Thursday, September 15, 2016

Still grateful.

This has been a strange, strange year.  It has been hard to catch my balance.  It has been a year of things going right, things going sideways, and things just not going as planned. 

We have travelled that path of a shunt failure again.  The part that makes it so much easier to bear and get through is that it really wasn't as bad as last time. I just read the post I crafted 5 years ago, and so many words are the same. I am grateful I blogged about the experience to fill in the gaps that memory takes away.

This time Brandon's shunt failure wasn't as bad - and we caught it earlier (I think).  A similar pattern of a headache that comes, and then goes.  It started second day of Grade 5, so it looked like a stress headache.  Then it calmed down... then he had a hot bath, got a headache spike, vomited, and got better.  Thursday was okay, again, the neurosurgeon fellow said it could be a shunt related event, or it could be stress, since a bunch of parents of kids with shunts had been calling so far this week (stress of school starting again and all that). Woke up at 12:30 am on Friday morning with intense headache pain, and I knew we were heading in.

If we got to Children's Hospital at 8:45, we were in the ER by 9, a CT scan at 10, then a shunt series of x-rays.  These showed that the tubing his body had broken, so it was obvious what the next steps were.  Although scary as hell, at least this time Brandon was never out of his head in pain.  The advil and tylenol did work.  He was alert until he went under for surgery, and then we were already on the road to recovery. It helps having a day surgery and not a night surgery, and the recovery was better, even if the surgery was a little more complicated because they had to fish out the broken piece of tubing.

It is crazy to be distant from what happened to type it out.  

It is hard being tough on the outside, telling your story, and people telling you that you are "so calm" and "how are you doing it".  You don't have a choice (IMHO) and you do the best you can and put on a false front.  Sometimes other peoples reactions make it harder because they are horrified by what we have gone through - and it sounds hollow when you say this time is and was easier because it wasn't as bad as last time.  This doesn't make it easy, it just means last time was really, really, really bad and this time everything happened quicker in terms of surgery and we got to recovery quicker.

Brandon is humbling.  His recovery has been swift.  He is still himself, still a Bruins fan, still smart and funny and my boy.

Our doctors are amazing. I am grateful we live in this time, we these kinds of resources that can save my son. I think I am starting to almost relax again, because his scars are already healing, and he looks healthy, and he is already frothing at the bit to do his normal stuff again.

How many encores are enough?

I think I am only a month late.. but I finally watched the Tragically Hip's final show that was broadcast on the CBC.

As a busy parent and full time employee, I sometimes forget the music in my life.  Not only has the world lost some amazing musicians this year, but Canadians have seen two beloved bands retire (for lack of a more fitting term).  SOTW will always be first, but The Hip occupy their own, beloved space. Each group reminds me of different times and different people.  Both were such soundtracks to some really key years of my life. It is crazy that Alzheimer's is robbing us of a lyrical poet, slowly and tragically, and brain cancer is threatening the life of another, equally gifted poet.

How do you craft a fitting tribute, but to just feel thanks for all the music.

Thanks for the songs you wrote, performed, loved.

Thanks for the memories, and the melodies that are left behind.

Music moves you in ways other things don't. It gets in places, and makes your eyes sticky sometimes.  It is like a smell, or a breeze, evoking memories, and creating more.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

New toes.

Usually if I am talking about toes, it is about my summer toes and how much I actually enjoy having my toes painted. It is a small thing that makes me happy.

Random thing having a kid with CP that drags his foot and you have made him knitted socks - it he can wear through thick rubber KEENs.. imagine what he can do to a natural fibre like wool and nylon.

Hence, check out his new toes!!! I couldn't find the leftover ball of yarn from when I originally knitted these bad boys up... so I went sideways and used up some other old balls because.. WHY NOT.  Amazing what happens when you let go of a few things, some magic can happen!

I really didn't know what to do for a while when I realized that Brandon had worn holes in the top of his socks. I kind of needed to get over my shock (maybe this wasn't best sock yarn choice for B but we went for colour choice) but I figured out back in the good ole days... you would have darned the holes.  So I went one full step further and just cut the ends of his socks off... found a loop that was untouched, and started again from there. I am sure there is a life lesson buried in here.  After the first sock was fixed.. B walked around with one sock, literally all day. Any doubts I had about fixing them, out the window.  Love comes in many forms.  This is one of them.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Go Big...

 A highly quotable book, this.  If I am on a fantasy kick, I would also have to admit to being on a bit of a YA kick.  There is some kind of magic roaming through different genres far and wide and trying to pluck out some gems.

This human condition thing is an interesting beast.

I really enjoyed this book.  A different kind of heroine - at once, many different things: self aware of her size, confident, insecure, beautiful, funny, nasty, emerging into an older version of her self (AKA growing up).

It is great to see so many different voices, and how important they are to find.  I was going to say as a young person, but hell, I am in my 40s and I enjoyed it and got something out of it... so it really isn't about age.  It helps to hear different voices, different selves growing up, being insecure, making mistakes, being pulled in too many different directions at once.  I didn't always like Willow, but we aren't meant to. She pissed me off sometimes and I wanted to smack her.  I wasn't always comfortable - as a person who has never been small, there are some things written in this book I have definitely thought.  I also love how female friendship is handled in this book, and power struggles, and how important honest communication is.

How hard is to quiet that voice in your hard? We all have that harshest critic that questions whether or not we are good enough.  It is harder when you don't quite fit the normal mode, or the average.  Yes, I can hear that voice saying to me but HEY, what is normal anyways? I would also say normal is whatever your experience is of this thing called life... but there are some experiences that are outside of what is generally experienced.  Like when Willow says she hates going to a mall because 90% of what is inside won't fit her.  There is truth in that statement. I can't say I like going to the mall.  Select stores, maybe.  I hate many things about the mall, feeling inadequate because the clothes in the trendy stores don't normally fit doesn't help.  It is why I will never purchase lululemon clothes.  Their whole thing that they aren't for fat people, and their small sizing and big pricing.  Beauty comes in every size, and even folks who have some extra padding can be active and want some quality yoga pants.  Even if I was a 10 or even a 12... owning a pair of lulus isn't the hill I am going to chase.

This is a quick, fast, enjoying coming of age novel from a larger gal down south in pageant country.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Full on fantasy kick

I don't think I saw this one coming.. but I seem to be reading a lot of YA and fantasy novels this year.  They seem to be filling some kind of need - or perhaps this is an offshoot of the books that I am reading with my kids.

This is a cool idea - what if dragons exist, form deep bonds with humans, and we use them in warfare?  Enter this novel, during naval battles between Brits and the French in the time of Napoleon and Nelson.  A very different take, and quite enjoyable as a summer read.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


There is something wonderful about Gaiman's imagination.

I am sure a conversation with him would go in weird and enlightening directions.

Again, a totally different novel that was at once enchanting, and a little dark. I like the worlds that Gaiman creates, and this is a different take on New York, London, and the places that exist in the cracks of society.

Good read.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Far better than some of those popular thrillers...

VERY interesting book.

This is one I would love to discuss with my bookclub ladies.

Damn, I wish I would have written this after I had finished this book, not attempting to reconstruct my impressions weeks later.  Such is life.

This is about a family cracking around the edges, and something terrible happens in the tradition of old school horror movies meets reality TV.  Well worth a gander.

Friday, July 29, 2016

That wolf in the tower

I love being able to adjust dates. It is like having correct history at work.  I must admit, I am a bit shocked that it has been a while since I updated my blog. I didn't mean for two months to go sliding past, but they did.  I am writing this in August, and dating it for July... purely to almost accurately track what I was reading and when.  For some reason, I like having this record.  The books I read throughout the year are but one of the joyrides I am on.

You could also track my year by kids sports.

How many walks I take at lunch at work.

How many times I check my budget.

I am loving the different fantasy books I have been reading.  This was another one that was a solid entry for me.  Great summer read, I liked that this one wasn't a series, and different enough.