Sunday, September 25, 2011
At this point, I interrupt this couple and ask what they would like to drink. The woman asks me if I can put the ASU game on and I agree, too, once I find the correct station. I grab the remote and the guy keeps saying--it's on Fox. I tell him that we had been watching the baseball game which was on fox. He is furious that I don't have the game on. I find it on espn but they are broadcasting the end of another game. There is one minute left. Football minute that is. I ask the couple what they would like to drink and the guy turns to his wife and says--they don't have the game on.
Insane. He would miss the first few moments of the football game. Few minutes. The other people that watched the interaction felt he was irrational too. It wasn't just me being mean. Then, I considered what is currently going on in my life. My dad would give anything to have another clear, loving moment, with his wife. He would love to take her home and lavish her with whatever she wanted. Instead, he is watching her try to let go of life.
I made some comment about being embaressed for the woman and how I would hate to be in a relationship like that. Pure misery.
For the most part, last night, was extremely pleasant. Steady flow of interesting conversation. And, I reached out to someone from my past that I hadn't spoken to in months. My way of offering the olive branch was sending a birthday card. I thought he would text or e-mail and let me know that he had received it. He didn't. Casually, I asked a few people that I know are close to him. They seemed surprised that he had not responded and indicated that he probably didn't get it. I couldn't remember if I sent it to the right address. In hindsight, I believed that I had gotten the numbers misplaced. I had rushed to send the card and in my hurry, could not remember if I wrote the correct address.
Yet, he did receive the card. He said he felt bad for not telling me thank you and mentioned that he would treat me to wine next time I was in the area. Thankful for that. We can move beyond our differences and continue, I think.
Perhaps, I am emotional due to the nature of my last week. It prompted me to think about my own life--dealing with losing Brian, the people that helped me while I was grieving and what this now will mean to my dad. Being upset about a game that started two minutes ago seems so minute in the whole scheme of things. It is laughable. To rush off, spike your blood pressure and for what---missing two minutes of a game? How to deal with the things you cannot control? Illness, death, etc?
Today, I will take a deep breath and breathe when challenged. I will smile and give gratitude for being right here, right now. I will pray for peace for my stepmom and send love to my dad and sisters that are still physically there for my dad offering support. I will not be negative about things that truly do not matter outside of a moment of time.
And, I will dream of a wine date with old friends. Happy Sunday~
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
So, I arrive and follow Jasmin to the hospital. We arrive and mentally, I think, of how I can make things easier. I fall back on what I know. Still, we need to stock up on supplies and so my sisters make me go to wally world--yuck! We peruse food and beverages. Jade picks up the tab and I tell her that I will make sure that everything is flush. I don't want to put her out. We return to my dad's house and make dinner. Actually, prior to that, while parked in wally world, Jade leaves the rental car and sees a used diaper. Left in the parking lot. Yuck! Seriously...who does that? It was disgusting.
The next day while parked at a grocery store, I notice a woman in the car parked next to us. I wonder how Jade doesn't see it but whatever. I point it out and see a baby kitty in the back seat. I realize that the woman is homeless living in the car.
Weird. Thursday, we stop at Kohl's and all i can think is.....where is the used diaper, homeless person, or dirty couple? I mean, really, what else did we need to see while touring the midwest? That parking lot was clean, ironically. It ended well.
In hindsight, I wish we would have had another story to tell. At least it would have made my dad laugh. In addition, the entire well-preserved comment lingered the entire week. Too funny! I am glad to have been able to provide humor to the last week. We all needed it....
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Typically, I celebrate my birthday in a large fashion. Other holidays pale in comparison to how much I enjoy this particular celebration. I think it is because I do exactly what I want. I can be selfish and justify it with, well, it is my birthday....
This year is a little different since a few unexpected things occurred. First off, Veronica (my beloved Volvo) broke down. The customary tune-up turned into a huge cost. A point where some of my friends told me I should consider purchasing a newer vehicle and putting her down to rest. I have faith in my car and I know she has spirit. Plus, I figure I don't have a car payment and if I continue to pay attention to the maintenance, diligently, she will continue to thrive. I paid the balance of the work--new radiator, alternator belts, tune-up and a few other adjustments and felt a pinch. Still, I felt okay with having the work done.
Then, Sunday, my dad called me. This seems to be our thing. He calls me on Sundays to see how my week went, and how my upcoming week will look. I listened to the voice message and could tell something was up. I returned his call and he told me that his wife, Dori, was in the hospital and had been, since the previous Monday.
He asked me if I had talked to Jade and I said, no, sometimes it's hard to get ahold of Jade. He said, well, can you text her?
At this point, I knew it was serious. Jade is an oncology nurse and my dad has been a little more forthcoming with Dori's situation since Jade understands the terminology and what to expect. Dori has been fighting liver cancer for the last year.
I text my niece since she responds to texts. Jade isn't a big phone person. Mackenzie immediately responded that she would tell Jade to call grandpa.
Jade called me and told me that we needed to book a flight immediately to Kansas. That it couldn't wait nor should we. From this point, I was on the phone with my dad, Jade or Michaela, while a friend of mine shopped flights and rental cars for me.
I am here for my dad and Dori. There is nowhere else that I want to be. Of course, I feel like dead weight when it comes to sitting in the hospital. It definitely is not my forte. I am finding that I am equipped to provide emotional support and sustenance. They have let me cook while we are at my dad's house and I take pleasure in that. That is my contribution, small, while we wait to find out how to make Dori as comfortable as possible.
Yes, things happen. Things out of our control--my car seems so small compared to what is currently happening to my dad and stepmom. I remember how I felt after Brian died and I would not wish that on anyone.
Sometimes people ask--which do you think is better....immediate death or lingering dying? In the past I have always felt that the immediate death was harder--that is what my experience was with. Honestly, I would have given anything, any amount of money, my soul, what have you to have one more day with Brian. One moment. A kiss. Hug. Being able to look at him and say, I love you one more time. I felt robbed the way it happened.
However, watching my dad, now, well, in no way is this easy. You have time but there is so much pain. Plus, there are decisions to be made--hospice, all of the social security things, insurance, etc...the list goes on and overwhelms all the while, the person you most love is dying. It is heartbreaking.
This year continues to challenge, surprise and remind me to be compassionate and supportive of my friends and family. I am thankful to be able to do it, too. So grateful to be here for my dad.
It is a different way to celebrate. I will definitely find carrot cake at some point in the near future....
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
So far, so good. Enjoyed the finale and was able to thoroughly clean out coffee mug. I have been more green in terms of carrying my own carry out mug but not so great about cleaning it. I drove through a drive thru today and was embaressed by the condition of my green travel mug. It was stained with the remnants of coffee. Unpleasant smelling to say the least.
I stop by the local farmer's market to purchase greens, salsa, and a few other necessary items. I really love being able to shop at a local market. I pull into my alley to discover somebody parked in my parking space. It is a repeat offender, as last Friday, I noticed the same car in my spot. I had asked my neighbors who share the car port with me if they knew whose car it was, then, too. Today, I received the same response--no, we don't know the car. I tell them that I am going to tow it. I mean, this is ridiculous. There is a sign saying--tenant parking only and so obviously, this spot is not available to random people.
I put a note on the windshield and walk over to the church on the corner. I consider walking in to see if any of them had mistakenly parked in my spot when I notice they have a considerable parking lot and wouldn't need to park off site. As I am walking back to my house, I see a car pull up and hesitate. I cross the street and approach this kid. I said--is this your car?
Well, you are parked in a spot that doesn't belong to you. He goes, I'm sorry.
He walked straight to his car and didn't look up. I continued with--if you do it again, I will have it towed.
He got in his car, backed up and took off.
I think I am most annoyed with his entitlement. Yes, I know that parking is scarce around here due, in large, to the fact that it is by a university. Choosing to drive around campus limits parking options. It was the same way at KU. So, I took the bus or walked to campus. Not once did I illegally take someone else's spot. And, he wasn't sorry. Only, that he got caught.
What he doesn't know is that I took his license plate down and will absolutely have his car towed if he parks in my spot again. You just don't do that. I chose this rental for that purpose--it came with a designated covered parking spot. I shouldn't have to fight to use it.
I arranged to go running later to let off some more steam. Yes, I am that annoyed....
Monday, September 12, 2011
I have always enjoyed his company is what I am saying. When I noticed that we would have the opportunity to catch up, I took it. I texted him to let him know that I had arrived and found a seat at the bar. He responded that, he, too, had just arrived and would see me shortly. A few seconds later, he retexted--uh oh?
At which point, I said--what? And, I knew, what had happened. He went to the other location. He called me to say that he would be there within ten minutes and I perused the wine list. I chose a lovely merlot/cab franc blend. Earthy, funky, and perfect for me.
Josh arrived and we caught each other, respectively, up on what had been going on the last few years. He had lived in Nebraska, Texas and most recently, California. He told me about his sister, mom, other family. He asked about Roxy (my mom). Funny to hear someone refer to her that way. He said--well, I have always remembered her name. We discussed similart interests, hopes, dreams and of course, gossipped about others from our class. This is a natural occurrence I would like to think. I discovered that he enjoys hiking and look forward to checking out hikes in the area. Also, he loves food and so I will have another person to check out restaurants with. At least for the next six months. He will be relocating to Seattle then--I think.
Eventually, he says, I don't know how to say this without it sounding bad, but, you are really well-preserved. Do you know what I mean?
I point to my glass of wine and say, yes, I drink a ton of wine and water. I have a healthy lifestyle, I think, for the most part.
It is funny. Makes me think I belong in a petri dish or science project. The definition of the word is what makes it sound so clinical.
Today, I walked to continue my healthy lifestyle and I suppose, the continued state of well-preservation. Too funny.
Now, I can honestly say that I have been described as well preserved. That is a new one, for me.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Tragedy. Loss. Unbelievable sadness for all of the lives lost. How this could happen seemed so unlikely to me. It took awhile to absorb the fact that there is a lot of hatred in the world. I remember opportunists trying to cash in on the tragedy while others exerted themselves in the recovery. How we came together to grieve, to love, to help each other.
I remember being dazed and filled with uncertainty. Personally, I knew (somewhere in my head) that a backpacking trip was out of the question. Stubbornly, I held to that belief though. I continued my going away tour until I returned to Lawrence, KS, and had coffee with my mentor. He said--you should wait. You can delay your trip, reschedule and go at a more secure time. Even if you wait 6 months, it's only six months. Cotten succeeded where all of my family failed. My parents, aunts/uncles, sisters, friends, even, shook their heads in frustration to me as I held on to the notion that I would go to Europe. Yes, i can be a stubborn fool. I think this comes from my mom's side of the family.
At this point, I had no idea what to do. I didn't have any plans of returning to Phoenix. I had submited a leave of absence and wanted to take the opportunity to travel. I drove back to Kansas, dropped off my car, and then 9/11 disrupted the plans.
I thought of staying in Kansas and almost choked on that fact. Actually, Lawrence has always had a soft spot in my heart. Yet, I was no longer a college student. I knew way too many locals and felt if I stayed there, it was likely that I would fall into a bottle (or two) of vodka. I did give it some thought, though. I would be closer to my sisters and maybe able to watch my goddaughter grow up, in person. I think Mackenzie was three at the time.
No, staying in Kansas was not desireable or going to happen. I bid adieu, again, to my sisters and parents and traveled around the states for about a month. It was eerie to fly. Most flights were partially filled. I think I got checked every time I went through security. Not a fan of that, either.
I returned to Phoenix, visited a friend from college in Santa Barbara, took the Amtrak to the most awesome city in my world--San Francisco and considered my options. I watched the playoffs and became a fan of specific players on the Athletics, Cardinals and Diamondbacks. I think I found an Irish Pub in every area of the city. It was time of trying to find peace within the world and understanding. I watched baseball with a group of older men and felt safe in that realm. Safe enough to accept a ride back to my hostel from one of the regulars. And, I bumped into my old boss from Phoenix while drinking in the Mission. That, too, was comical especially when I saw him a few weeks later and he had no recollection of our meeting in San Fran. Oh, alcohol....
Still, i had no idea what direction my life was heading. It just felt that I needed to stay in the States. Since I have always had an affinity for beer, it seemed natural to check out the Great American Beer Festival. I had connections from Phoenix where I could get free passes to the convention and my aunt, Bryn, lived in Denver. I called her and arranged to stay at her house for a few nights.
My friend, Jan, flew out to Kansas to meet my family. One night in Lawrence with Michaela, Jeremy and their crazy little terriers before spending one day with my mom, Jade, & Jasmin. Thankfully, it wasn't too overwhelming and we made it safely to Denver.
That was it. I knew my next city. Denver embraced me with lifelong friends, wonderful restaurants to explore, beer/wine (naturally), hiking, a love for running and Brian.
So, to me, inspite of how terrible 9/11 is...the tragedy that occurred, the lives lost, the hatred, I met my soulmate. For me, my course completely altered. Instead of exploring Greece or finding a prince to marry--yes, some of my friends actually thought this--I relocated to Denver and started a new life. A life where I pushed my limitations regarding relationships and love. I am so thankful for the time I had with Brian.
Isn't there a saying out of tragedy comes possibility? I don't know. I am a little emotional right now for the loss of life, the love of love and all of the emotions tied to today on a universal level.
I plan on taking time, for myself, to breathe, reflect and later, meet a childhood friend for lunch. Looking back on life, helps me balance where I want to be heading.
Find a way to enjoy the people in your life. This anniversary illustrates how precious each day truly is.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
I think Tom went overconsumption since he invited one of his friends over for dinner. It worked out, better, too. We needed the additional shrimp. I prepped the skewers and blackened the rest of the shrimp. I figured, why not? Blackened shrimp is lovely.
I opened some wine after a margarita at one of my favorite restaurants. They put a limit on the chambord margaritas available on a visit to their restaurant. Three is the limit. Had we not had grill plans, I think I could have been convinced to eat the guacamole and dip trio. Yay, for queso!
Yet, we had Sunday night plans and so I limited my consumption of the chambord delight.
Prepped the shrimp, vegetables and listened to music. Perfect way to enjoy a meal. Another example of a ideal homecooked meal.
Since then, I have been thinking about running and future trips. No progress on either front. Running returned to the wayside and traveling, well, a little uncertain of the next venture. Although, I do have a few upcoming visitors that are interested in exploring the southwest. Maybe a trip to Cali is in the future.
On the running front, I have signed up for two more 1/2 Marathons in the fall. Stoked to be returning to Las Vegas for a 1/2 this time and that I convinced several others that they, too, should sign up for this event. Shari, my friend, Jenn from middle school and another college friend, also named Jen. Maybe this is the trip of Jen's and not Sara's as my 30th birthday displayed. Michaela and I with three Sara's en tow. Awesome adventure, that time, and I believe, this 1/2 Marathon trip will be just as fun. It is Vegas and who doesn't enjoy a mini trip there?
Also, today, I discovered that a friend of mine from grade school lived 20 minutes from me. I cannot wait to meet Josh for a glass of wine. While in college, he was friends with one of my neighbors. Several times, we would make dinner, cocktail and finish with a cordial. Those were the days of decandence and excess. Then, we sort of lost touch. However, with the help of a certain social network, we have reconnected. Josh has always been a good friend and I am grateful to have this opportunity to meet again. I am sure that the lunch will be full of entertaining catch up type of stories.
Today was more productive than yesterday. I retrieved my bike and actually rode it home. In a way, I felt like a kid, again, enjoying the last moments of summer before school started. What a feeling! I am envious of my niece and nephew who will, soon, begin school in Oregon.
Life is grand...enjoy your night!
Sunday, September 4, 2011
The island also has collected a few items. Note pads, new gizmo's and other things. The dining room table remains clear of clutter. There are some dried flowers but that fits the decor. I am glad that we are still able to use the table and will continue to do so.
The first time we made a Sunday night meal was Easter. We grilled ham, pineapple, corn on the cob and I think asparagus. I believe it was the first time, this year, that my friends actually used their table. It offered hope and promise that we would have several meals there. And, they go all out. They have dried flowers (like previously noted), candles, place mats, an array of plates, dishware and napkins. Yes, they know how to host meals. Sure, it took an effort to clear the table, but, once done, it has remained useable for us to dine at. Beautiful.
Tonight, I think, we are either making shrimp skewers or fish. I lean towards fish. But, I know Jan prefers the idea of shrimp skewers. And, we can grill vegetables which is truly what I am interested in. Grilled tomatoes, peppers, asparagus...yummy!
I must shop and figure out what works best. Actually, I think I will wine shop. We can work out the rest of the details later. My focus is the wine factor. Must find wine that is drinkable and lovely for tonight. This could be my last Sunday night meal for awhile.
Looking forward to the outcome of tonight. Grilling sounds fantastic. I am ready for a margarita in the meantime....
the 28th of August by exploring Sedona. Like I mentioned in the previous post, I encountered a tarantula, went wine tasting in Cornville, lounged by the pool and had a lovely meal at a resort. We sat, creekside. Stunning spot to enjoy a spectacular meal. Initially, we drank a cocktail while I perused the wine list. We discussed our options--foodwise and I chose a wine. I settled on an Aglianico. Lately, I have been appreciating Italian wines with food. It complimented the meal nicely.
Plus, the wine list was overwhelming. So many choices and it covered most of the world regions. Of course, being that we were in a resort, it fared to the more spendy side. Not that I don't appreciate a fine bottle of wine, I just don't want to pay $200 for a bottle.
So, after I knew what wine I wanted, we moved on to the entree choices. I like trying as many items as possible. Immediately, the heirloom tomato and melon salad stood out. I knew that it would be delightful. I like scallops and since I knew that Jonny was uninterested in fish as an entree, I thought this would be the best way to get my fish fix. The scallops were okay. Honestly, I have had better. I was a little disappointed.
After the scallops, the next course was duck with cherries and confit. I considered the venison. I think it had huckleberries. However, in the spirit of the day and what it signified to me, I knew the confit was the way to go. Brian would have definitely approved.
Delicious, too. The server suggested trying the succotash with the duck. The duck was dropped at the table, but no succotash. I mentioned to the server when she came by to inquire our thoughts on the duck. Her response--oh, I forgot to order it. One second, I will be back.
When she returns, though, she tells us that the succotash is no longer available. She suggests the asparagus or fingerling potatoes. I had already had some asparagus with the duck and so I said, we would try the potatoes.
In hindsight, we should have skipped the starch. Completely flavorless and lackluster. Onward to dessert, a cheese course. I love cheese for dessert. Plus, they didn't offer any carrot cake or enticing chocolate volcano, so, dessert was my choice.
This is my sixth celebration of August 28th. I didn't have any expectation of how it would go outside of that I would find spectacular food and wine. I did and we toasted Brian. The following day, I walked the labyrinth which I had no idea was at the bed and breakfast until we checked in. Perfect way to complete the celebration. A moment to step back, breathe, celebrate and remember. Yes, this year was a successful celebration, too.
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Inspired by this. Love the red sunsets in the southwest.
I think this was captured before enjoying a meal at an eatery in Santa Fe. Our original plan was to dine at Mu Du Noodles. My friend, Melody, loves this place. We drove over to find that they had opted to close that particular Sunday. Bummer.
Still, love the sunset and memory of that night in January.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
I thought about running on the treadmill. I could watch Rescue Me and run--two activities that I enjoy combining when forced to run indoors. I stretched and then got sidetracked by a book. I finished the book and then told myself that I should run with the Thursday night group. I wasn't feeling the treadmill action today. Still, watched Rescue Me, though. I am bummed that that show is ending in a week. Sad episode, last night, for those of you that also watch this fantastic show.
Yesterday, I had plans to run, with said partner, but I had to pick Veronica up from the shop. My beloved Volvo had been dropped off a week ago for a routine tune up. Little did I know that I would be sacrificing most of my birthday budget to make sure that my car would continue to be part of my life. I know how this sounds. It is how I look at it, though. I have had Veronica for six years, almost. Brian picked her out and part of my love for this car is due to that fact. Plus, volvo's are fantastic cars and I try to keep the maintenance up, religiously. Sometimes, when I receive news like I did last Friday, I question my desire to keep the car. Basically, the mechanic told me that my alternator belt broke, my radiator was leaking, possibly a head gasket, oh, and the 180,000 service (tune up) needed to be done. I could understand the belts and possibly the radiator, but him, telling me that I needed a tune up really made me question if they did, in fact, know what was going on with my car. I made the original appointment to have the work done and was very aware of the tune up issue.
Since I was in route to Tucson to explore that gem of a town, I was distracted and told the guy to do everything but the head gasket. I let it go and thought--it's just money and you love this car. Plus, you are going to get it fixed in spite of the ridiculous amount of money.
I spoke to a few people about the quandry and they were all like--don't fix the radiator. Definitely the head gasket is b.s. Call them and tell them to only do the belts and tune up. And, why don't you buy a new car? This one guy said--how old are you? I bet you have decent credit and you could buy a new car--Honda or Toyota--and not have to deal with this.
That is a valid question. This is how I think about it. I love my car. I do not have car payments. My insurance is reasonable and why would I do anything to tie me, responsibility wise, where I am unable to travel? Purchasing a new car is foolish for my type of life. I don't want to be tied down to anything.
Also while walking around the Botannic Gardens in Denver with my friend, Sara, we had a similar conversation. She is hoping to purchase a vehicle and uncertain if she wants an older vehicle that she can pay for on the spot or a new vehicle with payments. Her mom (lovely woman) said--look at Harmony. She knows what she is doing. She doesn't have debt to tie her to a place or situation. But a car that you can afford when you buy it.
Clearly, I love this woman and statement. Very true to my way of life. I like having the opportunity to travel, taste life and explore.
I picked Veronica up yesterday. Paying for the service, sucked, and like I mentioned before limited my birthday plans. Now, I must decide what I can do that is fun and somewhat practical. I mean, I am going to want to do something next month, too. Then, there is the Phoenix 1/2 Marathon and trip to Rocky Point followed by the Las Vegas Half. Must not forget christmas. I always try to spend it elsewhere. Last year, I went to Key West. Delightful color, memories and friends. I met this couple on a wind and wine sail. I ended up having dinner with them. Awesome.
Sorry for the tangent. My running plans, last night, got altered when I decided to day drink to celebrate that my car was back and safe. One beer led to one more and eventually, my day was over. Fun way to spend a Thursday, though.
I remain unmotivated tonight. No running, but I can make dinner or something. There is always tomorrow for the running.....