DAY 9 – Daily Photo Challenge

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Day 09 – A picture of the person who has gotten you through the most.

Well, this will probably be the most difficult post to write out of all of them. Because the person who has gotten me through the most in my life isn’t in my life anymore. She could probably say that I got her through the most, as well.

Susan and I met in 1975 at Stuart Middle School. Her dad was our band leader and we both played clarinet. It would take me days to write all the stuff we’ve been through together, middle school, high school, marriages, divorces (me), kids, kid with disabilities, grandkid with disabilities, concerts, job problems, kid problems, legal problems, health scares, college graduations, tons of trips together, scary subways, diets, and mean people. Through thick and thin we stayed friends, often calling each other at the exact same time, always ending our phone conversations with I love you… And we did and probably still do, but sometimes it’s time to say goodbye and put a relationship to rest. That happened 4 years ago. I haven’t spoken to her since. And although I miss that closeness that we had, I knew it was time to move in another direction.

But she is undoubtedly the person who picked me up, brushed me off and got me through some of the craziest times in my life and I will always have that!

The first picture is 1975 marching in a parade.

We’re the first and second ladies from the right. Celebrating our 40th birthday with friends we graduated high school with. Picture taken 2003.

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DAY 8 – Daily Photo Challenge

Day 08 – A picture that makes you laugh.

Two pics came instantly to mind and I’m not picking one over the other so today is a twofer 🙂

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This is my daughter Tiffany’s eye… Lol. She and my granddaughter Sadie were playing around with my iPhone when I was home on a holiday. I didn’t see it until I was on the plane flying back to Abu Dhabi. I laughed so hard because I could imagine her and Sadie giggling while taking covert pictures with my phone 🙂 Today my daughter and her husband Joey celebrate 7 years of marriage… Happy Anniversary, you two!

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This is my dear friend Cathy. We are on a bamboo raft in Thailand and she is mocking me! LOL! I was terrified on the raft (I have this ridiculous fear of crossing water on anything made of wood products, including bridges). If I’m feeling blue, I open this picture and remind myself that life is grand and full of wonderful friends that mock you… Hehehe… Love you, Cat!
p.s. she and her husband AKA The Big Guy celebrated 33 years of marriage this past week.

DAY 7 – Daily Photo Challenge

Day 07 – A picture of your most treasured item.

This one is a no-brainer 😀

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This ring comes with a lot of history. My friend Tammy gave me this ring back in 2000 as a thank you gift for being her clinical preceptor during her midwifery program. I attended Tammy’s birth of her son Landon in 1997 and we have a lot of history together.

In 2004 I was attending Tammy’s sister Cindy in labor. As she was in the throes of transition, she grabs my hand and says, “is that my fucking ring?”. Um, I say, “no, Tammy gave me this ring years ago!” (mind you, we’re all like sisters) and she looks at Tammy and says, “you stole my ring AND gave it away?”… LOL. My reply was, “ya ain’t getting it back, now get this baby out”.

As you can see. Still have the stolen ring. Cindy went on to have an amazing birth 20 minutes later, a gorgeous boy named Brady. Every chance Cindy gets, if she sees MY ring in a pic on Facebook, she asks if it is her ring 😀

I LOVE this family… I went on to be present when their little sister Rhonda gave birth to Stella 5 years ago… Blessed to serve this family, blessed to count them as sisters, blessed that Cindy didn’t make me give this ring back… I wear it every single day!

DAY 6 – 60 Day Photo Challenge

Day 06 – A picture of a person you’d love to trade places with for a day.

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I honestly can’t think of a single person I’d want to trade places with right now. I think my life is just about as good as it gets. I’m sitting in a cafe in Hong Kong on my 2 days off from work, resting after shopping for things my friends have asked me to pick up for them.

I’ve lost more than 100 pounds since last August, I’m running a 5K in less than 2 weeks (gulp), I’ve got a wonderful family and friends and I’m gainfully employed… Wouldn’t change any of that 🙂

Quick weight update:
Daily Weight: 154
Goal Weight: 155

Sunday food:
Breakfast: 2 scrabbled eggs with lavender and Edam cheese
Lunch: Tom Kar Gha soup and pork in yellow curry
Snack on way to gym: 20 raw almonds
Dinner: raw salmon and cottage cheese (low fat)

Exercise:
2 km run in the rain
2 km brisk walk on treadmill
30 mins yoga
60 minutes with personal trainer using weights (didn’t feel anything this morning, but I feel it now!!)
30 mins stretching in yoga studio
Walk to and from subway = 1.1 miles/1.6 kms

Ciao!

DAY 5 – Daily Photo Challenge

Day 05 – A picture of one of your favorite memories.

First off I have so many amazing memories (like the birth of my kids and grandkids) that it’s hard to choose. This is a story with more than one photo about my medical mission trip to Vanuatu in September 2005.

The week before the trip, my very dear friend and partner in birth, Julie Anna Congdon, died from leukemia at the age of 30. Julie was suppose to take this volunteer journey with me and a week after we committed to the trip, she was diagnosed with CML and died 9 months later. I can’t on any level begin to tell you the immense grief I had and I nearly cancelled my trip, but Julie would not have wanted me to do that. She died on Sunday and I flew on Wednesday. There was a storm a’brewin in the Atlantic named Katrina and AA asked me to fly a day early, so I did. I did not find out about the devastation in New Orleans until 40 days later, sitting in the first class lounge in the Fiji airport.

First, I spent 4 glorious days in Sydney with two very generous ladies that I met on a tour in Beijing earlier that year. I saw most everything you could possibly see in Sydney in a whirlwind 4 days, the harbor, the Blue Mountains, koalas, cockatoos, Palm Beach on the back of a HARLEY! A phenomenal and memorable 4 days!

At the Sydney airport, waiting for my flight to Vanuatu, I was obsessed with the fact that I had only 35 packs of cigarettes for a 29 day trip and wondered if I should get one more carton. I sat there chain smoking like a fiend and finally had an epiphany, dumped the cigarettes on the table in the smoking lounge and walked away from cigarettes… FOREVER!

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After being on this 72′ sailboat for 4 days, I was ready to explode… Lol. I had just quit smoking, one of the most awesome people I knew had just died and I had gone to Vanuatu to volunteer, not be stuck on a boat! The boat owner had refused to use the engine, because he didn’t want to put “money in Bush’s pocket” and there was no wind. I threatened mutiny (hell hath no fury like a chain smoker sans nicotine x 4 days) and he finally turned the engines on. When we were offshore of the first island we were stopping on, I dove off the boat and swam the 100 yards or so… It looked a helluva a lot closer from the boat!

I ended up on this beach and cried and cried and cried for nearly 2 hours… Loudly, sobbing and grieving… Alone, which was cathartic. The tide was moving out and as I sat there I pulled my camera out of my waterproof bag and took this shot…

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I also wrote a long note to Julie in the sand and watched the tide take the message to her. It was the beginning of the mourning I needed to go through. No one bothered me the entire three hours I sat on that beach, except for the villager who brought me a coconut to drink out of.

We left medical supplies with the aid post worker, picked up the Chief of the village to come with us and headed to the island of Espiritu Santo. Most of my crew were going up “on top” to set up an aid post there…

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When I say “on top”, I mean to the top of the farthest mountain back. We hiked through forest, creeks and mountains. I was scheduled to sleep one night up there, then head back to the beach for a trip to Wusi, where I would be teaching traditional birth attendants life saving skills in obstetrics. I got 500 yards from the top and could go no further. I had horrible vertigo and hyperventilated. I instead went half way down and stayed in a village over night… These were our typical accommodations…

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Banana leaf mats on top of shale rock 🙂

The next morning I hiked down to the beach, where I sat with a dog and ate fruit and read a book waiting for the sailboat…. After about 3 hours it came. I really enjoyed the solitude. The next day I began training 32 birth attendants in the Wusi village church. One of the skills I taught them was how to stop a woman from hemorrhaging after her baby has been born. Emily, the niece of the boat captain was my volunteer…

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This photo brings me so much joy! These ladies came to learn! I was impressed with the amazing colors of their dresses!

I taught for 3 days in Wusi. During the afternoon break on the 3rd day I noticed they were bathing the village cow and adorning it with Fresia flowers around its neck. When I asked Simu (the Ni-Van who worked with me on the 3 day conference) what they were doing, he explained that they were thanking the cow for blessing them with the food for the feast we were having that night in my honor. ACK!!! I’m a carnivore, but I didn’t want them to kill their only source of meat for me! Simu told me that they were honored that I came and that a chief from a larger village (who had sent 3 midwives for training) would send another cow. Phew! I went and thanked the cow, as well, and walked way down the beach while he was humanely slaughtered. It was quite an honor, to,say the least and they use every single bit of the cow from the meat to the hide to the bones.

The following day the sailboat came back and we went to the south western tip of Espiritu Santo to treat people for scabies and do general health checks. This is how we typically got from the sailboat to shore…

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I’m in the yellow shirt!

We treated lots of adorable babies and kids for scabies and their parents and their huts. It was awful and sad, but reports from the following year showed that the incidence was greatly reduced. We left the medicine there with the aid worker. Here’s one of those cutie patooties…

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Michael and I held a hygiene class for this group of kids on our 2nd day in the village and left them with toothbrushes, toothpaste and body soap…

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On the 3rd day in that village (maybe my 2nd week there) we walked through a village to a creek where we actually had a proper wash! And then we found this little chapel in the forest…

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I left my shirt with Julie’s tears on it at this chapel. I was torn at first about leaving it behind. I held her in my arms the Wednesday night before she died and told her it was OK to let go. Her tears, yellow from liver failure, stained my shirt, as mine had soaked her gown. After a little prayer in this forest chapel I felt it was the perfect place to leave a little piece of Julie. She wanted to go on this trip with me and she did… And I left some of her goodness and light and sunshine there.

In the end, I didn’t go back to the States as scheduled. One of the volunteers on the trip needed medical care on a flight back to Europe. As we sat in the first class lounge in Fiji I learned of the devastation that Hurricane Katrina left behind a month earlier. We landed at LAX and I called my family to let them know I was flying to Europe and would be home later in the week…

I have to say with all the things that happened surrounding this trip, it has to be one of my favorite memories!

DAY 4 – Daily Photo Challenge

Day 04 – A picture of your night.

First, let me say I’m sorry that I forgot to name my favorite TV series in yesterday’s photo challenge… I can’t believe I did that… It’s NYPD Blues 😀

Now on to this pic… I’ve been trying to get this shot since I was first here in Guangzhou in April. I’m always in a taxi zooming down the highway, as I was when I took this last night. How to explain in Mandarin that I want to stop on the highway to get a good shot… LOL.

We tend to forget that we have various words in our different languages (even from English speaking country to English speaking country) that have different meanings… That said, I present to you the T.I.T. building, at night, in Guangzhou, China. The letters stand for Trading In Technology. I have to admit that the juvenile side of me finds it funny.

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DAY 3 – 60 Day Photo Challenge

Day 03 – A picture of the cast from your favorite show.

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I loved this show. Hell, I’m emotional writing this and the show ended 7 years ago! I loved Andy Sipowitz, played by Dennis Franz. I can’t tell you how many tears of joy and sadness I shed over the course of 12 years.

Ironically, I was here in China on March 1, 2005, when the final episode aired. I was doing a private home birth in Hong Kong. A friend of mine recorded it on her VCR for me. I still have the tape! Actually I have the entire series on DVD 😀

Great show, wonderful cast… I miss Andy!