Busy is Better

It is only mid-August but it feels like summer is coming to a quick end. Fall is right around the corner. The neighborhood kids start school tomorrow which means more traffic and school buses!

I have been busy and some days it is hard to get everything done, other days there is not enough to keep me going. Being busy is good for me. If I am too idle, I get up in my head and start thinking and analyzing life. Busy is definitely better. I am happy. I am grateful that I no longer have to work. I have time for friends, volunteering, AA, workouts and whatever else comes along.

The engagement party was a success. A lot of fun with family, soon to be family and some friends. During their weekend visit, Allie and Pat visited a few wedding venues here and Bingo ….. they found the perfect spot in Mt. Adams, Cincinnati. It is a beautiful old monastery that has been converted into a wedding venue. We couldn’t be more excited. The only downside is nothing was available in 2023 so the wedding is May 25, 2024. A Saturday over Memorial Weekend. It seems so far down the road. It does give us a lot of extra time to plan, save money and for the MOB to lose some more weight. Gotta look at the bright side!

The results from the breast reduction are good. I am all healed up. I still have some follow up appointments with my surgeon, but they are now few and far between. I have decided since she also has a staff that does cosmetic skin enhancements, I am going to have my first facial peel on my next visit. It is time for some old lady skin care. I am back full force at the gym with my trainer. My diet is ok. I am not exactly on the plan perfectly for the program I am doing, but I am eating way better than I have in the past so I guess that is a win. I have my body scan this week to check my measurements, I am not looking forward to it. I feel like I have had little or no change in the last 6 weeks. I have less than 2 years to get into wedding shape. I also want to be healthy. My glucose readings have been higher. I talked to my family doc and she did not like the numbers. I unfortunately had to go on a low dose of diabetes medication. I am not happy about this revelation, I am starting to feel my age and I don’t like it. My achy joints and arthritis are probably side effects from the Ulcerative Colitis. It sucks!

I have started back to my volunteer gig. I joined up again with the event committee. We are planning our big bunco fundraiser for 10/1. Looking forward to working on this event. It was super fun and profitable when we did it before Covid. My sponsor and I are hosting a going away party for a dear friend who is moving. I offered up my home for this. It is next week. 40+ have been invited, 25 have responded that they are coming – I have no idea how many people will end up at my house. Luckily our new outdoor space: patio, pavilion and landscaping will be almost complete. Just waiting on the granite countertops. I just need to chill about this gathering as it is stressing me out. We are also in the midst of planning our family foundation annual golf outing which takes place 9/19. It is not my year to be in charge so I am just doing what I can to help. A lot of event planning is currently happening and keeping me on my toes.

With fall coming, I am excited that football is starting back up. I love my Cincinnati Bengals. I am looking forward to having friends over on our new patio to watch games and hang out. Summer seems to have gone by really fast. They say the older you get the faster time goes by and boy is that true!

So for the life and times of me ….. I am just busy.

Change of Plans

Tis the season! The season when all the best laid plans for family and friend fun goes astray. Covid has reared its ugly head on my family again this holiday season.

My daughter, Allie and her boyfriend came from Texas on Saturday. By Monday, Patrick was sick. Tuesdays home covid test came up positive. Now we sit and wait for the regular test results to come back and hope it was a false positive. Steve, Allie and I did the home test too and they were all negative. And of course now all home tests are on backorder so Pat can not retest at home. We just wait …… 2-3 days of quarantine before the test comes back.

I hope it is negative. We just had my Mom and Tom and Pat’s family over for dinner on Sunday before all sickness broke loose. I hope they all didn’t get exposed and that it is just the other crud that is going around.

In the meantime, we will miss our annual bracoli making tradition for Christmas dinner with the extended family. Last year, each family made their own since we couldn’t all get together because some had the virus. Kirsten is staying away at her apartment in Cincinnati, but she was here Sunday too. I hate to think of her missing all this family time, while we are all stuck home together. She will go to bracoli making and stay with my mom, depending on the test results. I am missing dinner with friends while we wait. We are unable to go on planned family activities this week while we wait. I won’t be able to help set up and attend the Christmas activities at the AA club. The worst is I hate the wait.

I know the best laid plans often don’t happen. Having the Serenity Prayer in “tool kit” helps. I have to remember to “accept the things I cannot change.”. The last couple of evenings while we wait, I have enjoyed having Allie and Pat here, watching Christmas movies with Steve and I. I do miss Kirsten. I was so excited to have everyone home and under one roof. I know we aren’t the only ones in this waiting game. I am grateful that Pat is feeling better and that so far we are all fine. I just hate to have this damn covid mess up another holiday season. Last year I tested positive on New Years Eve as did Allie and Pat. We are all vaccinated and I believe that helps.

The best thing now is not to dwell on what we are unable to do and concentrate on what we still may be able to do. The best laid plans aren’t always your plan.

Father’s Day 2021

“Say not in grief: ‘He is no more,’ but live in thankfulness that he was.” – Hebrew Proverb

It doesn’t matter how long he has been gone, Father’s Day is never an easy day. My Dad has been with the heavenly Father for 11 years now and I still miss him like crazy. I am grateful to have had such a wonderful role model in my Dad. He was always present in our lives. He worked hard, but his wife (my Mom) and his children were his number one priority.

My Dad and Mom were high school sweethearts. They started dating at age 14. They were married for just under 45 years when he passed away unexpectedly at age 65. They both were and are a great example of lasting love.

I have a wonderful husband who is the perfect father of our two daughters. And like my own Dad, his priority is his family and what is not to love about that. I will take time to celebrate him and all he means to us.

It is a weird day. Allie is in Texas and Kirsten had to work today, my own Dad is gone, and Steve never really had a Father. No big celebration of Dads.

One thing I am able to do each day, is celebrate my family …. whether they are her on this earth or only here in spirit. I know I am lucky and that is definitely worth celebrating. So tonight, it will be a small dinner out. We will probably see lots of families and fathers and that is okay. I wouldn’t change the family I have and the family I had for anything. The experiences I have had, the love of my parents and family has made me who I am today.

I will never quit missing my Dad. He was a great force in our lives. I am grateful to have had in my life as long as I did. His memory and love will live on in my heart and soul forever.

With my non alcoholic drink in hand, I say Cheers to my wonderful Father and Husband. I love you ❤️

A Little Family History

Today is the 68th anniversary of the start of our family restaurant business. 68 years ago my grandfather started the business. In the early 90’s, my dad, and a partner bought the company and took over operations and ownership. That partnership did not last and so my dad became the sole owner/operator. Upon the unexpected passing of my dad in 2010, my two brothers did not miss a beat in taking over the company.

My dad was a smart guy, he started succession planning in the early 2000’s. It was my choice not to become an owner/operator (in-training) at that time. I was a mom with 2 young children and that is all I wanted to be. I did work in the company in several different capacities throughout the years. In a nutshell I pretty much handled coordinating marketing efforts and customer relations.

My brothers and I were the 3rd generation of the family to run the business. I retired 3 years ago …… I was unfulfilled and I felt I made a better sister than employee. As of now there are no great grandchildren of my grandfather that are interested in taking over the business – no 4th generation. There are 6 great granddaughters who range in age from 5-26. My girls are already grown and started in their “adult work” life. Who knows what my nieces will end up doing, but it doesn’t look like owning and operating the business. This makes me sad. We have come through so many trials and tribulations with this business and today it is quite successful once again.

My husband started working with the company a couple years ago as a consultant. Today he is full time at the business. He is helping my brothers navigate the future of the company and the day to day operations. Sales continue to be good despite the covid pandemic and expansions are taking place. I do feel a little left out, no longer being a part of the business, but still bearing the name the company as part of my name and heritage. It is a mixed up emotion.

I am proud of the work that is being done through the company and our family foundation. I am sure my dad is smiling down on us all …. and maybe my grandfather too (he is a whole different story) as we celebrate this milestone.

It is a good day to reflect on where we have been as a family, a business and important part of our community for the past 68 years …. the good, the bad and the ugly. I have been thinking of my dad a lot too as we just marked the 11th anniversary of his passing. I wish he was here to enjoy the fruit of his labor and the success of his children and grandchildren.

It will be interesting to see where the future takes this family and our restaurants.

My Miscellaneous Life

I really don’t know where to start ….. life surely can come at you in many different directions at the same time. But it is all good.

We just got back from a quick weekend visit to Dallas, Texas to visit my oldest daughter, Allie and her boyfriend, Pat. It was a wonderful weekend full of fun, family and food. 3 plane flights in 3 months for me is huge and I didn’t even panic much. Steve, Kirsten, my Mom and I all enjoyed some quality Texas time. Allie and Pat seem very happy, but in no rush to move things along in terms of an engagement. I also got the feeling that they aren’t coming home anytime in the near future to put down roots. I loved having my grandparents close by while growing up and loved my kids being close to my grandma and their grandmas. But I am definitely getting way ahead of myself. So I will just try to stay in today.

We were in Dallas only Friday early thru Monday afternoon and that was the perfect amount of time. A lot of drinking happens when my family is together – not like alcoholic drinking …. just drinking and I was for the most part just fine with the whole thing, I did get a little jealous when they got the cold Chardonnay on the warm day on the rooftop bar. But I guess I am finally realizing my place in the world and it doesn’t include alcohol and sometimes that is just unfortunate.

While we were in Dallas, Steve and I celebrated our anniversary. 29 years of being married. It is a miracle. I am so grateful that we made it through a very rough patch with divorce on the table several years ago. We are good partners and happy.

As you know we are temporarily living in a condo while we build a home in town. Well the universe seemed to be against us doing that. So many roadblocks, couldn’t land on a design or stay within a budget. We found a house we loved in the next town over and jumped on it. Looked at it on a Sunday, got all the bank stuff and preapproval done on monday and now we are moving into an existing home on 5/17. It just felt right the moment we saw it. I think it was meant to be. So we are busy packing up again after only 6 months in the condo. Luckily we have a lot of stuff still packed up in the storage room and the storage unit we rented. It will nice to “find” all our stuff again. I am tired though of living in the half packed messy chaos of a condo. We will need to get out, get it cleaned and on the market. We bought it thinking we would be here for 18 months or so.

I strained my back and shoulder walking the dog – much pain. Been sucking down the Aleve and Tylenol for over a week. Got a medical massage to work out the kinks and it helped. Got some good advice and exercises to do to strengthen the muscles (which I have been very bad about doing). I finally went to the doctor and got a muscle relaxer. He gave me a prescription for 90 pills! It wasn’t my regular doc so he doesn’t know my drug abuse history, I had a rough couple of hours thinking about those pills and the oxy I picked up and delivered to a friend. It makes me crazy that my mind still thinks like an addict. I took only 1 pill as prescribed, but it didn’t do much and my addict brain is thinking 2 pills may be better to help the pain and sleep issues better. I did have a nice long chat with my sponsor and now Steve controls the pills. The thing is I am allowed to have to 3 a day, but he will only give me 1 per night. Damn.

We got our second Covid vaccine this week. I still debated on whether or not to go through with it, but again family pressure. I feel fine this time and it is Steve who got sick from the 2nd dose. It is just weird that we have no history on these shots and what they may or may not do to us in the long run. We are totally trusting the system and I am not sure if that is wise.

So, the trip, moving, and the pain / pills and shot is what my life has been these last couple of weeks. It is all a little stressful, but it is all good.

The weekend is about to start and it is full of plans that also will include those around me drinking. That is just life! I am just living life on life’s terms and taking it one day at a time.

Christmas 2020 Style

It has been a different sort of Christmas season. No large family gathering this holiday. I am spending the day with my family: husband, daughters and Allie’s boyfriend …. and the pups. Playing games, watching movies and doing family zoom calls. We will eat our traditional Italian dinner tonight with all the family, but separately in our own homes.

It is a low stress Christmas which is kind of nice.

One of my brothers is just getting over covid – his family seems to be ok, but they have not been tested. Allie and Pat were exposed by his sister on Sunday. They tested negative with the rapid test, but are waiting results from the regular covid test. So we just stay home and wait. I am sure they will be fine, but we want to be safe and not pass it on.

I am staying away from the AA club which is hard since I plan the Christmas (alcathon) meetings. But I am sure they can run fine without me. It is just a control thing.

We need to go make gift drop offs the the brothers and families. Not sure when we will get the gifts over to Steve’s mom. She has a lot of health issues and doesn’t really want to see anyone, but from a distance …. and it is too cold outside.

Despite the issues 2020 has brought to us all, I still have gratitude …. a lot of gratitude. I have everything I need and my loving family is healthy. There have been challenges to overcome, but that doesn’t diminish my blessings.

2020 has definitely not been the year we all expected it to be when it started back in January, but we are surviving …. together!

Virtual Graduation

 

BCD29C23-E1FE-461E-A9FD-B2A2F76FC11F.JPGThis was supposed to be the postponed date for my daughters college graduation. Again we were supposed to be in Chicago this weekend celebrating this occasion with family and friends.   With the number of COVID cases rising it too, along with everything else was canceled.

It was a nice uneventful online ceremony.   The usual speakers.   The highlight was Loyola’s 101 year old Sister Jean speaking to the graduates.   She is an icon at Loyola, in Chicago and in the world of college basketball.  There were break out sessions for the different colleges at the university,   The whole thing took about an hour.

The graduates received a special graduation package to open during the ceremony.   It was a nice touch for an unprecedented situation.

I guess I shouldn’t complain, we had front row seats in the comfort of our own home.  I missed though all the pomp and circumstances and the celebrating as I am sure all the graduates did as well.

Kirsten and her friends have taken this all in stride.   It is not the graduation anyone wanted or planned.   Entering the next chapter has not been easy for these graduates.  Jobs are difficult to find in the midst of this pandemic.   In time I am sure everything will work out we just have to have a little more patience with the world right now.

Times are not ideal for many, I know a lot of people are struggling right now and have way bigger problems than a college graduation ceremony.  It puts things in perspective when you take the time to think of others who may not be as fortunate as we are at this time.

I know Kirsten will find the perfect job in God’s perfect timing.  She has a lot to offer and wants to save the world we live in for future generations.    I have faith that she can do it!

Go forth and set the world on fire Kirsten and fellow Ramblers!  Loyola University Chicago, Class of 2020.

 

Pool Party

My baby niece turned 4 yesterday,  It seems like yesterday that she was a tiny thing.   It was a unicorn pool party and of course our little Caroline was adorable.   she has a boat load of girl cousins from both sides of the family …. there are 11 of them.   My 2 girls, 25 and  22, my youngest brothers kids 17,15 and 11 then the cousins on the other side are 13, 10, 8, 5, 2 and our 4 year old birthday girl.   Quite the range of cousins, but all girls!  All were there except Allie who has recently moved to Texas.

Then there are the adults.   Family and friends who are like family.    Everyone is an Aunt or Uncle besides the grandparents.     Caroline is a lucky girl to have so many adults to love on her and spoil her.    Caroline really knows how to get along and act with adults, like I said she is adorable!

These pool parties, even a birthday party for a kid, some how turn into a drink fest.     There were fancy slushy drinks in hollowed out pineapples – with alcohol of course …. and lots of beer and white claw type drinks.     Who doesn’t want to drink on a hot day at a pool party, right?    And for me it was ok not to drink …. that is until everyone has had a little too much and I got a little too irritated.       I know I have lost that luxury to drink and my problems should not affect how others drink or not drink, and it doesn’t bother anyone but me.     I was definitely bothered.     Some know why I don’t drink, others don’t.    Some offer me drinks which I politely decline and others claim I am grumpy because I need a drink  (at the end of the night when most are pretty lit).   It can be quite annoying and trigger the poor me feelings.

Sometimes when a lot of drinking is happening and I know it is time to go ….. it is difficult to pull Steve away (not usually, but sometimes).  He was clearly enjoying himself and the beverages a little too much.    Why do I get so angry and as one friend said grumpy?   drinking is one thing, drunkenness is another and my tolerance varies.    I still feel awkward when everyone is at that point and I am left with my seltzer water.   I don’t like it.    I have to know myself and play that tape all the way through of what will happen if I do enjoy the drink.   I know it will not end well for me.     Finally I just gave the final warring …. I am leaving NOW, with or without you.   A wise friend suggested  that he “get on that bus” and go home.   lol.

I feel good today ….. no hangover.    But I still feel irritated.   I am playing that passive aggressive game.    Stupid.   No one knows I am angry, but I definitely am not being what you would call nice.

I need to get over myself and let others live their lives as they see fit, but I can not let their choices affect me and my sobriety.     The party started at 1:00 PM and I finally got to leave at 9:30 PM (with a little break in between to feed the dogs).   That is long birthday party for a little girl.   And let me tell you those kids where still going strong, just getting out of the pool as we were leaving.   To be young again and to be able to drink again …… that ship has sailed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now 53

Today is June 9th ….. My birthday and I am now 53 years old.    Time keeps marching by.   This year I am in Sarasota Florida with my husband and 22 year old daughter,  We bought a condo here with my brother and friend.   It is nice to get away, but you all know I like home best.

I went back and read the post when I turned 51 and all the gratitude I had for life.  Today I am still grateful, but life seems so much more complicated, out of control and in need of a makeover.

We are getting through this COVID 19 pandemic.   The lock downs are letting up and stores are opening, but people are still afraid and wearing mask while keeping distance.  Only so many allowed in restaurants and stores.  A lot of people are still out work and it is difficult to find a job. Most people are just over the whole thing.  But all are unsure of what will happen next and what our new normal will be.

Then comes the Black Lives Matters protests over the killing of a black man by a white police office.   I get the disgust, uproar and the protests, but I hate to see all the rioting and other people killed because of it.   Yes we need change and equality.   I get that, but destroying property and causing trouble is not to me the answer, but then again what do I know about being black … nothing.   All I know is that the rioting is scary and that we need a new normal of acceptance of all people.

The other thing that is going on is that one of my younger daughter’s friends passed away … the reason they are thinking is getting hit with tear gas at one of the above said protest.   We are still waiting for confirmation of the exact cause of death.  Rumors are flying around, people are harassing the family and social media is going crazy.  Definitely a hard time for the family and friends of this young woman and also this mother.

So this year on my birthday I am struggling to make sense out of life, struggling to stay sober and struggling to stay sane.    I just wonder what this world is coming to.    Sometimes I even struggle with what to pray for and about right now while things are in such upheaval.

I do look back and realize how privileged my life has been despite all the issues I have faced.   I had everything I needed during the COVID lockdown,  I am not in a city where violence and rioting is going on and my children are alive and healthy.    I can get the health care I need and the addiction treatment I need.  I have a loving stable family and many friends both in and out of recovery.     We have the means to survive.

So on this day, June 9, 2020 I am 53 years old.    The world is in chaos, but I can still find the gratitude I need to keep on Keeping on!!!

My Dad

616d99a6500fb1426d16214ec13ba51f

 

 

I will always remember May 28, 2010 …. The day my precious Daddy died.  He died suddenly with no waning of a blood clot to his heart.   This year, 2020 it has been 10 years since that day and I remember most of it as if it were yesterday.

I remember the middle of the night phone call ( 1:30 AM) from my Mom, arriving at the same time as my one brother, the hospital emergency room, the announcement call of time of death, calling to tell my husband that my Dad was dead and then Steve showing up with the girls who were 15 and 12 at the time and then calling a few close friends.  We gathered as a family around my Dad and said the Our Father.   To this day, 10 years later I can not say the Our Father with closed eyes without seeing my Dad in the ER and tearing up a little.

Growing up, my Dad and I were very much a like with our Italian tempers and often butted heads.  When I went away to college is when our closer relationship started.  My Dad was my biggest cheerleader and his support was always unwavering.    My family, Dad, Mom, 2 brothers and I all worked in the family pizza business.   I remember being in the office that Thursday before he died and the ordinary conversation we had before I left for home. I had no idea that would be the last conversation I would have with my alive Dad.

My Dad taught us well.   He was a family man, with a great belief in our Lord and Savior.  I know he is with his God in heaven and that gives me some comfort.  My Dad had done succession planning for the business with my brothers ( I chose not to be an equal owner operator – I wanted to be a mom to my children, not a business owner). Our company was like family and his death really had an effect all the employees and the community as a whole.   My brothers and our office staff did not miss a beat in keeping things going for our pizza chain and dough business.  My Dad did well.

I took my Mom home and stayed with her through the morning.    My brothers cleaned up the bedroom before we got there.   Neither of us slept much.   The TV drowned out our emotions.   Stupid TV informercials in the middle of the night early morning.

I don’t know how I became the strong one in the family during this time.    I planned and organized most of the funeral with some help from the family.   I was numb and just going through the motions.  It took me a long time to actually get to the grieving part.

I can not begin to say how many people were at his visitation.   The line was hours long for the duration.  I remember certain friends being there.  The support I had from my AA friends was incredible.  I probably would not have gotten through that time with out that support.   The actual funeral was beautiful with a packed church.  My Mom wrote a little something that the priest read and I remember his 4 grand daughters taking up the gifts for communion.  It was a special moment.   My Dad was liked by everyone.   The celebration of life afterwords held in a reception hall was full of wonderful stories and memories of my Dad.

I wish my Dad could see the successes of his children and grandchildren and our business.  He never got to meet my brother’s wife, Carey or little Caroline.   But I know he sees them.

They say over time memories fade and people forget.    I know many will never forget my Dad, He made an impact on many in our community especially his dear family and friends.

Our family is gathering on Sunday for a day of celebration of his life and to share our memories and grief.   I feel sad today missing my Dad.   I also feel grateful to have been born to such great and loving parents.    Life is for the living, but we can still cherish and miss those who are no longer with us.     So many memories ….. I will never forget my wonderful Daddy ❤️ .