Where have I been for the last nearly three years? Living. Some days, barely, but I’ve been living and getting through this thing called life. I find that my last post was in June 2020. I think the pandemic really messed with my mind and I really neglected my blogs. But here’s what I have been up to:
- Grandbaby #2 and I closed Las Vegas down at the start of the pandemic. We were enjoying the trip she chose to celebrate her high school graduation. We went even though things were starting to get crazy (or different) because of COVID. We took masks and hand sanitizer and drove to Las Vegas. We did things, took pictures, and had a great time. As we were preparing to leave, shows were closing, streets were empty, and people were staying home. We basically shut Vegas down.
- We were quarantined at home for my job. I learned to efficiently work from home. I saved a two-hour commute every day. I also learned that I really missed my human connection. We ended up going into the office three days a week, which solved that problem. It was a real surprise to me that I would not be ecstatic just staying by myself 24/7.
- Grandbaby #3 graduated from high school in May 2020 with a drive-up graduation. It was at least broadcast so I could watch it live! We didn’t go on his celebration trip for another year, but in July 2021, we went to his chosen location—San Diego. He hadn’t ever seen the Pacific Ocean, so we did that first. We did a whole lot—museums, Hop-On/Hop-Off bus trips, great food, we even used our Airbnb host’s amazing tickets to a Padres game. It was, once again, an amazing opportunity to spend time with the adult version of the grandchild I watched being born.
- I went to Chicago with two friends for our NALS Conference. We spent extra days exploring the amazing city and riding around on the Hop On/Hop Off bus to see even more. We saw a lot, ate some amazing food, and learned a lot. And we celebrated friendship, which I appreciated even more.
- My mom suffered from dementia for many years. It was hard for me to watch and even harder when she forgot who I was. Dementia is such a horrible, ugly disease. It also forgot to tell my mom’s heart to continue pumping and she died rather unexpectedly in September 2021. I felt like I had lost her years before with her dementia, but she was there, humming Frere Jacques when she was happy—and she hummed it a lot, so at least she was happy even though I was not. I didn’t see her as much as I should have because it was painful and I regret that, but I can’t change it.
- One way of dealing with my mom’s death was that I got another tattoo. It was bigger than I initially anticipated, but I love it. It reminds me that the pieces of my heart that are gone from this earth come back to me as butterflies that I see almost daily, so I know they are all watching out for me and make me want to make them proud.
- Once Mom was gone, we tried to do more with my Dad, since he and my sister had been her caretakers for years with no time for themselves. We went on family trips to the casino, celebrated Christmas with almost all of the kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids present, went out to dinner, and I listened to a whole lot of stories I hadn’t heard before. And then he got COVID. He hated—HATED—being in the hospital and just wanted to go home. Unfortunately, his body wasn’t producing enough oxygen to make that possible and he passed in February 2022. It crushed me. I was now an orphan. I wasn’t done listening to his stories. I wasn’t done doing the things he wanted to do (like visiting the town in Illinois where he went to elementary school). I wasn’t done showing him how much I appreciated his sacrifices for the life I had. I just wasn’t done. I still have moments where my eyes tear up—especially when I see a butterfly.
- Grandbaby #4 graduated from high school in May 2021. I also got to watch his graduation ceremony live online as they had a limit on the number of tickets for each graduate. We went on his celebration trip in November 2022. We did what we titled the “Amusement Park Tour.” We drove to California and spent two days in Disneyland/California Adventure, then on to Knott’s Berry Farm, and finally to Universal Studios. We had so much fun on all the rides. I even surprised him by going on rides he didn’t think I would go on (I may be old, but I’m not dead and why the heck not?). I was a little bit worried in Knott’s Berry Farm when they made me leave my glasses in the bin for a couple of the rides because they could have flown off, but those rides were awesome!
- After celebrating our firm’s 9th anniversary and thinking ahead of how we would celebrate our 10th anniversary, I found out that the founders decided to close the firm as of September 30, 2022. I was lucky enough to work there until December 31, 2022, getting everything buttoned up and transferred out. I’m still doing some stuff closing things up (I’m not sure it will ever end), but on my own schedule. I was unbelievably sad to see this chapter of my life end. I was planning to go part-time in January 2023 since I was eligible for Social Security and wanted to slow down and enjoy life, but on my terms. This changed the plan I had in my head.
- So in January 2023, I started my own business working with attorneys I had worked with throughout my 40+ year career doing what I do—just from my house. I’m not as busy as I thought I would be, but I’m finding that that is not a bad thing.
- We celebrated our annual BFF Christmas in January 2023 in Las Vegas. We decided to get dressed up and go to Giada’s for dinner one night. We talked a lot about doing it every time we were there, so we finally did it! And Giada was eating dinner there that night! Our waiter told us that she enjoyed taking pictures and chatting with customers, so we ate slowly and found an opportunity to chat with her for just a couple of minutes and get a picture or two! The food was amazing and Giada was wonderful! We will definitely go back! And I’ve heard a rumor they’re building one here in Arizona, so we may spend more of our monthly dinners there!
- When I decided to work part-time, I also decided to go on a cruise from Athens into the Adriatic Sea to visit places like Dubrovnik and Corfu. Again, Facebook ads enticed me with Virgin Voyages—an adults-only cruise. The thought of no kids running and splashing in the pool and parents yelling at them while I was sitting and enjoying adult beverages by the pool was the thing that made the decision for me. I upgraded my room to have a huge balcony with a hammock. My travel buddy is coming with me and we are so very excited about our destinations, the food, the drinks, and all the fun we will have! Watch this blog for more about that!
- Three of my siblings decided to go on a cruise to Alaska, so of course I had to say yes. My husband is going with me on this one and so far we have all scheduled the world’s largest and longest zipline and some amazing dinners!
- THEN I am going with my sister-in-law on a cruise from Venice to Athens so I will catch all the Greek Islands I will miss the first time! I’m looking forward to spending time with my sister-in-law (who has been part of my life for over 50 years) in one of my favorite places (Venice) and exploring many new places.
- I got another tattoo that says “One more” to remind me that everything I do could be the last time—every dinner with my friends could be the last time, every visit with my grandbabies and my kids could be the last one, every vacation I take could be the last one. So it is a reminder to live every single experience as if it were the last one and do the things I want to do and be the person I want to be and enjoy the experience as much as possible. I also recently decided that if someone hugs me, I will be the last to let go. I will let my love for them flow through the hug. I will hug as if it is the last time I will hug them.
My plan for the future is to enjoy my life, treat each day as the last one, and share all of that with you by blogging more frequently, including blogging during my many trips this summer/fall. Stay tuned for how my life is going in this second half of my 60s and all the things I’ve learned and continue to learn along the way!