50 years of marriage

Today my mother-in-law and father-in-law, Marilyn and Ed, celebrate 50 years of marriage.

I met Marilyn and Ed a little more than 15 years ago in Missouri (where they live) at a family reunion.

They were warm and kind and made me feel welcome in their home.

Over the years they have continued to make me feel welcome and part of the family. I’m not just their daughter-in-law, I’m their daughter as well.

Marilyn and Ed have two sons, Craig and Curt.

I feel so grateful that they wanted to be in the Pacific Northwest for their anniversary. They are hanging out with Curt and me to celebrate.

Last night was a treat for them as their oldest son, Craig, was in town for work and the four (along with some others) of them went out to dinner. (I was teaching last night.)

Today they head to the coast for a night over in Newport.

On Saturday the four of us will head out to dinner to celebrate (again)!

Lots of celebrating going on. But at 50 years that is definitely something to celebrate over and over.

My stepdad recently mentioned that Marilyn and Ed were of the 6 percent, meaning 6 percent of … Continue reading

The strong women in my life

wrote this post in November 2012. My friend Bridgette suggested I repost for Mother’s Day. So I did two years ago and last year and am doing it again this year. 

This is a tribute to all the strong women and mothers (in whatever form of mom you are) I know. You have the hardest job in the world and definitely deserve more than just one day of celebrations.

For those of you who have lost their mothers, I’m so sorry. I hope you can reflect on all of the good memories you hold dear. 

Happy Mother’s Day!

I keep a notebook in my work bag where I scribble down post ideas or many times an actual post. A lot of times it is easier for me to find my voice if I jot it down on paper first and type later.

I also keep a notepad in my purse in case an idea comes and I don’t want to forget it.

I have a lot of ideas and little time to make them into something. But I have them at least documented for a post down the road. And if you have asked me about something, it is written down … Continue reading

Visiting family

I was born, bred and educated (Bear Down!) in Tucson, Ariz.

I was recently in Tucson to attend a family friend wedding and to visit my own family.

I come from a decent-sized Mexican-American family (both sides).

I haven’t lived in Tucson for about 17 years. Wow! I left at the end of 1997.

But most of my family has always lived in Tucson.

In the past when I would come home for visits I would run all over town trying to visit “everyone.”

At some point I had to stop doing that. Visiting family is already stressful and exhausting (and wonderful) and I was wearing myself out.

My priorities had to adjust during my visits and they are my parents and my grandparents (my mom’s mom and my dad’s dad). Anyone after that is icing on the cake.

My parents are divorced. So that adds another dynamic to the mix.

I know some family members (and even friends) may be offended if I can’t visit or don’t even contact them. I am sorry for that. But I just can’t. It’s too much for me.

How do I say this nicely? I don’t think there is a way … if you … Continue reading

Merry Christmas!

Just a quick Christmas post to wish everyone a lovely day no matter how you spend it, celebrating or not.

We are having a lazy, calm day starting with coffee and watching A Christmas Story. Red chili tamales to be consumed soon.

We’ve already chatted with Curt’s parents this morning. We will follow up with a few more calls this morning with more family.

I love Christmastime. And it is much more interesting this year with cardboard boxes surrounding the tree.

Here’s to a safe and happy holiday season.

Grandma Phyllis

Curt’s grandma, Grandma Phyllis, died Friday morning.

Grandma Phyllis was 87 and a feisty woman.

I first met Curt’s whole family at a family reunion in May 2000. Everyone was kind and accepting of me and I felt very welcomed.

Soon after that I started e-mailing with Curt’s grandma. She always signed her e-mails Grandma Phyllis. So before we were married or even engaged I called her that.

She made me feel like one of her grandchildren immediately. And there was no doubt that she loved me.

I was lucky enough to get to spend some quality time alone with her on occasion, like the time she came to visit Curt in Portland. Or when she and I had a girls’ sleepover at her house.

She had a great laugh. And if something was funny enough you could bring her to tears. Like the time she and Curt’s parents were visiting us in Oakland for Christmas and I opened a gag gift from my grandma or the time Curt and I were moving from Oregon to Phoenix and we stayed with her in San Diego for a few days and Joey wasn’t allowed in a particular room so his little … Continue reading

Choosing my path …

A week ago was Mother’s Day. I reposted a tribute to my mom and my grandmas as the strong women in my life who helped mold me to be the person I am today.

I have also written about being Child Free by Choice (CFBC for short). I am 100% OK with my choice. But for some reason it makes so many people uncomfortable. Which I don’t get. This is not about you. It’s about me.

I am very open about my choice.

It bothers me that I am questioned, especially since I have given my decision and choice a lot of thought.

(To quote Charlotte from Sex and the City, I choose my choice!)

But what really upsets me is how some don’t realize that there are so many women out there who want to have a baby more than anything and they can’t get pregnant, stay pregnant, they lost a child or children, they are in an unhealthy relationship, they don’t want to have a baby alone, etc. …

Just because I don’t want to be a mom and am Child Free by Choice doesn’t mean:

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone.

A new year is always exciting. A clean state. A new start. Or maybe just a continuation of things already forming and molding and becoming.

I have known for some time that January is going to be a challenging month for me. And I am trying to not freak out about it and go with the flow (which is not typical for me and may not last passed today).

Work will be a new adventure as our teams/staff are changing; yoga teacher training is ramping up with new projects and tasks along with the continuation of classes and an intensive weekend at the end of the month; a visit to Tucson mid-month to see family and a few friends.

Yea, it will be busy. But nothing I can’t handle. Right?

I have decided for at least the temporary to discontinue the Go Fit Girl! Monthly Challenges. I know many of you really like them. But there is little participation (at least with the posting on the blog and Facebook page), myself included, and they are rather time-consuming. And with school time increasing in 2014 I have to reevaluate and alter things in my life.

But there … Continue reading

Family lilies

I wrote this post a few days ago. But it seems fitting to post today since it is my grandpa’s 92nd birthday.

Happy birthday, Grandpa Frank.

Over the past few years my relationship with my grandpa has grown.

We talk on the phone regularly. Grandpa is a talker and a storyteller.

About a month ago he was telling me about his lilies. The bulbs reproduce. So he had recently separated and potted new bulbs for his kids.

He told me he would send me some in the mail. Sure enough, a few days later I get a package in the mail with a clod of dirt. I had forgotten about our conversation and wondered why Grandpa was sending this to me.

Oh yes, the lily bulbs.

Curt and I bought soil and pots for the bulbs and we planted them.

The other night when I came home the headlights hit the bulbs and I saw pink. I was so excited. I took photos with the flash.

The next morning I went outside and took a photo during the day, which is pictured above.

I called my grandpa that morning to tell him that there were flowers. He was surprised and … Continue reading

Comment Contest Tuesday: Starr wants to hear stories

We haven’t had a Comment Contest Tuesday in some time.

So I think it is time for one, don’t you.

Let’s do something a little fun this time.

My name is Ann. But when I was a kid (and still now) most of my family did and still calls me Annie. There was also Annie Roonie. Annie Go Get Your Guns.

But I didn’t like my name (and nothing against my parents but it is a pretty boring name). There were twin girls who lived in our neighborhood who were older than me. And I just thought they were super cool. One was named Star.

So I decided when I turned 18 I was legally changing my name to Starr Chihak.

Obviously, and thankfully, that didn’t happen.

In my department at work we all have nicknames. I was able to get Starr as mine for fun. We had a recent offsite where we honored our fellow team member Perry who recently died.

Perry  wanted to start a bowling league at work. So we all got bowling shirts with our nicknames and went bowling. It was pretty awesome.

Here are my questions for you: What was or is your nickname? When … Continue reading

Take Them a Meal

I feel like cancer is affecting so many people I know and care about.

One of my friends, who is younger than I am, is battling testicular caner.

I think we can all agree that cancer just sucks!

My friend lives in Oregon. Curt and I are showing support as much as we can even though we aren’t nearby.

One of my friends set up a meal online sign-up sheet with Take Them a Meal. It’s a meal coordination where basic information can be shared about the meals needed for the recipient(s) and others can see who is taking care of dinner on what day and what they are bringing.

I, of course, can’t hand deliver a meal. But the site offers meal delivery services. So by today my friend and his family should have had a meal delivered from us.

I plan to sign up a few times to deliver meals as his chemo continues.

This website can be used to coordinate meals for anyone you want. For someone who is sick, for someone who just had a baby, for someone who just underwent surgery, for someone who is going through chemo …

It’s easy to create a … Continue reading