Safety and Security Notice:

I never include last names or specific locations here, for the safety of our children. If you or your child is a friend of me or mine, and you approve a first name and photo being posted as appropriate, please click this link to email me with written permission. Thank you

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Little Things

We had - as my Facebook friends already know - a quick trip to the southeastern corner of the state to see Leanna's (henceforth known as Lee; she prefers it) and Lizzy's grandparents (their late father's parents). And to catch a (nearly) total eclipse of the sun; their house is a lot closer to the totality line than mine.

We left Lee there for a week or so; Lizzy is not ready (nor is her mother) to stay a week so far from her home. A week at grandma Cheryl's (my mom) house a couple blocks away? Great. Almost a week at my sister's house about 18 miles away, with her cousin. Sure.

Three hundred fifty miles? Not so much. Maybe next summer.

In any case, what really struck me about this trip, quick as it was, were the titular little things that Lizzy got so very excited about, as well as some hilarious things that my mom and I revisited on this car trip.

The absolute awe with which Lizzy regarded "real trail mix" in the car. With Abby's allergy, we rarely keep nuts aside from peanut butter (not the same thing) in the house. So to Lizzy, trail mix is a seriously exotic food. The fact that it had bits of coconut and chocolate in just made it that much better.

The unexpectedly tasty "Thai chicken pasta" at an Italian restaurant. With melted mozzarella on top.

The really nice family we met at the hotel pool; Dad and two kids near Lizzy's age (one nine and one eleven; Lizzy will be ten in a couple weeks). They played in the pool with Lizzy (who doesn't actually swim) until nearly ten at night.

The complete thrill Lizzy got from "being allowed to make her own breakfast at a hotel!" (specifically pouring batter into the waffle press). And her need to tell everyone within shouting distance.

The look of utter incredulity given me by Lizzy when Grandpa Joe offered her cake (her choice of three flavors) and ice cream and (once he heard about the trail mix) cashews before 11 AM, and I said, "Okay; it's a grandparent's prerogative to spoil his grandchildren."

The absolute seriousness of Lizzy's expression as she tried to explain how solar eclipses work to her grandmother, who just nodded and smiled at her.

The look of horror I felt drilling into the back of my head when my mom and I played our Nostalgic Road Trip Music in the car (hey, I was a kid Lizzy's age in the late seventies/very early eighties. Don't judge me).

My mom and I reflecting that it's just as well I had no idea why Ruby took her love to town. And that Lizzy didn't care enough to ask.

Lizzy's relief when we switched to something of similar vintage, but more kid-friendly.

All in all, it was a very nice trip. Quick though. Next summer I'll take some actual paid time off so we can stay longer!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Fear and Anxiety

I heard an interview on NPR today.

I had been aware of Max Brooks on the periphery of my Geek-Dar, because of World War Z. But aside from that and from the bare knowledge that he's the son of Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft, I knew very little about the guy.

But two quotes from his latest book - Minecraft: The Island - really stuck in my mind.

Fear can be conquered; Anxiety must be endured. 
and... 
Panic drowns thought.

Oh.

My.

God.

Hoo, boy, did those hit home.

I mean, I've seen them both in action more times than I can count. I've had some serious (intermittent) anxiety since Laston's death. Laston himself would panic over very small problems and be unable to discuss anything rationally until he calmed down. Leanna and Lizzy both share this issue with their late father, and I've had my share of a few panic attacks myself in the past year.

Epiphany for me, even though I knew this already (I guess my periodic panic was drowning the thought until someone else said it).

Maybe this new (undrowned) knowledge will help me deal with the Constant Dread I've felt on a regular basis since last November 8th.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going off to put all of Max Brooks' work on my amazon wish list.

Did I mention my birthday is coming up in a month and a half?


Monday, August 7, 2017

Near a Year

Yes, I know.

I'm trying my hardest to make this week about my stepdaughter, Laston's eldest child, because her birthday is this week. 

So I'd better get this out now. 

It has been very nearly a year since Laston's death. And it has not been a cakewalk. 

Everyone has been great: helpful, supportive, you name it. My mom, especially, and I think sometimes she doesn't get enough credit. 

She lost a son-in-law, too, and I'm not sure everyone really gets that. I get the feeling that some people think I'm taking advantage, relying so heavily on my mom. I know she doesn't feel that way, because she would definitely let me know if she did. 

My mother is nothing if not forthright. 

In any case, this is a fairly rambling post, but I need to do it, lest I spend the week without the catharsis of blogging it; that would likely end up with the emotional upset causing more physical illness. 

I'm having enough problems on that score, thanks to the wildfires in British Columbia and the resulting smoke. 

Anyway, still rambling. 

In general, we're doing okay. Leanna's with us for the summer, Abby's spending all her time and energy on YAPI (a six-week long intensive theater arts program at StudioEast) and Lizzy's spending hers on four different week long day camps, some with her younger cousin and some without. 

I just work. 🙂

But life is generally good, as we get prepped for the school year of 2017-18.