Uncle Hairball

One of his favorite pass times

This is what I like to affectionately call my Uncle Larry. I’m currently in Long Beach, CA visiting him. I haven’t seen  him in almost a year. It’s been that long since I’ve spoken to him, but it’s been much longer since he’s spoken to me.   I haven’t heard his voice since about July or so of 2006. I miss hearing his voice. I miss his Larryisms. I miss hugging him and feeling his scruffy beard. That’s why I call him Uncle Hairball. I miss so many things about him. I wish just one more time I could see him get mad at someone or something. I wish just one more time I could hear him say that he’ll be  here in 5 minutes which is 2 hours in Uncle Larry time. I wish that I could go to Stagecoach one more time and have breakfast with him. Maybe one day I will I just wish I knew when that would be. Afterall, I was promised full restoration of his mindy, body, and soul. I’m just waiting on God and sometimes that is the hardest thing I’ve had to do.

On August 28, 2006, my cell phone rang. Not unsual. I was at work, but my brother was calling me which I thought was shocking considering he knew I was at work. I almost didn’t answer it and sometimes I wish I didn’t. However I picked up the phone happy to talk to my brother. That quickly changed when I heard him say my name.  My brother rarely says my name if only to call me Audge or some other “affectionate” name. When I heard him say my name I instantly started shaking and then he told me what I wish I could never hear again.

Audra, Uncle Larry had an accident.”  You could hear his chin quivering. He was struggling to tell me something even he couldn’t quite comprehend at the moment. He was desperately trying to keep it together as I fell apart at work in front of all my coworkers. Uncle Larry had been working on a tile roof somwhere in Valencia, CA. He was on a ladder on the tile roof of a 2 story home and it somehow slipped and he fell to the ground. I’m not even sure of the accuracy of this story, but I didn’t care. He didn’t know all the details, but the doctors weren’t sure if Uncle Larry would make it. We hung up and I crumbled. My coworkers were right there trying to figure out what was going on. I wasn’t making any sense as I was trying to tell them what happened through my sobs.  I quickly picked up the phone to call my husband of 5 months and tell him the bad news. My coworker did it for me since I couldn’t even speak and I was shaking uncontrollably. My work wanted to send me home but I wouldn’t go. What could I do at home? I was so far away from my uncle and I wanted to be there so badly.

At the end of my work day I went home and fell a part. I believe this is the first time I screamed at God. I remember crying and trying to figure out why this would happen to my uncle. Hadn’t he already been through enough? I was sobbing and sobbing. I finally screamed at the top of my lungs “WHY”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As I threw myself over the couch. Brandon grabbed me by the waist and just held me. I was on the phone back and forth with my mom and other family members trying to figure out if I should fly to Valencia, CA from Oregon. I remember sitting on my bed and struggling with what was happening. I don’t think I’ve ever struggled so much with God then at this time in my life. I prayed and cried and prayed some more. And almost like a light turning on I distinctly heard God say that he would restore my uncle. Without a doubt! I can’t say that my tears stopped and I jumped for joy, but there was some peace if only for those few minutes. I booked a flight to Burbank, CA that night as the family was told it was best to get everyone there possible to say their goodbyes. This felt like a slap in the face since it felt like practically seconds before that my aunt Liz (his wife) had died of breast cancer. I flew out the next morning to be with my family and say my goodbyes to my uncle.

It’s now April 2012 and my uncle is alive. He didn’t pass away. Even though the doctors were certain that he would. He’s managed to progress very slowly.  He’s in a coma. It’ll be six years in August. I guess there are mulitple levels of coma patients and I don’t know which my uncle is in. He is mildly responsive. Mostly, he lies in his hospital bed in the sub-acute care facility that he lives in. He has a feeding tube and a trache.  There are many more details to this story which I don’t have the emotional strength to get into. I went to see him today by myself. Without my mom, grandma, aunt, or my little Goose. I just needed time alone with my uncle. Time to cry and tell him that I love him and miss him. Time to tell him that his great nephew would love for him to get out of that bed and play with him. That he would LOVE LOVE my son! Then I just put my head on his arm, the arm that I held as he walked me down the aisle on my wedding day, and cried. I remember those arms used to pick me up when I was a little girl and call me a sack of tomatas. I miss everything about him, and yet I was sitting next to him and holding him. I’m crying as I write this post.

I struggle with this entire situation. I don’t know what to think anymore. I feel like he’s in limbo. Like his family is in limbo. I know that God promised me that he would fully restore my uncle and I know that my God is able. BUT WHEN, GOD!?!?!?! It’s been nearly six years and in that time a lifetime has passed. I want my uncle back. I don’t understand why this is happening. Will he be like this till God decides to take him home, and if so what was the purpose. Why?!?!? What was the point? The funny thing or ironic thing is that my son was born 4 years to the day and practically to the hour of my uncle’s accident. Is it strange that one of the happiest days of my life can be the same as one of the saddest in my life?

I don’t know what else to say. Yes, I struggle with God in this situation. No, this does not make me turn from God. It certainly shakes my faith up a bit. I question the purpose of this situation. I may never know why and that bothers me. I will always cry when I see my uncle in that hospital bed barely a fraction of the man he used to be. I’m also looking forward to the day that God follows through on his promise and has my uncle Larry sitting up in his bed wondering where the heck his boots are so he can get out of there.

I love you Uncle Hairball!!! It was good seeing you!

Bon Appetit

This is what called to me

I know it’s been quite some time since I’ve let my fingers do the talkin’, but I’ve just been so uninspired to write anything. Until yesterday when I was standing in the checkout line of my 3rd grocery store of the day. I always look at the magazines in line. I mean that’s how I catch up on the latest Kardashian train wreck, see what I should be wearing this spring, how my body should really look if only I could carry around a a life size computer/monitor in front of me and have it photoshop me every time a new flaw made its presence known, and all the ways I can cook food. Then I heard the angels break out in song and this particular magazine called out to me in a sweet sing songy voice. I turned around to see the April issue of Bon Appetit. Yes, it was love at first sight. Although I really tried to talk myself out of buying the magazine as I have a pile of magazines at home that I have little time to enjoy. I just couldn’t resist the temptation of buying it and very possibly trying out the recipes.

So I bought it and brought it home. I sat down and practically smelled the cover of it. What I mean is I could practically smell the fresh baked sticky bun on it’s cover although I do enjoy a good sniff of magazine pages. Don’t judge. You know you do it too. This wondrous magazine made me want to get back in my kitchen and cook. I became inspired and even tried out a new recipe last night for dinner. The dinner was so-so but I enjoyed it more because I tried something new. This also reminded me of how I do actually enjoy cooking and baking. Can you believe it??!!? A 21st century woman enjoying cooking you say. I enjoyed it when it was the 20th century too. In fact, that’s where my love of cooking began.

A long long time ago in the 20th century a young girl (me) opened the pantry to discover an abundance of Rice-A Roni which she loved immensely. As she was making this delectable rice from a box she thought to herself, “Why can’t I just make this from scratch”? And so began her journey and devotion to making only  things from scratch. She was bound and determined to make food like her elders did in the beginning of the 20th century and way way back in the 19th century, but with the modern conveniences of electricity of course.

I’m pretty sure that was my light bulb moment. It was more like why aren’t there more people making food from scratch rather than a box?  Or more accurately why aren’t there any women who like to cook anymore? Or who cook at all? I stood there in the kitchen thinking about all the women I knew that never actually cooked and it surprised me. This is where I was introduced to Martha Stewart. Well, not up close and personal, but I subscribed to her magazine and that is when I practically tried everything she cooked. Sort of. I have to say that she has some very complicated things, but at that point in my life I had this determination to prove to the world that cooking wasn’t hard and it was enjoyable. There’s a story coming…..

This 20th century girl had stumbled upon this Homemaker extrodinaire. They called her Martha Stewart. She was amazing. She had all these tips and tricks to do just about everything and amazing delicious things to cook. Thanksgiving was just around the corner and this 20th century girl had received  her first Martha Stewart Living magazine and saw a dessert that she just HAD to make.   Mini bundt cake pumpkins covered in marzipan in order to make it actually look like a pumpkin!! It wasn’t enough to just purchase pre-made marzipan and dye it orange I HAD to go and MAKE the marzipan. On Thanksgiving Eve I set out to make these mini pumpkin cakes. I began the process in the early evening thinking that would be sufficient time to make them and decorate them. When 2:00 a.m. rolled around and I had finally pulled them out of the oven I was second guessing my mission to make all things from scratch.   I was so exhausted and I hadn’t even gotten to the decoration portion of these amazing pumpkins, but I was determined to be a Martha Stewart in training and refused to throw in the towel. I decided that sleep would help me in my decorating process the next day. This modern day 20th Century Martha Stewart in training got up early the next day to make marzipan, dye it, and decorate all of those “pumpkins”. They were BEAUTIFUL!! The most amazing things I have ever made. I took them over to my uncle’s beaming with pride and waiting in anticipation for everyone to dig in and proclaim that I am indeed the next Martha Stewart. When day turned into night and NO ONE had even glanced in the direction of my amazing bundt cake pumpkins I was ready to cry. I managed to get a few people to share one, but that was all that was touched that infamous Thanksgiving Day. Those seven other cakes were picked at throughout the week by me and then tossed in the garbage. I was sad, devastated, and shocked. However, that didn’t stop this Martha Stewart in training it just fueled my fire. So cooking was something I came to very much enjoy.

Fast forward to the 21st century and I am now a full time wife and mommy. My daily duties include but are not limited to figuring out what’s for dinner 7 nights a week. So you can imagine that this once enthusiastic maker of all things from scratch is now in a rut and isn’t chomping at the bit to get in the kitchen. However, I am still very much the same girl that would rather make it from scratch than make it out of a box.

My newest person in training I want to be is The Pioneer Woman. I have her first cookbook and it has inspired many a delicious dinner. The sad thing is I have it seems one of the pickiest husbands around and even The Pioneer Woman has succumbed to his picky moments. So I have been burnt out and needed a little pick me up. When my eyes landed on the April issue of Bon Appetit I heard the kitchen calling and I am once again ready to discover new and delicious food and make it entirely from scratch.


This 21st Century Pioneer Woman in training

My little Goose

He loves to hide

Just a few shots of my Goose playing in our backyard the day he turned 19 months old. He is growing so fast. It makes this mama very happy to see her baby growing and learning and saying new things everyday. This time last year he wasn’t even crawling  and now he’s running around like a pro. He melts my heart every morning when he calls from his crib and says mommy. He melts my heart when he lays his head on my shoulder. He melts my heart when he gives me an unexpected kiss.  Let’s just say that he melts his mama’s heart.

He loves to play with his chalk too

For those that may be wondering. Yes, those are leg warmers. They’re awesome. Nuff said!

I. Am. 32.

I always thought it was ridiculous when a woman was offended or shocked when asked her age.  The etiquette is never ask a woman her age or weight. I’m ok with the never asking about weight though. The age question sort of boggled my mind.  If someone asks you how old you are you just say it. Of course the correct response when told a woman’s age is, “Why, Bobbie Joe, you don’t look a day over 21”. I think at some point in my childhood I wanted to name my future daughter this. That has since passed.

However, I believe I may understand the rule of etiquette regarding the age old question about age. At least my perspective is that I myself am shocked that I.  AM.  32.  So when someone asks me how old I am I do in fact pause before saying my age. If I say it then somehow it makes it more real that I have hit my 30’s and I’m steadily climbing the chart. Which would make me closer to 40!!  So maybe it’s not that it’s rude to ask a woman’s age as it is rude to make us remember what age we are.

I’m completely shocked that I am 32! When did this happen!?! When did I get here? When did gray hair start appearing on my head regularly? REALY!!?!?! For the record I had my very first gray hair at 17 and I related that to stress, but can I blame stress on my current gray hair situation? Yes and no. Yes because I’ve become a mother since that first infamous gray hair so that pretty much should sum it up, but no because I am getting older and gray hair is a part of that aging process. Which I might add is cruel.  It’s cruel cause I. AM. ONLY. 32.   I think gray hair should start debuting around  let’s say 55 when AARP considers you a senior. At that point in life I think you should flaunt that crown of glory. Hello! And when did 55 become senior age? That is just ridiculous!!

Whew! Anyway, I’ve managed to make myself sound like I have a crown of glory instead of the perhaps 10ish gray hairs I get from time to time. Yes I do count them and yes those suckers are plucked as soon as I can get to them. Sorry I’m far too young to be flaunting any color other than the one I paid for.

With age comes gray hairs and wrinkles and a myriad of other things I’m not ready to experience. However, with age comes wisdom. For some. Not all. I’m sure we all could name a few who have yet to receive any wisdom.  I’d like to think I’ve gained some wisdom with my age.  For Example, being skinny won’t solve all your problems. Didn’t everyone think that? You didn’t? Hmm….well I did when I was in the I MUST BE SUPER MODEL SKINNY THEN EVERYTHING IN LIFE WILL FALL INTO PLACE phase of my life. Not a good phase.  I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. My wise old age has opened my eyes to my body image. I am so much more comfortable with my body then I used to be. All those women I wanted to be as skinny as, well, let’s just say I’d like to invite them over for a good home cooked meal with high fat quantities.

Would I want to be in that stage of my life again? No. Never. If I could be my wise self back in the body of my 16 year old self than yes. That way I would know who not to bother with, who to spend my time with, what things are really more important, and perhaps realize that there is a much bigger world out there then the one I created for myself. So I would nix the gray hairs and the wrinkles that are showing, but I am grateful for the wisdom my “old” age has awarded me.

I did learn one very imortant thing it’s this :   Don’t compromise who you are in order to gain anything or anyone. Once you’ve compromised you’ve already lost.

Mark 8:36 “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”