Sunday, January 29, 2017

Wishing for Peace for Grace

Comfort Food - Grandma's Chicken Soup - Today, for my Soul

Us - A good 35 or so years ago

Us - A Year Ago
Grace Walsh.  January 20, 2017

My mother is dying.  She is slowly dwindling away, getting smaller and smaller each day.  She used to weigh a lot - I am guessing close to 170 pounds, at 4 foot 11, and now she is less than 100.   She is only 74 years old.  Or is it 75?  Cancer of the liver.  Diabetes. 

This has been a slow painful process for her and us.  Obviously, she carries the most physical pain.  For us?  An emotional roller coaster.  Guilt.  Frustration.  Trying to let go of all the past.  Hoping for peace for her.  

I remember the July day almost two years ago when she sent a message out to all of us that she wanted to die.  She was wanting help with assisted suicide, in a State that did not allow it.   We were all shook up. I sat outside, afterward, on the front door stoop, in a daze.  Wondering 'is this real?'. 

It was.

After she was able to stabilize with new meds, and go into remission, we were offering advice, solutions and the the plea to 'please, get help now before it is too late' with all of her affairs.

My sister Avis has been her caretaker.  She carries all the weight of seeing and dealing with our Mother's decline and series of medical emergencies, emotional ups and downs, the pain, the horror, the sorrow, and now, the heartache and closeness of watching her slip away, day by day.  I pray for Avis daily.  I pray for her continued strength and wish she wasn't doing this alone. 

I called our mother a week ago.  Broke my heart.  She was upbeat, and said she was happy and comfortable in the new home she has been moved to. But she was tired, and had to cut our conversation short.

I did get to tell her I love her. 

I cry off and on... some days are good, some days bad. Thoughts go toward the good memories, moments I hope over power the others that are deeply buried.  Where I hope they remain.  Forever.  Locked away. 

One morning on my drive to work this past week, I kept smelling a beautiful floral scent.  Spring.  Something between oranges and jasmine.  I thought, 'this is it'. This is my mother saying hello before she says goodbye. 

I wish for Peace for my Mother, Grace,  as she travels this last journey here on earth.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Little Foxy Card

Card being sent in the mail this week

Covering the sentiment - so there is at least one element of surprise!

Rosie, napping in the sunshine on my bed - I love it when I can stay home and enjoy the light coming in the windows
Today was a 'stay home until 11 am and craft - then go ski - sneak in a power nap and then go out to dinner in town'  type of day.

In other words, a perfectly well spent day off.  I even got the laundry done, cleaned up after a couple teens and organized my One Little Word supplies for this year's workshop.  My travel bags are almost packed (in case I have to stay over in La Grande with the next storm). Talk about feeling productive!  Heck yeah!

The card above was made with the Lawn Fawn stamps.  I've been on a 'fox' kick lately - most of the gifts I sent for Christmas had a fox theme, and I of course gifted some to me and Sami.  Coffee cups, linens, and crafty goodies. 

Hope your weekend was fun and relaxing and full of sunshine!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Gonna Miss Her When She's Gone - Sending Sami Off. Again

My two.  Love the towel on Sami's head.  I'm going to miss the banter and laughter between these two.  I threatened Jake that this would be his Senior photo if he didn't start cooperating on the photo shoots I am trying to arrange!

Sami and her Bestie, Christmas Eve

Another great Christmas Eve shot - that darn mouth game!
So.. it's Saturday, Jan. 14th, 2017.
Sami and are are to leave in 10 minutes for Boise.  I am all packed and ready.
She?  Is not. 
I had asked her to clean her room before she left, and pack up any items in bags that we can give away.
Has that happened, yet?
Her room is a total disaster.

That's ok.  I can secretly enjoy the sounds of her moving around in the house for a bit more.

We will leave for Boise, once she is ready.
Stop for Sushi in Eagle, and have some 'just you and me' time. Which has been minimal with her social schedule. 
Check in to our hotel. And hang out.
Then tomorrow morning I will take her to the Airport and say goodbye as she goes back to Hawaii for her 2nd semester as a Freshman at HPU.

So.. this time tomorrow I should be driving back.
Perhaps a little gloomy and sad.
But overall, happy she is again, off on her adventure.

Thanks for listening.

Oh.. in other news?  Jake got accepted to Montana State University.
He doesn't think he will go.  He is waiting to hear from Boise State.  Which is fine!!!!!!!!!!
Please... Boise.. Please, please please.

Sympathy Card and Thoughts January 14, 2017

A Card made for Bonnie, in memory of Gene

One of my favorite neighbors died recently.  So, I made this card, and took it over to his wife, Bonnie, along with some homemade chicken soup.  We visited for a while.  It was earlier this week, January 9th.  The sky was clear and for once amidst all the latest snow storms, it was a lovely, quiet night.  Perfect for the short walk and time of peace.

Gene was a wonderful man.  A local artist, cowboy and great story teller.  He - Gene, and his wife -Bonnie, have lived in the Baker area for quite a few years, except for a ten-year stint to work in Wyoming as well as central Oregon.  He has driven a mule train for various events, made bronze sculpture, painted many western themes, and had a gentle heart. He was part of the horse crew when Painted Wagon was filmed in Baker. 

One of our first years here, in town, he walked across the street, on ice, on Christmas Day, leaning on his cane, and brought us a gift - one of his art pieces.  It is of a mamma bear and two cubs. I am very lucky to have received it and will cherish it always. The kids and I used to visit him in his little studio, which has a woodstove, and is adjacent to his home.  That is where he would share his stories, and art with us and latest projects.  He had a miniature wagon team that he made, and various projects in the works.

I hate losing people. It hits me hard.  Makes me cry.  Makes me sad.  I am not attached to very many human beings, mainly because I have a low tolerance for choices people make that I think are unforgivable, like bigotry, or adultery, and even gossip about one's supposed friends, spouses or even co-workers.  Therefore, my list of people that I truly admire is, well, short. 

Rest in Peace, Gene. 
You will be missed.

Monday, January 2, 2017

A few Holiday Photos from December 2016 - and Letting Go

One of my favorite ornaments

Favorite outdoor decor

My favorite apron

Our favorite egg nog - only found once!  We could not find eggnog in the stores the week of  Christmas. HUMBUG!

My favorite smart ass kid

My favorite girl came home!!!! 

My favorite friend (BFF) sent this pillow - the third in a series of my fa la la collection from her

And of course, my favorite past time... Playing in my crafty space

NOT my favorite drive this time of year.  It's been a rough commute these past few weeks

Wrapped up goodies to send off to those that live far away

Favorite Santa

My favorite guy and party host.  Christmas Eve

Love my kids.  Love our friends.  Love Christmas Eve.  This was the best day ever.

Who doesn't love Prime Rib?

Or Rum cake?

Or a great game that makes you look silly while trying to talk?

What's not to Love?

Loved the quiet moment outside sunshine on Christmas Morning.

Love this darn cat!  She kept attacking ornaments and things while we opened our gifts

Yep.  Love him. 17 years old and a senior

Love her.  Soon to be 19, and a Freshman at HPU.  Congrats on her 3.57 GPA!!!

Still loving my little house - snow and all
So.. yes.  Christmas and New Years are now behind us.
It's January 2nd. The tree came down today, all the pine needles have been vacuumed  up and the decor packaged up one box that said 'Christmas in a Box, 2016'.  I kept the indoor decor simple this year.
One Box.
I probably have about 10 or so in storage. And those are just for Christmas.

I am feeling the weight of things and am ready to start purging what I do not need.  But, will save that for another post.  Words below basically lead up the weight I have been carrying and my current feeling of needing to 'let go' and the need to release (2017 OLW).

December had it's highs and it certainly had some lows.
It was a month of extremes.
So. I am just going to warn you right now.  Below are the hard things that happened.  This is going to be a downer, and somewhat of a purge for me, so, if you don't want to be exposed to my baggage, now would be a real good time to stop reading, and just move along. At times I write as a form of therapy, and to get stuff out of my head.

 Picking up Sami mid-month when she arrived in Boise was an emotional drain on both of us. I had a 2.5 hour drive, through some shitty weather, which, this time of year, is the norm.  Got a hotel room for us, and then waited for her flight.  She was stuck in LA for 12 hours.  We communicated back and forth the entire time.  She was put on three different planes, each of which, never left.  Her layover was only to be an hour.  So, the result? An 18 year old, on her own, who, finally at 2:30 am was  put up in a hotel by the airline, and she successfully navigated her way back and forth.  She had to return to the airport 2 hours later to try to catch a 7am flight, which also ended up being messed up, by the same airline.  Ug. By the time we got to see each other, we both cried.  OH my...I hadn't seen her since mid August.  Four months.
Enough of that.

Then there was the email exchange between my sister Avis and I, after I reached out to say 'how are things and did you get my package'?  I found out my mother was recently moved to Sacramento, I think two weeks earlier (which was a long time coming - Thank God she is no longer where she was), and later, from my sister Paula, I learned she fell, had broken a few ribs, and' stuff'.  I had sent her Christmas gift to the only address I had for her.  I still don't know if she got her gift.  There is no communication. It's hard for my sister, I know that.  She is doing the best she can, with what she has. Which, does not include me. 
Enough of that.

Then there was that really messed up week right before Christmas.
Monday?  A 'procedure' on my left breast.  Second one. Nothing serious.  Just pain, and wanting it all to go away. It still flares up.  Getting older sucks.
Tuesday?  Roads closed due to snow. I was watching since about 3am since my phone kept blowing up with emergency alerts.  Exhausting.
Friday?  Ha ha ha.  White out on commute.  Drove off the interstate, somewhere at the top of the mountain.  Into the median - which is nice buffer of land.  Put in 4WD, waiting to see, got back on the interstate, and drove through more shit for about another 30 minutes until I got to work.  And that was how the day started. Needless to say, it was NOT a good brain engaged day.
Thank God the weekend came, and it was Christmas Eve and Christmas.
Our celebrations were the best!

Then the really bad weather hit, and more road closures, and warnings to not drive, and white knuckling it over and over and over and over when I could drive. And for some reason my eyes were hurting real bad after my drive.  Headaches, strain, right eye weeping.  So.. I went to the eye doc, and my glasses were NOT adjusted correctly from when I picked them up a month ago.  They were way off! My right eye wasn't using the right prescription - when I needed to see up close.


As you can imagine, I am so thankful to put December behind me.  And I am thankful for this new year of new dreams, fresh starts, daily do overs, and the fact that the days are getting longer!!!!!!!!

My outdoor Christmas lights will remain on until perhaps mid-February.  Hopefully, by then, there will be a little glimmer of light when I get home from the drive.

If you read through all of this, thank you for hanging in there.  I tell myself 'it could always be worse'.  That is what gets me through the really bad days.
Thank God for the really good ones though!