Viewing blog entries in category: Life, Family - Page 2

  • realitybites
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    Back to work. Healing very well. Smiling big!
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  • realitybites
    Actually don't ever say a prayer for me. But please do send good thoughts my way. In Scottsdale... having major dental surgery under general anesthesia in three hours. If you don't hear from me by Friday, you can start to wonder if it all went belly up.

    Right after surgery... first post-op selfie...

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  • realitybites
    IMG_0214[1].jpg Outside of Cucina Cucina Modern Italian in downtown Phoenix on 8/10/16.

    Dinner with son; my entree Salmone Affumicato:

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    Just took this--my first selfie from my office.
  • realitybites
    Stepfather.

    Step qualifies father... as if to emphasize it is not the same as plain father. Does it mean a step down, though? Or is it a step up from mere father? When it came to Charles Petrelli, my stepfather, it was the latter. He was a man who stepped up to the plate and performed the role of father with greatness.

    Charlie came into my life when I was fifteen. I am now forty-eight. I was blessed to have him in my life for thirty-three years. I miss him already. But there are so many memories that will keep him alive inside my heart. His spirit beats on.

    My stepfather was a wonderful grandfather and husband as well. He loved and cherished the two people I value most in life: my mother and my son. He nurtured and protected both and guided them when needed with strength and confidence. He was a wonderful role model to us all: sharp, classy, loving, giving... and most of all, gracious. I was always proud to be with him in public. He had an air of sophistication about him which made me feel like a class-act myself when in his presence.

    He was a handsome man. An educated man. A sensitive man.

    Thank you for being a part of my life, Dad. Your wise words will help me stay strong and on a path forward towards greater things... because I aim to be a success just like you.

    I love you.

    Your daughter, Jen.

    In loving memory: February 2, 1940 ~ April 16, 2016

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  • realitybites
    I love my job but I took today off because it is my birthday and I want to treat myself to a nice present. I have an appointment at 1:00 PM to have my passport renewed. Got my photos yesterday so I am good to go. My tentative plan is to go to England this coming August. I'd like to visit Cornwall, the Cotswolds, London, Manchester and York. If time permits, I would also love to go to Paris and Barcelona. Dream a little dream with me.

    *Update 11/7/15: Passport came in the mail yesterday. Boy was that quick. Yippee!!!
  • realitybites
    Phoenix was a trip—back—to my twenty-one-year-old self. Sunday, early evening, David, his girlfriend Hannah, and I are having drinks and starters at Chili's. I had won a gift card and thought I'd take us all out. A beer in, David asks, " Would you be down for a party? It's Gustavo's birthday and the guys (skater pals) are having a party for him." I could just picture it: anti-social stonerheads sitting around playing video games on a large screen TV. Not my idea of a fun night out. David reassured me it wouldn't be anything like that. OK, I decide; I'm down with it.

    We pull up to a modest three bedroom house, festively outlined in holiday lights. Hmm. There are about forty bods littering the generous front lawn the lawn—some sitting, some standing. Most with beers in hand. A d.j. stands behind a mixing table. The tunes aren't too shabby. A giant plastic liquor bottle filled with goodies is strung from a long closeline about six or so feet off the ground—let's call it a piñata. No couch or game console is in sight. I crack open a Heineken and begin to take in the scene. I'm down.

    David quickly introduces me to all his close friends—birthday boy included. Three of them shake my hand and say, "David is my best friend." I remember having a group of friends where I too was the center of focus. It can be taxing at times to play leader and always be on. But there are rewards to be found—believe me. Power to influence being one of them. Anyhow, everyone is warm; I feel fuzzy and welcome.

    Three beers later, I look up to see about eight folks standing on the low hanging, flat rooftop. I spy David. I want up. I ascend the ladder as David grabs my hand, pulling me atop. Let the party begin. And it does. Looking down, I see a young gal standing next to the piñata—blindfolded, stick in hand. (Only girls were allowed to partake in bringing the beast down.) Swing. Whack! Swing. Miss. Swing. Whack! Major fail. Next contestant walks up to replace the giddy, dizzy gal. She too flakes out. I'm observing all this thinking, "I can take that puppy out—no problem." I told David, "I want to try. I know I could do much better." "OK," he enthusiastically replies. Next thing I know I am on the ground—geared up with stick in hand. I ask a young gentlemen nearby where its weak spot was. He graciously informs me, "The neck." Cool beans; I visualize my plan of attack. Blindfolded, I swing. Wham! Then again. And again. I could hear the spectators roar. Fully energized, I swing harder. "You're going down sucker," I mumble under my breath! And it does go down. I'm on it like a starving dog on a meaty bone. Whack! Whack! Crack. Whack! Crack. It bursts open; it's overkill. I lift my blindfold to behold fifty or so tiny one-shot bottles of liquor spewed across the ground below me. The mob cheers and hollers and comes in for the feast. I'm wild with pride and adrenaline.

    Less than an hour later, David comes up to me and says, "Gustavo just told me you made his night when you knocked down that piñata." Big smiles from me. Not only have I made the birthday boy's night but I also make my son proud to have such a cool and fun mom.

    It's like riding a bike. You never forget how to party—once a party girl. It just takes a few brews to get started. When is the next party? I'm game.
  • realitybites
    It seems like forever since I last blogged. Work is so mentally stimulating that all I want to do when I get home is plant myself in front of the TV and watch mindless shows like Project Runway and Face Off. But as we all know all work and no play... will lead to burnout or even insanity. We don't need any of that. And so, I am taking a three day vacation. Booked my hotel several weeks ago. Staying at the same place my parents stayed when they came to Phoenix last. It was so magical I just had to repeat the experience.

    Of course I chose Phoenix because my son David lives there. I am actually warming up to the city a bit. Despite the traffic and enormity of it, it has its charms. One being it's easy to get lost in the crowd. Not so in my small town where chances are on any given day I will run into at least one person I know while out running errands. Also Phoenix has some fabulous restaurants. We may have to go to Pappadeaux again for some of their Blue Point oysters on the half shell.

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    What else will I be doing? Relaxing. It will be a low-tech weekend. No computer. Just my tablet. I plan on hanging out by the pool and drinking some beers. I'm even bringing a Robin Cook paperback—yes, paperback. The Kindle will stay at home as will Katie and my tomato plants. No responsibilities for three days. Can't wait.
  • realitybites
    Tucson/Puerto Pensaco, Mexico trip August 13-17.


    Tampa FL trip October 14-20.

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    Woo-hoo. Can't wait.
  • realitybites
    I am not superstitious and I certainly think Karma is bunk. But something makes me hesitate shouting at the top of my lungs, "life is good," out of fear that I will jinx myself—that the hubris police will come cracking down and put me back in my miserable place. Maybe I am simply not used to success. It feels different. I feel vulnerable. Could I lose it all in a moment's notice?

    I should feel I deserve this chance at greatness. Haven't I suffered enough? I don't want to be a victim anymore. I honestly believe as long as you take on that role you will be limited. You can't be a winner and a loser at the same time. Attitude is everything. Letting go of grudges and past hurts is essential. What was, is no longer so. Move the fuck on.

    For the first time in a very long time I have financial security, nice clothes, a great apartment, a car that is paid for, serenity, a great relationship with my mother and son, and a future. I really will be going to England soon. And to Spain—a foodie's paradise.

    If I go to England, who will I go with? Where will I stay? For how long? What cities will I visit? In the end will I be better off for going or just a little lighter on the cash?

    I want to call my sister. I want her to be proud of my accomplishments. But I am not sure the news would be received well. Instead of being happy for me, I gather she may feel a hint of competitiveness and envy. It shouldn't be that way. I really wish it wasn't.

    And so, there it is, I am happy, thriving, intellectually stimulated and fulfilled, busy, and can't wait to go back to work on Monday. I really love what I do now—for the first time, really. I think I found my calling—for now at least.

    Success is the only revenge I seek.
  • realitybites
    I need a break. Wow, has it been a taxing and intense last six weeks. My training ended last Friday. I have been set free to sink or swim. Yesterday was Crazy with a capital C. Five appointments! Fortunately all were pleasant and patient—while I got my footing. Everyone has been telling me it takes years to learn this job and they still don't know everything. I think that is reassuring. I still haven't decided.

    I will still be traveling to Flagstaff on Thursdays to meet with clients there. But after Friday's staff meeting I will no longer be traveling to Prescott Valley—except for the monthly meetings.

    I can't wait until this upcoming three day weekend. I'm driving down to Phoenix Saturday and will stay until Monday afternoon. Can't wait to see my son and his girlfriend Hannah. They just got a place together last month—a two bedroom. So I will be able to crash at their place. David hinted that they have a surprise planned for me. Sunday I am going to test drive a MINI Cooper. Haven't decided which model yet.

    I'll be back in Phoenix for the July 4th weekend. My parents are flying out for five days. They reserved a gorgeous two bedroom suite for the three of us—plus Katie. We're going to swim and eat and play cards and just do what loving families do when they spend quality time together. Can't wait until my parents meet Hannah. They are going to love her as much as I do.
  • realitybites
    I'm a survivor. I have survived two major medical illnesses. Why have I arrived on the other side whereas others with similar illnesses have lost the battle or are continuing to fight for their lives—daily, hourly? Why me? Why not me?

    When I got spinal cancer at age 16, I could have felt pity for myself. Instead I decided not to be a victim but rather a warrior. I was going to live, dammit. Thirty years later, I remain cancer free. I have a few scars—battle wounds—but I am walking and breathing and still occupying space on this planet.

    Nineteen years ago I was thrown another curve ball. I fell into a deep, dark and hellish depression which hijacked my life and held me hostage for more than fifteen years. Today I am depression free—miraculously. I feel happier and more hopeful than ever. Why did I make it through to the other side when so many linger in purgatory—or worse still—succumb to death?

    Is it just a roll of the dice—who gets sick and who survives? Who, what, decides who thrives and who dies? It would be simple to say nature deals the blow, but then, we, become responsible for the fight—we will ourselves to live and live well—or at least well enough. But I think it is more complex than that. There are things like chemicals and other mysterious factors that come into play—things outside of our control.

    Should I feel guilty for getting sick in the first place? Should I feel guilty for surviving? Probably not. But sometimes I do—to both. Sometimes I take responsibility when there is simply, unequivocally, none to be taken. It was not my doing, it was chance or luck—bad and good.

    I'm sorry Gia. I am sorry Jeff. I a sorry Tibby. I am sorry you lost, are losing. I'm sorry I am happy and living. I wish things were different. But these things are out of my control. My guilt is irrational—I know—but it persists none the less.
  • realitybites
    *Updates at bottom of page.

    Whoa, my plants are huge—both standing over four feet tall!

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    Bud has twenty tomatoes so far.

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    Ben has 19.

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    Update June 20:

    If my babies survive this heat I will be a lucky mama. It is going to be 107 today. Just gave them two gallons of water each. Four yesterday. Leaves are frying in the dry heat. May only get one run from these plants. But... looks like I will have some juicy, ripe tomatoes for the 4th of July. :)

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    June 26:

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    June 28, after three months of TLC:

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  • realitybites
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    Have a V-8 spritzer! In a very large glass with lots of ice, mix a 12 ounce can of V-8 Low Sodium with a 12 ounce can of seltzer. Drink with straw. :) Have one at lunch and one mid-afternoon. Will keep you full, hydrated, and satisfied until dinner at 6:00 pm.
  • realitybites
    I am in training up in Flagstaff for the next two weeks. I opted to commute back and forth rather than campout in Flag. Needless to say after yesterday's fourteen-hour-day, I am a zombie.

    Now, I know you know I am not big on fast food—certainly not greasy, salt-laden stuff. I am so inexperienced at the whole drive through window thing that I actually hit the curb pulling up to the takeout window. Could have something to do with exhaustion as well. Anyhow, I am not familiar with any fast food joint's menu—least of all McDonald's. So while waiting for the order taker's prompt I scrolled over the list of grub on offer. I quickly found what I wanted. A two buck triple cheeseburger, three ketchups and two mustards, and an ice water. Cheapskate. I didn't even pull over to doctor the burger. I just wanted to taste it and to get started on my journey back home. Yes, I ate in my car—while driving, no less. Isn't that how it's done? I did have to take in the whole experience, after all.

    Wow, is all I'll say. I'll let this guy tell it like it is. He does not exaggerate. This burger is unbelievably delicious.

    [video=youtube_share;N-VwRfw4Wqg]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-VwRfw4Wqg[/video]

    If you are going to splurge, this is the thing to splurge on.