Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Posted: January 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

Ever have one of those days where everything you try to communicate is misunderstood? Or accidentally use the wrong word and have the person you are talking to grab onto it like a lifeline and not let it go, no matter how long or hard you try to explain?

Jeesh, I am exhausted from trying.

I will be the first to admit that I don’t do well under pressure.  When someone starts getting loud or the emotions get tense, well, then I get tense and my “flight or fight” senses go “Fly!  Fly, damn you!!”  But I don’t.  I stay and try to explain myself which lately ends up in me having to explain even more. Up to and including items from years and years ago.

Then, eventually I grow a backbone and try to be calm and reasonable and that quickly melts down into me behaving horribly (yelling, loosing my cool, screaming even, along with the cussing) and then I hear myself and feel like crap for letting words bother me like that.

So, with the wind out of my sails, I state my feelings.  My self truths.  The way I see it and invite the other person to take it how they want.  I have no control over it.  I’m done.

Now I feel a bit like – I don’t care.  And I’m not sure if I like this level of uncaring.  But I sure as hell won’t be bringing it up in conversation.

Oh no.  I may have a hard time communicating but I am a quick learner.

Wednesday starts the Month of Letters Challenge (website here:  I like communicating in letters.  I have to slow down and think about what I’m writing – not that occasionally my brain goes faster than my hand and I have to make some corrections, but it’s the time of writing and reading over what I wrote that perhaps gives me a chance to make sure I am being clear.

Maybe I should start writing notes instead of talking.  But I’d still have to listen.

Eh. So much for brillant ideas



Year of the Dragon

Posted: January 16, 2012 in Uncategorized
Chinatown Dragon

View of one of the many decorations in Chinatown

Work sent me to Singapore for a week – it was an amazing trip.  Even though there was work involved, the people we met with were a pleasure to work with and the project manager and I were able to go out wandering after work.  Two of the nights, I found myself in Chinatown (well, the Singapore version of it). 


There were many dragons to be found

They were gearing up for the Chinese New Year and I wanted to share some photographs. 

Chinatown in Singapore
One of the shops in Chinatown in Singapore

Now if I could just get my sleep cycle back to normal….

Where have I been ….

Posted: January 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

That title may be misleading because I’m not even sure what happened during the last X amount of months. 

I had taken up exercising – running to be precise.  Even competed in a 5k fun run and an obstacle course/mud run.  It was after the mud run that I ended up at a surgeons office getting an abscess taken care of.  And they noticed a strange mole on my arm which lead to seeing a dermatologist that sent that in for testing.

That came back positive for melanoma.  Scratch that – at first it came back as another doctor calling to say it was pre-cancerous and I just had to come in for another wider shaving – only to find out after the original doctor was back in the office that it was not precancerous, but cancerous and that I needed to see the surgeon again but I had a trip down to the main office of my company to take care of first.

That was in the beginning of December and I went for a lunch run in 80 degree, sunny, glorious weather only to have someone open the locker over my head while I was putting my shoes on and I stood up – quicky – and sat down quickly holding my head and trying not to swear when my manager (who happened to be in the locker room as well – thank god!) quietly said “Oh no. You’re bleeding”

So I opened my eyes and sure enough – I was bleeding.  A lot.  It was running down my arms and when I tried to keep it from running all over my shirt and pants I succeeded in getting it to run all over my face.  I felt like I was in a Stephen King movie or something.

One lady came in – looked at me and asked “Are you all right?”  Part of me wanted to say “What do you think?” in a snide voice – the other part of me wanted to say “Oh I’m fine!’ in a pleasant voice.  I ended up saying “I’m not sure.  Can I get back to you on that later?”   Obviously I’m passive aggressive when it comes to head injuries.

So bad luck comes in threes:  Abscess, Head Injury, Surgery. 

Then after the holiday i was in Singapore for a week for work.  I’m exhausted.  It’s in the middle of the night here in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin and I’m wide awake, thinking it’s lunchtime.

Sorry for the less than stellar puncuation, spelling and grammar.  I’m off to take some melatonin and see if I can get my sleep cycle back in synch.


Bad Haircut – Good Haircut

Posted: February 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

In hindsight – I should have taken a photo of the bad haircut.  In my defense, I was too shocked and didn’t have enough time as it was.

My hair is short. I like it short. It’s easy to take care of after my days of perms and color.  Of blow-drying my hair straight only to put it in hot rollers and attack it with a curling iron.  Not to mention the mousse, hairspray and other products that I used in an effort to have the perfect coif.

I have fine, straight hair and without the products and perms it doesn’t do much except lay on my head all limp like.  However, cut short and it stands up and looks like I have an amazing head of hair.  Every new beautician I’ve had has said the same thing when I stagger in  – asking to get it cut.

Well I had my last haircut before Thanksgiving and for some reason I decided to let it grow out.  Then for a week or three, I thought I might just try and grow it out again. That was until my “bangs’ starting annoying the crap out of me.

So I dragged out the hair clips in an attempt (at least while at home) to keep the hair from driving me fully bonkers.  But alas, my finely straight hair is masterful at escaping any clip or barrette known to man.

This past Friday – I was actually thinking that I would be attempting to cut my own hair with a set of dull kitchen scissors -that’s how desperate I was.  Instead I stopped by a local  haircut joint to have them take care of this debacle.

The lady I usually went to wasn’t there – and the place was busy and I though “eh, I should go home”  but I knew I was going on a bit of a road trip the next day and didn’t want to deal with it.  So I waited.

The person I got seemed nice – though a bit heavy on the word “definitely”  and I explained how I wanted my hair.  Her first pass, it was still too long on top and I had her take it down a bit.  Since my hair is fine – I tend to close my eyes while it’s being cut – only looking when asked to.

When I looked again – it seemed fine.  She had put pomade in and I thanked her – paid the bill and gave her a tip and went home, happy that my hair was out of my eyes.

Then later that night my hair felt a bit icky and I scratched my head only to realize that this woman had GOBBED my hair with styling paste.  So I hopped into the shower (never a bad thing to do after a haircut) and when I got out – I realized that this woman had failed to cut most of the hair on the left side of my head after her first initial hacking pass.

Seriously – my hair was awful.  But There was nothing I could do.  So the next morning I tried my best to make it look even.  Though I got the strange looks from our tax lady and my cousin and her kids.  Because I was driving my husband didn’t notice how crappy my haircut was until he walked in with me and stood on my left.

As I was explaining to the other lady (thank goodness the one who did this to me wasn’t there) my husband turned and looked and said “Holy cow, is your hair hacked up over here. It looks like Gabe* cut your hair and Sarah** tried to fix it by helping Gabe”  which prompted me to be taken back IMMEDIATELY.

Well when my hair was looked at even the new lady was shocked – she apologized and said she’d have to cut my hair even shorter to make everything match up.

After a lot of cutting my hair looks fabulous and I’m a happy camper.  And I could have taken a picture but I forgot and it’s Monday so it’s probably not going to happen.  But the universe is a much happier place now that my hair isn’t all jacked up (some bits were around 4″ long on one side and like 1/2″ on the opposite side of my head!)

Lesson learned: Make sure to check your entire head BEFORE they put the goo on it.

Happy Valentines Day!


*Gabe is my 5 year old grandson

** Sarah is my daughter and Gabe’s mom


Posted: February 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

I admit, I’ve been lax about posting something new.  It’s not that other things haven’t been going on in my life.  I’ve had ups and downs as expected.  It’s just I would see the last post I’d made and remember my cousin.

Suddenly I wouldn’t feel like writing much.  Lately I’ve been thinking of my cousin.  About how I would help her with her makeup.  How she always swore that I should become a makeup artist.

I remembered how she was petite to my lumbering figure.  How she had gorgeously thick wavy hair while mine was stick straight and fine.

I am glad I got to help her with her makeup.  Glad I was able to spend part of my life with her.  Glad for the memories.  Without them,  there would be a big gaping whole.

She laughed loud. We both did.  We had laughs that would fill a room.  People would give us looks for laughing so loud and so long.  It only made us laugh harder.

What was hard, was realizing that there were things that were between the two of us.  Inside jokes and stories – that only we got.  Now I’m left alone with the stories and nicknames.

So I’ve been writing them down in a journal as I remember them.  Not just of her, but of the family as a whole.

Who knows? Perhaps one day someone will stumble upon my ramblings and get a smile or two.  Maybe even a laugh about the stories or cringe. Who knows.  Warped senses of humor run in our family.

I guess all that’s left to say is: Thanks for the memories kiddo.  I miss you.






Posted: January 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

I have noticed odd things going on since my cousin died.  I’ve noticed that I seem to have lost the ability to keep my hands steady.   That I have lost the ability to fall asleep quickly (one of the easiest things for me) and since staying asleep was always an issue – I’m starting to feel the drag.

Sunday night I dreamt that I was in the car with Kim, we were going to school – my mom or her mom was dropping us off.  We had our skates in our bags and I was promising, PROMISING that  a) it was okay to bring skates to the last day of school and b) we each swore to look out for the other.  The final addendum was making sure we were waiting at the right spot because we were going to stay after school for some skating.

I remember walking into school with Kim and then a bell rang and we were skating.  At first it was juvenile, awkward skating – then we got better and better (and older) and it was extreme sporting/roller-derby type skating with my cousin and I shouting threats and words of encouragement – teasing each other.

Then there was a bunch of garbage in the school lot.  Old boards and crap lying around and I was trying like hell to not fall over.  And there was the curb and my mom pulling up and I turned and looked back. No Kim.  The bottom of my stomach fell out.  I lost her.  What was I going to tell my mom.

Suddenly, I was a kid again standing  on the sidewalk as the car drove up.  I could see my mom’s expression.  Thankfully my oldest daughter called me and woke me up because I don’t think I could have dealt with the guilt I was going through in my dream. 

It comes and goes in waves, the sorrow. I am going about my day, then I recall her and remember she’s gone and saddness hits.  At work it is hard to focus at times but I know it will get better.  I’m no stranger to loss and stages of grief.   It’s just that I seem to be stuck with shock.  This numb feeling that seems to give way to the sharp pain of realizing that I’ll never get the chance to tell her how much I love her, even though I know she did and she also knew that I love her.  Always have, always will.

So I’ll keep putting one foot in front of the other until time can work its magic and dull the pain a bit.  However there will always be a piece of my heart that left with her.


Friday morning the phone rang.  Which is unusual because even though it was close to a holiday – it was a work day.  So to get a call that early meant that it was something important.  It was.

The tone of my mom’s voice was the first flag of  “uh oh”.  Her voice wavered like it did when she was trying really hard not to cry or freak out.  Kim (my cousin), she informed me, went into cardiac arrest earlier and was on her way to the University hospital in Madison.

Madison.  About an hour from me – over two for her.  But there wasn’t a lot of information and she just wanted to let me know; that my Aunt and Uncle were on their way and that she and my Dad were headed out shortly to join them.   She would keep me updated.

That shocked, foggy feeling hit.  Should I go? Should I wait?  I didn’t want to bombard her with questions because she didn’t know.  So I went back to my computer and tried to work.  Tried being the operative word; my mind would wander, wondering the when, what, how and why’s of it all.  Most of all: why Kim?

Thankfully my Mom called to tell me that my Aunt and Uncle were there and I was able to transfer communication and find out more:  She’d been in cardiac arrest for a while before they got her there and things didn’t look good.  I sat there in shock, staring at my computer and looking at numbers and emails that my brain refused to comprehend.  The WHY of it all still screaming around my brain.

Then the deal making kicked in as I waited for a conference call to come to a close.  The same deals I’ve tried to make before.  They start out small, with requests of  being a better person if I could just have this one boon.  Finally spiraling down to asking for a trade – her for me.   I tried reasoning with whoever the fuck is in charge:  listing out all the reasons why I would be a better candidate for this.

I know this was fucked up. How could I, without consulting my family, sit there and come up with this deal and not think of them.  But I wasn’t thinking of them.  I was thinking of her.  She is my cousin and growing up, she was like a sister to me.  If put under oath, each of us could have told some stories that would have gotten us in a shitload of trouble with the law, and even more trouble with our parents.

She was two years younger than I.  My brothers age.  My husband’s age.  She has three children and two grandchildren.  A wonderful husband who adores her.  A brother who, along with the rest of their family, suffered the loss of their mother.  He needed her.  They all did.   It’s not that I don’t think I wouldn’t be missed – it was a pure knee-jerk reaction:  they are suffering and I need to do whatever I could to stop it without considering any consequences.

In the meantime, I’m being asked questions that I had to have repeated and I’m sure the people on the call thought I was just being apathetic or eager to start my New Year’s celebrating when all I wanted to do is get the fuck off the phone and get to the hospital.

At the end of the conference call, my mom called – a quick chat:  it didn’t look good.  I assured her that I would be there as soon as I could.  Our team was granted an early send off and I thought I could make it to that.

I was wrong.

I couldn’t do anything productive.  I tried.  I would open documents and look around and suddenly wonder what I was doing because my mind had wandered to some old memory involving her or wondering what was going on in the hospital.  I didn’t say anything to anyone at work.  My boss was on vacation and by the time I realized that waiting another 90 minutes would be pointless, her boss was off-line.  So I closed up shop and got on the road to the hospital.

I drive fast.  Always have. Leadfoot Annie my dad would call me with a mixture of pride and warning.  I drove to Madison daring anyone from any county to pull my ass over.  My fear of the unknown had latched onto anger of  being stopped.  I didn’t drive like I was some maniac, and I didn’t get over 90 mph.  I found that when there were cars around – I did whatever I safely could to get out of the pack.  I was on a mission and had no clue what or where the other drivers were going and didn’t care.  I waved to people who got out of my way, cursed at those who slowed me up.

Got lost in Madison (thanks for nothing Google Maps) and found my way thanks to my Blackberry and a few helpful people (thank you Mr. Mail Carrier and Random Cross-walk Lady).  Met up with my Mom and up to the Cardiac ICU.  As soon as I saw her, part of me stopped.   The young part of me that had the most memories; of make up and hair styling, of the time I was trimming her hair and her boyfriend called as I was getting ready to cut and she jumped up giving her a crooked cut right at her cowlick that made it stick up for a couple of weeks until it grew out.  Of me stumbling to her bed, drunk, too drunk to drive, thinking I was pushing her toward the wall, when I was actually pushing her out of bed (or so she says). 

This was the girl I played tea party with.  We played Barbies and dolls and school and found out that the stairs in her mom’s apartment were GREAT for sliding down on a piece of cardboard (thankfully we all got a turn or three before her mom realized what we were doing).  Her mom used to watch my brother and I.  I remember standing in the kitchen with my cousin, helping her mom make a cake and each of us were holding an egg;  I dropped mine – she didn’t.

I was the uncoordinated one. The klutz.  I was tall and awkward a giant compared to her and her mom.    We had fights and disagreements – when we got to the age of boyfriends I recall her absolutely hating one of my boyfriends.  He was a jerk she’d told me, he was no good.  She was right.

She could say things to me that no one else could.  Some tried and realized quickly that it was an inside family thing and that they had overstepped their boundaries.  Kim could call me out on my bullshit just as I could for her.  I loved her.  All of her and she loved me. I know this.  She knows it.

Nurses came in and out.  Doctors stopped by for assessments – staying and making sure that any questions were answered.  In between this I sat with family or in her room, staring at her monitors, willing her to wake up.  Asking her to wake up.  Begging her to wake up.  I threatened to tell everyone my side of certain stories and set records straight if she didn’t wake up.  I held her hand, stroked her forehead.  I pleaded with any deity that would take up the cause and just let her wake up and get better and go on.

Looking around at tear-stained faces and red eyes and feeling little pieces of my heart break off, while the younger part of me stood outside the room, refusing to go on.  Denial had taken up residence.   Some family had to go home, others took wandering in and out, checking things.  Praying, I’m sure, like I was that this time when they walked in she would be showing signs of improvement.  Or better yet, that she’d have some miracle episode and would be sitting up in bed, wondering just what in the hell all this carrying on was for.

To top it off, my mom hasn’t been in the best of health and the only reason my dad went home to take care of things there was because I promised (PROMISED) to watch her because she would get dizzy spells after sitting for a long time.  Fine. I could handle that.  And I did, right until 2 am when she came back from taking a nap and promptly fell asleep in one of the chairs.  Kipp (cousin) and I joked around, making comments about her sawing wood and both tried to get her to go back and get more rest.  She ignored us.

So I told her I was going to get some sleep.  I knew Kipp needed it but he wouldn’t.  He was waiting for his sister to wake up.  I went and found an empty waiting room and got comfortable.  As comfortable as one can when people were passing down the hallway in various gaits.  The walkers were easy to ignore, the runners were not.   But finally I got to sleep, only to be woken up by my mom’s voice saying “Oh there she is”  I lifted my head and saw my mom, in a wheelchair being pushed by a nurse.

The weariness was gone as the nurse explained that my mom stumbled getting up and twisted her ankle.  We got her on one of the couches, ankle propped up with ice packs and she was already dozing off as the nurse explained where the emergency room was.  The joke was, if she was going to fall somewhere and get hurt, she’d picked a great place to do it.  After a couple of adjustments, my mom was comfortable enough to fall asleep and start her trade mark “not-snoring” snore.  I retreated to the waiting area across the hall where it wasn’t as bad.  But I kept waking up.  If she and I were here, who was with Kim?

Around 4:30 I helped her to the ladies room and said she needed to be seen and she agreed (thankfully) and we started the long ride to the emergency room.  She made me promise that after I’d checked her in I would go back upstairs.  I did that with the full intention of sending down someone to check on her.    I sent Kipp who came back and reported that she was in a bed “resting” we joked that it must be nurse code for snoring.

The rest of the day was a rollercoaster ride that is too exhausting right now to go into.  In the end she was declared clinically dead and now, now I’m left in this fog wondering why.

But isn’t that the question on everyones mind when they lose a loved one?