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December 2, 2017: I've Been Everywhere, Man...

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Sorry about the cover picture. It's the best I had from our Top 10 day in Flagstaff. And in all honesty,  I had to Google "Snapchat Filters" to figure out how to create this picture. Then...wahlah... I am a deer or a dog??

Garrett and I are in Flagstaff, checking it out. I am feeling like a senior in high school, touring schools and narrowing down final decisions. We are going through the same decision process.  Kind of. No school, though. Basically trying to figure out commonality in where to live post-kids.

What we have found is this is an easier decision for Garrett. He has a master spreadsheet that lists comparison of cities in the US listed by major categories of importance to us...days of sunshine, inches of snow, recreation, cost of living, median home cost, etc...

Easy, peasy for Garrett. We can narrow down by a spreadsheet.

Sandy...not so much.

Our breakfast conversation was a nice point of clarity as we visited our city #2, Flagstaff,  on the spreadsheet.

From…

November 24, 2017: Losing to Win

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My morning musings while walking my granddog centered on an article I had just read in the Omaha World-Herald. It was written by a long-time sports columnist, Tom Shatel. Generally, a fan of column features, but not always those in the sports section, I was doubly skeptical as I have never been a big fan of Shatel.

I met him once. About four years ago. After a big playoff win for my son's high school team, I found myself sitting next to Mr. Shatel at a local bar. I struck up a conversation. To say that he was visibly annoyed would be a gracious description.

Knowing he was likely bothered many times by people who wanted to talk sports and share their opinions, I gave him the benefit of the doubt in his response to me. So instead I scrolled through my phone as I waited for my order. And that was about it. "That one time I met Tom Shatel at the bar."

Fast forward to today. As I have perused the OWH headlines in my news feed, I often see highlighted stories by Shatel. I typ…

October 15, 1017: My Own Magical Mystery Bus Tour

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After recent colorful postings on Facebook celebrating my 50th birthday, I fielded questions on the theme behind my gal pal celebration...

"Were you going to a Pink concert?"

"Why the peace movement?"

"Now that looked like fun. When is the next time and can I join??"

My 50th surprise celebration was 60's themed after my 1967 year of birth. And I got my very own Magical Mystery Bus Tour. I have always been the driver, but this was my first as the passenger.

Anyone in my family is well versed on these tours. Since my sons were little, I would load them in the car and simply say we were going on a Magical Mystery Bus Tour. Instead of debating what we were going to do, the conversation would instead be filled with enthusiastic guesses with my giving clues on our mystery destinations.

Today these outings would be known to most as 'forced family fun'. But no one in my home knew the better. Input from the kids was not allowed and they hadn't a c…

September 10, 2017: Halfway There?

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I vividly remember being asked as a child to describe what I hoped to have accomplished by age fifty. This thought was inconceivable to my young mind.

"Fifty? That's ancient!" or something close to that was my roadblock to answering this question. So I answered with the stereotypical; married with children and grandchildren, living in a comfy home and....knitting by the fire??

But here I am almost to this milestone. The big one. So what are my thoughts now with my more mature forty-nine-year-old mind?

"I made it!!!!! YES!"

Yep, I'm thrilled. I can truly say that I have never dreaded a birthday or wished to be young again. Every wrinkle is earned and with every new ache, a reminder to enjoy the good health I have today. Reversal is not an option.

A wise person once told me that getting older was much better than the alternative. I have always held this thought close to heart. Every day really is a blessing.

This birthday will be celebrated taking in the bea…

August 16, 2017: Baby

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Well, it's happened. Baby is a senior. Months from graduation. Our last hoorah.

My feeling is similar to the day I went to kindergarten round-up for him. As I sat in the crowd of parents, I couldn't believe my youngest was actually going to start school. He was just out of diapers. This couldn't be. Having a panic attack, overstressed with 3 young kids while juggling a demanding career, I was sure I had made a mistake. So I did what any good accountant would do.

I recounted the years on my fingers.

2000....2001...2002...2003...2004...

Yep. Despite my temporary confusion, Baby Grant really was old enough to go to kindergarten. And so it began.

I have cried my way through many last-parenting moments starting with our drive home from the hospital following Grant's birth. With each flutter and kick with Baby #3, I enjoyed every minute of my last pregnancy. His birth was the planned last. Knowing it was the beginning of many lasts, I vowed to cherish the moments with my fa…

July 11, 2017: And They Lived Happily Ever After...

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A picture is worth a thousand words. But let's start with six...

"And they lived happily ever after..."

I bought this little sign more than seven years ago. It caught my eye at Target while shopping for milk and kitty litter on a weekday school night. The boys were in varying grades in school and I was single-handedly running my daily household.

Recently divorced, I was also dating a man from Denver. Garrett. Our relationship felt like forever, but the 550 miles between our homes was a stark reminder that our long-distance relationship was more like a fairytale than reality. We were reminded of this frequently by the people who knew us best.

"Guard your heart. Long distance relationships rarely work out."

"You are both good people, so be realistic in where this is going."

But the funny thing about love is that no matter how practical-minded or mature your mindset, your heart guides you to places that are scary to others, but quite comfortable for you…

June 4, 2017: Brothers

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I am sitting on the back deck of a Chicago flat in Wrigleyville (while listening to Van Halen's Panama blaring from Ben's phone). The boys, now ripe ages of 24, 21, and 17, are celebrating a big Cubs win as the boys share their stories with each other after a weekend of brotherhood.

I quietly smile and type away at my computer. I am purely background music to the buzz of their conversation.

Ben asks me what it was like in the 80's when I was their age (his phone is now playing Kansas' Carry on my Wayward Son). Curiosity runs rampant as they ask what is it was like to be a 20 year old in 1987.

"What was Dad like in college?"

"What did you do at parties? Did they play good music?"

An entire conversation continues on a like vs a dislike for rap music ('trap music' per Ben). Grant and Ben exchange notes on their high school days. Zach's comments clearly reflect how much times have changed within the seven years age difference between him an…