Thursday, October 23, 2014

Even Longer (aka. "Not Dead YET")

Yeah, I'm totally sucking at ... well, really most everything. But especially blogging on a regular basis. (I mean, every day might be overkill ... but even just ONCE a week would be better, right?)

(Then again, I have some friends that haven't blogged in months/over a year ... so I SUPPOSE that I'm doing okay after all. But only by THAT comparison. And we aren't really supposed to compare ourselves to others all that much, right?)


OKAY ... so ... what all is going on.
So, let's see ... and I don't know that I'll be going in any particular order.

Forefront on my mind is that the Facebook group for my friend Kim McDaniel, the one who passed last month, might be closed/gone.

And, when I got that news the other day, I just about lost my breath. Because, well, it was one thing that we all had left of her. Sure, people aren't posting a whole lot. ... But, and I only know what I do, since I'm not THAT good of a stalker, but I know that I'd go and look over pictures that people had posted. Or reread some of the stories that people shared about her and her life/influence.
And, well, my first response was, "Oh no. I'm not ready." The thought of it disappearing into the void was like losing her all over again.

My mom was there when I read the post about closing that page. And, since she always has good advice (though I don't always take it), I did go and download some of my favorite pictures of Kim.
And I'll post what I shared, so that you can know a little more about my friend.

While Kim was living in [our town], I was blessed by the opportunity to be one of her Visiting Teachers (in fact, I was really bummed when she was transferred to another route). It gave me an opportunity to ask her if she was sincere when she announced at a ward social that she was into gangsta rap -- since it was announced in a tone that COULD have been sarcastic.

She was always full of humor. I'd say that she was a force of nature embodied -- she's great. It was a highlight to go visit her. I know that she was always very concerned about asking for any help -- feeling that people might/would feel that she was taking advantage. I never felt taken advantage of. In fact, in talking with other members of the ward, we would have loved to have had more opportunities to serve her and her family. We love them.

I loved sitting by her in Relief Society ... and I'll confess that when we sat together, I did not listen to the lesson nearly as much as I should. But we tried not to be too loud or distracting.One time, Kim came over for a baking day. We made cinnamon rolls. She ended up sharing a good portion of those she made with the staff at her doctor's office ... which is just like Kim. She was considerate and kind like that.

Tuesday, I was making some cheddar biscuits. And a thought forefront on my mind was, "Oh, when Kim's better, we have to make these together." (We were overdue for another baking day. We were going to have one together and try our hand at something savory. But it had been postponed for about a year, due to busy schedules and her health.) I knew that these were the biscuits that she and I should make together WHEN she was better. I didn't care if it would take a year, ten years, forty years ... but-- dang it -- we HAD to make these.

Then, the next evening, I got the news.

So, well ... thank goodness for the resurrection and all ... I'm just going to have to wait for a while longer to make those biscuits with her.

She and I would also trade links for funny videos on YouTube. One of her absolute favorites was the Jimmy Fallon/Will Ferrell "Tight Pants" skit. She's right. It is really hilarious.

I miss her. And our ward is really, really so sad that we didn't get to keep her for longer. Which speaks volumes about how wonderful she is and how much she means to us.

But, yes, there -- in a nutshell -- is my Kim.
Michael still thinks that I should have gone to the funeral. But ... well, I don't know. I don't like crying in public. I had responsibilities here. It was a really long drive ... And, more importantly, it wasn't going to bring her back.
But, using the Purex fresh-scent crystals, when I smell our laundry, it's almost like she's around. Just her scent.
Taking the warm laundry out of the dryer, it's almost like getting a hug from her. which still makes me feel special, since she was (self-professed) not huge on hugging people. But I would get hugs from her.

So, there's that. And I realize that it's been over a month. And that is a very long time. And a very short time. And I know that I wasn't as close to Kim as I should have been, as her friend. I feel that I SHOULD have been more aware ... more ... something. Better, anyways. 

And I know, also, that she'd tell me to cheer up and that I was doing fine. 
But it doesn't bring her back, you see. And I hate having to MISS people.
I mean, it's bad enough when people move away (or I move away). BUT we can always call, text, mail letters, connect on Facebook ... all that stuff. Or that we could manage to be in the same place at the same time and SEE each other.
Dealing with death, though ... I just don't like it that people go somewhere too far to contact directly (at least that I can't hear them or see them or hug them or whatever). It's just not fair that they go somewhere that I can't (at least not yet).


Well onto less Allanna-is-a-brooding-sad-sack things.

Let's see what all I've been up to lately.

This morning, Bubbles was in the bathroom sink, having spilled all the mouthwash. 
I was ticked off, sure. But the bathroom DOES smell quite minty-fresh. So, there's that.

Bruise and Bucket had their Primary (Church Children's group for ages 3-11) Program last Sunday. 
They both read their lines very well (loud enough and clear). They sang with the rest of the kids. AND their Sunday School class (4/5 were there) sang the verses of one song, with the rest of the Primary joining in on the chorus. Michael and Mom were VERY impressed that we could HEAR Bucket quite well (since she's quite stage-shy).
It's really awesome to see how they're growing (and to see Bucket doing so much better in dealing with her nerves. ... Priesthood blessings DO help a lot).

Grandma I (the kids' great-grandmother) and Aunt S (Michael's aunt) came out for a visit, since they live quite a ways away (a couple thousand miles, anyways). We got to hang out with them a bit, never as much as we'd like. But it was good to see them. And we had some family snapshots taken, so that was nice.

We took the kids to the zoo a few weeks ago. There's some (a LOT) of construction happening. A veterinary/zoological  medicine school is going in. They're expanding the Asian elephant enclosure. The train tracks are being worked on. They were resurfacing some of the walkways ... So we did MOST of the zoo. (Not the elephants or the Pacific Northwest exhibits) ... I do rather miss some of the Northern-northern (Alaskan/Canadian tundra) exhibit. But we do quite enjoy having lions at the zoo ... so, well, it's a little bittersweet.
A nice plus, though, was that we ran into Jenny and Joseph and their kids at the zoo. It's been way too long since we've gotten to hang out, so just getting to see them was a bonus, indeed. ^_^

Bubbles had her flu shot. The rest of us should get ours.
Michael will be getting his other wisdom teeth pulled tomorrow ... FINALLY.
They're infected/bad and his last dentist (Aspen Dental, I'm looking at YOU) wouldn't pull them because "they're close to a nerve." So, instead of giving a referral or whatever, this dud was just going to let them rot. ... Which they have been doing for over a year.
Michael's been in a lot of pain.

He finally caved and called K, our brother-in-law, who's a dentist and specializes in extractions at his clinic. Sure, we'll be doing a bit of a road trip, but it'll be worth it for Michael to NOT be suffering on the daily. Poor dude.

The kids brought home their school pictures.
Bucket's looks great. Her hair is even STILL in place.
Bruise's, though, ... his hair's a little disheveled. But the biggie is that he has this half-smile (not showing his teeth at all, so it's almost a smirk) with DEAD EYES.
The boy almost looks stoned, poor thing.
So he'll have retakes this time. Crazy boy.

I had PTC (Parent-Teacher Committee) meeting last week. Took notes. Typed them up and got them back to the staff for translating into Spanish and putting on the website/facebook page. Go me, right?
Last month, the library at the school was PACKED full of parents.
This month, they forgot to schedule the robo-call from the school. So we had maybe a dozen people show. Oops.

Parent-Teacher conferences are coming up. We'll see how that goes. I think everything should be fine. Haven't heard anything bad (Except Bruise telling me that it's difficult to listen/write/speak Spanish. ... I hear you kid, says your mom who keeps trying to respond in German. Can we get the gift of tongues and interpreting of tongues happening here? It'd make it a LOT easier to volunteer in the classroom, translate the PTC notes so that C in the office doesn't have to, and deal with Mr. Ruidoso-Neighbor ... though, honestly, since the police went over, he's been quiet as a mouse. And I do hope that he continues that trend. Bless. ... If not, I gave him a blanket warning. And I'll totes call up our city's finest right away in the future. ... Michael says that he probably has a lot more respect for me now. ... I just want to know what all went down that one night that had at least THREE officers go to their house the next day. Dude ... did he take a swing at one or something?? No freaking idea.)

We had our last dinner with Sister Palmer. She's heading home, since she's reached the end of her mission. Per her request, we had scrambled eggs and German Pancakes/Dutch Babies (which let me FINALLY use my German Pancake pan that I received as a wedding present over a decade ago. :P). I also made biscuits (from a can) and gravy (not from a can) for the omnivorous diners (i.e., everyone else).

Last weekend, Michael drove down to help Dad and L move. They still don't have the keys for their newest place, but there was a place to put things in storage in their new town for the time being.
Dad actually called later to request that I tell Michael and [my stepdad] how much they appreciate their help. ... My dad isn't always quite so thoughtful. So, obviously, L is a good influence on him. Mom and I were pleasantly surprised by this incident. (Go Dad!)

Dad C had a bit of a medical scare ... at first we thought it was a kidney- or gallstone. Turns out it's an enlarged prostate. The doctors are keeping an eye on it.
And we're glad that it's nothing more serious.
While the missionaries (Sister Palmer and Sister Bent) were over on Tuesday, Bruise's spacer (for a tooth that was extracted a couple years ago) came out (again).
However, this time, instead of snapping off, it came off all in one piece, with the cap it is attached to.
I called their dentist's office yesterday morning ... and ended up rushing us all out there.
They glued back on the cap, so the spacer is all back in place. (There was no damage to the capped tooth. No sensitivity to water or air. Everything still fit perfectly.) Got Bruise and Bucket to school just over an hour late.
Bubbles used the potty at the dentist's office. Then wet her pants at home.
She used the potty at the restaurant, when Mom, Bubbles, and I went to lunch ... and filled her diaper at home.
... Maybe I just need to keep her out of the house more? :P

Nursery (the young children's class at church -- ages 18-months to 3-years) is going better. CH and I make a good team, I think.
We've had a smaller class lately. Meaning that there are between 9-12 children in the class (as opposed to the 15-18 that CAN/DO usually show up). And, since T (the other Nursery leader) takes the older ones (who'll be in Primary in January) for most of the two-hour-period, it's been a lot calmer.
We've mostly just been playing it by ear. Pretty lowkey.
Sometimes we get out the play dough or puzzles or cars and dolls ... we have snack and a lesson ... sometimes we have singing time. For the last 5-10 minutes, we sometimes play with bubbles (which makes me a little winded and we're both all drippy with soapy-water by the end of the block). But, yes, it's a lot better than my first month in Nursery.
And I have fun with CH. Lots of fun, really. We're of quite a similar sense of humor. That does help. And I've known her for nearly a decade, so that helps, too. It's a different dynamic, since she was in YW (Young Women's, the girls ages 12-18) and I was a leader (YW Camp director and then YW Secretary) ... but it's still pretty fun. Almost like having a little sister, I suppose.

I've started reading more books lately. That's a good thing. I've missed my daily escape.

Also, on Pinterest, I've gained some followers ... so let me brag.
A couple weeks ago, I got an alert that I Chad Hawkins started following me. And I was all, "why does that name sound familiar ...?"
ONLY BECAUSE I HAVE HIS BOOK (well, ONE of his books, "The First 100 Temples," since my Institute [Gospel Study] teacher, Brother Kirby was quoted in it) ... and I was then quite impressed.

Then, the next week, started following my "Churchy Stuff" board. And I was quite chuffed.
THEN, I got a notice that my "Churchy Stuff" board has been added to those followed by LDSLiving.
Could have knocked me over with a feather, y'all. So I feel rather famous. Since I respect all three of those people/organizations.
Which makes me feel that I must be doing something right with that board. (Now just to IMPLEMENT all the awesome scripture-study and other skills/ideas that I've pinned, right? ... And to cook more of those yummy recipes from my cooking board ... and to work a lot of it off from my healthy-type-stuff board.)

The kids all have their costume-stuff. I didn't make anything. I let them all choose. So, there's not really any common theme or anything. Bruise has known what he's wanted to be for a year. Bucket went back and forth between about a dozen choices. Bubbles chose between two things ... I have no idea if I'm even doing anything costume-wise for myself. Oh well.

I think that's most everything that I should put in my brain-dump.

Well, that and I had a fun cameo in my Roxy-sis's dream the other night.
In her dream, she was at a family reunion (no, we're not really related), and started feeling light-headed and passed out, coming to with her cheek on the floor, unable to get up ... everyone was gone.
I prance in, drop a pile of kitty kibble in front of her nose, giggle, and run out.

Which is the kind of surreal thing that happens in MY dreams ... so, well, even when my dream-self goes traveling, at least she's pretty consistent. So, yeah. Good times, yo.

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