most times more strongly.  I felt very much alone after moving here.  More alone than I had ever felt in my life.  I was still the "weird kid",  because I was from out of state, except now I was an adult, and......I don't know,  I just felt like I didn't belong.   When I still lived at home, I would sit on the front steps or look out of  the front window, and I could see across the
valley.  I had a perfect view of this mountain.  I loved looking out at it, something about it spoke to me. I guess it was the fact that all around me are mountains, the peaks all rising next to each other.  This mountain has one peak all by itself.  It is my favorite.  That peak, is me.  It has meant different things to me over the years.  At the beginning I identified it as being lonely.  I didn't know where to fit, so I kept to myself.  I was afraid of venturing out of my comfort zone. Now when I drive past it as I'm going to work, I identify it as strength.  I have been on what has felt like a very long journey. Everything I have been through has made me who I am today. The good, the bad, and the ugly.  I am still standing and stronger than I've ever been.  I live in a great neighborhood, that is probably 99% Mormon (Ok I don't know the actual numbers), and I'm married to a man who is an alcoholic, who smokes.  I don't attend church very often, but my kids do.  I don't really want to,  and over the years sometimes that has made things a little challenging.  I've dealt with ignorance and I've felt acceptance.  I don't want to go to church for 3 weeks in a row, and have the Bishop call me into his office and ask me to be a teacher...or cub scout leader...or (heaven forbid) have to be in the nursery.  If I go, I just want to enjoy being there. I'm kind of lazy and selfish like that. I like my religion....I like how simple it is, but I have no desire what so ever to have a calling, and I don't always agree with everything we are taught.  I also get a little irritated when people assume I've forgotten everything I have ever learned....just because I haven't been to church in a few years.  I'm old and my memory is bad....but come on, it's not that bad. Maybe in the future I will change once again.  I still have a hard time discussing religion, I still avoid it.....I still don't want to be a missionary.  However I will talk about spirituality, and feeling a peace in my life, that makes me happy.  Right now I like discovering who I am.  I am different, I can accept that......and I'm not sure I would have it any other way.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sixteen Years of Marriage...

I've been in a really bad mood for a few weeks now.  The kind of mood where I don't really want to talk to anyone so I'm avoiding people.  At the moment my phone is almost dead and I'm seriously debating on whether I want to plug it in to charge it or not.  I've been trying desperately to pull myself out of this mood.  It's mostly due to the fact that I've been eating really crappy, and haven't been exercising consistently, and I'm fairly certain my hormones are out of whack.  I know how to fix it.....I'm just having a hard time getting myself there.  I'll get there.....eventually.  In the mean time, it is our anniversary.  We haven't celebrated this day in years....I'm not actually sure how many, but it's been a really long time.  For a long time I avoided this day, but this year I'm in a different place, so I thought I would go through pictures and see how much we have changed over the years.  I'm not sure that we will do anything, but we will at least acknowledge the existence of it this year. 


It all started with a blind date on February 22, 1997.  Todd had a 2yr old son who I loved from the beginning.



We got married February 21, 1998, and became an instant family with 2 little boys. Life was not perfect, or even close to it, but we started our family, and we did what we could.  Life was pretty crazy with 2 kids under the age of  3, and I thought... What could we do to make it even crazier? After only being married for a year and a half we had 3 kids.  Three of my greatest treasures. 






In April of 2000 we made things official, and I adopted our oldest, I don't regret that decision, even for a second.  It was one of my happiest days.





2004, we added #4 to our family....Another one of my greatest treasures, and our family was complete.  As I was going through 17 years worth of pictures, I realized that we really don't have a lot of pictures together.  That's mostly because I hate getting my picture taken, and partly because I didn't care.  There were a lot of things I didn't want to remember, and as long as we had pictures of the kids, I was fine with that. I've started taking more lately, just because....we need them. 





3 out of  4 of our kids are taller than me now, one has moved out and is on his own.  We hear from him once in a while. The others are growing up fast, and it's hard to believe sometimes, just how fast the time has flown by. 







Seventeen years together.  Sixteen years married, and we have finally gotten to a place, where we are ok with each other.   We have been through Hell and back more than a couple of times, and we have survived.   We are not the same people we were when we met. 

We have loved each other, and hurt each other.  Argued, and argued....and argued.  And we have grown up, and changed sometimes for the worse at first, but in the end for the better. 




We are a little bit older, and a little bit wiser.  I didn't wear my wedding ring for a few years.  I didn't want it there, it didn't feel right.  Forgiveness and letting go of the past, means wearing that ring, feels right again.  We still have some frustrating days, because after all we are not perfect. but we have learned to work together a little bit better.  It is never too late, to try and get it right.  Our love is different now, but there is love there, and I'm glad we have had the chance to forgive and let go of the past, so we can live in the present.