Merry Christmas from the M household

It is just about Christmas, which means it is time for a festive blogging holiday (I know, its not like I’ve been writing that much anyway).

This is the first year EVER (and likely the last for a long time) that Patrick and I are just the two of us for Christmas (and Jeter).  I’m excited.  I’m also a little sad because it is weird not being home, but it works out that I have a bit more time off this way somehow.

I’m on call for Christmas Eve.  How holly jolly of me.

But, that hasn’t stopped us from concocting and continuing traditions.

We decorated our tree a few weeks ago.  Our tree is a hand-me-down from my Grandmother with “built-in” lights.  Last year a small chunk of them around the back were burnt out.  This year, once we had the tree fully assembled and pretty looking it was a full strip around the lower middle.  The whole way around.  I freaked out.  I mean, it looked ugly and I tried my darndest to find the broken bulb, but eventually gave up in tears.  Patrick and I opted to decorate it anyway and maybe look at getting a new tree next year.  After the tree was fully assembled with decorations and everything, Jeter promptly settled in under it, then by the next day went back to his previous routine of chewing on the branches, chewing on the wires and knocking off ornaments.  One morning 5 were down.  About 3 days after we put the tree up, I turned on the lights and lo and behold, they all worked.  Then, a few days later a different chunk were out.  Then, I saw Jeter chewing on the tree (and the lights)… It hit me… It has been him.  There is some sort of short and he intermittently reconnects it by gnawing on it.  The lights are presently all on again, but who knows how long.

The tree with the lightless strip before Jeter "fixed" it.

The tree with the lightless strip before Jeter “fixed” it.

Jeter in his spot under the tree.

Jeter in his spot under the tree.

On a related note, we do try really hard to discourage him from chewing the electrical wires.  We know its bad.  We even gave him an object lesson with the cat from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, but he persists in causing all sorts of tree related troubles.

Image from thethoughtexperiment.wordpress.com.

Tonight, we went out and looked at lights.  In the rain.  Because nothing says Christmas like pouring rain.  Patrick downloaded 100 Christmas classics and we listened to some festive music and admired lights, much like I have done since I was a kid.

Tomorrow, despite the call, we are hoping to go to church (yay!) and I am cooking french onion soup for supper because it seemed like a good idea.  We always read the Christmas story to each other at bed time, so hopefully I’ll be home for that.

And for Christmas day, our master plan is to sleep in (or read in bed), relax, have pancakes and bacon for brunch and open the presents we have here.  I am being adventurous since this is the one year we probably get to be adventurous and making lamb for Christmas dinner (and all the hipsters should be proud because we bought it at a local butcher and it is local baby sheep).  Besides that, we will pack and watch movies and play board games and read books and all that good stuff.

It isn’t our usual multi-family epic tour full of turkey, but we are excited for celebrating a bit differently.  Patrick calls it the blip year (or something like that) because it is more of an anomaly because there wasn’t a year quite like it before and there probably won’t be again.

So, Merry Christmas from the M household.  Hope you have fun with your traditions or anti-traditions.

Waiting, Anticipation, Hope and Gifts

‘Tis the season of anticipation.

Anticipation of holidays, anticipation of time with family and friends, of presents and for some of us, for anticipation of a celebration of the birth of our Saviour.

Anticipation is a part of waiting. Waiting can be hard. But, sometimes the wait is well worth it.

Look at the Jewish people in the Bible before Jesus’s time. They waited a long time for a Saviour. So long that some had given up hope and many had ideas of how He should look or be.

And of course, in the way God only can do, Jesus came in an unexpected fashion. In a way that defies our human expectations. I think that is so cool.

Sometimes God makes our lives like that. The things we anticipate, that we long for sometimes come in ways that we don’t fully look for or expect. I think it is a good lesson when I look at the way the world is headed or when things aren’t going according to plan. God’s plans sometimes get a bit weird or outside our expectations.

I think anticipation and hope is a form of worship. As we look forward to the Christmas season, I see hope in all kinds of ways, and really if our hope is in the right place and our anticipation is looking forward to celebrating well, it is a good thing.

Our life has recently had some moments where our anticipation and waiting turned into a more discouraging time. As we waited and hoped for a baby to come into and stay in our lives, we began to learn what hoping and trusting looks like when things start to fall away from what we anticipated, when pain keeps creeping in. Sure, we trusted, but I can relate to those who started to think otherwise when waiting on God to do something big. Who let bitterness and distrust sneak in. Because it can be easier to let that happen sometimes. Even though so many awesome things happen every day.

But, cool stuff happens when God is involved. I found out about “the Creature” the day before Patrick’s birthday. I told him as a part of his birthday present. Because after this long waiting, news of a baby really is a birthday present. “The Creature” is due just a few days before my birthday. Pretty cool.

I was thankful for the nausea, for the fatigue. Because that meant something was happening. It was affirming what we had been waiting for. That being said, I then started hoping for it to stop, but continued to (oddly enough) thank God everyday for the barfing (but confirming that it could stop anytime).

Laying in bed one night praying, I came to the realization that so many people had been praying for us, for a maybe baby and how lucky we are to have so many people in our lives who support us and intervene for us. It blew my mind how this was planned by God and seemed so intentional now, even though for so long it just seemed like we were forgotten.

We had our first (and only) ultrasound so far just a couple days before what should have been Elim’s due date. Seeing a flickering heart and a tiny human at a point when my heart was breaking was a big gift in and of itself.

On Friday, we got to hear “the Creature’s” heartbeat galloping along. Merry Christmas. There really still is a tiny human in there who will eventually come out.

So the anticipation continues. For this child, probably for others and all kinds of other things.  And I know it will persist the rest of my life.

The wait was worth it. I see that now. I see the trust that grew from that wait, the witness that it was and the growth we experienced. We learned practical lessons about suffering well and waiting well. In retrospect, I’m glad for the wait. It has taught me about how to love others in the midst of waits.  I think it is helping me to celebrate well.

Sometimes the best gifts come in ways that weren’t planned or expected in our human put-things-in-a-box way. Sometimes our anticipation makes things even better. Although my baby pales in comparison to the epic beauty of the Christmas story, I can see how lessons in waiting and hoping and not putting God into my human realm box can parallel the story and make me get how big it really is to an even greater.

My love-hate relationship with Christmas hospital

The hospital is a funny place at Christmas. I kind of have a love-hate relationship with Christmas hospital.

One part of me loves Christmas hospital. I love that everyone tries so hard to make it festive and that each floor or section have a different décor scheme (or lack thereof). I love that some people really rock the decorations. I get excited for the treats on the nursing units.

I love how people try so hard to make it a welcoming and festive place, even if for many people it is the last place they want to be.

But, I hate that people have to stay in hospital over the holidays. I’m glad we have the option and that these people are well taken care of. But, this weekend, I seem to have spent a good chunk of my on call rounds talking to people about their hopes to get out, their dismay about not getting out and trying to help them see or find the bright sides in the situation. It comes up a lot. And it is important, so it makes sense that it comes up.

I remember when I was about 5 (it was the year I got a Troll watch for Christmas), my Aunt was in hospital over Christmas. And she swore never to be there at that time again. I am too young to remember what was so bad about it, but I do remember her saying repeatedly she would never go to hospital before Christmas.

That is something I won’t forget.

I don’t want that for my patients. Because, unfortunately for a number of them, this probably is their last Christmas…

Our service is pretty good in that if there is any way the person is stable enough to go out even for a few hours, we try to make it work if the person and their family is wanting, willing and able.

I have one person who has the most festive room ever and plans on having their whole family in for Christmas dinner, although the logistics are still being sorted out. They are pretty excited and encouraged about being around for the holidays at all.

I saw another who only just realized home isn’t going to be an option and just wants to not be alone. Another who is going to get someone to bring in decorations. And a third who was working on Christmas cards and gift wrapping with their spouse.

Its not all that sunny, though. Some people say it won’t be Christmas this year, or get upset when talking about not being home.

I can’t make it better. But I want to. We can treat pain or nausea, but treating being in hospital over the holidays isn’t easy.

The nurses on our ward are awesome and make the best of it. We all, for the most part try to. That is what humans do over the holidays. And that makes it kind of a cool display of how people are decent.

Thus my love-hate relationship with Christmas hospital.

My first band concert (in a long time)

Today was my first band concert and what turns out to be almost 7 years!

I played my last band concert with the previous community band I was in in August of 2008 just before I started med school.  That was 6 and ½ years ago.

This makes me feel super old.

And so does this band sometimes.

As I said before, it is a “feeder” band and is mostly made up of junior high and high school students and their parents and then people like me who used to play in band but haven’t in a while.  So, the band that I often call the “good” band often calls us “the kids.”  Funny enough there is an age range in our band that I am smack in the middle of (although in near the older edge of that, I think).

The concert went fantastically.  The “good” band is AMAZING.  I could listen to them all day and they remind me of a somewhat better version of the band I played in in university.  The band I’m in played really well, and I think our sound was great even though many of our pieces are on the simpler side of things.

Patrick came and cheered me on like the awesome husband he is.

I remembered how much I missed performing in this kind of setting.  I’m so glad I am doing this and plan to keep on with it even after the baby and residency inclusive if both let me.

Also, speaking of baby and band, I am finally starting to look a little pregnant and not just fat.  As a result, I was stopped by an older man in the “good” band this afternoon on my way to the bathroom before the concert and he asked me if I was one of the kids in the 9am band.  I told him am in the 9am band (and refrained from the kid question).  And he asked again, are you one of the kids or are you older, so I told him I’m older, like way out of high school older.  He told me that was good because his wife pointed out to him that I was pregnant and they were concerned if I was a kid (or something like that… I was busy being puzzled by what was happening to get the exact wording).  I told him I’m happily married, have a career and am a good 10 years or more older than the “kids”.

It made me laugh pretty hard.  Partly because that was a bold statement (I could just be fat and I could be a teenager) and partly because I couldn’t believe that conversation really just happened.

Patrick took me out for a quick supper on the way home, so that I can spend my evening focusing on studying (and procrastinating while writing this blog post… whoops).

Evil Genius

Sometimes I feel like an evil genius. Not for especially good reasons either.

Image from cryhavok.org.

I feel like I beat the whole world because I took an in- lieu day and a couple vacation days to make an extra long weekend in early December to do all of that festive stuff that I need to get done.

It has become my routine during residency. The last few years, I took one day to get most of my shopping done. You see, I hate shopping at the best of times, and when Christmas comes and the crazies come out, it induces a kind of rage in me that is kind of terrifying.  So, I take a day off during the week and try to hammer out all my shopping while at least some of the crazies are at work.  This year, with the parasite, I decided it might take me an extra day or two and that I might have other stuff to do, so I took an extra couple days.

And thus, I hammered out all of my shopping, Christmas card writing and helped decorate the church plus I’m considering even doing some gift wrapping (if I can find last year’s wrapping paper…) before heading back to the world of work.

I even caught up on Grey’s and some other stuff I have been meaning to watch and cleaned out my closet! I may or may not have cried during both (for different reasons… I blame the tiny human).

Take that consumerism, festiveness and life! I can be festive and not want to die (it is sad how big of a deal that is to me).

Image from degrassiwikia.com. Interesting that this is from the Degrassi wikia page but is clearly a Boy Meets World scene… Fail internet. Fail.

Books I Wouldn’t Mind Finding Under My Tree 2014

It has been a long time since I have done a Top Ten Tuesday with the Broke and the Bookish. And the topic this week is about books I’m most looking forward to in 2015. Given the fact that I have been doing little fun reading (for some reason school and sleep have been prioritized) and that I pretty much consistently live in a cave, I decided that I will participate but will do a list that is slated in a few weeks time (partly to help people who ask me what books I want this year) the list of books I wouldn’t mind finding under my tree.5f1e1-toptentuesday

First of all… Confessions…. The M family has a lot of books. And it seems that I am gaining a bigger and bigger to be read pile. Second confession… I have been too sick and busy to really window shop for books a lot, so my “books I want” list isn’t as long as it often is.

  1. Another book by Rainbow Rowell. I LOVED Eleanor & Park. LOVED. As a result, I want to read everything else she is written. Seriously… Landline or Fangirl or They all sounds grand.
  2. Lola and the Boy Next Door or Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. I am embarrassed to have these on my list. But, I love a good light read as much as anyone and these definitely fall under that category.
  3. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman. This was on my list last year and I have yet to acquire the books, so I am putting it on again. I have a fascination with how different cultures view illness and medicine and how “my world” and “their world” connect.  This would be a great lesson.
  4. Desiring God; Loving. Doing. by John Piper. I enjoy his writing style and really get a lot out of reading his books. These are two that I have had my eye on for a little while.
  5. Gillian Flynn’s other books. Gone Girl was probably one of the scariest, most disturbing books I have read in some time (probably since I liked scary books when I was a tween). That being said, it was a great read, so I would try another one out. Even if it will probabably freak the heck out of me.
  6. When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman. I stumbled upon this in one of the many displays in Chapters. The title was intriguing but the story sounds good too.
  7. The Secret Life of Bees or The Invention of Wings: A Novel by Sue Monk Kidd. I keep hearing great things about her writing, but I have yet to read anything she has written.
  8. My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff. I love nonfiction, but I don’t read enough of it. This book combines the fascinating world of writers (it is like looking into a world I would like to be in if I wasn’t in my own) with a kind of coming of age/attaining status in the world story.
  9. A Train In Winter by Caroline Moorehead. I need more history in my life and this is history with the human side of things.
  10. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Everyone lives grief, but I see it every day at work in addition to the stuff in my own life. I want to learn everything I can about it so I can help and understand it more and more. This book offers a look at one woman’s experience of grief and comes highly recommended in another book I loved, The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwabe.

Let’s face it. I’m open to most books. And I really don’t need any books.

Snow. Yay?

I got a text from a friend while I was getting ready for work this morning.  It read “SNOW!”

In the mornings, I stagger from my closed curtains bedroom into our windowless bathroom, so I exist in oblivion to the weather unless it is raining hard enough for our leak to drip or is windy enough to shake the windows or sunny enough to shine through the curtains (which is not likely at 7am where we live right now).  It has been unseasonably mild the last two days or so, and I live in a bubble in which I check the weather only  before venturing outside to catch the bus, so that wasn’t exactly on my radar.

Now, lets be realistic.  I live in Canada and it is Fall, so snow is a given.  But that wasn’t the shock factor.  The shock factor was my initial gut response…. “Yay!”

WHAT?!?!

I don’t say yay to snow.  I’m more of a bah humbug, go away winter kind of person.  Usually I’m anti-festive until December and even then I get cranky if things are excessive.  I only like snow on the holidays not overlapping my travel plans (which it always does). The one thing I always love are Starbucks peppermint mochas and gingerbread lattes.  Mmmm.

But, that has been changing.  I started doing things like sending out cards (I need to buy my cards this year) and decorating.  I still don’t like excessive or commercialism, but I think because I am embracing the reason we celebrate, I am embracing the celebration more.

But moreso, I think friend is rubbing off on me too much.  And I’m okay with that.

So, I almost said yay to snow.  Not quite.  But almost.

After almost a month of Sundays

Today was my first Sunday back to church in about a month.

Why a month, might you ask? 

Well, it is simple.  

A snow storm, an ice storm and what Patrick classified as one of the better excuses for missing church ever. I sent the reason to him in a text that went a little like this:

Stumbled upon someone trying to die.  Had to help make them stop.  Sorry I can’t be there.

Translation… I was on call.  

I was hoping to make my way in after doing a quick round and then meeting up with staff/doing consults later in the day.  But, my second to last patient of the day happened to be crashing before my very eyes.  I may be on a consult service, but there is a human (and ethical and legal) obligation to help in that circumstance.

So, it has been about a month.  Work and storms have stopped me.  I did get to Christmas Eve church, but this was my first Sunday church.

It was nice to be back.  

To learn and worship as a part of a community.  To catch up with a couple people after the holidays.

Also, it is nice that I am really starting to think of it as community. 

And in case you were wondering after this post, no baby announcement this week (a rarity).

Merry Christmas To All… Yesterday

So, it is Boxing Day.

We are back now in our home after spending  the last 5 days at our childhood hometown with our families friends… Jeter inclusive and no fits this time (also, he got more gifts than some children do, I am quite certain)!

As usual, it was a very busy time… Minus the full day we were quite literally iced in.  Literally… I haven’t seen that much ice since I was 11.  It took us a full half hour to chisel our way into our car the next day.  Lots of family stuff, we actually got to see everyone we wanted to (minus team Nuc Med… sad face).

Therefore, Merry Christmas a day late.

I am so not excited to go back to work tomorrow.  Partly because I am on a consult service and won’t know any of the patients and will be on my own, partly because I am on call all weekend and New Years Eve and I just plain want to whine about it, and partly because Infectious Diseases isn’t exactly my forte.

Clearly the holidays have made me a fan of the run-on sentence.

I need to recuperate from the drive and the festivities and the cat keeping us up most of the wee hours of the morning for no good reason.

The couch is calling my name.

Merry day after Christmas to all and to all a good night.

 

 

Traffic, trees and tomorrow

This time of year makes me want to gouge my eyes out.

We were in the car (barely driving) to bring supper to a couple with a new baby from church for an hour and a half.  They live 20minutes or less away on any other day.

Traffic is insane and people can’t drive, especially with the snow banks and things.

To this, I say bah humbug.

That and so much for getting work on my research done tonight… Again.

But, there are good parts of this time of year… Patrick and I went to the library last week to do some homework/read books and we found this lovely creation.  I took a picture, even though taking pictures in the middle of the library makes me a weirdo.IMG_1043

Also, all I have is preparation for teaching, call tonight and work tomorrow standing between me and a glorious 6 days of vacation.  Oh boy.