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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

First Day Back

I shared last week that I had a relatively simple outpatient hernia repair procedure. It's been a longer healing process than I had anticipated, but slowly I'm coming around. I decided to go back to school today and see how well it could go. I considered doing a half-day and then thought, I might as well try the whole thing. Well...a half day would have been wiser. I didn't over-do it necessarily, but OH MY GOODNESS I was not ready. I was in tears by the end of the day from fatigue and soreness. I'm REALLY glad I tried, but it was not worth it, and now I know. I've already put in for my sub for tomorrow. I haven't done my plans yet. I'm super bummed I can't go back tomorrow, but I know I have to give myself a day to rest. I'll try again Thursday. In the meantime, tomorrow, I'm hoping to teach myself how to knit a hat. I even have the stuff!
Wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Full Circle Hippo

When I was six years old, it was discovered that I had a type of inguinal hernia that had likely been present since birth. I don't recall any of the doctor appointments that ultimately led to surgery, but I do remember the day of surgery in some pieced out details.

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When we arrived at the hospital, we were directed to follow the yellow line to the waiting area. I recall thinking it was amazing there was a line on the floor, and was it put there just for me? Did they know I didn't know where to go?

My parents and I sat in the waiting room for a few minutes when someone came and asked me if I would like to go to the playroom. I was eager to see it. I had my own teddy bear, Cindy, with me, and I was excited to show her the playroom. After I was there for a few minutes, a nice lady came into the room and asked me to drink a small cup of clear fluid. She said it tasted like a candy cane. I wasn't necessarily a huge fan of strong peppermint flavor, but this was not the taste of a candy cane. It was something horrible masked with a burning mint aftertaste that barely resembled anything with "candy" in the name. I remember feeling duped, suddenly wondering what else would be experienced differently than communicated.

My next memory is being in a hospital gown and thinking it was a bit scratchy but different from anything I had, so, therefore, it was cool. I also got a really cool hat just like the nurses, AND they let Cindy come into the operating room right on the gurney. I held my mom's hand until I didn't, and then she got further and further away.

When they moved me from the gurney to the bed where my surgery would take place, I remember being much more scared than I had been prior. There were a lot of people around me, and the man standing over my head told me to start counting as he placed a mask over my face. I remember him getting to three.

When I woke up in the recovery room, I was confused. The room felt blurry, and I couldn't move. I looked to my right and saw a man lying there, sleeping on the bed next to me, and I also started to wonder where Cindy had gone. Moments later, I began hearing loud noises and people running around the room. I looked to my right again and no longer could see the man but instead several people around him doing something. I don't know if I made a noise or someone just noticed me, but almost immediately, a woman was standing right in my gaze with a beautiful smile on her face welcoming me awake. She also had Cindy in her hand. I was so comforted in that moment of confusion and concern.

When I was able to be reunited with my parents, they had a little something to give me for being so brave. It was a small grey stuffed hippo. It was the cutest little hippo I'd ever seen, and I name him Hernie. He sat on a ledge in my bedroom for the remaining years of my childhood. Then he lived in a trunk of mementos. Not too long ago, I gave him to my daughter, and two days ago, I found him in the back of her closet. Just two days before what would be my second hernia operation.

So, today I was able to take Hernie to my operation, he stayed in my purse, but he was there, and he was a comfort while we drove the 40 minutes to the hospital early this morning and I held him in my hands. Now he's sitting next to me while I recover at home.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

I've Always Loved Plants

I was always a veggie eater as a kid. Even as I became a grown-up I have eaten my vegetables before anything else. Garden salad? First. Steamed broccoli? Devoured. Sliced cukes and cold veggies? Yes, please. I don't think it was because anyone forced me to eat them but I did always have access to fruits and vegetables which I'm sure helped.

I'll never forget when I was in kindergarten, on my sixth birthday, my mom visited my classroom (as she often did) and brought in a special treat for my class on my birthday. There was a cake with ice cream for my classmates, and a platter with spinach dip, crackers, and veggies--for me as requested. I don't think I realized until that moment, that not everyone's favorite snack was spinach dip with crackers and veggies.

As an adult, I have floundered back and forth between being a vegetarian, vegan, and eater of all things. More than a few years ago my whole family went vegan for over a year. Then slowly the kids and my husband wandered back to being eaters of all things and I felt like a short-order cook making food for myself and them as well. I caved.

However, in January of 2019, I decided to try going vegan again, just me. My family could join me if they wanted but I was going to figure out a way to balance being a vegan while feeding my family meals they could get behind. It's been a year now. I can't call my self a true vegan as I do have eggs occasionally and once in a great while seafood, but otherwise 98% of my meals are fully vegan. I feel like I've conquered the balance too! Not to mention, my family likes some of my vegan meals and many of them can easily be served up with a side of baked chicken or protein of their liking.

Tonight I've got quinoa and rice in the rice maker. Asparagus, mushroom, and cauliflower are roasting in the oven with a little olive oil and garlic salt. I made some chicken over the weekend to slice up for the meat-eaters and we will have some rice bowls topped with chia seeds, a drizzle of olive oil, and sliced avocado. It is one of my favorite weeknight meals.

*Two of my favorite websites for recipes are This Savory Vegan and Pinch of Yum (not all vegan).

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Just What I Needed

Today I got home from school, walked downstairs to recline, and drank a cup of hot dandelion chai tea. It was a much-needed break from the day. The dark, the quiet, my warm blanket all comforted me as I sipped. After my tea was gone I gave my mom a call. She was a second-grade teacher for many years and is also a compassionate ear when I've had a particularly tough day. I try not to go on about school too much when I talk to her but today I went ahead and told her all about my frustrations. She listened sympathetically and it was nice to just get it all out of my system. 
Now I'm sitting here with my son, daughter, and husband watching The Greatest of All Time Jeopardy winners challenge each other. It's a nice way to end a busy stressful day. I'm so thankful I didn't have any responsibilities late into the night. No games, concerts, practices, or sibling drama to tackle tonight. Just a quiet relaxing night at home. It was exactly what I needed. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

My OLW of 2020

All of us at Two Writing Teachers and many others will share their word to live by for the new year. To learn more about where One Little Word projects first began, read up on Ali Edwards blog here.

My past words are always a great way for me to begin the process of choosing a new word.


Once again, I revisited these words and thought about the times in my life, each of them helped guide me throughout the year. Each word has held meaning in some way and some, more than others. This past year, though, I didn't thoughtfully revisit my word as much as I usually do. However, as I reread my post from last January, I realized I had worked diligently to be better. I have been more mindful of setting goals with intention and purpose. I have been more conscientious of setbacks and the opportunities they provide me when I desire to be better.

A word can offer inspiration, direction, or it can just be a label we connect with when the time is right. This year I hope to embody all of my former words as I dream big and live with ambition. I continue to have a lot of goals, and I am of the mindset that goals are worthy of my time. I need to take notice of what I'm working toward, how I'm getting there, and what success looks like to me. Nothing is impossible if I'm open to being quiet enough to listen in on each moment, giving it the pace it deserves.

This is why my word of 2020 will be DREAM! I hope to never lose sight of the fact that being flexible as I set goals is how dreams come true. Looking for opportunities sometimes means others are going by, and I might need to stop to see what's right here. I'm planning on dreaming, lifting, and caring for the moments I get to live, lead, and linger on. It's a good time for a good year. I hope you find dreams crossing your path as well.