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Sunday, February 24, 2013

All over the place lately...

I was thinking I would start with today's story and work backward.  That way, all the overreacting and worry that I had as the weekend progressed will be a sweet reminder that everything will work out...not necessarily as I would want it to...but it always does.

Tonight, I am sitting here at my desk, looking at the window which has at least a foot of snow on the bottoms.  It started snowing last night and hasn't stopped.  The house is quiet, dinner was "little bowl" night and Jim was so cold from plowing the driveway for 4 hours that he is already in bed.  Howie is watching TV and all is well.

This morning, we all got up and went to church.  When I say "we all", I mean all of us...The Queen, Mac, Jim, Howie and I.  I talked my college girl into coming home to hang out with me on Saturday while the boys went snowboarding.  The Queen is a busy girl and stays away from home.  She's too busy to come home and hang out.  I don't know that she is so busy but she is making her way in the world and sometimes it's hard to come home and listen to Mom's wisdom.

Anyway, they needed to get home today and since the snow was falling hard, I asked Jim to drive them up to college and of course, he did.  Howie and I came home from church, hit the grocery store and came home.  We couldn't get up the driveway and I got the car stuck on the side...so we had to walk up.  Howie got the tractor, drove it down the hill and it ran out of diesel!  No more plowing and  no more digging the car out...



We walked up to the house, made lunch, strapped on our snow boards and rode down the driveway for a while.  It was pretty snowy and it seemed like it wasn't going to stop.  The big question is...will they cancel school tomorrow?  I am sure if the roads are plowed, it will be on.


After a while of riding down the driveway, Jim showed up.  There was no way he was gonna be able to get up the driveway because we had a tractor and a car in the way.  He walked up the driveway, put on his plowing clothes and started working on it.  I headed into the house, shed my snow pants, grabbed the Sunday paper and got into bed with my cat...

It was a little piece of heaven.  He snuggled up to me, I read as much as I needed to so my eyes got heavy and settled into a fantastic nap...while Jim was out plowing, freezing his "you know what off" but also loving every minute.  I maintain that for Jim, there is nothing better than driving that Kubota tractor around.

I woke up almost 3 hours later and put my snow pants on and joined Howie sledding down the hill and playing with the dogs outside.  I have three dogs, but one of them absolutely loves the snow...Bailey  is our snow dog!



So that was and is today.  Not too bad, I guess.  The sermon at church was relevant to me and made me think about how I live my life...nice.

Yesterday, not so good.   Let me qualify that when things happen that don't include death, I usually brush them off and say, "at least someone is not dead," and  Jim tends to agree but tells me that I have a warped attitude and you can't measure everything against death.  Fair enough...

So, Saturday morning was glorious and the boys loaded the subaru, screaming at each other in the garage, and headed off to Keystone to snowboard all day.  When I say "all day" I mean exactly that.  These boys try to get the last lift of the day which some days is 8 pm...I don't know where they get the energy but then again, they are teenage boys.

So, lunches packed, capri sun loaded in pockets and they were headed out.  About an hour and a half later, when Christie and I had made our plans for the day, the phone rang and I heard Jim saying, "oh, great, OK, get it off I-70 and I will come and get you guys".  I wandered down stairs and hoped that I was not hearing what I thought I heard. 

We drive cars with lots of miles...lots of miles.  That Subaru had at least 220,000 on it and let's just say, maintaining cars is not our strong suite.  When Howie would drive out of the garage in the morning, the poor thing would scream and if he wanted it to scream louder, he would turn the wheel.  I would laugh every day when he was pulling out.  I guess that scream came back to bite us...it was screaming because it needed attention.  I  guess because they hear me yell and scream so much, we all ignored the poor car too!

Anyway, Jim went to the rent a tool place, got a trailer to hook up the poor car and got the boys, hooked up the car and brought it home.  I suggested they put it by the edge of the driveway where there is a big hill, take off the parking brake, put it in neutral and shove it down the hill.  That didn't go over too good with my husband.  

You see, Jim can fix anything, especially when he has time to think about it.  Last night, with a Coors light in his hand, he got on the internet and figured out what happened to the car.  Something about the timing chain breaking, shooting metal shards all over the engine and blowing a hole in the top of it..."an easy fix" I heard him saying...

The Queen and I went to Flying J and ran the loop...and she acted so proud of me that it got me through the whole run.  I could hardly move after but it was worth every minute to have my first born who will be 21 next week...proud of her mother.  After that, we had our eyebrows waxed...and home for lunch.  While she was making me the best spinach salad I have ever had, "You always say that, Mom", we talked about her plan for her 21st birthday, about what she is gonna drink, if much, and I gave her tips.  Since I am and have been a seasoned drinker for many years, I wanted to let her know how not to be like me...but I have to say, she has her head screwed on way better than I did at that age...

Last night, I found myself sitting around the dinner table, in our "old seats" having home made spaghetti and meatballs.  I noticed the kids waiting for Jim to sit down, sneaking food off of their plates but trying to be polite.  He sat down and we prayed our usual, "Father we thank thee" which we have been doing since the Queen was in a bouncy seat on the table while we ate.  Then I heard Jim say, " okay, now we have to say something we like about the person two seats to the right"  and we all started to laugh and blew him off.  You see, when we had three middle school/teenagers at the dinner table and they had just finished a "knock down -drag out" fight, that is how we would break the ice at dinner...

I wanted to take a picture to commemorate the gathering since we have not all been together since Christmas, but I was told that I take too many pictures.  They just don't get it...

The gospel reading today was about the hen who gathers her chicks under her wings to protect them and would lay her life down for them...  they even brought a live chicken named Patsy that I got to touch!  After the service, Mac, my middle son, went up to the Pastor and the lady with "Patsy" and let them know that when he did children's sermons they never brought live animals...

Listening to the sermon, I thought about how I loved being a mother, the magic and struggle of each child's personality, about how it went so fast, and how I love when they are all under the same roof...about how I worry about their safety at college and the world and about their choices and decisions.  I love when I can be the mother hen and take them under my wings.  Usually, when they all come home, and I have gone to bed (because I am not on college time), Jim will come upstairs and say, "Well, honey, all your chicks are home" and we look at each other with a knowing look of parents that are proud but tender at the same time.  They are supposed to leave the nest and go out in the world, right?

Okay, so let's recap.  I say that little sentence when I am bored at meetings and want to get moving along...

We are down another car...the Durango died, the green truck died and the now the Subaru died.  All three, if you listen to my husband, are an "easy fix, but we need time."  I say we line them up and push them down the hill.  The kids came and went and are back at college...baseball tryouts start tomorrow for the youngest and it is pleasant to watch him play ball...

We got a ton of snow...it will help fire season a lot.  The tractor has diesel for the next storm, my jeep is in the garage and Jim's truck made it up the driveway and I got to play with my youngest in the snow...

The rest seems to be a cash flow problem and with Jim and I and a junk car problem and to be honest...I am not going to solve this here!

We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all, 
Terry













Saturday, February 16, 2013

Training...



I ran today.  Jim signed me and Howie up for a half marathon in August.  I want to let you all know that I am not a runner.  I can't seem to shut my mind down to run.  As I start, the voices in my head begin, "wait, don't you hate running?  You are not a runner...etc" and I begin to slow down and then stop and walk.  So, honestly, I am not a runner.

So after my run, which was a run a mile, walk 3/4 mile and run a mile and a half and then walk home, I asked Jim to take this picture.  I have no concept of how big I am and was thinking that maybe it was time.  I typically avoid pictures at all costs because I think I am so fat...So this picture is not so bad.  Let's face it, I am no skinny-minny and have never been.

Wait, after I had an abdominal surgery, I was 168 pounds and the 14's were falling off of me...but  I was sick.  That was in 2004 and I have fought the fight ever since.  

So today, I looked online and found a training program  www.runningthroughlife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Half-Marathon-20-Week-Training-Plan-Level-1-Beginner.pdf, to use and started the process.  I hooked up the fattest dog we have, Buster, and began to run down the driveway.  It was a little icy and I was worried that I would fall...and he was pulling...so when I tried to change the leash from one hand to the other, he ran off.

I made it up to a neighbors mailbox and figured that was a mile and started to walk.  I was sweating like a pig and breathing really hard. My brain was telling me I wasn't a runner and my body was telling me that I was old.  I just kept walking up the hill and looked around.  The sky was blue and there wasn't a cloud in the sky...beautiful.  I thought about my week and how I had lost a patient and it had been a year since my brother in law had left us...and kept walking.  I decided to widen my stride as I walked...

Next thing I knew, my youngest son showed up with the dogs...the one that ran away from me and our shepherd.   "You want Bailey, Mom?' I heard him ask.  "Dad told me not to give you her because you let Buster run away..." and He handed me Bailey and ran away.

I continued up the hill and watched Bailey's ears bob up and down as she walked.  All of a sudden, I wasn't hearing the voices in my head but enjoying the movement of her ears and the beautiful sky and trees around me.  Every so often, I would tell her she was a good girl, and she would look back at me and smile with her tongue hanging out of her mouth...one of those things that you have to see to believe.

Before I knew it, I was almost home.  Three miles of walking and running and battling my mind...The dogs have been walked and I got my first day of training in.  I was happy to get that over with.

My self image is a battle...it seems almost crazy.  I don't like getting old, don't like being fat and just can't come to grips with that part of my life.

Interesting really, because on the outside, I seem so together...able to help people die, help my husband raise amazing people that are from my body...and can connect with most people when I meet them.  But I can't get over myself...

I wonder what that is about...it is selfish, shameful or just dramatic?  

On Thursday, I went to the doctor because my insurance has changed and I needed refills for my high blood pressure medicine.  This doctor is a integrative practitioner and uses herbs and vitamins instead of medications.  Of course, when she looked at me, she told me I need to lose weight.  Then she talked about how she would bet that I am "Gluten intolerant" and I would lose weight if I just gave up Gluten...I am sure I would lose weight if I just ate less too...but that is the problem!! 

So today, I ran.  I ate too much, drank too much wine and watched the CU basketball game hoping to see my kids on TV.  I did a couple of loads of laundry and tidied up the house.  I went to the grocery store and got food for the week....the things that keep a house going and make a house a home.

And, I started a training program...so that I can run a half marathon in August...

What else am I gonna do?

We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,
Terry




Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentines day revisited...

This is a re-post.   Last year on Valentine's day, my brother in law passed away.  I cannot believe, as hard as I try, that it has been a year.  My brother in law would be so proud of how is love and his girls have handled life without him...putting on their "big girl pants", getting out of bed every day and living.  As I said before, I admire their strength. 

I often think of what real love is...do Jim and I have it?  Will we be there for each other when the going gets tough?  I think so...but I guess you never know until the time comes.  Just like everyone else, I love to be appreciated...and some partners are better than others.  I learned last year,  real devotion and love happens when we are vulnerable, let our guard down and be loved.  I guess I am saying that as much for myself as for anyone else.

So to all of you...have a great day of love, be it "hot" love (sorry kids), enduring love, or loving the person that may not be here when you wake up.  If  tonight was your last night to tell your love how much they mean to you...what would you say?  There are no guarantees, and you have right now...

(written 2/14/12)
Today is Valentine's day...a day when a card, flowers or a gift makes or breaks a relationship.  When I was younger, I expected something for Valentine's day and Jim would pay if I didn't get it.  I would decide that he didn't care, he didn't really love me and that he deserved to be punished. 

This Valentines day, I could care less who gives what or what goes on.  It's funny how life does that to us. 

The wait is over, the battle won as they say.  This morning, while the world was sleeping, including us, he snuck away from us.  When we awoke, at 4 am, he was gone.  He put up a fight that screamed of not wanting to leave but in the end...he did.

Now what is left is the aftermath.  I go from couch to couch and although I want to be awake, the deep exhaustion has taken over and I sleep.  I hear family talking around me but cannot participate because that would take energy and I have none.

There are knocks on the door and people showing up. They want to bring things, help, and speak of sorrow they feel but we all hesitate to answer the door.   All of us are walking around doing different things to get through the day.

I think about how I used to think that a gift was needed to prove love and devotion.  I now understand and get to witness what true devotion is on an almost daily basis...and it isn't remembering a made up holiday that signifies love.  I mean, sure it's nice to get pretty roses or candies or a card that is sincerely written about how much you mean to your love.  But as I write about all the time, the true love and devotion presents itself when things get hard and messy.  When you take someone home not knowing how hard it will be to help care for them...or how they will deal with a life changing and life ending diagnosis.  

True love and devotion is climbing into bed with them while they are struggling to leave this world and holding their hand until they do, advocating for the pain that is seen and unseen or doing whatever it takes to treat them as you always have even though you don't know if they are still hearing you.  That, my friends, is true love and devotion.

So Happy Valentine's day...and may you get what you want from your love, be it roses, candies or a heartfelt card.  If you don't get any of those things, but know when you  need them for the hard and really messy stuff of life, that they will lie beside you and hold your hand, be thankful for that because you already  have true love and devotion.

We'll tawk tommorrow,
I love you all,
Terry

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Remembering and being thankful....

17 years ago yesterday, my mother passed away.  Before you stop reading, I want to tell you that I'm not going to go on and on about death and loss.  I was thinking about what I thought about her then and what I think about her now...

After a person dies, especially in my family,  that they become a martyr...they become someone who had no faults and was perfect.  We talk about them becoming "saints"..and when we remember them,  it is difficult to remember the bad things about them.

That's kind of true with my mother, but honestly,  I remember a lot about her that wasn't flattering...and I guess now that I'm looking at 50, I can see how much I am like her...the good and the bad and the ugly!

When she died in 1996, I wasn't going to be anything like her.  I was going to be understanding and not just say what I was thinking. I wasn't going to yell or embarrass my kids at all.  I wasn't going to play favorites, I was going be very laid back about my house and I was not going to drink at all.  

Well, if you know me, I say what is on my mind without a filter.  Most of the time, I say too much.   I also drink, I play favorites at times,  and I yell and scream if my house is a mess and I spent the day cleaning... and if you ask my children, I am an embarrassment.

But, I've never missed a thing my kids have done and have spent most of my last 18 years being the class mom, the player agent, the feeder of the band, and the mom that dances at the gatherings...(I guess that is where most of the embarrassment comes in.)  My mother did that, not missing anything I did,  and while I was dying on the outside...I must say, it meant a lot to me...

I remember playing in a  high school softball game and my mother  had been to happy hour...I heard her voice through the crowd after I hit the ball and was running to first..."Come on , Terry, get that piano off your back". Let's just say, I was mortified...but she was right...I was really slow!

She was something else...She and my father had three kids...all two years apart and then 8 years later...I came along.  I am sure I wasn't in the plan.  As she used to say, "If your going to play the game, you better get the ammunition"...My guess is she didn't have the ammunition the night I was made...

When she was on her death bed, in the living room...We sat around her hospital bed with the rails up, watching TV.  My sister Chris was sitting one one side of the bed and I was on the other.  I had my feet up on the bed and waiting for her to fall asleep so I could go to bed...

I took her hand and asked her if I should have another baby..."Ma, do you think I oughta have another baby?"  She replied, " I always liked babies" and then fell asleep.  I went to bed and a few hours later, my sister, Chris woke me up and asked me to check on my mother...she was gone.  We woke up my father and he stood by her hospital bed for what seemed like an eternity.  I remember him putting his hand on her head,shaking his head, and looking at her lifeless body...

10 months later Howie came along.  I was still sad and felt like I had no control but also felt like he was a gift from my mother.  As weird as that sounds, I was in such a sad place after my mother died...I don't even remember making that child...

So 17 years later, I do miss her and I do things like her.  I spend most of my days thinking about my children...and counting my blessings.  I think about how my mother took me to swimming, to basketball, to softball...how she made sure I went to college and how she told me I was gonna be a nurse.  

I wish my kids would have known her...Christie met her a few times when we visited her and Aunt Chris in NY.  I remember when I came home from Florida after she died and they picked me up from the airport...I got in the car and had my mother's shirt on.  Christie, a smarty 3 year old with a black eye,  asked if I got a new shirt. I replied that it was Grandma's shirt and Christie, without missing a beat said, " Doesn't Grandma need that shirt in heaven?" to which I silently cried all the way home...

My mother met Mac in NY when he was a teeny guy and still nursing.  I remember when he started crying and I started to pull up my shirt to  nurse him..."What are you a cow?" she said as I hooked him up.  She said exactly what was on her mind and at the time I didn't appreciate it.

I think about her all the time.  I wonder what she would think of me and my kids and Jim.  I think she would be proud to see how they have all turned out.

I think she would love that when push comes to shove, her children show up, support and love each other through the good, the bad and the ugly.  I think she would decide that she "raised us right" and that we know what is important.  At least I hope so.

It's interesting when a person talks about a grandparent...I never had any, and my kids had them for a short time.  My mother passed in 1996, my father in 2003.  Jim's mother passed away when he was 24 and his father in 2006.  No grandparents here...

And talk about loss...a sweet young nephew and a wonderful character of a brother-in -law as well...

But...today has been a wonderful day...a day of work, snow, thinking and blessing...a day of being with Howie and Jim and getting to have Mac home for the night.  The only one missing is Christie Lou but I know she is doing well.  A phone call from both sister's...

A bottle of pink wine, housework, and quiet blessings...

Life is hard and it is wonderful at the same time and we don't know what it's going to be when we open our eyes every day...

We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all...and I really do!
Terry


Saturday, February 2, 2013

My sister's keeper...



My sister read the last blog I wrote and said she wanted to be a "guest" on my blog to get a few thoughts out about what she is doing this year and keeping herself busy so as not to dwell on what she was doing last year.  Here are her thoughts...




I decided to learn chainsaw art this week in my pursuit of keeping busy. My thoughts gravitate to where I was last year. The images overwhelm my brain in graphic detail. So keeping busy is what my brain tells me to do, yet my heart keeps tugging me in a different direction... 



But I focus on my brain, not my heart. No small task. 



Uncle Joe was called to bring over his little chainsaw. He was informed that he was responsible for teaching me to use it. At 7am, after we had our coffee and conversation, daylight broke and it was time for my lesson. He spent a half hour doing the maintenance on it that he admitted he should have done awhile ago. 


But, while he was busy with that, he issued me instructions to mix the gas with oil, 4 ounces of oil to 1 gallon of gas. Of course, I can calculate an IV Cardizem drip at 10mg per hour but struggled with this directive. But I managed. 




He was a great teacher. He gave me the proverbial inservice. Pump the primer twice, pull out the choke, lock the trigger, flip the switch to start, and pull the start cord. Once it starts, turn the choke off, rev it and you are good to go. 



Of course I almost chopped off his arm as the chainsaw revved to life and I didn't know how to handle it....



Joe puts up with me and my ridiculous beliefs that I am a closet artist ready to unleash this amazing, undiscovered talent. As my Rye would say- negatory,Mom... "





But my father would say, with the right equipment, you can do anything you want in life if you practice.... And have a burning desire to succeed. 



So, little did Uncle Joe know, I did my due diligence before he arrived. I watched several YouTube videos on chainsaw art. Gosh, I was ready....

 

Uncle Joe was patient with me. We nearly froze to death on this 40 degree Florida morning, but He taught me how to safely use a chainsaw. Good old Joe left the art crap up to me. 



But there was a glimmer in his eye... He just had to cut this big-assed log I had secured for the project, just to "test" the chainsaw. But, actually, this log was two projects, unbeknownst to him. First, I was going to do chainsaw art 101 to practice a simple design- a humpback whale. Then I planned to move on to a Pelican once I moved to the comfort zone with the chainsaw...



Joe commented if I was serious, I needed to buy buy a good chainsaw-a Stihl. Yeah. Lets see how I do with the Homelite. Most people laugh and say a Homelite chainsaw "best left at home..." But what the heck? Starter package. Who am I to complain ?



Uncle Joe taught me how to gas it up, how to start it and how to tighten the chain and how much tension the chain should have. He also taught me how to replace the chain when needed. Gosh, I was pumped! 



He put me through the paces and then jumped in his truck and said, "be careful and try not to dismember yourself..



Well, by myself, I was intimidated and scared by this manly tool. If there was any way I could have purchased some testosterone, I would have. I really needed him to stay but realized that he has given me far too much of his life hovering over his recently widowed sister. 



But I realized as an adult, Joe developed a patience I never thought he was capable of... Maybe he's doing this for Pete? 

But as he left, he told me that he's going to bring a welder over and we will would learn how to weld together.... Very sweet. I figured that I must be the brother he never had. 



He reminds me of Daddy... Daddy always had patience for me and listened to my hopes and dreams and helped me to make them happen...



So, after 4 hours of sweat, anxiety and trepidation, the humpback whale is roughed out. The sun came out and the day heated up to a balmy 70 degrees. I was in my glory carving away, safely. I felt like an artist. 



So, I now feel confident that I can handle the chainsaw. Just practice is all that's needed to build more confidence. Then I will get down to the art. I have confidence that someday, with a ton of trials and embarrassing errors, I will be able to produce some primitive chainsaw art pieces.   
   
Maybe, someday, carve a pelican for my sister Terry, who was sooooo good to my husband in his hour of need. 



A reminder of the past. Of giving of oneself in her brother-in-law's hour of need. A precious gift to him. A memory burned into her sister's brain that she will never forget. 



The honor of that time was mine...
Love you dear sister and am in awe of your strength to honor your husband and continue to go on.

We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,
Terry