Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What the Elf? It's Christmas already?!

I recently had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with the two elves above - Ben Jr. and Nathan. We took them sledding, then to Starbucks for hot chocolate and coffee (the coffee was for me...). For the past few years the boys have come by for an afternoon or evening at our house while my sister Jackie and her husband Ben do a little Christmas shopping and spend some time together. It's becoming a new tradition. One day they won't want to hang out at Aunt Kimberly's house, but for the time being, they seem to find it fun. I'll take it.

I don't know how the holidays came up again so quickly. The older I get the faster the days pass by, it seems. I feel like it was just spring, and now I'm scraping ice off the windows of my car, and wrapping Christmas presents (okay, truth be told, I haven't wrapped a single present yet, but I will...I will...).

For many, many years, I would put together a Christmas CD compilation to send as a Christmas card to family and friends. Sometimes I would even include an original recording on said compilation. I'm afraid, this year, it's just not going to happen. I have a track list, but the work just never got done. Maybe next year...that said, my Christmas greeting will come in the form of a blog post this year. Hey, I know it's not the same as good old-fashioned hand-addressed Christmas cards, but it's what I got...

I don't know about you, dear readers, but I'll be happy to see 2010 go on its way. This year has been a difficult one. And I know I'm not alone in that sentiment. It's been a tough time for many. Most notably, my mother passed away this year, and I am missing her terribly. We lost one of our darling birdies, dear Pumpkin. I have friends who have lost parents, and other loved ones this year. Friends who have lost jobs, suffered illnesses, broken hearts, disappointments. It has not been the best of years, and I, for one, will be happily celebrating on New Year's Eve when the clock strikes 12:01 am, January 1, 2011.

Yet, despite the trials and tribulations of this life, I have much to be thankful for. I have a new appreciation for my family and friends. I have a renewed love for my sisters. Each one special and magnificent in their own way. I am grateful to have them in my life.

I am grateful for the friends and family that were there for me this year, when times were tough and my mom was slipping away. I'm grateful for my niece and nephews. For the spark of life they bring to the world, and the hope they instill for tomorrow, and the day after that.

I am grateful for my husband, Joe. His patience is limitless, his love always there, his sense of humor often tested, and his arms ever warm and comforting.

I'm grateful for my flock. Sure, I have to wear "poop shirts" on a daily basis, but what's that compared to the sunshine they bring to my day? Just watching them play can make me feel better after a difficult day.

I know there are good days to come. Bad days, too. Still, I'm blessed. My virtual stocking full, come Christmas morn. And every morning thereafter.

Wishing you blessings and strength of heart and hope for the coming year.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sunrise River Farewell

Click here to view this photo book larger

You Can't Fool Me

Damn, I miss her. My Mom. How is it we go on, day after day, and she is no longer here? No telephone can reach her. No email, no Facebook post. No US mail, either.

It's will be three months, come Thanksgiving. We had hoped she would live to see Christmas. Maybe even the Superbowl. No such luck. She's gone, and there is nothing can be done about it.

I miss her. I've wanted to call her so many times. I've had news to share. Funny stories to amuse her with. I miss her laugh. I miss making her laugh.

Since I was a child, one of favorite things was to be able to make Mom laugh. No matter what it took. Whether it was singing a goofy song, ratting my hair out in a pseudo-fro, or dressing up in way-too-oversize overalls and talking with a bad southern accent, I loved making her laugh. If I could make her laugh, everything would be okay

Even in those last months, when things were so serious and scary, I wanted to make her laugh.
To amuse. Divert her attention. Ease her mind. Ease my own. And sometimes it worked. Laughter does heal, after all. But not enough.

I keep hoping to dream of her, at least. To have some sleep-driven conversation. To hear her laughter. Especially when she would laugh so hard it was followed-up at the end with a big, long, snort. I want to see her face. I want to hug her again. Hold her hand again. Travel cross-country with her again.

I know, I know, I can carry her in my heart. Memories will always keep her near. But you can't fool me. It's not the same. And, not for nothin', but that ain't funny.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunrise River Farewell

It was a chilly day in October. The autumn colors vivid. The sun bright. The sky clear blue. We gathered together...daughters, spouses, sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, dear friends. We walked onto the bridge at the Sunrise River to bid farewell to my mother. Her final wishes were that her ashes be scattered here. To the same river my father's had been scattered seven years before.

This place had been special for both of them. He grew up fishing here, hunting here, playing with friends and family here. Years later, he brought my mother here, and, eventually, all of his daughters, too. We would picnic near the river. Walk through the old Sunrise Cemetary a short distance away. It was peaceful. Beautiful. Just the smell of the place a happy memory.

And so, little more than a month after Mom passed away, we made this journey. We gathered on the bridge over the flowing river. We were more than twenty. One by one we stepped forward and gathered her ashes in our hands. One by one we stepped to the side of the bridge, opened our hands, and released the grains of a precious soul into the water. Watched her dust dance in the wind, land on the sun-dappled water and flow away.

We hugged. We cried. We talked. We shared memories. We honored her wishes. Bid her farewell. We traveled from near and far. Carried her ashes to the river, released them, then carried her home in our hearts.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sadness Upon Sadness

Pretty Boy Pumpkin
8-24-06 to 9-4-10
As if my heart wasn't breaking already, we have lost another beautiful soul. My beautiful birdie Pumpkin. His illness came on suddenly. There was nothing we could do but make him comfortable. The vet tried. We tried. I held him in my hands this morning and talked to him softly as he passed away. My husband and I both cried. His playmates will miss him. We will miss him. I will miss him incredibly. He has been a spunky, cheerful, faithful friend. He was Tori's best friend. The flock will never be the same. But we will love them all. And we will talk of Pumpkin every day.
Maybe he is perched right now atop my mother's shoulder. Both gone within one week. My heart aches with sorrow.
We love you, Pumpkin.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Long Distance Call

Carol A. Walker 12-1-1937 to 8-27-2010
About 40 years ago my mother experienced something life-changing and profound. The loss of her mother. It left her with a heavy heart, and a lifetime of longing for the connection that was lost with her departure from this earthly plane.
Over the years Mom often remarked that she wished that there was a phone line to heaven so she could call and talk to her mother. To ask for advice, share a triumph, share a joy. Just to hear her voice.
I never truly understood how that felt...until now.
I'm lucky. I had my mother much longer than my mother had hers. She was only in her early 30's when her mother died. So we've had more time together. More experiences. More laughter. More heartache. More joy. But there is never enough time.
Over the past many months my sisters and I have been by my mother's side. We witnessed her bravery in battling disease. We witnessed her strength, her love, and her everlasting sense of humor. At the end, her ability to accept her fate amazed me.
A few weeks ago, as we discussed her final wishes, I asked her if she'd had any messages from beyond. She smiled and said "not yet".
As my sisters and our families gathered around her during her last few days we talked to her. Cared for her. Shared memories. Told her how much we loved her. Told her that we would take care of each other, and that we would be okay. It was okay for her to go.
During that time she told us that my father had called on the phone and said that "everything would be all right". Just a few days later she left this world.
So now here we are. Sad. Tired. Longing for a woman who was so kind, so caring, so warmhearted. A loving mother and grandmother, a faithful sister, aunt and friend, and a wonderful, witty, and incredible human being.
Now we are the ones wishing for that phone line to heaven. Even so, we will go on as she taught us to. We will honor her life by living ours. Looking life, to family, to friendship, to love. And to the day when we receive her call.
God bless you, Mom.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Blogger the parakeet - he's a real good flyer...

Blogger doesn't like me to hold him in any way. But, somehow, he has to go into the cage in the morning when I go to work, leave the house, or it is time to go to bed. Our compromise, he sits on one of the playgyms and I tell him to go in the house, pointing in the direction of the cage door. Blogger simply obliges. His flying skills are amazing. Sometimes he'll just hover in front of the entrance for a moment or two. I (finally) decided it was time for video...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

How Time Does Fly

Happy New Year! My how time does fly. It's been forever since I posted last. My apologies for the blog dead zone. Things are busy, and I've been distracted by much.

The birds are doing well. We've added a couple more feathered children to our flock. Miss Mozilla and Miss Cookie. The little ladies joined the family in late October as a belated birthday gift to myself. I think the boys were glad for the female company. Miss Mozilla (in green and yellow) gets a lot of attention from the gentlemen. She's a bit older. Miss Cookie is still quite young (but bold and fearless), and has yet to charm the others. They like her, but they dote on Mozilla.

As evidenced in the photo above, all of the gang plays voyeur as Pumpkin works very hard to woo Mozilla. They all try, but it is to Pumpkin she is most receptive.

Google is doing well. Talking more these days. He likes to say "Hello" and "I love you". And we have whistlefests nearly every day. He is quite the character. I have a large coffee mug filled with brightly colored markers. He works very hard to remove them, one by one, from their place in the mug and drop them all over my desk and onto the floor. Such dedication.

Joe continues to feed the wild cats from the neighborhood. They can often be found sunning themselves on the cushions of a couple old patio chairs we left out over the winter. When the sun is high in the sky, they like to nap and preen themselves in comfort. Sometimes there will be three or more and they will bicker for a spot on the chairs.

I've discovered the art of crocheting. I made lots of scarves as Christmas gifts, but recently discovered a very cool yarn specialty shop in Brookfield, which is seeing a lot from my wallet these days. Every time I go there I become more inspired. I'm trying to make some new things. My next project will be to try and felt something from what I've crocheted. We'll see how that goes. I hope to post some images of some of my creations sometime soon.

Hope all you readers are doing well. I promise not to wait so long inbetween posts. There are stories to tell after all.