Monday, November 29, 2010


When I was living in London I saw a black cab with an Amsterdam ad on the side that said "Amsterdammit!," and I've been wanting to use it ever since. And now, ten years later, my time has finally come.

I guess I'm just doing some catch up with all we did in the past year, and I realized that I totally missed our time in Amsterdam. So sad, considering that Amsterdam is my favorite city in all the world. A new addition since my last visit was the Iamsterdam sign on the Museumplein. Not only is it clever, it looks cool and was a great place for the kids to play. Well, that and the half pipe where they made quite a few new Dutch friends.

I was surprised how much fun Amsterdam was with the kids. I had only ever been there with grown-ups before, but there was a ton of fun for kids (including a great play center called Tun Fun). Steve and I are planning on returning this spring for a performance of one of his pieces, and while I am looking forward to going to nice restaurants and staying up late (as well as sleeping in a bit), I will miss the bike rides in the Vondelpark and hanging out on the Museumplein with Max and Jack.

Well, maybe just a little bit.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's So Funny, How I Don't Blog Anymore...

Oh, the reasons, there are many, including a stressful summer (more about that in a minute), school starting, a Halloween party that pretty much took over my life for, like, a month, and then 23 people for Thanksgiving, and now that whole Christmas thing lurking over my shoulder.


So, I want to be back at it. I want to share. Even if you'd rather not read what I have to share. So there you go. It's all about me, I guess.

So, back to my stressful summer. I just want to get it out there, be done with it, move on. Basically, I had some health concerns while we were living in France last year. I would have these strange muscle spasms and, for the first time in my life, was dealing with anxiety at an almost debilitating level. I was still functioning and getting everything done that I had to do, but I would wake up at night with a racing heartbeat and fear of nothing and everything at the same time. It wasn't pretty. But I love Paris, and the students, and our experience there, and I chalked up the aches and pains and panic attacks to a absolutely crazy year.

For those of you just joining us, let's recap what I experienced in the span of about 9 months or so. First, we FINALLY finished building our house, and let me tell you, building a house has been one of the most trying experiences of my life. And one of the most amazing opportunities. But the time August rolled around and the moving trucks pulled up with the last boxes, I was spent. And just a month before that we found out we were going to be moving to Paris for a few months, which was amazing, but, as you can imagine, a little stressful. I tried to do too much, and the fall was filled with me running from one place to the next trying to fit in my regular life stuff with additional French classes and getting our house organized and then packed up to leave again.

Oh, and then there was the pneumonia. So much fun. And almost a year ago to the day we were taking off to San Francisco to get our French visas, with me still on antibiotics, Max getting over the stomach flu, and all of us limping along feeling things had to get better.

They did, and Paris was also one of the most trying times of my life and one of the greatest opportunities. Seems to be a running theme here.

Anyway, back to the health issues. I got back home and decided that if I didn't feel better I was going to go see my doctor and find out what might be up. Well, she ran some tests, and they came back "funny," (and I don't mean ha ha), so she said to wait 8 weeks and then take them again. So, two months of worry and then I took them again, and they still came back SLIGHTLY POSITIVE (whatever that means) and she wanted me to see a specialist. Well, to make a long story even longer, I had to wait for over two months to get into see a rheumetologist, and when I finally did, guess what? He wanted to run more tests. So, three more weeks of waiting.

Needless to say, I've learned a lot about patience in the past year.

Finally, the day came to get my FINAL ANSWER on the tests, and I knew they feared I had Lupus, which is a terrible and debilitating disease. Steve and I went to see the doctor together, and he told us that I didn't have Lupus (big sigh of relief), but he ran a genetic test on a hunch, and found out I have a genetic disorder that causes me to have a type of arthritis called Ankylosing Spondylitis that I've probably been suffering from since my late 20's or early 30's. And it could be treated with simple anti-inflammatory. I never thought I'd be happy the hear I have arthritis, but I was overjoyed to find out what the problem really was and that it could be treated.

So, after my diagnosis, thing have been looking much better. I am actually seeing some huge improvements in my neck and shoulders that I thought were just the ABC's of being me, but have almost disappeared due to the medication I'm taking. And while I do feel a bit geriatric taking arthritis medication, I'm feeling better than I have in years.

So there. That's the reason. Really, I just didn't want to talk about it, but now I have and, luckily, things weren't too serious, and I can move on. I do have to say thank you to all my friends and family who were a support to me while I was going through the hellish waiting this summer. I couldn't have done it without you.

So, look for more posts, I am planning to make them as often as possible, hopefully every day before long. I really do miss acknowledging the simple, beautiful things in my life, like the paper star I started this post with.

I bought them 10 years ago in a outdoor market in York, in the United Kingdom, and I love them, and have made them a part of my Christmas decorations every year. They make me happy, like so many other simple things in my amazing life.

And I just wanted to share.

And I want to share much more in the many days to come.