Sunday, February 28, 2010

Solitary Sunday

Yesterday, I put my boys on a plane to Arizona.

They're going on a Winter Holiday to soak up the sun, see the Reds play, visit with our family and play a little golf.

I headed back to Cincinnati, stopping for groceries and getting settled into a Saturday night on my own. I haven't had one of those in years! And guess what? I didn't like it!

Don't get me wrong - I can be alone. I am alone most every night!

Still, as foreign as it felt, I had a couple beers, made a single serving pizza, did laundry and watched a bunch of crap on TV that I know Steinvic would have only tolerated (with a smile, because he is so good).

I was in bed by 11, asleep by midnight and slept until 9:30 this morning. Wow...straight through, all by myself. This never happens!

I got up, made a two waffle multigrain thingy for breakfast, worked on laundry and making closet space for Steinvic, just made a rockin' stir fry type meal for lunch and now, I'm headed upstairs to get cleaned up. I'm going to the visitation for my friend's son...I know it will be tough but it is the right thing to do.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Prayer

A prayer for my friend, whose son just died.

G*d, I ask You to help my friend, who is desperately grieving for her son. I ask for Your help because I believe in Your infinite ability to help us to mend our hurt when we're open to healing.

I believe that she is open. I know her hurt is deep, but I believe she knows that if the rest of her life is destroyed by this, it will dishonor his memory. And I know just how much she wanted his life to have positive meaning.

I know this because I watched her struggle with him, over the phone, when years ago, he didn't feel like going to school. She wasn't trying to control was because she knew, firsthand, how limiting a lack of education can be. She's always wished she had more schooling, and wanted her boy to have what she didn't. G*d, You know how proud she has been that with her encouragement, her son not only finished school, but had decided to go to college this fall.

And I know this because she had the most amazing smile on her face when she brought photographs of him to my of him dressed in his football jersey, happily towering over the others in his circle of of him dressed for homecomings and of him with his girlfriend.

And I know this because even though she wasn't crazy about that girlfriend - who was pretty troubled - she admired the compassion her son had for others. "He knows she's a handful, but he loves her anyway." And when he was sad over their breakup, she worried, "He's so sensitive. He's got such a big heart."

So, G*d, I know that You have the power to help her know every day what a special boy she raised. "My baby," she'd say, after every endearing story she'd tell.

I know that You can help her remember - not so much right now, as we join her in her sorrow and memories, but more in the quiet evenings of would-be-birthdays - the goodness of her relationship with him. And that while his time here didn't last as long as we would have liked, this time meant something. Their love was good. It was important and lasting. Help her know that she was the reason for his handsome, genuine smile and generous heart.

While I believe he was not ready to go, I think it is significant that at the moment he died, he was surrounded by people he enjoyed so much. They've all survived. Please protect them from the feelings of guilt they may have for surviving. They need to be here. And they need to help my friend remember her son.

G*d, please give me skills to help my friend while she is finding her way through this dense sadness. I know she will need support. It may be difficult to see her so devastated. Please make me the best listener. And when she needs me to speak, help me say the things you want her to hear.

In the spirit of Your loving and accepting Son, I pray... Amen.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ready for the Sun...

This snow has me bummed out. I'm not moping around, but it seems like I have to do more than usual to keep my buoyancy going.

There are, of course, the frustrating and trying parts of living with lots of snow. I know that for people like my Aunt - who lives in Wisconsin - this is just how life is for a big chunk of the year. But as an Ohio girl, I don't like it, I'm not used to it, and I will whine and complain about it as needed!

Frustrating is trying to pull into your unshoveled parking space after 10 hours at work and getting stuck. You might be saying, "Quit-cher crying and shovel for goodness sake!" and you'd be justified...IF we didn't pay a hefty HOA fee every month that is supposed to include parking space shoveling. I'm for sure not lazy! I just resent doing work that I'm paying someone to do.

I unstuck myself with the cat litter Steinvic had put in my trunk for such occasions and then shoveled the space to a point where I could pull in and out sans cursing.

Apparently, our normal weather has been secretly replaced with the fine climate of Alaska. I'm ready for it to stop now, please. We're supposed to get MORE SNOW about three or four days next week. Suckage.

How am I keeping happy? Well, I've used gift certificates for Michael's and Kohl's. Shopping is great when you have free money to use! And, I've been making necklaces. Watching good things on TV. Working out every day.

On the work out subject, I'm officially down two pant sizes. Now, I know sizes are different depending on the brand (Darn those Vera Wang jeans! I can't even get my big toe into any of them, regardless of the size! Okay, I can, but they don't look good and are kind of defeating...) but I'm definitely down. I needed new black pants (I wear black pants with some colorful top almost every day) and the ones I just "bought" (gift certificate!) fit great and are two sizes smaller than the pants (same brand) I was wearing at Christmas.

So, while I feel like I have a good way to go yet (in my opinion, two more pant sizes would make me perfectly happy) I am really pleased that I'm for sure in a routine and finally seeing some progress. THANK GOODNESS. I was really starting to feel bad about myself.

I'm headed to Columbus for the weekend, and hope that our time together won't be shortened again by the weather. Then, next weekend, Steinvic and his son will head out west for a little vacation. I'm staying back this time...I like that they're doing something together and I really don't have the vacation time or moolah to spend right now. But I'm really happy they're going on an adventure! And I will be thinking of them, enjoying that sunshine and family time, all the while they're gone. Let's hope they bring a little of that sunshine back with them...

We certainly could use it...

Monday, February 15, 2010

All the Sex Addicts of the World Thank You...

I am guilty of something: throughout the day, between tasks, I read headlines. And sometimes, I read gossipy headlines. And sometimes, I don't just read the gossipy headlines...sometimes I read the articles, too. (GASP!) There you have it: I'm a little shallow on the recreational reading tip. Don't get me wrong - I read The Bible and Shakespeare. Sometimes I read nerdy science things, too...variety is good! But I sometimes read utter trash. Think of it as my brain's giant chocolate-covered, raspberry-filled donut break for the day - you know it's bad for you, but still...

So, when I read this stuff, I believe some stories a little, or a version of them, and some I dismiss as total crap. But the recent articles saying that Tiger Woods exclaimed - while in rehab attending group counseling for sexual addition - "I'm not a sex addict!" tickle me. Because that is what I'd been thinking, like so many others...that this is a PR inspired attempt to save his professional reputation among all the golf lovers and Gatorade drinkers in the world who don't think it's okay to have sex with a lot of different women than the one you're married to.

Sometimes, a person who does bad things isn't an addict. That person isn't flawed, wasn't potty trained incorrectly and isn't mentally ill.

Sometimes, people are simply big jerks and they do jerky, jerkful, jerkish things.

We may gasp and go, "Oh my goodness, how could he?!" but most of the time when that happens, we don't get it because we're not jerks. (And in turn, those jerks may not understand how I could put ketchup on my chicken when I was a kid, either, but I did it because that is how I liked it. )

So, sex addicts of the world, rejoice! Tiger doesn't want to be a member of your club. He is just using you and hanging out with you in hopes that aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall the fine ladies of the world he's had relations with will get it all out of their systems and that things will blow over soon.

...and then he learns that all the ladies are going to appear on Oprah for some kind of twisted comparing-notes-and-texts reunion...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

As I type this, my Valentine is heading back to Columbus in order to get ahead of the next wave of snow we're supposed to start getting at midnight tonight. While I would rather he be here to celebrate all of this day with me, I'm waaaaaaaaaaay more interested in his safety. We're supposed to have 3-6 inches by morning and I'd hate for him to drive through that...

We had a great weekend anyway! Steinvic sent these on Thursday:

Aren't they gorgeous? And when he arrived on Friday, presented me with a dozen of these:

Decadent and wonderful...I've never had anything like it and I think it's replaced my original favorite dessert, Baklava. (Because of my perpetual diet, I don't usually eat treats, but when I do, it's wonderful to have something so beautiful, thoughtful and fresh.)

We made our way downtown to a friend's art gallery opening. It was a really nice evening...her gallery was located in a different part of downtown, and she recently moved. Her new gallery is lush and open, floor to ceiling windows with amazing views of downtown on all sides. As this celebration was at night, we enjoyed the twinkling lights of the city. It was a great way to start our weekend. We went to our local after and had lots of cocktails and stayed out way later than we normally would, but it was fun and much needed.

Yesterday, I cooked a little, rode 13 miles, and stayed nestled in for most of the day, then restocked our bar at the corner store (we are now prepared for snow storms!), then met up with J and another friend or two showed up later. It was so good to visit and I think everyone had a fun time. J was worried that she was infringing on our Valentine's time but we were really happy to see had been too long since we'd had some grown up time all together. What better way to spend your time than with the people you dig most?!

Today, sleeping in and brunch, then I prepared a big pot of potato soup. I rode 12 miles and we watched The Invention of Lying. And I made a necklace. I've been doing that a lot lately in my spare minutes. My Mom recently gave me all of her beading supplies - totally generous - because she decided she is dedicating her time to other projects. (She used to make necklaces for my Grandma.) There are A LOT of beads and tools to choose from! Sometimes, I am exacting (silver bead every nine green beads, etc.) but more often, I find I like the results of freestyle beading:

So, now I'm just waiting to hear from Steinvic, that he is home safe and sound. I'm going to make a drink, experiment with the new eyeliner I just bought, and watch TV. I miss my Valentine already, but I'm so thankful to have such a fantastic person to love completely for the rest of my days.

Hope that you're having a special Valentine's Day, with those who are precious to you. Be sure to do something nice for yourself!

p.s. Text from Steinvic...he is home safe!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I'm No Snowbunny...

And so it continues...

We got even more snow yesterday and overnight and it just goes on and on. We got an early dismissal from work yesterday, which almost never happens, and that was kind of nice. I got home at 4:00 p.m. I shoveled. I rode my 10 miles on the bike.

And it was totally quiet. I had nothing special to do. I did laundry, tidied up...made a tortilla pizza...watched a little TV and made a necklace...

It was pretty lonely!

I'm officially over Winter and ready for the kind of weather that lets me get out and do things whenever I want...

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Good morning!

If you're reading this and are from one of the states where it snowed like a mutha last night, you're in good company! It snowed here, too.

Steinvic left work in the middle of the day so he would be able to get here safely. We bundled up and walked to our local last night, had some drinks, came home and while I made pizza, he shoveled. Although from the looks of things this morning, you really can't tell...

Anyway, if you are dealing with the white stuff today, stay safe and warm! If it's sunny and warm where you are, I'm jealous! (And J, if you're reading this, you don't have to shovel all that yourself!)

Happy Saturday...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Here I am...

I've been a sucky blogger lately. Sorry...I don't even have a decent excuse! Let me catch you up on me...

I have been riding and riding and riding my recumbent bike and this morning I tentatively reached for a pair of pants that had told me to "Get the heck away from me!" over the Holidays. They fit. Not so much that I'd want to wear them for any length of time, but enough that I didn't have to contort myself or injure myself to zip them. So...progress! I guess I could be a normal gal and buy a darn scale, but for many reasons, when the last scale died, I didn't replace it. The pants I tried on are my scale.

What else...Oh! I have a noodle addiction. I have for a long time. I very often crave the vegetable lo mien with xxxxxxx spicy tofu from a little Asian place close to work. Well, in an effort to save money and calories and fat grams, I've been researching recipes and reading articles to find a way to make healthy, cheap noodles at home. On my first attempt tonight, I scored! I made XXXXXXX spicy noodles with onions, ginger, water chestnuts, carrots and snow peas. Oh. My. Gosh. I love me. I can cook! If I wasn't marrying Steinvic, I'd marry myself over these noodles...

And finally... today. Today I had a dentist appointment and was finished around 4:30. Less than five minutes from there is the nursing home where my Grandma lived until she passed away last summer. I'd been thinking about going to see the nurses and aides who cared for her for so long, but every time I'd get the nerve, I'd chicken out and not go. I was just afraid it would be too hard. But today, I felt really compelled to go and so, clean teeth and squared shoulders, I went.

Walking down the ramp to the residential part of the home was tough. I've walked that ramp hundreds of times and every time I've done it, it was with great joy, knowing I was going to spend time with my Grandma. Even when she was dying, I looked forward to seeing her, feeding her, listening to her stories, holding her hand, and - as I told her - just being in the presence of greatness. But as I involuntarily caught my breath and swallowed a sudden surge of tears, I was very aware that this walk down the ramp was different. There was no Grandma waiting for me.

In fact, I didn't even know if there would be nurses there that cared for my Grandma or knew me. It has been almost six months...things change. Nurses burn out, change shifts and move on. I was so relieved to walk in and see Cindy.

Cindy, who had my Grandma as a first grade teacher about 35 years ago, not only provided excellent, professional care for my Grandma...she loved her and respected her. If you ever have to trust someone precious to you to the care of someone else, you will understand how much this means.

As soon as Cindy and I saw each other, we started crying. I apologized...she grabbed Kleenex and said she totally understood and was so glad to see me, how was I, how was my Mom. And I kept looking past her, down the hall, to my Grandma's doorway. I couldn't quit looking down there. I'd stopped at that desk so many times to talk to Cindy after my visits with my Grandma, and as we'd compare notes about how she was doing, I'd nod toward that room every time I said her name. Tonight was no different...but that room isn't hers any more.

Cindy told me that they'd actually not filled it for a few months on purpose, and then it sat for a few months ready, but unoccupied. But a few months ago, a lady moved in.

Cindy told her about the woman who used to live there, who had made that room a very happy place. She told the woman about my Grandma's Buttercups and Gladiolas and about how in the Spring, my Grandma's garden would be beautiful for her to enjoy...

Springtime without my Grandma.

I don't know if I will ever get over losing her. But right now, I don't feel like I have to.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010