I Am Who I Am Because of Her

Today at Bonnie’s memorial service I overheard a few of her high school classmates talking about Bonnie having the first computer of the bunch, a Commodore 64. I smiled gave them a brief summary of the following. This is part of my speech I gave at my ITT graduation in 2003:

When I was about 10 years old, my sister Bonnie purchased her first computer – a Commodore 64. I can still remember sitting at the corner desk in the back bedroom of our house playing Montezuma’s Revenge and feeling so fortunate that she trusted me enough to play on her computer. However, when she went away to college she decided that she didn’t want me to use it so she hid the power cable.

Well, one afternoon I was bored and decided I wanted to be sneaky and use the computer anyway. I found a power cable that fit & plugged it in. What a great plan! There was no way in the world she would find out I used it! I was so proud of myself… until I turned it on and it didn’t work. I sat back in the chair trying to figure out what was wrong, when I smelled an odd stench. All of a sudden, I heard “BZZZZZZT” and saw a little puff of smoke coming from the back of the keyboard where the power cable plugged in. In a panic, I quickly jumped up, turned off the computer and unplugged it from the wall. I then inspected the keyboard to see if there was any damage. There was. Black soot partially covered the back of what use to be a white keyboard. I made several attempts over the next couple of hours to resuscitate the computer. Defeated, I walked into the bathroom, grabbed the rubbing alcohol, and scrubbed the soot off the computer. Days later, when Bonnie came home from college and asked what was wrong with the computer, I was the first to volunteer information, “I don’t know what happened! I didn’t touch it!”

For 18 years, until my graduation speech confession, Bonnie thought the computer was damaged in a lightening storm.

I credit my career path to two people. One is now my co-worker; he called me a chicken when I was nervous to install RAM myself while I still worked in Marketing. The other is Bonnie; because of her love of computers and it rubbed off on me. When I gave my graduation speech I knew I needed to tell that story.

It’s not well known but I wouldn’t had graduated if it hadn’t been for Bonnie. I was a full-time student and worked a full-time job an hour away. I was exhausted and wanted to quit just before my last semester. She gave me a pep talk, ensuring me that the next few months of hell would be worth it. If anyone knew how hard it was, it was her. She received her degree from NMU 5 years prior. She also worked and went to school full-time, plus she completed her bachelor degree in 3 1/2 years with a dual major. I sucked it up, graduated 3 months later, and my quiet introvert self got up in front of a large group of people so I could give her credit. She was so proud as she sat along with the rest family and friends of my graduating class that I could nearly feel it radiating off her while I was on stage. I had to look away because I saw her get choked up.

That very brief moment overhearing her classmates conversation at the service as we looked at photos from Bonnie’s life triggered a flood of memories. What an incredible person she was. Bonnie is the sister I am closest to in age. She influenced my life in more ways than I can possibly imagine. And far more than I ever gave her credit. She was brilliant, beautiful, funny, artistic and always looked for new ways to enjoy life.

I wanted so badly to get up and say all of this at her memorial but I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold it together. That’s why I’m sharing it now.

My heart is so heavy. I missed her so much when she moved to NMU after high school that I got sick and Mom had to ask her to come home to visit me. After she graduated in 1999, she considered going to North Carolina for her Masters so she went on a campus visit… I got sick again. That said, even though we’re not nearly as close and have gone years without speaking at times, I guess it’s really not a huge surprise I haven’t been sleeping since she was flown down to Ann Arbor.

While holding her hand on Thursday evening, not wanting to let her go, I heard the chorus of Wildest Dreams by Taylor Swift cut through the air.

Say you’ll remember me
Standing in a nice dress, staring at the sunset babe
Red lips and rosy cheeks
Say you’ll see me again even if it’s just in your wildest dreams

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Wolf Print Tattoo - Before

Before, just an outline

Just over 2 years ago I had tattoo done, the outline of a wolf print. I chose a wolf print because I’m wolf clan. My intent at the time was to have it filled in with the meaning of my Native name but have since changed my mind. Mostly because I can’t find an accurate Ojibwe story so it can be translated to a sketch. I’ve been looking for years. If I find it, I’ll have it placed elsewhere.

I’ve been following a tattoo artist since I moved to Marinette. His shop is in a new location and I drive by it at least 3x a week. After months of talking about it, I finally scheduled a consultation to meet with him. I was supposed to go Monday but got held up in Shawano and ended up rescheduling for last night.

When I met with InkDude and explained what I wanted, he saw that it was super simple. Luckily for me, he had someone cancel on him so he could do it right after his next appointment. Otherwise I was looking at 6-8 weeks out.

I’m super lucky like that. The place in Green Bay was able to squeeze me in right away when I got the outline done, too.

Wolf Print Tattoo - After

After, shaded.

Since I went to my appointment right after work I ran home to change my clothes and eat a few bites. And psych myself out about owie needle and gross blood.

Oddly, it didn’t hurt this time. It felt more like a pinch with some pressure. I was having a  good time chatting with InkDude and the other worker. Their conversation turned to tattoo removal after a request came in to do a cover-up. I sat and listened to them discuss 2 different methods of removal. Then they got into details. Like “smells like flesh burning” details.

Suddenly, I started getting warm so I wiggled out of my hoodie. That was quickly followed by sweat and feeling light-headed. I told InkDude that I needed to lean. The other worker turned around, looked at me and recommended that I lay down instead. I guess I looked a little pale.

They gave me a bottle of water and some dark chocolate M&Ms to level me out. I bounced back almost immediately. I explained that I didn’t eat much and I don’t love needles so combined with my adrenaline pumping because I was excited and the talk about flesh burning… that was enough to push me over the edge. I took a few minutes to finish my bottle of water and another handful of M&Ms then we were at it again. It took less than 1/2 hour from start to finish, including my down time.

The “after” pic I took was more to show off the cute little sleeping braids I’m trying out. My hair is getting long enough to start choking me in my sleep. It’s not fun to wake up feeling like I’m getting strangled.

Anyway. Below is the close up. This was just a couple of hours after so it was super red. I’m impressed at how much the redness disappeared already. I’m also impressed there’s not a whole lot of ooze like last time. The shading won’t be so dark once I’m healed. It will be dark to light gray to my skin tone.

Wolf Print Tattoo - Close Up

Close Up!

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Wordless Wednesday: #Fail

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O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

I’m going to get my Christmas tree(s) this weekend. I’ve had offers from people to join me, but I think I’ll fly solo. I have a feeling I’m going to be quite particular, even more than usual.

Since it was decided that the family isn’t going to get together at my place this year, I’ve been thinking pretty hard about how I wanted to decorate my tree. I decided not to use the ornaments I inherited from Mom. Some of the ornaments are as old as I am, one for sure is older, and this will be my first year without having them displayed. The decision wasn’t as hard as one might think.

  • This holiday season is the 20th without Mom. It’s been almost as long since the family (and our holiday get-togethers) resembled anything close to what we were when she was here.
  • While the ornaments hold a lot of family memories, they also hold memories of relationships past.
  • 2015 was a year of growth and discovery for me. Retiring Mom’s ornaments is just another step forward.

Now… I just have to decide on final a theme for my tree(s) and go ornament shopping!

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On the Fifth and Sixth of December

I have a case of no-sleeps-for-me. Boo.

I’m in a store and I’m sing-iiiiiing.

Or maybe it was just in my apartment. I made a set of Christmas CDs for my family 15 years ago. A few of us lost our copies over the years, myself included. My oldest sis still had her discs so she loaned them to me so I could make copies.

Digital December, Day 5. Fa-la-la-la-la

Digital December, Day 5. Fa-la-la-la-la


The subject for the 5th was “tree.” I don’t have my tree yet so… I made a snackie tree out of mini trees for Freya. I even put a star on top!

Idea Room Challenge, Day 5. Tree

Idea Room Challenge, Day 5. Tree

Mooooooar Om-noms!

Pretty sure I scored some huge bonus points with D when I made him a huge batch of candy coated pretzel sticks. I have a feeling the whole batch (way more than pictured here) will be gone by the weekend.

Digital December, Day 6. Sweets for My Sweet

Digital December, Day 6. Sweets for My Sweet

Sharing is Caring.

Wednesday afternoon on my way home from Shawano I noticed the lake was starting to ice over near shore. Today on my way back I saw a bunch of geese sharing the edge of the ice. It was fun watching them for a bit. I couldn’t tell if the ice would break or melt or if they’D slip off but when the geese hit the water, they’d quick get back on the ice.

Idea Room Challenge, Day 6. Share

Idea Room Challenge, Day 6. Share

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