Happy (almost) 2017!
December 31, 2016
2016. You were one hell of a year. (One that I would really prefer to never have to relive ever again, if that's alright by you.)
I started this year chasing pink clouds through bitter cold wind and got weird looks from my coworkers and told them to "shut up because I'm chasing clouds." I tried to take a picture a day. I got an apology from Cody, almost ten years after the fact. Still kinda blows my mind, tbh.
Justin and I started binge watching Deadliest Catch and buying all the DVD's off of eBay to start our collection. We spent all of our spare time together and somehow didn't get sick of each other. It was a good bonding month for us and reminded me of how strong our relationship is.
One day after work I went to McD's to get coffee and sat in the park. And then I started doing it almost every week all spring and summer long. It became an essential ritual of self care for me this year, and I will always love coffee for providing me with a sense of comfort and home.
I turned the big 2-4 and celebrated by scrapbooking at Cristin's. Justin and I celebrated three years of living together. I took my like 7 days of paid vacation off from work for my birthday week and went home just for the weekend to see my family. My dad took me to the Oak Creek Diner and we went to the airport where he worked to change the steering wheel on his Monte from the classic dealer wheel to something a little more race car, just like dad loved. I'm beyond happy that we got to spend that time together, just the two of us, and I will never forget that memory of us hanging out in the garage one last time.
Life felt full. I was enraptured by little things, like sitting in the backyard with all these purple flowers and feeling completely at peace. I went flower hunting in the Shopko garden center every time I was sad because I knew it cheered me up. I was focused a lot on trying to tame my anxiety.
This month was good and bad all at once. I went to the beach with my friends and drank cheap beer and we laughed our asses off at nothing. It was one of the best days. But I also called my dad to with him a Happy Father's Day and got the news that he was in the hospital with a spot on his liver. That spot on his liver was Small Cell Lung Cancer that had metastasized to his liver and spine. He never got out of the hospital once he was admitted. The last time I saw my dad was at the end of June. I cried because he was being so strong and I couldn't keep myself together because I was so worried about him. He told me he loved me and to be strong.
I got new glasses for the first time I was a freshman in high school! I took a lot of flower pictures and went for a lot of walks around South Park. Went to the beach + Wendy's and to the fair with my beans. I was happy.
Aka the worst month of the entire year. The last time I talked to my dad was August 3—every time I called after that, his phone went straight to voicemail. He passed on the 17th and from there on out it was a constant headache of grief and family and funeral planning and STRESS. The only good thing about August is that Justin and I celebrated 4 years together.
I said goodbye to the POS, Ponyboy, my Alero that my dad got for free and fixed up for me whenever it broke down. That was a major moment for me—doing something car related without him, and I know he's happy that I bought a Chevy. I listened to a lot A Day to Remember and Mayday Parade to try to cope with my grief. I started watching Scandal on Netflix.
Justin turned 30 this year. I did the adult thing and finally got myself a checking account! But the event that overshadows everything else is the loss of Justin's brother, Kerry, on the 27th. It's a loss that everyone in his family is still trying to recover from.
I voted for Hillary Clinton in the presidential election. I drank a lot of coffee and snuggled with the Mew cat. I went home for Thanksgiving and my mom gave me the best Christmas present ever. A quilt she had made of my dad's shirts and hats and the knees of his work jeans. I will cherish it forever. I got to spend time with Bryce, doing our usual hoodlum activities. And I got to watch the GILMORE GIRLS REVIVAL with my best friend.
This month has been quiet. Christmas didn't feel like Christmas this year. Usually I'm on of those people who leaves Christmas decorations up until New Year's Day to enjoy the magic a little longer, and this year we tore everything down on December 26. We're all tired, I think. So much loss this year has drained everyone's spirits.
Here's to a bright, hopeful 2017. xo
December 21, 2016
Four days until Christmas. Winter Solstice. The shortest day of the year. It hardly feels like a time for celebrating. It's hard enough to will myself to get out of bed and make coffee at noon on my day off. I spent all day in the chair, under my blanket, alternating between watching Gilmore Girls (until I got to the Season 7 Slump) & listening to a mix of top 40 hits from when I was in high school and the stuff I locked myself in my bedroom to listen to and forced my parents to hear me sing in the shower. (Sorry, mom.)
I went through my dad's duffel bag again today. It hit me that it's four days until The First Christmas Without My Dad. Last Christmas, our last Christmas, we played phone tag all weekend. His girlfriend's son was staying with him and he didn't want me to meet him and he put off seeing me. I drove all the way out to his apartment only to have to turn around because the town hall was on fire—right across the street from his apartment. I yelled at him because he didn't call to tell me the town hall was on fire. I felt like he was replacing me by spending time with his girlfriend's son and refusing to see me.
I hate that that is the last Christmas memory I have of my dad.
But I also remember that one day, I will get to tell my kids that their grandpa was a hero. And they will get to hear the story from Christmas Eve 1997, when the house next door to us caught on fire. My dad ran to the garage for the extension ladder and helped our neighbor Stan off the roof. My dad saved his life that night. Before they made us evacuate for safety reasons, I remember Stan sitting on the stool my mom always sat at for dinner. He was blackened, covered in soot, and wet from snow. I thought he looked like Switchblade Sam from the Dennis the Menace movie.
The rest of that night was somewhat of a blur. We went to the other neighbor's house until they got the fire out out and declared it safe for us to go back home and go to bed. I remember walking in the front door and seeing a myriad of Winnie the Pooh stuffed animals that Santa had left while the fire was happening. It was the stuff Christmas miracles are made of.
Someday I will tell that story to my children. And I will cry and feel that little spot in my heart shine the brightest with the pride a daughter holds for her father. Miss you, dad. I promise we'll still leave a beer for Santa, in your honor.
December 19, 2016
Monday. I had a case of the BLAH's all day.
Sleep alluded me last night. Which really sucked because I went from working second shift all weekend to having to get up at 6:30 this morning. (Yikes.) I didn't fall asleep until after 2 am. (Double yikes.) At least the two cups of coffee this morning jolted me awake. And the sky was BEAUTIFUL.
Justin and I went to the emergency room tonight because he has an infection from his teeth. Waited AN HOUR AND A HALF in the walk in clinic while every single person that got there after us was taken back before we were. Irritating is not quite the right word for it. On top of the excruciatingly long wait, we can't get Justin to an oral surgeon until next JUNE. AS IN 6 MONTHS FROM NOW. I'm floored and still not quite sure what we're going to do.
Oh Monday. You always have to throw me for a loop, don't you? Time to go back to my blanket burrito and season 6 of Gilmore Girls.
December 15, 2016
December 04, 2016
I woke up this morning and it was snowing. The first snow of the season. I went to the window and thought of Lorelai saying, "I smell snow."
Cristin texted me and wanted me to come over for a bit before I went to work. We drank coffee (cup #1 of 3 for the day for me). We watched 2 Broke Girls and talked. I love our weekly catch up sessions since she left me to get a different job.
Work was pretty dead, with the snow plus the Packer game being so early in the day. No one wanted to go out so it was nice to just have an easy night and hang out with my coworkers-turned-friends a little.
Now I'm off to start Season 3 of Gilmore Girls.