Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Wise words from my brother

When Kristen and I decided to start a series about our lives "Swappin' Countries" as expats, I asked other bloggers to give us some questions and prompts to help kickstart us.  Welllllll...life happens...so, Kristen and I haven't been superb at keeping that series alive just yet, but we have a post in mind, coming soon...

I started answering one of those questions months ago (from Dani from Faster Than Forever) who asked:  "How did your family/loved ones take the news?" (that I was moving to the other side of the world) 

But, that post sat in draft unfinished.  Until I read Audrey's post "Get Out of There" because it got me thinking about our life choices about where we live and who we live life with.

When I announced that I was moving from Texas to Australia, I received varying degrees of support from loved ones.  Most of the family was less than thrilled. 

My mother cried and cried and didn't really know what to say except "please don't go."  This was the one and only time in my life that my always supportive father told me that I was disappointing him, and he meant it.  The conversation included me trying to be strong through tears streaming down my face, and I was collapsing inside.

My brother suggested that he and I go for a walk around his neighborhood. 

Back story: My brother met his wife when he was 18, got engaged at 20, and married at 21.  He worked at a big international accounting firm in a big city for a few years...then moved back to raise a family in College Station, Texas (a town of about 100,000).  He has 3 glorious children.  The family is close.  Top priority.  Their social activities revolve around school, church, and extra-curricular activities.  He and my sister-in-law have been married for 25+ years, and their relationship is an inspiration.  Their relationships with their children is a beautiful thing to witness.  Nobody, no one, no family is perfect.  They are the first to admit this.  But, they are as close to perfect as a collective whole as I've personally witnessed, and I am in awe of them.

So, when we took a walk around the neighborhood...I mentioned something about him being the "golden child" and the one that always made our parents proud and was never a disappointment.  He discussed that his life made him happy and fulfilled...but, he said he knew that if I led the life he had, I'd have been bored.  He said that he knew we were different.  The things that excited me or fueled my zest for life weren't necessarily his.  But, that there was nothing wrong with that.  There was nothing wrong with me wanting to take risks.  There was nothing wrong with me wanting to live in a different country.  Sure, I'd be missed, terribly, but I needed to live my life in a way that would be fulfilling and make me happy.  And, I was always welcome to come home.

Tears are falling as I remember this conversation from over 8 years ago.

In an ideal world, my loved ones wish that I lived closer.  But, it's the words of my brother, knowing that he "got me" that still fill my heart. 

Eventually, other family members have come around.  No one likes that I live so far away.  Heck, I don't like that I live so far away from them.  Sometimes, I think that me living so far from home actually encourages communication with some family members.  You know, the ones we take for granted that live close, yet we still don't see often?  I hear from some aunts and cousins more than I did when I lived in Texas.  Others, I don't hear from as much.  But, we all have to make an effort to maintain connections and relationships, regardless of distance.

The support from my brother, his calm and wisdom, will always be something that I cherish.  We don't talk much.  We don't have to.  He knows I am filled with imperfections and flaws, but I know he loves me unconditionally.  I do not take this for granted.
My mom says this is her favorite picture of us, so I recycle it every now and then.

Have you received wise words from a loved one at an important time in your life?  I encourage you to reflect on them and share them (if you feel moved to do so).

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday's Seven Snapshots: Tales from the E/R

Other things happened this week, but I can barely remember them.  A kidney stone took over my life mid-week, and I'm still recuperating.

I've had a kidney stone once before about 5 or 6 years ago.  When I started experiencing pain this week, I wasn't sure what was happening.  I even googled "appendix burst" to know what side the appendix is on.  Later that night, as I was describing the pain that was intensifying, my guy and I looked at each other and wondered "is this another kidney stone?"

I went to take a hot bath.  Pain was still increasing, and I don't know, maybe it was from the heat of the bath as well, but I began to vomit.  I had no appetite so I hadn't eaten all day, but my body still found plenty to vomit.  A decision was made to go to the E/R.  This was about 10:00pm on Thursday night.

I got in the car, ready to go, drove down the block, only to realize I didn't have my purse.  Oops.  Turn around to get it, because, you know, and i.d. and medicare card are important to have.  My guy goes into the house to retrieve the forgotten purse while I puke out the side of the car into our grass.

We get to the E/R.  I go directly to the toilet to puke some more while my guy explains to the situation to the triage nurse.  They got to work immediately.  One dose morphine.  Nothing.  Second dose of morphine.  Still, nothing.  I can't remember what the third attempt to pain relief was, but I know it didn't work.  There was blood work and an urinalysis plus a decision to transfer me to a larger hospital.  Yep, got an ambulance ride out of this "fun" night too.  Finally, a super strong dose of oxy was given and pain started to subside but nausea increased.

A CT scan determined, yes, there was a kidney stone.  E/R decided that they wanted me to transfer to urology.  So, I spent several hours waiting for a bed there.  In the meantime, I got to listen to the sounds of an E/R.  I just remembering trying to crawl up into a little ball. 

I was transferred to urology.  While being wheeled into my room, I grasped the barf bag and gave a treat to my new nurse.  She was so wonderful.  She was everything you'd want from a nurse, compassionate, knowledgeable, and efficient.  I saw doctors, nurses, had more blood work, and urine tests.  Most importantly, they were trying to get the pain and nausea under control while pumping as many fluids in me as they could.

Twenty hours later...no stone had passed...but I was home drinking lots and lots of fluids and drugged up.  Sweet baby Ricky knew his mama was not feeling her best.

Another day passed and so did that kidney stone!  Thank goodness.  I gotta admit it.  I looked at that thing and was dumbfounded by such a little stone causing so much havoc.  I'm still achy, nauseous, and woozy, but that will pass too. 

I've been resting this weekend with my guy, my kitties, and my little penguin, Penelope.

I wasn't even going to post a "Sunday's Seven Snapshots" today, but I felt alright enough to post this tonight, so I'd say that I am well on my way to feeling much, much better.

A friend of mine is a sportswriter, and he shared this story of his with me

Have you ever experienced kidney stones?  Aren't they the worst??

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Movie Questionnaire

I've been in a blogging slump.  Some of it is a timing and scheduling factor.  But, all too often, when I sit down to write, I'm just not focused or inspired or articulate.  So, I will keep sharing lists, link-ups, and questionnaires (like the one below that I stole from my friend's facebook page) until I can work that shizznit out:

most hated movie of all-time: Zoolander
movie i think is overrated: People like what they like, and I don't want to criticize that...but, for me, personally, I tried watching one of the Lord of the Rings on 3 separate occasions and fell asleep every time.
movie i think is underrated:  ??
movie i love: Almost Famous
movie i secretly love: If I love a movie, I don't keep it a secret.
favorite action movie: Independence Day
favorite drama: Good Will Hunting
favorite horror: Rob Zombie's remake of Halloween
favorite comedy: Step Brothers
favorite disney movie: The Fox and the Hound
favorite sci-fi movie: Guardians of the Galaxy
favorite animated movie: Since I listed The Fox and the Hound for "Disney", I'll say Big Hero 6 for this.
favorite superhero movie: The Avengers (2012)
favorite musical: Moulin Rouge
favorite western: Tombstone
favorite martial arts: The Karate Kid (because, let's be honest, I can't think of any other "martial arts" film that I've seen and enjoyed)
favorite indie: I think Dazed and Confused was an indie when it was released.  I'm not so good with my knowledge of what's an indie film.
favorite bad movie: Grease 2
childhood favorite: The Outsiders
favorite franchise: Marvel
best trilogy:  The Godfather
guilty pleasure: Urban Cowboy (the guilt comes from the fact that I cheer for a guy who commits domestic violence and adultery)

favorite director:  Stephen Spielberg

*The next 2 have stumped me more than any other question...I just really don't have "a" favorite
*favorite actor:  Morgan Freeman, Jared Leto (he's not just a pretty face), Robert Downey Jr.
*favorite actress:  Kate Winslet, Nicole Kidman, Helen Mirren (really, I just want to be her when I grow up)
favorite foreign film:  City of God
favorite movie this year so far: Lion
worst movie so far this year:  I think Batman v. Superman was last year, but oh well.
movie i have seen recently: watched Sing last night
what i thought of it: it's adorable
most anticipated film of this year: Guardians of the Galaxy 2
favorite movie of all-time: Love Actually

Pick 4 of the above "favorites" and tell me yours...

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sunday's Seven Snapshots vol.118

My guy went out to mow the lawn.  I heard meow-ing.  This is where I found Ricky, chatting to his human daddy outside.  This cat is so full of personality.

When he wants to cuddle, he is super duper sweet, as evidenced in this picture of these sweet boys.

Speaking of fur baby cuddles, I got lots from Sally girl this week too.

Easter Sunday consisted of me going to give thanks.

My guy and I braved the crowds and went to the Royal Easter Show ~ part livestock and agriculture show, part carnival, and part capitalism with booths of so many things to buy.

We viewed all the animals ~ horses, cows, goats, sheep, alpacas, dogs, and more...plus, this momma sow and her baby piglets were just so sweet. 

There's also an art display.  I told my guy if we had a spare $2,500, that I'd buy this painting.  I loved it.  I stared at it from every angle.

Hope you enjoyed your holiday (if you celebrate) week as well!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Happy things

I'm busy.  We are all busy.  But, it's good to take a moment to remind myself of some of the things that made me especially happy this week, and it's good to share my happiness with others. 

Ten things that made me happy:
  1. My guy and I had a night out together last Friday.  We put the phones away and just enjoyed each other's company.
  2. I've been at the new job for a little over a month, and I was offered a promotion this week. 
  3. Cuddles from fur babies (yes, this makes me happy every week.)
  4. Maxalt - a prescription wafer tablet that magically makes migraines vanish
  5. Paid holiday on Good Friday
  6. Wine night with a girlfriend
  7. I joined a new library near my new job.  On their website, they list newly-released books (or upcoming new releases) and let the public vote on the books that the library should get.  This made my book-lovin' heart oh-so-happy.
  8. Introducing the stepkid to the video for "Thriller"; his first statement that made me laugh was "that doesn't look like Michael Jackson", and I wasn't sure which MJ he's familiar with to compare Thriller MJ to; and second statement that made me smile was his genuine glee in the dance scene when he exclaimed "dancing zombies!"
  9. Eating chicken fajitas and guacamole that I cooked, and my guy saying "that was a great dinner that you cooked tonight".
  10. Guest posting for Rachel at A Nesting Nomad; hit that link and go check it out!

Hope you are feeling happy this week too!

Linking up with Lindsay, Charlotte, and Chrissy.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I show you my books, you show me yours... vol.27

It's Show Us Your Books Day!  The day hosted by Jana & Steph, the day that makes my goodreads "to read" list grow, and the day I interact with a blogging community of readers.  I love this day of the month.

What I've read since last link-up:

 1.  The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley - Time Travel books aren't normally my thang. If they were, I'd probably have loved this book. As is, I liked it alright. I liked a couple of the characters a whole lot more than the others.  3.5/5

2.  18 and Life on Skid Row by Sebastian Bach - Those who know me know that I am a fan of rock music and rock bios.  First and foremost, Sebastian Bach is a true fanatic for music. He calls about a dozen guys his "hero" in this book. I'm okay with that. Who says you need to limit yourself to one hero? He name drops. A lot. But I do believe he is such a genuine fan of those people.  Sebastian is also a fan of himself. That's no secret. He's toured the world in a rock band.  He's performed on Broadway and was even in Gilmore Girls.  This book had what I wanted from a rock bio - stories about music and excess, the highs and the lows of sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. 4/5

3.  Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight - I wanted to know how all the stories unfolded, but I wasn't exactly satisfied. Can't really explain my dissatisfaction without giving up spoilers. Too many characters. Some written well and some not. 2/5

4.  High Fidelity by Nick Hornby - I've heard that Jonathan Tropper (a favortie author of mine) is the American version of British author, Nick Hornby. I've seen a couple of movies based on Hornby books (About a Boy and this one.) I don't usually read books when I've already seen the movie, but I'm so glad I did with this one. Plus, I'd been wanting to read a Hornby book for years. Happy I finally did. Even though the guys are total music snobs, and I hate music snobs. Even though the main character, Rob, is completely exhausting at times, other times I couldn't help but love him. I can see the Tropper/Hornby comparison and will definitely grab another book by this author.  4/5

5.  The Pact by Jodi Picoult - I was late to the Jodi Picoult party.  I hadn't read a book of hers until last year (Nineteen Minutes).  I followed that up last month with Small Great Things and now, The Pact.  She sure does know how to tackle complicated, heavy, difficult topics and write a complex, riveting story.  4.5/5

Next up:  Bird Box by Josh Malerman; after I posted this pic on Instagram last week, I got several encouraging comments about it, so looking forward to diving in!

I've shown you mine, now you show me yours...books...

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sunday's Seven Snapshots vol.117

There is a restaurant in Sydney that calls itself "Tex Mex".  It is acceptable.  The best thing about it?  Half price margaritas during happy hour.

I saw this on the wall, and I liked it so much I read it about 5 times over to let it sink in before snapping the photo.

These guys ~ what can I say? ~ they are just so stinkin' cute and lovable.

I have more library cards in my wallet than credit cards, and I'm pretty damn pleased with that fact.

Some days, we like to go to the little "mom & pop" diner that serves simple dishes like toast with avocado, cheese, and tomato.

The description of this candle reads "sweet brown sugar melts into golden honey nectar on a base of candied almonds and vanilla milk".  I think this is what heaven smells like.

I finally watched the Big Little Lies finale.  This is the first television season that I've watched every episode since the last season of Dexter.  Yes, we've discussed that already.  I'm not big on tv.  But, I'm so glad I watched this.  Perfectly cast with incredible acting performances.  I will sing the praises of these actresses and actors to anyone who will listen.

Hope you all have a good week (and possibly a short one) coming up!