- i'm Kassandra an oregon girl at heart. recent college graduate. heading off to law school in summer of 2014. my parents are both u.s. army veterans and continue to serve in the military in other capacities. i have four brothers (two older, two younger) and three sisters (all younger). i love each of them for both their individuality and their commitment to the example set by our parents. aside from my family, i have several friends who mean a great deal to me, one as much as my best friend from high school. she's my kindred spirit and i would do anything for her. i would also do anything for Julie, my roommate for three of my four years of college and my best friend; she's amazing and it's wonderful to have shared this experience with her. i'm extremely strong in academics and tend to think of things in analytical terms. i'm open and honest. note: i'm interested in receiving feedback on this blog, but i request that the comments pertain to the actual blog itself, and i do not approve anonymous comments.
Saturday, January 1, 2011
an unexpected holiday
as i had planned, i returned home for the holidays. after my last final on december 9, i hung around for a friday night outing with my dorm mate before spending the weekend at my brother's in san francisco. i made the drive home to portland.
i arrived just in time to get some dinner on tuesday the 12th. as with my thanksgiving trip, there was a lot of talking and catching up. pretty much all of them asked how i felt about the finals from my first semester at stanford.
i had a chance to go shopping with my sisters. then i went shopping with a couple of my brothers. then i went shopping with my mama. then i went shopping with my best friend from high school, Shawna. fortunately, i didn't break the bank!
there are 10 members of my immediate family; 11 if you include my soon-to-be sister-in-law, Carla. we all would love to have the resources to buy for everyone in the family, but that's just not possible. a few years ago, my parents adopted a system where we would each draw a name ... well, not one name, but three! now, a few of us cheat and get everyone else a little something, and my parents still buy for each of us kids.
i drew my mama, Angela and Brandon. in turn, Jessica, Brandon and Carla drew me. that's a diverse group, and i received a diverse collection of gifts. not that i would advocate playing favorites, but i had almost wished to draw Monika's name, though i did not.
that was okay since we celebrated her third birthday on december 19. i was able to be there with her and present her with something i really think she can use and enjoy.
the day after Monika's birthday, on the afternoon of monday the 20th, my dad was in his office at work talking with a clerk when he began having chest pains after a little prodding, his boss took him to the hospital. it appeared he was having a heart attack, but was conscious and trying to talk to the doctors himself. they stabilized him as best they could, did x-rays and blood tests and so forth. according to what i was told later, he had a minor blockage in one of the arteries heading into his heart. they originally thought he was having a grade-4 or grade-5 heart attack, but it was downgraded just past grade-5. they performed minor surgery that night to repair the blockage and he's doing fine. they also determined that the other arteries were in good shape.
my mom wasn't home when it happened, and Keith answered the phone and gave it to me. i was shocked, but tried to maintain my composure. we tried calling my mom's cell, but she had it off because the charge was down. i had Keith keep trying to call her, while Brandon, took the others to the hospital in his truck. i went to the base, talked to the clerk who was with my dad and grabbed my dad's laptop and a couple of other things before heading to the hospital. i knew there was nothing i could do until he was out of triage. i got to the hospital about a half an hour after my siblings did. Keith was still trying to get in touch with my mom, and Brandon and i went to try and get some information from the doctors.
when my mom was finally contacted and made it to the hospital, there wasn't much information available, but we updated her as best we could. she was in a panic and wasn't sure what she wanted to do, so we had my three younger sisters sit down and just be there with her. Brandon and i started making phone calls to extended family and so forth.
Brian flew up tuesday and it was very comforting to have him there. he and Carla had planned to come up friday morning for christmas, so he was just a few days early. Carla arrived friday morning, as planned.
my dad is in very good physical shape and i wouldn't necessarily consider his diet to be over susceptible to heart problems. be that as it may, the procedure was successful and he was discharged from the hospital three days later.
a normal christmas
with all that happened, we had two objectives. the first was to make my dad as comfortable at home as we could. basically, we made sure a couple people were home with him at all times, preparing the right foods and helping him with this or that. my mom spent a lot of time with him, and each of us did our own little bit to help out and spend time with him.
one of the cutest things i saw was when i went into mom and dad's bedroom, he was laying there with some jazz on in the background. in one hand he was reading his book, and his other was laying on top of my cat, Nikki, who was laying next to him. he told me my cat came in and set herself down next to him. i had to smile wide; Nikki has a knack of going to the person who needs her most. she just seems to be smart like that.
the second objective was to make christmas as normal as possible. this was going to take some doing, but we all were confident we could still make it a special day. when i say we, i mean Brian, Carla and i.
it actually went very well. my dad was able to sit in his chair christmas morning while we all exchanged gifts, and later on for dinner, which we all adapted to match that which my dad was allowed to eat on the day.
there were a lot of laughs, smiles and many tears. the tears were of happiness and joy, and also that of a renewed spirit. i was very happy to see something which could have been mellow and bland, turn into something so special. i would even venture to say that it was one of our best as a family.
in a new light
following my dad's medical issue, Brandon and Angi became a little distant, Kevin wasn't around too much but still, showed his support, Monika was very concerned about her daddy, and Jessi was hit very hard. Brian and i tried to reassure the others as best we could, and he was eventually able to calm Jessi down. Brandon and Angi came on board with supporting dad when he arrived home.
the biggest surprise to me in all this was my 13-year-old brother, Keith. this baseball-playing musical drummer very much stepped up to the plate. he told me later about some nice conversations with my dad, telling him he loved him and wanted him to be around for a long time.
instead of walking around in a daze or showing anger, he approached his oldest sister to get some facts "you're a genius and i know you've already looked up all this stuff," he said. he was correct. we sat down, went online and found some medical charts. i explained to him about the blockage in our dad'a artery and went through my most informative version of what is involved in an angioplasty. he asked questions and understood.
Keith was there with me all week. he wanted to be as helpful and mature as he could be. if that was his goal, then he not only reached it, but surpassed it greatly. i think my youngest brother grew a lot over the past two weeks. i now see him in a new light.
a little work
with the holidays and my dad's situation, the family's distributorship business (the one we entered into in july) was left kind of fending for themselves. my mama wanted to stay at home with my dad so it was decided that i would go in and fill in for her in her role as owner/general manager for a few days (i have a small stake as a minor owner).
we essentially were just tying up some loose ends, invoicing and paying some invoices. i had to deal with a couple minor problems in the fashion and spirit i believe my mama would.
we were open december 27-30, and on the last day, we left Carla with my dad while everyone else joined in for a day of inventory. we'd never done this before, so it took a little getting used to but, all in all, things went very well.
new year's night out
another plan was that my little group from high school would get together for new year's eve. true to tradition, the six of us found out way to four parties (the first two were kind of lame). we rung in the new year at the third, with champagne and kisses from a couple guys i'd never met. no -- it wasn't that kind of thing -- just a closest person thing. really, it was funny more than anything else.
about a quarter after midnight, we left that party and went to the fourth. usually, these parties tend to die down after midnight, but this really seemed to be the place to be. i recognized a lot of people from high school, but mostly in grades higher than me. it was nice to get reacquainted with them, if even for just a night. i ended up hanging out with a couple of guys who were seniors when i was a freshman (not sure where the rest of my group had gone!).
the three of us had a great time and all i'll say is that we rang in the year just right.
so it's 2011 ... this should be an interesting year