Wow. It's been a while since my last post! Busy, busy, busy, I guess. Let's just go back in time and comment on the happenings...
Thanksgiving. It's our neighborhood's tradition that for those that want to burn a few calories before the planned overeating, we meet at the local coffee house and do a 5K run or walk together (or just wait with latte in hand for everyone to come back!). That's always fun, and I love the sense of neighborhood togetherness to start the day. As T and I were waiting for the group to meet, a nice man sitting outside with his coffee in hand made small talk with T. T announced proudly, "My name is T and I'm 5 years old and I know everything." with a big grin. The man said, Well, that's amazing since I'm 54 years old and I'm still learning lots of new things." After the tiniest pause T said (head cocked to one side) "Well, I could teach you." Man-o-man! I had to hold back the laugh--didn't want to embarrass T, but I couldn't have come up with a better punch line to that! Isn't it interesting that as young people we are sure that we know it all, and the longer we live the more we realize what we DON'T know. The smarter a person gets the more clearly he/she sees the missing gaps of information. Hmmm. Something to ponder upon....
Thanksgiving was held at my sister's house again--she has the biggest home all set up for entertaining. We all bring a dish and she presents the meats (Turkey and a prime rib roast) and pies. My usual has been sweet potatoes. They were better that usual this time--I added pears to the mash. All the food was fantastic!! My nieces/nephews have grown into such beautiful people and were quite pleasant for company (ages 14-17 can be hit or miss). For all the social crap that could have been stirred up (mainly due to my dad) it was a very pleasant day. He and others held their tongues and amazingly no one lashed out at anyone. Whew. Family....there's always drama around the corner. This year has been especially difficult due to changes in my dad's behavior (maybe brain disease??, senility, Alzheimer's ??, but so far undiagnosed, so he's still held responsible for his mean behavior). Anyway, at the end of the day we all left with full tummies and warm and fuzzy feelings for each other--mostly. A day that reminds me I am so lucky and thankful for many, many wonderful things.
1. My health. Yes, the colonscopy biopsies were all normal. And I'm sure the thyroid nodule will be benign too.
2. All my immediate family members are alive and healthy, and so are their families.
2. My friends, who would do anything for me and my happiness. And visa versa (never sure how to spell that!).
3. My mom. An angel on earth.
4. My wonderful son and all the people who helped me to create him. And there were many. My undying gratitude will never waver and never feel like enough.
5. My home. Thank goodness I bought it when I did. Having to deal with what so many are going through with foreclosures or not even being able to scrape up the money to buy one in the first placeawful. A heartache I've been able to dodge.
6. The financial freedom to be able to work just 4 days a week. I love my work, but getting an extra day to spend with T and do whatever is priceless.
There are more, but those are the biggies.
Christmas Tree Day. The first Saturday after Thanksgiving I meet at the bottom of a nearby mountain with one of my best friends J with her family and her brother's family. Then we drive up a ridiculously steep and treacherous road up, up, uuuuup to the very top (passing many other tree farms along the way) . (Thank you to my car, for never failing me on the crazy things I ask you to do!) Next we break out he coffee, hot cocoa and donuts! Necessary sustenance for tree hunting. The kids LOVE every moment. Well, OK. We all do! Then we search and search and search for the best tree. I found ours first. The others had to go to the other side of the mountain to find theirs. It's tough work, you know. Not too tall, not too wide, no bald spots either. This year I returned the saw I accidentally took home last year. Oops. They have signs informing that if you steal a saw you will be charged $10! But with my winning smile and self-deprecating humorous story they not only didn't charge me but have me $5 off my tree purchase this year! And 3 candy canes to boot! See, this is why we go to effort to come to the very top of the mountain. High mountain folk are good people. J's brother brought their 12 week old Golden Retriever puppy along--extra fun for an already fun-filled morning. After all the pictures were taken of each family in pursuit of the perfect family photo for Christmas card making, we all made our way down the mountain with our trees roped to the roof of our cars.
Within the week, I had the tree up on in the living room and decorated. Well, the lights in it, anyway. My mom decorated it with all the decorations she's given me over the years, while she came over to babysit while I was away doing school work obligations. Thanks Mom!! It looks divine!
School stuff. I did it!!!! I finished up the practicum with my preceptor on December 6. They all gave me a lovely card with lots of compliments and well-wishing. And we had a little pot-luck too to celebrate the end of their OB/GYN experience and my last day. Next thing to concentrate on was the oral exams. I fine tuned my powerpoint presentation, added a few pictures for enhancement (and word relief--too much writing on each slide). I practiced and practiced to make sure I could present within a half hour. Got it down to 27-30 minutes. Then the big day. December 15. I dropped T off at school and returned home by 9AM. I gave myself one more timed practice--28 minutes. Good. Then made myself a cup of coffee and got a glass of water ready to relieve my already dry throat for the big event. The teacher called me at 10AM and gave me a special conference phone number with a secret code. I dialed with frozen fingers while the rest of my body suffered yet another hot flash. There were 3 over-educated women on the other end of the phone. They all sounded friendly but I knew they would be judging me shortly. Big breath. Introductions. Go. I gave my presentation with only a few flaws--occasionally reading the slides, but mostly going by my notes so it didn't sound too boring. At the end they had very few questions. Yay! I was hoping for that. The questions were more about what I'd learned and how I'd apply it to the future. Then they hung up to discuss me and my status--pass or fail (or rather need improvement--which means you have to do it over again later). Less than 5 minutes later my teacher phone me and told me I PASSED! They said they were so impressed with me that they want me to tell people that I went to Regis University and not to mention that I had any natural abilities before attending. Now, that was a nice thing to say. They like a person like me being associated with their school. Cool. I feel good. Next, I had to write a small evaluation on service learning and send in my last practicum journal. Did that in the next half hour. And then....DONE. I am done with all requirements for my Master's degree!!! Hurray!!! What a relief. It's been a long 2 1/2 years. It still hasn't fully hit me. I think I have to experience a few more days of no guilt over not doing something for school that I should be doing. NOT having some big project looming and pressing on my head, shoulders, entire being. Big, big breath.
I'm glad I took on this challenge. I feel great in having accomplished it. And I cannot imagine I will ever enter academia as a student again. But that's how I always feel at graduation time. Who knows what the future holds. Might go for a doctorate someday. Ha! No. The stress would kill me...or at least age me much faster than normal wear and tear. Who needs that??
And would you look at that! Suddenly I can turn my head to the right again. Stress and nerves. They can tie you in knots!
Thyroid surgery. The surgery scheduler called and gave me the date: February 10. This works out perfect because my favorite co-worker asked if I could go out after February 7 so she could go back east for a visit to her family. I will have to take 4 weeks off work after the surgery according to the surgeon--she suggest not talking for 3-4 weeks to rest the nerve that will be undoubtedly strained and inflamed due to the surgery to remove this nodule. Hopefully I will awake with only half my thyoid removed and a small scar on my throat. If it's cancerous (a 20% chance) then the whole thing comes out and I'll be feeling anxious that I let 4 months pass after finding out the mass had grown to twice its prior size. I'm sure it will be fine. I much prefer being an optimist. Hopefully, I'll be feeling so good after surgery that I can take a trip up to the snow and have T take some ski lessons. I'd love for him to start learning this year.
Well, I think that's the major events. I'll post more as I think of things I left out.