Friday, March 11, 2011

Welcome Home

A lot has happened since I posted on the 10th - and it's only the 11th!

Tomorrow (Saturday) is Stud's big SHAVE to raise money for St. Baldrick's (pediatric cancer research), in Katie's honor...check out his mama's blog for updates. To read about another brave shaver, check Paul's blog and read about his friend, Caity.

We arrived home late last night after 5 days in Palm Desert with my parents. It was a good trip. I am always thankful for smooth flights and safe landings - as well as safe flights and smooth landings. There were high winds in the Puget Sound area, with gusts up to 60 m.p.h., so we were warned that it would be a bumpy descent...but it wasn't. Thank you, Alaska Airlines, for two great flights.

The night before we left home, our sweet Liger (a.k.a. Gandhi) came into the house limping. It's hard to describe how this made me feel, but I'll just say that the urge to cancel our vacation and stay at home with him was strong. David was flying in from college to meet us and take the same flight to PSP, so we couldn't cancel, but ohhh...leaving my sweet little guy at home, limping, was awful. Our dear neighbors had it all under control, and took great care of the cats and house, so I knew he was loved, but I was glad to see him and give him love when we got home.

HOWEVER, this morning, his leg started bleeding - Aieee! Fearing a broken bone, I called the local vet before they opened, and sped up there immediately after. It was simply an abscess, but a bad one, and the poor little guy is still woozy from the anaesthesia. I won't go into details of what they did to help him, or the mess he made while "under the influence," but suffice it to say that I've done a lot of laundry and cleaning today. I'm just glad that he is on the road to recovery. Wish he could sleep with us tonight...

While on vacation, I decided to resign from my monthly column at the wonderful website, Hopeful Parents. I've been writing there on the 10th of the month for over 2 years, and I love the founder and the purpose of the site. It has been a privilege and a joy to be part of the team, and I've learned a great deal from the wonderful writers there.

It dawned on me that I am not actively engaged in parenting children with special needs nowadays. David certainly has grief to deal with, as we do, but he is 5 hours away from us most of the year. He is leading an independent life for 8 to 9 months of the year, so we are effectively "empty-nesters." It doesn't seem fitting for me to write about my life there, when other columnists are taking care of children with life-threatening medical needs at this moment. My issues just don't have the same kind of immediacy. Grief is still an issue here, and I am deeply involved in hospital issues and cancer advocacy, but I just felt that there would be someone else who could speak to the site's current parenting issues better than I can. Please do share the site, if you know someone whose child has special needs - it's a supportive community of great writers.

I feel ready to write about other things than Katie's cancer journey and my grief. It's a big part of my life - it changed me profoundly - but it's not my entire life story. So we shall see where I am led.

Here are a few photos from our time in Cali.
Have you ever seen a 14,000-foot peak from above? Mt. Rainier.

Mom at the spa, having a pedicure.
Birthday balloons for Katie's Sweet 16th birthday.

Getting ready to set the balloons free - wishing Katie was with us.
Getting ready to go out to dinner. Mom & Dad like to serve wine and hors d'oeuvres first at the condo - sometimes with a side of cribbage or gin rummy!
The traditional daiquiri or margarita with dinner at Las Casuelas Terraza before going to the airport to fly home. I wish we could have stayed - the band was just setting up in the courtyard!
Did I mention that the temperature difference between Palm Springs and Seattle was 50 degrees?
That's right: 50 degrees!
When we left for the airport, the car's thermometer read 89 degrees; when we arrived at home, it was 38 degrees. Time to put away the shorts and get out the fleece.


ChiTown Girl said...

Thanks for giving Stud one more shout out. It's only 6:30 am here, so he's clearly still asleep, but in 6 1/2 hours, he'll be getting shaved. Woo hoo!!

I wanted to lick the screen when I saw your margarita. YUM! Sounds like a wonderful trip. Your mom looked so cute at the spa, soaking her tootsies. :)

I'm so sorry about Liger. I hope he's on the mend soon.

Busy Bee Suz said...

You have had a lot of stuff going ONE day. :)
Glad your trip was safe and fun...50 degrees is a big PULL!
Glad Liger is doing better...I understand all too well the extra laundry/cleaning. We survived as well with Ozzie and his constant....oh, I'll spare you.
I've got to get over to Chi's to donate..keep putting it off.
Looking forward to what you next writing venture will be.
Have a great rest of the weekend!

Allegra Smith said...

So good to have you back! B and I were talking last night about begin to look for a good doggie spa to put the babies this summer so we can come for a long weekend sans babies.
We both miss you and Gregg and hope to have some quality time together with you.

In the meantime we hope to make to Seattle for a short trip to visit with Pauline and Richard again. Of course I will let you know. Thank you again for the "toys" we both had fun with the package. Love to you both.

Elizabeth said...

What terrific photos -- you honestly have the most photogenic family in the universe!

I am happy that your time away was joyful -- I know it's such a difficult time of the year, every year --

Love and blessings to you, always.

kj said...

karen, i have long been touched by your love and support for allegra and i have just read your comment to angelique on renee's blog. if you don't mind, it is time for me to stop by to say hello.

i did not know of the loss of your katie until now. i am a Mother with a daughter too; though she is healthy, how well i understand.

i too understand how well you know how thin the line is, how fully love remains.

nice to visit you, karen. thank you.


Lakeland Jo said...

that condo looks amazing as do those cocktails.......
I love the pedicure shot- what fun that looks.
We don't have pedicure chairs in this country (sigh) said...

Wow. What a journey this has been. can't wait to see what and where you write next...