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8 posts from November 2005

November 29, 2005

We Miss You, Mom

Judith Ann Hughes Kirk, September 23, 1944 - November 29, 2005.  Mom/Greema/Judy, you are in our hearts forever.

November 25, 2005

A semi-sigh of relief

Well, by no means is she back to 100%, but I believe mom is definitely out of the woods.  She is still in ICU hooked up to "18 different monitors and IVs", but I think that is just fine!

Yes, it was a heart attack and they will be performing a cardiac catheterization on Monday or Tuesday (was supposed to be today) to determine the next course of action.  She is hoping to be home by Tuesday or Wednesday, but we have to wait on the results of the catheterization to know for sure. 

She sounds much, much better than the first time we spoke and has been able to catch up on a few good books and movies.   Luckily, she thought to bring her DVD player and her photos with her, so she is never truly 'alone'.

Thanks for all the good wishes and more news as it develops!

November 22, 2005

It's not always a wrong number

You know those evenings:  the kids are in bed asleep, you and the hubby are just relaxing watching a movie.  Okay, a late movie, but tomorrow won't be a terribly taxing day and it is nice to just share some quiet time.

Then the phone rings and you think, who would call at this hour?  Ah, wrong number!  Or, maybe mom, just to say hi.  Well, it was mom, but she sounded funny.

"Are you okay?" I asked.  "Not really", was the reply, "I am on the way to ICU." 

It was one of those phone calls.  The nail-biters that come out of nowhere, just when you have settled back into your calm existence, anticipating the holidays, but knowing, for once, everyone seemed healthy and happy.

But she isn't, according to her doctor, who called an ambulance after an initial examination this morning.  When mom first mentioned her problem, she simply said "heart blockage" and I didn't really think.  Then I talked to the nurse and she actually said the words "heart attack", which made my own heart skip quite a few beats.

So she is on her way to ICU, but I can't help but worry.  We are no longer a three hour drive.  We are now a five hour flight, if we are able to get tickets.  So, we are finishing the movie and instead I wonder if maybe we should have just spent the money to go home or if I should be rapidly reserving a flight.  The nurse said, "Not yet", but when does one really know?

November 19, 2005

The Inevitable

Yes, it has come down to this:  Jen will have to cook a turkey or there will be no Thanksgiving this year!  Although we are (in theory) happy not to spend, oh, millions of dollars to travel home, well, this is going to be interesting.

Other than Lean Cuisine meals, I have never actually 'cooked' a turkey.  In fact, most frozen dinners come with the meat already cooked, so that is more of a reheating process.

We are joining together with another family to share the burden, bask in the joy of preparing the meal, however, I am still concerned.  Will Butterball answer the phone when I call them at 2 a.m. their time, freaking out because I don't know what to do with the monstrous half frozen beast on my countertop?  Will they hang up because they are laughing so hard at finding out a woman who can willingly move her entire family overseas every few years is daunted by the notion of stuffing a huge, raw bird and cooking it for many, many hours?

These and many more questions will be asked over the next few days.  We can only hope and pray that those of you who have cooked turkeys in the past (and lived to tell) will share your words of comfort and advice.

November 11, 2005

The Blue Lagoon, Part Deux

But you already went to the Blue Lagoon, why write about it again?

Perhaps because this time we left the kiddies at home! Yes, you have that correct, Pete and Jen went on a 'daytime' date, if you will. Today was Veteran's Day, thus the Embassy was closed. Now that Pete is actually home for federal holidays, we can plan to do something on them once in a while!

So, the weekend before the aforementioned date, we both realized that BOTH kids would be in school on Friday! You have never seen such a Happy Dance. Truly, we love our kids, but find that absence does make the heart grow fonder.

And a floating massage makes the back hurt less. Oh, yes, I had been needing a massage for months. Pete called and booked me with Inka at 11:30 a.m. We had to be there by 10:45 in order for my muscles to be appropriately 'relaxed' but realized this was not a bad thing.

NO ONE else was there! It was absolutely surreal and simply gorgeous. The mist rose from the water and you could see nothing but water and the surrounding lava rocks. No people (okay, unless you looked inside) , no noise, no pollution. Did I mention it was also about 30 degrees?

I could barely move after my floating massage, and trust me, that is a compliment to the massage therapist. She pushed more stress out of my legs than I knew existed! It did take a few moments to adjust to the sensation of floating while having a massage. There was the constant feeling of needing to grab onto something for about the first five minutes. Once she really got going, though, I start drifting off and it was pure heaven!

For those of you planning to visit and wary of the 'floating' part, you need not worry. You could simply sign up for a back massage which is done on a table in the water. It isn't quite as long, but I imagine still will leave you rested and refreshed!

November 10, 2005

Not a newbie anymore!

So, I think I realized I have pretty well adjusted to life here. How could I know that, you ask?

Well, it hit me today when I was taking Kelsey to school. I drove up and as usual, all of the street parking spots were taken. Just as I neared Njalsborg a jeep pulled up onto the sidewalk in front of me.

Now, during the past few weeks, my response would have been: "Oh, God, how am I going to squeeze between the SUV on the sidewalk and the one parked on the other side of the street??" Note: in typical European fashion, the other side of the street is about 4 feet away.

What was my response today?? "Man, they took my parking spot!"

November 09, 2005

The Lion, The Witch & The Caitlin

Oops, I mean wardrobe. Caitlin's class studied this book (among other things) during the past two months, and Cait is definitely hooked. All of the students had to design their own wardrobe and then write a story about it. Caitlin definitely had an interesting story, which involved characters named Caity, Rock Star and some sort of cat.

We learned of this tonight at parents' night. I had actually seen the wardrobe earlier in the day when dropping the book orders off at the school. I didn't look too closely, though, as I knew it was a surprise for the evening.

So, Caitlin is on grade level for math, which is great considering they are using a much harder workbook than the standard American text. She has also blown away the teachers with her reading skills. They are absolutely impressed by how she "devours" books. So, needless to say, to say the least, if one is in need of a Christmas gift idea for Caitlin, the Chronicles of Narnia would work. She is also in love with Magic Tree House books, but they don't last long and I could not even begin to tell you how many she has read.

So, if you are wondering, yes, we love her school. There are only 10 students, but they are part of a bigger Icelandic school and have several integrated classes. They also get incredible amounts of attention. Considering how they are molding the minds of the future, I don't think a parent could ask for any more!

Now a word on the manipulator (I mean that lovingly) of the evening:

Kelsey and I were having a brief discussion and I mentioned how we went to a meeting tonight.

Kelsey, "No, you didn't, you went to Caitlin's school!"
Jen, "Yes, but it was for a meeting. You know, in a few years, you will go to that school, too!"
Kelsey, "Like Caitlin and Aidan (Cait's friend)?"
Jen, "Yes, but Aidan won't be there then. He is moving."
Kelsey, (very nonchalantly) "To another school?"
Jen, "No, to another country."
Kelsey, "Hmm, can I have a snack?"

Well, no, but then again, knowing Kelsey, I think she knew that! And, yes, she is doing just fine at her "Icelandic school" as she calls it.

November 01, 2005

Pumpkin Carving: Part II

On Tuesday afternoon Aidan came over for a playdate. Caitlin let him know that we hadn't yet carved the pumpkin and they both decided that would be a good activity for them (translation: me) to do that afternoon. Since Aidan was the guest that day, he picked out the design for the pumpkin.

Cait and Aidan then played an interesting game of Kids Trivial Pursuit while I was reminded of just how difficult and tedious pumpkin carving can be! However, the finished product completely erased such thoughts and we enjoyed the soft glow of the illuminated pumpkin for the rest of the night.