Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Grand Canyon

We had a great run in the Grand Canyon, and a wonderful weekend overall. At first I thought I was crazy to go out and do something physically hard as our weekend away without a kid, but it ended up being a great way to reconnect and spend time together like we did together before we had a child. Even the drive was easy and fun because I wasn't entertaining a toddler.

It's not a race, but I timed myself and had my personal best time by about 45 minutes! I made up most of that time by running the entire downhill and also never sitting down to rest. I have said in the past that the downhill is physical and the hike out is mental, and I could tell I was mentally stronger after the past year when it comes to facing a challenge. It also helped that is was cloudy the whole day, and I never got hot. Everything came together for me on the same day, and I felt proud of myself.

Fred had a good day too. Sunday was 11 months since the accident, so it was pretty amazing to see him do so well. He took it easy and enjoyed his day with a friend that was doing the run for the first time. It was great to see him get out and do something that he loves, and I didn't even worry about him!

Days later, walking is still difficult, but I'm starting to feel better and happy that all the soreness will mean more muscle power in the future.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The State of Things

With everything going on in the world lately and then a few minor person annoyances, I have been in quite a funk lately. Nobody likes feeling down, but sometimes I have a hard time enjoying a day where everything seems wonderful and the stars have aligned because that means there is a bad day(s) coming. I am aware I do this, so I have been trying to just enjoy the good ones because when I have a bad day, I believe it is necessary to truly enjoy the good ones in the cyclical nature of life.

I spent a semester in Japan in college. The area I went to was between Osaka and Kyoto, so it wasn't anywhere near places that were affected by the earthquake and tsunami, but the whole disaster has made me feel a lot of pain and suffering. When a huge disaster happens, I have a hard time grasping the enormity of the situation, but any story about someone's person plight or loss can send me reeling. The loss, the people saving each other and the gratitude people find in such horrible circumstances brings me to tears.

Locally, a family's house burned to the ground this week, there was a head on collision with two vehicles on the highway and 3 people died and a friend's dad died. All of these things going on outside my little world have made me really take a step back and realize that the minor annoyances like my car being in the shop for 2 weeks is nothing to complain about.

Have you ever read the lululemon manifesto? I first read it on a lululemon bag while waiting to come through customs after my Canadian marathon. When I got home from that trip, my mom had been in toronto and got me one of their jackets, so now I love their clothing and their manifesto. I have a couple of their bags and think it would be beneficial to read the entire thing everyday because it is all things that are worth hearing every day.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Crazy People

When I first met Fred, he had been running the Grand Canyon (down the south kaibab and up bright angel) every spring for years. After a few years, I decided to try it for myself. This year will be my 7th time since I took a few years off while I was pregnant and Kalyn was little.

Most people think we are crazy to do this, and sometimes I agree with that, but it is an amazing day full of beauty and pushing myself to levels of strength and endurance I didn't know I had.

Here's to another great day in the Canyon!

My Evening Ramblings

One thing I learned about having a stay at home Spring Break - I didn't get a lot of work done or house projects done, but I was able to write! Then I had a week of frantically catching up on work things and didn't make any time to do things for myself. By the end of the week, I was a mean grouchy person and didn't like myself. I don't know how many reminders I must have before I get it, but that week was a big reminder of what I need in my life.

I finished reading Stones into Schools, and loved the entire book. I had borrowed it from the library, but now I want to buy it. I also want Fred to read it. He is not a novel reader, but I think he would really enjoy the book and relate to Greg's passion and determination.

There has been a shift in my life lately where I feel like my days are really full and busy, but I feel like I have made an effort to take unnecessary things off of my plate and only focus on important things like my family and what I really have to get done. Maybe it is the shift in trying to only do one thing at once rather than 5, so my day is still really full, but I'm trying to do a better job at each individual thing. My day is mostly filled with things that make me happy, and I am constantly thankful that I am not a mother that works in an office from 8-5 M-F to rush home and make dinner and try to squeeze in some quality time each night.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I started reading Greg Mortenson's book, Stones into Schools, yesterday. I was surprised to have him talk about speaking in our town in the first chapter of the book. I remember when he came to give his talk, but it was before I had read Three Cups of Tea, and Kalyn was small at the time, so I didn't made any effort to try and go.

Normally, I am not one to enjoy a nonfiction book, but this book has me at the first chapter. Mortenson talks about how amazed he was with how giving this community was when he gave his talk, and it brought tears to my eyes because of how giving this community was towards us last year.

I loved how he talked about making a difference in tiny towns that are hard to reach and get them to be self sustaining because I have been thinking a lot lately about how I generally don't do anything very well when I try to do too much. Right now in my life, anything beyond raising a happy child and keeping up with our small family feels like too much, so I'm not going to judge my life next to the greatness of people that can go out into the world and made a big difference for a lot of people because that is not where I'm at.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Medical Bills

We are getting very close to the year anniversary of Fred's accident, and you know what medical bill I'm still dealing with???? Swedish. He was flown to Swedish the evening of his accident because it was the best place for him to be, a level one trauma hospital, connected to Craig Hospital which only handles brain injury and spinal cord patients. There was some thought put into what hospital to send him to by the doctors here. I believe it was the right choice for him at the time, and they attended to him when he was in the most uncertain and fragile portion of his recovery.

Right now I feel like the left hand is not talking to the left as we try to sort out the bill. He had his accident on a Tuesday, and by Friday they were talking about admitting him to Craig the following week. In retrospect, this is REALLY fast when it comes to a brain injury. Less than a week after he hits his head, he can go to a rehab hospital because his physical injuries were not that bad, but his head injury was really bad. I have been reminding myself of that lately, and I have to because he has had such an amazing recovery. He was really hurt, and even a week or two post accident they were still saying it would be great if he could return to work within a year. The doctors in the ICU were asking what he did for work during the first few days after his accident, and I told them he worked at a computer and they shook their heads and said how brain injury patients tended to get headaches if they sat in front of a computer for long periods of time. I have pushed some of these things far back in my memory, and it takes effort to bring them back because they were scary and not fun. The happy thought is he had an amazing recovery and defied all the odds and statistics.

Back to the bill. His final night/day at Swedish was Sunday night and Monday afternoon he was admitted to Craig, which only admits on weekdays. He wasn't ready to admit on a Friday and by Monday he was just scraping by as being ready. The whole bill dispute comes down to a matter of precertification. If you are lucky enough to never have had any major medical experience, it is basically the hospital calling your insurance company to say you are in need of such care and your insurance company agrees to pay for some portion of your care. The hospital never called the insurance company for his final day at Swedish. Who do I need to talk to and explain I could not have checked him into a hotel at this time??? He was still a risk to himself, trying to get out of bed while still unstable on his feet and not remembering much. Luckily, I have been able to talk to the rep from the insurance company that works with the company he works with, and she is trying to get it all resolved.

We are so fortunate to have health insurance while going through all of this, but it is so frustrating when the medical billing companies and the insurance companies can't work together and figure it out. The cycle currently goes like this: the medical billing company calls be about the bill (which is exactly for his last day that wasn't precertified; therefore, I am not paying it), I call the rep at the insurance company that they called me about the same issue we just talked about, the rep calls the hospital (different company than the billing company) about sending the paperwork they need to pay the bill for his final day. A few months go by and we repeat the whole process.

No promises, but I might just throw a party when this whole thing is resolved!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Nonspring Break

Kalyn's spring break is starting out to be not so much of a break or a spring. I tried to wake up early to get some time to myself, but her mamadar went off, and she was up earlier than she would have been if I had slept in. So now I am trying to just go with what the week presents and not try and have too many to-do lists or plans because those always seem to get foiled on a week like this. We also woke up to a snowy day, and it hasn't in awhile here, especially during the day time.

I am doing my best to not feel whiny in this situation while the other half of the town in basking in warm weather in cities further south. I am having a nice day at home with Kalyn. We got out for a walk while it wasn't snowing; she has started asking to ride her Dora tricycle around the neighborhood; we made a batch of cookies together. Most of all, I feel fortunate to have a fairly flexible job where I work from home and can plan ahead and not have to scramble to find somewhere for her to go on a week like this when her school is closed. I know I am one lucky lady with everything I have in my life, and I don't forget it, even if I am having one of those days...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Good Run

I went for a long run the other day in preparation for a very long run I will be doing at the end of the month. The morning had started out as a nice day that looked like it would be a long sunny afternoon like the previous days of the week. Once I had completed my errands in town and actually started my run, it was clouding up and was threatening to snow on me. I set out with water, snacks and and my dog, carrying extra warm clothes for me in his pack, and decided to just be brave. This being said, I am not a brave person. I spent most of the morning debating with myself about going running on a trail with no one other than my dog. I can easily get scared running on trails by myself because lions and tigers and bears could be out there, right?

Finally, I convinced my mind that the trail I was going out on was somehow going to be "safe" and went out for my run. The trail was a mix of mud, snow and actual nice dry trail, but mostly mud and snow. Once I left the main meadow portion of the trail, I was following one set of footprints through the snow and mud. It took me awhile to figure out they weren't footprints from the same day because I found a set that were frozen over near the top of the trail, but they did help me know I was staying on someones trail when the snow covered the actual dirt/mud. My dog was a good running companion, and I kept a close eye on him when he would sniff the air for whatever dogs sniff the air for, lions, tigers and bears, right?

Once I had reached the top of the trail and started to turn towards my car and home, the sun came out and I had a glorious time running in some March sunshine, feeling strong and not scared of lions, tigers and bears. There was still more mud and snow to get through plus a few scary minutes when I couldn't find my dog, but overall, it was one of the most empowering solo runs I have done and left me feeling happy to be me.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Kalyn has not wanted to go to school most mornings that she is scheduled to go. She has always liked playing at home and rarely gets bored with many days at home in a row. Usually, she can be talked into going to school and sometimes had a hard transition getting settled into school but then has a good day. At three and a half, she has quite the imagination and likes to pretend she is a character for a day, usually related to a princess or a movie she has recently watched. For awhile she would be upset walking into school saying "they are going to call me Kalyn!" I tried explaining to her to not get mad about it because that was how people knew her and to just ask nicely for people to call her whatever she wanted for the day. Now she walks into school and says "would you please call me Pocahontas today?" The teachers are good at calling her the name she wants to be, but three and four year olds can be a littler harsher. The other day I noticed 3 boys sitting at the table and when she told the whole room who she was that day, the boys started making up other names and laughing. They weren't bad or rude names, but it was a form of teasing her, and it made me wonder if that had something to do with her not wanting to go to school. Even as an adult, I don't like to be teased like that. I talked to the teacher later in the day, and she said she will talk to the boys. I'm so sensitive about being teased, and I felt it personally when my daughter was teased.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I have found I have a hard time emotionally when someone I know is experiencing something really difficult that I have had a similar experience with. I feel like I should reach out and relate to them or do something to help, but it brings up difficult emotions for me, so I end up feeling paralyzed emotionally. I like it when I can fix things and make everything all better, but there are times when you can't put things back to the way they were and only move forward with life.

The other night when Fred came home and told me that the husband of a woman who did his rookie fire training with him committed suicide over the weekend. This is never information you want to hear about, especially when you know the people involved.

Unfortunately, I am relating the woman's experience because of my dad. I am feeling some of her pain and disbelief, and I'm at a complete loss of what to do for her. When I was experiencing loss on this level, there wasn't anything you could do for me because there wasn't a way to make it not have happened. I want to be there for her as someone who can relate to a similar experience, even though right now, her pain and mine feels too raw. It makes me wish I had the ability to not let anyone I know directly experience any of the really difficult emotional experiences I have been through like this.

With everything I went through with my dad's suicide and Fred's accident, I will reach out to her because even though I don't have the magic wand to make everything better, I do have the gift of friendship that so many people gave to me. I can only imagine what scary emotions and thoughts everyone had to swallow to reach out to me while I was in the thick of those deep, dark times. Now I will dive in and be there for someone else, knowing that I was held on one side of going through the experience and trusting that I will also be held while being there as a friend.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Screw Lose

A couple of weeks ago Fred thought he had something in the corner of his eye. I took a look at it, and thought it looked like an ingrown hair. Further inspection made us realize he should make a doctor's appointment to get a closer look because it felt metallic to me and I didn't want to hurt anything. He wasn't able to get an appointment for about a week and a half and in that period of time, it didn't go away. The night before his doctor's appointment I was looking at it and realized it was a screw. Yes, a SCREW, like a phillips head mini eye glass screw coming out right next to his eye. Yikes! (You can see it in the outer corner in the picture above)

In April of 1995, Fred was in an avalanche and had to have the left side of his face rebuilt with titanium plates, so we knew where the screw was coming from, but it wasn't where it was supposed to be anymore, under his skin, holding the plate together.

We really like our family doctor, so I went along to the appointment because I couldn't wait to see what he had to say about this. We had some good laughs joking about Fred having a screw lose, made even more laughable with a traumatic brain injury within the last year. We could laugh about it because the screw didn't have anything to do with his recent head injury and he is practically fully recovered.

The doctor did take it seriously, even if he told us it was the coolest body piercing he has ever seen, and we got an appointment for the next morning with the plastic surgeon who rebuilt his face back in 1995. The plastic surgeon determined the screw was no longer attached to bone or metal and numbed the area locally and then pulled the screw out.

Fred does his best to keep it interesting around here!