June 24, 2013

  • Have you ever been so mad

    That you can think of little else? That the last thought in your mind before you fall asleep are angry ones, and you wake up every few hours dreaming of it? That you are so mad that you lie in bed for hours before your spouse wakes up fuming about what is upsetting you?

    Have you ever been so mad that the incident that pissed you off originally was just the last straw? A dam of mad spills into you and you are mad about everything? Every slight you thought you had forgotten, every argument you thought you were over, every single thing that ever irritated you becomes part of the hate that is consuming you?

    Have you ever questioned your own sanity, wondering where this fury erupted from? Wondering if you held this in for so long that now it has taken a life of its own and you can’t control it? Do you ever fear for the safety of those who pissed in your Wheaties?

    What? You haven’t? Me either!




May 21, 2013

  • Hello!

    Hi guys!

    I hope everybody has been well and am glad to read in the blogs I saw that everybody here is safe from the tornado. I just wanted to give a quick update and hello again, I know I have been absent awhile.

    Corey’s recovery is going well, he has a few little heart glitches but nothing to be too concerned about. As the pain and swelling in his leg from the clots left, his overwhelming depression abated with it. He didn’t deal well with the reminder of his mortality for a bit, but has come back around. He is currently in Boston presenting at a conference and seems like the man he was pre-illness again. Thanks to everybody for their love and prayers, I am grateful to have my husband back again.

    The new grandbaby is a delight, and I don’t even mind being called grandma now! (What a blow to my vanity that was initially! ) She is gorgeous, happy and healthy and I get to watch her while her parents work. I am so lucky to have the time and freedom to devote to my family – the older I get the more I realize how important that is.


    We have been busy preparing our Boulder condo to rent next month as we are moving to Fort Collins. We are moving into a large home so we have more space for the family and I am going to use my home to care for developmentally disabled adults again. It’s complicated, but it is similar to foster care. It’s basically foster care for DD adults rather than children. We have plenty of room though, and I loved it when I hosted before. They are moving in with us in June or July. My daughter is also moving back in with me while she returns to nursing school. I seem to need much more room all of a sudden!

    I wonder, do I have to change my username to FortCollinsChristina now? That’s such a long username, and I am lazy!

    The kids who were working on a book for Amber completed their book and are now raising funds to print it. We had a tough time finding video of Amber that hadn’t decayed on VHS, and I regretted being unable to watch them earlier. If I had been brave enough to pull them out earlier, I would have known they needed to be converted before they decayed! At least we were able to get a minute or two of usable film. For those who expressed interest, here is the link: Book Project 

    I am going to speak at their graduation today and am very excited to tell them how much it meant to me in front of their friends and family.  Here is their video for the project, poor quality but the intent is good!

    It seems like life became so busy I haven’t spent time much time blogging, hiking or running and doing the things I really love, but I know it will get back on track soon :) Summer is too short to spend indoors!

    I want to genuinely thank all the people who checked on me and Corey over the last few months. When I felt really alone and afraid, it was such a huge relief to see your messages of love and support. 

    And finally, Salem has been very distressed and perplexed lately. It’s nice out, yet we haven’t been hiking and our walks have been brief. The house stinks like paint and cleaning supplies all the time, our stuff is getting moved out, and he rarely gets to play ball. He has been a very sullen boy. My guilt is eased by knowing that if nothing else, he will have a yard again soon enough. He left me a very sullen message on his facebook page. I know how to take a hint!


    A yard can’t replace a hike, but it will help his spirits :) Have a fantastic week, Xanga, and thanks for always being here when I need you!




April 15, 2013

  • The Weather Outside is Frightful

    This is for @Vexations – I can’t wait for spring to really come to Boulder for more than a day or two. Bill always teases me with photos of spring and flowers, I can’t wait to post my spring and flower pictures for him, too!


    Snow in Estes Park this morning.


    And here is Fort Collins this morning.


    The Interstate is closed and we are expecting up to a foot of snow. Again. In April. 

    The IRS and Mother Nature are working together to make sure this is an extra special Monday. I have an article due today, so I guess it’s a good day to stay inside anyway :)  

    Happy Tax Day.

April 11, 2013

  • Call of the Wild

    When I moved to Colorado, it was largely due to my love of the outdoors. After spending ten years on the prairie in weather that was usually unfit to be outdoors, I craved the outdoors and sunshine more than anything I can remember. I read Bill Bryson’s book, A Walk in the Woods, shortly after my divorce and knew I had to change my life to focus on the things I loved. 

    I grew up in the country, I was always outside. I would hike to remote areas and lay a blanket on a large rock overlooking a draw and read my days away. I would wait for glimpses of animals that didn’t know I was there, does with fawns coming to the creek at the bottom of the draw, raccoon, porcupines and even snakes were all treats – rewards for my stillness. I learned things like how to use witching sticks, how to use bow and arrow, what plants were NEVER to be used for wiping your tushie when you pee in the woods. 

    My kids were city kids. (If you can call anyplace in South Dakota a city). They didn’t get to fish, camp and hike as a way of life – those were just annoying things I drug them to do when they could be doing better things, like hanging out at the mall. They grew up with unlimited cable and internet, cell phones, facebook. Their extracurricular activities were gymnastics, cheer-leading, cross country running. They hung out at malls, drank lattes (I still don’t understand that, I am a black coffee girl myself), wore phony glasses and bright scarves. Dragging them outside was like pulling teeth, a cruel punishment from their mother. They had great counter points when I argued with them to come camping – “You said to be active, we participate in sports. You said to be smart, we read books. Where does getting dirty and being hot fit into our development?”. (Yes, they really talked that way – little snots!) Even moving them to CO where it’s still cool to be outdoorsy had little affect on them, they just hate being outside.

    I am determined to make a bigger impact on my niece, nephew, and grand baby than I did my kids, so I am finding ways to merge the technology world with the natural one. Geocaching may be my best shot here. With geocaching games, you have different scavenger hunts to find natural things. There is a treasure at the end of the hunt, and you can take the treasure as long as you leave something of equal value. This looks like wicked fun, and I plan to take my niece (8) on an adventure some weekend when it’s warm and dry. I am sure most of you know what Geocaching is, but if not, here is a link. 

    Another way I plan to use technology to manipulate the children to engage in nature is through blogging. Not typical blogging, like Xanga or WordPress, but more visual blogs such as Tumblr or even PinInterest – whatever is “cool” when they are old enough to engage them. We will take pictures of natural things (plants, animals, scenery) and write short, slightly educational blogs about them (Need to be tricky here, can’t let them know they are learning) and share them with their friends. The gratification they will receive from feedback, comments, etc may encourage them to want to keep updating and adding content. I am hopefully that I can use their need for instant feedback and praise as a tool to keep them interested, but I may be mistaken, I will keep you posted!

    People spend 90 percent of their lives indoors now. 90 percent. Fresh air, natural light, all the benefits that come from being outside are being artificially duplicated to our indoor environments so people don’t feel it’s important to be outside anymore. If people watch the National Geographic channel, why would they need to go outside and see real animals for themselves? When my kids were growing up, the terrible statistic was that kids were spending less than 4 hours a week outside. Today that number is 40 minutes a week. Why would kids go outside if we never do? We spend time in gyms, supermarkets, offices and spending less time gardening and spending time exercising outside. 

    Being in nature (nature as the non-human world, in this instance) engages imagination, stimulates your brain, makes people more engaged and more peaceful at the same time. The real world is not always the technology world. Watching a lion catch a deer on TV leaves little impact, but running across a deer corpse on the trail leaves a much more real, palpable experience. Watching fox babies on YouTube and running into a den of them are two entirely different experiences. An hour of fresh air a day (true fresh air, not filter systems that pumps fresh air into the vents) helps us sleep, helps our digestion, blood pressure, immune system and increases happiness. One hour can do all of that. Sunshine (please use sunscreen) is shown to do all that fresh air does in addition to fighting cancer, obesity, diabetes. Walking and hiking in the woods rarely feels like “working out” or exercise (even though it’s fantastic exercise), it feels like exploring, experiencing, enjoying an adventure of sorts. It’s stimulating all of our senses and often our bodies forget that they are working because we are taken in by the sights, smells and sounds that are different than our indoor environment. 

    Personally, I find being outdoors in a remote, natural environment humbling and awe inspiring. It’s nice to be in an environment that isn’t completely under my control. It’s peaceful to disengage from the beeps and flashing lights and ringing phones and submerge myself in the sounds not created by other people. I can think more clearly, my hope and optimism soars and I am less annoyed by the world when I return. But that’s just me. happy


    Here is a pic my daughter sent me of herself and my grand-daughter, Atlas, this morning :) I am not going to tell her of my scheming to get the baby outside yet, so don’t tattle on me!


    Have any of you used geocaching with your kids? Do you have any other tips for me regarding how to make my indoors family go outside? 



April 10, 2013

  • The Day I Realized I am a Douchbag

    Lots of things have been happening lately, as most of you know. One of the big “growth opportunities” I have had was a chance to reflect on myself – I am coming to terms with the fact that I am, despite my best efforts, a douche.

    The illness my husband went through left him torn up mentally, perhaps more than physically. He is depressed beyond anything I have ever seen, and I am helpless to fix it. His depression isn’t the suffer sadly kind of depression, it is the hate the world (primarily your wife) type. His mantra has been “this isn’t about you”. In an attempt to support him and avoid the arrows he has been flinging, I have made a serious effort to not speak of me, or anything related to me. This is how I discovered that I am, indeed, a self absorbed DB. 


    I started cutting anything related to me, my plans, my opinions, my thoughts, my feelings, my experiences out of conversations with my husband. Wow, nearly impossible. I have to literally zip my lips or leave the room when he shoots something terrible at me or I will say, “that isn’t nice. You are hurting my feelings”. My feelings. My judgement. Me all over that statement. I struggle even when things aren’t completely ugly, I want to say things like, “today I did this”, or “I am planning to do this”. Again, me all over those things, too.

    When I see other people outside of my marriage, all of my “me” shit starts exploding from my mouth before I even get in the door. It’s like I haven’t given “me” enough air and I have to let it out all at once with anyone who will stay in the room long enough to be on the receiving end. I decided to practice removing “me” from those conversations, too. Nearly impossible. So I started trying to speak about me as if I were a character in a story (that’s not self centered, right?) such as, “I am reading this book where the lady’s husband was taken over by aliens when he was in the hospital and he came back as a new man with plans to blow up the earth, starting with his wife”. That was an unsuccessful way to try to practice not being a douche. When I see my daughter and grand daughter, I have to bite my tongue until it nearly bleeds to not say things like, “When you were a baby I did this” or “When I had a c-section I felt this way”.

    I wonder if I am the only one who can’t speak without injecting myself into something. I worry that I am one of those people that constantly needs external validation to feel good about myself. I hope I am not lost in douchebag realm forever.

    Are any of you douchebags? Am I the only one?

April 9, 2013

  • Atlas Grey

    Atlas is my new grandbaby, she was born on March 26th. Corey was in one hospital and I drove to Fort Collins to meet my daughter in the labor room around 5 am. My daughter was a champ, but labor was really tough on her and she had to have a c-section. Atlas was born around 8 pm that evening.

    I had c-sections, but I had the go to sleep kind. Cassie was awake and alert, and I sat next to her behind a sheet while doctors on the other side cut her guts open to take the baby out. It was all very unreal.

    Corey was beyond sad that he couldn’t be there, but he got out the next weekend and was able to meet her then. Here are a couple pictures of the baby that has stolen my heart.


    It’s been one of the hardest months I can remember in the last decade, but Atlas came to the world just in time to make me forget how miserable things can be sometimes. 

    Regardless of how tough March was, we were blessed with many miracles. Corey lived when the odds weren’t in his favor, he dodged cancer when everything pointed that direction, and the most beautiful baby I have ever met came into our lives and made all the hard stuff worthwhile. 

    Atlas is the first baby in our family to have brown eyes in 7 generations. 


    I have much to be grateful for, including all of your love and support. Thank you.


March 25, 2013

  • The Worst is Over

    Radiology reports came back that his liver is fine. The spots found on the scans were nothing more than congested clusters of veins, but I can’t recall the term they used. The real news is there is no more fear of cancer in his liver.

    Regarding the extensive clotting, they have found no reason for it yet. It is highly unusual for a man his age in his overall health. They ran a full blood panel looking for Factor disorders or any reasons why he would be having these issues. So far, nothing out of the ordinary has come back. They began Coumadin, and when his INR (that is something about the clotting time and Coumadin levels in his blood) is stable, he will get to come home. He may even be home this weekend.

    I am unable to express the relief I feel. I was flooded with gratitude with the news and continue to give thanks for more time we have together. It may be another 50 years, it may be another 5, but more time is more time. I have no intention of wasting it.

    Death comes to all of us. We lose people we love. We lose people we don’t love. We die ourselves. I’ve always felt death breathing over my shoulder. It skulks along behind me, never far away. It’s never here for me. It takes people when I am not looking, and steals away time from the ones I love the most. 

    Today, I watched it retreat. Death is not welcome here today. 

March 24, 2013

  • Update and thanks

    Thanks to everybody, those I know and those I am just meeting, for your kind words and thoughts. I wish I could respond to each one, but I need to try to rest tonight – and this is the only time I can get online.

    Corey has multiple spots on his liver. They aren’t certain they are cancerous, so we are going to have a biopsy on Monday. Unfortunately, they aren’t able to start him on blood thinners until they know what is going on with the liver. His leg is swollen and deformed now with clots from his groin to his ankle and multiple clots already residing in his lungs. He is in a very precarious position right now. 

    It’s been a hell of a few days, but I can’t thank everybody enough for the support we received. He smiled when I told him how many people commented and wished him well, and I am grateful for that smile. He has been in decent spirits and I have been the gatekeeper here at the hospital, making sure there weren’t too many people coming to visit and managing the phone inquiries. He is loved, and everybody is very worried.

    I am trying to remain positive, but the certainty I have felt inside that it was cancer hasn’t been shaken, only reinforced. This isn’t my first rodeo.

    Thanks for letting us know we are loved and supported, and I will keep everybody posted.

March 23, 2013

  • As I sit here tonight

    In this hospital room, watching my husband sleep, I wonder what the hell happened? The love of my life is 38 years old, healthy, happy. He isn’t overweight, he isn’t a drinker, smoker, party type. He is physically active, eats his veggies, and steers clear of drugs. Yet here he is, full of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms. He has an abnormality on his liver and cancer is suspected. We plan to be here at least a week for the heparin to manage the clots and the coumadin to start thinning his blood. 

    I am sitting here tonight unable to sleep for fear the moment I close my eyes, a clot will shake loose and land in his brain or blow up his heart.

    I sit here tonight and remember the stupid fights, the wasted time, the lack of appreciation I sometimes have for him. I am pretty sure he will live a bit longer at least – the clots can be dissolved and medicine can make sure they don’t happen again. But the problem with his liver cannot be a coincidence, and the sad faces of the nurses and the technicians tell a less than hopeful story. 

    I sit here tonight hoping that I am being dramatic. That in the morning the CT will show a bruised liver and nothing cancerous about it. That in the morning the clots will be gone and the doctor will be surprised when she hears how worried I was. That she will tell me it’s no big deal at all. That my husband will roll his eyes at me and ask if NOW can he have a damn cheeseburger?

    It doesn’t take much to turn our worlds upside down, does it? If you have a chance and are so inclined, please send a prayer for my husband tonight. 

March 8, 2013

  • 523 Days

    I have 523 days until I am 40. Most of my friends tell me 40 is a piece of cake. Some of my friends are already shaking their heads sadly and suggesting good long term care facilities. 

    I am trying not to panic. 

    I have a list (don’t we all?) of things that were supposed to be done by 40, and I am falling short. 

    1. Run an ultra marathon.

    2. Run the R2R2R.

    3. Have at least one book completed and published. 

    4. Volunteer in Africa (or South America) on a community project.

    5. Solve the homeless problems in America.

    6. Hike the entirety of the Appalachian Trail.


    CRAP! I have 523 days to complete these things! My knee became a problem last spring, and now I doubt my ability to even complete half of these goals, my adventure lust and open mind became more rusty and slow, and I don’t know how well I would fare overseas, and I am no closer to solving homelessness than anybody before me. The book may be the only goal remaining that I haven’t completed that I can still check off my list. 

    My sister is really the only one I whine to about getting old, and she posted this on my Facebook page last night:


    If you knew her, you would understand what a sweet gesture this really is. 

    I know age is a number, but goals without deadlines are just daydreams. Do you have any milestone goals?