She Also Loved Extra Cheese On Her Pizza

She Also Loved Extra Cheese On Her Pizza

It’s hard to explain exactly what 13 years feels like. You know how it is getting older: the days blur into weeks, and then into months, and finally into years. It feels so cliche to say, “time goes by so fast.” And yet it does, and it is. If someone had told me two, five or even 15 years ago that I would be parentless by the age of 43, I probably would have replied with a a certain amount of hubris, “no way!” Even though I’ve always known life to be inherently unpredictable, as I’ve been thrown quite a few curve balls in my day, predicting the unimaginable is never something you can really ever prepare for. So you don’t.

I’ve said to a few friends and family over the course of the last few months, that after my dad passed away, I felt an orphan-ness that I didn’t expect. Even though I have built my own independent life, and my parents were no longer “taking care of me,” the relationship we had, and their presence in my life, was a constant source of comfort and support. I admit, sometimes I took it too much for granted.

Miss you dad

Miss you dad

Well, not writing about my dad’s recent passing hasn’t made the grieving process any easier, so let’s give this a try. It’s been quite a few months. I had already been struggling to keep up with my creative goals, when on June 6, I got the call no one ever wants to get. Even though Dad had been weakened by the completion of his lung cancer treatments, we all expected a full recovery (doctors and himself included). So when he passed away in his sleep taking a nap one afternoon, it was a heartbreaking shock that turned my world upside down.

I am sure I will write more about what I’ve been thinking and feeling over the past couple of months in future posts. After all, writing can be a healing process for me. As it happens, Drew and I were binge watching Downton Abbey in late spring/early summer. It was timely when Maggie Smith’s character, the Dowager Countess, tells the oldest daughter, Lady Mary Crawley, who is grieving the death of her new husband, Matthew, “The fact is, you have a straight forward choice before you: you must choose either death, or life.” Part of what I love about the Countess is how she cuts to the truth.

So while I am choosing life, one day at a time, I couldn’t restart my blog posting without sharing the tribute I made to my dad at his memorial service. So I’m concluding this post with the eulogy I gave at Dad’s memorial service. Writer that I am, doing it didn’t come easy. Procrastination was the first challenge because I thought the longer I put off writing it, maybe it meant he wasn’t really gone. But on the eve of his service I knew I needed to put fingers to the keys and allow whatever would be to flow out. The following was my message of love and loss. I am pleased with how it turned out. I really hope Dad would have been too.

Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back

Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back

I don’t know what I was thinking with this Every Day In May blog challenge. I’ve done these kinds of marathon challenges before, and they always turn out the same: they feel like a marathon. More specifically, they transform my passion into a chore. I hate that. Sure, the pride of finishing the challenge is a great momentary high, but in the end, not worth the collateral damage of burn-out.

So I’m calling quits to this one right now, even though I have several days of posts that I just didn’t get to posting. I could go back and just delete my original challenge announcement and reschedule the two other posts that I did manage to publish. I wish life was as easy to edit as a blog. But I am not going to do that. I am going to honor my process, even though it includes a failure, ummm, or rather, set-back.

I just re-watched the

Why I Volunteer

Why I Volunteer

Every time I have to leave the house for a full day of meetings, I am reminded of my awe and appreciation for all the working parents out there. Especially the single working parents. I really don’t know how they do it. I left my house at 9 a.m., and got home around 3 p.m. I immediately had to walk Alton and then sit down at the computer to get some more work done, for about another hour and half.

That means nothing else got done in my house. So today I will play some catch-up on the housework that didn’t get done yesterday. I’m thankful to have the flexibility to do what I love and take care of the house, it’s just some days I wish there were two of me, or a magic wand. Kudos again to all the parents (and grandparents, aunts, uncles, older siblings, etc.) doing it all.

While I don’t have a full-time job, I do have multiple volunteer responsibilities that do keep me busy and attending meetings out of the house on a semi-regular basis. Two meetings landed both on the same day yesterday which is why I was gone so long. The first was a strategic planning meeting for the board I Chair at the Center for Independence of Individuals with Disabilities. It is a non-profit Independent Living Center

A Cracked Cross and Jeopardy

A Cracked Cross and Jeopardy

I am sure you have heard of deferred maintenance of a house. You know, those projects that aren’t super important, but still should get done at some point. Well, I’ve been tackling some deferred maintenance of my life. Projects of all types of randomness that I’ve wanted to get done for a very long time, yet, somehow never made it to the top of my to-do list.

One set of projects I would classify as “needing repair.” One of the keepsakes on this list is a really pretty decorative glass cross that I bought almost 10 years ago. Unfortunately it has been broken for almost half that time. The story goes like this: In 2008, the Presbyterian Church had its bi-annual national conference in San Jose. Andrew and I, being local Presbyterians, volunteered to serve on the organizing committee. Specifically, we helped organize and make arrangements for attendees who have disabilities. Just a footnote to conclude: it was a great conference, a lot of fun, and an honor to serve. But back to the glass cross.

Part of the conference was a traditional Expo. An area set up where vendors and artisans could share information and also sell their products. That is when I came upon the booth selling the glass crosses. Now, truth be told, I’m not a big cross person. I only own one other cross, which was given to me at my baptism, and I don’t own any jewelry crosses. As Seinfeld would say, “

Every Day In May

Every Day In May

I’m trying an experiment and setting a goal. I want to write and post a blog every day in May. One of my longer-term life goals is to write a book some day— probably a memoir. But, as they say, practice makes perfect, and I need to improve on all things writing: my storytelling, sentence structure, syntax, grammar (and no thanks to spell check) my spelling. Maybe Harper Lee could sit down and knock out a best-seller at first try, but most authors I am sure, write many books before they see their name on any awards list.

Each day I will gather some thoughts into what i hope will be a read-worthy post. Along the way I will hone my skills a bit, see if I can sustain writing every day, and share a bit more about who I am and what keeps my world spinning. In advance, thank you for reading.

Also, the photo of each post will be a snapshot from my day. Just another way to share my story.

I HATE LOSING THINGS

I think I’ve lost my sunglasses. I don’t want to admit defeat just yet, but it doesn’t look good. Andrew and I were grocery shopping on Saturday, and I was in a rush at the check-out counter. Typically I put my sunglasses either on my head, or back in my purse.

Giving my photos some new life

Giving my photos some new life

I’ve tried to remember when I was growing up, how many pictures were on display in my home. What I recall is that we didn’t have that many. Not compared to what I saw in other people’s houses, or the fictional homes that I would see on TV. It felt like the few photos we did have on display were put there more by obligation than desire. My mom (who has passed away) would have been the one responsible for such things, and I never thought to ask her about why she did, or didn’t like hanging photos on the wall.

Now when it came to taking pictures, there was much more intention. Both my mom and dad would gather my sister and I in front of the camera for significant events and holidays. Photos that captured poses in front of the Christmas tree, the spontaneous snapshots opening birthday presents, and silly moments of our dogs doing goofy tricks or other adorable random things. I know partly why we took more photos than we framed. They were to send to my grandparents and extended family who lived in Minnesota.

As I grew up, my relationship with being photographed, and photos in general, was nuanced. As far as being photographed, I was self-conscious because of body image insecurity issues. I knew I should’t feel bad about how I looked in photos, but that didn’t mean I didn’t. I think that insecurity bled over into framing and putting photos on display.

Summer 2018 Vacation Roadtrip to the PNW: Victoria B.C. and Oregon (Part Two)

Summer 2018 Vacation Roadtrip to the PNW: Victoria B.C. and Oregon (Part Two)

This post is Part Two about our 2018 summer vacation road trip adventure to the Pacific Northwest and Canada. You can read Part One here.

I hadn’t been to Victoria since I was a kid. Andrew had never been at all. Part of the reason we wanted to head north of the border was to have the excuse to ride on the ferry. The other was to go to Butchart Gardens. I’ve heard it is a breathtaking tourist attraction and I wanted to go see if for myself.

When you want to take your car to Victoria by ferry, there is only one option: take a vehicle passenger ferry that leaves out of Port Angeles, WA. Thankfully there are several trips made per day. Accessibility on a vehicle ferry is tricky because of the way they load the cars. They pack them in so tightly there is no room to let down the van ramp. We hadn’t made arrangements prior, so on the way over we had stay in our van and ride over in the belly of the boat. It wasn’t the most ideal, but the trip was only like 90 minutes, and we were just thankful to be headed on our way. (Going home we were able to load our van first so we could exit it before other cars got parked in around us. So we were able to scoot upstairs via the exterior ramp to the passenger/viewing levels.)

Summer 2018 Vacation Roadtrip to the PNW: Heading North to Washington State (Part one)

Summer 2018 Vacation Roadtrip to the PNW: Heading North to Washington State (Part one)

It had been about six years since Drew and I had taken a proper road trip to the Pacific Northwest. My family lives in Washington State, and he has a sister who lives in Portland. Every time we make the trek we always make time to see both. But because we had more time for this vacation we wanted to add something new into the mix: head even further north to Canada!

In our planning phase we were initially torn between going to Vancouver or Victoria. Drew thought it might be easier just to drive north into Vancouver. But I really wanted to us to experience the ferry, and I wanted to revisit Victoria. I had been there a couple times as a kid, and I wanted to go back and share that with Drew. Additionally one other place we knew we wanted to visit, that was new to the both of us, was Butchart Gardens. I have several family members who have gone there who said it was breathtaking, and sure enough, it lived up to the hype. But more on that in a minute.

I Will Never Be A Morning Person

I Will Never Be A Morning Person

They say that people change over time. That maturity, or life experience, or, just adapting to new forced circumstances will, over time, inherently change who you are. Well, for some people, about some things, this may be true. But there is one thing about me (spoiler alert in the title) that I don’t think will ever change— and that is not being a morning person.

I’ve made it to 42 years on this planet and I can most assuredly say that I don’t like waking up early anymore now than I did when I was, well, ever.

But before I go any further, let’s get clear on how I define “morning person.” To me a morning person is someone who naturally enjoys waking up early (before 7 a.m.) and can be productive, cheerful and conversational. Even if they incorporate some kind of quiet, meditative part of their morning routine, my overall assertion is that for a “morning person,” being awake early is something that is as normal and welcomed as watching a favorite movie.

Truth is, I wish I was a morning person. Early morning is actually a very productive time of the day. The world is still coming to life so that gives time to get a jump on replying to emails, returning phone calls, or kickstarting some daily chores. I know on the rarest of days when I do get up earlier than normal I am able to capture some of this precious time and always feel better for doing so. It’s just not something I enjoy enough.