Wednesday, January 18, 2017

When someone you loves becomes past tense.

My uncle died suddenly yesterday. He was young. Was. Past tense. How did he become past tense? We are all reeling and confused, sad and heartbroken, and scrambling to get all of the people who love him back to Minnesota to celebrate his life and mourn and grieve together.

I won't go into all of the details of Bob's life. Heck, I probably only know 0.4% of the details of Bob's life. What I do know is that he fought back when all odds seemed stacked against him. He did really hard things in the face of terrible adversity. He made really stupid choices, got knocked down, got up, and tried again. He showed up. At family gatherings, both big and small, he'd find a way to get there. We never quite knew how or when he'd arrive, but he showed up, smiling and with an amazingly dry and sarcastic remark to open most conversations. I think that's what I'll miss most. The sly smile and calmly spoken, hilariously smart one liners. What will his parents miss most? What will his daughters miss most? What will his grandchildren miss most? I can't say. Those are their stories to tell and their memories to hold tight.

Many moons ago, before kids and when Jim was in the military, Jim and I visited Bob when he lived on the East Coast. He took us to a ridiculously fancy steak restaurant where I felt insanely out of place for many reasons. I was a vegetarian, a huge cheapskate who didn't even understand how the menu worked, and they talked fast. I joked that I bet I was the only person there wearing a skirt from Target. He agreed. That was the trip that I saw Christmas wrapping paper with lines to help cut straight edges for the first time. It seemed so big city, East Coast to me. Bob, fully aware of my naivete on almost all subjects, told me that there was a little restaurant down the street that sold ferret on a stick. He got me hook, line, and sinker. Then he laughed at me for a long time. We all brought it up on occasion.

I saw Bob in August. Same Bob. Quiet. Biting humor. Smile. Sitting on the sides. He showed up. I'm so glad he did.

Plan the family reunion. Buy the plane ticket. Love big enough so people know it without you having to say it. But say it anyway.

Friday, January 13, 2017

cat puke, Friday the 13th, and the blasted inauguration

I have cleaned up eight bouts of cat vomit in less than 24 hours. It seems like an appropriate way to spend the Friday the 13th before an inauguration that I want nothing to do with. I literally have nothing nice to say, so I have not been on facebook for over 36 hours because I want to shout personally insulting things at people. Who knows how long I'll have to ban myself. I'm guessing LONG! Following the, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" rule has never, ever, ever been so hard. Not in 6th grade when a boy spread lies about me. Not in my freshman year of college when a friend from high school told me that people were only being nice to me because they saw me as a pet project to use, try to improve, and then dump. Not ever.

So, I shut down social media and head to an overnight girl scout camp with my daughter. We're going to swim and cross country ski, visit with friends and learn about snow forts. It sounds like just exactly what the doctor ordered. I finish painting trim as we work to finish a room remodel in the basement. I read lots of picture books about snow and blizzards to my 3 year old. We finish up a tricky puzzle for the boys' room.

I am trying to show more restraint than the PEOTUS by actually thinking before I speak, by treating people how I want to be treated, and by remembering that words matter.

I'm not a sore loser. I would take any of the Republican nominees, any Bush, starting with Barbara, if I had my choice, and Mitt Romney or John McCain. I'm not sorry the person I voted for lost. That's happened before and it'll happen again. I'm devastated and disgusted that this person kind of won. I say kind of  because it seems that the majority of people actively hate him, and the list is probably growing. I'm not calling for the end to the electoral college. I want him to do well. I want him to surprise me. I started out giving him the benefit of the doubt, but he has given no indication that he is going to be "so presidential we'll be bored."

I'm angry. I'm not beaten. I can still do my part in my corner of the world to make this world better.

Peace out,
Cranky, Angry, Disgusted (usually) Democrat

Monday, January 2, 2017

One word

In my last blog post, I talked about some overall goals for 2017 and how I plan on reaching them. Today I'm going to join the billions of other bloggers to tell you about my one word for 2017. I've chosen a word, or had a word choose me, for a few years and then fail miserably. I mean, it's a lot like a resolution, so why not be like most of the cool kids and fall off of the bandwagon, right? I've also come to the conclusion that the world can be divided into idea people and action people and I'm mostly an idea person. Follow through is not my strong suit. Well, in keeping with my smaller, attainable goals to reach my big overall goals, I have some small, daily or weekly plans to help me remember my one word.

OK. Enough chit chat. What's the word???

Present. What's that mean? Truthfully, I had no plans to choose a word this year because of past failures. Then this word popped into my brain and I couldn't shake it. Since it seemed to want to hang around, I explored what the word meant to me and how it could help me grow this year.

Present means being aware of, engaged, and attentive in the moment that I'm in. That can be tricky in our all technology all the time world. I think of the way I parented Isaac at 3 compared to the way I parent Asher at 3 and it is different because of the distractions. I think of the attention I give to my husband in the evenings and it's challenging because we both often have our own phones or computers and do our own thing. I want that to change.

Present also means gift, and I want to be a present to those I come in contact with, whether I know them or not. This can mean so many things. Maybe it's a smile or a hello, maybe it's a how are you note to a friend or relative, maybe it's bringing a meal to a sick friend. The options are endless, but if I'm present in my life, then I'm more likely to be a present or gift to those around me.

Will I remember I chose a word and stick with it? I sure hope so. Here are a few ways I want to break this goal down, and they are not easy! Well, the first one isn't easy.

1) I'm having my husband change my facebook password so that he has to log me in. This will cut down on my computer time, aka major distractions, throughout the day. Here's hoping he doesn't use it for evil and write rude things online in my name. :)

2) Write one random, just because note per week. I am a huge supporter of the U.S. Postal Service because I love writing notes. I know that puts me in the minority, and I never expect mail in return, but I still love it. A surprise note in the mailbox is a day brightener and an easy present to give to friends and family near and far.

3) Since we went on a family vacation in lieu of any Christmas gifts under the tree, I made each kid a certificate saying that they are "The Kid of the Month" three months of the year. With four kids, alone time with a parent is a hot commodity, so I thought this would be a great way to be present with one kid at a time. Being kid of the month means that the kid gets one fun activity with mom, one fun activity with dad, and gets to choose a book to do a small book club with me for that month. Elliot is first and he chose an arcade with me and a movie with his dad so we'll get those dates on the calendar. We're still looking for a book to share.

A few goals and a word and I'm as ready for 2017 as I'll ever be. Let's do this, people!

Do you have a goal, resolution, or word? Let's hear about it!