Monday, March 31, 2008

One Art

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three beloved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

-- Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) a disaster.

-- Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Quote for Thought 12

“The devil is a better theologian than any of us and is a devil still.”
-- A. W. Tozer

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

More Good Time Pics

As promised - more pictures of good times: The waves really crashed against this rock, and the boys challenged each other to touch the rock and get away without getting wet. Below you see Anthony taking on the challenge.In order to get an early start on the day we stayed overnight at a hotel. The boys always love hotel pools and hot tubs (not to mention cable, which we don't have at home! In all honesty it's Mom who likes cable best!)We are quite certain - and have been for many years - that Caleb is more fish than human. He's never had swimming lessons and learned how to swim by jumping in when he was about 3 years old and beginning to swim underwater, coming up like a dolphin every so often for air! (Well, OK, not quite like a dolphin, but for being self-taught, not bad!) We may be shifting from soccer parents to water polo parents once he reaches high school.

The following pictures are all along the same stretch of coast - such variety!

The surroundings and flora and fauna were beautiful as well!

I LOVE fog! It's so neat how it can be sunny right on the coast and foggy so nearby inland!As you can tell, Jacob was joyful to be here.He not only saw dolphins in the rock formations (see last post) but also really liked these swirls that someone left in the sand and wanted to take a picture with the rock in the background.
Caleb is just ALL over the place!
Do you see him?Jacob got splashed by an unexpected wave.At Monterey we found a row of benches, one for each California Mission. Caleb was excited to find the bench for "his" mission.More pics:

Well, in the first post I called this our "old stomping ground." OLD is right. I got curious and looked through albums to find the last time we were here; I'm including two of those pictures. Caleb was an infant, and Anthony and Jacob were trying to keep up with Daddy. Now Mom and Dad are trying to keep up with them!!! I think we'd better not wait so long before going again!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


David and the boys are on spring break, but MJC doesn't take a spring break. I think it is the only institute of learning that doesn't, and I'm not really happy about that, but . . . oh well . . . I don't teach on Mondays, so we compressed our family spring break into one day, and it was a wonderful day. We went back to one of our favorite old stomping grounds where we had not been in quite some time. It was a good rediscovery! Here are David and the boys at Point Lobos.
Caleb found a cool place to sit!
It felt good to get away from my work and get my feet in the sand!
Different little beaches along the same stretch of shore had very different "sand."
Here are Jacob and Caleb and their two trees.
There are lots of wonderful views at Point Lobos. Here we are looking at one -
- and here is what we were looking at. I LOVE the color of the water here!
I think Anthony was about 6 or 7 the last time we were here - maybe younger. He sure has grown up! It was good to get the boys back here again. They loved it!
Jacob saw forms of his favorite animal in this rock. Can you tell what it is?

At the end of the day we spent time in Monterey - on Fisherman's Wharf and walking along the shore. It was a very, very good day!

I may put up more pictures in the next day or so. I put these up pretty quickly tonight, and it's after midnight as I post, so I'm stopping there. I guess taking the time to do this now is my way of holding onto the day a little longer! :-)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Favorite Things (1)

A while back my thoughts were triggered back to England (it doesn't take much), so this is the first in a series.
A Few of My Favorite Things about England

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Time is a Test

They say that "Time assuages"—
Time never did assuage—
An actual suffering strengthens
As Sinews do, with age—

Time is a Test of Trouble—
But not a Remedy—
If such it prove, it prove too
There was no Malady—

-- Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

EVERYTHING is on the Internet!!

Well, this was an unexpected blast from the past!! While I was surfing the net tonight I found my Jeopardy! appearance from EIGHT years ago. I wasn't even looking for it and didn't know it existed. Rather than a video it's the game I played (with answers - or should I say questions? - in case you want to quiz yourself) as well as detailed stats (in case you want to harrass me!). What a world we live in! You can find EVERYTHING on the internet!

What I want to know is who put up every answer and question from thousands of shows and all the stats on all the contestants and when and why?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Earth's Course

A slumber did my spirit seal;
I had no human fears:
She seemed a thing that could not feel
The touch of earthly years.

No motion has she now, no force;
She neither hears nor sees;
Rolled round in earth's diurnal course,
With rocks, and stones, and trees.

-- William Wordsworth (1770 - 1850)

Friday, March 14, 2008

There's Gotta Be an Easier Way! (updated)

Click to enlarge:
PS: Happy Pi Day!
What special property does the following sentence have?
"I prefer pi."
To visit a site dedicated to Pi Day, click here.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

David's Heart Repair

The above image is the closure device in David's heart.


The heart repair went well, and David is recovering well. We were very impressed with all those who were working with us yesterday - from nursing student who asked permission to observe to aids to nurses to technicians to surgeons.

We found there were also a lot of surprises in store for us though. We had been told for months that David has an ASD (and possibly another hole) and that we were going to Sacramento to have the one hole they knew about closed, while at the same time looking for others. Yet one of the first things the surgeon said when he came in to talk with us before the repair was, "David, you are a conundrum! Even though I've never met you your ears must have been burning, because I've been talking about you since November. I don't think you have an ASD (um - this was the first time we'd heard that, and we were there for the purpose of having his ASD closed!!!). I thought I saw a VSD in one of the tests, but the rest of the tests did not bear that out." He went on to give us a long list of things it could be and said he wanted to spend about two hours testing David - via catheterization - to see what was actually going on, since it was not yet clear to him, and all the tests he'd been reading he'd been reading from a distance. That was all a bit confusing to us, but it was immediately clear that this surgeon was extremely good at what he did, and we felt very confident in his care.

(He'd also had a couple of chest x-rays, an EKG, and an echo when he first arrived. I was there when the technician was doing the echo, and she could not find a hole - but when we talked with the surgeon, he said, "We have a phrase: 'echo-schmecho.'")

They went in, did a lot of looking around, put catheters up both legs, did find a large hole - a centimeter in diameter - which was a bit of a surprise to the surgeon. He later told us they were happy to find they had a closure device large enough on hand of the specific type he wanted to use for what he found (which was something other than what he'd expected to find). Although David was out of it for the first couple of hours of the procedure (while they were testing) he regained his alertness during the time that they were putting the device in. He was not in pain, and they allowed him to remain alert and watch what was going on. He found it very interesting to watch the process of inserting the catheter through the hole, making a twist which made the one side of the device pop open kind of like an umbrella, giving a few tugs on the catheter to make sure it was secure, twisting again to make the portion on the other side pop open, and then twist again to release the catheter from the closure device.

We are still not clear on whether it was an ASD or a PFO that they found. When the doctors came to report to me they said he had a PFO. When I said, "Oh, so it wasn't an ASD?" One of them said, "Well, ASD/PFO." I thought it had to be one or the other . . . so I'm not sure whether his comment to me meant that they were so similar that it didn't matter what we called it or if he meant it was some sort of hybrid between the two. Whatever it is, it is successfully closed now. They are still not sure that that is the only problem with his heart, nor are they sure that that is DEFINITELY what caused his stroke. Regardless of that, this was there and needed to be closed. They'll continue to monitor him over the next weeks and months by doing a series of echocardiograms, and we'll go from there.

We are so pleased - so pleased to be at this point - to have had that go so well! It is certainly an answer to much prayer. I can't help but have a tiny bit of nervousness inside me that this might not be the whole story, but it is just a tiny bit of nervousness. We feel he is in VERY good hands - not only those of the doctors but also, of course, the hands of the Great Physician our Heavenly Father - Who created David's body before his birth (Psalm 139) and knows him inside and out better than any test can show. We trust that He is sovereign and that He has ordained all of David's days for him from before David's birth.

These last couple of days have really been quite an experience for us. It seems like we've been gone for a week rather than just two days!!

David is such a sweetie! Unbeknownst to me he looked up one of my favorite restaurants on the internet the night before we left so he could find one on the way up to Sacramento so that we could have a nice meal together before the big day. How sweet of him to be thinking of doing something special for me as he was anticipating going in for this heart repair. When we were at the hospital, once they finally let me in to see him again after his prep, he told me he was praying for me, for my peace. After they gave him his initial meds, which included a valium to relax him beforehand, he asked me if they had given me one too since I must be nervous! :-)

(On that last bit, I'm not sure if he was serious or joking or what, because I think the valium was already working on him!)

Here he was facing unknown findings and outcomes but thinking of me throughout.

I realized all over again that I should have internalized what I had learned from his earlier hospitalization, "I'll believe it when I see it." So much of what happened yesterday did not happen in the way we had expected it - which is certainly fine as all turned out well.

We were scheduled to meet with his surgeon at 7am, and the repair was scheduled for 9am. We'd been told he had an ASD that was going to be closed. We'd been told he'd be staying overnight. Those were the expectations we went in with.

We arrived at 6:50am. There was no talk of an appointment. They just kicked me out while they started prepping him, which I thought would take about 10 minutes but took about an hour. We had not yet met his surgeon and really wanted to at least see him and talk breifly before the surgery! We'd known for months he would be the one working on David, but we'd never seen him nor spoken with him. When they finally called me back in we asked about this, and they said, "Oh, would you like to see the doctor before surgery?" When we said, "yes," they said, "We'll page him to let him know you'd like to meet with him." Hmm . . . we thought that had been the plan all along! That's why we were there at 7 - for the appointment.

When we arrived the nurses spoke as if David would be going home that day. This surprised us, and we told them he's been told he'd be there overnight, which surprised them!

We finally got to see the surgeon. He was fantastic - clearly very knowledgable and also very personable - good bedside manner - nice guy. As noted above, we were extremely surprised by what he had to say and ended up kind of wondering what was up. Why had we been told one thing consistently for months only to travel to Sacramento for a very clear and specific reason but then be told by the surgeon that he wasn't at all sure what was going on and was certainly not convinced it was what we'd been told it was. That was a little unsettling. He'd been in contact with David's cardiologist for months; why hadn't we been given even a hint of this uncertainty? He listed about 5 different things that could actually be wrong with David's heart other than what we'd been told - some of which were hard to determine.

David's situation had already been called "unique" and "complicated" by his cardiologist; now here the surgeon was calling him a "conundrum" - not exactly things you want to hear from your heart specialists!

I'd checked online the night before to see how long to expect the procedure to be (assuming it was a closure) and got information that it would be 2 to 4 hours. We asked the nurses that morning and were told it would take only about an hour. Then, in talking with the surgeon, he said he wanted to spend 2 hours testing (checking O2 levels in the right chambers then checking some things in the left chambers then a third thing) and then, if he found a hole to close that he would be doing that. It ended up taking about 3 1/2 hours. He then had to lie flat on his back for 6 hours, which caused him FAR more discomfort than any aspect of the procedure.

Perhaps I have now internalized the "I'll believe it when it happens" philosophy I had mentioned last fall!

I was surprised at all the blood thinners they gave David during all this (since he'd been told to switch from Coumadin to Lovenox and then get off Lovenox the day before). He was given aspirin, Lovenox, Heparin, and Plavix. Somehow they made a mistake and ended up double dosing him on the Plavix, so he ended up with some bleeding problems. They almost ended up keeping him overnight afterall because of that, as it took some time to get it under control. As it turned out, they did release him at about 8pm, and it was so wonderful to be able to be in our own home last night.

David felt so good at being home that he was up too much that evening - wanting to read to the boys and kiss them goodnight and so on - regular bedtime routine - as well as just wanting to be up after having been on his back all day, but we both learned a lesson as he began bleeding again quite significantly last night. We got that under control, and he is REALLY taking it easy today - staying in the recliner or in bed other than just a few minutes up when necessary.

Although the boys never expressed any worry, it was evident that they were experiencing concern about all this. David shared with me that Jacob has been more "huggy" than usual with him for the last week, and it was really cool to see their eyes light up when Dad came home last night. Their hugs last night were so tender and wonderful. I think part of why David was up more than he should have been last night was not only his own sense of feeling good but also wanting to reassure the boys that all was well and normal in our home.

We are so very pleased to be at this point.

David still has his sights set on running the Sacramento marathon in December. Interestingly, the student nurse we met yesterday is a distance running and is a "pacer" for that marathon. They both agreed they'd be looking for each other in December. If that can happen, what an incredibly happy ending to the story that will be!