Gratitude week 104

  1. Christmas! Attending church Christmas morning with my husband. Then having the kids over for lunch. Getting and giving a lot of awesome gifts. Another meal followed by watching old family movies.
  2. Cindy, although she has COVID, is doing really well and the rest of her family did not get sick so far.
  3. Having a low key Christmas Eve since our plans got cancelled because of COVID.
  4. A pajama day today.
  5. I found out that a favorite local Pink Floyd tribute band will be having a concert in a couple of months. I bought tickets to see them with my kids. I also purchased tickets to see a comedian I like who will be visiting.
  6. Looking forward to New Year’s Eve and the new year.
  7. Planning a trip to Wisconsin Dells with the kids to the indoor waterpark as a Christmas gift. As a quality time person, I really like to give experiences as gifts.
  8. We saw Arabella on FaceTime for Christmas which went really well.
  9. The kids will be coming over tonight for Paul’s famous homemade pizza. It’s so nice when everyone is getting along plus his pizza is absolutely amazing.
  10. Playing games with Paul, Alex, and his girlfriend on Christmas Eve.
  11. The pets made it through another Christmas with us.
  12. It’s been two years of having a weekly gratitude list. I’m really glad I started doing this because the last two years have been difficult and it’s important to remember the good that is happening as well.

Christmas Eve

And the saga continues…

My best friend told me she has had a head cold since Wednesday. I’m sure you can tell where this story is going… Cindy tested positive for COVID today so we won’t be heading to her house for dinner and the Christmas Eve service.

We decided to just stay home and have Alex and his girlfriend over for supper and games. I feel bad for his girlfriend because she doesn’t have a very good home life. She didn’t go home for Thanksgiving and she won’t be going home for Christmas either so we are pretty much all she has.

Tomorrow morning Paul and I are going to church. We will have our kids and their significant others over for lunch and gifts with the exception of Arabella who is still in Kansas. Angel is spending the day today with Dan’s family.

Other than that, it is raining and really foggy outside. It probably wouldn’t be fun driving later tonight anyway. The snow that fell yesterday has been washed away so we won’t be having a white Christmas this year. That is okay. Sunday we are getting more snow.

Our dog has been hanging in there. I bought him some moist dog food so I have been having better luck convincing him to eat. He is on 5 different medications now. It looks like he has one last Christmas in him. We have been blessed with 14 years of having the most wonderful dog. Our cat is 15 with health issues so it will probably be his last Christmas too. Again, I am happy to have such wonderful pets and made the commitment to provide them with a good home for their whole lives. What more could a pet ask for??

I am disappointed that plans fell through for the night, but I am thankful Cindy is not really sick. I hope the rest of her family stays healthy.

Other than that, I wish you all a merry Christmas in whatever way you celebrate the holiday.

Sad, angry, and less than perfect

I’m not going to lie, the last couple of days have been rough. It’s been hard to muster up the Christmas spirit.

Yesterday I was feeling triggered by so many different things it was hard to figure out what was bothering me. I think what has been the most upsetting is that our dog is dying. He has been getting worse since our vet visit last week. Besides arthritis and now congestive heart failure, the vet thinks the mass near his stomach could be cancerous as his appetite has not been the best. It’s hard to watch him decline and I’m afraid we might be faced with some tough decisions soon.

I remember when my husband brought our dog home to surprise our children with an early Christmas gift the December of 2007. He quickly became a member of our family. Every morning he would walk the children out to the school bus and wait for their return. He would run with Paul and I. Everyone he met just loved him. This will be his last Christmas if he holds on that long. Thinking about this makes me cry.

I feel a great amount of loss. My children are not children anymore. Angel will be moving into her own house next month. Arabella already left and she doesn’t want a close relationship with me. I feel abandoned by my extended family. At this point, I don’t even want to invite them to my daughter’s wedding.

I am pretty certain we are going to be leaving our church. I will miss some of the people we got to know. What also hurts is we spent a lot of time getting to know the pastor’s parents and they moved away without telling us they were leaving. We didn’t get a chance to say good-bye.

I miss my life pre-COVID before everything happened with my dad and before my daughter started showing signs of being seriously mentally ill. I miss when my grandma was alive and threw us the best Christmases to help us forget for one day of the year that our childhood sucked. My grandparents, Aunt Grace, and Uncle Harold all have been gone over a decade now. I miss them and the sense of family I had with them. Nothing would stop me from spending time with them if they were still alive. My family is gone but they gave me a great example of how to be that family for my own children and grandchildren someday.

Recently I posted something on Facebook saying we shouldn’t let fear stop us from getting together with family for the holidays because who knows how long any of us has left. Just something simple like that sparked a debate which caused me to be unfriended by a pastor we had a few years back. As if I am some sort of satanist or something for wanting family to be together. My bad!

He is the same pastor we invited over for Thanksgiving when he didn’t have any family in the area. His family of 5 stood us up. I cooked all this extra food and they didn’t show. Apparently someone gave him tickets to the Packer game. I never cared for the pastor after that. Good riddance!

I admit I was feeling angry and vindictive. I rarely want to cut a bitch, but man when I do. So last night I spent the evening having a couple of drinks, listening to my angry music, and doing some jagged crying. I did some slobbery sobbing that no one cares about me to the few people who actually do. They were worried about my sanity. (Long gone, people, long gone)… My best friend gave a check in call on the way home from work. I do know I have some really awesome people who care about me, even if some people who I thought cared don’t.

One of the best things COVID did do is weed the people out of my life who don’t care. I don’t have to waste my time on them. On Christmas Eve, Paul and I are spending the evening with my best friend and her family. I can do what I want without caring what others think of me. I don’t have to pretend to be someone I’m not. That is so freeing. I don’t have to try hard to please people who don’t give a shit about me. I can be myself around my friends.

One thing I can tell you is that I had a hell of a lot more fun with Tom and Lisa than I probably would’ve at the extended family Christmas party. Remember if your family sucks, friends are the family you choose. My best friends know my kids better than most of my family ever will.

Being triggered by all the loss, I really had to ask myself what was bothering me to get me so bent out of shape. What is upsetting me the most right now is that my dog is dying and there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it. Maybe I should grant myself the freedom to be sad, angry, and less than perfect.

Stable for the holidays

Arabella called me the night before the family Christmas party. She told me she started dating Will that very day. She said Will got into a fight with his grandma who he is living with and they needed a place to stay. I basically told them there was no room at the inn.

My brother Luke and his family arrived right before the snow started to fall. We weren’t sure if they were even going to be able to make the trip since snowstorm Amelia was on her way too. Thankfully Luke got out of work early and they were on their way before Amelia made her blustery appearance. All the bedrooms at our house were occupied.

I told Arabella no they couldn’t spend the night. I hadn’t even met Will yet and didn’t hear a lot of good things about him. I didn’t need the extra stress right before family was coming. Plus Paul and I promised each other we wouldn’t take Arabella back in unless we had strict boundaries with her. I couldn’t give in just because she was pleading and begging. Predictably; she started swearing at me, said she wasn’t coming for the Christmas party, and hung up. Later she apologized via text.

Snowstorm Amelia dropped a lot of wet heavy snow on us. Paul spent most of the morning plowing out the driveway. He wasn’t able to help me prepare for the party inside. We ate later than originally planned without Alex (he got called in to work) and Arabella who showed up late.

When Arabella showed up she was friendly and I thought Will was also very personable. The only one who was snippy was my SIL Carla who is always that way. Dan told her off when she started to get too bossy. We opened gifts. Arabella even got us all little gifts. When Paul had trouble opening the packaging on his gift, Will pulled a huge knife out of his pocket to cut it open. I almost had a heart attack, but he meant no harm. I could tell he truly seemed to care about Arabella so I felt more relaxed about him and their relationship.

Arabella talked to me alone for awhile. She told me she wanted me to stop telling people she was delusional. I told her I had no problem with that as long as she stopped telling people I starved, abused, and tortured her.

Arabella said Will’s grandma was angry with him for quitting his job because someone said something mean to him. Arabella said that was okay because now he can help her with her ‘social media’ business. He is a photographer and my mom gave him my grandpa’s camera. I was kind of upset about that. Wouldn’t you ask your children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews if they wanted the camera before giving it away to someone she barely knows?

I also heard from Paul that Arabella and Will think his grandma is spying on them and that she bugged his car. At first I thought it could be true. But who would want to bug their 21 year old grandson’s car? And how would someone even know how to do that anyway? I don’t believe a word of it. It’s sad to say this but I am happy she is not making accusations about me anymore. Now she is telling me she loves me again. Our relationship is better than it has been in months. I know that could change any day though.

Last week Arabella drove down to Kansas with Will to visit his family. They spent the night in a tent in Iowa on the way during a tornado warning. Will said he is a survivalist. One summer he spent half of it living in the woods sleeping in a hammock. But staying in a tent in December is just plain strange.

Arabella is going to be spending the holidays with Will’s family. A part of me wonders if they are even going to come back since they both don’t have jobs and have strained relationships with their loved ones at home.

Christmas Day will be quiet without her. Paul and I will be spending the day with Angel and Alex and their significant others. This will be the first time one of my children will be gone on Christmas Day. But at least right now I feel comfortable with where our relationship is at. Things are going really well with all our kids, or at least as good as it possibly can with everything going on.

I feel more at peace now than I did in a long time. Everything is stable for the holidays.

Gratitude week 103

  1. After being stressed about the family Christmas party last weekend, I’m grateful for a massage and trip to the therapist on Monday.
  2. Getting a Type O Negative album for my record player as a Christmas gift from my mom based on my daughter Angel’s suggestion.
  3. Angel and Dan put an offer in on a house that was accepted. Although I am going to be sad my daughter is leaving it is time since they will be getting married in a couple months.
  4. My husband’s work Christmas party went well. The wife of the guy he works for is super funny. Everything always sucks. We asked how they like their new house and wouldn’t you know the lighting sucks. The weather sucks, the food sucks, everything just really sucks. She is very blunt about everything sucking and for some reason she is just so much fun.
  5. Arabella and Will made it safely to Kansas to visit Will’s family. On the way they spent the night in a tent in Iowa during a tornado warning. Crazy! And you wonder why I worry?? Camping in December in bad weather! Oh my gosh!
  6. I had lunch at a Mexican restaurant with my friend Jen. It was her turn to pay.
  7. Friends are the family we choose. I’m grateful for the opportunity to spend time with my four closest friends over this past week and upcoming week. That rarely happens anymore. It makes me feel better about not being included at the extended family Christmas party.
  8. We had a great time visiting with Tom and Lisa last night. We had great food, drinks, and fun laughing and playing games. Alex and Angel hung out with us as well.
  9. Tonight Paul and I are going out to eat with Rhett and Sue to talk about our upcoming trip to Puerto Rico. I can’t believe our trip is less than a month away now.
  10. We had another health scare with our 14 year old dog. He hasn’t been wanting to eat much if at all in the mornings. He also fell down the stairs not too long ago and has been limping around again. So we had another vet visit this week and he was put on another 3 medications. The vet said he also has congestive heart failure. So I’m grateful we still have some time left with our old pup. I really wasn’t sure if he was going to be coming back home with us.
  11. Clean sheets.
  12. Alex shared some of his new music with me.
  13. Friday night we ordered pizza and it went to our neighbor’s house in error. We were able to meet some neighbors. They brought us cookies a couple years back when we moved in but I never found out who gave us the cookies because Paul and I weren’t home.
  14. I absolutely love our Christmas trees and lights. I wish I could leave everything up all year, but then how special would that be.

Gratitude week 101

  1. I’m grateful to have a furnace that works. It was miserable to go three whole days without heat. I can’t imagine how people lived through Wisconsin winters without a furnace.
  2. I’m also grateful our boiler got fixed this week too after a month without heat in our hot tub and pool. Sadly, a critter got in and made a nest in it.
  3. I’m thankful that the pastor of the new church we are visiting came out to our house. He wants to meet with us every week for awhile. The only way I am able to find faith right now is through the faith of my grandma and I can see her attending this church.
  4. Yesterday we had a surprise visit for our old friend Vince (he is 87 years old). It was nice to see him and to know he is still his crazy wild lovable self.
  5. Last night we had our employee over for beer sampling, pizza, and the Bucks game. He is the last remaining employee to stay on with the new company that bought us out. We also hired him to work part-time for our seasonal company as well. It’s always great to spend time with him.
  6. With fresh snow on the ground and our house fully decorated, it is really starting to feel like Christmas. I love Christmas music. I created an eclectic playlist including pretty much every genre I could think of. I love this time of year. Next weekend we are having our family Christmas here with my mom and brothers. I am totally done Christmas shopping!
  7. Yesterday I helped my husband by hauling wood after he cut and chopped it. It felt good to do something productive.
  8. I really made a lot of progress on my book this week. Right now I am really focusing on the early childhood years, earliest memories up to the end of grade school.
  9. This afternoon we are heading out to support our local community theater by watching their newest production.
  10. I am grateful all my children are adults. None of them are attending school right now. Thankfully Arabella graduated in May! I couldn’t imagine all the hard decisions parents have to make right now. I got a little taste of it but I don’t have to handle that stress any longer.
  11. I just got the ankle weights I ordered in the mail. Since my joint pain is preventing me from running, I am hoping to walk with hand and leg weights to keep some of my strength. We’ll see how that works. I can also swim again since the pool is working. Maybe we can check out some yoga classes after the holidays. I have always had issues with relaxing, balance, and flexibility.
  12. After milk stout, cheese bread, and pizza last night, I didn’t get a stomachache. I’m grateful I am tolerating dairy better since my last blood work showed that I have low calcium now.

Gratitude week 100

  1. Wow, 100 weeks of gratitude. I guess that’s pretty good.
  2. My husband successfully completed the 30 day detox diet. I’m proud of him for cutting out alcohol, coffee, sugar, red meat, and gluten for a month. He also lost over 20 lbs.
  3. We weren’t sure if it was going to happen but my husband, daughter, and I finished the 5 mile race on Thanksgiving day. My daughter wasn’t feeling the best and it was a cold blustery snowy day but we did it. I ended up walking half of it because I was having joint pain. So I think I made the right call by making this my last race. It was a good run and I’m grateful for all the years I had fun racing.
  4. Thanksgiving! We had a fun day with family and friends. Arabella even stopped by for a little while. We played some new online games which is one of my favorite things to do when we have people over.
  5. On Friday morning Paul and I went to the Christmas tree farm and picked out two trees. I got a traditional tree and a purple glittery tree decorated with candy. We lucked out because we took the second to last purple tree. Then Angel and I spent the afternoon decorating.
  6. Alex, his girlfriend, and friend went to the U.P. (Upper Peninsula of Michigan) for the weekend for a friend’s birthday. They safely made it back home today and will probably stop by later for games.
  7. I finished designing my 2022 family calendar. I include all the best pictures of the year and it takes me over 4 hours to complete it. I’m not too excited to spend all the time designing the calendar and decorating my house for Christmas but I love how it turns out.
  8. I’m grateful for the 2 1/2 hours I spent talking to my brother Luke on the phone yesterday. I will be hosting the family Christmas party here in two weeks.
  9. Clean sheets.
  10. Pumpkin pie and Christmas cookies.
  11. I’m grateful for the start of the holiday season, Christmas music and movies.
  12. A warm fire when the furnace isn’t working.

Gratitude week 52

  1. Here’s to a whole year of gratitude! Cheers!
  2. Everyone in our house thought this was one of the best Christmases in years. The kids were happy with their gifts, everyone worked hard to get along, we played games, and there was even a dusting of snow on the ground.
  3. This has been a crazy Christmas season, but somehow we made things work. We didn’t get together with the extended family this year, but there was less stress and busyness. I’ve heard a lot of crazy things…some friend’s family members were invited for the holidays and others were not because some were a higher risk of COVID. Other families weren’t getting together because others couldn’t afford to have a gift exchange because their income was cut due to COVID. How petty! It seems this year that more people celebrated the holidays with their chosen family instead of their given family.
  4. After my son went to the ER and had a lot of testing done, he still has neck pain. Well, the weekend on call dentist was wrong saying it wasn’t his wisdom teeth over the phone. Maybe I’ll send her the bill for the ER visit and CT scan. My son went to the dentist this week and the pain he is experiencing is coming from his wisdom teeth. So, thankfully we found out where his pain is coming from. Now he just has to wait another week to get them removed.
  5. I’m grateful to spend Christmas Eve with friends having a good meal and going to the candlelit Christmas service.
  6. I’m grateful to be able to help someone in need this Christmas. A mom of one of my son’s friends is having a hard year. Her husband left her for a younger woman, then she lost her job. She is struggling with kids at home while we have food on our table. Paul and I decided to give her a gift card for the grocery store. I said it is not real giving if we give pocket change. True giving should make you feel a little uncomfortable. I feel grateful that we were able to find someone in need and help them this Christmas.
  7. I’m grateful for the gifts I received. I really needed a new pair of slippers.
  8. I feel grateful for Christmas lights.
  9. I’m grateful for great Christmas food. I did tons of baking this year…two pies, four batches of cookies…plus my other favorites like deviled eggs. I think I need to do a detox diet in January in the years to come. I’m afraid to step on the scale.
  10. I’m grateful that all my kids are living at home. It’s always so busy. If they all move out within 6 months like they all want to, it’s going to be way too quiet. Thankfully they all want to stay within the area.

Gratitude week 51

  1. Paul started working for a small family business. They had their office party at a hibachi grill this past week. It really was a nice time. Afterwards, Paul and I drove around to look at the Christmas lights.
  2. I finished reading a book on boundaries. I found out I have a lot of work to do. I find that I feel guilty setting boundaries with certain people (like my mom). Even blogging at times makes me feel guilty. Guilt is a feeling I need to work through to set boundaries and write about my life, but it doesn’t mean that I’ve done something wrong. I never realized that before.
  3. This is a big one. My mom apologized to me this week. Last Sunday she came by my house, even though we can’t have Christmas and she doesn’t ‘visit’ because of COVID, and asked me why I didn’t answer when she tried to call me. She has a tendency to call at the worst times like when I am in the middle of making supper. She said she was having a hard time and thank God her sister Jan was around to help her through it unlike me. If she left a message saying she needed to talk to someone, I would call her back. This time she came over and angrily asked me what I was doing that was so important I couldn’t take her call. Her visit left me angry and upset for several days until she apologized.
  4. Christmas lights! I love them so much I might leave some up year round.
  5. Baking Christmas cookies. Yesterday I made roll out Christmas cookies with icing. Today I made Amish sugar cookies. I found some of my grandma’s old recipes that I will also try out in the next couple days. We are getting together with Cindy’s family on Christmas Eve and I am planning on bringing a lot of the food.
  6. It’s only 5 days until Christmas and I am pretty much ready for it. Now we just need some snow!!
  7. Our investment from selling our business finally came through!!! The dividend check should get us through for awhile! I’m grateful to not have to worry so much about money. Arabella just got on the waiting list for residential mental health treatment. Unfortunately it looks like our insurance will not be covering it and it is very, very expensive. It will be worth it if she gets the help she needs and her quality of life improves. It helps to have options available for financing it if we need to. I was really stressing out about it.
  8. We went out to eat this week to celebrate the investment. We had a really nice family time with our two oldest kids. Of course my mom tried calling while we were out to eat and I didn’t answer. Can’t win them all I guess.
  9. I’m grateful that I now have over 900 followers. I never thought I would get to this point when I first started. I read a book a couple years back from a blog of a lady that was training to run her first marathon. I thought, wow, I want to try blogging and running a marathon. Now here I am writing about personal things I never thought I would be writing about. And here you are right with me!
  10. I never thought I would be saying this but I’ve reached the point in my life that yoga and meditation sounds better than pounding my body by doing marathons. While I still want to run, I have no desire to race anymore. What is one more medal anyway? I no longer want to be on stage. I’ve had my lead roles. I no longer want to sing in front of people. I no longer long for high stress hobbies. My body is tired and wants rest. My mind is ready to embrace a slower pace. It’s time to try something new. I’m grateful to be ready to accept the aging me.

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.