Friday, January 15, 2010

Love = a chicken sandwich

The conversation went something like this:

Jeff: I love you.

Janae: Why?

Jeff: (brief pause) Because you made me a chicken sandwich.

The conversation probably ended with me saying, "Hmmm."

Both Jeff and I tell each other "I love you" easily and frequently. We also tell our children "I love you" every day. It is just that this time I wanted to know what it was about me at that moment, that Jeff found lovable. Apparently it was my sandwich making skills.

In thinking about it, I would not make a sandwich for just anyone. Due to the loss of strength in my arms and hands, the process of assembling a sandwich has become surprising difficult (I'm not complaining...just stating). It is nice to know that Jeff recognized and appreciated the effort that went into preparing that lunch.

If Jeff asks me why I love him, my response is ready. I'll say, "Because you made me pancakes topped with vanilla yogurt and blueberries." They were so good.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Me me me

Last month I was asked the question, "how is your health?"

It was 8:00pm and the day had been exhausting. In my head I was thinking, "what do you mean, 'how is my health?' I have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis for crying out loud!" And so crying out loud is just what I did. I burst into tears.

Last Saturday Marcie was in town and stopped by to visit. She lives much too far away and these visits don't happen enough so I was looking forward to her coming. A few minutes into the conversation I burst into tears again. (If you know me, you'll know that I hate crying publicly because I don't possess the talent to talk and cry at the same time. It is one or the other.) After I was done I requested that she ask me some more questions so that could try and figure out what triggers the tears. It would be nice for people to ask away, and for me to reply in a matter of fact way.

Right now let's practice a Q & A session:

Q: How is your health?
A: It stinks.

Q: Could you be more specific?
A: Sure. My right thumb is close to useless and my left thumb is starting to be a follower. Typing all of this is a slow and clumsy process. Today for the first time I wore my right leg brace in addition to my left leg brace. I hated how much easier it made walking. My arms are fatigued after brushing teeth and flossing. Lifting a large glass filled to the top is a two hand job. I now notice that there is effort involved when I transition from a sitting to a standing position. A gallon of milk is so so heavy.

Q: Did you really have fun in Mazatlan?
A: Yes I did. But I was not looking forward to it for the longest time. Thinking about being surrounded by healthy bodies on the beach was depressing. Once there, yes, people were flaunting their strong and healthy bodies left and right. They were playing ultimate frisbee, boogie boarding, and going for runs on the beach. If I wanted to go in the water deeper than my shins I had to hold onto Jeff's arm so that the waves wouldn't knock me over. Despite that, 80 degree weather was lovely, the sand was warm, and the Mexico trip was worth it. Plus everyday I had cute hair in a ponytail, or braid, or bun thanks to 2 of my sister-in-laws. Thank you Kim and Erin!

Q: Who does the grocery shopping?
A: Jeff does. (btw do you have any idea how much I love that man!) I did attempt grocery shopping this past Tuesday, just to pick up a few random items. Erik and Claire were with me. They helped push the cart around, load the food onto the check stand, and bring all the groceries into the house when we got home. When I related this story to Jeff he asked if I used my close parking pass. The answer was no.

Q: Do you ever use the "close parking pass"?
A: Okay fine, call it the handicap pass or whatever. Jeff has used it twice for church. His reason being that he didn't want to park far away and carry the church bag, and herd 3 kids, and help me over icy spots in the parking lot. So now we park close. The first time he used it, I was quite angry with him (my pride) and wanted to say something mean. But didn't because I love him.

Q: One more question.
A: I'm just about done here.

Q: In previous blog posts you've mentioned "constant fassiculations." What do you mean?
A: The subtle muscle twitches...if I've just finished doing something somewhat active and sit down I feel a twitch here and there and all over. A conservative guess would be 60 per minute.

That is enough questions for now.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Mazatlan 2009

*My apologies go out for not sending Christmas cards. It just didn't happen this year. For those who didn't send us a card, no hard feelings because I don't want to be a hypocrite on this one ;-) But for those who did, thank YOU! It was so fun reading what your family has been up to and seeing the pictures too!

2009 was supposed to be an off year for the Jeff & Janae family. As the weather grew chilly the sunny beaches of Mazatlan sounded mighty good. And so once again we packed up and loaded into Jeff's parents motorhome and drove south. If you read last years post it will fill you in on how the tradition of driving (driving!) to Mexico for Christmas began.

Honestly the trip doesn't vary too much year to year. We play on the same beaches. We go to the same churro guy. We see some of the same beach vendors year after year. And I am okay with that. I'm not going to complain that we get a 2 week break from the cold, and it means a lot to have the chance to get create memories with family/friends. Another reason why I like the trip is that it's an opportunity for my children to experience another country. But despite some differences, Mazatlan still has a Home Depot, Sam's Club, Office Depot or McDonald's.

Every day while in Mexico we got a ton of help from family, otherwise this trip wouldn't have been much fun or even possible. Thank you!

I whittled Mazatlan '09 down to 23 photos.

In the motorhome were 6 adults, 3 children, and 2 dogs. Jeff, his dad and brother drove straight through stopping only for fuel, at the border, and tolls. We left at 5:00pm on a Thursday and arrived at the trailer park Saturday 2:00am. Once there Jeff the kids and I moved into a ground floor condo in the trailer park.

This year there were about 123 people in the group. Check out the new monster hotel that was built next door to the trailer park!

This shirt belongs to Jeff's brother, Joe. Joe and his family didn't make it to Mexico this year but he wanted to make sure his official beach shirt came so he sent it with Jeff. I don't know how many times this shirt has made the trip but it is starting wear out. I had to get a picture!

The churro guy told us he usually sells between 300-400 pesos worth of churros a day. During the holidays he might sell up 1,000 pesos worth. That works out to be between $25 to $33 on a normal day and $83 on the holidays. Those numbers make me sad because his churros are a million times better than Disneyland's ripoff $4.00 churros. But we have visited him year after year on the same street corner so it must work for him.

One of the drink stands.

Christmas morning Erik was learning some surfing basics from Brett.

Erik is an expert gecko catcher. Here is a question I want to put out there. Why does my son freak out when I try to put sunscreen on him, but when Erik gets tossed by a wave he will pop up out of the water with a huge grin on his face?

Megan has the cutest little brown legs.

Kayla, Kiera & Claire.

The girls with grandpa.

The girls with grandma.

My parents even flew down and stayed for a few days!

Brian & Erin
Kim, Stuart, Kiera, Sam & Kayla

Me and my favorite 4 people in the world.