Finally…I had a great day!

I thought it was time to share some good news in my life for a change. I have to tell you about my Thursday. The day started out for me with an appointment to my foot doctor. This went very well. I was able to get my stitches out. It hurt like hell, but I am so glad to be able to get my foot wet and wear my own shoes! I was also told I could drive short distances. Considering I have been confined to the house for the last three weeks, this news was a blessing. I will never take my mobility for granted ever again.

After the doctor, I went to work. I have only been going in once a week per doctor’s orders. It was nice to get out and be around people. I was able to clear up all the problems that were waiting for me. It felt good to clean up my paperwork. The doctor said I can go back to work in two weeks. It looks like I will be at work for eight days before my next surgery. I am so grateful to my company for supporting me in working from home.

I also made an exciting purchase yesterday. I am now the proud owner of a 2000 Palomino Mustang pop up camper. My sister-in-law heard about it through a friend. She knew I was looking for a camper with a very limited budget. When she heard it was for sale for only $500 she thought of me right away. My sister-in-law is the one who got me started in camping. She knows her trailers so much better than I do. Especially with my recent foot surgery, I asked my sister-in-law to take a look at it for me and give me her opinion. She went to look at it yesterday and called me to say it is worth way more than the $500 they are asking. The only problem was that they wanted her to take it right now. I told her to bring it to my mom’s garage where I will be keeping it and I would give her the money. My mom has a two and a half car garage and the camper pretty much fills it up. It is 14 feet long! Listen to all the camper has to offer! It is air-conditioned, sleeps 8 with a king size bed, queen size bed and two couches that make into beds. It has a refrigerator, three burner inside/outside stove-top, sink, two dinettes one of them U-shaped, a large outside storage box, plenty of counter and cabinet space. It also has a cabinet that stores a portable toilet! I cannot tell you how anxious we are for our first camping date in July. I have to get a tow package installed on my Lexus but that is a small price to pay.  We are so looking forward to camping at the Indiana Dunes with the two dogs. It will truly be a family affair.

I am writing this from a hotel room in Vincennes, Indiana. I cam to town to watch my beautiful daughter graduate college. The four and a half hour drive was well worth it to see the look of pure love on my daughter’s face when I got to town.  She knows I hate car rides more than anything and with my foot problems it was a real fun experience. NOT! It doesn’t seem like it has been three years since I brought my daughter down here for the first time. She has worked extremely hard and will be getting dual Associate degrees in Culinary Arts/Restaurant Management. I know she wishes her dad was here to see this.  I have told her he is watching from heaven. I will be in the crowd proudly watching my now grown daughter complete another phase of her life. This has been a great couple of days. I think it is about time that I have things go right for me. Hopefully this is a sign of good things to come….

 

 

 

 

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Thank God It’s Friday

This has been a week of ups and downs. Yesterday with all the rain in Chicago my basement flooded. This was made worse by the fact that I could do nothing about it because of my recent foot surgery. All of my kids wedding and shower gifts are in the basement. Luckily the majority of them are on shelves . It is hard to express the feeling of helplessness one feels when you know your possessions may be destroyed but there is nothing you can do. It is times like this that I really hate being alone.

My week was not all bad though. Today I went to the foot doctor and he said my foot is doing well. He is leaving the stitches in for another week as a precaution. I should be able to get back to work by May 15th or so. I went in to work on Wednesday thanks to the kindness of one of my co-workers. It was so nice to get out of the house.

My kids came home tonight which makes me very happy. I not only get to see them and spend time with them, for a few days I will not be alone. My daughter helped me vacuum most of the water out of the basement. I think we will have to go buy a dehumidifier to really dry it out good and prevent mold. In only eight days my daughter will be graduating college. I was looking forward to having her home at least for the summer. As luck would have it, she might have a job at Vincennes. This is a good thing except for the fact that they want her to work the summer. She has to come home to take care of me for my next surgery. After I am released she will probably be leaving. I realize she is 21 and married and needs to start her own life. It is hard to know that her leaving for good will mean once again I will be alone.

I know many people look forward to the weekend for many different reasons.  I am looking forward to this one because I get to spend it with my kids. We have a lot of stuff to do to plan for me to be alone for two weeks at home. My fridge is bare, so we will definitely be going grocery shopping. Laundry also needs to be done and the house cleaned. I will be doing some work over the weekend also.

I know I have much to be thankful for in life. I sometimes start feeling sorry for myself and I have to realize there is always someone who has it worse than me. I am grateful for my relatively good health, terrific family and of course the weekend.

Mothering Comes Full Circle

I want to take some time to share some information and thoughts about a very important person in my life, my mom.  My mom was the 9th of 13 children born to a coal miner and a homemaker in a small town of about 2,000 in Southern Illinois. Mom grew up on the edge of town and lived a simple existence. Most of the food they ate was made from scratch.  No store-bought bread for them. Grandma made homemade biscuits that would melt in your mouth. My mom moved to the Chicago area at the age of 20. She got a job at White Castle which is where she met my dad.  She married my dad and continued to work until right before she had me.

Once I was born my mom became a homemaker. She volunteered at my grade school all the time. For the last few years I was in grade school, my mom was the school librarian. This allowed me to see her every day at school during breaks.  After school and during the summer, I tended to be with my dad. He owned a lumber yard in town and I was his helper. Every night when we came home, mom always had dinner ready for us. My mom took care of the house in a way only she could. Everything was always clean and in the summer there was always flowers and a garden.

When my daughter was young and I went back to work, my mom watched my daughter.  She loved taking her for walks in the stroller. Everyone knew my mom and her “precious angel” because they were always out and on the go. My mom enjoyed those days to the fullest. Her granddaughter is her pride and joy. It has been hard on my mom in some ways being so far away from her family. Growing up we saw them an average of two weeks out of the year. Since my dad died my mom has been spending more time with her siblings and their families.

After my husband died, I came to realize the true importance of family ties. I make a trip once a year to see what is left of mom’s family. I feel very close to them when I am there. I think I can relate to my southern roots in a way that I never realized before. They know there is nothing more important than family and that money and material things can’t hold a candle to family togetherness. I am so looking forward to going to them in June and get back to the basics of what life is really about. How hard you work or how much money you make all means nothing if you don’t have loved ones to balance you out and let you know what is truly important. Namely that family must come above all else. When times get tough, family is really all you can count on for true support.

My mom is early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. She is still capable of living alone and functioning, she just needs my help now. After all the years she took care of me and brought me up to be the person I am today, I feel the least I can do is help her out now when she needs it. I have taken over her finances and day-to-day management of her home and life. I am an accountant and this comes second nature to me. I also take care of her medical care and medicines. Mom gets confused and upset easily if she can’t understand something. I tell her not to worry that I have everything under control.  My mom appreciates the help I give her so much. I look at it this way, Mom took care of me when I needed it and now it is my turn to repay her for raising a well-rounded independent woman. I believe most things in life will come full circle if given the chance.

This week I will be having foot surgery.  After my surgery, my daughter will be coming home for a few days to take care of me. I raised her to the best of my ability and now she will be paying me back. This is just another example of mothering coming full circle. Any person who does not have kids might not understand this, but once you become a mother you are a mother for life. No matter how old your children get, they will always be your children and you will always be their mom. Spouses and friends might come and go in your life , but you can always count on your mom. The bond one shares with their mom can never be duplicated. You are a part of them after all…

Camping……an Ultimate Simple Getaway

English: Trail No. 4, Indiana Dunes State Park

English: Trail No. 4, Indiana Dunes State Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Looking South across Chesterton, Indi...

English: Looking South across Chesterton, Indiana’s main intersection. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Indiana Dunes State Park, beach view ...

English: Indiana Dunes State Park, beach view from bathhouse on a nice sunny day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Forest growing on dunes at Indiana Dunes State...

Forest growing on dunes at Indiana Dunes State Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The dune climb near the bathhouse, In...

English: The dune climb near the bathhouse, Indiana Dunes State Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I decided it was time to get back to the roots of my blog.  I want to let anyone and everyone know that life can be simple and yet still fun and exciting.  Camping is a good example of this. There is a wide range of camping options available.  The simplest being pitching  a tent and totally roughing it.  On the other extreme, one can buy or rent a drivable motor-home that is the epitome of luxury. My version of camping falls somewhere in the middle.

I am not professing to be an expert on camping by any means. I have only been a camping enthusiast for a little over a year. I have a favorite camping destination and it is the only place I visit.  My place in the Indiana Dunes State Park.  I live about 40 minutes away, and considering I hate driving it seems like the perfect destination.  The park has a beach, multiple walking paths and is close to a nice little town called Chesterton, Indiana. When I go camping I am not looking to have a weekend full of activities, but to have a restful period to enjoy nature and get away from it all.

My camping experience has been spent in a pop up trailer. In the past I have camped with my sister-in-law in her trailer.  This year I am planning on branching out and getting a pop up trailer of my own. The number one rule will be it has to be air conditioned. I like the summer, but I hate heat and humidity. My daughter also has asthma and if it is really hot she needs to be able to go to a cool place as needed. I am going to get a camper that sleeps seven because my daughter and son-in-law will be camping with me and of course we have to have plenty of room for the dogs. On a rainy day we need to be able to be in the camper together without being so cramped we want to kill each other.

When we are camping, we tend to only spend time in the camper to sleep, cool off or to change clothes. After all we are camping and want to enjoy the outdoors as much as we can. We cook all our meals either over the campfire or on a small BBQ. A canopy to keep out the sun is essential for us.  We have also been known to bring fans from home if it is going to be very hot. Now before you jump on me, remember I DO NOT like the heat and if I am camping I do want to be outside and not in the camper all the time.  Going hiking is a favorite part of camping for me.  I love going for walks at home, but hiking in the woods is far more enjoyable.  The kids love to go to the beach when it is warm.

In the summer, the town of Chesterton, Indiana has a European market in the town square every Saturday. We have found some of the best hot pretzels there. The art and craft vendors always have great food and gift items to please anyone’s tastes.  I am looking forward to getting a hot pretzel and homemade blackberry jam on my first visit in May. Since we only tend to go camping once a month, we try to make sure we hit the market on every trip.

Our dogs love the fact that they are allowed to come camping with us.  They enjoy being outside and going for walks almost as much as we do. I think they like the fact that their owners aren’t rushing around and just taking it easy and giving them love and attention.  My dog loves sitting on my lap every night for the campfire. When it is chilly, I have a huge towel that I wrap her in so she doesn’t have to miss any of the fun.

I love sitting in my camping chair and spending hours alternating between listening to music and reading a favorite book.  Having quiet time to myself is very important. In the evening we love to play games as a family. We have bought many games just for this purpose. Laughing and talking together without the outside world distractions keep us close and remind us that family is what is important.

I feel everyone should experience a good camping trip with their family at least once. Nothing can bring people together like enjoying nature to the fullest and getting away from everyday life distractions. My family is so looking forward to a summer full of camping adventures.  Stay tuned for updates…

Dogs……Truly Man’s Best Friend

! Love My Dog(s) November '06 Mosaic

! Love My Dog(s) November ’06 Mosaic (Photo credit: Lynne Hand)

 

 

I have written previously how I currently have two dogs.  To me they are so much more than pets, they are true members of the family.  No where else can I find the unconditional love they give me everyday.  Each day when I come home from work after a long day they are so excited to see me. No matter how long or terrible my day at work might be, I know when I come home the dogs will be waiting for me with all the love I can handle. They don’t ask for much except to be fed, be  let out on command and to be petted and loved at least for a little bit each day.

 

My dogs know when I am sick. They are always extra good and want nothing more to be by my side. When I am upset they can sense it.  Any time I cry, they are right there to lend kisses always.  How can one keep crying with a dog giving them kisses?  I do admit to spoiling the dogs like crazy.  Right now they are all I have and I depend on their love as much as they depend on mine.  They could be considered my best friends.  I spend more time with them than anyone else. I am a firm believer that a dog not only enriches your life, but can also extend it. I am proud to be a dog lover!

 

Loneliness……Am I Ever Truly Alone?

A few years ago when I found out my husband was sick, I knew that one day I would be alone.  I had been alone many times in my life and I knew I could survive  the loneliness.  Or so I thought.  Growing up I was an only child.  My parents had me in their mid to late thirties.  I spent a good part of my childhood alone.  While my parents loved me with all their heart, they were not one to encourage me having friends over.  I was the kid who could be your friend at school but after school there was no play dates or God forbid sleepovers.  I spent a great deal of time in my room alone as a child.  This was fine for me since I didn’t know any other way.

I got married at the age of twenty and when I was twenty-three had a beautiful baby girl.  She is my only biological child. I was an only child so I thought nothing of having only one child.  My husband came from a family of eight and all they did was fight.  My daughter says that sometimes she wishes she had a sibling, but most of the time no way.  If she had a sibling it would mean she would have to share.  My daughter and I share a very close special bond.  She is now twenty-one and married, but we are still very close.  She says she definitely wants more than one child.  She wants her kids to be able to share the bond of siblings.

I am a practicing catholic and I truly believe in angels. I feel when the people you love die they are given the power to watch over you so to speak.  I know of many instances where a person could have been severely hurt or even died but didn’t because of a minor miracle.  I think the miracle comes in the form of an angel.  I will give you a couple of examples.  When my daughter was one, my husband was in a terrible car accident while deer hunting.  Looking at the damaged van, one would wonder how did he ever survive.  I think his mother in the form of an angel saved his life on that rainy night.  By doing this he was able to raise our daughter for another 18 years.  Her life would have been vastly different if he had died on that fateful night. A couple of years ago on her way home from college, my daughter was in a terrible car accident.  Her car crossed all lanes of traffic and flipped over five times. She survived the crash with only bad scrapes and bruises.  She told me later that night that she felt someone’s arms come around her and hold her from the start of the accident.  To this day, both of us believe those arms belonged to her father who had died eight months before.

You can call me crazy if you want but I think each of us has one or more of our own angels looking out for us everyday.  Now that is not to say that bad things still don’t happen.  I just think that we are sometimes given second chances from a higher being. I have been feeling lonelier than usual lately.  There have been many things I have had to deal with lately alone.  My mother is fighting early Alzheimer’s disease and it is challenging to keep an eye on her. My daughter and son-in-law will be coming home from college soon and need to make plans for next year. I am trying to help them decide what is best for them.  I also found out in the last couple of weeks that I will be needing two surgeries in the next couple of months. My first surgery is a foot surgery involving a lump that has a 50% chance of being cancer. Now the possibility is scary for anyone, but considering I will be alone to recover after the surgery is especially daunting. I am not looking for sympathy at all.  I am trying to point out that there are certain times that loneliness seems more pronounced. For my second surgery, a follow-up to a hysterectomy, I am waiting until the kids come home because the recovery period will be longer and more extensive.

I live alone not by choice but because that is how things happened.  My kids are home when there are breaks from college.  All other times it is just me and our two dogs.  Most of the time I am so busy that I don’t mind being alone too much. But it is hard to be alone in times of crisis and pain.  I know my dad and my husband will look out for me. I am not so scared about my upcoming surgery as I am about being alone afterward. Being an invalid gives one a good amount of time to think. I know firsthand as this will be my fourth foot surgery. I am wondering , however, if I am really going to be alone. Or will my guardian angels be there with me very step of the way to help me feel like I am not alone.

So Much Can Change in a Week…

It doesn’t seem like a week since my kids left to go back to school.  So much has happened in our lives in just this short amount of time.  Monday was normal for all of us.  I had work and the kids had school nothing different there.

Then along comes Tuesday.  I had to attend an offsite training for my work.  I have never done this before and it was a nice change to break up my work week. I talked to my daughter at lunch she had an all day cooking lab and was doing well. Mid-afternoon my cell phone rang.  It was my daughter and she knew I was in training so it must be very important. I went in the hall to take the call.  My daughter had just found out that her husband was no longer being deployed to Africa in June.   She was crying so much I almost didn’t understand the news. I asked her why she was crying and she said she is still in shock and is scared of what their lives will hold next.  They were counting on the money that my son-in-law would make while deployed to help them start a new life together when he returned. I told her not to worry that we will figure something out and to just be happy that he will be with her.

Wednesday and Thursday were very busy days for all of us.  My daughter is now very happy that her husband will be there for her graduation and their one year wedding anniversary. She had her senior luncheon at school and she was given an award for most outstanding student in the Restaurant Management program.  I am very proud of her, she has come a long way. They also got my son-in-law signed up for classes next year so he can get his degree in December.  Now all we have to do is find them an apartment at school that accepts dogs.  My daughter is also checking into possible employment for the fall semester.

I had a checkup at the doctor on Thursday night.  During the checkup, I was told I would need to see a foot specialist for a lump on the bottom of my foot.  I have a foot doctor that I love that has done surgery on me before.  I had an appointment with him today and he told me I will have to have the lump surgically removed. I have scheduled the surgery and now I have to go into work Monday and tell them that I am having surgery and will be out of work for at least a week. They are really going to love me.  At least I will be able to work from home.

This week held many changes for my family. Some good..some not so good.  We have to accept whatever happens and learn to deal with it.  Who knows maybe next week will make this week seem like a piece of cake.  Stay tuned….