Archive for the ‘Katherine’ Category

Out with the old

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

It’s a sad day in the Thompson household (ok, not that sad, but keep reading). I was in the bathroom upstairs and Beth yelled to me. I could hear the concern with a touch of sadness in her voice, so I hurried up and got downstairs as soon as I could to find out what happened. When you’ve been on the receiving end of a phone call delivering tragic news it seems you are always somewhat on guard for the worst possible news. As it turns out…after over 20 years of faithful service…our pre-wedding toaster-oven has finally toasted its last bagel. We could tell in the past few weeks that senility was setting in a bit as we’d choose one darkness setting and the oven would surprise us with some extra crispness. In the past few years we’ve lost our early 1990’s sandwich maker, curling iron, and now the toaster oven – I bet our original blender is starting to get worried, especially as we’ve recently been given a “bullet” and a fancier blender.

IMG_4791

I got some year-end statistics from a tool I use when I write these blog posts showing the # of views I got by country in 2014 (not quite sure how this is calculated but I don’t really believe any of it is showing data I’d find relevant). I want to give a sincere thank-you to my faithful blog followers in Uruguay, Gaudalupe, and Finland. Your support this past year has given me the energy and inspiration to continue posting blog updates.

country1

country2

country3

I’ve been off of work for over two weeks. It took me at least a week to unwind, and I’ve finally been able to spend some time relaxing, reading, playing, etc. This includes a few days working on a puzzle. When doing puzzles you can’t help but tell Katherine-puzzle-stories which always makes me feel closer to her. I plan to get another puzzle out tonight or tomorrow too 🙂

IMG_4790

This is the time of year when so many people focus on resolutions. I continue to achieve my dreams using a list I keep updated all the time (if anyone ever wants to know more about this or wants me to help them get started following this very simple framework don’t hesitate to ever reach out to me). I committed to at least one blog post per month (which I did). And another one of my dreams/goals in 2014 was to get 100 followers to my Suicide Survivor Pinterest board (that I created last year). I met that goal by July. I still continue to post pins and get followers. I always wonder about the story behind people that decide to follow my board. I hope the positive quotes and the comments I add are able to help people. I’m sure many are having hard times over the holidays. Just this week several new people started following me, including this person who hasn’t ever posted or liked anything else, and is only following me (her stats are in the first row) – the pressure’s on for me to post some good stuff 😉

pin

Genesis (with a bit of my help) made Pan de Jamon on Christmas Eve. It turned out amazing – I loved it. It was great hot that night, and also great cold (or warmed) for the next several days. Yummy! While we were making it (and not sure how well it was coming together – especially with my ham carving skills) I kept calling it pandejamonium which made me chuckle every time but I don’t think translated so well. Guess my comedy career may struggle in Venezuela (and probably here too).

IMG_4590

Orca says thanks for the ridiculous antlers that make her the laughing stock of the doggie neighborhood. She’s been scorned – nobody has sniffed her behind all week. Sad doggie.

IMG_4598

Christopher and Genesis out catching our dinner. The squirrels and bunnies have nothing to fear. Sigh.

IMG_4616

This may have been Christmas night. Nice weather. No snow at all. I was fooling around with the camera when we realized my goofing off may actually create some fun effects. Ready for us to do your wedding photos???

IMG_4643

IMG_4666

And this was the next day – we got snow overnight!!! When are the next Olympics? Megan will be ready!

IMG_4690

Here she is on her new Christmas sled. It lets you turn so she created a slalom course out of boxes and a watering can.

IMG_4730

Woof! Woof!

IMG_4752

We had a fun time with some friends a few days before New Years. They have a little birdy that likes to pick stuff out of your teeth (yuck). Here’s Colleen with Tater Tot trying to keep her teeth hidden (Tater Tot was especially eyeing her braces!).

IMG_2233

And lastly, it was great to see my parents at Thanksgiving. So glad they could spend a week with us and we could catch up on things. Lots of fun that week. Look at that picture – is Megan taller than Grandma?!?!?

IMG_4095

Random randomness

Saturday, September 20th, 2014

It’s interesting (but not so much jolting now as it was a year ago) when a moment from the past with Katherine collides with the present. One of the great gifts she got me years ago was a trip to a local brew-your-own-beer place. I’ve been there 2 or 3 times to brew beer and am signed up for the newsletter. I’m not sure if I noticed in the past or if they are personalizing these letters differently now…but this is how the one from last month came to me:

vinepark

I guess Katherine thought that was pretty cool because she sent me another sign via a sweating gin-and-tonic glass on my back patio 🙂

IMG_1688

Who’s on my dad’s team? Anyone wearing red, white, and blue!!! We heard that message loud and clear several times on our Washington, DC trip. I have a huge regret of not taking a picture of one of the first members of dad’s team we saw in Ocean City, Md – a nice young gentleman (picture Kid Rock but more strung out), covered in tattoos and wearing red, white, and blue socks, shorts, shirt, and bandana. We have had some good laughs finding dad’s team members spread out all over the country. The state fair also had some fun team members proudly wearing their colors – and again, I missed my chance to take pictures. So…when I came across this member of dad’s team I wasn’t gong to miss my opportunity again. He ran the State Fair Milk Run…and believe it or not…I saw him two more times that same day amongst the 100,000 people at the fair (how did I know it was him you ask?). I changed clothes after the 5k so I would be more comfortable all day at the fair…but he wouldn’t dare change out of his team uniform! Eyes have been blocked to protect the guilty – who would dare make a grimacing face like that just because someone’s silky running shorts are a little too short and tight?

IMG_1776

Found some pictures on my phone from our summer trip to Grand Marais. We love New Scenic Café on the way up to Grand Marais. This is when we first relax a bit, sip a beer, drive along the lake, and have some tastes of absolutely wonderful food. Braised black mission figs, honey, walnuts, sage, bleu cheese. Yummy!

IMG_1720

I recently read something about photo faux pas and that you shouldn’t ever post pictures of half-eaten meals…so here’s what this looked like before we started:

secenic2

World’s Best Donuts EVERY morning in Grand Marais. Possibly followING a jog, and followED by a walk out to Artist’s Point.

IMG_1724

Megan and I biked to Culvers. I ordered my turtle sundae with chocolate custard as always. I saw them making it with vanilla so I tried to stop them. They ended up giving that one to someone behind us in line for free. And then they gave me mine, apologized for making me wait (it was no more than 2 minutes and I could have cared less), and they loaded up my sundae with twice as much frozen custard as we usually get to say thank you to me. Thank you Culvers 🙂

IMG_1690

We saw a Minnesota Vikings preseason game played at the University of Minnesota’s stadium. Beautiful night for a game outside. Vikings won. We could see where Beth works from our seats too.

IMG_1705

Find the one that isn’t a bobble head 🙂

IMG_1709

Yes, I know, I have many talents, including graphic art.

IMG_1711

After the game Megan was struggling to express her emotions so I got to spend time with her while everyone else went to Beth’s lab for a quick tour. Her self-imposed punishment was to wedge herself into this newspaper rack and stay there a while. Ahhhh, fun times.

IMG_1865

Remember the wrestler Bill Goldberg? Insanely overgrown trapezius muscles? Speared people and snarled at everyone? He has always been one of my heroes – been a member of his fan club for years and I have a poster on the back of my door. So…we’re walking down a side street at the state fair this year and there is a trailer with no line and they say you can meet Bill Goldberg. I look over and see what looked to be a tiny guy sitting there who kind of looked like him. But how could there be no line to meet Bill Goldberg? Insane – I know. We watch a video and then afterword sure enough this tiny guy wasn’t so tiny as he posed with us.

billgoldberg

IMG_1762

IMG_1764

State Fair. Kristin, Tom and Big A (aka Boog) came up again to enjoy the fun and food with us again.

IMG_1777

IMG_1779

Funny that the person taking the group selfie (groupie? ussie?) isn’t in it. Was that by design?

IMG_1800

Even I’m confused about who’s holding which beer…all I know is the beer was free because Beth has connections at the fair 🙂

IMG_1806

Megan loves, loves, LOVES the corn at the state fair. Sweet. Buttery. Yummaliciousness!!! Love this picture.

IMG_1813

Megan got her wubbabubbaball. It is just like on the commercial – bouncy, wobbly, weird sounding…fun for a few weeks and then we had several families over to meet our intern and afterwards we found it popped and hidden under a pillow 🙁 I sent it in to get repaired…which seems to be their plan.

IMG_3192

First day of school for everyone 2014. I haven’t talked to Gen about posting her picture on my blog…I’ll make sure she’s fine with that and will maybe share some pictures with her in a future post.

IMG_3201

IMG_3207

IMG_3217

Colleen’s cross country meet. It is rare to get a non-grimacing face from any runners this close to the finish line. Great job Colleen!

IMG_3302

Christopher is having a fun season playing football. He’s #73 and has green sleeves sticking out in most of these pictures which makes him easier to find.

IMG_3221

Solo tackle!!

IMG_3232

IMG_3323

I didn’t notice the names on the jerseys until I was looking at all of the pictures afterwards. How cute.

IMG_3255

This is how Megan entertains herself with the water hoses while at the football games. Shocking that she’s the only one doing this, huh?

IMG_1896

Megan is having a great season playing soccer. She scored two goals in this game. See the ball in the first picture below? Keep looking – you’ll see it. Straight past the goalie from far out and into the net!

IMG_3343

Celebrating the goal. Probably asking her friend not to pick her up again 🙂

IMG_3347

IMG_3339

IMG_3266

Guess what happens next with this one? Let’s just say that Megan earned ice cream PLUS a topping for this game 🙂

IMG_3349

IMG_3363

Summer – Part I (pre-DC)

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Can you believe the summer is already more than half over? Insane! We finally wrapped up spring sports, just in time for fall sports to start! Megan really wanted to try softball. Ok, check that off the list, let’s go back to soccer 🙂 I loved the name “Pearl” on her team (you can see her sitting on the bench). And Pearl looked like she has been waiting to play softball her whole life. Megan had some fun playing but it is a lot of standing around, and kids pitching in their first year can be rough (although some of the coaches didn’t pitch much better – shhhhh, who said that?).

IMG_1495

And Megan wrapped up soccer too. I loved that at the end of each game all of the parents on the sideline would put their hands out and the players would run by and give us all high-fives. And then right after that, win or lose, her team would make a human tunnel and chant “2, 4, 6, 8, who do we appreciate…blue team, blue team”, etc. and have the other team crawl through. After they would do it then the other team would typically make a tunnel…you can see Megan just starting to crawl out of the tunnel. Fun stuff! Hope they stay such good sports in high school and beyond!

IMG_2056

This is what Megan’s ceiling looks like every night. She really wanted this just this year and loves it. A bit unrelated but she didn’t have any good ideas for her birthday, but then she went to St. Louis for a few days. She came to Beth the second day there and said that she had been watching commercials (we don’t have cable so commercials aren’t near as fun) and that now she had some great ideas for her birthday! Ha! Fun stuff (how do our kids ever survive and have any hope of being cool without cable!?!?!?) – needless to say a wobble ball and an air power soccer disc are on their way to our house as we speak.

IMG_1519

I know you probably can’t tell what these pictures are but I recently had a meeting at a fire station a few cities away and on their wall are pictures of one of my first big “real” fires almost 15 years ago. It was a bed/mattress store on main street of an older town (the mattress were getting hot and almost popping in the intense heat). I was on the roof of one of the buildings and in awe of everything going on around me. It was a huge fire scene that gutted the entire building and gave me some great experience.

IMG_1521

So…you’ll never guess what I almost hit while driving to Kansas City. The most dangerous part about this was me actually trying to take pictures at 70 mph. It was funny because I could see the plane circling back around and then was realizing how close it was going to come. The plane was loud and right in front of me and I’m clicking pictures, but then I realize it is still loud but the plane is now way past me…didn’t realize I was driving on the rumble strip – ruh roh.

IMG_1541

Beth drove to St. Louis. Left the kids there. I drove to Kansas City the next weekend. Met her p’s halfway through Missouri. Got the kids and we drove home the next day. I went to Kansas City to see Jackson Browne with Wendy and Kristin. It was an absolutely amazing show. We talked about the songs we wanted to hear beforehand and why they were important to us. I guess that could have been risky and a letdown had he not played them. But he played them all. Listening to For A Dancer again in his acoustic tour was amazing – and this time I felt like I could focus on the words and the power and meaning while there. Jackson Browne was crazy relaxed and talkative – it was a great time. He even played the country version of Here Comes Those Tears Again (which he co-wrote with his mother-in-law, of his wife who died of suicide). So much meaning in so many songs. He really did help me get through an incredibly tough first year without Katherine. He played so many great songs and made it fun and meaningful.

IMG_1557

You know how I love my food. We hit three barbeque places in 2 days in Kansas City: Gates Bar-B-Q (how could I not go there with a name like that), Jack Stack, and another one that wasn’t as good. Here we are waiting for our cheesy corn bake and hickory pit beans.

IMG_1562

Christopher was in heaven lighting off fireworks that papa gave him.

IMG_1571

If the kids ask to borrow $599.88 DON’T give it to them. Any fireworks that explode, fly, or make people smile or even think about smiling are banned in Minnesota. No fun patrol is in full force around 4th of July.

IMG_1606

Spring is sprunging

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

Christopher is camping all weekend. Beth and Colleen are at a dance competition all day today (and by all day I mean from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.). So today is a special day for just Megan and me. She was so excited for it and even said it was like her special birthday. I got up early to play racquetball and when I got back at 9:00 a.m. I had to laugh because this note was waiting for me from Megan…hey, it’s her special day 🙂

IMG_1877

That’s my daughter – making lists! And checking things off – I love it! She chose this outdoor activity working together over going to the movies – how truly cool is that?!?!? So great. We bought seeds and planted them already. Carrots. Spinach. And peas. Not many other things to plant this early. She’s been working hard. We even thatched a bit (pic below). We got all the outdoor furniture out, and brought in the Christmas lights strung through all our bushes way up on top of the hill in back. We also bought fish – some for the pond and some for her fish tank. And we got donuts. Not sure what else she has planned for us today – can’t wait to find out!

IMG_1879

We had a nice Easter. Beautiful service and nice day. And lots of awesome food from all grandparents – everyone must be worried we’re not eating enough 🙂

IMG_1868

IMG_1874

IMG_1875

IMG_1853

IMG_1846

IMG_1845

And look who came back? As I’ve said before – it’s my Tony Soprano moment. I love when my ducks come back. Now if only we could keep Orca from the pond! Megan and I had another special moment this week when we got to watch 2 or 3 daddy ducks “wrestling” with mommy duck to show her how much they want to be with her. I know it’s normal activity for ducks but it always is such a violent exchange. At least they were on dry land this time and not in the pond. Now we’ll wait 22-28 days and see what happens. And I’m glad they stuck around even after it snowed again – surprised them and us.

IMG_1850

IMG_1843

IMG_1839

IMG_1817

And look at the new pillow we bought. Colleen has been working hard in school, dance, etc – busy, busy, busy and making us proud every day.

IMG_1842

We had a great trip to the Kalahari for spring break. It was a fun time with lots of activities that the Great Wolf doesn’t have (although it was a lot more expense and felt like they wanted more money every time we turned around). Colleen brought two friends which was a lot of fun for her (and all of us). They had a great hot tub that you could enter indoors and then walk outdoors. And really cool water rides. Fun stuff.

IMG_1800

IMG_1739

IMG_1282

IMG_1292

IMG_1273

IMG_1271

IMG_1268

IMG_1264

The Kalahari had a candy shop with all sorts of fancy treats. Theirs were fine but nothing compared to the cool ones the kids made when we got home out of marshmallows, chocolate and icing. Anybody want to place an order for their next party? 🙂

IMG_1836

How much would you give for this tooth? I’ve got it for sale on ebay – keep your fingers crossed. Only a few silver memories remain in Megan’s mouth from that dreaded first dentist appointment 5 years ago when she had 20 cavities. I still don’t think it was a coincidence that Beth had me take Megan to that appointment (whatever, I’m over it…almost).

IMG_1738

And of course the Leprechauns visited us again for St. P’s day. Turning all our food green – grrrr. Good thing Beth loves this holiday so much or I’d have to set some Leprechaun traps to take care of them once and for all.

IMG_1730

IMG_1729

Taking advantage of one last snowstorm of the season. After this the kids wouldn’t go out any more – they were tired of snow and sledding and ready to get their bikes out!!!

IMG_1721

Colleen danced at another Timberwolves game. Look front and center for her. Some dork in front of us was wearing a big fuzzy wolf hat. I took some amazing photos but they all turned out like this one – heh heh. But you can still see Robbie Hummel (Boiler Up!) shooting a 3-pointer. Speaking of Boiler Up! – where’s my dollar from Aunt B for Purdue smashing IU on Feb 15, 2014 with a win of 82-64? Was the margin of victory so high that you’re wondering if you should send more than one dollar? Been checking my mailbox every day for months now.

IMG_1691

IMG_1703

This was the first week of April in Minnesota. I love the snow – won’t catch me complaining. But finally a few weeks later all of our snow is mostly gone – there are still big piles near parking garages where the snow was piled up way high.

IMG_1299

Are we still looking for signs everywhere that Katherine or others are watching out for us or trying to send us a message? I’m still not sure if Katherine is channeling her messages through Orca but here’s a message that was left for us in the snow 🙂

IMG_1240

Or instead if I paused longer to look at photos like this would I see hearts and other signs everywhere in nature…

IMG_1254

Mmmm…Grandma T chocolate chip oatmeal cookies! I was busy with the kids a few weeks ago and baked up lots of yummy stuff. And…for Easter this year I FINALLY was successful making Grandma T cinnamon rolls. They have never really turned out but this time they were amazing and so close to what they always used to taste like. Fun memories eating all of her cinnamon rolls over the years!

IMG_1246

Intense video game playing underway…

IMG_1236

Beth and I went to see Kevin Breel perform at a high school about an hour from here for a group working hard to Stomp Out Suicide. Kevin is known for his Confessions of a Depressed Comic TED Talk. It was good to hear his message in person and meet him afterwards. He is from British Columbia and got his suicidal wake up call on Feb 26, 2011 – interesting coincidences with location and dates while at a suicide event. It was an hour drive on a Friday night and we ended up getting to this small town early…so we checked out a small town Minnesota bar. I love bars like that…miss the days of playing pool and drinking nasty light beer in small town bars. We walked in just in time to enter the meat raffle (Ha! So who has no idea what that is and is thinking odd thoughts now???) Not sure that Beth liked the bar as much as I did…but I took a picture of their flyer in case our memories fade…was hoping we’d make it back for the naughty toga contest 🙂

IMG_1232

IMG_1226

Ok…where’s Waldo? See if you can find Christopher…keep looking.

IMG_1213

Give up? Here’s your hint…

IMG_1213_big

Feed My Starving Children. Easy. Fun for the whole family. Giving back. Good, good, good.

IMG_1211

And look what else Megan and I have been up to…I was a bit worried when our first YouTube instructional video that was 19 minutes took us over 2 hours to complete…but since then we’ve been on fire and cranking these things out. Guess what everybody is getting for Christmas! 🙂

IMG_1210

Ok. Gotta go. Take care everyone!

Two year anniversary

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

It’s been two years since my sister, Katherine, died. That first year was insane. It was a whirlwind of emotions. We were constantly watching out for ourselves and each other – or just trying to get through each day as we cycled through all stages of grief. It forced all of us to deal with emotions that most of us had never even considered. But we got through it, and we continue to heal and rebuild.

The second year has been more educational and reflective for me, and I’ve started to think more and more about my purpose in life. I still think about Katherine every single day, and you never know when grief will hit. The biggest mental turning point for me has been my understanding that mental illness, depression, anxiety, etc are no different from any other disease. We can watch for signs, we can take steps to reduce our risks, but in the end they are diseases that can’t be controlled. This means that people with these diseases don’t have a choice in the act of suicide. They died by suicide. They died as a result of depression. Just like you died by heart attack as a result of heart disease. They didn’t commit suicide. They didn’t choose to die. They didn’t choose to leave us. Professor Robert Sapolsky of Stanford University has a great 24-lecture series on Stress and Your Body. He very clearly states that major depression is one of the worst illnesses out there. With other illnesses you get a wake-up call and find joy to keep on living but with depression, by definition, people have lost the ability to feel pleasure and find happiness. Anxiety may be even more prevalent than depression, and again, is also a real medical disorder.

I knew nothing about any of this two years ago. I had opinions that were wrong. I wanted to know why she chose to leave us. Why she didn’t ask us for help. Why she would want to leave so much behind. I used phrases that weren’t accurate and unknowingly perpetuated stereotypes. I come across the word “stigma” frequently and it always seems so blameful – such a negative word – I don’t like that one, which may be the point. Even in yesterday’s Facebook postings about Katherine it was very easy to find words that are wrong and mask the truth. And these are comments by loved ones who have been part of this experience. If it’s so easy for us to capture this inaccurately then of course it’s impossible for the general public to relate to and understand the complexities of mental illness and suicide.

Here’s a great short article (with audio if you prefer that) by Alan Lessik offering a great perspective from someone who lost a loved one to a fatal mental illness (and coincidentally has a connection to Pearson): Judge Not His Death

And isn’t it amazing now how many times we see awful news about suicide. It’s all around us and can impact anyone in all walks of life. It’s still hard not to judge or make generalized assumptions when you see that it is related to a celebrity, CEO, etc. But we shouldn’t judge. It’s no different than what we’ve been through. I just read Highest Duty: My Search For What Really Matters, by Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. This is the pilot who landed a damaged US Airways flight onto the Hudson River in January 2009. It’s a good book and really shows how all of his life experiences and training put him in the perfect spot that day to save so many lives. One impact on his life was that his dad died of suicide at the age of 78 when Sully was 43 years old. He says,

  • “Naturally, I was distraught, angry, and upset with myself. I thought that I should have been paying closer attention to him. Intellectually, my mom, my sister, and I knew better. As with so many suicides, I don’t think any of us who loved him could have prevented him from doing what he did…After Flight 1549, people wrote to tell me that they could sense how much I valued life. Quite frankly, one of the reasons I think I’ve placed such a high value on life is that my father took his…his death did have an effect on how I’ve lived, and on how I view the world. It made me more committed to preserving life. I exercise more care in my professional responsibilities. I am willing to work very hard to protect people’s lives, to be a good Samaritan, and to not be a bystander, in part because I couldn’t save my father.”

It’s up to all of us to help raise awareness. Take care of yourself first. But if you’re ok then keep reading. We should share our experiences. We should proactively ask others how they are doing, especially if they have given us any depression/anxiety/suicide comments or hints about themselves or others in their lives. And then listen to them and be there for them. We should be conscious about our choice of words. I meet with anyone that wants to talk to me about related topics…once I’m aware (and that is the hard part). I have met with co-workers and friends, people concerned about their kids, and people concerned about their parents. I have a Pinterest board. I have offered to help anyone at church who needs to talk on topics I can relate to. These are just some of the ways I try to spread these positive values and help others. We’ve been through it, and we are better equipped to help others.

Professor Robert Sapolsky (who I mentioned above) acknowledges that he has 22 lectures of bad news before he gets to some positive messages in his last two lectures in that series. His focus is on stress and how bad that is for us. But my particular interest was the connection to depression and anxiety. So what can we do?

  • Take care of ourselves. Do the obvious things like eat well and don’t smoke. Duh – you’ve heard it before.
  • And you need to exercise. You’ve heard this how many times before? Yes, exercise. 30+ minutes every day. It needs to be something that you enjoy doing. Make the time for this. I have made this change in my life and can stick to it most weeks. But I have to be intentional about it because it is important to me. I don’t know if depression sneaks up on you or if wham! one day I get hit by it, but if finding 30 minutes a day will help me (and provides so many other benefits) then sign me up.
  • He also recommends transcendental meditation and having a strong support network. I’ve been very blessed to have a small group of people who watch out for me and that I feel comfortable talking to. I don’t shy away from any conversations about what I’m thinking about and how I’m feeling. It’s good for me and good for others too. Hearing about vulnerability in others makes it ok for more people to share.
  • He also mentions having a religious belief but it is harder to show correlation since people with these beliefs are typically doing other things right and their church provides them a support network that is crucial.
  • The last thing he mentions is essentially your coping strategy. Knowing what you can change or control and what you can’t – when to accept and when to move on. Knowing when to change your strategy. Keeping the right things in perspective. I have learned how to be open and share what is on my mind. I absolutely try to continually educate myself so I am best equipped to make the right decisions. Sharing this information with each other is essential to this and part of my process.

Here a short related excerpt from an interview with Andrew Solomon who has suffered from depression and his advice on how best to support others (http://andrewsolomon.com/coverage/hartford-healthcare-interview/):

  • “I often say to people who describe having a friend who’s depressed “You need to make sure that the person is never alone.” Sometimes that means talking to them, and sometimes when they are too miserable to talk, it means sitting quietly by their bed. And sometimes when even having another human being in the room feels overwhelming to them, it involves sitting right outside the bedroom door. It never involves going away and it never involves taking seriously their claims that they want to be alone. Depression is a disease of loneliness and the best way to address it is to mitigate that aloneness.”

I was in a discussion recently with someone in a book study at work about our purpose in life. I don’t know how I would have answered that two years ago. I don’t think you can just pick your purpose and expect to get it right and for it to be meaningful. Sometimes it finds you, like it or not. I’m not sure that we can help or save everyone. But what we can do is live for being happy today, be there for those around us, chase your dreams, and live life with no regrets. A huge focus in my life now is thinking about how I can make a positive difference in the lives of others. Concepts from The Dream Manager have absolutely changed what I focus on in my life in the past several years. I talk about these principles at work and with friends. I am working on doing the same at church this year. I am looking at more local groups on depression/grieving/suicide to see where I may fit in to help. I’m trying to build a larger presence on Pinterest. If you’re interested in talking more about any of the things I mentioned and seeing how we can make an ever bigger impact please let me know.

I also am thinking about changing some of my writing style to be more focused on an audience that doesn’t know me and my story. Largely when I write it is very beneficial for me – but I get great comments from some of you throughout the year too. But could I write on topics that I know about and help others on their journey? Other than these being way too long (I know, I know) I’d love feedback. Respond in comments or send me a separate email. What do you like about how I write? Where can I improve? What topics should I cover? What questions do you have? Misconceptions? Uncertainties? Things you’ve learned that I could elaborate on and share? How about this – would you like to hear more on happiness and pursuing dreams?

Take care of yourself. Dream big. Be there and even just listen to those in need. Educate others. Think about your purpose in life and what more you can do.

One last comment. Jeff Olson in The Slight Edge referenced an article saying that only 10 people on average will cry at your funeral and that

  • “the number one factor that would determine how many people would go on from the funeral to attend the actual burial would be…the weather.” “If it happened to be raining, said the article’s author, 50 percent of the people who attended my funeral would decide maybe they wouldn’t go on to attend my burial after all, and just head home.”

Just think of how many people cried at Katherine’s funeral. Think of how many lives she touched. Think of how long that line was. And think of how many people did go on to the actual burial and stood in the rain on a cold New England day for Katherine. She was a special person and is still loved and missed so much.

When…

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

In the beginning
 all the time
  when I woke up
   when I went to bed
    any time in between
     when I walked into work
      when I walked out of work
       but I kept it out of work
        had to then
         when my phone rang at work
          you are never prepared for that phone call

when I drive up the street to my parent’s house
 when I drive down the street away from my parent’s house
  when I think about that first moment at their house
   and we all stand in the kitchen and catch up on things
    and get to see and hug each other for the first time of that visit
     and joke and laugh with each other
      and get some cookies from the cookie jar
       that’s always a special moment
        it’s still special
         but is missing something now

when I think about my parents
 and all the things they did right
  and all the love we showed each other
   and all the happiness waiting for all of us
    together in the future

when I think about future family reunions

when I look at our last family pictures
 and thought we were doing it for another reason
  it wasn’t Katherine that we were worried about then
   you never know the reason
    take the picture

when I think about my brother
  and his family
    and my parents
     and Katherine’s family
      her husband
       and girls
        those smiling, happy girls
         we worry about them remembering too much
          yet not remembering enough
     those precious, special girls
      and extended family
   and her best friend
    all of her friends
     and her co-workers
      and anyone fortunate enough to see her beautiful spirit shine
   you never know the reason for making all those connections
    make the connections

when I think about New Hampshire
 Boston
  Maine
   New England
    a trip to Disney
     a trip to Grand Marais
      she said a summer trip is “good for us!” 2 weeks before she died
     the struggle to live
      and to die
       at the same time

when I think of a cold and dreary New England day
 or see a timeless New England cemetery
  when I hear bagpipes
   wow were they sad that day
    and yet beautiful in a way I’d never heard before
     and don’t want to hear again

at any holiday
 when I have a birthday and turn a year older
  New Years
   Christmas
    Thanksgiving with family
     it’s so odd that my happiness related to aging and family holidays
      triggers sadness
       the happier I see us all
        the sadder I want to feel sometimes

when I think about my childhood

when I see anyone take their family for granted

when I hear anyone say the word “sister”
 or “brother”
  especially if they are complaining about their siblings
   hey grown-ups
    please don’t complain about your siblings
   I know kids will fight with each other
    that’s normal, and part of every childhood
     watching my children do that stirs up many emotions in me
      frustration, sadness, hurt, mad, plus others I guess
       I have to leave the room and not deal with it
        guess it makes me miss Katherine even more
         and wants me to have them appreciate each other all the time
          I know it’s not realistic
           but wow does it overwhelm me

when I see other families fight
 over the silliest things
  and just not get how precious life is
   especially when these families know my story
    but they forget
     please appreciate what you have
      or if you don’t appreciate it
       please don’t do that in front of me
        especially during holidays which are already tough on me
         help me every day continue to live my life positively
          and inspire others
           and not judge
            and have patience
             and respect all those around me
              and help me “be kind” as the quote says
               because everyone you meet is fighting a great battle

when I worry about telling my kids
 when I worry about not telling my kids

every time one of my children says they hate me
 yes, it happens to all of us
  hopefully not often
   but all kids say it
    it digs deep
     in ways it wouldn’t have two years ago
    or when they cry over friends
     or not fitting in
      how can you not worry?
       do you overreact?
        underreact?
         love them
          listen to them
           be there
            don’t judge
             create that loving environment.

when I think about how Grandma T would always pause when we’d go
 through old photos
  when she got to Grandpa T’s sister Margareet who died when
   she was in her early twenties of cancer
    something about the way she said it or paused I think
     showed a profound impact on Grandpa T for the rest of his life
      it would be interesting to hear if he ever talked about her
       or how that impacted him
        and how his life changed
         does anyone know?

when I look at draft emails still addressed to Katherine
 or the messages from her still saved in my phone
  or read her comments in my blog
   so glad I created that blog
    it is the 1st item I ever pursued after reading The Dream Manager
     Katherine always talked about creating her own blog
      she really wanted to do it
       but it never happened
      so glad she read my blog
       so glad she wrote comments
        you never know why you do some things
         and the benefits they will produce
          chase your dreams
           write your blog (or whatever is on your dream list)
            who cares what others think
             take small steps at first
              but just do it
               support other people’s dreams
                write those comments
                 they mean so much

when I have great memories of her
 it’s so true that we remember and miss the small things
  the imperfections, crazy moments, and unique traits
   those random, funny email that I still have saved
    jigsaw puzzles of course
     that wonderful laugh/snort/chortle/burst with that smile
      the awesome gifts she bought me
       will I ever throw some of those away now?
        how long will a G. H. Bass jacket last and still be so stylish?
         don’t answer that
          I say I need to get better at buying gifts like she did
           talk is cheap, huh?
      when I hear “wicked awesome”
       ok, I never hear that
      when I drive past where she got pulled over by the police
       for speeding in Minnesota
        while in her pajamas
         with no I.D.
          with her best friend
           and not really knowing where they were
            must have made that cop’s day

when I watch my children grow older
 when I see my daughter dancing
  and growing older
   and making lifelong friends
    when I fold her flannel pajamas
     when she wears new dance costumes and make-up
      I can picture Katherine at that age doing these same things

when I still think about calling Katherine out of the blue
 it just doesn’t seem real some days
  this really happened to our family?

when I connect with a song
 For a Dancer by Jackson Browne
  “And somewhere between the time you arrive
  And the time you go
  May lie a reason you were alive
  But you’ll never know”
   find songs or poems or stories that have meaning to you

When I see my grey hairs
 when I don’t sleep well at night
  because my mind is up
   I sleep better now
    but those grey hairs don’t turn back to brown
     thanks Katherine

when I hear people say
 “suicide”
  “I’d kill for that”
   “he’s dead to me”
    “slit my wrists”
     “hang myself”
      they are just words we all use
       but I pause on them now
        and try to be intentional
         and thoughtful
          in my words and actions

when I try to think about what she must have been thinking
 and going through
  so much that I don’t understand
   and can’t relate to
    but I’m learning a lot and continue to learn
     and not judge
      anxiety
       depression
        Crohn’s
         OCD
          are scraping sounds of teeth against a metal fork or spoon
           a warning sign or just a way to annoy your sister?
            who knows.
  when I tap my fingernails on the wall
   as I walk down a hallway
    or stairwell
     but I can stop tapping my nails
      I control it
       but others can’t
        so hard to understand

when I lay my shoes side by side for the next day
 the right shoe goes on the right
  the left shoe goes on the left
   now that can’t be changed
    don’t mess with my shoes
     right?
      what makes it anxiety and OCD?
       versus just being silly?

when I jog past a certain area in this loop that I do
 I talk to her there
  we all need to handle this in our own way
   find that special spot
    talk to yourself
     talk to her
      pray
       don’t bottle it up

when I pause and hug my kids real tight

when I see a beautiful sunrise

when I have a bad day

when I get in a slump for a day or two

when I let small things frustrate me

when I think about others going through struggles
 and I still don’t ask them about it enough when they say they are “ok”
  it’s awkward
   or we forget weeks later
    and I can’t assume just because someone is having a bad day
     that it will end up in suicide
      but you never know
       so live a good life
        and always be there for others
         listen and watch for signs

when I see awful stories in the news
 when I hear others make judgments about suicide
  and state why people did it
   and how could they leave so much behind
    or be so selfish
     we have so much to learn

it’s a disease
 just like a heart attack
  you can’t control it
   and shouldn’t be judged

when I hear a judgment come out of my mouth
 I hope this doesn’t happen often
  we all do it
   often without realizing it
    you never know the other person’s story
     or what they’ve been through
      or what they are going through
       nice words and thoughts go a long way

when I try to think about what day to honor her each year
 but really it’s every day
  every day is a great day to remember her
   and live a life that she would be proud of
    but it’s not enough to say every day
     I really want an intentional day to celebrate her life
      or do focused good in the world in her name
       I’m open to ideas

every time I tell someone new who I am
 I may not tell them about this right away
  but I’m thinking about it
   it’s a huge part of me
    it has shaped me
     and focused me
       and helping me define a purpose
        and to live intentionally
         without judgment
          not take any day or moment for granted
           and be there for others all of the time
     but I’d trade it all back in a heartbeat

when I think about what I want to focus my life on
 when I think about what truly matters
  when I think about what I would change in this world if I could
   when I help others understand why it’s important to have dreams
    and pursue them
     and live for today
      and be happy now
       because that’s the only guarantee that we have
       and I’m inspired by the people
        who have already used this as a wake up call
         and are pursuing their dreams now

when I think about dream lists
 Katherine had 19 dreams in her list
  I think she accomplished one of those
   do the rest of us live the remaining dreams for her?
    do I just need to post something to Etsy?
     or does someone have to actually buy it?
      heh heh
       is it ok to share most of her dreams?

when I think about the good person I want to always be
 and the shining example I want to set for others
  and the best that I can be

when I think about if I can really ever save anyone
 all we can do is try
  be there for people
   spread happiness
    share some smiles
     don’t judge
      give people space
       but not too much space
        but how do you know where that line is
         all we can do is try the best we can
          and be good people

those of us that can control our lives
 should control our lives
  and help others
   and learn
    and do better
     because we know better

when I think about keeping our entire family together
 when I think about how fragile life is
  when I think about living each day to its fullest
   and treasuring the blessings we have before us each day
    and being there for others
     all the time
      even when we don’t feel like it
       yes, even then
        all the time
       and how far I’ve come in the past two years
        I think the best thing I can do to honor her memory
         is continue to improve and live the best life I can
          smile
           help others
            listen
             give back
              just be there
               focus on today
                that’s all we can guarantee
                 life is precious
                  enjoy each day to it’s fullest
                   because you never know

Are there jigsaw puzzles in heaven?

Monday, November 25th, 2013

So who the heck is watching over me? Are there jigsaw puzzles in heaven? Too many distractions up there keeping my angels busy? I’m not sure how else to explain the complete lack of assistance I got controlling mother nature recently. Unless all of my angels are up there laughing at me – and I think that would be worse! I was less than 5 minutes away from having our 20’x10’ pool completely drained & towel dried, disassembled and ready to bring indoors for the season when the rain hit. This is the second time I’ve completely dried it this fall. I had Colleen and Christopher out helping me take the pool apart as fast as we could because I knew rain was forecast in a few hours. The sky wasn’t that cloudy, I had done my weather homework. You know how sometimes you feel a drop or two and then you get a gradual build up to a gentle rain? Or you know how sometimes the rain is warm and feels healing and soothing? Well…this was neither of those…it started as an instant burst of a cold downpour. At the point it dumped on us we had already taken out three of the four long support beams (Colleen & Christopher were holding each end up of the heavy last side) so there was no way I could set the pool back up to easily dry it again. I only needed 5 minutes to be all done. That’s all. This was the start of four straight days of rain…followed by cold Minnesota weather.

I should have at least three angels looking after me. I can understand how God is too busy to focus on everyone and to worry about little problems but what else do Katherine and Grandma & Grandpa T have to do up there? Finishing puzzles, going on bike rides, playing cards, and making fiber flowers & casseroles 😉 Help me out. Delay that rain just a few minutes. Create a dry pocket for me. Anything. A little help here. Are there rules for angel interventions? Do they only get a limited number? Do they have to learn how to use their powers? Do they save them for ‘signs’ versus actually helping us out? Can they team up and combine powers?

Or maybe I need to pay attention more. Maybe they help all the time and I’m too busy to notice. Or I don’t give them credit. Or I take countless mini-interventions for granted. Maybe they’re busy all day long saving me from car crashes, house fires and other life changing disasters. Maybe they’re helping out with an extended green traffic light every so often, or moving my car keys where I can easily find them. Maybe they helped me get to see one of my Make-A-Wish children one last time before he died. Maybe it was my angels who helped us when Megan started choking recently while we were out to dinner (I think my heart has finally settled back into a normal rhythm a few weeks later). Life gets so busy it’s sadly way too easy to miss these every day blessings.

Or maybe they’re watching and deciding not to jump in so that maybe one day I’ll learn once and for all not to sweat the small stuff. They’re giving me ongoing reminders about what really matters and doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Who cares about my frustrations with this silly pool? It is a fun memory with the kids while the rain dumped on us and I made them continue to stand there holding the ends of the pool regardless of the futility of the situation. We were soaked in a matter of seconds and laughing while daddy was helpless against the rain.

Maybe they can’t change the course of things but instead can use their powers to send signs. And maybe I’m too busy to notice these too. Or I’m waiting for something so grand and life-changing that I’m missing minor miracles every day. Maybe someday this will all make sense to me. Or maybe not. Until then I’ll continue to wait for that special day when the orchid in my office blooms again and I find the last state quarter to fill my collector book.

“Help me today to enjoy every moment. No matter what I deal with today help me to walk with a smile and enjoy this moment. This time and this day. I will never see it again. I will be thankful!” -DL Watson

Quoted quote with a quote as I reflect on Katherine & this past year

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

When I traveled to Spain with friends years ago we learned a valuable life lesson. It was a long trip (and an awesome, incredible, amazing trip with great friends) but we had a few stressful points so at one point I started saying “ sucks” (I’m sure one of them remembers specifically what sucky part brought this on – another detail I’ve forgotten over the years). We soon realized the more we said that the more it really did suck and the more things went wrong. So we stopped saying it. We started thinking positively. Things got better. The trip turned out awesome! This lesson applies to each of us every day. The books The Secret and The Power of Positive Thinking capitalize on this.

I try to be positive. I’ve made great strides the last several years – and I try to share those good vibes. In the spirit of that, last February (2012) I wrote a blog post entitled “Good things happen to good people” – that whole post was about positive things. Oh, the irony. The whole post was about ‘how great Spain was’ – all good stuff. Amazing how that same world can be completely turned upside-down a month later. It makes me think of that great Woody Allen quote, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”

Don’t read too much into any of that. God isn’t laughing at us, and I’m not cynical to positive thinking. But I doubt you’ll see another completely, totally, absolutely positive post from me about all the great things happening. Even if and when they are happening I’m not sharing so blatantly – you can just assume it’s always happening, ok?

I read God Never Blinks this week – it’s a collection of short newspaper publications by the author, Regina Brett. She had a chapter titled “It’s okay to be angry with God. He can take it.” That made me laugh & relate to it. My range of emotions this year have been all over the place. It took me a long time to understand and accept that Katherine didn’t have a choice – she had an illness that took over and left her no other options. It took me a long, long time to let her know that I understand and hope that she’s in a better spot for her and at peace. And for me to tell her that. I don’t like it but I can’t change it. Of all places and people, it took a night in a bar, with the spouse of a friend directly in my face sharing a crazy-unreal, goose pimple-inducing story and then asking what felt like were awkward and personal questions to make it click with me and change my thoughts.

I’m not sure that I’m ready for the messages in all of the quotes that follow, and I’m not always ready to focus on the future, but I will continue to ponder and learn from these quotes.

This same book goes on to say, “You don’t need a cancer verdict to start living more fully. Every day, light a candle. What a great reminder that life is short, that the only time that matters is now. Walk out of boring movies. Close any book that doesn’t dazzle you. Greet every morning with open arms and say thanks every night with a full heart. Each day is a precious gift to be savored and used, not left unopened and hoarded for a future that may never come.”

I also read Beauty Beyond the Ashes: Choosing Hope After Crisis, by Cheryl McGuinness today. Her husband was the pilot of one of the planes that hit the towers on 911. She has a strong religious focus that I won’t go into but I did like these lessons from one of the chapters. (1) Life goes on. As unfair, unreasonable, and impossible it seems, we still have work to do after a tragedy occurs. We still have roles to fill. We still have responsibility to family and others. The stuff of life may pause for a while, but it doesn’t stop. Fair or not, that’s reality. (2) Healing requires active participation. If we can summon the strength to take the first steps, the healing will come that much sooner. If we don’t take those first steps and participate with God in our healing process, we die while we are still alive. God tells us to trust him, get up, and take one more step of faith toward healing – in spite of our feelings. (3) Many details about the future remain unknown. Walking with Jesus involves walking by faith. Our attempts to control the future are fruitless. Those of us who have suffered loss understand only too well that we control very little in our lives. The promise of tomorrow is given to no one. We need to appreciate each day as a special Gift from God and focus our hearts on him, seeking to know and understand his will on a day-by-day basis. We need to take God’s Word to heart when he tells us in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” My prayer is that you will also come to know hope, not despair; courage, not fear; love, not hate.

Yes, I’ve been busy reading this week. Here’s a similar thought from Suicide and Its Aftermath, by editors: Edward J Dunne, John L. McIntosh, and Karen Dunne-Maxim. “Moving on does not mean forgetting. It means gaining freedom through closure and giving up feeling victimized. It means going on with our lives, with each other, with our living sons and their families, with other relationships, and with life as it really is, not as we would like it to be. It means eventually being able to move beyond the event of suicide to remember and celebrating the life of our daughter. We are facing our future with a greater sense of who we are. Our awareness to increased divorce rates to parents of suicide recommits us to working through our thoughts, feelings, and differences, determined that our bonds of loving and struggling should not be broken. We now know that we cannot control what happens to us, but we can take charge of how we respond. We can no longer change the destiny of our beloved daughter, but we can be sure that our lives will be more meaningful, purposeful, compassionate, forgiving and loving. My life has changed and I will never again have the same innocence. But perhaps there is hope for others more newly bereaved in the fact that life has continued on with a new awareness of the fragility of life, with a deepened spirit and commitment to life and with the certainty that, although life is not perfect, it is good.”

Ok, one more…Suicide: Why? by Adina Wrobleski says something similar: “While we cannot bring the person back, and while there are no second chances with the person who died, there are many second chances with the living. There is an opportunity to make up in the present what is desperately wished for in the past. The death of a loved one changes people; how they change is up to each individual.”

And just a few more quotes I’m still noodling over…not sure what I think of some of these…

I’ve come across this quote a crazy amount of times recently, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” -Philo of Alexandria or Plato or maybe somebody else. If only we knew about those battles.

“The mind is its own place, and in itself, Can make Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven” -John Milton

How about this one? “You got to go through hell before you get to heaven” – maybe this is taken out of context from what the Steve Miller Band meant, but after this hellacious year I’m taking this to mean that we’re all going to heaven.

It’s been a tough day but cherish those memories and we’ll continue to get through this together. Love to you all. Rest in peace my beautiful sister.

Joy

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Our church attendance has been a bit spotty this year (uh, just a bit of an understatement) but we decided last night we were going this morning no matter what (e.g., no matter how close to 0F the temp was). The sermon was great (the weather was 3F – not bad – it’s going to get A LOT colder the next few days) – all about joy and how we should laugh in church and life, and we need to find this happiness all around us all the time – this joy comes from deep within, is part of our being, and helps us feel connected and care for others in the world. Yes, it’s been a tough year but there are still happy moments and there will be many to come. Here is the joyful Affirmation of Faith from today’s service:

We believe in a God of joy, who shows up
In roasted marshmallows and chocolate cake and fresh fish;
In the feeling of sand between our toes, a kitten’s fur, the touch of another person;
In the sun that shines in our faces (even, inconveniently in this sanctuary);
In falling snow;
In the life-giving green of new life and in new birth.
We believe in the joy that God creates in our lives.
We believe in the joy that resides in each one of us.

Our minister told several stories about weddings that she has presided over and that after one wedding she got a comment from someone that they had “never laughed at a wedding”. I know I wrote about it before but I still have good memories of the whoopie cushion that Katherine gave to Christopher at her reception – I don’t know how many whoopie cushions make it to wedding receptions but I’m guessing it can’t be that many…it was a great moment of joy and having fun in the moment.

Here are some other moments of joy I captured from this week.

Megan and I were playing a game against each other on the computer and she named our teams. She kept her hand over her team’s name while I went first, and I could tell she was so proud of her team name…which…after the big reveal of removing her hand, was…team “aSOM”. Totally aSOM!!! 🙂

We got a late Christmas gift this week. 3 slingshots, 2 packs of paint balls, and magnetic toys that have been recalled. We had a good laugh over this one. Payback is a you-know-what 🙂

I’ve been pushing the kids to do more laundry. I caught them doing my and Beth’s laundry – as they were folding they were slingshotting our underwear and having a fun time (which Megan tried to blame on daddy – uh uh, I’m not taking the hit for this one) 🙂

I was reading a story about sperm donation (related to a sperm donor being involved in a paternity suit when the female couple split up who had the baby – bizarre). Anyway, Schipper used to donate plasma in college – he was limited to doing it to something like once a month and the first experience made him either pass out or puke or both…and as I was reading the story we temporarily got confused as to what he used to donate in college – oops. Our confusion got even funnier thinking about which substance would be limited to once a month and would make someone pass out 🙂

We had a scout pool party last weekend. Beth very clearly told Christopher and me to bring a towel and underwear for him. Those were our instructions…”bring a towel and underwear”. We’re no dummies…we don’t need to be told twice…we can remember two things…duh. So I drive him there, and we remembered the towel and underwear just like we were told. Like I said, we’re no dummies and we had it under control. So Beth shows up (she was taking over and I had to leave) and she asked where his clothes were. Clothes? We brought the towel, we brought the underwear…and of course he only wore his swimsuit & swim shirt there b/c it’s only early January in Minnesota. How Christopher and I get blamed for not bringing clothes still doesn’t make sense to either of us – we have been trained to turn off our brains and follow directions – and we’re pretty good at it! 🙂

Ok…switching topics just for a minute. Aaron Swartz was in the news recently. As described by Wikipedia he was an “American computer programmer, writer, political organizer and Internet activist.” Smart dude, who created some companies and contributions to the computer world, but…he committed suicide (hanging) on January 11th, 2013. In November 2007 he blogged about his illnesses. He was a good writer and I was drawn to how he described some things in that post here – http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/verysick.

Alright, switching back to joyful topics again. Check out the pictures. In hopefully not very random order…Christopher’s new pet Sammy; our beautiful children on Christmas morning posing with some of their new gifts which didn’t come as a packaged set; Christopher doing a combo skiing stop and Michael Jackson pose; the entire height of our ski MOUNTAIN (hill); Megan’s chair in the snow; Colleen’s Sammy Sosa outfit for a school report; Colleen and her friend at their science fair exhibit (on how tie dye stains different types of material); and finally, we had two visitors this morning who came to play with Orca – this picture is right off our patio – yikes coyotes are big up close!!!

Brick wall at 60 mph

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Warning – gloomy post. If you’re not in the mood for it skip to the one below it – sorry (shrug), it’s part of my therapy 😉

I’ve finally felt like I’m having some higher energy days. And getting excited about Christmas. I still have lows but some energy has come back and I’ve felt better than I’ve felt in a long while. I was even starting to feel a bit guilty that I shouldn’t be feeling this way knowing how tough these holidays are on everybody. But then I thought I would be thrilled if I knew others were healing and feeling better and smiling more, whenever that happens I’d welcome it for any of us. But then – blam! – I got hit with a few reminders the past few weeks. Felt like I’d been smacked in the head with a 2×4. Ouch. The first one was when I was ordering packages on Amazon. I had to send several gifts to several addresses – and then “Katherine and Erik” popped up as a dropdown option. Wow was it hard to delete Katherine’s name – sucked in ways I can’t describe. Felt like this was so much deeper than just deleting her name. That completely caught me off guard – amazing how these reminders come out of nowhere and shock you like that. I remember when Erik shared pictures from Katherine’s phone a few months afterwards. I was doing fine with those until all of a sudden one of the pictures had Katherine in it – again, blam! Stopped me in my tracks – takes your breath away. My latest reminder was last night when I was opening up packages from Amazon and wrapping them in Christmas paper. I was wrapping the gifts from Erik for my kids and I had to write a tag that said “To: ” and “From: ” – writing “From: Erik” (and not adding “and Katherine”) was so hard. Sucks. Sad. Shouldn’t be this way. Miss her. Lots. So wish I could call her. Or talk with her about normal boring stuff…gifts for the kids, vacation plans, how she’s doing and feeling. Crazy how unreal this feels sometimes.

And can you believe all of the suicides and homicides and combos of both in the news lately? Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas City, etc; multiple-orgasms-per-day lady; Kansas City Chief’s linebacker; Why I Won’t Be Cheering for notre dame article by Melinda Henneberger; nurse for Princess Kate; and it goes on and on, especially if we include these mass shootings. F-d up. Maybe the world really is ending soon – go spend your last dollars morons.

All year the lyrics from two songs have bugged me – If I Die Young (Bury Me in Satin) by Band Perry and Die Young by Kedollarsignsha. Both seemed to glamorize or make light of dying way too soon. And I was surprised they got so much radio play given so many tragedies – but Sandy Hook/Newton took care of that. Ke$ha $ell$ $ea$hell$ down by the $ea$hore. $he’$ $illy and a$ $mart a$ an a$$.

Ok, we’ll end on a more positive note…see anyone you know in this video?

http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/video/8081087-mobile-weather-watcher-heads-to-eden-prairie-school/

And finally, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without giant sugar houses!!!