Rant Turned to Gratitude

My husband has a tooth that is broken and needs to be addressed. He’s been using some temporary filling stuff and that’s worked. Until it didn’t. It started hurting a bit on Friday (always!) and wasn’t much fun through the weekend. By Monday, it was getting bad. He called our dentist, but they are scheduled three weeks out. So he toughed out another day, taking far too much Advil and Tylenol, eating very little, and sleeping horribly. Then this morning he called to get a referral to someone else.

I rescheduled my massage took him to the oral surgeon this afternoon to get this taken care of. It just kills me when he’s hurting. Following his appointment, he was in a LOT of pain because the dental chair wasn’t comfortable for his neck, so that morphed into a bad headache. I don’t even know how his mouth is because his head hurt so much. I got him home and settled, then went to get his prescriptions filled. No, they weren’t electronically submitted, because the powers that be won’t allow one of them to be filled that way any longer. Okay, fine. Obviously this will delay things a bit more. I couldn’t stop on the way home because he hurt too much and needed to lay down.

It would take 30-40 minutes to fill them, the pharmacist said. Did I want to wait? Yes. He really needs some pain relief. I wandered around the store for a bit, picked up a couple things, put one back, and went to sit in the waiting area. Naturally, I pulled out my phone, figuring I could catch up a little on email, Instagram, or Facebook. Or something. Well, wouldn’t you know, the pharmacy area has no cell signal. Which I understand. But the waiting area? Come on, people, move things around and at least let your customers have service in the only area of the store they actually have to hang out for awhile. Ugh.

So I walked to the front of the store, leaned on a display out of the way, and scrolled through Facebook. But apparently I looked like I might need help, as the girl working in the Photography Department asked if I needed anything. Nope. Just waiting. About that time, they paged hubby’s name. Yep, 30 minutes later.

I got his prescriptions (all 4 of them), paid for everything, and headed home. As I was riding home, feeling a little annoyed about the extra time while my husband was in pain, it occurred to me that even in this, we are incredibly blessed.

We live in a place where he could get helped today. I was able to take him to his appointment (I don’t think he could’ve gotten himself there with the pain he had). We have dental insurance which will cover the majority of today’s bill. He could get prescriptions today. He has a home to come to and a bedroom with a bed in which to rest. He also has a number of people praying for him. Without posting it on FB. And his pain will be gone before long. It won’t be chronic.

It’s that perspective thing. I run into it often. Or more likely the Holy Spirit is reminding me that things aren’t as bad as they could be, even when they’re difficult. And so I am grateful and praying as he’s resting in the next room.

p.s. – thank you, no REALLY, THANK YOU to the oral surgeon’s office music for leaving me with Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys. {insert eye roll}


Seemingly Insignificant Choices, 33 Years Later

Tonight, John and I went out for Mexican food on a date night. I picked tonight specifically because July 20, 1983 was on a Wednesday and it was the night that we met. He worked at the Alpine Slide at Ski Broadmoor in the evenings and on weekends. My sister and I decided to go ride the slide that night, as I’d never been and she had gone the week before and said it was fun. John was the lift operator and the one who punched tickets and put people onto the lift. Our first conversation went like this:

John (to Susan and me): Did I punch your tickets?

Susan: No.

Me: Yes. (hides ticket behind back, flirts with cute guy in OP shorts and a polo shirt asking if he’d punched the tickets)

John: If you wanted a free ride, why didn’t you say so?

Me: Why didn’t you tell me?

John: Do I have to tell you everything?

Me: No, I guess you don’t.

broadmoor_alpineslideAnd there you have it. A seemingly random decision to go ride the Alpine Slide on a seemingly random Wednesday evening. A seemingly random and flirty conversation and 33 years later, here we are about ready to celebrate 30 years of marriage (next month) and still very much in love.

You never can tell where your choices will lead you. Some may truly be insignificant. Others might affect you forever.

Change of Season

Here we are, three days into June 2016. Supposedly summer. Well, meteorological summer, anyway. Until the last couple of days, that was questionable, given the rain, clouds, and cooler temperatures. I’m not sure where the previous five months got off to, but the time it sure does fly.

I started a new job in May. I’m working part time at a local scrapbook and paper crafting store, which is pretty fun and right up my alley. I’m finding that it’s causing me to want to do more creating at home. Even though you would think it might not be all that busy to work in that type of store, there is always something to do – and no, it’s not creating things. More like unboxing, checking in, pricing, putting out merchandise, tidying up, pulling empty hooks, returning unpurchased items, putting back tags out, and answering the phone. Oh yeah, that’s when you’re not answering questions, looking for products, or ringing up a customer’s purchase. Or learning the new POS system. Or running into an old friend. Or any number of other things. Kind of like how time flies by, the tasks quickly fill my 4-5 hour shifts. It’s a good thing.

John closed down his business of the past seven years and has gone to work for a local RV dealership. I’m not sure either of us saw that one coming yet, but it turned out it was time. Ironically, it’s because his business was too big and too profitable. Things you usually want to happen. Go figure.

Our youngest son started a new job this week, too. It’s pretty tough on him right now, as the physical demands are greater than he knew. We’ll see what happens with that. He’s still looking around for something not quite so tough.

Our oldest is finally about ready to test for his driver’s license. At 22 1/2. After years of not wanting to drive, he’s coming around. I think he secretly likes it. Sometimes, anyway. There are still times, though, that he would live without driving, if at all possible. Next steps will be a job and a car. He’s been working part time with John, but that chapter has ended, too.

My niece is starting a job at Starbucks in a week and a half, following in her mom’s footsteps. My brother-in-law is soon to begin a new job, too.

A whole lot of change. New chapters in life. Sometimes it’s just time.

And on a completely unrelated note, a photo because I can’t not. It made me outburst laugh.




Growing Younger

Apparently, it’s true. At some point in life, you hit an apex of maturity and then you begin to descend the other slope. Or maybe you just learn to relax and have fun in life, no matter the activity. I think I’ll go with the latter.

Yesterday was my birthday. How old, you ask? Old enough. A number large enough that I have a hard time imaging that it applies to me. A fact which I cannot change, no matter how disconnected I feel from it.

Happy Birthday to me! I found a store in town who still had chai! #getthechaiback #starbucks #ridiculoustorunoutofchai 😊I was at Starbucks twice in the morning. Once for breakfast with John where I discovered that our favorite store is again out of original chai! They said all the stores in town are out. They’d already been out on Tuesday and Wednesday, had it back Thursday and Friday, and were all out again! How was I supposed to use my free birthday beverage on my favorite drink on my birthday when they’re out? Sheesh. So after dropping my niece off at a class, I went to another Starbucks location. They did have some original chai…for a little while longer, anyway, so I happily ordered my free birthday chai, hung out, and did some journaling.

The early part of my afternoon was spent playing on the Wii with my son and niece. We raced on Mario Kart, ran after one another on Mario Chase, and beat up cartoon enemies in Pikmin. Good times.

We went up to fix some lunch and my niece showed me some hilarious videos she’d created using the Rewind Camera app. It plays your video backwards – your actions, your words, all of it. I shouldn’t have been eating while watching her eating chips backwards. They merge together from bits in her mouth to a full chip. It was a riot. We wrote down words to figure out how to try and say them backwards so they would sound “normal” when played back. Which, of course, they don’t, which is what makes it so funny. We laughed ourselves silly.

It’s not easy to say “Happy Birthday to me” backwards.

Last night my whole family all went out for Italian. Whole family includes Mom, Dad, my sister, her husband, their two daughters, John, the boys, and me. Ten in all. It’s one of those places where they put butcher paper on the table and hand out crayons. Naturally, that means some doodling is in order. My niece wrote the smaller Happy Bday at my place before I sat down. The rest was all me. I tore that entire section out and brought it home. I just couldn’t see leaving it there.


Afterward we came back to our house for presents and cake. And a little more laughter and fun. Then I sat down with my iPad to read all the sweet birthday greetings I received on Facebook. I was surprised by how many there were. It was a wonderful day of fun, games, laughter, family, and friends.

Video games, silly backward videos, doodling at dinner. Sounds perfectly appropriate. Right?

People Matter More

Remember when Carl’s Jr had the milkshake commercial where the guy shook the cow? I thought it was pretty hilarious.

This says Hardee’s, but they’re the same company. It was Carl’s Jr when I saw it.

They used to have some funny commercials.

Then they decided that the “sex sells” concept was a good one. At least I assume that’s what they thought, since that’s been their M.O. for a number of years now. I stopped eating at Carl’s Jr because I don’t care to support them in their sleazy advertising. Just a personal choice.

But Zach (my youngest son) loves their food. Granted, I like some of their food, too, but I still didn’t eat there.

Now that he’s working, I have lunch with him once a week. Carl’s Jr is the closest and fastest restaurant available. And he really likes to eat there.

So I have conceded – a little – and I eat there with him. No, I still don’t care to support them. I still think their advertising is trashy and inappropriate. But even more than that, I love my son and enjoy having lunch with him. And if he wants to eat there, I’ll go there some of the time. There are still other restaurants which we can go to, and we do. It was a little conflicting at first, but I know that he’s even more important than the few dollars I could keep away from this company.

There are certainly principles that matter and are important and should be stood upon and stood up for. But we can’t lose sight of the people in the equation, either. Just like most things in life, we have to consider all the parts and then make the best decision.

In this case, Zach is my best decision.


BTW, this picture is actually taken at Carl’s Jr. The light was amazing so I just had to.

Celebrating Life

Today is a celebration of life. One well-lived for over 69 years and another to begin within the next 8 weeks.

My Aunt Fay left her broken, failing, physical body just over a month ago. My mom and I were there when she breathed her last. Along with nearly 20 other family members and very close friends – although with Fay, everyone was really her family – crammed into a hospital room in Modesto. Fay was my dad’s youngest sister. Their middle sister passed away over 40 years ago.

fay dad-e
Fay clowning around with Dad last July

People were encouraged to share a story at Fay’s Celebration of Life Service today. Even for those of us who couldn’t attend, we were welcome to send stories to be shared. She was my aunt for 52 years, and I know there are a lot of wonderful and humorous stories, though I couldn’t think of anything specific. Instead, I wrote this:

I’ve been trying to come up with a story, but nothing really jumps out. However, as I began to think about the way Aunt Fay lived her life, I realized that the word LOVE encompassed everything for her. She loved her family and friends. She loved the Lord. She loved life. She was a busy woman and she probably did as much as three of me in a day. But all of her activity, all of her busyness was because of love – for someone. I doubt that there’s anyone who knew Fay who wasn’t a recipient of her tremendous love.


It’s one word that could summarize her life. Second to that would probably be fun. Life was always fun with Aunt Fay around. She lit up the room just by being there. She welcomed EVERYONE into her life and home. I cannot even begin to imagine the incredible number of people she impacted.

susan fay-e
Susan (my sister) and Fay last summer

Mom and I drove to California the first wek of June to see Aunt Fay, as her condition had worsened and no one knew how long she’d be here. On the first day out, we got as far as Salt Lake City and slept for a few hours in a Microtel near the airport. The next morning, we sat beneath a TV broadcasting the latest news, at the only available table in the tiny lobby, enjoying our free breakfast with nearly two dozen Asian travelers who all seemed to know each other. As I sipped my orange juice, it occurred to me that Aunt Fay was the glue in our family. She’s the one who was always connected to everyone, always knew what was going on in the lives of the extended family, as well as where they lived. She held us all together. She planned the trips and even the two family reunions we had over 20 years ago.

“I’ll bet a lot of people don’t even know Fay’s been in the hospital,” I mentioned to Mom. After all, Fay would’ve been the one to let people know that someone was ill and had never returned home after going to the hospital nearly eight months earlier, as she had. That was a rather sobering thought. The last time we saw Fay (July 2013), she was as active as ever. Who could’ve imagined that in less than a year, she’d be gone?

norman and us-fb
Fay’s next to me, second from the right

Our family isn’t all that large, but there are some cousins of my dad’s and Fay’s, as well as a great uncle (we visited him last year when Fay came out to Colorado; he’s in the red), who probably had no idea she was sick. We made a call to one of the cousins and his wife as we got back on the road to head west and they were going to contact whoever else they could.

It is so strange to realize that our family glue is gone. She has all the old photos, all the genealogy information, knows the stories and shares them with people. I am grateful, however, that during a couple of her visits here, I made copies of a lot of pictures, wrote down the stories and information we had time for me to write, and last year, transcribed ten cassette tapes’ worth of conversation she had with her and dad’s Uncle Howard, back while he was still alive. I enjoy genealogy and plan to pick up the baton and continue the family history as best I can. I think she always expected that I would. I hope I do her justice in this.


This afternoon, we attended a baby shower for a dear family friend, Nikki and her husband Mike. I photographed their wedding two and a half years ago. It was gorgeous! Nikki has been a part of John’s family for pretty much her entire life.


Diane, her mom, was a single mother and John’s mom took them in (she and Fay are a lot alike in that way – helping people out). John’s sisters babysat for Nikki and his family helped the two of them out as Diane worked to get on her feet. I’m so excited for them and this beautiful baby girl we’re all awaiting. It will be fun to see her as a newborn, watch her (via social media most likely) learn to crawl, toddle, walk, and grow up. I’m sure she’ll be a wonderful blessing for Nikki, Mike, and Diane.

nikki shower 1e



I have no real profound thoughts with which to wrap this up. I just found the juxtaposition of life celebrations worth pondering.


While I can’t say I developed my love of photography from Fay, it’s interesting that she’s the one who always took the family snapshots, especially when the six of us cousins were together. It would seem that I’m carrying that on, as well.