Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Death of a Loved One

The other morning I was speaking with a dear friend about death.
Now,  although not the brightest of topics, it is an event that we will all experience while on this earth.
We will see loved ones come and we will see loved ones go.
And we will mourn, and we will grieve, and we will weep.
We will ask God why, and we will be angry and hurt.
And it will take great strength to understand that they are gone because it is all part of Gods plan.
It will take great faith to know that they are in a better place, that they no longer have pain or struggles, that they no longer have fear or shame.  

I have experienced death in my life more than I care to mention. 
The elderly pass on, their bodies give out and their minds get tired.
But so do the young, and at times there is absolutely no comfort in knowing that such a young life was taken.  
Having both experienced the young and the old passing on, I hate to admit that I find no difference between them.
Surely the older person lived a full life, experienced all the joy that the younger person did not get to live through.  
And yet death, both young and old, still hurts. 
It still steals your heart, it still shows you great sorrow.

It has been almost 9 years since my mother died.
She died very suddenly, at the young age of 47.
We had no warning, not a hint or suggestion of her death.
The night before the morning of her passing, I had watched a movie with her, I had eaten butterfinger chocolates with her.  I had carried on my Monday at Cal Poly like any other Monday.  I attended classes, had studied in the UU, I had eaten a turkey sandwich.  
I first realized something might be wrong when I tried to call her on my way to school.  We would always talk on the phone during my commute to the campus and a few times during the day.  She didnt answer her phone so I figured she was still sleeping.  Then her office called me and told me she hadn't made it into work and that they had trouble reaching her.  I started to get an uneasy feeling, but brushed it off knowing she was probably having a "sick day" and playing hookie.  Hours and hours passed, multiple phone calls were made, and my throat started to get tighter.  Finally, at 7:15pm, just 5 minutes into my last class, I received a phone call, a phone call I never expected to receive. A phone call that left me without air, without words. 
How could it be? She was just alive, just running through the living room on her way to get her morning coffee. We were just laughing and having a great time watching the movie Garden State. 
I didn't get to say goodbye.  I didnt get to tell her how much I loved her.  I didn't get to tell her that I forgave her for anything she had ever done wrong.  I didn't get to tell her how proud I was of her for working every day at beating her alcoholism.  And I didn't get to I say goodbye!
The next week or so was surreal.  Going to the hospital to see her lifeless body as they wouldn't give me any information over the phone.  Taking a red eye flight to inform my sweet sister of the news.  Planning her funeral, packing up her belongings, meeting mourning people, opening sympathy cards, attending her viewing and her funeral. 
It was a terrible ordeal.  It was a shock to everyone knowing my sweet mother.  
It was so painful, so saddening.  I still cry when I think of living the rest of my long life without my mother. 
A sudden, unexpected death leaves no room for error.  No time for mending.  No time for goodbyes, no time for confessions, no time at all.

It has been just barely over 2 years since my grandfather, my Papa died.
He died after a long struggle with COPD and lungs that were far too used and abused. 
He was on hospice his last week, lying at home with my grandma and other loved ones always at his side.  He was in and out of consciousness, but his moments of clarity were moments we all treasure.
I was able to say goodbye.  He was able to look into my eyes and tell me that he loved me.  I was able to hold his hand and tell him that I loved him.  He even looked across the room at my husband and smiled, and said "Hey Matt! How are you!" His whole face lit up.  He shortly thereafter went back into his slumber, but all the family that was around was able to say goodbye, and give him hugs and kisses.
And yet, when the breath of his life finally left him, it was still terrible.
It hurt us all just as much as losing my mother.  It was so hard to see him so frail and so sick and not be able to help him at all.  It was so hard to see him weak and tired, when all I ever knew of him was a feisty old golfer, who was always such a joy.  It was so hard to see my grieving Nina so lost without her life partner. 
A death that comes after fighting a disease or an illness, a predicted death, leaves loved ones feeling helpless.  It leaves the same sorrow and hurt that an unpredicted death brings.

I do not feel that death gets any easier.  
I do not feel like I will ever get over losing my mother, my papa, my friend, even my dog, anyone.
You cannot get over someone who is so special to you.
You do learn coping mechanisms, and at times, the tears you cry are tears of joy.
Tears of sweet memories, tears knowing that your loved one is rid of their sick body and sick mind. 

I like to imagine my papa and my momma spending their days together, talking about us all still down here learning and fighting the fight. And every time I do think of them, they are always smiling, always laughing, which is not always how I pictured them before they died. 
I miss my family and my friends who have passed ever so much.
But I do find comfort in knowing that they are in a far better place, and that they are happy. 

Comfort also comes in every day moments, and little things help me remember the lovely things about the people I miss.
Smiles for my mom come in: Billy Joel songs, the Rocky Mountain chocolate factory, Mexican food, coffee or "feee" as she lovingly named it, Saturns, the color green, tanning beds, diet coke, girly tattoos, mini skirts and high heels, pajamas, hot weather, the mid state fair, hoop earrings, mineral water, freckles ....
Smiles for my papa come in: Westerns, Johnny Cash, cross word puzzles, golfing, golf carts, turquoise jewelry, nascar, halloween, navy vets, tattoos, button down shirts, silk pajama sets, the smoke stacks in morro bay, trolls, coins, PG&E, the word "dude", Fritos, Sandies shortbread cookies, butter pecan ice cream, mint gum, snuff,  wood working, tennis on tv, electronic dictionaries ...

It takes time to find these comforts, to see something and be happy instead of sad. 
Like I said, it doesn't get easier, I will never think it is easy without my mom or without my Papa, but we learn to cope and we learn to love and we learn to remember that they are happy. 

Some quotes that help me remember my loved ones are in a better place and that I should rejoice in their newfound life, not mourn: 

"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning" Psalm 30:5

"The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.  He guides me along the right paths for his name's sake.  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me... Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of The Lord forever." Psalm 23

"So we are always of good courage.  We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from The Lord, for we walk by faith not by sight.  Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with The Lord." 2 Corinthians 5:6-8

"Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind." C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Things I Am Proud Of

Revel in the small things, right?
So this week, I am proud that:

1. I have begun my Christmas shopping.  Let the feeling of being broke begin!

Someone might get a yummy candle! :) 

2. I baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies last night.
I've had this stupid cough now for almost 2 weeks, so I must be feeling a slight improvement if I felt the need to bake. They were delish.

3. I also prepared 4 days worth of Matt's breakfast. This way, he doesn't have to cook it at 5:30am and I don't have to either wake up to do it or wake up to the sound of him cursing as he does it... ;) win win if you ask me!

4. I have ordered and received my Christmas cards! Now I just have to address them and send them out... Hopefully this round of cards will look nothing like our wedding thank you cards... Married in 2011, sent out in 2013.... Shame on me! I will be better...

5. I have been very good at the 8x8 rule lately ... That is, drinking 8 ounces of water 8 times a day.
Not sure if i really feel any different being fully hydrated,  but I do get a lot more exercise!! Walking to the bathroom 49 times a day is surely considered a workout!

6. I have successfully converted my husband into a tech geek... He is the master of my laptop! And he can even navigate the iPad.  He now wants a smart phone... Not gonna happen given his history of losing/breaking his cell phone, but I do like that he can google, email, fb, YouTube, etc.  Of course, it is all horse, cattle, ranch or cowdog related but it is much better than when we first met! The man didn't know how to use Microsoft word.... Love him :)

7. I bought yummy candy for someone besides myself!! My sister is in the hospital :( and I had the great pleasure of sending her a Sees Candy get well package - chocolate always makes you feel better, especially scotchmallows, peanut butter patties, and mint patties.... Mmmmm mmmm. Maybe I should've sent myself a sees candy get well package too! 

8. I refrained from karate-chopping a patient in the throat when he told me that i looked sick, tired, and like I hadn't slept in days. Thanks, that's exactly why I got up at 530am to shower, curl my hair and put on makeup, so that I could look like death. What a kind soul you are...

9. I bought the new Bath & Body Works car air freshener.  Now that the Yogi smells like Christmas, I will be motivated to clean it ... Maybe... 

10. My husband made dinner last night and it was totally scrumptious! Pulled Salsa Chicken tacos with black beans... All totally, 100% by himself!  Mmm, can't wait for leftovers tonight! And boy is he proud, he just told me that now I have to thank him for dinner TWICE in a row! And I gladly will, because I can't wait for dinner!

11. Matt got out our Christmas decorations!  As soon as the turkey leftovers begin, so does the decorating!!

12. I can sing along to all the theme songs of the cartoons of my childhood... Here are a few of my faves! 

13. Hubby and I rested on our day of rest.  We were out of power in the morning so we just hung out before church, then attended church, then went to a wonderful Mexican lunch, rented two redbox, and then went home and watched 2 movies in a row!  And hubby even held my hand during the movie. It was a fabulous Sunday.

Amazing movie!!! I would definitely recommend it if you like CIA/investigatory movies
Not very good at all... Funny at times, but absolutely no plot and not the family movie were expecting

14. I wrote this blog... Always something to be proud of! I love love love blogging, i just dont always find the time, so when I do, it's a good day :) 

Remember to be proud of your little, every day accomplishments! 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

One Mans Trash....

If you have never heard of Ketchum or Sun Valley Idaho, I would be very surprised.
Not because these places are so fantastic that everyone should know of their splendor and should love them and want to marry them, but because these towns are insanely touristy and spendy.  
They are the Beverly Hills of Idaho.  
Famous for their winter sport scene (ski resorts, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, etc) and their "perfect" summers, these small towns thrive off of tourism.  
The state highway even runs right through the middle of downtown....Stop lights and all....
The population of Ketchum is just over 2,500 people, with Sun Valley only at 1,400.
With such small populations, it is hard to believe that these seemingly tiny towns could draw any significant number of tourists. 
But they do, and they come in droves!

And a few select people call this place home. 
They come with their private jets and their flashy-yet-nature-loving-hug-a-bunny cars, their vegan organic lifestyles, and their highbrowed unapologetic liberalism. 
They build houses for over 1.5 million dollars (this is the average cost to build a home in Ketchum) that they only live in "seasonally".
They rub elbows with stars that also have vacation homes there, stars that include Salma Hayek, Oprah, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Hanks, Clint Eastwood and Bruce Willis. 
They visit grassroots coffee shops where you have to ask for cows milk, as goat, soy or almond is standard. 
And they also donate all of their trash to little thrift stores in the area.
And this and this alone is why I love the people of Sun Valley and Ketchum.

When in town for work, I frequent the two thrift stores I love, The Attic in Hailey and The Goldmine in Ketchum.
The saying, one mans trash is another mans treasure is so fitting here...
On good days, visiting these stores is like shopping in an outlet mall on Black Friday - an outlet mall with stores like J.Crew, Banana Republic, Express, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Kate Spade, etc.
On bad days, you might come up to the counter with a cutco serving spoon for a buck.
Today, I will be a girl...clothes, shopping, accessories!!! But only because I got them for ridiculous prices people....

My recent finds include...

This lovely J.Crew cashmere cable knit sweater... Mine is blue, but the colors are so bright and fun!
Online price (J.Crew): 198$.  My price: 4$

This fabulous Banana Republic wrap dress... I'm not a huge fan of 3/4 length sleeves because I either push them behind my elbow or try desperately to pull them to my wrist, but this dress was so lovely I bought it. 
Online price (Banana Rebuplic): 98$.   My price: 6$

This comfy pair of Dansko clogs.  Most commonly known in the medical field, Dansko makes a miriad of designs, all with great arch support for all-day comfort.  
Online Price (Nordtstrom): 119$.  My price: 15$

This perfect pair of J.Crew wool trousers.  When I'm working in the office, the owner insists on having the air on at 60* even in the winter!  So a nice wool trouser is definitely a must. 
Online price (J.Crew): 148$.   My price: 6$

This wonderful pair of Bandalino riding boots. (I know, I know, they aren't "riding boots" when compared to what I ride my horses in). Idaho winters are very cold.  When work requires "business casual" but also involves shoveling snow, high heels are out.  Boots are in.  These boots, specifically. 
Online price (Macys): 149$.   My price: 20$

These Button down Pendleton Wool shirts for Matt.  Wool is the best for winter, doesn't stay wet if you're in the snow, but still keeps you warm. And they do look pretty hunky if i do say so myself...
Online price (Pendleton): 148$.  My price: 6$

This sophisticated J.Crew chunky wool cable sweater but in Charcoal Grey.  Matt looks mighty fine it it too, but im a bit biased. And dont tell him its J.Crew, or he might not wear it! 
Online Price (J.Crew): 108$   My price: 8$

So if you are one of those people who think those wolf-loving, tree-hugging, snobby rich folk who live in Ketchum and Sun Valley serve no purpose, visit the thrift stores and you shall see their true gift to mankind. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Down With the Sickness

So these past few days I have been sick...
The crud, the cold, the cough, although lung hacking would be more aptly used here...
For the first time in my life I have indeed even lost my voice

I swore that I was melting, that my insides were boiling, so of course in checked my temp...
99.3?!?! No... Couldn't be. I am DYING!!
And I'm not normally this dramatic!!!
Two hours later, 99.5 ... Ok, so I'm NOT dying... Just going through puberty and now my voice either sounds like an 11 year old boy or a 90 year old man...

Anywho... I wanted to tell you about the things that I definitely could not have lived without these past few days.
And just FYI, my hubby is in Montana so I'm particularly bored on top of feeling like my lungs are expiring...

The Sick Essentials:

1. Gilmore Girls : I believe this is my most favorite show ever... I've literally watched 2 whole seasons in about 2 days.  If you've never seen it, start! You will not regret it! A certain wonderful man will even watch it with me. :) 

2. EmergenC : drinking it hot is very soothing

3. Honey : I've been eating it by the spoonful. It coats the throat pretty good and helps your lungs slide out without too much resistance.

4. My fireplace : even the glow makes you feel better

5. Mint Chip Ice Cream : Cold ice cream + throat on fire = sweet relief.  Although I'm pretty sure milk products aren't actually good for your throat - my acapella teacher used to look at my friend Shawntel and I in disgust when we would arrive to our concerts with frappacinos in hand.  On another note, the chocolate chips actually act as little bits of throat scratchers. 

6. Water : hot water, cold water, tap water, Perrier ... Good ol h2o

7. Saltines : you never really get hungry when you feel like there is lava in your windpipe... So eating something that a baby can gum down is always a good choice. 

8. Hubby's button downs : my jammies don't hold a candle to his shirts when he is gone.

9. Tylenol : 2po q6h or bid. (I miss ophthalmology) 

10. My guard dogs : 'Nuff said

I hope you don't catch this crud ... But if you do, try some of these things, they might just help...

Friday, November 8, 2013

Whats in My Photos? #1

Frankly, my life lately has been a little bit western...

i had a trip to california to visit my :) NINA :) and of course to check in on a few other loved ones...

i also had some family drama happen, both good and bad, but no need to worry...

SO.... needless to say i have been a bit preoccupied and I'm just now finding the time to get on here!!!

So today is a catch up blog!
And what better way to catch you up then with my photos?!?

So, heres what i was up to the last few weeks!!! 

Meet Dee, the newest addition to the Ingram Pack

she is a snuggler, but only while sleeping

She loves her Matt

Nuh Nuh Nuh Nuh Nuh Nuh Nuh Nuh BAT DOOOOG!

This is who i shared my breakfast with... she sat exactly like this and watched me eat

Our first snow!

Casso was a fan!!! (note the wagging tail)

Visited the Morro Bay Aquarium - hasnt changed since i was a kid! This dude would peek out his little eyes to see if you were throwing fish his way, and then just open his mouth... didnt raise his head, didnt bark, just opened mouth with his eyes still shut. :) 

Sushi with friends at the beloved Yanagis... oh how i miss thine cut rolls...

Me and Bambi... is that insensitive? Ok so it wasn't bambi.. he would be WAY to old to eat! 

Our new bull

At the halloween kids carnival, we were the bullrunner and the bull... he never caught me!

b-e-a-utiful double rainbow

A MOOSE! A BULL moose at that! Under the rainbow even!!

I shall call him bullwinkle 

Mid stalk i scared a little doe who then terrified my moose and they both ran in fright... am i that smelly??

and the thunder rolls...

My niece B and her adorable little teethers!!
(Ignore the flies, we were outside, no big deal...) 

My sister said she was being very quiet, so she went to check on her and found her into the Halloween candy! That is one happy baby!

Matt's Christmas present... Well, I had to give it to him early because he was gonna buy another one!! 

When we were out to breakfast, B found the jam, opened it herself, and proceeded to spoon it into that cute little mouth of hers! She's 20mo... Look out world!

My sis texted me this pic... She was sick, but obviously had lots of healing cuddles from her lovies...

My man and his chainsaw, 'nuff said...

Visited this handsome man after leaving my friend A's house! 

And that is all for now!

What's in your photos?!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Open Season - a Mule Deer Buck Hunt

This past October I went on my very first hunt.
The only shooting I'd done before this hunt has been at a target while lying prone with my rifle propped on a sandbag.

This target practice is necessary when hunting not only to sight in your rifle, but also to get comfortable with handling your gun.

However, im not sure how exactly one could ever get enough practice, because once I'm in the hills with my scope on a buck 200 yards away, i kind of forget all my practice and all my shooting skills!!!

Nevertheless, the buck was dropped, and i was a happy lady, JOYOUS even.
Too loud, as im pretty sure i scared all the other deer clean out of the area when i hooted and hollered after my buck was down.

Anyway, back to the hunt.

It was a cold October morning, the second morning of the open buck season for our unit.
We caught the horses, got them saddled, and were ready to go!

Matt and his Tic horse

After loading the horses and driving to our chosen hunting spot, we glassed the mountains watching for any antlers.

We saw quite a few deer, at least 20 does, but no confirmed bucks.
Then, a buck or two were spotted far away, but were too far away to actually count their points.
We had to go on our instinct and hope they were shooters.

We quickly mounted up ...(which really isnt quickly when you have a pack on your back, binoculars around your neck, shooting sticks in hand, and a rifle swung over your shoulder)
and headed towards the last spot we saw the bucks.  A herd of does seemed to have gone in the same direction as the bucks, so we followed them hoping they were being led into the canyons by their bucks.
Once in the hills, we saw TONS of does.

But nothing with antlers.
We wanted to see them so bad, sage brush even looked surprisingly like antlers.

Where are all the bucks?!

Matt had been out scouting the previous morning and had spotted a couple shooters a few canyons over, so off we went.
When we reached the top of the ridge, we glassed.
Matt saw what he thought was a buck or two, and so did i.
My group had about 3 in it, but only one confirmed buck.
They were still 2 canyons over, so we needed to make some tracks!

Matt glassing for those big muley ears!

We sidehilled until we reached the ridge that joined all the canyons and rode over to the one where we thought the bucks were.

As soon as we reached the top, Matt spotted one of the bucks from the group i saw from the ridge.

on top of the ridge

the view from the top!

We dismounted, i held the horses, and he got ready for his shot.
Except, he didnt take it!
This buck was standing very still watching us about 200 yards away on the sidehill across from us.
Matt wanted me to take it, but this being my first hunt, i didnt want to miss the buck and ruin the hunt.
By this time, dear Matthew was less than thrilled with my stalling and in the most stern hunting voice demanded that i take the shot.
I do need to add that he was very supportive and had all the confidence in the world in me.
He kept telling me i could hit him, that i could do it.

The deer was pretty quartered away and i wasnt too comfortable with the shot, so matt told me just to wait, wait until he turned broadside.

Well, he didnt turn broadside, he just started walking away.
He walked 5 yards, then 10, then 15 when Matt made the cutest little Doe sound you ever did hear and stopped that buck cold in his tracks.
He stopped, was perfectly broadside for me, and matt gave me the go!

I pulled the trigger, and watched him run through my scope about 20 yards downhill, then drop!
I had done it!
I was so amazed i had actually got him!!

my trusty steed and my first buck!

I let out a very excited and particularly loud "Did i get him?!" and probably a "Oh my gosh!!" and there was also a "I GOT HIM!!"
Matt nicely told me to shut the heck up and watch where he dropped just in case he popped back up.
So i steadied my sights on the bushes that he went down in while Matt mounted up to ride across the canyon to find him.
Its never fun to "know" where your game went down only to get over to that spot and not find him, so this made it easier for us to make sure he was harvested asap.

When Matt had reached the spot where i had shot my buck, he let out a "LINDSAAAAAY" and then let one go.
Instantly i thought that my buck had gotten up without me seeing it and was rimming below me.
Not so.
Matt had spotted 3 other bucks just 50 yards below me running for their little bambi lives.
He took a running shot and dropped one!

Hubbys first muley

so handsome! Matt not the buck :)

There we were, second day of the season, first time out and had both tagged out before 10am!!

Matt went and found my buck so i mounted up and went down the hill below me and found his.

It was amazing.
My first hunt! A clean kill, and a 3x3 by that!
Our first hunt as husband and wife! Both tagged out within minutes of each other!
Matts first muley hunt! And he hit one on the move!!!

We couldnt have asked for more!

We got them down as far out of the canyon as we could, took some photos, and then loaded them on our friends flatbed for the drive home.

It was one of the best days of my life.

Ive been asked a couple of times if I was sad about my kill.
True, it was my first buck, first big game, first kill ever really (besides the mice i trap in my laundry room), but ive been around hunting for the past 3 years.
Matt used to guide hunts for Bitterwater Outfitters and i had the extreme pleasure of accompanying him on many a hunt.
Ive seen the whole hunting process, the scouting, the glassing, the spotting, the chasing, the waiting, the shooting, the missing, the hitting, the wounding, the gutting, the skinning, the de-boning, everything.
Although, i will admit it is MUCH different being behind the rifle.
If i would have wounded my little friend instead of getting a good clean kill shot, i might have different feelings.
But since i did wait for the best possible shot and somehow (thank you Jesus!!!) got a clean kill, i have no sadness for the passing of little bambi's long lost cousin.
He is a memory, an adventure, an experience, a mount for my wall and even more than that, he is 50lbs of meat in my freezer and bones for my dog pack.
Although we arent as resourceful as the native americans, we will use every scrap of meat and will not let this hunt go to waste.
In fact, we ate some of matts buck just 2 nights ago, and he was DELISH!!!
I made Bacon Wrapped Venison , minus the bacon because i was plum out, but oh it was melt-in-your-mouth good.

Hunting for me isnt about taking the biggest rack.
Its not about passing up anything that isnt a trophy.
Its about the hunt, the trip, the memories that ill have of the ride, the shot, and the prize.
Its about spending a day in the wilderness with my best friend.
I mean, how many people can say they shot their very first muley with their spouse who also shot their very first muley just minutes later!
I am one very blessed gal!

 Matt and I with our Muleys!!