Monday, November 28, 2011

If Only

If only.

If only someone else had gone first.

If only Keith had been by his mother’s side.

If only we’d paid more attention, our Thanksgiving gathering wouldn’t be permanently etched in our minds.

Excited to be celebrating Thanksgiving with Keith’s family for the first time in three years and anticipating the upcoming feast, we were careless.

And Grandma paid the price.

Shortly after arriving at our niece’s house Thanksgiving afternoon, Keith’s 86-year-old mother Marie misjudged the one step down into the living room and fell.

We all stared, horrified at the sight of our beloved sister/ mother/grandmother quietly sprawled on the floor with her eyes closed.

Greeks or Italians would have been in chaos with everyone talking loudly at once. Even-keeled Midwest Scandinavian Lutherans handle emergencies with an ominous quiet.

Responses varied. Marie’s two stoic Danish eighty something brothers didn’t move, didn’t flinch, just stared with grim resignation as they watched the scene unfold.

Someone yelled, “Grandma!”

An uncle told the kids to stay in the downstairs family room.

Keith growled “What happened?” in his “Heads are going to roll voice.” Although by that point it was pretty obvious. The thing we had all dreaded had finally happened.

I tentatively peeked around the kitchen corner and saw Marie’s leg splayed in a suspicious angle. I quickly retreated and told Keith’s niece, “I can’t look.”

Either I’m Danish and don’t know it, or I’ve picked up their traits by osmosis, or being squeamish trumps common sense, but I’m pretty sure an emotionally healthy, well-adjusted adult wouldn’t go back into the kitchen to finish making a salad while their mother-in-law lies in pain on the floor in the next room.

Marie’s health has significantly deteriorated over the last year. Mostly her memory, but high blood pressure, cataracts, arthritis, and a bad knee have taken a toll. Nobody likes to say the “D” word but dementia is slowly clouding her mind.

Last month Keith’s sister Karen moved Marie to assisted living. We wanted to put Marie in a safe place and lighten Karen’s load, but instead moving aggravated the situation. Routine and familiarity allowed Marie to function. Change did not.

Thankfully Keith’s sister-in-law Sacia isn’t Scandinavian and had recently completed Ski Patrol emergency medical training and isn’t squeamish or cowardly so took control of the situation. She methodically checked Marie’s limbs and to our subdued joyous surprise, nothing was broken.

Thankfully Kiah worked as a nursing home CNA for five years, is a first semester nursing student, and isn’t squeamish so also knew what to do.

So ironic how things come full circle. When Kiah at 18 months old, badly cut her lip on a bookshelf and had to be stitched up, her Grandma held and soothed her.

Twenty years later, when Kiah knelt beside her injured grandmother while Sacia announced that Marie had cut her head on the bookshelf and needed stitches, Kiah held her grandmother’s hand and said, “I love you Grandma.”

Keith, his brother, and niece took Marie to the Emergency Room where they put four staples into her head. And discovered an irregular heart beat, which may or may not have been caused by the accident.

The rest of us half-heartedly sat down to our Thanksgiving meal, muted, sober, preoccupied.

An ER doctor confirmed no broken bones, no concussion, nothing obviously wrong except the head wound. We’re thankful because it easily could have been so much worse.

Dementia isn’t all bad. As traumatic as yesterday was, she doesn’t remember it.

But we do. No doubt everyone’s claimed a portion of the blame and wondered what they could have done to prevent the accident.
If only.

5x7 Folded Card

Bright Merry Cheer Christmas Card
Create unique Christmas cards with Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hard Work

By Kiah Vik

Dad wants us to work
And rake the yard.
But who wants to rake,
The works too hard.

But if he should say
Go out and play
We rake and rake
and "work" all day.

You must rake for quite awhile
To get the perfect jumping pile.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy 11-11-11

Such a fun date, especially since I'm so fond of odd numbers. 

It's also the 111111 Grandest Meeting of the Corduroy Appreciation Club in New York City. (Get it - corduroy has lines and 111111 looks like corduroy lines)

I also wanted to share a totally unrelated fun cartoon from Google images.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Christmas Card Blues

Problem: So-so family picture this year. We were only all together at Easter and it's hard to get a good picture that time of year with our winter white faces and not-yet-thawed scenery.

People mostly looked okay but the pose shows no creativity, Lani's bleached out, and I appear to be either asleep while standing up or in pain. 

Problem Solved: Yay! Shutterfly to the rescue. Forget pasty white Easter pictures. Say Hello to a collage from tanner times. It doesn't matter if we can't get together for a suitable family photo or if I'm not smart enough to figure out how to photoshop absent family members into a picture.

These are so much better.

Maybe this 4 x 8 Photo card
Or this one

or a 5 x 5 square flat stationery card

or these 5 x 7 Flat Stationery Cards

With over 900 flat or folded cards to choose from, I'm not sure how I'll ever decide. Shutterfly also sells photo cards for all occasions year round. Click here to view their other greeting cards.We used this card last year for Valentines Day.

If I can rip myself away from picking out cards, Shutterfly has many other cool items for me to spend my husband's hard-earned money on. My personal favorites are their photo books. I've shared some of our albums before like the one I made for my son's wedding. Shutterfly's quality is hard to beat and if I keep an eye out for their sales, I can usually get a good deal.

Shutterfly also has an amazing assortment of photo gifts. Click here to see their line-up of everything from magnets, mouse pads, photo mugs, address labels, to photo wall decals.

* * * * * * * * * *

I need to be upfront and confess that Shutterfly is giving me 25 free cards in exchange for my review, which is easy to do. I love Shutterfly products so it's no hardship to say nice things about them. But I promise I wouldn't say nice things if I didn't mean them.

If you haven't picked out your Christmas cards yet, go to and check them out.