31 December 2016

Happy New Year!

May every hour that fleets away bring blessings bright with you to stay true,
blessings all your life to cheer, shield you from harm and protect you from fear.
In sending these Season's Greetings I wish to tell you dear that I wish you 
a prosperous and Happy New Year!

New Year's Meme

It’s back! The New Years Meme!  

Please play along! Copy and paste to your bloggity or social media.

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
Had a huge increase and change in my work.  I had to learn medical insurance billing.

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

Yes, I think so. Incrementally.  I have a stove that still needs attention though so we're on year three of replacing appliances.  I replaced the microwave with one I hate so ugh.

My resolutions for 2017:
1.  I'm going to try to be more zen this year.  Let things go. 
2. Write Daily...be it an email, a tweet, a post, something.  Facebook and to-do lists don't count

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes, OMG, Sweet Baby James!  Love of my life.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

God, I just can't even with this year.  Multiple people.

5. What countries did you visit?

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

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
Healthy Family Members 

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Road trips with Kevin....Mount Baker in May and Baker Lake and Dam last month. (same national park, different sides though so two different trips.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Not desk flipping and leaving my dream job out of abject frustration. More enlightened answer: Learning a whole new skill.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Staying in touch with friends.  Life intervened this year in ways I never expected.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Not this year!  Hooray!

11. What was the best thing you bought?


12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
The Nephew, again. He's a champ.  

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I refuse to state his name or title.

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?
Sweet baby James

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?
Hamilton Soundtrack.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? I’m ambivalent, right now.
– thinner or fatter? Same-ish
– richer or poorer? About the same

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

Read.  I didn’t seem to have time to read this year.

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


20. How did you spend Christmas?

Eve - In a sitcom level family gathering with my family. 
Day - Next door, immersed in children's excitement and food

21. Did you fall in love in 2016?
Every day.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

This Is Us.  Hands down, makes me cry every episode.

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.  I'm side-eyeing a person who shan't be named though for the next four years.

24. What was the best book you read?
House on Tradd Street series

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Hamilton soundtrack.

26. What did you want and get?
Time with Kevin.  We actually had a non-family vacation this year.

27. What did you want and not get?
I can't think of a single thing.  Hmmm.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
This is random: Mr. Right with Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell, totally funny and violent and I loved it. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, critics hated it and I loved it.  Added to my all-time favorites was Brooklyn.  Such a beautiful film.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Slept in, mochas, lunch with Kevin, shopping, take-out dinner, opened presents from my BFF throughout the day.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Less work stress, and less work, frankly.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
More purple.  Trying to let my hair go.

32. What kept you sane?

Mochas. Kevin. Lucy. Television.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Chris Hardwick is my new celebrity crush

34. What political issue stirred you the most?


35. Who did you miss?

It's been a rough year, full of reflection.  I don't know if it's people I miss or the good old days.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

My work BFF.  Love her so.  She's intentionally and purposefully kind.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017.

Drop in the Bucket Theory.  I mean, I've known it but I'm actively putting it into play.

29 December 2016

This is an Organizational Tool

I've been up since 5:30 this morning.  I haven't accomplished anything beyond looking at social media and wondering why the characters in Supernatural always look like they haven't showered in days. Are they gremlins?  can they not get wet?

The house is a mess, by my standards only which even I admit are impossibly high.  What do I define a mess?  Well, let's make a list:

Approximately six half-eaten chip bags, two birthday cakes, and two tins of now stale Christmas cookies are needing my attention today. 
The recycling needs to be taken to the place. 
I have to send out three sympathy cards, including printing two photos from our wedding for one.
Christmastime is always a good time to start another photo project so I have that.
The tree needs to be taken down and this is where I admit that perhaps an 8 foot tree was not my best choice.
Defrocking the kitchen and living room...I may have mentioned before, multiple times probably, that I have too many decorations. 
Laundry, because always.
I have to change the radios back over to our regular station because they stopped playing Christmas music.  But The Weekend can't feel his face when he's with me so I can't just yet.
My father-in-law returns home from the hospital today so I have to go look at what kind of a disaster is happening over there.  (yes, I swore I wouldn't clean up over there ever again.  shut up.)
I've already changed my shirt because it bugged me. Now my socks don't match and I'm trying really hard to not let this ruin my life.
I have to write a thank you note to the parents nurse who helped me get portable oxygen for my m-i-l yesterday, while sitting in a hospital full of oxygen that she couldn't have.
(don't get me started, ain't nobody got time for that.)

So, I'm spinning my wheels a bit.  There are all.the.things to do and this is where the ADD spins out.  Clearly, as I'm sitting here writing about all the things instead of doing them.  Let's just say that I used this post as an organizational tool.

22 December 2016

Stop Marrying Me Off, Husband

Major life discussions tend to occur when people around us pass away.  This week has been no exception.

Kevin has always been very clear about his wishes. He has a distinct picture of what he wants to happen if he passes before me.  I have a specific set of instructions and key players in our friends and family also know them.  He has told them "She's going through the worst part of her life, whatever she says goes and eff off if you're going to argue with her." 

It's a little terrifying and creepy that he is so prepared.  But, he has always been honest that he's never felt like he was going to live to be an old man.  He has a very dangerous job and a dangerous hobby so he lives his life like a dare.

The latest topic has been if I would remarry.  He's, like, guessing who I might choose.  It's equal parts fascinating and horrifying.  Who he has seemed to have settled on is not someone I would immediately think of so I find that intriguing.  I mean, how did he decide?  Convenience?  Similarities?  Time we've known each other?

And it's not like I can say "Oh no, I would run into This Person's arms" because that's not going to end badly at all.   Holy Awkward Conversations, Batman.

So, after being together 26 years this is what we've come to:  Choosing future spouses. 

Karl, We Speak Your Name

It's usually the odd number years that are challenging.  It's just a theory, of course, so a person has no right to be surprised when 2016 continues to be so challenging.  Seriously, we have just a few days left, 2016, get your sh*t together.

A childhood friend of Kevin's passed away this morning. He's the first of the inner circle of friends to pass.  It was unexpected and gut wrenching.  Life is just feeling super challenging right now.

Like you do, a person revisits memories when someone passes. 

When Karl learned Kevin and I were dating, (a bit of gossip stirring at the time) he just shrugged and said "Oh, okay" with a smile. If you knew Karl in real life, you just heard him say that. He had a childlike way to him, including many one-liners, bad jokes, and puns. 

Karl waited quite a while to get married.  His was one of my favorite weddings because we just knew something Karl-like was going to happen.  To our surprise, he was pretty well behaved.  The last thing, the kiss, was what made us laugh.
"You may kiss the bride..."
"Oh, okay."  Then he kissed her like a grade-schooler would, with a firm grasp on her shoulders, a peck on the lips, and then set her back on her feet.  It was textbook Karl.

When his first son was born, they named him Justin.  Karl joked, albeit with some seriousness, that he wanted his middle name to be "Case".  I'm a little surprised he didn't win the argument, actually.

Karl was one of Kevin's street racing buddies in high school. I knew Karl from cruising when I was a teen. Karl was at our wedding. Karl helped us move. Karl would randomly show up at your house for a visit.  Karl always had something when you needed it. I can't count how many times I've heard "I got it from Karl" when the car guys are talking.

We'll miss you, man.  We thought you'd be around forever.

11 December 2016

To Glitter or Not to Glitter?

Before we left on vacation in November, I was thinking about Christmas cards.  I even took them out of storage and put them in plain sight.

Almost one month later and here we are.  Still not done.  However, there are some finished and this is the soonest I think I've ever started.

Swistle talked about choosing Christmas cards (and then made her own. Omg, they're fantastic! look!)  It made me realize something about myself.  I have too many cards to choose from.  This is what spins me out every year.  Well, at the fact that it's just a daunting task as a whole.

I overthink things (I know, shocking) so I will spend time thinking "Well, they have kids so it has to be something Santa-ish" or "They're church people so choose a pretty church card" (I have a stack) or "They have dogs so send one of those"  (I have a stack of those also)  Too many choices, for real though.  I also tend to hoard my favorites, because reasons?

So, it occurred to me this time last weekend: Just send everyone the same doggone card and be done with it.  That's the mature and reasonable solution.  Am I either of those? not often.

Then I saw this and posted it to my facebook.  Now I have to do it.  Because I don't already make Christmas cards  complicated:

One of the biggest hurdles is that I get distracted by our address book.  It's the same one we've had for many, many years.  I believe I've written about it before. My attachment to this particular item is unusually strong.  In it, there are people who have passed, people who we wouldn't mind dead, many scratch-outs because people move, people divorce then remarry, business cards stapled in (just in case).  Finally, just for fun, it's not alphabetized by last name.  It's not how Kevin's brain is wired, nor mine really, so it goes by first name.  This is fine until one realizes there are tens of Johns and Lisas in our lives.  Those pages are crowded.

Just spending time browsing and organizing the address book on an annual basis is a time consuming project.  I should probably schedule doing that at a different time. Won't, but probably should.

I also have a list that I keep. Except this year, when I managed to print off an old list.  I am somewhat organized, evidence to the contrary.  But even with a list, I get distracted.  "Oh, I'll do neighbors first, then BFF's, then family."  Next thing we know, the list is half crossed-out and my ADD brain malfunctions trying to figure it out.  So then I make an updated separate list then rinse & repeat.   To anyone who ever thought, I wish I had a brain like hers, print out the paragraph and remember: no, you don't.

Why are you even?, you're probably wondering.  Because I do actually enjoy it.  I enjoy receiving them even more.  It's become a lost art and that makes me sad.  I don't want to contribute to that loss.  It is soothing to look back and then write out these cards.  I think I would miss it. Even if I do make it too complicated.

In case you think I'm exaggerating, look:

04 December 2016

Who Are All These Kids!?!

We just celebrated a few big birthdays in the family. With the kids there is now an age range of teenager to baby.  We now have three thirteen-year-olds in the family. (not the Littles but three nephews) Sweet baby is coming up on nine months old.  The eldest boy is about to be fifteen.  And we have a three year old boy, no longer a baby as I tend to call him, on the other side of the family.  My adult nieces are now 21 and 24 years old.  Nephew will be 31 in January, Niece will be 35 in a few days.

I carry that feeling that I imagine grandma's do.  There's just a joy in having all these kids around.  It's astonishing to see them grow and become their own person.  Even more astonishing is watching their parents grow into parenthood and adulthood.

The Littles have very distinctly different personalities and now that they're ten, a person can see the individuals they are becoming.  One is super smart and skilled at humble-bragging, one is quiet and in their own imagination, and the other is pragmatic and very careful.

The Bigs...oh, they're so grownup now.  Biggest has a girlfriend and is no longer the nerdy little magician.  C2 is in that weird stage of trying to figure out how he fits in the grownup world, the school-ager world, and just the world in general.  Gosh, I hated being thirteen. 

Sweet baby is moments from walking.  He loves the guys in the family, he's a guys guy like his uncle Kevin.  He's pretty adventurous, if it comes to playing with his siblings or trying new foods, no matter.  He is all in.

The other nephew, same family but different parents, is also thirteen.  He is so socially awkward that it's almost painful.  He's going to school now so I've noticed that is starting to change.  The biggest hurdle he is facing, I believe, is that he has a coming-out in his future. The family is completely fine with that yet his parents seem to be rooted in denial.  "But he likes GIRLS!" his mother says "He loves Demi Lovato and..."  I just want to shout "He wants to do their HAIR and wear their SHOES, not date them!"  This is not a crisis, just something that time will take care of.

The other thirteen year old is Nephew's brother-in-law, whom they had temporary custody.  He's living with Nephew's sister-in-law, visits often, is doing very well in school and has acclimated from being essentially feral.  His "mother" remains in jail and should be there until he turns 18. He still is a little overwhelmed at the sheer volume, both in number and in sound, of all of us.

The grown nieces are doing well, in their own ways.  Eldest has an apartment, rented from her former stepmother (totally weird, right?) and has a long-term boyfriend who is a little on the odd side but very good to her.  (he randomly bursts into song...)  Youngest is still finding her way but has yet *KNOCK EFFING WOOD* to make any life altering mistakes.  No marriages, no pregnancies, no addictions.  She is much like me in  the Go Where the Wind Takes You way of living life.

George, my three-year-old nephew, has finally decided to talk  and holy buckets, he has a lot to say.  He narrates what he is doing or what you are doing, and it is adorable. His favorite thing to do is help, doesn't matter how big or little the task, if he's helping he is overjoyed.

The toughest part I have with this whole grandkid thing is watching the adults make decisions, sometimes what I would consider mistakes, and having to just be a passive spectator.  Instinct is to guide, advise, and frankly, shout. Bottom line is that it is their lives and their decisions, even if we know better.  I realize that this is every parent/significant family member in the world and not just me.  But if you know me in real life, you know I have no hesitation to advise and guide. 

Now we're entering the Christmas holiday where feelings of goodwill are abundant.  I will resist buying the kids All.The.Things and be excited to watch them open their presents.  We will continue to be the naughty NotGrandparents who open all the packaging against their parents wishes.