Tuesday, April 29, 2014

KL: Spelling

Similar to my post about Malaysian elevators, this post has absolutely nothing to do with living with Adrenal Insufficiency. It is a post about living in Malaysia.

Let me start out by saying that I am a victim of Whole Language. This has plagued me my entire life and will continue to plague me for the rest of my life. The first elementary school I went to did not believe in teaching Phonics. They believed it would ruin my self esteem. Instead, I was taught to spell words how they sounded to me.

Unfortunately, the English language does not operate according to my spelling rules.

This blog would have an insane amount of spelling errors if not for the fact that each post is edited and revised many times by several key people who can actually spell. I know I cannot spell. Everyone around me knows I cannot spell. My high school english teacher confided in my father that I was a lost cause for spelling and that my father, the English major, should just give up. I still think my father holds out hope that one day... maybe... possibly... I can learn how to spell. I consider it unlikely and am perfectly content relying on spell check and others to find my mistakes.

But now I live in Malaysia.


Bas vs. Bus
Sekolah vs. School
Time to catch the sekolah bas to learn about spelling!

Polis vs. Police
I never understood the whole ce thing.

Notis vs. Notice
If you are going to pronounce something like an s, shouldn't you use an s?

Tiket vs. Ticket
Kaunter vs. Counter
Actually, maybe it is just the letter c that I am not a fan of.

Teksi vs Taxi
And what is the deal with the letter x?

Ekspres vs. Express
The letter k is klearly sufficient.

Eksekutif vs. Executive
Do I need more proof?

Telefon vs. Telephone
Also, if it sounds like an f, you should use an f.

Farmasi vs. Pharmacy
It just makes so much sense.

I have finally found a country that spells things logically. This makes me happy.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Mom's Letter: The Wedding Dress

Dear Amber,

I think we make a pretty good team. You allowed me (much to my delight) to be your personal wedding planner and I allowed you to be the boss (you know how I LOVE to be in charge – hahaha). I knew from first hand experience that there are certain details that the bride must decide, and one of those details is the getting the dress. I also knew from first hand experience how much you abhor shopping. I’ve faced difficult challenges before, so I was ready to tackle this one.

I fancied myself as your stylist, or personal shopper (I have been pretty good at picking out clothes for you in the past). So with that in mind, your Aunt and I had scoured two other bridal shops looking at hundreds of dresses to find that perfect one. Nothing. There were two dresses that were a maybe, but something just wasn’t right and they weren’t screaming “AMBER.”

So, I called ahead to David’s Bridal and went into detail about what we would need from them to make this trip successful (meaning you not collapsing into a heap and being hauled off to the ER) AND in that regard we succeeded. I requested to come in and “pull” appropriate dresses so that when you arrived (like celebrities do) all you would have to do was try them on and decide, making it a quick one-hour shopping excursion, worst case would be two hours. They said no, but told me I could scour their website and put dresses into a “folder” so that when we got there, the dresses would be waiting on you with your own personal consultant. Sounded good to me, so off to the internet I searched.

You and I talked at length about your preferences and we looked online, did as they instructed, and put choices into a “folder”.  I called David’s Bridal AGAIN (they knew me by name now) and CONFIRMED that the dresses would be waiting for us when we got there for our appointment.  You were dreading this shopping trip so I kept repeating that it COULD be a good, fun experience because I could run interference and do away with all the “yuck” that goes along with shopping. HA, little did I know!!!!

I arrived at the store before you and discovered that they weren’t ready for you! I about came unglued, but took a deep breath and explained that unless they pulled those five choices, you would turn around and LEAVE, NEVER to return. That was my first sign this experience was headed downhill. When you entered, I pasted a smile on my face so you would not sense my growing frustration.

During the trying on of the dresses, I knew that if we didn’t get photos to remind us of THE dress, you wouldn’t remember what it looked like or how it fit you. I was pushing it a bit with you but felt photos would be very important for later.

And, well, you told the rest of that experience pretty well. I tried to monitor your fatigue without nagging (pretty impossible), gave you water and snacks, encouraged you to take more HC, and spoke very sternly with the employees (out of your hearing range). That was the day we really honed in on the phrase “I’m fading.” We had discussed it before, but THAT day, we hammered it into both of our brains. You didn’t reveal to me how bad you were otherwise I would have driven you home, immediately, no questions asked. I’m not sure you knew how bad you were feeling! Since you are a grown adult I didn’t have the authority to override your decision to drive yourself home and help out. I HATE that feeling of helplessness! I knew you were fading, but unless you asked for help, my options were very limited.

I got home so angry and frustrated with David’s Bridal that I had to do some calming techniques to just simmer down. Poor Dad. He heard me rant and rant about that experience. It took me days to get over it.

Wedding dress shopping was – fun? – yet exhausting. We were very proactive for this event. You took extra HC, brought water, and I had snacks. We collectively covered all the bases. Most of the time those steps work just fine. Other times, well, not so much.

It was very difficult to convince you to get the dress fitted, but THIS TIME my reconnaissance paid off in leaps and bounds. I knew we could NOT go back to David’s Bridal for alterations and was so happy to find Debra’s “The White Gown Showroom” and alterations shop. THAT’s how wedding dress shopping and fittings SHOULD be!

Fast forward, you were a beautiful bride with the exact perfect dress just for you! We learned many things from that experience:
  1. Verbalize how you are doing.
  2. Even the best preparation can’t prepare one for everything.
  3. Big Box Bridal Store had nice dresses at good prices IF one is willing to put up with the overwhelming NOISE and overworked sales associates.
  4. I LOVE being your stylist & personal shopper.
  5. We still make a great team.
  6. Most importantly, cortisol plays a HUGE part of everyday life experiences.
This is something we now know and are continuing to learn more about.

I love you more than life itself, and am so very proud of you.

My mom helping me get into my dress on March 1st 2014.
Photo by Rebekah Sampson Photography. 2014.
In response to The Wedding Dress: Part 1.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Old, New, Borrowed, Blue!

While I strayed away from many wedding traditions (I did not wear a veil. I used paper flowers. My husband and I ate the rest of our wedding cake in the two days before we flew to Malaysia), I did manage to get all four items in for "good luck." Confession: I left out the silver sixpence in my shoe. That did not seem comfortable.

Something Old: My Shoes

Did I mention it rained on my wedding day?
Photo by Rebekah Sampson Photography. 2014.
I did not want to shop for wedding shoes. I do not like the stress of shopping, especially for something important. Buying my wedding dress was scary enough. I kept procrastinating with my shoes until the only thing I could do was raid my closet. I pulled out my trusted silver shoes. I purchased these shoes (on sale) for my 10th grade homecoming dance. They took me to almost every single high school dance and formal event afterwards. If I was wearing a dress, I was probably wearing these heels.

I have a high level of comfort and familiarity with them. I know how to walk in them. I know how they behave. I also know they are falling apart. It will be a sad day when I have to finally retire these trusted silver shoes.

Something New: My Dress

I loved my dress.
Photo by Rebekah Sampson Photography. 2014.
This might count as cheating, but my wedding dress was brand new! Although my experience at David's Bridal was far from ideal, I did absolutely love my wedding dress. It was so beautiful. And comfortable. Comfort was very important to me.

Something Borrowed: My Jewelry

This set fit perfectly with the style of my dress.
Photo by Rebekah Sampson Photography. 2014.
I also did not want to go shopping for wedding jewelry. That seemed a little too stressful. Instead of raiding my closet like I did for my shoes, I raided my mom's collection. I am very fortunate in the fact that my mom has amazing tastes and I have been "borrowing" things from her for as long as I can remember. I wore her necklace and earrings and then returned them to her possession before I left the country.

Something Blue: My Hope Bracelet

Do you see the blue bracelet?
Photo by Rebekah Sampson Photography. 2014.
I wear a few pieces of jewelry that I never remove. One of them is my medical alert bracelet. Another is a small blue awareness bracelet from Etsy. The light blue represents Adrenal Insufficiency. The awareness ribbon has the word "hope" written on it. I also added two small spoons as a reminder that my energy is limited and I should use it wisely.

I am diseased for life. There is no cure for Adrenal Insufficiency. I will never out grow this, never move past this, and it could kill me very quickly if it ever spirals out of control. But that does not mean I should give up hope. This explains more of my passionate fight to be Clearly Alive, always.

I proudly wore my blue bracelet on my wedding day. I had a few extra spoons at my wrist, the word "hope" written on the awareness ribbon, and a blue heart reminding me how loved I am. March 1st, 2014 was absolutely amazing. But that is just a start of a more amazing adventure filled life that will never ever stop fighting to be Clearly Alive.