Thursday, July 24, 2014


I haven't posted much lately here, but I wanted you to know that on Sunday, July 20, 2014, my mother, Henrietta Casarez, passed away. She has been bravely fighting cancer since 2006, but in December of 2013, decided to stop all treatment and to rest with her family. She received the best hospice care from Kaiser, and even better care from (mainly) my incredible sister Angie, and my brothers. I'd also like to say that the services we received from Social Worker Emily Graham were excellent, incredibly personal, and very caring.

We are all still feeling the loss. It's a blessing to have each other, and our friends and family. Today, we received a very beautiful card from my mom's friend Kathleen. It touched us all. I'd like to share it with you. Kathleen hits all the notes my mother would appreciate, and I think her letter tells you a lot about Kathleen, and my mom.

Dear Bob, Danny, Andy, Angie and Irene,

My thoughts and prayers are with each of you individually and as a family! I truly will miss Henrietta, my dear and precious friend. Heaven will be our place of reunion with Jesus - Joy!

I know that Henrietta is in my eternal future and in yours too. Now, however, I cherish the wonderful memories I have of our of twenty-eight year friendship.

Since I have been in Arizona the past eighteen years, Henrietta and I have shared dozens and dozens of phone calls, letters, and cards, all of which have blessed me more than my words can express to each of you.

Talking by phone we would laugh over fun and silly things. We would reminisce and share sweet stories of how dear yet powerful God was in our lives in ways that were so awesome and amazing to us both. I would pray for what was on her heart and she would pray for what was on mine.

Even before her illness, she always shared with me how deeply she loved each of you, and, especially during her illness, how extremely grateful she was to have the loving devotion, care, and help from each of you.

When Henrietta would speak about her love for you all, and your love for her, it would overwhelm her to the point of happy tears! She loved you all with her heart, and with each prayer she prayed.

I often spoke to her about her courage, strength, and steadfast faith as did many others. She was a godly wife, mother, and Grandma! She was a spectacular friend to me!

Thank you so much for the timely communications through the gift of Caring Bridge.

I will miss Henrietta immeasurably and those loving phone conversations and special card exchanges. She is surely a one-of-a-kind treasure! I'm assured and comforted to know that she is with Jesus, and yes, she is in our future! I look forward to Heaven where I will enjoy her warm embrace, loving smile and wonderful conversation.

May you all be comforted in that promise as well.

Lovingly sent,

Monday, July 7, 2014


This morning, I was talking to my co-worker about some personal stuff. She's the woman training me in FMLA and she's a sweetheart - I hear her talking to employees on the phone all the time about their leaves, and she can be concerned and caring, as well as tough with these people. Some of our employees need the tough part more than the concern. Anyway, during our conversation, she made a comment to me about how I always seem so confident, and how "cute and professional you looked walking in here this morning." She knows I play the flute and she knows about my (meager) theater experience, but I think mostly she's basing this on a meeting we were in together, with our boss and the HR manager, when my job duties all changed. That day I was a little angry and concerned that I was being stepped on by upper management, and I was not in my usual meek little ol' me mode. I know her situation: she's incredibly knowledgeable about what we do, but this department has, for whatever reason, resisted updating her job title, which is significantly lower than mine. So here I am, the newbie, making way more, with way less knowledge and experience - it's an unfair situation. And I don't want to get stuck in the same predicament she has, when she eventually leaves. And she will, because she's great at her job and deserves more. Yet she's kind and helpful to me, and encouraging. Everyone seems to think (or at least hope) I have the chops to do this job, which every day sort of flummoxes me in new ways, and here I am, sort of bumbling along (in my head)... and then I find out that someone else (probably multiple someones) has a totally different view of me.

Anyway, I laughed, because recent situations in my personal life have made me realize that I have some work to do on the inside. I'm not going to outline this for you. I have sort of talked to a couple of people but talking about it now, here (and maybe, ever) would be too hard. So her comments, which seemed so off base and funny to me, either came at the exact right moment - whatever doubts I have about my abilities or my worth in this office (and anywhere else)... people don't always see that. The outside image, which hey, let's be honest, I'm not exactly relaxed about either, seems to translate into something else for them. This seems so obvious when I write it down, but I don't know: I guess I didn't realize.

I've been taking the time to read more. If you think this is off-topic, let me explain: I've been reading more, and really enjoying words again. Maybe I'm not very good at it, but great writing is out there, and when I find it, it's exciting. Some of my friends, even, write these amazing text messages or emails to me - I'm not just talking about literature or books. Obviously I feel a need to write things down, or this blog, as neglected as it's been lately, would not exist. I want to be better at it. I'm going to make that happen.