Wednesday, November 30, 2016

a little help

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Leaving for the hospital in the middle of the night is never fun.

It's even worse when you come home alone. There are the constant reminders that he is supposed to be here.

But he isn't.

The undrunk tea I made for him, that was still just too hot to sip.

The pot roast mix he left out to use tonight because Wednesdays are the only day we can sneak in family dinners these days - and family dinners are his favorite.

The stack of Christmas books we always wrap together on the 30th to use as an advent calendar for the kids.

All of it still here with me.
But not him.

So I roll the garbage to the curb, unload the dishwasher, doll out the Zithromax - all the while talking to myself - telling myself it's just a little pneumonia, that the fever is down.
And then a little voice tells me:
"But it's not gone"

The antibiotics seem to be working:
"But they said it could be sepsis."

We all have the same illness:
"But we don't all have the same immune systems."

He's only two minutes away:
"How'd that work for you last time?"

Which always brings me to the flashback.

I don't know what it's like to have PTSD. I won't claim that I do. I only know how it feels to walk into the same hospital space, with the same holiday decorations, the same weather outside, the same path to his room, the same carols playing in the background.

It feels the F#¢?!NG SAME!

It feels like last year when nobody would look at me and seven people were poking and prodding and talking too loud at him.
It feels like being in that lobby pacing on my cell phone, tears streaming down my face trying to defend my decision to bring him to this particular place because quite frankly he wouldn't have survived the journey to Mayo.
It feels like nurses saying, "No honey, I wouldn't leave. I know you have three kids at home alone. I know you live three minutes from here, but in his condition three minutes is more than we may have."
It feels like walking into Tiny's kindergarten classroom to finding her drawing a picture of the two of them with aqua blue tears running down her face, and the words "Get well daddy" running across the top.
It feels like waking up Punk in the middle of the night to say, "You're in charge."
It feels like knowing there is nothing I'll ever love the way I love him, and knowing that my love is not enough.

It feels like that.
But I suppose that is not reality.
What is reality is that he never goes anywhere without his Sara blanket.

And that no matter what bed he's in, he will always spill Apple Cinnamon Cheerios onto it.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

more hospital

It's almost 2 am and the whole world feels like "dejavu all over again."

Sunday, November 27, 2016

giving cards

The day after Thanksgiving means our giving cards are up.

I'm still not sure if they work.

But we keep trying.

The idea is that throughout the season you find one or two things a week that you can do to be a gift to others.  When you've done one, you drop the card into the box, and on Christmas Eve we open the box and remember those moments.

We've been doing this for four years - we've never completed them all, but we keep at it. Right now there is one in the box - it's Tiny's - she's good at kicking this off.

I also do some work for the Spread Sunshine Gang, and while doing so, found this list from Tiny Buddha.  I love this list too, and some of the things on it are already on our giving cards because they're everything everybody ever wishes for.

1. Try to accept people with an open mind and refrain from making judgments, which are often wrong anyway. 
2. Let them know how much you appreciate them. 
3. Any deed done for someone else is a kind one when you don’t expect something in return.
4. Do little things like hold doors open or let folk go in or out first. Little things can make a big difference for someone who’s not having a great day. 
5. Accept them for who they are and who they strive to be. 
6. Let them know they’ve made you smile. 
7. Be with them when they need you. For the rest of the time, let them be free. 
8. Tell them the truth. 
9. Tell them why they make a difference in your life that no one else could possibly make—why their particular brand of “special” makes the world a better place for everyone they meet in it. 
10. Help them help themselves and be independent. 
11. Believe in them and give them hope. 
12. Give a simple well meaning smile. 
13. The kindest thing you can do for someone else is to take good care of your own mind, body and soul. This enables kindness in all things. 
14. Spend time listening with the intent of learning. I joined an art guild that is mostly made up of elderly artists who have the most amazing life stories and the best tips and trick for creating artwork. I feel like I get so much more in return for doing nothing more than enjoying their company! (Suzi Ra)
15. The best thing my parents ever taught me—the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you! 
16. Be there for them when they fall and not say I told you so.
17. Give them the space to be. 
18. Lend your shoulder to cry on. 
19. Thank them for being themselves. 
20. Take a moment to send someone a note thanking them for something they have done for you in the past. For example, a good teacher or a good manager, or someone who was a mentor or role model. 
21. Treat each person with respect for his or her individuality. 
22. Offer encouragement after a failure. Acceptance of even the weirdest things they possess. A tap for a job well done. A “thank you” to every simple yet life-changing encounter. 
23. Forgive. 
24. Pay attention to them. From the clerk at the store to your kids at home, most people just want to be heard and acknowledged. Understanding comes later, but everyone can pay attention now. 
25. Listen to someone without trying to fix their problem. 

If any of you guys have ideas about how to make the season more merry, less lonely, more happy, more beautiful, I'd love to hear them.

Monday, November 21, 2016

how to help

Here are links for friends and family who are looking for ways to help Breanna and her family:



The world is a good place. Let's show her how good.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

not fair

I will not go into too many details, because it is not my story to tell, but I can tell you this much:

Life is not fair.

And no matter the hand you've been dealt - there will always be someone who is struggling more, someone who is hurting, someone . . . somewhere.

So what I ask today, is that if YOU (yes YOU reading this), have enough to give  - get to it.  Don't complain, just do. Just give. Just know that the world needs you - whatever you've got. Stop complaining - start doing.

Be grateful  - for every moment - every hug, every step, every breath.  Be grateful.

And say a prayer for Bre.


Even if you've never met, just pray, just be kind, just do some good. All the love we put out has to land somewhere.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

punk's show

If you scroll down you'll see that Punk's spent the entire school year thus far preparing for this role. 

We're sad to see it go. 

Punk says he's basically playing his grandpa Gary. Everyone else says it's just Punk fast-forwarding 60 years. Either way- it is my favorite thing he has done so far.

Rock on Grandpa Vanderhoff, rock on.


You Can't Take It a With You Grandpa's Prayer

Punk's final prayer as Grandpa Vanderhoff.

we don't have too much time you know - any of us

Punk has been acting since before he could speak - making goofy faces, silly noises, just to see what the rest of us would do.

He's always been good at making us laugh. He's good at making most people laugh. It's why he usually plays the crazy sidekick, the wise-@$$ best friend. He knows himself - he plays to his strengths. But this year - senior year, he was asked to stepit up a notch and take on the lead role as Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff in You Can't Take It With You.

He wasn't a Disney Character. He wasn't a snarky teenager, or even a super villian. He was sweet, he was funny, and he was exactly the way I imagine Punk will grow up to be.

Of course there are hundreds of pictures, and yes, video I am not supposed to shoot, but did.

The crowd was quiet today, but here's a glimpse of Punk at 78 (and yes - there will be more)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


The election.

Just UG.

Doesn't matter who I voted for (trust me, it truly doesn't).

What matters most to me is that we could have elected Batman riding a damn rainbow unicorn and people would still be treating each other like total crap.

And ain't NOBODY in any office gonna fix that.

That's on us - all of us.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Rico update

Back to Mayo tomorrow.

For the most part, it is routine - he wants to get off of his pulmonary hypertention medication - which requires a lengthy sabbatical from the drug as well as an hour long test, and follow-up meetings.

His next scan is in early December.

It was about a year ago that we knew something was terribly wrong - something that couldn't be solved with an antibiotic, or a hospital dose of ibuprofen. Last year everything was scary, and unknown, and tiptoes and eggshells - so for now, a trip to Mayo seems pretty OK.