Friday, September 30, 2011

A Fall night in..

"The monkey married the baboon sister.
First he smacked his lips and then he kissed her.
Kissed her so hard that he made a blister.
And that was the end of the baboon sister."

I started this post several days ago as thoughts of my grandfather just kept swirling through my head.  For those that know him and got to be blessed by his presence, consider yourself lucky.  He is one person that will never slip from my memory.  Just like my Grandma Ritter.  They both raised my parents, who in turn raised me, and I'd like to think that in some ways I am much like my grandparents would have raised me to be too.  The quote at the beginning is not a quote, but rather a song my Grandpa used to wake us up to when we stayed at his house in Concordia.  He thought he was a hoot, and we thought we'd sure like some more sleep.  Now though as I remember him and who he was in my life, this song tends to sum it up.  He was that one person that wasn't afraid of what others would think of him.  He had his views and he stood like a rock when it came to them.  He loved his family unconditionally.  A thought that many people brought up at his funeral.  Even in his last few months he would still crack jokes about the most random things, but it was a sign that life was still in him.  I don't think I would have known my life the way I did without my Grandpa in it.  He was at every major event in my life and he never missed a holiday until he was moved to the nursing home when it came to sending cards.  He was predictable and familiar in my life, and after last weekend I realize that now he is out there watching over us but on Earth he is buried under some fresh dirt.. still so hard to accept...

As I mentioned, last weekend Mom and I spend some time in Concordia.  Luckily there was so much going on that we didn't really have time to dwell on the fact that one month before we were going through a funeral right there in that same town.  This time instead of meaning the loss of someone great to us, it was a fun weekend spent making new memories and laughing at how some people never change.  We saw the parade, walked around the festival, attended a dance (which was basically just a bunch of bikers drinking beer and listening to some pretty good live music), lunched with some of Mom's old classmates, donated money for the library to get new carpet and in return, Mom got to sign the old carpet, attended the demolition derby, saw some family, devoured some good food, lunched with Mom's best friends son, shopped and at the end of the weekend we were more than just a little bit worn out.

After such a quick and jam packed weekend, this last week has actually gone by fairly quickly.  Minus the hiccups here and there.  Like Piston getting diagnosed with kennel cough, although the vet isn't sure where he got it.  Now his daily pill regime is bigger than mine.  Like me being sick as well.  It's either a head cold or just really bad allergies.  So bad that I stayed in bed until about 4 today and told my boss further training for work would have to wait.  Like having an exam at work.  Basically I have two funky spots in my neck and shoulders, as well as half way down my back and my right hip is a bit messed up.  Good to know.. now lets fix it!  Like the house being a total mess but the Halloween decorations being put out (come on people it's a month and a day away!).  Like the weather going from hot to cold.. in hours.  Basically that's a Kansas fall in a nutshell.  The giant moths on the other hand, Piston and I could do without.  I've killed two tonight alone.

But today we got to celebrate my Daddy's birthday.  Another year older.  It means a lot that I got to celebrate it with him this year.  As last year I was in Maryland.  We went out for dinner and walked around Bass Pro.  Simple yet just right.  I hope he had a marvelous day, as he truly deserves it.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Thankful.

Tonight I am reminded of the need to feel thankful.

I am thankful for my husband.  No matter how far away he is, he can make any day better just by telling me he loves me.  It's such a great feeling to know that he chose me to spend the rest of his life with.  I love knowing that if/when things get rough, he will be right next to me going through it all with me.  Today I was reminded things can change in an instant.  My lunch break was when I received word that Rob had had an accident while playing for the company soccer team.  5 to 10 minutes not remembered, a ride in an ambulance and the discovery of an arachnoid cyst later and the headache still lingers.  Hopefully no MRI's show anything more.. I can't imagine where I'd be without him.  He IS who I want to spend the next 60 to 80 years with before moving on to Heaven (hopefully) to spend eternity with.

I am thankful for Piston.  It's amazing how that little fur ball can make me smile so much one moment and make me so frustrated the next.  I can't express how hard it is to take care of him by myself, but I wouldn't change it for the world.  Sunday night I spent the evening without him while he was still boarded and his presence was missed.  Greatly.  All of his little quirks remind me of how much I love him.  And it helps to know that someone is waiting anxiously for me at home.

I am thankful for my family.  I'm 100% positive one of the best decisions I made was moving back to Kansas for this deployment.  I've been battling feeling lonely a lot lately and it's great to know that I can call up Mom or Dad and grab some dinner, or come hang out at the house for an evening.  Even just being back within driving distance of my sister is a great feeling.  We may not all always get along, but we do love each other at the end of the day.  Sometimes you take for granted having that love around, and when you live so far away, you wish more than anything you could just drop in for an afternoon of chit-chat.  Now that it's just 20 minutes away from me.. I'm soaking that love up.

I am thankful for my friends.  They are few and far between, but they know who I am and what I stand for better than the average person obviously.  It's amazing how quickly I turn to Allison for advice or a quick vent.  She could probably tell you how I am feeling before I even finish my statement.  And vice versa.  Even though we don't get to see each other that often, when we do.. it's like we see each other everyday.  Closer to home there is Kara.. someone who can come over and just drop in for some drinks and some Sex and the City and feel content in going through old memories and laughing at new ones.  And whenever I need a break from life's daily routine I can meet up with Lindsay for dinner and an evening of catching up.  Perfect for us married ladies.. where would I be without the support of these main 3?  Even lonelier.  As we grow up, sometimes different people enter different phases at different times which makes things hard on a friendship.. the key is to know when to fight for it and when to let it go.  One of the decisions that will never be easy for anyone.. but part of life I suppose.  I wouldn't even be able to list all the people that have made an impact in my life over the years and left that lasting impression that molded me into who I am today.

I am thankful for my life and being able to live it in freedom.  I've had my fair share of learning experiences over the years.  I don't regret any of these things, but I promised myself I would learn from them.  Most days I feel I have done an extraordinary job at this.. I can look back at the last 21 years and pinpoint obstacles I've had to overcome, memories I care to not remember and those little events (Dec 20th anyone?) that led to how my life is today.  This life is what you make it.. I am so thankful for what I have and who is in it.  At the end of the day I am who I am and I am not molding to fit any certain model of who I should, would or could be.  I am just Amanda, but I have so much to live for, and I am beyond thankful for what God has blessed me with in this life, here and now.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Laughter, weddings and memories.

Once again the week passed without so much as a blip of fun.  I guess that's what it is like to be a working person these days.. your weeks... SUCK.  But then again it was only 3 days versus the usual 4.

Friday I introduced my families to each other.  As in my parents and Rob's grandparents.  We went to a new diner out here in Olathe and then over to my parents to drink some wine and play pool.  Everyone got along great.. it was super special for me.  Just wish that Rob could have been there like I know he wishes he would have.  But there are years and years in our future where we can make new memories with our families together.  I just have to remind myself of that. =)

Saturday I dropped the dog off and took off for McPherson, KS with my family for a cousin on my Moms sides wedding.  It was fun.  I love weddings.  Even though they are sometimes hard to get through, being a part of another person's big day is special.  Just reminds me of how much I want to have a special something some day!

We ended up staying the night down there in a hotel.  Then took our time coming back today.  Stopped at some historical sites along the way and met my sister's new special friend.  Finally rolled back into KC around 8.  Too late to pick my sweet boy up from the kennel.  So I'm sitting at home tonight without him, and it's weird.  Hard for me to think of how much he has become a part of my life.  Especially with Rob gone.  Piston is definitely my best friend, house mate and rock.. I just miss him tonight.

But as I sat here just a few minutes ago watching Rob get ready for work, I'm reminded of how hard this day is for so many across America.  I was only 11.  Barely old enough to realize what those attacks on America meant back then.  Now that I am 21, I have a bit more insight into what it meant.. especially since my husband is serving in the Army and I am constantly around people that can acknowledge what that day meant so many years ago.  It changed us.  It didn't ruin us, but it changed how America operated.  All I know is, I am ever so thankful that President Bush was the president in the office at the time.  I can't imagine how others would have handled it, but I KNOW he did a fantastic job, given the circumstances.  Many years from now we will all remember that day.. eventually it will act like Pearl Harbor to many, but this is our generations same event.  I pray that future generations don't have to deal with the effects of a terrorist attack on their homelands, but it is a real issue to be worried about.  Each and everyday we must remember how many people it takes to make our nation the way it is.  And we must be thankful for it.

So tonight as I tuck myself into this empty apartment, I remember all those lost, all those left to grieve and all those who help contribute to how my life is today.. and I will send an extra prayer up to those departed.  They know they aren't forgotten.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Weekend wrap-up.

Well I held true to my word and got TWO of the 4 rooms in this place re-arranged, and re-decorated.  The entry hall has new pictures hanging and fresh decorations among the bookshelf shelves.  The living room has a giant mirror that is normally probably between $80 and $100 that I got for the steal of $40!  It fits perfectly above the couch.  Also some additional pictures were put up and the small white bookshelves I got before leaving Maryland now flank the side of the couch and next to the entertainment center, where I hope to eventually put a chair of some kind.  The office has a fresh shelf on the wall, and the calendar is switched to September!  The kitchen is the new home for all the Americana decor that was in the entry way.  It looks way better in the kitchen. =) Plus I got caught up on all the dishes.. that's a major accomplishment.  Hopefully by the end of the week I can spruce up the bedroom and clean up the bathroom.. small details.  Literally since those rooms are small.

Sunday dawned with gorgeous cooled off temperatures.  I. Love. Fall.  That is all there is to it.  I love football games and bbq's where you have to slip a sweatshirt on after dark.  I love having the windows open all day.  I usually love having the windows open at night too.  Unfortunately I can't do that in this apartment cause the light from the stairwell shines right in on my eyes, and I cannot sleep with light like that.  I can't stand any light while I sleep.  Plain and simple.  Anyway, back to fall.  I love jeans and sweatshirts weather and being able to wear my boots without making my calves sweat.  It's just a perfect season.  But it also makes me miss Rob a lot.. this season also makes me feel really happy and in love.  Unfortunately my other half is in Kuwait.  So I will just shower all my love on Piston. =) I'm sure he will be thrilled.

Yesterday evening I was invited to a BBQ with all of Rob's family,  We had so much fun.  There was crazy Mexican music, alcohol and amazing food.  It was a good time.  Minus having to leave early to come home and finish homework due at midnight.  Regardless, it was nice to get away for a bit.  And they have all accepted me as if I am their own.  Which makes me smile super big!

And finally, today I got to see an old friend and his new love that I hadn't seen since I moved back.  We had Chipotle, and sat outside talking for well over an hour.  I'm so thankful for the good friends I have.  Even if they all aren't close (like my best friend Al who lives 45 minutes away...) or easy to meet up with (like Lindsay who's work schedule conflicts with my work schedule more often than not).  When we do get to see each other, it's like we see each other everyday.  That's what makes good friends.

Happy Labor Day all!! Hope it was a swell one. =)
I'm headed to bed, since work will be here before I know it.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Moving on.

Well the whirlwind that was last week is finally over.

The first week of classes, 2 work days, 2 visitations, a doctor's appointment and a funeral later.. Labor Day weekend can commence.

I worked Monday and Thursday.  Thursday obviously being the more productive day at work.  Both days went fast even though Monday involved a lot of mind wandering and endless thoughts of things that needed to be done.  Unfortunately Monday also involved finding out Piston's shots weren't up to date.  So as a result, he got to go with me to Concordia Tuesday.

Erin drove up with us.. we stayed at Grandpa's old house.  Even though it's completely empty of all furniture it was alright.  Piston was able to stay in his kennel in the front room no problem, and he was really well behaved the whole time.  Especially considering I was out of the house almost all day Tuesday and Wednesday before we left.

The funeral was nice.  Tons of tears were shed, but that's what happens when someone that has always been in your life as an extremely close person passes away.  Tons of stories were shed and memories were reflected upon.  He will never be forgotten.  That's for sure.  There was the typical military farewell at the grave site and that always makes my heart skip a beat at how just plain haunting those shots fired are.  In a way for me it makes me realize just how real it all is.. or maybe it was going back hours later to see the fresh dirt and already dying flowers due to the sun baking them to death.

It's weird cause I already feel like I have no true connection to the small town of Concordia, Kansas.  Obviously this is not true as both my grandparents are buried there, and several family members still live there.  But the main reason we traveled 2 hours and 15 minutes West and then 45 minutes North was to see grandpa.  To spend a few days with him, laughing, making memories and sharing life together.  ... I better stop.  I feel the tears coming again for the first time since Wednesday.  All I can say is we all have to adjust to the new normal in our life, without this very important person in it.

Since I got back I have been trying to catch up on schoolwork.  Not exactly the most ideal way to start my first week of classes at a new school.  But I think my professors understand, or at least I hope.  After this week, I should be able to settle into a routine with this as well.  Just like everything else in my life recently.  It's all a routine that Piston and I share while we wait for Rob to return.

Today I had a doctor's appointment to get the birth control in my arm removed.  I finally decided after a year and a half of dealing with various symptoms that my body was better off without it.  Now I will wait out the year or so it takes for my body to return to its normal state.  I wish that I never would have went on it as it messed so many things up.. but then again, I guess it was always better than a pregnancy.  =/

Well, the family is out of town this weekend at the lake.  I opted out, as it is more than a bit stressful to hit up the lake with Piston.  He has to be on his leash 24/7 there practically and it is stressful for both him and I.  So I decided we would celebrate this holiday weekend from our humble apartment.  I have big intentions to do some rearranging and redecorating over this weekend.  Along with homework and catching up the dvr.. P and  I are going to have an amazing weekend.. to say the least.  Will update more later on if my plans and intentions for the weekend actually came true.

=) be safe all if you are traveling.