Holey Underwear Batman!

I’m pretty sure the idea of planning & packing for an oversea adventure is supposed to be fun & exciting all by itself. In a perfect world I would be freaking ecstatic by now. Unfortunately, I like to use things to the point of falling apart before I replace them…which is the condition some of my needed essentials are in right now. The trip itself is pricey enough without having to fork over cash for it before I even leave the country. And yet…

Shoes~comfortable ones are necessary for all the walking we will be doing. A LOT of walking! I’ve let mine go past the point of comfort (by about a year); the squishy comfortableness of them is long gone. With how misty Ireland tends to be (not to mention the daily rain), two pair are essential for the frolicking we’ll be doing in the dewy meadows…Ch-ching $$

Hooded Rainjacket~I don’t own one. I use an umbrella and if I don’t want to get wet I have a quirky habit of staying indoors. Ireland is too windy for umbrella’s; the wind eats them for lunch. We plan on being outside during the day, rain or shine, and I’d kind of like to stay moderately dry…Ch-ching $

Clothes~somehow, over winter, my summer clothes have all shrunk. WTH?! I am in a quandary about how this happened. I’ve been getting by with just basic pieces of clothing but of course what I essentially need is packed away in the “Maybe Next Year” bag. So I went outside my comfort zone and bought a BRAND NEW (Ch-ching $$$) shirt & two pair of pants that are lightweight & will dry fast (I plan on banging our laundry on rocks in the streams along the countryside…or maybe just use a sink). One pair unzips into shorts (which are usually not worn there unless you’re visiting during the years’ four days of unusually warm weather…we’ll see). Then I paid a visit to Goodwill. I now have enough appropriately sized clothes to get me through Ireland and beyond…Ch-ching $$$$$

Cold Hard Cash~I was aware that our dollar isn’t as strong as the euro (if a meal is 10 euros in that quaint jovial pub in Ireland, we will actually be paying $13; typical meals are 12+ eu) but it was a rude awakening when we got the visual. We handed over a large sum of cash at the local bank and they handed us back a very small, very thin stack of euros…a mere pittance of what we presented to them. Very saddening! Hostels, camping in the car & bringing 5 jars of peanut butter are starting to look doable…and affordable! I’m saving my euros for the pubs.

Underwear and Bras~I seem to have iron-clad underwear. If it weren’t for the holes that our quirky washing machine feels necessary to slash randomly in them they wouldn’t be all that bad (only does it to my dainties & t-shirts). But if I soil my underwear in an accident over there, I want them to at least start out looking nice. The first thing I want to hear from the emergency personnel is, “Cute underwear…did you know you shit in them?” (they talk in that sexy Irish accent and make it sound like it’s something everyone wants to do).
My bras on the other hand were treacherous when two weeks apart from each other, they broke their underwire. That’s dangerous; you could take out a lung if you bent the wrong way! Besides, if we do pay to get our laundry done, I don’t want the Irish washerwoman looking at me with pity when I come to pick up the finished laundry, (imagine her speaking with that cool brogue of theirs) “That poor, sad American. Look at her dingy bras. She can’t get her whites truly white.” I’m sorry but I have a patriotic image to uphold…Ch-ching $$

Andre Rieu and John Sheahan (The Dubliners) play Irish Washerwoman

You can bet I got the best possible deal on everything I bought. Some were virtually cheap inexpensive. At least this trip has forced me to replace things I’ve been procrastinating about. So I’ve finally got my packing list fine-tuned and my extra purchases made. My new mantra regarding luggage is that less is more…Pack Light…Pack Light…Pack Light…!

Funerals and other parties

I want my funeral to be a big party. After all, I’ll be 103 and I’m pretty sure people will have an easier time with that whole letting go process. My 50 year old blind lover will probably take it the hardest but he’s still young and quite fit so I don’t doubt he’ll find someone else in time. Hmmm, my daughters will be around 70 and their kids will be probably in their 40’s; he could go either direction. That’s kinda gross and a little twisted. Oh well, I’ll be dead, I won’t care.

A bunch of years ago I started planning my funeral party in my head. Just for fun. It revolved around music, food & laughter…and my body over there in the corner for viewing and making snarky comments. Even though I know I will be at my funeral party and probably affect some sort of shenanigans, it made me a little sad that it would just be my spirit. And family & friends that are older than me and a bunch that are younger will already have died.

Sidenote: I’ve had conversations with the funeral director in town and he said it’s never too early to start planning your funeral so if anyone thinks I’m weird for thinking about this, well, I’m not. I’m normal, dammit!

So anyway, when Gary and my 25th wedding anniversary was looming on the horizon my brain also became aware that I would be turning 50 that year (Yay for the Golden Year; break out the bottle of Goldschlager!). If these aren’t two huge reasons not to have a party, I don’t know what is! You may already be dead if you don’t agree. It was at that moment that a huge 3000 watt light bulb went on over my head. My world became crystal clear…I WAS going to be at my funeral party…in the flesh. It would be the perfect trial run (only with a live person, not a dead one…and probably a lot cheaper). We were going to celebrate with family & friends, right now, while we’re all alive!

The party took place and it was wicked good fun! It revolved around music, food & laughter and just like any big party you obsess about and take over a year to plan, it was over in the blink of an eye. The first half of the party celebrated our 25 years of marriage with a loosely-based ceremony & food. The music & dancing was all about me; my birthday gift to myself with family & friends. The funeral party trial run was a grand success and I haven’t done any funeral planning for myself since. I’m glad I was able to party with the people I love…in the flesh. I danced all night until I could barely walk. Good Times! I appreciate all the people who came to my ‘funeral party.’ Thank you!

Our daughters walked us up the ‘aisle’

Our ceremony was way more fun and a lot less serious this time. My sweet eldest sister officiated (she’s ordained on the Internet…how fun is that?!) and we had a ceremony for our girls and gave each of them a Tree of Life pendant

Happy 25th to us!

We started off the dance with an anniversary dance

And then…it was all about me!

Happy Father’s Day Dad…Olive You!

I paid my dad a visit today. I was going to make it official on Sunday but it was a beautifully sunny day so why wait for potential rain to muck things up. I brought him one of his favorite gifts…a jar of olives, the queen size olives! He loved eating olives but my mom always yelled at him if he ate the ones in the cupboard that were reserved for holidays, when guests came. I always thought that was a silly rule; same as the one where you don’t use ‘the good silverware & dishes’ for every day. So I broke the rule (I do that sometimes) and bought him big jars of queen size olives for any special occasion I could think of…and mom wasn’t allowed to have any control over them. He got pretty excited over having his own jar of olives. It didn’t take much to please my dad.
My dad was quite a talker and storyteller. It could be why I likewise have a tendency to talk a great deal. Today we were both pretty quiet. I toasted him with the jar of olives; a thank you for what a great job he did helping mom raise me. Then I silently ate olives while memories of my life with him ran through my head like a black & white filmstrip. The tears come with the understanding that there will be no more hugs & kisses, no more sharing our humor & stories, no more tender moments of dad’s love. It’s quite a conundrum, this sense of loss despite the feeling that he hasn’t left my side.

I watched the busyness of the ants for a while streaming across the fresh dirt and across my legs. I poured some of the olive juice over the grave and told dad I loved him and then I did what any self-respecting gardener would do…I picked the weeds out of the dirt. It’s all nice and tidy again waiting for the grass to grow back in. I’m not much of a grave visitor, I think everyone should be cremated, but maybe just for now, maybe Sunday, flowers would look nice on that little patch of dirt.

UPDATE: It’s the next day, Saturday the 15th, and #3 and I have gone shopping for supplies each of us need for our overseas adventures. We finally stopped for lunch; our stomachs had become quite unruly with their growliness. While we were waiting for our food the Kansas song Dust in the Wind started playing, to my surprised enjoyment. “Hi Dad, glad you could have lunch with us!” He loved going out to eat, always asking us to go along. “I’ll pick up the tab this time Dad. Thanks for coming along.”

Have passport…time to rock & roll!

With the prospect of 3 of my kids leaving the country for study abroad this summer in Mexico, Ireland, Germany & Spain; it became somewhat necessary that I ought to get a passport for myself. While at city hall last Fall, with #3 to apply for her passport, the elderly lady taking care of us highly recommended, “…at least one parent should also have a passport because, well, on the off chance you need to leave quickly to the country your child is in.” Mrs. Elderly Lady was trying to be discreet in her implication but we both knew what she was saying. “Lalalalalalalalalalalalala…I’ve been trying NOT to think about that scenario, thank you very much! How about rephrasing that into something a little more positive, like, “Hey! Now the 10-year passport clock is ticking for you to get your keester to Ireland!” My ancestors have been patiently calling to me since before I can remember, wondering when I’m coming back to the motherland.
So a month before #1 headed off to Mexico I finally applied for my passport; my initial baby step to Ireland.

The day after my Dad’s funeral I received my passport in the mail. How very appropriate, Dad. After all, I did tell him I was going to bring him to Ireland. But by the time he died my heart was numb and my life had changed in a weird discombobulated way. I had already formulated a list of why I wouldn’t be able to go. It was the customary list of ridiculousness that most people have in these scenarios. Enter…my guardian angels; they got the ball rolling again in my head. A couple close goddess friends of mine exchanged all the excuses I had created with reasons of why I had to make the trip. And then my niece entered the picture…

My niece sat across from me by the side of my Dad’s hospital bed when I announced my intentions on taking him to Ireland. The seed was planted and three weeks later she became the catalyst that propelled us to take the leap. She turned into a rabid lioness who stalked me day & night via e-mails, texts & phone calls with plans for going to Ireland. Meanwhile, my SweetPea was paying attention quietly in the background to the drama unfolding. Unbeknownst to him, he was an important key player in my final decision. We don’t tell each other what to do or not to do and that has worked out pretty slick in our many years of marriage. But if he had not been on board with all of this or had not been happy for me…it would’ve been a deal breaker. He’s still able to surprise me with how immeasurable his love is for me.

I’M GOING TO IRELAND!

I’m trying to contain myself by directing my energy on the every day stuff and the rites of passage my kids are making. I’m focused on #1 leaving for Mexico and returning safely home as #4 leaves for her own adventures in Ireland. The excitement of seeing her online pictures makes me a wee bit giddy of what’s to come. In three more weeks #3 heads to Spain and #4 will be in Germany; then the countdown begins for my trip of a lifetime. Not to be outdone, #2 will also be accompanying my niece and me to Ireland. It doesn’t seem real yet. So, along with the wait for my Dad’s death to finally hit home, I will be waiting for the excitement of Ireland to take hold. Somehow it feels like the two will be going hand in hand. And I smile inside at the bittersweet appropriateness of it all.

Friends+Whiskey+The Bocks=Therapy

Today’s been a relatively normal feeling day. Only one episode of crying during a moment of quiet in the car between the chaos of planning the funeral, helping my mom and trying to accomplish my own errands. My house is crazy dirty & unorganized because before I took off down to be with my dad we were in the midst of purging the house and reorganizing; that all got put on hold right in the middle of things getting worse before they get better. Things are still in the ‘worse’ stage at home.

In the middle of an errand I get a phone call from two friends, Kathy & Maria, who went to my father’s funeral only to discover that no one was there…
“Hmmm, there should at least be cars from the family here!”
They were all dressed up with no place to go so we made plans to meet at a local restaurant. I call Gary to let him know I won’t be coming home because I’ll be having a pre-wake for my father with friends.
“What a surprise,” Gary exclaimed, “Russ & Julie are here at the house because they went to the funeral and no one was there.”
“Holy Crap!” How many people thought the funeral was today?! This is insanely embarrassing! Earlier today two of my mom’s friends were bringing food for all the family that was expected and it didn’t occur to me what was happening because there actually IS family coming to help prepare for the funeral.

I thanked Julie & Russ, Kathy & Maria, for coming to my dad’s funeral…a week early. We talked, laughed & reminisced. It was still a pretty wonderful time because all of them can relate with losing a parent and they know what I’m experiencing (even if I hadn’t told them) and it’s oddly comforting knowing that. I love you guys a lot!

Coming home to the band practicing was another level of therapy. I brought shot glasses and my Irish whiskey to the basement and the guys and I toasted to my dad and his incredible gift of music. Coach taught himself to play the guitar just like my dad did. We talked about life and they played to me the music I love. Music, friends & laughter are the best kind of therapy around. Once again I am so aware, at this exact moment in my life, of how freaking blessed I am! I am so grateful for the people that are in my life. It feels like my dad is already communicating to me through my friends.

I cried so much over the last 2 weeks and now, I feel oddly at peace when I think of my dad. I had an incredible relationship with him; through happy & difficult times. Without really having the right words, my visual take on it is that, it feels like his unconditional love for me is wrapped around my heart like a protective shield…at least for now. The emotions may flood back once the funeral is underway. But for now, I appreciate the peace I feel.

Goodbye Dad, I Love You!

I love my family. They’re a freaky fun umbilical cord to my gene pool.

This week my family has been gathering in Madison to laugh, to cry, to share memories and ultimately, to say goodbye to my father. I find it ironic that he was born in Madison and even though he doesn’t live here anymore, he will come full circle by dying here. Life’s little coincidence? I don’t think so.

We had great fun and wonderful memories coming to visit my Grandma & Grandpa and aunts & uncles in Madison. My dad had some pretty incredible parents & siblings. They did remarkable acts of love for each other and my parents did the same for us kids.

By some other people’s standards we were poor. My parents reproduced like rabbits and raised ten kids on a very limited income with help from his brother’s & sister. As far as us kids knew we always had enough. We ate cheaply but we didn’t go hungry. We weren’t the best dressed kids but we had clean clothes. We didn’t have the latest toys but we were quite an imaginative bunch with creating our own fun, especially outside. By a freaky twist of fate all ten of us were born in a different month so at least once a month we had birthday cake.

When they couldn’t cram all of us into a station wagon ‘comfortably’ anymore they bought an old school bus & converted it into a camp-mobile. Our camping trips were epic! Dad playing his guitar & singing around the campfire was the highlight. Our family times were filled with laughter, fun, fighting, humor, cat-fights and just enough dysfunction to keep our bonds of loyalty intact.

My dad gave us unconditional love. He was there for us when we needed his help and he was with us to help celebrate the little stuff along with the big. His caring & giving to people and animals was immeasurable. He had a wicked sense of humor that was passed on to us kids which often bit him in the ass because we gave him a run for his money when bantering back & forth with him. Some people may have viewed it as being disrespectful, instead, my dad enjoyed it and found the humor in it. I could talk about anything with him and often did. Nothing was off-limits.

When I arrived at the hospital on Tuesday night it looked like I would not have the chance to ever communicate with him again. Wednesday morning I was talking & laughing in his room with siblings when I had a light bulb moment & in an excited voice loudly exclaimed, “We can bring Dad to Ireland!!!” (referring to his ashes). His eyes popped open & he looked at me. I was already excited but now I’m thinking, “Holy crap! He’s not in a coma!” So without a beat I said, “Dad. Do you want to go to Ireland with us?! “When?” he said. “I don’t know, sometime in May?” He actually looked like he was thinking and made some ‘maybe’ noises and then went back to sleep. I was ecstatic! I was so going to bring my Dad to Ireland!

This last week of his life has been a truely spiritual gift. When doctors thought he was entering into the coma stage of death, he defied them and ‘came back’ to us for additional days of interaction. Despite the emotional roller coaster ride of watching someone in the throes of dying, my dad’s verbal and non-verbal interactions with us and the hospital staff brought us sweet relief in the form of laughter & words of love. He loved puckering up and giving my Mom kisses.

We’ve brought him to hospice now and he’s in the final stages of life. I curse these damnedable love emotions and the tears they create. I’m tired of crying and yet the tears keep coming and they burn my eyes. Going out to the woods to cry was therapeutic; you can really let loose and Mother Nature is very understanding. I am honored to have had my father’s unconditional love and even though I went kicking and screaming into caring for him, I have learned valuable lessons from the experience. I learned that I have unconditional love for him too.

I promise you I will learn from my mistakes

Life is an unending succession of learning. People come into your life and sometimes it’s, “What the hell were my lessons supposed to be in all THIS?!” Hopefully you figure it out so you can let them go and carry on with life. But sometimes the people who come into your life are the ones with a lifetime of lessons for you because they’re your parents. The past couple of years the lessons thrown my way have been confusing and difficult; life’s version of tragicomedy. Thank goodness for my dark-humor gene that keeps me going when life is less than fun.

My dad. My dad gives unconditional love. No matter what you needed; whenever or wherever…he was there for you. He never judged you even when you did really stupid stuff and, just like me, he has a wicked sense of humor. My earliest memories of him embrace his gift of music. He would play his guitar and sing in the upstairs hall when we were wee tots trying to go to sleep. I loved listening to him sing. Our camping adventures always included him & his guitar with music & singing around the campfire. Good times. I respected him a lot while growing up.

I remember the first time during a post college conversation when I thought, “Wow dad, you’re a really intelligent man but I totally disagree with you on some of your views.” I have no idea what we were talking about but I laugh now at how I felt; with my disillusionment that my dad was no longer ‘perfect.’ It’s good to let your parents be human with flaws…which brings me to the current life lesson. Parent’s become elderly and ancient…roles get reversed, even if you go into it kicking and screaming like a two year old.

I was still raising my own kids when it started. The ancient’s mental age seemed to regress. At one point it felt like they were the same age as my teenagers. They needed guidance but were stubborn with my sage words of wisdom. Advice they should be following but not doing. Thank god my kids had already taught me how to let go of the people you love. It’s their life and their life lessons. It can be painful watching them learn the hard way but…it’s their life, not yours. I’m a strong believer in consequences and what they can teach you. My dad’s refusal to take care of himself for health’s sake has ended him up in the hospital, long term.

The steady decline of his physical & mental health has been nerve-wracking to say the least. I did not and do not like the role of being parent to my parents; much like the early years of parenting when you want to pull your hair out. Thank god for Gary. He tag teams with me and when I’m ready to have a meltdown he takes over so I can decompress or cry. I had a hard time accepting that my parents are no longer the people who raised me. It was a hard lesson to learn and move on. Yesterday I learned another valuable lesson.

My anger at my dad has been transferred to the medical personnel that don’t know how to fix him anymore because their drugs no longer work. As a natural healer, I want vitamins & minerals put back into a body that is probably deficient at this point of a necessary balance for a human body to function properly. That won’t happen in a hospital. Natural remedies could heal what the drugs can’t. They don’t do natural. I can’t do anything about it so I have to let go. It hasn’t been easy, it’s been painful. I don’t want to be angry anymore with the man my dad has become. I still love him. I finally realized that after a lifetime of taking care of his large family, he wanted to be taken care of. The sad part is, the route he chose is killing him…slowly. I’m no longer angry with him. I’ve had time away while other family is taking over so I have breathing room to think…and let go.

I love you dad. Thank you for all you’ve taught me.

My heart aches for my sweet baby Stellaluna

Most people don’t know it but I actually gave birth to Stellaluna on December 4, 1999. You may not believe it, even I didn’t know, until that moment on a cold winter night. Our new puppy needed to go outside for the umpteenth time for a potty break. I’m standing outside with her, dressed in my black & white tennis shoes, black pants, black leather coat with a fur lined hood and my brown hair blowing around my face. After she finishes, she toddles over to me, crawls onto my shoes, curls into a ball and looks up at me. At that moment I realized that to her I actually WAS her mother…and since then she was a momma’s girl through and through.

Stellaluna & Echo 001

Her best friend, Zoe, came to us 2 years later and they became inseparable. They sounded like race horses when they chased each other around the yard. We tried landscaping one year and gave up afterwards. Our design areas seemed to always overlap with their play areas. I loved just watching them play together. Zoe got cancer when she was six and Stella never got over the loss of her. I felt so sorry for her.

It’s been hard the last 2 years to watch Stella slowly get old. Her joints gave her grief and the meds seemed to only give mild relief. She would get anxious whenever I’d leave and not eat. I recently found out that when I would go to work she would lay in the chair by the window all day until I came home. Sometimes she would howl in a soft, low, eerie way that freaked out the kids. Her love for me was intense and sometimes overwhelming yet unconditional. Our love for each other was deep. I feel sorry for people who never experience the love of a pet.

When we came home last night Stella was in the back hall, sitting but in a goofy way. She had urinated and when I helped her stand up realized that her back end was paralyzed. All my fears of this moment hit me full force. We called the 3 girls that don’t live at home and then waited for #2 & PoohBear who were 5 minutes from returning home. We decided on an emergency room in the city that #3, #4 & my eldest sister live in so they could be there; #1 lives too far away. We spent an hour with Stella, petting her, crying, reminiscing of all the wonderful memories we have because of her. I’m so grateful that I have Gary, my girls, my sister, my family…and the Simply Sleep sleeping pills that kept me asleep all night.

I’ll miss how her mouth would go up into a smile when I would come home and her obvious joy that I was back. I’ll miss her companionship. I’ll miss her meeting me at the door. I’ll miss her on our camping trips. I’ll miss all the things that have become habit with her & me. I know she’s with me. I wish it didn’t have to hurt so much. I know she was in pain…and now she’s not. I know she’s with Zoe and they’re racing & happy again. It’s just all so bittersweet…

I love you so much Stellaluna.
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I’ve never had a time in my life that there wasn’t a dog in it. I loved all of them and each was special in their own way but Stella was the closest thing I can imagine to having a soul mate in a dog. My heart feels that she will be the last dog for me. So thank you for the unconditional love Stella, Zoe, Madison, Minka, Gypsy, Brandy, Pixie & Katie.

Carry On…

I received the ultimate compliment from a teacher the other day. She said she wished she could spend more time around me because I’m always smiling and ‘spreading cheer’ throughout the school. I told her that even if I’m having a bad day, the kind you wish you could spend in a dark room under the covers, it always turns around when I’m at school with the kids & staff because there’s so much positive energy here. It’s great therapy!

One example happened this week Tuesday. I was with my first group of kids, 8:10 in the morning. Before we got started on their reading work I chatted with them about their Easter weekend. I questioned them if they knew that candy has sugar in it and that, blech-gross, they shouldn’t eat it. The reaction I get from the kids is always entertaining. The conversation worked its way around to age and I asked them, “Well, how old do you think I am?” The first boy, “Somewhere in your 30’s.” Second boy agreed, “Yeah, you’re in your 30’s.” The third boy must’ve noticed my eyebrows rise & the smirk in the corner of my mouth, “You’re 40.” The last kid and only girl said, “I think you’re 36.”

I told them what any old sane woman would say, “I LOVE you guys! I love each and every one of you and if I had candy I would give it to you!” (Yeah, I know, sugar is poison…blah, blah, blah). Then I told them that I was really 53. *insert dead silence & the sound of crickets* I wish my eyes could take pictures; it was a Kodak moment. The shocked look in their eyes & their open mouths seemed to say, “And, and you’re still alive?!” The girl was the first to speak, “You don’t look that old at all!” Which I replied, “And YOU are my favorite!”

I love working with the kids; I love the interactions with the staff. I love my job.

And then I have to go home.
And deal with responsibilities in life that just aren’t fun; stuff that’s emotionally draining.
And during a moment last night of just letting some of the emotion out through my tears, the Universe (via my favorite radio station) reminds me…

…to carry on.

We all have hard-hitting crap happen in our life that tests us. I remind myself that some people have it so much worse than what I’m experiencing. It doesn’t make my problems go away but it does make me think of all that I’m grateful for. I like my life. I especially love having fun & laughing so I do it every chance I get; it balances out the sad times where you just have to take a lot of deep breaths, cry (to wash away the toxic chemicals) and carry on…which I believe most of us do very well given the circumstances.

And that’s why I seem to be happy all the time to some people. I’m not always happy…but the alternative isn’t nearly as fun.

Naked Yoga is in a holding pattern

Three (or is it four) weeks of empty nest after #3 and her OsoBear moved out. Oso bought a house in the big city that he’s had his eye on for almost a year. This is why they moved in with us in the first place; so he could save his money instead of putting it all into rent. Excited wasn’t a strong enough word for how he felt when he signed the papers. After telling us, he even told Peach the cat how excited he was. Understandable because buying a house is a really big deal! So they’re all settled in and turning the house into a home.

Sunday, #2 daughter & her PoohBear get a call that there was someone interested in their (very expensive) apartment & if they wanted out of their lease early they need to be out by Wednesday (June 30th’s lease date was a long time & a lot of money away). WooHoo!!! I was thrilled to pieces that they could leave early! So the scramble began. Trailers were loaded. Cars & vans packed to the roof (I’m an excellent packer…great spatial perception). Treks up & down basement steps for storage & more again for their living area upstairs. Advil was our friend! Thank god for Pooh’s brother, dad & mom for helping; it goes so much faster with more hands.

Most of Wednesday, #2 & I cleaned the apartment. Top, bottom, inside-out. The lease pretty much stated that it needed to look like a brand new apartment. If there was a surface, we cleaned it…we wanted ALL the money back! I’m so happy they aren’t slobs! Oh yeah, that burned out light bulb we couldn’t find in any store that we had to replace…they have to special order it! Seriously?! (insert any foul language here) Well then, I guess you’ll have to charge us for it huh? What a scam.

Notwithstanding the negative reasons; I’m going to just dwell on the positive.
1) We have the cheapest rent in these parts. Now they too can save some money for more important things! Like #2’s college loan (and Pooh’s when he graduates).
2) I get to see my 2 grandkittens EVERY DAY if I want to. The boys love their grandma!
3) I can go back to only visiting this particular city when I attend functions at my Alma mater or hang out with my girlfriend. Oh Happy Day!
4) Getting a full load of clothes for the washing machine shouldn’t be a problem anymore.
5) I think it’s cool to get a chance with yet another daughter to spend more time with them before they leave ‘for good’ to start a new life.
6) Gary & I will have to put naked yoga in the living room on hold for now…you’re very welcome #2 & Pooh. We can wait.

I think my body has recovered enough to celebrate #3’s birthday today & tomorrow. Happy Birthday #3!!!

Are they ever REALLY gone?!

Now where’s that little vixen hiding?

HAPPY SPRING EQUINOX!!!
Hey!
Where are you?
Byam Shaw Rising Spring
Byam Shaw “Rising Spring”

She’s just harder to see with the blanket of snow covering her but she IS under there…somewhere
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Okay, I admit…I love winter…I love the pretty snow…but even I was hoping for a balmy 30 40 degrees and a lot less snow.
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So here’s my ray of sunshiney hope. Hang on to your sanity, if not for the sake of yourself, do it for the apples. Last year this time while we were shaving off our gorilla growth to wear shorts & t-shirts again, Mother Nature was budding out into the false security of spring. And because we live in the Midwest…what happened next? We froze our butts right back into our winter coats! And all the produce that was blossoming out froze. No apples on our trees AND other produce died a horrible flash frozen early death. I’m not keen on how much my apples are costing us right now.

For those of you that are going to respond with, “Blah, blah, blah, blah!” here’s a nice video with warm weather pictures.

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That’s me lucky charms…they’re magically delicious

I love St. Patrick’s weekend, it’s a happy little holiday.

I love, love, love Irish music! The fast, loud stuff makes all the cells in my body dance like whirling dervishes; the quiet stuff makes me calm and soulful. Either way, their affect creates happiness for me! After last night’s celebration I decided I’m going to have to move to Ireland for a year. There just aren’t enough Celtic bands around here; great sadness (& I’m pretty sure Ireland would have a whole bunch of people who could teach me how to really play my bodhran drum). So for now I’m gearing up for the Irish Fest celebrations this summer to get my next fix of the good stuff and continue to improve on my ceili dance steps. I can’t wait!!!


Byam Shaw “Rising Spring”

I love Irish beer & whiskey. Usually I drink them straight up & separate from each other. This year my sister-in-law was with me and she insisted (strongly) that we have an Irish Car Bomb. So after I had a couple of my token Guinness’ we moved on to shots. A good idea? Hard to say at this point so let’s wait and see. Not a lover of the Irish Car Bomb. Let’s analyze. Exploding cars don’t promote happiness…I like to promote happiness. If people would drink their beer & whiskey separate like I do maybe there wouldn’t be exploding cars in Ireland. Just sayin.’ Then we tried a Nutty Irishman…sweet & tasty! At this point I decided I wanted to try all the Irish drinks/shots on their menu. Next up was The Sheriff of Nottingham. I told the bartender (from Ireland with his cute little accent) that the sheriff was a naughty guy so the shot was changed to The Sheriff of Naughtyham. For being naughty it tasted rather nice.

I took a break at this point and switched to water where I became *poof* instantly sober again. That’s my story. I’m stickin’ to it. This is the point in the night that I found out that the rugged man in the kilt was wearing only his lucky charms underneath. I love kilts. Let’s all raise a glass for the kilt!

One more shot to go…The Slippery Leprechaun. It was creamy golden deliciousness! I rinsed the sweetness out of my mouth with a glass of Smithwick’s and more water before we left for home. It was a great night of music, friends & fun (& a lot of sober giggling).

In the dark quietness of our bedroom:
Me, “We need to move to Ireland for a year. I’ll do my energy healing & you can fix people’s stuff.”
Gary, “Okay.”

Betsy, Elizabeth & Tebazilena smiled, did a happy jig…and fell asleep.