Friday, June 29, 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


I wish I had something entertaining to write about tonight but I really don't think I do.  Maybe I'll just ramble for a few minutes.  I'm sure you are all used to that, anyway, right?  :)

It's been three weeks since my dad passed away.  Three weeks tonight.  I've had a really rough couple of days emotionally and I find I still can't quite grasp the fact that my parents are no longer living.  I have these moments of panic when I think "But wait!  I need to ask you about....." or "Can you tell me how you handled this whole grown up thing because I think I'm sucking at it.  How in the world did you raise FIVE kids?  My two, plus one, drive me to the brink of all that is good and holy more days than not.  HOW did you do this?  Were there some day when you wanted to smack us clean into tomorrow?  Did you watch us sleep and wonder how you got so lucky?  Did you hold us close and smell that amazing child scent that is full of wonder and mischief?  Did you cry when we said mean and terrible things to you?  Did you cry yourselves to sleep some nights, sick with worry for our future?  Did you question every choice you made?  Every choice we made?  How did you survive us?"

But I know, even if they were both still alive, that I would never get the answers that my heart seems so desperately to know.  My mom's brain disease (PLS) would prevent her from being the mom I need.  My dad's stroke from long ago had prevented him from answering the handful of questions I posed over the past five years, as parenting became more challenging.  He couldn't remember and I could tell it would frustrate him that he didn't have the answers I sought.  So, I stopped asking.

And now, I have no chance to ask.  I know it's life.  I know lots of people lose their parents at my age, or younger.  I know many of us are raising children without benefit of the generational knowledge that came before us.  We all manage to muddle through.  It's just the past few days I have really wanted and needed the wisdom and guidance.  The assurance that the kids will be ok - that I will be ok.  That change, while at times more difficult that I can say, is a good thing and everything will be great.

The changes I am making in my life are huge.  Daunting.  Amazing.  Wonderful.  Terrifying.  Every emotion possible, I am experiencing it.  Kelton made a comment this afternoon that his leg hurt and he thought he was having growing pains.  I sighed and said "Yeah - I think I am, too."  He said "You are?  I thought you weren't growing anymore."  "I think I'm having emotional and mental growing pains.  And I bet that it hurts as much as your leg does."  He nodded and said "Probably."

Change is hard for me.  It's hard for most everyone but right now I go back and forth between full speed ahead and "Holy crap!  Slow down!"  I feel bi-polar. :)

I'm happy and excited and sad and terrified. All at the same time.  Closing chapters in the book of my life has its stumbling blocks and yet I know....I KNOW....that I am making a good, sound and love-filled choice.  And even though it is something I want very much, it is hard.

But that's the nature of life, you know?  Nothing is constant but change.

I think it would be a whole lot easier if I wasn't balancing the needs, wants, heartbreak and excitement of two little ones.  But I am.....and I very much want them to see the changes that they don't want to have to go through to be the best changes possible and ones they will look back on and say "You were right, Mom.  Everything really is great and I am so happy in this new world."

And this is where having my parents reassure me that the kids will be ok...that I will be ok...would be really good.

Life in the Country

Evening falls on the rainy afternoon in the country.

Friday, June 22, 2012

My Youngest Wild Child

Isn't she beautiful?  Yeah - I think so, too.  :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

The First and The Last

Look at how much they have grown and changed over the course of the school year.  Kelton, who does most of his growing over the summer, looks a lot the same but Kaylen?  WOW!

Time marches on.

Monday, June 11, 2012


What a very strange and surreal week it has been.  My phone rang at 6:00pm last Tuesday.  It was my brother, James, telling me my dad had collapsed at the retirement community where he lived.  I was trying hard to absorb the information but mostly I had the feeling of "Something happened but it will be ok." 

Still, I was nervous and waited for the update call I was promised.

I didn't have to wait long.  Fifteen minutes later he called back.  "The paramedics were unsuccessful in their efforts."

"What?  I don't understand."

He repeated the information - a task I'm sure wasn't easy the first time and probably not the third time either.

He would call later with more information.  I hung up on the phone, turned and looked, stunned, at Stephanie who noticed I had gone pale and had come up behind me and put her arms around me.  There were no words.  There were no tears.  I just stood there.

Stephanie held me and asked what I needed.  *blink blink*  I had no idea what I needed.  I just stood there and started to shake.  Tears began to fall as the words James said swam around and around in my head.

I waited 15 more minutes and then called Lannon to see if she had information.  Confirmation, I suppose, on what I had heard.  She told me everything she knew.  She was sitting at Washington Oaks, the retirement community, waiting.  She knew he had had a great day - his favorite performer had been there and lots of fun was had.  Later, he must have gone for a walk.  Someone reported seeing blood at an entrance to the building.  The staff quickly followed the trail and it lead to my dad's apartment.  Getting no answer, they used their key and went inside.  He was laying on the floor, unresponsive.

The staff did all they could.  The paramedics did all they could.  All to no avail.  My dad had died.

Years ago, after he had been hit by a car crossing the street, we learned he had an aortic aneurysm and, because of the severity of his stroke from years before, there was nothing they could do.  They specialist explained to James and Lannon (and they to me) what would eventually happen.  And, happen it did.

The blessing to be found in the tragedy is that it was quick and he didn't have to suffer through a long, drawn out process before dying.  I'm glad for that but the swiftness of it is stunning and heartbreaking.

My brother and sister made arrangements the next day and I did what I could from here to help (sadly - very little.  I made a few phone calls, sent a few emails and handled finding pall bearers).  I tried to make sense of things.  Stephanie listened to me for hours on end as I relived the past, questioned the future and grieved the present.  She was my lifeline and I am so grateful for her love and support.

I decided the kids would stay here and continue with their weekend plans with Dakota and Stephanie and I would drive up to Seattle.  We left immediately after the kids left for school on Friday and drove straight through, making good time.  We met James, Cara, Lannon, Arne and my other brother, Will, at the funeral home for the family viewing/visitation.  I'd never really understood the whole viewing thing but because his was a very sudden death, it turned out to be a vital part of the process for me.  I had to see with my own eyes before it started making sense in my head.  It was painful and heart shattering but I'm glad I had the opportunity to say good-bye and see him one last time.  Stephanie was with me every step of the way  - I really don't know what I would have done without her.

We all left there and headed to my dad's apartment.  Lannon, Arne , Cara and James had done the lions share of the work when it came to cleaning out the apartment.  They had spent the entire day before sorting through things, making piles, making dump and Good Will runs.  There was precious little to help do but I did all I could to help.  We loaded cars with the few items people chose and boxed and bagged up the rest to dispose of.  It struck me how we work hard our entire lives for "stuff" and in the end, most of it ends up being donated or tossed.  Some goes into storage for a while and some goes into the hands of family.  It really brings into sharp focus how "stuff" doesn't really mean all that much.  To a large degree, I already knew this and try to live my life accordingly but this really brought it home.  It's the time we spend with each other that counts.  The memories we leave behind.  The stories that make us laugh.  That make us cry.  Those are the "things" that matter.

Before long, Stephanie and I were on our way to James' house for the night.  The next morning, early, we headed back to Seattle for the service.  It had it's moments of being difficult but with baby Madeleine to entertain us, and friends and family we hadn't seen in ages to catch up with, it moved along well. 

At the end of the reception, everyone said their goodbyes, the six of us (plus baby Madeleine) loaded up cars with left over food, plants and flowers and headed to Lannon and Arne's house to hang out together.  Stories were swapped and partners probably learned more about our growing up years then they had to date.  At least, this was true for Stephanie.  In the end, she said that for as sad as it all was, she was glad for the chance to learn so much about me and my growing up years.  I guess that's the one part of the funeral day I do like - the bonding and talking that takes place.  The affirmation of life. 

James, Cara and the baby headed back to their house while Stephanie and I hung back and stayed for a couple more hours.  We headed back to James and Cara's at dinner time and the 4.5 of us went out to eat.

It was late when we got back so the baby went to bed and the grown ups talked a bit longer.  Then it was off to bed where I struggled to find sleep.  I talked Stephanie's ear off until the wee hours but finally we both fell asleep.  Yesterday, after breakfast, we said our goodbyes and climbed back into the car for the 4 hour drive home.  Only - we decided to make it a 7.5 hour drive.  I took a trip down memory lane and had us drive by the house I lived in before moving to Vancouver.  It looks basically the same.  Then we made a Starbuck's stop, a stop at a casino to play the slots in honor of my dad (who loved going to the casino with his retirement community.  He never won so he would be happy to know that neither did we.  We lost $80 in about 15 minutes and then walked out the door.  :)) and finally, a stop at the outlet mall just to wander around.  Stops I always think about making but never do because a 4 hour drive with kids is about 4 hours too long.  A 7.5 hour drive with Stephanie?  Not even close to enough time to just be together.  I circled between talking Stephanie's ear off and being very, very quiet - lost in reliving events.  I would laugh at times and cry at others.  I felt very bi-polar but Stephanie kept assuring me it was perfectly normal.  I've never experienced a death that was so sudden before - usually, they have been long goodbyes and I do a lot of my back and forth stuff before the person dies.  This grieving process in completely foreign to me - and a bit crazy making.
We drove to Stephanie's house and dropped off the items I brought back from my dad's and the plants from the funeral (no sense moving them again in a few months and Kaylen will love having the plants to plant in the garden there) and then came back to my house to wait for the kids to return from their weekend.  We were here for just a few minutes before they pulled into the driveway.

The kids, Stephanie and I talked and caught up with each other and then it was off to bed - for all of us.  Bed.  Where I again talked Stephanie's ear off and where she was, again and still, incredibly supportive.  It's crazy and surreal that my dad is gone.  It's crazy and surreal that both my parents are gone.  I'm 47 years old and I swear to you, I feel waaaaaaaaaay too young to not have parents around.  It's just not right.  It will take more time to come to terms with it, I'm sure.

For as big as my grief is, I know my sister and brother will have an even bigger hole.  It is the two of them that took care of Dad for all these years.  Helping him to be able to stay in a retirement community instead of an assisted living place.  It is they who picked him up and took him places, bought the things he needed, ran errands, oversaw his financials, made sure his bills were paid, kept tabs on him to make sure he was taken care of and happy, etc.  Lannon gave up Saturdays to go over and take care of things that needed tending to.  The two of them gave up a lot to take care of our dad.  I can't begin to compare the way the loss will hit all of us - so completely different.  But I guess that's how loss is.  No one experiences it the same.

While we all heal emotionally.......I only know this to be true:  onward we go.  The sun is still rising in the mornings and the children still need to be cared for.  Life has a funny way of continually moving us forward.

My Dad's Obituary

William H. McCafferty

William H. McCafferty passed away on June 5, 2012 at home, after spending the day doing the things he loved. Bill was born on May 10, 1938 to Evelyn and Erwin McCafferty in Seattle, WA and grew up in the Crown Hill area of Seattle. After graduating from Ballard High School, class of 1956, he married his high school sweetheart, Ina North. They raised their five children in the Ballard community where he was involved with many family and community events.

In 1964 Bill was hired by the Northern Pacific railroad which eventually became the Burlington Northern. Bill loved working for the railroad and has shared many stories over the years of his time there, as well as train trips he has taken.

After the passing of his wife of 49 years in 2007, Bill chose to join the Washington Oakes retirement community in Everett. For the past five years he has enjoyed the people, activities, events and staff members as well as time with his family. Some of his favorite adventures have been going horseback riding, train trips to Wenatchee, exploring the corners of Snohomish County by bus and sampling fish and chips from nearly every place that sells them.

He is survived by his five children, William, Peter (Nancy), Lannon (Arne), Casey (Stephanie) and James (Cara); as well as his mother-in-law; two sisters-in-law; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be held from 12 to 8 p.m. on Friday, June 8, 2012. Services will be held at Evergreen Washelli in Seattle on Saturday, June 9, 2012, 10 a.m.

Please send remembrances to The Noah Animal Shelter, where Bill found his companion, Tom, at 31300 Brandstrom Rd, Stanwood, 98292.

Many thanks to his friends and staff members at Washington Oakes.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

My Dad

My Parents
William H. McCafferty and Ina M. McCafferty

Yesterday, quite suddenly, my dad joined my mom in heaven.  I'm sure they are happy to be with each other again after the five years they have spent apart.  I am equally sure they are both missed down here with us.

His funeral will be Saturday.

Baby Stuff

In case you haven't figured it out yet, my mind is on a roller coaster ride today.  I warned you of that waaaaay back this morning (though might not know that because you are reading most current back.  Sorry about that.  Or maybe I'm not.  You'll never know.  :) ).  I have jumped from topic to topic to topic and, I'm sure, made precious little sense along the way.  Know what I'm going to talk about in this one? 

I'll wait.

Did you guess?

Nope.  Not that.  Something else.  Nope.  Not that either.

I'm going to talk about a baby bedding boutique because I can.  Seriously.  Check out the link.  That is some cute stuff!  I swear to you, seeing baby stuff ALWAYS makes me want another baby.  But then I remember....sleepless nights, endless crying, tethered to a small human 24/7.  Yeah - no.  I'm happy with my bigger kids.  Though I do, at times, long for the super snuggliness of a newborn. bedding. It's so much fun to pull together a nursery.  With Kelton, I went with the stars and moon theme.  A theme that carries through even today.  I wanted something he could grow with.  He still has the lamp and valance from his babyhood.  And the small shelf on the wall.  With Kaylen, I went with flowers and hearts.  It carried through well, too.

I'm glad I picked themes that would grow with them because even at 7 and 10, I still get to see parts of their nursery in their big kid rooms.  And I love it.

Throw another log on the fire.....

It's still chilly around here.  Chilly enough to sometimes run the heat and pile on the blankets at night.  With the gray clouds and cool temps, I'm still dreaming of curling up in front of a gel fuel fireplace .  Seems silly since it's JUNE and all.

Summer weather doesn't consistently begin around here until after the 4th of July.  I see pictures of people in the shorts and flip flops and wonder what it must be like to dress like that this early in the season.  It's not always this way....we've had VERY warm springs in years past.  It's just this year isn't one of them.

So yep.  Fireplaces.  Things I'm still dreaming of.  :)


I'm not a biker.  Not motorcycles and not two wheelers.  I had a bike accident when I was nine and it caused some major trauma - inside and out.  Ever since then, I was lukewarm on bikes.  By the time I got my yellow 10-speed, I knew I was done with bikes.  Remember the 10-speeds that had the curled handlebars?  yeah - it was just too much for my fear and I gave up bike riding.

My kids though - they ride and I'm happy to see it.  Kaylen, especially, loves her bike.  Kelton keeps saying he wants to get rid of his but I want him to keep it.  Riding is a skill he only recently accomplished and I want it to grow before he gives it up.  I think he needs a bigger bike though.  They both do.  Darn those kids for growing.  :)

I'm sure if they get new bikes, they will probably want to get a kuat bike rack to attach to the back of the car so I can take them to parks and riding trails.  I'm very sure mounting a bike rack to my car isn't going to happen but they can dream.  :)

Guitars and whatnot

I used to play the guitar.  Well - kinda play it.  I could knock out camp songs and little ditties.  It's not like I jammed or anything (though I know some Camp Fire people who would say we *did* jam back in the day.  Hee hee)

I gave away my guitar when I moved to Vancouver.  Being a new mom and overwhelmed with life, I just couldn't see myself ever having the time or desire to play it again.  I wish I hadn't given it away.  It wasn't a
goodwood brand or anything - it was an Epi which was good enough.

I remember the day I got it.  My mom and I went to the music store in "downtown Ballard" which was the community in which I lived.  My mom had finally said I could get my own full-sized guitar (I'd had a 3/4 size one up until that time) and I was soooo excited.

I saw it on the wall and fall in love with it.  It was a light wood.  The steel string were too tight for my fingers to manage but I wanted it so much I could almost taste it.  I should have gotten a nylon string but I didn't.  I went for the steel string one.

It was hard to play but I played it for years and years and years.

I wonder where that piece of wood ended up.  I hope it made some happy memories for someone else.


I decided to go to the grocery store after I got my hair cut.  I don't know why but I felt the need to stock up on "stuff"....or maybe it was more "head to a familiar place and just be there".  Whatever the reason, I picked up groceries which is always a good thing when the cupboards are looking bare.

There weren't a ton of people there, which is always nice.  As I wandered in and out the empty aisles (and noticed that hard alcohol is now for sale in the grocery store.  UGH!  Sorry folks - I didn't vote for that one.  I'm sure it's easies for lots of you but I don't like it.  I preferred people needing to go to the state run liquor stores to buy stuff.) I let my mind travel where it wanted.  Apparently, my feet followed suit as I found myself in the baby gear section.  All the highchairs, cribs, car seats, bouncy chairs.  So much has changed since I needed baby gear.  Now they have fancy things like the city versa stroller and equipment that comes in pinks and blues instead of black.

Quite a different world already.  And my babies are only 10 and 7.  Things change quickly, don't they?

The Weather - because....why not?

The weather is crazy today.  Woke up to blue hour later, it was raining.  About 30 minutes later, I needed to pull out my sunglasses.  The sky gets dark and stormy and then those clouds roll by to reveal blue skies.  Blue skies are covered again by clouds and, what appears to be, a misting system of sprinkles.

Come to think of it though - the weather is a good mirror of how I am feeling today.  I do ok and then the gray clouds roll in.  Over and over.  In and out of the cycle.

It's life though, right?  Good, bad, and somewhere in between.

Fedora, Anyone?

Ok - what's the deal with Fedora Hats ?  Do people wear them as a course of action?  Or are they mostly so you can look cool - like a gansta'?  (and yeah - I said it that way. )  I bet Kelton would love one.  Oh wait - I think he has two that are very similar in style.  Maybe that's what they are.

Come to think of it, I've seen a couple other kids at his school wearing hats like this.

Must be some cool new trend. 

Personally, I look like a dolt in a hat.  I don't have the head for them.  I wish I did.  I try but hats just never look good on my noggin.  Kaylen, though, she can wear hats like a pro.  She looks amazing in them.  Kelton looks good in his, too.

I think I might be a wee bit jealous.  :)

Ramble On, Casey

Because I don't want to write about "things" but I need to write anyway, I thought I would entertain you with random posts.  Nothing specific - just random because my fingers need to type so my brain can be quieted.

Maybe I'll entertain you with my thoughts on what type of vesa adapter I think is best.  Or maybe my thoughts on using round-up versus white vinegar.  Maybe I'll tell you that my backyard needs to be weeded like nobody's business.  How I really need to scrub the kitchen sink, the bathroom sink, and probably the toliets.  Or maybe I should tell you how I'm probably not going to be doing any of that today.

I am going to get my hair cut.  You know, because it needs it and now I need to have it done sooner rather than later.  Maybe I will tell you that I'm not really in the mood to go get my hair cut.  Or buy some groceries.  Or maybe I can tell you that I'm both relieved and not that today is a short day for the kids. 

Maybe I could tell you that I realize this post makes no sense and oddly, I'm ok with that today.  I have a feeling I will be posting other posts that make no sense today.  But when I finally tell you why, it will all make sense to you.

You will sigh and say "Oh.  That's why.  Her brain is muddled."

And you will be right.

A post that says a lot but says nothing

Something has happened that I am not yet ready to post publicly.  I will....soon.  Just not yet.

And's nothing about Stephanie and me.  That part is solid and good and, right now, holding me together. 

(It's also nothing about Dakota.  Or Vicki.  Or the kids.  Or anything like that. )

As I find I do when bad things happen, my mind races to the ocean shore.  A place where I feel safe - where the violence of the crashing waves, and the smell of sea salt in the air, calms me.  I wish I were there right now.  I wish I was there last night when the call came in.

I wish a million things.  Things I cannot change.  Things that just are - whether I want it or not.

Life happens.  And yet - this morning the sun came up in the sky, the birds sang, the children needed to be fed, taken to school and hugged.  It's weird how something so huge can happen and, for the most part, the world just keeps moving forward.

Forward we go. Step by step.  Into a new world yet again.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Gearing Up For a Garage Sale

Have I mentioned that I am in the process of clearing things out and getting ready for a garage sale?  The scale of which kind of scares me.  :)  We have two houses to clear out and since my house has been regularly decluttered a few times each and every year, most of the stuff is coming from Stephanie's house.  Or, specifically, her garage.

I foresee a LOT of work ahead as I go through all the bags I have already brought here and sort everything into categories and price everything.  Did I say a lot of work?  Yep - I meant it.  I'm kinda not looking forward to it.  It's necessary, but daunting.

Tonight, the kids, on their own, started going through their DVD's and videos to bag up the ones they are done with.  It was a respectable stack they ended up pricing and bagging.  And bonus!  They really are figuring out this fair pricing thing for a garage sale.  I didn't once have to say "Kelton.  Really?  $20 for your old headless Happy Meal toy?"  :)

After we completed the project they started, I wandered over to the cabinet full of photos and started sorting through and organizing.  I came upon photos that were taken at my baby shower - I was all pregnant and glowing.  I don't often toot my own horn but I looked so amazing when I was pregnant.  I loved every single minute of having those babies inside me.  I wasn't wearing maternity dresses (because if you know me at all, you know it's a cold day when I put on a dress) but I sure enjoyed remembering back to the maternity shirts and jeans I wore.  (But the gold wire rim round glasses?  I've done better than those, believe me.  Ugh!  Looking back I don't know why I liked them so much.  But I did.)

Pictures are amazing.  They can transport you right back in time.  The people.  The feelings I was feeling.  The excitement of expecting a new baby.  There are tons of emotions in photographs.  And I am very grateful for them and I know that one day, some day, the kids will be grateful so much of their younger years was documented.

Mine Mine Mine

So - after 18 plus years of being a registered car owner with someone, today marks the first day when I am, once again, a registered owner of a vehicle on my own.  The final paperwork has been done and the car loans have been separated and refinanced.  It's a little bit, I would imagine, like getting the divorce degree in the mail and I guess, in a way, that's what it is.

Bittersweet.  An end.  A beginning.  All rolled into one.

Make no mistake, I'm happily moving forward with my life and yet there are still times I think "Huh.  It sucks it didn't work out."  We went into it with all the good intentions people have when they get married and some how, along the way, it all went bad.  Sucks.  But it's life and without the pain of that, I wouldn't have the joy that is in my life today.'s nice to know that I can sell my car without needing someone else's approval and sign off.  Or heck, even get one of those title loans nyc things (but I'm not going to because I'm steering clear of debt).  It's nice to see just my name on the registration.  Mine. Mine. Mine.  All mine.

All steps that lead down a different path.  A new direction.  A new life.

Friday, June 01, 2012


I'm tired.  As in dog tired.  Bone tired.  Exhausted.

Since it was the first of the month, I had a full day's (plus I'm guessing a good two more day worth) work to get done in a mere 4 hours (which is what I am able to put in after getting kids off to school, driving to the office, working, and driving home again to be here when the bus arrives).  Statements and invoices had to be printed, coordinated, stacked, attached, folded, stuffed, envelopes licked, stamps attached, and mailed.

There are things to research, to track down, and to file.  No doubt about it - the first three work days of the month are by far the busiest.  I'm not even sure where the hours went today - they flew.

Fifteen minutes before I had to leave, I grabbed lunch.  Subway.....which happens to be near the used hot dog carts place (which also sells other know...reduce, recycle, reuse and all that).  I wolfed it down, logged out of my computer, stacked up the work still to be done, grabbed the stack of mail to go out and headed on my way.

Once at home, I was greeted with the work that needs to be done here.  It's never ending, that's for sure.

I guess I don't really need to wonder why I'm so tired these days.  Good thing it's Friday!

Boom Boom Boom

Last Friday night our area was blessed with a huge thunderstorm.  The likes of which you rarely get to experience around here.  I had recently been thinking, wondering when the last time was we had a really good thunder and lightning storm.  The one Friday, and another on Saturday, more than made up for the length of time between storms.


It sounded like God had a big set of drums and was going to town playing them.  Yes, I know.  I'm sure God doesn't have a need to go out and buy electronic drum sets and the like (or does he?  What do I know?  I've never been to heaven.  Maybe there are music shops there.  I mean - where else do you suppose angels get their harps and whatnot?) but as I sat there listening to the concert of sounds provided my nature, I just sat back and smiled.

Nature playing drums.

So cool.