Mount Rushmore and Adam’s Birthday

We got lucky enough to have time to stop at Mount Rushmore on the way from San Francisco to North Dakota.   
 It seems like so far, every time we see a national landmark it’s in inclement weather! When we saw the Grand Canyon it was snowing all blizzard-like, and it was chilly drizzly for Mount Rushmore. But it was still very neat. I’m pretty sure we were the first visitors that morning, we woke up early so we could have time to see it and then get on the road. I sprinkled some of my brother’s ashes there.   

It smelled SO good here to me after all those months in the city!

 

Today would’ve been his 32nd birthday. 

I also spread some ashes at the Salt Flats in Utah.  
 And in wide open Wyoming.  
I think he would like that. Happy Birthday Adam. I miss you so much. 

On more recent things, Charlie and I have been taking walks through Hillsboro. I’m so proud of her for being well-behaved in public! Usually we just take walks in the campground and she occasionally goes to the pet store to get her nails done, but we rarely walk through actual neighborhoods with sidewalks and what not. I felt like a mom taking her baby to a restaurant for the first time. I was so scared she was going to act like a wild banshee! But she acted like a lady and had some manners so I’m very proud! 

Little Charlie all tuckered out

 
Last night’s dinner was DIY shake n bake chicken with roasted carrots and potatoes. Yum!

Here’s the shake n bake concoction I used:

  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs, 
  • 1/2 cup panko, 
  • 1/2 tbs salt, 
  • 1/2 tbs onion powder, 
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika, 
  • 1 tsp sugar, 
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, 
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne, 
  • 1/4 tsp basil, 
  • 1/4 tsp oregano, 
  • 1/4 tsp parsley, 
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil. 

Just shake. Then bake! This makes enough to coat more than 4 chicken breasts cut into  smaller pieces. (I did 375 in my convection oven for about 35 minutes for two breasts and they came out juicy and delicious!)

Yesterday was a Sad Day… 

Yesterday my mom laid the plaque for my brother’s tree. I wish I could’ve been there.

  
We ordered it from International Bronze when I first got out here to San Francisco. It took almost 2 months. Joe, the designer I spoke with, was really nice and helpful and I recommend them to anyone looking for a plaque.

It’s in Mt. Healthy Park in my hometown. Adam always loved the park and especially the pool. We spent many, many days there when we were younger. They used to have a putt-putt golf course that cost 15 cents, or you could pick up 5 pieces of trash and play for free -that was what we always did! Adam passed his test to swim in the deep end with ease, me, not so much. But one day when the pool was crowded he pretended like he hadn’t taken his test yet, there were a bunch of kids that were going to take theirs at once. (You just had to swim back and forth across the 10-foot part.) But when we all started swimming, Adam helped me and it was too crowded that the lifeguards didn’t see. So from then on I was allowed to jump off the diving board. And that’s all I did was jump, towards the side, holding my nose. No diving for me! Then I would doggy paddle to the ladder and get back out. Thank you Adam. I love you.

So yesterday was pretty sad.

To top it off, it was National Dog Day. (I’ll explain why this was sad…) I made Charlie a new doggy bed. I was Pinteresting, yet again, and found an idea for an envelope dog bed, or a snuggly dog bed, or like a sleeping bag dog bed. I knew I had to make it for her because she is constantly wanting under the covers.

I woke up 5 minutes before Allen’s alarm went off this morning to Charlie whining in my face. I lifted up the blanket so she could crawl under. Still, whining. I laid my hand on her. No more whining. What a baby! 🙂

So I made this bed and I’m pretty sure it instantly became her favorite. (She has 3 – One that came with her from her old family, one I made last week and now this one… Allen says Charlie’s camper footprint is getting too large.)

  

So when we went to bed, I put it in the closet in the bedroom, for some reason she likes it in there, and both sides of the bed now have other dog beds. So she went in the closet and that’s where she slept, all by herself, almost all night. Without me. I had to sleep alone. Well, not alone, I mean Allen was there, but he’s not the same as my puppy. (Sorry honey, I love you!) So after Allen fell asleep, which he always tends to do a lot faster than me, I was awake and sad because Charlie wasn’t next to me and thinking about my brother, and I think I was awake half the night. Not being able to fall asleep is the worst.

 But, today is a new day, and I get to try out my new Bug-A-Salt rifle! Unfortunately it is not a semi-automatic… I have to pump it and turn the safety off every time. But hopefully I get rid of all these flies that hang around in my front dirt yard!  Good ole San Francisco


By the way, I made Beef Stew for dinner last night if you want the recipe… Yum!

And here are the instructions for the doggy bed on SuzySitcom. One thing I did realize, then I had to redo it, is the instructions say to put the pocket piece and the larger piece right side together. But this is wrong, you need to put the pocket piece and the larger piece both right side facing down… You’ll see!

I Didn’t Leave my Heart in San Francisco…

I Didn’t Leave My Heart in San Francisco…
But that’s where it is now.
I’m at the airport, waiting on my flight to take me home, to Allen and Charlie. I have my brother’s ashes with me. Specifically on he seat next to me.  It’ll be his first time flying. We, I, have a short layover in Chicago then I’ll get out there at around 5pm local time.  

 I have a few very good friends at home (mine and Allen’s hometown/my mom’s) and I’m so grateful for them. I’m going to miss my mom like crazy, but we will be ok. I had the pleasure of getting to know her psychotic cat, Jack, over the last three weeks and I’m going to miss that little jerk too. She’s crazy. I’m glad my mom has her.  
   
Allen says I need to get back in my routine because he can’t live on pizza rolls much longer! So that’s what I’m going to try to do… I just made a grocery list, in fact. I have a DIY post that I need to write, and also a couple of campground reviews from Allen, his stops on his way from Dallas to San Francisco. Also, I’m sure Charlie has grown at least a pound, so I’ll have to take some pictures of her! Now I just wish these next 8 hours would go really fast!

Getting to Say a Long Good-Bye

In my last post I talked about losing my brother Adam. Thanks to a lot of very generous, kind people, we’ve raised a lot of money on GoFundMe to help pay for the funeral expenses.
His funeral was Thursday evening. I thought it was beautiful. We didn’t have a reverend or pastor or preacher. (We didn’t want anyone to look at Adam negatively and judge him, especially the fact that he was gay)  Instead my Aunt read a poem from my mom and then we invited anyone up who wanted to share a story or memory about Adam. I think a lot of his friends got up and said something. It’s all still mostly a blur.

 We had pictures of Adam playing the whole time on a slide show and then when everyone was finished speaking, we played some of his favorite songs. He would’ve loved it. Missy Elliott “Work It” was the first one to come on!

Adam playing dress up through the years

We had been planning to bury his ashes next to his dad in a cemetery close to my mom’s house. But the other night my mom and I walked over to see where we would put the marker. We were both thinking, but not saying, that we weren’t sure if this idea fit Adam.

We eventually said, almost simultaneously (we do that a lot even when we don’t see each other for months) that his ashes should be spread, not buried. Adam has always wanted to travel and never really got the chance. The last conversation we had, he told me that Charlie was the luckiest dog ever because she got to go everywhere and see everything.

So I’m going to bring him with me. It’ll be his first time on a plane and the first place I’m taking him is San Francisco. I think he would love this. I’ve started compiling a wish list of places I’d like to scatter some of his ashes. But, as with the rest of my life, I know all of this has to stay a tentative plan. We will just have to see where the wind blows us.

I just read an article that gave me some really useful tips. I’m glad I found it. Thanks to the author.

On another note, Allen and Charlie made it to Candlestick RV Park in San Francisco safely on Friday afternoon. Our super nice neighbor Carmen watched Charlie while her husband Doug helped Allen squeeze into our spot.  

Photos from Carmen to me during the action

Allen said we arent moving the camper until we leave for good. No NHRA at Sonoma this year. 😦


He took notes and pictures for me, well, for the blog. So when I get out there, I’ll post about their super slow trip from Dallas to San Francisco. (He couldn’t check into the campground until Friday so he was doing less than 500miles/day)  Allen also wrote some Google reviews of the campgrounds they stayed in on the way out. I’m so proud of him! My mom joked that he’s going to become known as the angry blogger. I love it. 

Losing is Never Easy…

But I never thought it could be this hard.

I’ve known a lot of loss and death in my life but this is by far the worst. My brother passed away suddenly on Thursday. He was only 31.

Allen came home early from work Thursday, which I thought was weird because I had just talked to him at lunch time. My mom had called him and asked him to tell me. I bought a plane ticket and packed my bag (well, I think maybe Allen packed most of it for me) then we went to the airport so I could get on a flight and be back in Cincinnati with my mom by midnight. When I got to the airport, I did the self check in thing then checked my bag and went to security. The security guard told me my ticket was for the following morning, Friday, at 7am. I lost it. Again. So then I had to go through waiting for Delta to figure out what happened. I wound up having to book another flight for 7am with American Airlines that got me here at 10:30am instead of the middle of the afternoon like Delta wanted to do. I’m still waiting for my refund from Delta. But I’m here.

I guess it’s easier to talk about things like plane tickets than it is to talk about what matters.

My brother has struggled with addiction for a long time now. He’s been in and out of trouble for things related to drugs for the past 6yrs or so. (I.E. Stealing to get money for drugs, violating probation, failing drug tests…)  He just got out of prison on June 6th. Right after we had to leave Ohio and head down to Dallas. When I took Charlie swimming in Oklahoma City. I didn’t get to see him. We did FaceTime though. Not the same as a hug. My mom picked him up from prison and he was living with her. He found out that he was HIV positive this last time he went in, so he had just been to the doctor and was going to start medication in the next couple of weeks. His doctor told him and my mom that with medication he could live to be 60, 70, 80 years old.

I don’t know what happened or what kind of struggle he had in his head when he decided to use again. But I don’t understand it. He called me Thursday morning. He asked me what Charlie was doing. He couldn’t wait to meet her. I asked him what he’d been doing all morning. ~silence~ I asked him again. ~silence~ I thought it was weird but drugs never crossed my mind. I just thought he was being spacey like he sometimes got.  I just got kind of annoyed and told him if he wasn’t going to talk to me then I was hanging up. I hung up. My mom says I can’t think that I could’ve changed anything. But…

She came home from work, she cleans houses, at about 1pm and he was on the porch. He’d overdosed on heroin. He was already gone. I would give anything to have him back and anything to not let my mom have been through that. I guess the paramedics came and worked for an hour.

We went to plan the funeral Saturday. My step dad passed away 5yrs ago and we went to the same place. The price has tripled since then. We had to leave because we couldn’t afford it. That’s not a good feeling, to have to shop around for a funeral. But we found a place that was really nice. We are going to have a visitation and service on Wednesday evening then have him cremated. My mom wants to bury his ashes with his dad’s.

In the meantime, I miss Allen and Charlie like crazy and I so wish I could have both of them here with me. They are leaving Texas tomorrow to head out to San Francisco. I’m worried about them traveling by themselves but Allen says they’ll be fine. I remind him of fifty things Charlie related everyday it feels like. He jokingly reminded me yesterday that I’m missing out on some blogging opportunities driving cross country. Touché. But I will fly back to San Francisco at some point yet to be determined. (I for sure have to wait until I get my plane ticket refund).

We started a Go Fund Me page to help with the expenses. (If you would like to help, I would be so grateful) We wrote his obituary.  We picked out an outfit we think he would’ve loved.  (This pair of white skinny jeans he was loving!) I’m ordering a really pretty rainbow colored casket spray. (Gay Pride)  We’ve been making a list of songs he loved that we are going to play at the funeral.  We went through boxes of old pictures yesterday.

 

This is a button I found from probably kindergarten. I think I am going to wear it at the funeral.

Losing is never easy.

But I never thought it could be this hard.

I love you Adam. And I will miss you forever.