Thursday, December 31, 2009

Another year down…

Someone once told me to live each day as if it were my last. This is something that I should probably remember more often. This year has been one of tremendous ups and downs. This year was about change and growth. I turned 40 this year, and realized that it was just a number. Age is a state of mind and regardless of the number I feel good, and am grateful to have made it this far. I know that I have said this in the past, but every year is a gift. I never thought I would live to see 30, so the past ten years have been that gift that keeps on giving. I don’t know why I thought that, but it’s something that never occurred to me.

We experienced more loss this year with the passing of Jeffrey’s Grandmother. She meant so much to Jeffrey and the entire family. She and Jeffrey always had such amazing conversations (I can’t tell you the number of times he would get home at 2 in the morning having spent the entire day and evening in wonderful conversations). This was followed by a great deal of work around her home. The positive side to this (if there is one) is that we got to spend some great time with Jeffrey’s folks and siblings. They are amazing and I am blessed to have such wonderful in-laws.

In March I had surgery and for the first time in my life I was able to breathe out of my nose. No more snorting (the snoring is still there, but that will go…) no more gasping for breath and the amazing ability to breath as others breath. The first time this hit me was that first day back to lifting weights. I took a deep breath in through my nose and it was amazing.

Just after my surgery I was moved into a new position with a new manager. At the same time we ran through a major conversion (as a part of the CW to BAC transition) that was a huge success. As a result of this major project I made some wonderful friends and accomplished something major. My new job proved to be a greater challenge then I anticipated. I lost my two employees (they moved up and into new positions) and had to now support the team that I was a part of… It is still a challenge to this day, but I know that I will continue to grow and gain more knowledge and experience as a result of these challenges.

Over Labor Day weekend I met up with the family in Las Vegas to unveil my Grandmothers tomb stone (Jewish tradition). It was wonderful to spend time with my Brother and parents and enjoyed seeing the cousins again. Another plus was the ability to meet up with Jeffrey’s Sister and her husband for breakfast. Everyone is so scattered that we don’t see each other enough. I hope this coming year will rectify that one… It was a wonderful celebration of my Grandmother and I realized that I miss her often. I am blessed to have had the almost 40 years I had with her.

Immediately following my return Jeffrey went in for Kidney surgery. This was probably one of the most stressful and terrifying times in my life. If you have ever had a spouse or partner go through something this major then you know what I mean. I am forever grateful for our wonderful friend Mika who stayed with me and made sure that I was OK. She hugged me when I cried tears of joy that he was OK, and just was there for both of us. We are lucky in our lives to have added the entire McDonald clan to our family. They are amazing, loving people who we are forever grateful for. God gives you your parents and siblings, but you get to pick the people that extend that family. We could not have asked for more amazing family then the McDonalds (that includes the Gustafson’s too)… 

Needless to say Jeffrey pulled out of it well and I made it through a couple more major work transition initiatives (there are more in 2010). In November we celebrated my Best Friend’s wedding. It was a wonderful weekend and I don’t know the words to express the joy I felt that I was privileged enough to stand up there with her, as she married the man of her dreams (and sometimes nightmares… ) These are two people that love each other unconditionally and I only wish that everyone could find that person that loves them even in the craziness. Jeffrey and I celebrated our seventeenth anniversary the following weekend. It’s difficult to express the gratitude, love and amazement that I found someone to share my life with. So many people look for that person, and 17+ years ago he appeared in my life, and I couldn’t imagine life without him. We laugh everyday, and we hold each other when we are sad, or just had a rough day. I continue to look forward to the years ahead with this amazing man. After our anniversary it was off to Palm Springs for Thanksgiving. What an amazing time we had. Again we spent this holiday with the McDonald’s and love them all so much.

As the year comes to a close we had a couple of other things happen. Jeffrey celebrated another Birthday. I surprised him this year with a party. He had friends from High School all the way to our wonderful new yoga friends. Oh yeah, we discovered Yoga this past March thanks to our friends Robb and David. They came into town for a short visit and connected us to an amazing and wonderful couple Anna and Heather. Anna is a wonderful Yoga instructor and we look forward to our Monday night classes with her, as well as our ever growing friendship. For Christmas this year we purchased a new car (this one is the most exciting), and Jeffrey went through one more surgery. He just came out of it this afternoon and is home resting. He is amazing with this stuff. With 2010 fast approaching there are so many things to be grateful for.

This year involved a great deal of closure, many lessons and lots of growth. This year saw us saying goodbye to loved ones, and hello to new friends. We reconnected with people and watched as our circle grew.

I look forward to 2010 and know that it will be another year of growth and change. It will take us to Arizona and beyond. As we continue down this path and trudging this road to happy destiny I remember the mistakes of this past year, but only to learn from them. I remember the pain, but mostly I remember the love of my family and friends. I remember the continued reconnection of the people from my past, and sit here in awe of their accomplishments. I relish in the joy that everyone brings into my life, whether we see each other often, or haven’t seen each other in years. We are connected one way or another.

Remember everyday to try to be kind to God’s children, for through our kindness maybe we will find peace.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A new year, a new decade and new opportunities

Now that we are almost one month into the new year, eleven days into my Forties and three days under a new leader I thought I had enough to BLOG about. The past year had it's up and it's downs. My Grandfather used to say that life was like a heart monitor if it's flat you are dead. Jeffrey and I took our first vacation in five years in April. We spent a few days with our wonderful friends Robb and David in Washington D.C. We had an amazing time, saw the sites and spent a good deal of time just hanging out with them. We took the train to New York and saw three fantastic shows. It was a great time. As of July 1 my company was purchased by Bank of America and since then I have been working on my regular stuff, but am running a couple of transition projects to ensure that my business doesn't stop as a result of the transition to the new company. I still don't know what job I will have when all is said and done, but believe that I will land somewhere!

In October, while attending the High Level Design session on my projects my Grandmother was struck ill and passed away within two days. It was sudden and a tragic loss to me and my family. She was a vibrant woman full of life. We found after her passing that she belonged to three gyms. The big muscle guys at Gold's knew her and were said when they learned she had died. The funeral was amazing, and now we are learning about life without this wonderful woman.

This last year I discovered while visiting with my Brother and his family that Myspace wasn't where it was at, but it was Facebook. As a result I have reconnected with people I haven't seen or spoken to since High School. I realized over the last few weeks that the various stages of my life have collided. After High School I became more active in DeMolay. So active, that I was elected League President. The problem was that during my short time as League President I came out and started drinking. Rather then facing these people, who showed nothing by love and friendship I ran away. A couple of years later I got sober and found a whole new group of friends. These people changed my life, and I like to think that it was the foundation I laid with them (along with my daily prayer and meditation) has kept me sober for more then 18 years. I also met Jeffrey after my second year of sobriety, and we celebrated our sixteenth anniversary last November. He deserves a medal for putting up with me for so long! :)

I have learned over the last ten years to just be myself. What you see is what you get. I don't hide who I am and am open to all (sometimes to my determent). I have amazing people in my life today and am so grateful for all of these gifts. Now through the wonders of modern technology I have reconnected with so many people who new me at different parts of my life. People who I thought about often, but didn't know how to find. It shows me what Jeffrey always said, just because you don't see or speak to someone doesn't mean that you aren't close, or can't reconnect. He's a wise man.

As we go forward into 2009 I continue to be amazed at the lives that my long time friends have built for themselves. I am grateful for the amazing people I have in my life, and cherish them everyday. I am grateful for the lessons I have learned and continue to learn. Most importantly I am grateful for the amazing man I found to spend my life with. I am truly blessed.