"I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere beyond the morning." - J.B. Priestly

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Dad

Intellectually, I know I'm getting older (I certainly can feel the difference on most days), and I'm aware that everyone around me is aging.  However, it doesn't necessarily sink in and affect me emotionally unless something happens.  For instance, in December I was aware that my oldest son was turning 38.  Surely not!  He's still a child -- nevermind that he has two children on his own.  If he's almost 40, then my baby must not be a baby any more.  Sure enough:  Scott is going to be 36 this year.  I really can't absorb either of those realities.

Now I'm struggling to accept the worst reality of all:  the mortality of someone that I dearly love.  My Dad has been my best hero and boyfriend my whole life, and he's now leaving me.  There's nothing that he couldn't or wouldn't do when I was little -- and I've never changed that opinion.  When I was almost 30 years old and had just been divorced, he gave me a package for Christmas that included a flashlight, jumper cables, and other safety equipment because he was worried about me driving by myself.  Even through Thanksgiving of this year, he made sure that I called to let him know that we had gotten home safely after visiting for the weekend.  During the multitude of years that I traveled by air continuously for work, I had to check in to make sure he knew I had landed safely.  I'm 58 years old and still call him Daddy -- because he'll always be my Daddy in my heart.  With him around, I always felt safe and confident, and I was raised with ultimate self-confidence because he approved of everything that I did and thought.

His love for his grandchildren and great-granchildren was enormous; nothing made him happier than having the whole family around and listening to the squabbling and laughter -- while drinking pot after pot of coffee, and always offering it to the little kids (much to their horror and delight).  All of the kids knew that they could just run to Grandpa and he'd always be on their side.  He felt almost the same way about the "grand dogs"; he'd always have a treat in his hand. 

Dad touching the tree where Lincoln touched it
I'm grateful for so many things in my life, but my greatest blessings are my family members.  We're a large, loving, supportive family due to the influence of our parents, and the strong example set by my Dad.  I can't imagine life without my Dad...I don't want to imagine life without my Dad, but I'll need to find the strength to do just that.  However, I know he'll always be part of my life.  Whenever I have a happy moment or success, I'll remember how pleased he would have been.  Whenever the kids say or do something funny, I'll recall how tickled he always was with them.  I'll never look at a cannon without laughing at how many times he said he wanted one in his front yard.  I won't be able to smell Old Spice without recalling the big hugs.  I've seen almost every Western movie ever made sitting by my Dad and I know almost every cowboy (and actor) in the genre.  The same applies to classic Country music -- I know my artists and the words to almost all of the songs!   My Dad's interest in the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln finally culminated in two trips to Gettysburg over the past few years, and I'm grateful that we had those experiences together.  Those are memories that I'll hold close to my heart with the hope that, eventually, they'll bring me comfort -- rather than the intense sadness and pain that I'm feeling now. 

Again, intellectually, I know that time heals, but I just can't believe there's enough time left in my life to heal the pain that I'm now feeling.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Screwed up Sleep Cycle

I've always been a night person -- just don't like calling it quits at the end of the day.  Even if I'm physically tired, I'll go to bed and just lay there thinking about things that I want to do or things that I should have done or whatever.  Now, though, my body is completely confused.  During that phase of working days and nights, I'd fall into bed exhausted and sleep for 14 or 16 hours straight.  Now, I only work nights once in a while and it's pretty physical labor.  I try to stay up when I get home with the idea of going to bed that evening to get back on track; doesn't work though.  I fall into bed when I get home and sleep for all or part of the day.  Then, it's difficult to sleep that night.  I've fallen into a bad habit of relying on caffeine to help me, and it's really interfering with the sleep process.

For instance, I worked Saturday night after not getting much sleep during the week in Rice Lake and spending part of the day bowling at Ian's party.  When I got home Sunday morning, then, I was pretty tired and went to bed right away and slept 'til half-time of the Packer game.  Back to bed, then, 'til that evening when I got back up again for a few hours.  Back to sleep for the night until about 10 a.m. Monday morning when I got up finally feeling totally ready to get some work done.  My Christmas decorations had to come down!  So, I tackled that job and it took all day and well into the evening, during which time I drank 3 cans of diet Coke (partly because of a sore throat and that helped).  Tried to go to sleep with no success so I read my book, took a warm bath and, finally, at 4 a.m. managed to go to sleep.  However, not surprisingly, I slept until 11 a.m. this morning, then.

Now, it's getting close to midnight and I've been trying since 9:30 to go to sleep since I'm driving to Rice Lake tomorrow.  No luck despite the fact that my eyes feel like they've been sandpapered -- just can't shut off the brain.  Fortunately, I don't work at Kohl's again until Saturday, the 29th so maybe I'll get back to some regularity by then although I'm not hopeful because I'm a night person and I just hate to let go of the day!

No More Decorations

January 17 and I've finally gotten the Christmas decorations down.  Things have been pretty hectic so I haven't had a lot of free time since the end of the year -- or, at least, free time when I wasn't sleeping.  I slept a lot again over the weekend and felt pretty energized when I got up today.  Jeff left early this morning for work in Minnesota and it was snowing pretty hard so I cancelled the one appointment I had for today (plasma donation) and kept my eye on the goal of getting as much done as possible.  Three cans of diet Coke helped and I got all of the decorations down, boxed up, and ready to put away.  While I went along, I also cleaned the house so I'm pretty happy with the day as a whole.

I went out to clean the pretty heavy accumulation from the driveway earlier, planning to take an hour or so to do it and the sidewalk with the shovel.  I just can't use our snow blower -- maybe I need to practice, but I have never been able to manage it.  Anyway, I had barely started when our neighbor came along with his snow blower and did it for me.  Somehow, I twisted my knee this weekend, so I really appreciated the help with the snow.  I'm going to bake some cookies and take them over tomorrow as a thank you.

Now, Jeff will have to deal with putting away the Christmas tree and the boxes that need to go above the garage.  Then we should be set for a while.  Feels pretty good.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Catching Up with Harry Potter

The first half of the final Harry Potter movie opened in mid-November, but I had just started working my two seasonal jobs so I didn't get there right away.  Then, I started wondering whether I wanted to see it when the second half doesn't come out until June or July.  Would it be a big disappointment?  Is it a cliff-hanger (even though I've read the book repeatedly)?  Anyway, I decided to go see it today while it's still in the theatres in case it isn't re-released prior to the second half coming out.  I do love to see a movie on the big screen while eating popcorn.  Result:  I really enjoyed the movie.  It ended at a perfect spot -- no big cliffhanger to keep you in suspense for 6 months.  Once again, though, I'm sure the movie is much more enjoyable to those who have read the book and understand everything going on.

When I got home, I changed my clothes and popcorn fell everywhere!  Apparently, I was enjoying the movie so much that I didn't realize that I had been dropping the popcorn and my hoodie sweatshirt was catching the kernels.  Regal Cinemas used to own and operate the theatre, but it was bought by Marcus a while back and this was my first visit since the change.  Very disappointing that they removed the Coke products and replaced them with Pepsi, but I kind of expected it to happen.  At least the popcorn is still good!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Slip Slidin' Away

I'm down 13 pounds since Thanksgiving, which is pretty good when considering the multiple holidays that occurred during that time period!  Working nights, I think, has been a help as it's very physical and, then, I sleep a lot so I'm not eating.  Not a diet that I'd necessarily recommend, but it seems to be working for me.  Maybe 30 pounds to go, I think, to get back to where I'd like to be for summer.

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 Start

This has been an incredibly unsettling year already -- and it's only 3 days old! 

I was asked to stay with Kohl's (part-time) and I'm pretty pleased about that -- even though it may only be one night a week.  [Tonight will be my one night this week.]  Working one night a week actually ends up with a little more income (Kohl's pay + unemployment) than if I was just getting unemployment.  Plus, I get to keep my employee discount.  Started going back to BioLife today to donate plasma; if I can go twice a week, I'll get $50 each week for that and it takes an hour to an hour-and-a-half out of the day.  Pretty good.  I went in to do some volunteer work at the library last week and to remember how to do everything since I hadn't been in there since November.

The weather has been kind of mild so most of the snow is gone.  Wish it had been really warm so we could get the outdoor Christmas lights down.  Packers made the wild-card spot so Jeff will be watching football this weekend, but maybe he can get the decorations in at some point.  I haven't even begun to put things away inside.

We spent the weekend in Rice Lake.  Mom has had to quit her job entirely to be home to take care of Dad -- that's a job that she really loves with people that are friends.  Having gone through it, I understand how wrenching that can be.  My Dad contracted pneumonia again this year, but it has had an incredibly debilitating affect on his health this time.  He has lost quite a lot of weight because he just doesn't eat, is very weak, and needs constant care.  Then, his tooth started hurting so bad that he can't chew!  There were good moments and bad moments over the weekend as the antibiotics kicked in and the pain medication wore off.  It is impossible to even describe the feelings as I watched him struggle to eat or walk.  This is the man who fed me and helped me learn to walk and would have scaled mountains if I had asked.  I'm planning to go back over for another visit on Thursday and maybe Mom and I can do some organizing projects!