Oh, hi.

So it’s been a while… like a year and a half or so, but I’m hanging in here – until recently, like the last month or so, I would have added “barely” to that statement.  I feel like I’ve been hibernating and it’s now time for spring to get here.

I’ve got lots of reasons for my absence, but the biggest one is I don’t know how many ways I could say I just can’t function or even more, I don’t have the words to explain why I couldn’t function.

In the past 18 months…

I returned to America.  Not by choice, but at, what I do think, was a good time for our family.  And turns out many people had expectations of what this would mean and I found that very overwhelming so I responded in ways that could and did damage relationships.

I got a part-time job at World Market – great store, but also overwhelming to work retail at the holidays.

Then I spent Thanksgiving with my immediate family.   Michael arranged for Chan and Aly to make it to Colorado.  And there were friends there.  It was good. It was probably the first big positive in our return.

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And somewhere in this time, I discovered that I brought a great big ol’ helping of social anxiety with me when I returned to America.  I don’t know where or when I picked it up, but man I caught a massive case of it and it seems like it might be a permanent part of who I now am.

Christmas came.  Parts of Christmas were good.  When we heard we’d be returning to America I thought a few of the positives that would come with that would be time with friends and time with family.  We had a great Christmas with some awesome friends.

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We made it into the New Year – 2017, I was determined I would get things under control.  I didn’t.  But I didn’t give up.

In January of 2017, my older brother died.  It was devastating. Not because he died.  But because I’d wished him dead for many, many years and his death changed nothing other than to cause me more pain than he’d caused me while he was living.

The holidays were over, New Year was over.  I needed to do something that felt like forward motion so I got a job at Caption Call.  It was also part-time, so between my two part-time jobs, I had a full-time job.  And what’s the best thing to do when you have two part-time jobs? Find a temporary full-time job.  A temporary full-time job that is a Monday – Friday kind of job.   The kind of job that makes you quit your two part-time jobs.

In March of 2017, I started working at Compassion International.  Yes, the same place that Michael works.  The reason we were in Asia.  It was just the kind of job I needed.  Set hours and responsibilities that didn’t extend past the hours I was required to be at work.  In May of 2017, I was able to turn my temp job into a permanent job.

About this time Sam came to us and wanted to know if his graduation trip could be to Thailand.  He’d taken his GED and passed with flying colors with college credits and all that jazz.  When Chan graduated we took a family trip to Japan.  When Aly graduated we took a family trip to New Zealand.  Sam wanted to return to Thailand to see his friends graduate high school.   Michael and I thought this was a great idea, but it couldn’t be a family trip.  Finances and jobs wouldn’t allow for it.  So it was a Sam and mom trip.  It was a healing trip.  It was the first time I heard Sam speak of Thailand as his home and not as a place he’d never wanted to live.  It gave him an opportunity for closure.  It also gave me an opportunity for closure.  I saw friends.  I made my way along roads that for years had been home for me.  I saw life had gone on without me.  And that it was okay.  I returned from Thailand knowing Thailand was no longer my home and recognizing that I hadn’t made a home in America, either.

Life was painful.  Interactions with people hurt.  And that makes life very difficult.  When you want to put your best foot forward and make a really good impression, but every single time you try you fail, it doesn’t make life easier.  It’s caused me to mess up relationships with some neighbors and to not even try to have relationships with other neighbors.  It caused me to mess up relationships with friends and it’s caused me to mess up relationships with family.   It’s hard to navigate life when you feel like with every hello you say you owe that person an apology.    And when you see all the failed relationships around you and you see that the common denominator of them all might be? could be? is?  you, it’s crushing.

But that’s where I am. And the funny thing is that I do feel like I’m turning a corner.  Every day no longer feels like a challenge. I don’t think the tension of finding my home will ever go away, but I now know that I can live with that tension and thrive in that tension.

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making a home

one of the things i’m looking forward to in colorado is making a home for our family.

i currently have three things hanging on walls in my house and they are all in odd locations because that’s where the nail or screw just happened to already be and that got me thinking…

when we moved to thailand we assumed we’d be here a long time.  a really long time, but we’ve never had a timeline.  we didn’t really know how long we’d be here when we arrived and each year came with either the promise of another year or the threat that we could be moving.  that makes it hard to create a home.  i’ve never put a nail into a wall here.  if something happens to be hung it’s because there was already a nail in place to hold it.  for christmas decorations we used temporary tape type things.  nothing permanent.  nothing that left a hole that would require filling in when we left.  we’ve lived in three houses here and i’ve painted one room.  the kitchen in the current house.  but it still doesn’t feel like my kitchen.  it’s just a borrowed kitchen i’ve painted yellow.

a while ago (while i was cooking christmas dinner) michael and i had a fight over a ladle.  i was cooking and i commented that i would be glad to not see this particular ladle once we moved.  he said that we should take it with us, a new ladle would cost money that we didn’t need to spend.  his statement might be true, but my only thought was that this ladle belongs in a kitchen that is in a house that’s never been our home (i also thought ladles are cheap and if i want a new ladle i’ll get a new ladle.)  i think it might have been the first time we had to think about our return being more than just a move.  while a lot of the steps are the same as the moves we’ve made in the past – making to do lists, packing boxes, arranging logistics… all that fun stuff – there’s something different on the other end.  something that i’m not totally ready to embrace, but something that i know will be good.

i’m looking forward to making a home.  i’m going to paint walls (lots of walls, but not all the walls) and i’m going to hang pictures.

 

 

 

 

Returning

I wrote my first blog post on 01 September 2007.  We’d just found out we were going to be moving – we weren’t yet sure of where we’d be going other than South Asia – and I thought it would be a good idea to blog about our move and everything that would happen during our transition.  I remember the thrill of all that was to come.  It was all so unknown and for the most part exciting and (on occasion) scary.  Well, the time has come to go the other way.

We’re moving back to America. We’re moving back with Michael’s job.  This should be a good move for him – career wise – and I totally support him.  However, I am not at all ready to go.  I’m not sure I’ll ever really be ready to go. It’s months away (7 months or so), but I’m not able to approach it the way I did our move here.

So here I go.  Blogging about returning.  Right now it doesn’t feel like returning home, even though we’ll be returning to the same house we lived in before.

There are folks who are excited for our return and we are so thankful for them, but we also don’t know how to make them understand that we can’t share in their excitement and that we need that to be okay.  Eventually we will get there.  I think.

 

 

 

again with the food

i’m not a food blogger, and i don’t really have a desire to be one. which might have you asking, “why another post about food?”  i’m attempting a little bit of psychology (or something like that) in order to get my blogging mojo back.  i figure if what i’m cooking is the most interesting thing i have going on in my life right now, then that’s what i’m gonna write about.  (it’s not just interesting, it’s also unusual.  cooking is not my default.)  so i guess i’ll just keep posting about food until i can find the interesting in the rest of my life.  my hope is that i will add a dash of daily life in with the cooking/food stuff and – eventually – it will become more and more daily life and less and less look what’s in my crockpot, but until then…  let’s go ahead and look what’s in my crockpot!

before i could head to the store to check off my grocery list i needed to make a trip to immigration for sam’s 90 day check-in.  it was due aug. 14, but they allow a grace period and i was within that time period.  except i wasn’t.  turns out the slip of paper that had the stamp that read -14 AUG also had a stamp that read -4 AUG. obviously (to all but me), the second one was the correct one.  i tried to explain it to the officer at the desk.  she agreed it had two stamps, but seemed to think i wasn’t too bright for assuming the one that was in the top corner, that showed without me having to unfold the piece of paper that was stapled in sam’s passport, was the correct stamp.  it’s very possible that they told me when they did this.  i tend to be stressed when i’m at immigration.  what with the waiting and the lots of irritated people and the waiting and the crowded room and the waiting…  not to mention the last time i was there for this purpose i was suffering with a wee bit of hip pain.  anyway, it didn’t appear that the officer was going to come around to my way of seeing things and she handed my passport to the officer next to her.  he opened it, saw it was sam’s, asked me if he was my son, and said, “mai pen rai.” (which is basically hakuna matata).  the first immigration officer agreed with him, but did remind me to be more careful in the future.  i was very, very appreciative.  i get to do it again for myself in just a few weeks.

my next stop was the grocery store and, as an added bonus, there was a downpour.  i still managed to get the shopping done.  i also got an umbrella-d escort to my car. once i was home, the first thing i needed to do was get the chickens ready for the best whole chicken in a crockpot. 

chicken

they needed 6 hours to cook, so i got busy making soup.  i might tire of the soup with some protein quick meal eventually, but for now i’m thinking i’m brilliant for coming up with it.  last week it was curried cream of broccoli soup and crockpot sweet potato basil soup.  this week i made a pot of creamy spinach and artichoke soup.

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and cream of mushroom soup.

creamofmush  i’ve got some pork from last week and the chicken from this week to mix in with these.

once the chicken was done, i removed the meat and threw the bones and other bits and pieces back into the crockpot.  i added a few vegetables and some water and tonight while i’m sleeping my crockpot will be making overnight chicken stock in the crockpot.

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8 weeks

Tomorrow will mark 8 weeks post-op.  which is amazing.  it feels like it’s been forever, but it also feels like my surgery was just yesterday.

i spent week 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 down with an ear infection.  it required me to take some pain killers.  i generally don’t mind living with some discomfort or even a minimum amount of pain (living with is probably not what i mean, temporarily tolerating is more like it.)  when i was asked pre-surgery what level of pain i could deal with i said 4 out of 10.  if we could keep the pain at a 4 i’d be happy.  i think it’s important that i feel at least discomfort and i don’t think pain is a bad thing, as long as it isn’t interfering with my daily life.  the pain reminds me that i’m recovering.  to not push myself.  when i’ve had enough.  so, i haven’t taken much pain killer since my eyebrow stitches incident and i discovered something amazing.  400mg of advil and i was pain free.  like nothing was wrong.  and in a very short amount of time it seemed i forgot i needed to be careful.  i knew not to go crazy – i didn’t start running or lifting or tackling the daily WOD, but i did push my range of motion a little further than i might should have doing my rehab exercises and i was up on my feet a lot.  once i quit taking the pain killers i was hit with a new fatigue and soreness that i hadn’t experienced since before the surgery.  no worries, it wasn’t anything like the pain i’d had pre-surgery, but i could definitely tell i’d done too much.

in order to recover from this i cancelled a few PT sessions.  I did my exercises, but i was much more careful about what i was doing and how i was doing it.  i did my stretches and i was much more conscientious about doing them.  i tend to be lazy when it comes to stretching and mobility work.  which is a little funny because it’s all i seem to do now.  i’m going to meet with a pilates instructor who attends one of my crossfit classes tomorrow.  she’s going to work with me on my core and my alignment and how to get the most out of the rehab i’m doing.  i’m excited about this because pilates is one of the things that has been recommended once i’m cleared to work out.

so, my 8 week report is (for the most part) good.  i’ve tried not to hassle my doctor in the states too much.  i have had a few question for his PA and he’s been good about responding.  the biggest thing i’m guilty of is forgetting this was major surgery.  sometimes the fact that i don’t have a massive scar causes me to believe i just had a little work done.  that shaving bones and repairing the labrum is no big thang.  i’m not considered healed until the 3 month mark (august 29).  that’s when i can begin the real work, because healed is not the same thing as fully recovered.  it’s just when the recovery can really begin – if i’ve done a good job on the rehab that is.

5 weeks

i’m 5 weeks post op. that’s crazy. but when i look at the recovery time ahead of me it also feels like no time at all. i’m doing my best to only look at the FAI success stories online. that would be so much easier if folks didn’t post their not so successful stories, but that’s the nature of the google, right? so i’ve tightened up my belt because i hear that i’ve got a 6-8 week slump/depression headed my way. i refuse to research this more. and i’m hoping that my stocking up of chocolate and dark chocolate is all i’ll need to weather this storm.

i moved off the crutches this week. spent almost the entire week crutch free. but today i’m back to one. i think this is normal. i returned to work this week, i’ve got 2 hours 3 times a week of PT going on, and another 2 hours a day of exercise/rehab stuff that i do on my own plus just daily life. added up that makes for one fatigued hip. not to mention my angry, angry adductor. and my glutes that aren’t keen to turn on.  i think that all means i’m right on track.  

speaking of PT.  one of my favorite/not favorite things is her tendency to remark how weak i am.  how very, very weak i am.  how surprisingly weak i am.  she says it a lot.  and she laughs.  and then she giggles.  i think it’s meant to be empathetic/encouraging.  but I’m not sure about that.  however, the 1 hour of heat packs and massage i get totally make it worth it.  she is awesome at delivering the hurts so good pain.  

totally off topic, we’ve just started watching The Sopranos.  we’re only 15 years late to this.  

shaving and stitches

surgery was last thursday.  it seems to have gone well.  i was worried about pain. i normally handle pain pretty well, but the pain i’d been experiencing before the surgery was making me think my pain tolerance had diminished.  thankfully, the pain is less than it was before the surgery.  and the lower back pain/tightness that i’d been experiencing for quite a while is gone.  i’m super impressed by that.  what did they do?  shaved some bone and repaired the labrum.  i have lots of pictures, but i’ll spare you from most of them.  (i know not everybody is a fan of surgical pictures.)   this one seems safe, it’s the bone shaving they did.

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i left the clinic with instructions to start physical therapy on monday (today), but i was given a pretty tough workout regimen to keep up with until then.  this is a workout for time and i’m supposed to do it three times a day.  it looks like this.

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5 – 10 minutes three times a day i’m supposed to lay on my stomach with my feet hanging off the bed.  it’s meant to help with adhesions.  and i’ve only missed one of these strenuous workouts.  because i was doing this instead.

IMG_1252i managed to pass out while on my crutches.  i have this cup they sent home from the surgical clinic with me.  it says, “always call.  never fall.”  turns out they mean to call before you are feeling like you’re going to pass out, because once you feel like it’s going to happen it’s too late to do much more than draw someone’s attention so they can see you falling.  i hit my head on the knob of a cabinet on my way down.  it doesn’t appear that i injured my leg – i’m really, really, really hoping i didn’t.  but i did get to go to the e.r.  and i did get to get some stitches.  and it’s possible i’ll get a scar.  they did lab work and gave me some i.v. fluids.  the e.r. doctor suspects i was dehydrated and that the dehydration on top of my body trying to recover from surgery was just too much.  i’ve felt fine since i left the hospital.  i do worry a bit that it will happen again, but i’m drinking plenty of fluids and my parents are being a little more watchful when i’m up.

here’s hoping the rest of the recovery is easier.