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!

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Treading Water

Wow, it’s been close to a year since I last wrote a blog post.  And you know what?  That makes me sad.  Like not just, oh bummer but like wow, is this really how much time has passed?  Is life really passing me by (yes) and before I know it I’m going to be an old lady saying, “Where did the time go?”  Yeah, I know, everyone says that.  Where does the time go!  Has it really been that long?  It feels like just yesterday that…  But I mean I’m legitimately concerned.

Life is hard.  Or is it that we make it hard?  No, things happen that make it hard.  We lose people we love, relationships end or take a turn that leaves people feeling hurt and unwanted, we have to work when we want to play.  The list goes on, right?  But for so long now I’ve been saying, to myself and out loud to those who will listen, that I don’t want that to be my life anymore.  I don’t want to feel like I’m drowning, like I don’t have time for the things or people I love.  I don’t want to schedule in fun time.  Honestly, sometimes I find myself thinking, okay, I have two hours to have fun and then I must get something else done.  What is that?  It’s just me, partially, yes.  But it’s also that I feel like if I’m not getting something done I’m not contributing.  I’m not doing my part.  And things need to get done dammit!  I’m also drowning.  My life balance has been thrown off with job changes and not quite figuring out how to get it all in.

I lost my niece a little over 8 months ago.  If you’ve followed this blog before, you may remember me talking about her several times.  Like here.  There are like a million other places I blogged about her but I’m too lazy to link them all.  Of course I am not my sister.  Stevie was not my child.  She was like a child to me though.  She was a big purpose in my life though.  Helping her, helping my sister gave me so much purpose in my life.  Was it easy?  No.  Was it the best thing I’ve ever done?  Yes.  I miss her everyday.  She reminds me that life is short.  As a friend said the other day, “We are living on borrowed time.”  And yet, do I really live like I’m on borrowed time?  Not as much as I should.  Not as much as Stevie would want.  

So what am I saying?  I don’t know, really.  Maybe I do but I haven’t written in so long that I can’t figure out how to put it all into words.  I do know that I need to figure it out really soon though.  

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.

I Can Picture it in My Mind

If you’ve been reading this blog from the time I started writing it, you have probably noticed a theme with me and weather, specifically summer.  I’ve written about my love of summer here, my wish for summer to begin here and my search for it in the dead of winter here.  So, I obviously have a thing for this season.

Yes, summer is hot in Utah (especially this summer with the hottest July on record), but it’s not crazy hot.  I mean it’s not Phoenix hot or deep south hot.  It’s just hot. And personally I think that heat kicks cold’s ass any day.  Hot summer days mean perfect summer nights spent lingering on the deck long after dinner is finished. They mean outdoor concerts and family camping trips.  Summer days mean outdoor dining at your favorite restaurant enjoying your favorite glass of wine or a margarita under the umbrella.

I find myself feeling nostalgic about a season that isn’t officially over yet because I can see the end creeping in.  Kids are going back to school (by the way, why in the hell do kids go back to school in the middle of August?), summer vacations are winding down and the days are getting shorter.  Summer always goes by too quickly in my opinion.  And although I love Utah’s fall season, I hate knowing that winter is soon to follow.

My summer has been busy with starting a new job in May, which is why I think I find myself daydreaming about a summer that really gets the shit lived out of it.  I find myself sitting in my office picturing our family spending the days at our cottage on the beach.  No, said cottage does not exist (yet), but I can picture it in my mind. Days are spent reading on our beach chairs and playing with the dog before we enjoy a beautiful summer dinner outside and finish it off by watching the sun go down.  I can feel the sand in my toes and the perfectly humid breeze hitting my skin.  Ahhhh isn’t that nice?  I mean doesn’t that just feel amazing?

You watch; one day that’s going to be my reality.  A reality in which the hardest task of the day is going to be finding the most perfect seashell I can.  Now that’s living.

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?

Ladies Night Out

My cousin Heather got married last night.  And you know what the ladies do before someone gets married, right?  Right, they have a bachelorette shin dig of sorts. Which is exactly what we did last Saturday night.  It was a small group, but all you need is a couple of crazies to make a night out a complete blast.  And we definitely had a couple crazies in the group.  I mean I’m including myself, of course.

We started the night at Gracie’s in downtown Salt Lake to grab a couple of drinks and some food before things really got nutty.  Some people may have had some pre-dinner cocktails so things were amped up right out of the gate.  Not that anyone needed to worry about having too much to drink when we were being chauffeured around in this bad boy.  Yes, those are giant horns you see on the front.  The “limo” is called The Boss Hog and comes complete with a pink-shirted driver who I will disclose frightening details about later.  For now, just take in the glory of this ride.

boss hog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the ladies Jess and I had never met before made it clear immediately that she would be providing plenty of entertainment for the night.  When someone you’ve known for five minutes starts telling people she’s “fucking Irish and will kill you,” it’s only bound to provide good material for the rest of the evening.  And she didn’t let us down at all.

After Gracie’s we jumped in the Boss Hog and headed to Bar X for the most delicious drink on the planet; the Moscow Mule.  (Note: This is not an exaggeration.  If you have never had one of these before, go get one immediately)!  Anyway, drinking heaven was not the only thing that happened at the bar.  No sir.  There were other things, like maybe I had my abs molested by the Irish woman.  She may have put her arm around my waist and then things got awkward from there.  Let’s just say she may have had her hands all over my abs at one point while she said things like, “What the fuck?  Have you guys felt her abs?” In my uncomfortable state, I could only laugh, which provoked her more, because well, laughing causes one to flex their abs.  Which then caused Irish to say things like, “Oh my god, she’s laughing.  Keep laughing.”

From that point on I was referred to as “Abo” and was demanded to “nutritionalize” and help Irish get abs just like mine.  In case you’re not familiar with the word nutritionalize (maybe because it’s not a word), I believe it means to provide nutrition advice for one wanting to acquire nice abs.

After the molestation we sat down to enjoy our drinks while Irish tried to burn a string bracelet off her wrist in the candle flame on the table.  The two nerds in the group (that’d be me and my sister) shrieked in unison, “Oh no, don’t do that!” I know, we’re lame.  And Irish told us we’re lame when she looked up and said, “Is this the most dangerous thing you two have done?  Oh, you two are so cute.  Wait ’til I tie you up.”  Yep, you read that right.

Somehow we made it out of the Bar X without being set on fire or tied up and climbed back into the Boss Hog for stop number three.  The driver of the Boss Hog is Irish’s biological dad and seemed innocent enough until he revealed his true self to Jess and I at a stop on the way to the club.  Get a load of this… The old dude gets out of the rig, walks over to us and says, “This reminds me of when I was younger.” Which sounds totally innocent, right?  Wrong.  Wrong because the next sentence out of his mouth was, “When we used to kill people.”  What the fuck?  I mean we were like surely he has to be kidding, so we started laughing awkwardly as he got all dead serious, looked at us and said, “I’m serious as a judge.”  Not cool.

The rest of the evening was filled with a couple of boob grabs (Irish doing the grabbing, of course), great dancing and lots of laughs.  I know that a lot of what I just described sounds weird and scary, and yet I think we’re all going out again next month.  Hey, it might mean I’ll actually have something to blog about.

A Hiking He Will Go

A friend of mine runs a dog hiking business.  At one point in time she also did dog sitting and maybe still does, but the hiking is the really cool part.  I mean isn’t that cool?  She hikes packs of dogs (I’m talking about 8 dogs every day!) Monday through Friday on different trails all over the valley.  I saw some pictures she’d posted on Facebook one day and asked her if she ever hiked smaller dogs. Her reply was that she hikes small dogs all the time and they love it.  Of course they love it; they get to explore and hike off leash with a bunch of their buddies!

So anyway, we started chatting about Jack and she said she would love to take him on a hike and see how he does.  And you know how he did?  He did freaking awesome!  Rob told me to try not to “shoot anxiety out my forehead” when she was on her way over.  Which I didn’t really think was very nice, but it’s true and funny, so I said I’d do my best.  I pretty much instantly felt calm when she came in though. She’s been doing this for years and has worked with a few dogs with similar issues, so I trust her 100%.

They saw a few other hikers on the trail and Aimee simply told them that Jack was still learning and to not reach down (sudden movements towards him or reaching down when he hasn’t warmed up to you have been triggers for him in the past). The results?  “He was a rockstar.”  Those were her words, hence the quotation marks.

Jack is now hiking three days a week and loving it.  He is beyond exhausted when he gets home, but I honestly see a mellowing in him and feel really hopeful that he’ll continue to progress.  He’s already come so far, and this is just one more step in the right direction.  One day when I feel he’s ready, we may just take on another dog so he can have a buddy.  We may, I reiterate.  Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Trucking along!

Trucking along!

 

Taking a little break in the shade.  I know he's panting, but doesn't that look like a giant grin?!

Taking a little break in the shade. I know he’s panting, but doesn’t that look like a giant grin?!

Cooling off in the water.

Cooling off in the water.