Gratitude week 85

  1. Summer! The last couple of days the weather has been perfect. If only we had this weather last week so we could cross Lake Michigan. But I’m not complaining. I’m going to hold on to these nice days as long as they last.
  2. Even though we weren’t able to cross the big lake, we were able to go to some nice places. The pictures turned out great and maybe just maybe I’ll share some later this week.
  3. Although Angel tested negative for COVID, both of my daughters lost their sense of taste and smell. But they are both feeling a lot better and so far no one else has gotten sick that I know of.
  4. Although I love to travel, it is nice to be back at home and sleeping in my own bed.
  5. It’s nice to have a week with nothing planned until the weekend. I decided to spend some time today in the pool and started a new book. I try to remind myself that we were still supposed to be on vacation when I feel like I am being lazy by taking it easy.
  6. I’m grateful to find out what I don’t want. Paul and I are thinking ahead to our 25th anniversary next year. I was thinking that it would be fun to sail somewhere beautiful for our summer anniversary. But after the frustration of not being able to do anything that we planned months in advance for this last trip I would rather do something else.
  7. I started reading My Sister’s Keeper. It’s a great piece of fiction. I wanted to read more memoirs like Educated which was phenomenal. I decided this fall I will start the second edition of my book. I want to read some good memoirs in the mental health genre in the meantime. I want to analyze them to see what makes them great (if they are). Really good books in that genre are hard to find. If anyone has suggestions for books especially dealing with family members with mental health struggles, please let me know.
  8. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m grateful to have a crazy life to write about.
  9. I’m grateful that I don’t have a gas leak in my house especially since after we left we had the rest of the household lose their sense of smell.
  10. After I couldn’t find any in the stores, I’m grateful that my husband was able to order goat macaroni and cheese online for me. No, it’s not made out of goats but it is dairy free and delicious.
  11. I’m grateful for my husband, who was a big part of the leadership for the Lake Michigan crossing cruise, for the difficult decisions he had to make in order to keep everyone safe. We had a total of 5 boats wanting to make the crossing. A majority of the sailors have never sailed across before including all five people on our boat. Some of the boats were small. The rest, besides our boat, had only one experienced sailor with either inexperienced crew, incapacitated crew, or passengers that were very nervous. In some ways I’m grateful we didn’t cross because I couldn’t relax with a sick child at home. I guess it wasn’t meant to be this year.
  12. I’m also very grateful for the people we tried to cross Lake Michigan with, especially those on our boat. Everyone was very kind and supportive after we received the news that our daughter has COVID. Some offered rides home. No one expressed anger or irritation that they could’ve been exposed through us or that we wanted to go home early. Everyone seemed to have the attitude that being sick or exposed was the new world we live in now. I’m grateful to be around a wonderful group of people with a similar hobby.
  13. I’m grateful that my best friend has a new grandbaby.

Gratitude week 84

  1. My daughter Angel has a wedding date picked out and will be getting married next October.
  2. The graduation party went really well. No one asked where my dad was. It was kind of funny because a couple people asked where my best friend was.
  3. I’m grateful to have had enough room inside our house for the party when the forecast said there wouldn’t be any rain for the party and it did nothing but rain once Arabella’s party started. By the time I woke up this morning we had 4 inches of rain.
  4. I’m grateful that my daughter graduated from high school.
  5. I’m grateful that all my kids are hard workers and have jobs.
  6. I’m grateful that both Angel and Arabella, who went on two separate trips to Chicago within the last week, made it back safely.
  7. Within the last week or so I was contacted by two of the Airbnb’s for our trip next month. One of them said they double booked the cabin we rented. They wanted us to move from a three bedroom to a two bedroom. I was really nice and explained that I wanted my mom and Arabella to have separate rooms when they asked. My mom is an insomniac morning person who likes complete dark and silence. My daughter is an extreme night owl that likes to sleep with noise and lights. They would not make the best roommates. Once I explained it to the lady, she told me not to worry about it. She would find different accommodations for the other people since she said the guy was really rude to her. So everything is still a go for our trip next month.
  8. In a couple days Paul and I are leaving on vacation. We our sailing our boat across Lake Michigan with three other people. It may take 10 to 12 hours to cross. There will be periods of time that we won’t see land or have cell coverage. I am a little nervous since we have never done this before. But it should be a great adventure. I’ll be sure to share some pictures.
  9. Paul and I celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary this past week. We spent the day touring Door County.
  10. I am grateful that I didn’t need to buy any decorations for the party because I was given decorations from two friends that already had graduation parties for their kids in June. I am happy that the graduation party is over. I probably spent at least 12 hours weeding, cleaning, and setting up for the party. I am almost done cleaning up and taking everything back down. Now that the party is over it’s one less thing to stress about.
  11. Summer!
  12. I’m grateful that I was able to gather with family and friends for my daughter’s graduation party.

Gratitude week 83

  1. Remember last week how I said that Arabella’s boyfriend broke up with her? Well…I found out about the break up on a Friday night and hung out with her until I went to bed around 11 PM. Arabella said she was going to be okay because her friend Kami was going to come over and hang out after I went to bed. I just found out a couple days ago that on the way home from our house that night, Kami fell asleep and totaled her car. I am grateful that Kami is okay after the accident. The last teenager I knew who fell asleep driving died.
  2. I’m grateful for more time with my cat. He was sick the past couple of weeks and I thought I might have to put him down. He is also 15 years old. But it turns out he has an eye infection and will be okay. I do think he used up one more of his 9 lives over this. He is one of my all time favorite cats.
  3. My daughter Angel and her fiancé have a wedding date picked out. They have an appointment with a wedding chapel this week and if all goes well I think they will be ready to book the hall.
  4. Tomorrow Paul and I will be celebrating our 24th wedding anniversary.
  5. Paul has been working out of town the last couple of days and sleeping on our boat. He forgot his medicine at home so I went and surprised him after work. He was really happy that I thought to bring his pills to him and to see me unexpectedly.
  6. Since I went to the boat Friday night, we were able to play cards with out boat neighbors and it was a lot of fun.
  7. Paul had to work again early Saturday morning, so I drove back home, fed the pets, took a shower, and headed up north. I was able to visit my mom, brother Luke, niece Gracie, and my aunt Jan and her husband. Then this morning I headed back home and will be heading back to the boat to spend a couple days with Paul for our anniversary. I’m grateful that for the most part I’ve overcome my fear of long distance driving. I don’t think I could’ve done all of this otherwise.
  8. Yesterday up north we were able to find a new hiking place. I’m grateful that it was on the water and the bugs weren’t bad. It was nice to spend time with family.
  9. My mom bought me some blueberries for my birthday and Dan brought over some zucchini from his garden. So I made blueberry muffins and chocolate chip zucchini cake which everyone loved.
  10. Summer! It’s cooled off considerably around here. I turned off the A/C. It almost feels fall like, but it is very comfortable because the humidity is gone.

Special treasures

The washcloth I used to wipe the tears from her eyes last week was the same one I used to wash off the makeup from my face last night.

It was a wedding gift; a peach towel set. So special that it was rarely used for the first fifteen years. Why do we do that? Set aside clothes too special to wear until they no longer fit, or are out of style. The crystal wine goblets, the fancy china, the expensive dry clean only clothes, the silverware set from great-grandma… Why do we wait for a tomorrow that never comes today? Why are the best things just uselessly taking up space? What would happen if we used it? Are we so afraid that which was once special will become ordinary?

Who even gave us the wedding gift anyway? That memory long forgotten. Even our wedding attendants long gone, dead or otherwise. At the time it seemed like our friendship would last forever. Once it also seemed that our love would always stay young just like we were.

But now I use that washcloth to wipe the tears off my daughter’s face. Tears from love that was there for but a moment and is gone. Tears on a washcloth given to us by a guest long forgotten. If I don’t remember who gave the gift, do they ever give it a thought?

I thought I would remember every detail of our wedding day forever. But everything not written down gets washed away from our memory by time. Even as I write this, will this post be remembered? It’s nothing special. Will anyone even care that once I received a wedding gift that I thought was too special to use everyday? It was waiting for over a decade in the back of the closet for that perfect guest who never showed up.

Time stops for no one. It doesn’t even slow down to let us savor our best moments a few minutes longer. Sometimes we don’t even realize they were our best days until they are gone. If only I’d known that would be the last good visit before grandma died. I would have enjoyed it more. We would have eaten off of the fancy china and I would’ve worn my dry clean only dress.

Someday I should pull out the fancy china and crystal wine glasses that have been on display but never once been used.

Who cares if the special washcloth is used for makeup and tears? Life is meant to be lived today not just in wait for a tomorrow which might never show up.

Gratitude week 74

  1. My daughter Arabella graduated!!!!!!!!!!
  2. We were able to go to the graduation in person! I will never complain about how boring a graduation is again either. My son’s high school graduation was very boring. But because of the pandemic my daughter Angel never had an in person college graduation and I really missed the opportunity to celebrate with her. Never again will I complain about a graduation being boring. At this point, there aren’t any more graduations for my kids in the near future. My baby graduated from high school.
  3. Paul was on the local news station talking about our business which was really exciting. We didn’t know when it was going to air so we constantly watched the news the last couple days. I probably watched the news more in the past couple of days than when COVID just came out. LOL
  4. I started doing crunches starting on May 1st. I wanted to see if it made a difference in my waist line. I lost 3 1/2 inches. So I am almost ready for my summer bikini bod. I guess it is worth it.
  5. Summer!!!!!!!
  6. Angel and I started running outside together. It’s great to share a hobby with family.
  7. Angel and I also went thrifting and out to eat for pizza over the weekend. No great finds for me but Angel was able to find some materials for her crafting business.
  8. We are opening up the summer cabin this week and I am looking forward to spending a couple of days just relaxing on the beach. It’s been a cold Memorial weekend this year. We had low temps in the upper 30’s, but by the end of the week we will have highs near 90. You never know what you are going to get around here.
  9. I’m grateful for those who gave their lives for our freedom and also for those who are serving in our military to protect us today.
  10. I’m thankful for the flowers I bought from my Uncle Rick’s greenhouse. Something about flowers and greenery makes me feel almost happy. But I will have to start pulling the weeds today.
  11. I almost forgot. This past week was my 6 year blogging anniversary. I’m pretty happy I kept with it. So I guess you are stuck with me and my stories.

Gratitude week 48

  1. I finished writing the census series. I did forget a couple of stories. I was required to wear a mask, but one day I forgot. I had to cross a busy street in a downpour to go to an apartment complex that was always locked. But that one time the door was open. I went upstairs and knocked on the door. It sounded like someone was home. I was mortified because after I knocked I realized I had forgotten my mask in the car. That was a time I was thankful no one answered. I’m grateful to be able to share my stories with you.
  2. I’m grateful that I was able to enjoy Thanksgiving this week with my best friend and her family. Apparently she called her parents to wish them a happy Thanksgiving and found out that her siblings were invited over for the holiday but she was not. She works at the hospital and her parents consider her high risk for COVID so she is not welcome for the holidays this year but her siblings are. They didn’t even tell her. I’m grateful that we could get together to celebrate. I feel hurt by my mom as well. She considers us high risk but she still gets together with other people. We could really use her support right now. I wonder how many other families are dealing with this.
  3. I am glad that I have 2 days left on my detox diet. I am saving the pumpkin pie my friend made for the morning I am done. I told my daughter Angel to please not make deviled eggs otherwise I would crack. We’ll save the devil for Christmas.
  4. Yesterday my husband and I found the perfect Christmas tree. Every year I try to pick a theme. It has been difficult this year because we aren’t in any shows. Sorry, but quarantine is a sucky theme. In a couple weeks, it will be the 20th anniversary of my grandpa’s passing. This year I decided to dedicate our tree in tribute to him. If it wasn’t for my grandparents there is a good chance I wouldn’t be telling you my story today. I put 20 candy canes on the tree and decorated it with the pine cones my grandfather made many years ago. I feel like I was directed to the perfect tree in remembrance of him. I’m grateful I have some good memories to pass on to my kids.
  5. My daughter Arabella is in the hospital again. This is the third time in the last four months. She has been diagnosed with Major Depression with Borderline traits. The suicide rate for Borderline is 10%. I can’t imagine what it is combined with depression. I’m grateful that for now she is safe. This year has been hell for a lot more than COVID. I am going to start a new series tomorrow that will explore this past year.
  6. As I was decorating my tree yesterday I was very dismayed by the selection of Christmas music, so I made my own Christmas playlist. It includes both sacred and secular songs. I have over 8 hours of playtime and have hit every single genre from opera, traditional, rap, reggae, polka, pop, rock, metal, instrumental, funny….
  7. We have entered the season of light. This has been such a horrific year that I decided to decorate my house with every single strand of Christmas lights I own. I am going to be grateful for Christmas this year even if I can’t leave the house.
  8. I am grateful I was able to see my craniosacral massage therapist this week.
  9. I’m grateful for the classic Christmas movies. Last night we watched It’s a Wonderful Life. It makes me wonder how I have impacted other peoples lives. What would the life of others be like if we were never born? Wow, that is deep. I really should watch a comedy or something.
  10. Yesterday I cleaned out Arabella’s frog cage. I’m not sure how it even happened but her frogs escaped in her room. I asked Angel to help me catch them but she is afraid of frogs. She just ran around the room screaming. I’m grateful I caught them. The cage is clean and everything turned out alright.
  11. My son and I ran into his old piano teacher at the grocery store. She was a very instrumental person in his life throughout his difficult teen years. It was wonderful to see her again and find her well.

Gratitude week 31

  1. I’m back after a short break! I’m grateful I didn’t fall off the side of the planet too. But isn’t the Earth round? Who knows anymore…
  2. Summer! I can’t get enough of it. Seriously, why do I still live in the frozen tundra??!?
  3. I’m grateful to have a wonderful spouse to enjoy 23 years of marriage with.
  4. I just started the census job yesterday. It feels good to be out working again. I’m trying to put in 40 hours a week. I’m hoping I can still find some extra time in the day to blog.
  5. I am grateful most of the people I’ve talked to have been nice for the census job. I have a new appreciation of people who go door to door unannounced, even more so now during the pandemic.
  6. I’m grateful that my husband and I were able to get away for a couple days of sailing for our anniversary.
  7. I’m grateful that my loved one ended up being released from the psych ward the end of last week. This person has some previously undiagnosed medical issues that may have been contributing to the depression they were experiencing. Not to mention this whole time period in general has been stressful. I am hopeful they are starting on their healing journey.
  8. It’s my moms birthday this week. I’m hoping I can talk her into a visit and maybe sailing.
  9. My daughter is visiting this weekend so I am looking forward to seeing her and can’t wait until she moves back home.
  10. It’s been over a year and a half since I worked so I am grateful to be contributing to the family income. Plus I have been feeling nervous/anxious/excited about working again even temporarily. A little excitement at my age never hurt anyone.

The ultimatum, part 10

After taking a couple weeks off of drinking in January, Paul had a new plan.

He was going to drink a bottle of wine every other night. His doctor said he shouldn’t have more than 14 drinks per week. With this plan, he was pretty close.

He didn’t have a problem not drinking when he didn’t drink. But he found the nights when he had a bottle of wine more challenging. Frequently when he was on his fourth glass, he no longer had the discipline to not drink a couple more. What if it was an extra large bottle of wine? Did that still count as one? He had a hard time leaving extra wine behind because that would throw off his count. What if he had a couple of mixed drinks and then started a bottle of wine?

I found myself angry and triggered on the drinking nights. If he went over I knew. At times I threatened to dump all the alcohol in the house out. He said I was wasting my money because he could just go to the store and buy more.

I tried to ignore him on the nights he was drinking. That also did not work well. It seemed to bother him that I avoided him and usually lead to an argument. Sometimes I would confront him if he started his fifth drink. That also didn’t work. The one that says please help me when he is sober also says leave me alone and stop controlling my life when he is drunk.

After several months he discovered that his plan did not work. He devised a new plan. He could have 2 drinks every day of the week. If there was a special occasion, he could have 4 drinks a day if he had two drinks at two separate times of day. For example, he could have two drinks at lunch and then two drinks at suppertime never having more than two drinks in his system at a time. If he had 4 drinks per day he would have to give up drinking another day of the week. This would keep him within the 14 drinks a week limit.

He had it down to a science. I told him if he followed this plan I wouldn’t give him a hard time about drinking ever again. Things were going well, really well in fact. But then he slipped this past week. I confronted him on it. He was upset at first, but he knew I was right. I am only trying to hold him accountable because I care about him.

I don’t like to be in the position of being the person that has to help him control his drinking. I don’t want to have to be the bad guy. He’s told me countless times that without me he would probably drink himself to death. I want to think that he would be fine without me. I think it will be something he will always struggle with.

He had made a lot of progress in this last year. For that I am thankful. I am happy to be an influencing factor in that change. He was willing to address his issues and grew a lot in the process. I have to give him a lot of credit for being willing to look at some negative things about himself. It hasn’t always been easy.

It’s our anniversary next week, 23 years. We are planning on getting away a few days on our sailboat. This year I am confident things will go well because we are taking a different path.

Gratitude week 22

  1. It felt good to go in for a haircut this past week. Funny story, when I got to my appointment I had a fever from sitting outside in my hot car. I was a little afraid she would turn me away. By the end of the appointment, I looked great and my temp was below normal.
  2. We finished painting the shed. I wasn’t sure it was going to happen at first because it seemed like a wild animal was living inside. Every time I got close it started clawing at the walls. But a few days later it was gone. Estelle, Arabella, and I started painting together. Then Estelle and Arabella started fighting. Estelle will be leaving soon. I will miss her a lot because she became like a daughter to me, but I will not miss the fighting. The shed will be a visual reminder that everything happens in its season.
  3. The month of May is over. I’m saddened by the state of this country and have to hope things will get better. Maybe this month…
  4. We were able to go back to church for the first time since the pandemic this past Sunday.
  5. The books I ordered came in the mail. I paged through Colitis for Dummies and learned more than what my doctor told me already. Apparently I am the 10-15% of the colitis population that has an undetermined cause. It could be ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s, but they really don’t know. I wish my doctor would’ve explained that to me.
  6. This past week I celebrated my 5th blogging anniversary. I’m still here!
  7. Today is the 2nd anniversary of moving into our house. I am thankful to be living in a house that I don’t mind being quarantined in.
  8. I am grateful to have a husband that loves to cook and is good at it.
  9. I’m grateful that my mouse issue was solved with replacing the batteries.
  10. I am grateful to be able to do a little planning and finally put some new things on my calendar after everything else has been crossed out. The funny thing as I was looking ahead at my wall calendar I put the wording on December’s photo as best year ever. Note to self: never put the words best year ever on a wall calendar in December…maybe in January.

I’m leaving

In about 24 hours I will be packing my bags and leaving this cold climate behind. I’ll be visiting a climate that is 100 degrees hotter than mine.

I will finish cleaning the house and doing loads of laundry. Soon I will create a packing list. I’m afraid of leaving something behind, something obvious like a camera or my passport. Don’t laugh, I’ve done things like that before. I packed a suitcase for my husband once and forgot underwear. The good news, my husband never asked me to pack his suitcase again. Last year my husband went on a sailing trip and forgot to pack any shirts.

We will be on an airplane for a total of almost 21 hours. 21 hours!!! The longest I’ve been on a plane is 6 hours and that freaked me out. We are heading to Thailand tomorrow and checking our first continent (outside of our own) off our bucket list.

What is it about traveling that makes everyone tell you about their horror story flights? Or bring up terrorists? Or plane crashes? The TV show Lost??

I’m not sure how I will handle the flight. I always have this irrational fear that I am going to start screaming on a plane. Kind of like the time I went on a roller coaster that was too much for me. I am afraid of being out of control.¬† I certainly won’t have any control over the plane. It makes me feel trapped.

Thankfully I have medication for that. I am going to start a stop watch on my phone after I take my medicine. A stop watch seems kind of creepy though. I don’t know any other way to keep track of time after skipping so many time zones. The last thing I want to do is OD on a plane. Yes, I suffer from chronic worry.

Since we are leaving Chicago right after midnight maybe I will sleep. But I sleep on planes like I sleep in the hospital. How can I sleep sitting straight up? Plus there is always noise…dinging from announcements, other people, hospital emergencies with a little turbulence thrown in..I always wondered why they hand out peanuts on planes. Don’t a lot of people have serious allergies to peanuts??

There is a 12 hour time change for us in Thailand. I am excited to finally see the world, it’s just the getting there that sucks! Sitting still and relaxing are not my things. Now if they had a treadmill on the plane…The more nervous I am, the more I want to move. I try not to let fear stop me. There is nothing like flying 21 hours one way to confront my fear of flying.

Paul and I are going to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We will be visiting with our old neighbors, and going on a tour. I promise to take lots of pictures and keep a journal. This will probably be the last time you hear from me for awhile. But I promise to tell you about it when we get back.

This will be the first time we are away from family and work for this long. We have family staying with the kids every night. The last time we went away things didn’t go very well. The dog tore up the linoleum in the bathroom. Alex got a rash and thought he had bedbugs (thankfully we didn’t). I expect the house to be trashed and a pile of work waiting for me when I get back.

But I think that having a break will be worth whatever we come back home to. I will try my hardest not to worry and to relax. It might be so nice that we won’t want to come back home..