Saturday, March 31, 2012

quite satisfying actually

I woke this morning when JoJo jumped onto the bed before 6:00, curled herself onto my hip, and growled when I moved out from under her.

I rolled out of bed several minutes later and realized that I would not be spending the day with one of my favorite little girls on her 6th birthday. Frowny face.

Figured out just moments later that today would not be a day spent with friends either. Boo.

But then I realized the weather was pretty much perfect. Sunny, warm, bit of a breeze.

A perfect day to start some laundry and then head out to the gardens for the long neglected task of cleanup. Raking the beds, cutting back the perennials with the new loppers Jack bought, and after a while, watching as Jack pruned the pine tree and the spruce tree so the sidewalk would be once again available for walkers.

Before I knew it, it was time to head over to see Sarah for a perm and haircut, and then time to see the ladies at Mimi's for a pedicure. And because I was pampering myself, I also picked up a Mexican pizza at Taco Bell and ate it all up. Yum.

I returned home to find Jack and Jr still pruning and also raking. So much raking to be done around here.

The breeze picked up, turning into a real wind that laughed at us, swirling the debris into the air as we tried to rake it into nice tidy piles. But we won. We shoveled and tossed the needles and clippings into the back of the trailer for delivery to the recycling part of the landfill where it can all become mulch for someone's garden.

The newly curly hair, the hot pink toenails, and the satisfaction of seeing tips of new growth emerging from the soil. Missed seeing the birthday girl. Missed hanging with friends. Missed hockey and pizza night with Stu and girls. But still. Pretty much a good day.

Friday, March 30, 2012

bright spots

There's work to be done in these here gardens. It must be spring because I'm feeling ready to get at it.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

waiting in traffic

Got on the freeway tonight after school. Immediately realized traffic was stopped. More stopped than usual through the construction zone that is more than half of my school commute.


But it was a beautiful day.

And I didn't have anyplace specific to be.

So I drove. Five miles per hour in the slow lane. Until I passed the big suburban that had stalled in the middle lane. Stopped at an odd angle, obviously, the woman driving it had tried to get it off to the side of the road, but there is no side of the road there, and I suspect no one would let her over as she coasted to a stop. Poor dear.

Picked up the pace a bit after that. Up to ten miles per hour. Still in the slow lane. Until I passed the emergency vehicles and tow truck and clean up crew--and the car that had been on fire. Whoa. Bad day for that dude.

Picked up the pace again. Fifteen miles per hour through that part of the construction where we drop from four down to three lanes. Stop. Go. Stop. Go. Merging traffic into the slow lane. Hey wait, is that guy behind me Dale Earnhardt Jr? Looks like him. Where are they racing this weekend? Oh, wait. Can't be him. He's driving a Honda Civic. No way Jr's driving a Honda. Or a stinkin' Ford.

Nice day for a slow drive today.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

multiple choice question

So. Which of the following best explains why I am having such a hard time remembering stuff in my classes right now:

a. I'm just too old to remember stuff anymore.
b. Freshly back from spring break and not in remembering mode (and apparently can't be bothered to include a subject noun--is that a real grammar phrase?--in this option)
c. Less than four weeks until graduation (again, gaaa--not even a complete sentence)
d. My brain is too full after all these years of (1) life, and (2) school, and it can only remember important stuff like (1) keep breathing and keep heart beating, and (2) the faces of those I love.
e. I haven't read any pages in my texts this semester. Which is apparently the way most, if not all, of my fellow classmates approach school, so why not, right? Dude.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

probably the last post about the spring break trip

Jr and I laughed and talked and eased our way to and from California.

Likely the trip went as well as it did because of the play list he put together on his iPOD--all of his favorite artists, shuffled, that played for all 13 hours there and at least 10 of the hours coming back. (Adele, Florence & the Machine, Pink, Regina Spector, Robin, and a whole bunch more that I can't remember but expect he'll identify in the comments below.) There were only a couple of repeats--mostly the ones I requested so I could sing them a second time. [Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky-tacky...]

And if that weren't enough, he also downloaded podcasts of This American Life, which is my favorite hour on the radio each week even though I rarely hear it because I don't usually have the radio on on the weekends, so we listened to it as we drove through the dark, snowing, blowing storm between Wendover and Tooele. Those podcasts are probably the thing that got us through nightmare. That and the new tires.

Also, Jr honked his horn all the way through the Carlin tunnel that I-80 goes through just before Elko, because I told him it's the law. Or, maybe it would just be fun. And we laughed out loud all the way through it and he realized it was highly exhilarating, and if it isn't required by the law, maybe, just maybe it should be.

I'm glad he suggested we go and I'm glad we decided to go and I'm really glad we have such good times together. [gentle fist/knuckle bump inserted here.]

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

things i want to remember about that trip to california

This is our trip back through the Sierra Nevada mountains. We thought it was intense, driving through snow and fog on slippery roads with police directing people to either go ahead or stop to put on chains or turn around. Several hours later though, it seemed like nothing compared to the hour drive just this side of Wendover when the snow and wind began and was so furious that we could only see the lines on the road and maybe five feet in front of the car. Driving in the dark in a snowstorm is way more scary that driving in a daytime/fog/snowstorm.

All in all, Jr and I had a great little spring break. So many good times to remember--I'll remember these:

1. Enjoying hours and hours with my sweet, patient girl.
2. Watching Jr enjoy parktime and oceantime and drivingtime with Jessie's girls. How many uncles do this and have fun?
3. Cailin's extreme need to impress on us all how very much she likes going to the park to feed the ducks. Seeing her earnest face looking up at us after overhearing me mention to Jessie that we could go to the park to feed the ducks, loudly exclaiming PAAARKKK FEEEEED DUCKSSS, LLLLLLLLLLLOVE PAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRK, FEEEEEEEED DUCKSSSSS...only wish I'd had my camera handy.
4. Janey's frequent use of the words, "Got it?" Apparently she's heard her mom use that phrase (go find some socks and get your shoes and put them on, got it?) and so she says it. Often. Adorable. (Gramma, let's watch Dora, got it? or Let's play on the swings now, got it? or I'll have the green pancakes, got it?) Jr said he thought he'd heard it 100 times during our trip to San Francisco. But seriously. It's completely adorable.
5. This one is somewhat bittersweet, but, well, Breanne is growing up and it seems that when you are six, you might prefer to sit and play and chat with your uncle instead of just sitting on your gramma's lap while she strokes your hair and hugs you tight. I'd been told this might happen, and really, I'm okay with it, at least the growing up part, but dang, again, something I didn't see coming that I should have sensed and maybe prepared for, as if I knew how to do that. But then just when I think I'll be okay with it all, she slides onto my lap or rushes up and wraps her arms around my neck and gives me a tight squeeze and I realize she is still my granddarling, but just needs to be herself and oh boy am I very much glad to see her become her own person. I'm good with that.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

and then today

Jessie has totally obliged me for the past few days.

She did it again today--shared a mexican pizza with me from Taco Bell and then drove us north over bridges, up hills and down hills.

Yes, it was a lot of driving, but also a lot of great sites and much fun.

Friday, March 16, 2012

why would you want to go to the beach today?

Even if the weather forecast is only 60 degrees and rain...

you might build an awesome sand castle on a slightly breezy, but still somewhat sunny day.

Or you might see these faces...

or witness this intense cooperation.

You might spot this incredible view...

or you might find two starfishes.

You might just be lucky enough to see someone experience this much complete joy

And it would be good.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

spring break with jr and the californians

Long drive, totally worth it

If you look closely, you can see all five of them...

Monday, March 12, 2012

stress eating perhaps?

Friday midmorning snacks: Package of two Gramma's oatmeal raisin cookies and bag of baked Lay's chips. Really? Cookies and chips? (At least they were healthy--oatmeal cookies, baked chips, right?)

Yesterday lunch at 2:00: In N Out Burger Double-Double, animal style with a handful of fries.
Yesterday dinner at 3:30: Tender, slow-cooked pot roast with roasted carrots, mashed potatoes, and gravy. (I'm blaming this lunch immediately right into dinner run-on situation on that daylight savings time change thing.)

Yes, we are a bit stressed.

But tonight, dad got up (with the assistance of a walker and a really strong nurse) and pivoted himself from the wheelchair into his bed after dinner.

I applauded. (And helped myself to only one See's cherry chocolate from mom's stash near the TV.)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

on a brighter note

Dad seemed better tonight.

I called the Justice Court a couple of weeks ago to find out how to pay my ticket. My five-miles-over the speed limit ticket. Ninety bucks. That's $90. Just less then $100. Who makes these laws?

I asked if there was any way to reduce the fine. The clerk said the judge might let me perform community service. For $10 per hour. Really? Nine hours? I mean, I know, community service is valuable and a good thing and all, but nine hours means a lot more to me right now than $90. That was my initial reaction but I kept it safely tucked inside my head. I told her that probably wouldn't work for me since I work full time and attend school full time.

She said sometimes the judge gives credit for good grades.

Then she said, "You're not in high school, right?" Uh, no, not in high school. She suggested I come in and talk to the judge.

I hesitated. Really? Do I need to see one more adult male roll his eyes when I ask for the student discount? (Maybe I haven't posted that story--the one where Jack asked me to go with him to buy something so he could get a student discount and then thought it was hilarious when I asked for it and was mocked with eye-rolling disbelief by the 60ish-year-old salesman? I won't be shopping at that place again.)

The clerk assured me it was all good. So I made an appointment to see the judge.

After filling out forms, after sitting through the video that described my rights and my choices about waiving those rights, after having my purse searched, after being wanded, I was allowed to go sit in the courtroom.

I felt like a total criminal sitting there with that kid who drove without a license ($195 fine) and the guy who parked in his own driveway and got a parking ticket (reduced to $10 because the judge agreed it was a crazy law but he couldn't change it).

I listened as the judge sentenced my fellow speeders--four of us were cited from the same two-block stretch of road. Three of four were in the five-mile-over club. The other one was cited for 56 in a 40 on that same road (he looked fast just standing there). He asked if he could obtain a plea in abeyance--which it seems you can buy for an extra $75 if you want to keep the points off your record--but apparently that is not an option if you have too many other tickets.

When it was my turn, the judge asked if I had watched the video (yessir) and did I understand my rights (yessir). How did I plead? Guilty, sir. Had anybody talked to me about a plea in abeyance? No sir, but I heard you describe it to the others (my fellow criminals) and since this was my first speeding ticket, I didn't think I needed to worry about points.

Was I ready to pay my fine? Yessir. Although his clerk had told me he sometimes reduced the fine for good grades.

He said he reduces the fine for improved grades so I would need to complete another semester after this one, show improvement, and report back to him.

Oh, sir, I guess that won't work for me since this is my last semester in college.

Then came the part that was like being in a movie:

[Judge looks down while writing something.] [In a casual tone] What are you studying?

[Pause. Pause.] [Judge looks up.]

[Looking directly at him.]

"Legal Studies."

He smiles. The court reporter smiles. The bailiff smiles. The court clerk smiles and may have given me a thumbs-up. (Or probably not.)

There is applause in the courtroom. (Maybe not.)

A chorus of angels from Glee begins singing. (In my head.)

How soon can you provide a copy of your diploma to me?

Graduation is April 26 and 27, I think it takes six weeks for the school to mail out the diplomas.

Tell you what. If you'll send me a copy of your diploma by June 15, I'll waive your fine. Okay?

Thank you, sir.

Go ahead and roll your eyes at that Mr. Smartypants salesman.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

picking up the story where i left off

I mentioned in my last post that my dad was in hospital.

That moment seems far past.

We spent the rest of that day and another long day waiting for the surgery, the reconstruction of his ankle.

I could write a bunch of stuff about the insanity that is my family, and the stories, one on top of another, would seem humorous in a sad, weird way, and might seem like I'm mocking, when really, I would be simply telling stories.

I could write about the intensity of the conversation with the anesthesiologist immediately before the surgery, the conversation that left me 90% certain that at some point in the next 120 minutes he would reappear to tell us he was sorry, he'd done everything he could, but they just couldn't save him.

I could write about my feelings as I drove to visit dad tonight at the rehab facility--the same route I drove countless times years ago when my gramma was at that facility, until the last time I drove there the night she died. Walking up that sidewalk, into those doors, past that front desk, down the same hallway, past her room--my heart pounding, my head light, my eyes threatening to leak...

He'll be there for weeks, however long it takes for nearly 87-year-old bones to knit together. I suppose that given enough time, enough visits, that trek may become routine, stable, manageable.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

what a day

I spent yesterday morning laughing and talking with Sugar and Colleen. Wow can we laugh and talk together.

Then Jack and I headed to the aquarium for Audrey's five-year-old birthday bash. That place was a zoo. Or an aquarium. Or both. An amazingly large number of exhibits as well as an equally large number of people viewing the exhibits. But she seemed to love it and yesterday is the first time I've ever seen jellyfish, an octopus, and actual live seahorses. And otters. It was pretty much cool.

After the wildlife viewing, we headed back to Audrey's house for her pirate party. There were treasure chests loaded with all kinds of loot or booty or treasure. And her mom made a great cake shaped like a pirate hat. It was a mighty fine party.

Midway through the party my brother called to tell me my dad had fallen and was on the way to the hospital. I met them there, and eventually, we were told that not only has dad broken his ankle, but he also has pneumonia. And his ankle will need to be surgically repaired. I'm typing from his hospital room where mom and I are waiting (patiently, right) for the doctors to decide how to balance the broken ankle that needs to be reconstructed and the pneumonia and his diabetes and his age. He just wants some coffee and breakfast. Stat.