Friday, December 31, 2010

Come On, 2011!!!!

I've never really been one for New Years Resolutions. I know I lack the discipline to keep them. But I can't help but have hope as this most awful year comes to a close and a new one looms around the corner with promise.

I wish I could make it a rule that no loved ones are allowed to die in 2011. But I already know that is a tough one that I don't have the power to inflict. And I do have a loved one who is battling cancer at this moment. So I know I need to thicken my hide and show all the love I can to that dear person for as long as I have to share with them.

I've been a total spaz this year, and rightly so. The changes have come as rapid as the emotions I feel while dealing with life in general. I'm not the same person I was a year ago. Certainly not the same person I was two years ago. I can't say that I 'm a better person, just a different person.

My house and the shape it is in has always reflected my emotions and the way I am looking at life in a particular day or week. I go through bouts of just not giving a damn, and my house gets all cluttered with stuff. And then suddenly I will start caring again and try to put Humpty Dumpty back together again, and then it gets overwhelming and I let it all go again.

I think my New Years Resolution ought to be to finish purging this house of stuff, and to dedicate a time daily to tend to housework. It's difficult to do this, though. Technically, I'm only here 3 hours a day, and when I get home from work, I'm totally spent.

But I want to find a better way. Whether it is changing jobs entirely, or cutting down on the hours I work at my current place of employ so that I actually have time for me and The Child. I need to do this. Something's gotta give. I can't keep juggling everything when I am emotionally and physically drained every day. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE my job. My coworkers are some of the most beautiful people I've ever met. And my patients are so dear to me. It's all of the administrative stuff that wears me to a nub.

2010 has been the shittiest year ever. If I had a time machine, I would go back to any year other than this one. There has just been too much loss and too many mountains to climb and too many emotions to work around.

I will try to take better care of my houseplants in 2011. The poor dears have been suffering at my hand this past year. I just don't have the attention span I had previously.

I want to finally finish the ceiling in my bedroom this next year, and paint my bathroom, and probably lay a new kitchen floor. Perhaps I should make a motto. Get 'er done in two oh one one!

I will try to be more positive and not let things shatter me like I allowed them to this year. After all, I can't stay on anti- anxiety meds forever. It's a bummer trying to remember to take them twice a day. And paying for regular doctor visits is only draining me financially. But hopefully I can claim all that and regain it back when I do taxes.

SO there you have it. I know there will be bad things in 2011. I know things will not become magically simple in this next year. But I will still look toward it with hope.

Happy New Year to all my loved ones who read my blog. You are all beautiful and very important. You all make a difference in my life and I would be lost without you!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

No one said life is fair.....

Had a patient call today who shares the exact same birthday as Hubby. I know it is just an ironic coincidence that is bound to happen now and again. But I needed someone to triage her symptoms and when Cindy asked how old the gal was, I almost said 44. Because she has the same birthday as Hubby. But, no, she got to turn 45. That hurts.

What a roller-coaster of a day! But I won't let it get me down.

Finding a better way

That's the Aurora Motto.
My life is in transition at the moment, and that is exactly what I am doing. Finding a better way.

I received the sweetest card from a patient yesterday. It means a lot to me that I have touched someone's life so deeply that they felt the need to send a card to me and say so.

I'm really going to miss my patients. But hey! I'll run into them at the grocery store, or at Gallery Walk, or the Dollar Tree.

I have a line on something promising. If this pans out, we're golden!
Will say more next week! Stay tuned!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

How Long Must I Be Prey To These Evil Grist Mongers?

That's a favorite saying of Hubby's. When it would all hit the fan, he would stand in the middle of the living room and say this with his arms in the air.

It totally hit the fan yesterday. The Child was lining up with his classmates to come in for recess, and he was goofing around with the kid in front of him - a pal of his - and he pretended to choke this friend. Well, of course the Playground Supervisor saw this as a violent act and reported it to the principal, who in turn reported it to the superintendent, who now feels The Child is a danger to his classmates and must be suspended for the remainder of 2010.

As if I'm not challenged enough trying to find someone to watch him during Christmas Break. Now, they've added even more of a challenge to this already difficult situation.

I told my boss yesterday that it is looking like I am going to have to quit my job and home-school my son. I told her that I had hoped to keep my foot in the door, working only two days a week, so that come September, I could re-enroll him into public school, but at the moment, there are no 2 day a week openings. She is going to talk to HR about it. But if I quit, I will have to give three weeks notice in order to keep any benefits that I have in order. Not that I have a lot of benefits. But I do have vacation time building. That's sort of a non-issue at this point, cuz I'm using it up quickly with all of these shenanigans.

I don't like feeling like I am undependable. And I really don't like feeling like I've been shoved into a corner with nowhere to turn. I feel the school system has failed my child terribly. And putting him in a class room with troubled children is only going to elevate the problems The Child already has. He's not a bad kid. He's been through much more than any child his age and they refuse to acknowledge that his anger comes from things beyond his control.

But if I don't do all that I as a parent can do for him, then I will have failed him as well.
I need to keep positive and know that this is the vow I have taken in life. When you give birth to a child, your heart tells you that you must protect that child forever no matter what the risk is to yourself.

And, hey! It's only money we'll be lacking in. And we do have resources at hand. I think it's for the best right now.

Do I sound like I'm talking myself into this? Well, I guess I sort of am. Its scary jumping into the unknown, even though I know we will be okay, and that I am perfectly capable of doing this. Neither one of us really got to take a proper break to really grieve the loss of Hubby. We've been just trying to tread water and keep going. There is so much we need to work out in our hearts and our minds and I think it is only proper that we do this as a team, The Child and me. We will walk through this fire and come out stronger, smarter, and better for it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Options

There are always options in life. I'm not very pleased with the ones set before me at the moment regarding The Child. But I am leaning toward pondering the notion of Homeschooling him. The poor kid is going through so much and the Oshkosh School system is less than charitable with their sympathy and understanding.

Once again, they want to slam - dunk him into an ED program. It is either that, or I remove him from their system and do it myself. They have me up against a wall. And in the words of Patrick Swayze, Nobody puts Baby into a Corner.

It might be possible for me to keep my foot in the door of my current work place and still do this. I've much pondering to consider yet.

No decisions will be made until after the Holiday Season.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Here we go.....

Today marks the anniversary of the day I lost a very good friend. Seven years ago, my dear friend Kathy suffered a major heart attack and passed away. Awful news to receive on my 40th birthday. And she wasn't much older than I am now.

And now, today, one of my favorite patients called to tell me that she has a form of cancer. It breaks my heart! I don't just help my patients, I LOVE my patients. They know that I walk that road beside them, sending hope and love along. This dear lady needs to fight like she has never fought before. For those of you who read my blog, please say a prayer for my dear friend and her family.

While Jim was walking his journey, this dear patient would stop by weekly to remind me that she was praying daily for him and my entire family. Her husband even joined us on the Aurora 5K Walk this past year in Team Brooks/Kuhr. And now.... let's just hope they caught it in time. I haven't read up much on the kind that she has. I sure do hope her odds are better than they had been to my family.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I never do well with Birthdays. You'd think I would be used to it by now. To me, they're all like mortality slapping me in the face, and THIS birthday is The Scary Birthday. The one each of my siblings have tip-toed through before me. This is the age that my mother passed away in. It scares the hell out of me.

On a positive note, I had three bananas that The Child failed to eat. As we speak, they are in the oven turning into yummy banana bread to be shared with my wonderful co-workers. I really do work with the best bunch of people. They are SO beautiful!!!

Tomorrow is also Donny Osmond's Birthday! Happy Birthday, You Hot Old Man!!! Many more to both of us, eh?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ah, That Holiday Crush

They call it "The Crush" because one finds themselves over-stressed with engagements, gift buying, family, deadlines, work, household, bills.....

I am to the point where all I want to do this year is stay home and make some mulled wine and get completely shit-faced and forget this holiday ever came to be.

My oldest son has me absolutely beside myself with anger. He refuses to move forward or open his eyes and see things the way the rest of us see them. So I guess I won't be seeing my grandson on his First Christmas. And at this point, I'm so angry, I don't even give a damn any more. I'm returning all the gifts I have purchased, and I'm turning off my phone and any social media whenever the mention of Christmas pops up.

I don't need this shit. This is my first Christmas without my husband. We spent 20 Christmases together. We had some beautiful traditions, and we muddled through the stress and bullshit together. And this year, it's ALL bullshit. And I don't need that in my life.

I have tried so hard to be supportive of my son in all that he is going through right now. Tried to offer a different point of view, given him a place to land while he gets his bearings, lent him money when it hit the fan, and loved him even when I felt his head was firmly implanted up his ass. And what do I get for all of this? A big fucking pile of negativity.

So Christmas is canceled in my book. No Kuhr Christmas. No Brooks Christmas. I'm through. Leave me the hell alone. I'm trying to get through this month in a positive manner and it's only slapping me in the face. I quit.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pictures or GTFO

I have neglected to post the "After" pictures here on my Blog of my Kitchen!
The counter used to have wire shelving on it to contain all of the crazy stuff that ends up in out in the kitchen. I decided that it is time for a more clean, down-scaled look to my counters.



This picture really shows how the ceiling color seemed to dictate what color the woodwork would be. It looks so clean and sunny! I love it!

I was going to bring that desk down to the basement, until I realized that after refinishing it a few summers ago, it is in much better shape than Grandma Ellie's Microwave Stand that had been in my kitchen for ages. So Grandma Ellie's Microwave Stand is now in the basement, and the desk is in the kitchen, which I think is a good thing. I still have easy access to my pen drawer without having to rearrange the entire world.



Yes, the Metal Island is back in the center of the kitchen. I'm not entirely happy about that, but it looked silly anywhere else I put it. And it is a wonderful surface for preparing meals or rolling out Christmas Cookies!

The Cabinet in the corner was originally in the Living Room. I need to make room for the Christmas Tree anyway, so I thought I may as well see how it looks in my kitchen for a while. I like that I put the Microwave on top of it. I feel I have easier access to the microwave with it more at eye level. And Jerry really likes having the Soda Fridge at his eye level.

I still haven't quite decided what to do with the Stove / Refrigerator wall and the Sink area. They still don't look all that great because I just haven't given them enough thought yet. But I will. And when I take action, I will post more pictures.

One thing that does make me happy is that I have removed the cabinet that sat between the stove and fridge. It's a nice cabinet for baking pans and such, and there really does need to be something between the stove and fridge so that the oven doesn't kill the fridge, but that thing is just too damned wide! I don't like making guests wiggle between the sink and stove to get to the bathroom. There needs to be proper access.

I don't think I'll accomplish much more on this project today. I'm quite sick. Sinusitis and pharyngitis have taken over in the past 24 hours and it's just crazy! I have never lost my voice before. EVER! And I don't understand how a bacterial illness can go as viral as this one has. All I did was work between two women who had it and blamm-o! It's crazy!

So, instead of going to a cookie exchange party as I had planned today, I will be off to the Quick Care for some antibiotics and a vaporizer. Yay.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's Pay It Forward Day

I am going to make a difference in someone's life today. There is a lot of sadness in the world today. The Birthday of someone's loved one, day two of hospice for a patient I know. It saddens me. And yet I always - ALWAYS - remember how blessed I am to have so many wonderful people in my life who have been willing to help make this journey worth taking.

It is my obligation to do something special for a random person today. To shatter their stress level if only for a portion of their day. Isn't that really why we are here on this earth any way?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Did I Say Painting Could Lead to Dancing?

Oh my! I woke up this morning, thinking about my kitchen and how nice it will look once I get it all put back together. And then Istarted thinking about how awful the floor looks. And how nice the kitchen would look with slate and berry colored tiles.... oh, this is truly endless!

I took a talley this morning and realized that I have already sunk $100 into painting alone. So if I DO redo the floor, I am going to be cost-conscious. No need to sink a bundle into it.

But that sounds like a great deal of backbreaking labor. I think I'll move onto the bathroom first and come back to the kitchen later. Maybe that will be my Christmas Gift to myself - flooring from Menards or Lowes. It does sound like a good January project.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there. I am thankful for so many loved ones in my life. I am thankful for my kids and my beautiful grandson Liam. For my family who have been so supportive of me on this journey. For my silly kitten who gets tutored tomorrow who presently is laying on my right hand, making it difficult to type ... but he's purring and looking oh so sweet. You'd never know he spent the night "in Jail" for being so sassy, allowing Miss Oc the luxury of snuggling me all night. Yes, I am blessed!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Light at the End of The Tunnel

I spent the majority of last night scrubbing away grease and grime, and patching the last wall of my kitchen. Wow. It was bad. But tonight, I decided to see if I could move the refrigerator by myself without having to get the Sliding Robots (a Godsend for anyone who loves to rearrange large furniture - available at Menards.) Well, it actually moved quite easily! That was exactly the second wind I was hoping to find in this project!
(The Last Wall!)

I finished patching behind the fridge, and waited an hour, and put primer on both those walls.
After an hour of watching The Walking Dead, I got out the yellow paint and got a coat of that on the wall as well tonight. Sadly, I'm now out of yellow paint. I'll need to stop at the Hardware store after we get Young Cracker to the Vet on Friday for his Tutoring Lesson.

(The first Wall. Yeah, I still need to organize yet)

I am so glad this project is nearing closure! I can spend the day Friday getting one more coat on this wall, and then I can start organizing and eliminating even more.

I needed this. Considering that a year ago today, we were on the worst part of Jim's Journey. That has been on my mind all day today. But it helps to have something to keep my hands busy and to feel a bit of success instead of feeling like I'm just treading water. Now would be a great time to post The Fanny Pack Song By Swim You Bastard, but alas, youtube has never heard of it. LOSERS!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Is it any wonder that I'm painting?

My November project is my kitchen. It seems to be taking forever. It started with me thinking about finally replacing the ceiling tiles that were so worn and ugly that it looked more like Grey Gardens. Which lead to painting and scrubbing, and scrubbing and painting. My kitchen has some redeeming qualities, but also some very bad qualities, and I'm afraid it's gone down hill through the years because Hubby and I could never agree on what to do to improve it. And because it was his domain, I left it be for many many years.

So now, I am diving in and taking it in chunks. I can only paint one wall at a time because there is too much stuff in there. And as I go, I am cleaning and eliminating so much stuff. I've cleaned out the pantry for the second time since Hubby passed away and came out with two more bins of stuff to eliminate. It's endless. Painting woodwork leads to washing and re-hanging curtains. Taking down the spice rack lead to scrubbing each container. It just keeps on going.

I am on the last wall now. The wall where the stove and fridge live. Wow. I saved the worse for last. It's pretty grubby back there beneath the appliances. And I found 3 of Hubby's favorite knives laying behind the stove as well as old containers of spices, giant dust bunnies and a mountain of grease. Well, okay,maybe not a mountain, but definitely hills! It's going to take a lot of scrubbing before I can get to the actual painting part of this wall. It's quite yucky. But I need to keep mindful of how wonderful it is going to be when it is finished. And hopefully I will get the painting part completed on Friday.

I keep trying to picture the completed project. Keeping my eye on the prize. I'm not going to sink much money into this project. I just want it to be a clean and scaled down kitchen. It;s getting there.

I'm grateful for such a project, though. It is great therapy. Especially for this time of year.
And the rewards will be my sanity and a sparkling clean kitchen!

Top 10 things I hate about this Holiday Season

This is an especially tough time for me. They say the holidays are an especially difficult time for a person grieving the loss of a loved one. They're not kidding. I've upped my meds and I'm still a fecking roller-coaster of emotion.

So here they are. My Top Ten (today, at least) reasons why I hate this holiday season.


10. The Andy / Lindsey Drama that is creating great havoc in an already stressed family. The childish lying and fighting and name calling and careless hurting of people that I love is pushing all of us to the brink of canceling Christmas altogether.

9. Christmas Music. Every time I hear O Holy Night or any other song that Jim and I sang in the church choir, I want to find a bathroom and just have an emotional melt-down.

8. The Duality of it all. Last year the Holiday season was a blur of sadness and stress. This year, there is the stress of the here and now, but there is also the oh too vivid flashbacks to last year as well.

7. Shopping for gifts has always been a difficult thing for me. I never know what to buy anyone and I always fear that they will think I'm a lame gift giver. I don't have Hubby's input this year. Even though he hated Christmas Shopping more than I do, we got through it. This year, I'm on my own to fend off the attitudes of other shoppers and store clerks.

6. Passing a Christmas Tree Lot that we used to buy our Christmas Trees from each year. I always hated having a real tree, but Hubby always insisted on a real one, and somehow, he always managed to make hunting for one a special event. It was the furthest thing from my mind tonight, when suddenly, I went past the tree lot and had to hold back tears.

5. Seeing so many wonderful gifts that I could buy for Hubby were he still here. For years we didn't buy each other gifts because we never had the cash once we finished buying for every one else on our list. It was only in the past few years that I insisted that we start buying each other meaningful gifts, and I think it helped us to get through the holidays with our sanity intact because we were looking forward to seeing the look on each others faces when exchanging gifts.

4. I won't be able to watch It's a Wonderful Life or Holiday Inn without crying my eyes out. I had never seen It's a Wonderful Life before I met Hubby. Our first Christmas together, we picked out The Christmas Tree From Hell. It was so awful, we had to wire the top of it to the wall so it wouldn't fall over! As we were decking the tree, It's a Wonderful Life came on TV and it instantly became a tradition to deck our tree while that movie was on. And Holiday Inn is one of those movies that we always searched for late at night and stayed up watching it while snuggling on the couch together. This year is gonna SUCK!

3. Jerry doesn't believe in Santa any more. My baby has had to grow up so fast in the past year and it just breaks my heart.

2. Gin from Lakeview Cemetery called me tonight while I was on my way home from work. I let it go to voice mail, but listening to the voice mail, I had to choke back tears because she was inviting us to a vigil at the mortuary where everyone who has lost a loved one this year is supposed to bring an ornament and place it on their tree in honor of that loved one. How the hell am I supposed to go and mingle with a bunch of grieving strangers and retain some dignity?

1. My Grandbaby's First Christmas is also my first Christmas without my husband. I hate that more than anything. Especially with things being so messed up in his life right now.

I know, I know. This sounds like one hell of a Pity Party. But this is reality. I am trying so hard to press forward and keep positive. I don't want to drag The Boy down into depression as well.
I think next year, The Child and I are going to go into seclusion - at least for Thanksgiving. I just don't want to walk this road year after year. We're gonna shake it up and do something different. These are survival tactics and we need them!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Painting can only lead to dancing....

I have been painting my kitchen slowly but surely for the past few weekends. It is quite a project because I have so much furniture in that room.

It just makes sense to pull stuff away from one wall at a time, paint the wall, paint the trim, give it a second coat, sometimes a third, and then move on to the next wall.

That in itself sounds like a big project. But it is also leading to many other big projects. It prompted me to clean out my pantry and part with two more big boxes of stuff that we will never use.

And it lead to cleaning out the cat boxes and a total scrub down of the floor beneath, and re-organizing the kitty litter supplies.

And now, I'm thinking about completely swapping out furniture in there. That room is so crowded and uninviting. But if I move the big cabinet into the dining room, that will be major work as well. Do I have it in me? My back is already threatening to rebel on me. And will I be happy with the result?

And I REALLY ought to disassemble the window and take it in for repair. But that would be a real pain to do.

Ah, decisions, decisions! But I have a 3 day weekend to ponder / accomplish some goals!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Duality

It's November already. Crazy.
Things have been quite stressful at work lately. There are a lot of rapid changes in progress right now and I REALLY don't need any more change in my life right now.

There are days when I feel like I'm on a plane of duality. I could tell you exactly where I was and what I was doing a year ago today, and I can tell you what I have planned for tomorrow all at the same moment. It's tough because I know I need to try to stay positive and keep going forward.

So I'm passively looking for a different job. There's not much out there right now, unless I want to work all hours of the day and night or do seasonal stocking for Christmas. But it IS nice to know that I could chuck it all to the wind and take some low paying job and still have spouse's benefits to fall back on if my income were to go lower than what I make right now.

In the mean time, thanks to Sis-in-Law Tania, I have new tiles up on the ceiling in my kitchen. That needed to be done five years ago, but Hubby and I could never agree on how much effort we wanted to put into repairing the kitchen and what direction to take. He wanted to go modern hi-tech and I wanted to stay with the old-world charm of the house. So now it's just me. I guess I get to do it my way. Now if only I could decide on colors!!! (I think I'm narrowing it down!).

Just having a new ceiling in that room makes a world of difference. It feels cleaner and healthier. But it makes the walls look ancient! Can't wait to get to painting! But there is a lot of patching to be done first.

So it's off to the Hardware store this morning again. I'm surprised they don't all yell "Hey! Brenda's here!" They all ought to know me by name by now! But I'm glad that I have so many projects to complete. It keeps me sane!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Wizards, Whiskey and Whatnot

I went out to the pub last night. It was the first time in 20 years I've been out on Halloween Weekend. Hubby never liked crowds.

Crazy Ivan was playing down at Surf City and I really wanted to see my Brother-in-law belt out some great tunes while wearing a Gnome Costume and I was not disappointed in the least! They sounded amazing and their costumes were so cute it was a shame they weren't included in the costume contest!

I love that so many people put so much thought into their costumes! There was a Little Red Riding Hood and a Big Bad Wolf, Mister Dick Head, The Queen of Hearts, a female Fire Fighter... just too cute! My sis was a Chocolate Covered Bon- Bon, and my son was at least for one night, a Doctor! Well, okay, he was a Gyno Doctor, but a Doctor none-the-less!

I was a Gypsy. A Pikey Traveler. An easy costume to put together with stuff I had in the house.

It's really a shame that Hubby didn't like crowds, because he loved live music, and he would have been so proud of his brother! Jay and his band are amazing! The range of songs they do is fabulous.

Each time I hear them do Diamonds and Rust, it brings me back to the days when our band was still playing. It's hard to believe it's been ten years since then. I traded in my microphone for my Jerry, and have no regrets about that. But because of those "Good Old Days", I am blessed with an extended family that I would never trade for anything.

So.... it's nearly one in the afternoon, and I'm sitting here in my jammies and hubby's housecoat. Normally that would sound appalling, but we were up until five, allowing Myke and Rick time to sober up enough to drive. My big accomplishment for the day will be taking The Child Trick-or-Treating. And then maybe a late nap! Heh!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Note To Self for Next Halloween....

I really didn't want to wait until the 11th hour to get around to carving pumpkins.
And yet here I am, two nights before Halloween, and I finally carved the first of 3 pumpkins.

A few things I would like to remind myself next year....
Don't leave the pumpkins on the porch and bring them in and start carving right away. My hands were FREEZING!!!!!

I need to remember to bring them inside to warm up a bit first!

Another thing to remember is that I'm too damned old to sit on the kitchen floor to do this!
I felt like a gimp trying to stand up and not touch anything with my gooey pumpkin hands!

But then again, We've made many changes here in the past few months. Maybe by this time next year I will have decided that I want a table in the kitchen again. Who knows?

I also want to remember the cool ideas that I found on the This Old House web site about carving decorative pumpkins. I've lost ambition this year already, but it would be cool to try.

Also, The Child isn't so much into the carving portion of pumpkin carving as he enjoys helping to design them and seeing the finished product. And thank heaven for that! I don't really like the idea of him using a giant knife!!!

He also says he likes pumpkin seeds.... but I know he will only sample a few and I can share the rest with my loved ones!

Happy Halloween every one!

I actually get to go out to a bar tomorrow night and see my Bro-in-Law's band play!
I am so excited about this! I haven't been to a bar on Halloween Weekend in 20 years!
It's gonna be a blast!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Boy on the Bus

So this kid gets on the bus today. He's about 7 feet tall, built like a refrigerator, and he's wearing electric blue shorts, an Apple Red T-Shirt, with a plaid jacket.

I'm thinking "Hmmm.Going for the super hero look today,Bud?"

And then he sits down and pulls out a comic book to read!

Am I psychic or what? LOL!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Where did my Get-up-and Go go?

Wow! It was a nice weekend!
I didn't get a lot accomplished around the house, but I had a fire last night with family and friends.
It was a nice night to sit out back and enjoy the sounds of nature - unfortunately, Octavia's endless hunting of a baby bunny provided most of those sounds of nature!

My friend Robin just became a grandma for the second time today. Little Amaia is going to bring joy to a family who truly deserves to have some joy right now.

We went shopping today and found matching collars for our kitty's. Leopard print looks great on both of them! Oc is actually accepting it better than Cracker. He is not a happy boy. But it's a good distraction for him. He spends most of his time trying to wrestle with Octavia. And I think he outweighs her by a good 4 pounds - and he's only 5 months old! He's gonna be a BIG kitty!
Funny thing is, when The Child went to fetch the kittys to put on their collars, they were both upstairs sleeping on his bed! Hmmmm.

Now that I take time to ponder, though, I guess I did accomplish some good things this weekend. As well as some housework, I chopped down half of my grapevines because they were clinging to a cable wire. In the high winds we got last week, they were really whipping around. I'll be sad to have to chop the rest down in just a few weeks, but I know I need to if I want to get a new coat of stain on those steps before winter.

The crappy thing is, I'm getting a cold on top of all the other health issues I've been wrestling with. I know it's just the stress of September. Too many things to reflect on. I wish I could just hibernate this entire month. Maybe I ought to consider going to Ireland next September. Drown my sorrows at an Irish pub. Feed on greasy food, stay in a nice B&B.... maybe even a restored public castle! That would be cool. We'll see.

Here's to hoping this next week goes by in a blur. No drama. No tears.

Hugs!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Mom would have been 72 today. That is, had she lived beyond 47.
It may seem odd to some that we decided to plan a family gathering for today. After all, it's not her 50th, 60th or 70th. But with all that we've been walking through this past year, this is the best time to get together and enjoy the company of our loved ones.

It was a great turnout too! We had siblings, children of siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins. Awesome!

I only wish I were feeling better so that I could have tipped a few for the heavens. But that just wasn't in the cards today. My body has been rebelling all week what with all of the stress I've been trying to manage since this month began. Of all things, I'm passing kidney stones! Who'da thunk!?

It must be all the soda I've been drinking lately. I hadn't touched soda in ages, except for the occasional mix drink. But lately, it's becoming a bad habit again. But of course, they also list stress as a cause for kidney stones. Heh.

It was nice catching up with the Aunties, tho. We don't get to see them often enough. They are all beautiful as ever, inside and out.

And The Child was wonderfully patient with me. I hadn't planned to stay as long as we did. Grandma was going to take him for the day, but I said "Oh, that's okay. We won't stay long". Six hours later, we finally left for home! I told #1 Son that I don't think I've spent six hours in a pub drinking soda since I was twelve!

We need to get together on a regular basis. We've talked often about gathering at Nigl's one Saturday a month. I think we need to make a conscious effort to do just that. It was fun. And you can't beat the free food! Maybe we ought to start bringing side dishes!

Happy Birthday, Mom. I still miss you. I miss the conversations we would have over games of 500 Rummy. And the theatrically comical look on your face when you'd win. I miss the way you looked at the world. You were so beautiful. I'll bet you and Jim are having some great conversations about me and the rest of the family. Please excuse his cuss words. That's just the way he is. Hus mouth is foul, but his heart is pure. I know you'll love him just as much as I do, and vise- versa. I hope he hugs you for me often!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Almost 21 years

September 16th would have been Jim & My 10th Wedding Anniversary. It's been a hard (Week/ Month / Year - hell, choose one and go with it!) here at Kuhrsville. Along with all of the many things happening, I also find myself reflecting on all of the wonderful memories that Jim gave me.

We met in 1989, in Myke Miller's basement. My dear friend Sandy invited me to go and see their band practice that night. I was engaged to someone else at the time, but that relationship was going south at that moment. I was getting the notion that my fiance was seeing somebody else from work, and he was treating both me and young Andy like we were excess baggage. So it felt good to get out for the night and get drunk and sing my heart out. I truly had myself a case of the blues!

As the night progressed, everybody was starting to lose their ability to play their instruments, so we packed it in for the night and went upstairs to party. I found myself spending most of the night talking with Jim. We had a lot in common, and as you know, no one could hold a conversation better than Jimmy! I kept thinking to myself "This guy is SO SWEET! And I am engaged to SUCH an ASSHOLE!" It made me go home and really re-evaluate my relationship, and hit the problems head-on.

My fears were confirmed. My fiance was indeed interested in a new co-worker, and wanted me out of his life so that he could get together with her. It was a hard but clean break-up. I kept a positive outlook, and was ready to start a new life on my own. (He married her 6 months later, and she divorced him the next year. Karma!)

But then, a few months later, Sandy again called me and said "Can you get a babysitter this weekend? Doug Nelson said he was going down to Slade's."

My response was "I'll go, but only if Doug invites his friend Jim along."

Poor Jimmy didn't stand a chance! Wherever I sat, my friends made sure the seat beside me was the only one available to him. And before long, he fell prey to my charms and asked me for my number.

Our first official date was on September 16, 1989. From there, it was full speed ahead. I had a major crush on him. Hell, he was so damn CUTE! And he had the sexiest phone voice ever. But I think what really made me fall hard for him was when he brought his guitar over and was playing for me. I noticed that when he was really concentrating hard on what he was playing, he'd stick his tongue out the side of his mouth like a little puppy. Stick a fork in me. I wanted to keep him forever!

The band was definitely an added bonus to our relationship. I had always wanted to sing in a band and make the songs I'd written come to life. And everyone quickly became just like family. I'd give a kidney to any one of them if they needed one. There was always music, laughter and a lot of love when we got together.

After most couples live together for 11 years, they pretty much figure that's the arrangement for life. But Jim and I never did follow the text book on anything. After a surprise pregnancy, and then having a miscarriage at 4 months along (they say once you get past 3 months you're safe from those - but not for me), we had decided that we really needed to try again and have a baby, and do it the right way. So we started planning for both a baby and a wedding. And lo and behold, the anniversary of our first date just happened to fall on a Saturday that year!What a perfect date for a wedding!

It was a small wedding. Only close friends and family were invited. We didn't care about the cards or gifts. We just wanted to share our day with our loved ones. And it was perfect.... well... almost. The sound system went haywire at the church during our ceremony and I had to run back and fix the control panel. And our unity candle didn't want to light....and our Best man almost passed our cold on the altar.... but all in all, we were so happy, nothing could rain on our parade.

We took great care in choosing the music for our wedding. We had the German version of Ave Maria to walk down the aisle to. And we wanted a song by Tuck and Patti to exit the ceremony to. After combing through hundreds of favourites, we both agreed on this one:



It seemed to say it all for us.

I was thinking about this song this morning at work and had to stop myself. For me, it reminds me just how dearly Jim really loved me. I could be the biggest bitch in the world, but he still stood beside me, willing to work it all out and make things better. He angered me so often, and yet he could turn around and be the most loving and beautiful person I had ever encountered.

Our last anniversary together was not a good one. Although it was filled with love, it was also filled with a lot of fear. Jim had his spleenectomy on the 9th (Yes, Marty, you picked a bad day to leave us). That was just one week prior to our anniversary. Once again, I had almost lost him to poor health. And our anniversary was filled with doctor appointments and post-op visits.

He had to see the urologist that day as well. And as we rode the elevator down to the parking lot, he said "Damn! She stuck her finger up my butt too!"

My response was "She Did? Well Happy Anniversary, Honey!"


The saddest part about losing someone you've spent 21 years with is that even though time does heal, it also moves you further along the time-line from that point that the two of you had together. It creates a distance from everything that the two of you shared. Life goes on and changes sometimes subtly and sometimes in drastic ways, but it keeps evolving until that common point in time that you shared with your loved one no longer exists in the present. I think that's what hurts the most. I know I'll keep going. I know there will someday be romance in my life again. But if I had my druthers, I'd find a worm hole and jump back in time and savour every moment with him.

I refuse to spend Thursday feeling sorry for myself. I'm going to go to work and keep busy, and I already have plans to go out for dinner and drinks with my sisters. They have been so amazing and supportive on this journey. I would be so lost without them.

So Happy Anniversary, Love. I know from all of the many signs that you're watching over me. Thank you for all those crazy years with you. Thank you for loving me when you should have just had me committed. For taking care of me and letting me think it was the other way around. For all of the amazing conversations we shared. For all of your fabulous meals and for every bottle of wine we shared. For sharing your uber-amazing friends with me. For helping to raise my Andy with all the love that a true father could give, and for helping me to create our Jerry who is the driving force for me to keep going forward. I really am very blessed.

Friday, September 10, 2010

So Long, Old Friend

Yesterday, I had to say goodbye to a dear friend that I've known nearly half my life. How does one write a loving tribute to someone who has left such a mark on one's life? I met Marty the same night that I met the love of my life. And who'd have thunk that they would meet in heaven 21 years later in less than 6 months?

We don't live in the greatest neighborhood in town, but for the many years that Marty and Kim lived just up the street, this place was a much warmer place to be. We'd be invited to their kids birthday parties surrounded by their family, and it always left us feeling honored to be included.

I remember years ago sitting at Field's Restaurant listening to Marty telling us that he was going to start a Karaoke Business and thinking "But Marty! Karaoke's a fad! It can't last!" Boy was I wrong! Karaoke allowed him and his beautiful wife to feed their family all these many years and to help them afford a beautiful home that anyone would be proud to live in. He was a visionary and once he made his mind up about something, it didn't matter if someone played the devil's advocate. Your negative fears weren't going to burst his bubble. Where there's a will, there's a way, and Marty always found that way.

He had a very warped sense of humor which offended some, but endeared many. He was always willing to speak his mind, but he did it with a sense of humor so you had to listen, laugh, and then think "No shit! you've really got a point!"

A good 5 years ago, I had decided that I wanted to walk off my weight. Marty volunteered to be my walking buddy. We'd walk for an hour each day, and got further and faster with each week. And as we walked, we got to hold a lot of conversations. He'd say "I like this! When we come over to visit, you don't always say much cuz Jimmy and I are too busy talking. Now, I'm getting to hear your point of view on stuff too." And then suddenly, he'd run off behind some stranger's house to take a quick leak, and we'd be on our way walking again. What a nut!

At a time when Jim was feeling restless with the direction his life was going, Marty got him out in a restaurant cooking for the masses. Although there was a great deal of drama through that ordeal, Jim was able to make some new friends that would prove to be truly caring people, and working there gave Jim a renewed sense of purpose. Jim always wanted to open his own restaurant, and in working with Marty, he learned more than he thought he could. And of course he was thrilled to know that he was able to teach Marty a few good cooking tricks as well. They made a great team.

Life-long friends that they were, they loved talking about the old days, and spent a great deal of time playing music they shared a deep common interest in. To some, T-Rex and Pink Floyd had great mainstream hits. To Jim and Marty, those mainstream hits were crap. It was the rest of the albums that were gold. They could sing every word of Pink Floyd's "Careful with that Ax, Eugene", and would then ponder for hours about what was going through Marc Bolan's mind when he wrote various T-Rex songs they listened to repeatedly. I really never understood the T-Rex thing. But they did.

Our door has always been open to friends and family, and Marty often took advantage of that policy, showing up at all hours for a good cup of coffee. If there was none ready, I gladly made some. He'd sip his coffee, catch up on what was new with us, fill us in on his day's goals, then stand, fart, and vacate the premisis. That was the magic of Marty.

He loved a good prank. And I can think of many - one of which that still makes me giggle, but I simply cannot share with the general public. But it involves an Ab-Lounger. Poor Jimmy!

Marty was a man of tradition as well. One Memorial Day, years back, His good friend Herman said he was going to be out at the park with his kids. Marty and Kim packed up a picnic basket and joined him for a lovely day. That quickly turned into what Marty coined as "Hermanfest". Each year it grows bigger and bigger. Loved ones would always be welcome to join. I hope this tradition continues. Marty would want that. It was hard for me to go this year without Jim at my side, but I am so glad that I did.

Along with his silly side, there was also a beautiful devoted friend side to Marty. The first time Jim had his Hemalitic Anemia, it was Marty and Kim to the rescue, racing us off to the emergency room. And they stayed until things were sorted and he was on his way back to recovery. And the off-color jokes that Marty and Doug made in that little emergency exam room helped Jim to regain focus.

When Jim grew ill this last time, I know how much it saddened all of us, and still, I could count on all of our good friends to help. Marty was always so busy keeping his own life moving and shaking, but was never too busy to lend a hand. If only we could have known during the Benefit that Marty and Kim and so many loved ones put on for Jim that six months later..... It's just too absurd to even comprehend! And even though it wasn't the intention, without the funds raised at that benefit, I would still be paying for Jim's funeral.

After Jim passed, I know it was hard for Marty to stop in here for a cup of coffee. And yet he still did on occasion just to see how I was doing. Out of the blue one day, he said "You have to marry again. And don't wait forever. Do it soon. Jim doesn't want you to be alone. Don't worry about what friends and family say. You deserve to be happy." It was a very unexpected conversation, but I really appreciate that it took place.

This past Sunday night, on a whim, my sister Barb and I decided to go out. The Boathouse was supposed to have a live band, and it sounded like fun. But when we got there, the band canceled due to rain. So while we sat there having a cocktail, for some reason, I decided to text Marty and see if there was a Karaoke show going on. He told us to come on down to PJ's.

My sis and I had a fun time there, and Marty wouldn't let me leave without singing a song or two, even though I warned him that I am way out of practice.

Before we left, I gave him a big hug and a kiss on the cheek and told him I love him. I am so glad I got the chance to do that now. Maybe there was an angel whispering in my ear that night. I never dreamed that 4 days later he would be gone.

But he lived to ride on that silly scooter. It was one of his passions. And if he had to choose what way he would leave this world, it would have been this way. For those of us who are forced to say good-bye so soon to him, it is a difficult journey. We can mourn our loss, but we cannot mourn for him. Marty lived a wonderful life filled with joy and love. He deserves to be exemplified and celebrated.

Hugs to you, Marty. And God Speed. Give Jimmy a kiss for me. I know you'll do it full- on- the lips!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Don't pop my Balloon!!!!!!

This past week has been challenging to say the least.
Work was absolute mayhem day after day. And then I would get to come home to more drama.

Did I mention in my former post that just when I think things are going great someone would take the wind out of my sails? Well, guess what? Once again, I'm not disappointed.

Just let me say that NO ONE - Not you, or you, or YOU are allowed to judge me or the shape that my house is in until you actually learn how to make a real relationship last for more than 20 years, and then have to watch that love of your life slowly die and then find yourself alone in a house filled with everything that the love of your life adored and are left with the task of wading through all of that stuff with the intent of minimalizing it all and assembling some sort or organization to it all. This is the hardest task ever put to me. And it has to be me. I can't let someone else decide what stays and what goes, what is garbage and what is rummage.

And atop of all that, I am also trying to work full time, and am also trying to build a new life here for me and Jerry. I can't do that if I'm wading through memories and tears every day. We need to look forward some before we can look back. I dance to my own rhythm these days. I do things in my own time. And if that's not good enough for some people, then kiss my ass.
As Jim always said, "If you want to come visit with me, come on over! But if you want to come look at the house, then come when we're gone!"

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Autumn is Looming

The days are getting cooler now. And I guess I really don't mind so much. The cooler weather motivates me to accomplish more. When it is stifling hot, I end up mostly laying on the couch with the laptop thinking about the stuff I ought to be accomplishing and then when I would get up and try to accomplish them, I'd start sweating.... and then along comes a hot flash and I sweat even harder, and I feel like a big disgusting sweat puddle! It's awful!

Now that it's cooler, my house is getting cleaner, my yard is more organized, the cardboard in my garage has been charred away in the burn pit, and I'm making headway.

Life keeps chugging along here. Just when I think I'm on an upswing, and am able to look to the future, something or someone comes along and pulls the rug out from under me. It's a slow process,but I'll get there.... wherever the hell there is.

With all of the challenges that I have faced in the past year, and even those ongoing challenges, I am trying to keep a positive attitude. Life is something you must embrace and be a full participant in. If you don't, it keeps going, but with less flavour.

The Child starts school next week. That causes me great anxiety. It turns out he'll be going to the school up the street again after all. But there will be a new principal, and hopefully she will be worth her salt. Last year's was the worst ever! I told The Child that we need to be positive about this. He can and will do the work and walk the walk. I may need to double up on anxiety meds to get through this, but I won't let my child down. He's a neat kid and deserves a fair shake at life. I want him to feel like he can achieve anything if he wants it badly enough. Because that really is how the world works.

I got to see Son #1 play in a Battle of the Bands this past weekend. What a proud moment for me! And I know Hubby was cheering from the heavens for him as well. And #1 Son invited The Child to attend. He was sooooo flattered that his big brother invited him to be a part of something major in his life. That's really cool!

There's a lot of love surrounding me. I'm pretty damn lucky!

Now.... time to get more Ninja on this house and whip it into better shape!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

First Annual Sisters Weekend

My sisters and I have been trying to get away and let 'er rip for at least a year now.
We had plans to do this last year, but before we could solidify plans, Hubby had his spleenectomy, and, well, of course it was all down hill from there.

But this year, instead of planning for months, my sis asked me a few weeks ago if I was up for doing this some time in September. I said no. September holds too many anniversaries of major events in my life and I don't know that I'll be up to partying. So I asked if they would be up to it in August, and even though Cousin Terri backed out of the plans, my 2 sisters and I went ahead with it.

We booked a suite at the Copper Leaf Hotel and what a room it was! Very comfortable, clean and accommodating! And the staff is impeccable!

After we checked in, I realized that I had forgotten to pack something to wear in the whirl pool. So we simply had to go shopping! I've never been to Kohls, and I found some very cute stuff on sale there, but no swim suit. So, we went to Walmart and found a suit, and some booze and munchies for our room!

By the time we had our shopping completed, we were all starving, so we headed to Good Company for dinner. They make a very good Cajun Steak there. And we all also tried a "Fantasy Island" which is rum, blue curacao and some other booze. It was a bit tart for my liking.

After dinner, we came back to our room for a cocktail while we got dressed up for the night.

With Bonnie's car, safely tucked in for the night, we headed on foot to the pubs of College Avenue.

Our first stop was The Durty Leprechaun. I think this could become my new favourite pub.
When we arrived, we found that the bartenders have uniforms to compliment the Irish motif of the pub. Very cute. And one bartender in particular has a real flair for mixing drinks and was quite entertaining (click on the link for a video!). By nine, it was time for a shift change, though. The replacements were two young gals wearing short plaid skirts, and tank tops.... the men REALLY packed the place at that time!
Sorry for the poor clarity of the photos, they were taken with my cell phone and I was trying to be discreet!

We headed next to The Bad Badger. A newer pub that wasn't nearly as busy and didn't really impress me much.

Cleo's is a very fun place. There are millions of Christmas ornaments and decorations and lights hanging from the ceiling which really creates a fun atmosphere.

The place was packed, and the crowd was much more around our age. But because it was so packed, it was also hard to get a bartender's attention. Not fun. But we did get a laugh out of all the men who were casually dressed in flippies which accentuated the fact that they often wear shorts with socks in the sun because the tan ends there! Sexy! Sister Barb coulda got lucky there!

Throughout the night, Bonnie and I took turns taking pictures and texting Cousin Terri. She couldn't join us, but she got a play-by-play description of every silly moment of the evening.

After we left Cleo's, we went over to Park Central to see if there was music worthy of dancing to. By this time of night, people are coming into full swing, and the crowd both inside and outside of Park Central were wholly entertaining! (As was the Subway Employee who happened to be outside smoking. He told me about the dance club up the street and said they actually have poles on the dance floor!)

As we went to leave Park Central, there was a chubby gal standing outside with a group who was wearing a tight short skirt and fish net stockings. I said to Sister Bon "So,do you think I could pull that off?"

Without missing a beat, she says "Well, you could, but she might fight you!"

Next, I was determined to go to said dance place and make Sister Barb do a pole dance, but Sister Bon decided it was whirl pool time instead. So we headed up to our room, poured a shitload of rum into a 2 liter Pepsi bottle, and headed down to the whirlpool!

It was a great way to wind down the evening.

Silly Cousin Terri thought she was waking me by texting replies at 7:30 this morning, but I was already awake and contemplating the day ahead!

We lazed around for a few hours watching HGTV, and whinging that our coffee maker didn't work. Once we all showered, we headed down to our complimentary breakfast, which wasn't bad. And they had 8 different selections of coffee for us! Yay!!!

Then, it was off to Gordman's because Barb and I had never been there before. I spent far too much money shopping this weekend, but damn it, this is a splurgy weekend, and I couldn't resist the cute clothes!

At about that time, my great lack of sleep was starting to catch up with me, so I was glad we were all ready to head home!

Special thanks to Andy and Lindsey for watching The Child for me so that I could get away for a much needed break! All three of us desperately needed this weekend, and it was well worth it!

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Beading Fool

Been working on making a good selection of necklaces to bring in to work to sell to my co-workers. I'm almost there. It's an obsession. It's good therapy. They're shiny.

I discovered Wednesday night that I have a total of 9 - count them - NINE bananas. So last night I baked 3 loaves of my famous Banana Bread and brought them in to work today to share with my beloved co-workers. And now, tonight, I'm making yet another 3 loaves to give to my beloved family. Baked with love. And yummy special ingredients that make it extra fattening and tasty!

I'm thinking I may need to find myself a steady babysitter for Friday nights. I find myself missing Jim the most on Friday nights. It's crazy. There are a million week nights when I am home and have time to think, but there is just something about Fridays that strike the sadness chord in me. Maybe if I had plans to be out and about, I wouldn't have so much time to be sad. I don't want to be sad.

And where the hell did my favourite Collective Soul CD get off to? Did someone borrow it? If you did, please bring it back cuz I miss it desperately!

Interestingly enough, something else that I discovered missing has returned. I was correct in my suspicians. Some people you just can't trust. Don't ask me to elaborate on this one. It's between them and God long as I'm sorted.

So... I'd best get back to my beading. I'm in an orange mood lately. Orange is shiny.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Been Busy

Hi all. It's been a difficult week here at Kuhrsville.
Tuesday marked the 3 month anniversary of Hubby's passing, and it was also his birthday.
He would have been 45. That just really sucks. I remember my 45th birthday because he made it so special for me. It's not fair!

So I've started a new project - more as a means to occupy my mind this week. A Sanity Project, if you will. And I am really liking the results!

My Living Room has been a Terra Cotta Orange for the past eight years. And I have liked it well enough through out these years. But since Jim has passed away, I find myself avoiding my Living Room. It's dark. It's gloomy. It needs some life to it! Something HAPPY!

I always have a difficult time choosing a good green paint. They always come out looking like
mint taffy and I JUST HATE IT! But this week, I went to the hardware store and took a look at their pre-mixed colours, and I found one called New Orleans. I painted a little sample of it on my Loving Room wall and stood back to look at it. Not bad.

So I let it sit for an hour, contemplating it now and again. Then, I grabbed my camera, took a picture, and sent it to three trusted loved ones for their real opinion. The vote was unanimous! And so, New Orleans it is!


I am REALLY loving how cheery it makes the room! And my poor battered plants look more vibrant with this new colour as well (The new kitten sure has been giving them all quite a beating!).

I still have one massive corner to complete yet. You know, the one where the Entertainment Center is. That puppy is HEAVY! And I need to take out all of the millions of books before I can move it, or it will snap in half! I figure that will be a good project for tomorrow morning.

Lots of plans brewing for this holiday weekend. I probably won't have this project completed until later next week. But that's okay. As I said, it's a sanity project. Just what I needed. I especially need this project to be a success so that I can build up my Home Improvement confidence for my next, even larger project.... The Bedroom Ceiling! Now THAT will take muscle AND talent! But I've finally got my favourite girlie drill charged up and ready to handle the task!

By the way.... for those of you who aren't quite warming up to the new living room colour... I am betting Hubby would have agreed with you. He hated the Terra Cotta at first too, but it grew on him. I can't help it. I think there's a spanish woman somewhere in side of me who is dying to get out and decorate a villa somewhere! Just wait until you see my back hall! (cue evil laughter!).

Have a happy and safe holiday weekend!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ah, It's Father's Day

It's a Bittersweet day around this neck of the woods.
My #1 Son is celebrating his first Father's Day as a Dad. And that is quite awesome.
He is a wonderful daddy. Not all men take to fatherhood in the way that we would hope.
Some keep a distance both emotionally and physically. Not my son. He is hands on and
filled with love for that little darling. And it really shows in Liam himself. He is such a happy and intelligent little guy. He gets so much love and attention from Mommy and Daddy that he feels confident and ready to enjoy all that the world holds for him.

As for Son #2 and myself, we are so blessed to have such thoughtful friends in our lives.
Myke took us out to the cemetery so that Jerry could visit his Dad. And then, we visited both of his Grandfathers as well.

It makes me sad to think of how much Hubby will miss out on with Son #2. No silly Father's Day gifts of crazy discount ties, clay ash trays, home made cards. And all the hugs that The Child would gladly give him were he still here.

The Child has been welded to my hip these days. Definitely Separation Anxiety. It's understandable. First he watched his father slowly perish, and then he watched his kitty perish. I don't know quite how to get him over that separation anxiety other than by reassuring him that I am not leaving him any time soon if I have my way. But it's a bit frustrating for me too. A Gal can't even step out in the back yard for a minute without coming back inside to find the Child in a panic thinking I had just up and left. It is just SO irrational! I would NEVER just up and leave!

The VNA Grief Social Worker comes this Tuesday. I will need to talk to her about this and see what she suggests. Do I just get on with things as normal and ignore it? Or do I let him know my every move? And if I do that, am I just feeding his phobia? And why don't they make Children's Chewable Xanax? I can see it now! Flintstone's Zoloft now in stoneberry flavour.

I'm just trying to get my own life on track and then these curve balls get thrown at me.
Such a long road we are on. When I rule the world, Loving Dads will not be allowed to leave us.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The World I know

Holy Crapolas, Batman! The muscles in my arms are just shaking!
I just spent the past two hours moving the old bed out of my room and assembling my new bed.
It looks beautiful now that it's all together. I'm glad I let loose and spent the money on it.
I've never had a new bed in my entire life. It's time to spoil myself a little.

Not that there was anything wrong with the former bed. It was wonderful. Just a little big for the small room it was living in. I'm not looking forward to disassembling it tomorrow. It's all wood with a million screws in it. And my wrists are toast from my marathon necklace-making sessions this week (That's another story and it was a labor of love, so it was worth it).

And I did all this whilst wearing a cute girly summer dress. I rule!

I have severe ADD these days. There are so many projects to complete around here. I am trying to focus on one room in the house at a time and get it finished before moving on to the next. But I am just too easily distracted. I have paint for the living room, and I'm tempted to get started on that, but I really ought to finish the bedroom first.... maybe.

Meanwhile, the new kitten is wrongly named. I think Satan would have been a better choice! He is just plain EVIL!!!! I sure hope he grows out of this mean stage he is in! He has started tormenting Octavia and she's dumb enough to let him! If she would just side-swipe the little bastage, she'd be back to alpha status!

I've got three hours worth of Garbage playing tonight. I went to my eldest son's birthday party last month and he was playing Garbage. I'd forgotten how much I'd missed Shirley! It's great music to work to. And great music to surf to as well.

I think I've finally stopped sweating now. Time for a nice cool shower and a chapter of Harry Potter in my nice new bed!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lighten Up

We adopted a new family member this week. Little Cracker is the perfect compliment to our all black Octavia. He is such a sweetie!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Perfect Day

The Aurora Oshkosh 5K for Cancer was today. We all met out front by the bus stop. all.... um.... let's see... Me, Jerry, Andy, Linds, Liam, Barb, Bon, Mark, Ben, Jeremy, Sami, Jason, Jason's parents, Lee & Daughter, Myke, Ricky, Robin & Friend Kelli .... Yup! All 21 of us and two doggies! Team Brooks/ Kuhr was an impressive bunch.

And this year, even though our group was larger, I believe we made better time, completing the walk in One Hour, seven minutes. And we weren't dead last, either! We were third-to-last. Not that it really matters. It's the journey that counts.

The event coordinators sell flags prior to the event, so you can create a personal marker in honour of who you are walking for. We, of course, had two flags. In decorating Hubby's flag, I happened to have his picture along, because I was making badges for us all during free time at work. There are volunteers along the entire route cheering us on, and when we got to the corner of 9th and Oakwood, the volunteers there are not only very good volunteers, but also cancer survivors, and they saw our badges and said "Hey! Your flag is right here!" That was touching for me.

Mom and Dad's flag was near Oakwood and Witzel. I made sure I decorated it nice and bold so that we could spot it. The cool thing was that I wrote on it "Parents, Grandparents, Great-Grandparents". Baby Liam was an unknowing participant in something quite monumental.

Then afterward, we went to Nigl's on 9th for some ice cold pitchers of beer and free brats. That was oh so yummy! I ended up staying much longer than I had intended because we were having so much fun (The Child went off to a Birthday Party ages before I left). This gal doesn't normally drink beer, but after a 5K, it tastes divine!

How do you top that? Well, I came home and watched a Zombie movie on Hulu, and by the time The Child returned, I was ready for a nice, relaxing nap.

It's raining outside right now. A steady downpour. Let it rain. I'm just glad that God gave us such a perfect day for our walk and all that followed.

I'm thinking next year, we should design our own Team Brooks / Kuhr T-shirts. They should be blue because the ribbon for Lung Cancer is blue. And maybe with photos of my folks as well as Jimmy. And of course, we should include the phrase I can so hear hubby saying.... "Walk on, my friends, walk on."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Couldn't help but laugh

So I'm telling #1 son that today was a tough day at work, but as a means to make it a little nicer, I changed my cell phone picture to a photo I took on Sunday night of the fire we had in our back yard. Calming, peaceful, stress-free.



#1 son laughs and hands me his phone, and his wallpaper photo is of the fire that he had at his own house this weekend!

So now he really knows that he is not adopted!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Heavy

Yesterday marked the two month passing of my darling Hubby.
It was a very hard day for me. I woke up thinking of our last anniversary together. How in spite of seeing that things were starting to spin out of control, we made the best of it with humour and love. I couldn't help but start crying as I thought about it yesterday morning. Neither of us ever thought that it would be the last anniversary we would get to share.

I'm doing good for the most part. I've had a growing list of items that I wanted to get to the hardware store to buy, but it has taken me some time to actually get to the hardware store. That's a Saturday thing, and my Saturdays have been busy (and I am grateful that they have been filled with love and fun with friends and family).

So I came home from the hardware store with supplies to complete several home projects, one of which was to re-wire a vintage lamp. It's not just any vintage lamp. Three years ago, Hubby and I spent Mother's Day hitting rummage sales and estate sales. We had such a fabulous time that day. At one of the estate sales, we spied two sets of vintage lamps. One set was simple, with a retro feel to them, and the other set was a pair of ornate crystal lamps with very hideous pink lamp shades. I fell in love with the crystal set (minus the awful lamp shades!), and Hubby fell in love with the retro set. In the midst of swapping bedrooms with The Child last winter, I ran across the box of crystal lamps and decided it was time to get them out and actually use them.

Unfortunately, one of them refused to work. I'd watched Hubby re-wire a lamp before, and couldn't get over how simple a task it actually is, considering you're working with electrical stuff). It's only taken me 6 months to get around to buying a rewiring kit (so sue me, I was busy) but last night, it took me all of fifteen minutes to rewire it. I'm quite impressed with myself!

I completed several other household projects last night as well. It felt good to keep busy. We bought a pool yesterday at Target. It's surprisingly big for the mere $30 we spent on it! #1 Son was so wonderful to help create a place to set it up. The most logical place is the driveway so that we wouldn't kill the grass. That, of course meant we'd have to move the camper (Thank you #1 son!) and create a clean surface.

I wanted to lay a tarp under it for added protection. That's where things got tough. I had to dig through Hubby's favourite things in search of tarps. I know he put them in a Rubbermaid tub somewhere, but I was unable to find it yesterday. And it's just as well (thick plastic will do). It's hard enough sifting through all of that stuff - stuff he loved to use and will never get to use again. It's heartbreaking! It's hard to part with all of it because he loved these things, but I know that I will never use them. Angst.

But we got the pool set up and ready to roll. And it's big enough so that I can dip in it too! I like that. Baby Liam has the same pool so he and Mommy and Daddy can escape the heat this summer as well. I know he's gonna love it!


So you see, my day yesterday was the same as my entire week had been. Filled with peaks and valleys. On Monday night, Audry had finished processing the photo shoot she had done of Grandbaby Liam. She did SUCH an amazing job! And Liam is such a willing subject. What a poser!

We had to put our older cat to sleep on Tuesday, and that was quite an emotional day. But now that she's gone, I am realizing just how much maintenance she required. And I wonder how the hell I did that and care for Hubby at the same time. It's not a wonder my house is a cluttered mess. Who's got time with all that going on? No more revolting litter boxes to change. No more obsessing about keeping butter in the fridge or the cat would get it. No more rattling of dirty dishes in the middle of the night by our people- food - obsessed cat. No more finding creative ways to get her to take her meds. No more surprise puddles. No more wondering when I was going to come home and find that she's expired. It's over. She was a fairly good kitty. I loved her, but she was first Andy's kitty, and then became Jim's companion. She was never very fond of me, except for when she wanted fresh food and a fresh litter box. Then she'd act as if she were whoring herself out to get what she wanted from me. We just never bonded properly. And yet I still miss her. Ya gotta respect a cat with that much attitude.

Our remaining kitty is a bit lost as well. She keeps asking where Fijhonna's bowls went to, and where Fijhonna herself went to. And she has no one to try to play with.... for now. But she's my sweetie. This morning she hopped up on the bed and asked to come under the covers and snuggle with me. I love that - except that she was outside last evening and got into something that I am highly allergic to. Yay. And then she went and snuggled up to The Child with her head on his shoulder. Sweet! (of course by the time I went for the camera, the snapshot moment had passed).

We will be adopting a new kitten as soon as he is ready to leave his mommy. He is all white just like our Huckleberry was. Huck was the best cat EVAR! Hopefully our new family member will be able to fill such big paws. At the moment, he is called "Milk". and he's adorable!
He's going to get lots of love here at Kuhrsville!

Oh! One more peak for this week.... I ran into Frank-From-Lowes at the grocery store on Thursday. It was good to see him again. And I got to meet his lovely daughter Melissa. She's a true beauty!

So enough of my ramblings. I hear my washer buzzing, and I need to thaw out some chicken for Tomorrow's cook out! Here's to more peaks and less valleys for the remainder of the weekend.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Gel

Still living day to day here at Kuhrsville. What else can we do?
I find that I need to make lists a lot because I have the attention span of a Gerbil.
I have always been a list maker, but it is much more vital these days. And I'm glad that I am doing this because I get to have the feeling of accomplishment when I complete these lists.
Some things take longer - such as getting health care coverage for the two of us. Badgercare has agreed to cover The Child, but they have decided that my income is still too great to insure me as well. Yay. Time to think outside the box.

But I learned how to work our "special" lawn mower. And the house is shaping up a little at a time. And the bills are paid on time. Baby steps. Things will gel eventually.

Our utility bill is half of what it used to be. That just absolutely stuns me. It's because we watch maybe an hour of television a week these days. Before, it was on 24/7. It's hard to believe a television can suck that much energy!

Meanwhile, our eldest kitty has been battling illness. I think she is really giving up now. Her own vet just shrugged her shoulders and said there is nothing wrong with her. My Mother-in-law's vet said that she has anemia. But I feel there is something greater going on inside her frail little body. And I truly believe she has such a broken heart because she is missing Hubby. She was his cat after all. It's so sad to see her decline, especially in these past few weeks. I know her days are numbered no matter what I do to turn her in the right direction. What are we gonna do? All we CAN do is give her the meds and a daily dose of love as well and let time do what it will.

Yesterday, I received an invite to go to Ireland this fall. That would be simply amazing. And I've actually started saving for a trip to Ireland. But this fall? No, that's way too soon. The Child would be devistated if I went away for 12 days at this point. And I don't fancy bringing him along because I plan to spend more than a few nights at an Irish Pub drinking some Jameson. He would be bored to tears!

And the fact that at this point, I only have 12 hours of vacation time built up at work, I would be crazy to jump on an airplane. Plus, my side kick has decided to take a job at the hospital so that she can complete her schooling while working second shift, And our Lead Person will be off on maternity leave before we know it. There's no way I'll get time off in September. And September, I'm sure, will be a very hard month for me any way. Wedding Anniversaries and such are sure to put me into a funk. I'll just keep saving until the time is right, when Karma is aligned and life is more on track. Things are just too challenging right now to add new drama to the mix!

On the bright side, it's getting to be fire pit season! A bottle of wine, good friends, a good fire. Now THAT is a goal we can achieve!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Rainy Day

It looks like it's going to rain all day today. Well, at least all morning. The Child woke up sick this morning. That is happening far too often lately. I think the stress of losing his dad has made his immune system weak. I personally have tripled my daily dose of Vitamin D3 because I know that my defenses are down as well. But just try to make a 9 year old take D3 every day! It can't be done!

So I have this bonus day at home with The Child. I ought to plan to do some deep
cleaning. But I was up in the storage room earlier this week, and I'm just not ready to do that yet. Hell, I haven't even dug out my spring clothes from last year yet because they are mixed in with Hubby's spring clothes. This is such a journey, I can't even begin to explain.

I've heard stories of little old ladies who are suddenly widowed who will keep their husband's things for years before purging. I am not a little old lady, and I still find it very difficult.

A friend had offered to put a bunch of his things in their city-wide rummage sale this Memorial Day weekend. And I am glad of the offer because the thought of having to hold a rummage sale and have people barter over prices with me for my husband's belongings just sends me over the edge. But I am just not up to sorting just yet. Thankfully, this friend said that his wife reminded him that they will be having a rummage sale again next year. I told him he has a wonderful wife there!

But little by little, I am making some changes around the house. I actually used some of my tax refund to buy a brand new bed for myself. I have never had a new bed ever. I think it will make me feel like a real grown up. But I'm not looking forward to disassembling the bed I currently have. That will be quite a task. And The Child is all nestled up in it today, so that is a project that will wait as well. I'm in no hurry any way. Time is time. I pick and choose how I will spend it these days.

I think I'll ask Uncle Marty to drop off all of the photos from the funeral and spend the day scanning those instead. Now THAT would be a day well spent. Some of them need to go back up on my living room walls anyway! I miss them! Those empty spots on my walls remind me of the emptiness in my heart.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sleep would be wonderful

It's the one month anniversary of Hubby's funeral.
Today, we'll be putting his ashes to rest.
I thought I'd be okay with this, but no, my heart and my brain are both battling against my soul. I know it's going to take a LONG time to get through this. And it really has helped to have this month in between such major steps. I just hate feeling so fragile. Everybody keeps telling me that I'm such a strong woman. Well, yes, I am. But this has just been such a hard journey from the get go.

What many of you may not be aware of, is that this is also the anniversary of the day it all started to go down hill. May 1, 2009 is when Jim got a phone call telling him that his lab results were back and his red blood cell count was ridiculously low again, and that he'd best get in for a transfusion pronto. From there, it was the crazy journey of dealing with being way under-insured, knowing that no matter what, we had to dive in and do this. But at least a year ago there was still hope.

I remember being so upset with him. Not because of the financial crisis we were heading for, but because Hubby always had a habit of pulling back from me when he was sick because he didn't want to be a burden to me. And for me, this really hurt and frustrated me. It took forever to get it through his head that no matter what, we were in this together and I would gladly care for him no matter what it took.

And in caring for him through this journey, it gave the love I had for him a lot of texture. It actually helped me to find so many new ways to love him even more than I already did.
Jim was such a good man. I never realized just how much he did to take care of me. I always thought it was the other way around. And my main concern was that we were both giving The Child the care that HE needed. And Jim was the ultimate loving father. He never talked to Andy or Jerry like they were kids. He talked to them like they were highly intelligent adults. It was a beautiful thing to witness.

I don't get much restful sleep these days. The meds no longer do the trick, and I'll be damned if I want to be on something "more permanent" to get through this. I know it's my brain working through all of the "What If's". And my brain really does need to do that. I've always been a puzzle solver. That's how I approach life, and every problem within it. And my brain just can't accept the fact that it couldn't solve this puzzle called cancer. This puzzle called losing the love of your life in a slow, painful way. When this all started, I remember saying "We're too young for this! Maybe if it happened 10 years from now we'd be more ready to deal with it, but we're not in that mindset yet." But that's life. We're never really ready for anything it throws at us.

But maybe it's good that I woke up crying today. I was too stunned and overwhelmed at his funeral to cry. I've never really been one for public crying. I much prefer to stand by my dryer and purge. I'm surprised there's any finish left on that dryer these days.

So... I've spent enough time feeling sorry for myself today. Time to put on my battle uniform and face the world.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bits and Pieces

Where does one start when faced with the thought of starting over again in life?
I'm a list maker from way back, and have been making lists left and right these days.
If I don't, I would surely forget something important.

I can honestly say that I am accomplishing some of the things on those lists.
I got the Thank You cards done and mailed tonight.
If I missed someone, may I offer my sincere apologies. I really did my best.
Many did not provide an address, and even Google White Pages can't find you.
Although I must say that if Jim were still here, he could tell me where you live, what brand of cigarette you smoke and how often you stopped in by Bob's.

We had a lot of help along this journey. Hubby was loved by so many. He had such a sidelong way of looking at life that captured the hearts of many. He wasn't always easy to live with because of this sidelong way of looking at life. But it was never boring.

I have flowers to plant, trees to buy, a porch to properly stain. And that's on the outside. I just can't bring myself to start purging the inside of our house more than I have to date. My sinuses can't take much more crying. So it's best to leave it until my soul has had more time to heal.
I can't believe that this Thursday it will be a month already. Hell, sometimes I still can't believe he's gone!

I just wish I could get a good nights sleep. Jerry is dealing with the same thing lately. So much to process. We'll get there. I know that time will heal. And like that elephant, we need to take this one bite at a time.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Kids these days

SO my Sis-in-law sent me one of those E-mails listing all of the things we didn't have when we were kids, entailing just how great kids today have it.

Well, it sort of depends on which angle you look at it.
When I think of all of the Horror / suspense movies that I adored as a kid, and even books that I enjoyed as a kid that scared the crap out of me, I often ponder of how many of those plot-lines could have been averted if the hero of the movie had only had a cell phone.

The Donner Party wouldn't have had to go through the anxt they did, had they only had a good cell phone. And Charles Manson would have been out on his ear if one of those teens living on his Love Colony had only been texting her best friend back home.

Stephen King would of course still be writing. He just has this crazy angle on life, and modern conveniences or not, he would always find some way around all of that stuff to write a great thrilling tale.

I've come to a crossroads where I'm thinking that I need to get an additional cell phone for the house - not for the Child in particular, but just so it is there and I could take my own cell phone to work with me in case I run into any emergencies or school crises. It may eventually grow into being The Child's cell phone. But at the moment, I just think he is too young to have one. I would prefer to say "This phone stays at home all the time unless I say otherwise."

I hate that I need to contemplate such issues. Perhaps I ought to have given these "What If's" more thought while my husband was fighting his illness. But I didn't want to do that because that would have meant that I was giving up hope. I didn't want to give up hope, and I didn't want Hubby to give up hope either. I miss him like crazy. And that may be the hardest part. Yes, I have a lot of stuff to get in order because he has left a huge hole in our lives. But I think the hardest part is those moments in the day when I would normally send him an E-mail or give him a call just to hear his voice and see if he needed anything. I can't do that any more.

Imagine that. I'm living a Horror Story in the Modern world. SO I guess the whole point of this post is moot.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Long Day

Well, today was my first day back at work.
What a long day.

Many of my patients came by to give me hugs and that was nice.
And of course my co-workers are all so loving and caring.

It would have been much easier to just stay home and hide under a rock.
But I can't do that. I have The Child to think of. We need income.
And we need to dive in and see how our new schedules are going to work out.

I gave The Child 2 options for mornings. He would rather I just let him stay home and fend for himself until school starts - and even though he likely IS able to do that, I'm not going to give him that option. But he tried one of his 2 options today and he said that worked out okay. SO that is a good thing.

The After School Care is a jumbled issue right now. But luckily, I do have Andy and Myke who are willing to juggle their days to accommodate. And that is a good thing. We just need to try it and see how it works. Hopefully all involved will find it rewarding.

I have a feeling that our new mantra will be "Only Time Will Tell."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The New Journey

I was just looking up the "7 stages of grief":

1) Shock, Denial
2) Pain and Guilt
3) Anger and Bargaining
4) Depression, Reflection, Loneliness
5) The Upward Turn
6) Reconstruction and Working Through
7) Acceptance and Hope

Which is the stage where I misplace my cell phone and have no idea where I may have left it? Because whichever one that is, that's where I'm at.

It's a bit absurd that they can think that they can put all people in the same box and think they will follow the above steps as they grieve.

Hell, I've been grieving for months. Torn between watching Jim fight with every fiber of his being and being so terrified of losing him, sick or well. I couldn't begin to count the number of times I stood by the basement dryer and cried my eyes out, wishing things would turn around.

And yet there were so many times during this journey that I tried to think ahead just in case we did have to go through this worst case scenario. And I was able to work out some of the strategic changes that would need to happen.

My greatest worry is having Jerry feeling displaced. I hate that I need to figure out what to do with him before school and after school until I get home from work. He's too young to stay home alone, and he's not crazy about my before school options.

I just need to keep telling myself that children are resilient. That he will adapt to whatever changes we need to do. I know that I need to be strong for his sake. I need to be honest and say "Yes, it really DOES suck that I have to make you change the routine that you loved because your dad has passed on. But still, we just need to do it."

He is opening up a lot more this week, which is wonderful. At least he's talking, especially at bed time. He has a difficult time getting to sleep these days. He keeps saying he is "haunted by his own mind". which is filled with scary thoughts. And yes, the future IS scary. But we'll get through it.

He asked me last night if I would ever get married again. I told him "Maybe. But only if I could find someone as wonderful as Daddy, and that would take a long time to find, so you don't have to worry about that."

Jerry has always had an amazing view of the world. I need to remember that. He's not your average 9 year old. His little brain grasps some very complex concepts if they are explained properly. Jim was awesome at explaining things to Jerry. They could talk for hours about ancient Rome, castles, wars, history, computers... He never talked to Jerry like he was a little kid. He was patient and loving and engaging with him. I need to work at that because to me, Jerry is the last baby I will every have and I want to hold and protect him from the world. I need to find the balance that Jim was able to give him within myself.

And I know that I'm not alone on this journey. I know that we are surrounded by friends and family that would happily step in and teach Jerry how to hunt and fish, and tell him how his dad always brought along his sterno and a little pan and was always prepared to calm the "City Boy" in Jerry so that they could just hang out and enjoy nature.

I dunno. Maybe I'm at stage 4. I know I ought to be looking ahead. But each big holiday coming is going to feel empty. And just going to Walmart, I feel like everybody is staring at me. Like I have this gaping bleeding hole that everyone can see.

And I know I'm only feeling sorry for myself. I need to "Cowboy Up" and just go through it.
But I do insist on spending a great deal of time in the back yard this summer. Hell, I already am spending a great deal of time out there just thinking and talking to Jim.

On Jim's last day, I said "Oh, Honey! This is just too soon! You're supposed to get better so that we can have a fire in the back yard this summer."
He just looked at me and said "I'll be there."

By the way, I just found my phone. It was sitting here right in front of me all this time. I can just hear Jim now "Yup! No short Bus for My Wife, no sir!"