Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Backyard update

On the left, new curtains for the backyard arbor. On the right, the old faded curtains on the arbor. A definite improvement!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Secret Seattle Side Trip

Two weekends ago, Lyle and I took a secret trip to Seattle. "Secret" because I didn't tell anyone about it much in advance, and I didn't write about it here for all the world to see.

I also had a hidden agenda. It's been a year since my uncle passed away. I know that grief comes in cycles and "a year" was going to be a hard weekend to go through, for me, for my family and especially for my dad. I thought I would be so clever and change the weekend from being a down and funky feeling to a fabulous and fun feeling, just by showing up in town. So we all made plans.

As the trip approached and I started to pack, I did not realize that I was "on edge". The night before we were to leave for Seattle I snapped at Lyle and he very kindly returned the favor and we stomped off in opposite directions. Then he came back and very quietly said, "I think I know what's going on. I think you are little stressed because it's been a year since your uncle passed away." Since I still had my angry face on I responded, "Well if you're so smart and know that, why don't you just give me a WIDE PATH and stay the hell OUT OF MY WAY!" I can be a joy to live with. But I did finally calm down.

We made it Seattle and I the last time I was in Seattle was in the summer. And the reason I was there was to go to Yakima in Eastern Washington to place my uncle's ashes in a cemetery. Grief, death, mourning... I was kind of a wreck.

Lyle and I had decided to treat this visit like a mini-vacation and we did manage to see friends and dine out at restaurants we wanted to. We stayed in a hotel downtown and slept in. Lyle was more relaxed than I was. I walked around while he napped. He suggested I have a glass of champagne at lunch and I obliged. It took some of the edge off.

A year of grief. It's been a hard last year. After my uncle passed away, I've had friends who have lost parents, and our little baby Dalmatian Lola last November. I would say that I am doing well. I am happy often. I make the most of my day. But in the back of my head I feel tired. I appreciate staying home with our remaining dog Cooper and just being quiet. So unlike me. But then that is also a part of grief.

On Saturday night the whole family descended on my brother Gary's house and we had one of those consummate family nights where everyone was too loud, everything was hilarious, and stories were shared and created.

The next morning we all went to breakfast and were surprised to find my cousins who were in the middle of moving to Seattle had arrived two days early. They said when they heard we were all going to be in the same place at once the had to be there too. They drove 26 hours non-stop to make it to breakfast Sunday morning.

In the end my clever plan worked. I still had to move through the grief that demanded my attention, but we turned what could have been a maudlin anniversary into a joyful memory. When my uncle was sick he would say over and over again, "Be good to your family. Everything else comes and goes, but in the end family is all you got." Through a clever plan, once again, he brought us all together again.