memorial day weekend fun

Hi!

No surgery for Dad yet… they’ve referred him to a hospital in the big city (Seattle) rather than the one at home, so naturally they’re wanting to re-do all the tests since their machines are much better.  The new doc mentioned that whatever is causing the low heart function might not necessarily need surgery.  All of a sudden we’re grateful for all the delays with the other hospital–he could have already had a risky surgery that he didn’t need.  Then again, he might need surgery.  We’ll see.  So, we’re cautiously hopeful and getting used to waiting.  And poor Dad is getting used to hanging around, doing not much of anything.

Kev-bone and our friends Grace and Andy (the Lucaii) visited us over the holiday weekend, and we did some hanging out down on the waterfront, and some far-more-strenuous-than-planned hiking just south of Bellingham (Oyster Dome).

Here are some pics!

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Kevo out on the ridge.  Great view, huh?

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Gracie and Andy at Boulevard Park.

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Love this picture!

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View of the San Juan Islands.

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Two tired kids.

Fun times… and it only took our bodies a week to recuperate.  Oi.

not quite what I’d envisioned…

It’s been a long, crazy month since we graduated.  A few highlights, and one urgent need for prayers/good thoughts/what-have-you…

…One of our coolest patients at my “real job” hired me to shoot photos all over Bellingham (she’s a real estate agent and needs photos of all thirty-something neighborhoods, along with their schools & parks), as well as write copy for her site.  It’s quite the undertaking, but it’s been incredibly fun to be a) out with my camera all day; b) paid for it.  And the copywriting means I’m using my English degree, thankyouverymuch.

…For the first time in at least a year, I spent some solid time with dear friends down in Bremerton.  Since they live right in between my parents and J’s folks, it has been notoriously difficult to get together because we were always “home” for holidays and not much else.  Now that we’ve graduated, it was a good time just to stay with our friends.  And it was amazing.  We got to meet Jeremy & Tracie’s new son, and celebrate a coming addition to Andy & Grace’s family.  That’s two of my bridesmaids down… Amanda?  Anything you want to tell me?

When you get married and promptly move away from your good friends (and immediately start school), it’s difficult to guage how it will impact things.  I’m so thankful for friendships that grow over time and distance, rather than fading (that includes you too, Julie).  Because I’m a total headcase, sometimes I wonder, Will things be awkward?  And that awkward moment never comes.  The laughter starts up, and I’m comfortable in my own skin as always, looking forward to a time when maybe we won’t all live so far apart.

…and here comes the tough stuff.  My dad will be having open heart surgery soon to replace his aeorta valve and do a double-or-triple bypass.  This news hit us all really unexpectedly — in addition to the scariness of surgery, we had a family trip planned to Hawaii next month, and no one needed a trip to the beach more than my mom and dad, for whom retirement has not been the idyllic time they had imagined.

We took it in stride as much as possible, and had a good Easter laughing together.  But after a test yesterday, we found out that the surgery will be a lot more complicated due to Dad’s first open heart surgery over 20 years ago.  Dad had cancer when he was younger, and the Navy hospital, performing up to its infamous reputation, messed up the radiation treatments.  It affected the membrane around Dad’s heart, and he went into congestive heart failure at the age of 34.  

There’s scar tissue around the heart where they did surgery before, which makes the surgery more serious than first anticipated.  The heart has to work harder when scar tissue is involved, it becomes enlarged, etc.  They’re doing all sorts of tests over the next few weeks to figure things out.

Grandma also has some heart stuff going on, so Mom is shuttling in between hours-long tests for Dad and cardiologist appointments for Grandma. Mom fell down the stairs at work two days ago.  (This is always the way my family does stuff — try and make a crazy story out of it — like our tent trailer rolling into a lake, or Kevin’s house burning down the day before my wedding.  This particular story is my least favorite so far).  

I’m trying to wait until I can do the most good before I take off work and head down… but it’s tough to be even three hours away.

Much of being a grown-up totally sucks, I’m realizing.

We’d genuinely appreciate your prayers.  Especially for these two people, who just celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary last week:

mdbwweb Thanks.

home!

July has pulled a disappearing act on me.  But!  What an amazing month.

For the Fourth, Justin and I met up with a bunch of friends over at Paradise Creek (near Vancouver, WA, but way out in the boonies) and camped for five wonderful days.  When my brother, Kevo, and dear friend Julie also joined us, I was very close to having all my favorite people within arms reach at the same time.  There were no fireworks (alas!), but a frightening incident involving bacon grease + Dan, our very own Fire Guy, more than made up for them.

The very next weekend, I was already in Port Townsend for the Writer’s Conference.  I want to devote more time to writing about that, so I’m going to wait til tomorrow, when I’ve caught up a little more on my sleep.

In the meantime, I’ll just say that after Justin picked me up from the conference, we met up with Chris and his girlfriend Jess, who is out here from Washington DC.  Our grand adventure?  The Olympic Game Farm in Sequim (an entire city obsessed with all things lavender, we noticed).  I haven’t giggled so much or shrieked so loud in a very long time.  There are certain things that feeding wild animals by hand will cause… most often a quick revert back to the kind of pure joy you haven’t experienced since the age of three.

Yes, that’s drool in the above photo.  It landed in a little pool on the fabric seat.  Luckily we took Chris’ parents’ car.

The buffalo know just where to stand to get fed…

And they are too huge to be ignored.  Even by people in large SUV’s, who often have a tendency to ignore everything.

I’m sure I’ll be subjecting you all to more of these photos in the coming days.  Surreal experience.

One other thought: if the teacher/writer gig doesn’t work out, perhaps I should try my hand at training Kodiak bears.  I’m not kidding.  Carrot in hand, I said (calmly and assertively a la The Dog Whisperer — hey, it could work), “Up!  Up!” and he sat up on his haunches.  When I waved my carrot, he began waving his paws.

Seriously one of the (largest) cutest things I’ve seen.  I was in love.

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Seriously.  How can you not love this guy?

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These are two people happy to be back together after a long week apart.  More soon!