Father’s Day

Today is my first Father’s Day without my dad.

Dad and me at Mom and Dad’s 50th Wedding Anniversary, 2009

I know I never wrote about Dad’s passing. Probably because my Mom had a very serious hospitalization right after the funeral, and by the time we got past that crisis (she’s fine) I think I was still so mentally numb I couldn’t write about it. The set of family pictures we took the morning of the day dad went into the hospital – I still can’t display in the house. Too much grief and sadness fills my heart when I look at them. The last time Dad was Dad before the surgery to put a stent in his heart and dementia ravaged him and took him from this world in less than a month. Yes, his dementia was bad before – but the type of dementia (Lewy Body) he had is greatly affected by any cardiovascular surgery and it really accelerated his decline.

Last year on Father’s Day, I drove to see him in the nursing home. He was so frail and not responsive; I’m not even sure he knew I was there. After that, I went with my sister and Mom out for lunch and I just remember saying that Dad was already gone. His body was still alive, but who he was as a person was already lost. The gruff softie. The man who would tell you a hundred times how to do something, and when you’d say “you’ve told me this already, Dad.” he’d respond with a “well I’m just sayin’.”

I remember a conversation we had at a local pizza place – probably 15-20 years ago because I was living in Iowa at the time (I moved back to MN in 2001). And we were talking about my brother’s death and my accident.

When I was 10 years old, my brother died in a terrible tractor accident down by the river that divided our farmland. He was only 20 years old. A year later, I was in a tractor accident approximately 20 yards from my brother’s – I should have died, but came out of it with a broken arm. What happened there, I have no recollection because I blacked out when the accident started and came to 50 feet away from the wreck walking up the field drive towards the house holding my wrist.

Back to the pizza place. Talking about that, Dad got choked up and with tears in his eyes said “if anything more than that broken arm would have happened to you, I would have sold the farm and moved to town immediately. I couldn’t do it anymore.” Outside of my brother’s funeral, it was the only time I’ve ever seen Dad cry.

It’s weird, but I wasn’t super-close to my dad; I was and always have been a mama’s girl – but he was always there. Always yelling things in the background when I talked to Mom on the phone (like “ASK HER ABOUT MY EMAIL…”). Having to go fix his computer every time I visited the farm. Asking me questions about his ancient cell phone and why it does a certain thing and having to explain that every cell phone is different. Telling me to not unpack the clothes in dressers – to just remove the drawers, move the dresser, then put the drawers back in. Telling me pickled herring would put hair on my chest. Watching him and Mom polka dance. Having me do certain things on the farm because my legs were younger than his. Sharing the same astrological sign (Aquarius – to which he called “Asparagus”). Hearing his stories from the Army. Telling dirty jokes. Talking the ear off of anyone who would come to the farm.

All of that is now just a memory and I still miss him so much.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. <3

Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything

This is one of my rare, navel-gazing posts. Bear with me and you’ll be back to my infrequent postings about WordPress and code in no time.

One of my favorite book series is Douglas Adams “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy” – I will re-read it every few years and I’m itching to read it again.

If the book wasn’t so freaking big (I have the hardcover of all 5 books – it’s a good 2+ inches thick1) I’d haul it to read on the plane before my team’s meetup in Hawaii in March.

Now if you’ve never read the books, I’m going to spoil the ending for you so just go close that tab if you want to be blissfully ignorant.

Image credit CainaG on
Image credit CainaG on DeviantArt

Now then.

Faithful readers of this series knows about the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything” that runs through the entire series. From Wikipedia:

The number 42 is, in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, “The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything”, calculated by an enormous supercomputer over a period of 7.5 million years. Unfortunately no one knows what the question is. Thus, to calculate the Ultimate Question, a special computer the size of a small planet was built from organic components and named “Earth”.

As today is my 42nd birthday, it occurred to me that I should have answers to some of the questions in this program called “life.” Looking back, all I have are more questions than answers.

What is happiness?

What is health?

What is normal?

All things swirling around my head nowadays.

It’s not well known outside my close friends and family, but my husband suffers from clinical depression and anxiety and at times it’s quite severe. During those times, my life is put on hold while his disease takes control of my every waking moment (and sometimes when asleep when I have nightmares about the worst things that could happen). Does that make me love him less, care about him less, make me less happy?

No. That would be like saying that I’m going to divorce my husband because he has cancer. Depression is a disease. It’s diagnosable. It’s treatable. But it doesn’t go away.

One of the things that bothers me about people’s perspective of depression is that it’s something that you can just shake yourself out of…that one just isn’t trying hard enough to “get over it.” That if you just “stop being a whiner” it’ll go away. That’s not depression.

Depression isn’t being angry that Sephora stopped carrying your favorite lipstick.

Depression is not being grief stricken that your grandma passed away.

Depression isn’t being upset that Starbucks stopped making Pumpkin Spice Lattes for the season.

Feeling depressed or sad is not the same as being clinically depressed.

True clinical depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for weeks or more. Reason doesn’t work. Logic doesn’t work. Tears don’t work. Ultimatums don’t work. All the love in the world doesn’t work.

All you can do is be there and be supportive. Make sure they’re taking care of themselves. Make them talk and not sit alone with their depression. Make them follow their treatment plan. It sucks. You have to put your feelings on hold and try to make it through those dark times, but it’s exhausting.

It doesn’t make it easier over time. In fact, the knowledge of what’s to come almost makes it harder. That doesn’t change things though. He’s my husband and I love him. Through sickness and health.

That’s one of the things swirling around in my head.

Another is about my birthday. While I never really made a big deal about my birthday, I still ended up doing something special. Going out for cocktails with our good friends, maybe a special dinner with the husband, cards/gifts/flowers, etc. This year, I was hoping to do something special, but the immediacy of other life issues means that “special” isn’t in the cards this time. I don’t always miss my MN friends, but there are definitely times when I wish they were around. Today’s one of those days. 🙁

Moving to a new state has had its ups and downs. I love where we live, I love the weather, and I love the memories and opportunities we’re creating. The downs of being away from our MN friends and family, getting used to new routines, meeting new friends, etc. While “meeting friends” seems to be an odd choice for a downer, it’s because of the void left by our really, close friends is so huge.

It’s funny really. Seeing our MN friends doing so many fun things and hanging out together, I get hit with little pangs of sadness and jealousy. Y U NO MISS US? 🙁


Ironic that my birthday is on a Thursday this year.

Tonight, I think we’re going to go out for ramen at our favorite Japanese restaurant, then I’m going to enjoy some wine while I watch TV. Nothing special, I know.

Maybe I should add cheesecake to the mix? Cheesecake makes everything better, right?

1 That’s what she said!

Thanksgiving Musings

I’m not one to get all sappy around Thanksgiving.

For most of my adult life, I never had plans on Turkey Day. My sibling’s in-laws were so insistent on having the holiday on the holiday and my parents didn’t care when we got together as long as we got together. This usually meant that we had Thanksgiving the weekend before or the weekend after the actual holiday. Don’t get me started about Christmas…we once had our family Christmas on January 15th. 😀

Back to Thanksgiving.

This year, I do have a lot to be thankful for.


I have an amazing family. I didn’t know how much I missed them until I went back home to see them this past weekend.

Last year at this time, my Mom was knee-deep into her battle with breast cancer, but this year, she’s getting awesome test results from her oncologist and she’s still cancer free. I’m very thankful for that.

In fact, she’s doing great!


I also had a great visit with my siblings. It’s not often that I get to talk to them one on one, but the way things ended up this last weekend, I had a good visit with most of them. My brother and sister plan on “road tripping” out to see us next year too! 🙂

I’ll always be in debt to my family for all their help – especially this year with our move to Oregon – and I’m thankful I was born into such a great family.


Again, with Mom’s cancer, I’ve been really trying to get healthier. CrossFit, which you can read about on my other blog, has been really important in helping me get back in shape. I’m amazed at what one month of it has done for my fitness level and general overall mental and physical health.


While we left many good friends back in MN, I’m thankful for the connectivity that social media and the internet provides us to stay in touch. I look forward to visits from them in the future – and you know I’ll be heading back to MN to catch up too! 🙂


I’m so thankful that he let me follow my wild idea of moving to Oregon. It took him some time to get acclimated, but now he’s as happy with Oregon as I am – especially now that winter is on its way. Our morning CrossFit workout was done in 60 degree weather. If that’s not the greatest thing ever, I don’t know what is. 😀

Although we’ve had our ups and downs, he’s my soulmate and I can’t believe we’ve been together over eight years. Seems like yesterday…

Thanksgiving Dinner.

Oh who am I kidding, I love Thanksgiving dinner. Every year, even though we never have plans, I cook Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. With our new focus on health, we cut back on a few of the sides we didn’t really need (I don’t miss mashed potatoes) and decided to cut out dessert. Even with those cuts, I didn’t want for anything at all.

Get in mah belleh. Om nom nom nom.
Get in mah belleh. Om nom nom nom.

There are a multitude of other things I’m thankful for, but the siren song of wine, video games (Persona Q), and the couch is calling me and I must answer that call.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cancer Update

Thanks for all the kind words and support from my last post about Mom’s cancer diagnosis.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written an update on Mom and how she’s doing. She recovered from the surgery like a champ. Still super-positive and determined to kick this cancer in the ass.

She had to have more tests, namely a CT scan and a EKG test. The CT scan was to look for any other cancer in her body. The EKG was to test the strength of her heart to determine the strength of chemotherapy and radiation she will need to undergo.

The CT scan came back clean; this means the surgery got all the cancer! What a relief! In fact, I’m pretty sure I looked like this:


Then I was all like:


Seriously, that was the greatest news we could’ve hoped for. While she does need to have chemo and radiation, she doesn’t need to go through a long, powerful course of treatment. The EKG came back with flying colors so she could’ve done the most aggressive treatment if need be, but with the clean CT scan that wouldn’t be necessary.

She starts chemo the day after Labor Day. This weekend I’m having the entire family up to my house for a cookout and to spend one last weekend of normalcy before Mom jumps into chemo treatments.

I’m still a bit scared for her, because who knows how she’ll react to the treatments, but having the surgery take care of the cancer was a huge weight off our collective shoulders.

Things are looking up!