Monday, October 8, 2012

AM~Erica Celebrates the Fall of Isaac

So anyway...

The midwest had a brutal summer. We are technically still in a drought & desperately behind in moisture. And it has been so dry that the colors of autumn were being threatened.

That's where I draw the line, buddy!

I have brought up before how much I LOVE FALL. I can't say it enough. Ever. So the thought of having one of my favorite parts taken away is totally unacceptable.

There were so many people watering their lawns, and then there were limits set on that from different cities around the KC metro (and other areas) due to supply & demand. And we were trying so hard get our apples going.

Then there was a weather event at the end of July that looked to be changing things: Hurricane Isaac.

Now, don't get me wrong...Isaac was a meany-head when he got done swimming in the ocean. He did quite a bit of damage in the NOLA area (New Orleans). However, he worked on his journey northward...and sauntered into the midwest. The south was not so hospitable to their hostile guest...and that is understandable. The south needed Isaac to leave! But having him chill out & mosey on into our territory worked out really well. He behaved by the time he got here. He cooled down the 100 degree air & stayed for a good, long visit. I think I figured it was a calm, peaceful & delightful 31-hour stay.

We left the doors open to enjoy Isaac's visit. We rejoiced in the fact that we were catching up on major moisture we so desperately needed. I'm sure Isaac is very sorry for the tantrum he threw down south. But we enjoyed his visit here. He really helped us out! And we truly enjoyed him coming.

After that, the rest of August was much calmer. What should have been the "dog days of summer" being so hot & awful, it became much more mild than expected. But we were concerned about the damage that had already set in. There were leaves changing color & singeing even in July. We also believed that autumn would be much more muted in hues due to the drought.

As the new season of autumn came upon us, the weather became just as it needed to be. I have been loving wearing my scarves, boots, leg warmers & sweaters. And, also, my hubby & I have been noticing a change in color of the leaves. The hues seem to be deep, rich, and much more vibrant than the color was believed to be.

This. Makes. Me. Happy.

We owe Isaac so much. He's given our area the gift of a beautiful fall. We are still behind in ground liquid, but Isaac did more than you could possibly imagine. Hurricanes & their damage make me sad. Isaac learned his lesson by the time he got here & used his powers for good.

So we celebrate this "Fall of Isaac"! I'm sure many will join us in our sentiment.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Due to me not having my camera during most of October, I didn't get a lot of the beautiful color that came from the autumn leaves. However, we do have a little still in November. This is due to the long visit we had from Isaac back in the summer, as of today, November 7th, 2012:

Beautiful, right? Thanks, again, Isaac!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

AM~Erica Wanted it to be a Dream

So anyway...

I want to tell you all about someone I met almost 11 & a half years ago. I met Renee on my first day of work. Several of us went out to lunch on that first day, a first day that I shared with someone else. Renee was training the other one who started with me.

Over the first few weeks, I started getting to know Renee & her fabulously quirky personality. Over-the-top & innuendo-filled conversations led to a crazy-fun friendship. But we also got to know the deeper part of each other's personalities & began supporting each other thru work situations & beyond. She was single & going thru some relationships that were not the best. She helped & supported me emotionally thru some things I was going thru, too.

We went to lunch often & had several "adventures". I think my favorite one was the time we took a lunch break to walk around Wild Oats (connected to Whole Foods stores). There were samples everywhere that day. At that time, there was a fairly new snack food on the market called Pirate Booty. There was some out to be sampled. It a puffed corn snack, and we decided to try some. We ended up at the deli where she got Naked-brand drink with her lunch. When we got back to the office, people were generally curious as to what we'd been up to. That day was no different. So when asked what we did over lunch, we told people, "Well, we got ourselves some pirate booty & Renee got naked." was true! And the looks on our co-workers' faces was totally priceless!

Another one, that I still talk about often, is when she introduced me to the "little Chinese buffet" that we worked close to. It was run by a group of Mexicans. There was a taco bar at the back of the Chinese buffet. We would go eat there & the little Latino guy would seat us, and he would ask, "How many?" Renee would hold up 2 fingers & proclaim, "DOS!" *snort* I miss that...

Eventually, Renee began having some health issues. I eventually had a dramatic exit to the workplace. As I left, I called Renee to tell her I would not be returning. I do know she didn't stay much longer & she called to tell me that she turned in her notice. 

We kept up with each other for sometime. Our staying connected slowed, but didn't stop. I was very concerned about her health. She went thru some things that I didn't know about & I got onto her that she needed to at least have her mom call me if she was in too bad a shape to tell me if things were not going well.

At one point, her mom did call me. She was in a situation where her mom had hoped that I could contact her to maybe help Renee feel better. So I did call. I talked to Renee & I was very worried about her. And I did what I could to talk her thru that rough time. She did get thru it & was getting back on her feet...but she had more health issues that drug her back down.

I would check on her occasionally, and she would check in with me, too.

During an up time, I got to meet her for lunch & I was so excited about it! Then she had more health things happen. I did get to see her about 3 years ago when she came to hear my hubby preach while we were in town. Her mom had to bring her, but it was so good to see her & give her a big ol' hug!

We've talked on the phone a few times since then & had hoped to get together. Her health & our schedules kept conflicting. But we talked from time-to-time.

A couple of days ago, I got a call from her. She had told me she was going thru more crazy health stuff, about her crazy stay in rehab after a surgery she needed to have. She sounded good. She sounded positive & we were planning on getting together once she got out of there! I couldn't wait to see her cane that she was going to have bedazzled! And it was the first conversation we'd had since we first met that we only talked about the here-&-now. We didn't talk about our past adventures, but where we were going to go from that moment on. Before we got off the phone, we said good bye & shared our love for one another. Like sisters, we could pick up at any point in our friendship like we never lost a day. And I couldn't wait to talk to her very soon once she got out of the health facility.

So I thought it was very weird to receive a call from her last night, late. I missed the call, but saw there was a voicemail. It was from her mother...*gulp*

She was trying to track down "Renee's friend, Erica." Eventually...the words came out of her mouth: Renee passed away in her sleep.

I've been afraid of hearing these words for years...but certainly not after the conversation I had JUST HAD with her. It's devastating. She was about 6 weeks out of turning 42...

This is a difficult day. I keep replaying the last couple of days in my head. I took notes that her mom gave me about where the funeral will be. I look at them knowing it's reality...wishing it wasn't.

Last night was a fabulous night with friends at our own Oktoberfest that we'd been planning for weeks. I got the call literally as the last guests were leaving. Such a high to such a low in the snap of a finger.

You know those dreams you have that are so weird, or euphoric, or awesome that turn really awful, or scary, or sad so quickly? That was my night. I was hoping it was a dream like that...and just that: a dream. But it is, in fact, reality. One I must deal with. One that has a crushing outcome. One that is devastating.

I await the funeral arrangements & dread going. Because it doesn't seem possible.

It was a blindsided blessing I got. I got to tell my friend goodbye & that I loved her. Not everyone gets to do that. But she didn't call me to say she had cancer or that she had a short time to live. She was planning her life afterward. And I was in that plan. That's what makes it so hard.

I pray for her mom to deal with all of this. It's the only blood family she really had left. There are cousins around & an aunt, too...but her mom is the one who was taking care of her & hoping to get her back on her feet.

Last night was such a hard conversation with her mom. I'm still in shock. So are many others.

I am going to miss this beautiful & kindred spirit of mine. Terribly. She was like a sister. And we will have no more wacky adventures. So my memories are going to have to do me just fine. And they will. It's just hard right now.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica