Reflection

/re’flekSH(e)n/ : Serious thought OR consideration

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In this new time of the COVID 19, aka: Corona Virus, things are different.  Things have changed.  2020 became weird.  Somewhat scary.  It is really an unknown at this point.  Will things turn around?  When?  The College kiddos (including mine) are home.  The Governor just announced the other day, that all WA public schools are done for the year.  Doing somewhat of an on-line process.  What about Prom?  Graduation?  All of the money parents spent MONTHS ago with Jostens?  I feel sorry for this generation.  I feel bad for the things that were planned, that are now cancelled.  I’m thankful I still have a job.  Working from home one week, office the next.  I’m thankful, but, I miss my work “normal”.  My Work B-E-S-T-I-E-S.  I miss the normal.

It is weird having my College student home doing homework.  Talk and texting his roommates.  They are missing out on their first year of College.  You know – those FUN times that your parents don’t know about??  The girlfriend?  These kids not only need it, they should have it.  It is sad to me.

We were supposed to go to Hawaii last month.  At the very last second I said, “We need to back out…”  My Husband and Son disagreed.  It was a Thursday I suggested this; we were to fly out Saturday morning at 6am.  What we kept looking at was our flights.  They were fine.  Nothing was cancelled.  We would get online and look at where we were staying and it was still open and ready to go.  We Googled the golf course my family was to golf at.  It still said they were open.  When my Son tried to call and didn’t get through; that was the moment I put my foot down.  Yes, the flights were still on.  That was not the problem.  What we did not know was that had we gone, the place we were staying was making you stay holed up.  You would literally be stuck in your room.  All of the pools were closed and all of the chairs on the beach were brought in.  They don’t tell you this.  The golf course was closed too…  We are so glad we didn’t go.  At this point we can’t re-schedule.  I mean, who knows when this will end?? So sad.

Life changed in a flash.

I started baking.  I mean eating.  I’m not a baker.  I don’t enjoy it at all.  I love to eat the goodies though.  I just made my third batch of chocolate chip cookies.  I’ve eaten most of them.  And the dough, too.  I’ve gained my Corona 15.  Maybe 20.

The hard thing?  Watching the people around you that you love and respect, struggle.  My gym.  I’ve been there 3 years now.  I kick box.  It’s a kick-boxing gym.  I’ve gotten STRONG.  I’ve met great human beings.  We get each other.   The classes I’m missing out on.  Going in at lunch to lift.  The owner.  My Trainer.  This is his living.  His business is considered non-essential.  Why?  He does A LOT of one-on-ones.  That’s how we get strong.  We need this.  But, it’s non essential.  He still has bills to pay.  Rent.  In the gym building.  Fingers crossed he gets to open back up next month.  Next Month…?  Really?  I know there are a lot of businesses out there that are trying to figure all of this out.  I feel horrible for all included.

Doing my Bible Study with my Connection Group, via Zoom is weird.  But it is so nice to have that option.  We still need each other.

To get my butt moving I’ve picked up hiking, walking our local loop and guess what else?  I purchased Beachbody on Demand!  WTH?  Are you kidding me?  I’m truly glad there are no mirrors around when I am doing it.  I’m pretty sure I look, over the top, RIDICULOUS!  Gross.  I do get what I need.  It is fun.  It’s just not my normal.

I have to see my Therapist, via video.  (Yes, I go to a Therapist – EVERYONE should…)

There are some good things these last few months have proved:

  • I have really gotten into the Word, again.  I keep using the excuse that I “don’t have any time…”  That excuse is non existent now.
  • I have read sooooo much.  I love to read, but typically I read as I’m going to bed and conveniently fall asleep.  Not now.  Amazon has even reached out to me for a Author review.  Not bad.
  • I have blogged a lot more.  I have also read a lot of blogs that I have wanted to read for well over a year now.
  • I’m catching up on all of my podcasts.
  • I’ve cleaned all of the closets in the house!  I’m pretty proud of that one…!

Being FORCED to slow down has been nice.  In a weird, awkward way.  I really am staying in place.  Unless I am going out for a walk or a hike, I am staying home.

I miss my normal.  I wonder if normal will be back…?

 

Alaska.You Have My Heart.Again…

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Alaska. The Way I See You.

Rocks, Roots & Rainbows.

Granite, Gold & Glaciers.

Cold & Crisp, But Kind.

The Water Is Clear, But Candid.

She Is Fierce, Yet Friendly.

Beautiful, But Bold.

If You Don’t Believe In God; You Will.

His Presence Is All Around.

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Graduation

So, as many of you know – I have had a busy summer.  My Son graduated from High School, I had a work Conference right after, came home for a few days, we then left for Hawaii with a good friend and two of my Son’s friends; we came home for a few days and cruised to Alaska.  It was a super great couple of months.  My co-workers probably disagree; but very understanding.  The graduation was so fun and full of life.  Having a bunch of kiddos around, seeing

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Oahu, Hawaii

them light up as they received their Diplomas, listening to them talk about their future; having the “Graduation Party”.  We saw so many Friends and Family and they were all around to embrace our kid.  It tugged at the heart strings; but made us so proud.  Two days after all of that it was our annual work conference.  Gone another week. Came home, packed up and headed off to Hawaii.  Took two of my Sons buddies, met up with a great friend and hung out a little over a week.  I was a bit unclear about this trip because of the

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Elections Conference

three boys.  You are never sure if they will get along the whole trip, if two will buddy up; you just don’t know.  HOWEVER, they were sooo fun and I would take them around the world – in a second.  Not only were they fun, they simply made the trip.  They lived like rock stars and we had a ball watching them.  We came home for about four days and then left for an Alaskan cruise.  This was a fun one.  My Aunt and Uncle were celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary and invited 50 friends and family members.  They have spoiled us throughout the years and this was seriously, icing on the cake.

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Alaska

When I look back on my life, my most vivid, “fun” memories, had something to do with my Aunt & Uncle.  Their life was insanely busy; BUT they still wanted to see my report card.  Gave me kudos; would give me a $5 bill.  For all of my school breaks, I was typically with my Gramma.  Gramma lived in Seattle and my Aunt & Uncle lived on Mercer Island; or the “Rock”, as the locals call it.  Therefore, we were with them a lot.  The memories I have of the “Rock” era are so fun and H-A-P-P-Y!  I mean, who doesn’t love being on a rope swing, on Lake Washington?  What about the Sea Dancer?  The bath tub?  The round bed?  My cousins pictures all over with his perfectly coiffed, feathered hair?  Or his hockey pictures?  All of the avocado plants?  The big glass table?  The poker table?  The hanging bed?  The sauna?  Riding around in the Lincoln?  The red marble bar?  The BBQ pit out back – oh, what I wouldn’t due to have that at my house now… My Aunt’s beautiful, perfectly blonde hair?  Her crab salad?  The orange furniture?  The dancing?  What about the sauna?  Remember the bridge you drove over to get to the house?  Or the fish tanks as you walked in?  The Picasso’s?  When it was cold – the fire place?  Ping pong or Pool?  I literally could go on and on.  They were the ones that made life so fun.  I have always looked back and remembered how hard they worked for such a fun, GOOD life.  I always wanted that.  They BOTH showed you how important work was.  I have ALWAYS thought about that.

Not only was this cruise fun, it was so interesting.  Listening to the stories the Friends had.  Or the Family.  They were ALL fun.  Most of the Friends that came, worked with or for them.  They knew their integrity.  All of them would do anything for them.  The stories that were told, were just as if it happened yesterday.  The memories are GRAND.  They are so happy.  Their kindness has ALWAYS mattered.  Our dinner time was 8 o’clock every night.  However, we all met up around 6:30, in a gated off space just so that we could talk.  Communicating was so fun.  Listening was even better.  Some of the stories that were told – you just wish you could have been a fly on the wall!  One thing that was so interesting to me was,  how my Uncle responded.  I think he was actually surprised we all had so much fun with them AND remembered it all.    The pictures he shared nightly, were so awesome!  They are pictures I have seen hundreds of times, but seeing my Husband enjoy them, or the young ones look at them, was truly a treasure.  My Aunts hair used to be brown.  My Uncle hunted a lot back in the day – in his Lincoln.  Everybody had cigarettes.  There were bottles everywhere.  People were just flat happy around them.  My Aunt was so damn classy – still is.  My Uncle still has the charm, too!  Not only were they fun – they still are.

Another fun thing on this cruise were the people that would talk to me about my Gramma.  She was such a GREAT, stout woman.  I just wish I could have had her for longer.  Obviously God needed a true Republican woman up there 🙂   BUT, the lady that has cleaned for my Aunt & Uncle for 40 years – yes, she is still there, told me how much my Gramma loved me and that I was her favorite.  Those are the best things to hear when your getting close to, well, what ever my age is…  I loved hearing things like that.  It was so fun.  The stories were something I hope everybody has.  Maybe you do.  They were fun reminders. They were things you want to be sure and do with your own kiddos.

This cruise was the first trip we had been away from our Son, for this long.  And yes, he is 18, but it was new for my Husband and I.  With our Son being away for Graduation and Hawaii, we thought it would be best if he stayed back; because he does have a job…  I read A LOT; Chris played Poker.  We ate whenever we needed to.  Slept in.  Not having to make sure your kid is having the time of his life, was quite nice.  He was so very missed, but I’m pretty sure he had a good time with us away.

As I said, 50 Friends and Family Members were invited.  Probably the closest family was, unfortunately, unable to make it.  This trip was a true testament that we are all getting older.  None of my Aunt or Uncles siblings were there.  That was hard on them.  The people that they were always the closest too.  My Mom being one of them.

My Mom is my Uncle’s baby sister.  He has always treated her like that and still does.  She got an infection that really took her down.  She was in a rehabilitation facility as we cruised to Alaska.  His other Sister just found out she may have Parkinson’s.  One of my Aunts Sisters stayed back because her Husband is very ill.  Of course, they understood, but it was hard on them.  Staying close – it’s getting harder.  For all of us.

My Aunt & Uncle have one Son.  We have always been close.  We look like we could be siblings.  Our Gramma would always tell me that people would ask her about us.  We both have TALL kids.  He used to scare the hell out of me growing up with that damn Godzilla mask of his!!  His room, growing up, had Heart (as in the band) posters everywhere.  The carpet in his room had stripes.  -My Aunt was so hip at her designing!  I have always felt like we were siblings.  We were kind-of raised that way.  IMG_9368We look a like, too.  This cruise was different for us.  Our discussions were different.  Their were a lot of tears.  We talked about what the next few years are probably going to be like.  Our parents are aging.  *sniff*

At my Aunt & Uncle’s 50th Wedding Renewal; we all celebrated.  We celebrated them.  Their hard work over the years.  Their kindness.  What they have done for all of us.  Their class.  What hard work looks like.  How important time is.  Time.  Is there ever enough?  It’s not just them getting older.  It’s me getting older.  How do you learn to slow down and take it all in?  To ENJOY your time?  Do you have to wait?

 

If I look back at the “fun” times, our parents were the age we are now.  THAT is weird.  I visited my Mom at the rehabilitation facility she is at, yesterday.  I took a picture of her and my self and sent it to my Uncle.  He told me how good she looked and to give her a hug.  I then sent him a picture of her hands.  Her HANDS.  They looked just like my Gramma’s.  It caught me off guard.  The aging parent.  It’s hard.  We are now becoming the parent.  That’s even harder.  My cousin and I get it.  We “get” it.  We just don’t want to.

On a MUCH lighter note. My cousin, the one I was just talking about, had both of his Sons with him.  They are both in their early 20’s.  It is fun watching him be a Dad.  See how he reacts, or doesn’t.  His youngest is a Senior in College and he brought his GF.  His oldest proposed to his GF on the cruise.  It was really neat.  I couldn’t figure out if it was a total surprise or not.  Super fun though.  The ring was gorg and the wedding talks began.  I remember being in that situation – many moons ago – But it was so fun!

Speaking of my cousins kiddos…  Watching them watch their grandparents was neat.  When this was probably the first time they realized their Grandparents are aging.  Seeing THAT through their eyes.  There was a true realization and tears.  Lots of tears.  Meaningful tears.  Ones in which we will all remember.

Even though the tears flowed, we all had such a GREAT family time.  All of the “FRIENDS” are family…  At these events – you always meet those fun ones.  You know – those fun cousins you want to go hang out with?  Maybe throw back a few?   (N.O your one of them!)

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As for a sincere, Thank You – Uncle J & Aunt D – Your strength, kindness, stealth, honor and love has been a part of my life forever.  It is what I remember the most growing up.  What you have shared with my child is unforgettable.  What you have given me is something that I can not describe.  The arm around my shoulder; the simple hug; Election talks… Your love for your family & friends, Trumps everything.  You have taught all of us how important work is, in this life.  I hope I get back an ounce of what you have.  Much, much, much love and so much more.  Thank You.

Love, A 

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Okay, okay, so I started off writing this blog as a reference to friends that wanted to know how Alaska was…  Or where did I go…  How was the cruise, etc…  I got off track.  I always say – Family First.  So, here was our agenda and a few things we did:

First stop – Ketchican!

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When we were in Ketchican last year, we found a restaurant that we fell in love with.  Ketchican Crab & Grille.  They don’t have a website, but there food is divine. As soon as we got off the ship – Chris and I literally ran to it.  Oh, yeah, it was 10am and they didn’t open until 11am.  We then walked a few blocks and got there at 10:55am.  The crab is not just fresh, it is GREAT.  The service is fun.  I mean, just look at these pictures…

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Pic on the left is Mac-N-Cheese and pic on right is calamari.  They were both sooo good. Ketchican is (what you see getting off a cruise ship) is really “touristy”.  We didn’t do any excursions in Ketchican; so all I know about it is, you can buy GREAT gifts for your co-workers.  They have diamond stores on every block.  The mile-ish that we walked around the dock is fun.  Book stores, a clinic, boats.  It’s neat.  I would love to go out and adventure.  Next time….  Here are some very random pictures of Ketchican:

 

Beautiful, isn’t it?  Next stop?  Juneau.

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Again, we experienced Juneau by walking off of our ship, with the “what do we do” theory??  We ended up taking the Tram up into the tree’s.  It was absolutely GORGEOUS!  They had a couple of Eagle’s on display, a fun couple of trails, a restaurant – we ended up having a couple brews.  The best part?  By far, the view.  Again, we killed all of our time up in the hills in Juneau with no excursions; but we would do it again.

 

Our next stop?  Skagway.

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Skagway was so beautiful.  We ended up taking the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad Summit Excursion & Train Tour.  It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!  We learned so much, took tons of pictures and decided if we ever came back we would do the longer tour.  It is just so interesting what people so long ago did.  Or what they were capable of doing.  In the snow; that was so deep.  White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad  < Check this link out – You will learn so much about what these people endured, built and what we gained.

This is from the tour – Again, AMAZING…

 

Last stop?  Victoria, BC.

The BEST part of Victoria?  Butchart Gardens!!  I LOVE this place.  The history is amazing! ( Information on Butchart Gardens << Check out this link for BG) We simply took the excursion there.  Spent a few hours there and then came back in the dark.  Super fun!  I told my husband, after our Kiddo goes to college, Victoria would be a fun place to hang out for an extended weekend.  The pics don’t do this place justice, but here goes…

 

Victoria at night…

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Other than being with Family and making new Friends, this was truly a great part for me-

 

I absolutely loved our deck.  I LOVE to read and never have time to “just read…”. I did a lot of that, too.  For the record – I read 3 books!  I also got into the Word daily.  The sights were beautiful and the weather was perfect.

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On a fun note – Does your family have a Family Priest?  Ours does!  Super fun guy that try’s to keep us together and in-line.  He even wears checkered Vans…

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Another thing that was fun on the Cruise was doing “On Deck For A Cause”.  5 in our group walked for cancer.  Super fun!

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Until we meet again…

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Want to follow my blog?  Let me know – ajlhanson@gmail.com and I will send you an invite.  Or Calvinsmomblog.com

Deciding To Go Gray

I mean, gray?  My “normal” hair is really brown.  Like dark brown.  Almost black.  I’ve been getting grays since my early 20’s.  I just pulled them out.  No biggy.  They went away and I moved on.  My Gramma had hair like me.  The same color of brown.  She was gray all of the years I knew her.  My Mom was early gray and so was her Brother, my Uncle – who is now white, BTW…  My Mom dyed her hair for YEARS  She hasn’t now for several years because she can’t get around and doesn’t drive.  So she went gray.  It’s weird.  I don’t really like it.  Her looks different; not just the color.  I remember when I was in College and would come home and we would be having a conversation and the random grays were like in the shape of a question marks attached to her head.  I don’t want that.  Does that happen to everyone that does gray?  Random question marks?  My Gramma didn’t have those.  Or did she?  I guess I’m not sure.

The reason why I decided to go gray is because, I am simply tired of being a slave to my hair.  I’ve been dyeing it since high school and for the last five years, it has become an issue.  Lets face it, gray does not “dye”.  I get my hair done, two weeks later (and that is a stretch) the gray is screaming at me when I look in the mirror.  Gross.  Honestly, the ONLY reason I have waited so long is because, I LOVE my hairdresser.  I have been going to her for like 15 years.  She knows A LOT about me and I could tell you a lot about her.  The thought of not meeting up with her every couple of months for a minimal two hours is just devastating.  Seriously.  She is my personal Therapist.  She gets me.  We totally understand each other.  That’s really the reason I haven’t gone gray.  I will miss that.  Now I will just be there for a hair cut.  That will probably last two hours…

But the gray…  Let’s face it, I could grow out the gray and go back.  And I may.

One thing that is weird about gray; it’s really glittery.  Really.

Anyhow, I will keep you posted.  All could change in a few months or a year.  But here’s to going gray!  Cheers!!

Slow Down. You Don’t Have A Choice. Just Do It.

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Corona Virus.   It’s been a weird “thing”.  My Freshman College Student (Go Eags!) is now home for Spring quarter (online only) and the summer.  He came, was supposed to be home for the summer; work, hang out with his buddies, golf, etc.  Now he’s home for 5 months.  The Mom heart is full – His??  Not so much.  You know- the GF lives 3 hours away; he had to move out of the dorm; no on-site classes, and lets face it we are boring as hell.

We were supposed to leave for Hawaii today.  We cancelled late Thursday.  We all needed a break.  It’s not going to happen.  We were worried about the flights.  Can you get this virus up in the air?  People go crazy and say YES.  My boss who is a retired Navy flight guy, did tell me that it is harder to catch this virus up in the air than we all realize.  I believe him.  He looked at the golf courses the boys wanted to go to.  They are still open.  Last minute and a family talk, we came to the decision, that enough was enough.  Super glad we did.  What we didn’t know, was the place that we were staying, closed all of their pools-they have several.  The beach is public, however, the hotel took all of their chairs and cabanas off site.  They are open, however, we would have been stuck in our room.  There literally would not be a thing to do – well, except read… (I would love that!!)  Boring!  We are truly glad of our decision.  Alaska, our airline was FABULOUS! (www.alaskaair.com)   They were kind, they refunded all of our funds and we did not have to do any re-booking at this moment.  We have a few new dates – BUT, we just don’t know when this is going to end…

For the first time EVER – we had an on-line church sermon, last Sunday.  Weird?  No, it felt right.  Next week we get a drive through Communion.  I love it AND I will be there.  My Connection Group has been texting each other like crazy.  Holding each of us up, telling us where to find TP, etc.  Prayer and grace.  That is what will get you through this.  Keep praying and keep up the grace.

It’s so sad the people that are without work.  So unexpected.  The not knowing; it’s awful.  My Husband and I are both now working from home.  And our kid is home from College.  Times are so different.  None of us really know what to do.  Just be thankful.  Tell someone how thankful you for them.

What is your new, NEW?  This is mine.

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Hiking.  It is hard.  It’s challenging.  It’s exhilarating.  It’s fun.  It’s mental.  It is where I am supposed to be.  Lost.  In the hills…

Be thankful.  Even for this unknown.

College Life. For The Mom.

As many of you know, I have one child.  Never thought I would only have one; but that is what I got.  I love him more than life.  He is a great kiddo.

His Dad and I just dropped our Son of at college yesterday.  It was “move-in day”.  School doesn’t start for another 4 days.  Did I tell you he is my ONE and ONLY?  He is a freshman – in COLLEGE.  This is his first time LIVING away from his Mom!!  That’s ME!

It was hard.  I have so been trying to prepare myself for this for awhile.  The people around you that have experienced this tells you – “it gets better…”   Blah, blah, blah.  Duh, I’m pretty sure it … might.

Needless to say, yesterday was hard.  You want to drop your child off and be happy about it.  I was.  You want to make sure your kiddo has great people around him.  He does.  You want him to eat good things.  He has been.  You want him to feel safe.  He does.  You want him to express that this was the right move – for him.  He has.  You want him to be confident.  He is.  You don’t want him to drink.  Reality check – he will.  Duh.

We un-packed all of his goods and there was a place for everything.  He didn’t over pack or under pack.  Everything was just right.  We took him Bi-Mart shopping twice, and I think he is good.  He has two roommates.  Jordyn and Jordan.  Jordyn is his Best Friend and Jordan has been a friend of Cal’s since Kindergarten T-Ball.  It’s fun.  They all get along so well.  Three boys that are excited to be together and have this experience.

Honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  Tears were had, that is for sure.  I miss my boy so much; but college is life.  It was one of the best parts of mine.

We will see him next weekend.  I can’t wait.

Calvin (only because I know you read my blog…) – this is YOUR time Buddy.  Take those wings of yours and soar!  I cannot wait to see where you land.  I will be there!!  #goeags2023