A Day in Little Washington

The littles and I spent a day in Washington, NC a couple of days ago. We got up early, ate breakfast, packed a couple of snacks and jumped into the car. About two hours later we arrived at the waterfront in Little Washington. First we bought hotdogs at Bill’s Hotdogs. Excellent dogs for a good price, I highly recommend it! Then we walked to the waterfront and sat down at a table and ate them. While we were sitting there a lovely four-year old girl with tight black curls and cute little bows sits with us and just smiles. Her smile is like sunshine and I think how wonderful it is that she can just be a child for a time.

There were some folks fishing from the floating dock. I decided to take the kids down there to see and feel the sea a little better. I ask them if they’ve caught anything yet. “Only a few little ones,” they say. Still, a few little ones is better than none and I’m happy for them. The dock is pretty cool, it goes up and down with the tides and the ramp adjusts from the shore. It was peaceful, relaxing, standing there for a few minutes.

Whenever I go to Washington, I have a sense of peace come over me. I find my steps slow along with my heart rate and I just want to take in the beauty of the place. I love the feeling of the breeze on my face and the sounds of the waves splashing along the sides of the boardwalk. My kids race ahead of me some and I continue to walk quietly. I stop to say hi to a boater, a live aboard like I want to be. We talk some of his boat and how he likes living there. He thanks me for saying hello, talks about how he moves his boat to different places and how if he wants to go to the gulf side he has it shipped for him over land. There’s something for me to learn from everyone I speak to.

Further down the boardwalk we gaze at all of the beautiful boats and start to pick and choose which kind we would like. We’re window shopping right now. There are a few on the hook in the river with dingys to come to shore. No sails are up right now and I wonder if the wind is too strong today or if it’s just because it’s a Monday and that’s the way things are. Most owners are either inside of their boats or at work somewhere. It’s an interesting feeling. I yearn for my chance to live like these and yet I am not jealous nor envious, I only see the possibility and am beginning to understand that there’s really no reason I cannot do the same. I look forward to that day more and more.

As we walk we approach the estuary portion that has been protected. The children lean over the rails watching for signs of turtles. Spitting in the water they wait and watch. I taught them a long time ago that it’s not proper to feed them but it’d be OK to spit and have them come and so the two of them are busily trying to hack up some spit to ‘feed’ the turtles. It’s quite a site and I love watching them. The turtles come, dozens of them. We lose count as we watch them. You can see the little heads from a distance and then when they arrive their bodies are of various sizes. One is a snapping turtle and reminds me of the king dragon in ‘How to Train a Dragon’, he’s so big. The kids ooh and awe and we all watch as the turtles vie for attention. Even the little fish jump at the chance to eat some spit. A lady goes by and says, “It’s not fair to spit, they’re not getting anything for their actions!” She laughs, though, and it’s all good.

As we turn around at the end of the boardwalk we go back to watching the boats. I meet a few more people and talk briefly about Washington and how much I love it here. One man says another place is better since it has more to do but he doesn’t understand how much I need the solitude for now. I’m looking to buy a boat not a house and so when the time comes where I can be with the multitudes again, I can do so. My front yard can be where ever I choose.

We went to other docks and finished our day with ice cream from Scoops. We waited for a rainstorm to pass and then finally made it back to my car a little wet and a lot of laughter. Days like this help to give me life while I go back to my town with its land-locked, high traffic, busyness, that tries to drive me insane. Breathing deeply and marking these sites at the waterfront helps me to make it another couple of weeks back at home.

thank you for reading,

me

 

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Sunshine and Rotations

I’ve been busy these past couple of weeks. It’s like I barely have time to breathe. As a Student Pharmacist I am required to do rotations, and the last year of school is all rotations. I’m not complaining. I love it! I love actually having a chance to use all of the things I’ve learned. I love being able to work with real patients, real people, real lives. It’s hard work. This rotation is in the hospital environment and so my patients are sick, really sick. If I can do something that helps them to get better or to feel better so that they can go home then I have done well.

Each person, each patient, is so very individual. There is no one who is treated exactly the same because no one is exactly the same. Pharmacy is intricate. I love it. This week I’ve already been touched by the lives of dozens of people. Elderly mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers… in their 80s and 90s. Men who are forced to the hospital by their wives. People who suffer chronically from pain. And people who have lived such lives that it’s not a surprise they show up in the emergency room.

I look on and I wonder how they got there. I wonder what went wrong, what could make them better. It’s not all about the medicine. There’s a man who is an alcoholic and now has nowhere to go, another who is recovering from cancer, a lady who doesn’t qualify for a transplant. There are many who go home well, and there are others. These others who now have to face the end of their time here. Who now have to face the reality of death. Life is 100% fatal and there’s no way around it.

I’m reminded to be grateful for my health and yet I am also reminded that my health is not a mistake. I work hard for it. I eat healthy food, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. I drink a lot of water. I take the stairs frequently. I exercise. I sleep… I try to balance my life in a way that keeps me healthy. It’s not an accident. Health is only maintained on purpose. Sure, there are things we cannot control, but those in the hospital? Most of them had more control than they knew. Most of them could have prevented themselves from needing to be there. The smoker could have quit, the obese woman could have gotten help sooner, the alcoholic as well.

So, I wonder, as I go there each day, how did things go wrong? What happened? Why did these people quit taking care of themselves? Or why did no one ever tell them they had a choice? Please don’t bash me. It’s true. Absolutely true, there are things that can not be avoided. But, trust me here, you (and I) have a lot more control of how we end up than we believe. Even the smallest of positive changes can be celebrated for every little change can be built upon and then, then, our lives can be full and healthy.

thank you for reading,

me

Celiac disease

Celiac disease is a genetic disease that causes a person to not be able to handle gluten.  If the person eats gluten then his ability to absorb vital nutrients declines.
I know that much, at least.
The doctors are trying to find out why my blood work shows me as malnourished, and celiac is the most likely candidate.  Funny, I don’t mind.  Of all the possibilities this one is one of the good ones.  I would be the first in the family diagnosed with it.  The fix is fairly simple, avoid gluten.  But, gluten is in a lot of different things… Wheat, barley, rye… Malt too… Fast food is pretty much out, no problem there, I can’t stand the stuff any way, I always feel sick after eating fast food.  (I wonder if my aversion to it has anything to do with my body saying it’s not good for me?)
I would have to give up most breads, cakes and cookies too.  Here again, this doesn’t bother me, I naturally don’t eat a lot of bread.  (Is this my body avoiding things I shouldn’t have?)  I do like bread but I don’t need it to feel satisfied.  I love potatoes and rice and these would be ok for me to eat.  I am beginning to see a pattern.  If I listen to my body I’ll be ok.  Neet how that all works.

I wrote the above a few months ago. I have, since then, been diagnosed with Celiac. My diet has changed much more than I expected. I have to read the labels on absolutely everything that has been processed. One barbecue sauce may be ok while the other ten I look at won’t be. I have to worry about light mayonnaise and other staples. Mixed nuts? Yup, some of them have gluten in them. What about beer… no way, barley is a no-no now. I remember clearly my first week on the gluten-free diet. I was out so much that I had to rely on fast food a lot that week. I nearly starved. I began to live off of peanut M&Ms and Diet Coke. Not that I mind, I love both of them. But everyday for five, six days as my only snack? Yeah. It didn’t satisfy. I have since bought myself several gluten-free snacks that I keep in my car. I also remember a time a few weeks ago where I actually filled up at a meal. I hadn’t realized that I was eating so little. One of the reasons for figuring out the diagnosis was that I was losing weight. I was at a healthy weight but I didn’t have room to lose more and the scale kept slipping a pound or two a week. One of the problems I’ve had all of my life was that when I get hungry I get grouchy and my blood sugar drops. I need to keep my weight steady and I need to eat frequent meals. Finally, I haven’t lost or gained any weight in the past few weeks. My gluten-free diet seems to be settling in. I’m getting used to it. People, friends, ask me why I don’t get upset about not being able to eat something I like, or want to eat. My answer, “I have to give up some things so I can be healthy. I could have been dealing with something much, much worse than Celiac and I’m happy that I’m not. I can’t change it so there’s no need to worry or get upset about it.” It’s like having freckles or being short or having curly hair. I can affect it some but I can’t really change it. I just have to accept who I am and move on.

I hope you can accept who you are and enjoy every aspect of it. You are who you are because that’s the way it is. Change what you must but accept what can’t be changed and move on.

Thanks for reading,
w

My house, what it’s really like

What is family?  What does it look like?  Some families are big and some are small, which is better? Why do some parents seem to have it all together? Do they really have it all together or are they just like everyone else when they go home and close their doors? Let me open my doors for you for a minute. If you were to visit my house you wouldn’t come in the front door. No one uses it. Instead I’d greet you by the side door and have you come right in. You’d walk right through my laundry room first. In the laundry room you’d see dirty clothes on the floor (most of the time), a bench freezer with toilet paper and paper towels sitting on top of it. Several buckets stacked next to the door. Some boxes and other unidentifiable stuff sitting on the floor. Above it all you’d see some shelves that are stacked as high as the ceiling with more stuff. Just my laundry room is quite a mess. With luck you’d keep on coming in instead of run for your life. The next place you’d be is my kitchen. Life runs from the kitchen in my house. It is the favorite place. There’s frequently something cooking. Right now there’s a big box of apples on the floor next to the stove. (I just got these from a good friend’s backyard tree) The apples are green, ugly, and bruised. I’ve been cutting them up for the past several days trying to uses as much as possible. There’s a fresh apple pie sitting in my microwave, waiting for breakfast. (And yes I plan on serving it for breakfast to those who want it.) With luck my counters are clean, my sink is shiny, and my dishwasher is running. Most likely, though, they’re not. We do actually live here. After passing through the kitchen you’d see a bunch of cages stacked against the wall. This is where the dogs sleep. We have four of the metal crates with cushions for four of our dogs to sleep. Next to one is a big blanket for another dog. Their food is in bowls in their crates or next to them, depending on the dog. This “room” also has a corner table that we use for breakfast, lunch and school. I like to make sure the table top to this table actually stays clear. Moving on is the living room area with a big screen TV my dad bought us one year for Christmas. A nasty old red couch, a leather recliner (the kids fight over who gets to sit here and read for school) and other things to sit on. The entire wall that the TV is on is completely covered, mostly in books. Books are obviously important in this family. Under the TV is a Wii and an Xbox, and a cd player and vcr. The entertainment center is complete with everything. In the corner near the TV is a toy box for my youngest. Unfortunately most of her toys are on top or next to the box rather than in it. Like I said before, we do actually live here. My house isn’t clean, or fancy, but it is home. It’s not neat or uncluttered, it’s not something you’d see in a magazine. I have four kids and a husband and my home is wonderful. The rest of the house is quite big, and quite a big mess, you’d probably not see any of it. I’d keep you in “my” area most likely. If you were visiting the kids would stop everything they were doing and come and talk with you too. They’d happily take your kids up to the mess upstairs to play in their rooms, and I would wonder later what your kids told you when they got home. My house is full of unfinished projects, changed dreams, and things I have no idea what are. My bed might be made or it might not. It won’t stop me though, because I love it when people visit. I love it when kids come and hang out, I wish they’d do it more often. If you know me, know that you are welcome to come by, just give a quick ring before to make sure we’re home. (and so I can pick the laundry up off the floor) w

Food and memories

Random thoughts… What is your favorite food? Me… I love food. I love sushi if it’s not tuna. I love french fries. I think french fries have been my favorite food for the longest. I like them best homemade with the skins still on. I eat them dipped in apple cider vinegar. Delicious. I have a few weird things I like too. Fresh popped popcorn with lots of butter and some tabasco sauce served with ice cold diet coke. I would eat that watching the rain from my door of one of my college apartments. My favorite apartment. It was a great place. Just my size, I could reach the ceiling and my boyfriend at the time (my husband to be) preferred not to use my bathroom. (He could barely fit in it.) It had two rooms, one with the kitchenette, through which you had to go to get to the bathroom. The other room was the bedroom. I had mattresses covering the floor of my bedroom. All I had to do was dive in the door and be in bed. When I closed the door the room was pitch black no matter what time of day. It was a perfect bedroom. I didn’t even have a closet, just a place to hang my clothes. The door to the apartment faced the driveway of the complex, and when it rained I’d open the door and watch.  The water would just run in.   I called the place my cave.  When I finally moved out of the cave the landlord gave me back my deposit plus interest.  I think he was glad I didn’t sue him.

Another weird food of mine, especially growing up, was mayonnaise and peanut butter sandwiches. I got that from my mom. I also would eat mayo out of the jar by the spoonfuls. Once when I was rather young, I think about 6, I had eaten quite a lot of mayonnaise when my mom and dad learned that it was spoiled. So, trying to be great parents, they did everything they could to get me to throw up. I remember even eating soap in order to make me vomit. Nothing worked. I kept it all down and I never did get sick. I don’t eat mayonnaise quite like that anymore. Sour cream on the other hand. I love sour cream still to this day. Whenever I get to open a new container that first spoonful goes straight to my mouth. I stop there but I still love it.

My favorite fruit is the mango. We used to have a giant mango tree in our back yard. These mangoes weren’t like the ones you see around here. They were huge, almost cantaloupe size. We’d climb the tree and toss them to the ground. A fresh ripe mango is wonderful. Sometimes, though, when a mango isn’t quite ripe enough it tastes kind of sour. So, we pickled them.  We’d cut them up and put the pieces in apple cidar vinegar, tabasco sauce and salt and pepper. Let them sit in the fridge for a few days and then… Yum.  I guess I like my tabasco sauce.  I like tabasco sauce on my omelets too.  I just like spicy food, I guess.  I’m not much of a sweets person but I love my curry, wasabi, and tabasco.  What do you like?

good night ya’ll,

w