Saturday, October 22, 2011

Like Sands through the Hourglass...

So are the days of my life.

Our wedding website has many handy features. It allows us to share the "Story of Us" and details about accommodations, times, etc. for the big day. One feature, that unfortunately comes with the template and is not alterable, is a countdown to our wedding day. 55 today, in case you wanted to know. This ever shrinking number on the home page of our wedding website is bittersweet.

The sweet is that I will marry a great man in that many days. I will live a life of "we" instead of "me". I will move. I will transfer schools. It is the official first day of an almost completely new life. It's the day from which point forward, I can fall asleep in OaG's arms, and that is something to look forward to.

The bitter part of the countdown is it serves as a painful reminder that I'm not always meeting my own high expectations. In my dream world, I would be exactly where I want to be in life on my wedding day. But, alas... despite a dizzying pace for the next 55 days, I will still come up short.

By going back to school at this time in life, it means I'll be a college student and a newlywed. I keep doing better on restoring my health, but I will likely not fit back into my goal pair of jeans by wedding day. I don't have the savings I'd like to at this age. Hmmm.... those might be the big three that occupy my mind.

Here's where I could use your comments. Where did/do you want to be in life when you got/get married? What goals were easier to achieve together than alone? How did your wedding day impact goals you had previously or did you develop new ones?

In Case you Love Someone who is Really Old

I'm working an overnight shift and dispensing random advice to any readers out there. This is coming from the position of working as a CNA for the last year and a half (this chapter cannot close fast enough) while going back to school to be a RN.

Most CNA work involves the very old. I've mostly worked with rehab patients who come to our facility for a short time for physical and occupational therapy. Many had hip or knee replacements. They do not need hospital care anymore, but they aren't ready to go home and function normally yet, so they spend some time with us. But, I've also worked on our long-term care floors (read: nursing home). In either case, 99% of the patients I work with are over the age of 85.

You may have a parent, grandparent, great-grandparent, aunt or uncle out there who is such a person. If you do, this unsolicited advice is for you:

1. If you buy them clothing, make sure it is knit fabric and very stretchy. It gets very hard to move limbs around and force them into rigid shirts and pants when they reach this stage of life.

2. They are always cold. If you are thinking of a gift, I suggest a sweater or throw blanket.

3. WRITE THEM LETTERS. If I could show you how proudly these folks display correspondence from loved ones on the wall and how eager they are to tell you all about the person who wrote it, you would have already sent your letter. They love to know they aren't forgotten and to still feel a part of the family.

4. If you are sending food, check first to see what kind of diet they are on. It's a bad idea to bring someone their old favorite box of chocolates if they are now diabetic, on a puree diet for swallowing difficulty and unable to consume this tempting treat.

5. If you can, visit. Talk to the staff. Make it obvious that your loved one has loved ones, and you are watching to make sure they are taken care of properly.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

*Hold Music*

I've been pretty stressed and overwhelmed the last week or so. So, while I restrain myself from airing my stresses here, I bring you more pictures from last week's visit.

It's been established that pics of the kids are ok. I just need to come with aliases for them... Hmmm.... My dad called me and my sisters #1, #2 and #3. I think I will stick with that pattern. As an introduction to the family, there are four boys and a girl. That's right. #4 is the lone girl. She's a little more than excited to have someone teach her how to crochet. I'm glad I can help her in that regard in her house full of boys.

#3 on the go cart at the pumpkin patch

#3,4,5 on the little train at the pumpkin patch

#4 as a pumpkin

#4,5 helped me make chocolate chip cookies while OaG napped

#4,5 - crazy drivers!

#5 tames the wild tire horse

#5 at the JV football game. He has a thing for American Flags and wanted me to take a picture with my phone of every one he spotted. I convinced him to get in the frame with the flag here.

OaG explaining the finer points of braking in a go-cart to #4

Friday, October 14, 2011

Taking Care - The Key Story

When I bought my Rav4, it came with two sets of keys. One of them was lost during an exceptionally great fall day in exceptionally long grass in an apple orchard with Angela. We had hours of great conversation, several bags of fresh picked apples, a few pumpkins and then a lengthy wait sitting on a log while my sainted neighbors drove out to bring my spare set of keys (in DC traffic out 66 on a work day - get how sacrificial that was of them?). Since that day, about 6-7 years ago, I've been using my "spare" keys.

Some time in the last few weeks, my remote keyless entry died. It was a sad day. But, it had served me for several years, so I shouldn't have been suprised when it was just too tired to go on. I've always heard that those remotes were really expensive to replace, so I just resigned myself to the remainder of my life being spent using an actual key to unlock a car door. Revolutionary, right?

On last week's visit, though, OaG apparently noticed my plight. While we were in the PX, he sneakily waiting at the jewelry and battery counter and flipped what I didn't realize was the old battery of my remote to the sales associate. She promptly found a new one. And within a few minutes, my remote was magically working again. Oh happy day!

I'm very excited about the ease of entering and locking my vehicle again. But, I'm most touched by the way my sweet fiancee saw a need and got to work on it without making any fanfare. What a guy.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

3 Hands

I am accustomed to keeping my hands busy. School, work, service, blogging, playing with my cat, Teddy.... I am even good at multitasking. When I am determined, you'd be hard pressed to find someone that can get more accomplished with their two hands.

But, on this past visit, I had a brief comical realization. We were walking at the pumpkin patch. My left hand was in OaG's right hand. My right hand was around the left hand of one of the kids. And... my low rise jeans needed to be pulled up just a smidgen. Oops! No hands available.

I may need a third one to succeed after the wedding.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Visit

My university granted us a very short fall break last weekend, so I hit the great American freeway system and hightailed it over for a visit to OaG and the family.

The drive out on Thursday looked like this a great deal of the time (some combination of fog and/or construction barrels through all of western VA, WV and KY).

The fall colors were coming alive on base at Ft. Leavenworth, although it was unseasonably warm. We took in a couple of Leavenworth Pioneer football games...
... and spent a few hours at a farm/pumpkin patch/corn maze on Saturday.

I took more pictures, but they include the kids, and OaG and I haven't discussed the issue of pictures of the kids in this kind of public setting. So... maybe you'll see more... and maybe you won't ;-)

We made a little progress on the wedding during this time, too. Wedding bands are now ordered. The church has been walked-through. The reception space was scoped out.

All-in-all, it was a grand time. I really enjoyed spending the time with my hunky fiancee and
getting to know the kids a little better. I also got to meet more neighbors and friends from the school and church setting. I've always been blessed with fantastic friends through my life, and I feel like Ft. Leavenworth with continue that trend.

I will have one more visit out there, during Thanksgiving, before the wedding. That seems so far away, but I know how fast the time has been flying already. Wrapping up this semester and moving could take much, much longer anyway... I should be grateful for time.

By the way, is it just me, or did the new Facebook format just delete the way to import a blog as notes?

Monday, October 3, 2011


I had a moment on my drive to campus. You know the kind of moment I'm talking about. It's the kind that *should* have dawned on you before, and it's like you already know it, but all of a sudden, you *really* know it.

I was waiting at a stop light and uncharacteristically flipped my radio dial from NPR to a music station. Pink's song, Perfect, was on. As she belted out the emotional chorus, I teared up.

Pretty, pretty please
Don't you ever, ever feel
Like you're less
Less than perfect
Pretty, pretty please
If you ever, ever feel
Like you're nothing
You're perfect to me.

I've always felt very strongly about validating and encouraging young women. Sentiments like this song resonate with me. But, along my drive, the gravity of having one young woman, in particular, that would become very suseptible to my influence really hit me. I will have a step daughter.

Several of the talks during this last weekend's General Conference carried messages that I know I needed to internalize. One of them that felt particularly relevant was actually spoken to fathers about raising girls. You can watch it here. I remember thinking it was great information and advice, and I felt a sense of peace knowing OaG was listening to it at the same time I was.

Earlier today, although I've known that getting married means becoming a stepmom, I *really* got it. Whew! Big responsibilities. I hope I can keep up my strength to help do whatever I can to aid in them growing up to be their very best selves and ready to conquer the world (or at lease do a whole lot of good in it).