Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Where I've been

I wrote this long post a couple weeks ago, but then erased it instead of posting it, but I think I will try to post a short version today.

I had 2 friends die this month and my 2nd dearest friend (and mission companion) suffered a severe stroke the same week and has not recovered her ability to speak or get around too well.

The deaths hit me really hard as they were my 2 friends that had diseases like lupus. When it was too cold to go out or when flu season was everywhere and I stayed home to hide, I knew my friend, Christine, would be home too and we would call and visit for hours, knowing that exactly what the other one was feeling. She ended up dying of colon cancer. She had a really tough life and in the midst of it learned to add beauty and grace to her life and the lives of those around her.

The other death was a younger man who had MS. His wife was my friend and mentor when I worked at mental health. When you share a tiny office, and work responsiblities, with someone for every day for 2 years, you get pretty close. She was Alicia's age or younger when her husband was diagnosed with MS. I remember the day and how we all assured her that with proper nutrition and stress management, he would outlive us all.... But you could see it in her eyes then that she saw the future and knew he would not want to live like a caged animal. In the end it was out of their hands as he had an aggressive form of MS and he failed very quickly. If I remember correctly, he and I received our diagnoses within a month of each other, so to see someone so much healthier and younger than I fade so fast has somewhat sobered me.

But more than that, I just feel so bad for her to have known all these years in her heart that she would be a young widow --- and just watching and waiting for it to happen. I'm so sad for her and her girls.

In the end, he died when his ATV flipped on him in a ditch and he wasn't strong enough to push it off, but it was the MS. He used to be a state champion wrestler and was really strong until the disease wracked his body.

And finally, I can't even begin to think about my dear friend, Edna, and how afraid I am for her. She has been having little strokes for years so this was not unexpected, (she just turned 85), but she is always so full of energy and light, I just can't bear to think of her struggling in a silent prison. It is one of her greatest fears, as well. Alicia says it is everyone's greatest fear, and I'm sure she is probably right.

And on top of it all, I have apparently had this year's flu... killer headache and fever for 3 weeks. I have finally had 3 consecutive days where my head wasn't killing me all day, just part of the day... I think I might be recovering.

So the upshot of this all, is that I haven't been spending time on the blogs or emailing folks - I'm kind of in a tortoise shell, hiding my head and trying not to think too much, so I don't make myself (and everyone around me) totally crazy . A very sobering month.

I'm grateful for the health that I do have and for our beautiful warm home and that Brian gets to work inside after all those years in the frozen woods. I'm so thankful for the season of properity we had this summer. I'm thankful that I can walk and talk and read and think and sing and play the piano and the organ and do crafts. and I'm thankful that I have a healthy, loving husband who takes such good care of me and never makes fun of my "sick with the flu bedhead hairdo". Truly blessed.... truly blessed.
Love, Charlotte

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hats off to new Top Chef

YAY !!!!! New season of Top Chef. Brian read all the bios yesterday on and sort of rated the beginning class of losers. He picked right on who would leave at the end of the show today. We'll see if he gets the rest correct.

He likes Carla because her special ingredients are chocolate and butter and her specialty is pie making. The man loves his pies...

REgarding food: the beans that we canned dry and covered with boiling water popped a lot of their lids. Every morning we would wake up to the sound of lids popping, so we put the rest of them into the freezer. We haven't noticed any of the cooked beans popping yet. Justin's mom does hers without cooking them first, and doesn't have any problems.... but she is at 7500 feet and we are at like 40 feet. We figure that must make a difference.