Apocalypse 2020

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As if 2020 hasn’t been hard enough, we can now add apocalyptical fires to the mix. Western states (California, Oregon and Washington) are experiencing severe fires. I read an article that more acreage has burned in California than we have ever experienced. We fortunately are nowhere close to any of the fires, but we are being effected by the smoke from the fires. We have not had a blue sky in nearly a week and there have been a few days during the week where we couldn’t even see the sun. One of the only good things is the temperatures have been down a little bit, but not for good reasons.

There are some who still believe that global warming is a myth, but seeing each year get seemingly worse, I am hard pressed to be able to agree with any of the naysayers. Things are only getting worse and until someone who is a heck of a lot smarter than I am and has the influence to make the changes we need to make, it will only continue.

One of the first signs was the ash on our cars…

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The skies were no longer blue, they were grey.

the sun went dull…

I hope all who see this are safe from danger, as it seems that is all we have been given here in 2020.

We’re lucky

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Today I put a pork shoulder in the slow cooker. Seasoned it, added the marinade turned it on and let the magic happen.

As always it came out beautifully. So how does that make us lucky? I mean it doesn’t get much easier to make a meal. Where we are lucky came with our sides with dinner. We did carrots and pinto beans. Our little guy doesn’t give us a hard time about eating vegetables. He will eat just about any vegetable we put on the plate. We really only get a hard time with green beans and mashed potatoes (although he’ll eat potatoes in almost any other form). I have friends who have noted the struggle to get their own little ones to eat their veggies, and of course it has been a long standing trope in television and movies. However, not a battle we have had to fight.

Now if we could just get him to not want hamburgers/cheeseburgers for breakfast lunch and dinner…

All kidding aside, we’re lucky he doesn’t give us too hard a time. What side or dish does your little one (or heck, your big one) absolutely refuse to eat? Comment below…

Currently

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I am sitting outside my in-laws house watching the little guy and my nephew playing with a skateboard. The little guy has been bugging newmom and I for a skateboard. So far we have been delaying the inevitable. I think there might be some California rule that says every child must own a skateboard somewhere in the by-laws. And as I sit and watch, all I can think of is ‘damn, he’s actually really good at it!’ I honestly don’t know if I should be less impressed or more scared. To be completely honest, he has always taken to things really quickly. He was riding a scooter earlier than most of his cousins were. He was riding a bike without training wheels in less than ten minutes after we took them off his bike.

Well, here’s to the next chapter in our story. I am sure we will get him a board and we will see where the road takes us.

A prayer…

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There are different types of prayer. There are the the rote prayers we repeat over and over again (Now I lay me down to sleep, the Lords prayer, Hail Mary).  Our family gives thanks before every meal and depending on who says it it is basically the same prayer every time (our little guy has his own version that differs from what newmom and I say).  Sometimes they become so routine they become ritual and we lose the value.

I attempt to spend a few minutes every morning meditating and reading a couple of daily devotionals. I am rather inconsistent, but the attempt is made. Since COVID quarantine has started, I am home with newmom and the little guy every morning and the little guy and I have a little time together just the two of us in the morning before newmom is up and about.  So when we are together we spend a minute or three giving thanks together. I have come up with the same prayer that I say every morning with him.  I place my hand over his heart and repeat this little prayer:

“Dear lord, thank you for this beautiful day,

Thank you for everything you have given us.

I especially thank you for making X. my son

Bless him and keep him Healthy and Happy.

and Lord, let him always know that he is LOVED.

In Jesus name we pray, AMEN”

 

Now this has become a daily ritual. every morning we spend two minutes together to give thanks and to make sure he knows that most important part is that he is loved.  I feel like in the insanity that we live in, even pre-COVID, that message can be lost to our children.  Yes, we say “I love you” many times a day, but sometimes it is just rote, much like the prayers I was speaking about above, we start to lose the true value of the words, because it is just something we are “supposed” to do, like giving thanks before a meal (if that is your families thing) or nighttime prayers(again, if that is your thing).  So I feel it is important to spend that minute together. to repeat those words “and know that he is loved”  as a daily reminder.  With the rampant anxiety and depression that is crippling our youth, I hope just that daily reminder will be with him always.

Although the words are the same, I try to make sure the message is not lost.  I hope everyone reading is safe and healthy, and maintaining their sanity as best possible.

Pants? What are those things?

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Last weekend we enjoyed a little pool time with some family.  Newmom’s parents live in a community where there are no restrictions for loop use, just use common sense and social distance as best as you can.  It has not been a problem, as there really aren’t many people there at any time (we have gone three or four times and each time there has been like two, maybe three other families there and the area is big enough to have plenty of space.

So we were chatting together and somehow clothes had come up in conversation and I made an observation: “You know I don’t think I have worn anything other than shorts since this entire thing began. So since March 13th I have not worn anything other than shorts.  I actually have to correct myself, on Easter Sunday I work khakis. But other than that, I cannot recall wearing any jeans or slacks or chinos or anything other than shorts.

I know I am not the only one.  I just read a report recently about another established clothier in financial trouble.  Brooks Brothers is in real trouble, the parent company of the men’s wearhouse.  Anne Taylor has filed for bankruptcy protection. Other companies selling leisure and athletic wear are thriving.  Yoga pants and athletic tops are selling well.

With the majority of us all working from home, and on occasion having to appear on a conference call with video so there is not much need for anything more than a clean pair of shorts and a tee shirt that has some shape left to it.  Even business casual has gone to hell.   A few weeks ago I wore a shirt with buttons and on one of the conference calls I was on that day joked that I had to rebutton it three times cause I kept messing up not remembering how those pesky buttons worked.

I also know many people who have been talking about “The Covid 19”. That extra weight many have packed on during the pandemic.  I am fortunate enough to not be experiencing that. I have actually been more active in the past couple months than I had been in a while.  I have been maintaining the weight loss I experienced earlier this year.  So being afraid to put the pants back on is not any excuse for me. I just haven’t needed to wear anything more than shorts and they are comfy!

I hope all of you are surviving this pandemic and all of the challenges it has brought, pants or no pants.

 

 

An unsettling Trend, another Covid Casualty.

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There have been so many impacts to our lives daily during this unprecedented time in our lives. Loads of closures, some temporary, others permanent.  Some impacts are felt daily, others are occasional (like no community fireworks in our home city!).  I almost feel these losses more than the day to day losses.  The events. The anticipation of each one and the disappointment as each one is cancelled.

We received notification earlier this week that our absolute FAVORITE race production company, Renegade Racing is shutting down permanently.  This news was absolutely devastating to us. Renegade has been a part of our lives for the past 11 years.  One of the first running events I ever ran was put on my them (Pediatric Cancer Research Foundations’ reaching for the cure in 2009) and over the years we have run many of their events.  Our little guy was 3 weeks old when newmom pushed him in the stroller and he even has a medal from that race.

Newmom’s mother and our nieces and nephews have run renegade events. They have become family oriented events. I consider Jonathan and Taite (the owners) friends. I remember when they married, I remember when they had their child (he is about a year younger than our little man).  I have made many great friends through running these events and my messenger blew up when the news broke with messages of disbelief and sadness.

There is truly a ‘Renegade family’ and many of us are just gutted.  These are events we look forward to. These are events that we train for.  These are events that on the way home in the car we are asking what the next one is going be.  Or saying what they loved about the current event.

There will be no more memories. No more seeing Jonathan on his bike as he surveys the course in front of the pack.  No more running into Taite at packet pick up at Roadrunner Sports. All things we did many times.

Another casualty of the pandemic.  Another loss.  One that hurts A LOT.

Jonathan and Taite, thank you for all of the great work you have done and good luck for whatever lays ahead.

Not a misprint, I’m running again!

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Well, it’s not solid running, but it’s an effort.

Earlier this year, newmom and I did a 30 day cleanse/detox. During that time, I lost 24 pounds and honestly felt and looked better than I have in quite some time.

Then of course life came to a crashing halt. Covid brought quarantine and quarantine brought complacency. I had found an outlet, biking. I started riding seriously again but I had mechanical issues with my bike and found myself sitting around.

I stood on the scale and in horror saw the number increase, I was no longer maintaining the weight loss and honestly felt like I was backsliding. So I made a decision to do something about it.

Do now my alarm goes off early in the morning, I drag my sorry, getting larger behind out of bed and strap on my new running shoes (thanks to Brooks for making some of the greatest shoes on earth!) And go out for a short run.

It has not been easy. I have not been running regularly for a LONG time!! I am starting with a short course in my neighborhood. I have run it for the past three days. I was telling newmom that I think I have found that I have found my limits, and will do two day on, one off. To give my legs a chance to recover.

It’s a plan. One I feel I can commit to. And by publishing it here, I feel like I am making myself accountable to maintain it. Now I did get my bike back yesterday and will still continue to ride, but this morning jumpstart is exactly what I needed, as I feel like I have better focus and energy in the mornings.

I will keep you posted on my progress and see if those pesky pounds that somehow found their way back take off again.

Next Covid casualty? Year round school.

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So we are in an area with year round school. I have written about it from time to time.

Obviously there was a load of concerns as we get closer and closer to July 15th, the official start date of the 2020-21 school year. Been and I were impatiently waiting for any news on what the school year was going to look like.

We got notice earlier this week that our school district has made the decision to adjust the six schools observing year round to traditional schedule. This was a pretty big surprise to us but it made sense. This allows more time for the district to get everything in order.

It does however mean a much longer summer. Something we have not experienced since he has been attending school. Normally this would be exciting news, but everything is shut down and to be honest, traveling does not sound appealing right now. Too many risks with cases spiking across the country.

So I guess we continue to wait and see what third grade holds…

And with a Zoom call, 2nd grade comes to an end.

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Goodness, this was a strange and weird school year. When we started back in July this is not even CLOSE to how we envisioned the school year closing out. In July 2019 no one was familiar with the concept of “Distance learning” or was a proficient in Google Classroom as they are now.

It has been, in the words of the grateful dead ‘a long strange trip’ indeed. As I wrote before, we couldn’t have asked for a better teacher. She moved down from 3rd grade to 2nd this year so I felt a great deal of relief that the little guy would be totally prepared for the next level by the end of the year.

School was honestly going rather well.  The school has an awards ceremony at the end of every trimester and our little guy was recognized in both the first and second trimester and I was excited to see if he was going to get the hat-trick. but just like many other things in the last part of the year, it did not happen.   Like the rest of the world, our lives came to a grinding halt on March 13th.  That is when the world basically paused.  We got notification on that day that schools in our district would be closed until further notice (which turned into the rest of the 2020 school year).

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First Trimester

Second Trimester

It wasn’t just the Awards ceremony.  we did not get to complete the Jog a thon, although  he did get first place in his class for the highest fundraising amount. he really enjoys the event, and it was sad that it like many other things were lost to the time of quarantine.

So this past week was the wrap up.  As I wrote here the past few months have been lost and classroom time has been replaced with a daily ZOOM call. This week was a special week of zoom meetings to wrap up the year and on the last call, when the teacher asked if the kids had anything to share, our little guy raised his hand and when called upon only said “I’m sad about this’.  It was a very touching moment and brave moment for him to share that with all of his classmates and teacher.

Newmom and the little guy went to go pick up all of his stuff from his desk and many of the items we would have gotten in the Spring Open house, various art projects and writings he has done throughout the year. But there was no open house. No opportunity to see the classroom again (there is a fall open house not too long after school starts so we can see his classroom and meet the teacher).   He was so very happy to show off his work from the year and to be honest, it was REALLY good.  These are things he was supposed to be sharing with us in the classroom, but open house is yet another Covid casualty.

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ART!!!!

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We say goodbye to one for the history books.  The year lost to Covid, the year of distance learning, the year of the home-schooled.  And it all came to an end with a Zoom call.

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Last Day Zoom Call, it was Beach/Hawaiian themed!!

 

‘Because a man was killed…’

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It’s tough enough being a parent. Almost as tough as being a kid. It is remarkably difficult to be a human being these days.  Closures of it seems everything.  Mass Shootings and Lockdown drills. Covid-19, people getting pissed off at wearing a mask.  The list goes on and on and on.  Just when you thought it couldn’t get any shittier than it already is, a man was killed.

Men get killed around the world everyday. Some from accidents. Some are murdered.  Some are executed. So why the hub-bub?

This man was senselessly murdered by an individual that we as a society have entrusted to uphold the law and keep the peace.  Instead this man abused the power entrusted to him and brutally abused another human being that ultimately ended his life.

How the hell do you tell an 8 year old that this mans’ life was ended because of prejudice, stereotyping and the abuse of an entire race of people that has been going on for hundreds of years?  Well, by being honest.

We had to have the very difficult conversation about why thousands of people across the country were marching and demanding change.  We had to also explain why some of those made the choice to destroy. Explain why there were so many fires. Explain why they were throwing rocks and bottles at police. Explaining that there are bad police out there. So very much to explain and so much for him to process.

Not easy conversations to have.  Now I will never know what it truly means to live under the shadow of oppression.  I will never pretend to know.  But I will also never discount the disparity exists and that many parents have had to have very different conversations with their children from a different lens that we have. Newmom and I will never stop attempting to teach the little guy right from wrong.  We will continue to have these tough conversations, answer all the questions as honestly as possible, and not leave out the ugly parts (as best you can with a child).

To all the other parents out there, good luck with your own discussions.  I hope that you too are as honest as you feel you can be and not candy-coat the truth of what happened and why the fires are here, and the difference between making change and encouraging chaos.