Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween, everyone! After an especially stressful past few weeks, Stephen and I will be closing out the month of October with a relaxing evening at home – just us, the kitties and a big bowl of candy to hand out to neighborhood trick-or-treaters.

I hope you all have a great fright night and are ready to welcome November! Can you believe that the holiday season is already just around the corner? I know I sure can't! 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy aka ‘Frankenstorm’

As a kid, I remember once watching a documentary that outlined two potentially devastating hurricane scenarios for the U.S. One was a hurricane barreling down upon New Orleans, and the other was a storm tracking up the East Coast and into New York City. I can hardly believe that in my short lifetime, I’ve already lived to see both of these instances play out with varying degrees of damaging effects.

Here in the DC area, Sandy rolled into town yesterday, bringing rain, wind and flickering lights, but fortunately nothing more serious, at least in our neighborhood and those immediately surrounding. I know that for millions elsewhere, however, things took a turn for the much worse, with devastation including widespread flooding, property damage, power outages, blizzards and even the loss of life.

Image Source: NOAA
So, even though the worst may now be over here in our neck of the woods, my heart and thoughts go out to those who are still dealing with the disastrous effects of this storm, as its impacts will no doubt be ongoing throughout the coming weeks and months. To all my friends on the East Coast, I hope you will continue to stay safe, and to my friends elsewhere, thank you for checking in with us throughout the past several days. Peace and love to you, now and always! 

Friday, October 26, 2012

DC Up Close: White House Fall Garden Tour

My first weekend back in DC found the fall season in full swing, including on the South Lawn of the White House, where the grounds were opened up to visitors for the annual White House Fall Garden Tour. Even though the crowds were massive, the 65-degree weather and abundant sunshine made for an amazing afternoon, as did panoramic views of the gardens, surrounding monuments and, of course, the White House itself.

The Kennedy Garden 

The White House 

National Monuments

The Rose Garden 

The Kitchen Garden 

Has the fall season reached its peak in your area? Which annual activities do you most look forward to? Have a fabulous weekend, friends! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

In Loving Memory

It’s been a few weeks, hasn’t it? When I last posted, I was once again on my way to California to spend time with my Nana throughout the final days of her life. Four weeks later, I’m back in DC missing her, remembering her and loving her as I always will no matter how much time goes by.

A strong-willed fighter right to the very end, Nana stayed with us nearly a full two weeks longer than even her nurses and doctors ever thought possible. This included several entirely unexpected days during which she was frequently alert and able to communicate, never hesitating to let us know how much she loved us and that she understood we were there beside her, giving her all the affection and care we could, just as she had always done for us each and every day of her life.

Without a doubt, the past few weeks and months have changed me as a person, forcing me to grow in ways I never imagined. In doing what little I could to help care for Nana, I learned that one of the hardest parts of watching someone you love battle a terminal illness is accepting that no matter what you do, it is never enough. Yes, you can try your best to control the pain and offer temporary comfort, but the disease is still ultimately more powerful, and your efforts incredibly limited.

Although there were definitely times I couldn't help breaking down, I also managed to maintain my composure during several especially difficult moments, including the morning of Oct. 9, when Nana passed away at home with my grandfather, uncle and I there to care for her. Never having lost someone extremely close to me before, I fully expected to have an impossible time coping with her death and the events that followed, but every step of the way, I felt as if I had her strength inside of me and her spirit in my heart, pushing me forward and helping me to stay strong in spite of the grief and sadness I felt.

Now, as I begin easing back into my daily routine, I’m looking forward to carrying on with the things I love, just as I know she would want me to do. These include focusing on my writing, taking in the height of the fall season here on the East Coast, and planning for future adventures that will allow me to keep living a positive life while at the same time keeping her memory alive. 

What have the past several weeks been like for you? I missed reading your blogs during my time away, and I thank you all tremendously for your heartfelt messages of love and support. I'll be back with some new posts and blog updates beginning this Friday, so stay tuned. Until then, I wish you each a positive, love-filled week!