Monday, June 26, 2006


I have no idea how to use flickr yet, so I just threw them on the site in no particular order.... it is best to watch them as a slide slow since I can't figure out why some are coming out all wonky.....

SO here is our 8 day trip in fast forward bullets:

- Stuck on the plane for 3 hours before taking off.... 5 children ages 6 and under!!

- Animal Kingdom - We discover Kameron's irrational fear of oversized stuffed characters waving hello.... It's tough to be a bug...Kameron and Max literally shaking and crying in fear of their lives with huge bugs in 3-D....Lion King, huge hit!

- Magic Kingdom - we all start crying the moment they discover the "castle" and start jumping up and down to show us, we lose Kaitlyn at Dumbo, Max expoldes when he meets Buzz Lightyear, huge downpour of rain (we get stuck in Mickey's house), Stay late for electric light parade, ride monorail for the first time..again, Max explodes!

- EPCOT - Living Seas huge hit! Dinosaurs and Ellen a little freaky for the kids, Mexico, Norway, laser light and fireworks - Ben sits in my lap but then quickly jumps up to smash his cheek into mine everytime the fireworks were too loud!

- Free day swimming and shopping - Max terrified of the water, Ben fearless... jumps in even if you are not looking to catch him (let me tell you this was fun). Left Ben at a resturaunt ... we walked out did the 1-2-3-4-5 head count and came up short one red head, turn around to see him standing and smiling in the waiting area of the resturaunt. Shopping frenzy in the 1 1/2 hrs we have left before the stores close.

- MGM Studios - Star Wars Mega hit!! Met Woody, Jesse and army men from Toy Story, again Max explodes! Playhouse Disney, Little Mermaid & Beauty and the Beast shows were all wonderful. Animations tour great...Indiana covered their ears the whole time. Mike and I got our one and only alone time waiting in line for Aerosmith's Rockin Roller Coaster, our favorite ride from our honeymoon!

- Magic Kingdom and EPCOT again - tried to catch what we missed the first days. More shopping... Took Max on Test Track were you ride in a car that goes though a test track including speeding outside... you guessed it...Max exploded once again!

- Time to go home - Mike somehow changes the time on the clock in our room so he thinks we are getting up at 10:00 which is the time we should be leaving... I jump out of bed and do the dance of the Bumble Bee before I call my mother to tell her we are running late and she tells me it is only 7:30... I hit my husband and crawl back into bed. Get to the airport, get on the plane, it starts raining.... Dear God... please... I cannot sit on the tarmack for another 3 hours..... 45 minutes later we are in the air.... Get home... have dinner... all of us snuggle in bed and are asleep by 8:30....none of us wake up until 12 hours later......

Tons of cute "in between" stories, but I have no energy to remember them yet......

Saturday, June 24, 2006

....we're back...

...oh...dear.....God.....we're back......

....details to come.....

...after I get approximatly 24 hours of sleep......

..."Happiest celebration on Earth".....uh, huh....yeah......

Friday, June 16, 2006

1 day

I went to sleep at 12:30 last night.....
I was up at 6:00.....
Forced myself to stay in bed and snuggle with husband......
It is now 7 am and I am in full on "Mission Vacation" Mode.....

24 hours until we leave for the airport......

Thursday, June 15, 2006

2 days

Last working day!

Things still left to do:
Clean house
Water plants
Last minute shopping at Walmart
Unpack because everything doesn't fit right in the suitcase
Pack again

Lay in bed with my husband re-creating the Walt Disney World commercial:

Me: You asleep, yet?
Him: No... too excited....

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

3 days

I am not sure how I am expected to work.....

... oh wait... I am not working.......

Well, I'm AT work, just not accomplishing much!

3 days.....3 D-A-Y-S!!!!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

4 days....

4 days, people!!!

4 days until we get on a plane for Disney World.

I have successfully obtained 12-14 new outfits for each of us for an 8 day trip....

The excitement is growing exponentially!

I asked Max when he woke up this morning if he slept well. Rubbing his eyes he nodded yes. I asked him if he had any dreams: "Yes, I dreamt about Disney World..."

I am not sure what he is dreaming about.. I think he is thinking that we are going to the cartoon places we see on the Disney channel... and thanks to the brilliant Imagineers at Disney World he is not too far off!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

2 Years

2 years ago you passed away.

I miss you as much today as I did the moment you left.

I thought the "hole" would fill in quicker than this.

I really don't want it to.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Silver linings in gray clouds

I believe you attract what you need, not necessarily what you want. I am blessed to be able to count the 5 most important women in my life on the one hand that I hold each of them so precious, like beautiful sea shells I have found on the beach. These 5 women have played such a remarkable role in my journey of life, sometimes holding a mirror up to my face, sometimes carrying me when the burden has been to great, sometimes holding up the margarita glass and reminding me to stop and smell the limes.

A very dark situation occurred this weekend. It was your typical “straw that broke the camel’s back” moment. The information that came out in this situation was not new, but the delivery of the information and the reaction was very new. As I have said in this blog over the past few months, there is something different in my thinking, a significant shift in how I am choosing to live my life, the choices I make, and the level of tolerance and acceptance that I am willing to deal with when it comes to my life. So rather than let this dark situation just “blow over” only to head out to sea to gain strength and create a storm which will reappear with the same destructive thunder, lightening and hail, I chose to stand up and say… I am not playing this game anymore…. I am choosing to pick up my toys and head in the house so that I don’t keep getting wet, cold, and miserable every time the same storm comes ashore.

An interesting under-current to this situation is related to my right hand ladies….. Of the 5 women, the situation is directly related to one of them, and by 11:00 pm yesterday, I had spoken to the other four. Here are the shoulders that I leaned on while I am trying to get clarity in this situation:

One of these women has a very big stake in the outcome. Her happiness is directly related to our happiness, always has and always will. She has been the peacekeeper, the moderator, the keeping a cool head police all my life. This is the person I most want to please in the situation. She is the person whom it is hardest to speak to right now because for her - I do just want to let it all blow over because I know that it will make her happy. Her grace for forgiveness and acceptance is greater than the oceans.

The next woman reminded me that there are times in our lives where it is deal or no deal. There are somethings that you must stop in order to save the snowflake from turning into an avalanche, the longer you wait, the more damage it can cause. Tough love sucks, but in the long run the results are worth it.

Another women reminded me that there are opportunities in every situation to grow and learn from. Change is not easy, especially when you are the only one who wants to change. She reminded me that in order to change the future, you must look to the past, take the experience and leave the trash, and always look to the light.

The last woman reminded me that you can’t force a person to change their spots if they have no intention of going to the salon. She asked me how much I am willing to sacrifice in this situation in order to force a horse to a watering hole they can’t see. Were the sacrifices worth the results?

Blessed – truly blessed by these women’s presence in my life. They bring a balance to my life that compares to no other. One has brought me to an opportunity for growth, one is mediating, one is reminding me of my strength, one is reminding me to stay true to the path, and one is reminding me not to get lost in the details and sacrifice too much.

Thank you – to each and every blessed one of you………

Saturday, June 03, 2006

The hardest thing to forgive....

We are once again in the ... what were we doing 2 years ago today... phase. We are coming up on the 2 year anniversary of my father's death from brain cancer. Little things that most people would not notice as they go throughout their day stand out to me like beacons to remind me of that very isolating time in my life. I call it isolating because it is a time .. a 2 year period, where every event, every occasion is remembered by where we were in the continuous journey of my father's illness.
There is a very specific night that haunts me to this day. I remember it as if it just happened last night. Maybe not so much the details, like what was on the TV or what I was wearing, but the feelings are as raw today as they were 2 years ago.

Saturday, June 5, 2004
We knew things were not good. We knew we weren't curing anymore, we were waiting for the inevitable. His doctor told my mother that we were looking at weeks, not months. He had been in the hospital for awhile and everyday something faded away... first he couldn't pick things up, then he couldn't grab things at all, it eventually moved to him being unable to move anything without full assistance.
My mother called.
"We need to consider hospice...(she fades away in a muffled noise of total anguish)...I can't tell him...."
You see, at this point, no one has had the conversation with my father that his time has come. My mother had asked the doctor to do it, and his response was, "I am not sure what good it is to tell him..."

"We have to tell him, but I can't do it...."
This entire time I am sobbing silently. I compose myself and call my sister at work.
"We have to find the words to tell dad, and we have to do it together, can you come?"
"I am on my way."
She ends up having car trouble and I have to go and get her. We drive the very long drive back to the hospital with both of us exchanging masks of strength and utter despair.
We get to the hospital and enter the room in silence. I can't remeber if he was awake or asleep, because by this time he was pretty much always in and out of some sort of sleep. Mom loses it on the bench near the window... the bench was always a great place to lose it, because it was just behind his line of sight, and if your sobs were quiet enough, he had no idea how utterly lost and sad you were.
We left his room several times because the anxiety was just too great. Not one of us could start the conversation... we knew the conversation had to occur... but there are no words ...
The nurse walks in with his medicine, the new medicine that the doctor has ordered to "make him more comfortable." My mother resisted starting the morphine because we knew my dad's reaction to it from previous hospital stays and we also knew that it meant that his moments of conciousness would slip away entirely. The nurse starts to head for my father, "Mr. Randall, I have some medicine here for you..." and she sees us melt into a ball of tears..... one of us tells her, "Could you just leave it... we will give it to him......"
My mother was seated on the silent bench, I was in his recliner right next to him and Karen moved to sit on the foot of his bed. She hands him the pill cup and he loosely holds it in his hand, resting it on the bed....
"Ya know girls... it doesn't look like I am going to beat this thing......"
Oh dear God.... he is telling us. He is having the conversation with us. He is saying the words that could not come out of our mouth. He is comforting us.
We all cried... cried and cried and cried.....
He took the pill and settled in to once again find comfort the only place he could.... in sleep.
My mother had been keeping a constant vigil with him. She had not slept in days, if not weeks or months. I told her that I would stay with him that night. We had a very long and difficult journey ahead of us, and it wasn't going to end tonight.
So she left with Karen. Dad and I were alone.....
The most beautiful view out of my father's room was sunset and sunrise. It faced north, so you could see the sky turn beautiful shades of gold, red, purple and blue. The worst part of sunset was that my father suffered from sundown syndrome. The darkness of night made my father very anxious and irritable. He would phase in and out of irrational and incoherent thoughts. You very rarely got more than 45 minutes or so, of peaceful sleep. So this night, I was prepared to have another night of interrupted sleep between his and the nurses constant interruptions to "check in on us" and check vital signs.
I was not prepared for one of the worst nights in my life. The medication to help my father relax did the complete opposite. He was anxious, and very awake. He was in a lot of pain and could not get comfortable.
"Baby... please.. I gotta sit up...."
So I would get up, put his side rails down, shift him to his side, lower his legs to the ground, sit him up on the side of the bed, put his slippers on, cover him with his robe, place his arms around my neck...."ready dad"..."yeah"..."okay....1-2-3"....hoist him to as much of a standing position that I could, pivot him and place him in his chair, position him with pillows, cover him with blankets.
"Is that better?"
"yeah... thanks, babe...."
Lay back down on the silent bench, and stare up at the TV pretending to watch whatever was on....
15 to 20 mintes later
"Oh, God... it hurts.... I gotta lay down... I gotta lay down...."
"Okay, dad, okay... lets get you back into bed....."
We start the procedure in reverse.
I walk out ot the nurses station....
"He is in a lotta pain.. is there anything you can give him?"
"Well... it's not time for another dose for another 2 hours....."
"Okay.... I think he is better now that he is laying down...."
15-20 minutes later
"I gotta get up... I gotta get up...."

This cycle continued all night with each new change more urgent and desperate than the previous. I was pregnant at this time, 3 or 4 months. Early enough to think I was capable of staying up all night and continuously "carrying" my 6 ft father back and forth from the bed to the recliner. It was quickly becoming clear that by 2 or 3 o'clock, I needed help. I walked out to the nurses station...
"I need some help....He wants to get into the chair and I am pregnant and starting to hurt from helping him get up and down...."
One of the 3 nurses at the station tells me, "I'll get some one to come in and help...."
A nurses aid walks in and informs me that she can't do it alone, he is to big.
She walks out and returns with several people. They get him into the chair and leave. Of course 15 minutes later he wants back into the bed... I go back out to the nurses station... they sigh and return to the room....
"Mr. Randall, you are gonna have to get comfortable...."
They surround him with pillows under every elbow, knee, foot and up and down his back. He politely smiles to them and says thanks.
Within moments of them leaving the room, he wants up again....

This is the darkest moment in my journey and one I cannot seem to forgive myself for....He pleaded with me for 15-20 minutes to get him out of the bed and back into the chair....I could only respond with, "Dad....please... I am just so tired... I can't ... I can't get you up again.....
I remember thinking in that moment... Dear God, just - take - him..... take him soon. I just can't handle this anymore.... and I weeped....quietly on the silent bench.

By sunrise he had settled down, mostly out of shear exhaustion. I remember calling my mom and explaining the night and she said to tell the doctor to start the morphine. When the doctor came in, he said I looked tired. He turned to my father and started what sounded like the "we have no other options" speech, and I quickly put up my hand and said, "we have already talked about this....."
I followed him out of the room and told him to start the morphine. He said he was going to write the orders on the chart and cancel all vital checks and request a hospice to come and speak with us.
I left the hospital that nmorning and Mike came and picked me up. He was driving my father's van. I remember climbing into the passenger seat and crying. I remember crying all the way home. I cried myself to sleep once I got home.

I have cried the entire time as I write this post. I am haunted by my father's plea for comfort and my total inability to give it to him. I am tortured by the fact that this night was the last time he was ever able to stand and I was so angry every time I heard him speak and ask me to help him. I silently pray.. 2 years later... to be back on the silent bench again to have the opportunity to re-do that night all over again....

I have the most wonderful and compassionate people in my life... and I am thanking you in advance for any kind words that you wish comment here.... but I am asking you that you please not tell me... "you did the best that you could"... I know that... I know that the only person who can forgive myself for my thoughts and set me free from this night is me...I think telling my story here has placed my feet in the right direction.....

Friday, June 02, 2006

Dad ... is it you?!?!?

So I am watching the Biography channel last night and they had a special on about Mediums. It was profiling the rather mainstream mediums who you probably have seen on TV talk shows. I have always had this fantasy of going to one of those large conferences they give and having the medium pick me out with a message from beyond. Then when my father died I actually had someone on the "other side" to communicate with. As I was watching this show I was thinking, hmmm... I wonder if dad's spirit would be strong enough to come through with a message....

.. and clear as day in my father's voice I hear....

.... "You know I don't believe in that bullshit!".....

Thursday, June 01, 2006

What the hell was I thinking?

So upon the advice of my friend, Allison, who is a self tanning addict, I went to my handy local Walgreen's and picked up a self tanner.... now the only thing that has color on my body is my hands which are orange....

I will now be washing my hands every 15 minutes until the color fades or the skin falls off.....

...good times.....