Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Job

This is a really boring post where I tell you all about my job. I figure I talk about it on here enough, I should explain it.

I provide adminsitrative support for a engineering division (roughly 100 people) in a  massive international manufacturing corporation.

But I think "administrative support" tends to be misleading. I prefer to say "everything but the actual engineering".

Because that's what I do. I...

... coordinate, track, & manage the division's multi-million dollar budget
... design, create, & maintain the division website
... provide systems & software support for the entire division
... serve as liaison between the division & our travel agency for all travel-related issues, problems, etc.
... handle all facilities-related issues for the division
... create & maintain all reports related to employees' training & development
... lead the Diversity Communication team
... am a contributing member to four other Diversity teams
... lead coordination of all division events
... coordinate new hire assimilation into the division

and because they won't give me an assistant, I also...

... provide basic administrative support to 40 employees
    four assistants provide this support to the remaining 60 employees. I have yet to figure out why it's so lopsided, or why they won't send an assistant over to my groups to help out
... provide executive support to 5 division heads (one Vice President, four General Managers)

and because he won't let me go even though I've been promoted twice & really shouldn't be doing it anymore, I also...

... provide executive support to one of the highest ranking executives in the company

Over eight years ago I was hired to do data entry & filing. Needless to say, my responsibilities have evolved somewhat thru the years. That may be a bit of an understatement.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"Unable to respond"



source
As Hurricane Sandy hit New York City, I found myself listening to the FDNY scanners.

It was heartbreaking.

Yes, because of the number of calls, the number of rescues needed.

Inifintely moreso because of the number of times the FD had to tell the dispatcher "unable to respond".

source

In the relatively short (less than 30 min) I listened to the scanner, I heard it no less than 10 times. Sometimes with explanation. But mostly, no explanation needed.

Almost always, it was the high water. One battalian chief gave the best, albeit necessarily brief, explanation:

Unable to respond. 5 - 6 feet of water on all routes to that location. All boats already deployed. Engines unable to pass thru high water. Unable to respond.

Unable to respond.

source

I eventually had to stop listening, because my chest was hurting. After all, this is heartbreaking.

Someone needs help. And rescuers are literally "unable to respond."

Not that they don't want to. Not that they don't even have manpower. But the forces of nature kept them from physically being able to respond to calls for help.

Heartbreaking.
source

For the rescue workers, called to serve, called to help, every fiber of their being drawing to respond to calls.

For those needing assistance, who called for help, confident that the strength of the FDNY would be able to save them, only to be left without.

For the dispatchers, who had the unseemly job of relaying the message from FD to victim.

Heartbreaking. For everyone.

source

Prayers to all involved. To everyone directly affected by the storm, to all first responders & rescue personnel, to all utility workers, to all volunteers - I pray for your safety, and your quick return home.

Thanks for checking in.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Fate of the Indoor Chicken

Ya'll, this post sucks. I'm just gonna tell you that right now.

PegLeg's condition worsened, and despite my best efforts, continued to deteriorate.

I tried moving her into a different room, tried to set her up in a chicken sling, bought & set up a cage that could help support her weight, but all to no avail. She could no longer walk at all. She started losing weight because she couldn't get to her food. She would sleep on her back or her side. Feathers started breaking off of her wings in her efforts to get around.

To her credit, she managed really well. Nothing was gonna stop this chicken. The chicken sling didn't work, because she would fling her weight around until she managed to fling herself out of it, which usually resulted in her falling the 10 inches or so to the ground. If she wanted to get somewhere, she would just fling her body in that direction, and she usually made it, if unceremoniously.

Chickens being the dirty creatures that they are, relieving themselves wherever they happen to be, this also meant that she was covered in poop almost constantly.

Have you ever tried to wash a chicken?

I have. Repeatedly. It's not pretty.

Neither were the sores that were starting to form on Peg's poor little wings from rubbing on the ground.

After a lot of discussion, and a lot of tears, the decision was made that we needed to end her suffering. It was obvious that her condition was painful, probably excruciating. She had lost a lot of weight. Her sores were at risk of infection from the feces.

We tried. I tried. Hard. To rehabilitate her. Our vision at first was that she would become healed enough to reintroduce to the flock. When it became apparent that that probably wouldn't happen, it was that she would maintain her current state and live out her days as a pet, as PegLeg.

Unforunately it was to no avail. Maybe someone with more chicken experience would have had more luck. Or maybe not. From what I've read many chicken enthusiasts don't even recommend trying to heal a chicken with a broken leg, much less one with the injuries she had when we brought her in.

And so the heartbreaking decision was for her to go "live" on one of the neighbors' farms. And as far as FireGirl is concerned, that's exactly where she is.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

You Can't Claim to be Both

One of my friends, who happens to be a SAHM, posts regularly on Facebook about how she does work, she raises her kids, takes care of her house, etc. It is work. She's tired of people saying she doesn't work, SAHMs do work, blah, blah, blah.

Maybe she's getting some flak from someone in her life about not having a paying job. I don't know. I've never heard anyone say anything to her. I've never seen anyone post anything but supportive things in response to her rants. But I'm not around every moment of every day.

Maybe she's feeling guilty about not having a paying job, and is dealing with some of her own internal issues.

I don't know.

What I do know is that she also regularly posts about where she took the kids that day, how they visited her mom, how she took them to have lunch with her husband, how they went to the park.

And this morning's status really got to me, on a personal level: she posted about how cuddling with her kids after breakfast is the best part of her day.

That's awesome. It really is. I think it's great that you have time to cuddle with your kids after breakfast. I think it's awesome that you get to take your kids to the park in the middle of the day & stay as long as you like. I think it's fantastic that you get to visit your mom whenever you feel like it, or have lunch with their dad once a week. I really do think it's great.

I also acknowledge the fact that she (and other SAHMs) work really, really hard to raise their kids, take care of their homes, etc, etc, etc. It is real work. Please don't take anything I say to mean otherwise. It is work. I acknowledge that, and respect the work that SAHMs do.

But the fact is that you do stay at home (hence the term SAHM).
The fact is that you do not have a job that provides income for your family.
The fact is that it is distinctly because of these two things that you have the honor & privilege of enjoying cuddling with your kids as long as you like after breakfast, taking them to the park in the middle of the day  & staying as long as their hearts desire, or visiting your mom for a chat.

There's a reason I take these statements personally.

I take it personally because almost daily my daughter asks me to cuddle in the mornings, and I have to either tell her 'no', or tell her 'only for a few minutes', and then watch the clock like a hawk... because I have a job to get to and don't have the luxury of enjoying extended cuddle time every morning.
I take it personally because today my daughter asked if I could take her to the park after work tonight, and I'm trying to figure out how we can squeeze it in, because I already know I need to stay a bit late at my job tonight, and we're running out of food, so I need to go grocery shopping, so I'm afraid working in a trip to the park probably isn't in the cards at all, and if so, only for a quick 15-20 minutes... because I have a job that takes up the majority of my day.
I take it personally because I adore when I get to visit my parents with my daughter, but those visits are maybe once a month, almost always at the end of a work day, so we don't get much relaxed time to chat... because I have a job that has taken up the beginning of my day.

I take it personally because I can't take my daughter to lunch, we've tried it, because she has too hard of a time saying good-bye to me again in the middle of the day... because I have a job to get back to.

You may think that being called a SAHM is somehow an insult, is somehow a sneaky way of saying that you "don't work", but it's not. It's a way to acknowledge the amazing life that you are honored to lead. Stop selling yourself short by trying to justify your existence.

Stop devaluing the time you are privileged enough to get to spend with your family by insisting on getting credit as a "working" mom.

And stop devaluing my contributions to my family by insisting that you're a working mom too.

Because you're not.
Just as I don't know the challenges of being a SAHM, and would never try to claim to, it's time to admit that you don't know the challenges of being a working mom, so stop trying to claim that too. Either you're a SAHM, or you're not. The lives of SAHMs and Working Moms are distinctly different. You can't claim to be both.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Baby Blues, I Told Myself

I remember it like it was yesterday today. I can see you. Each of you.

I know that doesn't make sense, because you came on different days, but it's true.

You came to our home, to help us welcome Jena into our family, to bring us dinner, and to see how we were doing.

I have no idea how I seemed to you at the time.

Maybe I seemed fine. Maybe I seemed off.

I felt off. I felt like a stranger in my own house, lost in my own skin.

I remember not knowing what to do, what to say, feeling awkward.

So many details came flooding back today. Details, details, details.

Mary* was the first to visit. You were wearing a black shirt & jeans. Your dark hair pulled back neatly. You brought tomato soup from Panera. Picked up on your way home from work. Yours & your husband's favorite. And "not too spicy" you said. You peeked in on Jena, who was sleeping in her pack-n-play in the living room. You had Victoria with you, in her carrier, born just a few months earlier. Adorable as ever.

Next was Betsy. You were wearing a striped sweater & jeans, Ugg-style boots, adorable hat to match. You brought your girls with you, dressed to match you. You brought us ready-to-cook enchilada's in a clear baking pan. Peeked quickly in on Jena, and left. I sensed that you were trying hard not to intrude.

Isabel was next, with her boyfriend. You guys brought a KFC family dinner, and ate with us. You were wearing a black button down shirt, untucked, and jeans.

You probably sensed that something was off. Our conversation was good, but there was a moment when I drifted off, staring into space. What you may not have realized is I was trying to focus myself, trying to keep from crying. I don't know why.
I finally excused myself to go to the bathroom. Which I did. And cried on the toilet. And couldn't pull myself together. I heard you get up to leave, so I took a deep breath, blew my nose, composed myself just long enough to come out & wave good-bye from the front porch.
Then I went back inside and felt like crap for the rest of the night. For no real reason at all.

And then there was Lori. She stopped by with her kids on her way back home from the zoo. They'd had a good day, but said it was really super crowded. She & I chatted while the kids & her husband seemed bored. They didn't stay long. After all, I probably seemed bored too. Kept zoning out.

Baby blues, I told myself.

At that point, I hadn't yet been told to go to my doctor. I hadn't yet been told I had Post Partum Depression. I hadn't yet realized how very sick I was.

At that point, I felt a little bit of nothing about you coming to visit.

Somewhere along the way, I realized how much I appreciated those visits. I really did do. I still do. Four years later.

Somewhere along the way, I realized that each of you were moms yourself. So maybe you get it.

Somewhere along the way, I realized that those short little visits are an expression of love, a showing of care & concern for another human being.

Somewhere along the way, I had completely forgotten about them.

Today, they came back to me in a flash, in an instant, vivid, detailed, as if each of them had just happened moments earlier. There was no specific trigger, nothing happened, nothing was said to cause me to think of them. They just appeared instantaneously.

Jena's birthday is approaching.

PTSD is rearing it's ugly head.

This flashback, while it seems lovely, reminds me of how dead I was inside, how just awful I felt.

I cried a little today.

I'm sure it won't be the last flashback I have in the next few weeks.

Welcome back, PTSD. Let's try to keep the traumatic flashbacks to a minimum this year, 'kay? I'd really love to go thru just one of my daughter's birthdays without having a complete meltdown. Can we make it her 4th? Please?

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* as always, names changed to protect privacy

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My husband is in Haiti

He left four days ago. He comes back five days from now.

I miss him. So much.

He went with his brothers on a mission trip in honor of their father, who passed away this past Spring. They will be helping to re-build part of an orphanage that was destroyed during the 2010 Earthquake.

They have spotty internet. And he's managed to get texts to me, but for some reason doesn't get my replies.

I had a horrible feeling the week before he left. Like he wasn't coming back. Like he was leaving me forever. It was awful.

And then... they flew to Miami, but their flight from Miami to Port Au Prince was cancelled after spending over an hour on the runway. After a very long & frustrating day, the boys flew out the next morning.

I can't explain it, but my anxieties were alleviated the minute I knew their flight was cancelled. Maybe it's just a coincidence. Maybe it just gave my subconscious a reason to feel better.

Or maybe my intuition told me there was something wrong with that flight. And was right.

Honestly, I don't care which one it is. What I do care about is that what few updates I've gotten tell me that my husband arrived safely in Haiti, and so far is fine.

And misses me.

I can't wait till he gets home.

You'd think, being a firefighter's wife, being used to him being gone, this would be no biggie.

You'd be wrong.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Fat Butt - activity


Well, here I am again. So for the past month I have reduced eating out back down to 35%, and kept soda consumption at around 22%. I made a point of eating more fruits & veggies, and was active for 5 days.

I know 5 days doesn't sound like a lot to many of you, but it's more activity than I'd gotten in the previous months, so it is an improvement, even if small.

And... I gained another 3 lbs. Officially back into my fat pants.

Disgusted with myself, and wondering if it's worth trying anymore. At least that's how I feel a lot of the time lately.

But other days I want to keep pushing forward. I'm making a point of packing my lunch every day at work. Selecting healthier options when we do eat out. Trying to think of new ideas to be active.

But I'm gonna be honest, mentally, emotionally, I'm struggling. Here I am again. I've done the work. I know I have. I've tracked it. I'm eating better, eating healthier. And gaining weight.

I've had to dig out my fat clothes (thankful now I didn't get rid of all of them), had to go shopping. The jeans I bought just a month ago I can't wear now. I desparately need nice-fitting work clothes, but we don't have the budget. So most days I'm wearing ill-fitting pants and one of a few polo shirts. And I do laundry like crazy just to keep up.

I find myself thankful that the weather is getting cooler. That I can hide my body under sweatshirts. Wondering how long I will be able to wear my sweatshirts, and how much longer until I'm wearing my husband's again, like I had to a couple of years ago.

I find myself playing a mental game. Hear my internal voice question myself. Maybe I am just a fat, lazy, slob. I could have tried harder. I could have worked harder, right? But then I argue back that if the work I have done resulted in a gain, then what would more work have done?

I find myself longing to be like some of my thin friends & family members. Who have never really struggled with their weight. Who lost all of their pregnancy weight via breastfeeding alone (plus an additional 5 lbs!), who notice their clothes getting snug, so diet for a week or so to get their weight back down, or stop working out, to have their only weight gain be to add back the curves they lost (ie. now they just look better).

I know, I know. They're not the majority either. But they're real too. Their stories are real too. I know them personally. And I find myself wondering what it must be like to be them. What's it like to not worry about what you eat? To be the person bringing your own tub of sour cream to the Mexican restaurant, not work out, and still be a size 2? What's that like? I find myself thinking about that a lot lately.

It's more than a month before my endocrine checkup. How much will I gain before then? What do I do till then? Do I keep up what seems like a futile struggle? Or stop stressing about and just try to enjoy life before I have to decide between fat or side effects?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Gymnastics Class

Jena started taking gymnastics at our local YMCA. There were only 2 classes that fit our schedule: gymnastics or cheerleading, and FireGirl chose gymnastics.

"the bars" are her favorite


I have to say, I think she's a natural. The teachers keep commenting on how strong she is, and a couple of the other parents have asked me if she's taken classes before.



she was one of only 2 kids in her class that could do a chin-up unassisted

Most importantly, she loves it.




on this particular night, she wanted to stop by the park after class... why not?

She absolutely loves it, looks forward to it each week. I am so glad we signed her up! I have a feeling we'll be spending many more nights at the gym!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

So, I Ran. Finally.

I realize I never updated you after I started running.

Let's use the words "started" and "running" loosely, 'kay?

So, I went out one weekend and bought running shoes. Cheapies, because, well, it wasn't in the budget and I had no idea how this was gonna go. Figured I could upgrade later on if I needed to.

Downloaded the Couch-to-5k app on my phone.

Packed a bag with my running clothes & shoes and took it to work that Monday, excited (and nervous!) about my first run that evening after work.

And... I got food poisoning. No lie. Around 3:30pm I started making regular trips to the bathroom, and I barely made it long enough to meet Jason in a Wendy's parking lot, beg him to take Jena to his meeting with him, and drive myself home. It was awful.

Tuesday, it started raining around 2pm. Like, a downpour.

Wednesday, it was storming on & off all day.

Thursday is Jena's gymnastics day, so I'd already figured out there just wasn't time for running on Thursdays. I'm lucky if I get her to class on time.

Friday I forgot my bag o' running stuff, still packed from Monday.

Obviously, week 1 was a complete bust.

But not to be thwarted, on to week 2.

Monday - well, I forget what happened, but running did not.

Tuesday I happened to have the day off. So... I ran.

I ran down our road. Which, I learned, is not very safe for running. Hills of Kentucky and blind curves and all. I spent a better portion of the run listening for oncoming cars and jumping off the road just in time.

But I did run. Okay, run/walk. You know, the C25K program. I did it, my back didn't hurt, I was proud of myself.

Almost home, and a bird pooped on my head. True story.

Beginning to feel like God was sending me signs. Food poisoning, 2 days of downpours, and 1 bird poop later, I was beginning to think that either I wasn't supposed to run, or I was being challenged to see how serious I was about it.

Ended that run & went straight to the showers. You know, bird poop and all.

I was almost done with my shower, when the running message boards proved right: my back was killing me. The pain was excruciating. I could barely get myself out of the shower & dressed. I made my way to the couch and kicked up the recliner. The position of having my feet up usually helps my back.

Not today.

Oh well. I knew that was a possibility, right?

The next day we went on vacation & I packed my running clothes & shoes with the full intent of running on vacation.

I have to be honest here right? It didn't happen.

The first night we spent swimming, and there didn't seem to be a good / safe place to go around the hotel, so I didn't. The next night I fully intented to run at the campground, and allowed myself to get talked out of it.

I was in the mood to run. I wanted to run. I was excited about it. Then Jason reminded me that we were camping, and I would probably be yucky in the morning, and did I really want to take a shower twice? Once in the evening after running and once in the morning because I felt yucky. Seemed logical.

Except... I am so not a morning person. At all. Seriously, if you see me in the early morning, steer clear. I'm also a slow-waker-upper. Takes me a good 30-60 minutes to fully wake up (which, if Jena is any indication, is a genetically inherited condition). I just don't function well at all first thing in the morning. I'm a night owl.

I may have actually growled at Jason the next morning when he cheerfully left Jena & myself at the playground so he could go on his run.

I should have known better. I should have gone in the evening.

We did a lot of walking, had a couple of late nights, the rest of our vacation, and neither of us got in more running in. Although we did do a ton of walking.

Got back, and I decided to give it a go again. Packed my running clothes & shoes, took them to work. Finished working, headed over to the trail... and found out that since it's now Fall, and getting dark earlier, and they close the trail at dusk... I can't go running after work.

{{ sigh }}

That pretty much put an end to the running idea. So I started finding "living room workouts". I don't want to give up on being active, but I need apparently I need a better idea.

Not giving up totally just yet.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Egg Recipe - Breakfast Casserole


This is a recipe I got at my bridal shower. Unfortunately it didn't come with a name, so I'm not sure who to credit. I love this breakfast casserole for several reasons. It tastes yummy, it's easy enough for me to do, the whole family loves it, and... it uses a dozen eggs! We abound in eggs around here, so finding a good recipe that takes lotsa eggs is a bonus for me.

I also love that leftovers heat up easily, so while I'll feed the three of us for one morning, the rest makes my breakfast for at least 4 more mornings. Yum!

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12 eggs        6 slices bread        1 lb sausage        1/4 cup milk        1 lb bacon        2 cups shredded cheese        salt & pepper (to taste)

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Cook sausage, drain. Repeat with bacon. In a large bowl, mix eggs, milk, cheese, meat, salt & pepper. Tear bread into pieces approximately 1 inch in size and add to the mixture. Grease a 9x13 pan, add mixture. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.

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In our stove, with our pan, it takes approximately 30 minutes to cook. I usually start checking it at 25 minutes to be safe.

If for some reason you don't want the bacon, you can also substitute another 1/2 lb of sausage.

To reheat, cut a serving size and place on a small plate. Microwave on high for approximately 90 seconds.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Rest

You know, eventually I'll remember the importance of doing nothing not-as-much.

A few days ago I was having a "bad back day" and decided to call in to work. Not something I do often.

I didn't lay around all day, but did rest, decided to forego household chores, and spent time with family.

The next day? My back felt better than it had in weeks.

Similarly Buddy has injured his toe. When it was taking longer than usual to heal, I decided to bring him in the house & crate him at night so he can rest (night is his most active time, as he guards the property). Two days later it's still bothering him, but he's walking much better. I'm hoping a few more nights of that and he'll finally be healed (if not, we will be taking him to the vet, but I'm hopeful some rest will do the trick).

When will I learn? Rest = better me. Sometimes time off is just what we need to get back "on".

As always, thanks for checking in.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Marblehead Lighthouse

Yep, more vacation pics. Enjoy!










photo by Jena

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Little Close for Comfort

And then there was the time my husband scared me to death.

During our talk, our really good talk, it came out that Jason had been having chest pains. For three weeks.

There was an incident about three weeks ago when he had severe chest pains that lasted about a minute. Ever since then, he would feel pressure in his chest whenever he took a deep breath.

Considering his father, who passed away recently from a massive heart attack, had is first massive heart attack at a relatively young age (52), I was immediately worried, scared, and yes, angry that he hadn't told me. Upset that he didn't seem to be taking it seriously.

It's possibly I may have over-reacted, simultaneously sobbing & raising my voice, accused him of being selfish & stupid & prideful.

It's possible this is a little close for comfort.

So the next chance I had I scheduled an appointment with our family doctor. We got in same day. I left work to go with him.

They checked him out. Listened to his story. Did an EKG.

Everything appears normal. They believe it was an anxiety attack.

Now that he's been checked out, I will concur. The entire family has been under an enormous amount of stress since his father's passing, with both his mother & brother showing signs of depression. Jason was the only one who seemed unaffected.

But I knew it was all for show.

We did get a talk about Jason getting more fit. He has a strong family history of heart issues, and needs to take precaution.

The truth is that I do as well.

Our doctor recommended more physical activity to be the priority, with eating better a close second. He said when it comes to heart health it's much more important to be fit than to be thin. Will you lose weight if you do those things? Probably. Is that what you should focus on? Not so much.

Get more fit. Get your body in shape. Healthy. Strong. That is the focus.

The truth is, the whole situation scared the crap out of me. Holding-back-the-tears scared. Terrified.

Because the truth is, good or bad, hurt or healed, when it comes right down to it, I want him next to me. He's the one I want. Forever. And I'm not ready to let go of him just yet.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Hamming it Up on the Shores of Lake Erie

Some more pics from our family vacation.






Friday, October 5, 2012

15 seconds

I was a marching band nerd.

Big time.

All the way thru college.

I attended the University of Cincinnati, and was a very active member of the Bearcat Bands all 5 years. During that time I was on television numerous times (yes, even close-ups), performed across the country, was recorded as background music for a videogame, and played on a local radio station once as part of a game preview show. It was all par for the course.

One of the marching band traditions is to charge the stadium steps before every home game.

I did it. I'm estimating over 50 times during my college career (games + practices). During my time there was only one incident in which someone fell toward the bottom of the steps during practice. No injury.

And never an incident during a performance.

Until now.

Going into this game, in his senior year of college, Chris Ramhap had no idea he was about to be featured on ESPN. Or that the YouTube video would go viral. Or that he would be interviewed and his story made even more known.

He had no idea, going into this game, that he would be famous. That he, not just as a uniformed member of the band, but as a featured face on sports TV, would be seen by millions.

He had no idea I would be blogging about him.

But this story isn't really about him. It's about all of us.

We all have the potential to be thrust into the spotlight at any moment. Whether it's for 15 seconds, 10 minutes, 2 weeks,  a year, or a lifetime... it could happen.

We're not always prepared for it. I would dare so no one is every truly ready for that spotlight.

As an alum who charged the steps plenty of times in my hey-day, I've spent probably too much a lot of time thinking about Mr. Ramhap. What happened, how it happened, and more importantly, how he reacted to it.

And I realized, it's not always about how we found ourselves highlighted by the garish, unforgiving rays of the spotlight... it's more often about how we handle ourselves,  how we carry ourselves, after we're there.

And isn't that a metaphor for life itself? Life rarely, if ever, turns out how we expected. The light of reality is much less forgiving than our dreams.

And how we got where we are? Well, that's a great learning opportunity, but once the moment is past, it's not much more. It's in the past.

What matters now is how we react to it, how we carry ourselves where we are today. Do we handle ourselves & our loved ones with care? Do we respect ourselves & others? Do we press on when faced with trial?

Where are you right now? Forget about how you got there. Where are you? And now what are you going to do with it?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My Little HairDresser

Jena tells me exactly how she wants her hair, I do it.

99% of the time it's adorable. The other 1% of the time, her hair's not long enough.

She's already informed me she's growing it out long again, LOL.

Here's one example that I remembered to get a pic of ("you make two braids, one on this side, and one on the other side, and tie them together in the back"):


Monday, October 1, 2012

The Itch to be Active

Lately (as in, the past few months), I've had this itch to be active.

Specifically, to run.

Which, if you know me in real life, is a bit odd.

I'm not a runner. I've never been a runner. I don't like to run.And let's not forget that right now I have a bulging disc, and am already spending the larger part of every day in pain.

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And then, I saw a less-than-flattering picture of myself. And as much as I would love to be able to blame the person who took the pic, I can't.

In fact, it is probably in the quality of the photograph that I am seeing how I really look.

And I was mortified.

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And then I had a really busy week, where it seemed like everyone was tugging at me from all directions.

Even the good, fun, social things.

Because this gal is an introvert, and regular alone time is a necessity to keep me from losing my mind.

But our calendar is already pretty darn busy for the next three months, one event after another.One person-filled event after another.

I realized I needed to find a way to achieve alone time. Something that couldn't be taken away from me, except by myself. Something that co-workers, friends, family - not even Jena- could interrupt.

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And I realized... running would satisfy all of those.

I googled running with back injuries, running with lumbar injuries, running with bulging discs.

The general consensus seems to be that it's not painful while you're running, but when you stop & rest the pain is quite unbearable.

I talked it out with Jason.

My thinking (crazy as it may be) is that my back is already screwed. I'm already headed for surgery. But my consult isn't for another month, let alone the procedure. That gives me at least a month to run. At least.

Because I have to do something. I have to.

And the hubs is on board. He's supporting me as I try to see how badly I can screw up my spine whip myself into shape.

I started googling running shoes.

Because I don't remember the last time I wore tennis shoes. Maybe last year? And the ones I have are old & beat up & falling apart. And most likely not running shoes.

And then I realized I still needed to figure out when & where I could run, that I could work into my routine, that I could do alone.

A park wouldn't do, because I'd have to take Jena with me, who would distract me from my goal, and totally destroy any hope of alone time. And Jason would want to come when he was home, which isn't so bad, but I need my alone time.

And then I remembered. Earlier this year my place of employment opened a brand new walking trail thru their campus. The same campus I work on. Over a mile of wooded trail, at a place where I already spend a good part of my day. Five days a week. Close to Jena's preschool. Private. Safe. Monitored. 24 hour security & trained EMTs. And the icing on the cake? The path starts on the other side of campus from the building I work in. Which means little chance of running into co-workers.

It's perfect.

I think.

Today I took a smoke clean air break and checked it out. It's nice. Has 2 mild inclines (what do you expect, we do live in the hills of Kentucky, LOL) and is very peaceful.

My only issue is that it's not lit. And if I'm running after work, it won't be long until that gets into dusktime. But it's still really nice.
My plan is to run every day after work, before I pick up Jena. I'll drive over to the other building, change in their bathrooms, and run.

My goal is 20 min, so all together I'm estimating I'll pick up Jena from preschool 30 minutes later. It's not perfect, as we already struggle with having time in the evenings, but it's the best solution I can think of. Driving to any other location and then starting adds time onto the equation. Doing it any other time of the day requires finding someone to watch her, or attempting to drag her along with me.

This is perfect.

And so when I told Jason I'd figured out when & where, he suggested I download the Couch to 5k app to my phone, and he would do it at the firehouse, and we would be doing it "together". Apart.

Perfect.

I have no idea how this will affect my back. I suspect that all the websites are correct, that pain will be minimal during the exercise, but excruciating afterward.

But I have a bottle of Vicodin my doctor prescribed me sitting unopened in my medicine cabinet. I'm already in pain. And no matter what I do, I'm still gonna need surgery.

So why not give it a try? The way I see it, I have nothing to lose.

But maybe some poundage. And some body issues.

And I have everything to gain.

Like higher confidence. A sense of accomplishment. And a smokin' hot body (right? all runners are hot, right?, LOL)

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So that's my latest crazy idea update. Wish me luck!
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