Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Not-So-Merry Christmas

My younger brother is, again, back in the hospital. It's the safest place for him right now. His swelling/bloating is so bad that he can't wear anything on his feet and his clothes are too tight. His kidney biopsy results came back and thank God the damage isn't progressing as fast as they thought. The kidneys are inflamed but he is not in dialysis stage yet, and they are giving him a new drug that will try and get him under control. The drug is new and not extensively used yet, so that is why he must stay in the hospital so they can monitor its progress. He won't be leaving the hospital this time until the fluid retention is gone, which means he will be in the hospital over Christmas. He also has MRSA, a form of staph infection, which means you have to dress up in gown, mask and gloves in order to visit him.

His "loving" girlfriend is still leaving tomorrow for Ontario, despite his poor health and hospital admission. If John were in the hospital, I wouldn't be leaving him behind. But at least it will be better with her gone -- she won't encourage him to ask for early discharge or get into any arguments.

So I guess this means I will be packing up some Christmas dinner and taking it up to him at the hospital. We can't bring his gifts up to him because he can't really use them, and with the staph infection, it's better to have as little exposed to it as possible.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Christmas Meme

Stolen from Mare & Kowy. First meme I've felt like answering in a while.

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate?
Hot chocolate. The only opaque beverage I like. I don't like eggs, even nogged.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Actually, neither. Santa would leave unwrapped presents on the couch, in the same room as the tree.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
Colored all the way. I dislike plain white lights. They're BORING. Christmas is colorful in my world.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
Nope. I don't need mistletoe to get kisses, I just ask John. :)

5. When do you put your decorations up?
Following Nana's rule, December 1st. As a kid, we never decorated until after my Dad's birthday on Dec. 9. Lately I will begin decorating on the first weekend after Dec. 1 as I don't have time during the week.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
Hmmm, good question. Likely turkey.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child:
The year my dad gave my mom her sapphire ring was memorable. It was the happiest I'd ever seen her. Also, the year my younger brother opened up a present and saw that it was clothes, then chucked it over his head and kept on going with the other presents. Or the year my older brother caught my younger brother downstairs in the middle of the night, called out to him, and my younger brother ran screaming back upstairs and slept in way past the wake-up time.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
Our Gr. 4 teacher deemed it her duty to tell us. I found out about the Easter Bunny after seeing a receipt. My mom had asked me to go through a stack and forgot she had written "Easter Bunny" on it.

9. Do you open a gift on christmas eve?
I used to, but I don't anymore.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
Usually with a lot of frustration. By the time the tree makes it into the house, I'm tired and frustrated. As for decorations on the tree, I like lots of lights, and there must be Bubble Lights. I prefer real garland to beads. I have many ornaments that were gifts or mean something, so it is always a very personal tree.

11. Snow! love it or dread it?
Right before and during Christmas, I love it. After Christmas, no thanks.

12. Can you ice skate?
Yes, but I have weak ankles and don't last too long before needing a break.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
The year I got my first TV for my room. I still have that TV, it's in my office at home. I asked for one for a couple of years and was so excited to finally get one. And it was a color TV!

14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you?
Spending time relaxing. It's so stressful leading up to Christmas that I really enjoy the break from work and shopping and preparations.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?
I don't really have anything specific to Christmas. I usually only do moco cakes around xmas.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Spending Christmas Eve with family, usually my mom's side. We used to host big parties with all of my aunts, uncles and cousins. This year I am not sure if anything will be happening, which makes me kind of sad. Hopefully something will develop.

I also always make a point of watching A Charlie Brown Christmas and The Grinch.

17. What tops your tree?
A star.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving?
I'll admit I am selfish; I do like receiving. But I take great pains with giving and work hard to make sure I don't give a crappy gift.

19. What is your favorite christmas song?
Good King Wenceslas

20. Candy canes:
Tasty, but only the traditional ones. Flavored candy canes = yuck.

21. Favorite Christmas movie?
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

22. What do you leave for Santa?
We used to leave cookies & milk. Sometimes a carrot for the reindeer.

But? But?

There will not be a Fromage 2006. I was looking forward to more Ed The Sock skewerings of videos.

Monday, December 11, 2006


My brother made it through his biopsy today without problems. He seems to be doing ok and can go home tomorrow. Phew.

I went to the funeral parlour tonight in support of a co-worker who just lost her daughter. The lineup took an hour to get through, the amount of people there was incredible. She seems to be holding up fairly well considering the situation. I can't imagine how horrible it must be to lose a child though. Keep her in your thoughts/prayers.

I received notification tonight that my blog is now eligible to switch over to the new beta version. Great! Only when I tried it, it notified me that it couldn't process it. Apparently I have too large a blog, with posts and comments combined. Yay. So I'm stuck in the old version until they get more support for it.

I had some very confusing conversations about life insurance today. I signed some paperwork to increase my policy, but it isn't finalized because I didn't have a void cheque with me. After a conversation with my Dad tonight, I'm not convinced I should have proceeded with it. Since I still haven't handed over the money, I have time to take the paperwork and consider my options. I think I will do that. Despite (or maybe in spite of) my past financial background, I find investments of any kind to be very confusing. I don't fully understand them and I don't think I asked enough questions of myself today before going in to see the agent. I think I will take some more time to think things over.

It's in cases like these where I feel kind of dumb. I feel like I should know more about financial things, seeing as how I studied them for years. I guess that explains why I didn't make a good accountant. I just don't like admitting that because I worked so hard toward it.

Scott, Mare and Jack came over to help hang my outside lights on Sunday. Thanks for the help! My house is now finished being decorated, with the exception of getting a tree. That task will be next weekend's project. Dad is taking me up to the tree farm again, past Browns Flat, to cut one down. With the chain saw, of course. :)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Caution: contents under pressure

Just because a bottle of water is not carbonated does not mean that it is not under pressure. I exploded one on myself this morning at work. It was funny, after I cleaned everything up.

Saturday is my Dad's birthday, but I hope to still be able to make it to the Pub. Been a long time and I could use some karaoke. I could use some fun, period. Between my family crap and work crap, I'm not really having a good time anywhere.

I started my decorating this week. I have all but two sets of lights up inside. I need to purchase another timer, slap them up in the window, and then I'm all set. I did an online shopping blitz this week and now have most of my presents purchased. All that is remaining is to buy a couple of things for John's sock, and to do the bulk of the purchasing for my grandfather's sock. I should be able to knock that stuff off in one trip. Wrapping Central is set up in my basement. Still need to talk to Dad about going to get a tree, perhaps next weekend.

2 weeks to go until John arrives. I am really looking forward to some more quality time together. I'm glad it isn't as long between visits this time.

Oh hey, I got some news this week. I have a meeting for work that involves me going to Las Vegas at the end of February. Haven't been to Vegas before, and it is within driving distance of John. Something to look forward to in the middle of winter.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Help with lights

If anyone could spare the time this weekend, I could use some help with my outdoor Christmas lights. I just need to get two strings along the gutter of the front of my house, which involves a ladder, and not something I can do myself. My very tall younger brother usually helps me with that, but he's not well enough to stand on a ladder right now.

If you could lend me a hand, please let me know. I'd appreciate it!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Tired, already and still

Wow, am I tired. I just got back from vacation and already I could use another one. In the couple of days I have been home, events have been going so fast & furious that I definitely know I’m not in Kansas (or California) anymore.

My brother’s diagnosis of Lupus has been met with his unrealistic expectation that he will get better. His condition will not improve, but according to the doctors, it is quite manageable. Unfortunately his home situation is causing stress that isn’t helping, but he refuses to stay anywhere else for a while to rest and get away from the tension. He’s an adult and has to make his own choices, but he’s making poor ones right now. It’s difficult as his family to not step in and take over and just start telling him what to do. He doesn’t seem capable of taking care of himself. I keep waiting for the mechanism to kick in that will make him realize he needs to smarten up and straighten his life out. He has made a couple of positive steps this week, so I am hoping that trend will continue, if he can just stay out of the hospital. My mother had to take him up to the hospital again last night because his blood pressure was dangerously high. The doctors were checking for risk of stroke from blood clots, but they did eventually send him home.

I got stuck in Montreal coming home from California on Monday night. While I was angry that they wouldn’t hold the plane for me, it did give me a chance to see my older brother and sister-in-law. I haven’t seen my SIL since April and my brother since my grandfather’s funeral in June. It was a quick visit but any visit is good with them.

My older brother and SIL have actually decided to come home for a visit this weekend, and it will give him a chance to talk to my younger brother in person. YB looks up to OB, and it will make YB feel better to have a visit with OB. They are flying down tomorrow and arriving in Fredericton, so I have to drive up there to pick them up. With the possibility of bad weather, I wrote to my Dad (who is on vacation) and asked to borrow his truck for tomorrow, in case I need it.

I have not been feeling very well since I got back. The mental stress with all of this family circus has been taking its toll already. I am also jetlagged and feel like a cold may be inevitable. I feel like I could sleep for a couple of days straight.

One positive thing that happened this week with regards to my brother’s health is that he was able to finally reach the clinic in Boston and make an appointment to go down the second week of January. They specialize in diabetes but also look at your overall health. He’ll get better attention and more doctors who know what they’re doing.

Other than family issues, not much else has been going on. I aim to try and decorate for Christmas this weekend, before things get any busier. John shipped me his old TiVo, which I have installed and it seems to be working quite well so far. I am feeling the usual bout of loneliness after having been with John for a week. Welcome back to reality, which contains cold weather and stress.