5.29.2009

things that make me happy right now

This picture from this post at Dooce.

This video:




My pup! And my boy, of course:




Jan doing well and slowly getting her strength back. That the doctors got all the cancer and she won't need chemo or radiation... just monitoring.


And the fact that its friday!
Have a great weekend all!

5.27.2009

back to our regularly scheduled blogging...

If this past weekend had a soundtrack, the first song would probably have been "In the Summertime." It was that kind of weekend.


It's weird though, because weekends like that... all fun and good, make it so hard to return to work (that's not the weird part) and make me wish that we could just pack up our lives and go somewhere else (that is). I don't know why.


Anyway, there is so much I want to share right now! First something random from last week. My brother is nearing the end of his senior year and is doing all that fun senior stuff they do. At my high school they have a competition for senior guys called Mr. Northwestern. My brother decided to enter with some of his friends, just for fun... and he won! :-)



His talent was martial arts, and he wore a zoot suit (though in all the above pictures he doesn't have the jacket on, so its hard to tell). I'm so proud. Lol.

Anyway, on to the actual weekend. Friday I got to leave work a bit early... and stopped on my way out to grab coffee with my friend, Nick. Then I had a leisurely walk to train station, under a beautiful sunny sky, with stops at two stores... and still got an earlier train home. Once there I gave Trav his presents (the complete DVD collection of the Planet Earth series, some socks/underwear/undershirts which sounds boring but he loved), then we ate a quick dinner, and headed to the local fair! I forgot it was going on, but Trav suggested we hit it up and we had a great time doing so. We only rode one ride (the "Himalaya"... which I always knew as the music house ride because they blast music on it...), but we had fun walking around. We also had fun eating fair foods... Trav got a blue sno-cone and I got fried oreos. Then we picked up some cotton candy on our way out to take home.

Saturday was fairly lazy (though I feel like I'm forgetting something we did). We went grocery shopping and Trav grilled some ribs. Then that evening I ran out to the mall for Lauren's gift and a stop at the craft store for necklace stuff. I have a jade stone necklace from my grandma that I love wearing, but don't love the chain... it would, however, look amazing on a black cord. So I stopped at Michael's to get a black cord, necklace ends, and a clasp.

Sunday was Lauren's graduation party. My hoser has worked her ass off for three years, but she is officially a law school graduate now!

The hard work isn't over, as she is studying full time right now for the bar in July... but Sunday was her day to cut loose and relax with people she loves. We had a great time seeing my hoser, Ro & Pat, Hannah & Jeremy, and a few other friends. GG charmed everyone there, which was very hard work:

After that we headed home, where Ro & Pat stopped by... I went home with Ro, and Pat stayed at our place. It was nice. I know the boys definitely enjoyed their night to cut loose! Ro & I had fun getting to talk and relax... and I got to enjoy a hardy thunderstorm right when we headed to bed.

My brother Ethan also had a fun night... at prom!

They has some fun with their pictures...

A lot of fun... :-)

I actually got a little wistful looking at these! For my own prom days.
So I found this:
It's a scan of an old photo, so not the best pic even... but you get the idea. :-)

Monday we slept in until about 8, then Ro & I decided to go walking. The boys were waiting for us at Ro & Pat's place when we returned, where they grilled us up some sausages and steaks for lunch. After that we headed back home where Trav mowed, then we grilled again for dinner. Burgers and dogs this time. There is nothing like grilling on Memorial day to make it really feel like summer (though technically its not summer for almost another month).

And I would be remiss to talk about Memorial day without saying a big Thank You to all our vets! Especially those that lost their lives defending our country. I can express my gratitude enough... I'm free because of your sacrifices. Thank you.

Daisy was also thrilled to have Monday roll around. It's been 10 days since her procedure and she was looking so good, and her incision site was look like it was nicely healed, so we dropped her restrictions and let her out into the yard sans leash. She was the happiest pup! She didn't even run around that long, but flopped onto the grass with a stick to chew on...

Back inside she had a little wrestle with Trav... hard to tell who won!

That evening was blustery and we were sure that a storm was coming. They were calling for it, and it felt like a sure thing, but it never materialized!

Tuesday, obviously I was back to work. It was cold... barely 60* out, and windy windy windy. I was actually quite cold in the morning taking the pup out, which was novel. We are letting her out without the leash more and more, letting her run again... she loves every second of it, which made it harder Tuesday morning to get her back inside! But she was sweet, and the morning was good. At work though, I spent my time trying to feel on top of things while my stomach was in knots waiting to hear about Jan. I was positive that everything was going to be fine, but that waiting things is so damn hard.

But she is fine. The surgury went well, and while she is in a bit of pain right now... they say that she slept soundly last night and should hopefully be feeling better today.

As for today, well its another rainy one... but at least a little bit warmer. My computer has been giving me a lot of trouble this morning, which led to me cleaning up my browsers (deleting old links, clearing cache, etc) and my other files. It really put me in the mood to clean out in other areas! I actually want to go home just so I can clean out the house some! But for now, I'm just going to run and get more work done. I've been keeping plenty busy with Jan out... just trying to take care of whatever odds and ends I can for her, to make her life easier when she does return.

So, on that note... off I go!

5.26.2009

duel wishes...


Today is Jan's birthday... and her surgery to remove a cancerous mass from her kidney. What a way to celebrate, right?! In that regard, I want to send her the following message:


Happy Birthday Jan!!
Best wishes for a perfect procedure, with a fast recovery.


Love you to pieces.


If you pray... please pray that everything goes well today for Jan.



Ps. Tune in tomorrow for a "regular" post.

5.22.2009

for my boy

Today is Trav's 29th birthday. He didn't want to do much for it (there is a Penguins game tomorrow, so we cannot go out! Lol.), so tonight we'll relax and eat a nice dinner, I'll give him his gifts... and we'll, uh, celebrate. ;-) It will be quiet, but as long as he's happy with that... I'm happy with that!


Happy Birthday Trav...
I love you so much and hope your day is a good one.


5.20.2009

nothing for you

Sorry, I have nothing much for you today. Its amazing that some weeks I can't seem to fit in enough posts for all I have to blather about... but this week, not so much. I did, however, want to give that last entry a bump down. And instead of continuing to ramble, I'll offer up a cute picture. Cheers!

5.19.2009

glitch

My computer is moving quite slowly today... maybe it woke up tired like I did, and almost fell asleep in the shower. Maybe its cold like I am, even though the high today is supposed to be a lovely 72. Maybe its just being a stubborn, pain in the ass. I've been known to do that to.

Tally leaves for Israel tomorrow for her wedding, so today is her last day at work until a week or two into June. Starting Friday, Jan won't be at work for at least two weeks. I'm worried that I'm going to be lonely and bored without them here.

I read this passage at *glow in the woods* and thought it was too perfect not to share:
But we are no less a warrior, no less empowered, no less mighty and powerful and connected to our inner strength without our children here to prove it. I never knew the depth of the warrior I could be until Tikva entered my life, until she departed. I never knew the grace I could live from was possible before her.

I think we are asked – in the moment of loss – to tap into a warrior in ourselves we might never have known was there. Because to mother a child who has died – to say goodbye over and over, to let go a little bit every day for the rest of our lives – is HARD. It is powerful, mighty, full of grace.

Of course, I didn't lose a child the way those folks lost a child. Theirs were birthed stillborn, or came to live for only minutes or hours or days. They met theirs, so I feel that I have so much less to complain about... at least our loss was early. But still, warrior me. I still have days of grief. It's been 10 weeks since we had that ultrasound. Two weeks longer then my baby actually lived, though two weeks shorter then the amount of time I got to celebrate being pregnant. Three weeks shorter then I got to carry that babe. Most days its just background noise, but today somehow its loud and impossible to ignore again.

Contrary to what pretty much everything above this sentence seems to say, I'm not unhappy. I have sad moments, but life is pretty good. I'm trying to only see the good stuff and let the rest roll off my back and into the ground, absorbed, sucked up, gone. It doesn't always work, but I'm doing well.

Today a person I met in DC through work will be in Philly. He's going to meet with one of my coworkers (they are both military and have plenty to discuss), then swing by to see me. Should be fun, he's a nice guy.

That's all though. Work, then another night of trying to keep our puppy calm and still. Wish me luck with that one! She's apparently feeling much better already and doesn't understand that her belly still needs to heal. Three days down, 7 to 11 more to go!

5.18.2009

festivous weekend

What a weekend! Friday evening was Tally's bachelorette party. I did myself up a bit for it:



The actual party was great! Tally's friends are so nice, we all hit it off. First we did mani's and/or pedi's at Tally's apartment:


(Tally, the bride-to-be, is on the right:)

My nails all painted up... its a really pretty bluish purple, more purple in person then it looks in this picture:

After the pampering, we hung out at Tally's for a while... eating and drinking, listening to music and doing some dancing.


Then we headed to L'Etage, a club in Old City for some more drinking and dancing. It was a ton of fun.


(We adopted a random guy and made him take pictures with us. But we also bought him a shot.)



I left the club around quarter of midnight, not even thinking about how far the train station was. I ended up just missing my 12:05 train home. The last train home of the evening! So I spent the night at Tally's. Not how I expected to end the night, but what a great night it was anyway. So fun to just relax, have some drinks, and cut loose with some fun girls!

Saturday morning I awoke bright and early at 6:30, completely parched. By the time I drank a glass of water I was completely awake. So I dressed quietly, got all my stuff together, and headed to the train station (with a stop over at Dunkin for a bagel and hot chocolate) for a 7:20 train home. I wasn't sure if Trav would be enjoying the chance to sleep in, so I walked from the train station home. It wasn't bad except that I was wearing new sandals and they had broken my feet in a bit the night before (vs. the other way around) during my trek towards the train station... so the mile home was a bit painful. I have a bruise and 4 or 5 blisters between my two feet. Totally worth it though, what a fun night. :-)

Trav and I relaxed for the rest of the morning... watched Marley & Me, which was a great film... though certain parts were hard for me to watch. Around 1 we headed to the vet to grab Daisy.
Some pictures. Daisy before... her new favorite place to lounge:



The morning of, heading out with daddy:


After we picked her up... post-surgery (you can just see the shaved patch):

(She's eating an ice cube... she loves them! A great treat to give her too... nothing artificial in those!) She did great. They closed her up with surgical glue instead of stitches, so she doesn't have to go back. She has to take it easy for 10 - 14 days, then she can be back to normal. So that means no running or jumping... all of her trips outside have to be short and on a leash. She's been good about it so far, I think she's still a bit tender, so she's taking it easy anyway. But I'm sure she's going to get restless with the no rough housing by the end of the two weeks.
She's our little champ though, and I can't wait until she is all healed up and back to normal.

Oh, and our "little girl" is now 50.2 lbs!!! Lol, what a monster!

Speaking of surgery. Jan's original goal was to lose 10 lbs by her surgery, which is next Tuesday (the 26th). Well, on Thursday she got weighed for her pre-admissions testing and had lost another 3 lbs... putting her at 11 total so far! Go Jan!

Sunday was another lazy day for the most part. I did go out at 1 to meet Ro to do our walk, but otherwise laundry was the most taxing part of our day! We wanted this weekend to be a total "take it easy" weekend so that we could be around for Daisy. It was really nice to just relax. Especially since next weekend is going to be busier. Trav's birthday, plus Lauren (hoser)'s graduation party. At least its a three-day weekend.

As for now. Time for me to get some work done!



Ps. Check out this neat slideshow about a man and his bear! :-) Very neat.

5.15.2009

a little magic

This has been some kind of week... its been off. Not bad, just off. Monday's event was hectic, and many things went wrong. They all got fixed in the end, but it was a pain. At least the day flew! Tuesday I was running around like I'd lost my head, forgetting my rings in the morning and various things I was working on during the day. I was happy for the day to be over! Wednesday was actually normal... and I met up with my "breast-friend" & 3-day walk buddy Katie to walk for the first time since last October or November! It was great to see her and catch up. I don't know how far we walked, but it felt good. Thursday was rainy and cool... on of those damp days that makes you wish you could stay at home, curl up on the couch in a hoodie (with your puppy of course), and read the day away. Specifically I wanted to read Harry Potter. This morning Trav dropped Daisy off at the Vet's where she will be overnight to get spayed and microchiped. I can't stop thinking about our little girl and I hope everything goes fine, and that she's not uncomfortable. :-( I don't want to think about that right now, though I'll tell you how everything turned out later. As for tonight, my coworker Tally's bachelorette party is this evening... and it should be a lot of fun! More about that later too.


Speaking of Harry Potter: I just starting rereading the series for what must be the 7th time now (in preparation for the movie), and I'm just as excited to dive into them now as I was the first time. I love the things one can tell about themselves by looking at what they read. For me, its the belief that everyone needs some magic in their life. A belief in bold and extreme possibilities. I think its the same reason I love the X-files so much... I want to believe. I want the impossible to be real.


I cannot wait for the movie! And I'm so glad that in the meantime I get to dive back into this magical world through the books.

On a random weather related note: I'm so excited that its already mid-May and we're still enjoying springy weather. Some years we get here and its already in the high 80s - 90s everyday. I'm enjoying the 70s... especially since I know those higher temps will be coming around in a few weeks and then I'll be begging for autumn to get here!

Well, I have to get some work done... but have a great weekend!!

Ps. Check out this video... Time-Lapse Across China... its only a few minutes long, but its neat, chronicling a man's journey across China.

5.13.2009

my dad

Today is my father's birthday, and this year I decided to do something a little different. Inspired by Things I Learned About my Dad (In Therapy), a collection of essays by Heather, the writer of Dooce.com, I decided to write an essay about my dad... written as if towards an outside party who wanted to know about our relationship... and give it to him for his birthday. I was completely honest in it, and I think that's why it turned out as good as it did.... it wasn't sugar coated BS, its the real honest truth about our relationship and why I love him. He was very surprised when I gave it to him this past weekend, and I hope it is something he can save to read on those down days when he needs to know that someone out there loves him very much.

I'm including it here, and I hope you enjoy it as well. It is long, I'll warn you in advance. But I think it is worth the read.

Happy Birthday Papita. I love you very much.




There were years when I wished my parents would get a divorce. The fighting was constant, and my father seemed like an angry stranger that I didn't know how to please. I would load the dishwasher wrong, walk wrong, be too slow with my homework or with eating dinner. I didn't know him anymore and I didn't want to.

It wasn't always like that; my formative years were happy and full of love. I don't remember my parents fighting then, or being unhappy, and while I'm sure some of that is simple childhood naïveté and missed subtext, it’s also because it was before something in my father broke.

It happened when I was in middle school, and while he was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder (manic depression), that was only after what I now know to be much time spent in the most awful state of depression. There were days that he would sit at home and be so weighted down by his sadness and pain that he would have ended it all, would he just have energy enough to get up and do so. Thankfully he got help, and was able to work through those times and come out, if not the same recklessly happy person as before, at least one that could find his way through life again.

One particular memory, from the before: My mom and I were at the supermarket doing our weekly shopping when I saw a stuffed cat on sale. How desperately I wanted that cat! We didn't have the means to be buying stuffed animals at every excursion, nor did I really need any more, but boy did I want that cat. We went home without it, but a few days later my papita sent me to the fridge to bring him a drink and there was the cat, sitting on the middle shelf. I carried that cat around all over the place, including to the house of a family friend. They had a long beautiful backyard surrounded by trees and backed by a creek. The water was a few feet down, the earth held back from it by a concrete wall, which we would sit on and throw sticks to watch them sail away downstream. My new cat was "walking" along the end of that wall when I lost my grip and it dropped to the water. I must have shouted, because the next thing I know my dad was over the edge of the embankment and into the creek water below. All for a stupid, stuffed cat. I remember feeling embarrassed, but so proud... so happy that my dad would throw himself into the cold water for a stuffed animal, what greater things would he do if I was the one in trouble! I still have that cat.

During certain parts of my college career, we would meet once a week to get tea and a sandwich at a little shop by my campus. I loved those moments of having him all to myself, when it was less about him being the parental unit, and more about us just being two people who love each other and want to share what is happening in their lives. Too often before I came to college that was not the case, and my own battles with depression, ones that started in my teens and stretched until my mid-twenties, got in the way of seeing how much my father really did just want to know me. To know my life.

I remember my freshman year, newly in love with the man that would become my husband, I was a hard woman to reach. Pre-cell phone, I was constantly away from my dorm, off at class or spending every spare minute with my new beau. That included evenings. Meaning no reaching me before bed, or before class in the morning either. I always called back, but my father, reaching a point of frustration during one of those returned calls, demanded the truth from me. And in all my freshly-independent wisdom, I gave it to him. “You want the truth?! We're sleeping together!” The phone was quickly passed to my mother, who in her much greater and longer held wisdom told me that my father did not actually want the truth. In reality, he just wanted to know that I was okay, that I was being smart, and that he was still an important part of my life.

He was. He still is. He always will be.

Writing this has been so much harder then I thought because the past shared by my father and I is one littered with misgivings, miscommunications, and missed opportunities. Those things all led us to where we are today, but they paint a picture that isn't complete because our past is also full of shared moments, gentle compromises, and so so much love. I’m not going to lie and say that our relationship has always been easy, because for many years it was not, it was downright horrible. He was angry at things beyond his control, I was full of teenage shortsightedness, and we interacted with a blazing intensity of emotions that often left us both hurt and confused on what just happened. My father is not a man to let someone blow smoke up his ass and to make this real it has to include the bad so that the good can be believed.

And it should be, because my father is an amazing man. A torn man, often held hostage by personal demons and the inability to see the good in him that others see, but a genuinely good man. If it were up to me, he would measure his life not in the matters where he feels he falls short, but in the number of times he sang Cat Stevens songs for me to fall asleep to at night, and the number of mornings he read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to me while we waited at the bus stop.

He would know that he taught me the beauty of getting lost. I have such fond memories of our drives to my best friend’s house during pre-high school summers. We would set off in the mornings, me impatient to get there with daydreams of the video games to be played, the pool laps to be swum, the giggling, and the perfectly lazy day ahead floating through my head. The first time I imagine I might have been suspicions of the unexpected detour from our known routes (of which we already had many), but now I love those memories of trips through cornfields and along semi-paved roads, which did (amazingly) always end up at Heather’s door. We’d head off along an unexplored road, with me getting to pick the direction of our turns, and watch the beauty of our countryside laid out before our unhurried wheels. It was almost sad when the roads would become familiar again and I would know that we were close to our destination. I wonder if he longed to just keep driving, the way that I did on those mornings. I wonder if he intended to teach me that the journey is everything.

My father is also a man with a sense of humor… one that involved turning off all the lights and jumping out from behind couches when scary movies were on. One I didn’t always appreciate as a young girl on dark and stormy nights. I still can’t watch the original House on Haunted Hill without getting the willies.

While my papita has been many things in his life (carpenter, mental health advocate, mail man, free-wheeling hippie to name a few), I think the thing he has embraced the most is being a father. And he is damn good at it. His family is his life, and while my mom and I might have been closer, he has always been there.

As my husband and I work to start our own family, I appreciate my father now more then ever. I wonder if I will be able to put aside my shortcomings to be all the parent I can to our children. I wonder how I will ever teach them all there is to learn. I know that at least part of that will be easy thanks to his example. It will involve taking the long way to our destination, through uncharted areas, books read aloud, and songs sung at bedtime. It will be freedom of expression, encouragement for intellectual pursuits, and going out when you want to stay in, so that there is never a missed opportunity. It will also hopefully be less raised voices and angry words, but if we can’t learn from each other’s shortcomings, then what can we learn from?

My father taught me that too.

5.11.2009

a dog's world

I slept like I was dead last night... we all did! The weekend was great, but tiring. I have to type fast... because we have a big event for most of the day today and I have so much to do around it, but I really wanted to put something up about the weekend.

Daisy got to play with other dogs for the first time (since leaving her litter) this weekend! She has met other dogs, and "plays" with our neighbor's dog through the fence, but this is the first time she's actually played with a dog without a barrier. She LOVED it!! Our neighbor Joe's niece came to visit them with her Pug puppy. They were sniffing each other through the fence and we decided to let them play. Joe passed the pug over the fence and away they went.





They got along so well! And for a little guy, the pug stuck up for himself no problem... in fact, he gave Daisy a run for her money! :-)


I got this very short video:

video

They ran, chased, nipped, wrestled, and laid around together for about an hour. When the niece was leaving I brought Daisy inside, and she did this for the next hour:

(She loves the cool linoleum on warm days... and Saturday was definitely very warm! In the 80s with a hot, hot sun.)
She was a content pup!

That night Pat (of Ro & Pat) swung by and picked me up to go shopping. He needed some help finding a good Mother's Day present for Ro. Her grandmother has sent her a necklace with GG's birthstone on it, which had been Pat's original plan. So I helped him find her a nice locket. Then we stopped for ice cream on the way back to my place.

The next day was Mother's Day. The three of us headed up to my parents place for a visit for that and my dad's birthday (Wednesday). Ethan and I got him the set of free weights he wanted, and I made him something creative myself (see post on his actual birthday).

Daisy got her second puppy playdate experience:

She and Lady had a great time, although we definitely had to corral them a bit to keep then from playing my parent's house into ruin!!

We could barely keep them apart... even for thirty seconds to take a few pictures!

Lady was beat... she's not a puppy anymore. But Daisy was bushed too by the end of the day.

We headed home after dinner and Daisy fought sleep for the first part of the ride, then snoozed off and on for the second part. When we got home she immediately collapsed on the living room floor and didn't move until bedtime!

We had washed all our sheets that morning, and taken our comforter up to my parents to see if it would fit in their frontloading washer. It didn't, but we hung it out on the line for the duration of our visit to at least give it a good airing out. I packed it up in a garbage bag to take it back home. When we got home, I took it upstairs to put back on the bed... and kept catching whiffs of something lovely smelling. I couldn't figure out what it was until I stuck my head closer to the comforter. It smells faintly of lilacs now!! My parent's have a big lilac bush in their back yard and the wind had blown the scent throughout our cover. So nice! Have to love that beautiful smell of the country.

Well, I have to rush off now to get all my various tasks done, and try to squeeze in some lunch at some point... but I hope everyone had a great weekend and a Happy Mother's Day!!!