Tuesday, January 31, 2006

just some thoughts...

I keep meaning to write something, well, meaningful. But my brain is just too tired to do that. I missed meeting Dawn, Mimi, and Presv. Elizabeth this past weekend. That's alright. I know that we will meet someday! I wanted to go to church on Sunday but my blood levels aren't rising fast enough so I had to go through another IV immuno globulin treatment Sunday morning. Paul and Pavlos went to church. My mom came to the hospital to sit with me for part of the treatment. My dad and Uncle Pete went to our new church site to help clean up. I was hoping to at least swing by the site because I haven't been there in a while... but they gave me benadryl during my treatment and I was so whoozy! I hate that feeling. I am somewhat of a control freak and I do not like to feel out of control. Never understood why people get into drugs. Anyway, we spent Friday and Saturday nights at our home and then we came back to my parents on Sunday evening. I had labs drawn yesterday (Monday) so I should know those results sometime today. Hopefully my blood counts have risen.

Here are some things I have been thinking about (I have some time on my hands now):
  • My dad made a comment while I was in the hospital. He walked in and I was updating everyone on how the baby was doing. My dad said, I don't care about the baby, how are you? Sounds a bit harsh, right? But I realized that I am somebody's baby...I'm my dad's baby (and my mom's, too, obviously). And how I feel about my babies is the way that my dad feels about me. Age cannot change how or what I would give up for my little ones. And age will not chanage how or what my dad would give up for me and my siblings.
  • I've been told that I can be a bit dramatic and emotional (I know you are laughing, mom) but at one point, while I was in the hospital, I started crying because I was thinking about what if I died... Pavlos probably would not remember me. That crushed me. He would see pictures and hear stories but he is still too young to have clear memories of me.
  • That whole controlling thing for me is difficult to give up. Let others be in charge. Let others take control. I haven't even driven in almost two weeks! I've always been independent and like to do things when I want to do them. So it's been hard to just sit back and let others do for me.
  • I'm so thankful that we have my family in the area. This would be so hard to go through without family.

I think that's all I will write for now. I did get my "mom" haircut. That was fun. It's just very simple. Yesterday, after my doc. appt. mom decided that we should go out to lunch because traffice was terrible (some trees had fallen off of the freeway and so half the freeway was shut down to remove those trees). So we went to The Cheesecake Factory. I had been to the one in San Diego (back when I lived there). It was very good, of course. And we each ate only half our meals so we could split a cheesecake:) I love cheesecake... I think that would be my favorite dessert (I don't really like sweets all that much). Anyway, afterwards I got it in my head that I wanted to check out the Motherhood Maternity store in the mall (if it wasn't too far of a walk... when I walk, my heart rate goes up pretty quickly due to the hemolytic anemia). And it wasn't too far of a walk. So I bought myself a lounging outfit for around the house and a couple of tops. I think, at about this time in pregnancy, all my maternity clothes start to look a little depressing (because of wearing the same things over and over again). And I really wanted something comfortable to wear. That was my big adventure for yesterday. Don't know what today's big adventure will be:)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Home but not home yet...

I'm at my parent's house at least until Friday. I had been in the hospital from last Thursday until this afternoon. We had a little scare, I don't have time to write about it now, the baby is fine (it wasn't the baby, it was me). You can read about it in my mom's blog here. I will try to post more in the next few days. Two observations... Thank God for parents and nurses are the most kind, wonderful people in the world.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I've been tagged...

Four jobs you have had in your life (I’m going to post more than four)
1. push button engineer (aka working for dad in his machine shop)
2. camp counselor
3. resident assistant and assistant hall director in college dorms
4. Project Mexico office manager, etc.
5. currently working with adults with developmental disabilities

4 Movies You Could Watch Over and Over
1. Any of the Lord of the Rings trilogy
2. Sense and Sensibility
3. Shawshank Redemption
4. Pride and Prejudice (if I have the time)

4 Places You Have Lived
1. Portland, OR/ Vancouver WA
2. Walla Walla, WA
3. Athens, Greece
4. San Diego, CA

4 TV Shows You Love To Watch (we hardly ever watch TV but lately…)
1. MASH on DVD (get them from the library, we are on season 2)
2. Lost (uhm, yeah, I’m the one who has slowly become interested in this show)
3. X-Files: dad and I would watch it together, when it used to be on
4. Mom wants us to start watching 24, but we haven’t ever seen an episode. I’m debating about getting it from the library. We’ll see.

4 Places You Have Been On Vacation
1. Greece (multiple times)
2. Green Bay, WI (about once a year)
3. Whistler (for our honeymoon)
4. Disneyland many times when I was growing up

4 Websites You Visit Daily
1. hotmail
2. my personalized google page
3. MSNBC.com
4. washington mutual home page (our accounts)

4 Of Your Favorite Foods (right now)
1. I’m loving fruit… oranges, blueberries, strawberries, bananas
2. cheesecake from Larson’s Bakery (by my parents house)
3. Schwarma from Ya Halla restaurant in Portland (with rice and hummous and maybe a side of good middle eastern yoghurt… mmmmm)
4. gyro from Greece (with tzatziki and french fries, made at a little gyro stand… mmmmmm)

4 Places You Would Rather Be Right Now
1. taking a nap in Greece (gotta love siesta time)
2. taking a nap in Australia (never been, but would love to go)
3. taking a nap in the Holy Land (never been, would love to go, but maybe not right now)
4. taking a nap in my bed

Bloggers You Are Tagging
1. my mom and that’s it (unless anyone else who reads this blog would like to be tagged, just let me know if you do it)

Monday, January 16, 2006

Days I wish I smoked...

My sister started referring to bad days or stressful days as “days she wished she smoked”. And my sister has a very lovely, covered back deck that would be perfect for smoking. I think Katherine using this phrase hearkens back to our grandma. Grandma smoked. Grandma tried to quit on numerous occasions but every time she tried to quit, Grandpa would be there, asking her if she wanted a cigarette. I always felt bad for Grandma when she was trying to quit because Grandpa didn’t help at all.

Grandma was a great seamstress. She made us quilts, dresses, dolls, you name it, she could sew it. I remember her making a dress for me when I was in first grade. She made a matching dress for my favorite doll, baby Ann. I thought that was the coolest thing in the world. Grandma was also a great cook. But, Grandma was a bit high strung (is that the word for it) or maybe it’s better to say that she would get stressed out pretty easily. She was always smoking when she sewed or cooked. And she would mumble things under her breath (usually having to do with my brother… “oh, that Yianni” was a favorite phrase of hers). So somewhere, I think that Katherine and I have thought that smoking is linked to stress relief. (On a side note… I want everyone to know that this is not the only thing that we learned from Grandma… she was one of the greatest and most important people in my life).

Hence… days I wish I smoked. Now I know that my mom has already commented that I only have one child and just wait until I have two. But those days I wish I smoked aren’t always about Pavlos. Usually, it’s a culmination of little things (like snow on a branch that eventually causes the branch to break). Sometimes it’s Pavlos, sometimes it’s Paul, sometimes it’s work, sometimes it’s church responsibilities, sometimes it’s too much traffic on the freeway, sometimes it’s just plain old being tired. All these “sometimes” added together, over enough days, leads to days I wish I smoked. And I don’t think that it is actually smoking… it could be something else… just substitute smoking with any other vice… Days I wish I had a drink… days I wish I drank coffee (with caffeine)… I don’t think I ever have days I wish I did illegal drugs, though:). There’s something that appeals to me about having a cigarette on the back porch to soothe my nerves (and make my clothes, hair, and breath really stinky).

And I have to admit that there was a time in my life when I did smoke. For about three months. We (Katherine and I) were working at summer camp as counselors. And the smoke breaks at the smoking table on the back porch behind the dining hall. Friends gathered there, complaining about which cabin was worse. Maybe that’s where this feeling comes from… smoking cigarettes and complaining, together, a bonding experience. But, after camp we quickly quit our three or four cigarettes a day habit and never went back to it. So maybe this is the definition of addiction: 13 years later, still having a moment where I want that cigarette (it was easy enough to quit) but never giving into it.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Updates (client, myspace, & pregnancy)...

So the bureaucratic powers that be have decided that I will only have to work with "Jane" (go here for more info) until June 30. They are going to re-vamp the program for those who are not at all work ready (as in, there is too much to do with them before actually going out and finding them a job). Technically, we are only supposed to work with those who are ready to find a job... somehow this new program (which will be "newer" come June 30) was just trying to get clients to vendors without assessing their work readiness. Basically, what that means is I have to come up with 6 hours a month to spend with Jane until the end of June (without having to find her a job). And then she will no longer be our client and will go back to the people that do the job readiness stuff. Maybe they will convince her that she should work:) Eventually, she could become our client again, once she is ready to work. In addition to her, I will also be working with one of our other clients who is in the same situation (although I think she actually wants to get a job). We'll see what happens...

I did post a picture on my myspace account. And Katie commented on my account and so now I'm falling deeper and deeper into it.

And my pregnancy is going well, thank God! I am now 28 weeks and will start seeing my doctor once a week, at least, until the baby comes. When I was pregnant with Pavlos I had to increase all of my meds and, so far, I have not had to do this. With Pavlos I was spilling protein in my urine and, so far, all my labs are negative. This is a huge deal because of all the things that can go wrong with my different health problems. So let's see how this last trimester goes:)

I guess that's enough for now... I am working on a short blog titled "Days I wish that I Smoked". I have to think my lovely sister, Katherine, for that line and the idea:)

Monday, January 09, 2006

Prayer Request

Please pray for my mom's first cousin, Mariana. I think she is my second cousin (although I have never been good at figuring out that stuff). My mom writes about her here. Thank you!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Reflections on Jane Austen (Books and Movies)

Sometime in November I decided to read the Jane Austen books that I have not yet read and to watch the corresponding movies (I think that I decided to do this with the release of the newest Pride and Prejudice movie… I do not really remember my initial motivation for pursuing this task). Needless to say, last week I finally finished watching the last of the Jane Austen movies (I promise, the books were all read prior to viewing the movies). So here are some thoughts on the books and the movies. By the way, I did not read or see Pride and Prejudice, Emma, or Sense and Sensibility because these are the books and movies that I had already seen/read, ok?

  1. The Northanger Abbey movie has a very interesting score to it… involving heavy use of a synthesizer. You may have been wondering how a Jane Austen novel-turned-into-a-movie would look/sound like with a synthesizer as part of the soundtrack. Well, wonder no more… because here you have it. Personally, this was, by far, the CHEESIEST of the Jane Austen movies that I have ever seen. Watch it for a good laugh. The book was very good.
  2. Someone help me out here. I have always wondered how these people stay warm (or at least appear to be warm). The men all look as if they are wearing a number of layers of clothing (probably some form of an undershirt, a regular shirt, a vest, a coat, and the funny thing around their neck). But the women… the poor women should be freezing to death in the dresses that they are wearing. Most are short sleeved, somewhat lower cut. Even reading the books, I feel cold for them. Maybe that’s why they are always dancing?!?!
  3. Persuasion, book and movie, were well done (no cheesy music).
  4. By far, I enjoyed Mansfield Park (book and movie) the best (and this was Miss Austen’s favorite work, if I recall). There are a few thinks that I would like to reflect on involving just this book…
  5. We’ve come along way since 1806 (the setting of the book). In one way, that’s a good thing. In another way, it’s a bad thing. BEWARE, SPOILER AHEAD (just in case you want to read the book or see the movie). So, I’m supposed to be happy in the end because Fanny (the main character) marries her first cousin, Edmund? Huh? Eeewww. He’s a great guy, ends up a clergyman, and they are very suited for each other but again, I ask, I’m supposed to be happy she’s married to her first cousin? In case you hadn’t figured it out, that’s the good thing we’ve accomplished since 1806… marrying your first cousin is, in my humble opinion, not a good thing.
  6. How we have obviously changed is in the reaction of everyone to Maria and Henry's adulterous affair. Maria, at the end of the book (and at the end of the movie) spends the rest of her days living in the country with Aunt Norris (that would be hell in and of itself). Her husband divorces her and she is never heard from again. And Henry, although he fairs better, lives with the knowledge that he has completely lost the only woman that he "supposedly" truly loved (not Maria, by the way). I am wondering if since he was not married, his sin is less than Maria's or if it is just one of those cases where because he is a man it is more readily forgiven. I am not certain of the answer to that question. But I am sure that there were probably people who would never associate with him again. Now, adultery and promiscuity are rampant and I don't know of many who are sent off to live the rest of their days in the country because of adultery. Things certainly have changed. There was (and this is in all of her books) so much importance placed on family name and not soiling that name. And, like in Pride and Prejudice, when the younger sister runs off with a man, all the other sisters' reputations are put at stake. No one would want to marry into a family like that! So, in Mansfield Park, the entire family separates itself from Maria in order to preserve their reputation, honor, and morals.

So, these are my thoughts on the last two months of reading and movie watching. I have to say that I have enjoyed this little "adventure". Now I'm off to put more books and movies on hold through the library:)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

U2 and myspace: totally unrelated topics

UPDATE: Here is a link to the Time article.
My husband says that Bono and Bill and Melinda Gates are doing what they are supposed to do. But we definitely should give them credit because they are going against what normal rock stars and corporate billionaire types do (which usually is not much).

U2: as many of you may know (because I wrote about it here), I was not able to go to see U2 in concert when they were here in December (small problem… I lacked a ticket). So, my dear god-daughter who went to the concert gave me a very nice Christmas present. The U2 concert live in Chicago DVD. Now I can watch U2 whenever I want without having to buy a ticket. Other U2 news… my DH bought me the latest issue of Time magazine as a New Year’s gift. Bill and Melinda Gates and Bono (lead singer of U2) are Time’s Persons of the Year. Maybe I will frame the cover….

Maybe you have (or haven’t heard) of myspace.com. I started a myspace account just so I could leave comments on people’s blogs. I told myself I wouldn’t get too involved with myspace (hey, I can barely keep up with this blog). And a sure sign of falling into the myspace trap is posting a picture on your account. Over the weekend, I was looking through pictures from Christmas and New Year’s and saw a nice one of Pavlos and me. So I decided to post it onto my myspace account. Needless to say, the picture file was too large and, thus, I was “saved” from falling deeper into the myspace world. I do find, though, that I am able to keep tabs on my brother in a unique and interesting way via having a myspace account. That makes it all worth it…

Client/consumer/individual going through hard times

One of my favorite clients (I’ll call her Joan… not to be mistaken with the client I wrote about last week) has had her meds switched. It is so sad to see the change in her. It will take her a couple of weeks to re-adjust to her new meds and then be able to function at the same level that she was just two weeks ago. I was shadowing her at her job site today because I wanted to work on some of her techniques (she works in an office, cleaning the kitchen, shredding paper, cleaning the bathrooms, dusting, etc.). And the usual bubbly Joan is now a glassy eyed shadow of her former self. I’ve been through this with her before. And it is so hard to watch. It is as if all the steps forward we have taken have disappeared and we are now back to the beginning. I know that as soon as she gets leveled out on her new meds she will greatly improve. But it’s difficult to see her not as she normally is (I hope that makes sense). Her employer ROCKS! I told her employer that I felt Joan needed to go home and get some rest and her employer gave her the rest of the week off WITH PAY! She just wants Joan to get better and then be able to come back to work. The employer, in my line of work, can make all the difference in whether a client is successful or fails. I had another client who worked for one of those major chain stores (which will remain nameless). But he had two wonderful managers who really wanted his work to be a positive experience and they really valued what he did. He worked for three years with hardly any problems. Then both managers left… one moved and one opened her own business. And “John” had a new manager who just didn’t want to (or wasn’t able to) take the extra time to work with him. He lost his job within six months of that change (John himself started going downhill, too. Change can be tough on some of my clients). Whelp, that’s enough reflecting on my job for today… I just hope Joan gets through her “funk” quickly!