Gory Details

#1 question asked by people who read my blog but have resorted to email because I don’t post enough: My surgery is now scheduled for 2/11, I’ll be off of work 4-6 weeks. Putting off the surgery has had some drawbacks in the form of fatigue and pain, and the endometriosis perhaps has spread to other organs, but that wasn’t the fault of the few extra months. The Dr. possibly will have me not take any hormones after surgery for a while, so I’ll go into instant full-blown menopause (for the third time) to kill off all the rogue endometrial cells in random places in my body. I’m scared about that because it made me (more of a) screaming, crying, hot-flashing psychopath.

I watched the inauguration at work on some TVs they hooked up for the employees in the warehouse. I was happy and do hope as a nation we do begin to take more responsibility for the wide-ranging impact of our actions, but try to I’ll spare you my thoughts beyond that. Shauna sent me Dr. Laura’s comments, I can’t say I’ve heard her (ever), but I saw some things I agreed with. I tried really hard today to avoid the sour grapes of people and bloggers and journalists who didn’t vote for him. I know if today was McCain’s day, I would have watched and been proud of our country and can’t understand why that’s so hard for some. But, I’ve really tried to let go of such thinking.

Anyway, I’m very tired, but we are very blessed. Strangely, I’m looking forward to surgery because it means I can lie down.

(PS, sorry if my image grosses you out, I offer it only in the spirit of amusement)

One New Year’s Resolution Down, 9 to go

I finally finished the arrangement of “In Humility Our Savior” for my cousin. She wanted to overcome her fear of singing in public and asked if we could do a duet together in Church. I asked her what songs she liked and she named two, of which this was one. I couldn’t find good arrangements for either, so I told her (last September) that I’d arrange In Humility for us. I used to do some slapped-together arranging back when I was the UCLA Ward choir director and was particularly fond of what today would be called “mashups” meaning I’d shove two hymns together musically and lyrically (Lead Kindly Light and I Need Thee work really well, for instance). The choir had fun with it and was patient, even when we’d discover one measure was missing a beat entirely.

So this was an exciting thing for me to do my first full arrangement and put it in composing software (rather than just use copies of the hymnbook, scissors, paste and white-out, as with the UCLA days 😉 ). I don’t know how to put it in a PDF format, and I haven’t heard real people sing it (just the “choir” bots in the software), but I’m happy with it nonetheless.

Work is fine, I’m in one of my “missing my kids” phases right now and hoping for a deus de machina to make that possible, although the reduced schedule helps. I do have trouble doing much work from home, though, because the kids demand attention sometimes until almost 9 and then I often crash. But I honestly feel my productivity is higher than it was before I changed my schedule. Something about working in 4-hour blocks makes me rush to get things accomplished, rather than the “hare” mentality I often have at the beginning of an 8-hour work day.

Ben is doing well in school and seems pretty happy overall. Sophie is having some struggles feeling left out at Church and school, but I’m arranging for her to go play with her cousins more often. Noah is happy at Lucy’s daycare, but he still seems sad about my absence and really acts out a lot. Lucy is cute, talking more and more, opinionated, and possibly gaining weight. I’m doing some things with diet and herbs and gradually weaning them off the sugar binge they’ve been on since Halloween, motivated by a book I’ve owned but avoided reading for some time, “Little Sugar Addicts.” Since I was praying about these issues the day before my eye fell on that book, buried in the shelf, I felt it must be a prompting.

I am not exactly sure where David is, although on his occasional calls he tells me he is “in the East” or “in the West” (because he is crossing the Mississippi in his travels). I know he’ll be back in a few days, though.

My January probably looks like many people’s January–dieting, going to the gym, writing that book, organizing that room, completing this and that project. Hopefully I’ll get over all this ambition soon and get some real sleep.

My stock guy says “cataclysmic collapse” is coming after inauguration, and some people seem to think that the Gaza/Israel thing is going to develop into Armageddon, but I’m holding out that 2009 will turn out to be a good year anyway.

Love to all–(by which I mean YOU those sweet friends and family who read my blog, not a love for all man–baby steps, you know)

Valerie

Blessings

Today I was sitting at the piano in primary and looking at Noah. He isn’t on the front row anymore, my little Sunbeam is now in the CTR 5 class. How did that happen? I think about what a sweet, sweet blessing he is in my life, so free with his hugs and kisses and “I love yous.”

I look for Sophie–where is she? She’s not there. This is Jr. Primary, and she is now a Valiant 8, will be baptized this year. Where is time going? She sat on my lap during Sacrament Meeting–way too big for that now, but it makes her happy–and I petted her long hair. It’s getting darker–all my kids’ hair is–my four little blondes will end up dark like David and me.

Lucy moved to a big-girl bed on New Year’s Day. What’s the point of a crib when she can pop out of it at will? When she’s having a fit over something and I mimick her crying by saying “Waaa!” she laughs and stops.

Ben bore his testimony today–he’s growing up and learning how to get nervous speaking in front of others. He testified of the Church and of Jesus Christ. We spent the evening together making a tin-foil covered cardboard stag as his Patronius visual aid for his book report on Harry Potter 3 tomorrow.

I remembered it was Fast Day for once and maybe that is why I felt a little more soft hearted today, just overwhelmed with gratititude for what the Lord has given me–this beautiful family, a husband I love dearly, the gospel, wonderful friends and family, this warm, safe home and the amazing gardening adventure. I think about how he has held us in His hands through so many tricky situations that only He could navigate, and how there are more ahead this year, but I know He will take care of us.

It seems so much of life is spent thinking about what we want–what we want from loved ones, what we want with our careers/finances, what we want to have happen today, tomorrow, next year. But when I’m thinking about what I want, I am not thinking about what I have–it is constantly looking at the empty part of the glass.

There is something to the zen concept of eliminating expectations. Expectations kill relationships, and kill happiness—they keep us always focused on what we lack, not what we have. In marriage, for instance. If I expect David to act like David I will never be disappointed, and can just love him. But to not expect at all–that is a divine state–to just take what comes, experience it, observe it, accept it in faith. That’s not to say we don’t proactively engage in things, but that we don’t tie our happiness to specific outcomes.

Despite rationalizations, expectations are not hope (trust that God is in control and will take care of us), they are not faith (the hope for things which are not seen, which are true), expectations are wanting things to be done a certain way, to go a certain way, for certain things to happen–and they put me on the path of ingratitude.

These were my thoughts today as I looked at the four amazing individuals I’ve been entrusted with–here when I didn’t even think I could have children ten years ago. My cup runneth over, yet sometimes I still see it as half full.

Today Noah trimmed off both cat’s whiskers. Sophie sang in the tub tonight for an hour. When I was getting dressed and hadn’t gotten to the pants part, Lucy helpfully suggested that I “put on a pull-up.” Benjamin just came down sleepwalking, went into the laundry room and came out with a bottle of Shout and Lucy’s snowpants and, when questioned, said frustratedly, “What, you can’t expect me to go around without any pants!”

Life really is good.