Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Man I Knew

On Thursday morning I got a call letting me know my grandfather was very sick, he was at a hospital about 7 hours from my house and chances were if we made our way down there he would be gone before we got there, or if not he wouldn't know we were there.  A couple hours later I got ahold of his ICU nurse who was very kind and told me the truth of his condition, but promised me he was not in pain and that she would not let him suffer.  She said she was going to tell him I had called, that although the doctor's say he cannot hear us, she thinks that deep down they can.

Half an hour later I got the call that he had passed.

Apparently my grandfather had a massive heart attack a month ago that his body never recovered from, then he developed a serious infection in his right lung.  His body was to weak to fight the infection and he went down hill fast.  We never even knew about the heart attack.

You see this story gets complicated because my grandfather is, was, in prison and had been for the last 12 years.  He was not a bad man, eccentric yes.  Stubborn, yes.  Rude and crude, oh yes.  But he wasn't bad.  He was a 1950's Rebel Without a Cause and a 1960's freeloving hippie who never could let go of the drugs that helped enhance that time in his life.

He once drove his car from Texas to the Panama Canal and then walked and hitch hiked across South America. 

He once shook the hand of the Dalai Lama.

He was in San Francisco during the 1967 Summer of Love.

He was a Navy Vet who had been stationed in Hawaii, he told me I would hate every second there but I had to do my best to really experience it.  He made me promise to go up to Diamond Head and take a picture for him, it had been his favorite place.

He was a genius, literally.  When he was younger he received a scholarship to study physics at Rice. If I remember correctly he left to sign up the Navy before he finished.

Even though he was a vet he was one of the 100,000 people estimated to march against the Pentagon in 1967.

He walked, hitch hiked, and rode trains all over Europe and Asia.

Over the years he held a vast array of jobs.  He was a teacher, a government contractor on military bases, he worked on movie sets, and sold handmade hope chests among other things.

He wasn't the best dad, my dad was already born during most of the rompings listed above (he was born in 1965), and honestly I don't think he knew how to be a dad because he didn't have one himself really.  Could he have tried harder?  Yes.  I think he knew that and regretted it in the end, him and my dad never even really connected until my dad was grown and I don't know if they really liked each other until I was born.

But were he really sucked at being a dad (it's harsh but true), he was a great grandfather to my brother and I.  He let us explore his little house and all it's exotic knick-knacks uninhibited, and he did his best to be there for us even when prison bars separated us.

He was also an amazing great-grandfather.  My kids basically have their own library because he was dead set that he would pass his love of reading on to them.  He would send them books for every holiday known to man, Addi even got books for St. Patrick's Day once.

Yes, he didn't make the best decisions possible.  A lot of people did not like him and he honestly probably liked even fewer.  But he loved us purely and whole heartedly, and we loved him too.

He doesn't want a funeral, he doesn't want a grave.  He wants to be cremated and his ashes tossed in the back yard where his dogs are buried.  I laughed when I was told that because...well, that's just him.

I could have been mad that I never knew about last months heart attack, that I never got the chance to say goodbye.  But I'm not.  He had told me before that he would rather die quickly than waste away eventually in a nursing home.  He said he had a lived a very full life and he was okay with it if his time had come.  If I were a betting person I would put money on the possibility that he probably told the prison and the hospital not to notify us until they were sure it was the end, he didn't want us guilting him and trying to change his mind-which we probably would have done.

I will miss the man greatly.  I know the man that I knew was not the man everyone else saw.  The man I got to know through our letters over the last 12 years.  Behind bars he was able to let go of his hard exterior (well, somewhat) and really let me in.  I will be forever grateful for that experience; for the knowledge I gained, and the love we shared.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Wreath for Fall

I love decorating, but I hate the price tag of it.  Because of that my house honestly still looks like two college students still live in it-I'm working on it.

 photo 6E911C76-8D31-47BE-B907-F7CAA2442FC3-4412-000003FE9CCF98EC_zps8127f23e.jpg

On etsy, (oh etsy, you will be the death of me) I have recently fallen in love with wreaths, but at a price tag that ranges anywhere from 65.00-85.00 and up those suckers are expensive.  Even locally the lowest I have been able to find a cute one is in the 50's!  But my door, my poor door, it looked so bare and lonely.  I had to give it something to keep it company.

 photo 57993E27-3BED-4C3B-859B-419C9309C53E-4412-000003FE954611A2_zpsf5b27b85.jpg

So to pinterest I went!  What did we do in the days without it?  I found an easy tutorial for making a burlap wreath, and another for making burlap and cloth roses.  Add some glittery paint and a wooden C and it was all done.  The supplies cost me less than 20.00, and I have enough burlap left over to make a Christmas wreath, enough orange burlap to make about 20 more burlap roses too.

 photo 34254D18-AB2C-405D-928C-C32D24CC7101-4412-000003FE8FCE5F21_zps1db7e8cb.jpg

No, it's not perfect, but I sure do like it-and so does my wallet.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Cup of Heaven

If you know me at all you know I have an ultimate, undying love for my coffee.  It's there for me in the morning, gets me going and keeps me warm.  Now that daylight savings is kicking my booty (Atlas wakes up at 5:00 a.m. to nurse, he can go back to sleep but apparently I can't) it is also keeping me company throughout the day.

If I had the money I would totally be one of those people who frequented coffee shops all day every day (Friends anyone?), but alas I am not.  I also have decided I do not have the money to have fancy coffee creamer in my budget, plus I could not find one that had ingredients I could pronounce in it.

I was getting pretty discouraged.  Then I remembered what my little brother and I used to do in high school, we used to mix instant cocoa mix with our coffee in the mornings to have a caffeinated hot chocolate extravaganza.  Well it just so happens I had promised a certain 6.5 year old some hot cocoa that particular day....and then the magic happened.

I found a hot cocoa mix recipe online and tweaked it a bit to our liking (mixed sugar and powdered sugar, added cinnamon).  You can have this as hot cocoa when mixed with a warm cup of milk or you can be awesome like me and put a tbsp in your coffee with just a tiny bit of heavy's heaven I tell you pure heaven.

Super Easy Chocolate Coffee Creamer/Hot Cocoa Mix

1 Container of Powdered Cocoa
2 Cups Sugar
3/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Tbsp Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon

Mix it all together and place in an air tight container.

Simple, easy, delicious.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Dollar Tree/Wal-Mart Haul

Okay I know it sounds completely nerdy but dollar stores make me a little giddy.  Okay, a lot giddy.  As in I might have dragged my kids down every aisle of Dollar Tree today picking up everything I saw and saying ooohhhh....aaahhhh.  Yea, it was a real good way to teach my 6.5 year old self control.  This is only slightly embarrassing because that same 6.5 year old was carrying the basket I was tossing stuff into as I pushed her brother around in his stroller.  Parenting win I tell ya.  But hey this was my first Dollar Tree experience since moving back from Hawaii, the state where dollar stores are apparently a completely foreign concept-so don't judge me too harshly.

Thankfully for my wallet, and Addi's arms, I was able to get my mind focused and get back to the task at hand.  I had gone with the task at hand for making Quiet Baskets for my preschool daycare kids.  You see since they are two and three they no longer take morning naps and they get through their letter of the week work pretty quickly.  The problem with that is that Addi is still doing her independent work and the littles are still napping, so I can't have them running around being their normal loud selves.  I am hoping the discovery of these quiet boxes (I got the idea off of Pinterest, what did we ever do without that place?) will help the situation out a little.

 photo 0A271A43-5828-4DF0-B1AD-641BEAC7DE4D-610-00000078F1358314_zps5e6cc7ee.jpg

So here you have it, almost all the things I needed to make five quiet boxes.  I did have to go to wal-mart for some velcro strips, and the scissors aren't actually for the quiet boxes they just keep disappearing from my house so I couldn't resist buying more.  But all of this for about 15.00!  My heart skipped a beat when I saw the total pop up.  I was that excited.

 photo 71B4723E-EADB-47FF-956C-B0B815D967D8-610-00000078EB216B7F_zps51642e32.jpg

My day got even better when I found these babies at Wal-Mart too.  I have a slight obsession with boot socks and keep wanting to buy them from my favorite discount boutique sites like and, but the best deal I have found recently still had each pair of socks listed at about 8.95 when you included shipping.  I got these two pairs for less than 10.00 together.  Woot!

Ah, sticker shock in a good way.  I am loving being back on the mainland.  Now if only I could have a Leonard's malasada.  I guess a girl can't have everything!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Well that was a hassle.

Have you ever forgotten your password?  What about your entire email?  That happened to me this morning, you see this blog is the only thing I use this gmail account for-more specifically logging into this blog is the only thing I use this gmail account for.  And I have seriously spent the last hour trying to remember my gmail account name and password so I could get back to this place.  AN HOUR.

Apparently I did not save a back up email or phone number to this account so trying to recover it was next to impossible.  Until I got enough coffee in my system and remember that there was an email about this account in the inbox to my hotmail account.  Voila! I can now be back on my blog.

With that said I know I have been gone a lllooonnnggg time from this little place, and I know I apparently have a habit of doing that.  So much has changed in the last 5 months and I can't wait to catch everyone up on all that is going on.

I will be back soon to fill you in, I promise!