Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What is family?

I was at a wedding this past weekend.

It was my nephew Nick Waldrom and his new bride Darlene. They are a loving and precious couple and the celebration was exceptional. Everyone's joy at the joining of this couple was obvious. As is typical now days there were parents and step-parents. Lots of siblings, cousins both full blood, half and step relations. There were lots of those by marriage and intimate long time friends.

As I watched the interaction of all those present, brought together by love for the couple I took the time to observe the attachments. My nephew's long time best friend Shelby was his best man. I have known this young man and remember his connection to my family. There was no difference in the way he was treated and accepted as family. It was the same familial love and attachment that the families showed to all of the others.

Cousins by marriage are the same as cousins born into the family. Aunts and uncles by blood or marriage are drawn in, given the same love and respect. My new niece's daughter Lila is as much a part of the family as their little son together Alex. She is my niece. No questions.

Everyone made a supreme effort to celebrate the wedding, to honor the marriage and have a great time together. This is probably the one time most of us from both sides of the aisle will be all together and made it important to be united. We did it by laughing, dancing, toasting and enjoying the event.

I am proud of my family-all of them. They are mine and I am theirs.

One side note, my husband really likes fireball shots!


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Role reversal

For many years I have been unhappy with the way I looked. Specifically my weight. My husband has always been supportive and loves me no matter what. I was good at making excuses and there were so many times he would encourage me to be more active, but I was a typical overweight person who would jump into exercising for a few days and then would let stress, life etc. give me the excuse to stop.

I would talk about how much I walked at work (a big facility) or I would say I was cutting back on calories (except at work) and justify my laziness. I remember my sister telling me to just make goals and go for it.

She was living in California and not working at the time and was losing and toning daily. I was jealous of her free time and envious of her daily routine. She was dropping the pounds and looking great. I was not. By the time she moved back to Phoenix she was so skinny, tan and beautiful. I was truly happy for her and she really did look wonderful. I didn't look so great.

I knew my co-workers made the time for fitness and I also knew they were just as busy as me, so what was my problem.  Solution-I was lazy.

Skip to now.

My husband's work in North Dakota has made it possible for me to "retire" and after months of not working and being a couch potato I was packing on more weight. I would do energetic things here and there like riding my bike or taking walks but not with any consistency. My brain just wasn't interested. After living in North Dakota for about seven months in a nice and fairly large RV I returned to our Tucson home. The RV is in storage and I was back home. Still not working except for blogging and working on a couple of writing projects, I began to become rather reclusive. I cleaned my house, easy without messy hubby there and didn't go anywhere. It was nice but not necessarily healthy physically or mentally.

I needed motivation.

About two months ago my niece asked if I wanted to come as her guest to the gym she goes to with her family. I thought why not? I'm not a gym rat and never have been but I like doing the weight training. The gym was not huge (no pool or spa) but was really comfortable and welcoming. I saw several other women who looked just like me-ok I can do this. I really had a good time especially being with my niece and nephew. They were encouraging and before I knew it I had been there an hour and had broke a small sweat.

I went back with her a couple more times. I talked to my husband about joining and bringing him as my guest as she had done with me and he agreed!  This began a transformation for me. Initially I was going into the gym every other day for an hour. I had an "aha" moment when the lure of the local state park walking trails attracted me and began my alternating the gym and the park. Yes-I was going everyday!

I have only missed three days in the 4-5 weeks.

My husband works two weeks on and two weeks off, so he flies down here for the two weeks off. We have really enjoyed doing my exercise routine together.  We each have our gym thing we like and are exploring more outdoor trails and pushing the limits. It has become routine for me and I am realizing the effects of my efforts in pound and inches.

I have quite a way to go but my brain has quit fighting and started to embrace this new lifestyle.
Now I am encouraging my sister, who is working way too many hours at her job she loves, is becoming a bit stressed out and has gained a few pounds back.

Role reversal.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

A story to tell

The Man

By Nancy Vaughn


“Alright, everyone stay together,” the principal called out as the students slowly exited the bus. “There are lots of other people here to see the White House so keep track of our group. No backpacks needed.”

I was one of several chaperones with the eighth grade class that came from California. My daughter was the history teacher running the show and I was excited to see Washington, D.C. with her and the students. It was my first time in the nation’s capital. Boy was I ready for the adventure.

We had five days packed with an unbelievable itinerary that would help us hit most of the memorials, museums and other sites. Here I am a 60 year old woman expected to keep up with the students and the other much younger chaperones. This was a challenge I would meet fed by my joy of being on the trip.

We had just arrived at the White House and the place was loaded with lots of other tourists. Pushing our way through the crowds we made it to the fence. After we started to take photos the kids were pushing and shoving to get their shots. I moved back and bumped into a man sitting on a bench. I apologized and he smiled. He was a very handsome African American man with close cropped silver hair. I made a comment about people wanting their pics and he nodded and laughed. I moved away to find my daughter and forgot about the encounter.

Our group moved to the west to go around to the other side of the White House. As we were walking I looked up to see this same man walking toward us. He passed by never looking at us. He was tall, over six feet and wearing dark pants and jacket. I knew it was the same man.  I turned to one of the other chaperones and told her about my encounter with him. She turned to look back and said he wasn’t there anymore. I stopped and looked back-she was right. It was a long walk on the sidewalk and at one point I looked up and he was there-again-in front of us!

Then when we turned to head to the White House I saw him again. He was standing under some trees. I pointed him out to my daughter. We watched as he stood in the shade of the trees observing the stream of tourists flocking to the building.

My daughter and I went up to do some more photos and I realized he was standing near our group. He never looked at me and when the other chaperone came up she saw him also. We were getting kind of creeped out. When it was time to leave for the bus we both realized he was gone.

I noticed I had a photos with him in front of the White House behind my daughter to the right.


 I don’t know who he was and what his purpose was in being there but it was a strange experience.




Saturday, January 31, 2015

Back again

My month has been weird. Chuck was here for the first part and it was really nice, relaxing and a time of being together. We talked so much, saw some friends and worked around the house. We also sat around reading, getting up late and drinking wine for me and whiskey for him. We did lots of hugging and snuggling.

Then it was time for him to go back.  The day before I had to drive him to Mesa to catch his flight I started feeling not so good. By the time I took him to the airport and came back I was sick.  Real sick. I had a full blown flu with fever and the whole nasty works.

After a week of that I started to finally feel better.

I've been working on finishing my book. Lot's of editing. I printed it out since that is much easier to visually see it in continuity in order to make the changes and edits required. As I took my time reading the story I realized I really like the characters and their story. After I put in the corrections and adjustments I will need a very critical eye for the next step in getting it to be the best story it can be.

I am excited to share this story. I am trying to decide if I want to pursue the traditional route of publishing or go with self-publishing through Amazon or the like. Chuck is also part of this since he has been super helpful in providing the man's perspective and male response to situations.  I guess I will have to give him credit! 

Looking forward to Chuck coming back this Monday. Two weeks with him to enjoy some hikes and snuggles.

Keep smiling and don't forget Valentine's Day is coming.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

trying to push through

Didn't get any blogging done while Chuck was here for two weeks and the day before he left I started feeling yucky and now I have full blown bronchitis.  Once I shake this hopefully I can get back up to speed. Happy January.


Monday, December 29, 2014

On my own

I'm just kicking it right now, home by myself. We left Melissa in LA, Chuck is back in Dickinson and Aaron and Chelsea are back in Oklahoma. I'm chillin' it here getting back into a rhythm being home after a Christmas week spent in Disneyland. Melissa joined us for the week at a great hotel with a two bedroom two bath suite! No driving and parking at the park because the shuttle stopped right outside. It was a great place to stay.

We started the week seeing the Christmas program at the Great American Playhouse in Oro Valley. It was so fun and we laughed so hard and enjoyed a wonderful night with my niece Heather and mom. It is definitely fun for Aaron and Chelsea and is a must visit in the future.

Disneyland was colorful, bright, happy and packed!! There were a couple of times we were there that the crowds were a bit less and we went on our favorite rides several times. I love Big Thunder Mountain and Chuck is a huge fan of Star Tours. We really did explore the park over the week and it was super fun. We did things that we normally don't get to and Aaron experienced the Tiki Room for the first time.

We had two very special meals. Monday night Chuck and I and our kids went to Blue Bayou restaurant for our 35th anniversary dinner. During the meal we renewed our vows and exchanged some very special keepsakes. It was wonderful, mellow and romantic. We lingered over our meal and made a memory. On Christmas day we had lunch at Carthay Circle restaurant and had another very good meal. It is a very cool place with lots of movie memorabilia. Neither of these places are places we would go for daily meals-too expensive, but they made for fantastic celebrations we all enjoyed. 

I was pretty proud of myself that I only gained three pounds the whole week. I guess we walked enough to balance the amount of food we consumed.

On Friday Melissa took her dad to LAX for his flight back to Dickinson on her way back to the valley and the rest of us headed back to Catalina. On Sunday I took Aaron and Chelsea to Sky Harbor for their flight back to Dallas.

Now I am here. It is okay for me since I do well on my own, but the week with my family was wonderful. Now I have to pay off the credit card!

Happy New Year all!


Saturday, December 20, 2014

A fun party!

Last night we had a great time! We had over twenty here to celebrate the season and say hi to Aaron and Chelsea who are here for a couple of days. It warms my heart to see people who are willing to come over so close to Christmas and hosting these wonderful people is so much fun!

We had family-Kris & Heather and their three kids and a cousin, my Mom and my sister Lisa. The friends in attendance were my BFF Kristen and her family, Chuck's bestie Bob and is wife Kim, Jason and Denia and their daughter, Mom's friend Bob, our next door neighbor Sergio and his son.

The food was good and the sweets even better. Lots of drinks of all kinds and Christmas music played in the background.

We discovered quickly that many of these people were acquainted in difference ways besides knowing us. Conversation never stopped, it was cheery and filled with laughter. I love the way people settle into agreeable groups that move from area to area taking the conversation with them.

Tomorrow we leave for Disneyland to spend our Christmas. It will be so special to have our kids with us. No little kids here.  Monday Chuck and I will renew our vows for our 35th anniversary in Disneyland. I am ready to get the drive out of the way and start the fun.

Merry Christmas to all and be good.