Monday, December 31, 2012

And So it Goes...

2012
It has been an eventful year for many. Especially me.
2012 has been rather life changing for me.
 
I lost my Mom,
 
became my Dad's care-giver.
 
I turned 50.
 
Almost lost my marriage, but instead strengthened it.
 
Had one Daughter not only graduate from college, but land her dream job.
 
While the other got the chance of a lifetime, studying abroad and catching dreams.

 Strengthened some friendships and family ties as well.

We have had some health scares. And we have had financial hic-cups.
The weather has been strange, down right crazy.
The World's current events have been terrifying with our own USA crime unbelievable.
The lack of respect and responsibility has been embarrassing.

 
Made some pretty major decisions. And started seeing things differently.

Through all this year, one thing is certain.  I have become a much stronger woman.  I have found my voice.  I think I have come to understand that regardless to what happens in my life, I have the power to stand... to take what God has put before me and to figure it out. 
I use to think that everything that happened was a part of God's plan... I don't so much anymore.  I do believe that He has planned my life and given me the opportunity to live life to its fullest. However... I do not find Him responsible for the evil and bad things that happen in our lives.  He helps us through the storms, and helps us from sinking.  He puts things in our paths to help us find the solid ground or even sometimes a floatation to get us to that solid ground. 
This I know.  God Loves Me.
As I pray I am doing what I should and it is good enough.
I have come to realize...I am enough.

I have caught my breath and I am ready for what 2013 has in store.  There are so many exciting things looming around the corner. I am thrilled to take on this year.  I am sure there will continue to be mountains to climb and valleys to cross, but, I'm good.
I got this.
 

Highlander's Cottage Give Away

Chalkboard Give-Away
Click on the link for a wonderful give-away from Highlander's Cottage. They always have the most fabulous signs and I love them.  One day... I am going to buy one of their signs or address plates.  But until then... I am trying to win this lovely chalkboard.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

exhale

The soothing satisfaction of being able to exhale. 
I was uptight, nervous, and short of breath. As Christmas was looming I was fretting.  Would this Holiday be as disastrous as Thanksgiving?  Was I going to be a tearful emotional mess again? Or was I going to be okay this Holiday?


With prayer, I woke with a gentle warmth in my heart and a strength in my soul. I was okay with this Holiday.

The day flowed with funny mishaps but no pain.

I burnt the ham... I burnt the corn.... I burnt the rolls. Seriously? Who does that?  I NEVER burn things. But my sweet Family laughed with me and ate it.

Dad had a spike in his blood sugar.  A very high spike... But with insulin we got him back to normal.


jan annie sheri 12.25.12
Later in the evening Annie & I talked Sheri into going to a movie. Parental Guidance. Sweet little funny movie.  I spilled two not just one over sized Diet Cokes on myself at two different times.  Before giving myself a hard time over this... I will say that three other folks in the theater did also so I totally blame the flimsy over sized cups not the user. Hanging with Annie & Sheri was such a wonderful thing.  We laughed. A lot.  Annie's snort laugh.  Sheri's squeal with tears. And my gasping guffaw.

The weather held back. Giving us a warm day perfect for transporting Dad to my house. Waiting to bring us the beautiful snow the next morning. We got a beautiful display of white blanket, along with wicked winds.  The snow photograph at the top of the post, is of a snow overhang from our roof.  So pretty.

My Mom was all around me this Christmas. 

sis mom me...a few years back
It was not sad.  It was not manic. It was her sweetness. Her softer side.  The fun... the love. 

I was able to enjoy this Christmas.. and that is huge.

I miss my Mom.  I miss the good times, not the manic. 

But, it's all good.  I'm able to breathe, I'm able to exhale.



Sunday, December 23, 2012

Jingle Bells


♪dashing through the snow...
in a last miute panic effort....
to get those last few gifts...
that I have yet to buy...
trying not to freak...
 remembering to breathe...
Oh what fun it is to buy and get through this holiday!
♪ Jingle Bells♪ Jingle Bells♪
oh where is my White Zinf?
I only need a few more days squeezed into the next two!
Oh Jingle Bells♪ Jingle Bells♪
Forget the White Zinf...
I really need to pop a few of my precious little Xans!♪ 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

...away in a manger

With the recent death of my Mom, dealing with the Holidays is an emotional ride I can't explain. Thanksgiving was not only difficult, it was a teary blur.  I hear I hosted a wonderful meal but it was like I wasn't there at all. I was a huge fake.  Everyone worried (except my Dad).  My family could not only see but feel my sadness.  It runs deep and different than other those I know that have loss a parent.  Everyone deals with grief differently, but also, I had this dysfunctional relationship baggage that I am trying to sort out. A lot of guilt and misunderstanding to my grief. I am still trying to fix everything through my Dad... which is a whole different post...

Christmas is upon us.

This year even without the dealing the grief, our plans are a bit different.  We are not planning to drag all of the Christmas stuff out.  I am not even planning to put the tree up.  I am only pulling a few things out. Along with my Christmas containers, I have found a couple of bags of my Mom's Christmas decorations that I salvaged when we moved Dad and condensed their belongings. I barely remember putting them in with mine. But I started going through them today.  Among them was this...
It is my Sister Julie & my Childhood Nativity Set.  It has several chipped and broken figurines. The manger is barely standing with it's weakened cardboard frame torn and caved in.  But other than a couple of the original sheep... I believe it is all here.
My Sis and I would spend hours playing with this.  Re-enacting the story of Baby Jesus born in the Manger.  The Three Kings, the Shepperd's coming with their gifts.  As we grew up we would constantly change the setting stage.  I think I preferred them all looking onto Baby Jesus, and my Sis would switch them to look out to us as if it were a play.
I remember getting new Kings and Shepperds.  We would get them at Ben Franklin or Murphy's.  It was exciting looking them over in the store all lined up waiting to join a Nativity set. The price sticker still remains on  this one.

Through the years, through the chaos... somehow this Nativity Set was not destroyed or lost.  It survived.  Much like my Sister Julie, and I.

Cat Brat

This is Mischa.  I have blogged about her before. She is probably one of the most annoying Cats I have ever had.  Don't get me wrong... I love this stinker to pieces.  But she is most definently a BRAT.
The day she came to live with us,(eight years ago) my Annie & I came out to sit on the porch waiting for Annie to get picked up by friends. We heard a very distinct cry.. We went over to our open garage where we found this skinny cat meowing and meowing.  Hubby stepped out into the garage about the same time, also hearing her cry.  We fed her (she was straving), and we gave her a warm bed to rest.  We had no luck finding who she belonged to (our neighborhood was not one that pets ran amuck... no stray animals around here.  We finally decided, someone who knew how I am stuck her in our garage knowing we would find her a home. 

We did. Ours. 

At first we found her constant meowing charmng. She reminded us so much of our Chatty Tanda (best cat ever... died 14 years prior). But Mischa doesn't have a sweet meow.  For a small cat, it's not a petite soft meow.  More like Janice, Chanlor's old girlfriend on Friends... Or Fran from The Nanny. (She must be a Jersey Cat). Anyway... she never ever ever shuts up. She drives everyone crazy. Especially Sergio & Riley. She just walks around meowing non stop. Some mornings she gets sent to the other end of the house so we can sleep.  She is at her worse in the morning.  She wants everyone up when she is up.

She is destructive.  She shreds the furniture, the wood tirm... She is naughty.

She is a clumsy cat too. She knocks things over... she slips or misjudges something she attempts to jump to... she runs into things... (her vision is perfect she is jsut not graceful).
This morning I let the dogs out and returned to bed to get another half hour of dreamland.  Mischa was walking all over me, trying to get me up. I ignored her.  She started eating my plant (which drives me crazy! it's from Mom's services and it is whittering, besides, Mischa will just throw up if she eats some of it). I hollered at her to stop her... She leaped to my table next to bed, sliding into things. I heard something slip, but assumed it was water that the cap wasn't secured.  But then I started to smell something.  Overwhelmingly smell something. That Darn Cat knocked over an Aroma oils and Reeds vase!  Oil is everywhere, table, book, wall, carpet... And my room is in over-abundance of the scent fresh lines (which doesn' smell like that at all). Chocked me & THE DOGS right out of the room!

So now, here I sit... listening to her meow.... choking from a cheap imatition of "Fresh Linens" and loving this ridiculous Bratty Cat.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Snail Mail

When I was a little girl, I wrote a lot of mail.  Snail mail.  My Grandparents, my Cousins, my Friends, and when I was spending my summers in Texas, my Parents, Sister, and the Besties.

I remember in grade school getting to write Pen Pals at another school far away.  Our Teacher taught us how to write a letter.  What an opportunity.  How fortunate was I?  How sad this is no longer taught.  Do you remember the "rules?"  Date... Salutation...Body... Closing... Signature. 

In Middle School, I was notorious for note writing.  Once, a Teacher took one of my notes, read it out loud to my classmates, exposing my crush, and embarrassing me nearly to death. 
That did not stop me.
I was just more careful.. Writing (sometimes in code or with initials) passing the notes, and reading those from friends.  It became an art itself.  I still have many silly and precious notes from my Bestie. We have had a wonderful times reading over them so many years later... a good keep.
It tickles me to see Deliver De Letter De Sooner De Better... Or Sealed with a Kiss to Make it Stick.
Think of yesterday, when we did not have instant gratification of email, texting, and social media.  Even the phone calls.  Why when I was in college I was lucky to get to talk to my Mom once a week.  On a Dorm phone shared with 3 other girls. Nearly impossible to talk to a Bestie privately. To pour our hearts out, we had to depend on snail mail... knowing it would take three days to get to someone and three days to get a return letter. But so worth it.  Seeing that familiar handwriting, and knowing there is wisdom, humor and love within the letter!
I recently challenge myself to get back into writing snail mail.  I decided to send 52 letters in 52 weeks. It's going quite well. Actually, it is going splendid.  I did not realize the smiles it would deliver, yet alone the letters I would receive back.  Many friends have been motivated to join me in bringing this almost lost art back.  Do you remember the joy you would get seeing a letter to you in the mailbox?  Much like Christmas cards, another dying practice (please don't get me started about these Christmas email group messages).  I really want to hear from loved ones and I will take what I can get, but, I so prefer a personal letter of card.  I love the pictures and I enjoy the Christmas newsletters.
With some rather time consuming (and emotional) derailments that have hit, I am a tad behind but am not going to let this stop me. I am so back on it and writing my little fingers off.  I love hunting down stationary (not an easy task!  I am actually having to make some). I have been selecting friends that I need to get in touch with as well as those I do talk to on a regular basis.  I am finding that telling someone how much I appreciate them and how special they have been to me, is very gratifying.  How often we forget to tell those we love, thank you.  This has been a wonderful wya for me to express just that.
Yep. Letter writing.
The Lost Art has found it's way back to me. Good old fashion hand written letters from my heart♥

.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Taking a Breath

The past few weeks are swirling by. I never seem to find the time to sit down and write anymore. I run 24/7 and when I do stop, my head crashes into the pillow and I sleep.
I have had some wonderful breaks, time spent with the Hubby, my Girls, and my Dear Besties. But as for reading and writing time... I have not been able to make that happen.

 Having a week off from work will free up some 50 hours. I requested 3 books from the library. That will give me some serenity. I have a few appointments to take my Dad and some paperwork, phone work and leg work with Dad's business. That will keep me busy. My Hubby needs me to assist in a few things. Check.. got that covered.  My youngest daughter will be home from College for Thanksgiving Break as of Wednesday.. {yay Baby Girl time!} I look forward to catching up with her as she has been such a busy little Bee. Thanksgiving is here! Oh boy... I will have 6 - 16 for dinner Thursday. While frustrating to not have an exact count, such is family plans. I am just Blessed to keep busy as this is the first holiday since Mom's death.  Not only do I need to keep steady for myself but I want Dad to be okay through it.  Christmas shopping will start as well as Birthday shopping for my oldest {can she really be turning 24?}. I am finally getting well from a strange skin and eye infection.  Another week and I may be able to wear contacts and makeup for the first time in ...well, too long.  I'm making an appointment for my Pommie, Dakota to get a haircut as well as I have made an appointment for myself to rid myself of my long straight graying hair, trading in this Church Lady look for something with a little kick and style.  I am needing a little pick me up and a fresh look will help.  I also have a little big something else up my sleeve that I am not ready to spill out, it's a good thing, but a private thing.  Nonetheless... keeping me very very busy as well.

I have taken some steps back from social media lately.  It gets so overwhelmingly full of negativity. I "aint got no time for that".  Nor the energy. Also, with Deer Season in full swing here in Indy... this Bambi loving Gal really does not want to see everyone's kill shots, gutting shots, and glory shots.
No thank you...

Another sad note... I haven't had as much time for reading my favorite blogs.  Yesterday, I stole a few morning moments with a cup of Joe, and dived into blog reading.  TWO of my favorite reads have gone private!  :(  These two extraordinary Gals have such a knack for making me smile and enjoy the reads.  I must email them asap to get invited into the groups.  They are two of my favorites and I so hope to get back in as I have been following for far too many years to go cold turkey without my doses of laughter with them.

I want to write some more letters!  I started this "hobby" recently and the joy of receiving them back is absolutely delicious!  Also brings me such a smile thinking of friends receiving a letter the old fashion way, from me.

I spent a wonderful weekend with my two best friends. I want to write a post on it, but will leave you with this picture for now.  I must say, it was just what the Doctor ordered for me.  It was simply Divine!
Deb, Jan, Sher Besties 2012
 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

the movie part 2

morning has broken
I know I have been MIA too much... Trust me, I miss writing as well as reading. How sad that I haven't made time for something I am passionate about as well as is therapeutic. Lord knows I need something therapeutic.
So stinking much has happened.
So very much to express.
I don't know how I will ever be able to catch up.  It will be best if I just dive in and catch up with things along the way.

Thursday evening, I made a frantic rush to meet an ambulance at a hospital that I am not familiar with.
While there I met a rather wise nurse, needing to interview myself and Sister. The nurse was trying to gather needed information as she was accessing our Father, who was here because of a rather traumatic,  dramatic, no make that selfish choice of suicide attempt.  I realize she was more than surprised ...she was baffled, as we answered her questions and poured out a mini version of his life and how he arrived here. 
Body language.
I have learned much about body language from working with the Deaf and learning ASL. 
The nurse leaned in closer and closer..eyes widened and jaw dropping.  At one point, she said, this is a movie! It's truly an unbelievable story of your survival. I have heard so much but this...this is just a movie."

Afterwards, Julie said she would like to start collaborating with me to write our story. It isn't a movie.  It's the story of my life.

 I need to write.  It is what it is. Writing keeps me strong. It helps me to know that I am a survivor.  That I am okay.

I wont be able to re-capture the moments that I missed. But I will try to go back and explain some things to help you understand how I got here at this point.

All is good.  I'm okay.  I am one tough cookie.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Please Don't Wither

The last time I saw my Mom alive, was the Saturday before Mothers Day.  My Sister & I, along with our daughters went to see Mom & Dad.  This was the first time in quiet a while... we had such a dysfunctional relationship that was nose diving.  My heart told me I needed to go.  My Sis, daughters, & niece all agreed we should together.  With it being Mothers Day, I picked her up a hanging basket of orange Impatiens, one of her favorites.  Ironically, Sis, did also, but in a different color.  My Mom was pleased.  More so at seeing all of her Girls.  She asked us to place the baskets on her balcony.

The baskets sat unattended all week. My Mom died six days after we saw her.

In the hustle of the many details that followed we almost forgot these baskets. Sis and I each took them back, nearly dead.  They both started thriving once they got attention.  Easy little plants.  Mine would have days of despair, then bounce back.   

Last night was our first real frost.  My basket had been moved into the screened in porch, but I feared moving it inside, as the Hubby keeps it so hot inside. Plants don't do wonderful in my care. Mom had the green thumb, and Sis inherited it.  I brought the plant in today, looking at how pitiful it looks.  I fear it will not last.  And it is breaking my heart all over again.   It's more than a silly plant to me.  It's the last exchange between Mom and I.

I've asked it to please not wither and die.  I'm just not ready.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Evolving Bullism

At fifty, I am finding that victims of childhood bullies often find themselves being bullied their whole lives... The difference is, how we are now able to handle it.  Maybe, I needed to be a victim as a child so I could stand up tall as an adult.  Maybe, it was so I could teach and protect others.  Regardless, it is interesting to me to see. a target is a target. It doesn't mean I am weak.  Nor beneath others.  It simply means, unhappy or mean people will continue to pick on those they find that are not cruel by nature.

Bullying is the use of force or coercion to abuse or intimidate others. The behavior can be habitual and involve an imbalance of social or physical power. It can include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion and may be directed repeatedly towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender sexuality, or ability.  The victim of bullying is sometimes referred to as a "target". 

I have written about Bullies before. Here, Here, and Here. But these are more of childhood bullied days.

As a child, my bullies were bigger than me. I was small, weak, and quietly accepting. An easy target.

This photo was taken at age 6. By a man, that molested me. He was my parent's friend.  This photo is intriguing to me.  Holding my hands, a nervous habit. No smile on my face.. a look of a frightened animal caught in her hunters glaze.  I believe the eye make up is because of a dance recital my sister and I were about to perform that evening. Haunting, but beautiful, to me.


 Today, as a middle aged woman, I continued to be pushed and pulled and threatened. This photo is more current (school photo taken last month).  I have learned to be a little more confident and have learned to be more understanding to things that have happened to me.


This week I have been "bullied" by those I love, and those I serve, as well as an over-zealous bill collector of my parents affairs.
My dad, while I know he appreciates all I do, gets frustrated at his situation, feels boxed in, or as he put it... "held up in this damn cell I have him in". He lashes at who he is closest to, which is now me.  {I am beginning to understand some of Mom's frustrations even more, and so wish she had allowed Sis & I to help more}. He was, not exactly kind to me with some rather harsh words.  Dad's behavior followed an argument with my Hubby... so I had already had enough of men in my life, telling me how things need to be.
Later in the week, I had a "friend/co-worker" feel necessary to try and hurt me.
To top it off...this same day,  I had a couple of minors try to bully me and tried to turn others against me, including making accusations that could have cost me much had anyone taken them seriously. This was immaturity at it's finest. A "child" with power struggles that wanted to show her power over authority. (but then again, as John Melloncamp has said..."I find Authority, authority always wins". Thank God!)
Seriously.  I give my heart, time, energy to these kids... To have one or two do something mean and to flat out LIE. Oh my gosh! My heart was broken.  I nearly quit.  But then again... remembering, survival skills and that I must show these young ladies as well as the ones watching... Bullying will not win. Especially with me.  Shoot.  I've had things happen to me that they can't even imagine.  God prepared me for the situations like this.  As well as putting wonderful strong anchor folks in my life that keep me up! I hid while some tears shed, got up some gumption and stood tall.  NEVER LET THEM SEE YOUR FEAR.

Some people go their whole lives without others trying to tear it down, provide pain or scars.  I am so grateful, I know some folks that have been Blessed with this.  They produce a sense of confidence that doesn't get picked into.  I may not have that kind of strength, however, I have a certain sensitivity that understands and perhaps can help others.  If nothing else, maybe I can set an example of admiration to those who get it.

Today, is a new day.  I wasn't destroyed last week.  Maybe torn down a bit, but I survived.  My head is high and I am ready for this new week.  What is it that God has in store for me?  What mountains to climb valleys to descend.  This is what I have been given, so bring it on. I am ready to inspire♥

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Healing Time

My Dad has been living at Crestwood East Assisted Living in Indianapolis for three months now.  While grieving Mom's untimely death, he has been doing extremely well considering.  I had always heard that those frist few months are so crucial to a loved one that has become widowed.

Prior to Mom's death, Dad was not doing well.  His health was declining rapidly and he was feeling a burden to Mom.  She had been his primary caretaker for so many years.  They were in "The Accident" 49 years ago, that robbed my Dad of a normal un-handicapped life. From the minute my Dad woke from his coma, my Mom vowed to take care of him.  And that she did.  Sometimes we'd scold her, as she babied him.  But, then again, he had always been a bit spoiled.  Dad was very demanding.  He had a mean streak in him.  But, he also was a very dear man, that loved her very much.

One year ago, Mom and Dad decided it was time for Dad to live in assisted living.  They were very stubborn and head strong refusing to hear of my Sister & I advice.  My Mom always turned left when I said right. Up when I said down.  It was what it was. For years, we begged her to slow down and lessen her load.  I almost had them convinced to move Pops to Indy, finding a grand place... but at the eleventh hour, Mom pulled the rug and said no.  So, Dad moved into an Assisted Living in their town.  Not one we approved, but nonetheless, a safer environment. Dad enjoyed his stay for five months.  The scariest part was the lack of any type of nursing care, whereas, if Dad fell, (which he does a lot) they can't tend to his needs.  There was also a cost issue... but we needn't go into that.

My parents moved to a "side-by-side senior apartments in April of this year.  Mom was exhausted.  Her health was a mess. She intended on being able to care for Dad here. She wasn't able to do this.  She died three weeks following their move.  Dad was now alone, without any help.
Pops 5/11/2012
This picture was taken of my Dad this past May. He looked scary old and weak. It had become very difficult to understand him.  He was not eating properly, nor was he taking his medications regularly He was on oxygen much of the time.
Pops 9/11/2012
This is my Dad now.  He looks great! He is taking wonderful care of himself now that he has a routine.  His medications have been regulated and he only uses the oxygen when he sleeps.  He LOVES the wonderful home cooked meals and as he has been "forced" to socialize, his speech has greatly improved. He is quite popular and has made friends with everyone there. He has a shower that he can easily get into (something we take for granted) and he enjoys taking pride in his appearances once again. He has changed his beard shape a dozen times, finally choosing this  GQ clean cut look.

He teases me as I am on it... no messing around. I have been a tough cookie when it comes to telling Dad what to do.  BUT... it's paying off. He is HAPPY. He is finally getting the fact that he CAN be happy. I refuse to permit him to sit in his chair and wait to die. I have showed him a taste of life he has forgotten.  We have big plans.  We are going places and doing things. And we are having a wonderful time.

I can't make everyone that promised to visit him come. That is a disappointment. But, we are done waiting, we are getting out, and don't be surprised if we come knocking on your doors to visit. He needs his friendships more now than ever.

Monday, September 10, 2012

...little things

Last night as I brushed my teeth, I was reminded of something my Dad told me recently.

He said, "it's funny because it's the little things that make him miss Mom the most".

He told me over the 50 years he and Mom were married, some things she did just drove him nuts. (I'm quite sure he did her as well). He said, he always tried to get her to squeeze the toothpaste from bottom up.  She always just squeezed it from the middle and he hated that.  He constantly found himself "fixing" the tube, curling the end tightly to get every bit of the paste.  Now that he doesn't have Mom to share the toothpaste with, it makes him sad to see the tube as he left it, and not "messed up".

I thought about all the little things my own Hubby does, that drive me crazy.  And the things I do that drive him "nuts" as well.  One day, we will miss that.

My Dad is doing amazingly well since my Mom died.  He still blames himself.  He knows he was a "burden" and his demanding needs wore her down.  No matter how hard I try to explain it wasn't his fault, I can't change what he feels.

It's funny,  Because he can't convince me either that I wasn't to blame. Mom and I had a strained relationship to say the least.  I do not blame her for that.  Her illness, her mental state, is to blame.  She was sick, and did not mean the things she did.  Still I wonder if only I had done more, forced my presence into their lives, could I have changed the outcome?  Could I have made their lives more comfortable, less stressful?  Could I have convinced her to make different choices? Could I have given her what she needed?

I realize I can't change what happened.  And I can not put myself through the should of, could of, would of's.  Still, no matter how hard I try, I feel the pain of maybe I did not do enough.  I am a strong Christian believer that accepts, only God knows the day, hour, and minute, of our deaths. Our plan is in His hands and no matter what, we must find acceptance of what He has planned for our lives.

As I struggle to move forward and grieve her death, I also have been Blessed to have a second chance with my Father.  He has been put in my hands and I have showed him what I am capable of. He is thrilled with how things are going.  He is healthier than he has been in years.  He is laughing again, and I think he actually is enjoying life again.  He does miss Mom.  But he and I are getting through this together and in the process getting very close as we once were many years ago.  I am proud of him, and I believe he is proud of me.

One thing I have learned through my Mom's death, is not to take the little things for granted.  For these things are grander than we know.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Back In The Saddle...again

San Antonio Bi-Centennial Trail Ride 1976
I'm moving forward. 
Life certainly throws some interesting things at us and it isn't always easy to make the right choices.  The thing is you have to make choices and accept the consequences.  In hindsight, would we make the same choice had we known the outcome?  Who knows. 
But we have to trust in ourselves that we are doing the best we can and for me... with a little help from my friends (and family), and a lot of help from God, I am moving forward.

One year ago today, I could not imagine what was to come in the next several months. I feel a bit like a hurricane hit and I am cleaning up the after mass.  You can't expect it to come together quickly.  I have learned that all that praying for patience (my whole life) would come in handy one day.

Several times I have come to my Blog, ready to write... to vent... to heal.  But as the words flowed off the keyboard, I couldn't finish a post.  They are like broken pieces waiting to be fixed. So much to say and yet so much not to share. For the first time in a long time I felt I had to figure this out by myself.  You might say, I am different now.  I would like to say it's a good thing.  But it is also a little sad.

The above picture is a snippet of a very large photograph  taken July 4th 1976.  During one of my treasured summers in Texas, my Grandparents took me along with them on a Bi-centennial Trail Ride.  It took us 3 days to ride horseback from Austin to San Antonio. It was amazing.  If you look close, Grandma circled our faces in this photo, just left of the horse that moved his head.

Just prior to this trip, I was in an accident on my Grandmothers horse, Fancy.  I saddled her up myself.  My Grandparents always told me to knee her chest so she would exhale before strapping the breast strap.  I felt like it was cruel... I wasn't going to"kick" her with my knee.  I felt she was just fine. She wasn't.  30 minutes into my ride, she wanted to go back to the stables.  She was "done" entertaining me.  That's when I realized what my Grandparent was talking about.  She snorted a bit, causing the saddle to loosen.  She started jumping around rearing up and bucking.  The saddle started to slip and some how, my foot tangled between her side and the saddle.  I was dragged a bit, terrified to say the least.  I was so sure she would crush me. My Grandfather caught up with us and calmed her.  I was untangled and pulled to safety.  Once my scrapes were tended and we saw no serious damage.  I was thrown back on her.  Oh My God! The last thing I wanted was to ride!  But, like the wonderful Grands they were, they kept me back on her until my fear subsided and I was back in control.  (Took frickin' forever, but I finally came around... Fancy too, she was pissed!).

Life is that way.
no matter what the fear, the pain, the obstacle... we must find a way to conquer it and move forward.

Much has transpired over the past few months. I have much to share. Hopefully, I will get my comfort back as I jump back onto this saddle.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Today I am 50

Fifty
The big 5-0
Half a century.
that is...
600 months...
2,400 weeks...
18,250 days...
crap.
that's a whole lot of time.
a whole lot of living.

so... today is my birthday.  I have mixed emotions.  
I have been almost looking forward to it.  I feel mature enough to be 50.  So with anticipation, I was ready to start "this" chapter of my life.

My forties had some great moments, wonderful events, and happy memories.
My forties also took a toll on me.  I never expected the depression, anxieties or the let down I experienced.

I have recovered from the "set back" years and ready to move forward.  I have healed and learned to grow from experiences.  I have become not only wiser but stronger and better.

bring it on Baby! Hello 50.

The one thing I absolutely wasn't prepared for was losing my mom right before my big birthday.  This obviously, is the first birthday without Mom.  No call, no birthday card or visit.  
No Mom...

On a sweeter note, my family surprised me greatly with a birthday party last weekend.

I had NO CLUE.  I was so surprised I was scared.  I have never been surprised.  I mean really surprised. I am that person that figures things out way before.  This was truly a first.  Maybe with age I am slipping.

My Babies pulled this off.

With the help of Hubby.


 Blessed with great friends...

great family...
 
great weather...

great cooking ...

and great toasting...

I know that this is the start of a wonderful chapter♥

Monday, June 18, 2012

Absobloodylootely!

University of Worcester, United Kingdom

So... my lovely Annie has crossed the big pond and has herself along with several other Ball State students at the breath-taking campus of University of Worcester. She arrived safely in London, United Kingdom a few days ago.


She took off on Wednesday... ready as can be...
She managed to pack ten weeks of stuff... into one checked bag at 35 pounds, a carry on (see above) and a backpack.  This from a girl that has been known to have one piece of luggage for shoes alone, is an amazing feat.
She arrived Thursday morning.

I now am using Tango and Skype for video phone.  I'm Imessaging and HeyTelling (which is so cool).  I love that she is actually contacting us!  It's a 5 hour difference time-wise. Seeing her sweet face is such a blessing :)

I am so grateful we are able to make this opportunity happen for her. I am so glad she had the opportunity with college to study abroad and get to be involved with the 2012 Olympics.  It's so cool!  My Annie is so cool! 

{stay tuned...}

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Welcome To Heaven Barbie

I need to go ahead and write about Mom and her death.
This may be too long and too much information.  Writing is more about me and my coping and processing. So with that, I am just gonna breathe it out of my cluttered head.

Most of you did not know her other than what I portrayed here in Blog World.  I recently went back and read some of it.  I still feel that what I wrote was honest and was loving.  I truly loved my Mom.  I wanted to better understand and realize that when she was crazy, it wasn't really my Mom, but the sickness of manic and depressive behavior.  She was thought to be bi-polar by some diagnose.  She was thought to be a manic depressant. She also was diagnose as a Boarderline Personality Disorder person.  And this fit her to a tee.

I want you to know that even when others felt my "Tough Love" was cruel, and when others felt my boundaries where unnecessary, I did what I knew best to protect myself as well as to help and not enable my Mom.

For most only knew this incredible loving and wonderful woman.  I am so glad of this.  I wanted all to know that side of her & prayed that others would not see the harsh or feel the pain.  Mom was a beautiful person.  She was full of love and very generous.  She was helpful, a rescuer.  She would give a stranger whatever they needed. She was a good Mom, and a good Wife.  I have a lifetime of the best memories a person could ask for.


However, with that being said.  She also had a deep side that was very troubling.  I don't blame her.  I blame her illness. Few knew, what my Sister and I really have been through over the past 50 years.  I am not looking for sympathy or even understanding. I wrote because it helped me.  It was really a way to help myself to understand and to heal.

Looking back, especially now that my mom has died, do I wish I had done things differently? Perhaps... but I can't go backwards only forward.  I forgave my mom a long time ago. When she was manic, I coped best I could.  It is extremely frustrating and heartbreaking to see someone you love self-destruct. Especially when your hand is out and it isn't accepted.  I'm sure I could have done things differently or even better.  But, the bottom line is I can't blame myself or anyone for Mom's problems or her death.  Only God knew the exact day, hour and even minute, my mom would be released of her demons and brought home to Heaven.

The weeks before Mom's death, my sister and I were in consent contact.  We are close and we "understand" much that others can not.  My parents moved just three weeks before she died.  She was on a ... mindset.  She had decided to go headfirst into another quick decision without thinking much ahead or allowing others to give input. It is thought that my Sis and I were not "cooperating" or being supportive.  That wasn't so much the case, rather we wanted my parents to rationalize their decisions and go forward cautiously crossing T's and dotting I's.  My mom decided to have a party, prior to the big move in which my Sister and I were not able to attend.  I had hoped she would wait and have this gathering following the move but, well, Mom does things her way.

There was much concern also as she was tired.  She recently was confined to have COPD and she has been very depressed.  She had decided to move herself from her apartment as well as my father from the Assisted Living where he was, and combine their households to a side by side independent living apartments.  We had a lot of concerns...

Sis started having strange dreams, and I started having an extreme desire to see Mom.  While she usually is very much in contact with us with emails and phone, she stopped the week they moved.  Not a peep, for more than a week.  And we couldn't get through.  Internet not yet connected, her cell was not in service, and Dad did not have voice mail on his line.  We got a hold of Dad on Friday the 11th of May.  I asked if we could stop by for a visit and to see the new place (they had been there two weeks now).  He was thrilled and put Mom on the phone.  She too said yes, I could come and she would like that.  So, the next day, May 12th, I packed my girls & self in the car and met Julie and her husband & daughter as we visited Mom & Dad for a while.  There place was dismayed and still packed.  Mom continued to have not felt up to unpack.  She agreed that maybe she could use some help and made arrangements with Julie while we were there for the following Thursday to come unpack.

Our visit was nice... Mom was so ..quiescent. Not at all talkative and animated as usual. But she was smiling and enjoying her visit wit us and the girls.

On Sunday, we chatted on the phone.  i called to wish her a Happy Mother's Day as I was heading to work.  She was apologetic and grateful.  I reminded her that she had nothing to apologize for and that I loved her always. On Wednesday, I got a thank you card from her for the Mother's Day gift and visit.  On Thursday, she cancelled getting together with Sis, to finish the unpacking.

On Friday, she was dead.

I was vacuuming at around 6:30pm. Annie had some friends stopping by and I was doing a run through on the house.  I saw I missed a call from Mom & Dad while the vacuum was running. The voice mail clicked.  I hit play...
Dad: " Yeah Jan, better call me. Mom just past away. I tried to get her help but she wouldn't do it. So please call."
Me: whatttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt?  I played it over on speaker for Hubby to hear, then we tried to call Dad, Mom, Sis... again and again. I left voice mail for Sis to call me back ASAP. I then got a hold of Dad finally.  Yes, mom, died... she passed out while standing in the bathroom.  The paramedics were there now.  So was the police.  Yes, Dad, I am on my way.  then Julie called.  I carefully gave her the dreadful news and we agreed to meet at their apartment asap.

When we got there.  The Police were very kind, as were the paramedics.  We were waiting on the Coroner.  She confirmed...  It appeared, Mom had stood up, got that dizzy feeling we sometimes gets, but because she was on oxygen when she gasped, she got a burst of extra oxygen that slammed into her heart, causing it to go into cardiac arrest.  She most likely died before hitting the floor around 6:00pm.

I asked if I could go in...
She said, No.
I said, "please, I would like to see my mother now."
She said, she did not advise it and preferred me to wait till the funeral director gets her to prepare her, them we can see her.
I said, "well, I really want to see my mom now.. not later.  I understand that my mom may not look good.  I understand that she may have had body fluids leave her body... that I have worked hospice, and I get it. But, I needed to see her now. Right now".
A bit more arguing then, she let me go see my mom.

I touched her hand that peeked out of the cover. It was cold.. I uncovered her sweet face... I stroked her temple. The way I use to as a child. It was something I would do to comfort her when she was overwhelmed or sad.  I would sit with her, sometimes even on her lap, and stroke her temple forehead. pulling the tension away, calming her ever so.  I sat there on the floor, stroking my mom.. I told her it was okay.  I told her she could go home now. I told her not to worry anymore.  That it was okay.  That I would take care of Dad, and it was time for her to go home. I told her I loved her. I felt her peace.  I felt mine.

I am very grateful for those few moments alone with my mom. I needed them.

They took Mom's body. and we were left with Dad.  He didn't want to leave.  He wanted to stay and assured us he was okay.  We agreed, and since it was late, we headed home.

The next few days were fuzzy.  Our main priority was to get Dad in proper care.  He is fairly independent, but because of his many health problems and the fact that Mom did much of everything for him, we needed him in a safer environment. We all agreed (with Dad's Blessings to start the process of moving him closer to me.  That where he was (40 minutes west of me and 70 minutes east of Julie, was not an idea location.  Moving him to the East side made more sense as many of his friends, family can now visit with him.  My Sis plans to move back closer to this area also before too long so it was agreed.  Also, Dad agreed to assisted living as he was familiar with it while he briefly lived in AL while in Greencastle.  He liked the idea of having his own apartment, and still having a dining hall (with great food), nursing on staff, as well as a bunch of other opportunities.  Also, my In Laws live just 3 doors down from Dad at this wonderful place. So it came highly recommended.

We also, had to go through funeral arrangements.  We knew what Mom wanted. She had it laid out in her lock box.  We honored her wishes as well as added some love. Annie made these wonderful book markers.  They were just the ticket... gave everyone a smile as this is the Barb they loved.

Mom had two beautiful services.  First, at her church in Greencastle, a beautiful service, by a loving Pastor. Second, a Celebration of Life, held in Indianapolis.  Here we gathered, shared Barb stories, tears, and laughs.
what was left of the Barbie Bangles
My mom had a lot of Flare.  She loved big earnings, noisy bracelets, and bright fun colors.  I had gathered dozens (maybe a hundred) bracelets and bangles that Mom had worn over the years.  I placed them in a big Fish Bowl with a note asking for all to take one, in remembrance of my mom. This was a huge hit.  I looked around the room, seeing her friends wearing the Barbie Bangles as we started calling them.  It was beautiful.  Over the next week, I got wonderful messages of how much they were loved and appreciated, as well as where they were going wearing them.

There were lovely flowers as well as donations made to Mom's favorite charities... The Putnam County Humane Society and The St Andrews Non Food Pantry where my mom gave much of her time to help those less fortunate than herself.

We had a bunch of picture boards.  Much fun to see the many faces of Barb.. And the many hair styles and colors..lol.  Mom LOVED to jazz it up! She enjoyed coloring her hair, perming her hair, a variety of hair styles as well as wigs.  She was adorable in these many photos.  Prior to the funeral, I had the picture boards at home.  I caught my cat, Mischa, starring at the many pictures... moving across, looking in depth to each one.

I was thrilled to see so much love at Mom's services.  Just seeing a roomful of people that loved her so was wonderful.  At one point, an old friend approached me.  She said some things... some cruel things.  Some blameful things.  It was very unexpected and hurtful. I was very gracious.  I tried to change the tone. But as I saw, it wasn't going to happen, I said, I was sorry she felt this way, HOWEVER, my Father is sitting right here... close-by.  He just lost his wife of 53 years.. I just lost my Mom... we are trying to celebrate her life as positive as we can, and that I do believe it was time for her to leave. I calmly asked her husband to take her out..now.  And I retreated to the restroom, where I broke down in a heap...  Who could be so cruel?  Why was she so mean?  I quickly had friends & Sis surround me, and the love was uplifting.  As things were being said, I suggested (through my tears), that we all mourn differently.  That she said what she felt must be said. That, it is done, and best we could do is to Pray for her, as surely, her words, needed prayer.  Who am I to pass judgement?  She spoke what she felt and knew.  As we reentered the room, composing myself, I must say I was a bit tickled to see a couple of my dad's buddies (Oldies that is) scanning the place, making sure this negative person had left the building.  It was very sweet to see them so protective. I knew my Mom.  She would never want someone to put blame or say such things. I'm just relieved this person ran into me rather than my Sister.

With Mom's funeral services complete, we focused on the task of getting Dad moved as well as taking over Power of Attorney and taking care of his financial and medical needs.  I have been introduced into the world of the Veteran's Hospital, and the medicare system.  Dad gave us quiet a scare...Thankfully, we were at the new Assisted Living facility, visiting and got to see first handedly how prompt and caring they are. Dad went into a diabetic crash, sugar down to a 37 (35 is diabetic coma).  We got to know the local fire department as well as the paramedics.  I was terrified as I thought I was about to lose my Dad just two weeks following Mom.  Within 35 hours he went the opposite way with a high sugar at 408.  We are so grateful to now have him in a place where he can be regulated.  With a dining schedule and medication schedule as is he is flying toward a healthier sugar levels as well as general health.  And he is starting to show some happiness.  He is starting to laugh again.

Cousin Shari with Dad
My precious cousin Shari came to visit us and to help us with dad.  I didn't realize how much we needed her till she actually got here.  She is a blessing.  Dad said she "Sharitized" his place, as she spent much time with him and getting things organized.  (Dad can't tell Shari NO like he does Sis & I).

My role as a daughter has changed.  I am now also a caretaker.  I am a power of attorney.  Dad depends on me and Sis now. I'm now a Motherless daughter. Not an easy role, but one that I must accept.

The road is not over, it has just begun.

I will honor Mom.  I will take good care of Dad.  I will make Mom proud.

whew... this was long, but so therapeutic. thanks for lending your ear. 


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Time to Return

It's been a while.
I have had a very turmoil and consuming month.
But... I am ready to move forward.

I am okay. In fact, I'm good.  I have my moments but I am good.

Much has happened in these past weeks.

I lost my Mom. Had to plan a funeral. And become a care giver to my Dad. We (Sis & I) are trying hard to get through not only  Mom's death, and caring for Dad, but taking care of their affairs.  Trust me when I say it has been overwhelming.

I also have had much support and love.  Prior to Mom's passing, Hubby & the Girls started planning a surprise for me. (And boy did they surprise me!) I have also seen some true colors in many peeps.  

I'm not sure what & how I can write about it.  I'm not sure I need or want to.

I'm working a graveyard shift for two weeks during camp for ISD.  I'm working as a night supervisor and have a great opportunity to write... but I am so struggling to put my feelings down.  It's surreal...

I am hoping to get brave...and write.

wish me luck. I'm in a bit of a rut.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

today we say goodbye...

okay dokay... its almost showtime. i can do this. i got family & friends praying for me & God's got my back.
please continue prayers especially for Dad as it is starting to sink in.
please Lord, help me to remember everyone mourns differently and no way is the "right" way. Help me to see past negativity and help me to stay focused and poised. Help me to remember that I AM a good daughter, I AM a good Mother, Wife, Sister, and friend.
Guide me along this path, and help me to know that you put nothing in front of me that I can not handle. Help me to remember that You, precious Lord, will help me to be the Janis, my Mother is proud of.
And lastly, help me to help those that are suffering this loss with me. Help me to uplift Dad, keep Julie strong, comfort friends and family and set a Christian example helping others to seek our Heavenly Father♥

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Trying Hard to Breathe through This..

Julie, Mom & Me May 11th, 2012
I am so behind...
I was just about to post to play catch up.  Have so much to say and it has been too long. I'm thinking, this evening I will post.
Wrong.  Not this Friday night...

My Mom has died.

I will write later, but I am so overwhelmed trying to get things in order and plan a funeral, and take care of my Father.  And grieve.

For now, any warm positive energy and prayers would be so welcomed.  Please pray that we will be strong.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

My Little Queen


Ever since she was a Little Bitty, my Annie has had an amazing memory ability as well as an extrodinary taste for music. This Baby Doll would hear a song on the radio or television and memorize the lyrics.  Then sing her little heart out.
She would make the hearth her stage, find something to be her mic, then belt out powerful songs.

At 4 years, she had an unusal passion for the band Queen.  Yeap! While her Sister was sing Mary Kate & Ashley Hits, Annie would be singing "Fat Bottom Girls".  Hubby & I would just look at each other... Where did she learn this song?  It wasn't a cassette we played. Heck, I had a couple of Queen albums but hadn't played it for years.

At 6, she was introducing us all to All for One, and TLC and LFO.

When she was 8, she fell in love with the band, No Doubt.  She knew there was something special about this Gwen Steffani's voice.  While her Sister favored Britney Spears & Mandy Moore, Annie danced to Christina Aquilera ,Pink and Avril Lavigne

She would sing her heart out.  And to such a wide variety of music.  I was pleased to see her appreciation of music, and grew to learn about some amazing singers.

As Annie became a teen she would find some amazingly talented artist and introduce me to their music BEFORE I would hear their popularity grow on the radio.  She was a bit of a music junkie.  And I could always count on her to have great jams playing in her room, and later in her truck.

Annie loves to see Artist perform.  She has been fortunate to see plenty of concerts.

Now at 21, she is getting to see a new venue of local bands playing in nightclubs.

But I... still see her sing... "Don't go Chasin' Waterfalls", and "Summer Girls".  And smile when Queen comes on as that was her first musical love♥

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Flowers for Leontien

Flowers for dear Leonitien~

Beautiful Gardens
Dancing Daisies
my favorite Iris!
Bountiful Iris
Ranunculus
Sweet Magnolias
Peonies!
Meridian St Indpls Flowers:)
Leonitien~ I hope these flowers bring you joy.  I found most from Pinterest (I can not take credit for most these beauties.)