Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Shall we stroll?

Over a year ago, I pulled a bunch of pictures of me and Karen growing up for a project that never came to fruition. And now as I'm packing up for Seattle (yay) I ran across the envelope of pictures that never made it back into albums (shhhh, don't tell Mom). Before I put them all back (easily done thanks to my handy dandy post-it filing system), I decided to scan them, just in case I did ever attempt my mysterious project. While going through them, I was struck with three major things: 1.) Karen and I were freakin' cuties growing up. 2.) There are many people who loved us very much that are no longer with us. and 3.) Looking at these pictures, there is no doubt that we were very very loved and very happy kiddo-roos. It makes me extremely thankful, especially as the "what next" is so unknown....maybe if I found Karen's Rainbow Bright costume. So I thought I'd share a few of my favourites......

I love this one because of Karen's expression and because of the footie PJs.

Mommy made us coordinating outfits. It is a trend in most of our childhood pictures.
This fireplace was our stage for many performances.

Our Halloween costumes always won first prize. I was Pippi Longstocking that year.

And those roller skates rocked the cul-de-sac.

I thought this one was appropriate considering recent events. That career dream didn't last long when I found out the stethoscopes weren't really bright orange, blue, and red.

See, I toldya. Freakin' cuties.

What does Lynn do when she has limited mobility?

The same thing she does when she has unlimited mobility! KNIT! Many hours alone in London was enough to ignite the knitting bug and knitting is about as high impact as I could manage this week. I actually had enough foresight to bring a knitting project with me to the ER, knowing it would be a bit of a wait, but they got confiscated by security at the door. Because..... why? Mom eventually snuck them in (that woman knows her way around Stanford hospital) but they were too clever for us and stuck an IV into my once again, thwarted! But back at home, I was free to knit to my heart's content (and mom's chagrin, because I left my yarn and stuff all over the couch. hey, i'm not supposed to lift anything!) Luckily, I got an email through a knitting network that an artist is asking for knit flowers and birds for an art installation in the fall. Since I had some scrap yarn and (ahem) spare time, I offered my services. I never have considered myself much of a creative person (one appealing thing about knitting is that there is a pattern and precise instructions). But I have loved using a basic flower pattern and experimenting with different yarns, textures, and stuff. I'm way proud of what I came up with, and since this is my blog, I'm posting pictures so you can ooooh and aaahhh with me. Oh, and I'm recuperating well.... totally off pain meds and (fingers crossed) the staples come out Thursday so I can't mope about my frankentummy anymore.

the pattern was for a rose

I call this one... "tulip"

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Meh, I didn't really want it anyway....

God is good, and although as I am typing this I've got five staples in my lower abdomen, I look at the last week and I am constantly thankful for the VERY apparent ways God gave people around me divine wisdom and intuition.

It all started with me getting a FULL DAY off of work (which is a huge deal, considering we are in week two of Day Camp). Apparently I am more expendable then I thought (to be confirmed later). I decided to be a good big sister and drive out to Manteca to help with the moving of furniture and redistribution of goods. Started feeling iffy on the way over (blamed it on coffee on a nearly empty stomach) and when I arrived, I had to immediately lie down. Fast forward to what I thought was the worst case of stomach flu ever in existence. There were two luckilies in this case. Luckily #1, Karen and Stephen had been offered the house of one of their pastor's and their family who were out on vacation. Their apartment wasn't ready when it should have been, so what started as a place for Karen and Stephen to stay turned into a place for Lynn to lie on the couch all day (and frequent visits to the very tastefully decorated bathroom, ahem). Luckily #2, there was an all day marathon of Law and Order on TNT.
By the next afternoon, I was stable enough to make the hour and a half drive home (probably one of my least favourite drives EVER) but by the evening, the pain from the 24 hour cramping was still there. Mom had the smartness to recognize that was unusual and called Super Doctor (also known as Uncle Ken) who made me poke my stomach and stand on my tip toes and drop suddenly to my heels. After confirming that yes, that indeed did hurt, A LOT, he recommended an immediate trip to the ER and get checked out for appendicitis. By 8:15 PM I was checking into the ER at Stanford and although we got a few eye rolls when I said "my uncle whose a dr said I should come in and get checked out" I was soon admitted into a bed...... in the hallway (it was a busy night). For the next six hours, I was dubbed "19 Hall." Surprisingly, I was able to fall asleep. Not surprisingly, one of the nurses recognized mom's Day Camp sweatshirt and they were soon chatting about MPPC (seriously, they are EVERYWHERE!). Fastforward two IV drips and a CAT scan later and the doctor walked up to my bed and said "Yep, it's what we thought, probably early appendicitis. We've called the surgeon on-call and they'll be over to talk to you." And walked away. Who in the what now?
And at this moment, I would like to review all that I am thankful for. First, that I was baby enough to whine about the pain instead of trying to cowboy up. Two, that mom had the wisdom to call Uncle Ken. Three, that Uncle Ken had the wisdom to interpret over the phone what was going on and to tell me what to do. Four, that we listened (even though Miss Lynn doesn't have health, you do the math). And Five, that Uncle Ken mentioned appendicitis right off the bat or else that news would have FREAKED me out.
There was an awful lot going through my head that long evening-early morning. First, that this was NOTHING like Grey's Anatomy, because my bed was right in between a supply closet and the staff break room and there was NO funny business going on in either place. Second, it is interesting the psychology of what an ER can do to you. At first, you kinda wish that there is something seriously wrong. Because I would have felt really really stupid if we had gone through all of this rigamarole for some residual stomach flu pains. Especially since the pain was decreasing throughout the night, but localizing in one spot (bottom right, which for all you non- med students is the indicator of appendicitis). And then, after sitting in the hallway for hours upon hours, just waiting, the severity of what appendicitis entails hits you and by the time you're getting buzzed through a CAT scan machine you want to shout out "I'm fine now! Really! That long wait in the ER cured me!" No such luck.
I won't continue on with details, because frankly, I was bored out of my mind so even I don't want to type it, let alone make someone read it. So, let me sum up: Successful surgery around 1:00 in the afternoon on Thursday. Freaked out in post-op recovery (you wake up with bright lights, rushing scrubs, intense side pain and an oxygen mask on, its a bit scary). It was confirmed, I did have (very) early appendicitis. Was discharged by Friday morning. I charmed the nurses and doctors with my big fat hippo, Tot. My biggest success is that I was able to do without vicotin after leaving the hospital and had my last extra strength Tylenol this morning. I'm still extremely sore (feels like a running cramp), but I'm doing ok. And now you are caught up. As you can see, there were many points in this story where things could have gone dastardly wrong (the one I like to focus on is how glad I am that I was not in London at the time). I'd love some prayers for speedy recovery and wisdom about appropriate time to move to Seattle. I'm not allowed to lift anything over ten pounds for six weeks. So, that Watermelon Throwing Contest is out.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

a royal blue silence

I forgot to mention in my promise to blog again, that in a few days, two weeks of Day Camp was going to start. I consider myself lucky, I've only been on a few field trips, but I'm still pulling 10 to 12 hour days, not to mention working two weeks straight. It's been a bit of a challenge. In years past, Day Camp has always been the highlight of our summers. As a kid and counselor, I couldn't wait to put on that blue shirt. But this year, I was originally only doing small bits and pieces. So I wasn't investing too much passion into it, but as things fell into place two things occurred, one I should have anticipated and another I couldn't have. First of all, one of our interns broke her ankle. She's been an amazing trooper through it all, but there was a lot of slack that needed to be picked up. Second, (and this is the one I should have seen coming), is there is always ALWAYS more to do the week of than is planned for. As the "freebie" staff person, a lot of the extra stuff falls on me. I'm not complaining at all, I really do like being available to pick up the little things to make everyone else's life easier. But I found that without the expectations of being fully invested, it's taken me a while for my passion and joy for Day Camp to catch up to me. Plus, most of my heart (and my head) is already in Seattle, just waiting for the rest of me to move up there. And Day Camp is not something you can do with half of yourself in WA and the other half pouting in your office because your new responsibilities weren't on your original To Do list. But there have been a couple things that gave me some perspective.
Yesterday as we were getting the last groups onto the bus and I was waiting on the curb to wave them off (I got permission to miss Ice Skating, which was a bummer because it would have been fun, but I had that pesky little thing of my normal job responsibilities to address). I noticed that about ten of the little tykes from the church's preschool were sitting in a straight line in the courtyard, where the groups had just left. At first my thought was, "bummer for them, they can't get out into the courtyard until we get out of their way." I then got caught up in the frustration of a kid who left her backpack in her room, and another who had a "need to go to the potty now" urge. The buses were already running late, and the bus boss was taking a while getting a count and all I could think of was as soon as they left I could tackle my huge To Do list. And then I looked back, and there were ten little pairs of eyes, staring back at me. Sitting cross-legged, patient as can be. I turned to a co-worker and she told me they liked to watch the buses drive off. That was it. These little ones were sitting still in anticipation of getting to have the privilege to wave goodbye to all these big kids. And lets be honest, if a three year old could patiently delay her coloring and sand-box time to wave goodbye to the buses, why couldn't I be just as patient?
Why is it, that after you've seen the inner workings of a childhood wonderment, it looses all it's power? When did big yellow buses loose their magic? In devotions this morning, my mom brought up the Fruit of the Spirit, and encouraged us to pick one to ask God for. And without a moments hesitation, I picked "joy." I want eyes wide open to see God working in these next two weeks, and not so focused on my watch and the To Do list.
And tomorrow is Great America, wish us luck.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

An Abbreviated Version

This is how mom thinks I could sum up the previous post:
I'm not in London anymore. I stopped posting when I didn't have to procrastinate on studying anymore. Now that I am procrastinating on editing my CV and applying for jobs, I've found the time to blog again.

Sigh, mothers can be so truthful sometimes.

Your carbon-scarring seems quite prominent.......

The irony of it all is that on a daily basis, I check on average about 8 blogs. Some are friends, others are knitters, and some are just plain funny. On long, lonely days in London, I'd often check multiple times a day, just in case someone wrote two entries for that day. And on days they didn't put in an entry, I'd take personal offence to their neglect. *Ring* Ring* "Hello, Kettle? This is Pot...." My deepest apologies for all of you who checked this blog regularly for updates (or are still checking, huh Sarah?) and there has been nothing since April. The most honest reason I have is that during that month I was faced with some major life-changing decisions, and by the end of the day, I was so sick of thinking about it and talking about it- typing about it wasn't all that attractive. And after the decision was made, I was thrown into a new transition and the neglected blog would whimper from time to time for sustenance, but my guilt for the initial neglect continued to promote further neglect (reason why I am not ready for a pet. Ask me someday about the tragic demise of Valentino, my Beta). Often a thought would pop up or something would happen and I'd think "oh, I should blog that" but then the reminder that an IMPORTANT ENTRY needed to happen before comic relief, so the neglect continued. So, this will be a very condensed version of "How Lynn's Life Took a Major Turn for the Better" and I'll fill in details as time goes on.
After a clarifying week at home over Easter, I made the decision to withdraw from my graduate program. I have done a great disservice to this blog in my lack of authenticity about how miserable I really was with the academic components of my life in London (which was the primary purpose for being there). Blog entries (defined in my head) were just for funny stories and updates, and the idea of posting "I slept in until 1:00pm again, because the last thing I want to do is face my reading" was really depressing. I think too there was an element that to write it out for all to see would make it real, and I was certain I was doing something wrong that made it so hard. I made some lifestyle adjustments, in hopes that it would clear up a few of the challenges to free up some more emotional bandwidth, and ended up with a really fun job (making coffee at a cafe run by a neighborhood church) and a good, comfortable place to live (far away from the neightmares of campus housing). With those things in the "helpful" category, instead of the "rather poke myself in the eye with a spoon than deal with it" category, I was able to see with great clarity that what I was left with was a bunch of academic material I did not have any passion for, minimal interaction with my advisers, professors and classmates, and a dissertation project I was months behind in without any hope of finding a topic I'd be excited to pursue. I struggled with the questions like "should I stick with it, because in the end I'll have a MA degree?" and "I'm not a quitter! Am I?" but in the end realized this academic program was not a good fit for me, and to force a bad fit for six more months would create more regrets than leaving without that degree. As all the cards fell, I decided to stay in London until mid-June (the time Karen and Stephen had already planned to come out for some UK travel before their Ethiopia adventure). That would leave me with two months to continue working, explore the world around me free of academic related guilt, and give London a chance to woo me back so when I looked back, I'd remember it fondly.
And it worked! After making the decision I felt an immense amount of peace, I began to sleep well, and I woke up each morning excited for what was next. Everyone I knew in London asked me what was different the minute they saw me. Many remarked how happy and peaceful I looked. I'll save more details for another time, but highlights included a four day bus tour of Scotland with my good school friend Heather, a yarn workshop/adventure with knitting buddy Ginger in northern England, a whole week in Morocco visiting Seattle-friend Jonelle, and of course, a weekend in Italy with Karen and a weekend in Ireland with Karen and Stephen. I had more weekends out of the city than I did in. As my days filled up with joyful things to look forward to, I was able to invest in the time I had in London. I spent time at my job, enjoying the staff and customers (and the free coffee). I explored London on my own. Most trips were well documented at
God is so good, and His timing is perfect. Two months were just enough time to get to do all the things on my "Must Do" list, spend quality time with the people I would miss, and was ready to leave when the time came. Right now, I am in California, having fun in Children's Ministries as their Interim Assistant Program Director for Preschool. Dad and I watch all the CSI we can stomach. Mom and I play Settlers of Catan with the new expansion pack she got for Christmas (hooray for random Game Shops in London). On July 29th, after I have helped CM pack up Elementary Day Camp I will pack up the mini-van with my own stuff and head up to Seattle to rebuild a life. Luckily, I already have the two most important things you need in life: a fabulous place to live, and a community of believers. I've got both. Eagerly awaiting God to reveal His plan for the rest of it, but right now my biggest stress is if I am going to paint my new room or not. Many thanks to all of you who have been praying me through this adventure. And it's just beginning.