Contention

con·ten·tion

/kənˈtenCHən/

Noun

Heated disagreement.

An assertion, esp. one maintained in argument.

Synonyms: quarrel – strife – dispute – argument – contest

    Over the last couple of weeks there has been a source of contention in our house. I’m having trouble trying to pin point what or where it is coming from. I think it really has to deal with the changes that are happening. They are bound to happen, but at the same time, if part of us do not deal with change, well…. It makes it difficult. I think for myself I feel like I’m moving out of my old bubble shell and into a new bubble. I’ve been able to stratch beyond what used to be comfortable and do new things. Well, they are not new things. It’s the same old cooking and cleaning, but it’s something I have not been steadfast in for a year or so. I always managed to do what I could when I could. Now, it’s just a part of my daily routine.

I think what stumps many of us is change. I’ve been looking forward to getting back into life full swing. I think it’s easy for me to just move into a leading “house” role because that’s what I enjoy most. I know I’ll complain about the mass amounts of laundry….after it seems I did a mount Everest of laundry. If it’s not laundry it’s bathrooms…eww yuk! But really, I have always felt that if I couldn’t go to work have provide a few extra dollars, the next best thing was to have a clean house, clean clothes, and a yummy dinner. My way of showing the family I care about them and who wouldn’t want to spend all day in school or work and come home to that? I think sometimes change is hard because we have to let go of something. Letting go of control over something can be hard. I know Dan is struggling with this avenue. He’s been everything to everyone for a year, and now that’s changing. He’s struggling with it, yet I understand because in a way everything he took over, I had to let go of last year. What a flip of events! Every mom out there can imagine and understand what I’m saying.

The hardest part of cancer, was never the cancer its self, but dealing with the fact there were things I just couldn’t do: work, clean, cook, attend my kids’ events… Dad was always the go to guy for being picked up from school and attending concerts or sport events. Dad got up and made the lunches. Dad made sure we did our chores and helped out. Dad did the grocery shopping. Dad helped with the homework. Dad was there when they needed someone to talk to. It’s not like I was some sort of comatose inept human. They just knew that Dad was the go to. In some sort of way it was a chance for Dad to see what a deployment without him was like. There were no real breaks for him, except when we took the kids to their grandparent’s house for a bit during the summer. Even then, he still had his day time job to contend with. If it wasn’t his job, then it was a trip to Denver for a surgery or treatments. So I can see why this change is hard for him. If there is something I’ve learned about Dan, he likes to be needed by the people that love him. I couldn’t think of anyone other than my dad who would stick with being the top dog…even if they didn’t want to. Now a part of him has to let that all go and fall into my hands. Hard thing to deal with.

At the same time, I feel like this is a second chance. A chance to be better at home. I strived hard to make myself known to the working world. My heart and mind was always focused on it. Looking back I sacrificed a lot of time and energy towards my family. It’s like I’m saying….I’m here now. Not going anywhere and you guys are my priority. Sad. I know. Shameful thing to admit to. We don’t learn for these things until we see them for what they are. Now to just make things right. The other night I was trying to communicate how I felt to Dan. I think he misunderstood the entire conversation. I was trying to tell him there had got to be a way to use my organizational strengths to make things run better and smoother here at home. Meaning, If I can turn an entire store from a 4 year running fail (operations audit) into a “c” in two months I should be able to manage my time and use my talents to do some pretty cool stuff here.

I decided the next morning to start with super cleaning the upper portion of the house. Then it’s just maintaining each day. I also sat down and made up some weekly calendar sheets. If there is one thing I have completely lost sight of it’s what is going on. I used to be awesome at know what was coming. Now I wake up and I’m shocked I forgot “xyz” was going on. Drives me crazy!! I also included meal planning! This is another place I used to excel. We’ve been really cheese balling grocery shopping. Let’s face it, that stuff is not getting cheaper and my kids aren’t going to regress in growing. The fun part was getting onto pintrist and printing up some new recipes. Then I looked over coupons and made a list. I think that’s the first list in ages! I only over spent by 20.00 from what we normally spend, and I swear we made out with more food than we usually do! Source of pride there!

The only other thing I’d like to work on is a workout program. During Dan’s second deployment he got hooked onto P90x (my best friend and him are cringing). I know I’m not going to do the weights portion of it. I don’t want to look like buff super woman. I’m more after the yoga and kick boxing side. Later on I’ll add in the plyometrics. I like the workout because no matter what, I don’t have to do everything they are doing. It’s like a coach you can mute. I want to strength build, but not with weights. I can barely balance a small laundry basket. It isn’t that I’m not strong enough, it just feels awkward. When I pick up something heavy, I can actually feel the weight on my leg. Isn’t that weird? Any ways, Besides walking to Bee’s school, I want to start getting my body stronger.

Finally, I’m going to add photography back into my life. That is one source of contention in me. I wished I could return back to school. It’s not an option, so I’m going to use several sources I have at my finger tips to work on things I don’t know. Now that I can move about better and my energy level is slowly rising, I want to get back into my challenge. I might just restart my 365 challenge. I know this will help settle my inner self. It probably sounds silly, but to me everything is out of balance with each other. I feel that getting life back under control – meaning the things that I do have control over – me, it will hopefully get this source of contention to go away.

Who knows…only time will tell?

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Can’t Go Back

Hard is trying to rebuild yourself, piece by piece, with no instruction book, and no clue as to where all the important bits are supposed to go.”
― Nick Hornby, A Long Way Down

I am completely and utterly distracted today. I know I have a million and one things to do today, but my mind is elsewhere. Dan said it best. To paraphrase… How do we go back to something that was never started? You can’t go back because things have changed, people have changed. So where do we go from here?

Life has no instructions!!!

“So what do we do? Anything. Something. So long as we just don’t sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we’ve satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late.
– Lee Iacocca

For a decade if not longer I have been selling myself short. I figured it out when I became a shift leader at Pamida. I can’t begin to tell you how scared I was my first night of running the store on my own. I had imagined every possible bad thing happening and coming out being a complete failure. In the end, everything went smooth with no hiccups. I remember sitting in the parking lot after closing thinking what the hell was I thinking?!? I always thought that I wouldn’t be a good leader. Leading isn’t really that hard. It gets complicated when manger and friendships are involved. In reality I was such a…. a good word is escaping my mind. I mean seriously I have had the education and skills all along, just stupid fear always held me back. I let my social situation dictate what I did. I won’t elaborate on that, but let’s just say we haven’t exactly lived at the top of the food chain all these years.

This morning my friend asked why didn’t I look for part time work? I didn’t have an exact answer but my gut cringed. Why? Because that’s all I thought I was good enough for. There. That’s the honest answer. I don’t want to sell myself short anymore. So I’ve begun to look at local jobs. Mainly assistant store manager jobs. Not just retail as in “Pamida or Walmart” retail. I talked to my friend about being an assistant manager of a housing complex and other similar jobs. I think I’m looking for another chance to get the training I need to be a store manager. Nothing big. Not like a big store like Walmart. I was actually half excited to start looking around and see job listings. I like to look at the qualifications knowing I can do all those and then some.

For years I actually dreaded finding work. I mostly looked at the bottom of the barrel. Now I know I don’t have to do that. I’m prepared to go to interviews and told no. I just know that there is something waiting out there for me. It’s going to be a little while before I can jump into working. Honestly (and this might be stupid) I hope to grow my hair out a bit. It might be midsummer or the end of summer before I start applying.

Dan’s right, we can’t just go back to the way things were. It’s time to start new and pave a new road. No more driving in the fast lane of a turnabout spinning circles. Reminds me of the first turn about Dan drove on in Washington…..he drove on the side walk part. (lol) There’s still much that needs to be done, but I think if we can manage to keep out wits about us, we’ll fair well. It’s somewhat a scary idea, but like Iacocca said, if we wait till we are satisfied it might be too late.

There’s also the pain of patience and waiting for the gun and not jump starting at the start line. Boy have I jump started many times and that never ends well.

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Whoa Nelly!

No, this is not the beginning of a new chapter in my life; this is the beginning of a new book!
That first book is already closed, ended, and tossed into the seas;
this new book is newly opened, has just begun! Look, it is the first page! And it is a beautiful one!

― C. JoyBell C.

    So yesterday was a smack back into reality. I had been feeling really awesome over three weeks….so when I got chemo yesterday I just felt like ack. Part of it probably had to do with lemonade and dairy products. I didn’t even think about it when I had a bowl of cereal yesterday morning or when I ate cheese in my salad. Ack! It might have also had something to do with the steroids. I really despise that stuff. Makes me want to crawl out of my skin and run to Canada at mock 10 with my hair on fire. Of course, all night I had hell with hot flashes. I’d wake up soaking wet, have to turn the fan on high, and fall asleep all to wake up freezing cold. Today I am just tired from not sleeping. I am SOOO glad this will be over with. So the new plan, once this is over, is to go in and have a complete body scan and an MRI. The MRI is to make notes where all the scar tissue is in my leg. That away when I have my other scans it won’t alarm them to be cancer and it’s also the first place they look for it to come back. Then I get a CT of my chest. If it’s going to come back, it will most likely come back as lung cancer. Not inside my lungs, but the tissues on the outside. Every three months for the first few years I will have to come in for blood work and a check up on my lymph nodes. Every six months for 5 years I will do the scans. I really pray and hope that it doesn’t come back. I hope I’ve had enough chemicals poured into my body to just eradicate any idea of it thinking about coming back.

    Today is laundry day. Have quite a bit of it to get done. I think I’ll make some breaded pork chops and mashed taters for dinner. Make up some yummy homemade gravy and a nice garden salad. Top the plates off with homemade apple sauce. Looking through my bread recipes and decided on some yummy rolls. I want to coat the chops with panko and use cowboy seasoning. We are almost out of it and I decided to try and find it on the internet to make our own. It took a while to find the actual rub. The kind we use has coffee and cocoa in it with cinnamon. Here’s what I found:

Spice Rubbed Cowboy Chops

Serves 6-8 using 1/2 of the spice rub mixture

6-8 pork loin chops (each 3/4 – 1″ thick, about 2.5 lbs)

Cowboy spice rub:

1.5 tbsp smoked paprika

1 tbsp chipotle chili powder

1 tbsp brown sugar

2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1.5 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground black pepper *

3/4 tsp kosher salt, or to taste *

The stuff is excellent on pork. It is one of the dry rub Dan uses on baby backs. Stuff is sweet, smoky and spicy. I think I even have everything on there. Since I still have the container of the other stuff, I’ll quadruple the recipe and use the left over container to put it in. The best part about making these rubs yourself means you do not have to deal with the extra crap they put in it. There is another one that is sweet and spicy that is similar to cowboy, but uses chipotle and cinnamon in the mix. I like the cowboy one because it reminds you what the cowboys would have on them if they were out on the range. It pairs excellently with pork.

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Wintering Conflict and Judgement

I wish I could tell you how lonely I am.
How cold and harsh it is here.
Everywhere there is conflict and unkindness.
I think God has forsaken this place.
I believe I have seen hell and it’s white, it’s snow-white.

― Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South

    There is something that has been in the back of my mind since yesterday morning. My daily routine involves grabbing my cup of coffee and sitting down to see what is going on in the lives of others. As I was scrolling through the feeds of Facebook, I saw someone like the update from a group page. The update talked about how they had created a private group in which its members can join to discuss various topics concerning that group’s theme. They created the group as private to weed out others who want to persecute and put them down for gathering together and sharing ideas, thoughts, etc. It left a sour taste in my mouth.

    Why do people feel the need to be judgmental? What is there to gain in causing a rift in conversation over various topics? I can understand friendly debates. That is where two differing sides sit down over coffee and share what each believes. That to me makes the most sense. Rather than having a heart full of contention, just sit down and talk about it. Are they afraid that somehow they are going to be converted? Seriously? People in this world should not have to hide the things that they believe in. We should be beyond creating groups in private to avoid the wrath and condemnation of others. Even people with “like” beliefs don’t always share the same thoughts and ideas. As a result there is contention among them. It leads to nothing but conflict. I am the opposite. I hate conflicts. I would rather sit down and learn about the other side from them and their points of view. Decide for myself if it is something I believe is right or wrong and move on with life. I feel like w limit ourselves to new friendships and relationships because, “We can’t befriend them, they are of the devil” or “Stay away from that person, they are homosexual”. It just frosts a snow cone hip high to think about all the people out there who get in the middle of these groups of people to shout and condemn them. The nicest and most interesting people I have met are people who do not share the same opinions as me…except that coffee is good.

(stepping off pedestal)

    Talking about conflict. I have been faced with confronting one of Bear’s teachers. Her music teacher of all people. I hate conflict. I was trying to piece the words together so that they were not forceful or attacking. To make a long story short she ridiculed Bear about her purple saxophone. Basically told her it was a piece of crap. Now to give her the benefit of the doubt, I was not privy to the conversations. I just know that it really upset Bear. Yes, we know it’s not the 1,000.00 saxophone I wished we could have bought. Even with it on sale, it stretched our budget. Thankfully we had a little extra help from grandparents to buy it for her. She doesn’t take it lightly. Would I expect her to take it to a professional audition? No. It’s not the best in the world, but it gives her a place to start. I don’t feel that it was ok for a teacher to put a student down based on the cost of her saxophone. She didn’t do it once, she did it on several occasions. I feel that this is a time for Bear to experiment and dabble in music. She should be encouraging this, not putting her down over the color and price of an instrument. So, my resolve was I decided not to talk to her about it. Instead I decided to write her an email. Kindly explained what the saxophone means to Bear and asked her please not say anything further regarding the cost. Pretty much told her if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all. I haven’t received anything back, so hopefully she read it and it won’t be an issue.

    Ugh conflict. This weather is a complete contradiction to Spring….lol Yesterday afternoon the wind came in and all night it sounded like a hurricane going on. Woke up this morning to a partial snow covering. It’s still flurrying and blowing around. The roads do not look fun. Eventually I will have to get out and buy some more milk. I’m thinking about making chili and letting it simmer all day. Perhaps some cinni rolls also.

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My Turn!

I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.
-Ruth Stout

    Today was my turn to get kids off to school. Dan has hurt something in his chest area – we are thinking separated ribs. A couple days ago he was lifting weights. Then yesterday he was headed into the office when a piece of paper flew out of his hands. When he bent over to pick it up he got this excruciating pain in his chest. I feel really bad. He can’t get comfortable sitting or laying down. When he got home he laid down on the couch and didn’t move or get out of his uniform until he went to bed. I personally think he should go get it checked out….but he’s a guy. I know he felt awful about missing Bear’s concert last night.

    Speaking of the concert, last night the two local middle schools and Chamber’s from the high school did a pre-contest concert. They had judges there to score them and help them get ready for the competitions after spring break. I was really amazed at the Chamber’s band. That is the band Bear will be playing in starting next year. It is really hard for freshmen to make it into. Last year the group was invited to Texas. This year they are going to Branson, MO. I guess they compete against other school from across the nation. They also get to go to clinics. Besides that, Branson is a fun place to be a tourist. I thought that would be awesome if Amanda is going. I have a close friend that lives there!

    So what is on the agenda? Hmmmm……

    Mother nature sure has a sense of humor! She introduces Spring with beautiful 70 degree weather and then pulls a fast one on us. I guess it is supposed to be cold and snowy this weekend. Of course, the snow is not going to be but a few flakes here. I won’t complain. I have repeatedly said we sure could use the moisture. I’m just itching to get some things done outside. I know in all reality that isn’t going to happen until next month. The kids will be on Spring break next week and I get the joy of starting my last round of chemo. I don’t know if we will do much next week. I’m sure we will do our traditional Easter activities. I hope the weather will be nice enough to get up to the zoo and stretch our legs. We could use some nice fresh air. I guess I could be evil and hand two of my kids a shovel and tell them to clean out their rooms.

    Shoveling out rooms…. Sometimes I think we need a huge dumpster out front. We have been here too long. We are starting to accumulate things. I had to laugh. My sister gave Bee a large trash bag full of clothes from her daughter. Last night we FINALLY went through them. I had to laugh. Some of the clothes were clothes we had given Shauna that were Bears. The nice thing about Shauna is she hardly gets dirty and takes good care of her clothes so they look like they were hardly used. I still have a tub of clothes to go through. Bee really enjoyed the larger sized sporty pants that she could wear to bed. She is like her mama. She likes to wrap the pant bottoms around her feet.

    Well that didn’t answer the question did it….. Hmmm…. Ok today I think I will do some picking up cleaning around the house. Just maintenance cleaning. I should probably pick something for dinner. It’s supposed to be yuk this afternoon so teriyaki is out. We had fajitas last night so Mexican is out. Maybe I’ll make the family a nice spaghetti dinner. I think I’ll bake up some bread sticks or fresh bread. Add to it a nice salad… Sound good?

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If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.

-Anne Bradstreet

    Yesterday was a very pleasant day! I love my mornings. I have missed a few times of getting up when I need to, but not by much. Getting up at 7:00 is starting to become normal and I just wake up. Next week I will push that back a bit. I enjoy talking to my bestie. Sometimes we talk on the phone and others we skype. Skyping is much better. Doesn’t require you to hold the phone and my phone won’t cause us to hang up because the battery is dead. I was really wishing I could have a super power. I mean I know I’m super awesome (evil grin). I think If I could have a super power it would be: having the ability to transport ones self over long distances. I wished I could close my eyes, think of a place and when I opened them, I’d be there. I would certainly visit her often. She has been going through a really hard time and I just want to be there to give her a hug. I’ve taught myself that a hug can be the most uplifting thing in the world. I also just wished I could take her for a drive for a day. Stop at a coffee house along the way and enjoy coffee and getting the heck out of dodge. Wishful thinking…

    When I crawled out of bed, the first three or four steps were really painful. I had it in my head that I was going to start walking to Bee’s school to pick her up. It really isn’t that far. Less than a mile round trip and only a slight incline. How hard can that be? YIKES!! My Right bum muscle and that thing – tendon?- in your quad that attaches to your knee on the under outside… I could feel that when we were done walking. This morning my foot hurts and my quads are screaming. Both sides. Isn’t that crazy? Just when you think you can conquer the Incline, you realize how much you have to go. By the way, my goal is to be able to just walk the incline before summer is out. It sort of feels good. Instead of walking three days a week I decided we will start with two. Then work up to three. I really want to get back into plyometrics and yoga as fall starts.

    Track starts in two weeks. I know Bear is excited. She plans on doing triple jump, long jump, 50m and hurdles. 50m dash and hurdles will help her on her jumping. She is really close to breaking the long jump record for the area, and she has her eyes focused on that. I didn’t get to go to her meets last year. I got to go to the big one, but the others I was too yuk to go. I look forward to watching her this year.

    With the week starting to wind down into the weekend, I checked the weather. Today’s high should be 61. The next four days in the 20s. Lo0oks like we are expected to get a rain/snow mix over the weekend. If it manages to get warm I want to get outside and see what I can do in the back yard as far as raking goes. If not, then I will have to wait a week. I have a few other things I can do, like go through Amber’s clothes and of course work on the bathroom. I don’t know why I hate bathrooms so much. Either way that bathroom is going to get super cleaned.

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You Should Smell Like Dirt!

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”

― Margaret Atwood, Bluebeard’s Egg

    I love this quote! HAPPY SPRING everyone! This is my most favorite day of the year! First day of Spring! It’s a signal that the earth is waking up and a new season of growing is upon us. Not just growing flowers and all things that are good, but also a time for renewal in life. Today also happens to be Dan and I’s anniversary! Hard to believe. Where has time gone? It feels like just yesterday my belly was full of butterflies as we made preparations. There have been highs and lows, but I’m thankful we both continue to work hard on our relationship. After this last year, I don’t believe anything can really tear us apart. A year ago, cancer wasn’t even in the picture. I had my bone biopsy, but we really didn’t think it would yield anything major. My husband has done an amazing job of going far above and beyond what most men would do. I am a lucky girl.

Ok all the mushy good stuff aside, I’ve had a fairly good week. My two goals have been cleaning the bathroom (the kind of clean that leaves you smelling like your cleaner) and the laundry room. I got the laundry room done yesterday. I have to sit and laugh at all the empty bottles of soap that were in there. For the longest time I had a hard time going up and down stairs so laundry fell on Dan and the kids. It’s only been recent that I can carry a laundry basket down the stairs. Besides the soap containers there were piles of lint all over. It actually cracked me up. So I made a trash can out of a half broken laundry bucket. No more lint piles. I also removed the shelves so we would have more room in there to move around. The shelves were crammed with blankets. I decided to put them in an empty plastic container. Most of the blankets are keepers – baby blankets or special made blankets. I’m glad that is done. The shelving unit can go to the garage.

I have actually grown to like our house. If it were our own there is so much I’d change, but for now, we try to make do with what we have. The hardest part is there is no storage. We have a small hall closet and personal closet space. Oh wait! There is storage under the stairs. That is filled with boxes of books, Christmas stuff, and four tough boxes of army gear. The garage has some shelves, but not much. There is just no place to stuff, stuff. I guess it keeps us from collecting too much junk. I do need to get into Amber’s room and bag up her clothes that don’t fit. All three of my kids are growing again. They are collecting clothes for the middle school. I think tomorrow I will bag the clothes up and have the kids take them in Friday morning. Today they were collecting books. Wished I had known. I have a ton of books sitting in boxes under the stairs.

So the other night I had issues falling asleep. Keep drinking iced tea after 6:00pm and can’t seem to get to sleep… I decided that I’d start researching Medieval castles. The other day Amber asked if we could make one in minecraft. She wanted a REAL castle with jousting grounds. I told her sure. Then I thought about it and decided I knew very little about them and I should do some research. She it totally into that time era. She likes to take Sav outside with his leash and “ride” him while jousting. She has found things in the yard that would make excellent jousting lances. Just this morning she was telling us how people were punished. Really got into the details of it. I was sitting there sipping coffee thinking about being quartered. Ouch! I told Dan that this year we are going to take her to the big Renaissance festival. I think she would really enjoy it! Might even try to coheres her Aunt Shanna into making her a costume to wear. Of course, it would probably have to be a knight’s costume. Any ways, so I researched castles and looked at other minecrafter castles for ideas. Someone mentioned the best place to start is to use graph paper. So, that’s what I did yesterday during coffee time.

    It has everything she asked for and then some. Now the task will be putting it into the game. We had started on that yesterday when she got home from school, except the scale I used was larger than I thought. Each square on paper equals two minecraft squares… It got so big that when you looked at it from above, you couldn’t see the entire layout. This involves a lot of counting, and bless her little pea picking heart, Amber kept asking me questions. So when I thought I should have been done with the outer walls…I was way off. I got frustrated and thankfully the rest of the family came home. It was time to quit and go make some dinner. I am going to try today but keep at a 1:1 scale. I feel that today is designated no tasks, therefore I will only commit to dishes.

Dan is only working a half day. He is going to pick me up for lunch. Then we’re going to go buy stuff to make sushi. Of course, we are going to go buy the Hobbit. So it’s suhshi and a movie at home. The problem with going out to eat is we can’t seem to find a place we want to go. We are such awesome cooks that I’d rather spend the time together in the kitchen than going somewhere and being disappointed with the food. I know Bee is super happy we are getting the Hobbit. She loves the LOTR series and now the Hobbit will be added to it. It will be a nice evening either way!

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