Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The one where my kids morph into teenagers....

The kids come flying up the walk after school. Both, chattering over each other. I finally get them to take turns talking. Kelton announces he has been carrying a girl's backpack after school for the past two days. Kaylen announces she has a new boyfriend (Sorry Sam. Looks like it is finally over between you and Kaylen. She fought the good fight but Kyle has won her heart. He is, after all, afraid of the dark and knows how to sew, like her. Bonds like that are hard to fight.) Anyone else fear for my future as the mom of teenagers? :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Loss Come in Three's

It's been a month of loss for many of us with dogs in our lives. The month started out with losing Jordan. About week later, a friend of mine had to say goodbye to her dog. Then, this past weekend, my good friend Stella, said goodbye to her pupster. All had loved long, happy lives but just the same, saying goodbye is never easy. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, like the absolute pure love of an animal.

"They" say things comes in three's. I hope this is it for a while.

My friend, Stella, lives in North Carolina. In October of 2001, when I was pregnant with Kelton, Dakota and I made a trip to visit her. It was an amazing week - one I recall often and fondly. I was introduced to sweet tea, grits, southern life, friends from across the United States and, of course, Stella's dog. Ironically, Stella's dog was named Dakota though he was well known by his nickname (well earned in his puppy years) of DakotaDevilDog.

Stella and I have been emailing back and forth for days now and in my email yesterday, I received a photo of me with DakotaDevilDog that she had come across. It brought tears to my eyes. I know how very deeply my friend is grieving for her furry child and I would give oh so very much to have one of those Travel Agent Jobs so that I could fly for free and hang out with her for a few days.

I'm thinking of you, Stella, and wishing you love and peace. He was an amazing furry soul.

Monday, January 23, 2012


The beauty of nature in my own backyard.

Oh how I am loving my new fancy dancy camera. :)

Kaylen is Almost Seven

Kaylen received an early birthday gift for me this weekend - pierced ears! She has been wanting them for well over a year now and over the summer I told her we would revisit the discussion around her 7th birthday.

She is three weeks from turning seven and a couple weeks ago the decision was made that she would indeed get her wish.

She was so excited! She climbed in the chair, brave as could be. Picked out her earrings (pink peace signs, thankyouverymuch), and waited. I wasn't sure what to expect but she surprised me 100%. She didn't flinch. Afterwards she said it didn't hurt a bit (I had been prepping her that it wouldn't probably hurt a little) and wasn't hurting after (boy oh boy - mine sure did when I had them done at age 17).

She ran to the mirrors and admired herself and then we picked out other earrings so she will have them when the day comes when she can finally change them. Stephanie bought her an adorable purple letter K earring wall holder to put them in to keep them safe.

For hours after, she would look at me and say "I can't believe I FINALLY have pierced ears!"

Me either, baby girl. Me, either.

Happy Early 7th Birthday!!!




Dreaming of Changes

I am feeling restless. It's that time of year when I need to clean out and shake up my surroundings. I've already taken two big loads to the donation center and every week I am picking a cabinet and doing a complete reorg of it. I didn't even remember I had some of the stuff I am finding.

Today I found myself dreaming of rearranging my bedroom. If only my bed was on casters, it would be easier to really be serious about. Not that I really could do much with it since the slider takes up an entire wall but none the less - the thought appeals to me.

I could shift my bed to the other side of the room, move my dressers and bookcase...but then, would I like it any better? I do like my room the way I have it. And I really plan to leave it as it is but still....every now and then I think switching it around would be fun.

Instead of moving heavy furniture around though, I guess I will just continue on with my annual purge of "stuff".

If only the kids would follow suit.

Monday Rambling

The snow, ever so fleeting, is gone and in its place, is rain. Lots and lots and lots of rain. I walked across the front lawn today and with each step, I sunk in the mushy-ness of rain soaked soil. The ground is so wet I don't see how it can hold an ounce more.

I'm kind of sad that we missed the record snowfall that the Seattle area had last week but then again, I'm not. As beautiful as snow is, they really got hit hard. Well - you know, hard for this area. I know most of the country has waaaay more snow than we do but for those of us who reside in the PNW, it was a lot of snow.

I'm pretty sure you would be hard pressed to find snow boots, hats and gloves in many stores after the last week. I think that part cracks me up the most - not many of us gear up with snow clothes for the winter so when the possibility of snow becomes a front page story, everyone runs out to buy boots, warm gloves, snow shovels, etc. It's almost comical. You know, unless I am one of the ones out searching in the hours before the storm is supposed to hit. Then? Then it isn't so funny.

It's those times that I am wishing for coldwater creek coupons, and free overnight shipping. But I guess you have to ask yourself "Where's the sport in that?"

Now - because I am who I am, I usually hit the after season sale racks and stock up for the following year. I bought snow pants for the kids two years ago that they still were able to wear this year. Kelton, not so much. He couldn't snap the bib part of his snow pants because he has gotten so darn tall but the pants worked well enough. Kaylen's still fit fine but they sure won't next year. Hopefully, in the spring I will find snow pants for pennies on the dollar so I can be prepared for next year. This year, Dakota picked up their snow boots, which was really great. Kelton had a pair that were too small, but could have worked but Kaylen had worn hers out last year from wearing them almost every single day to school last winter.

I'm willing to bet we have seen the last of the snow this year. Which is sad but it's just been too warm here. We haven't had our usual cold streaks of temps int he teens for a week or two. It's hovering around 40.....and it's WET. I wouldn't mind a few more snow days but I just have my doubts that will happen.

At least we had the one though. I'm grateful for that. :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Finally - A Snow Day!!

This weekend, Kaylen attended a cheer leading clinic that our school district puts on once every few months and last night was the basketball game that she was invited to come cheer for. She was so excited and so stinking adorable.

The game lasted until about 8:30pm and when we left the high school gym, we were surprised to find snow falling - and sticking! We have been teased with snow flurries for days now and the weather reports just kept moving the timeline for snow further and further out so to actually see it sticking was pretty cool.

We got home and the kids promptly ran outside to make snowballs and have a little fun. We speculated about whether there would be school today or not. We all hoped for not because snow days are magical.

They finally came back inside and warmed up by changing into their pajamas and then snuggling on my bed while we watched the snow fall. We talked about the things we would like to do if the school district decided to call a snow day. Kaylen wanted to build a snowman, Kelton wanted to build a fire, I wanted time to just look out the window and enjoy the winter wonderland while I drank a cup of coffee. We decided a movie in the early evening would be a perfect way to end the day.

The kids ran off to brush their teeth while I got their rooms ready. I have a favorite memory from when I was a kid, my mom came into my room and opened the curtains so I could watch the snow fall as I fell asleep. I have done it every snowfall of my life since. I decided to do that for the kids. I pulled up their blinds and waited. "COOL!" yelled Kelton as he came into his room. "Can I keep it like that all night?" "Yep." I smiled back.

The kids climbed into their beds and I tucked them in. I returned to my room to watch the snow through my slider. They talked with each other back and forth and I just sat back and listened. Oh the magic of snow!!!

They finally drifted off about 10pm but I was no where near ready for sleep. I ended up staying up watching the snow fall until shortly after midnight, when I finally drifted off.
My text alert chimed at 4:18am. The school district had cancelled school. YES!!!!

I dozed, off and on until about 6:30 when I heard Kelton get up. Soon, whispering could be heard and then the shuffle of little feet. It wasn't long before I heard them enter my room and quietly say "Mom....we made you coffee!" Then they scooted off again.

I got up a few minutes later and went into the living room to open the blinds. Kelton started asking what news site he could go to to see if there was school. Silly bears! I said "School is closed today!" and they both cheered.

I noticed that the snow was starting to melt and a light rain was falling so when they asked if they could go out to play, I agreed, knowing it might be their only chance.

We measured the snow on the patio. Two very slushy inches.

They put on all their snow clothes and ran to the front yard. Snow people building began. I pulled on my snow boots and coat and went to help them a couple times. The rain was falling harder but it didn't stop them.

When they finally came back in the house, they were soaking wet and freezing cold. Hot cocoa all around, please!

We hung out and watched some TV together and I declared a pajama day. Just a bit ago, Kaylen asked to go back out. Kelton is staying in. Snow is beautiful and wonderful but I think he is getting to the age where he doesn't feel the need to be out there constantly. It's kind of nice to have a "window buddy" with me as we watch Kaylen build another snow family.

Snow days. Nothing like them!

Friday, January 13, 2012

An interesting take on things, don't you think? I hadn't thought of it that way but it does make perfect sense. I have a few people who don't so much appreciate me, but when I stopped to examine the situations (after reading this quote), I can totally see where it is because I stood up for something....or someone...or myself. But of course, you can also bring the wrath of people when you stay quiet (and let others fill in the blanks on their own (and were wrong about in their conclusion but by then the damage was done) about something for which you should have stood up. I don't think I will take that route again. I'd rather be disliked because I stood up for something than disliked because people jumped to the wrong conclussion.

Just sayin'.

It's all so complicated, isn't it?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Back in MY day......

It seems that music can be stored in all sorts of manners these days; CD's, ipods, mp3 players, heck - even on our phones. I find it kind of amazing when my kids just take for granted the ease of listening to their music.

When I was a kid *cue violins' please*, you had two options for music: the radio or the hi-fi. Yes, I said it. Hi-Fi. It's what my parents called it. Of course, they called the couch a davenport, too. And a kitchen counter? A drainboard. But I digress.

I remember in the early 80's when CD's where just arriving on the scene. A friend of mine was going crazy moving into the land of this new technology but I was standing firm in my "records are the way to go" frame of mind. I mean really! Those little discs would never take off. Records had been around forever!

But take off they did. Soon my records were obsolete. Remember "mixed tapes"? You would find songs you liked and put a bunch of them together on a cassette tape and give it to the person you liked - sort of a musical love letter. Now, in order to make a "mixed tape". you need to do some fancy cd replication.

Or heck - make a playlist, upload it, download it and presto! It is in the possession of your beloved.

How times change. I was just thinking the other day of the things that have come to light in my lifetime: calculators, microwaves, cordless phones, video tapes, answering machines, VCR's, DVR's, CD's, DVD's, cell phones, computers, electric cars, etc. It's really quite mind blowing.

And I need to stop now because I am feeling really, really, really old.

Geritol, anyone? :)


The neighbor had the plumber over last night. I can only guess it was an emergency call from the lateness of the hour. It made me sad for her because well...plumbing problems suck and they cost a freakin' arm and leg!

It made me think back to the days I lived in a duplex. It seemed like we had the plumber over a few times too many to deal with things (all on the landlords tab, thank goodness!) and I have to say, I have not missed needing to call a plumber in all the years since.

Sure - I've had minor plumbing issues in recent years but a $60 auger and sheer determination fixed that problem - oh, and explaining to Kaylen that you just can't flush an entire roll of toilet paper at one time.

Thankfully, I've had nothing as serious as flooding from a burst pipe which would require something like a goulds pump. But just watch - I just angered the plumbing gods. I should know better. I'm sure it's something like telling someone that your baby slept through the night. You just assured yourself that that miracle won't be happening again for a long while. Or getting a wee bit of extra money. It seems that the appliances conspire against you and the next thing you know, you have spent the "extra" money and then some.

I shouldn't tempt fate. I know better than that.

Or I would have thought.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

So True!

"LOVE ME or HATE ME; Both are in my favor. If you love me,I'll always be in your heart. If you hate me, I'll always be in your mind." -Unknown

Better Late Than Never. Right?

Fifteen Years

Today is an anniversary for me. Fifteen years ago, right about now, I fell 6 feet from a fence and broke my back. Every day since then has really been a gift, since one of the first things I heard from the ER doctor after they discovered the break was "You are incredibly lucky. The type of fall you experienced can easily result in paralysis or death."

I will tell you though, there are some days it doesn't feel like I was lucky. Since that very cold morning, my life has never been the same. Pain, except for migraines, was a foreign concept to me. And even migraines...well....take something and they got better. This new world of pain is one that has been with me *every single day* in the past 15 years. Some days it can bring me to my knees. Other days, I do my best to ignore it.

The fall I had brought many changes to my life. Things I am not "medically cleared" to do. Things I shouldn't do, but do anyway because things have to get done, but for which I pay dearly in higher pain for days. It also brought, years later, syringomyelia which impacted greatly my already impacted abilities. The challenges of this condition are ones that affect me every single day. The pain, which I had learned to deal with, moved to a greater intensity and remains there. My pain is no longer primarily focused in one section of my back and instead, runs the entire length with more intense points along the way. My muscle strength is affected, my entire nervous system is impacted. My spinal fluid pressure, which fluctuates for everyone daily, can cause chaos inside me. Some days, I can't even twist the lid off a gallon of milk, let alone lift it. I'm grateful the kids are getting old enough to be of more help on my bad days. Kelton has learned to open jars for me and take lids off of things.

Fifteen years ago today - everything changed.

I remember once, a year into my recovery, shortly before my spinal fusion, my primary care doctor made the comment about how in five years I would look back and see how far I had come and how much more I was able to do. I'm still waiting for that day. I'm thinking it won't be coming BUT....I am alive and as healthy as I can be, all things considered. I'll take the pain and the limitations (and try not to show my frustration, and pain level, too much) over the possibility that the fall could have killed me.

Yes, I carried two babies to term. And I will tell you that never, in the entire 15 years, have I ever felt as good and had as low a level of pain as when I was pregnant. Pregnancy hormones were a good, good thing for me. I remember thinking that I wished there was a way I could stay pregnant forever because I just felt soooooo good!

Fifteen years ago.

I have constant pain to remind me at every single turn.

Time flies. And time crawls. All at the same time.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ouch! My Ears!

I am sure half the town just heard a deafening scream from a very excited almost 7 year old. As for Kelton and I...well..I think we have suffered serious hearing loss. :)

I just told Kaylen that she can indeed get her ears pierced and oh my goodness is she excited! She now knows what she wants to ask for in regards to birthday gifts: ear rings. And a place to keep them all, of course. (That's more from me than her... but whatever.)

I'm a bit nervous. I have a recommendation of a good place to take her too. And I plan to do a bit more mommy-research before just plopping her down in a chair. I'm sure I don't need to find anyone with liability insurance for ear piercing but....maybe I do. :)

It's kind of funny that I never gave two thoughts about anything when, at 17, I decided to defy my parents and get my ears pierced (I was forbidden until I was 18.). I just went to the mall with some friends, slapped down the money and slid into the chair. With two "bangs" it was done. I added a third a few years later but again, I didn't give a single thought to where I went.

As a parent, I find I second guess my decisions when it comes to the health and safety of my children. I try to keep in mind that life is just a series of calculated risks. All I can do is assess the situation and make the best decision I can at the time with the information I have. Is it safe to let Kelton walk around the block alone to get in his newly required physical activity for school? It is safe to let the two of them ride their bikes around the block together but without me? Is it safe to let them out of my sight for two minutes? Is it safe to let Kaylen stand, waiting for the bus, alone in front of the house for five minutes while I wrangle Kelton into getting his stuff together to go out? Is it safe to take my daughter to the mall to get her ears pierced? I'm constantly questioning the safety of situations for them and this is no different.

But alas....I know millions of people have piercings and 99.5% of those people suffered no serious consequences. And yet...those millions are not my child. My flesh and blood. My responsibility.

So onward we go. My baby girl will be getting her ears pierced.

(And I suddenly understand why my parents said I couldn't until I was an adult. I'm sorry I defied you, Mom and Dad. But in my (lame) defense, I was only 6 months from being 18 years old.)

Kaylen Gets Ready to Turn Seven

In exactly one month to the day, my six year old will magically transform into a seven year old. I can't believe it, though I'm starting to because every day when I look at her, I can see how much she is changing and turning into a "big kid" instead of my "little kid".

She wants a Barbie themed party this year. Where did unicorns go? It seemed like she wanted a unicorn birthday for years on end. Or princesses. Now her world revolves around Barbie. And Junie B. Jones books. I swear she devours those books!

She wants to get her ears pierced for her birthday. I pushed her off this summer when she started in asking. I told her she would have to wait and maybe we could talk about it closer to her 7th birthday. Here we are, and the conversation has resurfaced. For the life of me, I can't think of why not.

She is one of the most responsible children I know. She wears her glasses every day and reaches for them first thing in the morning. She takes care of them quite well for a 6 year old - and does her best to remember to take them off when she and her brother get to wrestling. She patches her eye every single day without being reminded - even though she really doesn't like it. (She is hoping the eye doctor will release her from the patch next week when we see him again. I'm hoping too.) She does the patching at school. On her own. Each and every day.

I know she would be responsible with pierced ears.

There would be no need to get lapel pins custom made to remind her to turn the piercing studs or clean them with the antiseptic. She would probably have it all done before I could even remind her.

Sometimes I worry about her need to be ultra responsible but really? It's kind of nice to have a child who is two steps ahead getting her "have to's" done on a regular basis. Her teacher is constantly telling me she is a teachers dream student because of her level of commitment to anything and everything she does.

And it's true.

And I'm going to pretend that it isn't because she has an irrational fear of failing or of stepping one step out of line. Instead, I'm going to go with it and encourage her to always do her best. So far, it's paying off! Just last night she told me she wants to go to a "good college. Like Yale." and then asked me if I think she could do it. YES! was my answer. Oh my sweet child, there is NOTHING you and your brother can not do if you really want to.

Seven, huh? Seems like just last year at this time she was five. Oh wait. She was. :)

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Better Late Than Never

So the news, splashing across Facebook today, is that Kristy McNichol has finally come out publicly. She is quoted as saying something to the effect of "I'm turning 50 and I want to live without fear...or not live a lie..." or something like that.

Kudos to her. Really.

I'm just wondering why it takes people so long to stand up and say "This is who I am." It's not like she had a huge romantic lead actress reputation to protect (and even then...come out!! It can only help others.). She hasn't even been on TV since the 90's. She has, however, been living with her partner of over two decades. WHAT? Seriously. I don't get it. I actually feel bad for her partner for being kept a secret. I have been a secret before and it feels awful. I will NEVER be someones secret again.

Did she ever once think how her coming out with her sexuality would help others? You know, back in the day when people knew who she was (and come on - we all KNEW she was gay). Did she ever wonder if she could help some other teen maybe not go down the road of prescription drug abuse addiction (or worse) as they tried to hide who they were for fear of retribution?

Here is something else I wondered this morning, as I read the article: where was Meredith Baxter-Birney in all this? She was a co-star on Family with Kristy McNichol. She came out a few years back. Did she ever reach back to help someone who clearly was struggling?

How can we, as a gay society, hold the straight society responsible for not being more understanding if we, as gay people aren't more understanding and helpful towards each other? Kristy, for her own reasons, kept her life a secret (and, her partner was therefore held as "less than" because the relationship was denied publicly) but if we would all stop living secret lives and just put ourselves out there, the world just might be a completely different place. And maybe, just maybe, the bullying and suicides in our young people would go down...and maybe just stop all together.

If we all stand strong, if we all stand proud of who we are....imagine what a difference we could all make.

Good for you, Kristy. I'm proud you finally stepped up. I'm happier still for your partner who can now actually be *seen* as your partner.

Now how about the rest of you still hiding behind your closet doors? Come out, come out where ever you are!


It's Sunday and the kids and Dakota decided to have an impromptu lunch out together. It was a little strange to have her come and pick them up a bit ago but they are all happy and the kids will be back soon. I didn't really have plans today anyway...just hanging out having an "at home" lazy Sunday.

Stephanie and I have been working our way through the Gilmore Girls series so we have already watched a few episodes of that today and will probably watch more later. Right now, she is snoozing (Sunday naps are the best, don'tcha think?) and I am catching up on a few things. Sure - instead of blogging I could be watching mindless TV with the commercials that repeat at annoying intervals. ProActive? Really? Your commercials are *every where*. I'm growing tired of them. Maybe they wouldn't be so bad if they were 30 seconds instead of three minutes. I'd even take a minute but really? They are just tooooooo long.

I don't so much mind the ones for the best eyelash growth products or even the No No shaving egg thing. At least they are compact commercials.

I think commercials are the reason people have gone to TiVo's and DVR's. I know, that for me, I would much rather watch a TV show hours, or even days later, if it means avoiding all the commercials. I know that is how they pay for the shows and all but come on.......it's past the point of ridiculous with how many commercials they throw in there.

Huh. Apparently I have strong feelings on the subject. Who knew. :)

I think I'll get off my soap box and go back to having a lazy Sunday. Tomorrow is Monday and it's shaping up to be an unexpectedly very busy day. Oh joy.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Five Days Later

Here we are - 5 days after saying Good Bye to Jordan and I will say that we are all settling in. Kaylen still refuses to let me wash her bedding (though I told her the day was coming soon) and Kelton sleeps with a big, floppy stuffed dog that he got the day after he was born. He calls it his "Jordan dog". Maddie is doing ok but still wanders aimlessly, hates to be crated when I leave and well...hates when I leave the house. He big eyes are sad but she is slowly adjusting to life as the lone dog.

I'm doing ok. The first couple days were rough but sleep....well....as it turns out, sleep is an amazing thing. I still need to train myself to get back to sleeping better (and not waking up 3-4 times) but, on a good night, I am logging 8-9 hours of sleep which is HOURS longer than I have logged per night in a very long time. I have more stamina for the day, more patience and I'm not looking at the clock in the afternoon counting the minutes until I can crawl under the covers.

Who knew sleep was so important?!?! :)

I was up twice last night but neither time was because of an animal or a child. Can I say how strange it feels?

I do miss Jordan but I could really get used to this thing called sleep.

Where's the Snow???

I read a Facebook update from a friend on the East Coast this morning. It said something to the effect of "Is that a lawnmower I hear?"

It seems to be a common theme across the country: WHERE IS THE SNOW??

The days, for the most part, here in the Great Northwest, have been hovering around 50. FIFTY! That is crazy! So far, we haven't had any days or nights in the teens which is unusual. We usually have a really good cold snap but not this year. At least, not yet. I'm still hoping for one.

The kids and I pray for snow daily.

Instead though, there are some days when I don't even grab a jacket when I head outside. There is clearly no need for heated motorcycle clothing for those who are out riding their motorcycles. In fact, let me just be astonished by this fact: people are out RIDING THEIR MOTORCYCLES! This is crazy for January.

So where is the snow??!?!?!?!

Christmas Has Left the Building

After nine weeks of Christmas decorations, I am sad to say that we boxed everything up yesterday and put it away for another year. I know that nine weeks seems like a long time but for the kids and I, it went way too fast. Kaylen is so sad to have everything gone and I have to agree with her - the house is boring without the lights and colors. I put up the Valentine's Day decorations I have but they are so not the same. Still - better than nothing.

This morning, Kaylen and I took a quick trip to the grocery store and, on the way there, we saw a big Christmas tree recycling event in the parking lot of a church. Kaylen was full of questions: Why do they chip up the trees? What do they do with all the chipped up trees?

Composting is right up this child's alley. I'm pretty sure a good Christmas gift for her would have been a tumbling composter. All things garden related she is all over. I feel kind of bad because she didn't get to garden as much this past summer as she has in years gone by. I'm NOT a gardener and getting dirty isn't really my thing BUT..she loves it which means I see spring garden clean up in my future. Homemade soil would be a really good thing to have on hand, wouldn't it? :)

Crazy Friday

Yesterday was a strange but good day. I started the day off doing a bit of freelance work and, in the middle of it, I received a text from a friend asking if I wanted to meet for coffee. We made plans and I went about the rest of my morning and then drove to a nearby Starbucks to meet her. We chatted for a while and caught up on each others lives, which was awesome. All too soon, it was time to say goodbye. I came back home and got busy working on bills, PTO things and answering some emails that had come in. *BING* My text went off again. Same friend; saying thank you for meeting, let's do it again soon and "oh...did I mention (insert life changing information here)." (And no - I'm not going to tell you what that info is because I am a good friend and it is not my news to share.)

The texts flew fast and furious for a few minutes as I tried to figure out why, when I asked "So what's new with you?" she said "Oh not much...." I text'd her a sassy response saying that when I used that opening line, it would have been a good time to have decided to share it with me instead of ...you know...TWO hours later, after we said our goodbyes. :)

Anyway - I said "This is too big for text. When can you meet again?" "Now." came the answer. So I finished what I was working on and drove to another Starbucks. I'm telling you, I spent so many hours in Starbucks yesterday that I think I can name all their restaurant equipment. Hee hee.

So we met for another little while as she brought me up to date. I gave my thoughts on everything she was saying and it was a really good conversation. We ended our second meeting when it was time for me to get home to meet the school bus. Not nearly enough time to talk about everything she needs to talk about but a really good starting place. We left with the promise to get together more often for face to face catch up time. Texting is fine, and we do that often, but nothing beats the open hearted, face to face communication and back and forth "thinking out loud" process.

I don't envy the road she is on but I do support her 100% with whatever she decides is her best option. Because that is what friends do.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Resolves Revisited

Last year, on January 3rd, I posted a list of things I was resolving to do in 2011. I printed out a hard copy and, instead of tucking it away in a drawer of a roll top desk, I posted it near my bathroom mirror, where I have read it nearly each and every day of the past 365 days. I've heard that if you post your goals, you are more likely to achieve them.

I'm going to add here, before going any further, that this was a HUGE list which basically would have completely reinvented myself. I shouldn't be surprised I didn't hit all of them - and I'm not. I'm actually quite proud of myself for doing as many of them as I did.

Let's recap, shall we?

I Resolve.....

...to be kind even when those around me are not.
I did really well with this one. Not 100% of the time but enough that I am satisfied with my progress to "hold my tongue". I'm a work in progress though...as we all are. :)

...to spend time taking care of me instead of everyone but me.
I think I have done well moving myself up the priority list - even when others didn't so much enjoy me putting myself ahead of what they wanted to me do. There have been rough moments with this one but I truly believe that I need to matter, too.

...to learn to trust again.
Work in progress, remember? Though I will say for as far as I have to go on this one, I am leaps and bounds ahead of last year.

...to remind myself that I *am* worth it...I am worth the effort to get to know and understand.
Should I just label this one as WIP (work in progress) too? I am finding this one exceptionally challenging though I am working hard to retrain my immediate "go to" of "not worth the time or trouble".

...to put myself at the head of the list.
See above. Making strides.

...to find peace.
Ummm........I have found *moments* of peace. And for now, that's better than I had so I'm going with it. :)

...to do more things for myself just because I'm worth it.
I think I am doing so much better on this one - though it is challenging.

...to find at least one thing to be happy about each and every day.
I have had days where I focused on many happy things...and then I had days that dragged me under the bus. HOWEVER...I am trying to remind myself of how lucky and blessed I am on a regular basis. I have more "happy" than not now though, so I'm taking this one as a win.

...to spend time alone. A lot of time alone.
I have done this and done it well. I'm happy to say I can be alone and I am completely fine alone. I will also say that being alone/loner isn't what I want or who I am. I am glad to know I can be completely fine alone when I want to be or have to be. So again, WIN!

...to build a great life for the kids and me.
Work in progress...but the three of us are doing very well. We are more settled and cohesive than we were a year ago.

...to stop letting others opinions of me get the best of me.
This is hard for me but I am trying to keep in mind that what you think of me is none of my business. I am doing the best I can at being the person I am.

...to learn to tame my anxiety and stress level.
I'm better than I was. Most days. Though I have made a distinct correlation between taking on the weight of others opinion of me and my anxiety and stress level. So now the trick is to really not let others have that sort of control over me.

...to spend more time with friends.
I don't have a ton of in-real-life friends, but I do have a few and I have spent time with them. I don't have as much time as I would like to spend one on one with them but I do share my life with people which is the point of having friends.

...to laugh more and cry less.

...to be the best mother possible to my children but not at the expense of losing myself again.
I'm calling a win on this one.

...to find who I am, what I want and what I need.
Work in progress, remember? I do have a more clear sense of all three though, which is way above where I started.

...to be true to myself and trust that it will all work out as it should.
This is a challenge but I am continuing to do my best on a daily basis. Some days, I succeed. Some days, I fail.

...to let go of the hurt, betrayal and heartbreak and move forward happily
I'm going to say that yes, I have let go and am moving on. I'm not perfect and some moments I fall backwards but overall, I'm moving forward and I am VERY happy.

So...for 2012, I'm going to continue working on these goals and I will add only one thing: Love like I've never loved before. And that includes everything: people, animals, hobbies...anything and everything I do I will do with as much passion as I can muster. I will grab ahold of life and love it for all it is worth - and it's worth a lot!

Focusing on the Good

I was thinking last night about all the pets I have lost over the past 18 years. The number is startling to me. To bring it into perspective, when I moved here, there were 5 cats and 2 dogs. Of those original 7 animals, only 1 cat remains. Added to that one cat, is Maddie, who joined the family almost 4 years ago, and Zip, who came last year. Before moving here, I had gone through the loss of three others. That makes 9 animals...or 36 furry paws I have loved and lost. Wow.

Jordan is definitely being missed, though the kids and I were happy to realize that we were *not* missing his ummmmm.....gassy explosion smells. Who knew that it was all coming from him?!?! I feel bad for blaming Maddie, too. :) So - of all the things we are missing, we were able to happily focus on the one thing we are definitely NOT missing. :)

I absolutely want to get the carpets cleaned now that he is gone. Last time I had them cleaned, they stayed that way for exactly 23 hours. I have a feeling they will stay clean much longer now. Again, one more good thing to focus on.

And guess what? There is more room on the couch now. The three of us, and Maddie, can fit across the regular sized couch where before, it was a good day if we could fit two people and Jordan on it. I guess there is no need to research sectional sofas los angeles style now.

Hey - I'm trying to find all the positives I can. Losing Jordan has been painful.

OH! And I actually slept clear through to my alarm clock this morning! Do you know that I have only slept to my alarm once in the past 6 months?!?! AND......I was only up twice last night. Once for my own reason and once to let Maddie into my room. PARTY!!!

Not worthy of celebration, you say? I say you haven't lived my life in the past couple of years. Sleeping in large blocks of time has been unheard of for me. I have great hope as to what sleeping will do for me. I keep hearing stories of how sleep is good...and important. I will haev to let you know how my research pans out. :)

So here's to the good parts. And here is to hoping the kids, Maddie, and I adjust to the big empty hole we have in our lives and in our hearts.


I am dreaming of a vacation. I think I always dream of vacations. Vacations are good....and fun. They can also be expensive and daunting.

My ideal vacation is time at the beach. I don't have lofty dreams. I have no desire to go to Europe. I have no desire to spend hours upon hours of traveling to get somewhere. I have no desire to need a passport. I am not high maintenance in the vacation department, that's for sure. Driving for 1 hour and 40 minutes can take me to my perfect escape - Seaside or Cannon Beach. An hour up or down the coast can take me to various other seaside towns. It's perfection at its best for me.

So imagine my delight when I cam across a website called For Rent By Owner (or, as is hip to do, the abbreviation of frbo)and for those of you dreaming of dreams far grander than I, it appears to be a global database.

Now...I personally find it kind of weird to be in someone elses home (bed and breakfast places are definitely not my style and neither was renting a condo or a house for a week that was someones second home) but different strokes for different folks, and all that.

Might be worth a look-see. Even for me. :)

Tuesday, January 03, 2012


I had thought that this past weekend would have been different. I had planned to upload Christmas photos and share stories of Christmas, both here and up with my family. I thought it would be all happy, happy, joy, joy but alas, as is often the case, God laughs while I make plans.

Instead of sharing with all of you the happiness of the holiday season and the start of the New Year, I sat and cradled the head my 14.5 year old Dalmatian as I said my thanks and goodbye to him.

Jordan McKay Duncan was a dog I never thought I wanted. He, and his brother, Pixel, were strays that a friend of Dakota's adopted from a shelter when they were 18 months old. She had only wanted Pixel but couldn't leave Jordan behind because he was slated to be put down at the end of that day. She called us and asked if we would take him.

We went to meet him on October 31st and upon meeting me for the first time, he lifted his leg and peed all over me. Not really a great way to endear yourself to me but to him, I think he was marking me as his own. We took him home where he joined 6 month old Jaxon.

The years went by and he grew older but he was always, always, always a wonderful dog with so much love to give. He wormed his way onto my couches and my bed....and definitely my heart.

The last two years have been trying with him. The last year was the hardest I ever went through with an animal. Through it all, I loved him because getting old isn't graceful and it isn't fun......and it was no different for Jordan. It felt like once the kids were both sleeping through the night, Jordan began his numerous nighttime wakings and needing outside. His accidents, too many to count. His getting off schedule and demanding to be fed at 2am for months on end. Believe me, if Jordan wasn't sleeping, I wasn't sleeping either. There have been many nights I logged a pitiful 3 hours of sleep while taking care of Jordan's needs and cleaning up messes.

I honestly believe that Jordan single paw-edly kept SpotShot carpet spot removal in business. He gave my washer and dryer a run for their money. He tried my patience. And even though I would tell myself I wouldn't miss him when he was gone, I knew it would be far from the truth.

Through it all, those big brown eyes would look at me and say "I'm sorry. I love you and I am so sorry to make such messes." And I would forgive him over and over and over as I scrubbed poop out of carpets.

My life revolved around Jordan for the past 18 months. I couldn't be gone for more than a couple hours unless he was gated in the kitchen. And even then, I would often come home to messes. Every moment was consumed with "Does Jordan need out? Does he need medicine? Is he ok? What does he need now?" and the like. It was exhausting. Completely overwhelming and utterly exhausting. But it was my life.

And then...the kids and I got home from Seattle on the 31st. The kids left with Dakota around 5pm and I headed out to Stephanie's to celebrate the New Year. I was back home by 1am to take care of the dogs. I let the dogs out in the backyard to do what dogs need to do except the fireworks were so loud that Maddie got completely wound up. She charged at Jordan, trying to get him to play. Jordan, being unsteady on his legs because his back knees were so weak (from his days of rough play with Jaxon and, as it turns out, perhaps hereditary issues as well) was knocked off balance. I could tell immediately that he was hurt. He limped his way back into the house. I gave him a pain pill to help and I was hoped he would "walk it off" the next day and I started getting everyone settled in for the night. He wanted up on Kaylen's bed. I helped him, as usual, get up on it. Then...after I left the room, he jumped down. The thud and cries were heartbreaking.

I ran in and sat with him until he was calm. I helped him up and tried to get him to sleep on the floor. Nothing doing - he wanted the bed. I helped him up and he stayed there until 6am. He got down on his own and limped outside, then ate his breakfast and, with help, went back to bed. At 8am he got up again without falling but was clearly in pain. I gave him more medication to help. By 830am he couldn't walk without assistance and he would fall to the ground over and over. I sat with him and kept him calm.

At 9:30 I text'd Dakota to fill her in and we made a plan. Having been up very late to celebrate the New Year, the kids were still sleeping. They were up, an hour later, the four of them got ready and headed over. At that point, I had been sitting on the floor with Jordan for a few hours. Stephanie had spent a couple hours talking with me on the phone and listened to me as I talked about Jordan's younger years and all the emotions I was dealing with at that moment. I am so thankful for that connection because sitting with him, knowing what was coming, was painful. I realized losing him was going to be far more difficult than I had been telling myself for the past year.

Finally, around 12:30, Dakota, and everyone, showed up. I was hesitant about having the kids there but it turned out to be a really good thing. They were able to see for themselves that he was in bad shape and I think it helped them understand a bit why we had to make the choice we did.

Kaylen wanted pictures taken with him so we took photos and everyone had some time to say goodbye. We couldn't get him up to get him to the car so we scooted a blanket under him and we all carried him out to the car. Dakota and Vicki went with Jordan and I stayed with the kids.

It was absolutely gut-wrenching to watch them drive away. I pulled myself together for the sake of the kids and I took care of them. Dried their tears and indulged them in making scrapbook pages (their idea) so they could have photos to remember Jordan. They wanted the pictures we had taken printed out, so I downloaded them and printed them. They created pages and Kelton typed up a poem. I think it was really good for them to do while they processed their loss.

Dakota and Vicki soon returned and after a few minutes, we got the kids ready to leave. Just as they were leaving, Stephanie arrived. We said goodbye to the kids and closed the door. It didn't take long before I was a mess of tears. Stephanie held me and let me cry and cry. We spent time with Maddie, who was a mess in her own right. Dakota took care of the kids and got them through the day.

It's been a couple days of intense grieving for all of us. Last night, when I was putting the kids to bed, it was hard for all of us. Jordan was a BIG presence in this house. He was seemingly everywhere and suddenly.....he is no where. It's a huge change that has all of us off kilter and feeling fragile.

In time, we will get used to him not being here but for now? Right now the house is big and empty and quiet.

We miss you Jordan. You will forever be loved by us. Thank you for an amazing 13 years with me.

Filling Time

Can you tell I am killing time today? Well - not really killing it. Trying to fill it up.

The kids went back to school today and without Jordan needing near constant attention, the house is quiet and empty. Maddie, while an attention hound in her own right, is depressed and quiet. Everything feels "off" so I am keeping my mind busy to keep the tears and sadness at bay. I had no idea I would miss him as much as I do. I guess I was just fooling myself.

So - after the kids left for school, and Stephanie headed to work, I got busy. I had a ton of laundry to do (two loads of clothes, one load of Jordan's bedding, and Kelton's bedding. I need to wash Kaylen's bedding, too, but she has made me promise to "never ever wash them again" or...as I actually promised, to not wash them...yet. They smell like dog and need to be washed but Kaylen is grieving for her "bedtime buddy" so I will give her a couple more days.). The laundry amount isn't the overwhelming part - it's the time involved in drying each load. The dryer vent runs half the length of the house and isn't very effective (even after having the line replaced a few years back) so each load takes about 140 minutes to dry. It's a lot. But that's life.

After getting laundry started, I cleaned the kitchen and then started cleaning out the puzzles and games that the kids have outgrown to make room for their new Christmas gifts. That, of course, led to straightening up a bit of the garage and filling my trunk with a ton of stuff to take to Goodwill. Just as well though, I had decided the house was just too weird feeling and I needed to get out for a bit.

I needed to replace the front door locks since they started freezing up (unbeknowst to me. The pet sitter and my neighbor had a terrible time while the kids and I were in Seattle. When I got back, I tried to unlock the door and it took almost 5 minutes before the lock gave and let me in. WOW!) so I headed first to Goodwill and then to Home Depot.

In the row with the very cool address signs, I find the door locks. The fancy ones called my name but the checkbook slapped reality into me and I settled for the basic style but I did step it up and bought the brushed stainless. I tried hard to convince myself that with my weakening hand muscles, the new ADA approved handle would be a better option but...the reality of saving $13 won out. Oh well...not like I use the front door all that much anyway since I park in the garage. :)

After Home Depot, I ran into the grocery store and picked up milk and then headed home. I got to work quickly on the locks and within an hour, they were installed and I had rekeyed them to fit my current key. Yes, I said *I* rekeyed them. My brother told me about Kwiklock locks that come with a master key so that you can rekey the lock without changing the lock any time you want. FANCY! Once I figured it out, it was quick and easy. No sense incurring the cost of new keys when I don't have to.

I have to say, I am VERY proud of myself for my new found lock changing ability. Yay me!!!

Just call me Casey the Locksmith. If you need your locks changed...I will be happy to help you for a reasonable fee. :)

Everything but the Kitchen Sink

Let's talk kitchen sinks, shall we?

Mine is an almond color. Don't judge. It came with the house and it works just fine, thank you. :) The truth is, I like it. It was a big side and a smaller side and it is deep. I do not like shallow kitchen sinks. In mine you can hide a stack of dishes and from the breakfast bar, no one would ever know they were in there. So see? I like my almond color kitchen sink.

But what I don't like it how easy it stains. Coffee will stain it as will red sauces, etc. I scrub it a lot and sometimes I let bleach sit in it to give it a good bleaching. And yet, more times than not, it doesn't look at clean as I would like it to look.

So let's discuss the stainless steel sink. Those stay stain-free but do they get scratched or do they resist damage like that - even after years go by? I remember my parents had stainless. Stephanie has stainless and so does my sister. They tend to show water spots if you aren't careful though, yes? My sink does not though pans will leave black scuff marks that need to be scrubbed out.

Not that I plan to replace the kitchen sink at this point in time but you know me...always thinking. :)


Have you seen that commercial....the one with the $50.00 value gold coin that is currently available for a mere $9.95? Do you think those suckers are *really* worth $50? And if so, WHY are they selling them for 1/5 the value?

It does get me thinking though about the value of gold. Is this a good time to buy gold bullion or sell your no longer needed gold jewelry? It's so confusing.

Buy? Sell?

*rolling on the floor laughing*

Yeah...like that's a real issue for me. Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!

But still......it does leave me wondering.

Post Christmas Clean Up...or Not

Well - Christmas is over. I would say the tree is down, but it isn't. Kaylen doesn't want the season to be over AT ALL so I agreed to let things stay up until this weekend when she will be here to help me pack it all up.

Personally, I'm mixed. I wasn't but I am now. I love the living room all holiday'd out but with all that has happened in the past couple days (more on that later. It deserves it's own post.), I think I'm ready to have it all put away and cleaned up.

But the clean up - oh the clean up. The kids gifts are placed under the tree and the thought of finding places for everything is daunting. Kelton has always been reluctant to give away outgrown toys and Kaylen is following suit (she used to be SO good about saying goodbye to things!) I confess that I cleaned out the puzzle and game cabinet this morning and made way for their new things. I'm sure Goodwill was happy to see me coming. :) Perhaps they even broke out their Champagne to cheer the 3rd of January since that has consistently been the date I take a huge carload of stuff to them.

But for today, everything stays put. So if you still feel the need for a bit of Christmas, come over and sit in my living room. :)

Business Loans

I came across information for bad credit small business loans and I have to say, at first thought this seems to me like a not great thing but then, when I started thinking about it, maybe for some this could be just the ticket out of trouble and back into the middle class.

When you first think "bad credit", you don't usually put that together with business loan. I mean...let's look at it like this: if you aren't paying your bills, why should you get a loan that ...you know...you have to pay back which we already stated, you aren't doing.

BUT......what if you had just fallen on hard time and defaulted on things without it being a habitual issue? Wouldn't you deserve a chance to start over? To maybe chase a dream that could put you back on track for obtaining the "American Dream" again?

Don't we all deserve a second...and sometimes a third...chance to try again?

I think we all deserve to chase our dreams and find success with that which makes us happy and fulfilled.

So rock on, people. Rock on.

Do good.