Monday, October 20, 2014

The Fall Horse Show

Jakes participated in the Fall Horse show this past weekend. And he has improved SO much since the last one.  He's sitting straighter, heels are down even farther each time, and he's asking questions to make sure he understands everything.  I am so proud of him!

The day is started with a prayer for safe rides for everyone.

Miss Nicole is giving final instructions to Freckles.
"Give her the ride of her life!"
Miss Kathy also instructed Freckles on how to behave.
Jakes rode MilkShake.  This is him in two-point position.
The judge said he was in perfect position!
Sitting trot over the bar.

And of course, all his ribbons.  Great Job Jakes!

The day ended with a competition without the horses but that the kids love just as much.  Its called "Down and Out".  They set up a a jump, very low to start, then after everyone clears the bar, they raise it one level.  This continues until everyone has jumped or missed.  The last one standing wins the money.

Check out the height my kid gets over the bar!
Oops!  I missed!

All in all it was a fun day.  Jakes and I got to hang out with friends and horses.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

I Love My Bed

I love my bed.  My bed sits up high, so high I need a stool to get into it.  I have lots of fluffy and soft pillows. In the winter there are blankets and comforters galore!  I snuggle up with my pillows and my pets and my eReader and all is right with the world.  Usually.

I sleep all spread out, from corner to corner.  Its been a long time since I've shared my bed with someone other than the 4 legged animals.  Even when I was married, he was on nights so I've had lots of time to hog the bed.

One thing I've never missed in my bed is another person to share it with.  I love being able to sleep corner to corner if I wanted.  BUT, the other night I found myself wishing there was someone to hold me, to remind me that everything would be ok, that I am strong enough to do this, that I was not alone in this.

Ultimately, I know that I am not alone.  I have wonderful family and friends and my posse'.  But at 2 am, its sometimes hard to remember the wonderfulness I have surrounding me.

But at 2 am, I have my bed.  My wonderful, high, full of pillows and comforters bed.

I love my bed.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Clean Up

And so it begins:  The Clean Up.  When someone dies, you have to clean out all their possessions. You have to decide what to keep, what to sell and what to give away.  And its always a mess.

Some times you will have relatives who are fighting over things.  That happened with my grandmother.  When we cleaned out after Mom died, I got first pick and then everyone else got to fight over it.  But most of her stuff went to good will.

ESM has already started cleaning up a lot of dad's stuff.  He was kinda a hoarder.  He had a lot of junk! Their living room was all his stuff.  And whenever ESM would bring something home to put in the living room, he'd snort and make fun of it.

ESM is also making plans to sell Dad's truck and the RV.  I'm going to miss the RV.  We had a lot of fun on the trips we would take. Some day I will have one of my own!

This weekend we will be cleaning out the truck and the RV, deciding what to keep, what to sell, and what to give away.  Its going to be a long weekend, full of dust and memories and tears.

I don't know that I'm ready to face the clean up.  There won't be any family drama as its just me and ESM (Jakes might help if he comes this weekend).  But I don't know that I am ready to face the memories, the decisions, and the tears.

I completely understand WHY we have to get this done as quickly as possible.  ESM has to get her budget figured out.  She also is the one that also has to sit in the house and stare at his stuff and be reminded of the loss of her husband. I can go home and put all that out of my mind.

So I will suck it up and help ESM get her life organized as much as possible this weekend.  Bring on the tissues and Benadryl!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Tuesday Tribute - The Posse'

Everyone should have a Posse' when they are going through the good,bad and ugly in their lives.  I am so grateful to MY posse' this past year.  Lemme give the low-down on my posse' members.  They've been there for me, each in their own way.

At the top of the list is Neicy.  She has listened to me day in and day out about everything.  From the diagnosis to me whining about being tired and weak.  She yelled at me for thinking I was selfish in wanting Dad's suffering to stop.  Neicy was the one I told my co-workers to call if I ever hid under my desk.  I knew she would be able to talk me out. She promised to be there (with wine if necessary) whenever I needed and she was.  I'm sure if I'd have called her at 3 am after Dad was gone, she'd have been over to the house to hold me while I cried.  I love her for being there, for being my shoulder, my conscience, my strength.  So glad you're in my life!  I love you Neicy!

Next is Suzanne.  Suzanne is newer to the scene but we clicked right away.  Suzanne and I grew close at the Farm. Both our kids ride there and we found out how close we lived to each other.  So easy for me to drop by her house for some girl talk and comfort.  She also promised to be there to drag me out of my bed (with chocolate vodka) if necessary.  But I love Suzanne because she walked away from me one day.  It was the Tuesday that the nurses told me that Dad needed hospice.  It was a hellava day for me and by the time I ran into Suzanne in Walmart, I was a zombie.  She took one look at me and asked what was wrong but I couldn't answer her because I was holding things together by a very, very thin thread.  She said "do you want me to walk away and pretend I never saw you?"  I nodded and she did.  I love her for understanding where I was and she probably knew what had happened that day.  When I pulled myself together I messaged her what was going on.  She has checked on me everyday since then. Thank you for being my friend!  Love ya!

Janet is the saint who helped to move me into my new place.  She and her hubby took an entire Saturday at Christmastime to move me.  And Janet has been there for me since the diagnosis.  She checks on me, invites me out of the house, even if its just over her house for girl talk.  I know she wanted to be there more for me but I chose Neicy for the brunt of my complaining.  I knew Janet was waiting in the wings if I needed anything.  Just knowing she was there for me was comforting. Janet, you are amazing!  love ya!

Kimber and I grew up together. Dad was another father to her.  I do believe she was grounded by my parents at one point.  She wasn't there in person for me much but only because of the physical distance between us.  Kimber's house was my "run-to" place when I couldn't stand anymore.  I've made several "flights" to her house for weekends and I love the sanctuary, even with 4 dogs and a hateful cat!  Kimber is my sister of heart and I know she was hurting and is missing Dad just as much as I am.  Love you like a Sister!

Denise (yes another Denise, I collect them!) She chased after me on Facebook and text messaging, keeping track of my posts and blogs about Dad; sending prayers and messages of encouragement.  She has also been checking in with me since the funeral.  I have appreciated her love and support so much.  Thank you Denise!  Love you!

Iris and I became friends right about the same time as the diagnosis.  She and I work together and she's the type of person who you can't resist.  When I would be processing Dad things, she would leave me alone only for so long.  Then she would pull me out of it and make me work on my coping skills.  See, Iris is a counselor along with being my friend but she's more friend than my counselor.  She took time out of her busy Saturday to come to the funeral to be there for me if I needed her.  And I did.  Iris just seemed to know what I needed, when I needed it. She transferred to another office and I miss talking with her daily.  Iris, thank you for being everything I needed, when I needed it.  Love you, girl!

Seeing my Posse' sitting in the audience while I gave Dad's eulogy encouraged me to be strong and finish what I started.  Thank you Ladies for being there for me through the hardest part of my life.  I love you all and will be there for you when you need me!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday Tidbits

 Ok.  To bring my bloggy friends up to date on things in my life.  The biggest thing that happened was that my dad passed away.  I am relieved.  His life was such a struggle just to walk to the bathroom and that was not my Daddy.  He was always a strong, energetic man.  I am relieved that he is a peace.  I can imagine him strong and whole and happy.

He put up such a fight to try and beat this latest round of cancer.  I am proud of his will to fight it.  

I have a wonderful group of friends.  Some of them are all friends together and some are separate.  Having all of them together at the memorial service was wonderful.  My "posse" was there keeping an eye on me for what ever I might need.  Neicy had my back if I wasn't able to speak during the eulogy.  I am glad that I didn't need her.  With being able to give the eulogy, I was able to say good-bye to my Daddy.

Work is about to explode with many, many applications due before the end of October.  On my desk right now are 12.  I also just sent an email requesting the paperwork for another THREE.  That makes a total of 15 by the end of the month.  Its either feast or famine in my line of work.  But at least I have stuff to do, which makes the day go fast.

I watched Jakes at his last riding lesson and he has made such improvement since I saw him!  He's riding on Brutus, who is a Thoroughbred.  His posture is almost perfect on this horse.  Now if we can get him comfortable enough to canter and then gallop, he will be making great progress.  There is a horse show in October and Jakes wants to compete.  I'm gonna let him!  The last one helped to build his confidence and self-esteem.

Now that a majority of my stress has been reduced, its time to get serious about loosing some weight.  I haven't worried about it recently cause, well, cause there were bigger things that needed my attention.  So.  Time to start watching what I eat and getting some exercise.  If anyone has an exercise plan they love and want to share, let me know!  If you have awesome music to dance to, share that too.

Its time to live for ME!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

My Daddy

My Daddy passed away last Monday.  It was the longest and hardest day of my life.  I was there for him and ESM right up to the end.  We held a memorial service for him over the weekend. I was able to stand up there and give the eulogy for him.  Here is what I had to say about my Daddy.

Good morning.  We are here to celebrate the life of Louis James Wanner, Jr, better known as Jim.  I’m sure there are many of you here who didn’t know he was “Louis”.

Jim was born September 30, 1946 as one of six children.  He was raised in Baltimore MD, until he enlisted in the Navy.  In the Navy, he saw the world, spending time on many ships and different shore duties.

In 1966 he married Kathleen Gerwitz and they eventually had 2 children.  Jim spent 8 years in the Navy and it was after they had their first child, Jimmy, that Jim decided to leave the Navy.  He didn’t want his children to grow up wondering which person coming off the ship was their Daddy.
 42 years ago, Jim and Kathy moved to Salem County and he became active in Elsinboro’s community.  He started as a police officer helping to patrol and keep Elsinboro safe.  Jim also was a volunteer fireman for many years.
 Jim has held many offices in the Elsinboro government over the years, planning officer, zoning officer.  He wanted to ensure the community where he lived remained the wonderful place he had come to know it as.
 After Jim left the Navy he went to work at the Nuclear Power Plant as quality assurance.  He wrote many of the policies and procedures that are in place now.  Again, he was dedicated to many sure the plant was as safe as possible since he was living in the community around it.
 In addition to caring about the community where he lived and raised his family, he was above all a family man and dedicated husband, not only to his Kathy but to his second wife, Irene.

I wanted to share some things about my daddy.  Just some stories and tidbits I remember about him.  Some are just a flash of a memory that has stayed with me and others are a bit longer…
Daddy was my hero, when I was a little kid and even since I’ve become an adult.  All my life, Daddy has been there.  He worked hard to give us the life he thought we should have, be it toys and clothes or a wonderful vacation to Disney World.  He and My mom were a team, although mom seemed to do most of the hard parenting.  But when I pushed my limits too hard, Momma would refer me to Dad with the standard “Wait till your father gets home”.  That’s when I knew I had pushed too hard.
I remember dancing in the hallway on Christmas mornings, very early mornings, to wake up my parents so we could see what Santa brought.  Daddy was usually the one to let us into the living room to start the fun.  I remember the year Santa brought Big Kid Bikes.  It didn’t matter that it was December, we took them out for a ride right after the sun came up.
Oh and Christmas was the only time Daddy would drink Coffee.  That changed in later years but that was another reason that Christmas was so special to me.  The smell of coffee in the house was lovely.
I remember listening to a recording of me singing Silver Bells and Daddy saying how great his “baby girl” sounded.  Trust me, it wasn’t that good.
One day the bus dropped me off from school and there in the driveway was my Daddy.  He was standing by my new 10-speed bike for graduation.  It was just 8th grade graduation but he was proud of me.
He sat next to me while I tried to gently program the new syntax computer he had gotten.  If you breathed wrong the thing would crash.
I remember Daddy laying on the ground next to my brother when he’d broken his wrist.  Daddy was trying to comfort him while the ambulance was called.  I also remember Daddy telling the story of how the fire chief yelled at Daddy for not treating my brother for shock while he waited for help to arrive. Dad knew the proper protocols of an emergency situation but completely forgot them since his son was the one laying on the ground.
He took me to practice parallel parking in the Avenues of Salem.  He made me park between 2 REAL cars.  No trash cans or flags for me.  Just the real thing.
As I got older, I remember his Christmas Eve trips to the jewelry store for a special present for mom. It would usually be the nicest wrapped present under the tree or hidden in her stocking.
My childhood is peppered with good and bad stories but they are typical ones, you know parent teacher conferences, holiday plays at school, arguing with them because I wanted to go somewhere and they said no. OR if I went to Daddy to ask something, he would refer me to momma and momma would refer me to Daddy. Can you say Ping Pong Ball?  But for all that I loved both my parents, as parents.
I was also fortunate enough to have a chance to get to know my parents as people, friends, equals.  Momma and I grew close through her illness.  She became my best friend and I learned the importance of family through her.
Daddy took off work to help Momma fight her illness.  He would do whatever he thought would make her happy and comfortable.  He helped her to leave this world as peacefully as possible.  When she died, I got the opportunity to get to know my father as a person, a man, a friend.
He was so proud of his grandson, Jacob.  He was the first person to see Jacob in the hospital.  He was the first one to take pictures of him.
Every week Daddy would stop by or we would meet him for dinner and he would take pictures of Jacob.  Every week I could be assured of an email with at least three pictures attached sent out to so many people.  There are many of you in this room who watched the first year or more of Jacob’s life in pictures.
And for the people who didn’t have email, he would carry around his 3-ring binder filled with pictures.  His brag book went everywhere he did.
Then Renie came into the picture. I resisted at first. I was afraid of losing my daddy.  I didn’t have to worry about that.  Renie fit into the family, she didn’t take Daddy away from it.
I remember when Jacob was toddling around, I came home from work to find a green turtle sandbox in the driveway, along with a rocket ship swing.  After dinner Dad and Renie stopped over to play sand with Jacob and push him in the swing.
There was fishing on the river, some where there is a picture of Dad holding Jacob by the straps of the life vest cause Jacob is leaning WAY WAY over the edge. Dad did everything he could to protect Jacob and to teach him the right way of doing things.  And teaching Jacob things never stopped.  Just a couple weeks ago, Daddy was teaching Jacob about hooking the battery charger or some kind of wiring job to the scooter chair.  I don’t know what was going on, I just know they were out there working together.
At Jacob’s first birthday, Dad and Renie showed up with a trash bag full of balloons.  And they dumped them right over Jakes head!  And Jacob loved it, lots of squeals of joy!  I think Jacob loved the balloons more than any present he got that day.
I will be the first to admit I have been spoiled by all three of my parents over the years. I have been and will always be “Daddy’s Girl”
I have so many wonderful memories of my daddy.  As my friend, Ruth said to me recently “there are dad’s and there are Daddy’s.  You had a Daddy.” She is so right. I had a Daddy who I loved with all my heart.

Goodbye Daddy, Give Momma a hug for me! And I hope Aunt Auds gave you a little time before she picked you up to throw you in the pool! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


I am selfish.  I am tired of all the work my father involves.  Driving him places, mainly Drs appts.  Helping him up out of the chair. Lifting his legs in the car. Being afraid I am going to hurt him.  I am just tired of him being tired and sick.  I want my strong, healthy Daddy back.

How can I be so selfish?  Do I honestly think HE wants to be so dependent on me and everyone around him?  He's the one suffering.  Not me.  He's the one fighting and probably loosing the fight for his life.  And I am tired of doing for him.

What a horrible, selfish Daughter I am!  But I am there.  I drop everything and run when he or ESM needs me.  When they called the Ambulance to take him to ER, I drove like a hellion to get there for them.  I stayed there until 3 am and he was settled in his room.  I was the one to run to Dunkin' Donuts to bring him a doughnut and a Pepsi.

I am tired.  I am selfish.  I want my strong, healthy Daddy back.  I think this is one time I might not be getting my way.

I am selfish.  I am tired.