Tag Archives: family

Celebrating Some Anniversaries (or Remembering Awesome Family Moments)

This past week had a couple of family anniversaries. I try to remember to celebrate each one when it happens, but things have been a bit crazy lately for me so my mind did slip a bit. But I figure it’s never too late to celebrate.

The first anniversary that happened recently was my grandparent’s anniversary. We don’t necessarily celebrate this anymore since my grandpa died because we don’t want my grandma to be upset. But I still like to remember it because it is a good reminder of how a marriage can last a very long time. I was lucky that I got to celebrate my grandparents’ anniversary with them several times. For their 50th, they took the entire family on an African safari. That still is one of the coolest trips I’ve ever taken. And for their 60th we had a family party up in Portland.

I also got to be there for what would end up being their last anniversary together. It was their 67th anniversary and it was a pretty simple dinner as a family. But even though that anniversary wasn’t a huge celebration, it’s still a good memory because it was such a fun dinner. Obviously at the time we had no way to know that was going to be the last anniversary my grandpa would be alive for, but I’m so grateful that I was there and got to celebrate with them. Also at that anniversary, my grandpa was telling the story of how he met my grandma. We ended up taking a video of that and it’s something that we all are so glad we have forever now.

I think we all wish that my grandparents would have been able to celebrate more anniversaries together. If my grandpa was still alive, this year would have been their 70th anniversary. I’m sure that they would have done something special to celebrate that. It probably wouldn’t have been a trip, but I bet we would have done a family dinner like we did for their 60th. It’s sad that they weren’t able to make it to that milestone, but to know that they made it to 67 years is pretty special. Not everyone has a marriage that lasts that long and it’s proof that you can stay married that long as long as you work at it. And it’s an inspiration for me even though the chances of me getting to 67 years with someone is a long shot (if I got married this year, I’d be 101 during a 67th anniversary).

Also this past weekend was my brother and sister-in-law’s anniversary. This one is awesome because I’m reminded of going to their wedding in Hawaii. I don’t get to take trips that often and going to Hawaii for a week was such a treat. And of course, I love that Krystle is my sister-in-law because she and I have gotten so close. Celebrating their anniversary is cool, but celebrating the day that Krystle officially became my sister is almost more special to me (sorry Ross!).

And they shared a pretty cute photo from their anniversary this past weekend. They both ended up buying each other the same anniversary card. It was not planned at all, but I think it shows how they are meant for each other.

I think that some of my single friends don’t love celebrating other’s anniversaries like I do. Maybe they see it as something that they haven’t achieved yet and they might be jealous. And I can understand that feeling even if I don’t feel it myself. But even with all the craziness I’ve encountered with my online dating, I’m still hopeful that I will find someone one day. So being able to celebrate isn’t something I’m jealous of, it’s something I’m looking forward to having myself in the future.

There are a couple of times a year when family celebrations are bunched up together. My mom’s birthday and my aunt and uncles anniversary are on the same day. My parents’ anniversary, my cousin’s birthday, and my birthday are within a few days of each other. And then there are these two anniversaries only a few days apart. I don’t know if all families have bunches of celebrations like we do, but it’s fun for me. It also makes it a bit easier to remember to celebrate everyone since I’m doing it in batches (except of course this year where I didn’t do things in advance). The next big family celebration will be my grandma’s birthday/Thanksgiving. And it’s crazy to think that November will be here before we know it!

So Many Birthdays and Anniversaries! (or A Month Of Celebrating And Remembering)

August is a pretty amazing month for me. Obviously it’s amazing since it’s my birthday month and I usually have lots of birthday celebrations. I think the birthday month thing started because growing up I wasn’t always able to celebrate my birthday on my birthday. When I was in school I would be out-of-town a lot on my birthday. I spent multiple years at summer camp on my birthday so I’d celebrate at camp and then have my birthday party when I got back home toward the end of the month. So I think it’s just a continuation of that when I have a birthday month now.

It also is such a full month of other celebrations so it naturally feels like I can continue my celebrations as well. I don’t want to steal the thunder at someone else’s birthday, but if I’m at a birthday party in August and it comes up that I just had a birthday usually people will say happy birthday to me as well. That doesn’t always happen, but it has happened a lot. And because I have so many different friend groups and we are all so busy, having multiple birthday celebrations seems required.

And it’s not just me that we celebrate toward the beginning of this month. In my birthday week we have my parents’ anniversary, my cousin’s birthday, a friend’s birthday, my birthday twin’s birthday, and my acting coach’s birthday. All of those things take place within 5 days. It’s a lot and it can be a bit overwhelming. It’s especially overwhelming when I have to get cards for everyone. I write down each person and what they are celebrating so I don’t forget anyone. And I usually mail all the cards off at the same time to make things as easy for me as possible.

I love getting to celebrate the people in my life. It’s so fun getting to do that and I love picking out the perfect present for people. And I know I’ve talked about this before, but this is also a bit of a tough time for me. My friend and my acting coach have both passed away in the past few years. I don’t get to celebrate them anymore the same way I used to and it can put a bit of a damper on everything. I miss all the birthday jokes we had together because of the back to back birthdays. And it’s not the same without those stupid jokes.

I try to not be sad about not getting to celebrate them anymore. I’m trying to focus on the happy memories I had with them and to celebrate their lives on their birthday. It’s still weird and I’m still getting used to it. I don’t know if it will ever feel normal that they are gone. And there are still times I forgot that either of them passed away. I will have something happen to me and my first thought is to call one of them. I can’t seem to erase their contact information from my phone so it’s still in there. And just as I’m about to look up their number I remember and stop. Fortunately it’s not that way on their birthdays, but it’s still a bit heartbreaking when it happens.

It does take me by surprise when it hits me this hard each year that they have passed away. I keep thinking that I won’t remember or that it won’t affect me. But it’s still a hole in my heart and I can’t forget about it. But that’s probably just a sign of how much I loved them and how important they were to my life. I know that both my friend and my acting coach changed my life for the better and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without one or both of them in my life. And I’d like to think that if they were still around that they would be proud of me.

There is so much I feel like I’m celebrating this year on my birthday. I wish that I had everyone I love who usually celebrates around the same time as me still alive and able to celebrate too. But this is the reality of life and I know that while things might keep getting easier it will never completely go away. I will always remember that I’m not able to celebrate them the same way, but hopefully I’ll be able to focus on celebrating all the fun that I did have with them while they were still alive and can make their birthdays a positive and happy day for me.

San Diego Day Trip (or The Backgammon Witch)

I was down in San Diego for a day trip not too long ago, but I was able to do another day trip down there this past weekend. I’m glad I’m able to go down there more often because my grandma is in San Diego. She understands that I can’t be there all the time, but I know that she appreciates it when I’m able to get down there too.

This time, my parents were in San Diego for the week visiting my grandma (unlike last time when their trip was for the surgery I was supposed to have) and they had been doing a lot of fun stuff. I couldn’t visit during the week because of my schedule, but I was able to take time off on Saturday so I could spend a few hours down there with everyone.

I’m glad I took the time off work because there were so many accidents on the freeway on the drive down. It usually takes me 2 hours to get there, but this time it was 3 hours. If I hadn’t gotten the time off work, I only would have had an hour or so with my family before I had to go back to LA.

Once I got there, my parents and I went out for lunch. Originally my grandma was possibly going to come with us, but it was easier for her to eat lunch at home. So the 3 of us (plus the dog) went out for a casual lunch at a Greek restaurant just around the corner from where my grandma lives. It was nice getting to catch my parents up on some of the stuff happening in my life and what I’m trying to plan to do coming up. I was hoping to get to Tahoe sometime soon, but I don’t think that will be happening until the winter now.

After our lunch, we headed up to my grandma’s apartment. It was nice to see her at her place since I hadn’t been up there in a while (when I was there last time, I waited in my car while my dad got her). Her apartment is really nice and has some of my favorite pictures of our family on her desk and tv table. And it also has her backgammon set.

My grandparents used to play backgammon every single day. My grandpa would always say that my grandma is a witch because she could always get double sixes or whatever roll she needed at the time she needed it. She would win most of the time and it was so funny seeing my grandpa get frustrated that she always got lucky with the dice.

I don’t know how much backgammon my grandma has played since my grandpa passed away. But my parents had told me that while they’ve been on this trip they have been playing backgammon with her. And it’s like she never stopped playing! She’s just as good as she always has been and she still has all her witch powers. My dad took this photo from the day before I was there of my grandma right after she won a game against my mom.

I love that expression on her face! You can tell how proud she is that she can still kick my mom’s butt in backgammon. And while I was there, my mom and grandma played some more.

This time, my grandma wasn’t as lucky with the dice (and she kept saying how badly she was playing) so my mom was lucky and was able to win a game. But seeing my grandma so happy doing something that I’ve seen her do my entire life made me so happy. My grandparents had taught all their grandkids how to play backgammon, but it’s been a while since I’ve played. But I think I’ll need to brush up on my skills because I have a feeling we will be playing a lot at Thanksgiving this year.

After visiting with my grandma, we went back to the place my parents were staying at. My parents’ friends were going to be coming over to hang out with them and I was going to visit with them as well. A lot of the conversation was about medical stuff (that’s the case a lot of the time around my family) and clearly Tucker was pretty bored by all the talk.

I stayed for about an hour with everyone and then headed out when they were all walking down to the beach. I have a friend who recently moved to San Diego and I was going to have dinner with him and his sister before heading back up to LA. It was a pretty chill dinner and was a nice way to feel like I did have a bit of a mini-vacation with my day trip down to San Diego. Usually I’m down and back so quickly that it doesn’t feel like I did much more than drive a lot.

On my drive back up, I happened to time it out perfectly and was driving past Disneyland just as the fireworks were going off. It was actually a better view from the freeway than what we had by the castle the last time we were there! Seeing the fireworks made me miss Disneyland a bit, but it’s only about another month before I can go back with my pass.

While my trip down to San Diego wasn’t that much longer than the time it took me to drive there and back, it was still a nice break from LA. I don’t think I’ll be down there again before Thanksgiving, but you never know. I’m lucky that it’s not too far for me to get there and that I can easily do it as a day trip.

Family Brunch (or Sibling Catch Up Time)

Even though all my immediate family lives in CA, I don’t see everyone that often. I was lucky that I got to spend about a week with my parents recently, but that was only because that was when I was supposed to have surgery and they weren’t going to cancel their trip here. Usually I see my parents maybe 4 times a year and it’s mostly when they are down in San Diego. But I do talk to them on the phone pretty much every day so at least I’m catching up with them that way.

My brother and sister-in-law live in Santa Barbara which is only about an hour an a half away from me. But between them and me, we all have pretty crazy schedules. So even with them being so close I don’t get to see them that often. The last time I had seen them was Thanksgiving and there was a chance I wouldn’t see them again until this Thanksgiving. They were going to come down here for the day if I had surgery and was in the hospital, but since that didn’t happen they didn’t make it here.

But my brother and sister-in-law were in LA for a wedding this past weekend and they invited me to get brunch with them on Sunday before they drove back. Of course I said yes because I need to take advantage of any time that I get to hang out with them. I don’t get to talk to them that often on the phone (again, we all have crazy and conflicting schedules) so I’m not as caught up with them as I am with my parents.

They suggested going to Momed in Beverly Hills for brunch. I had never been there before, but I’m always open to trying new brunch places! And it’s not too far of a drive for me and I wanted to go somewhere that they wanted to go since they don’t get to LA that often. They made reservations for us on Sunday morning and I was excited to get to see them.

I got there before they did and sat at a table outside. It was pretty nice being able to sit outside and even though it was a hot day it wasn’t too bad that early in the morning. And I like being able to people watch because it’s always interesting to see who is out and about on Sunday mornings. I only was there by myself for a few minutes before my brother and sister-in-law were walking up the street to meet me.

They had just gotten back from a trip so they were telling me about their vacation and the vacation that they are planning for later this year. And they were telling me about the wedding that they went to the night before. Then they asked me about everything going on in my life. I still don’t feel like I have a ton of updates on my life beyond saying that I’m working on getting things back to normal. I filled them in on the plan for the tumors and that I should be having another MRI in the fall to make a new plan.

My sister-in-law was also curious about my adventures in online dating. She had seen some posts of mine on social media and wanted to hear more of the stories. My brother didn’t really want to hear about it so we had to wait until he went to the bathroom so I could tell her more of the stories. But they met online so I think they feel like it’s very possible for me to meet someone amazing online so that’s good.

Since they had to drive back home that day, we didn’t get to spend too much time at brunch. I did have an amazing meal though! There were a bunch of Mediterranean dishes on the menu, but I went for something a bit simpler. The potatoes had a really nice spice on them and everything else was basic breakfast food. But that’s exactly what I wanted for my brunch.

We were only at brunch for a little over an hour, but then we all had to say goodbye. My brother and sister-in-law did walk with me to where I parked my car because they hadn’t had the chance to see my new car yet. I think that they both liked the car and agree that it is a major upgrade from my old car. I think I’m still getting used to having a new car and having the chance to show it off to family members who haven’t seen it yet keep the car feeling new to me.

I’m so glad that I was able to see my brother and sister-in-law for brunch. I know we all need to work a bit more on trying to meet up more often, but we all also understand that our schedules aren’t the easiest ones to work with. We don’t get upset with each other if we only see each other 2-3 times a year even though they live so close. And while I’m hopeful I’ll see them again before Thanksgiving, November will probably be here before we know it and I’ll see them (and my entire family) again then!

San Diego Day (or Some More Family Time)

When I thought I was having surgery, the plan was to recover in LA with my parents for about a week and then head to San Diego to recover for almost another week. We wanted to make sure that I had enough time with help from my parents before they left (and obviously if I needed help longer we would have figured something out). Once the surgery was cancelled, my parents’ trip stayed the same but I didn’t go with them to San Diego right away. I decided to work so I didn’t have to use up the hours I had banked from work and then just went to San Diego for the day.

I’m pretty used to going to San Diego just for the day. It’s a bit of a drive, but not too unbearable. Plus, this was going to be a great opportunity for me to take my new car on a longer drive for the first time. The drive down was pretty easy (although I’ve figured out some new things that I want to see about getting for my car) and I was at my parents’ rental house right when they wanted me to get there.

As soon as I arrived, my dad and I went to get my grandma from her place. It’s much easier for her to get into my car than my mom’s since mine is lower to the ground. Plus that gave me extra time with my grandma. When we got her in my car and started to drive to the rental house, she realized that she left her sunglasses in her walker which was in my trunk. Fortunately, I have some random sunglasses in my car for just this occasion. I handed a pair to my grandma and I think she looked pretty amazing in the red sunglasses I had!

Once we got back to the rental house, most of the time we spent as a family was watching old home movies. My mom has turned most of our home movies into DVDs and it’s pretty fun to watch them. A lot of them are from family vacations and I’m glad that we have the videos since I was a teenager and don’t remember the trips as well as I’d like to. But I do still remember some of the really random moments from the trips like when we were in the amazon 17 years ago and I caught a piranha.

I posted that photo online and some of my friends commented that I look the same, but I think I look much older now. Or maybe I just looked really old when I was 16/17!

And as usual when I go down to San Diego to be with my family, my mom cooked an amazing dinner for us. There was a nice little outdoor eating area at the rental house and it was perfect weather for all of us to sit outside and enjoy a relaxing and delicious dinner.

And I know that my grandma really appreciates me coming to visit, even if it is only for a few hours. She seemed so happy with us all being together and I know that she had a great time. I thought maybe seeing some of the home movies would make her sad because my grandpa is in them, but that didn’t bother her. She didn’t remember everything that we did for each trip, but when there was stuff she did remember she seemed to light up and have funny stories to share about that part of the trip.

I didn’t get to spent too much time in San Diego because I had to be back in LA at a reasonable hour. I ended up spending about 5 hours there (and the total drive time round trip was about 4 hours), but it was totally worth it. I don’t get to see my grandma that often and I know I need to see her more. If I hadn’t gone to San Diego this time, I don’t know when I would have seen her again. Maybe at Thanksgiving but the last time I saw her was Thanksgiving and I would hate for an entire year to pass without a visit.

I know I need to make more of an effort to go to San Diego to see my grandma. It’s not that bad of a trip and just going out to lunch or dinner with her seems to make a huge difference in her day. I just need to work out when I can get down there again before Thanksgiving!

Friends and Family Workouts (or Getting Pushed To Do Better)

This past week of workouts was awesome! And it’s not just because I had thought for so long that I wouldn’t be able to work out. I really had some great things happen in my workouts and in each workout I had someone with me to cheer me on! I was planning on doing 4 workouts once I knew that I wouldn’t be having surgery, but it ended up being a 3 workout week. But that’s ok because I think I got more out of each workout than a normal workout day!

Monday’s workout was while my parents were still in town. One day I’ll get my mom to take class with me, but this time it was just my dad. He’s done a couple of Orangetheory workouts before so he knew what he was in for. And since he reads this blog (hi Dad!) he knows what some of the workouts consist of so he can try doing things at his gym. Since going to Orangetheory he has started to use inclines on the treadmill and he pushes himself harder in his workouts. But he always says that he works hardest when he’s in a class with me because there is a coach pushing him on (plus, he and I are competitive).

The workout on Monday was endurance, strength, and power and we didn’t switch between blocks. My dad and I started on the treadmill and the first block was endurance based. We had some longer push paces and I was able to run all of them (I really did want to impress my dad with my running). The second block was a mix of strength and power and we had only short all outs but they were all on hills (3, 5, and 7% incline). I usually don’t run at those higher inclines, but again I wanted to impress my dad so I did it! It wasn’t too bad doing the 7% incline for only 45 seconds, but I don’t think I’m ready for longer running at that incline. So with the last block, it was longer hill time so I spent that block walking all my inclines. But even with the walking, I got to about 2 miles on the treadmill in class.

On the floor, each block started with rowing. Rowing is where my dad and I are most competitive. He easily beats me with running and I almost always beat him with weights. But rowing is where we challenge a lot. He still tends to beat me, but I’ve had some great rowing workouts lately and he doesn’t usually get to row at his gym. So I was happy to see what we were going to do. Between each of the floor blocks we had a 300 meter row (I did it in 1:03.3 and my dad did it in 1:03.1), a 90 second timed row (I got 384 meters and my dad got 387 meters), and a 15 stroke pull test (I don’t remember the exact numbers but I beat my dad that time). This was the closest I’ve been to beating my dad on the rower and that was awesome! I’m even more excited to see what I will be able to do by Thanksgiving!

While we were rowing, another friend in class took a photo of me and my dad getting our rowers set up. It is a super cute photo and I loved seeing that the official Instagram account for my Orangetheory location put it up in their Instagram story!

I think my dad was super excited to see us on there (and he doesn’t use social media so for him to be excited about it means it’s that much more awesome). For the rest of the workout that day we had squats, chest presses, lunges, triceps using the straps, plank work, and ab work. I think my dad had a great time working out with me and he said he was a bit sore the next day.

Wednesday’s workout was a power day and my friend Dani was in class with me! It was a switch day, but we did 2 treadmill blocks back to back before switching the first time. The running was mainly very short segments (either push to all out paces or just all out paces) and I ran all of those and then walked my base paces. It was a pretty good speed running day for me but I didn’t hit any new records with my speeds. But to me, I’m still so happy that I can run so I’m always impressed with running days. I did end up walking the last treadmill block, but that’s because of what I did on the floor.

When we moved to the floor, we mainly had squats with shoulder work and then sprint rows in-between the sets. The sprint rows were 100, 150, and 200 meters and Dani and I decided to race. Dani is insanely good at rowing and I knew that she could always beat me, but the idea of racing her would probably help me get my sprint rows done faster. And while Dani did beat me each time, I managed to do some PRs and almost PRs with my rowing! The downside to that was that I was starting to hurt pretty badly after the rowing. My hip was killing me and I was starting to get some stomach cramps. So because of that, I had to take it easy for a lot of the workout (which is why I walked on the treadmill).

My last workout of the week was on Friday and my friend Elizabeth joined me! She’s a new member of Orangetheory and we aren’t always able to be in the same classes. But she might be able to start going to the same time on Fridays as me. And our workout this day was a run/row that had endurance, strength, and power elements to it. I was excited for a run/row and this one seemed pretty awesome for me. The running segments that I got to were .5 miles, .4 miles at 2%, and .3 miles at 3%. I was able to run all of them (not run/walk, just run) and it’s still so amazing to me that I can run for .5 miles without stopping!

For the rowing, I only got to 2 rowing segments which were 100 meters and 200 meters. My 200 meter row was good, but nothing special (I was also pretty tired by that point). But for my 100 meter row I decided to see what I could do. My PR for that distance is 17.7 seconds and I had done 17.8 seconds on Wednesday. I was going as fast and as hard as I could on the rower and I managed to get it down to 17.6 seconds! At the speed I’m going on that row, there isn’t a ton of room for improvement so just taking that .1 seconds off is a huge accomplishment! I didn’t get that far down the run/row plan, but that’s because my running is still on the slower end of things.

On the floor, each block was 3 moves and then we were supposed to hold a plank until time was called. We had a nice mix of things including hop overs, lunges, squats, burpees, chest presses, and bicep work I only made it to the point that I had to hold a plank once and holding the plank was tough. I don’t think I hold plank too often in my workouts and that got me thinking (more on that tomorrow).

I’m so glad that I was able to work out this week and that I’m already back to my normal workout schedule. I had been so worried about how much time I was going to have to take off and I’m glad that I didn’t have to experience that. I’ve made so much progress lately because I was worried about the time off, and I’m thinking that pushing myself all that time was perfect. I’ve proven to myself that I can do more than I thought and I have the intention to keep that momentum going.

Books and Roses (or A Day By USC)

When I thought I would be having surgery last week, I was trying to figure out fun things for my parents to do. I knew they wouldn’t want to be in the hospital with me all day long, so I was looking up what events were happening in LA while they were here. And the one that stuck out to me was the LA Times Festival of Books.

At first, I was so sad because I thought I would end up missing the Festival of Books. But of course, there was nothing I could do about that. But then when the surgery got cancelled, I was so happy because that meant that going to the festival was something I could do! So this past Sunday, we decided to go spend the afternoon there.

Both my mom and dad went with me and we had the dog with us as well. And since parking is so expensive near USC, we took the light rail (where it turns out my parents are senior citizens and the ride only costs $0.35!). Tucker is very good with traveling, but this was his first light rail experience. He didn’t love it, but he was really well-behaved and just sat on the floor by our feet. I don’t think a lot of people on the train even knew we had him with us. But the Metro employees loved him!

I told my parents that the festival was pretty big, but I don’t think they understood how huge it is! The last time they were at USC was when my brother graduated college there and I don’t know how much of the campus they had explored before. So I think they were a bit overwhelmed by the crowd there (so was the dog). But we just tried to go up and down the various sections and casually checked out the booths. We didn’t go into too many booths, but we did make a stop at the LA Public Library booth.

I’m a huge book nerd and was spending so much on books until I rediscovered my love for the library. And now I’m getting so many library books for my Kindle. I’m saving hundreds of dollars a month on books and I love that I can support the public library system. It’s so important and I don’t think enough people take advantage of what they can get there.

After being at the festival for a while, the crowds were getting to be a bit too much. So we headed across the street to the Rose Garden to see how all the roses were looking.

Since we had so much rain this past winter, everything was in bloom! The past few times I had been at the Rose Garden it wasn’t looking so great, but this time it was pretty full with flowers. The fountain in the center wasn’t going (maybe to still conserve a bit of water), but it was still so nice walking around checking out all the flowers.

My dad knows so much about roses and plants so he could almost name all of the types of roses in the garden without looking at the sign saying the name of the variety of roses. But there were some that we didn’t know and the names were a bit crazy. It was nice getting to just relax and walk around. It’s so pretty there and of course Tucker was loving all the smells all over.

It was a pretty warm and sunny day so after walking around a bit it was time for us to go back to the light rail station and take the train back. Tucker was much more comfortable on the train this time and he looked like he might fall asleep on the ride. And again, I don’t think a lot of people realized that he was with us so that’s a sign of a pretty obedient dog.

I’m so glad that I was able to make it to the LA Times Festival of Books. It really is a great event and I wish I could have spent more time there. Maybe next year I can go on both Saturday and Sunday so I can see even more of what there is there and hopefully learn about a ton of new books that I want to add to my reading list.

LA Staycation (or Hanging Out With Family and Friends)

Normally, I try to keep myself pretty busy. Between work, workouts, acting, and having a social life my calendar can get full. And when I have downtime, sometimes I stress out that I should be doing more and I don’t feel like I’m really enjoying some free time. I don’t get to take vacations that often because I don’t have the money to do it and I don’t have paid time off. So I’m pretty much in a routine in my life in LA.

I’ve been joking for a while that my vacation this year was going to be the time in the hospital after surgery. I knew that while I was in the hospital I would have no responsibilities and wouldn’t have to worry about what I should be doing. And then when surgery got cancelled, I started to look at my schedule again to try to get things back to normal. I’m not taking that much time off of work because I want to save the banked hours for future things. But I did take a few days off since my parents are here in LA for the week (they couldn’t cancel their trip when my surgery was cancelled so they decided to have a low-key trip here).

Most of the time that my parents have been here, we’ve been doing a lot of lazy stuff. And honestly, all that lazy stuff has been perfect with me. I’m not working most of the days they are here (I did work on Saturday since my shift was done at 11am) so we have the entire day free. And we did try to make some plans with family and friends so my parents could take advantage of their time in LA. They usually aren’t here for more than a day or two so this was a rare trip for them as well.

On Thursday (what would have been surgery day), we drove out to the valley to see my dad’s friend. He and my dad have been friends since they were kids and my dad tries to see him when he’s in LA but he doesn’t always have time. My dad’s friend is very into gardening and succulent plants and has been getting ready to various garden clubs to come over to his house for a plant tour. So we got to see the rehearsal for the tour and check out all the amazing plants that he has in his yard. His garden is almost nicer than some of the huge ones around LA so it’s pretty incredible.

My dad’s friend also has a dog that Tucker loves. I don’t think their dog, Sunshine, loves Tucker as much as Tucker loves her. But that seems to be the case with a lot of dogs. Tucker just wants everyone to love him at all times and doesn’t understand why other dogs or people aren’t the same. But the dogs get along enough so we took them out for a walk and to a park so they could run around a bit. And when they both got tired, they were relaxing near each other nicely and seemed to be getting along more than they were at the beginning of the visit.

On Friday, we had lunch with some of my mom’s cousins. I hadn’t seen these cousins since I went to Passover a few years ago so it was great to get to see them again. We went to a restaurant near the rental house my parents were staying in, and while the food was ok the service was pretty awful. Servers were bringing food over to our table before we even ordered and nobody could remember what drinks went to which table. I think we were offered drinks every few minutes and they were never ours (it also took them like 15 minutes to get my mom an iced tea). I’m glad that we had a nice visit with family and that the bad service at lunch didn’t bring us down.

Most of the rest of the time on Friday was spent with taking the dog to a few different dog parks. He loves going to dog parks and there are some really nice ones in LA. We have been really liking the ones in Playa Vista because they aren’t just dirt like the one near my house. There’s one dog park that is bark and the other is fake grass. Both were really nice and had some fun dogs for Tucker to play with. I don’t get to hang out with Tucker that often, so just watching him at a dog park is a nice treat for me.

I’ll write more about what we did on the second half of their time here in another post, but I’m glad the time that I was expecting to be in the hospital were spent doing much more fun things. We didn’t have anything planned at first but we were lucky that we were able to get some plans organized pretty quickly so we could do some nice things while my parents are here. I know that they probably won’t do a long LA trip again soon unless there is a specific reason (like if I do have surgery eventually), so I’m taking advantage of having them here for a while without anything that we have to do.

Celebrating Not Having Surgery (or Getting To Have Some Family Time)

Today was supposed to be my surgery day. I had planned out blog posts to write while I was going to be in the hospital and how to document my recovery the best way possible. I think I’m still in a bit of shock that the surgery was cancelled and that I’m not going to have to worry about all of that right now. There is still a chance I will be having surgery in the future, but unless something crazy happens soon it won’t be for at least another 6 months or so.

My entire family did so much planning to make sure that they would be able to help me as much as possible through surgery and recovery. While most of my family wasn’t going to be able to be in LA with me, my parents made plans to come to LA for a week to help me get through everything. My parents have come to LA in the past to take care of me after I’ve had surgeries, so I expected that they would do the same this time. But I’m still aware how lucky I am that my parents have the ability to come here to help me out when I need it.

Since the surgery was cancelled, a lot of things have changed but one thing hasn’t. My parents are still going to be in LA with me for the week. I don’t think my parents have ever spent a week with me in LA outside of taking care of me after a surgery, so this will be pretty cool. We are slowly filling our calendar with some fun things that we’ve been wanting to do so we can enjoy this weeklong hangout. I’m going to take a few days off of work since I banked so many hours so I can spend a lot of time with them. But I’ll also be working a little bit as well so I still have some hours saved if I need them in the future.

I think it will be pretty great getting to have this week with my parents here. Normally when they are in LA, they are only here for a day or so and we are pretty busy doing things. They haven’t really met any of my LA friends. But now, they will have a chance to meet all the people I hang out with (and blog about) while they are here. I think it will be pretty cool to get to have everyone meet each other. And my dad is going to join me for an Orangetheory workout too! He usually only does the Thanksgiving workouts, so this will be a nice bonus for him.

I will also be going to San Diego with my parents to visit my grandma. I won’t be in San Diego as long as originally planned (since I won’t be recovering with my parents and I want to work a bit), but I will get to spend a nice weekend with them. It will be much more relaxing this way than it would have been if I was in pain from surgery.

I just wanted to say thank you again to all of you who prayed for my tumors to shrink or put some awesome tumor shrinking thoughts out there. Since I shared the news that my surgery was cancelled, I got so many amazing messages on social media and emails telling me congratulations and how they were so happy for me. I’m so grateful that you all care about me and my health and that you were as excited about my news as I was!

While I won’t be blogging about surgery or recovery now, I’m glad I’ll have much more interesting things to share with you all in the coming weeks. I’m working on getting my social calendar filled up again since I was planning on taking time off. And so far, the things I think will be coming up are going to be so much fun and just a continuation of celebrating not needing surgery today!

Full Thanksgiving Week (or Lots Of Family Time)

I feel like I’m still decompressing from my Thanksgiving week. It was such a great week and even though it was the same length as most of my Thanksgiving trips, I felt like I got more family time this year than I have in the past.

I was able to get my work shifted to be a bit earlier during Thanksgiving week, so I could start my drive to San Diego 2 hours earlier than normal. That made a huge difference in my drive since I ended up missing the big rush of traffic and was able to get down to San Diego in about 2 1/2 hours (normal for me is 2 hours and last Thanksgiving was over 4). My drive got a bit delayed when I was almost to the rental house when I got pulled over by a cop. Turned out my loaner car from the mechanic didn’t have the current registration sticker on it! It took some time for the cop to write the ticket, but since I’m not the owner of the car it isn’t my ticket.

Even with the time spent waiting for the ticket, the drive was easy and fast and once I got to the rental house I relaxed. I felt like I was totally in vacation mode and the view we had from the house really helped.

first-sunset

And Tucker decided to make himself very comfortable by using me as his personal pillow. At least I know he loves me since he was always laying on my legs if I was on the ground or on my feet if I was sitting in a chair.

tucker

The day I arrived, we didn’t do too much. Most of us had gotten to San Diego that day, so we were fine with relaxing and not rushing around. My parents, brother, sister-in-law, and I went out to dinner that night which was nice since we were going to be around a ton of family the rest of the week.

On Wednesday of Thanksgiving week, I had to work from the rental house in the morning. There was a breakfast bar in the kitchen so I worked from there. It was a bit noisy, but it allowed me to still hang out with my family while I was working. I didn’t want to isolate myself so it worked out nicely! After my shift was done, I went with my dad to take the dog to a dog park (he needed to get out some energy). It was another pretty low-key day until dinnertime. We all headed over to my aunt’s house for dinner that night. Almost the entire family was there (we were only missing 1 person) and it was awesome!

It was a casual dinner which was nice. I ended up at a table with my brother, sister-in-law, cousin, and my cousin’s kids (so we were at a kids table), but that was fine. Eating dinner was pretty quick and most of the time we were there was spent in the living room talking. I was telling my grandma how you can look up census paperwork online and showed her how I found the paperwork her parents (my great-grandparents) filled out when she was little. Their maid was listed on their paperwork since she lived there and my grandma was telling us all stories about the maid and her parents. It was a really special thing to get to hear  since we don’t know a ton of stories from when my grandma was growing up.

Thanksgiving day was pretty busy. My morning included the family workout at Orangetheory (which is quickly becoming one of my favorite traditions!) and then I was trying to help out my mom with getting dinner ready. A lot of stuff was done in advance but there was still plenty to do the day of. One of my jobs was to help with the big table we were using, but unfortunately even with all of the muscle in the family, we weren’t able to get the extra leaf in the table. But we managed to get everyone in between the main table and a card table (for the little kids), so it worked out well.

table

On Thanksgiving Day, my cousin Adam and his girlfriend arrived and with them there we had the entire family at Thanksgiving for the first time in a very long time! It was a very full dinner, but it was incredible to have 17 people from 4 generations together.

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This was also the first time in 6 years that the 5 of us in my generation (my cousins, brother, and I) were all together. I’m hoping this will be happening more often, but we had to get a photo together just in case it is a few more years before we can do this again.

cousins

The day after Thanksgiving, I had to work a full shift for work. I was able to get my hours shifted early again, so I only had to work from 8am-1pm. And I worked in the kitchen so I was spending time with my family in between customers (we didn’t get a ton of people calling or using our chat system so there was a lot downtime). My brother and sister-in-law left to go back to Santa Barbara while I was working, but everyone else was going to be coming back to the house for dinner again that night.

That last night in San Diego had another incredible sunset and my mom and grandma pulled some chairs over to the big windows so they could relax and watch the sun go down. We also tried to see the green flash with the sunset, but it was a bit too cloudy.

family

After having leftovers for dinner, I got back into my loaner car to make the drive back to LA. It would have been nice to spend another day in San Diego, but I really needed to get back. I said goodbye to everyone (a lot of them I might not see again until next Thanksgiving) and made the drive back up. Fortunately, I had a very easy drive (and didn’t get pulled over again) and was home in time to unpack before needing to go to bed.

Overall, it was a pretty wonderful Thanksgiving week. I know that I’m so lucky that my family can get together like this and I’m very grateful that we all make the effort to continue this family tradition.