Monday, February 8, 2016

How Do You Want To Be Remembered?


     This weekend I was reading snippets of Forever, Erma.  Erma Bombeck was a beloved humorist who passed away too soon.  I loved, loved the wit she brought to marriage, parenting, and life in general.  The book is a collection of 200 of her columns.  At the end of this book, the final chapter, is a multitude of tributes from friends, family, fans, colleagues and people whose lives she touched.  It's a lovely, lovely end to the book.  It got me thinking though.  How do I want to be remembered when I pass?

First-let it be known far and wide- I do not want a traditional funeral.  Don't mourn my passing- celebrate my life.  Don't put me on display- take my ashes and scatter them on Granny's (now Kevin's) back 40.  If you want to memorialize me- plant a tree, or two, and place a bench in what will be underneath it/them and then use it as a place to go when you want peace and quiet.  Now that we have the particulars out of the way.....

Overall, I hope that I am remembered as kind, as strong, as stubborn (because we HAVE to be honest) as honest, as loyal and as hardworking.

 I hope my family (blood and chosen) remembers me as loving and as the one who was always there for them when they needed me.

To take it a branch out  further- here's what I hope the many, many kids (most of whom are now grown up) that have worked with me and become part of my extended family remember me simply as the one who always believed in them, even when they didn't and who always has their back- even now.  

That's it.  I think that's how I want to be remembered.  Not for my illness, not for my age, but for how I (hopefully) touched people's lives.

How about you?  

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

More Changes

Great News!  The hubby started his first day of his new jobs- yes jobS yesterday!  Two days in a row last week he had interviews, one for full-time, one for part-time. The afternoon of the second interview he got the calls that both were offering him positions.  He immediately accepted- both.  I am very proud of him.  He doesn't have to take both, we are surviving on my salary (though) it's tight- but he wants to do so in order to catch up our savings as to what we spent while he was unemployed.  I don't know how long it will last- he is just past his 50th birthday after all- but I salute that he wants to try it out.

 Both are shipping/receiving so that's good.  The full-time position is at a local leather company, the part-time is at Lowes.  My only concern(?) (beyond him working himself sick) is that he will get a discount at Lowes.  Me working in and managing a bookstore is the height of temptation.  Lowes is that for him.  It could be dangerous-lol.  But hey- if he rebuilds our savings and then wants to work to buy "toys" for his man-cave- more power to him.

So- I got up yesterday and this morning and while I was making my breakfast and lunch for work, I made him a lunch  too.  He never eats breakfast and rarely eats lunch but I thought it would be a small gesture of support.  His hours, once he gets into the groove, will be 7:00am to 3:30pm and home for a bit, then 6pm to 11 or 12pm based upon the trucks coming in for the night.  I am already making my meals and it if makes it easier for him to actually eat- it's not a hardship on me.  Dinner for him Monday was pre-prepped from Sunday.  I made a lovely pork roast and veggies and we still have plenty of leftovers so all he had to do was plate and heat so he could have a real meal in between jobs.  Tonight he will eat something like Ravioli or Beefaroni that he only has to pop on the stove and heat.  I just didn't think ahead.

Another good thing about this is that it gives me an "excuse" to do an even better job of planning our meals.  Until my new Assistant Manager starts work(in a few weeks) I am working open to close on Monday, Tuesday and Thursdays so I won't be home with him in between jobs to cook so we will be forced to think ahead- because there is no way he should be working that many hours without a real meal.   This not only will make sure HE eats- but that I stay on track as well.  That can make a huge difference in my efforts to stay on plan.  There is nothing so helpful for me than being mindful.

The only one I am concerned about is Auggie.  It's been months of changes for him.  First we moved into the new house in October and my schedule was flipped because of Haunt season and traveling for work.  In November he lost his sister when we lost Miss Harley.  They had been constant companions since 2009.  Then we went out of town for a plasma draw twice so he was in a hotel room for the weekend.   Then we went on vacation for a week-not to Grandma and Papa's as usual- over Thanksgiving so he was out of his element again. December he got his "Daddy" 24/7 when Jim lost his job and I went solo once to the plasma draw. and now it's January and Jim and I will both be gone all day again.  Add to that Josh, Karyn, Jim's brother and my parents spending time here in such a short time (when only Josh and Karyn had stayed with us over the years) and he's not sure if he's coming or going.  It will be very good for him to get back to a routine because for now he's out of sorts.  I am so thankful that he's a mellow mutt because if he was high maintenance- it would be big trouble.  He's not acting out- instead he's my shadow when I am home until about 10pm and then wants to play.  He's also not coming if we call his name as if he's "pouting".  We can look right at him and he will look at us and turn away.   I am going to have to get him to play earlier so we can get to bed at a reasonable hour.  I am sure he will eventually get back to himself but in the meantime- we will have to work with him.

So that's the new changes in our lives.  Thankfully they are mostly positive and I can be grateful to get back to another new normal.  Have a great day gang! 

Monday, January 25, 2016

My World In This Moment- **Picture Heavy**


Well- *my* football season ended tonight in a close game.  That frees me from sports until April when the Sox start playing.  Tonight (it's Sunday) I thought I would share a few pictures of the house, what I am up to and- naturally- Auggie.  No major post, just things I am grateful for today.  **All pictures taken between October 1st and yesterday.  They are not in order- Blogger is being a bear about moving them to where I want them**


 The House now that it's winter, and just before the snow


Had to include the monster bed.  I feel like The Princess and the Pea when I climb in. 

The Harry Potter collection in my home office: 


Auggie- King of my world: 

 


Just because it's true: 


 We spend MANY hours like this: 



My latest project- Wands for my store's upcoming Harry Potter Book Night: 










 The house while we were moving in- Miss Harley loved the back yard: 



 
 


 




 



A lovely glass sculpture from my Mama that is named for the Sisters hangs over the sink: 



Taking care of myself and getting back to cooking/prepping real meals:


Naturally- still Haunting in season: 

JOSH came to visit to help us move- and then went haunting with me.  :-) 



Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Ultimate Dinner Party



I am an unabashed Harry Potter Geek.  I have read the books over and over, went to the midnight premiere of each movie and have seen the movies every time I pass them on the television.  The cast is made up of a seemingly terrific group of well-adjusted kids and some of the luminaries of British stage and screen.  So when Alan Rickman passed away last week at the age of 69, I was truly sad.  The tributes, from all of those who had worked with him over the years were so poignant.  I found myself thinking "I would have loved to have met him."

This got me thinking about all of the people that I wish I could sit down and have a conversation with.  Yesterday being Martin Luther King Jr day, I would love to have a sit down with him and see what he thinks of the world we live in today and how much he feels we have progressed- or- regressed- in the years since his passing.  I've heard one version of this called the "Ultimate Dinner Party."  I've heard it done with just those that are still living, only those that are no longer with us, famous people, not-famous people and any combination.  I believe the guideline is 5-10 guests so you can spend time with each.

So I think I will do a bit of both in my journal.  I will do three dinner parties: only live and famous guests, only those who have passed and a "famous only to me" with a combination of both.  Once my lists are made, I will journal why I want these particular guests- and see what I learn about myself in the process.

I challenge you to do the same.  You don't need to post it- just do it.  See what you learn about you!

Have a great week.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Rush is OVER!

Well, my Rush is over.  I made it through my first rush without my Assistant Manager.  It was grueling and now I am paying for it.  I spent about 6 weeks working no less than 60 hours a week and my body has officially rebelled.  My everything is swollen, my everything hurts.  I expected to bring on an RA flare but this time I even brought on a Fibro flare.  When I saw my Rheumy yesterday I told her "even my skin hurts!".  She was pretty taken back because I rarely complain.  But- she put me on a 12 day dose pack of Prednisone, changed my muscle relaxer and now I just take the next 3 days to rest, relax and recuperate.
I don't love Prednisone but if it makes it so I can put on real shoes again- I will deal with it.

Hubby is still without work.  It's making both of us crazy.  He has turned job hunting into a full time job (as he should) but he's getting very frustrated.  I understand it but he has to understand that he's 50.  He's up against people much younger- and less "expensive" for jobs.  Oh well, what can you do, right?  Just keep plodding along I guess.  I shouldn't say it but I have kind of enjoyed having a "house husband" during my rush.  It took a lot of pressure off of me.  If we could afford it, it would be good for me to have him here full time to keep taking care of the house and all the day to day.

Now- it's time to go back and put my feet up and nap before the Patriot's game today.  I hope you all have a lovely weekend.  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Another Family Visit Coming!



And I am very excited.  Mom and Dad's 50th anniversary is next month and we did a quick "hey can you come for dinner?" shout-out across the country and it looks like both girls will be able to make it.  I think that's the hardest part about being spread across the country.  I know that I can't just drop everything and run out to California, North Carolina or New England for a weekend- no matter how much I wish I could.

I have been planning my trip to California for Heather's wedding in April and I had thought that would be the next time I see the girls- but this trip (both are flying in on Saturday and home on Monday morning) will be an added bonus.  We will grab them at the airport Saturday then run down to Mom and Dad's for dinner and the night, then back to my house on Sunday where we will all stay till I drop them off at the airport on Monday on my way to work.  It's taken quite a bit of scrambling on their parts but I know they really want to be here.

So here is what I say to you this morning......  If you have siblings who live close- take a minute and give thanks!  Next time you see them- give them a big hug.  No matter how crazy they make you, you still have the opportunity to hold them close and spend time with them at will.  For that- I envy you!


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Things are looking up- slowly.




    Thus far, 2016 is off to a better start than the last quarter of 2015.

October was good- we moved into the new house and though we are still figuring things out we got mostly settled.  I had another successful haunt season.  I have a new costume this year and was made the "host" of the haunt.  It was very exciting and fun and I am grateful for the trust they put in me to do so.  We had some wonderful new kids this season who did a great job.  I hope they all come back next season.   I also had visits from my son and best friend.  Josh came out to help us move- which was terrific of him- and Karyn made her annual trip out.  Josh not only got to haunt with me- he was even featured in our professional photos!  Karyn got to haunt again too.  I loving bringing my family to meet my haunt family.
There's one of my pro photos

And Josh being "tortured"

Karyn and I prepping for the night

Selfie in character



November, on the other hand, was very rough.  We lost Miss Harley on the first.  Over the course of Halloween weekend she started vomiting and progressively got so sick that by Sunday morning she couldn't lift her head and we rushed her to the vet.  Our vet said that her white-blood cell count was through the roof and her liver and kidneys were shutting down.  It just broke my heart to have to say goodbye to her.  She was about 11 years old and had been with us since we adopted her 7 years ago.  Quiet unless she was bossing her brother around and incredibly sweet, she still has a huge piece of my heart.  Since we lost her, Auggie has become much less animated.  It's been two months and he still looks for her.  I understand that because when I am cutting my fruits and veggies in the morning or making my lunch for work, I still expect her to sidle up for a sliver.  In the morning, Auggie and I get up and he goes outside then comes back in and waits on the mat for his treat.  He then takes the first one in to "her" bed and leaves it there for later and comes back for another which he takes into he living room and eats in my chair.  He's starting to perk up a little but will "disappear" into her bed to nap.  We left it at the bottom of the bed because our new bed is SO tall that sometimes he just doesn't want to be up there all night so he will move down to the bed and sleep there.  They used to cuddle up there together and it seems to comfort him.  We had her body cremated and she's still here with us.  A dear friend (Thank you a million time Danelle Garner!) surprised us with this lovely tribute on the right which sits on the shelf next to her ashes.  We found the little saying at an antique store/flea market in Tennessee and it seemed perfect for the spot.  Jim thinks we should get another pup.  I am just not ready.





I also lost my valued assistant manager to another career in November.  She was young, energetic and super organized.  Pretty much everything that I was before my illnesses set in.  She was a great complement to me but- she wanted to stay in the area and she wanted more, which I understand.  Unfortunately, unless she was willing to wait for me or one of my local colleagues to retire there was no place for her to go.  So, she left to go to work for Cnet.com.  I wish her all the luck in the world but it's been a struggle without her.  Her last day was the 13th of November and we still have not found a good replacement solution.  My full-time employee is up for the position but we fear that if she gets it, they won't let us replace the full-time slot.  There's another candidate but she won't be available until the second week in February if she gets the position so either way, we are going through this rush short handed.  I went on my annual Thanksgiving week vacation with my parents (which was amazing) and since returning I have had exactly 5 days off.  I have been running myself ragged and don't know how much longer I can do it (burn out is rapidly approaching) but the show must go on.  Students need their books, no matter what our staffing situation.  So- we soldier on.

Adding to the stress, in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the husband lost his job.  Having a new house, new bills that I have never had to pay before (Mortgage, insurance, water, trash) and having the husband lose his job did not make life easier. Oh- and his truck broke down.  I was ready to scrap the damned thing but he needs it to job hunt so we had no choice but to pay major repairs again.   Within two months my stress level rose to Threat-Con Delta.  Fortunately I am back to traveling to Tennessee for plasma draws for research so we had the money to cover all of our needs AND fortunately I had already taken care of Christmas, but it was tight. Needless to say, I was very glad to see the year end and close the book on this chapter of our lives.

So now the new year.  I ended/started the year following all of my usual superstitions for the new year:  money on the window sills by midnight, black-eyed peas and something green to eat on the first, burning a list of the things I want to leave behind on NY Eve- I just have to burn the things I want for the year and send it off into the Universe.  I plan on doing that tonight.  I was going to do it Friday but I thought of a few things to add to the list.

Last Friday, we surprised my husband in a big way.  Jim will be 50 on Monday and his brother, who we haven't seen since their dad passed in 2014,  drove down from MA to spend the weekend with him.  It was an amazing surprise for him.  Drew is going through some stuff too so a little "brother time" is something they both needed.  I am hoping that they were able to have some "manly conversation" and both will be set on the right path.  That was a bright spot to begin the new year.

This Wednesday my sorta-boss is coming down to interview both my FT employee and the candidate from the other store.  That means a decision about an assistant for me is imminent, and no matter which way it goes we will have an answer and be able to plan.

Now we just have to find him a job and all will be right in my world again.  In the meantime- I am trying to find time for "me time".  I am taking Auggie to work with me today so I can spend time with him while I process online orders.  I think after I work today I will drop him at home and then go have a manicure done.  It's a little thing but it feels good to pamper myself.  I also have to find the time now to use the gym membership I bought in December before everything spiraled out of control.  Both should help me find my center so I can get back on my own track.

Now though- it's time to go to work and be productive so I wish you a lovely day.