Monday, April 30, 2012

For My Sister, On The Occasion Of Her 30th Birthday

My dear sister,

I have thought about you many, many times over the last few weeks.  I think about you a lot.  But more so recently, as you approach this milestone of your 30th birthday. 

In my mind, I've gone all the way back to the you I knew as a baby.  I won't lie.  I wasn't thrilled when you arrived on the scene.  I was 8 years old and knew enough even then to realize that bringing your poor little soul into the mix wasn't going to be a good thing.  I was selfish.  I didn't want to have one more thing to take care of.  I felt overloaded.  I think you knew that, even then.  You were fussy, colicky, and rarely smiled.  You managed to have your voice heard even as an infant.  I realize now that you were trying to teach me to speak up at all costs. 

In grade school you were such a spitfire.  You hit your teacher in kindergarten because she embarrassed you in front of the class.  Not one year went by without you being suspended for something or other.  You had a permanent frown on your face.  You didn't believe in hiding behind the walls of lies that I was helping to so carefully construct.  You taught me that truth is the ultimate freedom and that no amount of smoothing over will ever really make things better.

During your high school years I felt that we were really starting to communicate on a higher level.  I wasn't living with the family any more and it seemed that this made us able to speak openly about our home situation for the first time.  You seemed to have the self esteem that I lacked.  You refused to wear anything but the best.  No garage sale or thrift store stuff for you.  You were really beginning to succeed in all the ways that I had secretly wished for all along.  I really believed that you would somehow come out unscathed.  I had so much wrapped up in who you were going to be.  Far too much, it turns out.  I have learned that nobody can handle that level of pressure- especially not a young girl who came from where we came from.

By your senior year, everything had come tumbling to the ground in a massive heap.  I was so angry with you.  I felt like everything I had ever done for you was being thrown back in my face.  I felt so defeated as I watched your life unwind.  You threw away your Navy enlistment.  You ran away to live in a drug flop house.  You tossed everything valuable about yourself into a flaming inferno and watched it burn.  You almost seemed to enjoy it.   You were not me and I should have seen that.  I am so sorry that I believed you could just get through it all and manage to make a life for yourself once you were finally freed, as I did.  I didn't get it then that you only wanted desperately to have your own life, make your own choices- something I have come to appreciate on such a deep level.

As the years have gone by and we have grown further and further apart, you have let me know many times that you feel as if I judge you for the life that you have chosen.   I must admit that the life you live scares me.  It is sad and dangerous and far closer to repeating the life we had as kids than I ever would have imagined for you.  I could tell you that I want better for you, that you deserve so much more.  I'm aware now that this is not my place.  My desires for your life are simply that; mine. 

People often saw me as the 'smart' one and yet you got the lesson so much quicker than I did.  There is no value in living your life for others and what they would have you be.  Part of me is still that selfish 8 year old, but I am learning.  Life is not about covering up the imperfections.  Rather we should embrace them.  It is only then that we can manage to make any kind of real choices about whether or not we will keep or change the things that make us who we are.

On this your 30th birthday, I will thank you for the lessons you have bestowed upon me and wish you everything it is that your life is meant to be.  And mean it, without reservation.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I Never, Ever Want To Forget This

Two weeks until test 5 of 9, three weeks until surgery.  I have so much respect for how fiercely my husband is facing up to these challenges.

I've never felt so good about being in a precarious middle.  Uncertainty has never been a comfortable place for me and yet this time it works because we're doing this together. 

Working hard on shared goals, this has been an amazingly wonderful time even though we are facing a difficult road ahead.  I want to always remember how good it feels to be charging on, growing and taking risks.  I especially want to retain the appreciation of what a strong and stable person my husband is.  It turns out it's not so bad to do scary things when you're not alone and I want to remember that risk taking is not just for times of crisis.  

I hope that everyone who reads this has a person in their lives that also makes them a better person- someone who helps you push yourself just enough to find out what you're truly capable of.   

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I Wish I Was Better At Posting- Just Because

I get kind of hung up on the idea that if something is going to be put into the written word, then it needs to be kind of super meaningful in some way.  And I wish I didn't do that so much.  Cuz' sometimes blogger gold is just a little tidbit that somebody shared and the meaning comes from those who read it and then it's all really cool...

Man, I wish I got how that worked a little bit better.  Anywhoooo......

This post comes courtesy of my nephew Nathan, because he actually DID tell me to tell everyone about this:

I got a call from one very happy and proud 10 year old boy today.  He told me that he had caught 6 fish today.  In less than two hours.  One of them was a rainbow trout that was 16 inches long. 

I love fishing and I have NEVER been that good at it.  

So here he is.  The amazing fisherman boy wonder:
Don't ask me why Nathan likes to wear his life jacket UNDERneath his coat!

Have I mentioned that I just absolutely love that kid with all my heart?! 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Update: Looking Forward To A Summer Of Change


Wow, I have been at this here blogging thing for about a year and half now.   I can hardly believe it!

Not only am I shocked that I am still in the same location geographically that I started in- since this whole blog got started as a way to document the process and express myself during my much hoped for move to Texas, but certainly maybe more surprising and rewarding is how much I have learned from the other wonderful blogs that I read on a regular basis.

There are simple and major things that have just clicked for me over this past year and a half and I can't really believe that my everyday life would have been as enriched, brought down to earth, or given as much perspective if I hadn't been sharing it, even in a vicarious way, with so many of you.  I appreciate your posts and the comments that you kindly take the time to give, in a huge way.

Now, as to the update: 

This coming summer is shaping up to be a doozy.  On May 16th my husband will have his much anticipated reconstructive surgery.  It will come exactly one week after his next big actuarial exam.  We planned it that way so he could recover without having to study intensely for another test right away.  He will have a major test every 6 months for at least the next 2-3 years.  Although I am pretty OK with all the medical things and physical therapy stuff that my husband will need to deal with, I have to admit that I may run into some emotional roadblocks.  I know that I am much better equipped to deal with the challenge this time around and I trust that things will go smoothly.  My husband deserves the best outcome and I will do whatever it takes to help get him through this.

This past week my husband and I have truly set things in motion to make our dream of owning a condo in Palm Springs happen.  After lots of research on what it will take to be successful with owning and managing a vacation home, we are starting the pre-approval process.  Even though I am aware that things are different these days when it comes to mortgages, we do have a down payment ready and should only require a small loan so we are trusting that the bank will see us as a good risk.  It feels like a huge step and yet it feels right.  By the week of July 4th my husband should be feeling pretty darn good and we plan to be in Palm Springs, physically looking at properties.  With some major prayer and a little luck we are hoping to be owners of a vacation rental that is available to rent by October 1st

To top it all off, my husband and I have absolutely not given up on our dream of moving to Texas.  As soon as he is recovered enough to make it feasible for him to travel for an in person interview, my husband will hit the application process hard again.  With another test passed, he should be a more interesting candidate within his chosen career.  If all of our wildest dreams could be realized, my husband and I just might be putting the finishing touches on a vacation condo in Palm Springs on our way to a new home in Texas.

I certainly do believe that everything we do in this life has meaning and that all things happen when and how they should.  I also feel as if these things that we are wishing for are possible and worth planning for.  I can dare to envision a future that holds so much for my husband and I to work hard for and share with everyone we love. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Warm And Loving Atmosphere

Growing up, one of my favorite people in the whole world was my mother's best friend, Sandy.  She and my mother were absolute opposites.  Sandy was a fashion queen with a beautiful inviting home and she could cook like no other.  Sandy had a way of making things special even when all that was available was a camp stove and a Coleman lantern.  I even remember her with hot rollers in her hair and doing her full makeup at the picnic table in our campsite.  She said the natural lighting was wonderful!

Unfortunately, we lost our Sandy to a blood clot at the untimely age of only 50 years old.  She had suffered from severe migraine headaches for the last 10 years of her life and we were never able to find out how or if this was linked together in some way.  Oddly enough, I experienced the very first migraine headache of my life the day of her funeral and I have had them every 8 months or so since then.  I cannot imagine how people deal with this incapacitating pain on an every day basis and retain any kind of sanity or sweetness as Sandy did. 

Sandy may have died young, but her influence is still being felt in my life in ways that I am not always even aware of. 

The other night while hosting our annual egg decorating and glow-in-the dark egg hunting party, one of my friends kids- Bridget, brought a friend with her.  Bridget was literally bubbling over with excitement when she came in the door, telling her friend how her 'aunty' Jasmine was the best cook ever and how she was so lucky to get to come here.  "My aunty Jasmine's house is the best place ever!  Magic happens here.  You'll see".  

As the evening went on Bridget continued to espouse on all the benefits of being at our house.  She would whisper to her friend about how those candles on the table were actually going to be lit when the food was ready.  "She really will light them and they'll be so pretty, you'll see," she would say.  "It's all about the atmosphere for her", her father told me.  As I listened to all of this my heart was just full to almost bursting. 

I never realized how much I mean to my lovely red haired beauty, Bridget.

And she was right, of course...  The night did turn out to be magical.  Bridget's friend was the one who found the very first special 'golden egg'. 

This is more important to me than even what might be obvious on the surface.  Bridget's love and trust is not just a sign that I have learned to be different from the way I was raised and to emulate those whom I have loved and admired such as my beloved Sandy.  More importantly I have managed to affect change in a little life that once was broken much like my own.  You see, Bridget is the genetic daughter of a heroin addict mother and a father who will reside in prison for life.  I have managed to pass on to her some of my Sandy's warm and loving atmosphere.  Sandy's touch did not end with her life and has continued on through me to Bridget.  Nothing else I could do with my life will ever be more important than helping to mend the life of another hurting child in some small way.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


He made it!  My sweet Parker is now 15 years old!  Time to party!

My friend tortured Parker with this hat at her dog birthday party.

I have had different Boston Terriers in my life over the past 28 years and never had one live past about 13 & 3/4 years until Parker.  But then Parker has never been an average Boston Terrier.

Even though his litter was registered for April 4, 1997 because the majority of the pups were born on that day, Parker was actually born on April 3rd at about 11:30pm.  After having owned several Boston Terriers over the years, my family had decided to take on the challenge of breeding a litter of pups ourselves.  Wouldn't you know it, the very first pup born is still the largest pup we've ever seen even after a half dozen more litters that we birthed over 10 years.  Parker was so big that we ended up going to the vet to get him out as he was stuck and his mother was in major distress.  When the vet finally yanked him out he was blue and needed resuscitation.  Thank goodness we had the famed and eccentric Dr. Jeffrey Mayo to help us out.  Dr. Mayo just laughed and said it was a good thing we were able to save this one as he was about the best specimen of the breed he had ever seen! 

Parker as a pup a few months old.  You can see him on the right and still about a fourth larger than his sister.  

Throughout his life Parker has continued to be remarkable.  He has had boundless energy and people have always been attracted to him.  Everywhere we go people stop us and tell us how handsome he is.  Then when they find out how old he is they just can't believe it. 

Parker still loves to play with a squeaky ball, be near one of his people whenever possible, give his opinion of any situation and sleep in the warm sun. 

Parker has slowed way down with his recent health and age related issues, but things have leveled off in the last ten days or so and he seems pretty comfortable for now.  Although he won't be able to travel anymore, the list of places he made it to is none too shabby.  Outside of his home here in the Northwest, Parker has been to Vancouver B.C., Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and most recently California.

Parker has been such a source of energy, love and fun.  I'm so glad we have been able to have him in our lives these past 15 years!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...