Catching Up

Summer was busy with lots of changes. Some good, some not-so-good but what can ya do, life is all about change.

Funnest parts of Summer were dogsitting Blanche & Honey Badger & Spikester, housesitting, Diane & Kelly invade Colorado,  my trip to CA to hang out with my parents for a week and dinners & fun-time with Tim & Brian. And Aigneis and Mildred and Tucker and Mr. Zigglesworth.

After answering way more Craigslist ads than I thought possible...and talking to way more "interesting" potential landlords than I thought possible, I moved late August. Back in Superior, a neighborhood that I cherish that's super close to work which my commuting budget loves. Superior is very much a bedroom community... a very spendy bedroom community...but the views and the parks and the proximity to most (definitely not all) of my my favorite people and places makes me really happy. And content. For now.

Had a scare several weeks ago when my Dad was rushed to the ER. We almost lost him but luck was on our side. Not going to say a whole lot about his situation out of respect for privacy, but he's doing much better now. Much better.

Still on the path to getting debt-free...closer than I was last time I blogged. The move put that on hold for a bit, but now I'm back to making progress. Yay for progress!

My friend Ryan is my inspiration. So is Mortgage Free By 30  As well as No More Harvard Debt

Mr. Money Mustache is a local blogger that has a love for bikes and common sense ways to grow your 'stache.

My daily inspiration is Dave Ramsey.  His podcasts are free and they're a lifesaver. Every time I walk into Target I'm listening to a Ramsey podcast on my phone. Have any debt-reduction/frugality blogs you'd like to share? Leave the links in the comments.

I've gotten really good at saying no to anything that costs $. Ask my friends that issue invite after invite. If it involves money and even if it doesn't cost money but requires gas to get there, 9 out of 10 times my answer is no. Short term situation for long term rewards. Haven't been to a concert in ages. I love concerts...used to go all the time when I first moved to CO. They're not in the cards anymore. 

Back in the day when I was married and we were getting debt-free from $75K in consumer debt, my go-to answer was "is it a want or a need". These days my response is "INITB"...It's not in the budget. So when you start seeing INITB on my Facebook posts, you'll know what that's all about!

Finally, let's chat about blogging. I've been doing this for awhile...since March 2004. Doesn't seem like 8 years have passed, and I'm glad I've kept my blog active even tho it's been dormant a time or two.

It's been great to go back and read the archives and see where I used to be to where I am now and I'm sure the same will hold true years from now.

So that's my news...what's up with you?

 

 


True Love

My Dad asked my Mom to marry him on their first date...after he pissed her off and she got out of his car and said 'I'll just WALK home" and he followed along side her pleading for her to get back inside the car while she walked the 3 miles home. He proposed when he walked her to her front door. 

They'll be married 57 years in Sept.

True love, y'all. When you know, you know.

Happy Valentines Day! xo ♥


Surprise!!!

I flew to CA on Tuesday, January 11 for "Operation Surprise Mommy"! It was my Mom's birthday and for the last 6 months I'd been planning to surprise her by walking in the door with a boquet of flowers. Some last minute tinkering of plans (walked into a restaurant where the rest of my family was waiting instead of walking into my parent's house) and the moment I'd been waiting for...to see my Mom's face light up with a huge smile. That made my day. Actually, my year!

The visit was fun and relaxing and by the way, the weather was idyllic...75 degrees my first full day in CA. Pretty awesome considering the temps in Broomfield were -5 the night before my departure. (Note to self - pack flip flops next time I visit CA in January).

At one point I took Mom out for lunch at Panera for some Mommy-Kathy (she calls me Kathy, as does the rest of my family) time. I also wanted to show her extended family pix on Facebook.  My parents don't have a computer and are not really interested in having one or learning how to use one.  My Mom got a kick out of the pictures I did show her but after 15 minutes her concentration waned and she couldn't stop commenting on how many other people brought their computers to Panera! (How cute, huh??) As we were leaving, she thanked me for making the effort. She said "I really don't quite understand that Facebook thing or how to use a computer, but I have a feeling that if I DID have a computer and KNEW how to use it, I'd be on it all the time". 

Oh Mom...if you only knew :-)

 

 

 


2 Years

What I've learned in the last two years...


Two years ago today, my lovely, wonderful incredibly strong sister-in-law died.

Michele had battled MS for over 15 years, but MS isn't what killed her. She had a medical procedure for something unrelated to MS and as the Dr. was finishing up, Michele's  heart stopped. Sadly, no crash cart was in the room. It took them over 20 minutes to call a code. And Michele died.

Her death was a mistake. The result? Catastrophic. My brother and their three sons were...and still are...heartbroken. Her extended family, crushed. It was the worst nightmare possible. 

Michele was incredibly strong in the face of a disease that tried its best to stop her. She never complained thru the days of pain so intense she could only sleep for one, maybe two hours tops. When she could no longer walk without assistance. When her migraines from experimental medicine raged for days on end. You never heard her bitch or moan. She would go out of her way to ask about you...how you were, what was new in your life,   any new gossip you cared to share, any jokes you had to tell.

Michele LOVED bunnies. And by love I mean ADORED bunnies.

She had collections of bunnies all over her house. No one was ever at a loss when it came to her birthday, a bunny would do just fine.

Michele was married to my brother Brian for just under 30 years. High school sweethearts. My brother told me shortly after his first date with Michele that he was going to marry her. He wanted to have kids with her right away...he was hoping for three boys...so they could grow up together and they could all experience life as a close-knit family.

They had three boys...Tom, Matt & Jeff. Then three dogs over the years...Raisin (aka Mrs. Raisin Puppy), Razor & Blade.

And that was their little tight-knit family. Incredibly close. Wonderfully loving. Over the years both my brother & Michele experienced medical problems...MS for Michele and work-related  issues for my brother that eventually ended in medical retirement for both of them. Physical pain was a part of their daily lives on an hourly basis. They helped each other and loved each other.

What I've learned since Michele died is that life really IS short (as trite as that may sound). It's so precious. Don't waste an opportunity to be kind, be loving, say yes, have an adventure, try something new. Don't take people  for granted. Don't take anything for granted.

The last conversation I had with Michele was 3-4 weeks before she died. I was excited about the new job I'd taken (my current job) and she loved hearing about the multitude of bunnies that I'd encounter walking into  work. She was SO into bunnies! And right before we hung up she said  "everytime you see a bunny, think of me".

So that's what I do. Every little bunny I see, I say 'Hi Michele.' And 'I miss you Michele.' 'I love you Michele.'

We all miss you very much. Not a day goes by that we don't remember your spirit, your laugh,  your fierce love of family, friends, doggies...and bunnies. Another 20 minutes, 20 days, 20 years would have been so much better than what we were handed.

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Gratitude

Long time no post, I know!

House is still on the market. Activity has been steady over the last week but no offers as of this second. Hopefully soon..really really soon  :-)

Leaving for San Diego in a few hours to see my adorably awesome friend Aree. She started out being a client, turned into a really good friend (Jager Bombs will do that to a friendship!) and now she is really part of my 'family' - she's adopted us and we've adopted her. So there you have it!

When the house deal fell thru, I texted Aree to inform her that my trip was off. Didn't see how I could afford a trip at this point. Yeah, the ticket was paid for but everything else? Not so much. No budget for In-N-Out, much less Jager Bombs.

Aree insisted. She said I needed to get away. That I needed a break and she needed a break. She told me that all my drinks/food/In-N-Out runs will be paid for. She's my Sugar Momma for the weekend. And if I didn't get my butt on the plane as scheduled, she would make my life very unpleasant.

Alrighty then!

So I'm packing to leave for San Diego and will spend the weekend hanging with Aree, some of my family, some of Aree's friends, we'll pay our respects to the lovely Pacific Ocean in all her glorious wetness and homage will equally be paid to my all-time fave "In-N-Out'...cause a trip to Cali is not complete without a visit. 

As I've written in the past it's sometimes difficult for me to accept. Giving? Not a problem. Accepting? I'm working on it. And learning that there needs to be a balance.

So many of my friends - all you guys - have been extra giving and loving over this last couple of weeks...the comments, the hugs (especially the hugs!), the help...it's all be much appreciated.

Thanks Aree for this weekend..I can't wait to see you and I KNOW we'll have a blast. 

And one of these days...hopefully soon...we'll reconvene at MY house - where ever that will be - and we'll have our Aree comes to Denver celebration.

Will all of you invited, of course :-)

Happy Thursday!

The Hardest Call I've Ever Had To Make

I just called my brother Brian to tell him how very sorry I am. His darling wife Michele passed away this afternoon.

We don't know why or how it happened. She had a procedure, it went smoothly, the Dr's were finishing up and her heart stopped. They worked on her for over an hour.

Michele was awesome, amazing and absolutely wonderful. My brother is heart broken as are their 3 boys. My whole family is crushed, me included.

I'll write more when I can write without crying.

For now? Please think good thoughts for my brother Brian and their sons Tommy, Matt and Jeff.

Thanks.


Thanks Dad And Mom

My Dad and Mom were very generous (what else is new?) and gave me this for my Birthday/Hanukkah present :

A snowthrower...yay!
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The winter of 2006 prompted my parents to get me a snowthrower. This one runs on gas. And guess who procrastinated at getting a container to put said gas into?
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Craftsman. Good stuff. Works even better with gas.
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And look what Santa brought me. Snow! And my very own snow drift to call my own. Gee, thanks Santa!
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Note to self. Procrastination = not good.

So what did YOU get for Christmas?


Happy Birthday Dad! Day

We have a wacky tradition in our family between my dad and his brother Louie. They have a contest to see who can call each other the earliest in the morning on the day of their birthday. Louie called my dad at 3 am. DAMN! I almost called my dad at midnite last night CO time...since it would have been his birthday here in CO but not in SoCal, where he lives..but I was pretty incoherent and saved my call for this morning.

Wish all of you could meet my dad. Great guy, wicked sense of humor (a must in our family), would give you the shirt off his back and do anything in the world to help out his family or his friends.

He and my mom have made several trips to visit (and help with manual labor) since I've lived in Denver. On his last trip he helped install my former gazebo (moment of silence) as well as two new high-pressure, low-flush, never clog toilets that almost got the best of him since the install was really tricky. The Sunday morning of that trip I heard him on the phone to my sister saying "your sister Kathy is a slavedriver...she's keeping me busy from morning to night"! I felt really really bad when I heard that...cause it was true!

Then my dad put my mind at ease by reminding me that he lives close enough to his other kids to help them with projects all the time whereas projects that involve his Denver kid have to finish quicker than usual. True, but I still felt bad.

I've promised them that I'll go easy on them during their next trip...even tho crown moulding in my bedroom WOULD look pretty awesome...as would a newly painted garage. In all seriousness, the next visit will involve day trips to Estes Park, to Golden and I'd like to take them on the Royal Gorge train trip. With maybe a teeny side trip to Home Depot or Lowe's thrown in for good measure!

Tonite my Dad will be celebrating with my mom and the rest of my sibs...dinner out at BJ's and his most favorite dessert in the whole wide world...a Pizookie to split with my Mom.

Here's some pix of my Dad from the last trip he and my mom made to Denver.

Have a GREAT Birthday Dad.

Love you...the Meece.


My Dad and the Gazebo
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Dad and Mom waving
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The Slavedriver gave them a break and took them to Hungarian Freedom Park. My Dad is 100% Hungarian!
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This is the Pizookie my Dad and Mom had on their last trip here when the introduced me to this yummy dessert. And they'll have one just like it tonite!
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Family Bizniz

So y'all remember that back in mid-December, the day I was supposed to fly to CA to spend the holidays with my family? The same day that the Hanukkah Blizzard of 2K6 blew into town? And I wound up spending the holidays here mostly snowed in except for the special Christmas Day I spent with Her Hottness & Clan.

In the back of my mind I was thinking that I really should get on over to SoCal to do some visiting sooner than later.

Well, let me tell ya.

Monday night my dad went to the ER complaining of massive stomach pains. Xrays were taken and he was told it was nothing, go home. So my brother dropped my Dad back home at 2:30 in the morning, having been at the hospital all night. 6 am that morning (my Dad hadn't even been home for a full four hours) he gets a call from the Radiologist that just came on duty, telling him to get to the hospital asap. The first RAD read the films wrong and my Dad's appendix needed to come out asap. Which finally happened Tuesday night.

The same Tuesday night that my Sister-In-Law Michele was taken to the hospital by ambulance cause she was having problems breathing. (Michele has an advanced case of MS). Once at the hospital she was found to have a 105 degree temperature and pneumonia.

Fast forward to today...Michele is doing better but will stay hospitalized for a bit longer. My Dad was supposed to come home today...my Mom's birthday...but wound up developing an infection and will have to stay a while longer.

Of course, this is making me miss my family even more. My first urge upon hearing that Michele was also in the hospital was to catch the next plane. Then Kelly (ever the smart ass) said with our family luck the way it is, my plane would probably crash. Good point, Kel.

So I'm staying home for now but will plan to see them before long.

And surprise surprise, I miss them now more than ever.


Rerun

Here's a post from Christmas Eve 2004. Same as it ever was. Except that I'm in CO now and there's snow to deal with. I'll take snow over heat and humidity ANY day :-)

For My Family

‘Twas the night before Christmas
And I’m on the phone
My family’s in CA
And I’m here alone

A yearly tradition
Takes place once again
The whole crowd comes over
Eats, drinks, and settles in

My parents have been cooking
For over two days
More food than you can fathom
It’s our Irish-Hungarian ways

There’s ham, turkey, meatballs
Dinner rolls too
Aunt Maggie’s Jello Salad
And yeah, lots of booze

The house is crammed tight
With sisters and brothers
Dozens of cousins
And numerous others

Then suddenly the phone rings
Yep, that would be me
Calling to chat
With Diane then Denise

Tommy, then Matthew
Dad, Mom, Nichole &Terry
Patrick my brother
They all sound so merry

Then Mike, Kelly, Lindsay
Auntie Chele and Brian
Jeff, Casey, Erika,
I wanna start cryin’

Devon, Darian, Heather
Lori, Mr & Mrs G
Hopefully Patrick and maybe Damaris?

My family’s all there
And me, I am not
I’m back here in FL
80 degrees, humid and hot

I miss them so much
And love them much more
So I call on Christmas Eve
Instead of walking thru their door.

I talk to everyone
To see what is new
To tell them I love them
I know they love me too

Thank goodness for phone calls
It’s part of the night
It’s just like I’m with them
And that feels just right


Merry Christmas, Guys... I Love You!


Relief And Happiness

No, this isn't another election post.

My Mom is home from the hospital.

She was rushed to the hospital yesterday after experiencing weakness in her left arm while she was raking leaves. Her doctor decided to run a ton of tests and kept her overnight just to play it safe.

The diagnosis? T.I.A..

My skinny little mom, that a strong wind would blow away, seems to have developed high blood pressure AND high cholesterol. Make that my skinny little mom that never eats enough to keep a bird alive and has had low blood pressure all her life.

So now she is on Coumadin and several other pills.

This was a bit of a scare for me...and of course for my mom and the rest of our family. We're all incredibly close and I'm the only one not in CA so knowing she was hospitalized last night made all sorts of 'what if's' run thru my brain non-stop.

So this is a happy ending.

Thanks for all the well-wishes and good thoughts and prayers...they meant the world to me and my family.


Family Fun

My cousin Bill and his daugher Caroline were in town today.

The first time I ever met my cousin was back in 3rd grade. My sister Diane and I accompanied our Mom on a trip back to her family home in Litchfield,CT.  We got to meet a ton of relatives, Bill (back then he was Billy) being one of them.  Back then there was no internet so I read everything I could get my hands on...nothing new.

Billy, however, wanted someone to play with him. So he spent the entire afternoon shooting rubberbands at me. The more I complained, the more rubberbands he launched. Pleas to my Mom to make him stop fell on deaf ears, since Billy is my Mom's FAVORITE nephew...was true back then, still true to this day.

Thankfully, Bill did not shoot rubberband at me today, altho Caroline seemed to enjoy hearing the story.  We sat around and traded lots of family stories, with Caroline asking Bill to 'tell Kathy this story' or 'Daddy, what about the time when...'.

Eventually we headed out for lunch...'Whale's Rib' in Deerfield Beach...very hole-in-the-wallish and very yummy food. Caroline and Bill LOVED the Whale Fries, which isn't surprising cause EVERYONE loves the Whale Fries.

Caroline, a bubbly 11 year old, is one of the most charming, giggly, intelligent and totally darling young ladies you could ever hope to meet. She loves puppies, harbors the dream of being a Veterinarian,  wants to travel to Africa, study different languages, and the list continues. Oh, and she has a thing for sticking out her tongue whenever you try to take a picture of her :-)

Bill is a Food and Wine Critic for a major newspaper and boy, the stories he can tell!  I loved hearing his experiences  from traveling to different cities and was especially interested in the genealogical information he has compiled on my mom's side of the family.
Bill_caroline

After lunch I gave them a tour of the downtown area with a little side trip to the Boca Raton Resort and Club, which brought back  fond memories of the times Bill spent there with his grandfather back when Bill was a small boy. He remembers staying in the cabana's on the golf course like it was yesterday. Bill relished pointing out all the details to Caroline and it made me really happy to be able to show my cousin his beautiful memory from so long ago.

While we were driving around, I called my Mom and Dad so they could chat with Bill and Caroline. My Dad suggested to Caroline that a trip to Boca wasn't complete without a stop for ice cream, so off to Coldstone we went.

The trip was a success...can you tell?
Coldstone

Thanks for the visit and the stories and the wonderful family companionship. I am so happy you were able to make time for me on your vacation.

And yes Caroline, I will really try to visit before the end of the summer...maybe Lollapalooza weekend??


Happy Mother's Day

Of all the Mother's I could have wound up having, am really lucky and blessed to have gotten MY Mom!

Mom, hope you know how very much I love you and that on special days like today, wish I lived a lot closer so I could spend the day with you.  You'll be getting one of your favorites gifts...no, not a Target Gift Certificate...think of your 2nd favorite gift...sometime today.

While I only have one Mom, there are so many other wonderful women that have been Moms to me in one form or another. Even tho I haven't stayed in close touch with her since my divorce, my Mother-in-Law is one of the coolest, classiest and most awesome women I've ever met. Several months after the divorce was final, she sent me a note so incredibly sweet and heartfelt...said I would always be their daughter...not daughter-in-law, but daughter, and they would always hold a special place in their hearts for me and I would always be considered a treasured part of their family. Oh yeah, that letter made me cry like you can't believe. Definitely a keeper for my memory file.

My aunts, sisters, cousins, friends...you have all made a difference in my life thru your actions as Mothers.

And just in case your kids don't tell you often enough, you're all the best in my book.

So to my Mom, Ginny, Maggie (RIP), Irene, Margaret (RIP), Cynthia,Linda, Janis, Betsy, Diane, Kelly, Denise, Auntie Chele, Erika, Lena, Lucille, Joanne (RIP), Jeannine, Chayale, Sheepie, Giblet, Trace, Nic, Karen and anyone else I may have overlooked, enjoy your special day and I love you all very much!
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Happy Birthday Mom :-)

Happy Birthday To You
Happy Birthday To You
Happy Birthday To My Mommy
Happy Birthday To YOU!

Ok Mom, I know I sang to you at midnite in FL since it was officially your birthday in FL...not in CA where you live, but oh well, minor details.

Wish I could be there to celebrate with you...I really do...but maybe you should come to FL instead to get away from all the rain in Sunny (haha) CA.

Love you Mom,

The Meece xo:-)


For My Family

‘Twas the night before Christmas
And I’m on the phone
My family’s in CA
And I’m here alone

A yearly tradition
Takes place once again
The whole crowd comes over
Eats, drinks, and settles in

My parents have been cooking
For over two days
More food than you can fathom
It’s our Irish-Hungarian ways

There’s ham, turkey, meatballs
Dinner rolls too
Aunt Maggie’s Jello Salad
And yeah, lots of booze

The house is crammed tight
With sisters and brothers
Dozens of cousins
And numerous others

Then suddenly the phone rings
Yep, that would be me
Calling to chat
With Diane then Denise

Tommy, then Matthew
Dad, Mom, Nichole &Terry
Patrick my brother
They all sound so merry

Then Mike, Kelly, Lindsay
Auntie Chele and Brian
Jeff, Casey, Erika,
I wanna start cryin’

Devon, Darian, Heather
Lori, Mr & Mrs G
Hopefully Patrick and maybe Damaris?

My family’s all there
And me, I am not
I’m back here in FL
80 degrees, humid and hot

I miss them so much
And love them much more
So I call on Christmas Eve
Instead of walking thru their door.

I talk to everyone
To see what is new
To tell them I love them
I know they love me too

Thank goodness for phone calls
It’s part of the night
It’s just like I’m with them
And that feels just right


Merry Christmas, Guys... I Love You!


Happy Birthday Diane :-)

Happy Birthday to my 11-months-younger sister who is one of the nicest people in the whole wide entire universe.

Diane makes life look easy. She excells at multi-tasking and can do more in one day than most people do in one week. She's kind, sweet and funnier than hell. And makes the best chocolate-chip cookies you've ever had.

So Happy Birthday, Di...hope everyone you know and love makes this your best bday yet!

xo :-) from your older sister that everyone thinks is your younger sister,

Kathy

ps- yeah, I just had to throw that part in!