Family Moab

Family Moab
In Arches National Park

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Fall Milestones

I'm relieved that leaf-peeping season came a little late this year. When I finally emerged from the house after ten days of isolating in the bedroom, the maples and the cottonwoods were still green and only the ashes had started to turn, at least at this elevation. On Sunday, Daniel drove us up to Evergreen in the foothills  (two more hours toward the 50 he needs for his license!) and we saw a few aspen trees waving golden boughs. I know in the high country they're lit up like thousands of bright candles, and hopefully we will still get to peep this coming weekend on another of Daniel's drives.

COVID really hit me like a Mack truck; I even fell asleep once while reading, my head in my hand, balanced on my side and one elbow. Somehow I napped in this position for an hour, unmoving. Scary stuff, and yet because I didn't require the hospital or breathing assistance, it qualifies as only a moderate case. If you haven't had your fall booster yet, I definitely hope you get one.

While stuck in my room I missed a girls' weekend in the mountains and a national conference for SwimLabs. Yesterday morning I received multiple congratulatory texts from co-workers about a national award I won for swim instruction; they sent photos of the big screen, the award, and a video of my boss's kind speech. I'm touched, semi-relieved and semi-sad that I wasn't there to see it go down in person, and also surprised (still!) that my career has turned in this direction. Not what my father had in mind when he paid for Harvard, I think. Life takes many unexpected turns.

But fall (like every season) is a season of change, and continually offers a jolt of surprise. Leaves morph into vivid flame, the rain falls, and our children continually grow and experience new things away at school. I love watching as their sweaters and jackets emerge in Snapchat photos, and hearing their new challenges when they call to celebrate milestones and to vent frustrations. My hope is to keep changing, too, to heal and restore strength as well as to take on new adventures and appreciate the beautiful changes that string us along through life.



Wednesday, September 28, 2022

A "Moderate" case

COVID, how you crush me.  From my first flippant blog entry about the home test kits finally working, to now, you have laid me low. In a fit of optimism, I wore my Apple watch for the first few days, despite my inability to stand or move; I just wanted to stay connected to everyone via the updates. Alas, you did not give me just a "light case," a "bad cold," - you wanted to teach me a lesson. Off with the Apple watch! Wipe clean the calendar! I mock your short-term plans and theories of self-determination!

I have really begun imagining COVID as a figure, one I'm fighting each day, even as the terms of battle change. Not the rapid progress I was expecting, but more macabre; from chills and sweats one night to shadowboxing with the sheets the next; from horrid wet coughs to racking dry ones, from rare flashes of hunger to longer stages of nausea. Thank goodness I have had all my shots, or this would be much scarier.

The night of boxing was the weirdest experience I've ever had - I woke myself up thrashing around, kicking the covers off and punching the pillows with both hands I tried to calm down and hold my limbs unmoving but could not keep them still. Every now and then my hands would shoot forward, fingers extended or balled into fists, and I couldn't stop them! My body was dueling with its imaginary foe, with or without my mental participation.

Friends have been so kind, dropping flowers, soup, broth, and tea off at the door. I appreciate them and also calls and texts from my family. I especially appreciate Rob and all that he's doing to keep the household running - and me hydrated. Lots of very sick people around the world are lacking all of these resources. 

I can't get a booster shot now for 4 - 6 months, though hopefully my own antibodies will protect me. My last shot was almost 6 months ago; I should have renewed it earlier. Hope everyone gets boosted -soon and stays away from this plan-smashing, schedule-wrecking, and highly potent illness. It won't beat me, but it will have me under its thumb for a few more days.



Sunday, September 25, 2022

At long last, COVID

When the at-home test registered a positive result yesterday, I was shocked. We've self-tested so many times over the past two and a half years, and never had the second line show up. Rob and I doubted that the test would ever work, but sure enough, it does.  I must have caught the virus at the Marcus Mumford concert I attended with friends last week. Few people in the (indoor) crowd wore one, but I've been lulled into a false sense of security over the years and didn't think twice about the risk. I seem to be the only one in our ten-person party to have fallen ill, which is (another) positive.

I told my sister that the concert was worth it - though I can't state that with any certainty until I'm through the illness without life-changing side effects. I've had as many shots and boosters as the doctors allow, and I'm healthy aside from the illness, but you never know with COVID. My sister has a friend who has celiac (like me) and COVID attacked her stomach and digestive tract, essentially freezing it. I'm trying to nibble on food to keep mine moving, so it doesn't forget how to work.

My daughter said this could be a well-needed break, which indicates to me that I'm either complaining too much about my packed schedule, doing too many things, or both. It's true that being forced to quarantine will give me time to catch up on the blog, on other computer tasks that need doing, but it's a solid bummer to have to stay in my room and miss work and all social things for five (or more) days. I have two trips coming up next weekend and I'm not sure if I can attend either. 

But many millions of people have been down this same road - or a much more serious version of it - and I can't complain. Our house is a not-so-bad place to quarantine and I'm only awake for limited sections of each day, so it's not so hard to fill the time. My heart goes out to those sick and quarantining in much worse circumstances, and I hope everyone gets on the fast track to recovery.


Saturday, September 10, 2022

Befuddlement

 It's 46 degrees and raining, an abrupt and welcome change from the 97-99 degree highs we suffered all week. Like many other residents of the West, we hid in air conditioned houses and offices until the sun went down, blessedly earlier than it had in June and July. As someone who worries about climate change, I both appreciate and hate the AC. We have solar panels which produce much of the electricity needed for the house, but over the past summer our usage exceeded our production significantly. We have to figure out how to do better while staying cool, not an easy task in this day and age.

Life blooms with surprisingly difficult tasks these days. Trying to cancel my son's dentist appointment is just one example: I called to cancel, only to realize they were closed on Friday afternoons. I hit a text message to cancel, only to unwittingly auto-confirm it. Now I don't know if I'm committed (and on the hook to pay) or if I successfully withdrew.

Another shocker is sitting down to a dinner table absent of any children. Rob and I hold hands to say grace, filling a little silly and certainly bereft of other bodies. Sometimes we can't even get the words out as our eyes meet and then sweep away, self-conscious at hearing only our two voices in the room.

My brain is mixed up and full of three or four different jobs, trying to balance the calendar and respond to the right emails with the right information (and mindset). Fix the pitch deck for the screenplay and then switch to curriculum for swim schools, then run out the door with a workout for the Masters team... I haven't sent the wrong document yet, but the prospect looms and makes me anxious.

Which reminds me of a story my sister recounted earlier this week. She's a teacher in an elementary school and has noticed that many of the younger students appear wide-eyed and shocked at the need to navigate a large building with four classrooms per grade. In-person school may be a first for them, or they have had minimal exposure. She saw one youngster pulling a roller bag almost larger than his body down the wrong corridor, tears starting to roll down his cheeks. When she knelt and asked him what was wrong, he said, "I've lost my school! I've lost my school!"  Valiantly choking back chuckles, Karen helped him find his second-grade classroom.

I'm trying to avoid losing my school (and my mind) these days, but grateful at least for the cool weather today and a quiet day inside to pull my life together.


Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Annual Wave of Work

 Apologies to families and friends who look for semi-regular blog posts at this address: I've been drowning in the second annual "wave of work." The wave occurred last year at this time, magically drowning my sorrows at dropping William off for his freshman year at college. Again this year, I was swamped in new writing and swim curriculum work in the days after we moved William (with Aden's help) into his new apartment. The universe is looking out for me and trying to distract me from the "Find My" app on my phone.

The long weekend provided a respite of sorts, despite having to fit a few hours of work in each day. Rob and I hiked with the kids on Saturday and took them out to lunch, enjoying tales of new classes and jobs, catching up on drama from swim team and clubs. On Sunday I attended a Lead Sports conference centered on swimming. Watching Olympians swim (right in front of me!) to demonstrate drills and help young ladies with their stroke technique was a unique and fruitful opportunity. Many of our high school swimmers were there and their smiles and wild waving from the pool deck made my day.

Well, it made my day until the late afternoon sessions, when we got to hear Olympic medalists and training partners Lilly King and Annie Lazor speak to a small group of parents and coaches. They each spoke of their training journey and college recruitment process, diving into family support, odyssey through multiple coaches and training groups. Both women are unapologetically strong and fierce, tempered by maturity (now that they're in their mid-20s) and eager to help young female swimmers.

Their talk went over by a few minutes and afterward I walked swiftly to the front to wait in line for a brief chat and photo. I told them both that their friendship and mutual support at the Tokyo Games was my favorite part of the last Olympics, and how much I appreciated seeing that play out. Then I told Lilly that she had "wished" me a happy birthday when I turned 50, via a paid cameo video that Rob purchased, and Lilly high-fived me (possibly for being the oldest person in the room but hopefully because I loved her video).

When all is said and done, being productive and trying new things, while tiring, feels rewarding, good and solid. I'm grateful for work, work friends, and teammates, who tide me over between the golden moments when my family can all be together. I hope your fall is off to a good start, and that relationships bless and carry you through the challenging spaces in life.