Thursday, December 28, 2006

Are vacations really a good thing?

So, I made it through my week off and only one person died. Do you realize that bad things tend to happen to people when I go on vacation? Really weird, bad things...let's look at my track record.
  • I took Sweetie and the Middle Mann to Chicago when she was 3 1/2 and he was almost 1. We were gone for 3 weeks. Poor little guy didn't poop the whole time we were gone. Seriously!
  • I know it's sinful, but Softie and I went camping over Labor Day weekend before we were married. Princess Diana was killed that weekend. Ugh.
  • I'd been hired to replace a gal who had gone to school to be a teacher. She was just about done and getting ready to student teach. I was supposed to train into her position for about 3 months. Three weeks after starting this job, I got married and we went on our honeymoon. While we were gone, the person whose position I was hired to fill was brutally attacked by her ex-boyfriend and she nearly died. Horrible for her. Oh, and on that same vacation, John F. Kennedy, Jr. died. Not as personal of a connection, but this does contribute to the fear celebrities should have when I'm not working.
  • When Hunter was about 10 months old, we took a family vacation for 10 days to the Bahamas. Upon our return, Mr. Mann didn't work for four months.
  • I took a week off in July 2004 during which my sister had a stroke and ended up living with us for a year and a half.
  • Last January, I took off time to be with my sister when she died.
  • This year, I took a week off for Christmas to be with my family and take advantage of the benefit of the very gracious amount of PTO offered by my company. Grandma died.
Needlesstosay, I think I need to be very careful about planning time off in the future. I really don't want anyone to be hurt on account of my time off. And I certainly don't want to lose anyone else.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

what a waking...

There I was, sleeping in my bed. All warm and snuggled in between my two favorite sleeping partners, snores-a-lot and snores-more-than-him. It was 4:30am. Without warning, the Big Mann's phone rings. This is not an unusual occurence since that's how we find out if he's working everyday. I was actually very excited to hear the phone ring since he has not been called to work since school let out on break a day earlier than expected (because of the wind storm and the power outage).

While he was on the call, I couldn't tell who he was talking to. He didn't sound particularly happy. He actually sounded very surprised. He expressed disbelief to the caller and apologies, but he didn't mention anything about being able to take the run. He didn't ask the standard questions of when he would need to be ready by or which location to show up to. As he ended the call, he told whomever it was that he'd let me know.

Grandma died in her sleep.

I don't really have much to say about it. She was old and had lived a very full life. She was married for over 66 years to Grandpa. They had six children together who are all grown with families of their own, and they all love the Lord. She has been an amazing example of patience and endurance in the different faces of adversity that came into her life.

She fell a couple months back and broke her neck. I haven't held out much hope for a full recovery. I'm sure that makes it seem like I have a very cold and hard heart.

Probably I do.

Friday, December 22, 2006

More to say

I think I have more to say. I feel pretty contemplative. It's funny though, because although my essence (and I don't mean that in an uber-phenomenal, hyper-spiritualized way. It just reads better than my 'ness, don'cha think?) is quiet, there's really nothing going on in my head. I think.

Maybe I've just really slept well this week. I've certainly slept enough. It's been a VERY rest-filled week. I have also had some very interesting dreams this week.

I would love to know if dreams actually mean anything. I hope they don't point to some internal serious issues! They're not as ewww-ish as they were a couple of weeks ago, but certainly they are relatively troubling.

I wonder about my dreams pretty regularly. I could probably blog about my dreams and support another whole blog with them.

I enjoy blogging, but I think that putting out the intimate details of my dreams out here on the triple dubs is maybe showing too much of myself. Modesty has some kind of long term promise, doesn't it?

All I want for Christmas

I have been forced to think about what I might want to put on my Christmas list this year. It's been a bit of a struggle for me. There's pretty much only been one thing that I really want and it's bugging the poopie out of my spouse. He says that I'm ruining the whole meaning of Christmas by not wanting to have a bunch of stuff on my list.

We have very different opinions about the meaning of Christmas, quite clearly.

Where as he would like a little bit of this and a little bit of that, I would like mostly only intangibles or impossibles.

I would like more time. More time to enjoy every minute of my life. The kind of time that stops and lets me soak in every wonderful part of every moment with my kids. The kind of time that allows me to see the good in those around me. The kind of time that allows me to be rested. The kind of time that forces me to not procrastinate. The kind of time that eliminates regret when those I love aren't with me.

I would also like to have time that allows for re-do's. Not that I regret many actions that I've taken in my life. I wouldn't be who I am without having done all that I did, but there are places in my life that I don't think I appreciated enough.

Appreciation isn't something that you can just plug in and start up, I don't think. I think it's a character trait. The kind of thing that you really have to work toward. Is there a book or something that I can read or a special kind of tea that enhances appreciation?

Time and appreciation. Is that too much to ask for? It is Christmas after all, right?

Grandma and heaven

First of all, is heaven supposed to be capitalized? It's a real place. It's holy, like God is holy. God is capitalized. Even when I refer to Him in the middle of a sentence as a pronoun, the pronoun is capitalized. Hmm...something to think about. Probably it should be. I welcome feedback on this. :-)

Anyway, I found out yesterday that my Grandma isn't going to live for very long. A little over a week ago, I was informed that she had choked on her breakfast and was in the hospital with aspiration pneumonia. Her blood pressure spiked to more than 240/something that was WAY too high. She also had a very high fever. Apparently, they were able to drug her up enough to make her blood pressure go down and get the infection under control, but they have not been able to help her swallow any better.

Although Grandma was discharged from the hospital back to the nursing home within a few days, there is definitely something not quite right. On Wednesday, my mom, 2 of her 5 siblings, along with my grandpa and the doctor met to talk about things. There were lots of tears and after lots of discussion, it was decided that Grandma did not want a feeding tube. Her dimentia has progressed significantly and she's expressing a lot of fear about not really understanding what's going on. It's sad, but it's real. She's going to die within a few weeks.

I'm not really sure what to feel about it. I told the family last night and the middle mann's reaction was so sweet. He hung his head down, fussed with his hair and said, "um, that's not cool that Grandma is going to, well, is she going to get to go to Heaven?" How sweet is that? Both of the boys are pretty upset by the news. The sweet innocence of these two little boys. When they heard that she'd get to do to Heaven, it suddenly became okay that she is going to die.

Softie, on the other hand, is not going so well. I think when he sees my grandparents, he actually sees the reality of his own parents. They are the same age. He's had a very distant relationship
with his dad for more years than I've known him. In fact, they spoke for only the second time in the 11 years I known him on Father's Day this year. I know that when he sees my grandparents deterioration, it really hits home that his own parents will go soon. That the time frame for healing the relationship with his dad is limited. AND that he doesn't know how to build the bridge to reconciliation.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

How'm I doin'?

A few days ago, I posted a list. I thought it might be good to take inventory of where I am as of today. There's only a little more than 3 days to go before the big day. Lots of things have happened since I made the list, so I'm VERY interested to see where I stand with it.

1. Clean up stuff around the house (this probably needs to be its own list so that I'll feel more like it's accomplishable) Although I never did make an additional list to clean from, I'm pretty sure I know where I'm at. I think, if I continue at the pace that I'm currently cleaning at, I'll be ready for my mom to come in without too much badgering about the state of my home.
2. Make a list of who I'm buying for and what they're going to get from me. Indeed, again! Although I did not make an actual list on paper, I have listed several times outloud and I'm pretty sure I'm on a good track here too! Weird!
3. Beat the small one until he believes me when I tell him he's the kid and I'm the parent. (this can probably wait, but it would certainly be nice to accomplish before the big day) Interestingly, this did not take beating. Apparently, he fears the power of Santa! We talked to him about how Santa knows if you've been naughty or nice. This has been very successful for us.
4. Call the Tacoma Rescue Mission about serving meals on Christmas Day. Rick signed us up today. Apparently, they'll call us to set something up.
5. Figure out what to do with the boys during that time. Right now, I'm thinking we'll bring them with us.
6. Come up with something really fantabulous that we can initiate as a new tradition since Michelle's gone. Something we've never done before that would honor and remember her. Okay, this one I have nailed! The only thing is that my brother isn't really on board for doing it in association with Christmas. He was very fervent about his disapproval so I'm not sure we'll actually do it on Christmas, but I can certainly introduce the idea and get totally ready to celebrate her life on the 11th of January (the one year anniversary of her death).
7. Study for my TEST! This must be done by Thursday. My boss has mandated such. I know you're going to be shocked, but I did not take the test last week. It was utterly CRAZY at work and there was not a moment to steal away, let alone 2 hours to take off and test! I'm calling tomorrow morning. If they're open, I might go take it. Depends on how I do on my practice test tonight.
8. Drop off donations at the Salvation Army. There's so much to go, another item. Dude! It's all just sitting in my van! And I've gone through a ton of my clothes! There's no reason for me not to have completed this. I think I'm seeing a pattern here. Looks like tomorrow is going to be a very, very busy day!
9. Finish cleaning up my room and put all my clothes away (for real), getting rid of those that I don't need/want anymore. I have made pretty good progress on this. You might not know it looking at the room for yourself, but I know. It's come a long way, baby!!
10. Make that damn dress for the smallest grandchild. Opted out. I bought one instead.
11. Don't think of the project as a damn project, but rather as an intelligent expression of my, um, ability to do nice things for people I really don't know. Maybe I'll make it for her birthday. It's in March. That's do-able. Right??
12. Tour a new day care. Tomorrow.
13. Make a decision about changing day cares once and for all. I have until Tuesday morning to do this. It's probably going to pend the daycare visit.
14. Bake? Nope.
15. Decide what I'm making for Christmas dinner. Ham - AND I've already bought it!
16. Buy the ingredients for said dinner. As I said! Done!!
17. Pray more...ever... I actually have prayed this week
18. Read the bible more....outside of Sunday during the sermon...I, um, haven't.
19. Trust God more....ever...without facing incredible adversity...I pretty much feel pretty good about this one.
20. REFILL MY MEDS!! What's wrong with me?? I'm so not batting even .500 here. I am SO going to have a busy day tomorrow. Don't worry though, I've been stealing the Big Mann's. Thank goodness, we take the same stuff!

I guess I should post...

I've been on vacation since last Thursday. Vacation from work. Vacation from waking up on time. Vacation from eating right. Vacation from going to bed at a normal hour. Vacation from not getting to nap in the middle of the day. Vacation!

Silly thing though, since I've been off work, the people I live with seem to think that there's something going on in my head and heart. I'm not sure if they're right. It could be simply a lack of structure. Or is that just me wishing that there's nothing else to it?

Also of note is the 2+ days without power. It was pretty fun actually. I read to the kids for a couple of hours. We all sat together by the fireplace and listened to the wind up radio. We kept our milk outside because it was colder out there than in the fridge. I think we made out pretty well, compared to others in our area. I think there are actually still people without power. It will be a full week tomorrow. Softie just told me that some of the power companies have asked that people not light their Christmas lights because of the drain on the power supply. He said that the power company has apparently threatened to turn off the power to homes with outside lights that are lit. WOW! What's that? I've heard of water rations, but power rations?

Saturday, December 9, 2006

my list

I said I needed to make a list of things to get done before the big day. Maybe, if I stop putting it off, I'll actually make one. I only have 15 minutes, 'cause then I've gotta go get the Sweet One from her Christmas party. CU was cute is that? CU are the Sweet One's crush's initials.

The list...
1. Clean up stuff around the house (this probably needs to be its own list so that I'll feel more like it's accomplishable)
2. Make a list of who I'm buying for and what they're going to get from me.
3. Beat the small one until he believes me when I tell him he's the kid and I'm the parent. (this can probably wait, but it would certainly be nice to accomplish before the big day)
4. Call the Tacoma Rescue Mission about serving meals on Christmas Day.
5. Figure out what to do with the boys during that time.
6. Come up with something really fantabulous that we can initiate as a new tradition since Michelle's gone. Something we've never done before that would honor and remember her.
7. Study for my TEST! This must be done by Thursday. My boss has mandated such.
8. Drop off donations at the Salvation Army. There's so much to go, another item.
9. Finish cleaning up my room and put all my clothes away (for real), getting rid of those that I don't need/want anymore.
10. Make that damn dress for the smallest grandchild.
11. Don't think of the project as a damn project, but rather as an intelligent expression of my, um, ability to do nice things for people I really don't know.
12. Tour a new day care.
13. Make a decision about changing day cares once and for all.
14. Bake?
15. Decide what I'm making for Christmas dinner.
16. Buy the ingredients for said dinner.
17. Pray more...ever...
18. Read the bible more....outside of Sunday during the sermon...
19. Trust God more....ever...without facing incredible adversity...

Ahhh...the Holidays! Better life through chemistry, and LISTS



So, I was sitting at home this afternoon, after my nap of course. I'm not sure what happened, but the walls started closing in on me. There's so much to do and I needed to run away from it!!!

After apparently picking a fight with Softie, that neither of us actually meant to have, I was out. Initially, the freedom was fantastic. I drove straight to the mall, completely alone! I knew that I wouldn't have to rush or deal with the pressure of little people needing everything that they see. YESS! It was going to be fun! Me and the world, in perfect harmony.

The weirdest thing happened though. In my running away by myself, I found myself face to face with a TON of ideas for gifts for the person in my life that's always the hardest to buy for.

Does everyone have one of those people? The person who you can't think of anything for or who will probably just take back everything they get, but would be completely offended by gift cards or pre-made little gift sets. They deserve more than a Meat and Cheese Box, but probably wouldn't like anything that you thought they would. They certainly wouldn't think anything of telling you what was wrong with what you chose for them.

She's always been hard to buy for. Our ideas of what is pretty or cool or worth having have always been so different. I've not ever really felt good about what I got for her, though I know that she's always enjoyed shopping for me. She always gets me very thoughtful things. Added to collections I have been building since childhood and special little things that only she could get for me.

Last year, I got her things for me. Is that actually selfish? I mean, I knew she wasn't actually going to be able to wear anything out or even use all of anything that I would get her. And I was right. She didn't make it consciously 2 weeks past Christmas. She didn't even remember what she'd given or received for Christmas only a few hours after our exchange.

But, you know what? I wish I had her to buy for this year. I saw the cutest pants at Old Navy, and this really neat thing of bamboo. There was special Asian plant food...she would have loved it.

Running away gets me nowhere. When will I learn?

Friday, December 8, 2006

something for real

I think I'm avoiding something. I have no idea what it is, but I'm not able to pull up any feelings. The last couple of weeks have been so busy at work and at home. Does this business that I'm filled with somehow inhibit my feelings? And if it does, can I stay this busy forever!?

Maybe I'm avoiding feeling anything about the impending holiday(s). Maybe the fact that I'm calling it an 'impending' holiday should tell me something about it. Most of the world is referring to it as Christmas or Happy Happy Joy Joy Time. For me...impending...interesting, I say.

I know this about myself, when I'm really supposed to be doing something that's really important and probably going to cost me something, I tend to get really busy. It's a flurry that I think I create so that I can attempt to avoid the really scary thing that I'm trying to get away from.

I have learned in the last 32 years or so, that this process that happens somewhat automatically in my planning life, doesn't actually work. What it does do though is accomplish TONS of meaningless things. I also am able to fully engage the adrenalin that I love coursing through my viens. I become pretty critical of other people's short-comings.

Okay, at this point I need to say that I'm not actually speaking generally when I say that. I'm speaking specifically of the HIPAA nazi at work. She's ridiculously engaged in her job. In her haste, she sent out this little desktop reference that probably cost the company a load of money. She, unfortunately completely neglected to get at least one more set of eyes on that which she had created. DUDE! Throughout is not spelled THREW OUGHT!!! So, is my ability to see this among many many other similar errors of hers related to my business or my general distaste for her? hmm....I think I'll judge myself more about that later.

Hey, lookie there. I wrote a little. I think that tomorrow, I might make a list of things to get done before the 25th (D-Day - and I'm hoping to be on the right side of the battle). Then, maybe I'll be more able to direct my business instead of letting my business drive me to insanity.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

I know...

It's probably cheating to load that many quiz results into my blog. That's more MySpace fodder.

On a side note, I've always liked the word "fodder". Too bad that little vocabulary test didn't ask what that means! I could have answered that one on the first try. But, I'm not telling you what it means...maybe that's the 5% Dixie in my American English dialect.


Here's the results after a little bit of work! YESS!!

Your English Skills:

Grammar: 100%
Punctuation: 100%
Spelling: 100%
Vocabulary: 100%

This one kinda made me nervous...

I think I'll work on my vocabulary and, um...grammar is so subjective, isn't it?? I'm KIDDING!!!

Your English Skills:

Punctuation: 100%
Spelling: 80%
Grammar: 60%
Vocabulary: 20%

This one is good!

Do you suppose I like this one best (so far) because it says I'm younger than I really am?

You Are 28 Years Old

Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

Okay. Yeah. I'm bored.

Your Linguistic Profile:
65% General American English
20% Upper Midwestern
5% Dixie
5% Midwestern
0% Yankee

I should??

This can not be real! I must work out more often than I know. Okay, I know that I took this silly little quiz. If I should, then I'm grief! I'll take my 150 and give up another 20 if possible! Thank you very much! 8-)

You Should Weigh 170

If you weigh less than this, you either have a fast metabolism or are about to gain weight.
If you weigh more than this, you may be losing a few pounds soon!

Monday, December 4, 2006

hey there world!

I've been trying to come up with something to post today. I can't think of much. I'm not sure. Maybe I've thought out a lot already. There was this one thing that I did keep thinking about as the day progressed.


There really are all different kinds. I've been challenged on several occasions to rank them for myself. The closest. The here and there. The here when they are, not for a while, and then back like no time has elapsed. The here for a time and never heard from again.

I've been challenged to realize that every encounter with every person either builds up or tears down on more than one level.

I am VERY blessed to have the friends that I do. Especially when I figure out that they love me like I love them.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

What the priests are really thinking...

Sometimes, it's good to be a geek!

I was posting here last night and it was all gross and plain text. I opened up a new post window today and the same thing appeared to be happening. There was no Font, Size, Bold, Italic, Text Color, Hyperlink, Text Alignment, Numbers, Bullets, Spell Check, Insert Pic, or any of that stuff.

AHHH....I fixed it! Welcome back little posting helpers!

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Christmas trees and memories

I've tried avoiding it for as long as I could, but the smallest mann made it nearly impossible to avoid for another minute. The Christmas Tree is up, lit, and decorated. It's looking a little bit more like December in here.

For me, it has been a day of tears. Some mixed with memories. Some with sadness. Some with all of the other emotions that are wrapped up inside this time of year.

When I picked up the Sweet One from band practice earlier, I started crying again. She's so sweet. She asked me what was wrong, and I told her there was nothing wrong. She didn't drop it or try to avoid it or think that I was telling the truth for a second. She does that, ya know? Encourages the truth out of you when you really want to appear stronger than that. I love her!

So, I admitted to her that Christmas really brings to mind that Michelle has been gone for nearly a year. That Christmas was the last day that we shared where she had her wits about her. From late in the day forward, she started down the slippery slope of mental deterioration.

I miss her. I love her. I don't know what Christmas is going to be like without her. And though I know I can't stop Christmas from happening, I'm not sure how I'll make it through.

I was reading another blog where the author's dad died a little more than a month ago. He's so positive that his dad is happy and looking down with smiles and all this good stuff.

That seems so, um, fake. I don't think he wants to come off that way. I know that I've not hidden my feelings about going to heaven. I'm thinking that spending time watching earth is not something I'll be doing. I'm pretty sure that the grandure of Heaven will be so superior to this place, that I'll probably not even think much about life before death.

My thoughts about life after death - even though I'm certain it will be much better than life on earth - do not make it very easy for me face the upcoming season without Michelle.

Anyway, that's what's in my head today.