Archive for the family Category

Trip trip up

Posted in family, health, weight loss with tags , , on March 3, 2021 by jefferyrn

Going out of town is hell on a diet, life style change, reprogramming the brain, whatever you want to call it.  I went to visit my grandkids and then my mother.  I had dessert and ate all the wrong things.  On the road there was virtually no choice.  Okay so there were some choices but I didn’t make the right ones.  How do you turn down chocolate cheesecake? 

Morro Bay California

At the restaurant I tried to eat the right things, fish, and vegetables instead of rice or potatoes.  But still the bread and the cake did me in on my goals. It was a lot of temptation that I just couldn’t handle. I am learn though.  And I am proud that I didn’t just give up and honestly logged my food.  There are going to be setbacks.  It’s what I do about them.  Never give up.  Keep trying. Every moment is a new beginning.

Today is back to normal.  I am more in control of my diet and I plan to exercise. I probably won’t go on another trip for months so I am safe.

I bought a step. On Friday I advanced to the intermediate exercise program and it requires an aerobic step. The one I found is adjustable from 4 to 6 to 8 inches.  Anything higher than that and I get dizzy. And here I am contemplating a townhouse over a flat.  Must be crazy.  Actually, this step will help me gain the strength to manage those stairs when it comes time.

I would like to write more but I am very busy catching up with my work.  Absences makes the work pile higher.

Sleeping bags

Posted in family with tags on December 28, 2020 by jefferyrn

It has been a pretty quiet Christmas. Just Rick and I at home. We watch a lot of television and streaming services. But I also spent some time sewing. I made a sleeping bag for my 2 year old great grandson. My first attempt was a mess. But the second one was just right.

TV binge watching


The whole project started because I found some fleece fabric with Paw Patrol characters on it back in October. I knew he liked those cartoons and I was thinking of making something for him by Christmas. My deadline was December 18th. That was when we drove down to Modesto to celebrate Christmas with our son and family.


I know you aren’t supposed to gather or travel. But let me just say that half of us work in frontline jobs and have probably been exposed many times. The only high risk people were me and Rick. There were really only 7 adults and two babies total, my son, his wife, and their 8 month old baby girl, my youngest er ah middle granddaughter and her 2 year old boy, and my oldest granddaughter and her boyfriend. The boyfriend works for the schools district as does my daughter-in-law. My oldest granddaughter works in a doctor’s office. I work at a hospital. My son services fire extinguishers. My middle granddaughter is a stay at home mommy. Rick is retired. We thought it was an acceptable risk.


Back to my original story. I finished the first one night before we were going to Modesto. Procrastination is definitely a trait I have mastered. I was very dissatisfied with the result. It was supposed to be a sleeping bag that rolls up into a backpack. I learned that all fleece are not the same. The printed one with the trademark puppies was black and extra fluffy looking. It was also a pain in the ass to work with. For starters black is not a good idea. And the quality of the fabric was not as good as what I bought for the lining and other parts of the project. Cost more but not nice. Anyway, long story short I struggled with this fabric and hated the results.

First attempt. Crooked seam and all.


There were also problems with the design. I made it to spec, but I didn’t like how unfinished it looked. Raw edges with just zigzag stitching. When the sleeping bag is unfurled you are looking at the inside of the backpack with unfinished edges. It is on the underside of the bag and the designer calls it a faux pillow. I call it a mess. If I were to do this pattern again I would bind the inside seems of the backpack so that the inside looked more finished. So no sleeping bag backpack for Christmas.


After Christmas I started a new one for his birthday. He was a New Year’s baby. I found a new pattern that was just a sleeping bag. It looked more finished. I found some better quality fleece after my first experience and no black. Here is a picture of the results. I added a real pillow which I also made from the same fabric. It went into the mail today.

Second attempt
Nice and straight

Pride day at work

Posted in family, human rights with tags , on June 26, 2020 by jefferyrn

I made masks out of rainbow fabric for me and 3 coworkers. The rainbow was too big to get all the colors in but they turned out ok.

On the table.
The fabric.
On the face. Just me. Don’t have permission to show my coworkers. They are reversible.

Happy Pride Day!

We all fall down

Posted in family, health with tags , , on January 7, 2020 by jefferyrn

Smart home gadgets are all the rage.  I am little late to the party, but Alexa has finally joined our house hold.  I have an Echo Show and some smart outlets.  You can rename Alexa but there are only a few choices.  We call her Echo. So now I can turn lights on and off with a voice command or on my phone app or I can put them on a schedule.  I can call my mother through the Echo Show and we can see each other.  I bought her and Echo Spot, a smaller version of the Show.  But mom doesn’t like to use it.  She is 83.  

I got it for her because she lives alone now.  I thought she would like asking it questions, she doesn’t.  But more importantly I wanted it to be able to call 911 in an emergency. In theory this was a good idea.  If she falls, Echo can call the paramedics.

Well, we put it to the test right before Christmas.  Mom fell and broke her pelvis.  But guess what?  She wasn’t home, so Echo couldn’t hear her cry for help.  Luckily, the store manager came out to the parking lot.  She had tripped over one of those cement parking bars that are supposed to prevent you from pulling up too far.  Small town have their advantages.  People came to her rescue.  Someone gave her a pillow, someone called 911, the manager took her groceries back into the store and held them for her in the frig or freezer, whatever was required.  And they didn’t have her car towed. Amazing!

She had to stay in a nursing home until last Saturday.  Now my nephew’s girl friend is staying with her until she can fend for herself again.  People not gadgets come to the rescue.  I am afraid though when I am that age I may need gadgets or robots or something to save me.  Or maybe my great-grandson?

A brighter new year ahead

Posted in death, family with tags , on January 7, 2020 by jefferyrn

I have been quiet.  I think of blogging but there are so many things happening that are taking control of my life right now.  I am happy that we are starting a new year and a new decade.  I want to leave the last one behind.

 The biggest thing from 2019 was my father’s death.  The biggest thing on the upside was our 20th anniversary.  We went to Hawaii.  These two events were 5 days apart.  Our anniversary was May 5th and my father died on May 1st.  Seven months have passed and it is still unreal to me.

This year is already better.  We just came back from celebrating my great-grandson’s 1st birthday. He is so adorable.  They do this thing called a “Smash Cake”.  (We were lucky to even have a cake.)  Anyway, you get this little cake that looks similar to the actual cake and you put the kid in front of it and let them go to town.  He wasn’t really into it.  He pulled the dinosaur off and licked some frosting of his fingers and that was about it.  I have heard and seen videos of other kids making a holy mess of it all.

He is not my blood relation but I claim him anyway.  People think he looks like me.  Maybe just being there has rubbed off somehow.  Who really knows how things work?  Science is changing all the time.

Being a great-grandpa is fun.  You don’t have to do anything but play.

I could enumerated the horrors of 2019 here, but I am ready to move on.  Happy 2020 everyone.

Conference call

Posted in family, friends, Work with tags , on August 6, 2019 by jefferyrn

I am here listening to music waiting for another conference call to start. Snow Patrol is playing on Pandora, Chasing Cars. I want to opt out of this meeting and do what the song says, “Lay here and forget the world.” Of course I am sitting and at work so that is not possible. Queue meeting. Music off.

This is my Tuesday, one meeting after another straight through lunch. Literally through lunch. It is late lunch day to compensate for a noon meeting. I don’t take much about work but today I need to ask a question of the universe. Is depression contagious?

I know that sad people can make you feel sad too. My director has been going through some things with her job, her family, and life in general. She confides in me. She makes me sad. But we talk about her problems and I try to listen. There is a tendency to want to solve her problems, which of course I cannot do unless they are work related. So I listen. At times I share similar stories trying to relate to her and let her know she is not alone. It has gotten so bad that she is going to see a counselor this afternoon. Bad may not be the right word. I think everyone should seek help with no stigma attached. But I get the feeling she feels like she is failing or somehow lost control. I am hoping this professional will lead her through this difficult time in her life.

So it makes me sad because she is the rock that holds this department together and yet her life seems to be falling apart. Without going into detail, her issues are really quite normal. Problems with her children growing up and testing their limits. Having devoted most of her non-working hours to her kids she is finding herself alone with her husband and not knowing how to relate to him and be a couple again. She is blaming him for the problems and at the same time telling me how great he is to her.

Here is the number one issue that came up yesterday. She wants to have weight loss surgery and her husband is against it. “You can do it without surgery, with diet and exercise,” is his response. I can relate to this because my partner tells me the same thing. But weight loss is not the real issue here. She is not happy with herself. She is questioning her life choices.

It is funny because she usually has all the answers. I think she knows the answers here too. She is just reluctant to except the changes in her life.

Sometimes we really don’t have any freedom of choice, because choices have outcomes and responsibility.

For me for example, what if I lost weight and I still wasn’t happy with myself, which would likely be the case. I think happiness is the key. So I try to divorce myself from her problems and find my own happiness and share that with her, rather than dwelling on the sadness. I share baby pictures. We talk about food. (I know that sounds counterproductive, but we both love food.) We talk about vacations. We talk about our dreams. It is a much more positive approach. And we talk about work of course.

Hey my conference call is over and now I am listening to Keith Urban, ‘You’ll Think Of Me.”

Struggling

Posted in family, human rights, love, weight loss with tags on July 23, 2019 by jefferyrn

I am struggling. So much is happening and yet nothing is happening. There are waves of joy and waves of sadness, often overlapping and about the same thing. I might be suffering from depression, but I feel like I have things under control. And at the same time everything is a mess.

This is my mind trying to compartmentalize my experiences. But they just don’t want to be filed away without cross-references. I picture a card catalogue. I am sure many of you don’t even know. When I worked as an intern years ago, part of my job was to file articles in the card catalogue. Every article had 3 cards. One was by Author, one was by Title, and the third one was by content which was basically an abstract of what the article was about. Everything was filed by date too. So I guess we had 4 cards now that I think about it.

The struggle with this card catalogue of my mind is that abstract. The keywords change with every recollection. Was it a happy time? Was it a sad time? Did I learning anything? Was it a turning point or just mundane routine? It is this narrative that seems to be constantly changing.

What brings me here is a lot of traumatic events. It is also a lot of celebratory times too. We celebrated our 20th year as a couple. I am happy and this has been the best years of my life. And yet…..

And yet, I have my childhood memories with my father. They are of course clouded by his passing as all wonderful and happy. I helped my mother clear out his office. I found things in his filing cabinet that made me proud. He had his Navy memories. Pictures of his crew, awards he had received. His college certificates for programs he had completed and degrees he had received were all in these drawers. These are all memories from before me.

Then I found it. A cigar box that said on the outside “it’s a boy”. And inside this box were cards and letters of congratulations for having a son. It made me cry to think he hung on to these things. But did I live up to those expectations? I think I did. I really didn’t want to write another sad piece. So let’s move on.

So back to this card catalogue. I need to do a lot of cross referencing to get things back into working order. Food for me has always been associated with a good time. I need to associate the good time with something else that was also happening. I need to refocus that energy where it belongs. The happiness was being with friends and family and enjoying each other’s company, not the food.

Rick and I have made a plan for our future. When he retired we moved here to Reno. We have not made a lot of friends although I am thankful for the ones we have. Now that I am close to retirement we are going to move some place warm. We are moving back to California. More specifically we want to live in Palm Springs. (I know it is terribly hot there in the summer! But there is air conditioning.)

After cleaning out my dad’s office we went to Palm Springs for a few days and scouted out the possibilities. We also did a little socializing at the local bars. I am certain now that Palm Springs is where all gay men go to die. And it’s not a bad thing. These old guys are healthy, as opposed to the ones here in Reno who drag around oxygen tanks and ride those damn motor scooters. I think we will fit in. I think we will make friends. I think we will live in a safe environment. And no more damn snow and ice.

Bonus dads

Posted in family, friends, love with tags , on June 17, 2019 by jefferyrn

We were invited to tag along on a father’s day dinner with some friends last night. It turned out to be a wonderful evening that may become a tradition. We went to an Italian restaurant we had been to before to celebrate someone birthday. They have a crooner there that thinks he is Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin with a touch of Tony Bennett. He is actually quite annoying but our hosts enjoyed it and have been coming there for years. When we were there for the birthday party we sat a little too close to the entertainer and he picked on me to help him sing a song. They all thought that was hysterical. This time we were in the back, thank God. I told them if he touched me this time I might have to kill him, to which the daughter replied, “I have a gun in my purse.” Nevada humor, this wouldn’t have played well in California. The waiter went along with the gag and pretended to be afraid of her.

Here is the part that touched my heart. The two daughter got Rick and me Father’s Day cards. They were so sweet and humorous and yet you could tell they had put a lot of thought into them. There were personal notes to us as well. They call us their Bonus dad’s. And the touching part continued with their real parents toasting us and telling us how thankful they were that we were a part of their daughter’s lives. They said we had made a positive influence and changed them for the better. They welcomed us into the family. Nice people, not sure how we found this family but I am glad we did.

They have invited us to other family occasions. We have gone to their house for Thanksgiving three years running. But this was different. This was much more personal. Just the six of us listening to stories I am sure they have told a thousand times and including us in their lives. They knew I had lost my father last month and they had kind words at the time. But this was the birth of something new. We didn’t go there. I had a ring on my finger that was my fathers, but I didn’t tell any stories about it, and they didn’t ask. This was about our new family and the future.

Of course, we have our own families. But they have their own lives in California. I used to make an effort to see my father sometime around Father’s Day or at least call and talk to him. Now that is done and these friends, this bonus family has helped me heal.

One footnote, we have known these girls for over 15 years. They are now in their 30s. It has only been the last 4 years that our friendship has blossomed. We love the whole family.

The girls, Ricky, me and the real dad

Pity

Posted in death, family, health with tags on June 6, 2019 by jefferyrn

It has been a month.

I have been dealing with feelings about my father, the future, religion, and life in general. I would like to remember my father as perfect, but he wasn’t. I would like to look to the future and see great things happening, but they probably won’t. Religion is not about god for me. It is a set of principles to live one’s life by and be a good person. I can see that in my father. I can see that in my future. But right now life is a little slow. I am waiting for something….the weekend….my paycheck….our next vacation….retirement….moving to Palm Springs (or any place warm and accepting).

I need to stop waiting. I need to start living the days ahead to the fullest. But all I want to do is sleep and wake up in the future. It’s a strange funk I am in that doesn’t seem to be ending. I have moments of clarity and pleasure. I achieve some small goals either at work or in my personal life. But my head is still dreaming of the future. And what is ahead for me before I die?

I know I promised to write something more positive. I want to be positive. But I keep thinking, what if Rick were to die? Where would I be? Could I survive like my mother is doing now? It pisses Rick off. He says “I am not going to die. I have no plans to die. Stop going there and bring me down.” He is right. I need to prepare for the future but I need to live for the moment. People say that all the time. But doing it? Right now it just doesn’t seem possible.

We are going to the gym. I am trying to lose more weight so that I might avoid a stroke and live longer. Rick is in great shape. He has lost a lot of weight since his retirement. He has never looked better. But he is 70 years old. There goes that negative energy creeping in again.

I am loved and taken care of that is for sure. I guess that is the problem. My father was my protector and now the baton has passed on to my husband. Actually, it has been his for quite some time. Death seems so final and permanent. I want to believe there is more but my logical mind says there is nothing. At least there is nothing that my little mind can comprehend as existence.

I see the future in my great grandson’s eyes. He looks like his mother when she was little. He looks like our son when he was little. He is curious and bright. He is our hope for the future. There is some comfort in knowing that he will carry us through.

Of course, he is not of my blood. But he is a product of his environment, a part of which I have been for the last 20 years. I held his mother when she was born. I supported his grandfather when he needed us. I think in some strange way a part of me will be carried on. I am blessed with a family. Maybe not of my blood but of my choice. That might be better?


Before you decide this is some pity piece, I am not truly wallowing in self-pity. I am just a very pensive person who has gone through a lot this month. I am ready to move on and take advantage of what every day has to offer. But yes, there is some pity there for the past.

Pride

Posted in family, human rights, love with tags on May 31, 2019 by jefferyrn

Pride month begins tomorrow. It is a time to reflect on how far the LBGTI community has come. It is a time to look at some of the recent setbacks and our path forward. But mostly it is a time of celebration, a time to celebrate who we are and the differences that make us the same.

This weekend here in Reno kicks off with a Pride (beer) Crawl. As you can imagine there aren’t that many exclusively gay establishments in town. But we have great support from community bars that are participating in the event as well as casinos and shops around the downtown and midtown areas. I am surprised how many people both straight and gay turn out for our Pride events.

If you are from a big coastal city like L.A. , New York or San Francisco these events seem old hat. But here in what once was the far right regions of Nevada it is an event that has taken a long time to build momentum. Sure there are still haters here as there are all across the country, but we have supporters too. That is what makes it so amazing. During these events we are free to be ourselves and enjoy the company of others without concern for their sexual identity. We are one.

As I approach the golden age of 60, I look back at my first Pride event in West Hollywood. I was maybe 20 years of age. People came for the spectacle. I came to be with people like me. I came to end some of the loneliness of living in a straight world. And, of course, if I could hook up with someone so much the better.

Now I am married. I see these events as an affirmation of normality. I enjoy the exuberant young people and hope they appreciate the freedoms bestowed upon them through the efforts of past generations. I can’t forget where we came from and I can see how easily these freedoms could slip away.

So, celebrate the month of June. Have pride and be proud of who you are and what we have as a community. Never forget how precious these freedoms are and what price we have paid and will continue to pay for the respect of others.