From Black to Bright

Photo by Karly Santiago on Unsplash

The other day I was looking through my closet for a shirt to wear. I have my clothes hung up in order of colors, from dark to light. It starts with black, to gray, to blue, etc., and ends with white.

As I’m going through the shirts, it dawns on me that I only have one black casual shirt, and for some reason, it made me reflect.

I look for a shirt to wear every single day. I know every shirt that I have hanging up in my closet. There are probably 50 or so shirts in there. I don’t know why today was different. I don’t know why I started thinking about my old wardrobe. I just did.

15 years ago, literally all of my shirts were black, white, or gray, but mostly black. I liked the way black looked on me, plus, everyone said that black is “slimming.”

When I met my husband, he hated that all I wore was black. Slowly but surely, he bought me shirts that were colorful. He especially liked pink. Knowing that he liked to see me in more colorful clothing, I started changing my wardrobe. Now my closet is full of color. I rarely wear black anymore.

It’s funny how things change.

Her Own Person

I have an 11-year-old granddaughter who is very much her own person. By that, I mean that she doesn’t care what anyone else thinks, she does her own thing, even if it’s not popular.

This girl is super smart, at the top of her class. She’s quiet and reserved. She is beautiful, too. I love how she likes what she likes and does what she wants, without trying to please anyone but herself.

Before school started, my granddaughters (the 11-year-old and her sisters; an older sister who is 14-years-old and a younger sister, age 10) all had very long hair and were talking about getting haircuts. The oldest got her hair cut all the way up to her shoulders. The youngest got a lot of her hair cut off, but not quite all the way to her shoulders. The 11-year-old got barely any hair cut off – just enough to trim the ends. She said she didn’t want to get hers cut, because she likes her hair long. It’s still to her waist.

My younger granddaughter, who will be ten-years-old in a couple of months, is very outgoing, bubbly, and always performing in some way. She likes to sing and make videos, or pretend she’s an actress. She also has a habit of asking people silly questions about what they would do for six billion dollars.

Yes, six billion dollars is the amount she’s chosen for her silly, “Would you do this or that for six billion dollars” question.

Recently, she asked her 11-year-old sister, “Would you cut your hair for six billion dollars?”

After thinking about it for a minute, the 11-year-old replied, “Probably not.”

My daughter and I are still laughing about that one.

My Hyper Fur Babies

“Everyone thinks they have the best dog and none of them are wrong.” -W.R. Purche

My dogs have finally calmed down. The lawn guys just left, so things are quiet.

I have two Maltipoos, one male and one female.

They’re hyper and bark at nothing. I’m sure they hear something, but I don’t. When I look outside the window, there isn’t anything there.

Buster is the worst, because his bark starts off at an annoyingly high pitch. Then Bailey chimes in.

Bailey and Buster

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are when they get the most barking practice. Those days are when the lawn guys and the pool guy service our house. Thursdays is trash day and trash trucks are noisy.

Do you want to know what else they bark at?

Television commercials! The ones where someone goes up to the front door and rings the doorbell. They hear the doorbell and start barking.

I’ve literally tried everything to get them to stop barking, but nothing has worked. They’ll stop when I yell at them, but I can’t get them to stop barking for no reason in the first place. I want them to bark only if someone comes to the door. I think when my dogs bark they’re having a good ol’ time. They love running around while barking.

Bailey is my $6k dog. She is highmaintenance. She is allergic to bees, which we found out the hard way. She’s had surgery on both of her back legs, because her ligaments tore – not at the same time, but about a year-and-a-half apart. The second leg required two surgeries, because the first one didn’t take.

Bailey has allergies and has to take an allergy pill every day. I used to put the pill in a piece of meat, but she’d eat the meat and spit the pill out. Now, I get a small piece of bread, butter both sides, and fold it over the pill. She eats the whole bite every day. It’s simple and there’s no mess. I’ve been giving her an allergy pill in bread and butter for about two years now with no problems.

I think my dogs are trying to drive me crazy, but it’s okay, because they’re my fur babies and I love them.

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Memory Lane

Image by Vinson Tan from Pixabay 

Don’t you just love happy memories? My grandmother passed away last August, and slowly but surely, my mom and I have been going through her things to decide what to do with them.

I came across a big plastic container holding several folders, each with the name of her children and grandchildren on them. I opened the folder with my name on it and was surprised to see what was in it.

It contained several notes, cards, letters, and poems that I had written to my grandparents over the years. It also had a few notes that my children had written to them.

Every year, my brothers and I made Christmas lists of the things we wanted for Christmas and gave them to our grandparents. I found some of the Christmas lists and had a good laugh. It’s funny to see what we wanted for Christmas back then.

I saved a handful of things that I found in the folders. I kept some old poems and drawings. I threw away the notes that I wrote telling my grandma I needed more floor cleaner, etc., when I used to clean her house as a teenager. I don’t know why she kept those.

I had no idea my grandma held on to these treasures, but my family and I got a kick out reading them. I only wish I had known about them when my grandma was alive, so we could’ve enjoyed them together.

Just One of Those Weeks

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

It’s been one of those weeks. You know, the kind where nothing seems to go the way you want it to. My week started off with with the water heater leaking, then my washer breaking.

The water heater leak was repaired. I bought a new washer and dryer set, but when my husband and my brother were moving them into the laundry room to install them, they put a big scratch in my wood floor. <Sigh.> Oh well. At least I got a pretty good deal on them, thanks to the store starting their 4th of July sale early!

I went and had lunch with my dad and ended up arguing about politics, of all things. It was weird, because we don’t usually talk about politics or anything we disagree on, but somehow it was brought up. It made our visit uncomfortable.

I signed up and was accepted into a study about the benefits of eating avocados. There are two groups: one where you have to eat an avocado every day for six months and one where you can’t have more than two avocados a month for six months. Research has shown that avocados help you lose weight and also helps with cognitive memory. This study is trying to prove those theories.

Image by FoodieFactor from Pixabay

I was excited to participate in the study, because I’d get free avocados every week and get paid at the end of six months. After having an MRI, blood work, and taking a cognitive exam, I went to a meeting to see which group I would be placed in. They use a randomizer that works to keep the two groups as even as possible. Well, I was placed in the control group, which means I can only eat up to two avocados a month. I am so bummed! I really wanted to be in the other group.

Being in the control group means there is less required of me. I only have to do the blood work two more times, and the MRI and cognitive exam again at the end of six months. At the end of the study I will get a box of avocados and a check. I guess it’s not so bad, but it just adds to things not going my way this week.

I need to get away! My husband and I are going away for the weekend to VEGAS! Yay, me! It will be nice to have some fun and come back refreshed! I have to remind myself that it’s just a bad week, not a bad life!

Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

He’s Still My Dad.

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

I’m sitting here dreading lunch with my dad. I don’t know why I always feel this way when we are meeting for lunch, but I do. I always go and I always get through it just fine, so why do I dread it so much?

My parents divorced when I was 11 years old. I didn’t like it at the time, but have grown to understand why as an adult. When I was little, I had a lot of fun with my dad. My dad played baseball on a men’s league and when we went to his games, my brothers and I played with the kids whose dads’ were on my dad’s team. We had a blast!

My dad and mom had a lot of friends and we were always surrounded by their families. I remember people coming over and music playing and everyone having fun. We also used to go to other families’ houses and play, too. I remember everyone getting together to swim at a hotel where one of my dad’s friends worked. We had barbecues, went on camping trips, and did a lot of fun things together.

One of my fondest childhood memories is the time my family had a HUGE water fight IN THE HOUSE!!! It started out as a small water fight between me and my brothers. We had squirt guns and were shooting each other, running in and out of the house. My dad got involved and started shooting a squirt gun at my mom, while she was washing dishes. My mom grabbed the spray nozzle on the faucet and squirted it at my dad. One of them, I don’t remember who, filled a pan with water and threw it at the other one. My dad ran outside and grabbed the hose, brought it inside, and started squirting everyone! It was a mess, but we had so much fun!

Another fun memory is this little game my dad played with me and my brothers. He would write hints down on little pieces of paper and hide them in the house. He’d give us the first hint: LOOK IN THE MAILBOX, for example. We’d run out to the mailbox and grab the hint that was sitting in there: LOOK IN THE BATHTUB. We’d follow the hints all over the house and yard until we found the “prize,” usually some change to get ice cream. I remember my dad hiding a hint on our dog’s collar! Those were the days!

After my parents divorced, everything changed. I didn’t see my dad very much. I saw him once in a while, but he didn’t put much effort into our relationship. I remember my dad picking me and my brothers up and taking us to his new girlfriend’s house. His new girlfriend had three children, two who were around my age. I remember her kids having some pretty cool toys and games, and one of her son’s telling me that my dad bought them all of those things. That was hurtful, because my dad didn’t do that for me or my brothers. My dad’s relationship with his girlfriend didn’t last very long.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

A little while later, my dad started dating and eventually married my stepmom. I never felt comfortable around her, because she made it pretty clear that my brothers and I were burdens. I remember her and her friend picking me and my brothers up from school to go shopping for clothes to wear to their wedding and her saying, “Ew, they’re so dirty!” She acted disgusted with us and I didn’t understand why, because I wasn’t dirty. It made me feel awful.

My dad and stepmom made very little effort to see me or my brothers. I maybe saw them once a year while I was a minor. I remember them taking me to a cheap restaurant for my birthday and while we were there, my stepmom bragged about the nice, elegant, expensive restaurant they took my stepsister to for her birthday. My stepsister is two years older than I am.

After about the age of 16, I didn’t see my dad at all for about ten years or so. By that time, I had my daughter, who was 5 and my first son, who was 3. When my kids were 3 and 1, my dad and stepmom sent me Christmas gifts for my kids. The gift tags said, “To the little girl” and “To the little boy.” They didn’t even know my children’s names!

Over the years, my dad started making an effort to have a relationship with me. I see him a few times a year for lunch, and that’s about it. He feels remorse for not being there for us kids while we were growing up and he’s trying to make up for it. Unfortunately, it’s a little too late. Yes, I get together with him for lunch, but we don’t have very much to talk about. We usually end up talking about God or sports, because that’s all we have in common. It’s sad, really, but it is what it is. I do love my dad and I wish things were different, but for whatever reason, I have a hard time “wanting” to get together. After all this time, it still feels awkward. I go anyway, because he’s my dad.

Stuff Happens.

What a week, and it’s only Tuesday! Hopefully these are the worst two days of this week. It’s not that critical, but it seems like everything happens at once.

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Sunday, we heard strange noises coming from the water heater. My husband checked it out and there was a leak. Great. We didn’t want to pay an emergency fee, so we scheduled someone to come out on Monday to fix it.

The plumber we called was supposed to come fix the water heater yesterday, but called to tell us he had to push our repair out a day or two. Meanwhile, the water heater was dripping faster and I was worried we would have to turn the water off, which I did not want to do. I told my husband to call someone else, so he found another plumber who could fix it today.

Yesterday, the door on our front-load washing machine locked up and would not open. We tried everything: turned it off and on, unplugged it, ran the cycle again, and nothing worked. Yay, another repair! I started calling around for an appliance repair company. I must have called eight places before I found someone who could come out the same day.

Image by taraghb from Pixabay

The appliance repair guys showed up two hours early, which was awesome, because that never happens! So far, so good! They were able to get the washer door open, but as soon as it was closed, it locked again. After checking everything out, the guy tells me that the motherboard is broken and the parts to our washer aren’t available anymore. (The washer is about 13 years old. It belonged to my grandma and I’ll tell you why it ended up at my house in another blog.) He recommended we buy a new washer. We knew it was only a matter of time until that happened, so I wasn’t surprised.

Today, the plumber showed up to fix the water heater. He stopped the leak, but guess what? We need a new water heater! Our water heater is about 14 years old, so it’s about time for it to break. We bought our house about four-and-a-half years ago and the lovely water heater came with it. Since the leak was fixed, we’ll try to hold on to the water heater a little while and focus on getting a washer. After all, the washer door is broken, there’s a short, and it could catch on fire!

I’ve been looking online for good deals on a washer and dryer set. Fortunately, some stores already have 4th of July sales going on. I just need to get a washer soon, because we’re going away this weekend and I will want to do laundry as soon as we get home. I only wish things would take turns to break and not do it at the same time. Isn’t that the way it always seems to go? At least once we get the new stuff, we won’t have to worry about them for at least another ten years!

Internet Dating: “Old School” Tips that Still Make Sense.

Image by Kevin Phillips from Pixabay

I’ve mentioned before that I met my husband on the internet. Yes, I met people while out at the bars and nightclubs with my friends, and even dated a few, too, but I got tired of that scene and signed up for a few dating sites online.

I’ve met quite a few men from online dating sites. I wish I had kept track of how many, but who knew I would end up blogging about it? It’s been a little over 14 years since I’ve used online dating sites, but I think a lot of these tips are still relevant today.

When I was on the dating sites, I had a few rules that I set because I wanted be safe while meeting strangers:

  1. I had to speak to the person on the phone. You just can’t read someone as well when texting or emailing.
  2. The guy had to live within 50 miles from me. I’ve never been interested in long distance relationships.
  3. I had to know where the guy worked. If I could verify that, I knew I was talking to a real person who could be found if anything bad happened.
  4. I had to meet within a couple of weeks. I wasn’t looking for a pen pal.
  5. I only met in public places. I NEVER gave my address to anyone!
  6. I made sure that I told someone my plans and as much information about the guy I was meeting as possible. That person would call me about 30 minutes into the date so that if I wanted to leave, I could pretend I had just received an important call and had to go.

I can honestly say I never had any horrible experiences, but I did meet people who I knew I would never see again after the first meeting. I don’t know about you, but I can read people pretty quickly. I was nice about it, but there wasn’t any point in wasting anyone’s time.

I met a few men who posted old pictures when they clearly didn’t look that way anymore. I always made sure I had current pictures posted and available, because I only wanted to meet men who were interested in ME. Why would I want to set someone up for disappointment? Nowadays, you can video chat with people, which eliminates all of the second-guessing. I wish video chat was available when I was meeting people! Honestly, I don’t see how people get away with “catfishing” other people when video chat is available. If I were on dating sites today, I would NOT meet anyone unless we video chatted a few times first. Period.

My experience with online dating was pretty successful. I dated a few men for a few months and had two long-term relationships. Now, I’m married to someone I met online. The few “bad” meetings I had weren’t all that bad. They were nice guys, but just not for me. I also met a couple of men who I was interested in meeting again, but I wasn’t their cup of tea. It wasn’t a big deal.

There were a couple of men who didn’t like me keeping my dating profile up or communicating with other men online after I started talking to them. I didn’t care. In my opinion, if a guy is going to get possessive before we even meet in person, that’s a huge red flag! I was not going to take my profile down until I met someone and started a real-life relationship with him. I continued communicating with people and when I started actually dating someone, I turned my profile off.

Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay

When I was on dating sites, I could have a profile up, but couldn’t contact anyone without paying a membership fee. I didn’t pay fees. I figured that if a guy was interested in me, he would contact me. I stuck to that and never paid a dime, until I saw my husband’s dating profile. I thought he was cute, he lived about 10 miles from me, and worked nearby. I liked the answers he filled out on his dating profile survey, too! I don’t remember all of his answers, but one question asked, “What’s your favorite meat?” His reply was, “YES!” It made me laugh! I was very attracted to his sense of humor.

So, for the first time ever, I reached out first on a dating site. I paid the fee and sent an email. I got a reply later that day. We talked on the phone and decided to meet for dinner at a local restaurant. We had great conversation and sat there for two hours, so we decided to take our date to a local bar for a drink. From there, we went to a nearby casino for a couple of hours. We had a great time! We saw each other every day after that and were married about three-and-a-half months later! It was fast, but felt right, and we’re still married to this day.

Image by Holger Detje from Pixabay

I know there are people who frown on couples getting married after dating for only a few months, but I don’t feel there is any specific “waiting period,” and it depends on the couple. I’ve been in a relationship for two years before and never wanted to marry that person. My relationship with my husband was very comfortable and we saw no reason to wait. I’d say we made the right decision!

The Power of Prayer

Christian Cross

Prayer works. I’ve had a lot of prayers answered, but I’m going to specifically share two stories of answered prayers involving my family. First, when my daughter was 19 years old, she had a tonsillectomy that led to a huge medical scare. When her surgery was finished, the surgeon came to tell me that he had a hard time closing her sutures, but that everything else went well. I took my daughter home to recover.

A couple of days later, her throat started bleeding. I took her to the ER and they called the surgeon in. He performed a second surgery to close her sutures again, and said that she was the worst case he’d ever had. He released her to come home, but this time, he said he wanted her to stay down and only get up to use the bathroom. He was afraid her sutures would pop open again if she did anything too strenuous.

Over the next week or so, my daughter complained off and on of having trouble breathing and sharp chest pains. Overall, I took her to the ER and Urgent Care twice each, to have it checked out. We kept being told that she was having anxiety and they gave her medicine to relax her. During this time, her throat started to bleed again, but the doctors were able to stop it with ice cold water. Finally one day my daughter was panicking and saying, “I can’t breathe!” I took her back to Urgent Care and fortunately, this time there was a doctor on call who knew to do a blood test to look for blood clots. It came back positive. After more tests, they found that she had pulmonary embolisms (blood clots) in both lungs! It was a miracle she had not died! They had her transported to the hospital by ambulance.

My daughter was admitted and for the next week, she was given blood thinners to get rid of the blood clots. She was still healing from the two tonsillectomies and was unable to eat. Three days after being admitted to the hospital, my daughter’s sutures popped again and she started bleeding. After bleeding all day, her surgeon came in to see her. By now she was weak and very white; she looked like she was on her death bed. The surgeon said that he had to do a third surgery to close sutures again. He had my daughter’s blood count checked, because she had bled all day. Her blood count was too low, so he said he couldn’t perform surgery on her until she had a blood transfusion. While my daughter was getting a blood transfusion, I was signing papers. The doctor told me that my daughter might not make it through surgery, but they had to stop the bleeding. I signed the papers and the surgeon left to prepare for surgery.

Meanwhile, my mom came in to visit. I went into the bathroom and broke down, because I didn’t want my daughter to see me cry. My mom prayed over my daughter. I walked out of the bathroom and my mom looked up and said, “God said there isn’t going to be a surgery.” Within five minutes, my daughter stopped bleeding, just like that, after having bled for about ten hours. She did not have that third surgery, and she never bled again.

Over the next week and a half, my daughter continued to take blood thinners orally and through injections in her stomach, until the blood clots were gone. She was finally discharged from the hospital. For a while, my daughter suffered from PTSD, because she had a fear of dying. She’s doing great now and is married with four children.

The second answered prayer I mentioned, happened when my son and his wife were expecting their first child. While pregnant, the doctors found that my unborn grandson was having heart problems. The doctors did not give my son and his wife any hope. In fact, they advised them to abort the baby. My son and his wife could never do that! They were going to have the baby no matter what, even if it meant that the baby would not survive. With a lot of faith and prayers, my grandson was born. I am happy to say that he is five-years-old now and he is healthy. He still has some minor issues with his heart from time to time, but he is happy and loved. He is truly a miracle baby who has blessed our family immensely. God is so good!