Wednesday, March 23, 2011

red velvet

Can I tell you a truly sad story?  I have lived for years silently hating Red Velvet cake.  For some reason, I thought it was licorice/anise flavored so I always avoided it despite the ever alluring cream cheese icing.

Recently, my old roommate Cindy made this GIGANTOR Red Velvet to celebrate several birthdays in February (which Adam totally bogarted a birthday share of, by the way).  She made it all from scratch and it was so big, she had to make it on pizza pans.  I've never had a cake so moist and delicious in my life.  I'm embarrassed to say that I ate a piece as big as my head all by myself from the leftovers she sent us with.

I learned a valuable lesson though:  stop being so picky and stop being so judgy about food.  I might find I like something the second time around.

Now I just need to get her recipe and make one so I quit craving it incessantly.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

needing to get my mojo back

All I can think about is our impending trip to Texas.  Of course all the flights we're trying to get on are full and/or oversold so I'm bracing myself for a hellacious pass travel experience.  I pray the airport gods (and the God) have mercy on us and let us get home in a timely manner because O'Hare has a funny way of making me crazy at times.

This trip cannot come at a better time.  I need my batteries recharged in every way.  My new sleep schedule sucks and is not a good way to treat my body.  I don't know what I was thinking except for that I thought I am a stronger person than I actually am.  I don't do mornings well so why would I think I'd succeed at doing middle of the nights?  I am looking forward to crawling into bed with a couple of Tylenol PMs on Thursday night and hopefully waking up late enough on Friday to set me on a more humane sleeping pattern for the weekend.  My eating habits have been crap as of late, days when I have been eating, it's been garbage food and too much of it.  It's truly a miracle that I haven't been sick on and off all month.

My friends are coming from all over for a bridal shower on Saturday.  I can't wait to be surrounded by the good vibes and catch up on the (hopefully good things) going on in everyone's lives.  My dad has a new lady friend we get to meet this weekend and from all we've heard, she sounds really nice and I am *gasp* hoping to really like her.  Mom- I need to go shopping, can we make that happen on Friday afternoon?  I get to see most of my family at a crazy huge BBQ on Saturday night.

We haven't even left yet and I'm already dreading the plane ride home.  Doesn't my attitude suck?  I won't lie, I really don't want to come back.  In my heart of hearts, I was hoping we'd be further along on our road home by now so I'm feeling a little bit of the crush of the weight of all that still has to happen.  I am going to have to work my hardest to savor every moment that I can and not worry about Sunday night/Monday morning and being back in Chicago.

Today was another very melancholy day.  The weather is BONE CHILLING and going to get colder over the week and there is that wet, rainy chill in the air.  I had a mini-breakdown when I realized that I have a question that my Grandmother would probably be the best person to call to ask.  I know she would know the answer without even skipping a beat.  It's moments like that when I feel a flood of pain and grief that I really hope will lessen over time.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Adam's Update

As Jen has mentioned we are done with all of out condo related projects and should be ready to hit the market next week. It feels so good to be done and be ready to sell this weekend. I'm happy with all of the changes, however most of them should have been done years ago. That's biggest lesson I think I have learned throughout this process is to not put off little home improvement projects. Most of them do not actually take that long, so suck it up and just get it done.

I'm just happy all of the work is done and now all we really need to do is maintain what we have done. To say it was a fun process to get everything done would be a complete lie. However, Jen and I learned a lot about being married and about our marriage specifically. As painful as this process was I think we have a stronger marriage for it. As many times as we wanted to kill each other we learned to talk things out a little better, and to slow down and take each problem / issue as they come. We learned that we work much better as a team, instead of 2 individuals. At least the weather is starting to turn here in Chicago and we'll get to start doing some of the things we love again outdoors.

As Jen already mentioned we are trying to get back to Texas. I am excited to get down there and start our new life, however I am going to miss Chicago very much. This city has been home for almost 12 years (off and on) now and I will be sad to see it go. It truly is my favorite city in the world. I will miss the early summer days that seem like a god sent and make winter seem like years ago. I will miss the lake front path, biking and running on the path, and chilling on the beach. I will miss all the great restaurants and bars that only exist in this city and all have wonderful outdoor patios we enjoy sitting at for hours on a nice day. I will miss walking to Cubs games and tailgating for Bears games. The thing I will miss the most though is all the friends we have here. We have such a great group of friends that we enjoy doing many activities with that I will miss them all dearly.

I'll finish with a little update on my therapy. I have been 3 times already and actually enjoy it and think it will help me. For whatever reason I am a HUGE people pleaser and have a problem asserting myself. I am slowing learning to do a better job to express my emotions and learning that I can't always please everyone and how to deal with it when people become upset with me. I think the entire process will help me grow as a person, and ultimately become not only a better person, but a stronger person.

we got the a-ok

Yesterday I was living in paint hell.  This month has been the longest and most stressful month of my life.  I'm sure probably some (or most) of the stress has been self-inflicted from watching too many hours of HGTV and being horrified of the staging/going to market process for the last couple of years.  I've been dreading these moments from the second I moved into the condo, almost two years ago, and realized that Adam and I living here would not be a long-term arrangement.

Staging has been SUCH HARD WORK!  We got a to-do list a mile long from our realtor when we met at the beginning of the month.  We've had three weekends to take care of all of it, because let's face it, who wants to do anything after a work day other than normal household chores?  Not us.

The first weekend we started the packing process of our stuff, which sucked.  I felt like the entire house was torn apart.  We cleaned up the couch and other furniture that we were selling/giving away.  I packed a ton of stuff in big trash bags for the trip to the Salvation Army.  We listed everything on Craigslist and hung close to home to be there when the weirdos who were buying our stuff came by.  We cleaned and cleaned until I was sure we'd been living in a pig sty of squalor this entire time.   Craigslisting bled over to the weekdays and I ended up finding a great deal on a storage unit.

Last weekend, we FINALLY got rid of the couch.  We took down and packed up all of our "personal" wall art and patched all the holes to prep for touch up paint.  We borrowed an SUV from friends and spent the day moving into storage, buying all the new furniture and making the aforementioned trip to Salvation Army.  The couch's "some assembly required" turned out to be more fun than we were expecting but the place changed before our eyes.  Sunday was spent organizing and cleaning up because we kept tearing the place apart every time we did anything.

Yesterday we started the "touch up paint" process, which can also be known as Jen's Personal Hell.  First of all, the condo is painted about 8 different shades of white (with the exception of the terrible blue paint job courtesy of me and Big Nance in the bedroom that also needed tons of touching up).  It was so hard to keep all of the different whites separated and making sure they ended up on the appropriate wall or surface.  It was all going fine (other than the fact that I felt like I was going to go blind from the sheer whiteness of it all) until I reached the kitchen/dining.  Ironically, the guy at the hardware store told Adam that the semi-gloss paints would be much easier to blend.  As I was painting, I kept looking at it and after about 20 minutes, I completely lost my mind because it wasn't the same color at all.  I have no idea if paint can fade or change colors over time but all I know is that it required us to completely rip apart the kitchen and paint the entire wall.  Not gonna lie, we totally half assed it because at that point, I was very close to needing to be admitted to the nearest mental hospital.  I hate painting and I really suck at it and all of our hard weekend work; time, effort and money we've put in; topped off by my lack of sleep this past month was just pushing me toward the ultimate breaking point.  It was not a good afternoon because the house was, once again, turned upside down when we moved all the furniture for the great painting project.  I don't do as well when I look around the place that I live and see complete and total disorganization (Mom, I know this is SO hard to believe because my room was a train wreck for most of my childhood, but I promise, I'm a reformed adult these days).

Our realtor popped by this morning to check the place over, as he'll be doing all the photos for our listing either tomorrow or Tuesday.  He was shocked and impressed by all the changes.  It felt so validating to know that all our hard work, sweat and my tears have been paid off and that we are in sellable and show condition.  Adam can probably elaborate on this more but I know we have both learned a lot of lessons through this process.  We've talked about doing many of the things we did for staging months ago and never got around to doing them.  The stress we've been under (at least the condo-related stuff) could have been mostly prevented if we'd only put more work into the place over time.  I know I'll be better prepared during the buying process during the next time and I'll probably have our next home in total staged condition before we start meeting with the realtor.  I knew about 95% of the things that we ended up doing well before that initial visit and I should have started on them before.

I feel relieved for a lot of reasons.  We'll know a great deal more about where we stand by this time next weekend.  This week is only going to be a four day weekend because we're going to San Antonio for the first time in three months on Thursday night.  I'm looking forward to the trip maybe as much as I looked forward to going to DisneyWorld when I was 11.  I can't wait for the very much needed R&R.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

humble abode

Here are the updated pictures from staging the house thus far:  The paint needs touching up (pretty much everywhere).  Our bedroom is virtually the same but less cluttered because our realtor actually liked the blue color (yes!).  The kitchen has neutral towels that I'll hang for staging, not the maroon and orange you see in the picture.

Much less clutter, other than our red teakettle and coffee pot the kitchen is pretty clean.  And if you haven't been here, this is most of it, which is reason #1 for why I want to move.  I can't wait to have enough cabinets to store my things and enough counter space to cook a proper meal!  Note that there is another tragic floral "arrangement" on the shelves.  GROSS! 

The living room is where the most dramatic changes have occurred.  The orange couch is gone and this much smaller khaki one is in it's place.  The most fun thing about that chair is that it's a super comfy recliner.  The ottoman is also new and has storage space for our much needed blankets.  We also lost our mismatched window shades in favor of the sheer curtains.  Other than the obvious much more extra room because of the furniture, I could kick myself for not doing the windows sooner, it makes a world of difference in the room.

View from another angle.  We pushed the TV back and have the two GINORMOUS tower speakers now in storage.  Also in storage:  the Wii and the XBox, which allowed for far fewer wires and the entertainment unit to be pushed much further back into the wall. 

The lighting in the second bedroom was terrible this afternoon but you can get the gist.  This room used to be a catch all for most of the things we didn't use on a daily basis.  The "bed" is actually a futon that I put on risers and dressed up in this new neutral bedding.  We scooted the desk from another wall, where it didn't allow for easy flow into the bathroom and now the room serves as a bedroom/office.  I still use this room to get ready in every morning since I am up much earlier than Adam.  I love this room now, although, I can't lie to you and tell you I don't miss the bookcase.  That will be one of the first things I want to purchase again when we move.

So overall, you can kind of see from the below pictures that I posted of the things we got rid of on Craigslist just how much more "things" we had lurking around.  I wish I could say we decluttered everything but quite a bit of it is sitting in storage a mile from the condo.  Through this process, we did simplify our lives a great deal!  Adam is making our bed every day and I am forcing myself to leave the house each day and night as though we might have a showing coming up.  It's been difficult but good habits to be in since we have no idea how long the place could sit on the market.  It's also nice to come home to a rather immaculate house every day.  One of my pet peeves about this place is that there is very little storage space so we had big pieces from IKEA all over the place with just stuff in them.  Getting all of that out of here gives me hope for having a larger space in the future and being able to live a more organized life.

If we end up doing the kitchen backsplash this weekend as tentatively planned, I will definitely post pictures next week.

Monday, March 14, 2011

seeing the light

I promise I'll take pictures and post tomorrow but walking into our home today after being gone for the day was shocking.  It was like walking into a completely different environment.  We are about 90% done with our projects that need to be completed before the condo hits the market next Wednesday.  This weekend was a chaotic experience and we most of it packing tons of things we want to keep in boxes that were moved into a new storage unit, purging old items to go to Salvation Army (always my favorite part- simplifying), selling furniture, taking down personal pictures and wall art then patching walls, buying new furniture and completing the "some assembly required"process, cleaning upon cleaning and finally we had the place mostly ready to go just in time to enjoy some birthday cookie cake for a friend last night.

The changes are nothing short of amazing.  We look like we have double the space.  I've completely staged the second bedroom to appear as a bedroom/office instead of the giant catch-all for most of the crap we kept around.  Despite the fact that I am not normally wild about neutral colors, I am totally digging the vibe that we currently have going even though it sometimes appears hotel-like.  I walked in and felt at home in the space.  Any remnants of our single lives apart are mostly gone.  All of the major elements are things that we have chosen jointly and for some reason, that makes a huge difference to me.

The only thing that makes me feel really weird is that I usually made fun of people on HGTV when they do things like putting up floral arrangements for staging.  As of yesterday afternoon, I am the proud owner of two bud arrangements and a larger piece in the living room.  While perusing the fake flowers section of our local Michael's yesterday, aside from feeling like a tool for being in the fake flowers section, I was desperately wishing that I'd fought harder to get into the very-hard-to-get-a-seat-in floral arrangements class at A&M.

Don't laugh.  This was really my best effort.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

lighter things: on hair

I have this urge to chop my hair off, which I kind of think comes from my lack of ability to control much of anything in my life currently.  Also, I've been growing it out for the better part of three years for the wedding, among several other things (see also: Chicago winters).

As seen here, it was very long (for me) on our wedding day.  Holy heat blanket!  A couple of weeks after the big day, I cut quite a few inches off and instead of a huge chop, I opted for bangs.

Totally craptastic idea.  They made my forehead sweaty all the time (despite the fact that I live in a cold-weather climate) and when they'd get wet from the sweat, they'd start to part on the side, where my part has been for years, as evidenced in the above photo (don't judge- this was after a 10 hour all night flight).  They also required way more maintenance than I like to spend on my hair every day.  When you hit the gym several times a week, it's hard to be one of those ladies that only washes her hair every few days.
I have reworked my growing out bangs into a side part, kind of side bangy thing that is decent, but not my personal favorite look.  I'll be more happy when they grow out into some semblance of layers.  I'd show you but I don't have any pictures of my face lately that don't prominently feature winter hats.

I used to chop, dye and highlight my hair with a much more reckless abandon, however, since it's been long for a couple of years now, I have totally become THAT GIRL who doesn't like to cut her hair.  I've always prided myself on not being so attached to it, after all, it always grows back and mine grows like a weed.  This time around, I am mostly just being lazy because I have a hair routine that is (kind of) working for me.  I say kind of because it looks like garbage but is easy to manage and at this point I'm willing to sacrifice looks for time.  I shower at night, dry it for about 5 minutes, which is about 1/6 of my normal drying/straightening time, and throw it into a bun.  In the morning, when I wake up (3:30 a.m.), all I do is throw it into a ponytail and it isn't usually too frizzy.  If I cut it, the bun aspect that saves it from being a total fuzzball won't work anymore.  Also, I'm in a wedding in June and I think it would be more fun to have long hair for the stylist to work with.  I'd love to try a fun updo!  Besides, we all know that the real reason I'm waffling so much is that haircuts are expensive and I'm in a money saving mode due to all the things that are going on around us right now.

I'll keep you posted but it looks like I'm going to have long, growing-outty-bangy-things ponytails for the near time being.  Bummer.

Monday, March 7, 2011

march madness

We all know I love me some March Madness (as in the NCAA Basketball Tournament).  However, with all that has been going on this year, I'll admit that I probably know the least amount about the teams that will probably end up in the tourney on Sunday night than I ever have.  Which according to Murphy's Law, means that I will win my bracket.  Personally, I like my thinking.  But as March ushers in Daylight Savings Time and the start of Spring, I figure I can use a little extra madness in my life.

I've been doing Biggest Blogging Loser since January, which was the brainchild of my college friend, Jennie.  I end up on the leaderboard over there every now and then and I've lost almost (SO STINKING CLOSE) 20 lbs since January 3rd.  This month, I'm also going to do Brittney's March Madness in the gym.  I have been terrible as of the last couple of weeks.  I've been letting my personal stress take over my eating habits (or lack there of at times) and gym routine.  On deck for tomorrow, I plan to go to my new favorite vinyasa yoga class at lunchtime and perhaps enjoy an outdoor run for the first time in 2011.  The forecast says a high of 51, which I believe is the warmest weather Chicago has seen so it's time to strap on the running shoes and see what my legs have to offer!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

the big "shot"

Like most humans, I seriously hate and dread getting shots at the doctor's office.  However, I don't know what is worse:  the actual getting of the shot or the fear and anticipation before the needle hits my skin.  Yesterday, I equated selling our condo to the idea of getting a really long shot.  Since we haven't gone to market yet, I am just in the dread and anticipation stage of feeling pretty crappy about it.

Yesterday we met with our second realtor of the week which will brought a little more clarity, and we have made the decision to go to market at the end of the month regardless of what else happens.  Without getting into specifics or numbers, Adam and I came to the decision that now is the time for us to sell and we can find an apartment wherever we end up (whether that also means here in Chicago or not).  The current market dictates that we will most likely sit on the market for a little bit of time.  To price aggressively to sell quickly would most likely mean a loss of a significant amount of money for us.  We'll have to be patient and wait for the right buyer to come along.  When we actually do go under contract, it's taking longer now for people (especially the first time buyer that will most likely be attracted to this condo) to get financing in place.  I don't think that is a bad thing, I'm actually happy to know that financing isn't as easy to obtain now, but in our situation we are prepared to have to wait on the details for a few months.

Staging our house is going to be a complicated process.  Most of our furniture is too big and won't show the condo well, so we are beginning the replacement process.  Other than the money it will cost us, I am OVERJOYED to get rid of the things that I was not around to pick out.  I am looking forward to living in a place that reflects a little more of my taste.  I think the smaller furniture will also serve us better in the future, no matter where we land.  We have a RATHER LONG to do list and about three weeks to tackle it before our target date to hit the market.  The hardest part is going to be packing up so many of the things we use on a regular basis to de-clutter the space and mask the fact that as a married couple we have completely outgrown the space.  The kitchen is going to be such a sad and lonely place without the vast majority of my tools but I eagerly await the payoff in the end when we move to a place with a kitchen I can get excited about cooking in!

The real estate market in Chicago is heavily dictated by the seasons and the optimal time is the end of March to list/buy a home.  I'm trying to be optimistic that there will be buyers that will fall in love with our place.

Since I forgot to take real "before" pictures of the house, pre-staging, I'll leave you with the pictures of the things that I posted on Craigslist that were items that have to go for us to be able to show better.

Our bookcase, which obviously is a SAD thing for me to give up.  Bye bye books, have fun at the U-Haul Storage Facility for many moons.

My personal piece-de-resistance.  AMEN that the orange couch is leaving us.  (I'm still sitting on it because everyone is low-ball offering us on CL and that makes me irritated, trust me, I listed it for several hundred bucks less than Adam wanted to because I am not color-blind and I realize that it is a grotesque orange couch of giant proportions.)

This made me sad when we sold it yesterday.  I LOVED this bench and storage solution but it really did take up a good deal of space in the living room.  We also listed the blue rug and orange rug below on CL's Free Stuff listings and holy moly the emails!  Both were gone in about an hour.  

We went out and about today and found a new couch at World Market and a really cute tiny recliner at Home Goods.  I really want to sell the orange couch before we actually purchase the chair at Home Goods so we'll find out in a few days hopefully if it was meant to be ours or not.  What an adventure this home selling process is!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

finding hope

A little about me:  for some reason, God gave me the ability to feel in an exaggerated way.  I feel sorry for Adam being married to me because it must be like a horrific emotional roller coaster all the time, but I don't know any other way to be.  When good stuff is going down, it's almost like I'm on a high and so overjoyed.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, I get really upset (really easily).  I don't think I'm usually angry/mad/sad for very long but I'm sure for anyone around me that I make things totally miserable.

Lately, my roller coaster has had quite a few more lows than highs.  This winter has been hard on me.  I don't remember feeling quite so terrible in January but on the first and second days of February, we got a little snowstorm that was nothing I've ever seen.  

This was our street for two days after it was all over.  It looks really pretty here thanks to my Instagram app but walking in that (and piles of that) for days really sucked.  And it wasn't always so sunny and bright.  Most days here are actually pretty cold and grey.  I've learned I don't do so well with cold and grey all the time.  I supposed if I'd lived here my entire life and never known anything else, I would think nothing of it.  But I miss my Texas-style "winters".

Mostly, I miss Texas.  I miss having a car and being able to go places on my own terms.  I miss having slightly more space than we currently do.  I miss having a big kitchen to feed my creativity.  I mostly miss my family.  My grandmother's illness and passing have completely knocked the wind out of me and I find that I am grieving more now than I did at the time.  I wish I had the ability to go home on my own terms all the time (pass traveling on United or Southwest is not on my own terms, it's completely risky to go to San Antonio on a regular basis when you have a job to be at on Monday at 4:45 am).

We made the decision to ultimately move back to Texas before we got engaged, we just had a longer timeline.  So many things changed for us in 2010, I feel much closer to my family and more connected to them than I ever have.  Isn't it sad how death and illness is what changes that, often times?  However we all got there, I am finding myself lonely without them.  The phone and Facebook help but it's not the same as being at a birthday dinner on a weekend that we could probably go to if we lived within driving distance.  I also want that for our future kids to be near to their extended family and especially their grandparents.  I was blessed with three living grandparents when I was born and I know that I had a special relationship with each one of them.  I hope that is in the future for my parents and in-laws.

Unfortunately, deciding that we want to move has been the most stressful and difficult decision that I have ever been a part of.  I have made three big moves before (SA-St. Louis, SA-DC, DC-Chicago) and it was so easy then!  I had a job or job transfer, loaded my stuff into my VUE (RIP sweet car) and did it. Our situation is so much more complicated now.  We have a condo to sell (more on that tomorrow), Adam needs to find a job that he will be happy at, we have to find a place to live and purchase at least one automobile.  It's complicated!  Many of the circumstances we have been faced with so far have been horribly hard.  I'm honest and I don't always (ok, never) handle it well.  I am impatient and living in complete limbo is hard.  I want to have things figured out and be in process of getting there now.

Selling the condo is going to be like going to the doctor and taking the longest, most painful shot ever.  (I hate shots.)  Like a several months long shot.  And right now, I feel like I am anticipating the shot, which is usually way worse than actually going through it, right?  I wish I weren't this way, feeling things as strongly and intensely as I do, but I suppose that now is the time to just embrace it, deal with it and move on.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

my sweet grandmother

Last year, I stopped blogging for several reasons.

In the small reasons department:  I made the mistake of setting up my blog when I was running the Chicago Marathon, which was awesome until about a week after it was over.  I struggled with how to define it after that huge goal was accomplished.  I also had quite a few issues with the technology aspect of it.  I think this time around, I'll be able to set it up to publish through my phone or iPad and I'm going to solely write from our Mac where all my photos were being stored anyway.  I may or may not have a Dell Mini on the market soon, but that's neither here nor there.  We were also approaching our wedding and I didn't want the blog to become wedding-centric because quite a few of our guests were reading and I hated to talk about all of the plans we were making and hard-work that we and our vendors were putting in.  I wanted our wedding to feel like a surprise to people, you know?

But one of the biggest reasons that I really struggled with my blog is because during all of the other things that were going on in the Casa de Nard Dogs is that my grandmother was slowly dying of lung cancer back in San Antonio.  It was something that I was not prepared to talk about at the time and I know that as I start to scratch the surface of telling her story now, it will probably be a difficult part of my grieving process.

My grandmother was, to me, a third parent.  The first phone number I ever knew was the one to her house (probably before the number to our own house!).  I don't remember a time when I wasn't able to call her and see what she was doing so we could go to her house that night.  She was an amazing cook in the way that many women of her generation are.  My grandmother could feed a house of 30 people as though it was nothing, which I have found out it was a skill she honed over years of feeding large groups of neighborhood kids that played with my dad and his siblings.

When my parents worried about paying for Kappa Delta, she offered to take care of that because she knew it would be an opportunity for me and that it was something I wanted to do.  I am forever grateful because I wouldn't be in the same place in life and probably not married to my husband without my experience in the sorority.

She left this world on December 4, 2010.  My family didn't want me to come home to see her because they felt it would have upset me.  I think she wanted very limited people to be around her during the last days of struggle.  Adam and I left on a plane home to San Antonio that afternoon.  The next day was my birthday and the first of the birthday dinners that I will go to from now on without her.  The first specific birthday dinner I can remember was when I was probably 7 or 8.  My parents told me that I could pick out any place that I wanted to go to because it was my birthday dinner.  I'm pretty sure I said something like, "I want to go to the restaurant on top of the Tower of the Americas and can Grandmother come too?".  For the rest of my birthdays, we always did a birthday dinner and I can't remember a time she wasn't there.  One of the benefits of having a December birthday is that I was usually home for Christmas at some point of the month, which was convenient timing for a birthday dinner.

The hardest part for me in the grief process of losing someone so close to me has been the little times when I'll scroll down and see "Grandmother" in the contacts of my phone.  I should probably change it but I know I won't because I still want to feel like I'm calling Grandmother's house when I am looking for my aunt and grandpa.  I had a major breakdown the day I got my current job because she would have been one of the first people I called to tell her about it.  As Adam and I have been going through some hard and stressful times, I have longed to hear her voice telling me to be stronger and handle it.  Sometimes I'm afraid that I won't be the same person I was before without her guidance in my life.  Most times, she was like the angel voice from a cartoon, telling me to do the right thing.  I suppose now, I'll just have to rely on her as only an angel voice and do what I think she would want me to do.

Out of all of the pictures we have of her, this one is one of my favorites because I remember how much it made us all laugh when she was in the intensive care unit in July.  Her hair was a hot mess so we started trying to comb it around.  I told her it was long enough to be in a mohawk and she let me "style" it for her.  I had to snap a picture because it was too amazing to not pass on.  For the record, my grandmother was way too proper to leave her mohawk in for more than about five minutes.  She was always getting after me to work on being a lady.

She'd probably think I am insane to post this on the blog but it was the first time I'd seen her smile since flying home at the spur of the moment when she was so sick.  It made me laugh, instead of cry, and even though it was in the hospital, it brings back a funny memory.