Dad – Behind every great daughter is a truly amazing dad


My last post about my dad was back in June.  I just went back and read it about 3 times.  Loved looking at the photos and remembering him how he was.  He has always been the most influential man in my life.  He lifted my self-esteem (Sami, you are my favorite!). He helped me grow great work ethics (It’s better to do a job right the first time then have to re-do the job) and a superb ability to out stubborn anyone (Sami, always admit when you are wrong, but if you are right, never back down).  He developed in me a crazy ability to laugh at my own jokes, even if no one else did and to tell really, really terrible jokes (Little Johnny was in the classroom and had to go to the bathroom, he raised his hand and said…).

I am who I am because of him.

My Daddy was my hero. He was always there for me when I needed him. He listened to me and taught me so many things. But most of all he was fun.
—Bindi Irwin

No worries, he’s still here.  But he’s aging, getting sick, being hospitalized, getting out, continuing on with his crazy life, going a little crazy at times, getting sick again, acting like a child, getting old, and just moving through life faster than I want him to.

Years ago he said to me as we were sitting in a dive bar in Spokane, “Sami, you see that young man walking through that door? How old do you think he is?” I looked at the young man walking in the bar and said, “Well he’s at least 21!”  Dad said, “Yeah, at least 21!  That’s how I see myself when I think of myself.  Then I walk by a mirror and I think….who is that old man looking back at me.  I can’t imagine it’s me.  I never feel that way.  I can’t imagine it’s me.  I really can’t”

We both sort of laughed about it and moved on with our lives.  Fast forward about 20 years.  I feel what he felt sometimes.  But I feel it more when i look at him now.  Especially being so far away from him.

When I was working in Nepal, I had just gone through the earthquake and so was a little shattered and scattered and I happened to call him up.  He didn’t sound like himself at all.  I was convinced he had had a minor stroke.  I rushed home as quickly as I could.. which is a feat.. let me tell you.  The folks I worked for were super amazing and supported me through this emotional roller coaster.  I arrived back in Spokane and for the most part it seemed like all was well and I had panicked for no reason at all.  Except, every once in a while, he would sort of tear up.  Right before I was due to leave for my next assignment, I met up with him and he looked ecstatic.  I asked him why he was so darn happy all of a sudden.  He told me he had received GREAT news from the doctor.. all of his tests came back clean and he was as healthy as an old horse like him could be.  So, apparently there had been a reason for me to sort of panic.  Dads.. what are you gonna do.

Well, about 3 good years later and here we go again.  A few weeks ago, I got a call from my sister.  She said, “Dad’s been in the hospital with heart and kidney problems.  He also has pneumonia.  Apparently he had been in an auto accident several  weeks ago and didn’t tell anyone.”  He checked himself out of the hospital because he didn’t want to stay there. Wouldn’t follow any of the doctor’s recommendations and was being a pain in the butt to everyone.  She flew to Arizona and worked him through his situation and attitude. Got his meds worked out and sent some pictures to help my other sister and i get emotionally prepared for whatever might happen.

Snidely Whiplash

This is a little doohickey dad found in a parking lot. Snidely rode with my dad for nearly 40 years when he was a truck driver. I began using it as a “keep dad safe” lucky charm.

Over the course of the past few weeks, my sis has been going from Washington to Arizona to check in on him, get him set up with doctors, physical therapy.  I’m not sure what I would have done, or how I would have handled it without her.  It’s been super stressful and emotional.  It’s so weird to see him in this position.  It breaks my heart.

When I think of him that is now how I see him.  I can’t imagine it’s him.  In my minds eye and in my heart, that’s not how I see him.  Then I look at these pictures or see him in person and I think….who is that old man looking back at me.  I can’t imagine it’s him.  I really can’t.

Then, as I was writing this blog, literally just now, my sister sent me the below messages and photos.

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I catch my breath and in my head say, “Thank you!!” Because now, for a minute at least,  I can imagine him .. how I think of him ..

Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes.
—Gloria Naylor

 

A few of my favorite things – 2013 in review


Thanks to all who have been following my blog, commenting on it and actually enjoying it.  I really appreciate your comments.  I mean I really, really do.  I have enjoyed and have been inspired my many of your posts as well.  Thanks again to all who have stopped by and even nominated me for special awards. In honor of the end of an old year and the beginning of a new year I am going to highlight the past year with some of my favorite, favorite photos from 2013.

I left Venezuela in December of 2012 and from Venezuela went and visited my children in Washington State, from Washington, I took a train with my youngest daughter and her son to Chicago and then went on to New York.  After a few weeks in New York I traveled down to DC and on to North Carolina for a week.  After North Carolina I went back to DC and began an 8 month Nepali language course.  During the course I had several old friends visit me in DC.  Some friends were from the military and some were from high school.  I took trips to New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Richmond, VA.  I went to wine tastings and food festivals.  Finally I passed my Nepali test and WOW.. ended up in Kathmandu, Nepal.  Those are the nuts and bolts.

What happened emotionally for me was some beautiful births from family and long-time friends.  My sister got married and the wedding was such a touching and emotional event for me. I can’t adequately describe to you now nor to my sister at the time at how proud of her I was and glad I was to be her sister. I had emotional break downs with my older sister who got me to laughing and re-thinking my state. Man I love that girl.  I was able to meet up with family and friends I haven’t seen for so long and it was like time had never passed.  There was a completely unexpected death of a very amazing young friend that shook me to the core.  I’m still dealing with some of the emotions that came from that. I was able to find a very old and dear friend that meant so much to me for so long and from that I had to come to terms with some truths about life and love.  Letting go and reconnecting, meeting new friends and re-affirming long time friendships. I have spent a lot of time this year coming to terms with who I am and what I’m willing to accept and realizing that there are some serious changes in me that need to take place. There was awe, joy and great satisfaction at people, places and things and personal accomplishments.  There was shock, horror and extreme emotional despair at people, places and things and a new-found understanding of life in general. I put up way too many photos here but there were tons more that could have been used.  No photo can clearly express how I am feeling at this moment of remembering all of these things and right now there are no more words to say.

To all, have a prosperous and happy (focus on happy) New Year. Stay safe.

I hope you enjoy.

A memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely unhappen.  ~Edward de Bono

Have a safe and happy new year.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,100 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Attractions in 2013

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Some of your most popular posts were written before 2013. Your writing has staying power! Consider writing about those topics again.

Click here to see the complete report.

Memories are all we ever really have…


This is a difficult thing to write out.  I lost a good friend this weekend.  Part of me doesn’t want to talk about it but part of me needs to.  I don’t know if it is something I have to do to help me come to terms with such a loss or if it is because I want to share with everyone I know what they will not really hear about from the news… from others who did not know her.  Her name was Anne.. we were friends and co-workers.

I know that I wasn’t her BEST friend.  However, Anne had a way of making everyone feel that they were.  She had a way of giving everyone the type of attention that just made them feel very special.  She had an infectious smile and a wicked sense of humor.  We had spoken less than a week ago and she was telling me she was enjoying her time but looking forward to coming back to the states and preparing for her next posting.  Everyone I know was looking forward to her coming back and just looking forward to watching her advance through her career.

She was an amazing young lady who had so much ahead of her.  Barely 2 years older than my oldest daughter yet with so much poise, grace, humor, humbleness and intelligence.  She was a beautiful person who was loved and respected by everyone.  She was half my age and yet I looked up to her and wished I could be so eloquent, so kind and so beautiful inside and out.   I had been asked to write a review of her for a position she was applying for and I never once had to pause and think of something to say that might fit into a category that would make her “qualify” for anything.  She qualified for everything on her own merit.  She was honest, hard-working and most of all caring.

I spent almost 2 years working with her in Venezuela.  When it came time for all of us to start looking for our next postings, true to her nature she applied for and received an outstanding position that really suited her personality as well as her ability.  She would be working in a public affairs office in a country desperately in need of a person (of people) like her.  She chose this position because it carried with it the opportunity to do something she loved and felt was worthwhile.  She really did believe that she could change the world.

Anne was with a group of people who were presenting books to a school in a little town in Afghanistan.  These books were written by American authors but translated into the local language to help present a different picture of the world for these young kids.  They were gifts to children that really don’t have much else.. especially in the way of education.  Anne believed in this work and was very excited about this opportunity.

Sadly, she and other members of the military and civilian community were killed and others were injured.  You can watch the news or read the papers to get all the sick details.. I don’t have the stomach for it right now.  They were allegedly not the intended targets.. just some people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.  In my opinion, there is really never a right place for the hate that was demonstrated that day.  I don’t understand the type of people who commit these atrocities.. the sickness.. the hatred.. I don’t understand the rationality… largely because there is none.

I do understand that this was the job she chose.. and she chose it with serious consideration. The newspapers wrote amazing things about her.. everyone has spoken of her sacrifice and how she died making a difference.  They wrote of how she chose this job only with the motive of making a difference.. which she was doing…so many amazing photos and memories and kind words everywhere about her.  These words and things right now are no consolation to me. I know in time they will be.. but…

…right now I’m devastated .. sadly I have to get up in the morning and continue on.  I’d like to take a week to mourn.. but even a week would not bring her back.  It’s beyond anger that I feel. I know that there is always room for hate and anger.. and that is what those people want.. I don’t want to give it to them.. I won’t give it to them.

I want to think of Anne only as how I remember her.. spontaneous, strong and kind.  I want to try to only think of the good things about her and the fun times we had..and to remember she did die making a difference… even though at this time that makes no difference to those of us left behind….

Life is precious.. and memories are all we ever really have .. keep the good ones.  Thanks for listening.

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How to Get Lucky


Loved this article enough to reblog it.. It was written so much better than I could have hoped to express it… Luck takes practice, chances and a lot of hard work… I highly recommend everyone go out and get lucky at least once a month.. Getting “lucky” in life becomes second nature once you make it a habit..good luck with your endeavor…

Everywhere Once

On good days I accept it as a compliment; a sincere expression of admiration. Other times, though, it’s hard not to take the meaning literally.

“You’re so lucky.”

Lucky. The word hangs in the air like an accusation.

In many ways we are lucky. We’re lucky to have been born to middle class families in the richest country on earth. We’re lucky to have been raised by loving parents; to have received a good education; to have our health and all of our faculties. I’m immensely grateful, every day, for my good fortune.

In short, we’re lucky in the same way that millions of other middle class residents of developed countries are lucky. Everything else took effort, determination, sacrifice and, perhaps most importantly, a strong belief that we are the masters of our fate.

Which brings me to the other thing I hear when someone says “You’re so lucky:” capitulation…

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