Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A Life with Pictures

In 2014, Dad bought himself a digital camera. He had been having a hard time getting around for a while at this point. And while I knew it, I realize now I didn't even begin to know the extent of it. This camera gave him something to do. He put up some bird feeders right off his back patio, and waited and watched and took pictures. I am no expert, but he had a good eye. Dad liked taking pictures of things - birds, scenery, nature - whereas I like taking pictures of people. So we would swap photos and talk about them.

One of the things he wanted help with once we came back from North Dakota was for me to help him load his pictures from his camera to his laptop and then upload them to his Google account. We both had been using Picasa by Google, but then Google morphed Picasa into something else and Dad didn't have the patience to deal with it. I hadn't been taking too many pictures with my camera, since my iPhone was much easier to tote around. 

Once Dad passed away, I really wanted to take a look at his pictures and get them loaded. My thinking was that I could upload them to his Google account, and then hopefully share some of them to his Facebook page, since that's what he had been wanting to do. 

But his Facebook page got deleted by my step sister before I was able to pull off any existing pictures, much less load new ones. But - last weekend, I finally got his camera and even though few of the people he cared about will see this post, I can at least upload some of his pictures here and I'll probably be sharing some on my Facebook. I'll create an album titled Dad's pictures and make it public. So if you know anyone that you think would like to see them, send them a link to this post and point them to my Facebook page.

Monday, July 24, 2017


This has been one heck of a year. 

In March, Robert was rushed back from Afghanistan because his step dad was not doing well. Within 10 days, Robert lost the man he called Dad all his life and then - unexpectedly - his mom. It was a staggering, sudden, painful blow. 

In June Robert retired from the Air Force, completing just shy of 26 years of military service. Then we headed from North Dakota to South Carolina with a planned stop for a couple weeks in North Carolina to see my parents and for the kids to attend Camp Up with People Jr. 

We arrived in North Carolina to find my dad in the hospital. Twelve days later, we lost my Dad. 

I don't think you are ever prepared to lose a loved one. We sure weren't prepared to lose Duane, Ruth, or Dad. 

In the midst of all of this, Robert has started a new job in South Carolina and we are buying our first house since he joined the Air Force. All these things are huge, life changing events. But thrown in such rapid succession into such a giant, boiling pot, it's a lot to deal with all at once. 

I don't know what to say or how to feel. I don't know thousands of things. 

I know there is a process to grief. I'm not sure how to proceed through it when it's layered like this. 

All the above are the facts, more or less. 

The emotions, however, are a completely different story. 

Once again, Robert is there and the kids and I are here. Logically it makes sense - at least on paper - for him to be there and working until we can all move into our new house. 

However.  Emotionally? Man does this suck. And that, my friends, is the understatement of the year. 

I feel like I'm in limbo - I bounce back and forth between numb and waves of emotions that are so powerful and fast changing I don't have a chance to identify or process them before the next wave hits. I'm sure this is pretty common. I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling this way. I keep reminding myself of all the good things in my life - and there are many, even in the midst of a year like this. I just have to keep going. And I can. And I will. 

Friday was a good day. Today is going to be harder. That's okay. Time keeps ticking forward whether you are ready or not and no matter what has happened. It's just the way it is. So today I'll work a little harder at being able to accept this new version of life. And maybe tomorrow will be a little easier than today. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Welcome, welcome!

Thanks for coming! I'm still trying to figure out exactly what it is I'm doing here. I hope you'll hang in there with me through the process.

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I tried really hard with Occasional Dose of Dahl to be funny most of the time. The truth is, I'm really not funny all that often. I mean, I like to think I am, but when you try too hard (at anything, really) it just sort of falls flat. Or maybe that's just me.

So, since I am creating this blog just for me, and it's pretty much supposed to inspire to me to stop being so afraid of things, I'm sure there will be a little bit of everything here. Sometimes funny, sometimes angry or sentimental, but always real.  And always 100% me. With my last blog, I attempted to be very careful what I said and how I said it so that I wouldn't offend anyone. I often failed spectacularly. Example one, within my first five posts, I managed to offend my mom to the point that she refused to read another blog entry unless someone asked her directly about it. True story.

So why am I here? What story do I have to tell? I'm not 100% sure. I guess we'll figure it out together. Often, I don't even know what I want to say until I'm finished writing something. Even then, what I thought I was going to write about becomes a different beast entirely.

A bit about me, just in case you are new here. I am a wife and mother. My husband is serving his last deployment before he retires this summer. I am excited for the changes, but will really miss military life. Right now, I'm in the minority. Every one else in the family is over it, which is a good sign, because major life changes are difficult and if you are looking forward to them then the transition is always easier.

Right now we live in Minot, North Dakota. It's our second winter here. Last winter was amazing and a completely false presentation of what a North Dakota winter was really like. This year, I have had my eyes opened - frozen open, if you will - because we have had so. much. snow. and bitter, bitter cold. Which in itself is good, because prior to this winter, I didn't want to leave Minot.  Ever.

Now? Well, let's just say while I'll still miss the area and the people, I will not miss a -40 wind chill. I used to say that I love cold weather. But I meant 'cold weather' like we had in North Carolina. The kind of cold weather where you didn't actually need a coat most of the time. Here in good ol' Minot? You go outside with the wind whipping around without proper winter gear, you are going to be in trouble and quickly! I learned that the hard way, just in case you were wondering.

I love to read, watch movies, take pictures, write, and pretend like I'm crafty. Which I'm not. At all. I am overweight and struggle greatly with food and trying to lose the extra pounds. I have very disordered thoughts and practices when it comes to food. I either want to binge eat or starve myself. I've been working really hard to find a healthy balance with food for the last two years and am finally starting to make some progress, but it's a daily battle.

I have a love/hate relationship with housework. I love it when the house is clean and organized, but absolutely hate getting everything just the way I like it only to have the kids come home and destroy in 15 minutes what it has taken me hours to do. I'm still not sure how that happens because the kids are great and not really destructive. Just typically messy and clutter bugs.

Image result for new things are comingI love music and dancing, but managed to Zumba my way into a serious hip issue that now has me mentally dancing more than actually. Guess how many calories mental dancing burns. Zero. It's really most disappointing.

I'm painfully socially awkward. When I click with someone initially and can have an intelligent, non-awkward conversation, I see fireworks, and hear bells ringing and think - briefly - that maybe I've finally figured out whatever formula there is for not sounding like a dork when meeting someone new. Alas, within 15 minutes, I generally prove myself wrong. But I keep on trying.  I'm very shy and introverted by nature (which is why the blogging from the safely of my computer in my home), but when I get to know you I'm extremely outgoing. I'm sure there's some psychological diagnosis for that, but right now it just adds one more tick in my awkward column.

I have a serious case of RBF (resting bitch face). But I'm not as mean or angry as my RBF makes me seem. I swear. So if you ever see me in public, please say hi. It will make my day.

And, that's about it. I have a hot date with the elliptical machine at the gym and I need to get there before the lunch crowd does, so I'm off.

Thanks for coming. I hope you'll come back soon!