1 June 2024

It's almost vacation time! Cody and I have the opportunity this year to go to Norway to visit my grandmother (his great-grandmother), something I'm keen to do given she's the only grandparent I have left in mortality. I'm not exactly looking foward to the long flight but it'll be worth it in the end. I'll have to be sure to take a bunch of pictures.

15 April 2024

It's my Birthday! It's my birthday! Happy Birthday to me!

I like Rubik's cubes. I've been able to solve a 3x3x3 (not quickly mind you, but solve it) from memory for a while EXCEPT for the very last move, which I've had something of a mind block about memorizing. I decided to try it again this morning -- and I think I got it! At least, I've done it at least 5 times correctly without looking at my cheatsheet so that's something!! Instead of just memorizing moves, I watched where the pieces of interest were going and that seems to have been the key, at least for me.

I have been going through pictures of Cosmo but found myself smiling more than crying. Perhaps it's because he was such a part of my life that I can't help but relive all sorts of good memories that the pictures have captured for me. The pictures of him are mixed in with all the other pictures of life and that has, primarily, been a happy thing. Pictures of the kids as they've been doing crazy things while growing up. Pictures of the apple and cherry blossoms each year as they brighten up our property. The other animals. The unscripted moments. I realize just how thankful I am to have such easy access to these memories. The kids today just don't understand what life was like with a film camera or why it was AMAZING back in its time!

8 March 2024

Another month gone? The weird weather has continued as the daffodils continue to bloom while we've also had some snowfall, though most of it did not stick. It's like the weather can't quite make up its mind if it should be winter or spring. In Cody's view, it's spring and that's all there is to it. He's happily walking around without so much as a hoodie or jacket to keep him warm -- and claiming he doesn't need it. Yep, he's a middle schooler alright. As I type this, I will admit to having the window open as it is almost 50 degrees outside and some fresh air feels like a good thing - in the proper amounts.

In less than a week, the first of my children will have hit adulthood. YAY!!!! I haven't been counting down for the last two years but I was certainly counting down the days and weeks in the few years prior to that. I wasn't sure that both of us would survive to see his 18th birthday. It appears we will! Hallelujah!! I'm absolutely convinced that he has some hard times coming, as a result of his own choices. If so, they'll be learning experiences for him, if he chooses to do the learning.

Yes, I miss Cosmo. I'm thinking that even though it will cause many tears, maybe I should bite the bullet and start putting together his memory book. Not sure if that will help heal the emptiness inside. They say one must pass through grief, not take up residence there, so maybe making that book will help me process it more completely? Who knows. We'll see if I can motivate myself to do it...

7 February 20204

How in the world is it already February -- and a whole week into it at that! Time does weird things. Two weeks ago, we had some snowy weather, which hit Portland/Beaverton rather hard (while we were hardly impacted at all). Today, the sun is shining (though it's 50 degrees so still a tad on the chilly side). The daffodils that were trying to grow before the snowstorm are still doing fine. Since the groundhog did not see his shadow, Cody is convinced that it must be spring time already. Like, right now. He's trying to find one of his footballs to throw around outside now that he's home from school for the day.

The first semester ended for the kids so now they are in their second semester classes. Due to Cody's elective choice, I think all his classes except home room changed at the semester mark. Grades were a mixed bag. Actually, between the three kids, we cover the spectrum of grades. One kid failed all but one class, one failed half the classes and the third got on the Honor Roll.

In five weeks, Jake will be 18 years old. Nothing much will change that day given we've been putting the responsibility for making his own choices squarely on his shoulders for some time now. If he doesn't want to go to school, we are not lecturing him about it or trying to get him there. We're simply reminding him that the choices he makes right now will have some long-term effects on his future and leaving it at that. If he goes to school, great! If he doesn't, oh well. He'll have to live with the consequence either way. For years, his 18th birthday was one of my most anticipated events because it would mean I finally did not need to go over to the condo every day to deal with him. Since I put that burden on his father two years ago, I haven't had to look forward to Jake's 18th birthday anymore. Nonetheless, it will be an interesting event in that it'll be the first time I have a grownup child. The problem is that I don't feel old enough for that! Now I think I can relate to how my mom felt when I turned 18, graduated from high school and headed off to college. Here's time doing that funny stuff again... making kids age faster than their parents. That must be it. Anyway, regardless of what the boy chooses, I do wish him the best in life as he embarks on adulthood.

Marisol is (cue the song from The Sound of Music) "Sixteen going on seventeeen" and appears to be enjoying life at the moment. There's a boy she likes and she finally got the courage recently to tell him so. He reciprocated her feelings and now she's walking on Cloud 9. Aww, young love. No idea if it will last but I'm thrilled she's happy. Seriously, the grin is plastered on her face and I love to see it.

Cody is happy doing his thing, which involves watching a lot of YouTube videos about various wars. He'll say things like "Did you know that in WWII, there was an American leader who was so brave that the Germans he fought against recommended him for a medal?" because he finds it very fascinating. I think his only regret related to school right now is that he does not have a history class because that has easily become his current obsession. That and otters.

As for me, I'm still having a really hard time in regards to Cosmo. I know he's not in pain any more, and not as sickly skinny either. I believe his spirit lives on and is in a pleasant place and that in due time, I'll see him again - well and whole. But for now, I miss him terribly. I may not completely lose it when I think of him, but I tear up for sure and come CLOSE to losing it. I know eventually the sting will lessen but I'll be danged if I know when that will be. I guess it just shows that I really loved and continue to love him. I've been giving some thought to how I might help myself process it all. I know eventually I will make a memory book, but I don't feel quite ready to do that yet, though I think I have Jade's ready to go. Still, there's gotta be something....

19 January 2024

Well, I survived COVID. Easily. I only felt remotely badly for one afternoon, and that was more likely due to not getting much sleep the night before rather than from COVID. The dang virus refused to relinquish its hold on me though, so I spent almost 2 weeks in relative isolation since we were trying to keep the kids from catching the virus. Marisol got it and found herself quarantined in her room but Cody did not get it this round. As of yesterday, we are all COVID-free. I'll admit it was kind of fun doing family scripture study and prayer via Zoom but I missed being able to cook the things that I like to eat and hang out with my children. I do like them after all. :-) Cody says he missed my Nintendo Switch game cards as they were with me. Nice to know he missed something about me!

The weather has been kind of weird this last week. Last Friday, all the schools in the area had early-release so everyone could get home before a predicted snowstorm arrived. It didn't actually arrive until sometime Friday night. 70 mph winds out of the Gorge combined with the snow to topple many trees in the Portland/Lake Oswego/Beaverton areas and left inches of snow on the ground. We got what can only be considered a "dusting" of snow out at our place, and no wind to speak of. Everything was instantly cancelled for Sunday (both in our area and in Portland) and Monday was already a holiday. When an ice storm was slated to come in on Tuesday (and did!), school was cancelled for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday -- each one announced early the evening prior. Both school districts were planning on having school today but changed their minds at 5:30 am. Beaverton in particular still has a number of people without power, all these days later. I'm grateful that my family got off easy this time around. Our power stayed on and our house stayed warm. I even logged in to do my job every work day as expected. The joys of being a remote worker.

I'll admit it was quite interesting when all of us on my team who have kids had them all at home due to weather, even though we live in different parts of the country! My boss in Texas was impacted by a cold spell, a coworker in Vancouver, BC had some serious weather challenges that kept her kids from getting home from school until 7pm one night. Obviously any of us in the Portland area are dealing with the strange weather mentioned previously. The folks in New York and California don't have kids, but it was snowing in New York at least.

It's been almost four months since Cosmo died. I'm finally starting to be able to think or talk about him without completely losing it, though I do still get a lump in my throat. I think I finished making the Memory Book for Jade but have held off doing Cosmo's because I just haven't felt ready yet. I'll get there eventually. It will be quite an undertaking since we have many pictures of him. I guess that means I can be picky about which ones I use.

7 January 2024

Almost four years after COVID-19 started taking the world by storm, I finally got it. I suppose I could have had it before but I never had the positive test to prove it... until now. Fortunately, it seems to be a light case - no worse than the common cold. More like a light cold actually, but I could be cursing myself by saying that. My spouse also has it, so we've been able to quarantine together the last two days (he was quarantining himself before that). Since I haven't felt particularly ill, I've been able to do most of the things I would normally have done - with the exception of anything that involves leaving the house. I was able to balance the checking account, work on a puzzle, color some pictures, build some circuits, play video games and watch 2 NFL games for example. Looks like I'll have to watch the College Football Championship game from quarantine tomorrow. Oh well. By the way, my sister teaches at Michigan but I'm rooting for Washington. Assuming I still feel reasonably well tomorrow, I will be able to isolate in my home-office during the day so I can still have my work setup (desk, monitors, external keyboard, etc) since I'm usually the only one in there anyway. That is very much a perk of my chosen profession -- the ability to work from almost anywhere. If I were feeling crummy, I'd take the day off but so far, I feel almost normal, except maybe a little stir-crazy...

Positive covid test

1 January 2024

I had a wonderful Christmas. My family and I went to Alaska to spend the holiday with my Mom and her husband... AND THE SNOW!!!! The beautiful, white snow, which fell in record-breaking amounts prior to our arrival. My mom kept telling me to stop wishing for a "white Christmas" since it was already assured. Didn't stop me - and I was rewarded with the chance to use a brand-new snowblower to clear the driveway! How cool is that?

The only time I had to use an alarm clock on the trip was to wake up at 2am so we could catch our flight to Anchorage. Most of the family never bothered to go to bed, but I knew I'd function better with at least an hour or two of sleep -- and I was the driver to the airport so being alert seemed like a high priority. It's very rare when I don't have to use an alarm clock to wake up, so having more than a week without it was absolutely excellent! We had a few things planned but we also had a LOT of down time, which I probably needed. Time to be with family, watch movies, play some games on my Switch, sleep, eat far too much good food, and play in the snow. We dug out a kicksled I played on as a kid, went sledding (where Marisol had an epic wipeout -- but she's fine), went Black Light miniature golfing (I got a hole in one! Seriously!!!), and checked out an indoor water park that had not been around when I was growing up. Marisol enjoyed some one-on-one time with my mom when they went for mani/pedis together... and has been showing them off ever since. She also provided some unexpected 'entertainment' (or at least some severe eye rolls) when she decided to test out why Dad told her never to lick a metal pole when it is freezing. No, I'm not kidding. She really did!

What will 2024 bring?

Read the 2023 entries