Sunday, January 21, 2018

A little sawdust...

So this is happening...

The Landlords have decided to put granite in for the countertops. The slab that has been chosen is beautiful. I cannot wait to see it in the kitchen.

Mrs. Landlord, who in my opinion is a brave woman, bough a saw and went to town on the countertops. I love how she simply assumes she can do this, does her research and goes for it. I'm a lot more cautious and lazy.

The resulting amount of sawdust floating in the house is significant. I mean ... significant. I think I've inhaled a one of it already. My throat has a bit of an itch because of it.

Anyhow, I've never had to live through any home renovations like this, so it's a learning curve for me. regarding just how much work goes into something like this.

On the bright side, I had to clear out all the lower kitchen cabinets for the demolition and the install. So that means I'm going through all my crap and getting rid of stuff. I've had on my to do list for way too long the task of cleaning out and wiping down the cabinets. Now I'm forced to. I also think I'm going to be forced to wash everything again, but that's another story.

In other news, I made it through the one year anniversary of losing mom. The day of I was "ok". I had so much work happening that I didn't really have time to think and dwell on this. The following day, however, was an entirely different story. It's like all the grief was being held at bay and then one, solitary minute of being available and it came flooding out. I miss her so much. I truly do think of her each and every day. In fact, I just took a video of the demons getting under the sheet I put over the kitchen stuff to save them from sawdust.  As soon as I was done I wanted Mom to see it. It's so unfair to me that she's gone.

Still in OTHER news...Sister In Law booked our next cruise. We wanted to go to the Scandinavian region and so she found a 7 day cruise that leaves Copenhagan and hits 4 spots in Norway. It won't be happening until 2019, but I'm still excited. Though if I'm ever going to retire I really need to stop going to Europe every year.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Last of the Firsts

They say the first year after you lose someone you love is the hardest. They, whoever "they" are, are not kidding.

They also say that the first year if full of the "firsts". The "first" birthday without  the love one,  the "first" Mother's day, the "first" anniversary, the "first Christmas...and it goes on and on.

I've managed to survive most of those "firsts". Some were so hard I could barely breath. Others, I blew past without even hurting.

There were some that the leading up to it was way worse than the actual "first"- i.e. Mother's Day. I was so sure Mother's day would suck so royally that the entire week leading up to it I was a complete mess. Then on the actual day...nothing. I was grieved out.

Her birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and my birthday...all sucked. Mom and I had so many silly, little traditions for those occasions that it was super hard to not have her here to experience them.

Now the real BIG first is upon us...

Hold please...tearing up.

Sheesh.

One year ago today, I got the call that changed my life forever. Cousin calling to tell me mom had a stroke. As if it was yesterday I can still hear her words... "no brain activity." "come immediately."

The "no brain activity" rang in my head for weeks after. I just couldn't believe it. How was it possible that Mom was near death? Surely Cousin J was wrong. Mom would survive this. Cousin J was just being over dramatic...

She wasn't.

So tonight as I sit here and try very hard to not think about how much I lost, I find myself thinking about it. Funny that. The more you try to NOT think about something, the more you think about it.

By this time last year I was sitting in this same chair, crying my eyes out to some poor rep with Alaska airlines trying desperately to get me to Tucson the following day.

As this week progresses, I have a feeling this will get worse. I miss her as much today as I did a year ago. I still can't believe she's gone as much today as I did a year ago. Still try to cal her. Still want to share stories, gossip etc with her. Still want to ask her if she is still happy about voting for Trump. :-)

So hang tight friends, it's going to be a wildly emotional week...yay. Can't wait for this first to be over. I know it won't be any better...but it'll be over.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

So Long 2017...you rat bastard

Ahhh, the new year. It smells fresh. It's, well, new. It's full of hope. It's full of resolutions and goals. It's a blank slate...at least that's what it used to be for me.

The new year usually sees me reflecting on what I did or didn't do in the previous year. The new year brings out all sorts of thoughts, feelings and emotions - most that I don't want to deal with.

Now the reality of starting a new year without mom has a whole different meaning.  This year I'm looking back over the year with sadness, sorrow, pain and loss. And I'm ready to look forward to 2018 with less than all those emotions. They will always be my bedfellows, but they don't have to hog the covers.

Grief is a funny thing. Fickle really. When it hits you, it hits hard. You lose your breath. You lose your focus. You lose everything...and all you can do it think about what you've lost. It has a way of leading us down a path to really reflect on the past and not on the future. The future looks bleaker than it did... without Mom. While it's already difficult to enjoy, or tolerate, the present, the future is full of memories of a person we lost too soon. The "What would she be doing..." comments are never ending. Or "Mom would have loved this..." are constant. The new year is a realization that this is a year that Mom will no longer be a part of this new year, or any new year.

And just when I think I can't handle it anymore...I feel this little tap on my shoulder telling me that while she's not physically here, she's still by my side throughout everything I do this year.  In fact, I open my mouth and I swear my mother comes out.

While I have to focus on the grief and really deal with it and not stuff it into the closet to deal with later, I'm going to dedicate this year to me and to Mom. I'm going to do things that would make her proud. I'm going to live my life in a way that she didn't get to and that she'd want me to. I'm going to live the year for her.

So as I sit here on New Year's Eve contemplating 2017 and the expectations of 2018, I'm doing so with Mom.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Ho Ho...as BigBro would say

Christmas is no longer a celebration with family for me...it's turned into more about thinking about the one's who aren't with us.

It goes way beyond mom today. I'm missing Dad too and BigBro. All gone too soon.

It snowed last night in Seattle. I woke to a winter wonderland ... white and cold. I wanted to dial mom up immediately and listen to her tell me how warm it was in Tucson and laugh at how cold it is here. No can do. So I complained to the Internet and the cats. They're both always willing to listen to me.

Little Sister called this morning. That made me feel loved and so happy that she's still in my life. We've been through a lot together and in the aftermath of losing Mom we are more kindred spirits than before.

Little Sister? I'm sure I've mentioned her. She showed up on our doorstep in 4th grade and never left. Her parents weren't really great parents. She adopted us and we her. She called Mom and Dad, "mom" and "dad". Dad walked her down the aisle (turned out to be the only daughter he would do that with). She traveled with us. She's a Wraspir through and through. We have completely different opinions of politics and religion and yet we still love each other deeply.

This morning after I showered I was sitting on my bed just waiting for my brain to kick in to what was next. A weird, sudden feeling washed over me. This thought hit my head hard...

"If I died right now, I'm happy."

That's huge.

As I sat I had the following thoughts cross my mind:
I'm loved. I have family and friends who would stand by me through anything.
I've seen the world. More to see, but have sure seen my fair share.
I've been successful in my career.
Overall, things have been great. Even the tough times I survived.

So bizarre. Now, I don't plan on going anywhere anytime soon...but that thought was quite comforting and a place I've never been. There's always been ONE...MORE...THING that would make me happy.

So on this day of Christmas, I'm wishing you all the same. Happiness and love in every day of your life.

What's next? The Birthday...49. How on earth did I get here?

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Holidays Will Never Be the Same

People have said this to me as we begin this holiday season. I really wasn't sure what they meant by it, but now, knee deep into the holiday season, I get it. Oh boy do I get it.

I didn't want the holiday season to become something I'd avoid. I love the holiday season and I really didn't want to admit anything would be different. I'm finding that the holiday season is bringing to or so clear attention that my mom, my favorite person, is no longer here.

As the season has progressed, I still find reasons I want to call her. Or see something she'd love and I want to buy for her. Or decorations that remind me of something she had. Or some decoration, item, that she would have found the perfect place for in her house. Everywhere, it seems I am constantly reminded that she is not with us any longer.

It has taken a lot of effort for me to keep, and hold on to, that holiday sparkle. Getting into the "spirit" is actual effort. It didn't used to be. But Mom loved Christmas. I can't not still celebrate the season. She'd not be happy if we stopped.

I miss her. Not just a little. I miss her every single, solitary day. Daily my thoughts drift to her or to something we used to do, or something I wish I could do with her. I think about all the things she's not going to be here for and I realize, all too painfully, that things are no longer the same without her.

I even find myself thinking about what if she was still here. What would she think about how horribly the Seahawks played last weekend? What would she think about a niece getting married? How would she plan to get here for the wedding? How proud she'd be at the great niece graduating from college? How angry she'd be at me for working so many hours? 
Right now, she'd be calling me every day to tell me who we'd be going to dinner to when I was down in Tucson. She'd have every night planned ... a dinner here, a dinner there. 
I miss all of that. 
When I start to think about her not being here for any of that...I start to grieve all over again. It becomes almost a daily struggle to keep it together and consider all the stuff I have to conquer without her. She was supposed to be here for all those things. She wasn't supposed to leave so soon. 
So I'll get through this holiday season. I'll force the Christmas spirit into my life, because Mom would want that. It won't be the same. It never will be. The holidays are forever changed. They will never be the same.

I miss you mom. Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

A Year ago

A year ago tomorrow I was in the hospital for blood clots. I had to cancel my Christmas trip to Tucson because of them. Boy do I regret that now.

I've been thinking of Mom all day and wondering what Christmas last year would have been like had I been able to make it. What would Mom and I have done? Where would we have eaten? How many times would we have laughed?

I know it's all for not, but it's fun and sad to think about.

Today I found a journal from mom. It's a daily journal in which it asked her questions about her life. I had seen it before, but was unable to even consider reading it, let alone actually read it. Today I cracked it open. I read the whole thing. I learned things about mom I didn't know!

Now I want to do the same thing. Write about some of the things that have happened in my life. I don't have any children to pass it on to, but someone will read it. And I like to write, so it'll give me something meaningful to write about.

In other news, I cannot believe Christmas is just a week away. Where the H-E- double hockey sticks did this year go?

I'll be doing dinner this year. Nothing fancy, just a couple of family members. The question is what to cook.

Speaking of cooking, Jenny is going ok. I'm just about to be at 10 lbs lost. It's taken a bit longer than I had planned, but I'm ok with it. I've been hitting the gym 3 - 4 times a week and just in that I'm feeling way better than I have in months. Going to keep the good going...

Friday, November 24, 2017

Happy Turkey Day...and all that stuff

Well, one of the many holidays I've been dreading came and went without much hoopla. I only lost it once yesterday, which is pretty amazing considering I figured it would be all day.

There's no doubt that I missed Mom yesterday. So may traditions that she and I had around Thanksgiving. None would anyone find remotely interesting or amusing, but she and I did. And that's all that matters.

As I was making one of the traditional casseroles for our dinner, I got to thinking about the "original recipe".
Broccoli Casserole. Oh boy do I love this dish. As I was making it yesterday I  noticed that we had one more ingredient that isn't on this recipe...we add sausage. Huh. So I got to thinking and this is what I suspect happened. Mom was cooking on Thanksgiving and had a role of sausage in the fridge and thought, "Hmmm, that might be good in there." and Voila...a new tradition is born.

Oh, and mom put in saute'd onions and celery. That's what I appreciated about Mom, and Dad really, is that the recipe was just a guideline. Which is, not too surprisingly, how I cook. Ahhh, the unexpected gifts parents give you.

So what did happen yesterday? Food. Lots and lots of food as only a Wraspir family can produce. I had The Nieces, Sister-in-Law, her mom, the Pantry Goat and her mom all over. It was a perfect gathering of people. I realized yesterday that not only was I thankful that Mom and I had so many cherished memories around Thanksgiving, but that I had friends I consider family and family I consider friends. What a blessing.



The rest of this weekend looks to be a little bit of everything. Today I'm scrapbooking, finished my Christmas cards and doing dishes. Tomorrow we put up the Christmas tree and watch the Cougs beat the Huskies in the Apple Cup (we hope). Sunday I'm going to play it low and maybe do some work to get myself prepared for what is likely to be the busiest week ever...

So from my house to yours, I hope your Thanksgiving was full of Thanks. That is, after all, what it's all about.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

November? Already?

In one way I'm thrilled this year has gone so quickly. It's been a helluva year.

In another way, I'm stunned at what I didn't get done this year. More importantly I have lost myself somewhere along the way.

A friend had a birthday party last night and I felt myself not wanting to go. I wanted to help him celebrate his BIG birthday and then the other side of my was so exhausted that I didn't want to leave the house.

This not wanting to leave the house has been around all year, if not slightly more. I am 100% positive it has to be with being burned out.

Thankfully a decision was made on Thursday that will help with this issue. They won't be promoting me to a manager at work and are not sure what direction that group will be moving into. There may be an option down the road, but for now, it's not going to happen.

Oddly that decision made me feel ok. I at least have an answer and now I can move forward.

Part of that moving forward will be to slowly remove any "management" type tasks off my plate. I've started by making a list and will discuss with the boss. I'm tired of doing the work for something that isn't going to promote me. I was ok putting in the hours to "prove myself". Now? Not so interested. I cannot continue to let them take advantage of me and my lack of being able to set any boundaries.

It won't happen overnight that's for sure. I'm planning to have sloughed off the extra management work by Jan 1st.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

And On and On and On...

Titling posts is hard for me. Especially when it's a post about nothing in particular.

Yesterday was another weigh in at JC. I'm down 5.5 lbs. Last week was not my best week. I learned a lot about why you need to stay on plan. Why you need to eat everything listed for the day. Turns out it helps your metabolism. Which I knew, logically, but apparently forgot.

My JC consultant is quite the woman. She's been what I call a JC survivor for 12 years and she's kept all the weight off. I feel like I've become her little project. She was the same consultant I saw 3 years ago and 2  years beyond that. She knows me.

Yesterday she said something to me while I was lamenting about some of the food that I don't like. She said, "Eat to live." She went on to say that I'm so used to eating for the joy and that's why I'm in the position I'm in. If, however, I consider eating to live and being OK if it's something you may not like that much, is it worth it? Will it be worth it?

Huh.

I hadn't thought of it that way. It's a very interesting concept and one I'm going to need to think about.

She was also impressed that I'm journaling this adventure.  I have found it I write down my thoughts throughout the week, I can remember to think about them. I'm going to be digging deep to get some of this mental crap out of me. I know I eat and rationalize food because of how I was trained growing up and how I've trained myself. That's years worth of habit and non thoughtful eating.



In other news, I went wine tasting yesterday. Wine is not on JC, but I gave myself yesterday to have some treats. Wine is a treat. The Yank and PhotoGirl and I hit a couple of wineries then stopped for a bit. It was, as always, a blast hanging out with them. They have such knowledge of wine that I just listen to them and try to remember what they've said.

Week three is in front of me. I've got my plan. I've got my groceries. I'm ready to go. I think I can make it to the gym 5 times this week. I'm gonna try anyhow.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Week One is in the bag

Week one of my new journey is in the bag. And I feel great. I'm very aware that the first weeks comes with a motivation that can be challenging to carry with you.  My consultant told me I had an EXCEPTIONAL week and she was right.

I am down 4.8 lbs for the week. But beyond the lbs lost is how good I felt last week.

It was Tuesday when I realized as I was closing my eyes that I felt good. Inside. I felt like my brain was more clear and that I just felt better.

It was Thursday when I realized I hadn't had a tums all week. There must be something to this eating healthy thing. :-)

By Friday I realized two things:
1. I was going to be bored of fruit pretty quickly and needed something else to do about he 5 servings of fruit a day.
and
2. I had done the whole week! And without very much effort.

As is the case for me, and I know this from years of experience, that planning is the key for me. So planning I will do.

My goal for this next week is to stay the course. I'm less concerned by the # of lbs lost and more interested in how good I felt. My brain was functioning again.

What also made me smile this last week was the amount of support I am getting from all directions. Friends and family have watched me flounder, be successful, flounder some more. And through it all they had my back. I am loved.

My other big thing I did last week is I set a boundary at work. Setting boundaries is easy for me. Simple really. Keeping them is the hard part. I had been clocking over 55 hours of work a week for weeks, months really. I'm done with that. Part of "fixing" the burnt out-ness is setting boundaries. So last week my boundary was the computer is shut at 7pm. It worked well because that's when I scheduled to go to the gym. But by and large, that was all I was going to give.  IF I wasn't in meetings all day I could think about leaving my computer AT work. But since I am in meetings all day and still have to service my clients, there is a need to work in the evenings.

I also started giving due dates to my clients farther out than I normally do. Instead of, "Sure I can have that to you by tomorrow". It's been, "Sure I can do that. I'll have it to you in 5 days." Most people didn't complain at all. And it set me up to not be so frantic every night. Win!

This next week, I'm sure, will have some issue crop up that will try to sideline me. And if it does, I'll find a way to deal with it. But, with the plan I may not need to "deal" with anything.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Off I go...

If you're reading this, then you've likely been reading my blog for some time and/or you know me pretty well and therefore you know my struggle with weight. A lot has happened over the last several years that just made me not care anymore. Turns out … I have all the symptoms of someone who’s burned out. One of the symptoms is no real care for one’s self. And I am testament for that one symptom.

Recently a friend shared with me an article about being burned out. I read it with a half eye thinking, "I'm not burned out. Surely I would know..." Yah, denial...it's great. 

Emotional exhaustion is one of the symptoms and it's friends fatigue, insomnia, forgetfulness, impaired concentration and attention ride along as shot gun.  This entire gang has been hanging with me and I didn't even notice. 

Fatigue explains my lack of energy to do anything. Being physically and emotionally exhausted, drained and depleted are all cousins to this. And all things I've been feeling. 

Insomnia hasn't been huge, but I do have trouble staying asleep several times a week. 

Forgetfulness / impaired concentration and attention. Hi! The story of my life. I've been joking with people at work about my memory and never considered that it was from being burned out. 

The other items on the list that I have felt and "enjoyed" over the last year. Loss of enjoyment, pessimism, isolation and detachment.

Huh. Check. Check. Check and Check. 

Loss of enjoyment is a big one for me, along with isolation. Things I used to love doing, I no longer wanted to do. And I would prefer to spend time by myself because I'm so tired of people and thinking. Consequently, I've managed to push people out. And people who know me are probably thinking this didn't sound like me. What they didn't know is even though I was going out with them, the entire time all I wanted to do was be at home...alone.

Now that I know what's going on with me...I've made some decisions to fix myself. It’s taken me since Ireland to really wrap my head around what I want to do with myself. And fully understanding what I NEED to do with myself.

Today I took that step. It likely isn’t the step any of you would take, but it’s one that has worked for me in the past and one that I need to do to get a kick start in eating healthy.

My goal…to not be the weakest link/slowest person in Scotland. I want to not miss anything. I want to take that extra walk around the block to see another cathedral.

What that means to me in # of lbs lost, I have no idea. I’m not interested in putting in a number…yet. I’m interested in health. But, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I am planning on 20 -30 lbs by December. Most likely closer to 20, but why not stretch myself? I’d like to be 40 down by Scotland. 1-2 lbs a week is 32 by Dec 31st.


I’m tell you all because you are the ones who know me the best and who are my most vocal cheerleaders. So here we go. 36 weeks to Scotland…


Sunday, September 17, 2017

2017 Seattle 3Day...sorta

For almost 10 years we've been participating in the 3Day in some way. From 2007 when BigBro walked it solo, to 2008 when Blueberry and I laced up our shoes to walk. To all the years after that I spent a small fortune on decorations for the car. It's been fun. And each year we plan and look forward to this event.

Last year, because of crazy medical things, our team ended up not walking. Blueberry and I stalked the Seattle walkers. I determined it was just not the same when a family member wasn't walking. There's something about searching our YOUR walker that made it fun.

This year non of the Wraspir's were walking Seattle. Ugh.

That coupled with the fact that the 3Day, on a whole, has gone down hill. It's become a business instead of the "family" feeling it was when we started. The leadership of the 3Day hasn't done it any favors either. They've "tried" so many things to get walkers out there, but none seem to be working. In 2008 there was over 3700 walkers. There were 450 this weekend.

Still, I went out yesterday and spent the morning with our favorite stalkers, the Lil' Smokies.

I brought out the flamingo costume this year. It was just cool enough





The Princesses and one Pilot joined us.



Seattle Police were out on the route again this year.


Sunday, September 10, 2017

What a Weekend

Snap! The weekend is over just like that. Yesterday I spent the majority of the day working. I got caught up ... mostly. There are still a few things I need to take care of and am spending the morning today doing that.

Later in the evening, we all met at the Keg for Janet's birthday dinner. We've been doing this birthday thing at the keg for YEARS. The birthday person gets a free dinner, and the rest of us get to spend the evening chatting.

Tonight is Sunday dinner. I'm doing a Low Country Boil. I saw this on The Kitchen several weeks ago and thought it'd be a blast. Tonight I have 15 people coming to dinner. FIFTEEN! I love these big dinners. It reminds me of family times growing up. There was never a quite weekend evening at our house. We were either hosting a dinner or going to someone's for dinner.

I've still been doing these Lists for 30 days. I'm a day or two behind, but here's the most recent ones.

Sept 3 - Favorite Treats to Have on Hand
1. Popcorn
2. Reese's Pieces
3. Chips. Love my chips
4. Coffee, ice tea
5. A Good Book
Funny how there's nothing healthy on that list...

Sept 4 - I Feel My Best When...
1. I'm around family
2. I'm scrapbooking / being creative
3. I'm cooking
4. I'm alone with my thoughts

Sept 5 - My Excuses for Being Late...
1. I'm never late...

Sept 6 - Please Don't Ask Me To...
1. Eat Bell Peppers
2. Clean up vomit
3. Stay put when a bee's around

Sept 7 - My Go To Outfits...
1. I don't have any

Sept 8 - Books To Read Over and Over Again...
1. Don Quixote
2. GlobeTrotter
3. Wuthering Heights

Sept 9 - Newest Additions to my Home...
1. Mom and Dad's Camel Stool
2. Mom and Dad's Iranian rugs

Sept 10 - Ways to Disconnect...
1. this is a list that is foreign to me...

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Day 1 and Day 2 of Lists

This list thing is a bit different than I originally though. I was excited to see the list of lists I'm going to make this month, but didn't realize the ladies in this group were going to take it to the whole next level and SCRAP each list each day. They make their lists all fancy and what not.

I did not for my first list. I literally just wrote it down in my Bullet Journal. The Bullet Journal I started this year with making it so pretty. Drawing things. Making lists to check things off over the year (like the books I was going to read, or the new things I was going to try). Then Mom happened and I lost all desire to do anything creative.

For a long time....

Suddenly in June, around her 6 month mark, I was ready to start being more crafty than ever. A switch was flipped in me. I missed being crafty and I was sure that by not doing it I was making myself not happy. So I started scrapping again.

I have this crazy goal to use up my entire scrapbook stash. If you've ever seen my room, then you know that's the funniest thing you've ever heard.

In August, I made a goal to do one scrappy thing every day in my room.  It could be as simple as rearranging my Thickers. Or it could be scrapping an entire page. I didn't get to it every day, but I'm proud to say I got the majority.

Now back to the list thing. I doubt I'll get as creative as these ladies, but I like the idea of making a list.

Day 1 Theme: But First...
1. Kitty snuggles
2. Coffee
3. Get to work
4. Emails, meetings and such
5. Lather - Rinse - Repeat

When I first jotted down this list I put coffee first, then realized that no kitty snuggles always come first. Firs thing in the morning, they aren't really awake yet, so I can grab them and snuggle them. To say they hate that is putting it mildly. EVERY MORNING, I grab one. Hug it close to my chest and say, "I'm going to love and squeeze you and call you George". It's a line from a Bugs Bunny cartoon that I'm sure I have all wrong.

Day 2 Theme:  I'm Excited For...
1. Scrapping all day with Janet
2. Morning coffee with a good book
3. Fall weather...it's coming
4. Change that's coming
5. The Carnitas in the crock pot

This one I decorated slightly...but still not at all like the rest of the group is doing. Except this one lady...she is quite literally putting her list on sticky notes every day. And I love the simplicity of that.



Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Lists Lists and More Lists

There are a couple of things most people who know me well know about me.

1. I have a very strange need to collect pens.
2. I have that same very strange need to collect journaling notebooks. (They're so many pretty ones).
3. I am the queen of lists.

The two of those strange needs together go well. Like peanut butter and jelly. Or Abbot and Costello. Or Rif and Raf. you get the picture. So it should be of no surprise that I'm stepping into the ring of a new challenge for September.

The 30 Days of Lists challenge.
Now, it's not exactly what you think it is. Its not actually making a list every day for 30 days. Instead its a list of topics to write about for 30 days.

I like lists.

I like to write.

It seems like a good fit. So, starting Sept 1st I'm going to "try" to keep with it for 30 days. Should be interesting.