Saturday, July 9, 2016

Reflecting Back on the Summer Solstice and Time Standing Still (Deep Thoughts)

Camp Near Alpine, WY

I never shared my Summer Solstice photos with anyone.  As most of you know, I love the full moon.  And I love both the summer and winter solstices.  Something about that moment of time standing still - and trying to hold it.

The evening of the Solstice started out beautifully.  I spent the evening with friends - eating, drinking, playing corn hole, and I took the photos above - well the obvious moon shots.  We even had strawberries in our wine to celebrate the strawberry moon.

When I left, about 9:30 pm, and headed home from the Pocohontas Rd area, toward my home in Haines, I could see blue flashing lights.  I thought a traffic stop.  That evening, since it was a Monday, both kids (18 and 17) were with their dad.

When I got to my house, Sami's jeep was in the driveway.  I came in the house.  She had stopped to get a sweatshirt and asked if I knew anything about the accident. I said no, and then she told me it was right out of Haines and the highway was closed.  One mile from town.  I asked where her brother was.  He was safe at the ranch.  Thank God. My heart was in my chest.   I was so happy my kids were safe and I said a prayer of thanks. Yet, I knew this accident would be ugly, and most likely would have people we knew.  Haines is small.

I found out a neighbor friend and her daughter were in the accident.  Both are alive, Thanks Be to God, and they both got out of their hospitals last week.  Both suffered serious injuries.  And there was a fatality.  I am so thankful for both of them.  The mother, also commutes to La Grande for work.  One day, we drove together, and we shared our stories of love and loss and how lucky we both are right now, having great men in our lives, and being on top of our worlds with our jobs, and where we live and well, just everything.  

Life stood still.  I have been in 'deep thought' wondering about 'what is next' and how life changes so fast.

Which brings me to the photos of the tents.   See the far one, closest to the creek?  In that tent, on the night of June 24 I shared with Phil that I found a lump in my left breast.  He was the first person I told.  It was huge.  I found it 10 days earlier.  Life has stood still since then, for me, as well.   I was worried, and not worried.  I found one four years ago that turned out to be a cyst.  It was quite small.  It was removed and benign.  This one?  I was hoping I didn't waste my second chance at life.

Luckily, this story also ends well.  Yesterday I was able to see 'my lump' through a mammogram and a sonogram.  And I had a post imaging consultation as well, all within 2 hours, up in Walla Walla, Washington. Had I stayed in La Grande these tests would have spread out over the course of another month or so.  The result? It turns out my lump is a 2cm x 4cm cyst.  And, full of liquid.  To be drained.  Cause?  Hormones.  The gift of going through the change toward Menopause.  Damn those hormones.

I hated telling Phil about it.  Because he worried.  His mind went to all sorts of dark places, which mine had done as well.  He lost sleep. He fretted.  He wanted to be with me when I went to get my tests.  He is a caretaker and I not used to having someone do that for me.  I told my kids.  They only knew for two days, but still, they worried. I hated seeing the worry in their eyes.  I know what went through my mind when my dad was sick.  All those scary thoughts.   I hate having people worry about the unknown.  I appreciate that they prayed for me and thought the best, but gosh darn it, I wish they did not have to carry the burden of 'will it be serious'.

Now, I feel I have been given another 'chance' at this thing called life. I was lucky.  And, I wonder.  Will I make an effort to live differently?  There are so many changes on the horizon with my kids going off to college and starting their independent lives.  It depresses me and overwhelms me.  I think about my future as well.  I have not truly lived alone, on my own, for well over 22 years.

So.  I think over the next year I will be thinking about what to do, where to go, and what to be.

Thanks for listening. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Happenngs Around Here. June 18th

Photo Source:

Sami with two of 'her' babies

The Prom Queen, with her sweet, handsome prince

Jake with his Prom Date

Grandma Pat, Sami, and Me

Graduation Day

The Class Valedictorian - who also rec'd approx. $22,000 in scholarships

Top Photo: Grandma Pat, my sister Christy, Me, Sami and Jake.  Bottom Photo: My Bestie Erin, Me, Sami, Jake, and Erin's daughter Shannon
It has been a crazy 'past' month. So, I am catching up.

Birthdays in May:  Jake and mine. Along with Mother's Day.   And Phil's birthday.
May 7th was Prom: Both kids went. Sami was picked up in a beautiful classic mustang, and crowned Queen.
Graduation?  Oh lord.  It was a five or so day whirlwind.  Setting up and decorating both the party location as well as the school, hosting out of state guests, being the last parent standing at the party (all my guests and Sami's dad ditched me - they were tired.  Uh, yeah.), surviving graduation, cleaning up after the party, saying goodbye to guests.
And, I will say, I was surprised at who made the effort to share this day with us, and who did not. I am trying not to let it get to me. 
Phil's Birthday was the day after graduation.  He went to a friends cabin for a BBQ and stay-over.  I like to say 'sleep over' but heck, he's a man.  Apparently it isn't cool to say 'sleep over' for guys.  I still had guests. So, we celebrated Memorial Day evening.

Today it is raining.  On June 18th.  I am still in my jammies recovering from yesterday's migraine and a stupid sore throat that won't 'evolve' into anything.

So, for International Picnic Day, I have a tritip roast to throw on the grill (basking in a rub as we speak), and am between the stages of making potato salad.  Since it is raining, the kids (teens, young adults, whatever) and I will picnic indoors.

Have a great one!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Getting Creative with a Card Lift - Thanks

It's Saturday in my world.
A rainy, blustery, stay inside type of day. So far I have managed to: get my walk in before the weather hit, make a pot of lamb stew, clean the refrigerator of expired goods (inspired by the job done at my place of work), do three loads of laundry, wash various piles dishes, make a pot of french press (hence all the tasks getting done right now) and... play in my craft room (or bedroom, depending on one's view and the time of day).

And, I made something!

After browsing through my blog feeder I was inspired to 'lift' Michelle Wooderson of Mish Mash with her 'Just a Note of Thanks' card set.   I was inspired by her colors, layout and vintage theme.

My supplies

Stazon jet Black solvent Ink
Stampin' Up Washi Tape
Simon Says 'painted thanks' die
Sizzix Circles #2 die 
Lilybee Design Street Shoppe Gumball patterned paper
Gin & Company Vintage writing book paper (which I stamped the music sheet onto)
Cornish Heritage Farm Aged Sheet Music 6x6 rubber stamp (no longer in business)
Cornish Heritage Farm Ornamental Beauty stamp (circle quotes) (no longer in business)

End Result - Thanks 

The quotes in the circle stamp read:  Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it - Confucius;
and, A thing of beauty is a joy forever - John Yeates.

Between my daughter's HS graduation (favors done by friends taking photos for the announcement and hosting the after party), Prom (dress altered) and my birthday, I have a lot of thank you cards to get out!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

April 30th Virginia's View Challenge (Hello)

My Entry - Hello card

Playing with distress inks, stamps, water color paper

The top panel of my card was made from this stamped sheet

Virginia's April 30th Challenge:  Friendship, Hello, Etc.

I finally made something! 
 Back on April 16th I came across 'I love Virginia's View Challenge' Blog from another friend's blog (Thanks Lin!).  And, I got inspired.  And, life happened, and I got sidetracked with a million other things.  And, today, as I looked at my scrappy mess in my bedroom, I remembered that today is the deadline to submit, so here I am.

Supplies Used:
Watercolor paper
Tim Holtz Distress Inks (cracked pistachio, festive berries, spiced marmalade, shabby shutters)
Tim Holtz Distress Stain (antique linen)
Stamps:  Stampin' Up 'What I Love'
Hero Arts' Hello Stamp & Cuts' (I used the Hello die cut)
Big Shot
Orange card stock and brown pattered paper (design on other side) from Simon Says Stamp April Kit 

Thanks for looking:)

Sunday, April 17, 2016

This is Jake - April 2016

Jake - One Fine Saturday Evening in April

Jake - Candid Shot
Jake is starting to 'bloom'. 

The man-child (16 soon to be 17) now has a girlfriend and is getting out of his cave (aka computer game world).  My quiet, mellow, observe from the corner of the room type of guy, is starting to expand his wings.  His social life is pretty minimal.  He's not the kind of kid who escapes every chance he gets.  Nope.  He would rather stay home after working all week at the ranch.  Even during the school year, he does chores before and after school, and puts in a full day on Fridays and Sundays.  So, his time at my house, is usually his 'down time' and his private time.

Every now and then he gets out with his guy friends to do off the wall stuff, like paint-ball wars, or air gun fights, or some other crap that seems to end in someone (him) getting hurt (dead front tooth on top, broken front tooth on bottom - permanent teeth things that drive me crazy). 

His girlfriend is a cute, sweet, rough and tumble kick-ass basketball player ranch girl, and the apple of her daddy's eye. Whom, one fine date-night for Jake and his cutie, appeared at my front door, with his daughter, and put the fear of Dad into Jake.
'So.  What's the Plan?'.  He asked Jake, while his baby girl was waiting in the car (do doubt for the 'all clear' signal).
'Um, Watching Movies'.  Jake replied (since I was in my room I could not see if he was trembling, fidgeting, or brave enough to look him in the eye.  Darn it).
'What movie?'.  Big 6 foot 4 or so Dad bellowed.
Jake replied with the G-rated movie they were going to watch.
'Fine.  I'll be back at xxx'.
Needless to say, I joined the movie watchers.  The Fear of Dad was instilled in me as well.

Phew.  Jake is a 'good' boy.  As in, he has a loving heart, a gentle spirit, and doesn't run with the wolves, if you get my drift.  He is respectful.  He makes my mommy heart proud. 

This last Friday was supposed to be their Sadie Hawkins dance and it got cancelled (not enough chaperones).  I was bummed about it.  Jake wasn't.  His GF had gone to great pains to 'setup' his invite - a bucket of KFC on the dinner table with a cute saying about her 'winging it' and never doing this type of thing before, and would be be her date.  It was adorable.  The nearest KFC is 33 miles away so it took some effort.

They will have another chance.  Prom is 3 weeks.
And yes, I am looking forward to it!


Friday, April 15, 2016

On the Topic of Grace

Grace Walsh - April 15, 2016

My birth mother has been in a sub-acute care facility for close to 2 months.  She seems to go back and forth to the Stanford Hospital Emergency Room every 2 weeks to have a blood transfusion and most recently, had 'fluid' drained at a different hospital.  Her health has been on a serious decline since last July, when she was diagnosed with liver cancer. She had tumors treated with radiation, has been on various medications, and, that is all I know.  The 'story' is always hard to get - in terms what she wants us to know, and what is truly happening.  Last  week we were told she has liver cirrhosis and that she knew this last summer and chose not to have a liver transplant.  Seriously?  She could have had a liver transplant and prevented all the crap that has been going on lately? 

However, it was her decision and we have to respect that.  Interestingly, I was recently thinking 'what would I do if I had cancer'?  I watched my dad die a over a three month period from his cancer and some hard core chemo therapy treatments.  I would never do chemo. 

The photo above was taken by my Aunt Alice, today, and was sent with the following message:

A miracle, prayers do get answered.  She's lost 50 lbs of water and looks great, even skinny.   Mentally pretty sharp and well spoken.  She's made friends there too.  Says Dr Marcus at El Camino hospital was the catalyst for her improvement.  Pls fwd this to Paula, I don't have her on this phone.  Had a great, happy, long visit with her.
Keep up the great work, girls, love you Much.

The 'great work' is due to my sister Avis, who has taken the lead as Grace's health advocate.  Not an easy job.  On the physical side, she has a two-hour drive to get to Grace, and has to juggle her own full-time job. Grace did not have any releases of information signed with any of her doctors. She doesn't have a power of attorney.  I doubt she even has a will.  It has been a very frustrating process.  You read about this stuff all this time.  But, for whatever reason, people like to keep their private affairs, private.  Until the day you get a call from another relative that 'it's an emergency'.   On the emotional side, my mother is a handful on her 'best' days.  Our own relationship has been strained for over 20 years.  Seeing her this last January was the best visit we have had in a very long time.

The photo?  I love seeing the smile on my mom's face.  My goodness.  I don't recognize her at all. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

My Mini Me is Giving Me (More) Gray Hair.. Sunday Musings. October 18, 2015

First, let me say I love the above quote.  I am all about independence, and learning, and taking risks close to home when you have a safety net nearby.  After all, my daughter is now a Senior in High School, and soon she will be 'off' making decisions on her own. 

Holy Batman. 

Toss in the co-parenting arrangement and let me just say, sometimes we have our moments.  Like, last night for example.

Sami was out last night for Homecoming with a group of friends and they had a sleep over. Coed. Yes, I gave her permission.  'We are the good kids' was her reasoning.  So, like I shared before, I believe in my daughter and her decision making capacity - which is so much better than mine was at her age.

Anyway, I thought she would be home bright and early this morning, like most Sundays, to get ready to go to the ranch. Meaning, 6:30 am.  Keep in mind, I wake both kids on Sundays at 6 am so they can get out the door to go be ranch slaves.  If they are late, their father has a fit.  So, not an unreasonable expectation, right?

So, when she didn't show her smiling face before 6:30 am, I started getting worried.  I sent her multiple messages: text, voice and even via FB messaging. I even contacted her brother to see if she was at the ranch and I was not in the loop.  He said no.  I asked if his Dad had heard anything from her. He said he did not know.

Maybe I should have called Darth Vader (the ex).  But I didn't really want him to know I was out of the loop and exhibiting my Mother of the Year skills, once again.  Plus, I didn't want him to freak out, unless it was warranted.  One of those lose-lose scenarios. 

I finally heard from her close to 8:30 am.  Up until that point, I had visions of ax murderers, kidnappings, her vehicle in a ditch.  You know - the usual.

What is with the sloooooow response?

 Thank God I dye my hair - the gray is coming in faster and faster.

Here is a sampling of our texts:
Me:  Where you at?  6:59  am
Then me sending a voice message at 7:33 am
Me:  you need to come home now!  7:49 am
Sami:  Wait.  Why?  8:10 am (One hour and ten minutes later).
Sami:  Why are u freaking out?  8:11 am
Me:  Jesus Sam.  I need you to check in! Because I haven't heard from you and you usually go to the ranch at 6:30 am! You didn't say you would be out to till forever! What is your plan now that I know your are alive?
Sami:  ?Well I already told dad yesterday that I'd be home later this morning.
 (Hello, how about telling your mother? The one you made the plans with? The one responsible for your whereabouts until you get to the ranch?)
And out till forever?  Mom it's only 8:17, goodness. Everyone is waking up now, we will probably eat then head back.
Me:  Well no one told me!  I've been worried all morning. Sniff
Next time I want names and numbers.  I have no idea where you are.  Just Hunters house.

There were more texts.  Details about Hunter's family, meaning their last name (well known),  his big house, mom's great cooking, bla bla bla.  Hello!  I think this would have been useful information ahead of time, eh? 

Again.  Mother of the Year.

Lessons learned: 
Me?  Get more details on the plans.  Or, Do not let her ever ever do this again! ( Foot stomp)
Her?  Her mother is a psycho (I'm sure that is what she thinks!) Or, Communicate the plans better! Or, remember, your mother is a psycho and will start calling the National Guard if you don't show up!

In my defense, I did not call the National Guard.  But I do happen to know all the local cops, and now that I think of it, some National Guards men as well, and was very, very tempted. 

I can't wait until she has children of her own!  Wait.  Yes I can.  I can wait 10 more years.  Please Lord, let's wait 10 years for that experience, shall we?  No teen pregnancies, deal? 

Cheese wiz I sure worked myself up into a tizzy. 
Thanks for listening...