Monday, September 10, 2012

So long...

This morning I received a message from my mom.  My Grandpa Owens died in his sleep early Monday morning.  
My grandpa has been dying all summer, it started with a GI bleed (gastrointestinal) that put him in the hospital and headed in a slow decline to Hospice and a bed in the living room, oxygen, a walker and a shell of a really great guy.  He was 91 years old, he lived a good life (from my perspective).  
I had the opportunity to go see him and my grandma on Saturday.  I remember thinking on my way over that I wasn't sure I wanted to see him but I did.  And I understood my reservations when I saw him.  It wasn't my grandpa anymore though, he was gone already really.  The man I hugged and said, "see you" to wasn't the grandpa who told funny "look at my thumb, gee you're dumb" jokes or had a temper that could scare you stiff (we don't call it "pulling a George Owens" for nothing) or the guy who talked about selling my dog to the Chinese restaurant or who always asked about my job and my career.  He wasn't the guy who loved me, treated Joc with kindness and respect (regardless of what he believed) and asked about Patrick. That man, my grandpa, hasn't been around since the spring.  And I feel okay with how I left him both Saturday and the last time I saw him.
He was at home.  My mom was there.  His children had all been home and seen him in the last month.  He was as ready as he could be.
So long grandpa, thank you for everything you've given me in this life.  May you rest in peace always.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

In limbo

I'm sitting in the airport in Chicago, waiting on my connecting flight home to grand rapids. It's been a long day of travel home from Nashville, where I was doing a two day training for work. It was good training but the trip was quick and I miss my family.
At the Nashville airport I was sitting there with my coworker I traveled with and news was on. As the reporter went into this Chic-fil-a (or however you spell that) drama and I watched almost all the people around me gazing up and listening as various people say why or why not they are spending their money at this establishment.
I'm just reminded again of the sadness that my sexuality gets to be so openly discussed and judged by strangers. I felt nervous, as my coworker knows I am gay with a wife and son, and I hate when I'm put in that sort of position. I felt irritated that the news was even reporting on it. And I searched stranger's faces for the judgement I fear they hold without even knowing me.
Why is it okay for people to declare that gay people, or as they love to refer to us, "homosexuals", are aberrant, immoral, among other hurtful words. We are people. Each and every one of us. People with families that love us, or sadly in many cases, hate us. We are not a biblical verse or a despicable human beings. We're walking in front of you and beside you. I'm sitting right next to you, I'm on my phone calling my wife too. I don't feel the need to declare how I disagree with your lifestyle to anyone who will listen. I don't feel the need to post hateful comments on a public forum about your love, that maybe I don't understand but I don't have to because I'm not in the relationship.
I digress. I'm tired.

Monday, July 2, 2012

An update on life

Summer is definitely here around these parts.  It's been hot!  Patrick has a little plastic pool that we pull out most weekends we are at home and after a few hours in the sun, it's warm.  On his own time, he likes to crawl in and out of the pool and then over to the sandbox we made for him and gets all sandy.  He prefers to toss the sand out of the sandbox and move the toys around... he hasn't quite realized he should be scoping and buiding with the sand.  Ah well, that will come.
Patrick continues to get more and more personable.  He understands when things are said to him, little things.  Like, "where's cooper?" he looks around or goes crawling off laughing to find and womp cooper.  Poor dog looks at us daily with the face, "when is this kid leaving? Cuz he keeps pulling my fur, wacking me on the back and touching my feet!"  But she is a good dog and puts up with mischief.  If she's not in the mood, she takes herself out of the situation.  Many evenings, I'll go upstairs after Patch has gone to bed and there's Cooper, laying on his bedroom floor.  She loves him, I know it.
We are finishing half our basement this summer with the help of Joc's dad, Mike.  He's a contractor and has all these tools and machines and the experience to help us with less cost than hiring someone.  Because of that, it will take a couple months to be finished but it's farther than it was last year when it was only a dream.  We are planning an additional bedroom with a double bed, and a family room/TV room area.  That will free up our current study for when/if we have more kids and need the rooms upstairs (we'd move our room to the study).  We've picked most of the materials out and Mike will be here in a couple weekends to put in some egress windows.  It's exciting!
As usual, I'm unhappy in my job.  It waxes and wanes but lately I've been irritable and tired.  I just feel tired.  It's a thankless job really, middle management.  I'm in flux though.  Simulation is my favorite part of the job, but it's not as important to the people in the higher ivory towers as I think it is.  Being a simulation coordinator is a full time job in itself and I've been doing it with my other duties.  I'm exhausted, mentally.  I'm hoping the next week off will help clear my head.  I have something on the horizon.  I'm not sure what to make of it.  For now, I need to apply for it and see what happens.  I have a lot of guilt.  There is a lot I would leave behind, I'd leave my coworkers in a lurch and there's a lot of time I've invested.  But how do you say, "no, I can't do this because I'm considering leaving my position and I don't want to leave you hanging when I'm gone."  Ba.  It's hard.  It's all very hard to swallow.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Taking Chance

Spent about an hour and a half this morning, while Patrick napped, to watch a movie on HBO called Taking Chance. One word: amazing, another: heart wrenching. It's a simple story of a soldier who died in 2004 in Iraq and the journey his body takes on his way home to Wyoming. It's told from the perspective of the marine who escorts the body. Oh man. It was excellent. I think we so easily take for granted, me included, those who fight and die for us. This made me stop and put a story to a name. He was 19. Highly recommend, and bring tissues.

Friday, May 18, 2012

A letter to my father

Dear Dad,
You've been dead for many years. Do you know? What's it like in heaven, away from all those you loved? What's it like to be ripped out of your life and asked to go to heaven? Were you scared when you laid down on the floor in the kitchen, did you know you were breathing your last breaths?
I miss you, it feels like more now than ever before. I think it's Patrick, he's here and he's so special to me and I reflect on you and us kids. I think how much love you must have had in your heart for all of us. I know now how much a heart can be filled with love for a child, my flesh and blood. I wonder what it would be like to lose Patrick as you lost your son.
I've seen you in Patrick lately, he has your round face, the eyes and maybe some red in his hair. I think of you almost every time I look at him, I think of how you would have enjoyed your grand kids. Grandpa Roger.
I wish I could talk to you once more, tell you all this and more. I wish you could see us all grown and living. Alive, all of us so alive.
It's been almost 16 years since you died. That feels like a lifetime. My throat still closes and tears stream down my cheeks when I recall memories. Some have faded. But I want you to know you are not forgotten and you are still loved by your girls.
I'll see you in heaven, someday. You're waiting, I know. It may be a long wait, I'm hoping you don't have a good sense of time there. Maybe you can check in with us occasionally and see what we're doing. Who knows, who really knows what is the afterlife.
These all feel like juvenile requests, things I longed for when you first died. Feelings that repeat for every major and minor life event. The grief is changed now, it's not raw, I don't look for you to walk into a room, don't visit the bakery and hope you're by the oven checking the bread. I know you're gone, that is very clear. I just wish I could know if you're around still.
I tell Patrick who you are, tell him stories of growing up making donuts and working in the bakery. I will tell him who you were and what you meant to me, that is a promise.
Love, your daughter.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Gay Marriage

I have to get this off my chest.  No apologies.  I know who loves and supports us.

I'm pretty irritated.... angry.... upset.... misrepresented.... I'm not sure the exact word I want to use here.  Last night joc and I watched the local news on President Obama's coming out for gay marriage.  I shut off the TV in frustration when it was over.  What gives all these people, these idiots, these ignorant ass holes, the right to give their opinion on my relationship?  Do I walk into their living rooms and talk about how I don't think ugly people should be able to get married?  Do I comment on their relationships?  I mean really, what gives anyone the right?
I think I'm pissed.  That's really what I am.  I'm sick of people's opinion related to my relationship.  The only people who should share their opinion on my relationship are me and Jocelyn.  That's it.  No debate.  No discussion.  Us.  Not you, definitely not a mid-aged politician who is out of touch with the younger generation.
I just can't see why this is tolerated by so many.
And this politician who says that the state of Michigan "spoke loud and clear in 2004" on the issue of marriage.  Firstly, 2004, are you f-ing kidding me?!  Does he realize it's 2012 now?  Secondly, how about the fact that the ballot was, I believe (and I'm only working from memory here), something like 48% for gay marriage and 52% against... that's hardly "loud and clear" to me.... that sounds pretty closely divided.... and again, it's 2012 now, how about we put it back on the ballot and see how it does?  And thirdly, the country is pretty much evenly split on this stupid issue.  50 50, I just read this in the GRPress.... No one is speaking "loud and clear".
Finally.  I have been married to my wife since 2007.  That's right, we have a license.  Some of you were there.  What, pray tell, has my marriage done to you in these 5 years?  Have you been unable to sleep at night?  Or been unable to file your taxes jointly?  Or maybe you haven't been able to live your damn life... I'm so sorry.
Whether these idiots ever evolve is up to them.  I think growing and changing based on your surroundings is part of adulthood.  Actually, it might be more of a childhood thing.  There is no excuse for ignorance, nor for hate.

I hope this entry helps me let this anger go.  I pray that I can find hope in this situation.  I do pray that this isn't an issue someday, that Patrick won't have to even think about why some people feel the need to share their opinion about his mom's relationship.  I'm not sure what will happen.

Open your minds.  See beyond your fear of this thing you find so foreign but feels so normal to us... Look outside your comfort and open your heart....

That's all I have.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

How does she do it?

I'm having some difficulties and wondering if the moms out there can offer me some words of wisdom.

Patrick is 10 1/2 months old, eating full on table food for the past month or so.  With this comes difficulties.  Number one being the time he's hungry in the evening.  I generally get him home from daycare by 5:00 but he's hungry by 5:15 or 5:30.  I rarely am able to get a good dinner cooked in that time, so he eats leftovers or I've been cooking sweet potatoes for him.  Then while he eats, I cook or at least start the meal that Joc and I will eat.  Then when he's done he's ready for his bedtime routine (seriously).  Joc gets home between 5:45 and 6:30.  Patrick's in bed and asleep by 7 every night.  Then Joc and I sit down to eat, or if I did manage to get a meal cooked and ate with Patrick, Joc eats alone.
I see many issues in my situation:  Patrick is getting used to eating by himself, so if I do sit down with him to eat he gets a little fussy that I'm not constantly helping him eat.  (this i think I solve by being consistent in eating with him)  Thoughts on that?  Also.  We aren't eating as a family.  I'm not sure we can wait for Joc every night because she doesn't get out consistently and Patrick is a mess if we were to wait.
I'm not really interested in pushing bedtime back, he almost always lays down and falls right to sleep. And we get him up by 7am so he needs those 12 hours (plus his naps are not always great at daycare so he's usually very ready for bed).

He's also become a bit funny with food.  He does this thing where he clenches his fists, bears down and moans/grunts and gets all read in the face.  I'm not sure what he means by it.... I'm trying to sign language thing but dang it, he's not participating yet and he refuses to tell me what his deal is... (c:  He also likes to take a bit, chew for a moment and spit the food out.  Yet an hour later he's fussy and wants a snack.  He likes fruit and apple sauce... but I need him to like other food!  I try to give him fruit for dessert, and only if he's eaten at least half his meal... so he's not just filling up on the sweet stuff.  Is this a phase?  Do I take him out of the highchair when he's playing and throwing his food to tell him it's not play time when he's in there?  Or let him play with the food?  Do I try different food in the same meal (if he's not liking what I made for him) to make sure he gets enough to eat?  When does the "this is what's for dinner, if you don't eat it then that's your choice" start?  I know it's too early now... but he knows what's happening... he knows if he whines and squeals enough he'll get attention... Am I creating a monster???!!!  I don't want to get in the habit of cooking one meal for me and Joc and something different for the boy.

Also, how often should I be giving him snacks?  I'm trying to start weaning him from the boob... so I'm trying some snacks between meals, replacing the boob... but sometimes I worry I'm giving him too many snacks and that's why he's not eating well at dinner.
What snacks do you give the kids?  (I've got yogury puffs, gerber veggies bit thingies, I cut up cheese, goldfish crackers are a new thing... )

Working 4-5 days a week is challenging with a baby...

Any advice would be appreciated.

Monday, April 16, 2012


I received word today from UDM that I won't be moving forward in the interview process due to the fact that I am not, nor do I have immediate plans to acheive my PhD or DNP in nursing.  (Both considered "terminal" degrees in nursing.)  I was disappointed, but honestly expecting it.  I did interview 2 weeks ago now, did not feel great afterward and was asked twice if I planned on pursuing my doctorate, to which I was very honest (as I was advised to be) about not planning on going down that road in the next 3 years.  So.  There it is.  It's okay though.  I'm okay with it.

Friday, April 6, 2012


Up early on my day off. Patrick has been waking up at 5 or 530 or 6 the last couple weeks and I struggle with my decision to get up and feed him. This morning I couldn't fall back to sleep. Patrick does though as opposed to if I let him cry it out, he'd cry until 7 when he gets up for daycare. So I prefer to let him get another hour of sleep. But I am not doing him any favors. Ba, it's frustrating for me. What will make him go back to sleeping through the night? I just don't know.

I am in the process of interviewing for the UDM job, it's multiple steps with multiple people. I had a phone interview with a group of Detroit and grand rapids professors, and one interview with the dean of the GR campus but she's in Detroit as well. The search committee is reviewing my stuff and making a decision on my next steps... Then I believe the next step is a 10 minute presentation to the GR professors on campus then a trip to Detroit to interview in person with some people then I meet with the chair of the gr campus about what I would teach. I'm not convinced I'll get the job. I didn't have the greatest interview as they asked me a lot of mission and vision questions that I felt prepared for but as they were coming out of my mouth I felt they were disjointed and not thorough. Ba. I can only hope they consider giving me a shot. I'm still however, torn by my current job and what I would do. The couple profs I've talked to said there is quite a bit of flexibility with a professor but I cannot have 2 full time jobs. And my first year of teaching would be heavy with lecture preparation and test creation. I love love love doing simulation but it's not the main part of my role, even though I wish it were. So even if I went part time I would most likely have to give it up... I might however, try to talk UDM into working simulation into their curriculum and sharing the sim lab. But that might be a long term plan. I also miss my bedside nursing role. Lots of decisions to consider. But ultimately I suppose I need to wait and see if I get this UDM job before planning my next steps. Hoping to be through the process by may...or at least that's what I was told. 9 month contract would start in August...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A break in my week

I'm home today from work because Jocelyn is out of town for work and Thursdays are her day with patrick.  So, I'm lucky enough to be home with him instead.
Planning to laugh, clap, wave and babble with him all freakin' day.  And I'm gonna love it!  I find him highly amusing these days.  If you hold up a toy and say, "ball" for example, he'll look at you like, "what?" then I keep saying it and eventually he says, "blah" after I say, "ball".  Before you get all excited that he's speaking, he says "blah" after I say, "duck" "train" "sock"... you get the picture.  But it's fun to hear him trying... His newest accomplishment is waving, it took him weeks of study and observation but finally he raised his meaty little arm last week and waved!  The joy!! (c:  He's also pushing up to his hands and knees... but only for short bursts... as we aren't keen on him crawling just yet.  He already rolls around like a pro, can't imagine when he starts crawling.
p.s. You all know about the Patrick blog, right?  That's why I don't update this blog with Patrick details too often.  If you want videos/pictures, check it out.  (The link is in my list of blogs- Patrick Jude)

A work update: (You're curious, right?)
Honestly, most days I don't like my job.  I like parts of my job but not most of it.  I love the people, the place, the idea of my job, but the actual job- not so much.  I randomly got an email from an old professor (Sister Linda my UDM friends) with a request for a policy from the hospital.  I had recently heard a rumor that the chair of the Grand Rapids UDM program was "asked/told" to step down by the new nursing Dean from the Detroit campus. (ABOUT FREAKIN TIME, right my UDM alumni friends?!).  Since I had such a great (read with sarcasm) interview for a job with UDM post graduate school I had vowed to never work for UDM as long as that person was chair.  SO! This rumor was really great news for me... anyway.  I asked Sister Linda about this rumor and she responded right back with- "Yes, she is stepping down from chair.  You should send me your updated CV and coverletter."  SWEET!!  I then ran into Sister Linda (well she wanted to meet Patrick, so it was sort of planned) at church the next Sunday, where she gave me more good news- another professor was going to another program, closer to her home... opening a med/surg teaching spot.  She said, "The Detroit dean is coming to Grand Rapids Wednesday, it'd be good if you sent me your CV prior to that." So, I did.  And now, I wait.  Sister Linda also said she'd been offered the chair position... what a change from the previous chair...
I'm not sure what I'll do, how I'd do it, what would happen or if I'd leave my job completely.  I miss the bedside dearly, and the team I worked with.  But I want to get back to the classroom too.  I'm hoping and praying something works out for me in the next year.
Fingers crossed.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A voice

My grandfather died this week, and we attended the funeral today in Muskegon.  Not a huge deal to me, unfortunately.  I have some guilt about that but the reality is, we did not forge a close bond with my dad's parents after his death.  In fact, prior to his death, we really only saw his family once or twice a year.  Everyone but us lived and worked in Muskegon while we were up in Cadillac.  We owned the bakery and it wasn't easy to just pick up 4 kids and drive to Muskegon for a weekend to visit, so we didn't.  We always felt a little out of place, awkward, around the Gable's.  Now, it's about 20x as awkward.  My grandmother died in May, now my grandfather.  My aunts and uncles are technically orphaned.  A generation is gone.  It just seems odd to think of it that way.
My grandfather was way into techy crap, he always had a bunch of gadgets, TVs, the newest technology.  If he weren't so sick, I know he'd have a 3D TV just because they are the newest thing.  He took lots and lots of videos when we were kids.  My aunt mentioned to us girls, that she had all of grandpa's videos and some include Brian and my dad.  She said they'd make us a copy so we could have it.  So, I got to thinking, these videos will have my dad and brother talking... I haven't heard my dad or brother speak for 16 and 18 years.  I don't remember what their voices even sound like.  I'm anxious to listen, to see them forever alive in a video from years ago.  I want to call my aunt and say, "get me those tapes damn it!"  This thought never crossed my mind, that there might be a recording of their voices.
Of my grandparents death I am saddened.  They were always loving and caring towards us, opening their doors and welcoming us in.  I remember my grandma's wet kisses and hobbled and hunched walk (from arthritis).  My grandfather always had 2 or 3 TVs on and music playing in the background.  He'd be wearing sweatpants and a wife beater with his leather slippers and his dog at his side.  He had a sense of humor, similar to my dad's and his laugh was hearty.  They were in their 80s, lived a good and full life.  I celebrate their life and hope they rest in peace.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


For those of you who don't know, Sara, my close friend (from childhood, well really 9th grade) has watched Patrick from 2 months of age.  She was offered a part time job just after the Christmas holiday and that sent Joc and I on a scramble for childcare for the little man.  It was more stressful than I would have thought, it seemed that every place we looked had either just filled their infant spots or had someone deciding for the last spot.  We saw our Plan A turn into Plan D, E and F.  Finally, we decided on or rather found an opening at a really nice daycare center but it's on the other side of town.  Not our first choice, but actually it's the same company as our first choice, just their Kentwood location.
We start Monday... we dropped paperwork off and brought Patrick by on Thursday to look around.  He was interested and smiley so both good signs.  It's just nerve-racking to think about leaving him in the care of strangers.  I mentioned that I worry a bit as he's a typical first born who prefers to be held all the time.  I felt some tears in my eyes thinking about leaving him... I know it'll be fine, my job is just to worry these days so that's what I do.
Thank you Sara, for your excellent care of our Patrick.  I'm so grateful you were there for him and for us.  Thank you.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Yesterday, the 10th, was the 18th anniversary of my brother Brian's death.  I counted the years out in my head, then did the math on paper, then subtracted my current age from the age I was when Brian died (12), then pulled out my calculator.  I just couldn't believe it's been 18 years.  Not many memories remain of my big brother, but I pray he's at peace.  Do you know the story?
Brian joined the ski team in his freshman year of high school (same year he died).  They had a vigorous training, I remember he did a lot of running.  The ski team was at Caberfae ski slopes and he went down South Peak.  He collapsed on the way down the slope and his teammates thought he wiped out.  Instead, his heart had stopped beating.  The ski rescue people got to him, then they brought him to Mercy (where my mom worked).  Caberfae is about 30 minutes by car outside of Cadillac.  They were doing CPR the whole way.  I do remember the phone call, my mom answered and I remember her asking if he was conscious.  When my mom and dad came home from the ER, they told us Brian was dead.  An autopsy showed cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart).  He probably went into a lethal arrhythmia (a heart beat that doesn't pump blood to the body, therefore causing death of tissues, guessing Vfib for my medical friends).  It's the same sort of thing the young athletes make national news about now...happens often, it's not a new phenomenon.  He had had a physical before joining the ski team.  The medical people weren't sure what caused it, probably a virus.  It happened so quickly and randomly and unfairly.  I thought today a little about what he would be doing, if he were alive today.  I imagined he'd be doing something great.

I have a different perspective on his death, I feel, with Patrick.  Say a prayer or think of my mom, will you?  To lose a child... your first born and only son.  I always knew it was hard, now it's hard to imagine.
I wonder if any of his old friends remember him or that he died on the 10th of january, 1994?  There was no facebook back then, no opportunity to unite in the loss.
Rest in peace Brian.  You are missed, loved and never forgotten by your family.

Friday, January 6, 2012


I'm having an internal debate with my heart and mind.  It blows.  Sara, my friend and Patrick's nanny from 2 months till 7 months, has taken a social work job that she couldn't pass up.  Therefore, Joc and I are scrambling a bit to find daycare starting the 16th of january.  When Sara first told me a week ago, I was really really bummed.  I knew I had it great.  And I thought, well, not a problem to find a daycare to accept Patrick.  I was a little wrong there.  Our first choice: Appletree on Monroe got right back to me to let me know they are full until end of February/early March.  Bummer, Plan B- a daycare by Saints (excellent reviews from a co-worker, very close to my work, so very convenient for both Joc and I for drop offs and pick ups)- when we finally got in touch with someone, they had one spot and a couple had come through the day before so they had dibs.  Of course, upon hearing there was another child interested, they pounced on the open spot! Ugh.  On to Plan C- Aquinas child care, I had talked with them prior to Sara taking the nanny role and they were in our top 3 daycares.  Yup, full.  Waiting list until June! JUNE!! What the hell?  Was there a baby boom recently that I didn't know about?!  Ok, Plan D, E and F?  We've contacted multiple other daycares, the majority are full and the one that isn't we aren't crazy about.  They can accommodate us starting the 16th, there's no enrollment fee and it's 10 minutes out of the way for me, a little out of the way for Joc.  So, do we settle on this place because they can accommodate Patrick or do I drop to part time and try to find a nanny to come to the house the other part of the week?  My internal debate boils down to my work/life balance.  Since taking the educator roll, I've been working 5 days a week 7-4.  Weekends and holidays off.  There are days I go to work and think, "why did I take this job?"  Other days, I really enjoy it.  I miss the bedside but then I get a chance to help out at the bedside and I think, "oh yeah, I don't miss it that much."  Why am I working 5 days a week?  I can easily tell my boss I want 4 days a week or 3 days a week, but can our pocketbook/bills take the change?  I miss Patrick often, would I go crazy at home with him?  It's often cheaper to pay for a week of daycare than part of a week... ugh.  
What's a mother to do? 
Then, we're thinking of trying for a second baby in the spring/early summer... so will we both work full time then too?  AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Why didn't anyone tell me it was so hard to be a working mom?  I don't think I could be a total stay at home mom... 
I need a drink...