It's been a while since I last posted. Lots going on, of course. Bonnie and I just went public a few weeks ago with the fact that we're having twins imminently and that, of course, will be the biggest and best Christmas present anyone could ever have.
It's somewhat appropriate that all of this is happeneing around the end of a year. So much retrospective reflection and so much eager anticipation for what's next. For us this is amplified a million times right now.
Not only do we have two tiny new lives entering our world, we'll have an au pair joining the family and that will be another interesting aspect to add to our lives.
Around June we are also expecting a foal, which will be yet another amazing event to witness. It's fun enough seeing the new foals at the other barns, so I can hardly wait - well, if that's all that was happening maybe. I'm sure it will be here before we know it.
So in just over two years I've got married, bought a mini farm and am about to have two new babies and a foal. (Oh, and in case you didn't know, the twins are fraternal - one of each.)
I may keep blogging here on and off, but I've decided next year I'm going to add a new blog, themed more about life with twins and horses and farms. There may be tractor and chainsaw videos for the guys, cute animal photos for the ladies, and baby pictures for everyone. Oh, what the heck, the women can look at the tractor videos too. Why not?
In my spare time preparing for the twins I'll see what I can whip up in the way of a blog design for this TBD named blog.
Meanwhile, here's a video of one of my all time favorite Christmas songs:
The song is beautiful, but the edginess gives away the fact that Greg Lake wrote it as a protest against the commercialization of Christmas. Even so, the ending lyrics simply point out that we make Christmas what it is - I hope you choose to make it everything you could possibly want by choosing to cherish those around you.
I know this year I will.
I wish you a hopeful christmas
I wish you a brave new year All anguish pain and sadness
Leave your heart and let your road be clear
They said there'll be snow at christmas
They said there'll be peace on earth
Hallelujah noel be it heaven or hell
The christmas you get you deserve
A picture mosaic of my fiancee and I, made up of 360 separate photos used many times over. The primary picture itself dates back to May. I took it myself with camera held at arms length after we'd spent an afternoon planting shrubs in the back yard.
It took the last two days of hard work (well, with wine and music and snacks to sustain us it wasn't that hard) to finish the puzzle (768 pieces). The puzzle itself is beautifully made by picturemosaics.com It's an amazingly beautiful piece of work.
I just called my dad to get an update on how my mother is doing, and got her instead. She had been home just about an hour at that point - late Friday afternoon. She sounded great and will be doing rehab on her left shoulder to get it back up to strength. It was lovely to talk to her. All in all, she was in hospital three weeks almost to the hour.
She was very impressed at the state of the house when she got back, so I know my dad was doing a fabulous job of keeping on top of everything. I'm so glad I could be there for the traumatic part. Hopefully, I will get to see her on a fleeting visit back home in the next few weeks.
Latest from my dad this morning is that my mother hs just about shaken the gastroenteritis bug and can move on to physiotherapy. It appears the medical staff are optimistic about her being home next weekend. Great news. My dad says you can tell she's feeling better because she's starting to criticize stuff.
In other news, I'm off to Heathrow in an hour or so to fly back to the US.
My dad and I have spent four hours with my mother in the hospital between Monday and Tuesday. The infection is getting better, but the gastroenteritis lingers - it's going around the hospital in fact.
In the wee hours of last night my dad and I simultaneously came down with the same symptoms of vicious gastroenteritis. Through to about 4 pm we were both incredibly ill with not much to do about it. I've had bugs before but nothing like this. Thinking back, spending that much time in a hospital ward with that bug circulating was a bit crazy, but that's much easier to say with hindsight. As we come up on 14 hours since the first symptoms we are actually doing much better. Still weak, unable to face solid food yet, but definitely better than we were. It has also given us a glimpse into just how awful this must be for my mother, who is trying to cope with this on top of everything else. I think she should have been mentioned in the Queen's New Year's Honours List...
The bug has put the kibosh on visiting for at least today and tomorrow, so I may get to just pop my head in to say goodbye on Friday before I head back to Cambridge to pack for home. We also missed the opportunity to meet a cousin from Australia who we haven't seen since 1962.
Oh well, it certainly makes you feel grateful for good health when you have it...
As I've noted before, this isn't exactly the kind of Christmas I was visualizing. My mother in hospital is a bit scary, especially when i think back to Friday when i arrived with everyone just waiting for an ambulance. Fortunately she's doing better and in very good hands We had a mild setback yesterday when they thought they might have to take her back in for surgery to clean out the shoulder again, but the infection seems to be abating, so the doctors think they can avoid more surgery.
So, in some ways, this has been quite a downer. In other ways, though, the adversity has forced more family interaction than normal. As long as my mother is doing well it's a bit like an adventure. Instead of sitting around the telly eating too much, we have projects now, and hospital visits to plan. Our "normal" Christmas has been thrown out of the window and replaced by this somewhat surreal but much more interesting experience.
My mom and dad live in a tiny two bedroom bungalow that's too small to swing a cat in (not that we've actually tried - no cats were actually harmed in the writing of this post.) When Sue and I would visit we would take over the second bedroom on a sofa bed and try to sleep without much success. It's a small, flimsy affair and barely adequate for one. So with just me, it works out OK. With the bed out, though, there is no actual floor visible at all, the room is that small. So it's a challenge.
In normal circumstances, my mom and dad have the daily routine down pat - dad prepares meals, mom does the washing. Dad writes his diary (every day since 1963 - it will make a great 72 hour epic movie someday...) and mom vacuums. This has been totally disrupted, of course. I can't imagine my dad coping that well with the sudden shift, so it was an absolute god-send that I am able to be here and ease into the changes. My two brothers who live locally would have been able to help, of course, but they both have busy schedules and could only fit an odd visit in a couple of times a day. There's something infinitely more comforting having somebody living in the house (and the same goes for me - it's nice to spend time with my dad.)
They just got a new washing machine - a new fangled electronic one, and my mom hadn't figured it out fully. It does have a memory function, though, so it should be easy to set up the most common program. To those of us with computer skills - no problem. To a couple of eighty year-olds who can barely manage the TV remote that was a bit intimidating. Technophobia hardly starts to cover it. Tech??? No!!! Phobia!
Anyway, after three times through the routine (the last two with the memory set and used) my dad is happy and amazed at how easy it is.
So life will adjust. It seems that mom will be in hospital through the New Year, but we'll just have to see how it foes.
(note, this post was truncated on original posting for some reason - now restored.)
Saw her twice today, and she is continuing to look more like her old self. Her left shoulder hurts, naturally, given what it's been through, but she is enjoying life as the centre of attention in Critical Care. That's been due mostly to her abnormally low blood pressure, but I think 90/60 is about her normal anyway, something the staff are getting used to. She should be off to a normal ward tomorrow, but will be in until at least the end of the week, possibly into the end of next week. Overall, though, I'm quite happy that she is receiving the best of care, and that in the long run this will be good for her.
As I was leaving, I said hello to a fellow visitor, and he was obviously lonely and desperate for someone to talk to, so I did so for ten minutes. The poor guy's wife has been seriously ill for the last nine weeks, the first two in severe danger of dying. This was her third hospital, having been moved for space reasons twice. At Queen Anne, she's a good thirty miles from home, and he has been through a lot, but as she is now in Critical Care level 2, down from 3 and from imminent death before, I'm sure life is looking up at Christmas rather than down. It is amazing, though, how such a small amount of human contact can make a difference.
Here's to a weird, but somehow human and comforting and grateful Christmas,