Monday, December 31, 2007

...and a...

The family trip to Santa Fe was great fun. There was plenty to do, but with lots of down time as well- which I always need! There were lots of cool places to go, great restaurants to eat at, and the best skiing conditions I've experienced in years (and years!).

So now, here we are, the last day of 2007. All in all, it was a great year. I discovered the art of Mosaics, and all the great people from the classes I've taken. I found a really talented cellist to collaborate with, which I had been wanting to do for years, but this year...I finally did it! My brother got a new dog named Deville- and I LOVE him. For me, those were my highlights. Of the NEW things that came into life this year.

The other highlights of course were the tried and true things that were already in my life, even before 2007 came along. My family, friends, and Zoe and Scout- who qualify as both friends and family. My quiet little neighborhood. My love and appreciation for music. All the little moments in every day life. Well, most of them anyway.

Losing Mom in 2005 made me just really hate that year. It was a miserable year- the worst I've ever experienced. But I look at how far we've come in our healing. I thought I'd never even feel happy again without her around. But happiness is really all around. Everyday. Inspired by beautiful things, and great people. And memories of Mom are embedded into my being- so she's really never too far away.

So here's to 2007. The world was good to me.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Tomorrow we leave for Santa Fe, NM. This is now our 3rd Christmas without Mom. We keep trying out new things to make Christmas half the fun it used to be when she was with us.

The first year, we decided to get outta Dodge (er, I mean Dallas) and go to Lake Tahoe. It really was (and still is, I'm sure) a lovely place. But it was also rainy, which is sort of weird when you're expecting snow and skiing. My Dad rented a beautiful house that my family and I stayed in. Each morning Dad would open up the curtains, see more rain and declare, "This is the trip from hell." Which it wasn't. But SOME of us started to go a little stir crazy, and the next thing I knew, our return flight had been changed, cutting our trip a day and 1/2 short, by a certain member of my family without my consent or knowledge. My dad, brother and I caught an insanely early flight around 6am. My husband had to take a different flight much later that afternoon. Because of bad weather, his flight had all sorts of delays and was then re-routed to Vegas where he finally arrived in the middle of the night (oops) after traveling or waiting in the airport for about 10 hours. On his birthday! So I wouldn't say the trip ended on a good note. (But neither would I call it "The Trip From Hell")

The next year, we decided to stay here in Dallas. And for the first year ever, my sister and her family decided not to come to Dallas, but to stay at their home in Seattle. So Christmas morning was just Dad, my brother, Fermin and me. And that was weird. Nice, but weird because it didn't feel like Christmas.

So this year, we're blowing out of town again. This time to Santa Fe. My sister and her new boyfriend and my nephew are meeting us there. Again, we're all staying in a house together that Dad rented for us. We're not calling this a ski trip. Who knows, we may not even ski! So if it rains every day, we won't even be disappointed. We're bringing games, puzzles, snacks, and warm clothes and we're prepared. I think. Hopefully, no one's going to label this one "The Trip From Hell".

Merry Christmas, Everybody!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Last night at a party, one of my friends used the word "doppelganger". In a sentence. I had no idea what it meant. But it sounded kind of gross. Ewwww? A doppelganger? Are you kidding me?

I turned to another friend next to me and asked her WHAT was a doppelganger. It's just a "double of a living person." But wow, what a complex and interesting word to define that. And somehow still a little gross-sounding to me.

This morning, I just happened to be reading a chapter from this funny book about writing called "Words Fail Me". This particular chapter was titled, "Pompous Circumstances- Hold the Baloney". It was all about people who write using big words. Like doppelganger. The author encourages writers to instead just say it, plain and simple. So that people (like me!) aren't left saying, "Huh?" or "Oh, so by "doppelganger", you just mean "double?""

I'm not criticizing the doppelganger dropper. I think it was hilarious word choice. And now I know this weird new word that I doubt I will ever be able to put it in any conversation or writing.

And now I know that somewhere out there, as gross as it may sound, we probably all have a doppelganger!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Santa's Workshop

Whew! I think I know, on a small scale, how the elves in Santa's Workshop must feel around Christmastime.

I decided months ago that this year I'd make all my gifts. I got an early start, thinking I had plenty of time to get it all done. Plenty of time. I was actually joyous when I'd lovingly work on my gifts. I'd put on music, get in the spirit of things, and get busy.

But then all of the sudden last week I realized just how "upon us" the holidays actually were! And I leave to go out of town on the 21st. And all gifts must be finished before I get on that sleigh!

So this week, instead of enjoying all my crafting, I'm being a little hurried and messy and a little spastic. Our home looks like my version of Santa's Workshop. My version doesn't have candy canes and gingerbread houses. Mrs. Claus isn't in the next room laughing with Santa. There's no other elves around helping me out. And there isn't any caroling going on. BUT, I've got Zoe and Scout watching me work, and kind of getting in my way. (But they mean well!) I'm getting caught up on some DVR'd Oprah shows. And every now and then, I take breaks and play a little music, or take a little walk out in the 70 degree sunshine.

And like Santa's elves, I'm making my gifts with love. Just hurried love.
Last night we went over to a guys house and intended to stay 45 minutes. We wound up being there will over 2 hours.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I am so happy that I have a blog.
I love blogging. I love writing here, and I love reading other people's blogs.

I can't stand it though, when I visit a blog that hasn't been updated in a long time. In fact, if I visit one that is way outdated, there's no way I'm going to bookmark it, and so I'll probably forget about it, and perhaps never see it again.

So I try to be pretty regular about my posting. I want people to visit often, and I want them to not get too bored with me.

For a while there, I was finding no joy in writing on my blog. And so I really didn't. But I'm so happy that didn't go on for too long.

I think I know what happened. I was taking a writing class- which I loved by the way- and I was trying so hard to be a better writer that my "inner critic" kept saying mean stuff to me and I felt very discouraged.

Now I have a little distance from the class and writing here is fun again.
This blog's intention was just to express myself, and connect with anyone who reads it. There's really not pressure in that!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Advancing Beginner

Today I had my fifth tennis lesson, and I am now officially (ok, honestly, it's pretty unofficial) an advanced beginner! That's what my teacher said! He said if he put me in group lessons, I'd be in the advanced beginners class. Not the beginner beginner class.

I have very little experience with any sport that takes skill. I don't "play" sports. I run, I lift, and I do yoga, so I consider myself athletic but I do NOT consider myself to have much coordination or athletic skill. And the last time I played any competitive sport was when I was an 8-year-old soccer enthusiast. I ran around the soccer field more than anyone- chasing the ball, and running away from it, but I rarely kicked it. Honestly, I was a little afraid of the ball hitting my face. So, I kept my distance, and I was the player that never scored. It didn't feel like "playing" to me, and it really wasn't much fun. My interest in soccer lasted less than a season.

But one day last month, as my sister and I watched my dad and his girlfriend play tennis, it just looked so fun. Dad's been taking tennis lessons and it seems to be working for him! His girlfriend has played most of her life, and from what I could tell, they seemed pretty evenly matched already.

That's when I started thinking about my lack of experience with any kind of sport that you get better at once you learn the skill to do it. Maybe tennis was something I could learn to play. Maybe if I learned the right technique, I wouldn't have to worry about the ball hitting my face.

So I mentioned to Dad how fun it all looked. The next thing I knew, I was signed up for my own private tennis lessons with Dad's instructor, John.

John, who is now my tennis instructor too, is the most encouraging guy around! He says things like, "Good job" and "Nice one" around a 100 times during my hour-long lesson. The other 100 times, he tells me, "That's ok, that's ok" or "Nice try!" It really cracks me up. But it also really encourages me and makes me think I'm good. And as a advanced beginner, that's just what I need!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Icing on the Cake

Well, this isn't officially my movie review blog,(but if you want to check that out, please click HERE ) but I think I'm about ready to combine all of my blogs into one anyway. So PLEASE let me talk about the movie I saw tonight: JUNO. Really, all I need to say is go see it. I could say it's a comedy, but it is so much more than that. It's also a drama. It's very sweet, very smart... Just trust me on this one and go see it. In fact, call me and I'll go with you to see it. I'll even drive. I liked it so much, I could see it again right now.

Which leads me to the rest of my story for the day.
As my husband and I were walking out of the theater and I was saying how much I loved the movie and that I would even see it again, he asked me if I had ever seen a movie and then immediately seen it again for a 2nd time.

Typically, I don't see movies more than once. Or at least I wait a long time in between so that I've forgotten enough of it that it can surprise me again. But there are a few exceptions.

So when I answered his question tonight, the movie that popped into mind immediately was GREASE. I vividly remember I was in 2nd grade and Mom took me to see it. We both LOVED it. And as we watched the credits roll at the end of the movie we were going on and on about our love for GREASE. And then Mom said, "Do you want to see it again right now?" And I said, "Do you?" She answered, "YES!" And it was even more fun to watch the second time around, because we sort of knew the songs. It was such a fun day with Mom.

And after I told Fermin this tonight I felt sort of overwhelmed by that sweet memory of my mom and me. I got very sniffley and said, "You know what's really sweet? (sniffle, sniffle) Most all of my memories of Mom seem to be of the last few years of her life, when she was sick. (sniffle, sniffle) But that is such a great memory. And today is her birthday."

What a gift. Icing on the cake. My Mom's cake.
Happy Birthday, Mom!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I've mentioned on this blog my neighborhood Garden Club I belong to. And like I've said before I LOVE these ladies. I know it's important for me to have older, sweet women in my life. These women are my neighbors and my friends. Most of them are in there 70s and 80s.

Well, today was our Christmas party and it was such fun.
One of my favorite ladies, Alice, called me a week or two ago and asked me if I'd play some holiday music for the party. So today, she gave me the sweetest introduction that I've ever had. And at the end of it she added, "And she's one of us." One of US. Thank you Alice!

Next, Alice had us each draw a little piece of paper out of a big red hat. Each piece of paper had a question about holiday traditions on it. Mine said, "Have you ever driven around and looked at Christmas lights- Tell about it if you have." Oh have I! This was the perfect question for me, because it is such a great tradition in my family- We've even rented buses to do it before! I learned about everyone's holiday traditions and I got to tell them one of mine. What fun. It's really neat to hear about family traditions, especially traditions of long ago. I got to hear some ladies tell about their childhood Christmas

Next came the gift exchange. I didn't realize we were doing this, and so didn't bring a gift. Being as sweet and nurturing as they are, someone of course tried to give me their gift. That is SO like something my mom would have done.

We ended our party with food. LOTS of food. Home baked goods. And lots of great conversation.

What a party- It started at 10:30, and I just got home at 1:00- (Daytime!)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My Great Discovery

Today I was sleuthing around on the internet, (or killing time-whatever) and I looked up the New Yorker website. I thought maybe there might be a few articles from the magazine available to read on the internet. A few? No, even better: the whole issue. And even better: back issues.

So then I thought, "I wonder about Vanity Fair?" And guess what? Yes, it's ALSO available online. I went to a few other magazine websites and found the same thing.

I even went to the Oprah magazine site: same deal. And what a deal! Especially for the O magazine. It's so bulky, and since I don't enjoy the feel of that, I cancelled my subscription over a year ago. I decided that would be my little way of contributing, or rather not contributing, to the environment. The main article I liked to read was on the last page of each issue. It's the essay Oprah writes called, "What I Know For Sure". She's Oprah. She knows a lot. I love reading what she's got to say about what she knows for sure. I've been missing those little essays since cancelling my subscription.

Now, thanks to my discovery, I don't have to anymore.

I still love to read real live magazines, and real live books. But for short articles and essays, I don't mind reading them online. And think of all I'm doing for the environment!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Back Up Your Files

My computer seems to be on the blink. Not the one I'm using now for this post, but my laptop that I use for... everything. The laptop that I keep saying, "I need to back up my files!" about.

And now look at me! Here I am, realizing, I really should have backed up those files.

I have diagnosed my computer's problem myself. I think the screen bulb blew out. And it's going to be replaced later today. That's what I've DECIDED. I've also decided that seriously, TODAY is the day, I am going to back up my files once my computer comes back to me, safe and sound. I've decided the screen is black and the computer seems funtion-less simply because the bulb is out. I've decided there's nothing to panic about. This is just a little reminder to back up my files.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Missing Her

Time marches on! The world keeps turning! Time heals all wounds!

I know that mostly, these things are true. But I also know that sometimes I can be brought to my knees in grief, and I feel the pain of a wound so deep that I think time will never heal it.

I decided I wanted to make an appointment with a nutritionist because little by little, my blood sugars have crept up. I've always thought I had diabetes all figured out, but lately, it has me a little confused. But I know it's nothing I can't figure out. I thought getting a some advice might help me figure it all out a little sooner.

As I walked up the steps to Dr. Lois office, I realized I hadn't been there since going with my Mom when she was undergoing chemo. As I walked up those exact steps, it occurred to me that last time I was there, I was with Mom (and Dad, of course). And a wave of such sadness- sadness I've only been familiar with surrounding her death- washed over me.

Once I got inside and saw Dr. Lois she said, "Hey girl! How are you?" and then, "How's your Mom?" I told her she had died a little over 2 1/2 years ago. She commented something like, "Oh, so it's been a while! I'm so sorry." And as I told her that yes, it had been some time now, but being in her office made it feel very fresh, I started to cry. In an instant, the crying started. This use to happen to me all the time shortly after Mom died. But it happens less and less often as the days move forward.

But since that little episode yesterday, I've found myself feeling so sad still today. I don't like to remember all my mom had to go through, and how brave she had to be. I just want to remember us laughing together and having so much fun together, because that's mainly how it was. But because my most recent memories are those of her when she had cancer, those memories are freshest. And that really sucks.

My Dad told me once when I was telling him how I struggle with those memories that he doesn't have that issue. His memories of her ARE of the good and healthy times. He told me whenever he starts to remember something sad, he quickly replaces it with a happy memory instead. I try that, and I'll keep trying that. Because I don't want my memories of mom to make me so sad anymore.

I can't imagine that I'll ever get rid of this ache I have for her-
The missing her I guess is never ending.
I hate to say it, but I don't really think that time heals all wounds.
But maybe it can lesson their pain eventually.