Transitions

Welcome to April! I am overjoyed that it IS April, that’s for sure. (Even if my birthday is this month, bleah!)

The last month has been an incredible roller-coaster ride for my family. My mother made the decision to undergo a very very serious surgery (her surgeon told her and my dad the other day it was “one tick down from a transplant!”… to figure out once and for all what’s been going on with her stomach the past year. That was March 23rd. I knew I had to be there, so I flew back to Boulder a day before. (I will be so glad when I don’t have to do any more trans-Atlantic flights! Especially now with the airlines cutting back on services so much.)

On the day of surgery (which took 7 hours!) the surgeon came out and told me and my dad that it was pancreatic cancer. That was really terrible news of course. I called all my siblings from the waiting room, and we waited there another 5 hours before we could get in to see mom just for a few minutes. All the while, watching a big snowstorm come in and wondering if we were even going to get home that night! (We did.)

The rest of the week was a fairly surreal routine of visiting my mom once or twice a day, and driving back and forth to Denver airport to pick up and drop off my two brothers. Kurt came in on Thursday for about 6 hours, and left again. (He’s an airline pilot so he can do that sort of thing!!) On that day our spirits soared as we were there when my mom’s doctor brought us the news that the cancer had not spread anywhere, and the small tumor was completely removed. She would not require any further therapy like chemo or radiation, and could just… recover. I think I am still in recovery myself from the harrowing emotional/mental down-then-up of those two days.

On Friday it was off to the airport again to get my brother Chuck. My mom was making amazing strides and improvement could be seen daily. It was sure great to be able to see my brothers that week, even if the occasion was not great. I know my sister Kristin all the way out in Brooklyn was dying to be there too. But she got there this week—just in time to help my parents out as my mom went home from the hospital—and she was needed so much at this time it was worth it to wait.

I flew back to the UK the Saturday after the surgery, then had 2 days with Paul, and then he was off to NY for a week to tend to his father Millard. Mostly to handle the extra paperwork involved with filing income taxes and taking care of finances since his mom passed away at Christmas. We are so delighted with how well Millard has been doing on his own. We knew he was feeling good when he announced his intention to plant a few veggies in his garden this year! And Paul got treated to 80° weather most of the week, the stinker!!

Now, spring in the UK is arriving at full speed having been delayed by about a month from the worse than usual winter. Paul was gone over Easter weekend so I spent Easter Sunday walking around London. Their parks were just starting to bloom, and the trees flowering. Here’s a photo of Buckingham Palace from St. James Park:

I haven’t been doing too much of an exciting nature. Just really enjoying our house and neighborhood and walks with the Boyz. Paul and I go running each evening down this country lane next to the Tudor manor, and it’s been great watching the trees and shrubs and hedges begin to leaf out this week. Now that we’ve been getting some sun and warmer temps, it is all happening really fast! I’ve also been enjoying watching the farmer till and plant the field next to where the Boyz and I often walk the footpath. Green shoots just started coming up there this week!

The other day we finalized a lot of our plans for leaving the UK. Our belongings will be packed up and shipped off (going back on a ship, literally) on May 24th. The Boyz and I will fly back the next day on May 25th. Taking the Boyz into the USA is far far simpler than getting them to the UK! Not nearly as much paperwork and we can travel on United Airlines—I will just check them in as “baggage” (like a pair of skis, ha ha). Instead of having to use British Airways air cargo like on the way over here. BA was the only carrier with a direct flight out of Denver who also dealt with the UK’s complicated scheme on bringing pets in. It will cost about $1000 less PER dog, too!

My Brother Kurt, his wife Terri, and their 5 year old son Scott are arriving here this Tuesday for a big visit. They will stay with us for a week, with a lot of trips to London and some places in the country. (I’ll be getting another look at Stonehenge, ha). Then they are heading over to Ireland for a week, and then back here for about 3 days before they go back to Tucson. I am looking forward to showing them around my new home, almost as a local!

I am not sure we will do any more travel before we leave here for good. We’re feeling very home-y and wanting to do stay-at-home stuff. (Sick of flying!) I am sure spring in Berkshire will be so pretty we will enjoy just poking around here. I’ve got a few day-trips in mind for the weekends. I have been looking around for a dog-friendly cottage the 2nd week of May, in either North Yorkshire or Isle of Wight, but we’re going to wait until the week before and just see what the weather is like. I am not convinced the weather is going to be all that nice for the next 2 months, having been let down so much this winter…! So no advance planning.

On the art front… I’m pretty much resigned to not getting much if any sculpture work done before I leave. The Roundabout sculpture has now been re-started from scratch. I think I’ve got it going down the right path this time, but there’s a lot of work to do on it, all over again. I’m feeling awfully busy and distracted with the time I’ve got left over here. (It being Spring in southern England being the #1 “problem”!) But I should still find a little time/motivation here and there over the next weeks to get him a little further along I hope. Though I really wanted to complete Roundabout entirely in the UK, it will be OK if he ends up being a multi-national. He was purely inspired by my time and experiences over here anyway. I sure feel like I know that Cob now though! I just need to free him from the clay (to paraphrase Michelangelo).

The reason I titled this post “transitions” is due to the obvious one of going home soon. But I have a feeling that me and my work life are going to go through a lot of changes this year, with Paul retiring from his job as soon as we get back to Boulder. His retirement gift to himself will be to buy a 2nd house in one of the Colorado mountain ski towns, and I expect we’ll live there half the year at least. That will be an interesting challenge for my work routines, especially since I will not be as retired as Paul!

Lastly, here’s a photo I came across in my archives. It’s me and my mom and the Boyz, our final day in Boulder last May. About an hour before my dad drove us to the airport. Do I look stressed? I totally was!! I didn’t relax until I saw the Boyz’ travel crates going up the ramp into the plane. I feel a lot more calm about sending the Boyz on a plane now that I have done it once. And I’ve promised them they won’t ever have to do it again!