What’s in my genes

You may remember a couple months back when I told you that my son took the AncestryDNA test…He found out that he was only 7% German and I concluded that he probably wasn’t my son.

After all, my genealogy records put me at approximately 75% German…Mecklenberg…Bremen…Pommern…Germany…Germany…Germany!

People comment all the time that I look German. I love beer and sauerkraut.

Imagine my surprise when my results came back as 10% German. Really??

I am almost a three way tie of British, Eastern European (Polish, Czech…), and Scandinavian.

I am also more confused than ever. Could my genealogy records be inaccurate? It seems like all the research I did was a waste of time.

I knew I was English and EE, but had no clue about the Scandinavian.

Several years back someone asked me if I was Swedish. I laughed it off and said I was German. How did they know?

I was so pumped to dig into genealogy again. I wanted to learn the language of my forefathers. I wanted to travel to the land of my heritage. I wanted to dig up dirt and find my roots. But now I totally lost interest. Things don’t mesh up.

I hate it when one plus one doesn’t equal two!

Something appears to be rotten in the state of Denmark.

I used to know so much before I had so much knowledge.

Now everyone wants to take the DNA test. My mom took it and she has a large percentage of Scandinavian too. I know where I got it from, but where did she get it from??

It does change the way I think about things…I didn’t think it would. Do some of the things I like just reflect who I thought I was?

It’s not a bad thing, just different from what I was expecting.

I thought I would find confirmation, but instead I have more questions..

 

 

 

Bashed

I thought that I would finally be able to get some sleep last night…

It was 10 PM and my son wasn’t home. It didn’t seem right given the circumstances. My husband said that I worry too much and went off to bed.

Earlier in the evening, we bought our son a car. My husband made a bet with our kids when they were very little. If you beat me at chess, I’ll buy you a car. My son ate and breathed chess, even joined the chess club just to beat his dad. Paul is great at chess and I’ve never once since we were together saw anyone beat him in real life…until the day my son did. Immediately I went out and bought him a match box car and put a little bow on it.

That’s when the arguments started. My son wanted a souped up sports car and my husband wanted something practical for him. Finally they were able to find something they could agree on, a 2001 Audi with a stick shift and turbo boost. It is a beautiful car with a sporty look.

After we bought the car, he wanted to drive it over to his friends to show them. We really didn’t have a problem with this. But several hours passed and he still wasn’t home which seemed odd to me for swinging by and showing his friends.

I texted my son and he said he got into a bit of a mess with the car. WTH!!?! CALL ME!!

Alex said he picked up his friends and was driving through the old neighborhood. He was showing off his turbo boost and squealed the tires near several older guys that were outside partying. They were drunk and this pissed them off. (Yes, apparently some people get drunk and crazy on a Monday night in Wisconsin).

One guy got on his 4-wheeler and chased Alex down. He cut Alex off on the road. Alex slammed on his breaks and hit the guy smashing up the 4-wheeler and the front end of his car. The guy climbed off the 4-wheeler onto the hood of the car and tried to smash the windshield with his arm. The whole time the guy was screaming that he was going to kill Alex and his friends.

To put things in perspective, there were around 4 very intoxicated middle aged men chasing 3 teenage boys that squealed their tires near where they were partying. What??!? Who does that?

Meanwhile, a couple other guys got into a pick up truck with a lead pipe. Alex and his friends got away from the 4-wheeler only to be followed to his friend’s house by the guys in a truck that were a part of this group.

One of the men in the truck hit Alex’s car with the lead pipe. He also threatened to kill the boys and chased them into his friend Jay’s house. Thankfully, Jay’s dad was home. He pushed the guy with the lead pipe out of his house while the other guy got in. Jay’s dad threatened to call the cops. The man in Jay’s house said that if he called the cops, Alex would get in trouble for hitting the 4-wheeler.

Jay’s dad called the police and the men fled. Thankfully, Alex knew where the guys lived. Apparently the guy with the lead pipe was a convicted felon. They are facing criminal charges. My son ended up with almost as much damage to his new car as what we paid for it.

Seriously, we just got him the car and in less than a few hours it is bashed in already!!!!! Thankfully, no one got hurt with the exception of the guy that tried to smash the windshield with his arm.

Needless to say, we didn’t end up going to bed until after midnight.

 

My 4th marathon

On Thursday night, or I should say in the wee hours of Friday morning, I picked my family of travelers up from their vacation. As I went to bed at 3 AM, I dreaded the thought that I would be getting up in a little over 24 hours around the time I was going to bed that night to run my 4th marathon.

I didn’t get much sleep, but took Friday off to pack and get ready for camping. My husband went into work for a couple hours and was suffering from jet lag. We had to drive three hours to get to the campground.

We set up camp as a storm was blowing in. The torrential downpour started as soon as we had the tent set up. It rained two inches that night. When we went to pick up our race packets, one of the tents collapsed from the rain. We were going to go to my cousin’s camper for a spaghetti supper, but went out to eat instead. It was hot, humid, and stormed most of the night. But our tent stayed dry for the most part.

I woke up at 4:30 AM after a restless night of sleep. I was dead tired and had to scrape up some energy for a marathon. The marathon itself was brutal. My cousin said that it was the most challenging marathon he ever did. There were some very difficult steep inclines. We had to walk across slippery bridges and wet rocks. I didn’t fall, but I saw others fall and almost fell myself several times.

It was a very picturesque course with beautiful views at the top of the bluffs. It seemed surreal like I was on a movie set. I was waiting for the dinosaurs to come out at any minute. Even though it was a rather remote trail run, there were enough bathrooms and aid stations. I even drank some pickle juice which seems to be the new craze.

It was a tough race, but we finished it. Afterwards, we decided to head to the beach to cool our aching legs. I was only in the water for 10 minutes when someone took my beach towel. The beach was absolutely crowded on a hot Saturday afternoon.

Showering was another challenge. I showered in the handicap stall just because I thought that it would provide an area for me to sit. Undressing and dressing was a bit of a challenge. There was nowhere to sit and there was a lot of standing dirty water on the floor. So I decided to dress from the waist up and go into the dryer bathroom portion to get my shorts on.

I wrapped a towel around my waist for the short trip outside to the bathroom. When I walked into the bathroom, there was a man inside. He seemed to be checking on the cleanliness of the bathroom. He put his initials on the paper by the door and exited quickly. The bathroom and shower stalls were absolutely filthy. I struggled to get my pants on without having to take another shower.

That evening, my cousin and his wife made the spaghetti dinner that the storm prevented us from having the previous night. His dad and step-mother came over for a visit and wished me a happy birthday. They brought homemade strawberry shortcake. It was a nice evening.

After that, I spent another restless night trying to sleep in the tent. My body ached and I couldn’t get comfortable…Sunday morning we packed up for the long ride back home. I couldn’t relax. I found myself feeling agitated and depressed. Although my body ached, my mind couldn’t sit still. I took the dog for a walk when I got home and felt a little better…then had another restless night of sleep.

I think I had one good night of sleep in the last month. Staying up until 3 AM and then getting up very early to run a marathon probably pushed me over the edge. I hope I feel like my old self soon. Tomorrow I’m getting a massage. Maybe that will help.

The rails

My husband says that life is sometimes like a railroad track. On our journey, the rails of good and bad happen side by side simultaneously. Life is never all good or all bad. Sometimes the great and the horrible bombard us at the same time. I’ve never felt like that was more true than it is now. I don’t even know what to feel anymore..

Lately, I’ve been in a bit of a funk. My go to feelings these days are anger and a deep sorrow. I thought maybe a weekend up north in isolation would force me to reflect what my problem is. I am not a negative person, but right now the rose tinted glasses makes me want to gag.

What is my problem? Why can’t I have a light and fluffy blog? Is that even what I want? Probably not…

I consider myself a realist. But what happens when reality doesn’t even seem realistic?

The funny thing is that I achieved everything I wanted in life. I’ve worked really hard to accomplish my goals. I’ve turned out better than I even thought I would. That should make me happy, but it only leaves me wanting more. What can I conquer next? I already have a wall full of medals in my dream house.

Some things have really hit me hard…the terminal cancer diagnosis of a close friend…the death of a close friend’s child. I feel like I can’t talk to them anymore about the good or bad. How can I complain about my teen throwing a drinking party at my house when her teen daughter is dead??

There is a certain isolation of not knowing what to say beyond…I’m sorry this has happened to you..Life is unfair..You are in my thoughts and prayers..What happens after you said this a dozen times? What happens when words run out to express your grief for them? Do you go back to talking about every day ordinary life? I don’t know what to say.

The death of Lisa’s daughter stings. It was so unexpected and tragic. This wasn’t my plan for either of my friends. A child shouldn’t die, a healthy person in their 40’s shouldn’t get cancer…Whereas, I have never felt healthier in my life. My body is a lean mass of muscle from running and working out consistently for the last ten years. I still get carded to buy alcohol when some of my classmates are getting asked for their AARP cards.

My children are all healthy and normal. I worried for years that I would have a severely autistic child like my brother. That worry slipped off the horizon many years ago to be replaced by other worries. But they are all normal worries that every parent has..

I have a wonderful husband. I have a great job. I am reaching the end of actively parenting three teenagers.

Yet, I feel this isolation. Change is hard, even if it is good. I love my new house, but I don’t know who my neighbors are. My youngest daughter will be going to a new school and doesn’t have any friends in the area.

I feel estranged from my extended family. I haven’t seen my siblings in months. We rarely talk.

I feel estranged from my church family with all of the controversy lately. My best friend Cindy left the church and we might too. All of my kids were baptized and confirmed there. Must everything change all at once?

My husband, aunt, mother, and son have been on a school trip for the last couple weeks. I haven’t seen them in almost a month. I spent a week in Vegas and when I got back, they left. It almost feels like they are gone from me too. Is this what it is going to feel like if I, in the natural course of life, outlive my husband and mom? This emptiness?

I’ve spent a lot of time alone in reflection this past month. It’s really dark and messy in there. I want to clean things up but I’m afraid of what would happen if I disturb the cobwebs. I have to be really strong to go into the deep, dark ugly places. I just don’t feel really strong right now. It’s not the best time to poke at my demons.

My family will be coming home tonight. Maybe my mood will improve. Maybe I will find my way out of this sorrow. Maybe I will finally accept change, the good along with the bad. I’m on the right track, I just need to keep chugging along..

 

May the fours be with me

I’m turning 44 this weekend. In celebration, I’m going to run my 4th marathon. Boy, that’s a lot of fours..I didn’t really notice that until now. I sure hope it’s my lucky number!

This is going to be one of the most challenging races to date. I am exhilarated and absolutely terrified at the same time.

The course is going to be breathtakingly beautiful and treacherous. I read the reviews of the race. The first three reviews said to expect to fall. After that I quit reading. I am going to be running a marathon through the bluffs. Predictably, there will be a lot of sharp inclines and steep descents. I can’t imagine why anyone would fall?

Supposedly, the rocky path is worse if it rains. So far, the whole weekend is predicted to be stormy. It is supposed to be hot, very humid, and chances of thunderstorms and rain are at 80% on Friday, 60% on Saturday, and 80% on Sunday. Break a leg then, hey? Not to mention being at the top of the bluffs during a thunderstorm. Or having screamingly sore legs already.

I also heard that there are only 2 bathrooms on the marathon route which is rather problematic for the likes of my old bladder. Do I head for the hills if nature is calling? Will I get lost trying to avoid the onlookers? Or maybe find myself some toilet paper in a patch of poison ivy?

I don’t feel ready for this. Kind of like last year when there were 5 foot waves when I was swimming for the Half Ironman. Seriously, how do you train adequately for that?? In a wave pool??

One of the hardest parts will be sleeping in a tent. I don’t sleep well in my sleep number bed in a dark quiet room with air conditioning. I wonder how I will sleep in a stifling hot tent through storms anxious about the early morning marathon?

The first thing I had to do was find our tent. I can’t remember the last time we slept in a tent. It was at least 5 years ago, back when the kids thought that it was wonderful to hang out with their parents camping for the weekend. We had some awesome adventures camping though. We weathered some pretty scary storms. We hiked, biked, swam, and explored most of the state parks within a three hour radius of our house.

We pretty much stopped camping when we got our sailboat. Now the perfect weekends in the summer month consist of sailing, racing, going up north to the family cabin, or just hanging out around home. Of course, this summer has been a little different with moving and going to Vegas.

I only signed up for one race and this is it! The big hurrah for my birthday weekend!

Folks, this just might be my last birthday.

What did I get myself into this time??!?

May the fours be with me!

 

The party saga continues..

Yesterday Arabella started driver’s ed at her new school. I planned on having Angel drop her off and pick her up, but Angel forgot to pick Arabella up. I found myself irritated once again.

We were short staffed at work and I was the only one in the office in the afternoon to pick up calls. I was already leaving for a late lunch to take Arabella to her dentist appointment. I told Arabella that she was going to have to walk the couple miles home.

Then she started to text and call me. I hate Angel. My side hurts. I’m going to pass out because I didn’t drink any water today. There were 20 kids in my class and everyone ignored me. I’m never going to make friends here. This is all your fault! You don’t know how tiring it is to walk in this heat. No, as a marathon runner, I’ve never experienced that. Geez! I told Arabella that I needed to get back to work so I could leave for her appointment.

When I got home to pick Arabella up for the dentist, the pool guy was there. The hot tub hasn’t been working since we bought the house. The pool guy wanted to talk to me about what the problem was. He said that we would need a new pump. He wasn’t even sure if they make those kind of pumps anymore since our equipment is older.

Out of the blue, the pool guy started talking about wearing a hat while working. I’m in a bit of a hurry… Are you squeamish? I said no out of curiosity, but I really meant yes. He took off his hat and showed me a big bloody gash on his head. He hit his head hard while at my house. Do you think I need stitches? I have a bit of a headache, but most of the bleeding stopped. I have to go right now.

I ran off to look for my daughter. Was she even home? We were running late..

Did you offer him something to drink? A washcloth perhaps? A bandage? An ice pack? No, I just freaked out and ran off.

**I wanted to show you the pictures of the balcony that overlooks the pool. The water under the ledge is around 5 ft deep. Just in case you happen to see the videos floating around online of people jumping off the ledge…**

Angel felt horrible about having the party. She said she didn’t have any fun. She shouldn’t have let her friend walk all over her and invite all those strangers into our house. She never got into trouble before. Way to end her last few days as a teenager.

 

Yesterday was a long Monday. Angel came home last night very distraught. Arabella told her that we were going to take her car away from her and kick her out of the house. She spent the day at her boyfriend’s crying. Of course, none of it was true although I may have mentioned that I wanted to do that.

I should’ve known it was going to be a rough weekend when I started it out by stepping in a big pile of dog crap. I feel like I have been dragging it around with me for days.

The party uninvited

I knew that it happened. I won’t tell you how, I just knew.

I was angry, a feeling that hasn’t been fleeting lately.

I thought that once my teens became adults that I would be done with all of the crap. But now I find myself looking for babysitters, who btw were always in short supply in the first place.

Babysitters for adults? Laughable, almost.

I flipped through some parenting magazines. Did you ever notice that they stop giving advice right before children hit puberty? You know, the time when most parents really start needing advice.

I long for the days when sleeping through the night was my biggest concern. Scratch that, how I long to sleep through the night. It’s something I rarely do anymore.

I am worn down. It’s funny how parenting three teenagers can do that to you. I used to resent parents of teenagers before when my kids were little. They were always minimizing my problems…little kids, little problems…big kids, big problems.. Now I understand. If only I could capture the middle childhood years in a bottle like an expensive vintage wine. Those were the best years. I could rest easily back then.

Parents of children ages 6 to 11, enjoy it. Those are the best years. They are some of the busiest years too. Cut back. Don’t run your kids to this sport and that practice every single night of the week. Yes, now I am that obnoxious person giving advice.

Guess what? Sometimes I feel like the world’s worst parent. I felt that way this past weekend. Sometimes I want to end it all. I just want to kick my adult children out of my house. I want to cut them off completely and let them try to live on their own without the help of mommy and daddy. Maybe then they would wake up and I would finally sleep.

I probably never will do this (unless they are still living at home in their late 20’s), although at times I want to. When do you cut the cord? Do you ever really cut the cord? They are all still teenagers.

This past weekend, my daughter Arabella and I went up north. Arabella did not want to go up north with me, but at 15 I told her she was too young to stay alone. We actually had a nice time. Until I found out about the party, that is…

My daughter Angel stayed home Friday night last minute. When I left she had a college friend over (that had been staying a couple days since it was a long drive) and her boyfriend Dan. She also said that another couple might be stopping by for awhile. Okay, no problem. She is almost 20 and I trust her. Big mistake that was.

We just moved into a beautiful new house. Everything is perfect, except for one major flaw. There is a balcony that overlooks the pool that seems to have a magnetic force that strongly attracts idiots of all sorts. I have now heard of at least 4 people that jumped off of the second floor balcony into the pool. Apparently this is a social media event worthy of recording. But one misstep could turn it into a fatal flaw.

Angel invited one more friend over on Friday night. This friend found out that a) we have an indoor pool which is super cool, and b) Angel’s parents weren’t home. This ‘friend’ invited 25 of her friends over. These friends showed up in droves with cigarettes and drunk on cheap beer.

Angel got a little sick of it after awhile. Kids were showing up steadily at the door all night. It became unmanageable. Angel hollered out that the neighbors called the cops and everyone left to victimize the next house. Although nothing was broken or stolen, I do feel violated. She may have not intended for our home to be the site of a wild underage drinking party, but it was.

I am not going to be too harsh on her since this is the first time that she really got in deep water. Frankly, I thought that her brother would be the first one to do this. Maybe some good did come of it. It is forcing us to come up with some new strict house rules.

In the meantime, I am wondering how to place a wanted ad for a nanny for adult children.

I wonder what kind of advice the parenting magazine would give me.

A child lost

She wasn’t expected to live when she was born. They took a video of her right after birth just in case. She only weighed in at a little over 2 lbs. They never thought she would walk either. But she was one of the fastest runners.

The day we said good-bye was eerie. It was a long hot drive. The sky growled and rolled ominously in the distance coming in our direction. The weather alert went off on my cell phone. Tornado warning in your area, seek shelter immediately. A swirl of dirt on the highway from a baseball field with no one playing. Lightening bolts seared the ground in front of me.

I admit, I was frightened by the tempest although I rarely worry about storms. The skies opened to a torrential downpour like the seemingly endless mother’s tears for a lost child. The path ahead of us was difficult to see clearly. Hail banged sharply like the grim reaper knocking on death’s door.

It was still raining when we arrived. We tromped through puddles of muddy water to offer our condolences. The rain a mask for our tears.

Tom greeted us with an umbrella…helping…keeping busy…comforting others. I can’t imagine the pain they must feel. Lisa was heartbroken. She was only 16. Why did she miss the curve?? She hit a tree and her car started on fire. No body, no funeral…just some remaining ashes in an urn.

I wonder, will they set it on the mantel? Or will they place it on the ground next to the graduation pictures of their other children that will be placed on the wall? As a parent, I couldn’t imagine anything worse.

I would give almost anything to bring her back to them. They both had difficult upbringings. We are kindred spirits in that way. But my life is getting better and theirs worse. I would give it all away…everything I possess of worldly value…just to have her back.

I almost expected her to walk through the door…Maybe the whole things wasn’t real. It didn’t feel right in any way.

Why would God choose to take the life of a sweet beautiful child? How can this be His plan?

God help me, I just don’t understand..

Vegas, part 5

I didn’t heed my own advice.

We were only a couple of miles from the hotel when it happened. I am a marathon runner, so I am practically invincible. I could probably walk along a 5 lane highway in the dark in 100 degrees if I had to.

I didn’t pack water.

In my defense, we didn’t have a fridge in the hotel room. Water was pricey. It also tasted like crap hot. Everything cost a lot more than I was planning for. We were only going a few miles anyway..

My daughter, her friend, and I bought tickets to see some Met singers for the trip’s grand finale. Perfect! I was decked out in my dry cleaning only dress. When we got to the parking garage I looked at my rental car. Wait! Was that a flat tire?? I couldn’t find a spare in the trunk.

Are you in a safe location?

How do I know? I am in a deserted parking garage at night in an unfamiliar location. It is over 100 degrees and it looks like some homeless people are camped out in the foliage below. Yes, I’m safe.

Ma’am, we are going to have to tow your vehicle. You will need to wait at the vehicle until the tow truck arrives which may take several hours. Let me see if I have this straight…You need to tow my vehicle for a flat tire??

Girls, you might as well go to the show without me..

Ma’am, where are you located? I have no idea where I am. I am in Las Vegas in a parking garage with no street signs nearby. But there is construction going on across the street. That’s very descriptive, isn’t it?

Ma’am, it may take longer if we need to find a tow truck that needs to be small enough to clear a parking garage..Wonderful!

So I waited…for hours. My makeup smeared and sweat trickled steadily down the back of my dry clean only dress. I missed the show.

It was creepy in the parking garage. I listened to the buzz of the lights. Everything else was eerily silent. At times I heard unexplainable noises that were frightening. I edged closer to my rental car with plans of locking myself inside if anyone planned me harm.

It was very hot and I longed for a drink of ice cold water. I decided to look at Facebook to kill some time. Oh, an article on cities with the highest murder rates. Perfect, let me click on that. Las Vegas ranks #6. What was that strange noise?? If I don’t have water and am alone in a creepy parking garage, maybe I should at least conserve the battery on my cell phone.

A couple of hours later, the tow truck driver showed up. At that point, I would’ve done almost anything to have a sip of ice cold water. Thankfully, the driver had a cooler full in the back of the truck. I was so happy..

Lesson learned…If you are traveling in the desert, pack water. Prepare for the conditions of the environment you are traveling in. Seriously, I didn’t want to spend a couple of bucks to be a little more comfortable if there was an emergency. Wasn’t the best plan..

That was how I spent my last night in Las Vegas.

The next morning we flew back home. After we got off the plane, I saw a kid puking all over the place. But I never felt so happy to get back home. It was a strange adventure. A lot of things didn’t go quite as planned, but I guess that is what makes for interesting stories later…

Vegas, part 4

 

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The day we visited Red Rocks Canyon was my favorite day in Nevada. It was strange going from the big city to out in the middle of nowhere within 20 minutes.

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It wasn’t the easiest vacation since receiving the news that the daughter of a best friend passed away in a car accident while we were there. But here I was with my daughter in a beautiful place and I refused to worry the whole time about something I had no control over. I wanted to have some great memories of our mother-daughter trip. If anything, I learned that life is too precious to take any moment for granted.

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I tried my hardest to convince my daughter and her friends to go hiking with me. With temps over 100 degrees and full sun, I couldn’t convince anyone to walk far anywhere. They thought I was crazy! Not being used to the heat, we didn’t even think about packing drinks. We must have looked pathetic because a guide from a tour bus offered us drinks, which we gladly accepted. We chugged our drinks quickly, because after about 10 minutes our drinks would be too hot. I drank hot water, hot beer, and a hot bloody Mary on this trip and it was pretty gross.

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It was fun hanging out with music majors. Every conversation turned into a song…we would say something that reminds us of song lyrics and next thing you know everyone is singing. I have to say that I was really impressed with Angel and her friends. They were all very supportive and encouraging towards their competitors in the singing competition. It was refreshing and unexpected.

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The trip to Red Rocks Canyon was very peaceful and calming. I would recommend it to anyone that wants to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.