Category Archives: Family

Hope

So I haven’t blogged for a very long time.  Is it because I’m too busy?  Nope.  I actually have plenty of time and great balance in my life.  I work part-time so that I can take care of things at home, spend time with Rob and Jack and the rest of my family and not feel like every second of the weekends needs to be spent cleaning and doing yard work.  I guess the real reason I haven’t blogged is because I’ve been too busy living my life and I forgot just how much I would like writing to be a part of that.

Yesterday my older sister and I stopped by my grandparents to visit for a bit.  I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I have the coolest grandparents.  The last time I blogged, I wrote about it actually.  My grandpa has grown softer and more emotional over the years and there is pure joy in his face when he sees us.  The conversations with them are some of my favorite.  Partly because you never know what’s going to happen when my grandma opens her mouth.  Yesterday, for example, we were talking about our prisons being overcrowded and how putting drug addicts there is not the answer for rehabilitation (no brainer, I know).  My grandma’s solution?  Drop them from a plane into the west desert.  You know, quarantine them.  And, maybe shoot a couple that deserve being shot.  I know, it sounds terrible, but if you knew her you would understand.  And then you would quickly type her famous words into your phone so that you can write about them the next day.

Anyway, the point is that once again, I’m reminded that these are the moments to cherish.  There is so much tragedy and sadness in our world.  People are being shot at church in the most privileged country in the world and it’s not by scary-ass terrorist groups.  No, it’s because racism is alive and well.  There are people in 2015 that still can’t marry the person they love (it’s 2015!).  None of it makes any sense to me.  I always come back to the same answer; accept people, love them and let them be who they are.

And even though the world is far too complicated and I’ll never understand why terrible things happen to people everyday, I’m holding out hope.  Hope that I can make a little bit of difference in the lives of the people around me.  Hope that life can be simplified and enjoyed as it should be.  Hope that people can follow their dreams and find real joy.  I know, I sound like a total dreamer who needs to get in touch with reality, right?  Oh well.  Instead of saying it’s not possible, I’m going to give the answer that my beautiful niece always gave me…. Maybe.  Maybe it is possible.

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All About the Cheese

Sometimes I let my Andrus (my mom’s side) anxiety hole up in my chest and stay for way too long.  I start asking myself what my future holds and oh god, what if this company doesn’t hire me and do people think I’m a loser?  I get caught up in the crazy talk in my head and it makes my heart beat fast and I wake up with a knot in my stomach, a knot which initially I don’t even know why I have until I remind myself that oh yeah, you have a lot to worry about!  But then I realize that life is good and everything is going to be just fine.  I mean yes, if I spend enough time thinking about the state of our country politically (not because of our President, people!) and all the hate people have, I will probably respond with, “We are so fucked,” but I do recognize that despite those things, my life kicks ass.

Like the other day my older sister and I got to take our grandparents to lunch.  Our grandparents, who are on the doorstep of 90, yet are in generally great health and still have all of their teeth!  We have this amazing privilege to spend time with these amazing people and their amazing teeth!  They are genuine people who make me laugh and make me feel proud to be their granddaughter.  And you know what my grandma did the day after our lunch?  She called me on the phone to say “thanks again” and that they had such a great time.  She told me that when you get older, these are the things that matter, these are the things you look forward to.  That is what matter, people.  Spending time with the people in your life.  Yes, they may be crazy or neurotic or whatever else, but they are your people.  And actually, it’s kind of better if they’re crazy or neurotic, because then you have material with which to write a book.  I mean that’s what I’m planning to do.  It’s a total win-win.  They can’t be mad because you can be like, “Hey, with all the material you provided, I made a zillion dollars and I am totally going to take you to dinner with some of it!”

All of this “live everyday like it’s your last,” sounds cheesy, but I kind of like cheesy.  I’m all about the cheese these days.  I’m about telling people you think they’re pretty great and not holding grudges.  Awwww, I’m growing up.

The Girl With the Perfect Lips

instagramstevie

I miss Stevie every single day.  Some days though, and I don’t know why, it hits me with such force.  It’s been almost a year since she passed.  It’s cliche, but it feels like ten years and also like just yesterday that I was kissing her amazing lips and acting like a complete fool to get her to show me that grin and hear that stifled giggle.  Not a day passes that I don’t think about the ridiculous words that came out of her mouth.  Her perfect mouth, remember.

I laugh out loud when I think of the time she told the Costco employee to “get the damn watermelon.”    Or when she lectured my cousin by screaming at the top of her lungs, “HEATHER, YOU DON’T DO DRUGS!”  (Heather doesn’t use drugs for the record).  There is such a long list of Stevie quotes and stories and for that I will be forever thankful.

We are still experiencing all of the firsts without her.  This will be the first Halloween trick-or-treating without her.  The seconds seem like they might be just as hard though.  I suppose there becomes a new normal.  I know that the new reality is one in which her memory will forever live.  And I know that even though it feels unfair for her to have left this earth so early, we are so lucky to have had her for the time we did.  Our family is stronger because of her.

Love you so much Stevie Ann!

Next Stop Game Stop?

So last time I blogged I was all like, “things have to change.”  And guess what?  They have!  I mean I wasn’t expecting the change, but it happened, and so I’m embracing it.  The job I was doing day in and day out that was as my sister said, “crushing my soul” is over.  And you know what?  My soul feels infinitely lighter.  I guarantee you my cortisol levels have plummeted as well.

Obviously the loss of one of the loves of my life is still there.  There will always be a piece of me missing in some way because of that loss.  Now I feel like I have the ability to honor her though.  I want the choices I make, big and small, to be choices that Stevie can look down on and say, “Good job, Aunt Sonie.”

Last Friday Rob and I took our nephew to a campout at Red Butte Garden.  I literally had to pick Dylan up 20 minutes after the news of losing my job.  Of course, I tried my best to hold it together, but I was a bit emotional.  Can I just tell you how great Dylan made me feel though?  Leave it to an 11 year old.  Not only did he say how sorry he was that I lost my job many times throughout the weekend but he also thought up new jobs.  It turns out he feels very strongly that I should work at Game Stop.  Yes, the video game store.  It took everything in me to not completely crack up.  Instead I was like, “Well, I don’t really like video games very much.”  Dylan assured me that it didn’t matter and that it is “the easiest job ever.”  The kid is dead serious.  If I don’t want to work at Game Stop, option number two was Subway.  Subway was my first job nearly 20 years ago.  I think I’ll try for something else.

How lucky I am to have Dylan and others in my life who lift me up and remind me what this life is all about.  Here’s to my next adventure and making Stevie proud!

HOA Bash

I’ve been meaning to write this post for awhile, but you know how good I am about blogging lately.  Sorry for sucking.  Please enjoy the dysfunction below.

Labor Day weekend marked my brother-in-law’s 40th birthday.  Well, September 1, which happened to be Labor Day weekend marked his birthday, but whatever.  You know what I mean.  And listen, 40 is a big deal.  I mean that’s what I hear anyway.  It’s definitely reason for celebration, and even though Heath doesn’t necessarily like people or celebrations, we said screw you we’re doing it anyway.  What, we’ll find any excuse for having a party.  That and to eat way too much food.

I’ve mentioned the HOA before.  Here and here.  You’ve probably noticed that the HOA usually means the dysfunction gets amped up and weird shit happens.  This HOA trip was no different.  Things got started early, and when I say early I mean lunch time.  And when I say “things,” I mean shots.  While we enjoyed the carcass Armando (yell this name when you say it – Arrrrrrmaaaaaandooooo! – that’s how Rob would like you to do it) had grilled up (at least 5 carcasses, I’m sure), shots started being poured.  Now some people are used to downing the shots, but some of us are lightweights.  Like me.  Listen, I drink a glass of wine once or twice a week at the most.  Occasionally I have a couple of glasses of wine, but any more than that and I am like Ms. Chatty Cathy and things start to get a wee bit blurry.  Sometimes, I have shots.  Usually with my family, which is weird, but whatever.

Anyway, Heath was peer-pressuring all of us into drinking shot after shot, and hello, it was his birthday, so what choice did we have?  None.  After about the fourth or fifth one I told him we needed to pace ourselves.  Heath agreed and said we should do a shot every hour.  However, after 15 minutes had passed he asked if it was time yet.  Obviously it wasn’t, but he decided it had been long enough.  Naturally things took a turn.

The music started playing, people started dancing.  No harm here, right?  Wrong.  Some people’s dance moves would be considered borderline dirty dancing.  Again, maybe fine.  However, when your children and nieces and nephews are witness to your dirty dancing moves, not so good.  Wait, let me back up though.  Before the music started the large group tried engaging in conversation.  Engaging in conversation with most of these people even without alcohol is bound to be less than clean.  Engage in conversation with alcohol and things like this get said.

Sherri:  “Janis was the only responsible one last night.  Her husband almost got laid by Becky.”

Becky:  “What?  Oh no, what did I do?”

Janis:  “It’s OK.  He’s a good lay.”

What?!  Sorry Janis, I know I said I would make you look good, but you can’t expect me to leave quotes like this out.

Sadly the night ended with an accident on a four wheeler (no one was seriously injured) and everyone sobered up real quick.  As bad as this all sounds though, I’ve never seen Heath have a bigger grin on his face.  That, to me, is a successful 40th birthday bash.

Mike, Heath's dad thoroughly enjoying the dysfunction.

Mike, Heath’s dad thoroughly enjoying the dysfunction.

Uncontrollable laughter.

Uncontrollable laughter.

Debbie pre-wreck on the ATV.

Debbie pre-wreck on the ATV.

Janis grinning up a storm.

Janis grinning up a storm.

My sister, Jess, mortified at the things being said.

My sister, Jess, mortified at the things being said.

Look at that grin on Heath!

Look at that grin on Heath!

Heath, Dyl and Rob.

Heath, Dyl and Rob.

The one and only Stevie Ann.

The one and only Stevie Ann.

Family Camping 90’s Style

Have I mentioned how much I love my family?  I mean yes, we’re dysfunctional as shit, but we are also insanely awesome.  It’s like we’re hilarious and amazing on our own and then you put us all together and it’s like what just happened?  And I start wondering if maybe, just maybe, we are some of the funniest people that ever lived. It’s possible.

Anyway, now that we’ve established just how incredible we all are, let’s talk about our most recent outing.  It was a quick trip to the HOA (Hendrickson Outdoor Adventure, named after my sister and her husband that own the property – the Hendricksons) but we still managed to jam it with lots of good memories…. 90’s style!

My bro, Spencer, came up with the 90’s idea.  Acting as if we didn’t own cell phones and only listening to music that was 90’s or pre-90’s sounded like the perfect way to spend the weekend.  Sometimes you just need to unplug.  Plus, my mom was kicking it super old school hiking around with her Sony Walkman.  That’s right, Walkman, as in she was listening to a tape!  Pink Floyd to be specific.  How cool is that?!  Oh, also, the Walkman was being carried around in some sort of fanny pack. Bam!

In addition to the 90’s theme, there was also a redneck theme going on as well. That means ATV rides, shooting guns and blowing shit up.  To be clear, people were shooting guns at things to blow them up.  It was loud and Captain Redneck (my brother-in-law Heath) was beaming from ear to ear.  Spence even got into the spirit of things with a full-on redneck accent.  And he shot a gun!

Now ATV riding is not necessarily a redneck thing, but it can be, so I say it is.  And you know what?  The group ATV rides are so fun.  Everyone was riding with someone else except my mom who drove her own because 1) she’s too nervous to let someone else drive and 2) it gives her the ability to tell us over and over again that she doesn’t want us waiting for her and that she likes to go slow.  We waited anyway.  After a section that was a little rocky we had all been hanging out for a few minutes trying to dry our butt sweat when she pulled up and yelled, “Fuck this! Could you have picked a worse road, Heath?”  Honestly, he totally could have picked a worse road but I for one am very happy that she thought it sucked so much.  If she hadn’t, we wouldn’t have had something to laugh our assess off at that particular moment.

At some point on the way back she took a wrong turn and we were ready for the comments about how we left her when she returned but nope.  She drove in cackling like a witch instead.  She is full of surprises!

I’m hoping for round two in September.  In the meantime, here are some pics to hold you over.  Unfortunately I have no pics of the man that made it all possible. I’m sure you’re disappointed, Heath.

My nephew, Dylan "crashing" on the ATV.  Don't worry, I went along with it.

My nephew, Dylan “crashing” on the ATV. Don’t worry, I went along with it.

Mom of the Year and the one and only Stevie.

Mom of the Year and the one and only Stevie.

My favorite shot.  Love you brother!

My favorite shot. Love you brother!

Spence, Mom and me.  Notice the fannypack.

Spence, Mom and me. Notice the fannypack.

My stepdaughter Emily and her boyfriend Taylor.

My stepdaughter Emily and her boyfriend Taylor.

Ummm can you say bad ass?

Ummm can you say bad ass?

A Long Weekend in the Woods

Sometimes you just need a long weekend away getting your camp on.  Or, if you’re my husband, you think you need to go camping every weekend.  He’s weird though, so we’re not taking his opinion into account.  Anyway, we camped over Memorial weekend, like we always do and it was a great little escape.

Eating delicious food (and way too much of it), going for long hikes, riding bikes around the campground and playing games together are all the things I love about camping.  Plus, you have a great excuse for not taking a shower.  Not that I like to go for long periods of time without a shower, but sometimes a shower just gets in the way of all the things going on in a day, so.  Yeah.

Of course there are downsides to camping.  For one, there’s the whole bathroom situation.  We have a small tent trailer, that has a bathroom in it, but when there are three of us staying in it, it’s a better idea to just use the campground bathrooms. You know, the ones with doors.  Doors that lock, by the way, Mr. Taking a Poop Without Locking the Door!  Yeah, there’s a story here.

On the last day I walked over to the bathroom and opened the door to a man sitting on the toilet.  Yep.  It scared the shit out of me.  Not literally, but I jumped about 10 feet in the air as he sat there acting as casual as can be.  He honestly waved this slow, casual wave and then said (also very slowly, I might add), “Yeah, doesn’t lock.” Which, by the way, is entirely untrue.  I had been locking the thing for three days! And also, if it really doesn’t lock, how about putting a sign on the door or something before sitting down to take a crap?  You ever think of that dude?!  No, because he obviously could care less, as noted by the casual wave.

Other than the drop in, the camping weekend was a success and fun was had by all. I can prove it with these pictures.