The house is freezing and I’m awake..

Gotta love little dogs and their own internal clocks.   They decided that 4:30 was a perfect time to play the ‘run underneath the covers over and over until Mommy finally begrudgingly gets up to let them outside.  I can tell it’s going to be a long day…

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On a totally random note I inherited some land!

Ugh.. time for work!

Spring thoughts

Got out of the house today, did some shopping and took a drive.     With it being in the 70’s early last week,  then snowing a few days ago everyone seemed to have emerged from their house on this much sunnier day like a bunch of groundhogs.   Driving through the small downtown area where I live I  passed car after car with happy dogs hanging their heads out the window, people walking their dogs and jogging.  It was nice to just park and watch the world go by today,  kind of made me with I had taken my dogs along with me but maybe next time very soon!   They deserve to bask in a day like this too!    It reminds me of when we were in Germany and the weather would be cold, grey and rainy for weeks on end.   Then, one one sunny day you see everyone scrambling outside to take in the good weather before it went away back behind the clouds.  It always reminds me of a story that was once told to me in grammar school,   about schoolchildren on a planet that only saw the sun once in a lifetime.  One of the children would talk endlessly about how beautiful that day would be when it finally arrived and her schoolmates locks her in the broom closet as an innocent prank.   The sun suddenly rises and everyone is dazzled by the beauty and warmth of it all.    Then, as the sun sets all of the school children suddenly remember their friend who they had forgotten locked in the closet.   When they let her out she walks out slowly and looks up into the now darkened sky, every bit of light gone from sight.   She had missed her chance to see it,  (I just googled it and it’s called “All Summer in a Day”   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Summer_in_a_Day   It’s funny how on days like this I always think of this story but never thought to look up the name until I decided to include it in this blog.

I have found myself talking just to hear myself talk and annoying everyone around me. Is it possible to lose your social skills when you go from having a regular circle of  friends to talk to, to having nobody that can relate to how you feel (or is possibly just sick of hearing you repeat things over and over again?) I used to have friends around me that I felt comfortable confiding in about everything.  I was also a pretty good listener.   Now I feel like my listening skills have dwindled because all I want to do is talk.   If I was on the receiving end of that I know  I would  be hella annoyed.. so I’ve just learned to repress it more. Keep it all to myself, for now at least and as a result   I’ve just wanted to sleep my weekends away.   Friday evening will come and I’ll look forward to just climbing into the safety of my bed with my dogs around me.  Saturday morning will turn to Saturday night,  then Sunday, Sunday night and then ready to start the workweek once again.   Unproductive but I’m fine with that now.   I don’t think I could stick with a project now even if I wanted to.   No idea why but right now I’m just not worrying about it,  I mean… there’s always next weekend,  or the weekend after that… or that…  or..  whenever..

This whole reconnecting with my stepmother and hearing actual facts about my dad instead of the things I’ve had to make up over the years in order to feel some form of closure has really blown my mind.   I don’t know how much longer my step mother is going to be around to talk to so I’ve been trying to ask as many questions that I can without sounding like a freak.  I also apologized to her for being such a giant pain in the ass back when I was a teen.   I didn’t take my parents’ divorce well at all and Donna dearly paid for it.   My dad really seemed happy with her so who am I to feel any ill will towards what they had?   They ended up together for a reason, and I feel that dad died happy having her in his life.  Soulmates.   I hope she accepts my apology and knows that it means the world to me to have reconnected with me after all of these years.  You really start to think about your own immortality when you look back and realize that most of your family has passed on.   It really does a number on your emotions and it’s completely drained me.   I know EVERYONE goes through a form of this at some point.   Whether or not I’m handling it well is yet to be seen.  I DO know I am not the person I was a year ago,  or even 6 months ago.    Something about me has changed,  my whole outlook on life is different.  I guess I’ll find out someday if that’s a good thing or not.

Having a few hours out in this sunny day felt good though.. it makes me want to take drives more often.

“IDEAL”

I’ve been on a weight loss journey for about 8 months now.   It had gotten to the point where it physically hurt to do anything.   Walk first thing in the morning,  get in and out of the bathtub,  walk from the car into my job (seriously!).   I remember several years ago I was unemployed when we moved over to Germany for the first tour.    I would sit and play games on my computer for hours on end.    Days were lost just sitting and doing nothing else.   One day I was emailing my husband back and forth and I made a mention on how swollen my ankles were.    I think he jumped on WebMD from his work PC and looked up reasons behind it.    He emailed me “Can you press your finger into the swollen part of your ankle and make an indentation?”   I tried, and I could…   half the depth of my finger.   Usually that would be a serious red flag but I kept right on doing what I was doing.  I’ve gotten comments throughout the years from people here and there about my weight.   Overweight people ARE looked upon differently no matter what anyone says.  I have seen it, and I’ve experienced it.   So I decided to finally muster up the will power to do something about it.  I’ve fallen off the wagon a few times especially recently,  and I’ve been a bit worried to step on that scale to see just how much damage I’ve done by eating my feelings.  I’m proud to say that I’m at the same exact place I was  a couple weeks ago!  (doesn’t excuse the eating my feelings part)  but it’s such a relief to know I haven’t totally screwed up everything I had worked so hard towards.

So, with that being said what I’m about to say is still valid 🙂    I went into my doctor’s a couple weeks ago and asked him the dreaded question.   He knows I’ve been on this road to better health and weight loss and he’s been so supportive.   I asked him what my medical ‘ideal’ weight was.   I thought he was going to roll his eyes and say “Grrrrl, you sure you want to know?”    Nope!   He looked it up and I’m only 50 lbs from my goal.    50.   Fifty.   Not 100 like I thought I’d be.  I’m feeling inspired all over again!     Going to start off the new week with a renewed outlook on things.   50,   I can do this!

Closing the account on an emotional investment

Have you ever been so damn disappointed in someone in your life with the choices they have made for themselves?   You don’t have any tie to this person except for being their friend but for some reason you, being the outsider just can’t help but get frustrated anyway.   I’m in that position.   Not going to name any names but once I considered this person a very close friend.   Overall I like to think I’m a friendly person (although some people have said I make ‘expressions’ with my face where I look like I’m angry? Not intended… )  but very few people have I opened up to and let in.  I have a lot of emotional baggage and have learned that it takes a very special person that will be there for you through good AND bad, who will listen when you need to vent rather than just have you there so they can vent.   I’ve become associated with  too many brick walls over the years to want to let just anybody know who I really am deep inside.   Isn’t that what a  friendship is?

Well,  this person and I have been friends for a few years now.  We lived closer for a while then had to move our separate ways due to work.   We stayed in touch as much as we could and made plans to see one another the next possible chance we had.    The next time we did get together though,  they had changed.   Their attitude was nothing even close to what I remembered,  like I didn’t even know them anymore.  The first thing that they said which raised a red flag was they were talking about another friend they had back where they were currently living.  A comment was made “I tell them they are my best friend but really YOU are!”    Then, off and on throughout the visit we heard complaints and insults about that ‘best friend’ back home.  Pretty venomous stuff.     My husband and I planned a vacation with them and we went for my birthday.    That trip turned out to be the major turning point in our relationship  (me and the person, not me and my husband)    I felt almost like we were embarrassing them on that trip.  They would  go off a lot on their own (or so we thought) and I took that as we were boring or bothering them.   By the time the trip was over I was looking forward to everything getting back to normal.   Just being around that person was awkward and uncomfortable all the way up until they finally left to go back home.  For one thing,  I kept thinking back to the awful things they were saying about the person who thought they were so close.  Who is to say that exact thing wasn’t being done to me and my husband?  I bet it is.   Finally, once we got back they confided in my husband the real reason why they kept disappearing during our vacation.   It seems that the people we had seen them with the night we ditched them after we heard them call out to us,  turned out they had a stash of weed,  so instead of being honest I guess it was worth making the extra effort to lie to us about it.   Did they think I would judge them? embarrass them?  I’m thinking the latter.   I do admit that towards the end of the trip my husband and I did see them a few times hanging out with some people who I can only assume were ‘those’ people.  One night we e heard our names being called out but we pretended not to hear them.  It had gotten to the point where we felt if we were ruining their trip, embarrassing them and making them look bad,  then why subject said person to further humiliation around these new friends? Don’t get me wrong, the vacation wasn’t ruined at all despite all of this needless drama.   My hubby and I had a wonderful time on our own and made some amazing memories.  The night before our trip was officially ending,  I had my birthday dinner.   My husband and I got dressed up and had a wonderful time.  We were seated next to a mother and daughter who were a lot of fun, AND the staff of the restaurant already knew it was my birthday so they sang and I got a mini dessert with a candle to blow out.  Of course my ‘friend’ was nowhere to be seen but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  After all,  in the end I married my TRUE best friend and that’s the best birthday present I can ever ask for.   Ever since then I haven’t gone out of my way to communicate with them.    They are miles away and even though before I would have said I wished they were closer that is NOT the case any longer.  The further the better.   It really hurts being lied to,  and it hurts even more since it was on my frigging birthday.   The fact they toss around the title ‘best friend’ to just anyone  (for what purpose? ) really cheapened how I once felt for this person.  It really gives you a used and empty feeling when that’s done to you.   For the record, I wouldn’t have cared if they smoked pot from beginning to end of our vacation.   It’s a shame I was looked upon so lowly to be lied to.    Whoever picks a temporary high over friendship isn’t worth my time or effort.   It’s just such a disappointment it had to end like that.

I hope writing this doesn’t make me sound like a snob because that isn’t intended.   It’s just a subject that’s been weighing on my mind for a while.   This is my form of closure I guess, and writing about it helps.

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So there 🙂

Some more Pupparazzi photos for the day 17 March 2015

 

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You know,  while looking through and uploading these pictures to share with you all I have to say something here. I really miss my old job where I was in charge of running this place.  Never really had an opportunity like this presented to me before and I will be forever grateful to Annie Eure for giving me that ‘push’ to get out of my comfort zone and become a ‘boss’ for a short amount of time.   I could have done other great things had certain newcomers wanted to work together as a team.   Sadly for some,  it’s all about points you earn in the military and how good you can make yourself look, even if it’s at other people’s expense.    Oh well,  at least I left my mark there for the people that counted.   All of the rest can kiss my bootie!

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Haven’t had a VPOTD for a while.. Ghost Town or Bust! Vintage Knott’s Berry Farm

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I am nomom bucking broncot quite sure if this particular photo op still exists within the park. The covered wagon photo is my sister sitting on the left next to who I think may be her friend Mimi.   Not totally sure who the adults are.   I do know that the bucking bronco one as shown above  is still around..  That girl ‘yeeehawww’ing in that picture is my mother.  It would be cool to get back there someday and get a picture sitting on that same horse prop.   I mean, it’s probably gone through so many refurbishments over the years but just posing for the same kind of picture would be cool having side by side.    Someday…. if time and money allows.   I’ll add that to my bucket list.

Speaking of money,  check out the reprint prices from back in the day.    Classic! 🙂

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Closure….. reopened (sort of)

Like I said before,  my stepmother and I have recently reconnected and a lot of old emotions have been resurfacing.  My dad passed away back in 2000 and even before then we had no contact for about 4 years before that.   Even before that our relationship was pretty strained… mostly because of what happened between him and my mother.  I blamed my dad and his new wife for everything and went out of my way when I was a kid to make their lives (well, mostly her life)  as miserable as possible when I was around.   My mom and dad had a very long and ugly divorce and so because of that my whole world was turned upside down.   Therefore I did what any normal teenager would have done.  I lashed out at everyone around me.

So, needless to say when my dad passed I knew he was in advanced Alzheimer’s  but really nothing more.  I was told in the form of a phone call from one of my half brothers.   All he said was “He’s dead”.   Both my half brothers which were dad’s sons from his first marriage had written dad off years ago.   They are off in their own worlds to this day and I never speak to them.  So as far as my father,   I had no contacts that could tell me anything more so instead of living a life of so many questions I started drawing up my own conclusions in order to feel some sort of closure.  One conclusion being that he went to his grave hating me.   My stepmother Donna’s reaching out to me online a few weeks ago was a total unexpected surprise.    At first I was really cautious with my wording with her because her and I had such issues in the past,  but now after talking to her several times I’m coming to terms with a lot of things.   The main one being is she loved my dad with all her heart,  and that they were in love back in their high school days.   Even when they both separated for a time and went onto other relationships Donna always held a torch for my dad.   Then when he started getting sick and showing signs of dementia she took care of him up until his final breath.    The fact my dad was happy is all that matters.  This is still an extremely hard thing to wrap my mind around and I’m taking it one day at a time (it’s hard not having my sister around to talk to…) .    I never thought this day would come… ever.

She recently sent me  a small package with the following letter.. I was home alone when I opened it so thankfully nobody was around when I sat and held the letter for an hour sobbing uncontrollably.  I hadn’t even peeked in the package yet.

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I always thought my dad didn’t even give me a second thought after I lost contact with them.  What I had figured was my father was happy with his new wife and disowned me and my two half brothers.   When I was younger I felt abandoned by him and left it at that.  I mean, if I attempted to contact him then I would have also have to talk to ‘her’ and to me she was the enemy.   So I considered my father gone from my life.   In fact, I considered the whole “Norris” family gone from my life.   I didn’t want any part of being a Norris any longer.    It broke my heart but I never told anyone that.   Well,  I told one person, my sister.

Inside the little package was the following:

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The picture with him and the older gentleman is my grandpa Norris.   He died when I was very young.   I barely remember him,  in fact all I do remember is going to visit him shortly before he died.     We went to my grandparents’ house and he was laying in bed with an oxygen tank next to him.   I remember climbing up on the bed and saying “I hope you feel better grandpa”  and seeing his eyes well up with tears.  Later on in the car on the way home my father told me that what I said to him was very nice and it made him happy.   I wish I knew more about him… I’m hoping my stepmom can help me out a little bit as long as she’s still willing and able to answer questions.  From what she has told me so far though,  dad’s father was his hero and he grew up to be more like him, rather than his mother who was……  well, let’s just say people in the neighborhood used to call her ‘that mean old woman’.

The picture of the girl with the giant hair is me..  yeah…   1988.   They had those studios in the mall called “Headshots” and my sister took me there for a birthday present.  They tease, tease and spray your hair up as high as it could possibly go,  then they stick it to a board.    When you leave there you look like a peacock since the back of your head is flattened from the board.    I don’t even remember giving my dad this picture and I’m so surprised he kept it in his wallet all of those years.    It means a lot to know this..

As I’m getting to know my dad all over again I’ve been going through a lot of emotions.  It’s been hard to concentrate when my mind gets churning about all of this.   It’s like I’m trying to make sense of all of this information at once which is literally impossible!    Hopefully I can sort this out so it’s manageable soon before I go crazy but until then it’s one day at a time.     I’m grateful I have Donna to talk to though,  if you would have told me a year ago that I’d be in touch with her again I would have never believed it.     Maybe dad made this possible somehow from wherever he is so I’d have some real closure…maybe?

Pupperazzi photo 14 March 2015

Where I work we have an animal shelter on the premises and dogs and cats are brought in all the time found roaming alone.  This little one was found and she couldn’t have been any more than 12-13 weeks old.   We hold them for a few days to see if anyone claims them, then they go up for adoption.   It’s mind boggling that someone would let such a tiny puppy out on her own.    She was adopted the day she came available,  and I know she’s in a better place than with whoever had her last time.  ❤    Just wanted to share her picture.. she’s adorable!

IMG_0072   Their loss…. someone else’s gain!

I started up an unintended debate…

DISCLAIMER:   THIS POST HAS TO DO WITH WHAT SOME PEOPLE WOULD CALL RELIGIOUS BELIEFS AND THEREFORE COULD BE A VERY TOUCHY SUBJECT.  THIS POST ISN’T INTENDED TO SPARK ANY TYPE OF DEBATE.  IT HAS ALREADY DONE SO ELSEWHERE AND THAT’S WHY I AM ULTIMATELY BLOGGING ABOUT IT.  IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED, PLEASE DON’T STRESS YOURSELF OUT AND READ FURTHER.  THIS ISN’T INTENDED TO OFFEND.

Yikes…. there’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a debate involving religion or politics.  It’s even worse when you cause that debate all because of an innocent post.

I inherited a ring from my grandmother after she passed away around 1996-1997.     I was living in Northern California sort off dropped off the map at that time and her lawyer still managed to track me down.  He told me that my grandma wanted to give me a ring and $500 and two weeks later a package arrived in the mail with a money order and the ring.    The ring, it turned out was from her daughters of the eastern star organization.  Her own personal ring.   I looked at it back then and shrugged it off,  not understanding the patterns or colors or even wanting to know the history behind it.   I just saw it as a ring,  something cool that my grandma left me but  that’s it.    Of course though I kept it safe and never let anything happen to it despite moving around multiple times.    Well, just recently my stepmother reconnected with me out of nowhere. I hadn’t spoken to her for years… like, 1996’ish!    My father passed away in 2000 from Alzheimer’s  and I found that out from one of my half brothers over the phone.   So there had been NO contact from her in years.   During that time I kind of drew my own conclusions on the multiple unanswered questions I had concerning my dad in order to get some form of closure.   He and I ended on a weird note,   he left my mom to be with her and I hated them both for it.   To a 13 year old kid I was furious that this woman had come into our happy household and stolen my dad away from my mom.   Needless to say I was as difficult as I could be to her out of retaliation.  So,  having her contact me after all these years really REALLY was a shock both in good and bad ways.    The good is that I can ask questions that I’ve always wanted to know and get real answers that is replacing the made up ones I’ve managed to convince myself of over the years,   and the bad is that it’s been drumming up some really sad memories.  I went to a court ordered psychologist during my parent’s divorce and I was deemed as ‘mentally unstable with severe emotional issues’.    I NEVER felt that bad, and it may be just the courts or lawyers trying to over exaggerate in order to sway the judge in their favor.  But, here I go off track again… !   Squirrel!

Back to the ring,    my father’s side of the family were all into Masons and the Order of the Eastern Star/Job’s daughters/Rebekahs.  It was something they were very passionate about judging by all of the photos and historical newspapers I’ve been able to find online.      So I now have this ring and I decided to look into it further to find out exactly what it meant.  I posted this photo on a facebook group that I belong to that contains members of the city where I grew up in.

grandma's masonic ringSadly the first response I received was from someone sharing a link titled “Why no Christian woman should ever join the order of the Eastern Star”.

!!!!!

That opened up an ugly debate that wasn’t intended.    Prior masons and rebekahs replied angrily bashing this lady for posting an inappropriate response to an innocent request for information.   Ugh!    The good thing out of it was I did get my questions answered.    The information I DID receive from the helpful members of the group are as follows (copied and pasted from the discussion  so that’s why they all look random):

“This is a “Rebekah” ring and the female Lodge of the “Independent Order of Odd Fellows”. My Dad was a District Deputy Grand Master in the mid 1930s. This was in District 36 in Northern California. His Drill team did the installation of officers in his District. The three links represent F – friendship, L – love T – truth. The dove is a symbol of peace. My parents gave me a ring when I joined the Rebekah’s on my 18th birthday. That was 83 years ago today. Hope this helps you.”

Just to add a positive note. The Odd Fellows and Rebekah’s did a lot of good deeds and work. One thing our Lodge did was to care for widows and orphans. There was a Children’s home in Gilroy for the kids that were orphaned or half orphaned. The home sent them to Public school, and if the child showed promise sent them on to college. The Funds came from the lodges. I really liked the Home and thought the kids lucky to have such a nice place that took such good care of them. Our lodge also was the caretakers of our local cemetery and assisted in funeral services.”

“My home town is Pleasanton and several of my 1949 classmates moved to the Bakersfield and Fresno areas. Grand Lodge in the 1930-1940 years held the big meetings in Fresno. I also am a Rainbow Girl and belong to Eastern Star, I joined Star with 3 other Rainbow girls in 1950. I learned a lot from Rainbow that I have used in my marriage and raising our 3 children. Don’t know where that fellow got his info, our Chapter was not like that.”

“The ring has no relationship to the order. There are colors that represent the points of the (5) star. I guess I was disputing the conspiracy end. My bad. I never joined the orders. My Dad, Mom and Sis were all very active. I’m suspecting she may have held 3 posts of the Star, hence the colors. More than likely custom.”

 “The five stones are based on five women in the bible: Adah,(Blue), Jephthah’s daughter, (from the Book of Judges)
Symbol: A sword and shield, symbolizing how she sacrificed her life to save her father’s honor.

Ruth,(Yellow),the widow Symbol: A sheaf of barley (grain), representative of Ruth, the poor widow in the Bible, who gathered left over barley stalks as her means of survival.

Esther, (White), the wife
Symbol: A crown and scepter. Queen Esther was a great and noble spirited biblical queen, known for her willingness to sacrifice her life for her people.

Martha, (Green), Lazarus’s sister, (from the Gospel of John)
Symbol: The broken column, symbolic of the uncertainties in life.

Electa,(Red), the mother, (not really a name-the “elect lady”, friend of St. John, from II John)
Symbol: The cup, symbolic of charity and hospitality. Her color, red, is symbolic of love. She accepted God’s will in spite of persecution.

Not the normal Eastern Star ring five color star though. This one has a crescent moon, dove (symbol of peace) on it and only red (love), blue (sacrifice to save father;s honor) and white (Sacrifice for her people) stones. There is said to be a pagan sect of Eastern Star which used 3 Godesses instead of the five biblical women but this one might be one from the daughters of Rebekah, but I can’t tell if it has everything on it that it would have if that was the case (Three Link Chain, dove, lily, moon and seven stars).

The Beehive, a representation of cooperative industry teaching the advantages of united efforts in all the noble ministries of the Order.
The Moon and Seven Stars represents the never failing order which pervades the universe of God and all of nature, and suggest to the members the value of system, regularity and precision in all worthy undertakings
The Dove, a universally recognized emblem of peace, has this significance in the Rebekah Degree. Through the mission of love and charity, of tolerance and forbearance, Rebekahs are to strive to bring happiness to others and to promote “Peace on earth and good will to men.”
The Lily, regarded for untold ages as the emblem of purity, is a fitting symbol of the purity of character, of thought, of word, and of action which should always be found and manifested in the heart and life of members of the Rebekah Lodge.[7]”

So those are my answers.    This little ring has a lot of history behind it.   It’s pretty cool that my grandma chose me to give it to.