grandma

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I’ve probably used this analogy here before, but sometimes I feel like blogging is a lot like keeping in touch with a friend who lives far away. When you make a point to talk on the phone frequently, it’s really easy to just dial her up and tell her about the latest, stupid little thing that’s happened. But, when you haven’t talked to her in a while, you can’t just call her up and be all, “Oh my god you would not believe the size of the ball of ear wax that just came out of my ear!” because first you have to catch up on all the big things that are going on and by the time you’ve heard about how she’s selling her house and they’ve adopted a Romanian orphan, the news of your ear wax ball, impressive though it surely is, seems to pale a little in comparison.

But! Since I get to talk first, you get to hear all about my metaphorical (and maybe literal) ear wax balls before you get to tell me about your new orphan. God I love blogging.

I quit my job. You know, the job writing and editing for Paw Nation (and also writing for other AOL properties) which I’ve done for the last few years and  LOVED. I don’t really want to go into details right here, right now — it just doesn’t seem cool — but let me just say that I’m a big believer in signs, and this time, the universe made it really clear that it was time for me to move on, and so I have. I’m still figuring out exactly what I’m going to do, but I’m planning to use the opportunity (yes, I’m totally considering it an opportunity) to follow my heart and get some exciting new experiences under my belt. It’s all good, I promise.

I did a (practice) tri. My big race, the Olympic length St. Anthony’s tri, is Sunday (as in, like, a few days away), but a little over a week ago I did a sprint distance tri (about half the length) in Jacksonville to warm up, along with my friend Jodi (who took first place in our age group — I took third). Overall, it left me feeling pretty excited for the race, and only somewhat nervous. Maybe a little more than somewhat, but I’m definitely not freaking out. Well, not much, anyway. Most of the time.

I threw a killer party. The animal rescue I volunteer with, Puppy Hill Farm, had its biggest fundraiser of the year on Friday night, and I sort of headed up the committee for the event. It was pretty major and incredibly stressful but, overall, I think it was a pretty big success, and I’m already brimming with ideas for next year. Because clearly I’m insane. (Although one of the main ideas is GET MORE HELP. I think that’ll make a huge difference.) Still, it’s a huge weight off my shoulders to have this over — I’ve been working on it in some way for the last five months, and when I woke up Saturday and knew there was nothing I needed to do, well, I almost wept with relief.

I had an emotional surprise. After the Puppy Hill gala, we had loads of flower centerpieces left over, and one of the women there suggested taking some to a nursing home. I was planning on doing a bike/run brick out in Trenton (you remember this trail, right?), which is where the nursing home where my grandma lived for several years is located. I figured since I’d be in the area, I’d stop in, drop flowers off, thank the nurses for all they did, and be on my way. Well, I got no further than saying, “My grandmother lived here for quite a while,” before the nurses all said, “Oh, you’re Sara’s granddaughter! We just loved her so much.” And then I sobbed. This was not at all expected. I mean, Grandma Sara died over a year ago, and I was pretty prepared for it even then. Why this hit me so hard, I couldn’t tell you, but I’m extremely touched that these nurses cared enough about Grandma to not only remember her, but even remember her granddaughter.

Okay, you’re all caught up on me, I think. (I’ll save the ear wax ball story for another time.) Now what’s new with you all? Anybody moving, having babies, getting a new hair cut?

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Tomorrow, as I’ve mentioned, I’m walking in the Alzheimer’s Memory Walk in honor of my Grandma Sara.

Grandma Sara, me, and Mom on Grandma's front porch.

Grandma Sara, me, and Mom on Grandma's front porch.

I’m about to go visit her now, but I’ll tell you, the visit is more for me and to make sure the nurses know she has family who visits her than it is for her. She won’t know who I am. If she’s having a good day, she’ll politely smile at me for a few seconds, and maybe say a word or two that doesn’t make any sense. She might laugh if I say something in the right tone of voice. But she won’t know I’m her only granddaughter.

She won’t understand when I tell her that, this past weekend, I went to the beach where she and my Grandpa Chuck used to vacation. They’d come down from La Porte, Indiana, where they lived all their lives, and go to Treasure Island, Florida. They stayed at the Trails End motel and ate at Gigi’s, which is now one of my favorite pizza places of all time.

Grandma Sara, Grandpa Chuck and me in Treasure Island, FL, 1983

Grandma Sara, Grandpa Chuck and me in Treasure Island, FL, 1983

She won’t remember the story about the last time they went, before Grandpa Chuck died. How I was three, and my mom and I came down for a week. How I jumped off the diving board into the deep end and nearly gave Grandpa a heart attack. How I fed bread to the seagulls and swam until my eyes were so irritated by chlorine I couldn’t open them in the sunlight for a whole day.

I’m nowhere near meeting my fundraising goal, but I’d still like to raise as much money for the Alzheimer’s Association as I can. I know times are tight, but if you have even just $5 you can donate, please consider doing so. It means a lot to me, and I know it would mean a lot to Grandma. If you can’t donate, but have a story you’d like to share about a grandparent or someone else special in your life, leave a comment — I’d love to read about it.

But, you know, if you want to donate, too, well, that would be swell.

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Talk about a roller coaster of emotions.

Things have been a bit on the crazy side around these parts. For starters, I’ve been working like a dog, and not like my dogs who are lazy and sleep in the same spot so often that there’s already a spot on our year-old carpet (yes, really). No, I’ve been working like one of those cattle dogs who runs through the herd nipping at heels to keep things moving and together and all of a sudden realizes she’s been going and going and going for so long that, holy hell, she hasn’t even had time to go to the bathroom. And how did it get to be dinner time? And thank goodness she has a husband who cooks for her, or she’d be subsisting on a lot of PB&J.

And yes, I’m talking about me and not the dog now. Sorry if I lost you.

It’s exciting to be so busy, but also tiring, which doesn’t leave me in the best position to receive news that’s either really good or really bad. Or make decisions.

Case in point — we accepted an offer on our condo! You know, the one we moved out of almost a year ago and busted our asses (as did our moms) to fix up quickly for a quick sale (excuse me while I LAUGH MYSELF SILLY). So yay! An offer! For lower than our asking price, which was already considerably (CONSIDERABLY) less than we paid for it. But you know what? I’m not complaining for a second — an offer is an offer, and I’m totally happy, although, until the papers are signed and we no longer have the keys, I’m not going to celebrate. Just in case.

So that’s great, right? The same day this happened, we were set to have dinner at our friends’ house, so I got dressed (in real clothes, even), and went to put on my jewelry, which included a diamond ring made from the stones that were in my grandmother’s wedding ring — she died when I was very young, and my mom had the stones reset in a ring that she gave to me for Christmas my senior year of high school. However, when I slid it on my finger, it didn’t feel right, and as I looked down, I saw that it was missing the center stone. Admittedly, it wasn’t large, but it was the largest of the stones, and more importantly than that, it was my grandma’s. Yes, I checked the case it was in, and the last time I’d had it on was at a wedding. In Daytona Beach.

With the ups and downs, the only logical thing is to do is, of course, sign up for a race for which I’m not at all prepared, right? No? Well, too bad, because that’s what I did. I’m now participating in a triathlon. On Saturday. And no, I didn’t sign up while I was drinking, in case you wondered. I just thought it would be fun. Oy.

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