Candy Memories

You know how there are little things that will always remind you of someone? Like every time I see a greyhound or something with a greyhound on it, I think of my friend Natalie. Whenever I see anchors or nautical-themed things, I think of my cruise-loving mother in law.

When I see certain candies, I think of my dad. My dad was a fan of hard candies. He had four favorite kinds of hard candies: Peppermints, lemon drops, cinnamons and Horehounds (brown candies that have a unique flavor that reminded me of licorice and root beer).

They’re the kind of candies that you find in the paper bag packages at the Cracker Barrel country store. The ones with very distinct and very different flavors. Continue reading

If You Aren’t Flexible, You’ll Break

If you aren’t flexible, you’ll break.

That’s what my mother said when I called to explain the changes in our Christmas plans.

We’ve been planning for months on having Christmas at our new house with some of both or our extended families. There would be 11 people at our house for dinner and a nice time was to be had. We’d gotten all of the food, determined the best configuration of the dining room to seat 11 people, planned the schedule to spend a little time with my relatives, a little time with Brad’s and some time with all of us together. Then it all changed.

In the same day, I had two phone calls that led to my conversation with my mom about being flexible. One of my relatives dropped out. Then it was determined that Brad’s mom wouldn’t be able to make the drive up to our house since she’s recovering from surgery. So, we changed our plans. My mom and her husband came over on Christmas Eve, spent the night and had Christmas morning with them. Then we packed up all of the food that we got, took it down to Brad’s parents’ house and I made Christmas dinner for 8 people. I’m pretty proud of the meal I made.

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Helping the Men in Our Lives Stay Healthy

No one really likes to go to the doctor. It seems like men as a gender in general are known for avoiding those who wear white coats.

Oscar Insurance put together a great infographic for Men’s Health Week (this week) and apparently June is Men’s Health Month. Most wives probably realize long before walking down the aisle, that part of the role they will play in their partner’s life includes encouraging him to be healthy.  Continue reading

Short a Dad

The timing of everything in my life with Father’s Day is, to say the least, inconvenient. Aside from all sorts of things house/home related, I’m doing things, going places and experiencing moments that I want nothing more than to share with my dad.

My new(ish) staff member is a young man who just moved into his first apartment of his own. His first weekend there, he’d told me of everything he hoped to accomplish before Monday. When Monday came, he shared with me that nothing was completed, he was trying to build a futon. True to the nature of futons, it was giving him trouble. He explained that his dad was going to come over and help him out.

To which I replied, “Dads are great!” There’s nothing wrong with calling in your dad reinforcement, as a 20 (or 30) something.

I’m short a dad. My husband and I depend heavily on my father-in-law when we need help with a “dad” thing. But he’s a little far away. Most of the married couples I know are able to take turns calling in a dad, and sometimes the dads tag-team the problem. I’ve seen it first hand and it’s pretty great.
It makes me a little jealous. My father-in-law is fantastic. But he’s not my dad. I know that I could ask my uncle or my mom’s husband to help out, but it’s different.

My dad solved problems for me, fixed things for me, asked the right questions and gave sound advice.

As we’re going through the process of selling a home that my father never got to see and building a new home that my father will never see, I sometimes think about features that I believe my dad would have liked. When I work on technical projects in the industry that I do, I know that my dad would understand the applications and think they’re cool, without me having to explain why they’re cool. When I travel for work, I find myself in cities he visited for his job and at events like the ones I remember him going to when I was a kid. Even sometimes when I’m sitting with Holmes or Watson on my lap, I think, “Dad would have loved these cats.”

The longer it’s been since we lost my dad, the fewer rough days there are. But some days, like Father’s Day, will always be rough.

A Quick Recap of February, Love Hearts and Surgery

My monthly parking tag was hot pink for the month of February. How fitting for a month dedicated the hearts, roses and mushy romantic stuff.

Normally, I like February and this year was no exception. Although, I could have done without living through the coldest one ever on record for NEO! My month started off great, riding the high from my awesome Plain Dealer feature. Mid month was nice with Valentine’s Day and then eventful with an office move. Then I celebrated Brad’s birthday.

But February was capped off with a more serious heart-related event. Brad’s younger brother went in for open heart surgery. How fitting that February is National Heart Month? Although we knew it was coming, he and his parents had the information and stats, the actual day of surgery brought all the normal feelings associated with a healthy, 20-year-old man having open heart surgery.

He came through it like a champ. At the end of the day, you can be at the best place in the world for heart care (hello Cleveland Clinic!), know the facts, be aware of all of the stats, but there is nothing like seeing your loved one awake and whole after surgery.

Even though this cold February has thankfully ended, keep your heart in mind. Be nice to it, be aware of what it does for you.

Now I get to adjust to someone in the family being much more bionic than I am!

Huggable guts make great get-well gifts by the way, just make sure you know whether the recipient will find it cute or creepy first.