Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tableau Tuesday

A few photos from the week:

I liked how this looked through my sunglasses when I was shooting it, but preferred the unfiltered after...

The Boys washing my car:

Zoo Lights at night:

The Things We Do For Love

I photographed a wedding on Monday. This was as a gift for a man I have watched grow from a small boy into a Marine. He and his bride are headed on an adventurous life (both are active military). I wish for them all the happiness a life together can bring. I love weddings. For a period of time, I did not. That time may have passed with this wedding. This was the union of two young people who are ready to face life. Their hopes and dreams and aspirations are right in front of them, guiding their decisions. It was a beautiful wedding, a fun reception and I am happy to have been there. It is my gift to be able to shoot their wedding and I feel honored that they entrusted their day to me. I did get a bunch of really great pics, some of which will be up here next week.

While I was away all afternoon and evening (I am writing this at midnight), my folks watched and cared for The Boys. Corky worked, stopped by to care for The Dogs, and did dishes, brought me food, and straightened up a bit. I didn't even notice until I was on my way to bed, and I will thank her properly when she is awake later this morning. I did keep her posted about my comings and goings, especially that late at night on a notoriously treacherous road home. She is genuinely concerned for my welfare, and not in a creepy, controlling sort of way. She wants to know that I am ok, and calls just to hear my voice. I really missed seeing her all day and night, but we will ring in the New Year together :-)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Monday Morning Holiday Wrap Up

Get it, Holiday WRAP up? HAHAHAHAHA - Maybe I'm punchy from the egg nog, or still in a sugar coma from all the treats...

The Boys came home Christmas Eve, talking about all the awesome gifts they received at the ex's. I'm glad they enjoyed themselves. Corky was having such a rough time about the holidays, then to have The Boys kind of ignore her, and then talk non-stop about the ex. It was upsetting to her and she left angry. I cried for hours. I need to work on not letting other people's moods impact me that heavily...I didn't get to bed until 1:00 am, and The Youngest woke up at 2:00, but was able to go back to sleep until 3:30, and hold off on waking his brother and me until 5:30. I talked them into climbing into bed with me so I could sleep until 7:00. Once up, we opened presents, Corky came over and we opened the rest. We parted to get ready for the day. The Boys and I went to my folks' with Sis, her BF, ad the nephews. My Aunt was there for a bit as well and it was a nice and relaxing day. Left there and went to Corky's Sister's. That was fun, but The Boys and I were not our best, being as tired as we were. Stayed for dessert & coffee and then home and to bed.

Thursday and Friday (this is where things are running all together)
Recovering and eating crap all day. The Boys played with their new stuff and I had the worst cramps of my life and felt like I was going to pass out. Ended up sleeping for a majority of the day and had salad for dinner, hoping to stave off scurvy, and the extra holiday weight. Corky worked closing shift, but was over early to make sure I was ok and make lunch for The Boys while I slept with the hot water bottle. I had a meetup to host, but only stayed an hour before returning home to sleep. Finally went through all of the important mail that's been sitting around. The bills aren't as bad as I'd feared, but with the need for a new catalytic converter next month, things will be tight. Cleaned up a bit and discovered a virus on the new computer Santa brought...Figured out it was a minecraft "mod" download from The Youngest...

Corky had the day off and we were able to spend it together. We took The Boys to a local park for a picnic lunch and they played and drove their RC trucks around. We also went to a party at one of the cool school mom's homes, with a bunch of other cool school parents. Lots of food, beer, champagne punch and kids running wild. It was great. Corky had fun too.

The Boys had a baby powder fight on and around my car on Thursday? Friday? You know you've been off work too long when the days melt into one another. So they washed my car. Did a decent job, but like life itself, they need more practice. Went to the rehearsal for the wedding I'm shooting on Monday. Had forgotten that the ex is officiating. He asked if Corky was coming to the wedding. She isn't. She has to work, and she wasn't invited. I don't think she wants to be there, even if she were, as these are all of the ex's friends, or friends we had as a couple, who he still has as a couple with his gf. It makes interactions awkward, especially considering the non-finalization of the divorce... The four of us went to see Zoo Lights and it was cold. Nice to look at, but The Oldest thought we'd see the animals, and The Youngest wanted a light up sword. I thought there would be more lights, and Corky was cold. It was fine, but I would have almost preferred to cuddle on the couch with a movie.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

A Weekend without The Boys and I really missed them, though I did get most everything finished for Christmas. I will finish the rest today.

The Oldest had his middle school Winter concert, and they sounded really good. Corky and I enjoyed it, and The Oldest was in his element.

The final day of school and work before a two week vacation. Went to The Youngest's Holiday Party at school, wandered about, helped where I could and stayed to clean up. Spent the evening with Corky cuddling and watching movies. We had the opportunity to go Caroling with a bunch of the kids from school, but without The Boys, I thought I might be too sad.

Spent the morning with Corky in Berkeley. We wandered 4th Street and had a picnic lunch. It was a nice, relaxing time. I always love spending couple time together. The afternoon was making Irish Cream to give as gifts. The evening was finishing one of Corky's gifts.

Made my holiday fudge, and altered one of Corky's gifts. Had a wedding shower for the oldest son of friends. This is the same crowd as the wedding I shot in October, and yes, I am shooting the wedding next week. Still awkward being in this group when I am no longer a couple in the group, and the ex and his gf are a closer part of the group. I sadly realized on the way home that I really am no longer a part of the group, maybe I never was, and I don't really know what is going on in their lives. I felt very outsiderish. Could I have made more of an effort? Yes, absolutely. I felt really sad because I have such awesome memories of the entire group of people, and I miss that. Plus, having The Boys, and the ex there was weird...
did some laundry and worked on another gift into the night.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday My Town Shoot Out - Colors of the Season

I received an e-mail from Ginger V. inviting me back to the shoot out. I had been on the shoot out blog over the week anyway, checking out the new layout, and I like it. I was happy to see this is still going, and I have wanted to come back for a while. My life is settling down (kind of), and I actually added the themes to my phone so that I could have them at hand when I am out and about.

This week's theme is Colors of the Season and I shot this on Monday or Tuesday. I see this tree almost daily and think of it as our own change of seasons barometer for my little area of Northern California. Right now, I get to see the rich colors of fall in the dead of winter :-). This shot is directly from my phone, no filters, and no edits.

Go see more photos and join us here:

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Wednesday Post for Corky

Corky wakes up in the middle of the night, just about every night. And she reads this blog before going back to sleep. So for you, darling I will give everyone a mid week post today.

Dad is back home and seems to be doing better. I am pretty much finished with Christmas shopping, thanks to Corky staying home with The Boys one evening. It bummed me out a bit because I would have loved to have spent that time with them all, but at the rate I was going, Santa would have visited for New Years, or Twelfth Night... We've been trying to plan Christmas together and what that would look like, but The Boys and I will dine with my folks, and Corky will be at her sister's. Corky has been in a melancholy mood (as I assume she has every holiday for the last 4 years since her mom passed away). I am trying to help her in any way I can, and forging new traditions for her and I, as well as including her on my traditions. My folks made it clear that they would like her to join us on Christmas, but I know her family is just as important to her, as mine is to me. And neither of us would ever ask the other to choose. Family is first. Always.

Today, we are off to a field trip at the California Academy of Sciences with The Youngest. Should be fun and the place is awe inspiring, huge and there is so much to see! Cannot wait, and I may even have photos to share next week (if I can get my act together).

This song has been stuck in my head - thanks Corky ;-)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Just when you think it's a good idea to take on additional photo work because things are kind of slow, WHAM! (not the 80's duo) I had four photo shoots, two Photoshop rush jobs, and real work was a bit crazy with last minute rush requests. Also, so many school related events. Two jazz band concerts, a ribbon cutting for the new building, and a Superintendent Council meeting. Oh and teaching two point perspective to 3rd through 5th graders. Add to that, Dad is back in the hospital with a secondary infection.

Superintendent council meeting, ribbon cutting, teach art. Come home with The Boys and get them to do homework, including redo of a science and three math assignments for The Oldest, and a complete rewrite of an Explorer report for The Youngest. After several fits, tears and begging, they actually did some of the work. Had to run by my folks' to take care of their dog before looking at some Christmas lights with Corky, and then to the concert. After the concert, more lights, and home to bed. I did manage to get a gift for sis, and spending time together is always nice.

Breakfast out for the four of us, and a visit to the hospital to see dad. The Boys completed the rest of the homework, I took a nap, and The boys vegged for a while. I worked on my photoshopping, and sent those out. Sorted through some additional pics, and began the fine detail editing of the October wedding photos. Laundry and cleaning (a bit), and pizza for dinner. Really tired for some reason. Everyone went to bed kind of early.

Photo shoot mid-morning, photoshopping and The Youngest had a friend over in the afternoon. The rest of the laundry, and finished knitting one of Corky's Christmas presents. I still need more yard for another couple of projects. Dad will be in the hospital for at least another couple of days while they try to pinpoint how to battle the infection.

I missed spending time with Corky. She worked Saturday night and most of Sunday. I will get to spend time with her this week, and this will be the final week of school (and work) for 2013. I will be taking the same time off that The Boys have off, and I am looking very forward to having some time to spend together with The Boys and alone with Corky. Also have some health care appointments this week, so it will be busy (again)...

Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday Morning Week Long Wrap Up

Busy week. Starting the wrap up with Thursday. My wrap up, my rules.

Had minor surgery to aid in not having my period for half of the time. It has been getting worse since June. It was fast, and relatively painless, but had severe cramping when I got home a few hours later. 1000 mg of ibuprofen and a nap later and I was still groggy, but not in as much pain. Corky came with me at the ungodly hour of 6:30 (though to be fair, that is kind of sleeping in for her). She stayed with me and drove me home, and took exceptional care of me while I recovered. She kept me bundled up and warm and fed.

Corky stayed to make sure I was okay, and to cater to all of my whims, which included watching movies and cartoons, and banana macadamia nut pancakes. I am lucky to have found her. Really very lucky. Late lunch / early dinner with Corky and her roommate. Got a call to pick up the boys and keep them overnight, which I was glad to do. I love having The Boys at home, and I truly miss them when they are not here. I completed one knitted Christmas gift for The Youngest - that pair of finger-less gloves he's been asking for the last two years. Now onto a hat for Corky and another pair of gloves for The Oldest.

The Youngest had an Instant Challenge day for DI at 8:30 in the morning. The team had fun and I enjoyed getting out of the house, though my cramps worsen when I do too much. Made a deal with The Boys that we would Christmas tree shop if they cleaned their room. They spent the next several hours building forts, playing and then cleaning their room. We scooted over to the nearest tree lot, and were met by Corky and her roommate. We all got trees and I dropped one off at Corky's. When we got home, the ex was waiting for us. The Boys helped unload the car and set up the tree and left for the rest of the weekend. I was feeling lonely and bleh for a while, and then decided to take another trip to JoAnn's for knitting needles. Ended up with more that I hadn't planned on, but another gift for Corky. Knit the rest of the night, and in a much better mood.

Woke up without cramps (Yay!) and in a good mood and rested. The day could only be good, right? While still in bed, thoughts hit me about marriage. I know Corky is moving in that direction (slowly, people. Glacier slow), and I have a block around the subject. I think I may have had an insight as to why. I love Corky and I want to spend my life with her. I am still ending my 20+ year marriage, and I think that much time in a declining partnership has soured my take on marriage. My marriage is how I define marriage. It is what I think of when I hear the word. I haven't turned the corner to marriage meaning hope and the future and beauty and love. I still see marriage as being stuck in a relationship you are not happy being in. Thankfully, I am spending my life with Corky, and not turning back, and I need to be done with the old life I led. The finalization of the divorce will be a step on that journey. Corky knows that everything is about timing. She is patient and is truly helping me get to the corner. I'll let you know once I am there. She'll be the first to know though. Spent the day doing laundry and knitting, and editing, and photo stuff while Corky worked and attended her Dad's birthday brunch. We shopped for groceries and Christmas presents, and had dinner together. The Boys joined us for dessert, we came home and everyone went to bed.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy 13th Birthday to The Oldest

My first baby is now a teenager. I look forward to seeing how he develops into a man.
A look at then & now in the kitchen:

Happy Birthday!

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Tiring and emotional Weekend. Went into the weekend with a herpes sore on my lip, yeast infection and my period having started... Spent some time crying over various situations.

Thanksgiving in the US. Spent the morning in the hospital visiting my dad who was still hallucinating from the pain meds. Before I headed there, I dropped off some stuff at their house, and saw a single place set for Thanksgiving dinner. It made me exceptionally sad, thinking that my mom would be dining alone. Had a good cry over that while visiting Corky at work. Had dinner at a dear friend's home with his sister, boyfriend, and another friend. The turkey was huge, and the food was delicious. The boys were obnoxious, The Oldest getting in trouble and causing us to leave. Insisted my mom join us, but she was too tired, and explained that she had set the single place as an example for Thanksgiving dinner.

Was woken up at 1:00 am by the dogs needing to go potty. Was able to sleep in slightly, but did get up and got started on laundry. Corky came over and got us all out of the house to mini golf. We went to the place both of us golfed at as kids, and I really do like the atmosphere. It isn't one of the newer, generic places which I appreciate. We had lunch at a place she knows. The food was really good, and fast! The kids were full on half their orders, which is unusual. Came home briefly and headed out to visit my dad in the hospital. They were releasing him and he was still hallucinating. I hope this all resolves because it is jarring and disturbing to have these weird insistent conversations with him that have no basis in reality. Stopped and picked up Chinese food for dinner. This day marked kind of a turning point for The Boys, wherein they are now comfortable enough with Corky that they are acting obnoxious around her. It's the tween boy things - talk about bodily functions, farting and belching openly, chewing with their mouths open. Delightful. I roll my eyes and make them say excuse me, or close their mouths, or whatever. It disgusts Corky. They are just testing out her staying power, seeing if they can disgust her enough to cause her to leave. It hasn't worked, so it will taper off. Despite that, it was a wonderful day, getting my mind off of my stressors. Corky dedicated a song to me, which made me cry. Having someone in my life to support me, nurture me and love me is something I thought I would never happen. I was pretty sure I would be alone forever. I am amazed at how beautiful she is, and how much she loves me. She really does love all of me, the cellulite, the crying, the stress induced rants, and the crazy busy schedule. And that thought makes me cry. I have self esteem issues, and am working on feeling worthy of this unconditional love from my partner. And I am an emotional mess right now, crying as I type this even.

Got up relatively early, continued laundry and got ready for The Oldest's birthday evening with friends. He will be 13 on Monday, and I am not really having an existential crisis about having a teenager. I am plenty old enough to have grandchildren, but had The Boys later in life. I hope that makes me a better parent than a younger me would have been. Dad had to go back to ER with bladder spasms, but was sent back home with the catheter. I'm sure he is seriously unhappy about that. Dinner and the movie was good - I was really pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed Thor The Dark World. Late night, and expensive, but worth having The Oldest celebrate.

Woke up to find The Boys starting homework they'd "forgotten" about over break. They managed to finish pretty quickly while I ran some errands. The errands included buying black eye buttons to repair a stuffed animal for The Youngest. What I didn't count on was the insane crowd - 5 deep at the cutting table. So I had to weave through various aisles, which can be dangerous. I ended up with a stocking for Corky, yarn for another project, gloves for the boys and of course, the buttons. Ran into a nice lady who advised me on yarn, and then gave me a 60% off coupon. That put a huge smile on my face while I finished my errands. Then heard a Christmas song on my way home, and it made me feel really good and happy and smiley. I was really looking forward to the holiday, which hasn't happened for a few years. Corky got off work and joined us at my Sister's for The Oldest's family birthday dinner. The request was for lasagna, which Sis made for him, I brought Mary Bread and stuff for a make your own sundae bar. Sis made a delicious veggie lasagna, which is way better than mine. My folks didn't attend, with my Dad's health problems, but The Oldest was okay with that. Sis and Nephews set up their slot car set on the living room floor.The Oldest enjoyed himself with that, while The Youngest conducted a Nerf war with his cousins. It was a nice visit and Corky fit in nicely with my family :-). Came home and continued knitting on some Christmas gifts.

I hope you all have a terrific week!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thoughtful Thursday

Love and hug those around you while you can.

Today I am asking for positive vibes, prayers, good energy, a thought or a wish for my dad. He still is in the hospital. What is normally a rather routine gallbladder removal has become a difficult event for him to overcome. He has been beset by complications from the get go. His current state of health is just one of the many issues he will continue to have to overcome. I would love to have him happy and healthy and home for the holidays. Today is not that day. Today he continues to build strength, to get back on solid foods, stay awake long enough to improve his breathing, and get off antibiotics. Our family has postponed a holiday meal, and some of today will be spent bedside with my parents.

I am grateful for the time I do have with them, even when we disagree. They shaped me into the person I am, and helped me become who I am meant to be. I repay this by being the most me I can, by teaching my children to love and care. I know ultimately this will all resolve itself, and I have Corky reminding me of that as well.

Be grateful for the people who love you. I know I am.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Another update

Spent a little while yesterday visiting, he was awake, and still hallucinating a bit. They had him on clear liquids, and moved him to a regular room in the afternoon. He spent alot of time sleeping, but was peeing and breathing on his own. He took a short walk and they were working on getting his breathing capacity up, walking further and getting rid of the post surgery intestinal gas so he can eat solid foods and have a bowel movement. Waiting on a call back from mom to see what today's situation is like.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gall Bladder update

An update:

The gallbladder was removed laparoscopically. It took longer than expected because it was full of puss, gangrenous, and  surrounded by a protective layer of fat. When detached from the liver, the inflamed liver bled like crazy and had to be patched. In recovery, he was having difficulty breathing and was delirious, thrashing (and likely shouting). They kept him in recovery extra long and sent him to ICU to keep a closer eye on him. So I spent pretty much all day (or afternoon and evening) at the hospital. I went home after they got him to ICU and Sis got there. Waiting to hear about his status today before planning when I will be there.
Side note:
Saw a Parrothead friend in the lobby, and her partner was just transferred from ICU (the same room dad went into). Thought I saw another friend from the second floor too, but missed her.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Unexpected twists and turns this weekend, but it will all work itself out.

Corky and I spent some time talking about what The Boys should call her and went through all the usual second mom nicknames. We aren't really to that point in our relationship, so it is theoretical at the moment. M2 was Corky's favorite. Asked my lesbian godmothers, and ran it by The Boys. The Youngest suggested C2 - The first C for Corky, the second for her last name. She liked it, and I like it. The Oldest wants to call her Corky - totally cool. We spent the evening watching 9 to 5 and Lisa Lampanelli. Corky went home to sleep because I am still sick :-( Slept for about 11 hours, and felt pretty decent. 

Got a call from Mom in the morning that Dad was in the hospital, they think it's his gall bladder, but his pain was down and blood pressure was improving and they expected to be home by 6:00 after further tests. Laundry, more laundry, and even more - I lost count at 7 loads. Hung out at Corky's and watched the latest Great Gatsby (most of it anyway). I hadn't yet seen it, and I found it cinematically gorgeous, but a bit strange seeing everything in super sharp ultra focus. Corky had to work closing, so I did my grocery shopping for the week, including the pies for Thanksgiving. napped for a bit before heading out with BFF + 2 for drinks. Got to one friend's house, and was starting drinks and appetizers when Mom called and asked me to drive them back to the hospital as Dad's pain was back up. Spent the rest of the night and early morning in ER while they decided what to do. Drove Mom home after they decided to keep him for a few days as his gall bladder is now infected. Fell into bed about 3:00.

Slept in after fielding calls and texts from everyone about holidays, birthdays and Dad. Headed back to the hospital to visit. He was out of it, and sleeping. Mom was more rested, and Sis was there too. They are still deciding what to do about his gall bladder, but his blood pressure is now normal, and his pain is under control, which is good. Looks like they will do whatever they decide tomorrow. Stayed for a few hours and came home to get ready for the week. Laundry needed to be finished, and I needed some food. Corky and I had dinner and watched a George Carlin DVD, during which we fell asleep. Woke up, Corky went home, I finished this post and went to bed early.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Sickness Descends

Like a familiar, knowing how to attack. A betrayal of your body on your life. You have been running around, doing more than you should and now your body has had it up to here with this shit and needs some time off. I know it really started when I couldn't get warm while sitting at the hair salon, with wet hair and fans on high. The rest of that day was spent trying to get warm (unsuccessfully), and I did take a nap because I'd not gotten enough sleep the night before. The rest of the week was as follows:
Tuesday - The Youngest at DI until 3:30 and in Fencing from 4:00-5:30. During that 90 minutes, The Oldest and I bought him some new jeans (which are now too short)... He grew taller, and thinner. Quick pizza dinner at the house, courtesy of Corky, and meeting at the Middle School from 7-8pm.
Wednesday - Both kids out early, and orthodontist for The Oldest at 2:30. Meeting at the Elementary School 3:30-4:30 and directly to the Middle School for a jazz band performance at the ribbon cutting of the new building until 7:30, then home to calm the dogs down before bed.
Thursday - Optometrist at 12:15, Therapy at 2:00 and Honors Night at the Middle School 7:00-8:00. Home and turkey prep for the Elementary School harvest feast. As a vegetarian, I find it highly ironic that I cook a turkey every year. vick's vapor rub on my soles and socks on, eucalyptus oil drops on my shirt and in bed by 10:00, which was awesome.
Friday - up at 5:00 to get the turkey in the oven. Back to bed until 6:30. Youngest to school by 8:25, then back to the school by 10:00 with the now cooked bird. Working at home so I can try to be well for the rest of the weekend.

Monday for the wrap up.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thoughtful Thursday

Love and hug those around you while you can.

Today, a week before U.S. Thanksgiving, my thoughts turn to those family members who remain when a loved one passes on to the next life. I have been reliving memories of Diane lately, wishing she was here to actively share in my life and joys and issues. I miss our weekly lengthy calls, and her humor and mostly her laugh. So I am asking for a thought, good vibe, prayer, positive thought or moment just to remember those who spend the holidays missing their family. So this one is for Diane's family, and Corky who misses her mom. 
I dont know that it gets any easier as time goes on, I'll let you all know. This year is tough for me, but I know I am surrounded by people who love me and will take comfort in that, and in the people who mourn as well.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tableau Tuesday

The photos from the last week or so:

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR. I hope you all have a fantastic week!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

A great start to the weekend with The Boys out of school on Friday. Went to shoot the Christmas card for this year at the zoo. Renewed our membership, adding Corky to the card. All around awesome day. Weather was perfect and The Boys were well behaved. We had doughnuts for breakfast, and packed a lunch. I love how enthusiastic The Oldest is about such a "little kid" place. We were there for almost the entire time the zoo was open. Traffic was totally crap on the way home, so we took the back roads and stopped for dinner. Spent some time listening to The Oldest practice trombone before meeting up with friends for dessert.

Woke up to a messy kitchen and having to moderate a nut slap fight between The Boys. Managed to get cleaned up, laundry started, The Oldest in the shower and The Youngest working on homework all before my first cup of coffee. After photo editing and more skirmish refereeing, we all had lunch and headed to my folks'. Had to survey the damage from a wind storm a couple of weeks ago when their elm tree blew down, taking out their patio cover, the front of the redwoods, a birch, and most of the other birch, the gazebo and a bit of the cypress. More light is coming into the family room, but it is really still a mess while they wait for the adjuster. It was a pretty nice visit, except when they disagreed on something, and got irate and hostile to each other. Talked about thanksgiving and The Oldest's birthday. I gave them the 100% Kona coffee that Corky brought from her Hawaiian vacation and asked if she could join us for dessert on thanksgiving. My mom said if that's what I want, she has no objection. Not a ringing endorsement, but not bad... We don't know yet if my Aunt will be there, or will be bringing one of her 90 year old friends. My folks haven't told any of the other family members, but that isn't a big deal, I'll tell her. Stopped at the store on the way home and we had dinner, The oldest passed his jazz band on line test, and I putzed around folding laundry.

Got up and got The Boys moving on cleaning their bedroom and bathroom. More laundry and went through all my snail mail and bills. Figured out what to cook for family dinner tonight because Corky came over after not seeing her since Friday. Ran to the store and came home to start dinner - porcupine balls, mashed potatoes, roasted asparagus, and swiss chard, with icebox cake for dessert. Corky brought some movies and we watched Willy Wonka while enjoying dessert. A really good at home evening, and a relaxing ending to a relaxing weekend. Look for pictures tomorrow.

I hope you all have a good week!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thoughtful Thursday

Love and hug those around you while you can.

Today I am asking for you to help our family in the Philippines. We are all One Human Family and we all need to help one another. Because there are questions about political posturing happening in various relief organizations, I am asking that you go through the Philippine Red Cross. Click below:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wicked Wednesday

Wicked Wednesdays all began with this post.
This week's debauchery is not tied to drunkenness, though I was on the receiving end of a drunk dial from a friend earlier in the week... But I digress.
Corky and I have been carving out time alone when and while we can. She worked a split day this week. 6a-10a, then 9p-3a. She originally was supposed to work until 1p, but got out early. Instead of going home for a needed nap before the overnight inventory shift, she stopped by my house. We hung out for a bit, but I had an appointment at my BFF for some skin care. Following that, I stopped by her place to see what was up. She answered the door in her underwear, and I melted into a puddle at her welcoming kiss. I think I've said it before, but if not, she is talented. Very. Talented. We retired to her room, and as I was leaving a while later, I said I'd better not hear Afternoon Delight on the radio on my way home. Not too much later I received a text from her roommate asking why there were clothes all over her bed, and had I been there for some afternoon delight... I have to admit that I laughed at the serendipity, especially when Corky said she hadn't mentioned the song to her roommate at all...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tuesday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Another busy weekend, though this was all of my own doing.

Drove on a field tip for The Youngest to the San Francisco Bay Model. It was a fun day, but I ran an art class with sketches inside the model, then at Fort Baker. Beautiful day, but would have enjoyed it more if I didn't drive, then work the entire time. A couple of pics from that:

The Youngest and Corky:

The View from Fort Baker:

We should have hiked the kids up to the bunkers and gotten some energy out. As it was, they were all insane on the way home, making the drive a bit of a headache. Would love to go back, just the four of us and have the time to pick what we want to do and when.

School was out for The Youngest a little early, so no art class. I was a bit stressed out in the afternoon / evening just trying to get The Oldest to not lie about his homework. He had to complete his math worksheet without the aid of a calculator as a result. That made us late out the door to get to SF to see Peter and the Starcatcher. It made me laugh my butt off, and de-stress, which is exactly what I needed. It was organized by one of the Mormon moms of friends of The Boys. I don't think she expected that Nanny would be played by a man, and mostly gay maintext. Also, the head pirate played it very foppish. Two of the gayest characters in a play I've seen in quite some time. Also? It was a fundraiser for Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS. The Boys LOVED it. Spent the rest of the weekend quoting the play. Home about midnight, and The Boys went directly to bed. I was up getting the dogs settled down until about 1:00.

Slept in a bit, and got to roasting a GIANT red beet, and several chioggia, all courtesy of Corky. Clogged my sink with the skins... Had to buy drain chemicals to unclog it. The Oldest completed his homework, or at least what he could with a missing science textbook. Laundry, shower, and redid my toenails. The ex picked up the boys at 5:00. This was his weekend with them... Of course that means my social life doesn't exist except on call. Corky came by to say hi to The Boys before they left, and we enjoyed some time alone before a quick trip to the store and for dinner. Then back home and a movie. Actually went to bed at a relatively decent hour after having fallen asleep on the couch.

The humongous red beet next to a chioggia:

 Once roasted and cooling:

Woke up kinda early for a weekend. That was fine because I still had most of the laundry to complete. Enjoyed my coffee while banging out some work for the middle school. A really big and yummy breakfast, and more laundry. added little pink hearts to my dark grey toenails. Putzed around some more. Dishes and more laundry. Watched The Heat at Corky's while cuddling on her bed - which was perfect to relax and laugh. The Boys came home at nearly 7pm, having done no homework and shoes wet & muddy. Started the shoes in the laundry, hung out with The Boys and relaxed some more.

Slept through my alarm, so of course woke up late for work time. Logged on to find absolutely nothing of any import. Took my shower and moved downstairs to see what The Boys were up to. Had The Oldest finish his homework and met with my boss. Mended a necktie for The Oldest and jazz band. Made plans for The Boys and a Nerf war later in the day with my BFF and her son. Haven't been spending much time with them because her son doesn't treat The Oldest very well, and with Corky, my free time is rather occupied... Frozen pizza for dinner because The Boys were all having so much fun, we didn't leave the park until dark, and stopped for a haircut for The Oldest, and Starbucks for us all. Interestingly, The Oldest kept wanting me to tell BFF about the play on Friday, and I had already told her, and he was being a pain about it, so I told him to tell the story, but he refused... BFF asked if Corky asked me to marry her. We didn't talk about it, other than me telling her that it has been a conversation, that I'm not ready, and I would have told her already if that is indeed what happened on Friday. I didn't ask what her opinion about that is, though I probably should, or why she assumed that was the news. Weird.

Pics from the park:

I hope you all have a beautiful and relaxing week!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thoughtful Thursday

Love and hug those around you while you can.
Today I am asking for thoughts, positive vibes, prayer, and whatever you have for all of us who will suffer in silence this holiday season. Some of us won't make it until the new year, and I want you all to know that you are important to me. You matter in my life and in the lives of others. If you need to talk or vent or rant and rage, you can always come to me. I will listen. I know I get really busy much of the time, and especially so over the holidays. However, please know that I am here for you. My thoughts are with you, for a safe journey through this stressful and possibly triggering time of year. I want you to be well.

Of course, my thoughts turn to Diane right now - she didn't make it to this holiday season, and I am missing her sarcasm, humor and wit. Then I saw this video, and I remember how we talked about this, how I thought she should get tattooed over her scars, and maybe I'd go for a smiley face or star instead of standard areola.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tableau Tuesday

A few pics from the weekend

Treats for tricks on Halloween:
 Mummy Dogs
 Dirty Q-Tips

Corky's Giraffe Tattoo in Marini's

And it looks like my ablation will happen in early December - scheduled it this morning. Last night, The Oldest was having a tough an emotional time, which I failed to take into account when Corky wanted to jump out at him. Because of that, he ended up crying inconsolably - to the point of needing a cold cloth on the back of his neck. I feel bad about it, for him and for her. I could have handled that much better.

I hope you all have a calm and peaceful rest of your week.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

And only 7 more Sundays until Christmas - let the insanity begin

A half day for The Youngest, followed by two days off of school. The annual Halloween parade and party, and I invited Corky. She loved it, and The Youngest loved having her there, as did I. I was able to introduce her to more parents at the elementary school, including the principal. It is all good, and I couldn't be happier with her, and with people being so cool.

Went to a school district training in the morning, and got ready for a party in the afternoon. Made a couple of treats (photos tomorrow) and BFF had a party. When we got there, about an hour early, she was stressed to the ceiling and ready to break down. Got her calmed, and probably pissed her off some too, and the party was okay - not a rager, and the kids decided to go out on their own. They did fine, even though I was concerned about The Youngest going with the older kids. They took care of him and made sure not to leave him behind. An hour and a half later, and they were back with FULL bags of candy. We stayed and visited, and it was cool. I feel like my kids aren't kids anymore and it must have happened when I blinked because I could swear they weren't old enough to do that. Then I remember being allowed to trick or treat with my friends at the same age. And so it goes. Drove The Boys back to the ex, and crashed when I got home.

I had a procedure to test for abnormal endometrial cells, in preparation for an endometrial ablation in the near future. I was prepared for pain, but it was relatively simple, quick and completely painless. Corky came with me just in case, and I took a sick day. Afterward, we ran a couple of errands and decided to get out of town, to one of my favorite local places. We went to Santa Cruz, and I showed her my version of the town which included lunch at Saturn Cafe, a walk on the mall, and a tour of UC Santa Cruz and the Yacht Harbor. It was a wonderful day, and I remember how badly I want to spend time like this with her. I love spending time with The Boys and Corky, but I also love having her all to myself, and being able to experience stuff just the two of us. I must remember to schedule more of these days. We hightailed it home (or went as quickly as one can in stop and go traffic on a Friday night, during rush hour), anticipating the return of The Boys after dinner, which ended up being after 9pm... Another communication fail from the ex.

I was able to sleep in, but that put me under the gun to complete some stuff before going to the High School band review. I did manage to bathe the dogs, but I didn't complete a presentation promised to the elementary school principal before leaving because it took four hours to get The Boys showered and dressed and out the door. That was likely due to the sugar crash they suffered when I awoke. They'd already been into their stash of Halloween candy for hours at that point, based on the sheer volume of wrappers strewn about the living room and kitchen. We sold Jelly Bellys for a couple of hours. (I know, I know - and I wouldn't have signed up, had I known I am supposed to be boycotting them...) It was a fundraiser for the middle school band - and the trip to Disneyland in the Spring. The Boys went back with the ex, and Corky, her roommate and I went to dinner. I did complete the presentation and sent it to the principal after 10pm, then to bed.

Slept a total of 13 hours - though with the time change it looked like 12... Felt WAY more rested when I did get up. BFF came by with some stuff for me to print, wrote a communication for the middle school, and went to Costco with Corky and her roommate. Hadn't been in about a decade. Managed to get out for only slightly over $100, but that included flea & tick medicine for the dogs. Dinner of soup & sandwich with Corky, and home to wait for The Boys. Sent text at 8pm asking when the ex was bringing them & he wasn't planning on it, even though he has always brought them home on Sunday night... He forgot that's what the norm was... Another communication fail, and it makes me wonder if he isn't winding up for another seizure. We've been doing this for a year and a half and he has never had them overnight on a Sunday... Weird.

I hope you all have a fruitful and encouraging week ahead!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thoughtful Thursday and Happy Halloween

Love and hug those around you while you can.

Today I am grateful for the life I have. I wouldn't change anything about my past because it continues to shape who I am and will become. I have hopes and dreams, but I am not overlooking exactly how fortunate I am. I grew up with parents who placed importance on education, and with teachers who cared. I hope I am passing down those same values to my kids. Not through my words, but through my actions. In fact, that has been a central theme lately. "It isn't what you say, it's what you do." I am doing my best to ensure my loved ones know that they are loved. I actually probably "do" too much, but I also have inherited the need to help out when I see there is a gap.

What I haven't had in a very, very long time, is someone standing with me to help, or just offer encouragement and support. I have that now, and sometimes it overwhelms me. Sometimes I don't believe it, and sometimes I push her away a bit because I have been hurt by the last person to promise support (but not really show that). That's mine to own and work out, and I will. In times of high stress (now), I need to remember to take care of myself, and look at all I have in my life. My problems truly are first world problems, and do not impact my ability to actually live, nor will they cause me to have to make any particularly difficult decisions. For all of that, and the ability to accept the words when reminded, I am grateful.

Love and Peace and Happiness for you all.
Oh, and have a safe and happy Halloween

This year's carvings:

Mine is Corky:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tableau Tuesday

Some pics for the last two weekends:

Band Review in Santa Cruz:
 A happy band sibling:
 Band Review in Pleasanton:
 An unhappy band sibling:
 Halloween Toes:

Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Another busy weekend - there are times of the year this seems to be the norm...

Signed up to work the middle school jog-a-thon from the time I dropped off The Youngest until 12:30. It was really foggy and cold out on the track in the morning, but had warmed up by the time I left. Went home, answered some e-mail and ate lunch. Turned around and taught art at the elementary school. Went to an early dinner with Corky to celebrate 3 months together (doesn't seem like that long, and yet seems much longer). The food was fab, the staff was really cool and the drinks were yum. The Boys were dropped off at 7:30 because the ex had stuff to do this weekend.

4:30am wake up which I must have been anxious about, because I woke up at 2am, 3am, and 4am... This time had to get both boys ready and out of the house by 5:45 for another band review. This is the review hosted by the high school I attended, and where I was in the band for most of my time. It's the period of time in my life when I met some of the people I still hold as dear friends. The parade was good, and the concert too. The middle school band took 2nd for drumline, color guard and concert, and 1st for drum major and marching. This review brought me right back to my days in HS. During the concert, I had a flash to seeing Diane in the crowd, and one of the kids on stage really did look like her. I know she was there, and thinking about her made me feel really good. Stopped for In-n-Out for lunch and headed home where I completed uploading the first edits on the wedding I shot. I then took a reclining beach chair to the back deck and fell asleep in the sun. Woke up stiff and a bit out of it, came in and started cooking dinner. Corky came over and after dinner we got The boys dressed in costumes and off to Halloween Fun Night at the elementary post. This is The Youngest's final year at that school, and the first year when I did absolutely nothing for HFN. It felt weird, but really good to just go, and then leave when we wanted. The boys stayed up a bit late due to the over stimulation, candy and soda. I did some processing of band review photos from the two weeks, and went to bed.

Slept in after being woken up by the cat's hunger and my full bladder at 6:30. When I did roll out of bed at 9:00, I felt rested and ready to tackle the world. Did laundry, got The Oldest to organize his schoolwork and do homework. Roasted beets, cleaned the fridge, and made a grocery list. Corky got off work and we headed out, presumably to get pumpkins to carve, but in reality to hit a sale for some late season shorts for The Oldest, and jeans for me, the costume place for a scythe for The Youngest, and grocery shop for the week. No pumpkins at that store, but after the hours in the car with two quarreling Tweens, I was done in, and Corky was over it. Dropped her off, and headed home. Had dinner and argued to get The Boys in showers, folded more laundry and painted my toenails while catching up on my TV shows. Feeling accomplished, but still left with more to do.

I hope you all have a great week!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

navel gazing

Well, Corky returned home safe and a bit more tan from Hawaii this week. I didn't realize how much I would miss her until she was gone, and I had my usual and some unusual stressors with which to deal. I missed the way she can hug me and my cares and stress just melt away. I missed her eyes. God, her eyes are beautiful. I missed the way she blushes when I tell her exactly that. I missed the look of love on her face when we are together. I missed her smile and her dimples. I missed the feel of her here, and the tactile feeling of her skin, and the way we touch each other.

I felt untethered, and by the end, a bit depressed. I was wondering if we were getting used to being apart, and it hurt. It made me more depressed, and I felt forlorn. When I did get to welcome her home, I had roses and chocolate bread pudding with me. We both cried. I want to go to Hawaii with her at some point and she can show me all that she loves about it. I want to take her to Key West so that I can show her all of the things I love about it. I want to discover new favorite places for us to share. However, I have The Boys, who I adore, and who take most of my finances at this point. Until they are grown and on their own, we can take vacations for us all, and local long weekends, but I have some serious looming large financial obligations (college, another car, possibly a larger place to live). For now we can plan and dream and talk about it.

The divorce papers are mostly complete - a few minor corrections remain, and we may get this finalized at the end of the year, and I will feel like I can honestly move on and stop fretting about all this shit. I am still holding out hope for financial upturn so that I can start orthodontic care on The Youngest sooner. Right now, I cannot swing double the current payment to the ortho, and with no help financially, I don't see that changing before the beginning of the year...

Corky comes home from work in a few minutes, so I should wrap this up, or it will likely go unpublished, languishing in the drafts for eternity... I feel like using big words, and flowery language tonight... hmmm

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Another busy weekend in the books.

The Boys had orthodontist appointments toward the end of the school day, necessitating my signing them out early, and returning to school with The Youngest who was scheduled to sell ice cream after school. Also tie dyed a couple of shirts - the finals hopefully... The afternoon and evening were spent on homework and dinner and an early bed time.

I was up at 3:30 so that The Oldest could eat breakfast and make it to school by 5:00 for the buses to the first (of many I'm sure) Band Review. The Youngest and I followed a bit later and were in time to see the competition and walk with them the rest of the parade. It brought back such awesome memories from my time in band. Of course I took photos and wrecked my already sore hip while running ahead to get a good shot... Photos to follow. Thoughts of Diane, and Steve, and Tina, and Andrea, and Esther, and Mayumi, and Kristi, and Michelle. Also couldn't help but chuckle thinking of The Krasinskis, Mrs. Habestad and the other band parents from my youth and how I am now one of them. The band review was in Santa Cruz, bringing back other memories of college life. We spent the day at the boardwalk, riding rides and having fun. Dinner at Saturn Cafe and my day was complete. the Boys slept on the way home, and I was short on the phone with Corky - I was beat and driving Hwy 17, but I still feel bad.

Spent the day in my jammies. Cleaned house with The Boys' help. They cleaned their room, I cleaned downstairs, and we all cleaned the garage and got the Halloween stuff regrouped. Thought I broke a toe when I dragged the insanely heavy glass and solid wood coffee table across it in an attempt to vacuum. It was ice pack and head between the legs hurt. It doesn't look broken now, but still tender. Thought I was going to have to cut the toe rings off (still might, just in case). Did more laundry and The Oldest finished his homework. I edited wedding photos, hoping to get the proofs out in the next day, before Corky comes home from HI. I also read a bit, as did both Boys. Didn't hear much from Corky and wondering how used to being without each other we are getting as this vacation winds down. I hope it's because she is having fun, but I fear that is not the case. Well to bed early for me,  trying to rest this hip and catch up on the sleep I have missed all week.

May we all have a beauty and peace filled week ahead.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thoughtful Thursday

Love and hug those around you while you can.

Today I am grateful. I am in a loving relationship with Corky. She is caring and loving and makes me feel so very happy. I spoke to her mom on Sunday before I fell asleep and I thanked her for raising such a wonderful person, and for bringing us together. I also thanked Diane and Gigi for getting me home safely to the people I love. I told Diane how much I miss her and how I would have really loved to have talked to her during the six hours of driving. I know we would have been laughing to the point of peeing ourselves, because that's what we did. I said hi to Uncle Jack, Grandma, Uncle Paul and Uncle Steve. I miss them all.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tableau Tuesday

If you read yesterday's post, you know I shot a wedding on Sunday. My camera/flash combo had a few weird moments giving me some seriously blown out shots, that I kind of like from an artistic perspective, though they won't end up in the album.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

This weekend was seriously busy, so let's get right to it!


The day was spent in Berkeley at Adventure Playground and shoreline. I love this field trip, but did not step foot into the actual playground for the second year in a row. I spend my time with the older kids (in this case, 3rd-5th graders) doing art. We did four 5 minute sketches and a longer work. One of these years, I may be able to bring watercolors, but for now we do colored pencil. The day was foggy to begin, but cleared up toward the afternoon. Got a bit sunburned, and it was a long day, but fun. After school, The Youngest, my BFF and I walked to watch the HS Homecoming Parade. The Oldest marched with the Middle School band, and The Youngest got over his upset from the ride home. After the parade, I picked up The Oldest, and we went home. I showered and The Boys made pizza. The ex didn't come to the parade, and even though it is his weekend, and he asked me to drive The Boys to his house. I did, but I wasn't changing my plans or rushing to do that, and he kept texting me to see where I was, when I was bringing them, etc. Basically being a pain, even though I was doing him a favor... whatever. Spent the rest of the evening with Corky, enjoying each other's company :-)...SaturdaySlept in a tiny bit, and got right to work. Did some photo prep work for a wedding on Sunday, laundry, emptying trash, vacuuming. Took Corky's roommate and recycling to get her cash for HI. Came back and had this for breakfast.>> More laundry, dog poop, cat poop, washed down patio, watered plants, cleaned bathrooms and kitchen and got out the rest of my gear for the wedding. Thoughts around if it will be weird with the ex and his gf there. Wishing Corky could come with me. Drove Corky's dog to the kennel with Corky and her roommate. They were sad to leave the baby. Stopped by a friend's Halloween party, and I felt bad that we weren't in costume. We didn't stay because we really wanted to spend time alone before the upcoming 9 day break Tired each other out and stayed up too late...SundayLeft the house at 7am to drive for 3 hours to the wedding. The drive was fine, and I had coffee and water and toast, plus my tunes to keep me busy. With that much time alone, I did quite a bit of thinking. My stomach flipped a few times while thinking about Corky and how amazing she is, how happy she makes me and how grateful I am to have her in my life. The wedding was really beautiful and the bride and groom are so much in love that it restored my hope for the future. There was tartan and a piper and laughter and happy tears. Having the ex and his gf there was fine. And the ex danced a whole lot more than I ever remember seeing him do so before. He must be happier than he was, and I am glad. I did end up leaving the reception before it ended because I was fading and still had the drive home. My navigational system took me a different way home that ended up giving me a headache (from oncoming headlights). Arrived home a bit after 11pm, visited for a short while with Oma, and went to bed. You will see photos of the wedding as I go through and process them. For now, I am exhausted, I miss Corky, and I have TONS to do before I rest.I hope you all have a relaxing week.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

I need to write. It helps me cope with life and make sense out of the crud floating around in my head.

The week was hectic. I ended up needing to take a night off - I'd been out every night, and just wanted to chill, so Corky and I took Thursday off and stayed home. She made me dinner, because she is really good at taking care of me.

The Youngest was dropped off early, and I had just jumped out of the shower, came downstairs wrapped in a towel, and the ex insisted on having a discussion about how he didn't want The Oldest playing in the pep band at the High School football game because of missing assignments at school. Great start to the day... I had a meeting at the school district office, and taught art in the afternoon. Tiring, but doable. Of course, the ex had to call in the middle of my teaching so that he could tell me that The Oldest now COULD play in the band because the missing assignment was scored a 9 of 10. I sent a text to The Oldest to have him bring his instrument home. I walked in the door after school, and The Oldest wasn't even here yet. The ex called again to say there was another missing assignment and The Oldest was not to play in the band tonight. I said I'd find out what was going on. He called back later to yell at The Oldest, and then argue with me about pep band. I love how I get so much shit when he thinks I may not back up his discipline, but the week of no screen time goes completely unheeded at his house... Put me in a right fucking shit mood for the duration. It is this last minute back and forth bullshit that has always pissed me off, now more than ever. Corky came over, and I am just under so much stress that I burst into tears.
5th grade camp funds due Monday / Pay for the barking complaint / Lawyer fees / CPA fees / Pay for LA band trip / new catalytic converter for my car. I'm sure I'm forgetting something, and that my blood pressure is astronomical...

Started by reminding The Oldest that he lost all screen time until he has a week free of missing, late and incomplete assignments. Got him doing homework, after a heated argument about organizational skills, wherein he maintained he was stupid, and I maintained that he is brilliant. Breakfast and homework over for him, and the battle about homework with The Youngest ensued. I worked with him to figure out the dates when he did his work (it took about 10 minutes), and he was finished. The ex stopped by to drop off the 5th grade camp paperwork after his adamant declaration that he could and would pay the balance due Monday. Evidently, he will not be doing that, so I get to pay the full balance. He also turned in the chaperon paperwork late, and may not get to be one. This will be another disappointment for The Youngest. He is at that tipping point between every disappointment causing him great upset, and the knowledge of who he cannot depend upon. The Oldest went through this at about the same age, and it hurts me to watch. All I can do is talk to him and help him figure out how to deal with it. Laundry and more homework. Dog baths and flea meds all around. I decided to read a book today. It was the perfect distraction in an otherwise overwhelming time of my life. More laundry. Made dinner. Realized laundry isn't dry. grrr. Read more. Finished the book. Wasn't surprised by the major plot twist. Bummed me out a bit that it was that predictable. Decided I need to shoot more photos. Realized I'm shooting a wedding next week, which will likely cost me more than I am charging, because they are friends... oh well. Also, Maria is packing for her vacation to Hawaii, and I realized I'm going to miss her - probably just as much as she will miss me. Thinking about how incredible it is that someone can become so important in your life, and that her being here for me is important, in ways no one else has been able to be. So very important. Also, the boys say she's a keeper. I agree.

Awoke to a text reminding me to write a weekly parent e-mail. Got my butt up and moving, finished the email, did more laundry, had some coffee, and got The Boys and myself ready. Dropped The Boys at my folks' and headed to Maria's. We took off for her sister's house to celebrate her 50th birthday. This is the first I've had the opportunity to meet her family. Two sisters, their husbands, a niece and her husband and nephew and his girlfriend. They live kind of in a country setting which is really nice and lots of land around them. It felt really warm and welcoming and nice and open. Also got to meet her dad, and a couple of his friends and neighbors. It was a very nice day, and they had lots of pictures of my dearest throughout her life, which were fun to look at. Her niece was very sweet, announcing during the cutting of the cake that she likes me and wanted to get that out there. I'm hoping I made a decent impression on them, because I was really pretty nervous on the way out there. I did find out on the way home that one of Corky's ex' is asking around about what people close to her think of me... Not sure how to take that. Oh, and ended up picking up the boys after dinner, which was expected by me, but not Corky who thought she could somehow leave in the middle of her own party. I was worried I'd catch hell from my folks, but they were actually pretty cool about it. I find it interesting that they still have not asked anything about Corky, or anything. Kind of nice to not be under the previous level of scrutiny, but I feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop...

I hope you all have a fun week!


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Happy World Teacher Day

I first posted this during teacher appreciation week in 2011, and today being World Teacher Day seemed an appropriate time to update.

My Second Grade teacher Mrs. Friedman taught us how to play chess, we got to make peanut butter, and have a field trip to McDonald's. We had 5th Graders come in and read with us, and I remember thinking how much I loved school. Mrs. Friedman passed away a while ago, but I still remember the nurturing atmosphere of that class.

In Fifth Grade, Ms. Willis was hip, modern, and told us that she was on birth control! She believed in me, and helped me dig out of the math depression I'd been in from 4th grade. We had pods that year, and floated between three classrooms. I remember thinking how cool it was to be the oldest kids in school.

Seventh Grade brought me Mrs. Humphreys and much hubris. I was the star pupil, and brown nose. I was made her assistant and was responsible for teaching spelling and vocabulary to other students. No one listened to me, and I was miserable. Thankfully, they all failed the next test, and I was removed from my post, learning that it takes more than smarts to lead a classroom...

In High School there were many teachers who helped me, but the one that really sticks in my mind was Ms. Bradley. She was my English teacher for only a part of the year when she was diagnosed with cancer. She needed a blood transfusion, my blood type was a match, but I was only 17 and my parents wouldn't sign the release. I visited her at her home, and felt really helpless. She challenged me, and wasn't always my favorite, but that year I learned much more than what was taught in school. I am happy to say that she is still at that school, and the department chair. Other memorable teachers from that time include: Mr. Nix who gave me an award, and made me think of myself in a different light; Mr. Bonetti who was extremely patient with a snotty, know-it-all 14 year old; and Mr. Hansen who was the administrator garnering my wrath at the end of my time with them all.

In College it was Michael Fisher who most inspired and formed my life. He led me to the conclusion that my various interests and strengths culminated in Technical Theater, and in fact I truly belong there. I am however practical and work in corporate.

My own children have been extremely fortunate. From Pre-school with Miss Ruth as a kind and loving director, Miss Candi just loving them to pieces and singing to them, Miss Emily laughing the days going by, Miss Amy teaching them to love Australia, and Miss Michelle not taking their crap, and loving them like they were her own. I could not have asked for a better environment.

In Elementary, The Boys have and will have the same teachers the entire time. Miss Sharon, Mrs. Henriott and Mrs. Todd have such a great balance of love and toughness, and are truly invested in all of the kids doing the absolute best they can. They have set up a program that has it all. From the basics, to Spanish, Chinese, cooking, art, projects and field trips, multi age work groups, and always ensuring each child gets what he or she needs as an individual to succeed. These three women are amazing, and I love them all!

In the last year two years, we had the addition of Mr. Brian to the elementary program. He brings youth and humor and a laid back attitude, as well as male energy which the kids love. The Oldest has a year and a bit of middle school under his belt and I could not have asked for a better environment for him. He LOVES it, which will make it much easier for his little brother next year. Last year he had Ms. Wex, an ethereal woman who is dramatic and challenging and loving. He fit perfectly in her class. The middle school band director nurtures his love of music, and lets him play the instruments he wants to play.

I do have to say that I am HEAVILY involved in both schools, serving in various volunteer positions over the years. I want my boys to know how important school is to me, and that I truly care about what goes on there. At the elementary school, I teach art to 4th & 5th graders, update the marquee out front, and am the chairperson for the site council. At the middle school, I am on the board for the Parent club, and write the weekly e-mail to all the parents. I like being involved, even though it sometimes seems like I have no time to myself. That is a bit true, but it really is such a short time that I have to be involved, and I don't want to miss it.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Another busy weekend has gone by, and just the words on a screen to mark the time.

Spent a bunch of time coming home from Michigan and writing. When I got home, I wept in Maria's arms. I missed her terribly, and really needed to have her hold me. I also really needed to see The Boys, and hug them and know that they were OK. The Oldest went to his first school dance, and The Youngest came to dinner with Maria and I. The Youngest admitted that he missed fencing class on Thursday because their father convinced him that he would have to work later that night if he dropped The Youngest at fencing & picked him up. My child was crying when he told me this, which means he was likely torn about the decision he made. He wants his dad to not have to work so hard, but he also wants to fence, enjoys it, and wants to honor that commitment. He's only 10, and placing that kind of burden on a kid isn't fair. We picked up The Oldest, and he didn't stop talking for a half hour about how much fun he had at the dance. He didn't even care that we went to dinner, that's how much fun it was. I'm glad he had a blast, and he said he'll never miss another dance. Good for him!

I slept in after waking up severely early a couple of times. Then I decided to steam clean my downstairs carpet, which reeks of dog pee. I know it does. It pisses me off. I can't stand it to the point of wanting to rip it out entirely, which I may do if my cleaning doesn't kill the smell. I used my mom's steam cleaner, the shampoo it calls for, and added cleaning strength vinegar and a few drops of lavender oil. It took my four hours. FOUR. HOURS. It is one room. The room is maybe 15 by 15 feet... FOUR HOURS. After that, I scarfed down a sandwich and took a nice hot shower. I got dressed, did some writing and some laundry and went to a friend's birthday party at a local pizza place. That was pretty fun. I got to visit with people and just chill. Maria and I spent the night at her house because...

Maria's BIRTHDAY!!! We started around midnight - celebrating in private ;-) The thing that made me feel bad was we woke up her roommate because we were especially loud in bed... I apologized later in the morning though. we had coffee and a bite to eat, showered and dressed and headed to the Pinball Museum. This was beyond cool, and fun and they have machines from the 1930's to today. It was interesting to see the evolution, and be able to play them all too! We had lunch nearby and played more pinball. Made a side trip to see the USS Hornet, grabbed some coffee and walked downtown where I grew up. Had a late dinner and came home. My carpet cleaning continued with carpet deodorizer - we'll see how effective that will be in the morning though.

All in all a fun weekend, and now I need to sleep before work beckons in the morning. I hope you all have a fabulous week!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Funeral For A Friend

This was a difficult week. I travelled back to Michigan to attend Diane's funeral. I was able to stay at Diane's parents' home and they made me feel (as they always have), that I am not a house guest, but a close family member. I was surprised repeatedly at how generous and open and wonderful the entire HUGE family is. This is what I feel family should be, if most of us weren't so caught up in past wrongs or current gossip. It is what I will strive to attain. Over the 30 years I've known them, I had never had the opportunity to live among them (sounds a bit Jane Goodall, but couldn't help it ;-)). It is only now that I understand what compelled Diane, her sister and their parents to move back to Michigan after living in California. It isn't the snow, or the weather, or the crappy roads... It's the people. And in this series of villages and townships, it is her entire family. Oh sure, there are Aunts & Uncles in Kansas and Florida (all of whom drove upward of 24 hours to attend), but my running gag for the week was that you couldn't throw a stone in any one of these places without hitting a relative. Every time we passed a place and someone remarked that, "Well ya know, that farm belongs to aunt..." or, "The person doing the sound is related by...", my only response was "Of course it is."

The one weird thing was that Aunt Helen, Liz (Diane's mom) and Terry (Diane's brother-in-law) all said repeatedly that I sound like Diane, or I remind them of Diane. I guess it was our similarities in sense of humor that kept us friends for so long, and it was bound to happen that our speech patterning and expressions would be similar.

I cried when I hugged Sue at the visitation. I cried when I hugged Diane's estranged husband as well, but not for the same reasons. I had such a tremendous anger built up toward him that I could no longer contain it. It was the last I will ever see or talk to him. That he could not, or would not see the value of Diane as a person, a mom, a wife, a sister, daughter, niece cousin and friend infuriates me. Her value to him was only as much as she could make him look good, and he truly had no idea who she really was. He will move on with his life, grieving in his own way. We all continue to live, but I have the joy of being able to share my grief with those who did really know Diane, and for that I am grateful.

I cried at the funeral service when Uncle Dan sang "On Eagle's Wings". It is one of my favorite church songs and fitting. I cried when Aunt Helen gave such a beautiful and touching eulogy. I also laughed during it, as she really did capture Diane's humor. I cried when Diane's youngest played "Amazing Grace" on his trumpet. I cried at the grave when he played "Taps". I avoided Cousin Julie because I just knew, and when I did finally talk to her and we hugged, I cried even more. I cried when the minister choked up and when I saw her dad cry. I cried when we touched down at SFO when I realized I will never hear Diane's voice again. I cried like a mess when I got home and was able to put my arms around Maria, and when I saw my kids again.

And now for the gratitude to all who lent a hand, an ear, a shoulder:
Maria - for being here for me, holding me when I cry, telling me it will get better, and whispering all the soothing things I need to hear. For loving me and giving me safe strength which allows me to do what I need to do. Also for missing me terribly and thinking I look beautiful even when I'm bawling my eyes out.
Brian - my ex brother-in-law and Diane's first boyfriend. He gave me companion passes for the airline so that I could afford to actually go.
Sandy - my sister. She picked up our folks at the port when they arrived from their cruise to Mexico (a job I was supposed to do, but couldn't).
Ron - my ex husband. He took The Boys an extra day, got them to where they needed to go and attended a band parent meeting in my place. He also gave me time with The Boys when I returned because I'd asked.
Nicole - my BFF. She took care of the cat, feeding and socializing with her so that the wrath I felt upon returning was minimal. She also agreed to be the backup in case The Oldest needed to be picked up from school.
Chaela - dear friend. She agreed to be the backup in case The Youngest needed to be picked up from school and hugged and cried with me.
Bill and Liz - Diane's parents - They welcomed me in as one of their own, insisted I walk in with and sit with the family, and even in their grief found time to catch up, chat, laugh and cry with me.
Aunt Pat - She loaned me her car, which allowed me to not have to rely upon another grieving family member to come get me.
Aunt Helen - she included me in the eulogy. (Yes, that also made me cry.)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

If you've seen the post from Saturday Morning, you can guess how the rest of my weekend went.

Physical with my Dr. in the morning, and tie dye the rest of the day. Came home and pretty much collapsed.

Saturday Night
Went to Dinner and talked to Diane's mom, which made me feel much better.

Spent the day doing actual work, and coordinating a trip to Michigan for Diane's services this week. Also did laundry and started to pack. I may be offline most of the week, so no guarantees of posting, though I may journal some stuff depending on how the week plays out.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Good-bye Dear Friend

This has been a particularly difficult week. My dear friend Diane has been battling cancer for over three years. Today she died. I was able to speak to her on Thursday, and after we said goodbye I cried for over two hours. I knew it was the very last time I would ever hear her voice. She knew it too. She was done fighting, her body was tired. It was her decision to not pursue further treatment, and Hospice was in this week to help care for her at the end of her life. Her family was around her, and her Mom and Sister were there this morning. I woke up around 5 because she came to me in my sleep - to say goodbye. When I woke up, I knew. This has happened before - my grandmother and great grandmother both said goodbye. It happens to my mom too. I waited for the phone call, and it was Diane's mom who made it. I saw the area code and she was her usual straightforward self, telling me how it went. I couldn't say more than to thank her for letting me know because I was too close to tears. She was too. I then let a few people know who had been asking about Diane lately. I imagine I will travel back there for the service.
I am actually happy for Diane, and sad for the rest of us. I will miss her laugh, and her wit, and her smile. She loved her family and friends, and didn't beat around the bush to let you know exactly how she felt. She was trying to live a happy and healthy life, which is all I'd ever wished for her.
I've known Diane for 30 years. We met around when the above photo was taken, in High School. We remained friends all this time, talking on the phone often about our lives, our loves, our kids, and our struggles. I was very fortunate to be able to go back to Michigan and visit her last year (where the two below photos were taken).

I've written about Diane multiple times on this blog. You can find it all in my first Wicked Wednesday Post, and Thoughtful Thursday posts here, here, here, here, here, here, here, herehere, and here. Diane has also popped up in lots of other places here, which is what happens when you are a part of a person's life in a significant way. My hope is for her sons to know exactly how much she loved and adored them, and for her parents and sister to find comfort in each other and in the memories of her happiness. For the rest of us? Hug and love those around you now, for you may not have a tomorrow.