A Simple Picture

A picture speaks 1000 words, right?

I was once asked why I take so many pictures. As a former photographer, I love the sound of the click of a camera. I love hearing the whirring noise the flash makes as it charges with power. I love the artistic end results that cannot be seen until the final product is produced.

So why do I take so many pictures? It’s simple. One day, my memory will fail. As age progresses, I may not remember the people I love. I may not be able to conjure up the images of the places I’ve been or the things I’ve done. Well, some things I may not want to remember. That could be a good thing.

I want my best friend to sit across from me and show me those pictures I’ve taken. Perhaps it will trigger my memory and I will remember how my time was spent. I will cherish my days now, while I can remember those minute moments. I will remember when she and I played hooky from work to take much needed drive to clear my head. I will remember our trip to southern Illinois and how we went exploring. I will remember. For now.

Metropolis

My best friend will be here in Seattle in less than 3 weeks. I want to make her trip a memorable one. I already know I’m going to take lots of pictures.

Because I want to remember. I need to remember. The pictures I take will trigger my memory. Time is not favorable to everyone.

Both of my grandmothers had a form of dementia. While I anticipate the possibility of it being genetic, I may get lucky and be as sharp as a tack when I am 80. I took a lot of pictures of my maternal grandmother before she left this earth.

Weeks before I said goodbye

Having these pictures mean the world to me. I plan to do a post of my grandma D soon. Right now it’s just too hard. I don’t really have any pictures of my paternal grandma. I didn’t see her as often as I lived in California before she passed.

But pictures are precious memories of what has passed. You can see and feel the emotions found in a single photograph. Hope is the picture of the future and if the future doesn’t go as hoped, it’s okay. It just means different memories will have passed.

Grandma and I

I will remember, Grandma. You may not have but I do and will.

A picture will always tell the story.

Celebration of Two

Today I took JR out to celebrate our combined birthdays. We went to lunch at Fujiyama’s. It’s like a Benihana to reference what my readers are more familiar with. David came with us at JR’s request.

Another couple sat at the table with their daughter, who was about JR’s age. We all chatted back and forth while the chef was getting ready. JR is getting better about telling the server what he wants to eat.

All JR talked about was eating the fried rice.

The chef teased him and only gave him a little bit of rice at first. Then after serving the rice to everyone else, he filled JR’s plate. He ate nearly all of it! Then asked me to save mine for him.

That’s fine. I’m not a big rice eater. I got his vegetables and the yum yum sauce was amazing! JR and David had chicken and I had steak. The place was pricey but well worth it and I stayed within my budget.

Volcano
Volcano eruptus!

JR loved seeing the chef’s tricks and the hibachi being set on fire. I wish I had gotten a video of his face when the chef first lit it! It was priceless! He was so amazed by it all and enjoyed trying new foods.

We had a lot of fun!

At the end, the staff sang Happy Birthday to us. I gave my cake to the little girl. I’m stuffed.

Happy birthday, sweetheart. Bonus mom loves you very much!

Another Year

Around the sun.

I meant to write this yesterday but time keeps on slipping, slipping into the future…

Yesterday was my birthday. I celebrated the 24th anniversary of my 25th year. The celebration actually started Friday at work. One of my coworkers, D, decorated my desk. Then I was called into my supervisors office for my coworkers to sing happy birthday to me and there was a cake. I knew D had planned the whole thing because everything was lemons.

There was a lemon cake. A hat with lemons all over it and a yellow Gerbera daisy pot. I had also gotten Lemonheads (the candy). And of course, balloons!

I’ve never really had my coworkers do anything for me at work. I stopped asking for my birthday off because I never really got it unless it was my actual day off. I work Monday through Friday so this year I had my birthday off.

I woke up yesterday morning to a flood of people wishing me happy birthday via text. David wished me a happy birthday too and asked if I wanted to go to breakfast. I hadn’t fully decided upon going out to breakfast so I asked if we could do like a brunch or lunch instead. We went to BJ’s brewhouse and restaurant. I got my favorite, avocado eggrolls. Unfortunately, David started feeling really sick so we ended up just going home where I’ve binged watched Downton Abbey in order to prepare for the new movie that comes out next weekend.

JR‘s birthday is on the 26 and he has a party planned at a local jump spot on Sunday. I am taking him to a Japanese restaurant on Saturday to celebrate both of our birthdays. It should be a fun time!

Anyhow, here’s to another trip around the sun and to whatever the future may bring!

Time to Grow

A while back, while we were still in the apartment, JR brought home a plant he had grown from seed. Unfortunately, the plant met a horrible demise that resulted in tears from JR. He accidentally overwatered it. Those tears broke my heart and I promised him that we would have a garden for him at the new house.

Today, we started that garden. First, I set up the AeroGarden. In that, we have mint, dill, thyme, curly parsley, and two types of basil.

Next, we set up a seed starter set.

JR helped put the soil into the pods, then put the seeds in. I made the labels since we didn’t want any surprises. JR said the soil felt “gross” but he is so excited to harvest what we are growing.

His only complaint is that I forgot to get bacon seeds. It’s a joke. He knows that bacon comes from pigs. We are growing two of his favorite fruits, watermelon and strawberries. We are also growing ingredients to make spaghetti sauce. My amazing MIL (for lack of a better way to describe my relationship with her), Roxanne, and I have discussed spending a weekend in my kitchen jarring delicious foods for future consumption. It is our intent to do salsas, soups, sauces, and some other forms of delectable goodies. I am so ready for it!

I’m a huge vegetable eater. I’m doing my best to encourage the boys to eat them too. I try to have vegetables with every meal. David would eat corn every night if I allowed it. But no. We need a variety for growth and health reasons. Tonight I’m making steak with bacon wrapped asparagus and rice. Tomorrow for dinner is barbecue ribs with fries and salad.

When I make vegetables, I try making them a different way each time. That way the boys can figure out how they like them. I’m also taking a cue from my sister in love, Rob’s Surf Reports’ wife. She offers my nieces dessert if they’ve tried everything on their plate. I typically only do dessert once a week but I’m going to try it more often when the boys get new foods. I bought popsicles but tonight will be microwave s’mores!

JR is so proud of his new garden. I can’t wait until he can taste the products of his efforts.

I know my dad would be proud. He has such an impressive knowledge of soil and how to grow a garden. I also know that if it fails, that it’s okay and to try again.

Grow little seeds! Sprout and produce!

Frozen Pain

For the past few months, I have had some sharp pains during certain movements in my left arm. A few weeks ago, the pain became a constant throbbing, with bolts of lightning shooting from the humeral head into my neck. It caused a number of headaches and a ton of discomfort. Last week, I broke down and saw an orthopedic specialist. At that point the pain had become excruciating.

Sometimes the slightest amount of movement caused pain. I can’t hook my bra behind me. I can’t use my left arm to brush my hair. I use my right arm to get pots and pans and to reach up to grab dishes. I can’t carry bags with any weight on my left arm. It even hurts to hold my water cup.

Crazy, right? All I remember is going to bed with a fully functioning shoulder and waking up with it frozen. Every movement caused some degree of pain. I’ve cried because of how much it hurts. I had no clue what was going on with it. I hid my pain. My patients don’t need to know that I’m hurting and can’t hold my stethoscope.

I got to see Dr. Christ at Oly Orthopaedics and after the X-rays, he told me I had what is known as a “frozen shoulder”. Well that’s a relief! However, it doesn’t solve the problem.

Crying in pain after the x-rays

He suggested doing a cortisone shot. It’s done under imaging as the shot goes directly into the joint. At first I nixed this option because of how I react on steroids. While we were discussing options to thaw my shoulder, I reconsidered since it’s an injection and not oral medication. I’m waiting for a PA to be approved for it.

Another option was physical therapy. These are exercises I know I can do at home rather than take time off work. Not working makes it difficult to pay bills. I’ve decided to do the injection, chiropractic care, and massage therapy. I wonder if hot stone massages will do the trick. I just have to work it all into my budget and time management.

Now that I have resolutions, I’m going to work on getting my shoulder back to where it was. Functioning! Another issue is that my hand will go numb or spasm violently. Shaking might be a more appropriate term though. I’m doing some stretching and resistance exercises and it does help. I’m gauging my progress by what I can do. The hardest part is working through the pain.

I have to push through the pain. It sucks and a lot of tears are being shed. I keep hoping that I will go to bed one night and wake up with a fully restored shoulder. Dr. Christ said it could be a year or more before it functions like normal again. I am impatient and don’t want to wait that long. I have things I want to do!

Ain’t nobody got time for dis!

TMI Warning ( for the guys)

I’m going to talk about about something most don’t talk about… period! Bad pun! But today, I’m talking about periods. That thing that makes women miserable for about a week once a month.

I hate having my period. The messiness, the tampons, the pads, the hormones, the gosh awful mood swings. It is annoying more than anything. We can blame Eve for Mother Nature’s monthly torment if we like.

Normally when something new comes out, I wait for someone I know to tell me about their own experience with a product. There’s this clothing item called a “period” panty that has been trending on various social medias. I first saw them on Instagram. I dismissed them, thinking that there is no way possible that those things would or could eliminate the need for pads or tampons.

I found myself in Victoria’s Secret last weekend. They had a pair on display. I decided to check them out. A salesgirl came up and ask if I had ever tried them. I told her no but I was curious about them and how they worked.

She explained about her personal use of them (after asking if I was comfortable talking about it – of course I am!). She showed me the multiple layers of protection and told me that I would want the same size as my regular underwear to prevent any leakage.

There are actually 4 layers of protection. I bought two pairs of the shorties. They are washable and comfortable to wear. I did get a little annoyed with the shorties rolling up on my legs. I wish they had longer legs. Seamless would be nice too so they don’t show under my pants or scrubs. If you go to the website, there are videos that show how they work, kind of like the paper towel or toilet paper commercials that demonstrate absorbency.

Today, after I took JR to see The Batman, we walked over to the store and I bought 3 more pairs. They are amazing and do work like the salesgirl said! I haven’t used any hygiene products this period. I know it sounds unsanitary, but there is no odor and I don’t feel the wetness. They’re not messy and the bathroom trash is still empty. I have washed them and they came out looking new. I can’t help but wonder how much money I’ll be saving since I haven’t bought any pads or tampons.

I’ve worn them overnight with no issues too. They are impressive! I was a bit worried with having a heavy period as well but they survived the test!

I wonder if they will make a swimsuit bottom for periods… that would be fantastic!

#shamelessplug

Dinner for..?

How many? Yikes! Feeding a family of 7 is expensive. I do my best to make healthy meals on a budget but I’ve got a little who eats everything in sight, a picky bird, and a teenager who tells me there’s nothing to eat in the house. It’s rather comical, really. We’ve spent over $1000 dollars in the last month on groceries.

I try to accommodate everyone’s appetites but when the palate consists of McDonald’s or something from the microwave, it proves to be quite the task.

I set up a chore chart a couple of weeks ago. On that chart, the littles have an opportunity to earn stars for trying a new food. JR is my adventurous one. He tried phô with me late last year and all he talks about is how good it is. He wants to go to a phô restaurant again. I think I’ll take him to try something else next time we have our date.

I take the boys out, one at a time, for a lunch or dinner date. JJ begged to go to Five Guys for his date, then ordered a hot dog. It was funny but that’s what he wanted.

Tonight, I’m making cheeseburger sushi. It’s something I found on Ruled.me. It is fantastic! I even made a dipping sauce to go with it and a chopped salad.

Cheeseburger Sushi in the Raw

Normally, I wouldn’t make this because I’ve got 7 people to feed. I had to make it so large that it barely fit on the baking sheet! I know it will be good though.

Ta-dah!

I cut it thinly and everybody ate 2-3 pieces each. However, the littlest got a wild hair up his tush and took forever to eat. He decided he didn’t like “something” different. Everyone else asked me to make it again but with more cheese. The cheese got melted into the meat, unlike a regular cheeseburger.

I have a few pieces leftover, which I plan to take to my coworkers. I know Shannon would love it. Jen J, too.

It’s Fun Run Time!

Crazy kid

This is JR. He’s 8 and a bundle of fun. His school is gearing up for a fun run fundraiser. Actually, all 3 boys are participating this year. The money goes to social and educational programs at their specific school. JR and DJ both are in special programs to help with their reading skills. Because of this program, they have greatly improved their reading and writing.

A latte at your local Starbucks runs about $5. So does the meal deal at Wendy’s. I won’t ask you to give up food, but it’s a privilege to be able to buy a latte. Would you consider giving one up and donate for my boys’ fundraiser? $5 isn’t a lot, but it does add up when helping to pay for these special school programs.

DJ, JR, and JJ

You can CashApp me at $Moviegirl007 or click the link, with the school code, MTS Fun Run.

Jordynn W. – (03-Grimm)

Declan W. – (02-Alnes)

Joshua W. – (05-Snider)

Thanks in advance for reading and if you choose to donate, it is greatly appreciated!

Valentine’s Date

A bit late but today is Saturday the 19th and we are having a romantic date.

We started off by me waking up late. Hey, it wouldn’t be a weekend without a little sleeping in! Today’s date will be several hours. I love those dates when it’s just me and David.

I’m sitting here with my handsome guy, enjoying a glass of Chardonnay. We are at Abbe Winery, located just northeast of Tacoma. Masks are unnecessary and as you walk in, you are greeted by Max, who howls his hello until you walk over and give him love. Max has a couple of pinched nerves in his hips, so try not to encourage him to get up. Just rub his belly and he’ll be a happy pup.

Dainis is very friendly and will tell you about the wines. They only produce semi-dry and dry wines. The winery grows two varietals and the rest are brought in to produce 18 different wines. We tried a Syrah, vingole, Chardonnay, and a couple of others. A Riesling would be a nice mix for this place.

Abbe was rather simple to find but it is a slightly confusing walk to the tasting room. So worth the find! They also offer some delicious food. Unfortunately, we did not try the week’s menu of a shrimp dish and shredded beef. The menu changes every week and from what I smell, it’s worth it.

I know a lot of my readers are not from Washington or in WA, but this is definitely a hidden gem, waiting to be discovered. Come check them out when you decide to take a trip to this beautiful state.

Abbe Winery is worth the visit!

Our date actually started with the movie Marry Me. It was a cute movie and I managed to stay awake during it. (Marvel movies make me snooze.) Excuse me while I say goodbye to Max.

The movie was a rom-com and worth seeing in the theater. Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson were not two people I would pair together in a movie but the romance worked.

Dinner was at The Melting Pot in Tacoma, where we dined on the bourbon bacon cheddar fondue to start. Then I had the caprese salad while David devoured the California salad. I also had some Ste Michelle Brut to drink. The steak lovers with the mojo broth was very delicious. The meal was finished with a flaming turtle accompanied with some tasty sweets. Unfortunately, I was already bursting at the seams filled with my tender steak. Therefore, not much of the chocolate fondue was to be had by me. It was David’s first experience with fondue and he did enjoy it. I couldn’t convince him to try the apple with the cheese though. It’s the best part!

We are home now and plan to end it with a movie in bed. I’m exhausted. Today was just wonderful! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Homework Homework Homework!!

Two of my boys struggle with school. The meltdowns of doing homework make me want to pull my hair out. They do fine in class and their teachers have told us how much they have improved over the last few months. So why the fighting and meltdowns over homework?

Once they get started, they know how to do the problems. The problem we have is they get distracted, even when there is nothing to be distracted by.

Last night, it was difficult to get JR to do his homework. David and I want him to see there are consequences about not getting it done. There is a youth activity tonight. Here’s the caveat, do we keep him home or do we let him go? DJ and JJ are going. If we keep JR home, he will be very upset over missing something fun and there is the potential he will take it out on his brothers. If we let him go, are we rewarding him for his negative behaviors over homework?

Not going: Missing out on meeting new kids, making friends, improving his social skills

Going: Encouraging the negative behaviors, making new friends, meeting kids who live in the neighborhood and go to the new school, improving social skills

It’s quite the dilemma. I typically take one of the boys out to lunch on the weekend and it didn’t happen last weekend with JR be cause of how he behaved during the week. David wants me to withhold that but I’m not sure it’s much of a consequence for the situation.

Mommas of school-age children, what do you do? Ideas would be so helpful!