Dad's Journey, Uncategorized

Navigating a New Way of Life

IMG_4806Things have been a bit stressful these past few months. The day before my birthday we received confirmation that my dad has both frontal lobe dementia and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). While we all suspected the news was coming, I was in total denial about it and sorta still am in denial about it. The only blessing is that with dad’s dementia, he doesn’t realize that he has ALS.

We learned that dad’s ALS is likely tied to his time in the military. Apparently it’s a growing trend with military veterans being diagnosed with ALS. While dad never served overseas, he did work with many types of chemicals for warfare and whatnot. I don’t know all the specifics about what he did, but I do know that back then they never wore protective gear (masks, gloves, etc). Even with his actual job (post military) he dealt with a vast array of chemicals and of course they never wore protective gear for that as well. It was never a concern back then.

Now we are navigating a new way of life. We’re learning about ALS as well as dementia. Dad is no longer driving (he thinks the doctor told him that because he’s not wearing his hearing aids), but that’s not the case. We’re trying to keep dad happy with continuing with activities that he loves: going to the gym about 6 days a week, going to NC State football games, dinner with friends at his favorite restaurants (42nd Street Oyster Bar and Hayes Barton Cafe) and most recently a trip to the NC State Fair.

I’m going to try to keep this blog regularly updated about dad to eventually share with family and friends on how he’s doing and all the activities he’s still involved in.

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My Bucket List of Bands

Somebody Told Me

It would be hot as Haiti’s for The Killers concert and they weren’t lying.  It felt like I was trapped in a sauna with scores of people surrounding me and incredibly stuffy it was hard to breathe, but who cares… I was FINALLY seeing The Killers.  Ever since they hit the music scene, I’ve been waiting ever so patiently for them to come to Raleigh or anywhere in the state of North Carolina.  My dreams came true on August 12th when they performed at Red Hat Amphitheater.

They really rocked their first show in Raleigh playing several of my favorite songs from their early music like All These Things That I’ve Done, Human, Somebody Told Me, Mr. Brightside, When You Were Young, and Losing Touch.  I had a major swoon moment when he sang a tidbit of James Taylor’s Carolina in My Mind.  At that moment, Brandon Flowers made me weak in the knees.

Due to the insane heat we had to get some “air” which basically meant we needed to get out of the massive crowd. While we were standing off to the side a man came out of the pit and ripped his wristband off and proceeded to give it to us.  For the remained of the show we took turns going in the pit to get an up close + personal view.  It was oh-so amazing.  I felt like I was on cloud 45,985 watching Brandon Flowers commandeer the stage.  The only downside of the night was the heat, it was rather unbearable, but we mustered through it!

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Not my best concert photo, but here’s Brandon Flowers of The Killers. Swoon.

 

 

 

Around Town

Beer, Bourbon, BBQ= Burnt

Most of my friends who know me know that I’m not much of a beer drinker so for me to go to the Beer, Bourbon + BBQ festival was kind of a big deal.  To celebrate this momentous occasion we went big- VIP tickets.  Go big or go home!  Having VIP tickets meant you could gain access to the Beer, Bourbon + BBQ Festival at noon, which meant we had two extra hours to get a head start on drinking before it opened up to rest of attendees at 2pm.    Let’s just say I was there for a solid six hours.  Six hours of drinking, six hours of getting sunburned, and six hours of pure fun.

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Y’all like my Beer, Bourbon + BBQ souvenir glass?
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I’ll confess. I bought one of those cheesy necklaces that holds your drink. It actually came in handy.
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With my friend Natalie before things got a little fuzzy.

I learned to things in attending the Beer, Bourbon + BBQ Festival:

  • I love pumpkin ale.
  • I hate bourbon.

One of the guys that went with us pretty much peer pressured me into drinking some of the bourbon.  Yes, at the age of 31 I was peer pressured.  Regardless, I did not celebrate drinking bourbon.  Had it been mixed with Ginger Ale, I probably would have handled it better than making a hideous face whenever I tried to drink it straight up.  As I’m typing this, I’m cringing at the thought of drinking bourbon.  Did I mention it was hot as all get out?  Hot bourbon, y’all.  Ick!

By the time the festival opened up to the rest of the ticket holders at 2pm, I couldn’t feel my brain.  (Not being able to feel my brain = being tipsy).  The rest of the day was a bit of a haze, due to the heat and alcohol consumption…. and no I did not get white girl wasted where I couldn’t remember the rest of the day.  Although I did discover I had bought an $8 jar of jelly.  That’s correct, an $8 jar of jelly.

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I present to you my $8 One Screw Loose jelly. Someone go find me some high-end peanut butter.

That’s what happens when you drink all day, you go home with high-end jelly.

I’m going to leave with you one last photo.  Don’t be like this guy who passed out beside the trashcan, otherwise someone like myself will come along and snap some pictures of you.

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Trashcan fail.
Pieces From the Past, Travels

Vintage Finds at the Beach!

While I was at Ocean Isle Beach on vacation, I went antiquing + thrift shopping when we had a rainy day.  Who knew Ocean Isle, Calabash, Shallotte and Holden Beach had so many hidden treasures.  I seriously picked up some amazing finds and can’t wait to put them to use.

On our first stop at Bargain Basement Resale in Shallotte where I picked up this adorable teacup planter.  I have plans to spray paint it (I’ve had suggestions of hot pink, white or gold… not sure what direction I’ll take) and  I want repurpose it into something other than a planter.  Those who know me know I kill all my plants.  The longest I’ve kept a plant alive is maybe two weeks… three weeks tops.  I’ll keep you posted as to what I end up doing with this find.

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Next stop was at a small thrift store in Calabash (can’t remember the name, oops)!  I came across these tall glasses and all I could think about is how summer cocktails or lemonade would look perfect in these glasses.  That was the best $4 I spent in a LONG time!

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At The Memory Cottage in Shallotte, I found these AMAZING vintage steel locker baskets.  They had about ten in the store and I walked out with two.  I’m seriously considering calling them to see if they’ll ship me a few more.  These would be great for storage in a bathroom, kitchen, bedroom or really anywhere.  It’ll give any room character.  That’s it, I’ve made up my mind… I’m going to call them tomorrow to see if there’s any left so I can call them mine!  Not bad for $14.99, right?!

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Last stop we made was at Miss Minnie’s Antiques in Shallotte where I fell in love with this bright blue lantern.  I knew I had to have it.  I think it’s the color that really caught my eye because it was so vibrant.  Since the last thing I need to do is play with kerosine and matches, I’m going to turn it into a lamp.  Either I’ll become a mini Bob Vila or find someone to help me convert into a lamp that doesn’t require starting a fire.

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I realize pretty much everything I bought was in Shallotte, but there were some great little shops everywhere.  We didn’t rely on Google or Yelp to steer us in the right direction, we just hopped in the car and came across these unique stores along our adventure.

Until next time, xoxo!

Travels

Let’s Go to the Beach, Beach

I recently got back from a family vacation at Ocean Isle Beach in North Carolina.  When I say “family vacation” I mean there were about 20+ folks coming and going from the beach house.  This has been an ongoing tradition well before I was born. It’s an opportunity for cousins, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters and so on to spend a week together under the same roof to really bond + catch up.  When you think about it, It’s priceless.  Here’s a recap of my vacation at Ocean Isle!

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The views from the beach house.

 

This was the best $9.99 I spent on a cheesy shirt from Waves to give to my cousin
This was the best $9.99 I spent on a cheesy shirt from Waves to give to my cousin
I kept it classy on the first day with a Diet Coke in my House of Swank koozie.
I kept it classy on the first day with a Diet Coke in my House of Swank koozie.

 

Wine, saltwater and sand is all I need.  This is what heaven looks like
Wine, saltwater and sand is all I need. This is what heaven looks like
The beach hat I bought was cutting it, so I bought this amazing mustache hat to keep me cool and looking hip
The beach hat I bought was cutting it, so I bought this amazing mustache hat to keep me cool and looking hip

 

My cousin Blake found this starfish on the beach.  Poor l'il guy lost a limb later that day.
My cousin Blake found this starfish on the beach. Poor l’il guy lost a limb later that day.

 

This is what happens when a pack of cute kids asks you to buy one of their bracelets they made.  I couldn't say no!
This is what happens when a pack of cute kids asks you to buy one of their bracelets they made. I couldn’t say no!

 

Every evening led to an exciting game of beach volleyball
Every evening led to an exciting game of beach volleyball

 

I adore Ocean Isle for their calm beaches
I adore Ocean Isle for their calm beaches
Another gorgeous view of Ocean Isle
Another gorgeous view of Ocean Isle
The family flag that was on display everyday!
The family flag that was on display everyday!

 

These 2 goobers kept me laughing all week long and I got to feel young again hanging out with them
These 2 goobers kept me laughing all week long and I got to feel young again hanging out with them

That pretty much sums up the week I spent at Ocean Isle… drinking wine/ Diet Coke, hanging out with my cousins, being goofy and LOVING the beach.

xoxo

Around Town

Poppin’ Bottles

So yesterday I attended the Great Grapes Wine Festival in Cary.  It was interesting… not what I expected.  I learned a few things yesterday…

  • I don’t celebrate North Carolina wine.  Nothing against it, but a majority of the wines I sampled were incredibly sweet.  After about 30 minutes into the event I had enough samples because the wine was so sweet.  In fact it gave me a headache.  I’m not a fan of super sweet wines, I prefer a nice glass with dinner.  I don’t think I’d be able to pair any of the wines I sampled with a meal. 
  • Putting kids on leashes just isn’t for the fair, but it’s also for wine festivals.  I saw a kid being monitored by their parents at the beginning, but as the wine festival progressed I noticed the kid was then put on a leash.  Maybe next time the parents should find a babysitter.  I should also mention that the people watching is incredible.

    No big deal, just a kid on a leash.
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The best part of the wine festival was the peach bellini wine slushy

I’m not sure if I’ll go back for next year’s wine festival.. I might try to hit up the Cuegrass Festival in downtown Raleigh.