A Wedding and a Power Ranger

I completely forgot to finish the second part of my original post! To read the first installment, click here. But it really isn’t necessary, this is pretty self-explanatory.




As we were ready to say our vows, listening to the beautiful singer we had hired for our wedding belt out “I Believe in You and Me.” My husband-to-be said to me,

“I don’t want you to freak out, but I have to tell you something.”

(Oh, God…) “Okay.”

“There is a Power Ranger behind you, he is running, you will see him soon over your left shoulder.”

“Liar.”

“No, there really is… a small-ish child … er, Power Ranger now visible over your left shoulder.”

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Yes… there was Power Ranger, a RED one, in action at my wedding. Running to and fro. Making the other children cry as they wanted costumes too. Whose kid was that? Why was everyone just sitting there? Someone should corral the Ranger! Jeff grabbed my hands, this made me look at him. Jeff smiled the ‘everything is OK’ smile.

We discovered later that my mom invited the Power Ranger’s mom to my wedding. The mom of the Ranger was my husband’s first ‘real’ girlfriend. (Yes, I’m not kidding!) My mom still denies this little extended invitation. The result was a Power Ranger at my wedding.

My brother in law was our photographer. He later said, as he was attempting to photoshop out the sneaky little ‘Ranger,’ he and his wife didn’t have ANY superheroes at their wedding. He said he was a bit jealous. I chuckled. He promised me we’d be laughing about this in ten years and we are.

The bachelor and bachelorette parties were very successful. My sisters threw me a beautiful shower. Jeff went golfing with his buddies. My mother was his caddy. That’s right! My mother invited herself along! I guess that is one way to prevent any chance the bachelor might go to a strip club! Let me tell ya’ my mom was (and is) a force to be reckoned with!

In 2004, Jeff and I were living together in Uptown. An eclectic neighborhood in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We were preparing for our wedding and packing for a 10-day trip. We would have our wedding, and a honeymoon at Camp Wilderness, a boy scout camp. We rented the entire camp for our weekend wedding.

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It was a beautiful fall weekend when we got married. Every guest was assigned a cabin if they chose to stay for the weekend festivities. (There were various hotels in the area as well.)

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This is the Boy Scout camp was where my husband, along with my brothers, attended. Some of our nephews also found their way to this camp. My husband achieved an Eagle Scout level. This camp was also where my husband was a scout leader and an instructor on the firing range.

After the ceremony, we had a prime rib dinner and sang karaoke! As soon as the sky turned to night, we built a bonfire, and the guests enjoyed s’ mores. The following morning there was a hot breakfast served! The day was filled with football, archery, hikes, and opening gifts. I truly enjoyed my wedding. Many of my guests still say they remember my wedding day fondly. That is so nice to hear.

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Fifteen years ago, I became Mrs. Jeffrey Johnson… and a red Power Ranger attended my wedding!

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The House on Taylor Street (My Ugly Kitchen)

Well here’s a little post that you requested from a while back. I talked about my house on Taylor Street’s kitchen. It was an ugly kitchen but it was MY KIND of ugly! So I have rooted around and found a few photos. I do not have access to my entire box of photos right now. Let me explain, the pictures are packed in a moving box, one of many of common size that I forgot to label… (help!)

I usually do not take pictures in my kitchen… but I’ll post what I found.

When my husband and I moved into the house on Taylor Street we came straight from an eclectic Uptown brownstone. No yard! Small, galley kitchen. All our possessions were second hand. (I liked the hunt through thrift stores and estate sales to find my prizes.) When one of my nieces asked me if she could go play in the back yard (little suburban raised child). I said, “We don’t have one, poor people don’t have backyards.” I believe if looks could kill, my sister would have seen to my demise at that very moment. SNAP! (Statement retracted.)

Let’s just get this out of the way, my elephant in the room. I love collecting metal lunch boxes! I try to find meaningful ones. I like TV shows I watched as a kid. Toys I played with, books I read, and the like. It’s a bit of an issue. But! I have never paid more than $7 for any of my lunchboxes. That’s a win! And! I get to share my collection with you! Any of theses lunchboxes mean anything to you? Which would you pick???

Have to put a few backyard shots in as this was my view from the big kitchen window!

It was a good kitchen. Ugly but as I said, my kind of ugly and no one ever said differently. Many impromptu parties occurred as neighbors wandered over. We had back yard parties (we had a bonfire pit!). There were porch parties, and one memorable wine and jazz ladies party. I had a surprise birthday for my hubby’s 45th birthday in that house. The house on Taylor Street… we close on the 5th of September. It remains a place I will go to for many Magic Memories! They will be good memories, all good.

img_1157~Kim

A Lost Battle (Magic Memory)

Every ten years, since my dad turned 60, we put together a scrapbook for him. We’ve done three. He is 89 and soon will be due for his next book…

I have been spending more time with my parents in the past few months to assist my siblings in their care. Age waits for no one. I was looking at his scrapbooks and a page that I had done jumped out at me. I could literally taste salt. I remembered this taste on my lips after I kissed my brother’s forehead when he passed away on August 18th, 2003 at the Brook Army Medical Center. It felt like some sort of surreal recall. I want to share the scrapbook page.

I will write out the memory that’s on this page so it’s easier to read but I wanted you to see the page. I’m not a gifted scrapbooker, but this is no ordinary memory… this is what I wrote about my brother’s final two days of life.

To Dad:

It was August 17th, 2003.

You and Keith were getting ready to fly out of San Antonio, Texas.

I was getting ready to return to Kory at the hospital.

You turned to me and said, “Your Dad’s gonna stay here with you.”

I felt relief wash through me, I needed you to stay and you did.

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It was August 17th, 2003.

I recited the bedtime prayer I knew by heart.

Now I lay me down to sleep… Kory seemed to quiet.

When I finished, you looked at me and said, “You are a good sister to Kory.”

I kissed Kory goodbye.

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It was August 18th, 2003.

I left the hospital, you called me.

A mere half hour had passed.

“Kory is gone, you better come back here.”

I returned to the hospital.

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It was August 18th, 2003.

You looked up at me and said, “What do we do now?”

In that moment, you needed me and I was there.

In that moment, I truly saw you, a father who had lost his son.

I loved you more and am forever changed and humbled.

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Together we brought him home…




To better times. Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

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After I Tripped I Got The Hell Back Up! (Friday Series Finale)

Many of you have read both of my Friday series. Previously; Before I Tripped Over a Stone and currently After I Tripped. Today we are going to conclude the series.


I was told to report to my local social security office to apply for disability. I begrudgingly agreed, for no other reason than to say to them I didn’t want their money! During that time, I remembered being a teenager and having reconstructive arm surgery. I was almost 16 and ready to take on the world! The doctor who was overseeing my case said he would go get the disability paperwork we could fill out because I now qualified.  I shook my head “no,” and my mom said, “But she plays the piano!” (Like that had anything to do with it!?!?) But due to the birth trauma I suffered, I did indeed qualify. I didn’t take the disability then, and wasn’t going to now! I’d get better, one way or another. No mysterious illness called fibro-what-ever would stop this gal!

I walked into the social security office, was greeted, and lead to a seat at a desk with a woman who appeared to be really organized. She advised me that they had received all necessary paperwork from my lawyer so we would only need to sign some release forms. (Efficient, this one.) I asked her if I could decline the disability pay even if they approved my claim? She looked at me surprised and said, “Oh… no honey, you’ve already been approved, are you back to work?” My jaw must have hit the floor! I explained I wasn’t currently working but would be one day very soon. She smiled and said when I returned to work, call the office, and they’d discontinue payments.

Wait… was that it? What the…? What was going on here??? I thought I had to go to assessments, special doctors, maybe even court to qualify for this ‘disability’ pay. Nope. Already approved … not for Fibromyalgia Syndrome but for clinical depression and chronic pain.

So I moved out of the little farmhouse and into a metropolitan area with my younger sister and her family. I enrolled in a community college to become a chemical dependency counselor, It would only take me a year as I already had my bachelor’s degree. I would do daycare for my sister on days I didn’t have class. Long story short, I moved closer to the college, they moved to a new city. Within 7 months after starting my coursework, my fibromyalgia became so unmanageable I had to leave the program. For the first time in my life, I became idle. I had no plan, I did nothing… but sob.

One evening, about three months after I quit my college coursework, I received a call from my mom. My brother, who was in the Army, was being shipped stateside. He had been diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer. My mom wanted to know if I could go to him? I booked a flight that night and the next morning flew to Texas to the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. You can read about it here.

After losing my brother, I started dating my high school crush. A man that was my friend. A man I had known my entire life, my current (and only!) husband, Jeff. You have read bits and pieces of our relationship throughout this blog. We continue to laugh a lot, discuss many things, love each other and offer support to one another. We also have a date night at Menards or Home Depot at least bi-monthly! (Keeps the marriage off the rocks!)

Then in 2012, I got very, very ill. This was not because of my fibromyalgia, this was a completely different issue. I was hospitalized many times and went through surgery after surgery. It was my pancreas. It was inflamed and was shutting down. You cannot live without a properly functioning pancreas. My type of pancreatitis was idiopathic (unknown) but thought to be from a likely bile dysfunction. There are so many who believe only alcoholics have pancreas or liver issues, but that is just not true. Never assume. You can read a bit about it here.

Now that I’ve been given the green light to keep on living, we are working towards a nomadic life. We’ve decided to downsize and travel before we retire! Jeff has completed his studies and is a day trader. I finished my book, and the royalties are rolling in! Not really, have you bought my book? It’s a journal with interactive questions!!! Enticing, isn’t it? You can get it here.

Shortly after starting to write this blog, I started writing my book. Never had I experienced a community like this ever in my life! So supportive. I am thankful for each and every one of you. I am so honored to be a part of this blogging tribe of imperfectly perfect people! I never understood how internet friendships formed, until now! Amazing. Grateful.

Now, this series has come to an end. 

Thank you all for sharing my journey thus far, and remember to always live your best life!

img_0749-1~Kim

After I Tripped; The Diagnosis (Friday Series #9)

Returning to my parent’s home in 2001 in Minnesota was comforting, yet disconcerting, and a bit embarrassing at my age. (I was 33 years old, almost 34!) I was moved into the ‘office’ and slept on a pullout couch. I don’t think I did anything the first week but cry and sleep.

My Mom brought me breakfast in bed every morning for five consecutive days. Then she announced it was time to get up! She wanted me to get back into life and make the best out of my situation. So, I tried…

It was I believe, shocking, to say the least as she watched me try to regain some sense of direction. To witness the constant daily pain I was in. To hear about the struggle, I had tried so hard to hide. 

My mom is a strong, stubborn, full-blooded Norwegian. She is a viper when it comes to her children! She fiercely loves and savagely protects all of her children. God help the person who crosses one of her own. My mom expects the same of us. Be tough, work your ass off, and make something of yourself! (She did not raise lazy kids.) Age has not been kind to her health, she fights her battles too. I love my mom.

As I was struggling to understand what was going on with me, Mom started calling medical facilities. She began with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Next, she called the University of Minnesota, Medical Clinic in Minneapolis. Then she called a doctor friend of a family member, a general practitioner in a small town 40 miles north of us. All were willing to see me, but we started with the closest option. Dr. Olson, the general practitioner.

“You have Fibromyalgia.”

“I have what?”

“It’s called Fibromyalgia Syndrome, do you want me to write it down for you?”

“Yes, please. How do I fix it?”

“You don’t…”

I learned this Fibromyalgia Syndrome ‘thing’ was called “the garbage can diagnosis.” You must be tested for everything it could possibly be [I had been]. If everything comes back negative [it did], you go through a tender spot exam [never had one of those exams until I saw Dr. Olson]. If you have these specific tender areas, you are diagnosed with Fibromyalgia Syndrome. I told my mom what the Doctor had said and begged her not to tell anyone I had the garbage can disease! I was NOT going to let this get me… I would find a cure!

I bought every book I could find. I bought every supplement that the books suggested. I did every exercise that was written in the book. I went to a mental health therapist just in case this was nothing more than a mental issue… truthfully, it was a prevalent misdiagnosis in 2001.

One evening I was watching the news with my parents. They were spotlighting a human interest story about a local physical therapist that was treating fibromyalgia patients with something called an “STS” machine. This worked on the sympathetic nervous system. He was having some success alleviating the severe pain people with fibromyalgia suffer. We looked at each other, shocked! I made a call to the physical therapist’s office the very next morning.

Dave Solheim, physical therapist guru, would change my life!

(To be continued.)

img_0430 (1)~Kim

After I Tripped; The Rescue (Friday Series #8)

The strangest thing about fibromyalgia is the progression of symptoms. After the first few years, you start getting worse, not better. Your world closes in until it is just you and your disease. You lose your job, your independence, your identity. Your social circle evaporates. You no longer have the strength to fight for yourself.

I honestly thought of stopping all the pain. I was searching for a feeling of control. Any way I could. Ending my life seemed to be my last chance at being able to control anything!  I had every detail planned. I was prepared. I felt confident in my ability to carry out my suicide. A phone call interrupted my irrational plan. A simple phone call… when I think of the pain I would have caused my loved ones, I am humiliated.


Trigger Warning! You can read my post about the evening I planned to carry out my own suicide in 2001 after I was “medically released” from my job here: The Alice Cooper Lesson. I have no desire to write down the details again in this post. I have no desire to relive it. You may not either.


It was July 2001 when my father called me. He didn’t ask, he told me to pack a bag because my sister would be flying in the next day to get me. She would accompany me back to Minnesota. I couldn’t believe it. “What?!?!” My parents had ‘threatened’ this action before, but I was always able to talk them out of it. Not this time. The phone clicked, he had just hung up! There was no time for a rebuttal. What I didn’t know was that two of my friends had contacted my parents and told them I was not doing well. They believed I needed to be rescued. I believe they were right.

I wish I could describe my dad to you in a way that you could know him. I believe all little girls love their dads. Everyone thinks their dad is a special one. I am no different. I hit the lottery with mine. I have never had a cross word with my dad. I have never wondered if he loved me. I have never questioned his authority. I know he loved me from the moment I was born, but I have loved him my entire life! Both of my parents were very good at raising kids, there were 6 of us kids to handle! As adults, we have all learned to become friends, we may have disagreements but we are fiercely protective of each other.

“B” was enraged as I packed a bag, got into my car and drove away. I picked up my sister at the airport, and we began the long drive back to Minnesota. This was the same drive I had made only 5 years prior when life seemed to have unlimited possibilities. It took us three days to make the drive. When we crossed the Minnesota state line, I crumbled. All of the fear, anger, pain, and regret surfaced. I gave in, felt it all, and sobbed.

I lost everything…

(To be continued.)

IMG_0462~Kim

After I Tripped (Friday Series #1.)

I wrote a previous series called; Before I Tripped Over a Stone. I wanted people to know I had a life before fibromyalgia. I experienced ordinary ups and downs. I did overcome a lot but had built a life, excelled, and was happy. Then I was in a car accident. This was the catalyst for my Fibromyalgia Syndrome. My memory fades at times, but I will do my best to explain what it was like for me after a car accident took my life and turned it upside down.

We will see how this goes!

Let’s start from the beginning on the day I tripped over the fibromyalgia stone…

I was living in Seattle.

It was a beautiful, sunny day in August 1998. I was 30 years old. My (then) fiance and I were on our way to the Human Society to adopt a kitten. We were traveling through a residential area when he very calmly said, “Hold on, Baby: he’s not going to stop.” At that moment I heard metal hitting metal, and I flew forward, my head hitting the windshield, my knees hitting the dashboard as the car spun counterclockwise. When I came to, my head was resting on the open window of the passenger side I was sitting on. My seatbelt had done nothing to save me in this kind of accident, frequently called being “T-boned.” The little two-door Grand Am I was riding in did not stand a chance against the full-sized Tahoe.

I remember the sounds of the fire engine sirens. They were so unbelievably loud! Then a different sound: police sirens, with the high whine of an ambulance siren not far behind. [I suffered from PTSD for many years after the accident, emergency vehicle sirens would set me off!] I remember a fireman asking if we were OK. My fiance kept complaining about his back. [In all fairness, he had been injured on the job and was preparing for a second, back surgery.] I stopped listening. I just wanted out of the car! The Tahoe was blocking my door. It was getting hard to breath. I was starting to panic. I needed out of that car! I looked for an escape through the back of the car; there was no way out! A paramedic started asking me questions. I answered “Yes” and “No” and “Please let me out of this car!” I finally pushed past the paramedic and made my way to the curb. I refused further medical attention. I was just trying to breathe. A police officer made his way to me and said, “You are not fine; you are in shock right now. Your pain will increase; you need to go to the emergency room today.”

I would have never guessed that the pain I would start to feel over my entire body that afternoon would never go away…

(to be continued…)

 

img_1145~Kim

Before I Tripped Over a Stone, #23

(Previous post, Before I Tripped, #22)

I was settling in and getting comfortable as the director of the Bishop Lewis State Work Release program in Seattle, Washington. I had worked with a government narcotics unit to safely (and quietly) remove a strain of black tar heroin from the community. The facility was moving in the direction of intensive training for the staff. The cognitive-behavioral model was being introduced, and all staff who were shift level supervisors and above would be trained in this practice. I was at a point in my life where I finally was able to breathe!

I began to focus on my personal life, and the first step was finding a new place to call home. I enjoyed living in Seattle, West Seattle is where I called home. No, it doesn’t rain all the time, contrary to popular belief. It usually rained overnight, and you woke up to the clean scent of evergreen trees and salt water. Seattle has a nickname, the Emerald City. In the mornings, after the sun burns through the gray, misty fog, you can view the city sparkling as it wakes from its nighttime cleansing showers. Everywhere you go the presence of the Cascade Mountains and the incredible, awe-inspiring Mt. Rainier, make their presence known. In the distance, you can see Mt. Hood. The Puget Sound encircles the city, with lakes and parks inviting you to get out and enjoy nature. I was in my element.

I found a little post-war bungalow with a carriage house to rent. Amy, who I had moved to Seattle from Minneapolis with, decided to move with me into the bungalow until a year later when she, too, would find a place to her liking. The little bungalow was precious! All complete with a white, wooden swing hanging in the front porch. Life was good, and I intended to continue to make it all that I dreamed of.

I was at peace, finally.

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Time would happily pass … after two years, I got engaged. He moved in. His daughter stayed with us every other weekend. One Saturday afternoon, in August of 1998, he and I decided to go adopt a kitty from the local shelter. He drove. I never saw the Tahoe coming at us until he yelled, “Hold on, Baby, he’s not going to stop!”

Before I tripped … abruptly ends. Like my life, as I knew it.

I tripped over that stone in August 1998, its name is Fibromyalgia Syndrome…

IMG_4892~Goodbye Kim. 1998.

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Thanks, everyone for following Before I Tripped Over A Stone. I used to be a lot of things… I used to be mine.

(Start from the beginning; Before I Tripped Over a Stone, Fridays, the series, #1)

Before I Tripped Over a Stone, Fridays, #22

(Previous Fridays post, Before I Tripped, #21)

I had arrived in Seattle and landed my first job. The job I had been formally educated to do. I was hired to be the Assistant Director of one of the largest Work Releases in Seattle, Washington. If I told you I was not nervous, I’d be lying, I learned my predecessor lasted one day!

The correction staffers were curious but not really thrilled to have a new assistant director. I was told while working shifts which staffers revealed that they blatantly didn’t care who I was, I wasn’t their boss, they had seniority over me because they had worked there longer. Interesting I thought, as not one of them stepped up to interview for the position I had just landed. So, my first week was spent working the different shifts, getting to know the staff and the men who were serving out the remainder of their prison sentences, the 70 male residents of the Bishop Lewis House.

It didn’t take me long to get the respect of those who said they wouldn’t treat me as their superior. I reviewed all employee files and called each staff member in, one by one, to my office. I asked them what their strengths and weaknesses were and asked them how I could assist them with their career goals and their ideas for advancement. Bluntly, I announced to them they would ‘advance right out of a job‘ if I did not see an increase in their performance level by meeting specific goals we would set together. I had no choice but to play hardball right out of the gate to get them to see me as a superior. This job was no joke! We had a community to serve and protect from some very dangerous men who were getting out of prison whether we assisted in this transition or not. Coddling staff was not in my job description.

That was my bottom line! The staff had no additional resources for employment advancement other than through me. I laid it all on the table and respect was gained through my adherence to structure and title, not seniority. They accepted me or resigned. I laid out the simple facts before them, and my job was firmly in hand. (Those ‘problem’ staff that I was told to get rid of when I was hired, were no longer problems.)

I LOVED my job. I don’t know how else to say it. I was genuinely concerned about the welfare of these residents; regaining social skills and entering the working force while maintaining the integrity of the facility and community safety that was required by law. I would ensure these men received the necessary classes and supervision for re-entry into society and the family units that these men would effect upon their release. This job was hard. This job was demanding. This job was necessary! I was serving my community and the individuals who would feel an impact these men had on them.

Everyone gets released from prison, eventually. Unless your name was Charles Manson, you will be a free man again one day. (By the way, Manson was incarcerated many times and released until his mass-murdering group of followers went over the edge of sanity.) This is just a fact. Everyone gets out of prison. Work-release is a way to ensure this is done as safely and securely as it can be.

In my fifth month of employment, my boss was moved to a superior department head position, and my title became Director of the Bishop Lewis State Work Release. Then came the first black tar heroin epidemic to hit the Pacific Northwest. The Bishop Lewis House experienced its first overdose death from this epidemic of a specific black tar heroin strain in a bathroom stall … I would also be involved in a short-term, profoundly secretive, ‘partnership’ with a regulated Government agency narcotics unit, to assist in the sweep to remove this particular deadly strain of black tar heroin from Seattle.

(Continued, Before I Tripped, #23)

img_0156~Kim

 

 

Trust Me, Eat the Monkey.

I had a friend tell me that she used to trust anyone that could write a prescription. So did I. Trust. That is a big word. Those five little letters in a row can be life-altering. Do you trust me? Do I trust you? Trust is a knife wrapped with a bow. A gift that can cut you and make you bleed.

In life there are buyers and there are sellers. You have to be willing to purchase what they are selling in order for that seller to continue selling. Does this make sense? The rule of supply and demand. We all have something to sell and we all have something to buy, that is what motivates us. The bottom line is do you trust the process, the person, the outcome?

Let’s cut the through the B.S. 

I want to get well. I want the doctor to cure me! Why? Because I want to be healthy, return to the career that I love and make money so I can buy stuff that I want to buy. I busted my butt getting a college diploma and I haven’t gotten my fill of the working world! I’m sick and tired of being a “patient”. I’m sick of being the “buyer” of those things deemed necessary by a seller. Like medications, therapies, yoga mats, TENs units, and etcetera. I want to be a seller for a change! I want to sell my services and get a big fat paycheck for the work I can be trusted to do! The work I was trained and educated to do.

What am I willing to do to become a seller? At one point, I was willing to do A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G! If I was told to eat a monkey, I’d eat a damn monkey! I trusted the people who were telling me to eat the monkey and I ate! Guess what? It didn’t work. I am not cured. Broken trust? Not yet. Not for me! I went back, bleeding with hands held open for another helping.

And I kept going back, after all, these people had prescription pads…

Eventually, trust was slowly and sadly removed from my vocabulary. Trust must now be earned. I don’t care if you can write a prescription or have several initials after your name. I do not care at all! You have to earn my trust. I’m not buying blindly anymore. I will listen and take your advice into consideration, but my purchasing power remains steadfastly with me.

I can read, I can research, I can weigh out options and make a list of pros and cons… I am smart. I am the buyer at this point in my life and I am well aware of the target that places squarely on my back. Within these confines, I need to do my due diligence! That isn’t just a good idea, it is imperative to my goal of getting as healthy as I can possibly be and living a good life.

You are smart, you can read, research and do your due diligence! Don’t blindly buy what the seller has to offer, it might be just a monkey.

Live Your Best Life!

(Trust Me, Eat the Monkey! via I Tripped Over a Stone.)

IMG_0193~Kim

Before I Tripped Over a Stone, Fridays #21

If you’d like to catch up, please go to; Before I Tripped #20

Amy and I had everything packed. Two cars completely full, Amy’s 2 cats, and we each had a walkie-talkie; purple with yellow buttons. We would drive from Minneapolis to Seattle over a span of 3 days. Amy had gone to Triple AAA, and they had mapped out our route for us. Oh, the things we did in 1996 before home computers and cell phones!

Amy would be the pace car if she tapped her brakes twice, that meant to turn on the walkie-talkie she wanted to tell me something. As the car following, if I flipped my brights at her twice, that was my signal, turn on the walkie-talkie, I wanted to talk. We didn’t want to wear out the batteries, and we agreed to say “over” as we finished speaking to the other. And off we went!

(Somewhere in Montana… Amy again taping brakes, Kim again turning on the walkie-talkie.)

“Did you see that trucker cut me off! Over.”

“Yes. Over.”

“I almost died! …Over!” (and so it went…)

We drove with only minor mishaps! Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Western Washington, the Cascades, and then, finally… Seattle! (West Seattle to be specific!)

Our first week in our new apartment which we would learn later was on bullet alley across from crack row… (how do we end up in these areas?!?!) We had no furniture, so we purchased air mattresses, a futon and a bean bag chair with matching ottoman. We also bought two director chairs for the patio and a little matching table. We both got our driver’s licenses and set up bank accounts. My best friend Holly lived about an hour away and came for a visit! Our first visitor! Two weeks later we would both attend her wedding!

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I loved this little complex, there was a pool, a weight room, a party room. The apartment itself was laid out quite nicely. If this was their idea of ‘a bad neighborhood,’ I was impressed. When we left Minneapolis, it had just been coined, ‘Murder-apolis.’ We only heard gunshots once while we lived in that apartment, and we were there for a little over a year.

We discovered micro-brews, fresh seafood, the Ballard Locks, Pikes Place Market, The Fishermans Warf, Post Alley, The Underground Seattle, the Space Needle and Mt Rainier. Amy landed a job with a temp. agency as a paralegal and I would start as an assistant director for a state-run work release after we attended my best friends wedding.

The Bishop Lewis House, State Work Release, downtown Seattle. I would work each shift to get to know the employees, then move to a permanent 2-10 swing shift. I was told after I reported for my first shift, my first priority was to shadow two problem employees. I was thinking I have 70 convicts and 12 staff to oversee and you are worried about 2 employees? My boss wanted them both gone, but I had other ideas…

(Continued, Before I tripped, #22)

IMG_0250~Kim

Happy Father’s Day to One of the Best!

A Man who grew up with no running water, no electricity, or heat. Now walking around in the age of computers and cellphones… I remember the day he brought home a “microwave” for my mother. All of us kids would watch that big, heavy, electric box cook as my mom would yell at us not to look at it for fear we’d go blind.

My dad was interviewed about his ‘roots’ and ended up on a YouTube special. Grab a cuppa, relax for 7 minutes, and have a peek into his boyhood family home that we have restored and still own today!

“A Place Called Home”

 

I love you, Dad!!!

FullSizeRender 87 Me and my Dad! (1995)