Monthly Archives: May 2010

Memorial Day 2010.

We discovered The Highground near Neillsville, WI while searching for a rest area between Minneapolis and Stevens Point a week ago today.  As described on the organization’s website:

It is the mission of The Highground to honor Veterans and their families and to educate about the cost of things – the human cost.

It is the vision of The Highground to honor human courage and sacrifice wherever it is displayed, without either denying or glorifying the pain and suffering of war or of life.

It is important to recognize that The Highground is not a war memorial. It is a Veterans Memorial Park that pays tribute to the Dead, and honors the Survivors, their service, and their sacrifices. It also pays tribute to the people who supported them when they were away and upon their return.

And, so we explored for a few minutes:

Visiting the Wisconsin Vietnam Veterans Tribute and Wisconsin Counties United in Service (pictured above), the Gold Star Tribute, the National Native American Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the Korean Veterans Tribute made sense in advance of Memorial Day.

I’m glad we spent those few extra minutes taking in all the scenes of The Highground.

The rascal’s family.

I don’t write much about family.   I don’t like to tell other people’s stories.  But Genie had the following topic for June’s Living Out Loud, so I thought I would expand upon the subject of family for a little bit.

“Are there certain things that you do that remind you of your parents? Are there certain qualities one of your parents has that you wish you had? Do you fidget with a pencil just like your dad? Do you smile just like your mom (even if what the other person said wasn’t that funny)? Are there things that your parents did that you never understood until now?”


I know I laugh like my mother, I know my facial expressions show like my father.  My smooth, youthful-looking skin comes from Mom, my ability to both crunch numbers and write well comes from Dad.

It is only because I have seen my siblings in action during this week’s vacation that I remember that we will all carry reminders of our parents for years to come.  And that even their children have begun to ensure that another generation will carry those same reminders.

The way my sister hurried to pay the restaurant bill the other night before I got a chance, just as my mother did months ago while visiting us.  Or how Sister takes her career and her children’s educations seriously like Dad.

The way my brother sat at the table after dinner with his hands folded exactly like my father last night.  Or how Brother handles his infant daughters with a gentle caring touch like Mom.

There are less than desirable traits we carry from our parents.   Anxiety and sadness are not unknown to the three of us.  Sometimes these traits have taken over our lives, sometimes entailing running away from the others (both literally and figuratively).  But every family has its darker moments, right?  Every child wants to split off from the rest, right?

Recently, I learned my father ran away from home when he was a teenager just as my brother would do years later.  I’m not talking about sneaking off to a friend’s house for the weekend or heading to the next town over for a few hours, I’m talking states away from home.   It proved that we all have a sense of adventure (or a need to escape), something I thought my father gained when he joined the Marine Corps straight out of high school.  Little did I know!   (Of course, my father’s inner Marine came to light when my brother made his own escape a couple decades later.)

I left the Midwest years and years ago to build my own life, to shed the stigma of being the youngest of the bunch.  Now the time has come to remember family and to embrace all of the traits that make my mother Mom, my father Dad, my sister S, my brother B, and that make me Rascal.

If I have learned anything from my recent illness and surgeries, it is that family caring and concern is contained in the backbone of healing.  Talking to my mom on the phone more often, exchanging e-mail with my siblings more often, connecting with my sister’s teenage children on Facebook – this is what has helped make a horrible experience much easier.

And when all was done and over, I was able to make this trip to show them all that I am doing well.  That I’m still Rascal, even if I’m all grown up and showing those traits gained from Mom and Dad, for better or for worse.

Ronnie James Dio, 1942-2010.

I don’t get out much.

We end up seeing most of our movies on DVD or On Demand, rather than in the theater.   I’d rather spend an evening at home listening to music than going to a club dancing.

The number of big stadium concerts I have seen live is minimal and the number of large club shows I have attended has added only a few acts to my list.

However, there is one man I saw perform live twice in the past several years.

His name:  Ronnie James Dio.   Shorter than me, but bigger than life.

Queen of TMI.

Everything has been easier recovering from this latest surgery.  No doubt it has to do with a scheduled surgery rather than the emergency of five months ago.

Getting out of bed by myself, Tweeting incoherently, walking the hospital floor, being released from the hospital, sleeping in my own bed rather than a recliner or a couch, ending pain medication, shaving my legs, helping with household chores – these are all things that happened sooner than last time.

Except one thing.

One very important thing.

Discharge papers dictate that I should be taking colace and/or senna for this problem.  HA, they’ve barely worked this time around.

I did find another solution yesterday.  Who knew?

Coffee provides me with poop relief.

(Did I mention I was back to drinking coffee earlier this time?)

On the mend again.

Deciding to stop pain medication less than 48 hours after major abdominal surgery is not brave.  It is stupid.  And I was stupid.

It left me in the worst pain, worse than anything I experienced last fall, worse than when I woke up from this surgery.  Luckily for me, once I swallowed two kinds of pain meds (and my pride) again yesterday morning, I started to feel the way I had since waking from surgery.  Which was fantastic.

I walked the floor only twelve hours after surgery.  I was able to go to the bathroom by myself on Friday afternoon.  I sat in a chair in my room most of Friday and Saturday instead of the hospital bed.  What a difference not being sick before surgery made – I have much more strength.

Still, I cannot get comfortable enough to sleep more than a couple hours in a row.  I cannot bend over to scoop litter boxes or to deal with the mess of an overturned kitchen garbage can (darn cats!).   The stairs throughout our house seem tougher to navigate this time around, too.

Overall, though, I’m doing much better this time around.  As long as I keep taking my pain meds through Tuesday as recommended…


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