Graduation day

This past weekend, it happened. My oldest child grew up and graduated from high school. It was a very busy weekend with a whirlwind of activity which I am sure to write about in the next couple of days.

I just wanted to let you know that I made it through the whole graduation ceremony without crying. Phew! I started the day by putting on lots of black eye makeup. I told myself that I can’t cry because I would look like a raccoon for the pictures. So we took this before picture just in case. Then both Paul and Angel admonished me in advance about not taking too many pictures. I admit I am rather trigger happy when it comes to taking pictures of important events.

During the graduation, the choir sang a very touching song. The mothers in front of me were recording it and crying. Paul nudged me several times about getting out in front and taking pictures. I didn’t want to cut off the crying moms. I also felt rather irritated with Paul bugging me about taking pictures when he said earlier not to go overboard. Although, it ended up being a blessing since it probably stopped me from sobbing my eyes out.

I did my fair share of crying over graduation the past couple of weeks.

I decided to make a conscious effort to be happy for Angel. She has such a promising future ahead of her. That is something to be happy and excited about, not to mope and cry about. But bets were placed anyway whether or not I would cry.

The great news was that all of Angel’s grandparents were able to make it to the graduation. We were very surprised to see Martha there. She decided to skip her chemo appointment in order to make sure that she felt good enough to go. She realized how important it was to Angel to be there. I am thankful for that!

Afterwards, we had a small pizza party at our house to celebrate. It was a very nice day!

1 year bloggaversary

Wow, it’s been exactly a year since I started blogging. And I am still here! And I am still trying to post something every day. What a fun adventure this turned out to be. I have met some awesome people! Unfortunately, I’ve seen some of my favorite bloggers come and go in the short time I have been here. But I am still here! Don’t worry, I have enough funny and/or crazy stories to last another decade!! I have come to realize that it takes more than having an interesting story, or even being a good writer, to have a successful blog. It takes dedication and one part insanity. Characteristics that I apparently do not lack. Lol. It is difficult to keep going sometimes, especially during the times when no one seems to like what you write. Not to mention opening up and being vulnerable to the whole world!! 

You know what time it is?? Time to examine my old bucket list and create a new one. Here we go, top 10 from 6 months ago:

  1. Publish a book. I haven’t done this, however I am having so much fun with blogging that I really don’t want to write a book anymore.
  2. Travel to all continents, except Antarctica. I am not doing terribly good with this one. But I do want to keep it on my list as something to continue to strive towards.
  3. Read the whole Bible all the way through. In January, I crossed this off my bucket list!
  4. Be a singer in a band. Okay, I didn’t get very far with this one either. Sometimes Paul plays his guitar while I sing on the sailboat. Does that count? Yeah, probably not. I still want to keep it on the list.
  5. Drink green beer on St. Patrick’s Day. Maybe next year I’ll have the time to kick back and relax! Not everything on my list is a marathon.
  6. Get a tattoo. Funny story, Angel has been giving me crap about wanting to get a tattoo. Now almost half of the girls in her graduating class turned 18 and got a tattoo. Now Angel mentioned wanting to get a tattoo with me on her 18th birthday. I think I talked her out of it for a couple more years. Since she wants to be a classical singer, it might be a pain to cover tattoos on stage. Fun fact, my brother Luke got a tattoo when he was a teen. He has an ugly scary clown tattooed on his arm. He sure regrets that tattoo now. I say wait until you are 25, or longer in my case. I am still trying to figure out what I want.
  7. Do my first triathlon. I am still planning on doing this in July. Since my first bucket list a year ago, I was happy to check off my first marathon and now I’ve done two.
  8. Try surfing. I had big plans on doing this while we were in Florida this past winter, but it didn’t work out. I did swim in the cold ocean water though. I am planning on going to California in a couple of months and maybe I can check it off my list then.
  9. Re-create the music video Rio by Duran Duran on the sailboat. I’m not sure if I will be able to swing it, but I’ll try.
  10. Learn how to use a gun.

New bucket list:

  • Travel all continents
  • Sing in a band
  • Drink the green beer
  • Get a tattoo
  • First triathlon
  • Surfing
  • Make a music video
  • Learn how to use a gun
  • Write music and sing it
  • Preserve old family photos
  • Go salmon fishing

 Thanks for reading and putting up with me!! 🙂


Weathering the storms


Today is the first official unofficial day of summer here in Wisconsin. But apparently WI did not get the memo. Paul and I tentatively made plans yesterday to go on our first sail of the season today. The weather looked iffy but we decided to take off of work a little early and head to the boat anyway. 

It has been a stressful last couple of weeks. We have been busy at home, busy at work, just busy. You might be thinking that since Paul and I work together that we probably spend a lot of time together. We do, in fact, but it is not quality time. It is more of the “I’m really busy right now and you are bothering me” kind of time. Or can you take care of this problem for me because I don’t have time for it now. Then to make things even busier, Paul decided to audition for the lead part at the community theater. He got the lead along with 450 lines to memorize within the next two months.

So, we decided to take the boat out for a date, a time to focus on each other and have fun in the sun. Except the sun wasn’t shining. The winds were rather strong. Then when the winds finally started to die down, it started to rain. A long band of rain and storms popped up on the radar. So no smooth sailing for us today.

Instead, we weathered the storm without making it out of the harbor. We huddled inside the boat, cold and damp. Then we started to argue. The sentences started with, “It really annoys me when……. Then we spewed out 20 plus years of criticisms, annoyances, and irritations. The things that were once cute but have long since become annoying. Yes, I was pissy. My expectations were once again too high. I pictured this nice intimate sail with warm light breezes and sunshine. What I ended up getting was whipping winds and cool rain showers splattered with a touch of domestic dissatisfaction.

So, yeah, you could say that I am feeling a bit pissy along with the weather.

Graduation anticipation

Today I want to talk some more about graduation. Eons ago, when I graduated from high school, we had to sit a couple of hours in a warm stinky gym. The mothers cried while the teens rejoiced in their new found freedom. We listened to someone talk for what seemed like hours in a monotone voice (of course!) saying something about this being the first day of the rest of our lives…blah, blah, blah… Now let’s get out of this school and on with our lives. We knew it all already. Why do we need someone telling us what to do? Graduation lasted for a few hours for one day. You’d think that some things, like graduation ceremonies, never change. Right? Nope.

For the last several weeks now we have been celebrating graduation with the seniors. It started out with the senior tea, which was really a mother-daughter banquet for the senior girls. No, we didn’t even drink a lick of tea. We did watch the jazz choir perform. Then between that and all of the other pre-graduation events, we had a slew of the last of everything. The last choir concert where we said good bye to the seniors. Last, last, last, last, last..

Then there was the senior scholarship banquet. Thankfully, Angel applied for many scholarships and received a few since the college she selected is far from cheap. Then last night there was the senior banquet for the parents and their graduate. We had a meal followed by the class picks. Angel was picked as the most musical in her class. Then we watched a slide presentation of pictures from over the senior year. The slide presentation went very fast before we could even focus on the images we were seeing. It went almost as fast as the senior year. Then they had baby pictures followed by senior pictures. ***Insert tears here*** 

What happened next floored me. They filmed showing the graduates items that they had to identify such as a fax machine, a pager, a camera with a flash bulb tower, and a floppy disc. The seniors could not identify the items. Really, where did the time go?? Then they had teachers close to my age answer questions. They asked, “What is a bae?” Apparently, it is not a large body of water. What is a tinder? Apparently not kindling to start a fire. I leaned over and asked Angel what a tinder was again. She said it was a hook up site. Hhmmm, a hook up to kindle a fire?  Certainly not. I can’t even imagine online dating. I have never felt so old!

The events over the past several week have been confusing. Sometimes we had to dress up, sometimes it was casual, and sometimes they had to wear their caps and gowns. I never could figure out what to wear. This morning was the award ceremony. Apparently this event required a cap and gown but Angel not know that. She drove 20 minutes to school and realized that she needed it. She called home upset saying that she wouldn’t be able to graduate. Angel started driving back home but was almost out of gas with no money. Paul ended up running her cap and gown to the school early since I didn’t even take a shower yet or get my dress clothes on. Yikes! It all worked out in the end.

On the way to the award ceremony, I had the radio on. I heard the song Rumpshaker that was popular when I was Angel’s age. Tears threatened to erupt from my eyes once more. Over the stupid song Rumpshaker! Geez. I was thinking about how old I was feeling. Hearing an old song made me think of the time that I thought I knew everything. I realize now that I am old and still don’t know anything. My eyes started watering, but I couldn’t have raccoon eyes before I even got to the school. Get a grip!

The awards ceremony lasted several hours. I sat next to the valedictorian’s mother. The valedictorian’s parents are both doctors. She was picked as the most likely to succeed. She earned 75% of the awards. She has a brilliant I’m going to find the cure for cancer mind. Angel won a few awards too. She received the top music student award. She has an incredible record for music performance including earning 3 exemplary awards at state. You can only earn that award for solos that have a perfect score. Angel earned 3 awards, a new record for the school. The valedictorian’s mother leaned over and congratulated me on my daughter’s success. I was shocked at her kindness since her daughter received more awards than she could carry. 

Now after having half my calendar booked this month with pre-graduation events, the big event is this weekend. I am sure that a few parents will be crying in relief that it is finally over. Did I just say that?? Not to mention the kids having finals this week and having countless graduation practices. Tomorrow is graduation cap and gown practice and pictures. Then a summer of endless graduation parties. I still have a few invites to send out, pictures to find, and a party to plan. Okay, maybe graduation does not end after graduation…

Today my neighbors brought their newborn baby home from the hospital. It seems like yesterday that I was doing the same.

Back to the present

Today I struggled with what to write. I want to go back to my autism series that I started earlier this month but so much is happening in my life right now. How can I talk about the past when the present is exciting, here, and almost gone?? I will finish it though. With the marathon last weekend and my first child’s graduation this weekend, I have a thousand thoughts and emotions running through my head. And it all has to fit into one post per day that should contain an average of 500 words. Lol.

Last night, Paul and I decided to call our parents to try to convince them into going to Angel’s graduation. I called my dad and asked him directly if he was going. Now I typically call my dad twice a year, on his birthday and on Father’s Day. So it was a big deal that I was calling him. He seemed happy to hear from me. He told me that Angel was a nice and good girl. He said that he was planning on going to her graduation. I was floored. Then he even asked me how my marathon went. I was shocked that the whole conversation was very positive.

Then I walked out of my bedroom to find that things didn’t go quite as well with Paul and his mom. Martha was on the phone with Angel saying that she wasn’t feeling well and wouldn’t be able to make it. But this time she is really sick. So sick that she couldn’t make it in to her chemo appointment yesterday. I believe that she is really sick this time. But I liken it to the story of the boy that called wolf. Martha has been calling wolf so many times over the past several years that now my mind finds it had to believe that there is a wolf.

But there is a wolf. Martha has terminal cancer, the big devouring wolf. A few weeks ago, Martha was going to go with me to see Angel perform her solo and ensemble pieces at state. Martha was supposed to be at my house by nine. I waited around until 11:00, Martha didn’t show up or call. By that time I had already missed half of Angel’s performances. At 11, Paul called his mom and she was still at home an hour away from our house. She wasn’t feeling good enough to go but didn’t bother to call. She was going to try to make it out to eat with us later that evening for Mother’s Day.

I knew that Martha was sick. But it still brought up all of those old feelings that I had towards her for standing up my kids. I was very angry and hurt. I drove fast to get to the remainder of Angel’s events. I was pissed that I wasn’t there to support Angel when I told her I would be there to watch her. Then I even started to feel a little guilty that I was angry with my mother-in-law who is dying. So I have become tolerant. I have repressed the years of resentment, hurt, and anger.

It is hard because now I think that Martha might want to go to Angel’s graduation. But it is too late now. She should have gone to more things when she was able to. She should have been the involved grandparent then. Now it is much too late.


No sweat!

It has been two days since I ran my second marathon. I have moved beyond the point of thinking that I will never do it again to maybe. I told everyone that I know (and even people that I don’t know) to talk me out of it if I ever decide to sign up for one again. Despite everything that I said, I still might. You see, in my mind I have conquered the 5k, 10k, and half marathon. Since I consistently land in the top 7% of my age group in these categories, the challenge is gone. I have not conquered the marathon yet and it calls to me.

I refuse to beat myself up over a bad time because I really had a good time. I think that I beat myself up enough just running it.

I am sorry if I scared anyone off from running a marathon from my post right after running a marathon. Emotions were running high. I want to share with you honestly everything that I am thinking and feeling here on my blog. It is important to me that I do that. And sometimes those thoughts and feeling aren’t always roses and trophies.

The recovery period after a marathon can be rather intense, especially if you are used to being active. You may have flu like symptoms like I did. Climbing up and down stairs is difficult the first couple of days. You worry over things like bloody toenails. You will get strong feelings from your body that you are sick or something is wrong. It was hard to get myself off of the couch to take a shower. I found that these feelings are a lot less frightening the second time around. Now I expected to feel twice my age.

It was very hot outside the weekend that I did the marathon. This happened after a cold spring after doing a lot of training runs on a treadmill. The weekend before the marathon, we had snow flurries. The week before the marathon, I had the stomach flu that lasted almost a week. Plus I injured my knee on my last long run. I wrapped my knee for this marathon and it really helped. So maybe it was a miracle that I was able to finish at all.

But lets get back to the heat for a moment. I always prided myself on not being a big sweater. I could always go out with the girls on a steamy hot night and not sweat much at all. My friends makeup would melt off of their faces. Sweat dripping off their hair. Mascara lines down their face. Foundation running down their necks. They have to bring purses with extra deodorant and perfume. Sometimes they even need to bring an extra pair of clothes while I remain dry. Not being able to sweat does me no good when I am running a marathon on a hot day. By the end of the race, the alert flag was at red signaling extreme running conditions. People were dropping out of the race like flies. I got through it without even breaking much of a sweat.

Today, I am happy. Halfway through the marathon, I found a running partner. We decided to finish the last half of the race together. Today he found me on Facebook. I found a running buddy during my first marathon too. I can’t even explain to you the bond that can develop with a stranger that is going through the same grueling experience. Emotionally, running a marathon is very intense.

My new friend’s name is Lewis. He was traveling with a running group. There was a women in his group that was celebrating checking her 50th state off of her 50 states of marathon running bucket list. Lewis’s friends were getting wasted. Almost every mile they stopped along the route asking people to bring them beer from their houses. Apparently a lot of people did. One of the guys was pretty drunk. Lewis apologized for his friends, but I found them to be rather entertaining. It took my mind off of my pain.

Along the route, there was an old couch someone threw out. It was a dirty disgusting ripped up 70’s vomit green fake leather kind of couch. The woman on her 50th state laid down on that couch for awhile with a drink in her hand. All the while, the group of drunk runners stayed pretty much at the same speed as Lewis and I. Sad, I had a couple of sips of beer that was given out at mile 9 but other than that I was completely sober. Lewis also said that they stopped for a cigarette break.

Marathons are strange if you think about it. There are thousands of strangers that pay a lot of money to torture themselves both physically and mentally. Each person bringing in their own strengths and weaknesses. But through this common struggle, sometimes a stranger becomes a friend. It is such an exhilarating event, such an achievement. It is the only struggle that I ever went through where I did not feel like I was alone. I don’t think I can adequately explain it.


You can’t get that kind of experience from a 10k.

Time to move on

The marathon is over, now it is time to move on to next weekend’s big event. Graduation! My daughter will be graduating from high school. I think that I finally accepted the fact that she is ready to move on with her life without us. Over the past couple of weeks we attended her last school play, a musical that she was in, state solo and ensemble, and her last choir concert crying a little along the way. Last, last, last, and last. I don’t want to be sad about this anymore! I want to be excited about all of her new adventures in life. First, first, new, new, new..

Throughout the last several years, my mom, Paul, and I have supported Angel though all of her events. Last night Angel expressed some sadness over the fact that some classmates have two rows of family come to support them. At her last choir concert, Angel had several solos with only 3 family members there to cheer her on.

She is worried that her grandparents won’t even come to her graduation. Besides my mom, I don’t think that her other grandparents will go either unless we try hard to convince them.

My dad volunteered to work at a food stand this whole weekend. If he can do that, I am sure he could take off an hour to see his granddaughter graduate. When I mentioned attending graduation to my mother-in-law she said that she probably couldn’t afford to go. She can’t afford to drive a half an hour to her grandchild’s (free) special event? Pathetic!

Year after year, we listened to lame excuses for not attending the parties/events of our children. I don’t feel good, it is too hot outside, it is too cold, it might snow, it’s raining, I don’t have money, my car broke down, I have a casino trip planned with the girls, I can’t take off of work, I had to go shopping but I will stop by after your event, my water heater broke and I couldn’t take a shower, etc… This has been very hurtful.

My dad isn’t any better. He doesn’t make lame excuses, he just doesn’t go.

But how can we expect our parents to be good grandparents when they weren’t good parents? It is very disappointing. They can blow off all the other events, but I think a graduation is a big deal. I am planning on giving my dad a call and Paul is going to call his mom and step-dad in an attempt to try to convince them that they should go.

We’ll see what happens. If they decide not to go after we tell them how important it is for them to be there, I am ready to write them all out of my life…

We really shouldn’t have to try to convince our parents to attend our daughter’s graduation, should we??

My second marathon

Am I still alive? At this point, I don’t know. I feel like I have the flu. Every muscle hurts. I almost feel feverish. My C-section scar hurt for the first time in over a decade. My middle toenail on my right foot is bleeding. I almost feel like it is flipping me off for running. My skin is hot to the touch.

I woke up before 5 this morning and choked down a half a bagel. Other than half of a banana, I didn’t have anything to eat for 10 hours. By the time I finished, the food was almost gone. All they had left were a few greasy brats that they soon ran out of. Yuck! I ate when I got home, but felt sick afterwards.

I didn’t do that well, no better than last time. It was a hot day. I ran slow and steady most of the way. Slow and steady wins the race, right? Well, apparently not. 

Why did I run so slow? I don’t know, maybe because I ran too fast the first time and got hurt. Maybe it was the heat, but my friend who is older than me finished in a little over 4 hours. Maybe I am just not good at this. I have to face that. Please don’t tell me how great it was that I finished. I felt humiliated afterwards when I sat in a group of runners that finished in under 4 hours and most of them were quite a bit older than me. Why can’t I be like that? Why is my body so weak? Or is it my mind? 

I feel like crying, but no tears roll out. I want to sleep, but can’t. My head hurts. Every muscle aches. 

I did meet some awesome runners along the road. Their stories carried me on the last several grueling miles. I ran side by side next to a man for the last 11 miles. He didn’t leave my side. He helped me get through. The support of fans and other runners was phenomenal. I have never seen anything like it. I can’t even explain how much that meant to me. Paul and Angel were there as well to cheer me on. 

I am going to keep running, but I am not sure anyone could talk me into doing another marathon.

Tomorrow…quiet, relaxing…marathon..

Tomorrow I’m running a marathon…quiet, relaxing weekend…seeing the musical Chicago this afternoon…quiet, relaxing…Tomorrow I’m running a marathon!…graduation gift for Angel…sipping wine…relaxing evening…Tomorrow I’m running a marathon!!…taking her out to eat at a nice restaurant…Tomorrow I’m running a marathon!!!…quiet, relaxing weekend…

TOMORROW I”M RUNNING A MARATHON!!! Now what did I get myself into?? Probably not a quiet, relaxing weekend. But exciting, yes it will be that…

You’re fired!

Have you ever wanted to fire a customer??

Yesterday, when I was at work, a customer hung up on me. That was after 20 minutes of calmly listening to her scream at me.

Is the customer always right? Thank God she is a small customer that only calls on us about once a year. She didn’t understand why some products have variable prices. She explained to me that if she was being charged $15, then she shouldn’t have to pay more than that. I explained to her that in some instances, the price is variable because we have to pay more than what we are charging. Unfortunately, this happened to be the case in her situation. We were asking for less than we would have to pay.

So she said terrible things to me about how stupid I was, how I didn’t know what I was doing, etc for almost 20 minutes. Even though I have been doing the same thing now for almost a decade and she was calling me asking for help. Then she told me that she expected a call back from the owner (my husband) and promptly hung up on me.

All it takes is one customer like this to wreck a good day. It made me wonder if all of the hard work of owning a business is worth being treated this way at times. It really wears me down after awhile and burns me out. It takes away my joy and motivation. I know I should just let it roll off of me and for the most part I do.

Having this business has changed me, hardened me. I often see the worst of people. I don’t like people. I don’t trust what they say. I feel restless and bored. I lack compassion in order to protect myself from caring too much. I fantasize about retirement, having money and living on the beach in a warm climate. Seeing the world, sailing the world.

Encouraging words are few and far between. I saved a handful of emails over the years from clients that thanked me for helping them and told me how much they appreciated all that I do for them. These clients are the real treasures, the ones that motivate me to keep on doing what I do. There needs to be more people like this in the world!

How hard can it be to be nice to someone for a few minutes? Be a jewel and not someone that everyone hates talking to. Thank God the irate client is an infrequent customer and not a family member! How could you live with someone like that all of the time??

About a half an hour later, the irate customer called my employee. She spent another 20 minutes complaining about the $15. Seriously, we had a lot of work to do. Our time that she took was worth a lot more than the piddly $15 that she was complaining about paying. Maybe we’ll have to assess a difficult customer fee. Lol. Although I wouldn’t want to be the one that has to explain those charges!

I hope I don’t have to take anymore calls from that customer or anyone like her in the near future. It’s so frustrating. She was challenging my patience and composure. I just wanted to yell, “You’re fired!!”. But I am too nice to do that even to a competitor.

Something good did come out of the situation. My employee complimented me on my ability to keep calm and professional throughout the trying customer service call. It sure did take a lot out of me though.

Well, I had better get back to work…the phone is ringing!!