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Obituary for Gloria Sylvia Bakke

Gloria S. Bakke of Fargo, ND, passed away on Saturday, November 23, 2013, at Sanford Hospital in Fargo.

Gloria Sylvia (Mohn) Bakke was born January 7, 1924, in Fairbault, MN, to Ernest and Malfred Mohn. After moving many times with her family, she graduated from high school in Lake Park, MN, in 1943.

She married Milfred T. Bakke in Fargo October 22, 1946. They resided in Fargo until his death in June of 2000. She then moved to south Fargo.

Gloria worked for Internal Revenue for 30 years and won the Business and Professional Women (BPW) woman of the year award in the 70’s. She thoroughly enjoyed working on her knitting machine and all the friends she gained through the years. Many may remember her from weekends at the Battle Lake Flea Market where she set up her tables to sell her dishcloths and baby afghans. Her treasured companion was Fluffy, her cat. She always looked forward to Bible studies at Immanuel Lutheran Church of Fargo, and family fishing trips were always a highlight for her. 

She is survived by her daughter, Carol (Larry) Mikkelson of Fergus Falls, MN; her sons, Richard (Karen Ann), Raymond (Karen Marie) both of Fargo; eight grandchildren; six great-grandchildren and her special friend, Warren Melby of Moorhead, MN.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Milfred, her brothers, Erwin, Helmer, Reuben, and Carlyn and her sister, Charlotte Dokken.
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 I can procrastinate with the best of them.
I work best under deadlines and can accomplish an amazing amount of work in a fairly tight timeline.
Birth work is good for me because, 1) I never know what is going to happen next and I tend to be a bit more prepared as a result and 2) Life and Death truly motivates me!
In between times, I am a sloth. I move slowly. I do only what is actually required (and really, not much is required).
I do let things fall around me. Not the garbage...I learned years ago you've got to get rid of the garbage.
And I rinse the dishes. They are often almost all dirty but they are rinsed.
I tend to like a very clean bathroom, but lately, I've even let my toilets become disgusting.
But my parents are coming to visit tomorrow, so I'm in the midst of CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN!

It feels good. 

I feel good.

This is all in spite of the fact that Josh  continues to have trouble with the law. And he is just so, so....thick and slow. He's not malicious either...just ...

Yeah.

Counselling today.

Still seeing the chiropractor (feeling good!)
Still seeing the massage therapist (feeling good)...well, the treatment aftermath SUCKS, but I do feel better in the long run.

Having a hard time exercising in the last 2.5 weeks.
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 I passed both of my OSCEs. Now that they are over it is surely ok to say that they were the Catheterization and partial Newborn Exam (general assessment, head and neck and vitals). I'm satisfied with how I did. Clearly I got 65%or more correct. I do not know my actual grade. >65 doesn't seem like that much. I forgot very important things like head circumference, listen to heart rate for a full minute (not just 6 seconds X 10), noticing nasal flaring, Oh hell, I'll just post them. (wow, just wrote and deleted a thesis for an essay on grades....yikes...I can see I'm in thoughtful procrastination mode. This might be a good thing!).

NB Exam:

·         Overall very well done

·         When assessing respirations, check for grunting and nasal flaring

·         Remember to measure head circumference

·         Assess pupils for symmetry, tracking and reactivity

·         Visualize jaw and chin for normalcy

·         Count heart rate for 60 seconds

 

Catheterisation:

·         Excellent work

·         Contaminated sterile field with glove package – did not notice but did not impact sterility of the procedure

·         Otherwise good understanding of sterile technique

·         XX apologizes for taking away your notes and says that you did a great job without them.

·         Demonstrates clear and logical thinking under pressure.

It's that last line that makes me beam. THIS. THIS is what I must do and learn to do even better. 

I will dissect some. Yeah, my notes were taken away. And wow, over this I could make an issue! But other than an overly dramatic look of shock and dismay...and maybe some deer in the headlights, I just did the catheterization. I studied from pictures of the catheterization steps posted in the lab. Yes, the steps were all posted to our online class area, but it still seems to cumbersome (though every time I test it surpasses my expectations and I see it as a truly useful tool. I must admit it still seems cumbersome because I'm still not fully immersed and I'm still scared.)

I have witnessed more catheters than I can accurately count over the last 6 years. I have never done one, but I can honestly say that for the last 3 years of my doula practice...along with being an available support to my clients, I have paid very close attention to labour and deliver nurses and midwives. I have learned experientially for years...without getting to DO anything. My hands are ready to do what my brain has been directing for a long time. 

So now I'm in school where there is information available to facilitate didactic learning and an attempt at experiential learning, but neither is sufficient at teaching "Demonstrates clear and logical thinking under pressure." That seems to be a sink or swim experience this whole year.

From the time I was 16 I've been asking my elders about their lives, and heeding their advice, both implicit and explicit in their stories. I've done the same with midwifery. I've been asking students for years now how to cope. People say things like, "you'll be fine." and "don't let it get to you, UBC, that is." So, I wasn't. Mostly. 

And then Josh's shit-storm happened. I'm still not letting UBC get to me and I am doing what I need to take care of myself. 

I already know my bottom. I don't need the stress of school to shake me up in order to learn how to manage myself in the midst of stress. It's not easy, though. 

I continue to be so incredibly grateful to my partner, Karen. Even when I'm batshit crazy, she does what she can when she can. Lucky me.


 

 
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 Molasses slow evenings when the sun is just returning. Kissed daffodils yet chilled shade. 
Time to sort. Put things to rights. Unpacking the ratting. Or is it ratting the packing.
 
This spring system wide changes. A baby (I'ma be an auntie!). A down-sizing and selling the-house-on-the-lake. A jail sentence with ever bigger and badder coming-of-age reality. 
And me, in the midst of my own transition to midwife. The studies. The notes and tests and anxiety. The everloving compounded anxiety.  Shippy. Very very shippy.
 
My dining table, the one place of order I've clung to for years, has been covered by school, taxes, citizenship application, cracker crumbs, odds and ends. Today a samosa says, "I'm dinner." to its new friends; piles of notes. Unpacking the ratting.
 
Filing. 
 
Singing.
 
Patty Griffin - All Creatures of our God and King. I am slayed. Weeping, I stand with a torn past. The wind blows through from a time when all was the storm of existential angst. And true pain. True hurt. 
 
Here again. The table. The juice. The samosa. A home blend freshen-up spray (peppermint and geranium) mixed in an old Saje bottle. I like the Saje one, but spendy. 
 
Best be getting a move on and file this shhhtuff.

Tomorrow is a day for study...OSCEs on Wednesday. 
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I am three years old. I live on a lake in Minnesota. The water is part of my life, like breath.


One sunny, summer day my mother puts an orange life vest around my neck and ties a bow. She does the same for my little sister as my father slides our canoe into the water. My parents place me in the middle of the boat. “Now sit still, or we'll tip over,” says my dad. I'm small, my movements do not affect the canoe much, but I remember being still and careful as we talk about what would happen if we did tip over, the importance of life vests, swimming lessons, water temperature. Actions, consequences, responsibility. Then we are sliding through the water that flows in my veins, perfectly balanced between the lake and the sky.


I don't remember learning how to balance in a canoe. I am three years old, and I am balance itself. Easily I launch the canoe through the water, throughout my youth. At least once a week in the summers, I adeptly paddle and never tip. Did I ever have to learn balance? I just did it.


I grow. I move away. I have babies and go to school and have more babies. I do not paddle a canoe for years but I find balance in my life. Many days the seas are rough and I fear that I may capsize. I learn there are times I must dock the canoe, times I must ask for a tow from my neighbour, times when I cannot do it on my own. I take time to breathe and centre my body. I practice mindfulness. I play with my children. I am strong and capable. I do the work.


We learn to balance by balancing. And balance I do, sometimes with grace, and other times with white knuckles. As I begin my work as a doula, the balance I have learned in the rough seas of motherhood and life and mindful meditation makes entering the birth space easy. Over time I attend more than 100 births, and each time I find my centre, easily, like breathing, and support others through the chop created in the waters of birth.


I am thirty-five years old. Home to Minnesota for my sister's wedding, I stand at the lakeside in the autumn, more than 30 years after that first canoe ride. The air is crisp and cold like apples ripe on the trees. The skies are bright blue, the fire red, and orange leaves fringe the bright, beckoning lake. I look down at the canoe beside me. The shore has changed, now rocky and deep, the canoe an entirely different vessel. But I know how to do this. I am strong and capable as I glide the bow of the canoe into the water, step in and push off. It is shaky; I have to force balance. The stern end swings out where I did not intend it to go. But I know how to correct. I reach back with my paddle and confidently pull the water, bringing the stern toward the shore, the bow pointing forward—


Instead, I pull myself directly into the shockingly cold water. I am a turtle flailing on its back. Water burns in my sinuses, stopping my breath. The canoe follows me and fills with water. Silently the lake says, “I'm quite certain that is not what you were supposed to do, Abigail,” and I sputter and struggle, angry and humiliated. I find my feet, manage the canoe to shore and dump out the water. Soaked, freezing and mad at myself, I put on a dry sweater and proceed more cautiously. I will not fail a task I know like breathing.


I canoe across the lake. There is no ease, no silent slicing paddle through silky water, only a constant struggle for balance. But I do it. I learn to balance by balancing.


I enter Midwifery School after many long years of knowing I would become a midwife, and after several years of working as a doula. I know birth. I know school, and I am confident as I push off into the first weeks of the semester.


Around me are 14 of the smartest people I know. It is strange being in a group of women as amazing as they are. And while I find I do know a lot, I also find myself flailing and sputtering. In the first hands-on clinical class, I catch a baby out of a model pelvis. My baby's umbilical cord detaches, and rather than clamp the baby's umbilicus area, I clamp the cord. I am informed my baby is bleeding out. I am confounded. I've seen this a hundred times, I know what to do, why did I do the wrong thing?


“Why is this so hard?”


“Because now you are doing it,” replies Patrice, my clinical instructor.


And it hits me. I am an upended turtle once again. Armchair midwifery is not midwifery. I am in a new canoe in a new body of water, and around me is only a constant struggle for balance. But each draw of the paddle brings more ease. I am excited, exhilarated, frustrated and annoyed. I breathe and notice. I am learning midwifery.


The seas are rough. I spill IV fluid when I learn to prime IV lines. I cause hemorrhage and “suck out veins” as I learn my first blood draws, and uncontrolled tears stream down my face. I don't get my empathic response right on the first try in counselling class. I force balance; I bail water. But I do it. I have to include myself in that group of amazing women. My place here is not a mistake.


It is hard to stand out when so many people are shining so brightly. It is so much easier to see my weaknesses than my strengths, easier to accept them until they burn my sinuses like water, but I have to accept my strengths as well. Performance on a test does not equal ability or worth. I'm learning to shine in the mirror. I belong here, and day by day, each draw of blood will come with more ease. Each IV line I prime will spill less fluid. And I will learn to celebrate my successes: the day when I find palpating pregnant bellies easier than I thought, the day when I find the baby's heartbeat with a fetoscope. The day when I'm able to shine, strong and confident.


As in life, there are moments of grace and moments of white knuckles. We learn to balance by balancing. I am learning midwifery.


 
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 *Crickets*

It's December 22. The tree is up with lights. The kids will decorate tomorrow while I do whatever cooking I can. Tonight I will 
-sweep the kitchen
-fold laundry (as it finishes)
-put away laundry (as it finishes)
-wrap gifts
-put away laundry
-put away dishes
-wipe counters
-wash up the very last of the dishes

Kids to:
-take out recycling
-take out garbage
-decorate the tree
Zea to Raylee's party

Dinner will include:
Swedish meatballs and milk gravy
Mashed potatoes
Sweet potatoes
scalloped corn
Broccoli and cheese sauce (?? to the cheese sauce though the kids will demand it)
Field Roast en croute
Sweet soup

Other things I could make
roll out cookies with frosting
lefse (ha ha ha)
other cookies

I'm not motivated. The reason is, it turns out, because my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) is 5.72. This is high which means my Thyroid hormone (T3 and T4) are low...so I have symptoms of depression. But I am NOT depressed. It is hormonal, so I am talking myself out of this sadness that is inculcating my being. It is persistent and annoying, but I have upped my meds and all will be fine in another month and a half or so.

Blah.

Blah Blah Blah.

In other news, I made it through the darkest night of the year. Only a couple of the last few weeks have been hard. Here's to more sun. I am taking 3 Vit D and Stress B complex consistently this year.  That's great. Perhaps I can get my thyroid balanced AND be taking vitamins....that is my health goal...that and drinking more water. :)

Peace to all.


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Classes and assignments are done for the first term of midwifery school at UBC. I'm at the point where I feel stuck and insecure. I have two finals coming up; one four days from now on Friday and one the next Tuesday. I have not started studying formally and while I know that I will, I find myself procrastinating. Or rather I find myself balancing relaxation and veg time with school work. I tend to be a bit of a pendulum swinger. Saturday Soren and I showed up at Karen's with croissants and an invitation to Science World. It was lovely and ended with a nice dinner prepared by me at Karen's. We had a sleep over at Karen's, woke and enjoyed a lovely brunch with the household. K and L and the rest. And THEN we sat 5 on the couch and watched an NFL football game. It was awesome! 

Tonight I'm going to a Lunapads circle or some such. I'm not entirely sure what it's all about, but I know it isn't school related! :)

Tuesday afternoon is our last cadaver lab. Friday morning is my clinical class test.  It's multiple choice, matching and true and false. This means all I need to do is read over the notes and the slides a number of times so the info is in my brain, but I don't have to regurgitate it. I LOVE tests where they give you the answer and all you have to do is pick out the right answer. I do fairly well on these types of tests.

I realize knowing the material inside and out is imperative to my MW practice. I will know it, but I don't have to know it perfectly now. So I can let go of perfectionism for this term and trust the process. I do have moments of being uncertain as to whether or not I will ever be a midwife; whether or not I will actually know what I need to know. I have been thinking, "Why did I think I wanted to do this? Was it really my ego?" Karen reminds me I will be good at this; oh yeah, I will....it's just the getting there.

One foot in front of the other....with lots of rest ;)  For now.
 


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The school monster ate me.  I've been surviving in its belly and have only now navigated to a computer station to post this.

School is.

Lots going on.  Too much to process in a blog.

It's like having kids.  I'm in the moment and am being transposed into something else, more than who I was and am.

Fighting racism.  Sexism.  Backlash.

Got a role in the Vagina Monologues.

Helping with the anti-oppression training for that.  Hoping to offer an anti-O workshop to my classmates....we shall see.  Signed up to do healthy sexuality class/workshop for Windsor House kids in March.  wah???


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I've grown to dislike cats.
I hate it when people talk to me in  the morning
I'm still sick 
I'm very tired
I'm going to callback for the Vagina Monologues tomorrow
I love the Dixie Chicks and Deb Talan
I'm going to take a nap.
I went out to lunch with Jill today.
I forgot my kids were at home for a ProD day with the sitter and was late getting home.

This is all for today.

If only...


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 Wednesday was the Women's Studies midterm.  I don't know how I did, honestly.  While my writing structure was good, as usual, the points I made and the references I used to back up my points were crap.  Pure crap.  I will be thrilled with anything over a C+  I truly do not care about this class, but I have to pass.

This morning was my Applied sciences for midwifery midterm.  Again, I need a 65%.  I sure better have cleared that!  I feel like I did very well on the multiple choice parts, but nearly as well on the short answer and long answer.  I'll be happy with 65%  Truly.  I do need to know this stuff, but I realize that we will have this information drilled into our heads over the next several years and I WILL know it in the end.  Do I know it today....nope.  Do I need to know it yet?  Nope.

In our clinical class we had a hand washing module and then a couple of modules about clinical care; blood pressure, temperature and palpating bellies.  Broad strokes.  Very broad strokes.  We will learn how to do assessments for REAL next term.  Then OSCEs in April so we'll be ready to do our placements next year.  Whew.  Whew.  Wow!  I was able to work with 3 different moms and two different midwives.  I heard fetal heartbeat with both the pinard horn (well, I think I heard it with the pinard horn) and with a fetoscope.  I couldn't believe how clear it was with the fetoscope!  We also used the doppler, measured fundal height and palpated those growing bellies.  I feel like I can really get good at visualizing what is inside mama's belly!  How cool!  And I felt comfortable with the women as well.  I sure miss working with pregnant women!  Whooo.  I felt high for a short time after class today!


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 Ok, it's time to take care of me:

I have eaten lunch in spite of wanting to barf.  I am also forcing myself to drink a whole glass of water.  

My worth is not tied up in my ability to get a loan from the bank.  

I am worthy AND I did not get approved for a loan from the bank.

I am loved and lovable AND I did not get approved for a loan from the bank.

I am capable and I am doing the work to do this really huge and incredible thing called midwifery.  I am doing the work to build my career.  

Oh I can get into the, "but I made my bed when I was 19 and chose to have a child and when I married an alcoholic and moved 1200 miles form home and out of my country."  but I must resist this.  I am resisting this.  

I am ok.  I am.  That is enough.

I am breathing.  I feel my feet on the ground and my butt on the chair.  I take a sustaining drink of water.
I am doing the work.

I am doing the work.

I do the work.

I work.

I am lovable and capable and drinking more water.

It is normal to feel worried and tense about money.  

I have enough to eat.  I have a vehicle and transit and a budget that takes care of me.  I have enough money for my children's shelter and clothes and even for soccer and music lessons (which I have yet to sign them up for, but it is in the budget).  I have an amazing partner.  My partner is an amazing money manager and I'm amazing at following her advice.  I am good with money these days.  In 4 years or just over I will be a midwife and I will be making plenty of money.  My life's worth is not equal to the money I make.  I choose to be a midwife because I love the work AND it will support me and my family.  I have enough.  There is plenty.  

My worth is independent of what my credit report says or my net worth.

I am worthy.  Period.  Period.  Period.

I'm going to go for a walk (a short one) and then I do the work of studying for 103 in a new location.  Perhaps outside the room to my next class.  I drink water.  I eat foods that fuel my body and taste delicious.

I am.  

I am.
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 Well, here I am, freaking out.

My professional student line of credit was denied even with K as a cosigner.  Ugh ugh ugh.  There may be one option left, but maybe not.  If I have to try to get through school without a professional line of credit, I'm damn near hooped.  Goonie crisp.

Seriously.

Freaking out.

I need a car that runs (my car runs.  But will it last another year and a half?).  

I know I have a poor credit history.  I have paid off my debts that sadly were in collections which means my credit is really in the shitter, but I do not owe any banks anything and I'm very much on the way to remediation.  However, I don't have any assets (how could I, I've been in poverty for so long?)  Oh banks.  I have to remember you are not in the business of doing good, you are in the business of making money.

I must focus on passing the midterms that are on my plate this week.  I really cannot allow myself to freak out.


I can work.  I can take clients.  just.  fried goonies.  Deep fried goonies.
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Midterm.  Already.

Just two.  Women's studies on Wednesday afternoon.  3pm.  Think of me.  I have done what I can do.

The rest of my time will be focused on my 103/applied sciences for midwifery  Goodness help me!

Ugh.

The cherry on top of midterms is one, MID term!  and our first assessment/clinical class on Thursday AFTER the midterm.  Wooot! 
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 Whew.  I am finally feeling better.  What a crappy week!  Monday we had no school and it was Thanksgiving.  Monday night Soren vomited, so I made him stay home on Tuesday.  I stayed home with him and skyped into my classes.  Wednesday I was feeling really crappy, but got dressed and took the bus all the way out to UBC.  However, when I arrived for my class at 3:00, I felt my energy draining every minute and nauseousness was creeping up my gullet.  So, I got in a car2go and drove home without attending my class.  Thursday I slept and skipped my applied sciences for midwifery class and the clinical class for my group was cancelled (essentially).  Nonetheless, I wrote my book review and did my 103 lab and emailed off my homework.  I slept again on Friday, skipping my Birth and its Meaning class.  I missed out as my class went to the Woodward Memorial Room of the Woodward library and looked at books printed in the 1500s called The Byrth of Mankynd.  Bummer.  :(  
I essentially missed an entire week of classes.  Just before the midterms.  I suppose I should be much more worried than I am.

I know from my last Human Anatomy class that I will fail if I do NO work.  So I will do the work of studying and pass.  I may not get stellar, A-marks, but I will pass.  That is all that really matters.  

I'm off to Karen's niece's birthday party and then I will start studying.  Women's studies test on Wednesday and Applied Sciences for Midwives on Thursday.  The icing on the cake is Thursday afternoon we have our first clinical class with pregnant women!  I believe we are learning how to do assessments/palpating bellies.  Yippeee!  Friday is Birth and its Meaning and I will bring in a hard copy of my paper.  

This morning I woke up and discovered a ziplock baggie of frozen muffin batter.  3 carrot/apple/nut muffins were baked and I also made Vegan Dad's breakfast sausages with Jimmy Dean Copy Cat spice.  All of this alongside scrambled eggs and orange juice made for a splendid Sunday brunch.  As I made breakfast Karen and I watched Felix Baumgartner skydive from space.  Now we are finishing the Avengers.  I love Joss Whedon's story telling ability!

Being sick was icky.  I haven't been that sick in well over a year if not more.  It was, from what I can tell, just a bad cold.  I realized, however, that because I was not on call and could take sick days without it being terribly detrimental to anyone but me, I took care of myself better than I have in the past.  I slept, I ate homemade soups, I drank a lot of juice and I slept some more.  When I wasn't sleeping, I watched mindless episodes of Community with Karen (who was sick right along side of me).  I thought about feeling guilty for all the time I took, but I know I won't have this luxury very often.  I'm also happy to report I did not pass my cold on to any of my classmates.  

The most exciting thing I did this week was try out for the Vagina Monologues being put on as part of the VDay production at UBC on or around Valentine's Day.  The tryouts were on Saturday.  I tried out for both the Vagina Monologues and Something a Rant and a Prayer.  Sarah Edwards Noel is directing and she convinced me to 1) try out and 2) SING! at the tryouts.  Wild.  Just wild.  I haven't been on stage in over 20 years.  I'm excited and at the same time wondering what I got myself into?


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 When I wake up I'm sure it is strep.  But then a few minutes goes by and I blow my nose and I realize it is just post-nasal drip.  DAyum it is frustratingly painful, nonetheless.
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 Another week of school done.  I'm trying to enjoy my time rather than FREAK OUT.  BUt wow, I am not doing much school work.  I am a crammer.  How is that going to work.  Watch and see.  I need to pull 65%.  Obviously I need to do better than that and expect I will.
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 I'm utterly and completely gobsmacked.  Or maybe that's just exhaustion.  Probably the latter.
 
Today [this was written on Saturday and Sunday] was full of new-ness.  Life is ever changing, but when the just-noticeable-difference happens for major life trajectories, it's…hmmm,….  surreal?  Big. Huge. Sigh.  It's a two cup of coffee Sunday.
 
Josh came over Friday evening.  Later that night he was dealing with a health issue that would see him lose his shit for reasons totally out of his control.  I really felt for the kid.  The best part?  After all the sticky muck we've been through where we've never been able to resolve anything in the end….just frayed ends of an old electric cord, randomly and intermittently zapped…after all of that, there was resolution!  I wish it hadn't happened, because he is dealing with a fair bit of physical pain that I don't wish on him.  However, I'm glad we were able to have a really good parent/child relationship.  He needed me, I was there.  No question.  Also, in spite of everything (he doesn't live with me anymore), he still comes to me when he has a concern.  Phew. AND, this time I had resources to help him (paid for an Rx he would have had to forgo in the past). As always, spending a couple days with him reminds me it is still best for him to spend the vast majority of his living at his dad's.  I think he's getting uncomfortable there and would like to break free.  Discomfort is a necessary part of growth it seems. 
 
In the midst of Josh's stuff...
 
...Saturday I met with a friend/fellow student (getting an interdisciplinary  PhD @UBC) and went over the first pass I took at a proposal for the women's health class I'm taking.  It wasn't fleshed out, thought through or edited.  I feel like it was a brave act for me to share that.  I don't like to be new to a process and I particularly dislike sharing my process at this stage.  But I'm really re-learning a lot of information right now and unlearning and learning and….levelling up, others have called it.  Anyway, as I do the research for my WS paper, It's incredibly interesting to be reflexive about my own positionality.  In spite of childhood trauma (which is the great leveller in the voice of doom narrative of teen parents in case you didn't know; the probable topic for my WS paper).  On Sunday morning I am able to lie in my new bed, with my new apple computer after spending the night at my partners house in Vancouver after we were comped tickets to Amanda Palmer show at the Commodore.  I'm able to lie here in my own, truly affordable, housing and lament about how hard my life has been until now.  But I have an "until now"   And just like that, I'm out of poverty (at least as long as I'm in school/complete the program).  Funny thing is, I am probably still technically living under the poverty line.  But I have so many financial resources at the moment.  The most important is a genius financial manager! :)
 
It is an incredibly strange experience, seeing life change.  I had a similar feeling when I obtained my bachelor's degree.  I grew up in a middle class home in a red county of a blue state in the US.  I became a mother and a University student, on my own and away from my parents, who were supportive, but 5 hours away.  In spite of living on the settlement of a personal injury lawsuit (*ahem*) for those years, I was slogging through some mighty deep social and developmental issues (including raising a child with an undiagnosed, hard-to-understand invisible challenges, which thrust me into a much different position of privilege than when I was in living with my parents.  Whiteness and socioeconomic class made it easier for me to traverse the social network.  I knew the language.  It was strange to do class.  I was acutely aware of it much of the time.  It was a strange and lonely world because I did not have all that many avenues for discussing these issues.  When I graduated from UMD and the night and day difference in my life was…this.  Freedom.  Choice.  Privilege.  Not as much as some, and vastly more than many others.  But so much more than I'd experienced before.  I got mad.  I felt guilty as well.  I jumped through hoops for 4 years and was all of a sudden bestowed a bunch of social privilege that, in my mind, I didn't deserve.  And also, angry that the same dignity and respect I was experiencing was not shared with everyone.  
 
"Oh Abby, you've got to take credit for your intelligence and hard work!"  I am smart, and let's be honest about the systems of oppression and my privilege to move between places in the world does make my life….easier?  My liberation requires me to continue doing imperfect social justice.  I'm finding my voice.  I'm learning accountability.  (Why yes, I was listening to Vikki Reynold's again).
 
I don't want to be blasé about my privilege and let this quote (family of origin) derail the truth of the power dynamic saying, "Pish posh, dahling dear!  Let's just drink tea and eat our crumpets and not make a difference to the world as long as our ass is seated on a nice cushy chair in an air conditioned cushy car preferably in our nice cushy garage."  That way I don't have to talk about being a survivor of violence.  It's a hard tow.  But telling someone, "Life is good for you, just relax! (ie. drop the rock)"  is NOT the way for me to do this life.  In the BFW classes I mentored I would say all the time, "Whats the difference between saying 'Release' and 'Relax?'  Many would utter, "Relax!"  in that way that just makes you want to SHUDDER.  "Calm down.  Just relax."  No thanks.  I'm not sure how to release this in a new way, again.  Maybe I need to attend counselling.  That's always a shit show of distraction anyway ;) and I know how I love procrastination, especially of the navel-gazing variety.  On the other hand I think I'm just at a place where emotionally regulated acknowledgment is there more often than not.  

Wow, I can still hear the fear of the system in that.  Doing mental health.  "I'm emotionally regulated and here's how."  Oh dear.
 
 
Back to Saturday again:
 
Tonight as I walked out onto the deck outside of my life-partner's house, the moon was aglow just above the roofs of the houses across the alley.  I was arriving home from the Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra show.  Meh show.  Fun parts.  Saw and connected with great people.  Decided to try out for the Vagina Monologues @ UBC on V Day.  Yes…good night.  But the moon! She was full and so bright.  Aha!  Full moons are special to me and have ben since I was a girl growing up on Ottertail Lake in Minnesota.  The constant reminder of a  cycle.  I love when I see her phases, but I love when she surprises me.  Just there and "HELLO *warm smile*"  Ooooohhhhhh, right!  
 
I dropped Karen at the airport at 5:30am this morning and thought I'd go back to sleep.  Too much to think about and too many rabbit holes to explore ;)
 
I'm trying to suss out what I'm doing for the paper for my Women's Health course.  This was part of my procrastination or process.

 
 
gallimaufryma: (Default)
As I moved away to Duluth to attend University in the summer of 1995, my back went out for the first time.  I can only barely remember the hell that was having a 9 month old child, truly alone in a new city with no friends and be laid up with a spasmed back.  I'm glad my memory fails.  I cried a lot that year.  I don't remember my back ever hurting as much as it did then.

My back has gone out a fair number of times over the years, and usually stress or activity changes bring it on.  I've been fairly good about doing my core strengthening exercises and about 6 months ago (??) I started seeing an RMT (oh the joys of getting ones financial house in order!).  Steve is an incredible RMT and has been doing wonders for my body.  Nonetheless, my back went out again a week ago Friday (and actually, it is my hip that went out, my spine is fine!).   I shouldn't be surprised, as my activity involves a great deal of sitting, which is not great for my hip flexors.  My right hip flexors are incredibly tight.  This allows my right sacroilliac (SI) joint to seize, which creates hypermobility on the left side.  Eventually my muscles seize (or so it feels) and all I can do is wait for the inflammation to go down and gently ease into my exercise regime once again.  Steve, my massage therapist, referred to this as facet lock.  Ok.  OUCH!

As the pain starts to dissipate, it's sort of like a dull, though ever present toothache.  Or annoying elevator music always playing in the background.  This gnawing at my nerves makes me edgy.  Cranky.  Quick to snark.  

Last weekend I had Thursday to Monday afterschool without my kids, and I spent it more or less laid up on the floor with bolsters.  I accomplished very little.  This weekend required me to get my massage (which never makes it feel better right off the bat, it takes a few days), go to a stressful bank appointment to submit what I hope will be a successful professional student line of credit application and visit Karen's family.  None of these things was unpleasant, quite the contrary, but with that annoying noise in the background, so to speak, I plastered on a smile and waited to get home.

No rest on this Sunday for me as it is the time for the month's big grocery shop.  And of course this also means it is the time for the great monthly cook.  As someone with a proclivity for takeout and yet a strict budget, it is important to have many meals available in the freezer that can be easily heated or prepared.  I'm happy to say I have:
Sloppy joes
The makings for a curried spinach cashew pizza (who knows when I'll be invited to a party and asked to bring an appy)
4 hamburger patties
3 frozen pizzas (bought from the store)
frozen italian meatballs
2 meatloaves
18 burritos (10 cheese, bean, rice with pumpkin seeds and 8 meat, bean and cheese)
2 side dishes of german red cabbage and apples
5 lunches of chicken fried rice (ok, to be fair this is Chinese delivery from tonight....I was given a free fried rice, so now it is lunch!)
My shopping stocked my pantry  and the rest of the freezer and there are more convenience foods in my house than I ever remember having; but again, in order to feed myself and my family and not spend my school money on take out, it seems necessary. 

Another thing that seems necessary is a big freezer.  I would love to put together a lasagna or two as well as a couple more main dish meals....but my freezer is completely filled!  

It will be interesting to see how everything changes for me nutritionally again when I am in clinical placements next year and the following years.  I refuse to be the midwife who hasn't eaten for 8 hours.  My brain just doesn't work that way.  I foresee a lot of oatmeal/nuts/yogurt/dried fruit in my future!

Now I lie in bed.  My body is exhausted and my mind is starting to let school back in.  I am supposed to attend an Interprofessional workshop of some sort tomorrow, but I was unable to secure childcare for Soren.  Zea was going to stay home with Soren tomorrow, but she's got an impromptu soccer game tomorrow at 5:00 and I don't get home until 6:30 or so.  Many in my class aren't going already, but some are, and we'll all be filled in.  I'll miss making connections, I imagine, but I know I'll have more opportunity for this in my future.

I need to take care of myself, and this means leaving tomorrow free.  

The kids have conference week this coming week, so no school.  

gallimaufryma: (Default)
Today I stuck my foot in my mouth and well, I haven't tasted my knee in some time, so...yeah.

A classmate who has an 11 month old (at least I believe the child is this age) was talking to another classmate as the three of us were walking.  She was sharing about a friend who is due in March and has a child the same age as hers.  I said, "Can you imagine being due in March?  I mean, can you even imagine it?"

They both stopped dead in their tracks and asked if we heard anything that had been discussed on their side of the room in the class just previous.  I hadn't but, "Your pregnant?" was obvious.  And in February, not March.  Oh dear.  I'm an idiot.  Not wanting to make it too much about me (heh heh), I apologized and congratulated her with "more power to you" and "I couldn't do it, but good for you."  All totally patronizing and didn't help the gagging on my knee.  Sigh.

It's good to have this revealed to me though!  I've been wondering what sort of strong opinions I hold and where I'll need to grown and change and open.  I honestly cannot even fathom doing what she's doing.  I wouldn't do it and I didn't do it.  And yet it is not my life and not my choices and I do support her to do what is right for her.  

Our first class baby.  Awww.
gallimaufryma: (Default)
This week feels like I'm finally in Midwifery school!  We are moving into embryology in our clinical skills class and we finally started the Microbiology course.  Some of our instructors are fantastic, dynamic and truly capable of teaching the information in a way that makes sense.  Others.  Just.  I find myself being incredibly picky critical.  I realize that PhD students are not necessarily trained in how to teach. Thankfully it's fairly basic info I can study on my own and catch onto easily.

Last night I attended the Midwifery Care Club for students of nursing, midwifery and medicine from UBC.  It was just incredible!  We had the opportunity to palpate people's actual pregnant bellies, suture foam, catch doll-babies, watch a video about doulas (in which she normalized unmedicated labour), and do vaginal exams on blue boxes with cervices of various stages of dilation.  Wild.  Wild!!!  At one point another classmate and I looked at each other and we just broke into big grins :)  I pinched myself and she said, "We are really here!"  It felt very real last night.

My schedule is also starting to become very real.  Up early, out and up late.  Yay.  

Tonight my kids both have soccer practice in diferent locations and at slightly different times.  On top of that they are supposed to be at their dad's on Thursday nights (this term anyway).  I offered to make dinner.  Frozen meatloaf thawing all day , and potatoes will be put into the oven by Ms. ZZ as soon as they arrive home from school.  I'll throw together a salad when I get home.  We'll all eat, and then Shane will take Soren to one practice, I'll drop Zea and hers and Shane will pick up ZZ after.  It makes for a long night, but, that is just what being a parent is about.

I struggle, still, with my reactions to Shane's reaction to parenting duties.  His response is perfectly normal, but I still have the hyperviigillence of, "You wanna make something of it?"  Ha!  So, I offer to help out in the parenting where I can when he's got them because I don't perceive him as asking.  Anyway, no need to drop all of the soccer duties on him.  He's been really reasonable as a co-parent and he has a 99.99999 percent rate of showing up (just like me), and that, my friends, is practically everything.  

I am incredibly proud of myself and grateful to those in my life who support me.  I did this right (for me).  I waited until my kids were older and capable of dealing with a lot of their life without me needing to be there.  Call it my need to control that made me stay until they could do it themselves, perhaps.  The serendipitous and yet integral part to all of this continues to be the partnership I share with Karen.  So surprising, still.  So grateful.  So lovely.  We give where we can when we can and we put up with each others snarkiness.  It is the kind of partnership I dreamed of and expected.  

I've been doing near daily exercises for self-care as well.  In spite of this, the change in activity and the increase in sitting for loooong periods of time caused my back to spasm last Friday and it is still bothering me.  I have an RMT appt on Saturday and am hoping to be back to normal or...whatever it is that I am, by Wednesday.

I've been feeding myself really well.  Breakfast, snacks, lunch, snacks, dinner, lots of water and I'm totally compliant with meds and supplements (though I do forget my calcium magnesium regularly).  However, yesterday was a food fail as I depended on the MCC to feed me pizza and juice for dinner, but we did not get served until 9:00pm!  Way too late for me.  This coupled with the fact that my snack supply is dwindling at the end of the month (I do a big grocery shop on the 21), meant that I'd only had an apple between 11:30am and 9:00pm!  Not enough food!  I get weird when I don't eat regularly.  Today lunch pickings were low as well, so I went to the Gallery in the Sub and got a lovely beet and apple salad as well as some pasta.  Enough for two meals at least!  

Life is good.  Busy, but good.


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