Sunday, February 27, 2011

That's Awkward!

      A student, in my niece’s second grade class in Surry, North Dakota inspired this post.  The class was working on adjectives to describe themselves. My niece, the teacher, was doing it with them. When she got to the “A” in her name she said to the class, “I’m stuck can you help me think of a word to describe myself that begins with “A”? Her little student, happy to fill in the blank, piped up with, “Awkward, you’re definitely Awkward”! We laughed about it, but for some reason the story stuck with me now for a few days.
      Awkward… is a word that means many things if you look it up, but one of definition is “clumsily or unskillfully performed”. I can think of a lot of things I felt awkward about over the years that’s for sure! The first thing that comes to mind is my body type. I never had a “bikini bod”- even as a teenager. I don’t even remember wearing clothes in single digit sizes after elementary school.  A twelve was skinny for me!  I never had a pair of “skinny jeans”, or wasted my time drinking skinny girl margaritas with so far to go.
        I had awkward permanent teeth. I’d been really sick as a child and treated with antibiotics which affected my teeth. My teeth came in with deep fever pockets making me feel really awkward about smiling for years. It wasn’t until after I was married, and had dental insurance that I was able to have all my teeth capped two at a time (that’s all insurance allowed) for years.
         Although I always admired people who could wear scarves, I always feel like a spectical in them. They are always falling off, lopsided or just silly looking on me. I found a u tube video lately that was really helpful, so at least I know how they are supposed to be now. I’m determined to get over the awkwardness of it!  Check this out, maybe if you suffer from the same affliction and the video will help you too.   
      Eyeglasses are an awkward thing. I was so excited at the prospect of getting glasses when the teacher contacted my Mom, filling her in on my need for glasses. I was in the eighth grade when I got a pair of in style, hot of the press, genuine 70's wire rims! I walked out of the Drs. office able to see every leaf on the tree, as if someone focused a camera lens. But by the time I got home my excitement had already waned. The little plastic nose pieces were digging into the sides of my nose, and my ears were being gouged by the sharp bend in the bows!  Besides, once I could see so clearly, I didn’t like the glasses nearly as much as I did being fitted for them while half blind!
       The next time I needed glasses, I talked Mom into soft contacts, which were a hundred something dollars in the seventies. Wearing contacts was a pain as well. At the end of the day, you had to wash them and steam them. Once they were cooking in the steamer you were blind until morning. One night I came home late and tired, peeled them off my corneas, and put them each in a cup of water on the sink rather than clean and steam them. Cleaning off the counter the next morning, Mom dumped them down the drain. I don’t remember if I was madder at her for blinding me, or she at me, for putting them there in the first place!
        Going for your first girl check-up…there's one that’s pretty awkward, but having your first baby trumps that!  In the early stages of labor, you start out embarrassed and lady like. Moving into hard labor you end up swearing, moaning, and more than willing to show the goods to ANYONE willing to just DO SOMETHING! Now that I think of it, any sex thing was really awkward. Do you ever really get over that one? I haven’t.  Probably has something to do with the body image I talked about. I've always said I was going to come back in my next life, the kind of girl that men slammed on their brakes to take a look at. Since I’ve seen that scenario close up and personal, I decided that's just has a whole new set of problems. I’ll stick with being what I am. I always had boyfriends and friends; I just had to work harder to move them past my bodacious bod.
         If you’re younger and reading this, I assure you awkwardness fades with age. Things that freaked me out years ago, leave me unfazed these days. I have realized with time that a lot of people wear glasses, are chubby, without perfect teeth, and most of them have babies even! I used to think if someone else had more physical beauty or creativity than I, that made what I was less somehow. Life isn’t a competition, even though it certainly is easy to be sucked into that mindset. When you finally realize that there really is only one you, and that you were designed by God, with all your personality attributes and physical flaws alike; then its ok to have all of it, good and bad.

        Remember the movie baby talk when the little sperms swim toward the egg in the opening few minutes? The first little tailed creature to win the race finally breaks the barrier and fertilizes the egg! When Sydney was little she really enjoyed the idea of being such a good swimmer to have gotten there first!
       Some of the people I admire the most have obvious flaws. I remember when my Mom’s only sister had a heart attack. That was twenty years ago already.  I was feeling so sad and thinking how important she is to me in the waiting room. Did it matter to me that she was always chubby? No! I loved her the same thin or chubby. That’s the day I stopped caring so much about the vanity reasons about dealing with being overweight. I am not saying one should ever be overweight, because it takes an enormous toll on your body physically and emotionally. It should be about taking care of yourself with self-love... not self-loathing.
       In my opinion, Barbara Streisand for example, has the most awkward nose in the world on one hand; and one of the greatest gifts in the world on the other. I say decide you are what you are, and make the most of the positive, accept the negative and help other people accept it too.
       Awkward. The letters form the perfect look for that weird word.  I don’t think Tiffany’s student meant anything personal when he came up with “awkward”. It’s a buzz word right now, so I’m sure he hears it all the time. Tiffany found it funny and good for her. As I young person without a lot of confidence, I probably would have been analyzing it forever…as I am right now ha! I told you I think too much - it’s a family tradition.

     When I was looking up awkward the web came up with these pictures and some of them are awkward all right! These were only the G rated ones!  Happy Sunday!

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Big Snafu

sna·fu  audio  (sn-f) KEY  Slang
NOUN:pl. sna·fus   
A chaotic or confused situation.
In a state of confusion or chaos.
sna·fued, sna·fu·ing, sna·fus
To make confused or chaotic.

     Snafu, … I hate that word. My mom used it a lot when you had a hitch in your plans or a problem would come up in her latest knitting pattern. Well, I have a snafu at the moment,  which derailed my sparkle campaign somewhat for the last two weeks. I will share it with you all, because if you haven’t noticed I’m an open book.
     Two weeks ago I went to the Dr. for lab results, expecting the usual your triglycerides are too high, but not expecting anything to bad, only to have the Dr. say I was in the moderate stage of KIDNEY FAILURE! Calmly, she said she was taking me off my diuretic medication I’ve taken for years, and sending me to a kidney specialist. I hardly heard anything else she said after that. I protested a bit about the diuretic because I need it, or I really get puffy looking and feeling. She snapped, “Well, how soon do you want to be on dialysis”? When she saw I got upset over that, she came closer with a Kleenex box and tried to smooth it over.
     I went home and read where having 39% of your kidneys working fit on the scale of kidney failure on the website and called Marcy. She came over and we cried and talked till Sydney came home from a Suns game she was at. Syd and I cried some more.  The next day I was in shock yet. I wrote to a good friend of mine, telling her my crappy news, who said, “Satan would love to derail your plans, don’t let him”. That was good advice.
     So, for the last two weeks despite walking and working, I haven’t lost a pound, because what I lost in fat; I've gained in fluid retention, but that can’t go on forever right? The kidney specialist ran some initial tests and get this…he thinks I damaged my kidneys taking NSAIDS or ibuprohen for my back problems! If you skip any of this post, don’t skip this last part!
      All fall, I’ve have had horrible back problems, and was prescribed pain pills, but I didn’t want to get addicted to them, so I "made do" on ibuprohen. I’d take three to do any kind of work. When Kerry and I were on vacation I would take three sometimes twice a day, to handle all the sitting and maybe a pm one to sleep.  Never did I ever, think that would be bad for me. They have anti-inflammatory properties as well as pain relief I thought.
     As of now, I have discontinued two medications and of course, will probably never take another ibuprohen in my life! They will retest everything in three weeks and see if I can gain any function I lost back, or stop the deterioration at least.  I hope anyone reading this will take away three lessons I learned the hard way. 1)  Don’t be your own Dr.  2) Be careful with over the counter medication and 3) Don’t wait until the eleventh hour to start taking care of yourself in the first place. I wish I hadn’t.
     After two weeks of feeling sorry for myself, being mad at the situation and scared of what’s ahead, I decided the sparkle program goes on as planned. Like Shelbey said, “Full speed ahead”. What really makes me mad is I don't really have a choice now if i want to live longer and I like things to be my idea not a have to situation.

      I rode my horse yesterday for the first time… he’s either part donkey or the victim of a lot of pilot error before I got him, but at least he didn’t buck me off! The only casualty was Sydneys’ three toes. He stepped on her foot! All the other days she’s been there with me, she had flip flops on! I kept saying you need boots on in case he steps on you.  Once again I was right, and she was darn glad she had boots on yesterday!
      I’m eating right and walking 30 minutes. I will have to increase the 30 minutes if I don’t start going down on the scale anytime soon but I'm still gonna sparkle; still gonna shine, in spite of this new snafu. Like I said I hate snafu’s.  

Saturday, February 19, 2011

What The Heck is Wrong With This World?

       Have you wondered why so many people have fallen away from going to church? Before I even attempted to write about this, I prayed that I not sound blasphemous or sacrilegious because that’s not my intention and I would not have survived without the strength I’ve gotten in my life from God’s word. You never bite the hand that feeds you and I'm not in any way. These thoughts are nothing more than my thoughts, not meant to be true for EVERYone who reads it.
       I grew up Lutheran, and I love the Lutheran hymns, liturgy and the main belief that no one can save themselves, it’s by grace alone that we are saved. Try as you may, there's nothing you could do, that would be enough to pay for what’s been done for us.

        As a child, I loved sitting in the, slippery, hard, blonde pews in Hope Lutheran Church, in Coulee, ND and watching Lillian play the piano as joyfully as the reverent hymns would allow. She hit a few clunkers along the way, but it was genuine and real. A handful of people were scattered as far away from the front row as they could get. Whenever a prayer was said, you could count on little Myrtle to be one word behind the rest of the congregation, every single Sunday! I attended that church until my Dad passed away forcing us to sit in the front row. I don’t think we ever went back.
        Mom, Kathy and I moved our membership to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Blaisdell, ND. We all liked the new church, because A. It was closer to home. B. We had Sunday school on Fridays after school, so that meant longer to sleep in on Sunday! And finally, C. Mom liked the ladies aid group there; they were her area life long farm friends and later, her honorary pallbearers when she passed away. Once a month they had "ladies aid" or ALCW and the ladies took turns leading bible study. Whoever served lunch that month always worked hard to have a huge meal which fed all the local people, the churched and unchurched alike. A meal was dropped off for anyone in town who couldn't make it to the church basement. The sick, the blind, the elderly or anyone "batching" (those living alone). That was about as genuine and caring for your own people as it gets. These women cooked hotdish, served buns, Jell-O and homemade bars every time community people got married, had an anniversary, or buried a friend. The Lutheran people were a stoic bunch, quiet about their faith. They would not think of intruding on someone elses faith or lack of it. You would never hear them going around asking others “Have you heard the word of the Lord today? No? Well, let me corner you and tell you about it"! People just weren't like that!  Back then the old Lutherans didn’t tell people, they showed people what it meant to be a Christian. The same could be said for love, they didn't tell you they loved you, they showed you but thats a whole other blog.
       During my teen years, church wasn't as important to me.  I went to church because I had to. You couldn’t get confirmed and become an adult member of the church if you didn’t turn in so many sermon notes from Sunday’s services at three years of weekly confirmation class. In the front of my first Bible from my parents with my name engraved on the front, I actually had a picture of Elvis glued in the front cover. While the pastor was teaching confirmation class, I was dreaming about Elvis. What was the first commandment again? I must have missed that one! More than once I’d try the “I’m sick”, so I could stay home on Sundays, when really I was tired from being out too late on Saturday night but Mom wouldn’t buy it…EVER! The next best thing was to go, but try to sit behind one of the two huge poles in the center of the pew.  Then you could lean back, avoid eye contact with the pastor and be in your own little world while trying to grasp the highpoints of the sermon for my notes.
        I moved to Berthold, ND, and became a member of Zion Lutheran Church as a married Mom with kids of my own. This is when I first started to see the shift in thinking in some church people. When you have kids in Sunday school in a small town, you feel obliged to take your turn teaching Sunday school, bible school, ladies aid, doing artwork for the Christmas program, serving on the alter guild and of course, serving lunch for area occasions was part of being a member. It was there though when I became a little jaded about church and Christianity. I expected church people to be different I guess,  from the general population. The moral code of a church goer, let alone a minister should be ...well ok, not perfect but certainly trying to be. I didn’t expect the pastor to call confirmants “jackasses”, I didn’t expect every sermon to be about the pastors personal life and not in a uplifting way,  I didn’t expect the Sunday School superintendent to be one of the biggest gossips in town, I didn’t expect my church friends to take up against a school teacher for really no reason other than they didn't like him. Or probably the one that bugged me most, was the same people you worked beside at church would not acknowledge you if you ever ran into them outside of Berthold. That was absolutely crazy to me!  I knew too much, and I didn’t like what I knew, and it interferred with my abiltity to believe in the good of that congregation. Not all people there certainly, there were many nice, nice people. Just some of them were too glory seeking for my liking.  
       When we moved to Minot ND, I joined First Lutheran Church and went to church because I loved it again!  I liked what the minister had to say, how he said what he said, and how it applied to my life. Sometimes it was as if it was from his mouth, straight to my ears. I didn’t get involved in anything, I just attended church services. I didn’t want to let anything get in my way of my worship experience! 

        I’ve moved to Phoenix, and attend both a Lutheran church and a huge nondenominational mission. I don’t know too much about the mission yet, I just signed up for backstage but what I know, I love so far. They have groups that work with the homeless, groups that work with kids, groups that work with addictions.  I also love the Lutheran church, but you can love two right? When I want pomp and circumstance and the beloved hymns I grew up with, I go to the Lutheran church. If I want to rock out to a comtemporary band and a charged up sermon, I go to the mission. It's my relationship with God, no matter where I go, if I go at all. I'm convinced he loves me either way.

       Here comes the negative sounding part. I think a lot of Christians have and are turning people off these days. Those who profess Christianity the loudest and I even venture to say alot of times, rather than sometimes here,  have some of the worst behavior one could have. I have actually seen on Facebook, scripture and" F_____ my family and grandparents" maybe three or four status posts apart on the same persons page. And I have seen that several times and different people (not those words exactly but...)  I am tired of some Christians acting like they are the chosen ones, and not having the moral code to even start to back it up. That makes non church goers not real anxious to get involved with those hypocrites. Church malfunctions don’t just happen on TV, they happen every day in our own places of worship. Some of the most dishonest and mean people I know, profess to be Christians publicly all the time! You can say I’m judging others by saying this and maybe I am, but how can you form an opinion if you don’t take in what you see and apply it to your life.  I think there is much more to being Christian than asking others are you saved? If you aren’t saved,  you need to do this and this and this...cuz our interpretation is that you must be born again and that’s what that means. Hang on a second while I belittle someone, or brag about myself and my Christianity, my music, my money, my…my…my. Some people spout off about every church function they attend.   

      Shelbey has always liked this line referring to being a Christian because you attend church.  It goes,  “let’s all sleep in the garage tonight and in the morning we’ll all be cars”! How true that is!
        Do I always act like a Christian, certainly not!  I actually wonder many times if I should even call myself one because I have so many failures and shortcomings. I swear more than I wish I did, I don't treat my body as a temple ( I know your shocked at that one), and I love some pretty raunchy music for the artistic value of it and oh, so many more I could reveal. As much as Shelbey likes the car comparison, I like the fisherman’s prayer, look it up... it ends something like when I get to heaven I hope I will be "judged big enough to keep". 

        I prefer the old Lutheran humble way of keeping your faith to yourself. Reach out to people with a sincere heart, and an honest I want to help you, and my helping you helps me. When I go to church, my worship is between me and God. I visualize him to be like my father. I thank him for the things I he has given me, I ask him to guide me and guide my words and actions because when left to my own I fall on my face.  I ask him for what I think I need. Like any Father that has the wisdom of the big picture, sometimes he says yes, sometimes he says no, and other times he says.... maybe later. He stands back and lets me struggle sometimes. Good fathers do that, knowing you will become stronger.  I want the people in my life to see that my heart is in the right place, even when I’m not perfect or even close to perfect. Not because im saying my heart is in the right place, but because they can see that for themselves.   
        In conclusion, I think if today’s Christians talked less and acted more, the doors would be over flowing at the churches. The whole world really needs a moral compass, if you ask me. Where do you learn that, if not from church?  
       Today I was exiting a boulevard, and a big white pickup truck was parked illegally out in the street. As I started to go around him in the pouring rain, he started opening his door to get out which could have hit my car, or I could have taken his door off for him. I touched my horn,  barely squeaking out a beep as to not startle him but let him know I was there and drove on to the stop sign. I was shocked to see him running up  behind my car, and violently start banging on my window with both hands like he was wildly playing bongo drums! I wound down the window ( which everyone thinks I was nuts to do, but I didn't think). He called me a bitch, ask me why I beeped at him when he was just sitting  there with his wife and kids!  I calmly said, "I didn’t want to bang your door or have you step out in front of me. I didn’t figure that would be good for either of us". He screamed,  "mind your own f__king business"!  Shelbey and I were shell shocked! He was parked illegally, and I was trying to protect both our cars, and he ran me down?  Shelbey said, “Wow, I feel sorry for those kids in the car watching this"! We were both shaken and upset, but after talking about it five minutes or so I said. “Ok, he is NOT going to ruin our day, no more talk about it", and she agreed. 
       Tonight, I was prompted to write about what can be done in a world that seems so out of control. This seems to be a world where Christians are all talk, and not a lot of action that isn’t self-glorifying. Everyone is over the top angry, and the rest of us are scared of them.  What has happened to people? What has happened to the old Christians I knew? I miss them. Will the real Christians stand up? No, better yet… stay seated and do your best work. Like the song goes,” they will know we are Christians by our love, by our love, they will know we are Christians by our love”.

       This link below is my favorite Lutheran hymn...It tells  that God is there through all the stages of your life. Your birth, the the times you fall back, your middle age and finally your death.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Just a note!

Just a quick note everyone! I have am having a busy streak here. I have online classes, one I DO NOT LIKE. It’s on sobriety and how that involves more than just not taking that drink. I get that, but the whole book is about that, and the teacher nit picks about small things, which makes you dread doing the assignments.

As you probably read I got a horse and I can not wait to get him to Marcy’s on Thursday! One of Kerry’s concerns about me getting a horse, was how am I going to stay focused on all this school work with a horse… and I must admit it is a little hard. All I want to do is look at tack online and videos! Kerry didn’t think it’s a good idea, the whole horse thing, but he’s not saying no. That’s one of my favorite things about Kerry is he lets me be me. I don’t know if my back can handle it, but I’ve read the riding itself is ok, it’s the heavy lifting etc that is bad for your back. I’m not sure how it will go but I want to at least try it.

My diet/exercise is going well. I have lost 15 lbs. and my clothes feel better. I have a Dr’s appt to go over routine blood work tomorrow and I’m hoping she is happy with the numbers. I had full out diabetes for awhile this last year, and I’m hoping that goes away when I lose some weight. I am continuing to just try and eat well, take good care of myself, not deny myself the things I love, just have them in smaller quantities. Yesterday, I wanted a coke so bad, a real one, so I opened one, took four “glugs” and tipped it upside down in the sink and dumped it(don’t tell Kerry he’d have a fit!) ha! I’m walking 30 min and I could go longer now, but I still struggle with staying on it, and I have to live with this, so thirty min for six days a week, is enough. I still have Syd, (aka Jillian Micheals) trying to talk me into longer, but I tell her to buzz off.

Tomorrow I am going over to the Shelbey’s school to judge monologue tryouts for the musical they put on once a year. I’m so proud of the job she does. She is a beloved teacher to her students and when she took that position at an excelling school with a lot of musical theater, she was a little intimidated and I pep talked her into seeing it as growth for herself. She has grown into the shoes so well, everyone tells her what a great teacher she is!

Brendon, got a new car last week, which he needed pretty bad. He has a new girlfriend I just met, that I really like. She said she’s the old, new girlfriend. They’ve been seeing each other for two years but have finally decided to make it official. I’m thrilled for them.

Sydney is living with me and single, at the moment, so I actually see her some. She is so much company and is such a fun person. We both sit with our computers on our lap and watch TV at the same time in the evenings. She’s doing well at her job at Sports Clips…and loves her job! I never hear her complain about going. She really enjoys it.

I talk to my sisters almost every day, and Kerry when he’s not on the road. He is coming in a couple of weeks so I’m starting to tell him what to bring, when he comes. He always brings me frozen ground chuck from Charlie’s Meats in Minot. Every time he says, “it’s $3.00 a lb you know” and I say, “I KNOW, I want it anyway” ha! Gotta have that! He comes with hamburger in his carry on and leaves with oranges and grapefruit from the trees here. He has clothes and shaving stuff here already.

So, that’s it for now. Ill write something deeper when things settle down. I’m having my annual Grandma party on Mom’s birthday this weekend on the 20th. I always have Marcy and her girls and my daughters over for a girls night, once a year. We have a book club we call A Family Affair, I give them a book for Christmas and we all read it, and have dinner on Moms birthday and talk about the book and celebrate her life. She’d like that.

Hope everyone had a good Valentine’s Day. I got the cutest message to wake up to this morning… a video from Hunter, Jessica’s (Marcy’s daughter) son. He’s two, and the on the video he says, “Hi, Pam, Happy Valentine’s Day”, in his little chipper voice with his puffy eyes from a good nights sleep! Made my day!

Monday, February 7, 2011

One Day I Think I Will....

“We will take a vacation, “one day”! When I retire I’m going to….”, I will find peace with that estranged friend or family one day! Do you have a bucket list? Are you crossing things off along the way? I never have had one, because I’m not much of a planner for life, say nothing of death. Having my Father die when I was 12, changed how I’ve lived my adult life, in so many ways, but especially my outlook about doing things “one day”!

My parents were going to build a new house “one day”. That day never came. That was always so sad to me, that they worked from sun up to sun down, and never had that new house. Sadder still, is that our Mother never enjoyed the beautiful place she did get, when she decided to move to town from the farm. Kathy and I helped Mom pick out the perfect place for her. The utopia was a condo up on a high hill in Minot, with a great view overlooking the valley and all the city lights below.  It had a gas, flip the switch fireplace, a far cry from stoking up the coal like she'd done years before.  Her full size bed that crowded her farmhouse bedroom, was dwarfed in her the nice big bedroom in town. The best part in my mind was the master bath with a garden Jacuzzi tub. Just flip the switch and "Calgon take me away", after all those years of hard work! And finally, her own washer and dryer… no more running to a laundromat twenty five miles away! This place even had a heated, underground, garage to park in, where she could unload her groceries into a shopping cart and take the elevator up to her door. No more plugging her car in and running, literally, to the garage to start her car to warm up and freezing while doing it! The snow was always removed no more big snow drifts blowen behind her garage door. She had people her own age to play cards with and visit back and forth with , right across the hallway. We even talked her into a new table, couch, and two recliners (never had a recliner before).

Mom never enjoyed any of it! She could not see herself in that setting. All she did was worry about the money she spent on what she saw as her own comforts. Marcy chimed in from AZ, with Kathy and I, and gave her the “its an investment Mom, and you can always get the money back” pep talk, being sure she knew that we all thought this was a great idea. She still worried her little head off. I think she was more lonely there, than she ever was at the farm. In hindsight, it was also the beginning of her decent into her illness so I think her reasoning was being affected. She waited too long to enjoy the good things she so much deserved. Maybe they were more important to us than to her, and she would have been happier with the money.

I decided not to wait for things that were really important after my Dad died so young, and then my brother at 38. I haven’t really decided if that vow was a curse or a blessing, but I\m sticking with a blessing, although its made for living on the edge a few times. Kerry’s a lot like my Mom, and prefers cash over fun times. I never really got that. If you save some of your income for tomorrow, why not spend the rest on today was my theory.

Experiences are what I wanted for my family, more than material things, although you need them too, I know. Over the years we have done many fun things with our kids. My outlook was a used car would get me from point a to b just as well as a new one, no one was going to remember what we drove once we got into the current decade with our car. We could trade that new car payment for going places and doing things. I’d have loved to have both of course,  but everything in life is a trade off and some things just aren’t for trade in my mind.

When the kids were growing up we always took a vacation once a year, and for a lot of people these days that’s nothing, but it was all we could afford. We went to Disneyland, Disneyworld, Wisconsin Dells, Black Hills, Toronto, Phoenix ,Casper, Winnipeg, California, Minneapolis to the Mall of America and Valleyfair, Branson, San Diego, Hollywood, Seaworld, Yellowstone Nat'l Park, Glacier Nat'l Park and everywhere in between! Kerry and I even went on a few trips alone. We went to Whitefish, Mt on the train for our tenth anniversary, and to Nashville and the Smokey Mountains for our 25th anniversary, and even to Jamaica for his 50th birthday! Kerry didn’t have a choice that time because it was a surprise, but it turned out to be a lot of fun! We rented a cab for a day and had him drive us up in the small villages and we saw how the everyday people lived

My favorite family vacation pic I have it framed


       I am a gypsy at heart, but Kerry’s not. He just goes where we point him, when it comes to travel ha. He likes the experience after the fact, but gets worried about going and being out of his routine. Last year, I planned an Alaskan cruise for him and Brendon. I knew it would make Kerry nervous but Brendon’s half gypsy, and been brought up gypsy, so I knew he’d be good at details. Kerry was so excited and nervous about going, he didn’t sleep at all the night before, and had himself so riled up about going, he was sick the day of! Brendon did the last minute, clean up stuff you do before leaving on a vacation, and had Kerry go try and rest some before they left.

     When Kerry got home from the cruise, he’d loved it as much as Brendon did. Kerry actually bought a jacket, that cost close to 200.00! They had taken an excursion on a boat from the Deadliest Catch TV show, and were shown how crabbing is done ( I thought Kerry knew all there was to know there but…ha). Kerry does not part with money for touristy souvineer stuff like that often, so I knew he thought it was pretty amazing.

       I read once, “if you ask people on their deathbed no one will ever say, “I wish I had taken LESS vacations and spent LESS time with my kids”. Nor will you hear, “ I wish I had more money in the bank”. For me, money is nothing more than the paper in exchange for the things that are important to you. Things like food, shelter, transportation and fun with your family. I don’t squander money on stupid things, nor do I think you have to have every experience that comes along either, so nothing means anything.

      Some of what keeps me on the treadmill right now, is that I want to go to Europe. I know after listening to Sydney having spent three weeks in Italy last summer, that I will need to be in good walking shape. Last week I propped up my Frommer’s Europe travel book where I can see it from the treadmill, because I AM going! Kerry says, he’s NOT leaving the country, so I guess I’m going on one of those tour plans with one of the kids, because I’m not shacking up with a stranger in a room, for however long it takes to see some sites!

I don’t have a bucket list per se, I actually find them a little morose. However, I do live life aware that it’s not going to go on forever, and neither is one’s mobility. Moving into the senior citizen realm, I have thought about how am I going to end the story of my life. I plan for my story to have a long drawn out, feel good ending, but I never put off till tomorrow what I can do today…. unless its work!
Ps. Two more pounds last week, that’s twelve but I had two margaritas over the weekend and some nachos with the girls so…twice at that...I am little mad at myself. So now I need to go do some real work ha.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Best Things in Life Aren't Things

      Does every family have their favorite stories you tell over and over? I know ours does. One of my best tales of a narrow escape was when I drove Sydney, and her new little boyfriend Justin, to their first MORP dance freshman year. I took them shopping for matching outfits earlier in the week, they went to dinner, and were so anxious to go to their first school dance here in Phoenix. Sydney and I were staying with Marcy, because Sydney had only been in school here a month or so. Marcy let me drive them to the dance in her beautiful, green, Park Avenue car with all the bells and whistles. It was out at Falcon Field here in Phoenix, which is an aviation site with lots of different airplanes for pictures and big enough for a dance.

     Driving there, I was thinking they were so cute dressed their new black shirts and khaki pants.  I was in the moment, so happy Sydney was making friends here, and Justin seemed like a sweet kid.

Sydney and Justin Going to MORP

      I can’t see very well in the dark and that old age sign has been going since I was young. Pulling into the dance I could see a lot of kids up by the lighted doorways, standing around in their little clicks. Mentally I planned to make the drop off in the circular drive that was coming up. I made the turn, and all of a sudden we were all pointed almost straight down, staring into a huge hole with water at the bottom! I’d turned into a huge ditch! Throwing the car into reverse, I tried to back up, but it was to steep with nothing but grass for traction, so I just spun! Justin, embarrassed by the grand entry I’d provided, decided to bale out! Sydney too slid out after him on the passenger side, running up towards the door of that dance, while answering questions and fielding jokes about who’s the drunk that is dropping them off? Having not even shut the car door when they hopped out, they’d left me with the interior lights on in the car, showing me off in all my splendor! Thankfully, some young boys came and Justin too after I got mad at him, and pushed me back up the steep grade, and I drove home with my foot shaking on the accelerator like Thumper the rabbit! I was so thankful I hadn’t messed up Marcy’s car! All I could think of was that water below me! We still laugh about that one!

      Another family story is when Mom had fairly advanced Alzheimer’s disease. Marcy was back in Minot visiting us, and staying with Mom. I picked them up and we went to Wal-Mart, parking by the garden entry because Mom wasn’t walking much without help and we only had two quick things to get. She just wanted to stay in the car. The weather was nice so I assured Mom I’d be right back, locked the doors so she couldn’t get out, and no one could get in and ran in to grab what we needed. Marcy wanted to copy some pictures she’d taken, at the machine at the front of the store, by the other entrance. I got what I came to do, and went back to the car. Mom was sitting quietly watching the people go in and out, happy to be out for a little while. I decided to drive the car up to the other entrance, where Marcy was working on pictures. After sitting there a few minutes, I decided maybe I better go tell Marcy where I was parked now that I’d moved the car because it wasn’t very visible.

      When I came in Wal-Mart, Marcy was having trouble with the picture machine, so I took over because I’d used it many times before. Already exasperated with the machine, she said, “Oh darn it, now I forgot to bring the coupon in, I'll have to run back to the car”! I kept working on the pictures, and all of a sudden both at the same time, I heard Marcy’s voice and heard her feet on the big mat in front of the door. I turned to see her fear filled face yelling out, “Mom took the car, or somebody took her”! “The car’s gone, I searched the whole parking lot”! I had the keys, and it dawned on me I had never told Marcy yet that I moved the car, as I’d gotten distracted by the picture malfunctions.

Mom, Marcy, Kathy and Me

      I have never seen Marcy so scared and I hope I never do again! People in Wal-Mart were wondering what the commotion was about! All I could do was break out in my wild hyena laugh, that goes on forever! Marcy wasn’t impressed, and less impressed the more I laughed; she didn’t find it nearly as funny as I did, for some reason! She’d been all over the parking lot, except for the side of the building where I’d parked! I laughed my way to the car, and Marcy was a little less mad by the time we got there. I told Mom my funniest story in the world. Talking a lot or not, she never cracked a smile, and managed to scolded me, “You shouldn’t be laughing, she could have had a heart attack”! I still laugh writing this.

     Another time I was in Miracle Mart in Minot. I came out with my cart full of groceries. As I approached my car, key in hand, I noticed someone had plastered a bumper sticker about loving Christ with a fish on my bumper. It was metal and I love Christ as much as the next person but I don’t like any bumper stickers! I stood there trying to peel it off, but it was on there to stay! The adhesive was just not budging and I was fuming to myself, I could not believe the gall of some Jesus freak that slapped that on my car, with glue like this! About that time I looked up and to see an orange pillow in the back window, and realized it was not MY CAR! My own car was two cars up! You have never seen such a grocery unloading machine in your life as I was to get out of there, before these people came out and saw their metal sticker bent up on one end!

     My last little family story is our all time favorite! Kerry and I and Kelly and Lori  (Kerry’s sister and her husband) left our kids with the Grandma’s and were going fishing/camping which didn’t happen very often that we ever left the kids behind. Kerry always wanted to fish with a boat and we never had one, so I asked my uncle Lawrence if we could borrow their boat for the weekend. He was so nice, and said yes. When we picked it up Greg mentioned they it had a fairly big motor on it for water sports. I said to Kerry on the way, "are you sure you know how to run a boat”? He came back with, “ How hard is it to run a boat'?  "You push the lever forward to go, and back to stop”! I trusted him...why not he’s very mechanical.

     Finally at the river, camping spot picked out, Lori and Kelly set up their tent trailer and we set up our lawn chairs beside our school bus camper. Yay, now its time for a little boat ride. All four of us were/are overweight. We climbed into the boat with our life jackets on, and readied ourselves for a fun ride. I said, to Lori, “Look at all the birds circling, that’s not a good sign”, and we laughed.

Kelly, Lori, Shelbey, Kerry and Brendon

     Kerry turns the key up front. Urr, Urr, Urr….a drunk older gentleman yells from the shore, “you got your battery hooked up”? Kerry turns, and passes the message and the buck to Kelly, who hurries and hooks it up. Kerry turns the key again, Urr. Urr. Urr. The drunk old man hollers, this time a little more annoyed sounding, “you got the fuel line hooked up”? Again, Kerry looks at Kelly and Kelly hooks that up. By now I’m losing faith in Kerry and thinking this could be like a Gilligan’s Island rerun with him as the skipper. Finally the motor starts.

     He engages the lever forward and we are barely idling along like a purring kitten. With all four of us fatties in a boat with no speed it was pointing up! All we can see is sky! Hopefully the guy on shore was drunk enough not to remember this sight tomorrow! Kerry, looks back at the three of us, all serious and sitting there like stuffed sausages in our lifejackets. He says, “ Jesus, and they say they ski with this thing”? Lori and I were wishing we’d stayed ashore, we had kids to think about!

     Finally, we get upright and can look out over the water. Still not much speed, but enough to get us way out in the water and have Kerry hang us up on a sand bar! Kerry says, “you guys ( I think he called us fatties, I’m not sure, like Kevin James says, ) are gonna all have to get out there on the hood while I push us off with this oar”. By now Lori and I are praying to get back to shore! Once he gets us pushed off, I angrily snarled, “take us back to shore until you figure out what your doing, I knew you didn't know how to run a boat”! He insisted, he knew what he was doing - there was something wrong with the boat!

     We happily got out walked to the camper and plunked our grateful behinds in lawn chairs. The old drunk guy came over to inquire about what’s going on. I relay there is “something wrong with the boat”! He says, in his best old timer voice, “I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it, is the dumb son of a bitch that’s trying to run it’! With that, he briskly heads down to the lake where Kerry and Kelly are still messing around looking for the hidden problem. We curiously watch as the guy climbs in and Kerry moves over. Kelly is still back by the motor. The guy throws the lever into reverse and they roar backwards taking in some water. Then they fly forward skipping accross the water,  cruising probably 60 mph around the river in the distance. Lori and I are apprehensively watching, we knew the guy was drunk, and irratated as we were, still preferred to go home mad wives, rather than widows.

     They roared back to shore and the guys come up to us at the camper, with their own tale of how the old drunk with all the know how, plowed through the water so fast on take off that water came into the boat! Unaffected, the old guy told Kelly, "pull the plug"! Kellys eyes got big as saucers wondering if he should or not, but he pulled the plug in the bottom of the boat,  and the water was sucked right out! The drunk showed Kerry there was a high and low speed, that he didn't know about. Lori and I ventured back out with Kerry at the helm the next day and it was a fun day! We forever tell our "boat story".

      I’ve been thinking we need more of these stories, more silly mistakes, more crazy experiences that make our lives sparkle with fun and excitement! Those aren’t going to just happen, we have to make them happen! I want more experiences than material things for my family, and that is at the top of my agenda for this part of our lives. I read one time where if you really want to make a memory, you need to push yourself past what you would normally do, and out of your comfort zone. That’s why when the kids and I went to San Diego we went on the Segway Tour. If you haven’t done that, do, it was so much fun! They have them in most major cities!

     Thank God, for all of our days! The great ones with great stories to tell, the sad ones we have grown from, and the majority that are just nothing real good or real bad, but stabilizing and satisfying. Check out the song link below, its one of my favorites! Seize the day! God is good!