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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Saturday at The Open

In 2002 we were at Muirfield when Tiger shot his 81 as the squall of all squalls blew in off the Firth of Forth, a beautiful location for a golf course just outside of Edinburgh.  We bought the newspaper the following day and still have it as a grand souvenir of that great trip. I have never had so much fun whilst being soaked to the bone by freezing, blowing rain!  It was Scottish golf at its finest and we loved every minute of it!
Three years later we returned to Scotland to watch Jack Nicklaus' final round at St. Andrews.  We were able to see him wave good-bye on the Swilcan bridge after a remarkable career.  We bought that newspaper as well and still have it.  On that trip, we stayed with the parents of a friend from our church who live nearby.  He also happens to be a member of Muirfield so Doug got a chance to play a round with Neil.  He shot a 90 and didn't get stuck in those bunkers for life!  It was a "bucket list" moment for him and I was thrilled he had the chance.  Muirfield is a great course, only marred by its "no women in the clubhouse" policy.  Every member owns a black lab who they train to walk the course with them.  Great tradition.
So now that The Open has returned to Muirfield, we have enjoyed every moment of the tournament, literally.  I think we've watched about 25 hours of golf over the past two days!  It does make the longing to return to Scotland rather high.  We did attend another Open at Troon several years ago but it's been awhile so perhaps we'll have to journey over there once again next summer.  Scotland is a beautiful and wild place and we have loved every trip we've taken there.
The conditions this year are sunny and calm.  The course is dried out due to so little rain, almost unheard of in Scotland.  It's safe to say that Tiger won't likely be shooting an 81 today.  But with green speeds hard to predict and a swirling wind that wrecks havoc with the most skilled players, it will be interesting to see who climbs atop the leader board.
It is a special treat to have my dad here to watch with us.  While he doesn't understand a word of the Swedish commentary, he loves not having any commercials in a TV broadcast that goes on from 10.00 a.m. -9.00 p.m.  Doug, dad and I have a little contest going as a side highlight.  We each picked 8 players who we thought would earn the most money.  So far I suck having 3 who missed the cut entirely.  And I did not pick Woods because I refuse to cheer for him under any circumstance!  So I'm pulling for Lee Westwood because a victory from him would give me the best shot at victory over my hubby and father!
We love the major tournaments in golf!  And we especially love The British Open because we get to watch it in normal time.  No staying up until 2.00a.m. to see the finish!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

6 Weeks Post-Op: All Clear!

This morning I had my six week post-op check-up and the Dr. said that I had a normal examination and that everything looked great!  I can resume all normal activities although it will take awhile for my full strength to come back.  It seems likely that I won't be doing any dead lifting anytime soon but I am so thankful that there were no complications.  The pathology report also came back totally normal so my worries about my own gynecological health are behind me for now.  In fact, the Dr. told me that I only need to have a pap smear every 5 years so the next time I need to go into the office is in 2017!
A flood of emotion hit me as I finished my appointment.  I was so grateful to my Dr. who gave me such wonderful and amazing care.  I truly felt like she cared about me and my own personal journey.  I guess when she said I didn't have to come back for any reason, I was also a little sad that I won't get to see her regularly anymore.  Of course, I am happy that I am healthy and that everything has healed so well, but this has been quite an intimate journey that we've shared so I think it natural to feel such a warm connection.  Additionally, I realized that all of my fears regarding ovarian cancer have now been lifted.  I no longer have to worry about what's going on in my body.  The troublesome symptoms that were bothering me pre-op have disappeared.  I will never have to buy and export another Tampax tampon for the rest of my life!  These are all really joyful thoughts that represent the end of a long and difficult journey in my life.  I guess the tears that ran rapidly down my face were a fairly natural response to an emotion filled conversation.  In many ways, I feel that over these past months, since I made the decision last December to have a hysterectomy and oophorectomy (ovary removal), I feel I've been on an uphill climb.  In the background of my decision was always my mom's failing health.  Then the operation was postponed twice...once hospital error, once because of returning to California to care for my mom in her final days.  Now, after climbing the mountain, I've been cleared for the fun, easy coast down to sea level! It's amazing to me that everything I've been worrying about is behind me.  That is such a strange and wonderful feeling.  And I am so grateful for how smoothly everything went.  So little pain and real discomfort over an extended time coupled with the gift of being asked to stay in bed, take naps, read in the sunshine, sleep late, go to bed early, let others do for you.  Maybe the tears were partly because I hate to see that go!  Dr. cleared me to stay at 50% for the rest of July as far work goes and return full time August 1.  Truth be told, while I feel good, fatigue sets in and a nap comes on every afternoon.  I am happy that I can ease back into a busy season and build up my stamina in time for a busier autumn.
And so the concerns regarding the hysterectomy are behind me.  I've been given a clean bill of health and a new lease on life!  All that's left is getting rid of my "swelly belly!"  LOVE that phrase. When someone cuts through your abdominal muscles, it's amazing how hard it becomes to suck in your gut!  I've been calling my round tummy my Buddah belly but swelly belly is so much better! Whatever you want to call it, I hope someday to have it flatten out a bit more again!
As soon as I got home from the Dr., I took Tanner on a short walk all by myself.  I plan to figure out what an exercise regime looks like for me and I'll start my weight lifting goals by resuming grocery shopping!
I think it will take me awhile to sift through all of the emotion I was feeling this morning.  In the past three months I've said good-bye to my mom and had major surgery to remove troublesome body parts.  Maybe when the Dr. said you are cleared to resume a normal life, part of me still wonders what the "new normal" is.  That will take some time to graft into my daily life, but I am filled with gratitude for the love of a faithful husband, the care of an amazing church, the support of a global network of friends, and my dear dad...who comes to visit us next week.  Yes, there is much to look forward to and I do so with a full heart.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Rascal Flatts in Stockholm

I had wanted to do something special for Doug because he's kind of pretty much been husband of the year for this entire year thus far so when I learned that Rascal Flatts was coming to Stockholm in a favorite venue of ours, well, that seemed like just the ticket!  And it was.  Today was a spectacularly beautiful, super hot summer day (87°F) so after an afternoon dip in the Baltic we headed out to the island of Djurg√•rden and met up with some friends for a pre-concert snack.  Then we walked over to Cirkus, the venue where the concert was and got ready for a boot-scootin' good time!
It was indeed a very good time!  The opening band was pretty good...a blonde chick, whipping her hair all over the place, dancing around in short shorts and white cowboy boots.  Standard country fare!  Finally, a giant countdown clock came on the screen about 4 and half minutes before the band was ready to start.  Then a big highway came onto the screen and there they were...singing Life is A Highway cranking up the energy!  The lead singer clearly has one of the greatest voices in music and the guitars, harmonica, violin, drums and pianos lent themselves to an amazing musical performance.  My favorites included Mayberry, which speaks of small town life, and Bobbleheads which I really don't know much about but I did love the graphics that were behind the band!  All good things must come to an end and once they sang Bless the Broken Road we knew it almost quittin' time.  They did give a great encore with My Wish.  We love this band.  We really had a great time!
The night remained warm and when we walked out at 10.30, twilight had just set in so we decided to walk home.  On our way, we stumbled upon the brand new Abba Museum, complete with these photo ops outside.  I couldn't resist taking a shot.  Look carefully at Agneta's may look slightly different than normal!  The city was gorgeous in all its summer splendor.  Couldn't resist this photo op on the Djurg√•rden bridge.  Oh, and I made Doug kiss me there too!  What a great night.  The lyrics will long ring in my ears.  Which is fine.  They are beautiful and rich and I look forward to getting to know all of their music even better.