Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Summer 2016: Day 5

Wednesday was a less stressful work day. As the pattern has gone for most of the school year, once I get through Monday and Tuesday, the rest of the week is generally easier. I co-oped at school and got to play kickball. I sat in the sun and worked while Ben had swim practice. I took Popcorn for a long walk. I hung out with Ben on his last day as a 9-year-old. And now I'm on the porch writing.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Summer 2016: Day 4

Look for the good in each day. I should have been following that all winter, when I was stressed about work and struggling to find three positives things about each day. Work has improved -- my role is changing in a few weeks to something that fits my skills better -- but today was a mildly taxing day. I'm sitting on the porch and finally just wrapping up my Tuesday, and I am realizing that I should identify three good things today.

How about this:

  1. Ben got a hit in his baseball game today and drove in a run. He drilled a sharp grounder that just stayed fair down the first base line. His team lost 15-10, and there are only five games left in the season (and he's going to miss the finale because of a swim meet). I'm stunned how fast baseball always seems to go here in Utah. Back in Chicago growing up, it seemed to last all spring and most of summer. 
  2. We got the air conditioning in the Corolla fixed. The driver's side window won't go down (and it was going to cost a small fortune to get the part to fix it on a 19-year-old car), but at least we will have cool through the summer.
  3. I threw the ball to Popcorn instead of a walk, and she was happy to run.

Come summer, when the job changes and my schedule isn't so nuts, these stressful, were-there-any-positives-today days will all but dissipate. And I have a fourth good thing today -- I blogged.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Summer 2016: Day 3

Summer turned a little bit back to spring today, as it rained and was cool. I had a tremendously long day of work in which I logged 11 hours. This would be one of those days that nothing positive occurred. But at the end of the long day, I did manage to play several games of Blink -- a card game that is like Speed on, well, speed -- with Ben before the night ended.

Speed is sometimes referred to as Spit and is a quick two-player version of Solitaire in which players are trying to get rid of their cards in a hurry. I first learned Speed the summer after fourth grade; my neighbor George learned it that year and taught it to me. Besides Strat-o-Matic Baseball, I probably played more Speed than any other game that summer -- it was fast, intense, easy and fun.

Blink is a custom game like Speed in which players match custom cards by shape, color, or number. Ben struggled with it a little -- his brain is a little more analytical -- so we played Speed so he could get used to the fast-flying cards. That caused the flashback to summer 1980 and playing the card game so much. Anyway, the important part was that after a long, tiring day, I set aside time to hang out with Ben. The dog wasn't happy because I kind of bypassed her walk to do so (it was drizzling anyway), but the time with my son was the wind-down I needed after the long day.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Summer 2016: Day 2

We had a rare day in which we had nothing planned. No religious ed (CCD is done for the school year). No pressing work needs. Nobody to see. No appointments. Granted, Sundays are usually the day this happens, but for the past several weeks, they have felt nearly as busy as the rest of the week.

So today, we relaxed and leisured. I played Atari for 20 minutes and Super Mario Brother Wii with Ben. The boys and are saw "Captain America: Civil War." I grilled burgers for dinner, and we watched the finale of the "The Amazing Race" on the DVR. Lori and Michael went to Costco. I worked on the yard. Ben and I took the dog to the H Rock for a sunset hike, and climbed the mountainside and looked for fossils and unusual rocks.

We agreed we needed to do that hike more often. I told Ben that my favorite summers growing up were the ones after fourth, fifth, and sixth grades. I'm hoping his, and Michael's, are as memorable and fun.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Summer 2016: Day 1

The temperature today reached 90 degrees. Our house is stuffy because we haven't turned on the air conditioning yet. I wore sunblock today. I also had two big buckets of cold water poured over my head today. Therefore, I'm declaring that summer has begun.

Granted the kids aren't out of school yet, but I'm feeling summery. Thus, my annual blogging goal for summer starts now. I'm counting 117 days for this summer, ending Sept. 7, which is the Wednesday before the NFL season begins. I'm hoping all 117 are great. No. 1 sure was.

Ben's last soccer game of the season was this morning, and we tied 3-3. Good friends volunteered their house for a end-of-season party, and I had promised a couple kids they could throw water balloons at me. Every player eventually did, culminating in not one but two bucket dumps. Nothing like taking one for the team, and though the water was cold (especially the first time -- I only did it the second time because one of the kids came late ...), it was fun on a hot day. The barbecue was yummy, and getting to hang out with the other parents outside of game/practice was enjoyable as well.

Michael had two basketball games later, and he won one and lost one. We went to Cafe Zupas for dinner in between. After arriving home, the house was so warm. I'm on the porch, hoping it cools off before heading back inside to eat.

Just 116 more days to go. No rush whatsoever!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

High five

I can breathe again.

I can rest.

Summer is going to rock. It will be busy, of course, but it won't be so crushing.

I can do my thing, what I'm best at.

I can cherish every moment, especially with my family.

I can relax in the sun and be joyful for the life I've been given.

I can jump in the water when the sun gets too hot.

I can write.

I will be creative.

I will play games.

I will run.

No day will be wasted.

No self-pity. No misery.

No stress.

I made it. Well, I made it this far. And there's no end, but a restart, a restoration.

May, then June, then July, then August.

Let the anxiety fade into a distant memory.

Let the stress dissolve into something positive.

Let the sun shine.

Let the crisp night air inspire me.

Today finally was one of optimism.

Shout it, shout it, shout it out loud.

We all live in the ocean. We all start in the stream.

Full steam ahead.

Oh, high five!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Six months

I'm thinking about our trip to Madison tonight. That was already more than six months ago. The time since then has both dragged and sped by like nothing. Struggles become overwhelming that you see no end in sight, but then the end arrives and you wonder where the time went. You somehow made it through.


A message keeps popping up on my phone telling me to update my cloud storage (it's just Verizon's way of trying to get me to spend more). I hit "remind me later," and a week later, I get the same reminder. And every time I see that reminder, I feel like I just saw it. But it's been a week since the last, and a week previous before that one, and a week earlier before that one, and so on.


I saw Grandma's star tonight. After she died, I assigned her a bright one in the sky (it turned out to be Sirius) and looked to it every night I could to remember her, to speak to her, to miss her. Tonight, I missed her a lot.  She and Grandpa worked hard for most their lives. She worked for Teletype for a long time, and when it closed and she was laid off, she could have easily retired, but instead, started working in factory near her house. Then she got a job at an insurance agency, and all the younger female employees loved her--she was the mom figure but one who would smoke with them. But she kept working until she was close to 70 -- almost 50 years. Did she, or my grandfather, ever think their work was too hard or not worth the stress to the point they would make a big change? I don't know; I never got to ask.


Ben got a hit in his baseball game tonight. After not getting one through the first few games, he has two in his last two. We had a nice, sunny evening for baseball -- a marked improvement after a couple games in which the temperature barely cracked 50. I came home and was bouncy, so I mowed the front lawn.


Ben asked me earlier today if we could do more fun things this summer. I told him yes. It crushed me that he had to ask.


Grandma's star will soon disappear from the night sky -- the combination of the Earth's orbit and the longer days push it out of view until next November, about six months.


I'm anxious tonight, so I'm writing on the front porch, wrapped up in a blanket. I've worked for six months toward a moment that's imminent, but now that it is indeed imminent, I'm nervous. I've prepared for it, and the results of that preparation are coming to fruition. Nothing to fear, but I'm anxious nonetheless. I'm yawning now -- a good sign considering I'm worried about not falling asleep after I wrap this up. Ben is in our bed right now: He got a retainer yesterday and it's bugging the heck out of him to sleep with it. Let him rest. In time, he will get used to it, and eventually, he won't need it anymore. That will happen before we even realize it.


It all turned in Madison six months ago. OK, it had been angling a little before then, but that weekend in Mad Town changed my focus. The six weeks after were better, then winter came and the general feeling of blah returned. Yet, we made it through the winter. It's May!