19 April 2014

In this episode of "You Can't Take Me Anywhere"

One of my childhood friends lost her dad the other day.  It was a farming accident so very unexpected.  He was in his late sixties so still considered young these days.  He leaves behind a teenaged grandson and a toddler grandson as well as his son & daughter.  I've known his daughter since she was twelve and I was thirteen.  We were roommates one hundred years ago.

Over time I've come to the belief that us mere humans are here until either our "jobs" are done or our presence is no longer needed.  Scoff, I know, that our presence is always needed but it's just how I see it.  Imagine a clock with all the moving gears and hands.  I imagine our lives like that: moving gears and every once in a while, everything lines up and the hands move.  Sometimes the gears line up, the hands move, and our time is finished.

Wow, that's more poetic than it sounded in my head. Totally unintentional.

Anyway, this is the first of two memorials I will be attending.  This one was at the American Legion and in my hometown.  Pretty casual yet redneck traditional. (i.e. drinks, flannel, and conduct bordering on rude if you're not redneck yet there was an Air Force Color Guard)

As I arrived, my friend's mom was greeting everyone.  She's British and kind of like a character from Absolutely Fabulous.  To give a clear picture: she says "You can hug me but don't spill my wine."  She was definitely doing the British stiff upper lip thing but was that unfiltered lady that I love.

Next came my friend.  I spotted her through the crowd and she was being hugged and manhandled by people.  I realized she probably was hating this a lot.  Not the loss of her dad because DUH but the whole having to interact with humankind part. 

Finally I reach her and we hug.  I told her that "There's nothing I can say.  There's nothing that will make this better."  I feel her start to break down so I continued "It will get better though. I promise you."  In the voice of a child I hear "No. No it won't." 

I hugged her tighter and told her "Yes, it will. It just doesn't feel like it RIGHT NOW."

Then this is where I should stop speaking but of course I didn't.  And this is where I tell you that Heidi is the one person that you can say anything to and she's totally down.

"Besides, Heid, you're part of the Dead Dad Club now.  Welcome."

I felt the weight of her head on my shoulder increase then she just started laughing.  Like loud laughing. Then I started laughing.  She straightened up, looked at me then just shook her head.  "This is why I'm here, To be irreverent and make you laugh inappropriately. My work here is done." I told her.

She just continued to laugh and shake her head. Someone approached us and she put herself in check - back into mourning mode and I moved on.

The service was nice.  The color guard procession and ceremony is always brutal.  Her elder brother, that everyone was in love with back in the day, spoke and did a wonderful job.  Heidi's son spoke and was very brave and eloquent.  Heidi said that Sam was speaking for her because "If I speak, there will be Eff Bombs."

And that's why we are still friends.

14 April 2014

Sometimes It's Okay

A text or call late at night is never good.  Kevin's phone chimed about midnight the other night and he didn't hear it.  I debated about checking it but decided that if it were an emergency, someone would phone.

It turns out that it was Kevin's BFF letting us know that another friend had died.  The next morning (5 am, which is too early for even good news) is when we found out.  Now I feel badly for not checking but really, our friend wouldn't have been any more or less dead.  But at least I could commiserate with Miguel and have some time to process.

Sadly, our friend committed suicide.  He'd been ill for almost two years and chose to take control over how he wanted his life to end.  It's heartbreaking that he was that sick and that miserable that it was a choice for him.  It's heartbreaking that he leaves his family and friends behind and bereft. 

However, I respect his choice.  He knew that he didn't want to live this way and that he didn't want to be a burden on his family.  I know that his family would rather that he didn't make this choice and I respect that too.  There is no right way, no right choice.

Regardless, we lost a friend.  They lost their husband, dad, brother, grandpa.  He lost the life he had planned for and the life he didn't plan for.  Either way: it's a tremendous loss and we are all heartbroken.

Godspeed Dale.

02 April 2014

Glimmer Part Two

It's been over a week since the Oso landslide.  The news just never gets any easier.  I will admit that I took a break from it for about 24 hours because a person can just endure so much.  As it is located just in a community I'm familiar and am one-degree away from someone whom is involved, I can only imagine that it is 100 percent more difficult for those involved.

Oddly though, it's not the pictures and stories of the lost that affects me the most.  It's the stories of support from the community.  Like I mentioned before, Rhonda has been one of the search volunteers.  She does it after working a ten-hour day and over the weekend.  She is just one of hundreds that are doing this.

It's the first responders during the press conferences.  One of them was a firefighter with my dad when I was younger.  This really is a small community...or state actually.  

It's odd  to drive through Burlington and see the reader boards reading "Oso Strong" and other messages of support.  Every store has t-shirts, decals, and other ways to give.  Facebook is full of "Oso Strong" pictures.

The kids that attend Darrington school are tasked with making sandwiches and snacks for the searchers.  They're also asked to write thank you notes or notes of support.  I thought that was a very well-thought way of letting the kids participate and process.

The search dogs are what will make me weep the quickest.  Everyone has seen the picture of the dog that is muddy & messy from the chest down.  The vets are collecting treats, toys, and blankets or towels just for the search dogs.  The dogs are being given a few days rest because they're showing signs of PTSD.  Is that just too much or what?

Finally, stories of heroism (in my opinion) are starting to leak out.  The locals that are/were searching vowed to keep silent about anyone they found or anything they saw until the families had properly been notified.  The moment of silence a week later at the exact time. The pictures of the searchers paused for a moment of respect when they've found someone.  The brothers that refused to leave until their sister was found and they indeed found her. The agencies that are stepping up to support in anyway. Catholic Community Services is paying for all the funerals, no questions asked nor faith required. The kids, oh my god, the kids.  Raising money with bake sales, donating their savings, and any other imaginable way.  As always happens it seems, the raising of the American flag that was somehow found and still somewhat intact in the rubble.

What the point of this post has absolutely nothing to do with me or how I feel though.  My point is that at the lowest of times, people step up.  People become the best version of themselves.  We've seen and heard it every day for the last ten days. It is not a cliche.

01 April 2014

Rude!

Word Origin and History


Rude c.1280, "coarse, rough" (of surfaces), from L. rudis "rough, crude, unlearned," perhaps related to rudus "rubble." Sense of "ill-mannered" is from late 14c. Rudesby "insolent, unmannerly fellow" is from 1566. Rude boy (also rudie, for short) in Jamaican slang is attested from 1967. Fig. phrase rude awakening is attested from 1895.

Synonyms: abusive - blunt - boorish - coarse - crude - ignorant - impolite - insulting - intrusive - obscene - surly -
 vulgar - uncivil
 

Anyone who knows me knows that I am direct, clear, blunt.  A person never has to wonder what I am thinking or feeling about something. Just ask or sometimes asking isn't even necessary.  But be careful because I will tell you.  It's never meant unkindly and more often than I'm willing to admit I'm not necessarily thinking about how/what I'm saying something before the words are out of my mouth. This is why this graphic makes me giggle:



There are people who don't enjoy this personality trait.  I know, right?  Go figure.  I can appreciate that some people are more sensitive than others.  When I'm aware of someone like that I try to temper my thoughts and words accordingly.  If my words get ahead of my brain and I realize it, I will often apologize or just simply acknowledge to the person that I spoke thoughtlessly.  I do the best I can.

I looked up the definition of rude and found that it doesn't necessarily apply to me...or at least I don't believe it does, others may have differing opinions.  I looked up synonyms next and that list was a little more entertaining and informative.  There were, indeed, words that could be used to describe me from time to time.  Some of them make me a little cringy and some of them make me giggle. (I kind of love the word "surly")

Often I have found is that the people who have something to hide, are insecure, or have control issues Really Don't Appreciate It. Really. Don't. 

But I've never really worried what others think of me.  It's just never been important. 

 

Taking the Scenic Route

Lately I've been taking the long way to work.  The long way being defined as five minutes longer, at most. It requires taking the back road instead.  I eventually get onto I-5 but even that portion of the freeway is lovely.

Now that I've driven it a few times, I'm wondering why I haven't done this sooner.  My first guess is that I'm usually running late so it just didn't occur to me.  Also, during the winter these roads are rural and don't get any sort of sand or plowing.

Kevin has always said that he doesn't mind his commute. He turns up the radio, drinks his coffee, and chills along the way.  I've found that I am a little more relaxed when I get to work as well.  It's not such a brutal change: sitting cozy on the couch with the puppy one moment then wading into the social services insanity the next.

The other day was one of those ethereal, lovely Spring mornings so I made an effort to take pictures along the way.

Not getting on the freeway. I have a strange affection for this sign.



How pretty is this? And it's not fully Spring festooned yet.


I love how this turned out, water drops on the window and all



Another shot of the water because BEAUTIFUL


Sunbeams...after a long, hard winter these come with their own happy music

After the lake, the road travels uphill. I'm sure there's a metaphor in there somewhere.

26 March 2014

"I married a girl with a purse!"

I don't like purses. I think I've talked about it before.  I just find them annoying.  I don't like carrying things, I don't like things around my neck or shoulders, and I just can't think of a reason that I would need to carry something with me all.the.time.  Granted, I'm not a mother or hold a profession that would require me to constantly have something with me.

What do I carry with me? you ask.  I carry my phone and keys in my hand or pocket.  If I have to carry my debit card I usually put it in my pocket or carry a little bag that holds my id and stuff, that also fits in my pocket.

Normally I have a little backpack that holds my stuff.  It stays in the 4Runner or desk drawer just in case I need something.  For a long while I had a miniature doctor bag that I loved so much that I used it until it just wore out.  I've not found another one since.

I looked on Amazon from time to time or browsed in the stores to find a replacement but nothing. Finally I found a doctor bag style on Amazon that claimed to be small and will "Easily hold your phone, wallet, and small make-up bag"  It sounded perfect.

It was a purse. Sigh...


I can fit all my stuff, a book, glasses, water bottle, wallet, keys, phone, and any number of things in this bag. It's a purse.



And I do. Look at that.  It's appalling. 

To be fair, this is on a Friday after a week of stuffing everything I own in it.
The two black things are our checkbook and my phone cover.  There are the two gloves that I've since put away because it's Spring dammit. The white thing is my brace.  The brown next to it is a Clif bar that I keep on me always. A brush.  A random binder clip. A sheet of coupons that I only need one of. The white & multi-color bag is make-up and medicine. (it's the size of a mans wallet) The pink bag is the little bag that holds my id and stuff.  The white paper is a combo wad of paper consisting of a bank and grocery receipt. Oh, look: there are two Clif bars.  The last item I brought home from work because it was a pamphlet from the Church next door that uses C.S. Lewis quotes or stories for Lent & Easter.

Kevin just teased me.  "That's a PURSE! You have a Purse! I married a GIRL! A girl with a PURSE." Yes, you're very cute and funny Kevin. Now shut up.

So, obviously this purse is too big. (and it is, after all, a purse)  I need only half of that crap.  Clearly, if I have the space: I will fill it.

25 March 2014

Focus on the Glimmer

Once again the lovely Pacific Northwest has made the national news.  We're getting pretty weary of this.

This post is not about the tragedy per se but about other things surrounding it.

Kevin was working on Saturday when I noticed on the twitter that there was a slide blocking a highway that his work uses and one of his crew lives near.  I texted him on his work phone and asked if Rhonda was at work or home.  He said she was at home and that they didn't have trucks out there today.

I kept an eye on twitter and things began to post quickly and gained urgency.  I turned on the news then called Kevin.  He was just about to phone me to let me know that it was really bad.

Kevin's work provides truck and sand when there is flooding in the area.  He's been called into work before to work when the water is high.  So, this was our thought - selfishly - was that he was going to have to go to work.

Then the news started giving footage and stats of the disaster and we felt awful.  Awful because the massive loss and because we were worried about Kevin having to work.

A frustrating thing that we experienced is that we kept wanting to listen to the news so when we went to dinner we were distracted.  The people we were with knew what had happened, that it effected Kevin's work and that one of Kevin's crew lived up there.  They seemed annoyed that we kept checking the news, like we were distracted by a football game or reality television show.  I just felt like raising my voice and saying "You realize this is bad, right?  You realize that you're eye-rolling because we want to know what's going on and if there is anything we can do."  But I didn't. Oh boy did I think it though.

This tragedy also showed where social media has become essential in an emergency.  Twitter gave real time, boots on the ground, updates.  Because of the bridge falling, I began following Washington State Department of Transportation and one of the news channels. It's amazing the amount of information a simple tweet can disperse.

The officials have actually had to ask people to stop giving, stop volunteering, just stand down.  Most of these people are residents of Darrington (because, frankly, Oso where the slide occurred, no longer exists)  The officials also requested only Darrington residents to be search volunteers because they know the terrain, the people, and have the skills.  They also requested local loggers because of the previously stated reasons.

Rhonda is on Kevin's crew. She grew up and continues to live in Darrington.  She is a damn tough woman who hunts, fishes, takes care of her own house & vehicle and depends on no one.  I think she is an awesome human being.

She told Kevin that once news reached Darrington, the locals gathered and went to the slide.  They took four-wheelers, trucks, horses, whatever it took to get there.  Immediately, without thought of their own well-being, they began crawling through the wreckage.  Because of their actions, a mom and baby were rescued.  Doesn't that just give you the chills?  Neighbors going all Red Dawn and coming, literally, out of the woods & mountains to save their neighbors and friends.

Because of these folks, it turns out that a dog was also rescued from one of the houses.  Rhonda was there and video'd the rescue.  Like I said, tough as effing nails.  It is her brother that brings the dog out.

So, awfulness continues but it feels like everyone is trying to focus on the small little glimmers of hope and humanity.

Give a shout out to whoever or whatever you believe in for this tiny little community.

Pleasantville

A couple weeks ago I helped an old friend of mine sell a few cars to a current friend of mine.  The fun part is my old friend is now American German (hasn't lived in the States since 1988)  and my current friend is Scottish Canadian.  Thank goodness they weren't together when we were communicating or I'm sure hilarity would have ensued.

My friend Mark was worried about being able to find my old hometown from the Canadian Border and then find his way around once he arrived.  I sent a screenshot map of the town and said "Not even."  This is the screenshot:

This the heart of the "city" Any excluded streets are more "roads", much less populated, and all lead out of town
As it turns out, he arrived before I did, he found it so easily.  Mark commented on what a nice little town it is.  "Welcome to my hometown" I told him.  (sorta, technically where I lived is twenty minutes away but the majority of my formative years were spent in this town)

It was interesting to see it through stranger's eyes.  The Cascade Range as a backdrop is normal and not really noticed if you live there.  Gorgeous and dramatic if you're not though. The quiet was unusual as well, I'd forgotten how quiet that town is. There really isn't a "bad part of town" as even the run down houses have charm and are few and far between.

It is a little redneck town full of lots of trucks, loggers, hunters, and camo.  But it's full of familiar faces and streets.  It's full of people that stop to ask if you need help or just because they're curious about what you're doing.

It really is a nice little town once you removed your own personal filter.

Being in his old house was a little strange.  It's been updated so doesn't have a time capsule feel  but more of a fever dream feel.  I've spent so much time in that house, that driveway, that garage yet it's been twenty-five years. Just the thought of that amount of time passed is enough to disoriented.

Then fast forward a few days and through the magic of the facebook I found the last remaining person of our high school group.  We messaged back and forth and he mentioned that it was "a good place to be from" which surprised me because he got the eff out of town as soon as we graduated.

Again, perspective has removed any filters.  Everyone has grown up and moved on and most of us are past all the childhood b.s. that has happened.  Sure there is always that guy or girl but most of my adult experiences in that town have been good.

Sometimes I think us humans just see things through certain lenses and never notice that things change or we change.  Or that the lenses need cleaning.



15 March 2014

Wouldn't It Be Nice

One of my favorite songs as a child was "Wouldn't it be nice" by the Beach Boys. I just always looked forward to when I would be old enough to be with someone like that.

This morning Kevin wanted to go to the Hardware Store. Bellingham has an EPIC hardware store that a person can literally get lost in.  I love going there too.  There is no just stopping in for a minute in this store.

Before we left we took Lucy to the coffee stand, like we do every weekend.  She gets spoiled by the girls with lots of treats and scritches.

Then off to town we went.  Sidebar: does everyone say they're "going to town?" or is that a regional thing? or a country thing?  Or am I the only one that says it?

We went to the hardware store then to lunch.  We went to a local's place in downtown that we like.  We noticed it was a little busier than usual but we also saw someone with a marathon number on their shirt so I assumed there was a jog-athon or something. 

Nope, it was a parade.  A St Patrick's Day parade. We had accidentally happened upon a parade. (Kevin said "And you know like one guy is actually Irish", which made me laugh)   The restaurant was right at the beginning of the route and we had front row seats. It wasn't a big parade but it had the requisite fire trucks, marching bands and costumed folks. 

The best part of it was watching a man with Down Syndrome who saluted all the fire trucks and fist pumped or drummed to the marching bands.  It was just so sweet to watch.  He patted Kevin on the shoulder and said hello when they passed on the sidewalk. (Kevin has that invisible sign that tells people he's a good guy)

Afterward we went home because you can't top happening upon a parade (and we were done, but whatever).  I went inside to finish chores and Kevin went out to the shop to play with his new toys.  As I was puttering around in the house, that song popped in my head.  It occurred to me that the wish had come true.  I'm hanging out with my best friend all the time. 

13 March 2014

Screen Time

I've been on a movie watching binge.  Not purposefully, just had the opportunity lately because I had a snow day, a comp day, and a few quiet weekends. I'm not complaining, it just feels a little strange. After being immobile for so long, I felt like I had to move it, move it, once I was well.  Now I'm trying to find a balance.

I finally watched Les Miserables.  Now I see why everyone loved it.  I've watched it, in parts and all the way through, numerous times and I'm always mesmerized.  I read the book in high school and liked it but remember very little of it.  Thankfully, some of it I recalled as the movie went on.  And seriously, you can't go wrong with Eddie Redmayne.  Hugh Jackman as well.  I'm not a Anne Hathaway fan so I was relieved she was in it only a bit.

To offset that Academy Award Winning Movie, I watched the last two Twilight movies.  What is it about those movies in the fact that they're total nonsense yet captivating?  A person ends up just sitting there mindlessly and helplessly watching it. I really hope that Robert Pattinson keeps acting because I think he's got more to offer than these movies. The other one: ugh. Just go away forever.

I also watched Rust and Bone, another Academy Award movie.  I didn't realize that it was subtitled so when I started it at 7:00 in the morning, all I could think was "Ain't nobody got time for that" but I decided to keep watching. I am glad that I did.  There is a difference between European movies and American ones in that they go further into detail than American film makers so I admit that I did hit fast-forward a few times.

TCM has a show about the Academy Awards that they've been playing.  It's about the movies, the actors, and the awards.  I was surprised at just how many I've seen and equally how many I've not seen.  I think if I ever get an attention span long enough to build a Bucket List, I'm going to have one of the items be "Watch all the Academy Award Winning Movies"

My new favorite movie is Beautiful Creatures.  It tried to capitalize on the supernatural movie trend but I don't think it did very well in the box office.  I don't know why.  It has Emma Thompson, Viola Davis, and Jeremy Irons and it features a few character actors that everyone will recognize. The main characters are two teens that are unknown actors though and perhaps that's why it wasn't more popular. The soundtrack is great as well.  It is the anti-Twilight.  The girl lead character has actual facial expressions and talent.

I've been testing out the new sitcoms as well.  So far, Mixology is the only one that I've liked.  I feel like I should like Brooklyn Nine Nine but I'm just not an Andy Samberg fan.

But really, I don't need more television to watch. Which is exactly what I'm binge-watching Veronica Mars now.




A Wandering Post About Writing

I read a post the other day about blogs becoming a thing of the past.  It talked about the ethereal nature of them and just how very few of them have staying power.  Also it talked how popular some of the blogs have become, even becoming a regular source of income which is a completely new and viable industry.

It made me feel a little badly because I've been so lax about writing here.  I am often thinking about it, it's just that follow-through and opportunity that I have lacked.  I have an actual list of items to talk about and an older list of random words written on a wrinkled old subscription card that must have meant something when I wrote it.

Some of the lack is simple time.  I come home tired still, which is just stupid.  I almost wonder if it's become a habit then I remember "Two plates, eight screws, five broken bones, nine percent disability, duh."

Also I have The Puppy.  She requires playing and love and attention that Missy Jo rarely demanded.  Y'all saw: she was standing on my desk while I was writing.  (Kevin said "Well, SOMEONE let her up there.")  There is also something about having a warm puppy laying on you that takes away any need or want to get up, ever.

I realized also that I just got weary of writing about how the Nephew was sick or my job sucks or this is what's wrong right now that 2013 brought us.  Other than the ongoing vehicle drama, 2014 seems more positive by far. *KNOCK WOOD EVERYWHERE*  With that though also takes away go-to subjects to write about.

You guys can only stand so many puppy pictures and I really don't want to be that girl anyway.

Related: While I was proofing another post, I realized that I still have a blog roll on this blog.  I know, I know, I need to update.  At least three of them aren't active anymore.  It's sad really.  Three of the writers just got too busy and couldn't devote any more time so have all but disappeared from my life. One is a far-away friend that I still keep up with.  A few are facebook friends now and I love that.

I have difficulty letting go for the names and links, even though they're not active anymore.  I will do it though.  I'm a little embarrassed at how long it has been since I've updated anything.

Writer burnout has become a real thing.  It used to be simply writers block and it was only for novelists and reporters.  Now there's this new niche of bloggers where the "rules" aren't defined and we're clearly making it up as we go along.  Many people just burnout but then eventually return.  This is always my hope when I click on an old link.

A thousand years ago when I was in college, a professor talked about choosing a career.  He made a point that "Do what you love" might not be the greatest advice.  His premise was that if you do what you love as a hobby then the pleasure is taken out of that hobby.  I was a little ambivalent about that premise at the time, actually thinking "Well, that's depressing."   Now I kind of see his point.

I write for a living now (argument could be had that I do that anyway so let's clarify: I get paid now) and by the time I get home, I'm exhaustified of looking at a screen and hovering over a keyboard.  I imagine that is the case for many writers.

I've never been worried about being on trend or even on task, really, and I'm not going to begin now.  I'll probably still be here typing away this just a bunch of silliness for quite a while and happily reading the friends that still do write.  :)



07 March 2014

Just Turn It & See if it Fits



We've lived in this house almost eight years.  I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I just realized that our garbage can fits under the sink horizontally instead of vertically.  I figured it out completely by accident.  I was trying to fit something behind it and voila! it fit.

This discovery is one of those "life hacks" that you see on the interwebs that changes your life.  It's one of those simple changes that makes you wonder who in the hell decided you got to be an adult.


Nerd vs. Geek

The biggest kid nephew had a birthday the other day.  He's TWELVE.  Twelve, going on twenty. He can sit with the adults and hold his own in conversation, he is kind of a nerd, and loves to write & read.  (you'd think we shared genes but we don't)

His mom mentioned that he took a test to determine if he was a geek or a nerd.  He was hoping for nerd, we don't know why.  I asked him about it and also asked "What's the difference between a geek and a nerd?"

He paused for about a minute, long enough that we were all "umm? dude?"

Finally he kind of sighs and says, (I SWEAR THIS IS TRUE) "It's kind of hard to explain because you need, like, charts and stuff..."

Enough said, young man, you've explained it perfectly.

Yes I Would Love a Cookie

Photo by Kevin's Mom...who probably gave her a cookie

18 February 2014

Out of the Box

This is one of those First World Problems that one feels a little silly complaining about but bothers me so much that the triviality of it is overridden by annoyance.

Kleenex boxes Y U so Ugly?

The past year or so, the kleenex boxes have been such soothing colors as Sears Tuff-Skins brown and denim. I think they're trying to represent a more masculine demographic but no. The other decorative options are overly girly with purple, pink or yellow flower blossoms. There appears to not be a gender neutral option. The other brands aren't much better either. The other brand seems to think it is 1987 with its metallics and bright colors.

If you're still awake, the point is that I've found a work around. I do like the yellow flower box so I figured out how to open the box without ruining it. If you've ever been curious as to how the tissues are configured, it was a tiny bit interesting. Clearly, I need to get out more

I can take out my annoyance by opening the ugly box, taking out the kleenex, and then putting it in the pretty box. A bit of invisible tape along the seam And no one is the wiser. Well, until now.

I took a picture to show the offending box but it looks nicer in the picture than in reals. As if mocking me for such trivial concerns.


17 February 2014

The Door to Happiness

I've always disliked how dark our laundry/mud room is.  It had a solid door and no windows so there was absolutely no natural light.  As a bonus, there were no extra outlets to plug in a lamp. 

I finally decided to buy a new door.  It's been on my wish list for quite some time and the other day, I just up and decided.  I phoned Kevin and told him I wanted a new door.  He suggested I look online and choose while he phoned his dad to get measurements. Then we would go get one.

Next thing I knew, my father-in-law had my new door in the back of his mini-van.  He said he was going into town anyway but I suspect that was a fib.  I rarely want for anything beyond books and simple things so I was surprised at how quickly Kevin and my father-in-law jumped into action.  A lesser person could take advantage. 

I assumed it would be an unhook the old one and put the new one in but not so much. Because things are never that easy in my world.  Luckily, one of Kevin's crew is a carpenter.  He came home with Kevin the next night and two hours later, we have a new door. 

It feels like it has changed the whole house. Suddenly we have tons of natural light.  Kevin asked if I was going to put a curtain on the window for some sort of privacy.  As it looks out at the rock garden and the road is ten feet above the door, I feel no need.  Also, we live in a secluded area, it's not like there are people walking by at all.

It needs painted. It turns out our old one did as well but we just didn't know.  It was fun to post on the facebook to see everyone's opinions.  Mostly, people said red.  I've always liked the look of a red door but we think it might look silly on a sage green house with white trim and shutters.  I'm leaning toward a glossy black, or maybe a pretty grey.  My sister-in-law and childhood bff said a dark green and I like that idea as well.  We have a few months to decide so that's good.

I just love how this door has improved the house and my mood.  Some of the best money I've ever spent.

12 February 2014

What I Think About in The Middle of the Night

When I have difficulty falling asleep or I've awoken from a bad dream, I've found that if I think about a movie from the beginning, including character names, plot, or whatever; I can usually fall back asleep. Thinking about my favorite movie seems much more soothing than any late night terrors that might be on feature that night.

The other night the finale of Friends was playing. I was having difficulty relaxing into sleep so I tried to decide What happened after the last episode.

This is what I decided:

Monica and Chandler's kids are just like them except the boy is like Monica and the girl is just like Chandler.

Rachel & Ross moved in next door to Monica, because of course they did.

Phoebe and Mike stayed in the city and had twins named Cake and Plate but their nickname is "Joey"

Joey bought Monica's apartment and fell in love with Janice's sister, who looks just like Janice but isn't all Janice-y.

The imagination is a fun thing when it's late at night.

07 February 2014

A New View

I'm working from home today.  It's only the second time I've done it, I think I like it, and I need to do it more often.  It's quiet and the only interruptions I get are the puppy suddenly barking at NOTHING WHATSOEVER that tests the strength of my heart.

The new job is still a little weird.  I haven't fully adjusted to Not being the manager of all things.  There are other people doing that job now. (yes, People not person. *shoulder brush* wink*)

I still don't have an official title.  The executive director wanted it to be executive secretary, which doesn't reflect my job AT ALL. I've just simply put "Communications" on my letterhead and figure that makes more sense than the Carol Burnett title that was suggested. (Click here to see Mrs. Whiggins)

I do spend my day on the interwebs.  I manage all the social media which is fun, mostly but does get a little "Gah, what am I going to post today."  Such a terrible problem to have, really. Did you just tell me to shut up?  Okay, fair enough.

I write press releases, newsletters, thanks you's & acknowledgements. I create invitations, posters, and announcements.  I have some data entry and reports to do and that gives me a little anxiety, not because I can't but because it's all new now.

What I didn't think of was that I don't see my "friends" anymore.  I don't see the donors, clients, vendors, etc. every day.  This has kind of bummed me out but I worked around it by telling my favorites to just come back to my office to visit.

My favorite thing is that I can play whatever music I want to.  I have a rock & roll station playing most days.  If the place is busy, I just put my headphones in and buh bye everyone. This makes me happy on a ridiculous level.  The radio played Eminem yesterday and I was excited that I didn't have to dive for the channel changer.

Another good thing is that five other people came to work with us: Five! Five different personalities and ways of doing things.  It made me realize how small our organization really was.  They have lunch together most days too.  At first I kind of resented having to stop working to eat (I know.) but now I'm a little bummed if it doesn't happen.  Also, we can talk about current events and popular culture, which hasn't happened in years. 

All in all, it's going well.  More positives than negative and that's a really good thing.  Although I think I knew how ready I was for a change, I really didn't know.


05 February 2014

You Have to Love Seattle

Today is the celebration parade for the Seahawks.  There was a Moment of Loudness designated at 12:12 pm and the parade currently has more people in attendance than the entire population of Seattle.

I've never seen anything like it.  I've never seen this region get behind something like the 12th Man has.  It's incredible.

I was looking at the Seattle Times online and realized a very important notation on the parade route:

Coffee shops are a requirement, not a luxury.

It is also to be noted that at least one Starbucks along the route is out of mochas.

Go Hawks!

26 January 2014

What Happens When I Write


One Pill Makes You Taller

I've been on nerve blockers for a year now.  I was very hesitant about going on them because I don't like medicine and I worry about dependency.  They were a game changer when it came to living a normal life however.  I was suddenly able to move about much more freely, sleep through the night, and have significantly less pain.
Still, I don't like taking them.  I've skipped doses from time to time and it's fine but I'm noticeably less comfortable.  I am taking the lowest possible does and only at night so the idea of being dependent upon them is considerably less than if I were taking them every day all day.  Luckily (?) they make me a special kind of stupid and that's why I take them at night then take a while to become fully awake in the mornings.

The other concern that I had was the the medicine would mask any ongoing problems.  I was told that if something went wrong, say a screw coming loose or a plate shifting that I would certainly know it, medicine or not.  But, that being said, I couldn't gauge how much discomfort I was having each day now that a significant period of time had passed.

As you've probably guessed, I went off of the meds.  I was instructed to alternate every other night and taper down from there. But you've met me and I'm a rip the bandaid off kind of person.  I simply stopped taking them.

I went two days and was happily surprised that I didn't become bedridden.  I felt okay, actually.  I have a little more movement and a little more awareness.  (my foot/leg is often kind of numb) so I thought "CAKE!"

Never, ever, think or worse say "Cake"  (as in "piece of cake".  You know that's a jinx right?)

Day four and I was all OMGOMGOMG Get me a saw.  The amount of disappointment I had was A LOT.  I don't want to be on this medicine, I don't enjoy the prospect of living the rest of my life feeling like this without it and OMG would someone hand me a chainsaw, please.

I toughed it out. I was determined not to ring the alarm bells until I passed Day Seven.  On Day Six, I went to the chiropractor as a "I'm going to cross this off the list of possible issues before I freak out".
Turns out I was in need of an adjustment.  I left, hoping that it would do the trick.

And it did, sort of. Kind of.  Now here I am on Day Nine and wondering what to do. I continue to feel a little better.  However, old symptoms have returned: numbness when sitting for long periods, not sleeping through the night, and a very unsexy limp.

Now, I'm doing the circular thinking that is unproductive at best.  Stay off of it and get used it?  No, that's silly to be miserable when something can be done.  Go back on it? No, the end goal is not to be on it at all.

The next step is to call the doctor and ask her opinion. Which, in hindsight, is probably what I should have done in the first place probably.  But here I am now.

The one thing I do like about the medicine is the sleeping through the night thing.  That is beautiful and I miss it.  It tends to slow the ADD down a bit and that's good too.  However, it does affect my memory a little bit and that is in the "Do Not Enjoy" category.

I need charts, graphs, and a laser pointer to figure this out.

This Is Ridiculous

This is a ridiculous project that I've been doing little bits at a time.  It seems that since the accident my OCD tendencies have acquired flaming, twirling batons.  I'm trying to use the powers for good and this, this ridiculous task, is one of them.

I used to have many multicolored hangers in our closet. I know: the HORRORS.  The predominate color was country blue, as was popular in the early nineties.  Well, it's now twenty-cough-something years later and I'm over it.  To be fair, there were also white, green, and navy blue hangers mixed in there as well.  This also bothered me.

Luckily, the clothing program at work generates hangers like the fate of humankind rests upon it.   I can get any kind or color of hanger that I wish every single day.  For free. Need hangers? hit me up!

Slowly, I've been taking home bundles of white hangers.  Twenty or so at a time as to not overwhelm me and make me give up on this ridiculous project.  Also, removing the offending no-longer-trendy hangers means that they have to go somewhere.  Whereas I'm good at bringing stuff home, I am not always equally as good at carting out stuff .  Thus the approximately three billion hangers in the coat closet where discarded things go to wait until their fate is decided.

Alas, I pushed on.  Finally, I have a single color, conformity aligned closet.  It's silly how soothing this is to me. 

Yes, our clothing is separated by color. This is normal, right? right?

22 January 2014

Napkins To Dye For

A project that I've been working on at work is not something you will ever guess.

Dyeing napkins.

Yep, dyeing fabric is apparently included in the "communications & social media" job skill set.

The YWCA has a horrible logo color when it comes to matching to other colors and making it look nice.  It's officially called persimmon but it is kind of a tangerine/orange color.


We recently merged with another agency and their logo is purple and sage.  Good God and Sweet Baby Jesus, how about a challenge for one of my first public relations tasks?

There are about seventy-five, white, linen napkins at work.  We came up with the brilliant idea of dyeing them to the logo color.  How difficult can it be?

The first store I went to had all the colors of the rainbow EXCEPT orange.  I used my smart phone to look up the dye website to make sure that orange was an available color. It was BUT there are also formulas for shades of colors.

Because: of course there are.

I then went to a fabric store, where I should have gone firstly anyway.  They had Even More Colors, including orange AND tangerine.   Now we have not only orange but tangerine plus the shading technique that included using a dose of black.  So I bought all of them.

The first batch I used tangerine.  It turned out a coral color and I wasn't happy with it.  I took one of them into work and two other coworkers disagreed.  One liked it, one did not.

The second batch I used orange.  I really liked this color and was a little excited about it.  I took it into work and sure enough: one coworker liked it, one didn't.  AND the tangerine matched closer to the logo color. Ding dong dammit.

Now, I have to exchange one box of orange and one box of black for two more boxes of tangerine.  I am hoping that the orange napkins will dye to the tangerine color without any unnecessary drama. That being said, looking at this post hints to me that I am wrong to hope.

Dyeing fabric isn't difficult at all and now I'm wondering what else I can dye.  All you need is your washer set on hot water, a cup of salt, a box of dye and time.  It's fun to think about.


14 January 2014

The Cool Part About Being Stranded in the Great White North

As I told you about in the previous post, we went to North Vancouver.  I've been to Vancouver as a child, as had Kevin, and I've been to the airport and all around the Lower Mainland but not to what they call "North Van".

We traveled over the largest bridge that I've ever been across.  I thought that the Tacoma Narrows Bridge was big but I was so very wrong.   The Alex Fraser is.  It's 500 feet high from the Fraser River, at it's tallest.  It feels like you go steeply uphill only to then go steeply downhill.  It's the second largest cable suspension bridge in North America.

It actually made me nervous and I'm not usually afraid of heights.  Of course, our friends use it often and would totally call us wusses for being hesitant. It's 8,000 feet long, which is about two miles. It feels like forever.

It looks at the mountains and in this picture they don't have snow, but they did and it was gorgeous.  The Fraser is always pretty but is a working river so you always see barges, tugboats, and fishing boats. 

I would recommend adding visiting Vancouver on your bucket list and to travel over the Alex Fraser.  There are bike & pedestrian crossings and I'm thinking of walking over it. I'm sure there are other fun and beautiful things in Vancouver. I just dig bridges.

That's an eagle lifting off from the first beam...Photo from The Province newspaper

Looking south from North Van toward the bridge. Picture from Google Images
This is the Tacoma Narrow Bridge, it's about half the size of Alex Fraser

Stranded in the Great White North

This was how our last Saturday went. Sadly, ours is the white truck.

This is a testament of how wonderful our Canadian friends are. We broke down in North Vancouver, while getting on the #1 highway.  (basically on the way to Whistler, where the Winter Olympics were held)

Luckily (?) We were following a friend so we weren't totally hooped. ("screwed" in Canadianese) The conversation on the phone went like this:
"How much further?"
"Did you just gak your truck?"
"Yes."
"Piece of..."
"Well, your brake lights are out so zip it."

We pulled off of the highway to assess the damage. This is where I say that our friend has bronchitis so he's leaning heavily on the truck at any given moment, trying to catch his breath.  Because SIDE OF HIGHWAY 1, I didn't get out.  Every once in a while, one of the boys would look at me and nod encouragingly even though I knew it was a total lie.

Eventually, we towed our truck with the truck (with no brake lights) which is ILLEGAL in Canada off of the highway and onto a Dept of Transportation turn-off.  Then we rode in our friends truck to the machine shop (our original destination)

Oh, not before transferring a 200 lb. engine block from the broken truck to our friends truck. Difficulty Level 3000

Our other friend showed up with his truck and trailer to rescue us.  The plan was to take us to the border, where Kevin's dad would meet us with our truck and trailer.  "Where did you leave the truck?" he asked.
 "On top of the tunnel" our friend replies.
Yes, on top of the tunnel.  The day kept getting stranger.

This is also where I mention that our friend brought an acquaintance with him that we aren't particularly fond of.  Not enough fun was being had, clearly.  The clearest description I can give you is a chatty, Canadian, Howard Wolowitz.

We finally headed home, or the border as it were.   We were on the road about fifteen minutes when our friend offered to take us all the way home (30+ minutes south of the border) so that Kevin's dad didn't have to come rescue us and we weren't stranded at the border.  SO NICE.

Even the border guard was sympathetic to our plight.  He even complimented our friends for being so wonderful. I know, right?

The trip was actually pleasant, even with Howard Wolowitz riding shotgun.  (he offered to ride in back with me...Kevin plainly told him NO.)

We were about fifteen minutes from home when our friend asked how far further our mechanic shop was.  We said about thirty minutes south of our house.  "Well, I was thinking, I'll just take you there and then it's just done."

Kevin and I were stunned silent for a minute.  He had given up most of his day to help us and now was even volunteering to do more.  In such an unlucky circumstance: how lucky are we?

Gosh, I love our Canadian friends.  When I posted later on the facebook, another one of our friends replied wondering why we hadn't phoned him.  He was truthfully next on our list if our original plan didn't work out.

There's always a shiny side, a person just sometimes has to squint to see it.


03 January 2014

Thankfulness List

PUBLISH...CLICK PUBLISH...How difficult is this!?!?!

Thankful this morning for:

Facebook.  I love the instant connection with friends & family.  It allows us to be more involved and aware of others around us.  (even though, sometimes, we'd rather not)

Kevin...who suddenly is in the mood to put up Christmas lights.  Highly unusual behavior.

The kids...we get to see all the kids today.  Santa lists are to be made, rolls are to be thrown (true story) and games played.

The puppy...she's brought us such happiness in a really difficult year.

Monica's Closet...as I'm rooting through it to get out my mother-in-law's Christmas decorations, I am thankful to be muttering "We have too much stuff" when others have none.

Turning 45...my birthday is in a few weeks.  Although 45 is still considered young, I already have
"grand" nephews and nieces and am continually astonished with this fact.

A good job...when I return on Monday, it will be a completely different job, working with different people although in the same building.

Seasons...it's supposed to be in the thirties next week and a chance of snow.  After being in Vegas for a week, I'm welcoming the change of seasons.




End of the Year Recap

It’s back! The New Years Meme!   I still think it’s a fun way to look back on the year.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
Massage therapy.  I'm still undecided about it.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?


Yes, I believe I did or at the very least looked each of them in the eye:

My resolutions for 2013:
1. Continue cooking more.
2. Continue to simplify, in every way.
3. Try to remember not to enter into melodrama of any kind. I believe Swistle referred to it as jackassery.

My resolutions for 2014:
1. Replace three major appliances. This is a resolution & not task because I keep putting it off.
2. Write Daily...be it an email, a tweet, a post, something.  Facebook & to-do lists don't count
3. Deal with the three million obsolete cd's that we have, which means learning to convert them. (see #1)

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


Yes, my niece! Welcome to the world Baby Freddie!  (named after my dad & brother)

4. Did anyone close to you die?


No, death didn’t visit us this year.

5. What countries did you visit?


"Oh Canada, our home and native land.."

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
Healthy Family Members 

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Whatever date The Nephew had his last surgery

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?


Keeping myself on a more relaxed schedule.  I never thought I could make it happen.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not writing.  There just wasn't the motivation to do it. 

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No! A resounding No!

11. What was the best thing you bought?


Plane tickets

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
The Nephew. 

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?


The media. I'm over the melodramatics.

14. Where did most of your money go?


Same as every year: Bills, Racecar, Vegas trip. Books. Amazon. Mochas!

15. What did you get really excited about?
Officially not working full-time

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
Soft Kitty...singing it to my grown-ass-man of a nephew in the hospital

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? Happier, in the grand scheme of things.
– thinner or fatter? Same somehow.
– richer or poorer? About the same

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?


Being outside.  This is unusual for me.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?


Hang out in hospitals.  Eat out.

20. How did you spend Christmas?


Eve - at my parents with baby Freddie & Young Niece's boyfriend as new additions
Day - Next door, immersed in children's excitement and food

21. Did you fall in love in 2013?
Every day.

22. What was your favorite TV program?


I always have a difficult time choosing favorites. Castle, Big Bang Theory, Parenthood, Scandal, Long Island Medium, Project Runway. Greys Anatomy

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?


No. I'm not a hater. It's a waste of time

24. What was the best book you read?
I'm not sure...Whiskey Beach or The Witness by Nora Roberts

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Lorde

26. What did you want and get?
Time.

27. What did you want and not get?
A CPSA championship (same as last year)

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Just watched it: Beautiful Creatures.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
45 and I had lunch with Kevin, went Christmas shopping with my mom (!?!?!) and had take-out Italian dinner with Kevin. The next day was a snow day and then the weekend so it was kind of a birthday week.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
The health & well-being of family members

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
Hoodies. New sneakers.  Purple.

32. What kept you sane?


Mochas. Kevin. Television.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Good Morning America, still.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?


Legalization of gay marriage. I'm loving watch the number of states increase.

35. Who did you miss?


Nope.

36. Who was the best new person you met?


Mandy, fellow drag racer.  She's a bad ass.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.


It sounds contrived and worn but value your family. Even when they make you batsh*t crazy

27 December 2013

Quote of the Day

"You are everything that's ever been my favorite thing. You are my love song, my birthday cake, the sound of ocean waves, French words, and a babys laugh. You are a snow angel, creme brulee, and a kaliedoscope filled.with glitter. I love you and you'll never catch up, because I've gotten a head start and my heart is racing at light speed." Lisa Kleypas

25 December 2013

Whimsy Not Allowed Here

I've struggled over the past few years with decorating this house for Christmas. I've had the most difficult time figuring it out. Then suddenly a dawning realization:
This house does not tolerate whimsy.

The old house had tons of space in which to decorate. Boughs, lights, candles, all of it. This house, I've previously mentioned, seems to shudder with the mere placement of a Santa figurine.

My collection....some might say addiction...to ornaments has oddly become the solution to this decorating conundrum.  The house will deign to tolerate randomly scattered glass ornaments and bells. It will also accept subtle Christmas linens and decorated baskets. I've even managed to have it accept the hanging of ornaments on cupboard handles. (Although Kevin is not a fan of this, so it's kind of a wash)

So instead of the Hallmark store decorating method, it's more Real Simple or HGTV. Go figure.

A Most Happy Christmas to You


16 December 2013

You're Not in Trouble Until They Call Your Name

Believe it or not the craziest part of our trip didn't happen until we were at the airport.

I put the Expedia app on my phone before we left but then just haphazardly used it.  It was nice to have the itinerary on my phone, I must admit.  I think I will use it again and actually use it as intended.

We were scheduled to fly out of Las Vegas Monday at 11:55 AM.  We had breakfast with our friends like we do each trip then headed to the airport. (these friends are the ones who Kevin crewed for thus were driving home)

We were on task and on schedule, which always isn't the case with us.  Also, we were meeting five of our friends at the airport as we were all on the same flight.  As we pulled into the rental car return, I saw a notification about our flight leaving in one hour, in which case we were really late.  It didn't make sense to me.

We turned in the car and got onto the shuttle bus.  Shuttle buses in Vegas are always entertaining because the drivers are always engaging and not a little bit crazy.  This was no exception.  This driver had just worked the Rock & Roll Marathon the day before and I think might have been a little hung over.

She missed our stop, or rather, took us to the wrong terminal.  Apparently the only fix for this was to return to the beginning and then go the correct way. (Is it bad that I could hear a line from The Princess Bride?  "Vizzini said go back to the beginning so here I am, at the beginning."  Humph.  She assured us that we had plenty of time for our flight but seemed not confident in her assurances.

We eventually got to the terminal and checked in.  They billed three bags to the brother-in-law and charged us for only one.  Because of this, we had to go to the actual counter agent instead of  the kiosk.  She checked us in and assured us we were still on time even though we still had to make it through security.

We made it through security kind of easy.  I worry now because of the hardware in my leg but it hasn't been a problem. *knock wood* or metal, be it as it may.

We then stopped at the coffee stand to get coffee as we are from Washington and that's what we do.  Although we thought we could see the gate, we couldn't see our friends.  Kevin got a text from one of our friends, asking where we were.  This was making Kevin frown.
Kevin mentions to the barista that he was worried about making our flight.  "Oh, don't worry.  You're not in trouble until they call your name.  They haven't called your name, have they?"

They hadn't but we decided that my sister-in-law and I would go ahead just in case.  We just made it to the Jetson's walkway when we hear: "Johnson, party of four, please report to the gate."

Holy mother of sweet baby jesus.

This is where I say that my sister-in-law had been simply awful about getting around Vegas.  As for her recovery from the accident, she isn't doing any of the self care that she needs to do.  (example: she left her cane at home because it wouldn't fit in the suitcase and she didn't want to carry it.  YEAH. Rest my case.)

I don't run.  I can't run, the muscle control is just not there anymore. I can do a little skip/jog thing and that's what I did. 

We get to the terminal and I can't find my boarding pass anywhere.  What the Hell is going on?  They weren't worried about it at all, just asked for my license and reprinted one.  We pointed to the guys jogging down the terminal with coffee in their hands.  They just laughed and told us to take our time, as apparently we hadn't been doing so this whole time.

We check in and head down the jetway.  We are actually stepping onto the plane when we hear "Johnsons?  Johnsons?"  Kevin actually cursed and turned around.  We hear "Did you order coffee?"
We called out "Yes" and they replied "We have it here, come and get it."

We walked back up the jetway and sure enough, there is the barista (red faced and out of breath) holding two coffees.  He felt badly and ran them down to us!  How nice is that!?!!  And how nice of the airline folks to allow us to come get it. I love Vegas.

We were, of course, the last ones on the plane.  I don't think we made anyone wait but we sure did receive some envious looks as we walked down the aisle with iced mochas in our hands.

We got to our seats and we hear "What the eff, eh?  Where's ours?" from one of our Canadian friends.