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Reason to Live Friday #28- Hall and Oates

Say what?

I know, you’re thinking I’m bananas.

And I am. But a friend of mine, Katy, over at the blog I Want a Dumpster Baby is having her twins this weekend. I’m a little excited. She calls them Hall and Oates. So for the last 6 months, myself, and about 20,000 other folks have been following her journey while she gestates these babies! I’m guessing there will be real names and Hall and Oates have been code names this whole time.

I wish her so much goodness as she brings those babies into the world. If you know Katy, then you know how superbly fabulous this whole occasion is. If you don’t know Katy, let me give you a quick reference guide to help you along with why she’s so awesome-

Katy has a big smile.

Katy was an alcoholic.

Katy was a homeless alcoholic living on the streets of Chicago.

Katy is now clean and sober and full of gratitude each and every day.

I first met Katy online last spring when she was talking on her page about quitting smoking. She made an electric cigarette pretty damn sexy.

Katy likes spazz dancing in elevators.

Katy likes animals so much so that she doesn’t eat them.

Katy has people who love her and these babies who will think the world of her.

Yep, these babies are being brought into the world by two very grateful, full of happy kind of people. Her husband Chris, I can only imagine, is completely strong and loving, to be with such a larger than life girl like Katy. They chose the route of IVF to have these babies so they know how absolutely precious and darned lucky this whole gig is.

So I can’t kiss Katy’s belly- she’s in Chicago and I’m over here in the rainy Northwest. So I send my love via the internet and my blog.

My Reason to Live Friday #28 is other people’s happiness and those sweet Hall & Oates babies that the world gets to meet here in a few days.

Katy- all the best my sweet. And please don’t plan on freezing your placenta for later. It’s just weird.

Spazz dances for you- MUWAH!

Everyone is talking about Kim Kardashian and if she’ll sell her pics to the press when her baby is born. I say, who cares? The only babies I’m interested in are Hall & Oates. As far as I’m concerned, no Kimye baby or even Ivy Blue has anything on these kids.

 

And then everyone knows what a big deal Katy is, so I told her so with this card:

I might have gotten a little carried away during election season.

 

 

 

 

Reason To Live Friday #26 – Still trying to find happy

There’s a lot of folks out there that are sad. Sometimes I’m one of them. But my sadness comes and goes. I’ll watch news coverage of a young child’s funeral in Connecticut and burst into tears. I’ll look at my children and think how lucky I am that they are in front of me, and burst into tears. I’m lucky enough to be distracted away from my sadness. Unlike some people’s sadness that’s like a smudge that is stained on their skin. It will need to be washed again and again to start to fade.

I can be gripped with anxiety that makes me think irrational thoughts about my children’s safety. I can start to panic and feel my skin get that cold prickly feeling.

But I can also try to remember that if I don’t get my happy back, I can fall down a rabbit hole of never ending sadness.

When something awful happens to someone else, it brings up our feelings of grief and despair. I know people who have lost a loved one tragically, by their own hand even. I know people missing loved ones from cancer. Little loved ones. I worry about them at times like this. The holidays are bad enough. But to have constant images of grief and tragedy. Motorcades and balloon memorials.

Maybe they feel there is no point for them to go on living. That they too could just leave this earth, and things would go on, and the pain would be over. But that would just cause more pain for others.

Pain and sadness can be contagious. They can be a viscous cycle that doesn’t yield. The dark can keep creeping until the light has been snuffed out permanently.

Don’t let that happen.

We all need to find our happy. We feel guilty laughing. We feel guilty enjoying Christmas movies and cookies and presents. We feel guilty getting to have loved ones to spend these times with.

We need to stop feeling guilty. We deserve to be happy. We deserve to share the happy. Spreading kindness randomly. Sharing joy with others gives them more reason to share it to someone else.

And then it’s okay to be sad again too sometimes. Feelings are good. To feel pain, means that you will feel relief eventually. To feel grief, you will feel joy soon. See the pain as a window, a perspective. Tell yourself, I will look out this window, but only a short time. And then I will close it to open the door of happy once more.

Thankfully, children seem to have the best recipe for finding their happy. If we let them, they seem to flourish in their own lost thoughts. Thank heavens in times like this, their little brains can have the attention span of a flea.

Owen only gets sad if I remind him of sad things. His heart is naturally happy. He has given me plenty to laugh at this week in the area of farts, penis love and boogers. Yes, the Owen trifecta.

At a shop in the mall with all kinds of weird, crazy things like squirrel underpants, and bacon flavored gum, he sees a magnet that reads, I <3 my Penis.  He whispers to me so no one else can hear, “I do love my penis actually. It’s there for me when I’m bored.” Dear heavens son, only in the privacy of your bedroom please. He assures me, only in privacy.

Also this week, in a parking lot, Emma somehow was compelled by the power of song, and decided to belt out at the top of her lungs, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”. I admit, I laughed and tinkled. I had to be careful not to literally pee my pants. She was skipping and singing, and on key too, as a matter of fact. Who says (almost) teenagers are self conscious?

I laughed heartily at the recent Saturday Night Live episode with Martin Short. I’m sure it was a little bit funny, but I seem to laugh harder when I desperately need it.

I’ll leave you the link to my favorite skit and you can check it out for your amusement. You’re a Rat Bastard Charlie Brown.

I heard the song on the radio “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, and thought it was Will Ferrell singing. But it was actually Robert Goulet. Which is funny because Will Ferrell impersonates Robert Goulet singing that song and apparently he does a good job. Or I’m just hard of hearing.

Just remember that there will always be light. We have to focus on that. On the giggles and the belly laughs. The sunshine and the snowflakes. That there is a tomorrow.

Peace to all of you my friends. Be safe. And shine your light.

 

Thankful for boogers and dribbles on the seat

Yep. I’m going to say it. I know, it’s a complete change of heart. Especially after all the complaining I do and when I threaten to go on strike. You guys know that’s just hyperbole right? (what a big juicy word, ‘hyperbole’)

Every day a child is taken too soon from this world. It’s the sad fact of life. Childhood cancer, bike accidents, car accidents happen every day. Children by the hundreds die in the  Sudan because of starvation and disease. Why did the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy make such a difference for me? I don’t know. Maybe because it’s relatable to me based on the victims’ ages and location and its absolute randomness. It could happen anywhere.

So I’m still my snarky self. Trust me. But I decided first to remember before I gripe at my kids ONE MORE TIME about the clothes that needed picking up and the wrappers left randomly around the house, to take a breath, to speak calmly, and not let the little things bother me.

Will I still parent and make them hate me from time to time because I put my foot down on setting boundaries? You betcha. Will I do it with respect for them and their dignity? Absolutely.

This weekend I told McSweetie I’m not going to nag. He probably thought it was a Christmas miracle that came early. I will kindly ask him to remove his toenail clippings from the bathroom floor and whiskers from the sink. And then I’ll flash him my boobs when the kids aren’t around. It’s a win-win situation for both of us. He might start doing more chores, more often.

I will remember not to roll my eyes (it’s hard for me). I roll my eyes and see my brain sometimes. I will try not to get exasperated when Owen asks for the bajillionth time questions like this- “how tall is Marshawn Lynch from the Seahawks?” “How much money did Steve Jobs make before he died?” “Is the White House the biggest house in America?” “What kind of car am I going to drive when I get my license?” “Does Dad make more money than so and so’s dad?”

You get my point.

He is one inquisitive kid. But hey, what a blessing, right?

Then there’s Emma’s fits of absolute dissolve over something minor. But never tell a pre-teen girl ‘it’s not a big deal’. Because guess what? It’s a pretty big fucking deal I didn’t wash the socks she was planning to wear today.

I will remind her, without screaming at her, that I am not a mind reader. That I’m happy to wash her socks with the rest of the laundry after she gathers it up off her floor and into her hamper. But then I will smile, and hug her (but only when she’s ready, because hugging a pre-hormonal adolescent girl before she’s ready is as dangerous as wrangling an alligator.) I will smooth her hair and wipe her tears and offer her a snack.

Most often kids are cranky when they are hungry, so I will make sure she doesn’t need anything to eat.

So I think this will be a good plan. When Owen hands me a booger, the size of his thumb and announces, “I was digging for gold!” I will smile and tell him that his gold needs to be put in a kleenex treasure chest.

Those little stinkers!!

I love them and their boogers, and their tears, and their farts. And McSweetie’s toenails. I kinda love them. Sort of.

 

 

 

 

 

Reason to Live Friday #25- Feed the World

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Reason to Live Friday- so for today, I’m dedicating it to making the world better, one woman at a time.

 

Some of you may flinch at the memory of the 80s hit song- ‘Do they know it’s Christmas?’.  Personally, I love it. I do. It was created by Bob Geldof. Not Gandalf. Gandalf is the wizard in the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings books who has a long gray beard and carries a staff. Bob Geldof is a song writer and humanitarian. Sometimes it’s easy to confuse the two.

Okay, back to the song. There’s a few reasons I love listening to it. The bells and chords in it are pretty cool. Then there’s the game you play to identify which 80s British singer you are listening to when they sing their part. I’ll be in my car going, “oh, that’s Boy George.” Or “is that Simon LeBon?” George Michael and Bono are so easy to identify.

But the words about ‘there’s no snow in Africa’ and ‘thank God it’s them, instead of you’, rips my heart out. The last thing Africa needs is snow. But maybe some rain would be nice. And honestly, aren’t you all glad it’s them and not you?

There’s poor everywhere in the world. But Africa is poor and war torn. The Sally Struthers commercials with the kids covered in flies and their distended bellies always is etched in my mind. She would say, ‘for just the cost of a cup of coffee, you can clothe and feed a child.’ Amazing how far a dollar goes.

Sorry to bum you out. That’s not my point. My point is just to plant a seed of thought in your head.

Have you heard of Women for Women International? It’s this amazing company that teaches women in war torn 3rd world countries how to run their own business to support their families. Every 6 months I receive a new ‘sister’s’ profile and all about her situation. I’ve had women in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Rwanda.

My current sister, Yvonne, is in Rwanda, she is in her 20s and is married but has no children. Rwanda? Can you believe it! Can you imagine living there? No.

I’ve received Easter cards, Christmas cards and photos from my sponsored sisters. Some come with photos. I usually burst into tears because they write that I’m such a blessing and I’ve done this amazing thing for them and their family and they pray for me and my family…. Oh my gosh!!

Yeah. Of course the Christmas card comes at Easter, and the Easter card comes at Christmas because I think they still operate by Pony Express in 3rd world countries. Okay, sorry, bad joke.

Well, I know there’s poor everywhere. There’s poor here in my own neighborhood and hungry children at my kids’ schools. And yes, I do what I can to help them too. But the idea of a woman, who has to fight to survive whether it’s war, rape, famine, drought; who doesn’t know how to read or write; who is treated like property instead of a person; I need to be a part of that change.

I got a message from them to hope I could spread the word this holiday time with the hopes that some of you could do some gift giving through  their program. You know buy some chicks or a goat for a family that needs it. Forget iPads and Prada handbags, these women want a goat for Christmas.

If you’d like, we can all pitch in. Message me if you want to contribute a few dollars and we’ll get some goats and chicks for these remarkable women!

If you are interested in sponsoring a sister, it’s a monthly commitment of $25 here’s the link – Women for Women Int’l Sponsorship

The good news is that this organization rates very highly on Charity Navigator. See here.

So in answer to the 80s song, I think they do know it’s Christmas time. Hopefully some of them do anyway.

Reason To Live Friday #24

This annoying dang holiday season. Are you wondering if I’m giving you whiplash? Do I spin a 180 turn each and every post? First complain, then gush? I know. I know. Try living with me.

Last year I wrote about how the holidays suck for some of you if you’ve lost a loved one. Holidays are like a trigger of emotions. They make you ponder on Christmases past and when life has changed permanently, it can be hard.

But then I thought of something. Maybe those little reminders are like the loved ones past speaking to us. Bear with me.

When my friend Reshma lost her daughter to Siona from Leukemia, she woke up one morning with a pressure point on her chest over her heart in the shape of a butterfly. You know when you sleep hard and the pillow case leaves an imprint on your face? Like that. I know, weird. But butterflies were a favorite of 6 year old Siona and this silhoutte of one was perfectly formed. It lasted several hours before it just faded. Reshma cherished her little butterfly form she had over her heart for the few hours it was there. Like Siona had given her a kiss.

Now don’t get all weird on me. I’m not saying that there’s messages from beyond. I’m not going into paranormal stuff here. You can think that or not. I’m cool with it.

I’m saying that the holidays hold so much hope and joy. That I’m going to hold on to the parts that are dear to me. I’m thinking about my dear, dear old friends who are living through their first holiday without their mom, sister and daughter after she took her own life in May. Their grief is palpable. Their grief is ripped open anew with each box of ornaments.

So here’s my list of what to do to get through:

Ready? Take a deep breath and go into downward dog yoga pose. Just kidding.

But breathe deeply anyway.

Hug the ones that are with you. Yep, just do it. Even if they piss you off. Stephen Stills was right with his song, “Love the one you’re with”.

When you see a reminder of a loved one gone- smile at it. Close your eyes and hold it to your heart. Say, “I miss you and I love you and I know you’re still here with me.”

Take last year’s coat or boots that don’t fit anymore or are hardly used and bring them to a charity. Someone needs those more than you.

Write down your feelings. If you blog or not, write that stuff down. You don’t ever have to read it again, but getting it on paper is helpful.

And one more time, love the ones you’re with. Dang it. Hug them, smush them and tell them you are happy they are with you.

Well, I’m not Dr. Phil. I’m not a trained professional. I’m just trying to lend a hug, and let you know I’m here for you. We can do this together.

I’m thankful for vaginas. My kids are too.

So last year when we gathered around the table for Thanksgiving at my parent’s house, Owen did a tear-filled thankful sharing that made my heart burst with gladness. I wrote about it here. It’s pretty damn special.

Well, this year, I got choked up at the dinner table again, but it was my mom talking about my dad and how very grateful we are that all went well last week with his procedure. You can read about THAT here.

I was really hoping for another zinger from my Boy. You know one that REALLY pulled on the heart strings. I mean, I had already had 2 glasses of wine, so I was pretty well greased for some sappy stuff to bring me to tears.

His turn comes. He’s sitting next to me. I’m waiting in anticipation. This is going to be good, I’m thinking in my head, I’m putting this in my journal.
He says, “I’m thankful for my mom.” He touches me on the shoulder…. wait for it….. here it comes….”I’m thankful that she pooped me out.”

Hmmm. That’s not what I was expecting. What? I pooped you out? That’s the best you got?  Well?

So then Emma chimes in, “It wasn’t her butt, it was her VAGINA.”

To this, I think I groan. Loudly. And lay my head in my plate of mashed potatoes. Thank goodness, my father, who is sitting right next to Emma, is pretty much deaf. So he doesn’t hear any of this. And he’s chewing his food, so that probably drowns out some of what we are saying.

My mother let’s out a howl of laughter. James rolls his eyes, like, “who are these people?”

My father chimes in, “what’s so funny?”

To which my mother responds, “Oh nothing, we’re just having some gyno conversation.”
We continue on.

There were no more references to either bodily functions or gyno occurrences. So I had some more wine.

I’m so grateful for pooping you out Owen, and you too Emma! And more grateful you came out of my vagina like you were supposed to.

b POSITIVE PROJECT

Not as in B+ a blood type sillies! But BE POSITIVE. As in, your life. Don’t be a negative.

It takes work to always be happy. And actually, it’s impossible to always be happy. I allow myself some sad days too. But I try to keep those few and far between. You can feel sad, down in the dumps or melancholy, but still be positive.

Let me explain.

The kind folks at the b Positive Project  reached out to me. They are an apparel company that encourages the glass half full mantra. A guy quit his full time job to start this organization. They sell t-shirts and products and then send a portion of those profits to charity. But mostly, the employees and company of this gig are all about keeping on the bright side of things and spreading that message to the world.

They said I was their kind of gal who could help spread their message. Well, yeah! Don’t you love nice people who recognize nice people? I do. They sent me a t-shirt and now I wear it with pride and a smile.

Won’t you b Positive too?

I’ve said before that on the outside I must look like I live a charmed life. I brag about my kids on Facebook, I do my charity and volunteer work, I have fabulous meals at great restaurants. Heck, I’ve even been to the Grammys. I have an adorable husband. Parents who are close and dear to me, both physically and emotionally. I swoon over Daniel Craig and my husband doesn’t even flinch. I have a bathroom cabinet full of high-end beauty products, that regardless if they are doing their job, I am somewhat obsessed just by the mere having them.

So yeah- that sounds pretty dang good huh?

Well, here’s what you might not see. The husband and I have accumulated quite a bit of debt. I won’t go into this. It’s personal. What? You talk about your sex life, how can this be personal? I know. But it is. Times were tough, and they are better now. We plug on and keep swimming, doing our part and live within our means as often as we can. Minus a few treats now and then. Yeah, I know- Hawaii. Duh.  But that’s just the truth. We whittle away at the debt as we go. Sometimes life hands you some curve balls. We feel we’re still better off than most, so we just keep on, keepin’ on.

My sister is a disabled adult living with my already aging, and sometimes struggling parents. They struggle financially too. My mom lives with cancer and my dad has rheumatoid arthritis (and has recently overcome his heart episode!) and is also a cancer survivor. But hey- they are strong, fit and amazing, wonderful people. Yes, they get tired. But I remind them that old people are supposed to get tired!

The burden of my sister and her constant medical visits, pharmaceutical needs, paperwork, insurance claims, disability bureaucratic red tape, is a large anvil that weighs on my parents.  Especially my mom who is her appointed guardian. Like an ox’s yoke it can be heavy and restricting.

But our faith, our love and our spirit within, get us through. I’m there for my mom. She’s here for me. She has bailed me out of constant dilemmas. Why, we couldn’t have survived my restricted bed rest while I was on the last trimester pregnant with Emma if it wasn’t for her! My dad has fixed a flat tire on the side of the freeway for me. They are without a doubt, the definition of selfless people.

I know God gave me two healthy children because I’m already destined to be my sister’s guardian when that time comes. I don’t want to think about that time. You understand I’m sure.

So that is where positive thinking comes in my life. If we stack up each and every woe we have, it becomes a staircase of brambles and a giant hurdle no one could fathom.

If we take our problems like pebbles, putting them one by one on a garden path to cross each day as they come- it becomes a foundation, a gateway to walk on and see things laid out before us. Flat and less daunting. Not measured by what we haven’t done, but by how far we’ve come.

I think of my friends who have lost children to cancer. Children I know who have lost their mothers to suicide.

So with each warm cup of tea and dog snuggle I get each day, with each phone call from my mom and lunch out with her, and with each warm smile from the McSweetie when he comes home after an exhausting day of work; I remind myself that I am more positive than negative. I remind my children how blessed and fortunate we are. Not for the earthly comforts we have around us, but for the support and love we give to each other.

I will wear my shirt with the hopes of sharing b Positive’s message to anyone who needs it.

If you would like to order anything from their website for yourself or gifts, go on over and put in “FRUGALISTA” in the promo code box and get 20% off your order! For a limited time, so do it right away!

And also, like their Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter, so you can see all the positive they are accomplishing.

https://www.facebook.com/thebpositiveproject

https://twitter.com/bpositiveprojec

http://www.bpositiveproject.com/

Namaste my friends.

Comfort in the Mundane

Who would have thought I would want a day doing laundry, dishes and PTA activities?

Well, when life throws a curve ball at you, the ordinary and dull become comforting.

My dad had an emergency heart procedure on Friday and it freaked the hell out of me. Sitting in the uncomfortable, unfashionable hospital, made me homesick for the cat box.

You probably know already that my parents mean the world to me. They are my favorite people. Other than my spouse and offspring, they are my rock. As Emma said to my mom, “Oma, you are the cup to my tea.” Yep. That pretty much sums it up.

My father is 81 years old and healthy as a horse. Well, he’s even healthier now that two of his arteries are cleared and working properly! He never complained of pain. We don’t have a history of heart disease. All of a sudden he felt fatigue sooner in the day than normal. Trips to the mail box winded him. The man never sits still and still climbs a ladder to the roof, despite my mother’s protests. But lately, he just didn’t have his zip.

Thank goodness he went to the doctor. My parents are very proactive about their health. They know these things after going through a lot with my sister, who is disabled and in their care. And they know from experience having their own health glitches along the way of life.

Last week I even blogged how thankful I was things were looking well for my folks and their ‘old people’ tests they had. At first, all seemed well with my dad.

Then Thursday, after a battery of tests, my mom called me at 4 in the afternoon as I’m driving Owen to soccer practice. I knew something was wrong. You know these things by your loved one’s voice. Her voice quavered as she told me dad needed to go first thing in the morning to the hospital for a stent procedure and because of the severity, possible bypass.

Whoa.

Hold. the. phone. I did not expect this.

So that night I made arrangements to change my PTA volunteer duties. Delegating is a beautiful thing people. I sent emails and kind souls offered to pitch in for our Book Fair to cover the cash register and supervise the kids.

Friends came to my call for help with Owen after school.

McSweetie had interviews and meetings or I know he would’ve worked from home. Emma came along with me because she wears her heart on her sleeve and couldn’t manage being in school not knowing what was going on. Being near to her Oma was what she needed. And my mom was grateful to have our company.

Hospitals are weird, horrible, wonderful places. Miracles happen in them. Doctors perform acts of God in them. But then, they can be awful, pain-filled places of death and sadness.

When I got off the elevator with Emma and we walked around the corner, I saw my dad and his shiny bald head sitting in one of the waiting room chairs. He was cool as a cucumber. Takes a lot to rattle this guy. Those English have a way of staying calm. We got some good hugs, and then the nurse came in to get him ready.

They moved the procedure back a couple hours to the afternoon. I hate that. You’ve already fasted for a procedure at a certain time, then you have to wait even longer? That is always so messed up.

The doctor came around and talked to us. We went to lunch and then waited.

Several hours later, the doctor returned after he was done and said the words, “everything went well.”

I love those words in a hospital. He explained the severity of the situation, that there were two blockages instead of one and that the angioplasty worked in the first one, and a stent was put in place in the second. Blood flow was back to normal and everything looked fine.

AHHHHH.

Serious sighs of relief and hugs and praises to God between my mom and I.

We started making our Thanksgiving plans and being so happy for the status quo to return.

And that’s when I thought how much I love the ordinary. I don’t like events that rattle my world. That shake up my routine. Routine is good. Creatures of habit we are.

We saw my dad soon after. He was awake and sipping juice. He looked pink and healthy. He was tired, but pleased.

He will, I’m sure, be glad to be home tomorrow to get back in his routine. To do what he does every day. The little things, how grateful we are to just get up in the morning, make the tea and oatmeal and go about our day.

When Emma and I were on our way home, it had been just over 24 hours my mom had called me with the news. How grateful I was for the turn of events.

And then I went home to do what I do. Make tea, dinner and put the load of clothes from the washer to the dryer. And scoop the blessed cat box.

RTLF #23 – So many things!

This week is chock full of things to be grateful for. Remember, this is my list. If it doesn’t coincide with yours, just kindly move along. I’m grateful we can agree to disagree. There.

Big election week. Duh. So I’m grateful for some outcomes. But most in particular is the Washington State referendum that allows same sex couples to marry. It doesn’t redefine marriage. It allows all people to have the same civil rights when it comes to marriage.

Anyway, we need to get over the definition of marriage. Over the centuries it has meant many different things. Such as:

In the Old Testament men had many wives. Women were property. Even in the 1800s women couldn’t own property, yet they were married off like it. In the south, first cousins married each other in arranged marriages.

Inter racial marriages were illegal up until the 1960s. Slavery had been outlawed for a hundred years but folks couldn’t marry outside their race. And it’s pretty obvious, you couldn’t marry a slave either, it says so in the Bible.

Let’s include all the non religious people have weddings all the time. Nobody makes a stink about that. So to say it’s a religious, biblical sacrament, just isn’t cutting it for me.

I have many gay friends. Some don’t want to get married. Hey, I get that. But those that do, now can. I think it’s wonderful. They aren’t clamoring for rights to kill puppies people. They are fighting for rights to love openly. How can that be bad?

I’m grateful for my mommy and daddy being well. They are getting old. We all are. But this week they had more Old People tests than normal. Mom had to have a second mammogram to check things out. Dad had some heart tests to confirm a few things.

But the news at the end of the week was good and all their tests came back clear. So I can breathe a little easier. And they can too. Which makes me happy knowing they are happy.

I love that my husband works his butt off for this family. We both do. But his working butt gets a paycheck. You could say my butt spends it. Okay, that was weird. But yeah, I’m so very grateful for the two checks a month we get to pay the bills, buy the food and maybe even a little extra for some treats. Not much extra. But that’s okay.

With the holidays coming it’s always stressful stretching the paycheck out over extra extra stuff. I love the festivity, I love feeling generous and grabbing as many giving tree tags as I can. But then I need to remember to budget myself. I’m grateful for the ability to take some of those giving tree tags to help other people in what little way I can.

So there you go. My list, my gratitude. My cup runneth over not just with tea, but with so much warm fuzzy love. I know, it’s disgusting.

Namaste.

Happy Birthday Dad! Reason To Live Friday #20

My dad!

Yesterday was my dad’s 81st birthday. I gushed about him all over Facebook and folks were so sweet to share their admiration. It made me all mushy and weepy inside. Even Daniel Craig played second fiddle to him yesterday.

We went out for dinner to the same fancy place Owen and I have had high tea at. It’s the Fairmont Hotel in Seattle and they have this beautiful dining room called The Georgian room. Owen feels like he’s in Hogwarts when we come to this place.

It does kind of play into our Anglo hearts. They have a Jaguar car parked in front of their valet that they use for their guests AND they have an Omega watch store adjacent to their lobby with Daniel Craig’s poster hanging in the window. It really is a win-win situation.

I’m grateful for my dad because he is loving, tidy, respectful, and funny.

My dad didn’t fit the mold of the sappy dad in Father of the Bride, or Ward Cleaver, or Charles Ingalls even. In fact, I would say that he has become softer since becoming a grandfather. I mentioned in last year’s post dedicated to my dad’s birthday, Ode to My Dad, that he would sometimes yell things like ‘bloody hell’, or get cross with me over tracking mud in the house. He came off as brusk to my friends. But honestly, he is the most warm-hearted, no judgement fellow you could meet.

He wears his Church’s shoes from  30 years ago. They look brand new because he polishes them regularly. He has a sport coat from 20 years ago, a watch from 50 years ago. He takes very good care of his things. He never had much as a boy, so he knows to be grateful for something in case he won’t get another one again.

Heck, we live in a disposable society where we know we can just go buy something new if we change our minds. Not my dad. He doesn’t feel the need to have ‘things’ around. It’s me and my mom that shop for shirts, sweater vests and ties any chance we get. He tells us, no more shirts please. But then, for Father’s Day, I’ll find the perfect plaid Faconnable shirt at Nordstrom, and get it for him. And then he puts it on and looks like he could go hunting with Prince Phillip and I smile with pride. Then he gets a twinkle in his eye and knows he looks pretty good, so he keeps the shirt anyway.

When I was a little girl, heck, when I was in college even, if I had a bad day, he would sit me on his lap and wipe my tears with his handkerchief. There’s a soft handkerchief in his pocket at all times. So much has this habit made an impression, that when Owen has a cold, he has his own collection of cotton handkerchiefs to keep in his pocket. Owen admires his grandfather, who we call Odaddy for short, very much. He prides his British heritage, he has a pocket comb and handkerchief just like his Odaddy, and he takes great interest in the car my dad is rebuilding.

For more than 10 years my dad has been rebuilding a super fancy, vintage 1960s E-type Jaguar. I’m horrible for not remembering exactly what kind, but it’s from the 60s, they are very rare, and it’s a coupe. In it’s day, it was, The Shit. With a limited budget, and aging hands and a tired worn out back, he has rebuilt every square inch with the most immaculate attention to detail. It was just a metal shell when he first got it.

My dream is that some fancy uber rich, car collector will pay him thousands of dollars for it and take it off his hands. That is the ultimate goal. He can’t afford to keep it or drive it. But someone out there will cherish the craftsmanship he has put into it, and give him what he deserves for it.

Gorgeous, isn’t she?

So back to dinner and his birthday. I know that things don’t last forever. I know that getting in your 80s is reaching a place in your life where you don’t know how many years there might be more of on this earth. 5? 20? The latter I hope. He’s healthy, fit and takes good care of himself. And of course, my mom takes good care of him too.

I always get so sappy and teary writing about him. I know not everyone has a perfect father. Or even a father figure in their life to look up to that they can count on. But I am so very grateful for mine. And for my children to have that in their grandfather, I am even more grateful.

Happy Birthday Dad. I love you.

Me, with mom and dad. Gosh I love these two so HARD!!