It’s been twelve years since we lost Grandpa. It hardly seems possible that it has been so long. I think of him every day and miss him every minute. He was a big part of my life while I was growing up, though I saw him only once a year. A very quiet, strong, loving man with a crooked smile and a rare bark of a laugh. He loved all of his girls so much. Wife, daughters, granddaughters. He was always surrounded by females that he could not understand at all, but adored with every bit of his heart and soul.
Grandpa was a good man. He was not perfect. He had many faults. When he was a young man he drank a lot and it caused him and his little family quite a bit of trouble. He gambled. He bet away money that was sorely needed on more than one occasion. And he fought, while in the Army, he fought with his superiors enough to be busted back whenever he got promoted. But Grandpa worked hard. He quit drinking, smoking, and gambling. He supported a wife and children, ran his own business, and loved in a quiet and profound way that none could ever match. Like I said, a good man, built on a platform of American spirit, love of family, endlessly improving character and more strength than any other ten people I know could ever possess.
On the day of his funeral, it was standing room only as the service started. A silent testimony to that amazing character and the impact he made on the people around him. I know people spoke but I remember very little about that service. I do remember two things clearly. I remember holding my Daddy’s hand, thinking how much pain my Moms and Aunt Carla must feel to have lost their own Daddy. And I remember my Uncle Derol grabbing my other hand, wiping away his tears, and telling me how much my Grandpa loved me. That he was proud of me. And that I often showed a lot of Grandpa’s same spark in my own actions. To this day, few words have meant as much to me.
My Grandpa was a good man. He was a brother, a soldier, a husband, a father and a friend to so many. I am lucky to carry him with me in my heart, and to see him staring back at me everyday in my own crooked smile.
I miss you Grandpa. I am thankful everyday to have been loved by you.
Sometimes it seems like the Universe is stacking up blessings at your feet. They are usually disguised as everyday ordinary occurrences, or opportunities to spend more time smiling. Like this weekend, for instance. Friday the King and I spent the evening with our friends Jacob and Cathy. We had a wonderful dinner at Sushi and Saki (although, that is the last all you can eat sushi I attempt) and then we went bowling at the bowling alley next door. For those of you that know me at all, you know that “inconsistent” is usually the nicest thing you can say about my bowling abilities. But Friday I got my highest score ever, despite an incredibly slow start to the game. I have no idea how I pulled this off, but I guess bowling isn’t so bad…
Saturday, I actually slept in for the first time in months. I stayed in bed until almost 8:30! (well, after waking up at 5:30 and putting the dogs out, I went back to bed and stayed there.) Ed and I grabbed a couple of burritos and then went to help my WODsister move into her new place. It was a really pretty day, and it was nice to be outside together. Ed tends to stay inside when he is off. I guess when you work out in the sun all day, its not as much fun to just be outside. At least without a fishing pole.
After that we tried this new restaurant for lunch, Flamez. It was a little pricey, but OOOOHHHHH EMMMMMMM GEEEEEE! It was delish! They had a great selection of different kinds of burger patties to choose from, check it out:
Ed declared them to be the best burgers he has ever eaten. That is pretty impressive coming from him. I am not really a big burger person, so I had the Caprese sandwich, and let me tell you…. Yum! We had two meals and an appetizer and it was about $35.00, so not outrageous. Check it out if you are in the area.
I also got several of the plants I requested from Spring Hill Nursery, they were delivered on Saturday. The grab bag of full sun perennials ended up being four potentially large shrubberies (which is a word that never fails to remind me of Monty Python. “we are the knights who say Ni!”) We will see if these plants manage to live. We may have over fertilized the yard area a little when we were planning on putting in grass, so the soil there could be anywhere from perfect to highly corrosive. It should be interesting to find out which end of the spectrum it falls on.
After lunch we went to our friends’ house for a barbecue. These were the same group of friends that went with us to the lake, and so we had to have a corn-hole rematch. The new boards are a little slick, so it will take a little more practice for Jenn and I to take back the crown. But we will…. oh yes, we will. I am wondering how much the margaritas had to do with our less than killer scores. Maybe the jello shots were a factor. Hard to say.
Sunday morning was my first PiYo in the Park with my friend Angie teaching the class. It was great! What a nice way to start the day! Grisham Park in Northeast Albuquerque is a great little park with exorcise equipment and big shade trees. Its also right down the street from my house. It was a good stretch and a nice start to the day. And with that out of the way, the rest of the day could be spent in Father’s Day mode. I called my Daddy (who is the paramount example of fatherhood on the planet, thank you very much) and we talked about the US Open and yard maintenance, as well as his and mom’s upcoming visit. If only he were closer, I would have loved to see him for Father’s day.
But, the King woke up to a nice card, courtesy of yours truly. He also got to play his Xbox all uninterrupted-like while I was out at PiYo. Then he got homemade brunch, also courtesy of yours truly, although the cat helped (mostly by sitting in his lap.) After brunch he got calls from all of his kids, from his Auntie Jenny, his mom, and a really nice facebook post from a young man he essentially helped to raise. He also got a call from Jay, which was very sweet but I am not sure how he rates. On mother’s day, all I got was a text from my son, yet Ed gets a call…. hmmm….
Since both of the boys were working, we went to BWW to see them, and the girls also came by with their boyfriends. They got Ed his very own cheesecake and a really sweet card for Father’s day, and of course, several rounds of drinks for him to share with his kids. Needless to say, he was in heaven.
I even “let” him play more Xbox.
A whole lot of happy memories rolled up into two days, some good food, great friends, and loving family.
Have you ever noticed that a lot of prep work goes into how Monday is going to feel? Most Monday mornings are a mixture of disbelief and despair. Disbelief the weekend went by so fast, and despair that you have 5 days and nights to get through to get to the next one.
I have noticed that if I end Sunday with a session of hot yoga, I can often greet Monday with a little less resentment. If my Saturday was filled with something other housework, it will go a long way toward a blissful Monday as well.
This weekend was a perfect example. Friday night with the King’s family and a fantastic game of cards. (Fantastic mostly because I won.) Good food and warm and welcoming company is a great way to spend an evening! Then up early to fuel up for CrossFit, where my Miss Rebekah joined me to try her beast mode skills. She did great! and I was happy to finally get her into the box. Of course she hated the wall balls, but honestly, who doesn’t?
Saturday night we went to the bowling alley with my friends Carley and Jerome, and some people from work. It was a lot of fun, and I only threw the ball backwards once, and their were no reported injuries. I actually didn’t do too bad for someone who has only bowled about eight times in their life. (Yes, I know, I live next door to a bowling alley! I never go, what can I say.)
Sunday morning we celebrated King Edward’s birthday yet again. This time we were treated to brunch prepared by his daughters and their boyfriends. It was wonderful! His girls are amazing young women, and I am thankful to count them in both my family and my blessings.
Unfortunately, Ed is getting a little too used to the attention, so hopefully this will end the birthday festivities.
After brunch I was able to convince Ed to go to a nursery to look at plants. We spoke to a really helpful guy at Jackalope, and got some great ideas for the yard. We also got some valuable advice about the benefits of xeriscaping and how long to wait before planting in the newly fertilized earth. Then we took a little drive looking around looking for the kind of tree the king wants in the front yard. Its called an umbrella catalpa, by the way.
And of course the evening wrapped up with hot yoga. Blissful and energized for Monday, I am able to find a little gratitude for the end of the weekend. At least I should get a little rest at work!
Its been a while. Have you guys missed me? I promise, I haven’t stopped being thankful for my everyday blessings, I just haven’t sat down to formulate them lately. Here is why…
After ripping out the yard, we had to do something. I expanded my garden to about three times its previous size. My Aunt Pat accompanied me out to Edgewood to check out Parker’s Farm. Here is a hint for you… It was AWESOME! They had great plants, a beautiful back yard garden, and friendly people. The drive out was deceptive. Mile after mile of windswept dirt and scrub, all the way to the gate, then once you turn the corner, BAM! Eden. Take my advice, go see for yourself
Box time has become a precious commodity to me lately. I have really started to see a lot of improvements in my physical strength, which of course makes me want more!!! I have really come to see the people at Cantina CrossFit as family, and the box as a second home. I am “this close” to achieving my first CrossFit goal. I have been trying to get to the point where I can do an unassisted pull-up. When I started, I was on the highest level of band (it basically was a slingshot) and I am now to a point where I barely need the lowest level band. I practice this one thing more than any other, and my callused hands are proof! I will get there, its only a matter of time. Then on to the next goal: the handstand pushup!
I spent some time in the kitchen, cooking dinners (some we shared with Justin, our #1 surprise dinner guest!) and even baked some cookies for the King. This recipe you see is one I made to share with the people at Cantina. Sweet Potato Recovery Bars. I wasn’t completely sold on these, but everyone else loved them! Give them a try. If you are looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle, these are chock full of healthy. And the smell of the coconut flour as I was sifting it… Seriously, the smell of the flour…. Heaven!
I participated in a fitness day and then a week later, in a walk and donation drive for care packages going to our troops. Both events were sponsored by my work. I love working in a place where they see my health as important. Both of these events were tied to our preventative health program, which helps us earn money to spend on doctor visits throughout the year. I was very pleased to see the number of donations that our “Walk for Warriors” had collected as well. I know that these little comforts of home make all the difference to our deployed heroes.
Over Memorial Day, we celebrated King Edward’s birthday by spending the weekend at the lake with friends. The guys did some fishing, the women did some relaxing, we all ate too much, and I got in a great workout by the lake and some sunrise yoga on the deck. Our “what-is-becoming-an-annual-trip” was a nice break from reality. The temps were pretty near perfect to be outside enjoying the world around us.
Tonight, we spent the evening with Ed’s family. His Aunt and cousins from California were in town, and we were able to celebrate his official birthday family style.
So, as you can see, it was a busy few weeks! And through each day I was happy, healthy, and engaged in the my world. I love Spring. It gives you a chance to reconnect to your own sense of awakening, and to find joy in everything from surprise garden spots, to callused hands, to the aroma of coconut flour. Everyday life is always full of small blessings, if you know how to see them.
Love hoops and happiness everyone.
I am absolutely pleased to say that the semester is finished! If nothing catastrophic happens with the grading of my paper, I should be looking at 2 A’s and an A+ for my final grades. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
This semester was a rough one. All of my classes were labor intensive and all were complicated in different ways. Now that they are finished, I find myself relishing the thought of a summer unencumbered by schoolwork. I am sure I will pay for that later, I should just be getting on with it, but I am not feeling it this semester. A break is warranted.
This semester was also full of work for, well, work. My job was very busy for the last several months. We had a triennial program review to plan, execute, and generally have nightmares over. I had several, and they increased in repetition the closer we got to the review. I am happy to report that every went well, and I think I would have received an A+ on that assignment as well.
So I have been busily finishing up school and work projects, going in and out of the box and working my butt off to build a little muscle and endurance. (And burn off stress and stave off fatigue at the same time.) I missed a lot of hoop class, but still managed some hoop time, and even got my Jay into the spirit on Take Our Kids to Work Day. He hooped with my trainer and she rewarded him with a gorgeous smile, and a big hug.
Over the last two weekends, Ed and I, with the help of Ed’s son Justin and his best friend Jacob (assisted by the most adorable 2-year old foreman you ever met) started working to rejuvenate the front yard.
Now that we have lovely level dirt, we have to dig some more to lay the irrigation system. I have been banished from digging, as the King says watching me dig raises his blood pressure. Its too bad he didn’t feel that way about letting me move rock, he seemed all for that! No matter, no digging for me! While Ed is digging, I can be busy going to the box, and hot yoga, maybe even a farmer’s market or two… Until the irrigation is down, I won’t have much to do. Once it is in, however, I will be busy planting and making the yard look beautiful!
The puppy has grown into a horse, which we knew he would but it took us by surprise anyway. He is, at 6 months, able to reach up and stare over the kitchen counters. He is twice the size of Saki dog, and although he is large and ungainly, he is also a big teddy bear who just loves to be loved on. I am also happy to report that the dogs and cat are living together in what can only be called disdainful acceptance. Which is fine with me, they are not bothering each other.
So, all in all, the summer season is starting off well with good news all around and lots of fun things to keep me going. I am thankful for the reprieve from school work, and looking forward to a summer filled with new adventures and hopefully some familiar faces. Maybe a visitor or two. Maybe some fun trips to new places. Who knows. I will make sure to keep you posted. No matter what, I am blessed to have so many wonderful people to share this summer with!
This Friday I picked up my stepson after work and he spent the weekend with me. This is a joy I don’t get very often, so in terms of my journal of thankfulness, we could just stop right there.
But we won’t. Because we had so much fun together that there is a lot more to be thankful for. Jayden and I went and picked up food for dinner and when we got home, he and King Edward and I all made dinner together. That was a lot of fun! We had a nice dinner, watched a movie, hung out with the puppies and generally just enjoyed each other’s company for an evening. Jay and I talked about him coming to work with me next week, and about him coming to crossfit with me as well. I am always so happy to have him around. His presence makes the house feel more like a home.
Saturday, I intended to go in to work for about three hours, but I was there for five and a half, and could easily have stayed longer. I will be glad when this review is over and my stress level goes back to normal. While I was working, the guys ran around doing errands, getting lunch, and doing guy stuff. I came home to a bathroom door that would open and close without sticking and a toilet that flushed correctly (also a mess of sawdust, trash all over the kitchen which was strewn with dirty dishes, and dogs that still needed fed.)
We did a little more running around, went out for dinner, and then the old people were exhausted. The young person (who claims to be going through a growth spurt) ate non-stop from sun-up to sun-down. I can only sit in amazement and watch. I watched him eat three brats for dinner, then cheesecake for dessert, followed by half a loaf of sweet bread for breakfast, chased down with chili cheese dogs, potato chips, more cheesecake, huevos rancheros, half of my dinner, and still come home like he could eat. I just shook my head and laughed.
And then on Sunday, I took Jayden out for his first driving lesson in a standard transmission. He was a little overwhelmed at first, and very nervous. He stalled the engine a lot, which is normal. And he had a little panic moment when a truck drove behind us. But overall, he did great! Way better than I did on my first lesson. I think he will be fine with driving a stick, and I am so proud that he just kept trying, and never gave up. By the end of the first lesson, he was really starting to get it.
And now to finish up my homework, and head out to hot yoga. This has been a great weekend. Everything from making dinner as a family to passing down the driving lessons taught to me by my Daddy is a small blessing that I am grateful to have.