Sunday, June 24, 2012

Weekend Breakfast

Normally I'm a make-from-scratch kinda girl, but with the craziness of packing, painting and moving, I'm really loving a little extra help in the kitchen!

This macadamia nut pancake and waffle mix is absolutely delicious. I was able to buy it at Ralph's for a while, but they are no longer carrying it. Somehow I don't think it fits in with their new "lower prices" theme. It is a bit of a high-end 'extra' but, in my book, is well worth a little extra cost for something so yummy!

More later on the packing-painting-moving bit. While it is currently monopolizing any free time we have, things will be calming down - at least somewhat! - in the very near future. Moving day: Monday, July 2nd.

Let the countdown begin!!

Thursday, June 07, 2012


As you may recall, Kevin and I were going to move in with dad before he passed away. Originally we'd set a target date of the end of March, but discovered that was a somewhat unrealistic goal. I'm not sure if you're aware of it or not, but trying to paint, pack up two houses, and work two full-time jobs, well ... it's a bit stressful to say the least. By mid-February we knew we'd have to extend our target move date to June.

In the meantime of course, dad passed away. But - we will still be moving into the house. It was kind of the plan that, when the time came, Debbie and I would split things down the middle. We would buy Deb out of her share, since her family's roots are in TO, and Kevin and I would keep the house. Sounds easy, but trust me, there are a ton of paperwork issues. However, the fact remains that when all is said and done, this is what will have happened, and Kevin and I will live many long and happy years in our family home.

Initially when we were going to move in with dad, we were just going to paint a few rooms. Now that dad's gone, we're painting them all, which, while it will look fabulous and be hugely rewarding when we're finished, for the moment, we're absolutely and utterly exhausted.


We're beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel and realize it's not a train on the other end. These last nine months have been a crazy, confusing whirlwind. Now that we're beginning to reach the end of the tunnel, we are ready to get back to our somewhat normal lives and relax for a bit.

This weekend we will pretty much be finished with the painting. We still have one hallway, one ceiling and lots of trim work to complete, but we're getting there! Tomorrow, the furniture that we're donating will be picked up; Monday, they will begin removing the carpet and getting ready to refinish the hardwood floors; the following Saturday, the bedroom carpeting will be installed. Then, all (all?)we have left to do is finish packing our current house, move furniture, and put things away. We've been taking some photos along the way and I can hardly wait to begin sharing them with you!

Luckily school is nearly out and we'll both be on vacation soon. Our goal is to have everything finished by the time we return to work in August. Wish us luck!

Blue Heaven

Kevin and I bought our 10 game package of Dodger tickets again this year. We've skipped the last two years because we didn't want to line the former owners' pockets any more than they were already being line. But, since we now have new owners, we're back in the park.

We both love being at the Stadium. While it's huge, it's still warm and welcoming ... in a 'I'm-here-with-50-thousand-of-my-closest-friends' kinda way. Here's a shot from the first game we went to this season. Gorgeous, right?

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Photo Finish

The morning of Dad's memorial service, some of my co-workers had planned to meet at Santa Anita Park and have breakfast at Clocker's Corner. I thought about going, but then thought that, with the service later that day, it would make the day too hectic.

Then I thought about it again and changed my mind. Both mom and dad had loved going to the horse races. Dad more so than mom, but they'd spent a lot of time there during a time in their lives, and had enjoyed every minute of it. I decided that I couldn't think of a better way to start a day that was going to focus on honoring my dad. I asked Catherine to add our names to the reservation list.

At nine that morning, Kevin, Vicky and I headed over to the track. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and the horses were out on the track working out while we ate breakfast. Just to the right of our table, at a pub table near the track, stood Bob Baffert - horse owner and trainer extraordinaire. Everyone whispered about him being there, and pointed him out to the others. I knew him the moment I saw him. Many a time we'd watch television on a race day - specifically the Kentucky Derby - and Bob Baffert would be there with one of his horses, preparing for the big race. He's pretty much a fixture at Santa Anita, so it wasn't surprising he was there.

As we got up to leave, I diverted and walked over to the table where Mr. Baffert was standing with a friend. I introduced myself and told him that he didn't know me from Adam and, though I was sure it wouldn't make a hill of beans difference to him, my father had always enjoyed following him and his horses. I told him that dad had passed away and later that day we'd be having his memorial service and we'd been out there that morning to honor dad. I told him that my dad would love knowing that I'd talked to him, and I wanted to shake his hand and say thank you for the years of wonderful memories. He looked pretty stunned. He smiled, shook my hand and said thank you. We left and headed home to prepare for the service.

A couple weeks passed and I spoke with an acquaintance who had also been at the track for breakfast that morning. He asked how dad's service had gone and I told him that it went well and we'd all enjoyed spending time together telling stories about dad. He said that he'd wanted to say something to me before we left the track that morning, but that I'd gone over to talk to Bob Baffert and he didn't want to interrupt. He said "I don't know what you said to him, but he was quite touched. After you walked away, he turned to his friend with a huge smile on his face and said 'That's the sweetest thing that will happen to me all day.'" How nice is that?

It was so nice that Daniel told me what was said after I walked away. Knowing that I made someone's day, made my day, too. So often we never know how we touch other people's lives by what we say and do. It's really a shame that we don't take the opportunity to tell each other more often how much what they've said or done has impacted our lives. I'm going to try to be better at doing that. Join me, won't you?

Friday, June 01, 2012


I know. I haven't been around in a while. Things have been ... hectic. And sad. And overwhelming.

When I last posted in March, I mentioned that dad had gone back into the hospital. He was there for just a couple of days, and then was released to come home -- but honestly, he still wasn't feeling well. Two days after he came home, he lost his balance and slipped in the bathroom. His caretaker caught him before he actually hit the floor, but as he was sliding down, he hit the exposed pipe under the sink in the small bathroom. He said that he sore, but that he was fine.

But we knew he wasn't fine. Shortly after mom passed away, dad rallied and was really doing well! It took him a while to gain some of the strength he'd lost, but he had gotten to the point where he was up and walking every day, getting in some exercise, and interested in going out and about to see what was going on in the world. He would beam when he told us each day how many 'laps' he'd done around the house. Eight today! Ten today! He was encouraged and was thinking of small projects he could do to keep himself occupied. But by the beginning of March, he began not feeling well and was losing a lot of his drive.

Besides the physical illness, he was overwhelmed with sadness. Between losing mom, his own declining health, closing his longtime, home-based business ... it was all just too much to handle at once and an ominous depression took hold of him. One night he was so sad and lonely he told me that he 'just wants to go be with mom'. My heart just broke. There is nothing quite like seeing your dad - once so strong, so full of energy and life - grow sad, ill and depressed. And worse still, knowing there isn't much you can do to help.

After his fall, he remained at home for a few more days until the following Sunday morning when he called and told me he thought he needed to go to the hospital. I readily agreed. Both Deb and I had been trying to talk him into going to the hospital for several days, but he'd refused. Once in the emergency room, the battery of tests began. Pneumonia: check. Atrial fibrillation: double check. Fractured rib: ahhh, check. We weren't back where we started from exactly; we'd moved, in fact, a few giant leaps backwards. They were going to take dad to have an ultrasound done, so Kevin and I left the room for a bit. When we returned, they told us we had to leave. They were having a very difficult time regulating dad's heart rate and blood pressure. His heart was racing while his blood pressure remained dangerously low. By the time they allowed me back into the room, nearly an hour had passed, but at least dad was stable.

He was admitted to the hospital on March 25th. As luck would have it, his doctors were the same kind, gentle, caring doctors who had taken care of mom. We got lucky twice! Over the next couple of weeks, dad would have a good day or two, then a bad day or two. We see-sawed back and forth for two weeks. During that time it became clear to us that, though we didn't know when it would happen, dad wouldn't be with us much longer.

Sunday, April 8th. Easter morning. We got up early and began preparing to have everyone over to our house for the day. The plan was for all of us to go over to the hospital and visit dad. We were going to bring the boys' birthday gifts so that he could watch them open them. I'd been trying to call him all morning and he didn't answer his phone. About the fourth time I tried - around 9:30, his nurse was in the room and answered the phone. She said that he was sleeping, but his vital signs were stable. Around 10:00 a.m., the phone rang. Before I even picked it up I had a feeling what was about to happen. I answered the phone and on the other end was Dr. Arenas. She whispered in a small, sad voice that dad had passed away. I already knew it. I'd woken up really early that morning with a sense that dad would pass that day. The week before he passed away, I was on spring break. I had the honor of being at the hospital every day to visit him - which was a blessing, but also a curse. I am so thankful that we had that time together, but it was hard for me too because each day I could see him getting worse, and hear his voice fading away.

We all met at the hospital to say our final goodbyes. Dad looked peaceful - at last. No more pain, no more struggling to breathe or eat. No more missing mom. Their 53rd wedding anniversary would have been that upcoming Thursday and we all agreed - dad just didn't want to have an anniversary without mom, so he decided to join her so that the could celebrate together.

I will always love you, dad, and keep you in my heart. I'm so lucky to have had you and mom as my parents. One day we'll all be together again. Until then, you and mom keep each other company and keep a watchful eye on us. I promise we'll make you both proud.