Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #1

I have been keeping a gratitude journal and I decided to do something different in the blog.  I decided on Friday to share five things I was thankful for over the past week.  Why did I pick the title “Good Vibrations”?  That will make sense by the end of the blog post. Trust me.

I am thankful for my daughter.  She is amazing and I don’t know how I would have gotten out of bed, especially in the early months if it wasn’t for her. Now I have no choice because she usually comes into my bed and yells “WAKE UP MOMMY!”  It is amazing to see her grow and learn every day.  She is so independent (“I do myself Mommy”) and she is a little fashionista.  I just hope I don’t let her down and that she grows up happy and fulfilled.

 

 

I am thankful for Starbucks Nonfat Pumpkin Spice Lattes.  I have been counting my macros and even though it uses up a lot of carbs, it is worth it.  Because Pumpkin Spice in the Fall is everything.  #america  #fall

I am thankful for my cat because he is cute and he makes me happy.  And I kind of like that he mostly just likes me.  It makes me feel special because I am in his world.  Or maybe I am only special in his world because I feed him.  He really loves me at night because that is when I give him a can of fancy feast.  That started out as a treat, but it is turned into every night.  Oh well.

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Boehner McKim #bestlifepossible

4. I am thankful that I live in this country during this time period.  I am thankful that information is so easily available and accessible.  I am thankful for running water and plumbing.  I take for granted that poop will get flushed away.  There might be a lot of bad in the world but I am determined to focus on the positive.

5.  And last but certainly not least, I am thankful for my tribe.  Because they are awesome as demonstrated on my Facebook timeline.  Kimmy Gibbler tagged me in a post with a video of Marky Mark from 1991 and all of our friends liked it and/or commented.  I love that my friends are not afraid to get silly.

So I am sharing this here.  Just in case anyone needs a Friday morning boost.  Because if you do not like this song then…I don’t know.  I just can’t fathom why anyone would not like this song.

 

What are you thankful about this week?

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Late summer fun: Sunflowers and ice cream

I was supposed to go to Maine the last weekend in August but I needed to take my cat to the vet. I thought something was wrong with him. He wasn’t acting like himself and I was sure something was wrong with him.  After paying my not insignificant vet bill, nothing was physically wrong him.

So now my cat is on prozac.

It’s for the best.

And I missed my trip to Maine and my 20th high school reunion. I thought about trying to swinng it but I was too tired to do 16 hours of driving in a 60 hour period

So I wound up with an unexpected free weekend.  My close friend loves Sunflowers and asked if I would be up for a drive downstate to a sunflower field. I am always ready for an adventure and I love road trips so I happily agreed.

I wish I had a selfie to share but not a single one looked good.  For real.  My daughter wouldn’t look at the camera and I had my hair in my face.

After we looked at the flowers, we went to a farm stand.  It was crowded.  My friend told me that she wasn’t expected it to be crowded because she has seen too many Hallmark movies.  In Hallmark movies there is a ton of space.  Hallmark movies have ruined her.

Though we both agreed that that won’t stop us from watching them this Christmas.

After the farm stand, we decided to drive into New Paltz and get some ice cream.   We went to Hugeunot Creamery.  The ice cream was delicious and the staff was very kind and friendly.  The kids had ice cream cones  with sprinkles. They wound up all over the floor.  Part of me felt bad but part of me figured that it’s bound to happen in an ice cream shoppe.  My friend had a creamsicle float and I had an old fashioned hot fudge sundae.

On the way back, we stopped at a Samuel’s Sweet Shop in Rhinebeck which is owned by Paul Rudd and Jeffrey Morgan.  The kids had lollipops (though my daughter could only handle a few licks after eating ice cream) and I had a pretzel covered in Reese’s Pieces.  My friend got chocolate covered oreos.

It was a great day.  I am so glad my friend asked us to spend the day with her and it was fun to discover places in New York where I had never been.  I can’t wait for some Fall adventures with my friends.

Do you like to go on day trips?  Where do you like to go?

End of summer fun: Valley Cats game

Last week we had another first.

Our first baseball game without Bryon.

Bryon was an avid sports fan.  If we were travelling, he would see what the local teams were for whatever sport was in season and if they were playing that night.  When else would I see the Colorado Avalanche play?  Or the Toronto FC soccer team play against the Capital City FC soccer team?

Bryon had the same enthusiasm locally as well.  No summer was complete without going to some Valley Cats games.  Usually we went when the Lowell Spinners were in town (the Single-A affiliate for the Boston Red Sox).

We took our daughter on her first Fourth of July in 2015.  I tried to get a good family selfie but I failed.

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I spent almost all of the summer of 2016 in an ICU room.  And I have avoided baseball games this summer.  Because going to baseball games was a thing that I did with Bryon.  He loved going.  I also realized that his baseball buddy, Julie, who worked the Brown’s Beer stand may not know that he died.  Julie loved him. And I didn’t want to tell her.  Luckily I didn’t have to go to the beer stand that night.

I had no plans to go this year, but the MS Society was there that night.  And it ended up being a Friends themed night so that was cool too.  I like Friends but I still maintain that How I Met Your Mother was a much better show than Friends though.

There were hot dogs.  Ketchup was my daughters.  I think ketchup is disgusting.   Mustard and relish is my jam.  I am full of controversial statements today.  I won’t even discuss hot dog rolls today.

My bestie Kimmy Gibbler was there.

Our good friend was there.  (She doesn’t have a nickname…yet.)

We also had a to see a friend who was working.  You haven’t met him yet, but you met his girlfriend.

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It did end up being a fun night.  My daughter loved it.  Granted, she didn’t really have any concept of the actual game, but there were friends, hot dogs and ice cream.  Life doesn’t get much better than that.

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Six years ago

He asked my best friend for help with choosing my ring.  I had my suspicions when she suddenly wanted to discuss.  I mentioned it to a coworker, but I was afraid that if I mentioned it to anyone else that I would somehow jinx it.

We were at the bar where we went on our first date, Mahars Public Bar.  The bar sadly closed years ago.  They had beer from all over the world and a computer that kept track of your total.  At 50 beers, you got a T-shirt.  At 200 you got a mug.  At 500 you got your name on the wall.

Bryon and I had been drinking there for years.  I was one beer away from 200 and he was one beer away from 500.  It was going to be a night of milestones.

Bryon was antsy to go.  Almost nervous which is not like his character.

We get to the bar and sit at a small table.  Bryon is acting sappy.  Again, not his character.  Then he is on one knee and proposing.

It was the exact ring that I told my best friend I liked.

I said yes.

Then his friends seem to come out of the woodwork to celebrate with us.  Apparently Bryon told a bunch of them that he was going to propose that evening.

No picture of the proposal exits.  A good friend said he was going to get a picture but his blackberry was acting up.  But we did a staged photo.  Of which I took off of Facebook.  I hope he doesn’t mind.  If he does, I will make him a funfetti cheesecake.  Or maybe Poblano mac and cheese.  Depends on how pissed he may be.

September 6, 2011 was one of the happiest days of my life.

Happy second birthday in Heaven

Today was Bryon’s second birthday in Heaven.  You might have read my blog yesterday when I wrote about how it was one year since the funeral and you must be confused as to why I am writing about his birthday.  It’s true.  His funeral was a day before his birthday.  I had to experience a painful first the very next day after the funeral.  And the firsts just kept coming.  My birthday is in two days, my daughters is next month and our wedding anniversary is at the end of September. This corner of the year will probably always be the roughest five weeks of the year for me.

It seems so unreal that we are celebrating Bryon’s second birthday in Heaven.  At times, I am still stunned that this all happened. But I decided that last week that the anniversary of his death will be the sad day.  His birthday will be a happy day. So I decided to have a party for our friends to get together and share stories. Instead of dwelling on Bryon’s death, it was time to celebrate that he had lived.

Last year, the day after his funeral, a few of us had dinner at hibachi because that is what we had done for his last living birthday.  I was thinking of doing that again but I wanted to include more people and it would be hard to have a lot of people at a hibachi table.

I decided that I wanted to release balloons at the cemetery and then have funfetti cheesecake at my house.  I wanted to buy a whole cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory.  Bryon would have loved that.  He loved funfetti cake and cheesecake.  It would be perfect.  But my friend called the local Cheesecake Factory, they said they couldn’t sell whole funfetti cheesecakes.  But that’s okay.  I found a recipe online that worked well.

A few of my friends met at the cemetery.  One of our friends brought a pennant from Siena College to decorate the grave.  The same friend read the prayer of St. Francis which worked well because I did not prepare anything to be said.  St. Francis was Bryon’s favorite Saint so he would approve.

My daughter and I brought a bundle of balloons to release.  I was very impressed with my daughter.  She is not yet three but she understood that the balloons were going to be released and sent to Heaven for Bryon.  I was worried that she wasn’t going to understand the concept and that she would get upset but she let the balloons go and seemed happy that they were going to Heaven.  

After the cemetery, we went back to my house for pizza, funfetti cheesecake and stories.  There also may have been some Moxie tasting.  Kimmy Gibber did not like it.

This might be the start of a new tradition.  Maybe it won’t.  But for the time being, it is comforting to know that I have a group of friends who are like family who want to  remember Bryon’s life.  And I hold my Albany family close to my heart.

Remembering the final farewell

One year ago today, we said our final farewell to Bryon.

I wore a black dress and my daughter wore a white dress with black polka dots.

I remember meeting at the funeral home with immediate family and the pallbearers.  A few friends drove up from New York City and came by since they were not able to make it to the calling hours.  I remember that I forgot to put on my pearls that Bryon had bought me in St. Thomas on our honeymoon cruise.  Several friends offered me their pairs of pearls, but I declined.  I figured I wasn’t meant to wear them.

I remember everyone saying their final good-byes at the funeral home before heading to the church.  Top Gun had been paused during the reading of the Prayer of St. Francis but the promo music magically came on as everyone went up to the coffin for the last time.

I remember the funeral.  The music.  The five priests that were there.  The eulogy given by his best friend.  It was funny and mildly inappropriate which is what Bryon would have wanted.  The only thing I don’t remember was seeing who was there.  I just remember that the church was full.  

I remember the wristbands that were given out.  Bryon said (hypothetically) that if he died that he wanted an open bar and he wanted wristbands given out at church because he didn’t want freeloaders showing up to his reception.  He only wanted true mourners there.

I remember that I didn’t cry.  It’s the only funeral I have never cried at.  I could go to a funeral of a complete stranger and cry. I remember feeling guilty.  I remember mentioning this to my daughter’s godmother.  I asked her if I was a horrible person but she said that I had been crying for five months.  

I remember thinking about how odd it was to be the widow.  I remember watching my grandmother’s as widows.  To be getting in and out of the limo with their children.  I was getting in and out of the limo with my daughter.  But my grandmother’s children were all grown.  My daughter was not yet two.  I remember changing her diaper in the limo after Mass while waiting for the procession to move to the cemetery.  I remember that my daughter fell asleep on the way to the cemetery and my father stayed in the limo with her during the time at the cemetery.  

I remember that we had our reception at one of our favorite bars, McGeary’s.  I remember seeing my friends and family there, all dressed up.  Lunch was served and I remember my daughter trying to eat the butter by itself.  I remember talking to my cousins and aunts and uncles who came in from Maine, Massachusetts and Florida.  I drank Bailey’s on ice. I remember Bryon was toasted and we sang along to his favorite songs.  I remember people coming up to me saying that even though it sounds weird, it was the best funeral that they have ever been to.  

And now it has been one year since that day.  Feels like a lifetime ago and like it was yesterday.

The time my friends ate grasshoppers

Warning- Stop reading Mom!  I know you read everything I write, but do not read this story.  (She has major bug phobia).

So tonight two of my good friends came over to help me around the house to to help me prepare for my new couch which arrives in the morning.  The three of us love Mexican food and we planned on ordering Mexican food for dinner.

I opened the food ordering app because I prefer to order my food online.  Because I hate talking to people on the phone that much.  

I do not see our normal go-to restaurant listed.  So we decided to try a new Mexican restaurant.  I quickly google the name and I learn that it is a restaurant that specializes in authentic cuisine from the Oaxaca region in Southern Mexico.  I said we should be adventurous.  The worst thing that could happen was that the food wouldn’t be good and we would have to get food from somewhere else.  

We decided to give it a try.

I look at the menu and made a comment about the fact that they had cow tongue.

One of my friends decided on a grasshopper burrito.  The description seemed palatable and it said there was a choice of meat.  My friend wanted chicken.  

My other friend decided she wanted to order the same thing.

I looked the menu over and became overwhelmed so I ordered chicken tacos and an order of chips, guacamole and salsa.

When the food arrived, we were starving and ready to eat.  I pull out the two burritos.  My daughter said she wanted one and I said that they belonged to our friends.  I gave my daughter some guacamole and chips and one of my chicken tacos.  We all dig in and we talk about how good the food was.  

Everything was great.

Then one of my friends jumps and says that her burrito actually has grasshoppers in it because one just fell out.  My other friend was about five bites into her grasshopper burrito and she stops eating.  I was eating chicken tacos but I lose my appetite in solidarity.  The only one who continues to eat without being phased is my daughter.  

“Grasshopper Burrito” wasn’t just a cute name.  

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We contemplated what to do.  Do we call the restaurant and try to get something else?  My friends felt bad because I put the whole order on my card.  I assured them that this was such a good story that it was worth every penny.

Seriously, I have been bummed lately.  I haven’t laughed this hard in a very long time. This might have been the hardest I laughed since before Bryon got sick. 

My friends decided to just order a pizza instead.  With no meat.  And orange soda.  Sunkist.  Though the person on the phone called it Outcast soda.  Hey ya!

The burritos went into the trash.  My friend brought the trash outside which was good because I was having images of the grasshoppers coming back to life in my house.  

My poor friend got the creepy crawlies.  

You can’t really tell by the picture but in person, you could totally see the grasshopper legs.

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A quick google search does reveal that grasshoppers are actually part of the diet in Mexico’s Oaxaca region.  They are called Chapulines.  So this cuisine is authentic.  

Just a bit too authentic for us.