Blog Archive

Friday, September 20, 2013

Our Lives Lately

This past week has been about as normal as they come up here. For Dave that means working in the office, the woods, and one day out of town with his dad on business. For Eddie that means preschool and then daycare after whining at wake-up time about how tired he is.  For me that means working in the office two days, taking a day to be at home to do laundry, prepare meals, and work on personal stuff like my mom's upcoming memorial reception, and then (trying to) work(ing) on my data for the dissertation.  A three week break from it to deal with my mom's passing has led to an almost complete brain fart when it comes to my spreadsheets.  I've got it mostly figured out again, though.

I'm still doing yoga W-Th-F mornings after dropping Eddie off at preschool.  Everyone is very nice and welcoming and no matter how rattled I am when I arrive, I always leave calm. It's amazing what some focused Mama Time can do for a gal.
Look at that picture and the darling little hand! His class is learning about families this week.
I finally told his teacher how to spell his name properly...even though it is written on everything I send with him. 
Dave and I have gone running at the airport or on the treadmill nearly every other day for the last two weeks--we're "training" to not-completely-suck at an upcoming 5k.  Actually, my only goal is to be able to run the whole thing without stopping.  My pace might be walking speed toward the end, though.  I've noticed that my lower back has a dull ache after running so I think I'll change over to more biking after the race and only run once in a while to see if that helps.  I want to get fit but not ruin my back.  But I also like the idea of participating in charitable 5k races every couple of months as a fun thing to do with my family.

The house is nearly free of construction workers...for this year.  Out of the 47-ish windows in the house, all but 10 have been replaced and most of the siding is finally up to seaside standards.  The rest of the work will have to wait until 2014-2015 due to impending rainy weather and money.  Always money.  So while the outside of the house is looking dandy, the inside still has a looooooooooong way to go before most of the rooms are habitable.  I'll buy some carpet tiles next week when I go "to town" (Santa Rosa) with John fnext week and hopefully Dave can install them lickety split.  It'll be SO NICE to sleep in a bedroom rather than an office/storage area which lacks a dresser or room to walk.  
One of the downstairs bedrooms is almost ready for texturing and painting.  John hired someone to do this for us, thank GAWD. 
We've morphed into one of those couples who watch Netflix independently on our own laptops each night before falling asleep.  Taters loves it because he gets to wedge himself between us.  Why not watch a show together in the living room?  Maybe we would if we had a living room that wasn't full of stoves, boxes, bunk beds, and construction shrapnel.  But I don't have any interest in Dave's captioned anime cartoons...but he does slide over to watch my latest show, Weeds, sometimes.
So to conclude this post: life's chugging along the way it should.  We may have things to be sad about, but we also have lots to look forward to and PLENTY of work to keep us busy in the meantime.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Uphill is Not Easy

Before Eddie's birthday, Edward and Jennifer biked from Dublin to Gualala. Seriously.  Well, they almost did. Edward got a flat about 20 miles north east of Gualala, on a remote stretch of Fish Rock Road.  Okay...actually that whole road is remote.  They'd forgotten their pump so he couldn't just do a quick repair.  Luckily they had data and cell service to gchat/text/call us to pick them up.  Edward ended up staying for the whole next week with me, which was a nice change of pace for me. 

One day that week I called my dad on speaker phone so we could get an update on my mom while I was busy cutting peaches to load into the dehydrator. My dad laid out the awful truth: Mommy was dying and it was probably a matter of a few weeks at best.  He explained the reasons and what the doctors had said.  Edward and I were sort of stunned. We'd all been anticipating a little since her diagnosis in 2008 and much more for the previous month when things went south for her.  Although Edward and I had just been commenting about how hungry we were, we both lost our appetites from stress and sadness.  We decided to pack up a few snacks and ciders and biked to the beach--we needed to exercise some stress away and contemplate this new reality.  

I'd never biked on Highway One before, although thousands of people do it each year.  My nerves were calmed by how space the drivers gave us on the road.  The ride was easy on the way there.  We locked our bikes and walked down to south cliffs at the Gualala Point Regional Park where we nibbled our snacks and took naps.  There was a lot of discussion about how we felt, what we expected to feel once she eventually passed away, and what we wanted from the experience.  Despite the crummy circumstances of our short ride, we managed to enjoy ourselves, too.  The ride back was really tough for me with my relative lack of fitness, heavy and poorly tuned bike, and loaded baskets...not to mention the crazy north headwind and that we were biking uphill.

Me showcasing our house.
Me and Edward.
Edward checking his phone while we decide which path to take down to the beach.
Before my mom's health took a turn for the worse (worst, actually), Edward helped me pick out a suitable road bike to buy.With my long torso and short legs, I required a mixte (mix-tee, meaning unisex) frame. I ordered it and had it shipped to his apartment, where he got it all ready for me to ride. I named her Trixie the Mixte.

In mid August during one of my many recent trips to Livermore, he brought it to my parents' house so I could test it out.  Jennifer, Edward, and I road into town to eat lunch, then visited my mom at the nursing home, and then biked back to the house. It took some getting used to; steering, shifting, and balance are all a bit different than my standard had-since-seventh(!!)-grade mountain bike I'd been using up to that point.  But riding it is soooooooooo much nicer than my old bike. I still need to make some adjustments to the seat and stuff but we've fiddled with it enough that it's definitely comfortable to ride.
Me testing out my mixte frame.
On Friday I took my new bike out on a short ride all by myself--I checked out the Sea Ranch campground and then picked up my CSA box at the Gualala Arts Center.  It was an easy ride and took much less time than I expected.
Looking north, down on our little village by the sea.
Today I biked up the hill to the ridge to meet up with Dave and Eddie for fishing at Bower Park.  I know it's a steep incline, but I wanted to try it to see if it was even possible with my current fitness level.  As it turned out it was possible, just not easy at all. From Highway One up to Gualala Court it's a 10% grade for nearly the full 1.3 miles.  OUCH. I stopped 4-5 times to catch my breath and let my legs have a break.  Each time I considered turning back, cruising downhill toward home, and driving up to the park.  But once my heart rate fell to a manageable level I'd go a bit further up. I texted Dave from the Gualala Redwoods gate and asked him to pick me up.  But by time time he drove by I was already trudging up the hill again.  He turned around and then chatted with me at we both headed north on Old Stage.  At this point I was on the ridge itself so the incline wasn't too intense.  I told him to go ahead and I'd meet him at the park.  So he and Eddie went off to find some worms for fishing.

My Bower boys.
I can't believe I made it ALL THE WAY UP THERE--all 922 feet in elevation!  My thighs felt like jelly and I was pretty nauseated at times but I am glad I ended up finishing.  That route is now a goal for me--I'd like to attempt it 1-2 times each week until I'm able to stop only once or not at all.
Have you ever seen such a cute four year old fisherman before?  Or one who casts twenty feet on his own?  Methinks not.
Yay Bower!
My mom would not have understood or cared about my biking attempts because exercise was not her thing.  But she'd like the idea of me going on bike trips, because traveling was definitely her thing.  And of course that's the goal (other than using it as a form of exercise). I hope to join Edward and Jennifer (and who else wants to come?!) on some fun long distance biking adventures soon.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Update on My Mom

I just sent out this email:

Dear friends and family,

It is with a heavy heart that I write to you today. My mom passed away yesterday, Saturday, August 31, 2013 around 4 pm. She passed comfortably, having just visited with her family--including her little grandson, Eddie--the night before.

Everyone in our family has really appreciated all the prayers, phone calls, assistance, and support given to us over these last five years. We are extremely blessed to have had so much time with my mom--since her diagnosis in 2008 she became a grandmother and spent a good deal of time traveling and visiting friends and family.

We are planning to have a memorial service in the next few weeks and will be sure to let you know the details.


It still doesn't seem real. My dad and I went to see her afterward, in her hospital room in Pleasanton but it still doesn't seem real.  I told Eddie this morning as we were snuggling in bed here in Livermore.  We did so much grieving in 2008 at her diagnosis that I feel like we've all been mentally preparing since then. I know that this new reality will hit me over and over at random times...I'll just try to go with it.