Interstellar Adventures

December 15, 2008

Nothing like a party to make a house a home

Filed under: Family & Friends,Interstellar Casa,Mr. Wonderful,Texas Life,Uncategorized — by InterstellarLass @ 12:40 am

I finally got around to having a “Housewarming Party” nearly six months after we moved in. Which is exactly what I needed to get touch-ups done and pictures hung on the wall. I’m not proclaiming that all boxes are unpacked. No, in fact, quite a few got stuffed into closets. But the walls have less spackle-patches and paint splotches, and there are pictures on the walls.

Nick let out his inner decorating diva and made the place all Christmassy. Except for the tree, the majority of the decorating was done by him, with some suggestions (and some nixing of ideas) from me. His favorite idea took a while to come by, and also conquered one of our decorating challenges – the stairwell landing wall. Going through a bunch of crap at my mom’s house this fall, I came upon a bunch of old LPs. Which I greedily took and didn’t offer to share with my sibs. I’ve picked up a few more LPs at a discount book store, and bought a turn table. So we picked our favorites of some album artwork and used LP frames to make art!

Saturday I roasted and turkey and warmed up a ham, and my friends brought over side-dishes and desserts, and we had an in-law-less Christmas dinner. ALL contributions to the dinner were excellent, including some perfectly spicy jalapeno au gratin potatoes, and some beyond delicious creamed brussel sprouts. My friend Steph also brought me some beautiful flowers and champagne, which I will soon enjoy in some mimosas.

I also made Christmas sugar cookies with royal icing. Not something I will sanely choose to do again. It took me forever to get the cookies rolled out and cut. The recipe I found called for the dough to be chilled. My friend that makes the most beautiful decorated cookies told me I had the wrong recipe – hers don’t get chilled. Then, the icing. Everywhere. What a mess! I didn’t even decorate all the ones I baked, and I was exhausted. So much so that I forgot to make my cranberry sauce and only had jellied sauce. So now I have two bags of cranberries. They’ll get used though, so no worries. No one stayed too late. Mostly because I now live in BFE, and I know that it took some people about 45 minutes at least to get home.

I love my house. Just sometimes I wish I could pick it up and land, Dorothy-style, somewhere else. Except I love driving up the two-lane, tree-lined asphalt road to get home some days. For about 45 seconds I don’t feel like I live in one of the largets metropolitain areas in the nation. I like the ranch that I drive by on my way to work every day. And it tickled me to no end to see them harvesting crops at the end of the summer. But all around are new subdivisions (yes, the builders are actually still building, though not as fast), and the roads are scheduled to be widened, and then I will have to move somewhere else in 10 years to get away from it.

I can’t wait to have more parties at my house. Good thing I have so many beds! My friends can all stay the night if they decide they don’t want to drive all those miles back home.

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December 10, 2008

Still Kickin’ It

I’m sure this place barely has a pulse. And this is probably a lame attempt at CPR. But, nonetheless, here I am. My friend Ben decided to check up on me and pushed me just enough to get me to post. I like it when people care. 🙂

Since we moved, Pop passed away, the kids started new schools, Nick went back to school, and work started kicking my ass, I haven’t been inspired to post much. Many of my thoughts made me sound like a whiney-ass bitch, and though I am, I still don’t want to sound like it.

Elle’s birthday came and went and we had a slumber party with 10+ 9-10 year olds. I realized several things that night. First, Elle has some serious bossiness issues, and I (privately) told her she was acting like a brat at her own party. Second, I wanted to tell about 5 other girls at the parties that I thought they were being bratty, but they were not my kids, so I just reminded them to play nice. Thirdly, I wished I could tell 5 other parents that their preshus babees are brats, but they are soccer parents and we have to play nice. Fourth, I hoped that Elle never acts the way these girls did when I’m not around. Fifth, it will be a long time before I have another slumber party for little girls.

Zed nearly failed algebra (8th grade honors math) last six weeks. This was the first time I’ve ever really had to ride him about his grades. He has taken on a lot more school work this year, with 3 honors classes, and he has been involved in athletics, which takes extra time. But he also lazes around a lot. Mostly he’s been a great teenager though. So far. Knock on wood. He picked it up, and we haven’t had any issues since. I know it will make you all jealous, but the worst problem I have with him is that he leaves his bike in the driveway. I know, I know. He’s too good!

Nick has been having some health issues, and near the end of the summer was diagnosed with Hemochromatosis. Basically my baby is Iron Man. Literally. He retains high levels of iron in his blood, which is extremely toxic, and can cause life-threatening side effects and diseases if not treated. Fortuately his diagnosis was made very early (I can be very persuasive) and tests revealed no damage to organs commonly affected. He has visisted a stream of doctors as a result, and we are still trying to get everything into balance through regular treatment. But he is still plagued by some of the side effects of the disorder, but is actually getting better, though some days it doesn’t seem that way. He has also gone back to school, and is working on finishing his associates before transferring to a four-year program.

And I have been working my tail off. And staying at very nice hotels when traveling. And meeting really cool people while I’m on the road. I’ve been sticking my neck out into some uncomfortable territory, creating a role, and lining myself up to be promoted into it. Which, as brave as I appear to be on the outside, I am really a scared little chicken-shit on the inside. The first time I gave my pitch I finished with a very wet shirt back and waistband. I hate it when I get all nervous and my voice wavers and my hands shake. I can do this dammit!

My birthday has come and gone as well. I’m now in my “mid-thirties” and I think I’m starting to show my age. Seems like the skin on the cheeks isn’t as smooth and shiney as it used to be. And my hands are starting to look old too. I’m moisturizing like a mad woman, trying to get back that baby smooth feel.

So all in all, yes Ben, I’m OK. Just busy living, turning my new house into a home, trying to bring home more bacon, and loving my family more and more every day. I’ll try to do a better job of being around. Things are staring to get interesting again, and I’m feeling pretty good after this post. Mwah!

July 16, 2008

Her Big Sister in a Shining SUV

Filed under: Family & Friends,It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 9:10 pm

This evening, my sisters and I were supposed to head over to my mom’s house and help her with some stuff. So I changed after work and was headed for the elevator when my phone rang. It was my mom, and I figured she was checking on my ETA. Instead, she informed me my sister had a blow-out, and was stranded on the side of the freeway. I immediately assured her I would get to her and get the tire fixed.

So I called my baby sister, and she was on the verge of tears. She’s young, and was somewhat unprepared for the situation. OK, totally unprepared for the situation. No spare, no jack. But, her phone was charged AND she had the tire key. I took control, came up with the plan, and calmed her down.

I located her, but due to some fouled up issues with the road, I was only able to get within about 100 yards of her car. Doh! So I called her and had her walk over to my car, then we toured the other side of the freeway and came back around.

Her tire was totally shredded. She’s really lucky she didn’t lose control of the car. So I got out my (manual! ugh!) jack and got the tire off the car with no issue. We drove to Wal Mart (yes, Nick, I actually by CHOICE entered a Wal Mart – it was for a good cause) and got the replacement tire.

We got back to her car, and I put the jack up all the way. But the tire wouldn’t fit. Crap. The angle of the car on the roadside put the right rear section of the car lower than the rest of the car. I decided to try to move the jack as far to the left as I could (about 4 inches), to see if that would give me the angle I needed. And it just barely did. Otherwise I was going to be calling emergency roadside assistance. All the nuts got tightened up properly, and she was ready to go.

And lest you all wonder if mankind is still helpful, they are. Before I arrived, four people stopped. Then, after I got there, another guy stopped (just as I got the tire off). And, as I was tightening down the last nut, another guy stopped. But, it’s all good. I had the knowledge and the ability.

So, the tire we got tonight will get turned into a full-sized spare that WILL be put into my sister’s car. We WILL make a trip to an auto parts store to buy her a jack. And we WILL be having a tire-changing lesson in the near future. And Elle WILL watch. Go Girl Power!

July 9, 2008

Monkey pajamas

Filed under: Elle & Zed,Family & Friends,It's Me, Lass,Mr. Wonderful — by InterstellarLass @ 10:08 pm

I downloaded photos off my camera the other day. There was a photo of Elle and Pop that I took a couple of weeks before he died. It was when we realized that Pop wasn’t going to get better, and I had to talk to Elle about dying. She was quite upset, and she said she wanted a picture of Pop. So I suggested they take the photo together. Elle was wearing her monkey pajamas Pop bought her (well, Nick bought on behalf of Pop) for Christmas. She’s worn the heck out of those pajamas.

Elle & Pop

I love how Pop put on a smile for the camera. This was taken 12 days before he died. There was so much change in those last 12 days, but he actually looked really good in this picture. He still had the life in his eyes here. It was two weeks yesterday that he passed. We’re still in a fog.

********************

I traveled for work yesterday and today. After my obligations yesterday, I got to visit my grandfather. When I saw him in December, he was still himself, able to talk even though he didn’t make much sense. When I saw him yesterday, I was more prepared than before. And I think having seen Pop decline recently maybe numbed the shock of seeing my granddaddy. But he was much thinner, and has greatly lost his ability to speak. Supposedly he has been having small strokes, which mostly go undetected, but affect his cognative ability. He’s also stopped eating due to issues with being able to swallow. So, he’s had a feeding tube installed, which is keeping him alive. He’s had some therapy, but really there isn’t much more that can be done for him. I was glad to get to see him again.

********************

I feel like coming by here has been so depressing lately. It has been a sad time, but we aren’t just sitting around moping. We’re moving on with life as we should. We’re trying to figure out what the next steps for Nick will be. School is a possibility, which I think would be wonderful for him. We’re still exploring the options though. Right now he’s assembling furniture and moving things around. And being cute and sweet and stuff. Last weekend we celebrated the third anniversary of our first date (because we’re big dorks like that). He’s my sweetie.

June 28, 2008

Missing Him

Filed under: Family & Friends — by InterstellarLass @ 9:46 pm

On May 18, the person that bought our house came for their first showing. And while we were out at breakfast that morning, we realized that Pop had broken his arm again. He confessed to me after I pressed him why he wasn’t using his right arm. The next day, we had an offer, and the day after that we accepted. We also took Pop for an x-ray. Followed by an MRI, a bone scan, and blood tests, all in the midst of negotiating contracts, scheduling inspections, and re-negotiating terms for inspection results.

And during that month, as we finished all of the official paperwork, scheduling movers, and packing, Pop was quickly dying. He lost the ability to walk just over two weeks before he died. I caught him as he fell after taking what turned out to be his last unassisted step. Either the doctor or the hospital lost the blood work that would have gotten us closer to an official diagnosis, but looking back, it wouldn’t have made a difference, ‘knowing for sure’.

I felt horribly selfish, praying that he not die before we closed. Really I wanted him to get better. One of the reasons we picked this house was the bedroom, bathroom, and patio arrangements for him. I had plans to make him a sitting area just outside the front door, on the covered patio closest to his room. He had stopped eating about the time he fell. I was force feeding him, struggling to get 1200 calories into him every day. Pleading with him for one more bite. Then at the recommendation of a nurse, I switched him to body builder shakes. A $49.99 container of lean mass gainer from the health store, whole milk, ice cream and fruits. I became a gourmet chef of smoothies. He liked those, and it was easier than me feeding him.

I combed his hair, helped him shave, made him shakes, and shrugged my shoulders, saying ‘we don’t know yet’ when he asked me what I thought was wrong with him. In reality, we knew. Between the bone scan results and his medical records, I pieced it together with help from Dr. Google. An abnormal PSA test indicated prostate cancer as a likely source. The bone scan report had terms which lead me to metastasized bone cancer. He had ‘hot spots’ on his (broken) right arm, left clavicle, thoracic vertebrae, and ribs.

We didn’t expect him to get better. It was hard to watch, and the speed with which he declined caught us totally off guard. A few months before, Nick and I had discussed that we thought he was slowing down. I wondered if he was holding on until we moved, and then he would die soon after. Little did I know what I was foretelling. He knew where he was when we brought him to the new house last Friday. I was glad of that. Saturday and Sunday he was pretty out of it. Monday and Tuesday he was never concious. Just over a month after we figured out he was sick, he was gone.

We are missing him terribly. We haven’t had a meal where we haven’t thought about the empty space at our table. I’m looking at menus, wondering what I would select for him to eat. (I ordered for him whenever we went out.) Songs on the radio make us think of him. Nick and I hug several times a day, one of us with tears in our eyes, telling the other of the memory or the thing we’re missing.

I miss him greeting me each day. Nick sometimes complained that I looked forward to coming home to Pop more than to him. While that was never true, I can see why it seemed that way. I would walk in the door, say hi to Nick, but make a beeline to Pop’s room to see how his day was and tell him what we were doing for dinner. I would come around the door, and he would look up from the paper or the TV and smile and say “Well Hi!” as he reached his hand out for a shake and a hug and a kiss. “You have a good day?” he would ask. I would shrug, make the hand-sign for ‘so-so’, or give a thumbs up.

Some nights he wasn’t hungry. Or so he said, until I told him what was for dinner. And then he would say “Well, that sounds good, I guess I can make a little room.” And then he’d eat a whole plate. Later, he would say “Got anything sweet?” He like his sweets.

When we were out, he would sometimes speak so softly I couldn’t hear him. Because he couldn’t hear himself, and he was afraid of talking too loud. “Am I talking too loud?” he would whisper. I would grab my ear and shake my head. And then he’d loudly say “Is that better?”. I would laugh and nod. “Make sure they bring extra napkins” he would tell me. Because the man could never have enough napkins or tissues.

He was my guy. Nick was there during the day, but when I was around, either at home or when we were out, Pop was right by my side. I fell for the old man, hard. At dinner some nights, especially out, when Pop was sitting by me, he would wait until he knew Nick was looking, and then he’d lean over and give me a kiss. “Oops, better be careful or the kid will get jealous!” and then he’d laugh with a mischevious twinkle in his eye. Nick would make a fist and point at his nose.

The last year plus was wonderful. At first, it was a major adjustment, but we transitioned from a family of 4 to a family of 5. And now one of our family is missing. And it hurts.

We love you Pop. We miss you so much. 249.

June 24, 2008

Passing

Filed under: Family & Friends — by InterstellarLass @ 6:45 pm

Edward – 1920-2008

Pop\'s Birthday

We love you always. Thank you for coming into our lives. 

June 23, 2008

Quick Update

Filed under: Family & Friends,Interstellar Casa — by InterstellarLass @ 12:58 pm

The move took forever, but it is done. Nothing is unpacked.

Pop has hours remaining. We have said our good-byes. Please pray that his passing is swift and peaceful.

June 20, 2008

Hang in there Pop

Filed under: Family & Friends — by InterstellarLass @ 5:31 am

The prognosis isn’t good. We suspect prostate cancer that has metastasized to the bone. His decline has been swift and unexpected. We closed yesterday, and are moving Pop to the new house tonight. This wasn’t our plan. He was supposed to enjoy the new house for awhile with us. It looks like ‘enjoy’ and ‘awhile’ are subjective terms.

Hang in there Pop. We love you.

June 8, 2008

75 Things I May or May Not Be Able To Do

Filed under: Family & Friends,It's Me, Lass,Memes & Quizzes — by InterstellarLass @ 5:06 pm

I’m continuing the filching in the maner of the ever-lovely Kimberly over at Petroville. This sounded like fun and is an escape from my current reality of real estate and senior care.

The Rules: Bold the things you can do and you leave in normal type the things you can’t. Sarcastic comments in parenthesis are encouraged.

1. Give advice that matters in one sentence. (Every choice you make affects your future.)

2. Tell if someone is lying. (I’m a maybe on this one. If its Zed, I can tell without fail. Others, I’m not sure if they’re lying or joking.)

3. Take a photo. (The point and shoot camera was invented for people like me. I’ve managed to take some fairly artsy photos [shut up].)

4. Score a baseball game. (My step dad taught me how to do this back when Nolan Ryan was with the Rangers. Counting pitches and all. Paid off when Zed played t-ball. I can also do basic basketball score-keeping.)

5. Name a book that matters. (Don’t all books matter?)

6. Know at least one musical group as well as is possible. (I know a little about a lot. Nick is the gifted pop-culture reference person around here.)

7. Cook meat somewhere other than the grill. (Sautee, broil, roast, grill, yep. But not poach. Who poaches meat anyway?)

8. Not monopolize the conversation. (I’m chatty. I try shutting up and listening more. Its kind of a personal growth thing I’m working on.)

9. Write a letter. (I haven’t in ages, but I know there is paper, pen, envelopes and stamps involved.)

10. Buy a suit. (Also something I leave up to Nick. He picked out Zed’s suit when we got married. The man has style when he tries.)

11. Swim three different strokes. (I swam the butterfly and backstroke on the swim team. I have an issue with my right hip joint that prevents me from doing a legal frog kick, which is why I got dq’d many times in the IM. I can also do the side-stroke and freestyle. Go me.)

12. Show respect without being a suck-up.

13. Throw a punch. (I hate watching myself in kick-boxing class. I think I look so dumb ‘punching’. Maybe its the flab, but I look weak.)

14. Chop down a tree. (Gimme a chainsaw and I’ll got at it. Nick and I did a lot of tree-trimming last spring.)

15. Calculate square footage. (Length times width. Today Zed and I calculated the cubic footage of our fridge too. For fun.)

16. Tie a bow tie.

17. Make one drink, in large batches, very well. (Martinis count, right? I’m the martini mistress!)

18. Speak a foreign language. (This doesn’t say fluently, so I’ll claim it. Three years of Spanish, plus experience. It helped tremendously when I waited tables. I’m a bit rusty now though.)

19. Approach a woman/man out of his/her league. (Out of my league? Right. There is no such thing. 🙂 )

20. Sew a button. (I’ve done this many times. Ever been a poor college student and can’t afford to buy more shirts for work [waiting tables]. I don’t even have to take the item off.)

21. Argue with a European without getting xenophobic or insulting soccer. (Why would anyone insult soccer? We live soccer.)

22. Give a woman an orgasm so that he doesn’t have to ask after it. (Um. No.)

23. Be loyal. (Yes, which is why I have guilt.)

24. Know his poison, without standing there, pondering like a dope. (Jack on the rocks.)

25. Drive an eightpenny nail into a treated two-by-four without thinking about it. (I love me some tools. Excuse me while I go replace some shingles and frame in a support.)

26. Cast a fishing rod without shrieking or sighing or otherwise admitting defeat. (I can even bait a hook by myself. Worms and minnows.)

27. Play gin with an old guy. (I would. Although I don’t know any old guys that play gin. Pop likes black jack.)

28. Play go fish with a kid. (Until the kid starts wailing in dispair that they lost go-fish.)

29. Understand quantum physics well enough that he can accept that a quarter might, at some point, pass straight through the table when dropped. (Riiiiight. This happens at the end of the martini binge?)

30. Feign interest. (I nod and smile like the best of ’em.)

31. Make a bed. (I can. But Nick does it. I rarely remember.)

32. Describe a glass of wine in one sentence without using the terms nutty, fruity, oaky, finish, or kick. (Creamy?)

33. Hit a jump shot in pool. (Once counts. Even if it was pure luck.)

34. Dress a wound. (I was a doctor’s daughter. Worked at his clinic a few summers. Plus I have younger sibs, and kids.)

35. Jump-start a car. Change a flat tire. Change the oil. (I know where the oil goes, I can find the air filter, but I’ve never drained the pan. I’d end up emptying my tranny probably.)

36. Make three different bets at a craps table. (Nope. Never played craps.)

37. Shuffle a deck of cards. (And I can make the bridge too.)

38. Tell a joke. (Where do sheep go to get their hair cut? The baaa-baaa shop.)

39. Know when to split his cards in blackjack.

40. Speak to an eight-year-old so he/she will hear. (Its all in the tone.)

41. Speak to a waiter so he will hear. (I can speak so they can hear. I can’t guarantee they are intelligent enough to understand.)

42. Talk to a dog so it will hear. (As long as I have treats in hand, yes.)

43. Install: a disposal, an electronic thermostat, or a lighting fixture without asking for help. (I’ve watched Nick install a disposal, but I won’t take credit. The trick to lighting is to turn.off.the.electricity.)

44. Ask for help. (I suck at this so bad. It pains me to do this.)

45. Break another man’s grip on his wrist. (I’m with Kim. Biting, scratching, kicking, screaming. Those all should work.)

46. Tell a woman’s dress size. (I don’t want anyone guessing my dress size.)

47. Recite one poem from memory. (I can still do about a quarter of the Prologue to The Canterbury Tales. “Whan that aprill with his shoures soote”…)

48. Remove a stain. (I give it to Nick. He’s good.)

49. Say no. (This is something I’ve started to do recently.)

50. Fry an egg sunny-side up. (The more difficult thing would be to fry them over-medium. Which is why I only make scrambled at home.)

51. Build a campfire. (Wait, is this like kindling and matches kind of campfire, or the logs, lighter fluid and flame-thrower kind of campfire?)

52. Step into a job no one wants to do. (I ‘wear many hats’ at work. So yeah.)

53. Sometimes, kick some ass. (See #52.)

54. Break up a fight. (I just tell everyone to go to their rooms. They can’t fight through walls.)

55. Point to the north at any time. (When they say, ‘at any time’ do they mean at any time I’m driving down the freeway, or do they mean in the middle of the woods and lost?)

56. Create a play-list in which ten seemingly random songs provide a secret message to one person.

57. Explain what a light-year is. (Its the distance light can travel in one year. That’s a long, long, loooong way. Like trillions of miles.)

58. Avoid boredom. (Its called a ‘Nap’.)

59. Write a thank-you note. (Yep. My kids do too.)

60. Be brand loyal to at least one product. (Arm & Hammer tooth paste. I love it.)

61. Cook bacon. (I made bacon this morning. With scrambled eggs.)

62. Hold a baby. (Its the best thing in the world.)

63. Deliver a eulogy. (I guess reading a poem at a funeral doesn’t count.)

64. Know that Christopher Columbus was a son of a bitch. (I don’t get this. Zed came home from school last year proclaiming good ‘ol Chris was an evil man. I love it when history gets re-written based on ‘new thinking’ i.e. judging history based on modern mind sets.)

65. Throw a baseball over-hand with some snap.

66. Throw a football with a tight spiral. (Once or twice. Then my throwing arm is done.)

67. Shoot a 12-foot jump shot reliably.

68. Find his/her way out of the woods if lost. (How lost are we talking here?)

69. Tie a knot. (Done it twice. I think the second time is going to stick. :))

70. Shake hands. (I like a firm hand shake. Not the wimpy half-bent hand shake.)

71. Iron a shirt. (Yeah. But a little wrinkle releaser and a few minutes in the dryer works too.)

72. Stock an emergency bag for the car. (I’m a maybe on this one. I know what I should put in one, but I don’t have all of the supplies on hand.)

73. Caress a woman’s neck. (This is just a little creepy.)

74. Know some birds. (Grackles. We got lots of those. And pidgeons. And cardinals, blue jays. Yeah, ‘some’.)

75. Negotiate a better price. (I hate haggling about money. There is something about it that makes me sooo uncomfortable.)

May 5, 2008

Anniversaries

Filed under: Family & Friends,Mr. Wonderful — by InterstellarLass @ 7:43 pm

Today we celebrated a couple of things. Firstly, today was one year ago that Pop moved in with us. It seems like he’s been here forever, and I mean that in a good way. I think he’s much better off than he was when he was living by himself those last few months. And despite his fall back in December, with therapy and TLC, his arm has healed and he’s getting around pretty well.

Today is also Nick and my ‘monthiversary’ of our first date. Yes. We still celebrate that. And Starbucks thanks us. And, true to last year, today was hectic. Last year Nick was driving Pop back from El Paso, and we were exhausted by the time they got home. So we skipped Starbucks. Today, we had four showings on the house, and Nick and Pop were exhausted. So tonight we skipped Starbucks too. No matter, we’ll go on Wednesday night for our free Pike Place Roast.

So, we sit here, tiredly looking at each other across the living room at critiquing Mario’s dance moves on Dancing With the Stars. Ah, love, ain’t it grand?

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