Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I Got Hit In The Head By A Bocce Ball

So, I've been too busy living life in the past couple of weeks to have time to write about it.  I am working as a virtual assistant to the event production company that put on the Los Gatos Fiesta de Artes and they kept me very busy leading up to that event.  This gig has led to me being referred to two more clients.  Yay!  I'm delighted that I'll be getting more hours, right when my daughter starts preschool.  I don't think I would have considered taking on more work over the summer.

Our Family Reunion

Last weekend we hosted a family reunion at my parents' place in Canada where we spend every summer.  When my cousin Maria first suggested a reunion we debated where to have it and when.  We settled on August 21-24 because we knew that another cousin, Kiwita, would be in town to run the Sea Wheeze Half Marathon in Vancouver, and that she would be bringing her 3 kids.  Everything started to fall into place.  Maria, my mom, my sister and I all decided we'd train for and run the half marathon too.  A few local friends planned on running it too, and we all got pretty amped up about the idea.  I described my training schedule here.  Training went really well until I got tendonitis in both achilles tendons.  I did a 9 mile run at the track and it took over 2 weeks for me to recover.  It pretty much always hurts to walk now.

I Got Hit In The Head By A Bocce Ball

My parents live on 5 acres, so we set up for badminton, croquet, and bocce.  We have an awesome fire pit for night time bonfires and smores, and enough outdoor tables and chairs for everyone to eat outside comfortably.   All our meals were pot luck and it worked out great.  The kids and adults enjoyed the games and there was no stress and no drama.  As I've mentioned before, my family has the capacity to do drama Jerry Springer style.  Friday afternoon was our main event, with games followed by a potluck supper.  In between dinner and dessert I got involved in a couple of games of bocce.  We had just finished, and I was bent over to pick up a ball when my 7 year old nephew threw one up in the air and it landed on my head.  The sound was sickening, I'm actually sweating and nauseated just typing this.  It also hurt.  I went inside and put an ice pack on the bump that was coming up, and I was grateful that it was a bump and not a caved in spot.  Two of my aunts are nurses and I went into a full on anxiety attack as they discussed the possibility of a concussion and/or brain bleed.  Auntie Ann was staying with us so she decided that she would wake me every two hours to ask me questions and make sure that I didn't need to go to the ER.  I probably got about 3 hours sleep.  And this was the night before our half marathon!

Fun in the Sun!

Running A Half Marathon With A Concussion

Mom and I got up at 5am and my sister picked us up 20 minutes later to drive to Vancouver.  At this point, I planned to mostly walk it because of the concussion.  For a few minutes when I first woke up, I seriously considered rolling over and going back to sleep.  I'm glad I didn't.  Mom and I got into the corral with the last group, along with Maria, Jen and Tina.  The energy was overwhelming and I couldn't help it, I had to try running.  Mom and I jogged with walk breaks for the first 12km and then my achilles tightened up so badly that I couldn't run.  I wanted to quit a couple of times and nearly got off the course before we headed into Stanley Park along the sea wall.  I told Mom to go ahead and run, but she wouldn't leave me.  We limped across the finish line.  Not the result I had hoped for, but I'm proud of us for finishing.  The event was fantastic!  I'd love to try again next year.  I can't believe I'm saying that.  By the end of the race I was smiling on the outside, crying on the inside, and swearing I would never do it again!

Photo Source

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Why Robin Williams' Death Has Shaken Me

Of course it is sad when a legendary actor dies.  When one dies at a "ripe old age" we all pause for a moment and think about their amazing career, and roles that resonated with us.  When they die young, we think about what could have been, not just on the screen, but a life they don't get to live, families they don't get to have.  Mostly though, it is only a blip on the radar.  Their own families and friends mourn them.  We know deep down that the part of them that we knew was fictional.  We carry on.

And yet, I find myself shedding tears for Robin Williams.  Not because I admired him, though I did.  Not because I'll personally miss him.  I didn't know him.  In fact, unlike other celebrities who appear on  interviews and talk shows and give the public a glimpse of what they are like when someone isn't writing their lines, Robin Williams always seemed to be in character.  He never stopped flapping and hopping and making funny faces and goofy voices.  It was rare to see the calm, tender side in the photo below that showed up in my newsfeed this morning.  I think seeing this photo is what shook me, seeing him as a human being instead of an entertainer, and realizing that he experienced the world through the dark filter that is depression.  I couldn't just carry on.

RIP Robin Williams.  
You were a mad genius, and brought so much joy and laughter to the world.

Photo Source
Depression + Suicide

Two terrible things that have touched my family.  We don't talk about my Uncle Zeke.  Perhaps because we worry about upsetting those who were closest to him.  Or maybe because it's scary to think about someone who appeared to be normal and happy taking their own life.  It's hard to fathom that kind of desperation.  The thought that another day of existence would be unbearable.  I've never felt it, and it breaks my heart that anyone does.  I remember Zeke's smile, and his glasses.  I remember his pet skunk being the coolest thing ever.  I think her name was Angel.  I was just a kid, but I don't remember him appearing to be unhappy.  Depression is sneaky that way.

I get frustrated when I hear people ask, "What would so and so have to be depressed about?"  Are so many people still unaware of the difference between sadness and depression?  The National Institute of Mental Health calls major depression "one of the most common mental disorders in the United States."

Depression is often missed in men because, NEWSFLASH, men are stubborn and less likely to talk to a doctor about it.  If they go undiagnosed and untreated for long periods of time, they are much more likely to commit suicide.  The Mayo Clinic's website lists the following symptoms to look for that you may not think of as depression related:

  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities, such as sex
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Tiredness and lack of energy, so that even small tasks take extra effort
  • Changes in appetite — often reduced appetite and weight loss, but increased cravings for food and weight gain in some people
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness — for example, excessive worrying, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

So, while I'm sad that the world has lost an iconic comedian, I'm sadder that depression has taken a man from his loved ones.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Cousins - We Put The Fun In Dysfunctional.

When I was a kid, my cousins were in Washington State, Northern British Columbia, and Ontario.  Perhaps the fact that none of them lived in the same town as us made them all a little exotic to me, but I always felt like they were special.  Even though we moved a ton while I was growing up, and I rarely felt strong ties to a place, I always felt like I was part of a tribe.  A wacky rainbow circus tribe.  We currently represent: Black, White, First Nations, East Indian, Vietnamese, Greek/Cypriot, Hispanic, Chinese, and Gay.  We briefly had Transgender, and Wiccan.  We do drama Jerry Springer style.  We put the fun in dysfunctional.

My parents and their siblings made an effort to get us together as often as possible.  I'm so grateful for that.  It was easiest with the 5 cousins in Washington because we could get in the car and drive to Spokane, or Wenatchee, or Seattle, wherever they were living at the time.  We even visited them in Augsburg, Germany when my aunt took a job over there.

I've always felt a strong connection to my cousins, and I want that for my daughter too.  Even though my immediate family is small (one sister), I always felt like I came from a big family because of all the cousins.  Now that I'm raising an only child, I take advantage of opportunities to get my daughter together with her cousins and 2nd cousins.  I truly value those relationships.

Christmas in Wenatchee 1975 (I think)

We spend summers at my parents' place in Canada, and my sister and her family live about 5 minutes away.  We hang out with my niece and nephew nearly every day and usually coordinate activities like swimming lessons so that we can all go at the same time.  Sometimes it's chaotic, and sometimes it's a drag for the older kids to have their 4 year old cousin tagging along.  Mostly it's adorable though, watching that connection grow.  Her cousins were in town for her birth, and have known her since she was 24 hours old.  She has also met all 3 of her cousins on her father's side, and formed a bond with her 25 year old cousin Pablo who moved from Guatemala City to Dallas.  She has also spent time with 13 of her 2nd cousins!

The day after Ebi's Birthday

We recently got in on an amazing deal when laleo photography donated their afternoon to a fundraiser.  My sister and I each bought a 15 minute photo shoot, and decided that we would overlap them so that we could have some nice photos of the 3 of them together.  I'm delighted with how they turned out.

Photos from the laleo photography shoot.
Later this month we're having a family reunion.  I can't wait to hang out with my cousins, and Ebi is super excited about seeing some of her 2nd cousins again.

Are you still friends with your cousins now that you're grown up?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Ultimate Virtual Baby Shower Giveaway

Welcome to the Showered with All Things Baby Giveaway Event!

Brittanie from Bargains with Brittanie will soon be welcoming her second baby boy into the world and she wants to celebrate with you! She is teaming up with a group of bloggers to offer a spectacular giveaway that features products perfect for the new mom, dad, and baby. With $2,064 worth of prizes and 29 winners this is a giveaway you won't want to miss!

Several of my friends in California are expecting or just had babies and I haven't been around to celebrate with them, so I'm excited to be part of this awesome giveaway!

For this giveaway we have some amazing prizes and want to give a huge thank you to all of our wonderful sponsors who made this giveaway possible. Our sponsors include:

In addition to this great giveaway, you can check out the Ultimate Baby Shower Gift Guide which contains reviews of the products featured in this event.

Enter the Giveaway!

Giveaway ends August 5th at 11:59pm. It is open to United States Residents only. Winners will be chosen via All Entries Will Be Verified. Winners will be contacted via email and will have 24 hours to claim prize or a new winner will be chosen. Enter using the widget below. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I did not receive compensation for participating in this event. This giveaway is sponsored by the companies mentioned above. This blog is not responsible for prize fulfillment or shipment.
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