Family Weekend

Friday Ken and I escaped from Wisconsin to go visit our middle daughter in Indiana.  Chicago traffic was slow (as expected) but we got there in fairly good time.  Saturday morning, I got a text message from my Georgia daughters saying they were 30 minutes out.  We knew they were coming but Vicki did not.  They wanted to surprise her for her birthday.

Vicki and I were supposed to be going grocery shopping for her.  However, since her sisters were so almost to her, I stalled.  Vicki looked puzzled when a knock sounded on her door.  She was thrilled to see her sisters.  It was Vicki’s birthday yesterday and we all converged on her for the weekend.

We spent Saturday running around together.  Vicki and I did errands while Virginia and Stephanie showered and slept.  We brought home lunch for all.  After sharing lunch, we went shopping and Ken came with us.  Virginia got to see my new car for the first time.  We wandered and enjoyed shoe and bag shopping.  Ken looked for tennis shoes.

Stephanie took some family pictures.  I can’t wait to see them.  We were insane and had them taken outside.  It was cold but fortunately no snow on the ground so easier walking.  She took all sorts of combinations.  It will be interesting to see how they turn out and the silliness of them.

The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent talking, spending time together.  It was wonderful to all be in the same room.  Virginia talked about her homework assignment.  Stephanie, Vicki, and I crafted.  Vicki and Stephanie made supper.  We watched football.

I worked on a shawl for Vicki.  I had it started six times before I got an actual pattern which would work.  I ripped out more than I crocheted.  Sometimes that’s just how it goes.

Sunday we got up to wish Vicki “Happy Birthday”.  Stephanie made waffles, eggs, and bacon.  It was delicious!  Ken and I left around 10 central time and got home about 4.  It took a little longer than normal because of bad roads and weather.

It was a fun and exhausting weekend.  The Georgia girls stayed till lunch time with Vicki.  The three of them had a good lunch before Virginia and Stephanie headed for home.  They also made it safely home around 11 eastern last night.

Prepping for Vacation

Four days of work left before my vacation.  I can’t wait.  It will be good to have a break and just be at home.  I don’t have to shower or dress if I don’t want to – though the other people at home might object if I go too long without showering.

My plan – tackle the boxes of yarn for Vicki and get as much done as possible.  I’m currently stalled on the blanket I’m working on.  I’m doing a more intricate border and it is taking longer.  However, I’m hoping to finish it tonight and move on to one of the other three I have prepped.  Two of them are smaller so if I do complex, it still won’t take as long and one is a blanket but needs a simple edging.

Once I’m done with these four, I have four more to do – two for my mom and two for Vicki.  Then I also have the basket full of material which needs washing – though I think most of that will be decided on after Vicki comes home.

The semester is winding down.  The work load is easing off.  I’m saying goodbye to one student worker as she student teaches next semester.  Otherwise I’m just wishing them all happy holidays as they finish off their finals and head for home.

My desk at work is getting clearer as I finish up a number of tasks.  I’ll be cleaning up some tasks so they can be marked as complete – at least as far as I can take them for now.

It is nice to clean up and clear off before I go on vacation.  It means when I come back to work, I’ll have emails to deal with but few URGENT projects.

This year I find myself wishing my daughters could all be home.  I feel a need to have them near for family time.  I know the two in Georgia can’t make it home but I am missing them.  We will video chat on Christmas.  I’m looking forward to spending the time with them that way instead.  I think we are all going to try to go to the movies on that day.  It’s convoluted but we will all at least be doing the same thing – if not together at least at the same time.

I know part of this is my normal holiday grumpiness.  It’s just hit me a bit harder this year.  I’m coping.  My crocheting and meditating help me deal with my feelings.  Crocheting – creating really – helps to lift my spirits.  I know I’m creating things which will brighten people’s spirits.

My inner dialog has been rough the past week or so but as I work on a project, produce more, it helps me be kinder to myself.  I can’t really explain how or why but it does.  Also, I’m clearing out some of the clutter in my living room with each project.  As the room gets neater, I start to feel better.  I’ll get through the stack of projects and then I’ll put away most of the yarn except my container of projects.  We do have to prep for the grand fur babies coming home, one of which is a mischievous bugger who gets into everything.  Clear up, clean up, and prep for the visit.  That will be the weekend.

Habits…

Good or bad we all have habits.  This week I’ve realized a habit I’ve gotten into is talking on the phone while I am driving home.  My daughters – who are the ones I normally talk to – have all been busy this week with conferences and school.

My new car allows me to be hands free so I just tell it who I want to call and (if it’s working right) it calls them.  I spent the next 20 minutes talking to the person if they are available.  This week I’ve not talked to any of my daughters.

It’s goofy but I miss this snippet of their lives.  I hear about their day or the cats antics or bad traffic or whatever.  This means when I don’t get these snippets, I feel out of the loop and a bit disconnected.  I know the routine will return next week but I’m still feeling out of sorts about it this week.

It’s made me realize I don’t have my drive with the silence I was used to.  I’ve replaced the silence with chatter via technology.  I’m not sure that’s a bad thing but I’m not sure it’s a good thing either.  Hearing my own thoughts can help me cope and destress.

However, I don’t think I want to give up the time with my daughters.  It’s nice to have those few moments to catch up with them.  It helps to keep us connected while we are all living in different states.

I’ve missed my habit this week but I know it will be back next week.  The conferences are done today and my daughters will be more available next week.  I’ve enjoyed the silence and my own thoughts for this week but I’ll enjoy going back to that habit of chatting with the girls next week.

New Grandbaby

My middle daughter adopted a new kitten on Thursday!  She is an adorable six month old kitten.  Sasha, her older sister now, is not happy with the new addition to the family.

Vicki is dealing with a lot of changes.  She has a new energetic kitten who is into everything and has few manners.  She has an older kitten (Sasha is always a kitten) who is unhappy with the new addition.  She is juggling the affections of two demanding kittens.

Ava – the new kitten – is sweet, active, and playful.  She seems to be fascinated with Sasha and wants to play.  She is high energy which is quite the change for Vicki as Sasha was two when she got her.

It’s been a few days of pictures and drama with the new kitten in the house.  Sasha has been grumbly at Vicki which makes Vicki unhappy.  It’s been fun listening to their adventures.  Today for the first time the two cats touched noses without hissing at each other.

Saturday my niece came out to paint.  We spent the afternoon on our deck painting.  I did three paintings which I think turned out all right.  It was wonderful being out on the deck.  Ken worked in the yard and chatted with us.  She and I worked on painting.  It’s funny, I did the sunset one with the water and had no idea what else I wanted to do with it but after I did a second painting I went back to it and knew exactly what I planned to do.  I think of the three it’s my favorite.

Last night I watched Big Bang Theory and crocheted a little.  I was very cold so ended up cuddled under my electric blanket.  I didn’t get as much done with crocheting as I wanted to but I was so cold I couldn’t hold the crochet hook.  It’s been a good weekend.  I think the cats are adjusting and I had some good times with painting and crocheting.

Back on Track

While I was driving to Indiana yesterday, my daughter called to say her power came back on.  I was only about a third of the way there so I turned around and came home.  We took the generator back and got her money back.

I’m happy she got her power restored and I was able to come home.  I wasn’t feeling great so I took last night off and watched a couple of movies.  This morning I’m working at my desk to get things done.  I have a few business type things to deal with for both writing and personal.  After these tasks get handled, I am going back to writing on Wayfarer 9.  I have a pile and a list so I’m hoping to get through quite a bit today and get back on track.

I’m waiting on feedback from my test readers on some short stories.  Hopefully I will hear from them soon.  Once I do, I’ll be going ahead with publication in all likeliness.  I know it is the holiday weekend this next weekend but in all likelihood, I’m going to spend it working.

Hopefully today I’ll get back on track for writing projects and tasks.  I’ve already chatted with all three of my daughters – one on the phone, one by text, and one in email.  I’ve sorted out paperwork.  Next is to make some calls and then back to writing.  I know if I were away on a retreat, some of this might not be happening but I’d just have to deal with it when I got back.  Frankly, it’s probably better I am here and have everything at my fingertips so I can get it done and off my plate.

It’s going to be a productive day even if I did sleep in and get a late start.

Vacation

We had a wonderful vacation visiting our daughters.  It was great to have the family together in one space and just be together.  You can’t replace those odd moments when you get a giggle for one of “dad’s” jokes or that late night conversation because the house is quiet or that moment when dad walks with one of the girls around her land.

The girls’ house is perfect for them.  I can see how they will settle in, make it theirs, and create a home for themselves.  It is a hard house for me to get around in but I’m not there daily.  They’ve been in there six months and it is really starting to come together.

While on vacation, I finished Virginia’s afghan.  It turned out beautifully.  I believe she likes it.  I am fairly certain she hasn’t allowed it out of her room since she got it.  I don’t think she’s even sharing it with her sister, though she was willing to share with Gus Gus.

I also finished a scarf for her out of the same material.  The purse I had started for Vicki got done and left with Stephanie to put a lining in it.  When we got back to Vicki’s I was able to make two bib’s for her to give to her co-worker whose wife is pregnant.

While we were down there, we went to the aquarium again.  It is sort of expensive but I LOVE going there.  There are a couple of rooms I can sit in and just watch the fish forever.  It was one of my favorite parts of the visit.

I got a video of the yellow jellyfish and it is amazing.  I love watching it.  I could have stood and watched them for much longer but there were so many people at the window.  The color contrast between the blue and yellow just is gorgeous.

The big tank had whale sharks in it.  The one shown in the picture was somewhere over twenty feet long.  We were there at feeding time and got some incredible pictures.  We all just sat together in this room and watched.  The fish are mesmerizing.  When we go back, I think I want to go again.  I know it is crazy as we’ve been twice now but I just can’t get enough of it.

We are back home and I spent the weekend doing very little.  I read a lot and crocheted a little.  Ken and I watched tv programs and movies.  It was a very mellow weekend which we needed after all the travelling.  Now we are back to the routine of our life.  It was great to get the break, see the girls, see their new house.  It’s also great to be home and settle back into our routine.

Joyful Occassions

The girls were  home over the weekend.  It was the first time in a while our whole famly was together.  It was a jam packed weekend featuring chaos and madness but we had a good time. 

The wedding reception was wonderful.  It was good to talk to family and spend time together.  I didn’t like that I had to do stairs to get in.  There was a ramp but it wasn’t convenient or easy to get to.  This cause pain but I made it through. 

Now I’m on a count down for when we go visit the girls.  I’m excited about it and looking forward to seeing their new house. 

My daughters and sisters were all being crazy at the reception.  It was fun to see them that way and see them having fun.  My mother who is 84 even got out and danced with them. 

It was definitely nice to gather for a happy reason rather than a sad one.  I got to talk to nieces, nephews, siblings, and other people.  I think everyone had a good time. 

Hours…

My daughter is coming home tonight.  She called this morning to tell me how many hours it would be before we saw each other.  I love the day we go from it being days (weeks, months) when I’ll see her (or any of my daughters) to hours. 

The excitement is palpable.  Of course it’s December and we’ve been watching the weather hoping for safe driving conditions.  Hopefully the rain they are calling for will be just rain and the temperature will remain high enough to keep it from being icy. 

My nephew just drove home yesterday.  He had a seven hour delay because his truck broke down.  Fortunately, he was able to get it fixed and back on the road but his short five hour drive turned into more like a twelve hour day. 

Friday, we will be doing the video chat Christmas with the girls in Georgia.  It will be our way of  having the whole family together.  We will watch as people open gifts and talk about our holidays.  It will be our unique family time. 

I’m excited to have whatever time I can get with them this week.  I’m sorry the girls couldn’t afford to come home (or get time off to come home).  However, I’m betting they are loving their house and the space they have. 

Forced to Craft Shop

Friday, Ken and I drove to Indiana to visit Vicki.  We got there late but I still stayed up until late talking with Vicki.  This is normal for a visit with one of my kids.

Saturday, we ran errands with Vicki and she forced me to go to JoAnn Fabrics.  We wandered for a while.  I may have spread glitter on her from some ribbon she was looking at.  It seems only fair since she forced me to go to the craft store.

Leaving the store, I had three bags of yarn, books, and supplies.  My wallet was lighter by quite a bit but I saved almost $65 which is more than half what I spent.  Surprisingly, I didn’t spend the rest of the day crocheting for her, though she did get two scarves out of the craft store trip.  It was fun to walk through and say “oohh, pretty, nice texture, hmm must have,” and pick up what we wanted.

A huge surprised, I picked up two skeins of yarn specifically for myself.  Vicki has them and is knitting me something.

My new books came home marred with tabs.  Vicki had to inspect them.  Of course during the inspection, she tagged all the things she liked.

The drive down was mostly uneventful.  We saw one accident which slowed us down around Chicago.  At one of the tolls, several cop cars had at least one semi-truck pulled over.  There were three cops at the back of the truck with bolt cutters.  I’d love to know more about that but of course we were driving so could stop to gape at the event.

The ride back was easy and had very little traffic.  This is always a good thing.  Basically I set my cruise and drove.  That makes the trip easy and pleasant.  We listened to a book most of the way back.  I woke up tired which is never a good thing but once we put the book in, it pushed back the tired.

Unfortunately, I got home, showered, and had every intention of working on writing but came to the living room and curled up in the recliner to nap for almost three hours.  Interestingly, I could probably turn out the light and go back to sleep.  However, in my head are two stories that started on the drive down.  I’m going to try to get at least the concepts down on paper.  In my head I have two or three other things I want to get done today.  What’s in my head and what will actually happen may very well be two different things.

Balancing My Life

Stephanie flew in last week for her college class reunion.  She is spending a couple days with Ken and I before she flies back home.  This means that I’ve probably driven nearly a thousand miles in the last week with picking her up from the airport, taking her to her reunion, and picking her up from the reunion.  Some of the family stopped in yesterday to chat with her and get to see her. 
This morning she is off spending time with a friend and I’m home all alone.  I love having her visit but this alone time gives me a chance to work on whatever I need to work on.  I find myself balancing all the different aspects of my life. 
This morning I’ve approved time sheets for my day job, downloaded some music, and will be working on writing things shortly.  Once Stephanie gets back then my focus will shift to enjoying my time with her. 
Balance is a hard thing to achieve in life and to be honest there are times I don’t feel very balanced.  About the time I think I’ve achieved some sort of balance something gets thrown into the mix to change things.
Lately my focus has been all about writing whether I’m working on writing, marketing, production, doesn’t matter.  I’ve been very focused on writing.  This weekend I’ve stepped back from that because Stephanie is here.  This is what being balanced is about.  When Stephanie goes back home, I’ll focus more on my writing and other aspects of my life.