Category Archives: Life Encompasses Me

Stopping Earth’s Orbit

My uncle passed away in the wee hours of the morning Saturday morning, the 14th.  My aunt is a retired nurse, so she knew there was no hope.  I treasure her practical no-nonsense ways.  But the thing is, I still can’t wrap my mind around this whole crazy thing.  The fluke event, the domino effect, how one thing led to another that normally wouldn’t have happened, but it did that day.  How an ordinary orbit around the sun started so ordinarily, and an ordinary decision to follow his ordinary routine in his ordinary day ended his life.  How he did nothing wrong, but everything somehow went wrong.

I’ve looked through all the pictures that I’ve taken when we’ve visited each other and it is just so surreal to me that the images and voices that I captured of us all together, of William singing him happy birthday in 2015, the park bench he sat on at a park in 2016, the tree he sat under for shade after our walk over the Bob Kerrey bridge, of him laughing at William’s energy running across a giant field, of him grumbling to camouflage his secret joy that he would have to “sacrifice” his diet and help Tony eat that big bag of popcorn he just bought while they watched TV together in the downstairs family room, of his antics when he was frustrated with his beloved Huskers football team and his passionate joy when they were doing well, how reliable he was to take his great-grandson to school every Tuesday and Thursday, or when his great-grandson steals his seat (his La-Z-Boy, no less) in the family room and he would let him, how he would save me a cup of coffee out of their giant carafe in the mornings when I was visiting, how he would make a giant pot of beef stew for the first night’s dinner when we arrived after our day of traveling because he knew it was my favorite, and all the numerous other facets of his very normal life… all those memories, those are the only ones we’ll ever have with him, and no new ones are to be made.  At least not here on earth.

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I know that the end of life for each person is death, with no exceptions.  It’s no surprise.  I’ve read Ecclesiastes.  I also know I’m at this strange age in my life when death starts taking the lives of those I know and love, and that it will continue that way.  But sudden death is always such a strange thing to process.  I’m not sure I can get used to this being my new norm.

My uncle’s funeral is this week, on Thursday, but rather than go back for it, I booked tickets to fly us back to see my aunt early February instead.  My heart is telling me that I need to see her, that perhaps she’ll need to see me, too.  And I know she takes joy in William, so going in February will allow me to bring William and Tony, too, instead of just me because of airfare costs.

I’m praying for my aunt and their son, and the rest of the “surviving” family members and friends, as we all find our new “normal” while missing him.  If you have prayers or thoughts to offer, they would be appreciated.

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Filed under Best Husband, I have Family, Life Encompasses Me, Our Kid is Cute

The Other Side of Real.

I am tired today. I’ve been tired all week, really, but today, the tired is overwhelming. The reasons all relate to a little boy who, for various reasons, is waking in the middle of the night and crying out for comfort, for love. He needs extra in those wee hours of the morning. More than what we give him during the day. It is exhausting for me to be awakened out of my sleep cycles; I struggle hard with getting back to sleep.

Right now, I should be doing this, or that, or the other thing. But I don’t feel like it. So I turn to the internet instead, to hide, to avoid, to read about other people’s joys and their struggles, too, and to write here. I’ve learned over the years that I am not alone. Never alone. There is a world of people out there who struggle with similar things. It’s reassuring.

I did not have the patience for problems this morning, like I should have. I wielded words in an email unkindly. Accurate, yes. Unkind, yes. I could have been nicer. I wasn’t. I didn’t want to be. I’m tired of people being stupid, and I’m tired of people not communicating properly. It’s frustrating. I’m tired.

William has a class he doesn’t like. He tolerates it on a good day, but today he sat down at the door. A little lump of obstinate human boy. He didn’t want to participate. His grandma told him he had to, I told him he had to. He wasn’t rude (progress?), he just didn’t want to do it. He told his teacher he was tired… and when my mom told me that, it rang a bell in my head.

Every time that he has acted out or not acted appropriately, it’s been on a Friday. It appears that he is just like his parents, and maybe the rest of us… Fridays, well, we’re just kind of done.

Here’s hoping for a better week next week. And I’ll give a thought to being kinder then, too. But not today. Today? People need to stop being stupid.

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Filed under Best Husband, I feel Irritated, Life Encompasses Me, Our Kid is Cute

Happy New Year!

It’s 2014, did you hear?  It’s kind of not been real to me because we didn’t watch any ball drop on New Year’s eve, we forgot to watch the Rose Parade on New Year’s day, until it was in reruns in the afternoon.  Everything just kind of went into a tunnel for us… we’ll call it the stomach flu tunnel.

It started on the 28th of December, the day we went to LegoLand.  The times we’ve gone to Legoland with William this past year have been focused on visiting their amazing waterpark, so this time we went just to see the rest of the park.  Not surprising that it was all decked out for Christmas, even Miniature LegoLand.  So much fun!  William loved seeing LegoLand Santa and their Frosty the Snowman.  He adores Miniature Land.  He loved running on their fake grass.  We had such a great time!

 

We got home and put him to bed for the night and he woke an hour later, restless.  After ten minutes of him rolling around, I sent Tony in to see what was bothering him.  After a few minutes, William threw up all over Tony’s arm…and that’s where the stomach flu tunnel started.  William threw up 6, maybe 7 times that night.  I lost count and he became a pro at getting it into a bucket (instead of all over his bed sheets, or Tony, or the floor, or me, for instance).   The next day, he seemed to be feeling a bit better, but then on the 30th, he had a relapse with the vomiting and then the diarrhea started. On the 30th, Tony also came down with it.  I had a bit of nausea but, in all honesty, it might have just been in response to all the nasty smells in the house.

So New Year’s eve found us all on puke watch.  New Year’s day found us gingerly trying various bland foods.  It really wasn’t until yesterday, the 3rd of January, that we all started feeling somewhat normal again.

The sickness aside, it really was nice to have all that time with family.  Tony’s job, since he’s no longer working in the commodity business, alloted him more holiday time than he’s had in years.  William and I are continuing to nurse, so that meant a third Christmas filled with sweet nursing snuggles.  I was able to organize some of the areas in the house that have amassed clutter.  The clutter is kind of overwhelming, and I guess that’s kind of an ongoing project that I don’t want to give up on this year.  I learned early on when lap swimming that even the slowest stroke is faster than stopping at each end of the pool, and that’s something that I’ve tried to apply to my life… just keep swimming, even if you’re going at it slowly.

What is something you’re planning to work on this year?

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Filed under Best Husband, I did something Special, I have Family, Life Encompasses Me, Our Kid is Cute

Open it Already!

The box sat there since Christmas.  Partially because we’ve been so busy lately, the other reason is partially due to intimidation.  The box is so big, it’s practically the size of a person.  It has been occupying a chair at the table all this time.  To be honest, it was one of those things I hesitated buying because, how often would we use it, I wondered?

A food dehydrator is kind of a silly thing, isn’t it?  Especially when Sprouts Market and Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are so abundant around here.  But I did it anyway, as a gift to Tony, because we both really like dried fruit and banana chips.

The other night for the first time, I opened the box and inspected the thing.  The small pamphlet that came with it wasn’t intimidating at all.  Just a simple chart with various foods and recommended drying times, depending on your preference of soft or crunchy.

Since I had some apples that were getting on in years, I sliced them up, dipped them in lemon and sprinkled them with cinnamon.  Then I placed them in the thing, plugged it in and left it alone until the next night.  The house smelled great and I eyeballed them when i got home from work and tasted one.

It was amazingly good.  Tony tried one and proclaimed it delicious.  William asked for one, and he “Mmmm-mmmmm’ed” his way around the house for about five minutes and came back and requested “more.”  Well then.

Last night I sliced up some pineapple and did the same thing.  And the same thing happened.  I love that it’s so simple and so nutritious, and what a great “take along” snack idea!

Sometimes, I guess the hardest, yet also the most rewarding thing to do is simply take something out of the box and start the project.

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Turkey and Stuff

Our Thanksgiving this year was perfect, awesome really, and I enjoyed it immensely. I’m so grateful for Tony’s family who has embraced me in their hearts and accepted me, quirks and all. The four days off from work were really nice, too, and spending them in my mom’s company made it a double blessing for me.

My contribution to the Thanksgiving feast this year was my standard sweet potato souffle. It’s an easy enough recipe that either Tony or I can make it, depending on who has the time available. Last year, he did it, this year I did it. This year I also contributed a green bean casserole quiche. It is different enough from the standard green bean casserole (which my sister-in-law makes) that it didn’t feel like we had doubled up on green bean things. Of course, my favorite dish of all the food was the turkey, but then I’m all about the turkey even when it isn’t Thanksgiving! In fact, I used money that was given to me for my birthday to purchase a broiler oven (like this one) so that I can easily make turkeys all year round if I want!

The hours at work are long, some days I’m there before 7am and usually leave after 5pm. Once work is over, the evening workout at the gym is done and dinner is eaten, there seems to be just enough time to prepare for the next day and get ready for bed. Under the heading of “Actions speak louder than words” I know my contributions at work are appreciated, because my boss relocated and now travels to the corporate office here in California a few days each month. This week he was here for three days. He spent one of the evenings he was here baking his seasonal batch of pumpkin bread just because I requested it. Now THAT makes me feel pretty special!

I’m also grateful for having a trustworthy mechanic in my life. Especially since it seems like there’s always something knicky-knacky going on with my car these days. For example, one of the tires in my car picked up a screw (insert various screwed jokes here) and I simply dropped it off on my way home from work and went and got it after they had closed. That minimized the inconvenience of the whole thing for me and they patched it right up at no charge to me.

My outside swim days are over for the season and the gym’s pool is my new haunt. While I’m not thrilled about it, it does serve its purpose and I’m grateful for that. Although it does seem as if the chemical levels in that pool are consistently wrong — I notified them last night that the chlorine levels are too high given that I went home one night and my swimsuit faded from black to grey in 24 hours and then last night I got home and discovered that the reason my skin was burning like I’d just been sunburned was because of a first degree chlorine burn (informational link) on the lower half of my body. I went back to the gym later that evening and did a “show and tell” with one of their female employees of the affected areas. She was stunned and promised to notify the gym’s manager this morning, which is good because I was uncomfortable last night feeling like I was sunburned on my butt (and elsewhere). In the whole scheme of things, though, my health is something I never, ever take for granted and I’m grateful that I am able to swim and eat and feel fantastic, healthy and strong.

My husband has already started putting up Christmas decorations on the outside of our house this week. He plans to finish it this weekend and I plan to decorate the inside of our home (as always) this weekend. We’re looking forward to that!

It should be a great weekend ahead with popcorn, hot chocolate and Christmas music playing while we decorate!

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Filed under Life Encompasses Me, Mermaid Envy, We Love to Decorate

Through My Eyes.

I just thought I’d share some pictures from my world, taken over the last couple of weeks.

Halloween decorations are down. My work area is now decorated for autumn. Simple things like this make me very happy.

I can’t believe the trees around me actually have color. I know you Easterners are all, “Not a big deal, California chickie!” But in the most mundane of places reside these trees… the parking lot at my work place.

When we had a full moon last week…

When we went to the mountains the weekend after my birthday, we were coincidentally treated to witnessing the first snow of the season. We love that.

The mountain donkey was out for a visit.

I love Arby’s Jr. Roast Beef sandwich… Tony loves their Arby-Q sandwich. We both love the bag they give it to us in.

My albino fish has a weird something or other on her tail. I have no idea what it is. Her activity level seems okay, though, and none of the other fish seem to be infected. Just the strangest thing.

This is what I’m greeted with every morning now that the weather has turned cooler. That little green spot in the middle of the picture is our birdy’s butt. Lest you think she’s actually cold, remember she has a heated perch that she’s also sitting on.

My cat, Tug, found a sun spot to rest his front paws. That made him very happy.

Happy Friday to you and hope you have a good weekend!

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Filed under Life Encompasses Me, Wordless (mostly) Post

Living Life.

On my way home from work one day last week, my car sputtered when I took off from a start. Those dratted traffic monitor lights on the freeway on ramp only make people sit in frustration before they can get on the crowded freeway and sit in frustration longer… and I totally blamed the sputtering on that, even though I knew deep down it was something more. It did it again when I was driving home from dinner later that evening and I figured it was probably the spark plugs. I took it in the shop the next morning and the tech was able to get the check engine light to come on and pull the code: spark plugs.

So they replaced them, test drove it, and it ran like a champ… for them. Except the next morning, it sputtered again when I drove it. But I couldn’t get it to duplicate when I took the tech for a drive. Of course not. He told me to try and get the check engine light to come on so they could pull the code. Made sense, rather than chasing some random problem, to try and get a specific diagnostic code. The next day came and it got worse and worse. Stop and go traffic in a sputtering car is a hoot. I finally got the check engine light to come on — yay me! They pulled the code and it said “misfiring.” Well, duh. I could have told them that. Anyway, the saga finally ended (so far) when they replaced one of the ignition wires which was testing with high resistance. They are original equipment to the car, and I guess a car who’s nearly 10 years old does need this kind of maintenance.

Don’t you just love the car talk? Anyway, so I now have my car back, minus some $$ and time and inconveniences to my husband, his dad (we borrowed his car) and myself.

Then, another day this week, I plugged my primary external hard drive into my computer after using it somewhere else. It decided that it needed to run a check disk and, in the course of it, converted several folders to files that are now not accessible. According to what I’ve read, Microsoft just decided that they were going to be lazy and didn’t want to create an unconversion option, and I found an enormous three page step-by-step fix for it, but … really? Fortunately (if there’s a “fortunate” part of it), although it converted quite a few folders, my loss is only about three weeks worth of stuff because I back up my crap on a monthly basis.

Then, the day I left my car in the shop, we all played musical cars. My husband drove his dad’s truck to work and I drove my husband’s car. That morning I took a corner in his car at the speed I would normally take it in my car, but failed to factor in the fact that an SUV drives a bit different than a sports car. As a result, my lunch bag went tumbling top over bottom in the back seat. It wouldn’t normally be an issue, except in the mornings I put my travel mug of coffee in there for the ride so I can savor it when I get to work. I just knew it was dumping all over the inside of the bag. I grabbed it, righted it, and checked. As it turns out, the suction of the heat of the coffee had created a such a strong vacuum that it sealed that mug so tight that only a drip came out.

I thought to myself, “Well, it looks like things are turning around… a bit of luck!”

If you’re looking for it, sometimes the smallest thing or just an hour in time can make all the difference in the world.

Also, I finally used my “coupons” from the deal I bought a couple weeks ago at Whole Foods market. One of the gems I found there were a novelty grape called Holiday grapes. Good heavens, but those things are amazing. I highly recommend them if you’re looking for a special food treat for yourself!

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