Shannon Ingram's Place

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Location: Orange County/CA

Musings of a woman who left her corporate career to become a caregiver for elderly parents, wrote a book and found her way back to corporate - with love, instead of fear, leading the way. Now working at my Alma Mater, UC Irvine, as Marketing and Communications Director for the School of Biological Sciences.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A New Career Cycle

Someone recently told me that when I found a great new job, I would have to write another book titled "From Care to Corporate." Maybe I'll have that opportunity because I am indeed going back to work - and on April Fools Day! Somehow that fits nicely into my life. I'm a fool for a company that does good work because it makes me feel very excited! I'll be working for Silverado Senior Living, a wonderful company I have mentioned in a previous post. Yippee!

The past 8 days, I've been working for my church, filling in as administrative manager part-time. It's given me an opportunity to see how different my life will be when I'm working full-time. Mom still calls my cell phone at least three times during the day, and for no apparent reason. She just likes to be heard, which is fine. She leaves great voice mail messages about the weather, what she had for lunch, Jack's aches and pains and she dishes about people who live in her community. Half the time I don't call her back, and she doesn't seem to mind one bit, because she doesn't remember calling me in the first place.

And then there's Vanna-dog. She still doesn't like Bindi Sue. Bindi is now 11 lbs. and looks like a small Sherman tank. She is very stocky and has the cutest face. Vanna could care less how cute she is because she's such a pest. When Vanna growls at her, Bindi jumps up and licks Vanna's teeth. The good news is that Vanna hasn't harmed Bindi. I left them alone in the yard today and Gary told me when he came home, Vanna was sitting in one of the patio chairs. Bindi can't jump that high.

My new job means I'll spend less time with my dogs, although I can bring one of them into the office if I want...That will make Vanna very happy.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Celebrations of Life

Yesterday we welcomed the arrival of Kendall Emilie Ingram, who was born at 11:02 AM in Newport Beach, weighing in at 7 lbs., 8 oz. and measuring 20.5 inches long, with dark hair and a strong set of lungs. She is petite compared to her brother, Keegan, who was well over 9 lbs. at birth, and she's absolutely gorgeous. Gary and I were delighted to be at the hospital with Cory and Emilie, along with Emilie's mom, Denise, and Kendall's big brother, Keegan. Three year-old Keegan announced to everyone in the hospital who would listen, "I have a new baby sister and she's very tiny!" We celebrated with lots of love. Unfortunately, in my haste to get to the hospital, I forgot my camera - but I have several photos in my cell phone to post, if I can figure out how to get them downloaded to the computer! Today Emilie was feeling much better, recovering from her c-section. Keegan spent most of the day with Mommy, Daddy and Kendall at the hospital. It's truly a miracle to welcome a new life to the planet.

The circle of life is moving steadily in my family. My wonderful, revered aunt, Carla MacNair, passed away on Thursday night. I have always called her "Auntie Carla" and I think that's because she was always sweet, serene, happy and graceful. She wasn't just an "aunt" - which sounded like an insect to me. She was the only one of eight aunts that my brother and I called "Auntie." She reminded me of Grace Kelly, always elegant, kind, gracious and beautiful. There was a twinkle in her eyes when she laughed. Her husband, my "Uncle Cy" (Cyrus - my mother's brother), whom Auntie Carla and everyone outside his immediate family called "Dick," because his middle name was Richard, was her Prince Charming, just like Princess Grace's Rainier of Monaco. Prince Dick of Arcadia and Monarch Beach was a California school teacher and principal, then a state education administrator in Hawaii and California and finally a dean at Pepperdine University before retiring. They raised two beautiful daughters, traveled, played tennis and actively served their community in South Orange County. Auntie Carla took great pleasure in gardening, something she shared with her late mother-in-law, my beloved grandmother, Alta.

On Thursday afternoon, Carla fell in her garden, was taken by paramedics to the hospital and died later of a stroke. It was a paradoxical passage - sudden and sad, but also a lovely and graceful, especially for someone who was in the beginning stages of brain disfunction. My cousin told me Carla had just had her pretty blonde hair styled that morning. And the day before, she had returned from four days in San Diego with her husband, daughter and son-in-law. Her death was swift and noble - a fitting end of life for my dear auntie - a gentle, intelligent woman I have always admired.

I feel the shock and loss that everyone in our family is feeling about Carla. My cousins didn't tell me about her death yesterday because they knew that Gary and I were welcoming our granddaughter. Today I celebrate and give thanks for the exquisite birth of Kendall, and for the peaceful death of Carla - two magical females who are leaving indelible imprints on my life, and who will live forever in my grateful soul.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Clooney Slobber

I just told Kathy J about my good fortune being invited to "The Leatherheads" movie premiere - which balances my bad luck today. Gary decided to be "Donut God" for his team of stucco guys this morning, but couldn't drive his truck to the donut shop because it was full of scaffolding. Instead, he drove my Ford Explorer and managed to get into a bad accident at a local four-way stop. My friend Terry says my car now looks as if it has a mouth full of food. I agree with her. But this new look is bound to cost LOTS of money. Thank GOD for insurance. It's a long, yucky story, but dear Gary was NOT at fault. Nevertheless, it's a humbling experience.

After learning that Gary was unharmed, I chose to re-focus on the fun of attending the "Leatherheads" premiere and greeting George Clooney somewhere that evening. I mean, how difficult can it be to simply soak up the energy George exudes and save it for the next day at work? I'll be happy simply to be in the same room with George - I don't even care if he's shorter than I am (which is usually the case with movie stars). I'm a happily married old cougar who still loves to look at all the cubs. Gary and I both enjoy George in his myriad performances and TV appearances, because he's a guy's guy. We like his new girlfriend, Sarah, too. I'm excited to be Gaye's date for the premiere and have something to look forward to while my car is repaired.

Meanwhile, enjoy this from Kathy J....

In a bizarre incident today, George Clooney drowned while attending a screening of his new film "Leatherheads". The oscar-winning actor succumbed to an excessive amount of drool expelled from the mouth of Shannon Ingram when meeting the actor for the first time. "I am a big fan, and I don't know what happened; I just opened my mouth to say hello, and all of a sudden, George was engulfed in thick drool. I am so embarrassed. At least my breath was fresh because I had just popped a mint in my mouth." Shocked bystanders tried to revive the superstar, and EMT's cleared his airway within minutes of the deluge. However all medical intervention did not succeed and the actor was declared dead at the scene. No charges have been filed against Ms. Ingram at this time, although authorities will continue to investigate the tragic demise of George Clooney.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Waiting for Kendall

So far this week, the days are going by very slowly for Gary and me. This has nothing to do with Daylight Savings Time. It has everything to do with the impending arrival of Kendall Emilie Ingram, due to make her appearance via c-section on Friday, March 14th. Cory, Emilie and Keegan are preparing for the big event and Emilie's mom, Denise, arrives today. I have to keep busy constantly because otherwise I feel totally preoccupied with having a new granddaughter. I've been working on a big event for our Church the past few weeks, but it happened this past Friday, so now I'm forced to focus on other stuff - namely, getting the right job. I'm doing some writing and just took on another volunteer project coordinating a spring luncheon on May 17th for WomanSage - a wonderful non-profit organization for women at mid-life that I love to serve. And then there is Bindi, whose photos are posted below this message. She keeps us VERY busy, helping Gary in the garden, finding ways to steal Vanna's rubber ball, and herding all of us into a corner whenever we go outside. All that being said, I am keeping my cell phone attached to my body at all times just in case Kendall decides to make an early exit from her mommy's tummy. Don't call me on Friday....I'll be busy! xxoo

Pictures of Bindi

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Puppy Love

You may have noticed that I haven't been good about posting the past few weeks. Yes, I'm busy with work, my parents and volunteer projects, but my most time-consuming gig is caring for our new puppy, Bindi. She joined our family on February 10th, thanks to my sister, Meg, and her family. It's a long story, but I'll do a "Cliff's Notes message" just so you know how we wound up with a pup.

Last summer we held a big benefit BBQ at the ranch. The day before the event, Nick, a former pro rodeo bull-rider dude who serves as ranch foreman and owns his own bucking bulls, introduced our extended family to his new puppy, Peanut, the most adorable creature Meg and I had ever seen. She was a "new breed" of cattle dog - 7/8 Welsh Corgi and 1/8 Queensland Blue Heeler. Meg and I simultaneously said, "I want one." Long story short, we got "sister puppies" last month. Bindi and her half-sister, Lucy (same dads, different moms), rode to the ranch from Texas on a PBR bucking bull truck. They came from the breeder, complete with parasites and fleas, but with the cutest faces and very best personalities! Meg and Ted took them to the vet in the desert before delivering Bindi to us at the beach. We fell in love instantly and as soon as I can post a photo of Bindi's adorable face, I'll do it. She is named after the Crocodile Hunter's daughter, Bindi Sue Irwin - and we do call her Bindi Sue! Apparently Bindi means "little girl" in the Australian Aboriginal language. I think the Irwin's named their daugher after Steve's favorite crocodile. Whatever...I loved the name and it's perfect because our doggy is part Aussie.

If you know our 11 year-old dog, Vanna, you may know that her nickname is "Princess Dimstar" because she's not very bright, but she's a beautiful, sweet and loving princess. A week after Bindi arrived, Gary nicknamed her "Princess Krypton" because she fears nothing. Yes, she's the cutest puppy on the planet because we are in love with her and biased. In the morning or at night when I would usually post a message on my blog, I'm now out playing with Bindi because she demands playtime. We still have the other members of our "zoo" to care for - Poudre (17 year-old cat), struggling to maintain his monarch status with this little alpha dog; Molly (5 year-old cat) who can't figure out where she now rates in the food chain; and dear Vanna who absolutely hates the puppy because she knows Bindi will soon rule Planet Ingram. Who knew?

We trust the Ingram Animal Kingdom will settle down into a new routine in the next few weeks. Our vet told us to be patient because we "picked a doozy" of an intelligent, dominant puppy to bring into the fold. Meanwhile, we are watching "The Dog Whisperer" every day.