Wednesday, October 31, 2007 again!

Well, I'm home again only to turn around and head out the door in a few hours. It was a mostly uneventful trip yesterday. The drive to Dallas wasn't too bad and the 3-hour layover in Chicago (Midway, not O'Hare!) could have been worse.
It was a bit odd trying to sleep last night. I do believe this is the first night I've spent totally alone in this apartment. It really shouldn't have been weird, I stay by myself all the time when I'm on the road. But... it still was. Who knows?
Today I'm heading out towards Pittsburgh. It'll be about a 5 or 6 hour drive. Sounds like fun, huh? At least the weather is looking nice.
Gak is still in Oklahoma right now. He'll be coming home on the 10th. He's got a lot of work ahead of him. He finished up getting dad's garden to the point where Brian can attack it with the weed eater. Now he's got to help his mom go through all the stuff in the house. She's got to go through all of Dad's old things and decide what to give away, what to trash and all that fun stuff. This has to be done soon because there needs to be room for Brian to move back in. We're still not sure exactly when he's moving back into the house, but I'll leave that up to everyone else to figure out.
I just mostly wanted to post this quick update to let you know that I'm home for the moment, but about to head out the door. I also wanted to point you to my Flickr for the pictures from the funeral. I have several more of Gak's dad and family, but they're all on CD and haven't made it to the computer yet. I'll try and get that done at some point.
Peace to all and may your life be not quite so hectic.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Catching My Breath

This week has been long and hard. Thank you Chelsea and Joe for your well wishes. Joe, I'll put a link up to your blog in a bit here. Joe is one of the guys I've worked with for years now. Well, actually, I guess he qualifies as customer, but I don't really like the sound of that. He's been using the software I support for longer then I've been with the company. I used to be the one primarily responsible for keeping his, and most of the rest of the Colorado systems up and running when they would call with problems. He's one of the ones I've missed talking with on a regular basis. You should hop over to his blog and check out his Flickr. He takes some very wonderful pictures of the amazing Colorado scenery. If I had scenery like that, I'd be able to take such amazing pictures too.
I'm still glad that they gave Gak's dad the honors they did. His parents met when they were both in the Navy. His mom didn't stay in long. She jokingly says she stayed in long enough to meet Gak's dad. Gak also served in the Navy. I'm proud of that fact. I'm proud of all my friends that have served this country in one form or another.
The last two days have been much less hectic than the rest of the week. Yesterday one of our good friends from school was coming down to Ada from Kansas for the weekend. We went over to Ada for the day and had a good time just hanging out. We got back a little late though. This afternoon Gak and I went back over there. Mind you, for those who have no clue about the geography of Oklahoma, where Gak's parents live is about an hour or so south of Oklahoma City. Ada is about 30-40 miles east-ish of the town they live in. Luckily, this means only about a 35 minute drive, even though it's all on back highways. Oklahoma is much more empty and much flatter than PA. This means travel tends to take less time. It's pretty country, but I miss roads that curve some days when I'm out here. Today was another calm day for us.
It was nice to just hang around with friends and relax. I just wish there was some way to get my Oklahoma and my Pennsylvania friends together. I'm pretty sure we'd all have a ton of fun.
Gak's mom had a bit of a rough day. She said she spent most of the day in a funk. Even though I've never been through the hurt and loss she has, I know this is normal. I try and tell her that, but I know it doesn't matter how many times I (or anyone else) say it, it doesn't matter. I don't like seeing her upset, but I know that all these emotions have to work themselves through her head and heart. There is a huge gap now. I'm afraid of how I'd feel if I lost Gak, and we've only been married 2 years now. They were married almost 40. I can't imagine the whole left in her heart.
Brian will be moving in here as soon as possible, mostly because he doesn't want to pay another month's rent if he's moving soon anyhow. (I'm not 100% sure I follow the logic, but that's OK.) I really think Gak's mom needs at least a little time to her self, alone. That's part of why Gak and I left today. (That and wanting to see our friends again.) She needs time when no one is around to judge her or try and console her as she goes through this loss. I'd never judge her harshly for loving her husband so much that she can't just smile and move on in a week. That's ridiculous.
Ok. I'm rambling and wandering, so I think I'll stop typing now. I'm going to go curl up with the Nintendo DS and play video games for a bit before passing out.
Peace to all and may you have many relaxing days with friends and many loved ones to help you up.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Goodbye James Richard Brady

Today we said our goodbyes to a wonderful man. I have to tell you, I'm kinda sick of people right about now. Not that anyone has been mean or stupid or anything like that. It's just that I'm on people overload, and I don't do well with that.
The funeral was nice. I'm not so sure how much I like the one preacher. There was something that just rubbed me and Gak the wrong way slightly. He wasn't mean or anything, or even pushy or slimy, just something didn't quite sit right. There were a few things that bugged me. For instance, around here Gak is known by his middle name. No big deal, it's just a little confusing for me. What was annoying is that in the obit they gave him the wrong first name instead of his initial. (For those few who haven't figured it out or don't know, Gak isn't his real name, but the name he usually uses online, so what I call him here and when we're in game...) Actually, I think what annoyed me most about that whole deal was the fact that his mother didn't want to use his first name in the obit. I tried hard to keep that to myself, but I'm not sure I seceded. The other thing was during the opening obit part of the funeral. The brother that I don't quite like was doing this part. He'd been over to the house a few nights ago talking with us about what we remembered. Unfortunately, both stories he told were from Brian, his brother. He attributed the one to Gak, but it wasn't. That just bugs me some times. Those were the annoying bits, but that's really not all that bad.
So many people knew and loved Gak's dad. He was a kind and wonderful man. He served this country in the Navy for 30 years. He served the county as a deputy for another 12. He was always kind to everyone, and that was made clear at the funeral.
Because of his service in the Navy, we were able to get some representatives from the guard unit in the City. The casket was draped with a flag. They gave him a 21-gun salute. They played taps. The flag was folded and presented to Gak's mother. It was very touching. It's nice to see the respect for a retired sailor, even though these kids wouldn't have known him from anyone on the street. Dad would have been deeply moved and very appreciative. The flag ceremony was the hardest part for me. That and seeing the slides of all the pictures we'd gathered. Gathering the pictures the other day, I was fine. Seeing them up there and displayed for everyone, that was hard. He really was a kind man. I know I keep saying that, but it's true.
I do have some pictures from the funeral, but I haven't downloaded them yet. I'll get them up soon.
Peace to all and may you enjoy your family while you have them.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Family update

Well, it's been a hectic few days, but I think things are beginning to settle a bit.
Our trip out here Saturday went well. Or about as well as it could all things considered. The first leg was fine, we had plenty of room. The second leg was quite painful, especially for Gak. We lucked out and were able to only have 2 of the three seats taken. That's where the good luck ends. The seats on this plane were much more closely packed together. Not good news for Gak. Even worse news was when the extremely large woman in front of him decided to recline her seat all the way back. I'm surprised Gak could breathe. The added insult was when she tried to use his knee as an arm rest! Luckily we made it to DFW in one piece and on time even. Getting the rental car was a bit painful, but it could have been worse. The ride home was long, but not bad because it was the middle of the night and very little traffic.
Sunday we had people in and out all day. We went over to the funeral home to make arrangements. All I have to say, is Uncle Raymond has been a blessing and a rock for mom. Considering they lost their brother earlier this year, it's been tough on them.
Gak's mom seems to be taking things in stride. There are good moments and there are bad moments. But she says it's getting a little easier for the moment. It'll be really bad at the funeral Thursday.
That's right, the funeral isn't until Thursday. That's because there were three deaths within a few hours on Saturday. The week prior was busy for the funeral home as well. You've got to remember, Paoli (said pay-o-lah) is a very small town of around 500. The funeral home is in Paul's Valley, which is quite a bit bigger, but still, this is small town Oklahoma we're talking about. This whole town has been hit hard in the past year. Some days it's like walking on eggshells when someone says "have you heard about so-an-so?"
Gak is doing fairly well. It was very hard when we went over to the funeral home yesterday to see his dad. His dad looks good, but there's no denying he's gone. That man had enough life to fill three houses with his energy. It's gone. The spark that was Jim is no longer there. It's quite sad, but it's peaceful. I'm here for my Bear and will be. I'm as here as I can be for his mom. I do care about her a lot, but I connected more with Gak's dad. His presence will be sorely missed.
Today Gak and I went up to Norman with one of his buddies from high school. We fiddled around a bit and bought a few things. We weren't needed at the house because Raymond had to take Mom over to Adda for a court hearing. She's been fighting for her disability Social Security for a few years now. The bad news is that her court hearing has been moved to January. The good news is that she'll probably get most of Dad's retirement. There have also been some other good news about things today. Things are looking up, at least for now. We will see what Thursday brings.
Well, everyone's home again so I'd better get off of here.
Peace to all and may your family be strong and full of love.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

OK. I Quit!

Well, you can take most of what I wrote in that last entry and kiss it goodbye.

James Richard Brady, we will miss you.

We honestly did think things were going well as of yesterday evening. I mean, we even enjoyed our evening here with friends playing on the Wii and relaxing (the football game was canceled due to rain). Gak started pricing tickets for January so we could find the best deal and let people know when we were heading out. The last conversation Gak had with his mom last night was that dad was resting quietly and was coherent and not calling his brother by the wrong name for the first time all week. We were still looking at a Wednesday release from the hospital.

This morning started out well too. I woke up kinda early, got their birthday presents ready to ship out and played on EQ a bit.

Gak had just showered and was getting ready for work when his phone rang.
It was his mom.
I didn't know it at the time, I was hanging out with Charitee and Syn in the game, trying not to let the mushroom men kill me.
From the bedroom I hear a "WHAT?!?!?!?!"
Uh-oh was all I could think.
I don't think I'll forget the look on his face. If someone could both be pale and beet red, he managed it.
His dad had passed.
We didn't make it home.
He will never get to use the blanket I made him for his birthday, which is Monday.

After a frantic hour or so, we call just about everyone we think we need to call. (Oh, I just remembered I have a dr. appointment on Tuesday I'll have to cancel...) We've got plane tickets. We're heading down to OK this evening. I'll be coming home on the 30th. Gak will be coming home at some point. We only got him a one-way ticket because of everything that's got to be taken care of now. It's OK. If we can book far enough out, a return ticket from OK on Southwest is less than $200.00 (closer to 100 actually...). We'll find the way to make it happen.
Gak had given me extra money out of his pay check yesterday, since everything was looking good, I went ahead and electronically paid bills with it to try and get ahead of the credit cards. Now, I really need that $300.00. We will survive. We have in the past. Mom is lending us the money to rent a car for the 10 days I'm out there. (I wouldn't have, but since we're getting in at 11pm and can't get ahold of Charlotte and I know another car will be helpful....) Mike, Gak's old boss lent us $300.00. He says he gave it to us, we say he lent it to us. Gak's going to pay it back and/or work hours for him over the holidays when things are hectic. This also means we won't be picking up a second car soon.

This is just one more reason I want it to be 2008 already. I'm trying to give up feeling good about the good news and overwhelmed by the bad. I'm trying really hard to just float through for the next few months. It won't happen. I'm an emotional person. I love my husband, my family and my friends too much.
Please, just let it be 2008.
Peace to all and hug your family close, we only get them for a short time.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Everyone Breathe....

Talk about a roller coaster of a week. Things seem to be on the upswing again.
I do feel guilty that I haven't called Gram this week. I really need to. I need to see if/when the week of my birthday would be good for me to come down and spend a little time with her. I know, it's a month off yet, but with my brain, I've got to start thinking about it now.

As far as Gak's dad goes, they think they finally figured out what the problem was. It wasn't a stroke, the EEG and CAT came back ok. They did a spinal Wednesday evening and that came back clear. They, somehow, finally figured out that he probably had a very mild heart attack, which coupled with the blood thinners, caused the brain to go a little flaky. He's been getting better and stronger and less restless and more with it the last two days. This is good. This makes us happy. If everything continues to go well, he will be released Wednesday. Here's hoping.
Gak and I aren't heading down to OK next week. There isn't much we can do at this point and it's not a huge emergency any more. Going down or not going down is a no-win situation as far as I'm concerned. If we go down there, we'll get yelled at for "wasting our money... it wasn't that big of an emergency... every thing's OK now"; but if we don't go now, in a couple of months the guilt trip of us being so far away and not coming home etc will start. Like I said, we can't win. It'll become something 'tragic' no matter what. I've resigned myself to this. We are, however, planning on heading down after the new year. Gak knows he and his brother have a lot of things to sort out between themselves and with their parents about situations. Neither of the parents are getting any younger, and this just proves that their dad's health isn't getting any better.

Well, the week is hopefully ending on a good note, so that's a start. This weekend should be interesting. I have no idea what, exactly, is planned. We may be going to the high school foot ball game tonight (if it stops raining long enough) because Al is working ticket sales. We may end up just crashing at our place or Kat's. We have no idea what's on tap for tomorrow either. Joanie and the kids may be showing up tonight or tomorrow, who knows. With her, I don't hold my breath. It'll be a crowded weekend, but we'll make the best of it. I half want a quiet weekend at home alone, but I know that would drive me insane almost as much as too busy. Looks like I still can't win, huh?
I've got a few odds and ends to tie up before I head out to pick up Gak. Peace to all and may your weekends be fun and your week easy.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Don't Taunt the Universe, in Any Way

One of Gak's and my favorite cartoons is Avatar. One of the characters is named Sokka. He doesn't always have the best of luck. One of my favorite scenes is when all the kids are on a stolen Fire Nation boat and the Fire Nation just figured out they weren't real. There was something that was coming after them and Sokka railed against the universe. Well, it turned out this sea creature swallowed up the Fire Nation boat about 5 second later. My favorite line is Sokka going "thank you The Universe!" It always makes me smile
Unfortunately, The Universe isn't being so friendly. (Yes, there is a connection here, just wait for it.) I've said many times, and several of them recently, that this year has been a rough one. I said that Gak's dad is in the hospital for a blood clot in his lung. Well, yesterday morning we get a call that they think he might have had a stroke. He's very disoriented and they actually had to restrain him. He's also been calling Brian Michael (Gak's middle name and what he went by growing up) for the past few days. Obviously, this hurts Brian to no end. It turns out that they're pretty sure (man do I love these 3rd hand answers....) that it wasn't a stroke, but it is a bad reaction to the blood thinner medications he's on. As of last night there was no change. Gak's mom told us that she didn't need us to come out right this minute, so we're holding off on making plans. Brian, however, is very pissy that we're 'not doing anything'. We would if we could. If we lived even as close as Missouri we'd have been in the car as soon as we were called and driven down. Unfortunately, we're not that close. We don't have the extra money floating around to buy plane tickets every time dad sneezes funny. As is, we won't be able to actually buy tickets if we're going down, until Friday when we both get paid again.
My boss already told me to just keep him in the loop. I told him if we do go, I'll be taking my computer and work on the manuals and stuff from wherever I am. He's fine with that. There's no need for me to be in here every day. Gak's district manager is also in the loop and just wants to know what's going on.
This scare has really brought home that Gak and Brian really need to make sure that mom will be taken care of if/when dad goes. Her response was that she was 'leaving it in God's hands'. to her, this means she doesn't have to worry, because God will take care of it all without her help. Well, you know my thoughts. My God isn't a micro-manager, so I'd better be doing something if I want help/guidance along the way. This means Gak and Brian are going to have to sit down with her and make sure they know where all the paperwork for the house, the taxes, the insurance and the like is. Also any wills and funeral arrangement requests. It's not an easy thing to talk about or do. But with dad's health so precarious lately, it has to be done. The only thing I can do is be there to hold Gak and be strong for him. I can't make these decisions. I can't get the information out of his mother. I can hold him and tell him that it will be OK in the long run. Most days that doesn't seem like enough, but it will have to be.

So, unless you want the Universe laughing in your face, don't get too comfortable and don't ask what's next. At least not until the calendar reads 2008, then it might be safe again.

As always, I'll keep you posted. Peace to all and may you have an easy week.

Monday, October 15, 2007

More Monday Musings

I know I've used the title before, so therefore these are more musings.
Just a few little things today.
Work has been a Monday, mostly in the unproductive sense. I did get a few important things done, like getting a project approved by my boss. I've had several requests for slightly modified or customized training this year. Well, with the current setup, it's almost impossible. What I've decided to do is to change how my manuals are set up and to make it completely modular. This will make it so much easier to substitute a section or drop or add one. It will be a lot of work, but not too hard, as I'm very happy with where the training material itself stands. Mostly it'll be breaking it down and moving it into the new format and updating a few things. Mostly stuff I need to be doing anyhow. I've got a few weeks here in the office yet this month and December is looking almost light too. I really want to get this done by the end of the year, but will be satisfied if it gets done by March. My aggressive timeline surprised my boss, he originally said he'd be thrilled if I could do it by the end of March. I need a shorter timeline, if I'm going to keep my interest up and actually accomplish it. March is too far away and it'll just get pushed aside.

I called my Gram last night. She seems to be doing about as well as expected. She was glad to hear that my brother, and hopefully Becca, will be up for the holidays. Right now where most of her pain is, is in her hip and neck and not related to the cancer. Her hip is arthritis and her neck is muscular in nature. The treatments she's been having for her neck have been hurting her worse in the long run, so she wasn't going to go today. Today she decided she was going to have fun. She was planning on going to play reading and a few other things. She is trying to put her best, happiest face forward and hide her pain inside. All I have to say is do what you've got to do! She's decided that she's just not strong enough in body for the chemo. She's already anemic. She decided she didn't want to go through the process of convincing herself this was what needed to be done, only to be turned down after a round of testing. Like I said, she's going to try and enjoy things now and swallow the pain. I hope she can. I just want her to be happy and as pain free as possible. I still hate the thought that there's a loud ticking clock hanging over every conversation, but I, too, am trying to make the best of it. She's a fighter and will hold on as long as she can be without insurmountable pain. I'm not saying she'll give up when the pain is too much, but that she'll accept it and move on with as much grace and dignity as she can. She's always been dignified in my book, even when she's been in some tough situations. She's tough as nails and will fight for what's right, but never in a mean, dirty way.

Well, that's about it for me today. I've got to wrap up a few things and head out the door to pick up Gak and actually have dinner with him! I know, what a shocker, three nights in a row! (Don't worry, he's got Warhammer tomorrow, so I'll be on my own with the laundry...)
Peace to all and may you find the inner peace to deal with whatever life hurls your way. (Either that or learn to duck! Quack!)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Windown Weekend

Well, this has been a calm weekend, for the most part.
Gak worked a few hours yesterday. His manager wasn't happy when he got there and Gak pretty much just said "See ya, I've got my 40 hours in." We also found out Friday that his new store manager gave his two-weeks notice. He's the whole reason that this personnel shuffling was taking place. Apparently, many people just couldn't stand working with the guy. Oh well. Hopefully it'll get better from here.
I was a total lazy butt for the most part. I got a little crocheting done. I recently joined over at Ravelry. I'm not sure how much I like it. It's an interesting place to put my projects and stuff, but I'm just not into the forums and such. I have Crochetville for that and they're some pretty great people. Also, even though Ravelry is open to crochet and knit, about 90% of the projects etc that are up are knit. I don't mind. I admire a lot of the projects, but that's as far as it goes, it's not that much of a resource for me to find things for me to do. Unless I attempt to learn to knit. I'm not sure I really want to. I've got one addiction as it is. Also, crochet seems to travel more easily. I just wish I could afford the beautiful yarns that are being used mostly by knitters. My acrylic is good enough, but there are times that I really would like a nice cotton, or some spiffy sock-weight yarn that you just can't get at one of the 'big box stores'.
Ok, enough yarn ranting.
I must remember to call my grandmother when I'm done here. I just need to say hi. Other family news... my brother, and hopefully Becca, will be home for the winter holidays. I'm looking forward to that. Any chance to catch up with Jon is a good one. It'll be great to see Becca again if she comes. She's a lot of fun, I can see why my brother likes having her around.
As far as Gak's family goes, his dad is back in the hospital again. We got a call yesterday afternoon from his mom. Friday night she took him into the ER because he wasn't breathing right. It turns out he has a blood clot in his lung. We haven't heard back from anyone today, but I'm going to continue with the no news is good news assumption. If we don't hear anything in a day or so, we'll try calling his mom or his brother. This has been a rough year for everyone. I can't wait for it to be over.
That's about it from this end of things. Peace to all and I hope you've had a relaxing weekend.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Rant Ahead

First off, happy belated birthday to Gak's mom! Her birthday was yesterday and I forgot to mention it.

Ok. Now onto some serious rantage. I'm frustrated and cranky and don't care who knows it. If you don't want to hear me bitch, whine and moan, come back later.

I ranted some about Gak's job situation last night. The one good thing is that he talked with one of the other guys who got moved (at least part of the time) to this store and between the two of them, they're going to start fixing things. They're both fed up with stuff. I say good for them and hopefully they'll be rewarded at some point for this, even if that reward is just being able not to have to work that store...

Yesterday was actually one of the days that Gak didn't work late, but I still ate at home alone. I was actually OK with this, because I told him to go out. He was playing Warhammer with a couple of the guys. I know he needs this time to go hang out. He enjoys it. It, usually, keeps him out of trouble. I do wish, however, and just because I'm in a cranky mood, I'd gotten to spend 10 minutes with him while I was awake last night. Oh well. I told him to go and knew he wouldn't be home until late.
I didn't have the most fun of evenings. For some reason, dinner didn't stay put. Luckily, I didn't make too big of a mess. It was totally random and I was fine 5 minutes later. Who knows?
Let me just complain about my body here for a few. Before I got pregnant, I could tell when it was about that time because I'd break out a bit at the temples and my chin. Then while I was pregnant, I didn't break out at all. Now, I'm breaking out all over. In the middle of my face, my ears even! Everywhere. I haven't broken out this bad since I was about 15! It won't stop and I know it's due to hormones being messed up, but still. I'm almost 32 for cryin' out loud! Also, I think my kidneys or bladder are in rebellion. Either that or the fact that I've started trying to actually drink as much water as you're supposed to is catching up to me. I'm fine most of the day, but then starting in the afternoon, I can't seem to go more than 3 hours or so without having to pee! Those who know me, know that I have a bladder like a camel and usually go most of the day without having to take a potty break. It's one thing when I'm home and just doing whatever, but when I'm actually asleep for a change... grrrrrrr. I mean, I'd understand if I was still pregnant and had a baby dancing on my bladder, but I'm not and I don't. I'm chronically exhausted these days and just generally crappy feeling. This just isn't fair. If there was an aparent reason for it or if I was still pregnant, I'd be able to deal with it better. Don't get me started on my weight and exercise programs, or lack there of these days. That's almost all my fault and I fluctuate between not giving a damn and being so pissed off at myself I can't stand it.

Ok, more than enough body issues...

Work's been a real peach the last few months as well. I didn't think the morale could get much lower here. Every day I come into the office, I'm surprised, and not in a pleasant way. Things just keep getting worse. I wasn't here last week when they announced some organizational changes. From what I've heard from people, it won't be good. If anything, it'll make things worse. I didn't think that was possible. The people running this business have no idea what they're doing or how to sell to this kind of market. We don't make big pieces of equipment or sell shrink-wrapped software you can just pull off the shelf and install. Every project is different, in some way, shape or form. I appreciate the thought of standardization, most people around here do. There is a lot we can standardize, but there will always be things that will be unique about each project. I just don't think the management gets it. Also, there isn't an actual business leader right now. Our old one took a new position back in August and we were told they were actively looking and were trying to find the right person. They wanted to hire someone soon, but not the wrong person. (In other words, it may be until next August before we have a new, actual, business leader....) This just adds to the fact that we haven't had a product leader in over 1.5 years now. There's been talk of finding one of those, but I'm not holding my breath. Despite what management type people say, it truly feels as if they're trying to run this place into the ground. It really is time for me to stop complaining and just get the heck out of here. The problem is still in figuring out what I want to do and find something that will pay, hopefully, as well as this is. I just can't win here.

Finally, this is less of a rant and more of just general frustration on this part. I did talk to mom last night. All I can say is somebody stop the emotional roller coaster, I want to get off. The latest news is that there is cancer throughout my Gram's body, mostly in her bones. Very wide spread. So widespread they can't do radiation therapy. There's no one spot to hit. What's bothering her most is her hip, and right now the doctor thinks it is arthritis, not cancer, so radiation wouldn't help that anyhow. The doctor's first response was that he wasn't going to do chemo either because of her age. Well, needless to say, this totally pissed my grandmother off. She's as feisty as her aunt and father, and they were a feisty pair. Her response was "you're not going to just throw me away like that!" She is bound and determined to make it to February. She's hoping and praying she will. Both of her parents didn't make it to 85, her father by only a very short time if I remember right. She really wants to outlive them. I don't blame her. The doctor did consent to possibly doing a smaller dose weekly instead of a higher dose every three weeks, but won't until she's read everything he gave her and had a week to sleep on it. I'm pretty sure if she thinks this will get her to February, she'll go through the pain, agony and illness of it.
I really, really, really, really hate the thought of loosing her. Part of me is resigned to the thought, but most of me is really pissed off at the thought. I know I shouldn't be, because I am almost 32 and how many people have grandparents at this age? My mom did, but her mom and her grandparents both married and had kids 'early' for this day and age. In a way this just makes me more pissed off about loosing the baby. The one thing my grandmother has wanted for the last several years is to be a great-grandmother. I was so happy that not only was I making my dream of being a mom come true (and Gak's dream of being a dad), but also making her wish to be a great-grandmother come true too. Now I probably won't get that pleasure before she goes. I think that's what makes me the most angry and sad. I can't do anything to make her happy right now. Not in the "you can't do anything right" sense, but in the soul-fulfilling joy that I want her to have, the joy that starts at the heart and shines in the eyes and every fiber of her being. She never has and never will judge me badly or think ill of me. She's been my champion and friend for as long as I can remember. I hope I have many, many more months with her around, even if they are numbered and shadowed by pain.

Well, I've been ranting long enough and got just about everything off my chest. I really need to attempt to get some work done.

Peace to all and hopefully my next post won't be so angry.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What a Week... and It's Only Wednesday!

First off, Gram had her doctor's appointment yesterday. No, I have no information, or I'd share it. I'm going to be optimistic and say no news is good news.
Ok. Now that that's out of the way....
This has been a long week and it's only Wednesday.
I really, truly think Gak has gotten the raw end of the stick with this move of stores. His old manager was just a disorganized kid. This guy seems to be an idiot jerk. Yes, Gak has 40 hours this week, over 6 days, and 4 of those days he is closing.... oh, wait, make that 3, his Friday schedule got changed. This means, that even though I'm home this week, I won't see him for more than an hour until Friday evening. There are also several other little things, and not so little things, that are driving Gak batty. It's bad enough that they leave $300 in EACH register. (Last I checked, $150 could give you a good assortment of change...) They also leave those registers UNLOCKED overnight! So, there's $600.00 almost unsecured on the floor and only $200.00 in the safe.
Say what?!?!
Yes, you heard me.
Heaven forbid something happen when Gak closes one night. I'm afraid of what would happen.
There are also some little things, housekeeping of stock and the like that aren't what they should be. I hope like crazy this is something temporary and that Gak can either manage to fix/get fixed the problems (real and potential) or he goes to another store that's better run.
These late nights and long days have been making him cranky. (He did a favor and worked a few hours for his old boss and opened that store on Monday, and then didn't get done until 9:30 at his new job.)

My week's been a ton of fun too. And that's only a semi-sarcastic statement.
I've had several of the sales team in this week. Most of them are quite entertaining people. I like a good number of them, some are OK and there are a few I wish I could drop kick.
My part of the training went well. Mostly. They all seemed to enjoy my presentation and were interested in most of what I had to say. Where the trouble is, is with their organization and bosses. It was hard to keep them on track at times, but it was enjoyable none the less.
There was a dinner last night, which was entertaining. I was really happy because it was right near my house. The only problem being that Gak was working late so not only couldn't he join us, but I had to go pick him up. Actually, this was a convenient excuse for me to leave. I did enjoy myself, but It was getting late, I wanted to go home and I was tired.
We wrapped that up today, so I actually get tomorrow and Friday to do my other work. I've got a few frustrating things to deal with there. Joy. Oh well, the week is halfway over now. Yay!

I will update about Gram whenever I know something. I'll probably call mom tomorrow if she doesn't call me this evening.

Peace to all and may your weeks be better than ours.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


This has been a good weekend. Yesterday there was a "fall festival" here in town. There were a few community things and some bands playing. I could hear a bit of it from our apartment. The coolest part, however, was the classic cars. Most of them were pretty cool, but not overly outstanding. There was one real antique with a kick butt paint job.

Gak had to work yesterday. He called me on his way home to see if I was showered and dressed. I was. He said he wanted to take me out to dinner. We went to Texas Road House down near the mall. Of course, this means we stop at Best Buy and look around. Gak picked up the Superman Doomsday DVD. We watched it. It was pretty good. I really enjoyed the "behind the scenes" of the whole creation of the comic arc. It had lots of neat info.
We then stopped in the Game Stop right beside the Best Buy. They had just gotten a used Wii in. Gak had set aside enough from this pay check to get one. So we did. We got the used Wii (it still had it's box and all the paperwork and everything!) and picked up Paper Mario as well. We also picked up a second controller and today Gak picked up a used copy of Wii sports. Man is it fun!
Today Ed, Buffie, Katie and Nik came over for dinner. It was good. Katie's birthday is tomorrow, so I made cupcakes and a lasagna casserole. After dinner we played on the Wii a bit. Katie really needs to learn patience. Hopefully it will come in time, but Ed is her dad... Actually, he has a lot of patience, when he needs to. It was an enjoyable evening. Hopefully in the next week or two we'll get together again to play Killer Bunnies. Buffie wants to play this time, which is really cool. I really do enjoy being able to have my friends over and relax. And man, Nik is getting HUGE! I mean, he is almost a year old now, but geeze.
I'm not looking forward to this week 100%, but that's because I've got the sales team coming in for training. At least I am not responsible for all of it. Also, Gak's got to work most evenings this week, so I'm on my own pretty much all week for dinners. Nothing new there, except for the fact that I'm at home. I'm not sure I mentioned it earlier this week, but a few days ago, he was informed he was changing stores. Luckily this one is still close to the house, but far enough away, that walking is out of the question. I guess we'll have to break down and get a second car soon.
Well, peace to all and I hope you all have had good weekends.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Well... it looks like after almost a week of nothing from me, you get updates three days in a row!
Training went well as did my drive back to Bakersfield. My flight leaves in the morning and I'm glad.
Just wanted to post a few quick updates. Gak's dad had shoulder surgery today. After finally tracking down his brother, all is well. (The scary part is, we're getting more and better info from Brian than from Gak's mom these days... We had to get the info of what was being operated on and when from him, his mom was just being tragic and didn't tell us diddly...)
I told you last night that Gram had her PET scan yesterday. Well, today she had an appointment with her regular doctor. According to what she told my mom and mom told me, it wasn't good. I have no idea what that means. I know that they moved her oncologist appointment up to Tuesday instead of the 15th or whenever it was going to be. I know that the doctor made some mention to Gram about thinking about moving out of her apartment. I have no idea what's going on. All I know is I'm on an emotional roller coaster with this one. I've been either extremely optimistic or fatally in denial for the past year since all her problems started shortly before Thanksgiving. I still don't want to face the possibility of loosing her. Not now, not ever. She's my only grandparent and the thought of loosing her is about as painful as the thought of loosing Mom, Dad, Jon or Gak. Loosing Kat would only be a hair less painful. Maybe it would be different if her mind was going, but she's as sharp as ever... just in a boatload of pain. It really hurts to see her being betrayed by her body so badly. It almost would seem like a blessing to have her mind and body fail at the same time... but probably not. I'd have to ask Michelle... her last grandparent is slowly disappearing due to Alzheimer's. That really can't be a whole lot better...
Ok. All I'm doing is wallowing in self pity and that won't help anyone. It sure as hell can't do anything for Gram and all it will do is make me toss and turn all night and be really cranky tomorrow. She's lived a good long life and when it's done, it'll be done. I'll just have a huge void that'll have to be filled somehow. Like I said, she's my only grandparent. Ever. Well, almost. Dad's parents died before I could remember them. Gram's father died when I was about 9, but I barely remember him and her mom died when I was 12 or 13, but we were never close.

I hope everyone can have a good weekend. Gak works tomorrow but has off Sunday. He got moved stores. Apparently some chick at the store he's moving too had issues working with some of the people there so a lot of people got royally shuffled around. Oh, other news on the job front; Kat starts her new job Monday, literally about a mile (less as the crow flies) from my work. It's been a long time coming, but I really hope this one pans out as well as it is sounding.
Peace to all and don't take your family for granted. We're only granted their presence for a limited time.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Continuing California

Today was a pretty good day. I had another 6 people, and the training went well and smoothly. Well, except for the places where for some reason our system decided to bomb out. I've only seen some of the errors they're getting at one other plant, and that was yesterday's!
Since it was only operator training again, this meant I had most of the afternoon free. I really wish I'd had my dad with me today. I spent the afternoon driving around, enjoying the scenery, listening to Jazz on the satellite radio and stopping at a winery. I think Dad would have enjoyed it very much. I always think about Dad when I'm out for a drive, especially if I have Jazz on the radio. Jazz is traveling music to me. It's what Dad always put on while we were in the car. That or it is a Saturday afternoon and he's in the basement reading. (The funny thing is, the image that I have in my head is from the house in Kansas, not PA... we haven't lived there in over 20 years and have spent way more time in the PA house....) I enjoy it very much and it's very comforting music, even the more pointed sounding stuff. It reminds me of family road trips and comfortable weekends. Mom would have enjoyed the trip, but I really wish Dad had been there. I like going on drives with him.
The one winery I made it to was pretty nice. I can't remember the name off the top of my head. I didn't buy any wine though. While it was all very nice, none of it seemed better than, or even very different from, any of the others there. There was one nicely 'chewy' red and a nice crisp white, but nothing that really stood out and said 'take me home'. (That and I looked at the prices... oops.)
No, I don't have any pictures. Where I'd stopped the area wasn't the best photographically and the light wasn't very good either. It was still too early in the afternoon to get any good shadow definition or slanted lighting. Although, the lighting this morning on my way up to the site was great. Of course, you can't drive down the freeway and take pictures at the same time. It's dangerous to everyone involved. I also didn't stop anywhere else, even though I drove for about another hour or so. I was going to stop at a park, but just couldn't bring myself to pay the parking for 20 minutes. And the light still wasn't right. Yes, I'm a light snob. But I take photographs, not snapshots. (Even if I do use a point-and-shoot digital.)
Just thought I'd let you know what a nice afternoon I had.
Oh, yeah, I also talked to my Gram tonight. Last night I said she had a PET scan scheduled for next week. I was mistaken, it was today. She said the test went very smoothly. We should have some much more definitive answers in a week or so when we get the test results back. My friend in the office who has successfully fought off lung cancer told me that she should get a PET scan and that would more definitively tell us if it's cancer or something else. When I told Gram this tonight, she was very happy to hear it. She's been in tons of pain recently. Also, the not knowing and the waiting is horrible. I mean, once you know what a problem is, you can fix it or learn how to manage it to make it not so bad. Not knowing means you're loaded up on pain pills and anxiety. Not a good thing at all.
I'll let you know what and when I know.

Peace to all and may you find a pleasant way to spend a pretty afternoon.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

California Catchup

This is a pre-recorded message… soon we will return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

(I’m writing this Tuesday morning when I don’t have an Internet connection…)

First let me apologize to my handful of regular readers for the lack of posting. For most of the past week or so I’ve come down with a big case of “IDontCare”. Last week really was a very uneventful week. I spent a large chunk of it putting together the materials for next week. It was a bit painful. Partially because I needed info from other people and then when I got it, it wasn’t really what I needed. The other reason it was painful was because I had a hard time convincing myself it wasn’t just busy work. I don’t do things like that very well. Ask any of my professors how many of the ‘research’ reports I ever turned in. Ask any of my high school teachers what percentage of homework I actually turned in. If it doesn’t seem useful, I have a very hard time getting myself to do it.
I still have a handful of things on my list of tasks from September that just haven’t been finished. I’ll get there, I hope.

This week I’m here in California. This is going to be a bit a painful trip. I have no idea about the students, but hopefully that’ll be ok. I’m looking at this purely from a travel perspective. I had about a 16 to 18 hour travel day yesterday. It was a three-plane trip day and then about another 2 hour drive on top of that. Getting to California can be painful enough, but getting to the middle of the state is really painful.
Where I stayed last night is nothing more than a glorified truck stop it seems. It also stinks of cow manure. (Not inside, but as soon as you set foot outside… UGH!) After I train today, I’ve got about a 1.5 or 2-hour drive to my next stop. Luckily, where I’m staying is a bit larger and supposedly nicer. The biggest drawback is that it’s about a half hour from where I’m training Wednesday and Thursday. Thursday evening I drive back to Bakersfield, which at this point is about two hours away because I fly out early Friday morning. It shouldn’t be quite such a long travel day Friday, but the layovers are a little shorter than I like. We’ll see.

Ok. I’ll hopefully have an Internet connection tonight. I should, I’ll be at a Hampton Inn. I’ll upload this and maybe add some more about today.

I hope everyone’s had a good week.

OK Back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Today was actually a good day. It was a short training day, since it was only operator training. I had a fun group of people, which always makes the day much better.
The drive out to where I am now was about as long as yesterday's drive, but not quite so boring and long feeling for some reason. It was really bright and everything was still that monochromatic desert brown broken up by random splotches of green groves.
I'm staying in a wine country region. Of course, that's a little hard not to do in California. As I'm typing this in the lobby of my hotel (the wireless signal wasn't strong enough in my room) I'm enjoying a complimentary glass of local wine. Don't ask me what it is. It's a fruity, sweet white and I'm enjoying it. This is a very nice way to relax for the evening. Too bad I have to check the work email after I post this.
I think this will be a good week overall, even with all the driving. That is, if the people at the other two plants are as cool as these guys were. We had fun and a handful of laughs. The site is a little messed up and I talked to the engineer about it. Most of it will have to be turned over to the software people. They are getting some of the strangest errors I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot in the last 7 years.

Let me sum up the health news for the family: We're not sure if Gram has bone cancer, Paget's disease or both. We know she has Paget's, but there are some other things going on that might be bone cancer. We hope to find out more when she has a PET scan next week. Mom is in PT for her arm. It turns out that is probably isn't the tendons in her arm, but in the wrist. Zoe is out of her cast, but Ed is in one. (He broke his arm playing football with some guys from work... silly boy!) Dad's still grumpy, cranky and worries too much about Mom, Gram and me. Jon seems to be enjoying Becca's company and Abi is trying to figure out a new relationship. Chelsea and Michael seem to be doing well too. I think that about covers all the news...

Peace to all and may you have fun days, relaxing evenings and lots of time with friends, family and loved ones in general.