Monday, December 31, 2012

Second Chances

This is something that's been stirring around in my brain for a while. Time for it to come out.

Ya'll remember my nephew, right? (short version - overdosed on drugs, almost died, medical miracle)

For more details read here & here for the short-story explanations.

Let me preface this by saying that I already said that I don't know why God spared him. And maybe more importantly, why God doesn't spare others. (crap, I swear I already blogged on this, but now I can't find the post. If I do, I'll insert it here).

Anyway, there are some things that happened surrounding my nephew's incident that left me (us) troubled.

Like... people from my sister's and BIL's church, which they were very active in, people they were close to, shunning them after they heard about their son's overdose.

Like... when I initially went forward at my church to pray for my nephew, and the "prayer partner" there stared at me and stumbled thru a prayer that seemed anything but sincere (thank God my pastor didn't act this way or I might not go there anymore).

Like... my nephew's doctors seeming to try to rush his parents into deciding to pull the plug. From the beginning I felt like he was getting less-than-stellar treatment because of why he was in that condition.

Like... other people. Random people. Friends reacting to the news of his condition with a well-he-did-it-to-himself laissez-faire attitude.

This all bothers me.

And not just because it's my nephew.

Did he make a mistake? Yes. A huge one. There's no denying that. He admits it himself.

Do we all make mistakes? Yes. Sometimes little ones. Sometimes big ones. But we all do.

Does he deserve to be dismissed, written-off, uncared for, left-to-die, because of his mistake? Does his family deserve to be shunned because of a mistake their son made?

Not unless we all deserve it too.

Everyone messes up. Some bigger than others. Or maybe it's that we all mess up the same, just in different ways. Some are obvious (ie. drug overdose that almost kills you), some are not so obvious (IDK... that's why they're not obvious, I suppose).

But the thing is that we all screw up at one time or another. We all do. And while I can't change how other people react to mistakes, I can do this:

I can not judge people by one mistake in their past.
I can not treat people differently because they made a mistake that I didn't make.
I can love everyone to the best of my ability.
I can show others the grace that I have been shown. Or that I wish I had been shown.
I can support people thru their mistakes, and thru the consequences of their actions, whether society judges them or not (because there are always consequences).

I can try to do all these things and more. Maybe I will succeed. Maybe sometimes I will slip. I am human after all. But I can try to make the world a better place, one second chance at a time.


For anyone who's interested, my nephew is doing well. To the best of our knowledge, including those who live with him, he has not taken any illegal substances since returning home. My understanding is that he is unable to work (ie. not released by his doctors to work), but is currently attending a local community college (I don't know why school is okay, but not work - ask his doctors). He really seems to be trying to make a better life for himself, and understands the gravity of what happened. As much as he can, since he doesn't remember any of it. His memory of the incident goes from feeling sick, then jumps to doing physical therapy in the hospital. Everything in-between is lost to brain damage. You can see a renewed interest in family, as he has attended more family functions in the past few months than he has in the past 2 years combined.

Physically / medically speaking, he is severely hard-of-hearing. He hates to admit it, but it's obvious that he's getting most of what is being said from reading lips. The hearing loss is considered permanent, and hearing aids do not help, as the loss is due to brain damage, not an ear problem.
His brain damage is still considered severe, and permanent. He has been warned that one head injury could kill him. So when he stumbled down some stairs and bumped his head, what would have been a no-biggie to the rest of us, landed him in the hospital for some testing (he's fine).

And... I think that's it. For now. As always, thanks for checking in.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Festival of Lights



checking out a snake

showing me the lights

elephant house

what happens when Mommy realizes she left Jena's sweatshirt in the car

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Psssst! I'm fat.

Recently, I had an epiphany of sorts.

I'm fat.

And everyone knows it.
Hang with me for a minute, while I explain.

I spend so much worry trying to make myself look thinner. Wearing this outfit because I think I look smaller in it. Not even trying other outfits because I could never pull it off.

And one day, I was admiring a very cute outfit on a woman at work, and right about the same time that my inner voice said "you could never wear that" another voice spoke up that said "she's bigger than you".

Indeed she was.

And I found myself wondering why she had the confidence to wear that outfit, which did indeed look great on her, while I didn't have the confidence to even try.

And then, my epiphany. She knows she's fat. And she knows everyone knows. So she wears what she wants.Now, I don't know this woman. At all. Don't know her name, what department she works in, where she lives, if she's married or single... nothing. So I don't know her actual thought processes. I'm just telling you mine. Since then, I've found this kind of freedom.

I'm fat. And everyone knows it.

I'm not fooling anyone.

Oh sure, I might find an outfit that seems to trim me by 5 lbs or so, but let's face it... 5 lbs is not gonna get me from fat to fabulous. Five pounds lighter and I'm still fat.

Everyone out there can see me. They know. It's not a secret. I'm not hiding anything.

Realizing this, really getting it, has been so freeing.

Don't get me wrong. It's not freeing in a everyone-knows-so-I-don't-have-to-lose-it sort of way. More in a no-pressure-to-wear-the-"right"-clothes sort of way.

I guess I didn't realize how much the pressure to dress my fat self appropriately had weighed on me. How hard I had tried to hide the rolls that everyone sees anyway. How hard I had tried to hide the belly that everyone knows is there.

It's freeing to just grab an outfit, and just think two little things:
    #1 - is it comfortable?
    #2 - is it appropriate for where I'm going?

That's really it, isn't it? Oh sure, there are still outfits that I think look better on me than others. But it is so freeing not to tug my shirt down over my belly, or wear the sweater that I think hides my rolls, but probably doesn't really. Just to wear what I want, because they already know.

And, I tell you what, I think this realization has helped me more accurately see the real issue regarding my body.

I'm fat.

Lately I have been dwelling so much on the clothes, on having outfits that fit me just right, that look just right on a body that doesn't. I asked mostly for gift cards for clothes for Christmas, convinced that if I had just the right outfit, I would look better, I would have more confidence.

The truth is that I will look better when my body looks better, not my clothes. I know this, because I remember my pre-baby body. Still overweight by society's standards, but I had plateaued at what my doctors and I agreed was a nice, healthy weight for me. And I felt better about myself. I just did.

So yes, I'm fat. And everyone knows it. And it's time I realized and accepted that fact.

Monday, December 24, 2012

I don't like surprises. Even good ones.

I did not react very well to the he-might-be-up-for-having-another-baby news.

Also known as, Jodi does not deal well with surprises. Even good ones.

Handing me a 180 degree change, with no explanation, no other words, nothing... kinda freaks me out a little.

Okay, a lot.

I may have reacted by grilling him with questions a few nights later. It may have resembled the Spanish Inquisition. It may have ended with him being ticked off at me, and me crying.

Friday, December 21, 2012


I have been feeling quite overwhelmed lately.

Not just busy, but... sinking beneath everything kind of overwhelmed.

Work is insane right now. Instead of my normal 40 different hats to wear, now I have around 60. Every day is a struggle to juggle it all, and I'm barely scraping by. At this moment I'm still managing to accomplish the needed, must-do tasks, but barely. And I can't shake the feeling that I'm always forgetting something.

With the holidays coming up, our lives have been jam-packed with event after event, plus there's shopping & wrapping & cooking & card sending & decorating to get done as well.

Our home looks like a disaster area. Only a slight exaggeration. I'm staying up late & getting up early. Averaging maybe 5 1/2 hours a sleep a night. And still barely managing to keep on top of the necessities (laundry, dishes, groceries).

I know my lack of sleep is probably contributing to this feeling of being beaten, but at the same time I don't see how getting more sleep and getting even less accomplished is going to help anything.

Besides all the things to do, all the stuff, I have a lot of praying to do. Join me?

My dad had surgery on his back.
Surgery & recovery are going well.
However, they still cannot watch Jena. Which means that for the past few Friday's we've had to make alternate arrangements.

My brother had surgery on his adenoids, throat, etc. (severe sleep apnea).
Recovery is not going well. Not sure of all the details, but he still cannot swallow. Everything he tries to take in, comes out his nose. Apparently this is normal for a day or two past surgery. We're on Day 5. He has also ended up in the ER once because he tried to swallow his liquid pain medication, choked, ended up coughing & gagging, and... he coughed up two of his stiches.

My uncle has been diagnosed with lymphoma.He started chemo yesterday. Eight hours.
They've also done some biopsies because they think it may have metastisized to his pancreas & bones.

My great uncle has been diagnosed with cancer.He has decided to forego traditional Western treatment and is using some alternative treatments to ease his discomfort.

A very dear friend, like family really, has been diagnosed with colon cancer.It has spread to his liver. So far treatments have not changed his condition or prognosis. But he is persisting. For now.

Jason's grandmother is very ill.She has been in & out of the hospital for the past few months. I don't know all the details, but I do know her last hospitilization was for a severe kidney infection. She was on IV antibiotics for four days, and was released to a rehab facility. As of right now, doctors will not release her to her home.
This may force her into a nursing home. Which, quite frankly, is what she needs. Her health has deteriorated and she really needs 24/7 medical care. Two of her daughters (including MIL) have been trying to take care of her, going to her home daily, administering medication, fixing meals, and taking blood pressure & blood sugar readings. But they still get phone calls during the day, during the night, whenever her illness strikes again, and they're back at the hospital. I really believe it is in her best interest to be in a home, but she is very adament that she does not want to go, and her daughters I think feel guilty about it, so aren't pushing the issue.

Each & every one of those weighs heavy on my mind & heart daily.

This is also our first holiday season without my father-in-law. I'm sure there will be some tears, but we'll get thru it okay. My mother-in-law? Not so optimistic.

So we are walking on eggshells (did we every stop?), answering her calls for help, trying to just be there for her. I'm not gonna lie, we could do better in this area. But I also couldn't tell you where we'd find the time either.

And while part of me says this is all just life, get over it, it happens, I also find myself feeling so very overpowered by it all. Sinking. Stressed out. Scattered. Unfocused.

And unable to pull myself out of the pile.

I also find myself wondering why.

I don't recall ever feeling so overwhelmed in the past. Even when life crashed down around me, this sense of losing control was never there.

I know that statistically, women who have PPD or other Post-Partum mental disorders are more likely to develop other mental illnesses in their lives.

I find myself wondering if this is me. If the reason I feel so steamrolled by life has less to do with how much is going on in right now, and more to do with my mind's ability to handle it all. Anymore.

Is this just life for me now? Will I become more easily overwhelmed by life as time goes on? Am I destined to become scattered & unfocused & overcome at the first sign of difficulty? Is that who I have become?

Maybe more importantly, is that who I have to be? Is there a way out? I certainly haven't found it yet. Is there even one to be found?


I feel like this post is a bit... detached. Several topics not quite meshing together the way I'd like. But I've been holding on to it for several days, and keep re-reading it, and am not finding the way to make it all flow a bit better, so... here ya go. As always, thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Visiting the FireHouse

trying to reach the leaves

Mom! It's time to go in!

Daddy cooking dinner for the FireHouse. And us.

watching Daddy go on a run

Monday, December 17, 2012


A while back, Jason was off work during the week, and decided to meet me for lunch.

We used to do this pretty regularly, but he'd been working some overtime, plus his business had been providing steady work, so weekday lunches were a thing of the past.

We went to a pizza joint, then he drove me back to the office.

As we're pulling up to the door, and I'm opening the door to get out, he said "I was thinking... about that whole baby thing... maybe... after we get the car paid off... we could start trying."

Me: "Okay..." (translation "WHAAAAA?!?")

Saturday, December 15, 2012

There are no winners here

There are no words.

At the same time, there is something to say.

What do you say when there are no words?


When I heard the news, I cried. Then I wanted to get my Jena, before realizing my parents were watching her yesterday. Safe, visiting a Christmas display in Cincinnati, they may not even know the  news. I refrained from calling. No need to destroy their afternoon.

My mind wandered to the children. A freakin' KINDERGARTEN classroom, for pete's sake. Four- and five- year olds. WHY?!?

And then I realize, there is no reason. There cannot be any reason. I've heard people mention insanity. Mental Illness. Demon possession. And I understand why. Because there cannot be any reason for anyone to do this. Ever.

I pictured Jena's preschool. Thank goodness her classroom is towards the end of the hallway. Thank goodness for security measures taken at the school. And then I feel guilty for being glad her class isn't at the front of the school. Because what about those kids? And I also realize that Sandy Hook Elementary had security measures in place as well. Similar to many schools. And I realize that if someone wants to commit that kind of carnage, there is little that a security system will do to stop them.

I thought about the teachers at Sandy Hook. Those brave teachers and administrators, doing what they could to protect the children. We don't give our teachers enough credit for the work they do, but rarely do we also realize what they would do, should tragedy strike. Thank your child's teacher next time you see them.

And then I dared to think about the parents. The panicked parents. I cannot truly grasp the kind of terror that must have gripped each and every parent as they rushed to their babies. A terror that is either relieved when your child is in your arms, and immediately replaced with survivors' guilt, or is replaced by a grief no person should ever experience. There are no winners here.

And the children. The poor, terrified children. To think that the last few moments of your child's life were filled with such horror... and then the surviving students. What an impact this will have on their lives. Their view of school, of humanity in general, forever changed by this day.

Now to the first responders: police, SWAT, fire, EMTs/medics, probably more. I imagine my own Jason responding to the scene. I have to think it would change him, maybe forever. There will be some that will not return to this career. They all will forever carry those heinous images in their minds. Thank a first responder at your next opportunity. They do what the rest of us could or would not. They go in when the rest of us are trying desperately to get out.

Lastly, my mind turns to the shooter. I cannot rejoice at a life lost, any life lost. But I can be grateful that he cannot do it again. His family must be devastated. To deal with the grief of losing mother & son in one day is difficult enough, but to deal with it in this fashion, facing interrogations, media speculations, public scrutiny, all while trying to make sense of it yourself... I cannot imagine how difficult this is for them.

Last night Jena got a little bit spoiled. She doesn't know it, doesn't know why. In exchange for doing one tiny little chore she should have done anyway, I let her stay up "as late as Mommy". I let her play on the computer for hours. And then I let her sleep in my bed. Three things I never let her do. As much for me as it was for her.

Tonight we will take her to see the Elves at a local Christmas display. We will have dinner with family, then enjoy a little holiday spirit. I will do my best to pretend nothing bad happened. Not because I have become "desensitized to violence", as one of my friends suggested of anyone who moves on quickly from such a day, but I will do it for my child. At four years old my daughter has no need to know what happened today. And so I will go thru the next few days as if nothing happened, as if nothing is wrong, as if my mind weren't wandering to that horrific incident time and time again. I will hold back the tears as best I can. I will be forever grateful for my daughter.

And should she overhear anything, from anyone, about what happened, I pray that God would give me the words.


Dear God,

Lord, we come to You today and ask that You be with the people of Newtown. We ask that You comfort all those directly and indirectly involved with the shooting. We don't understand why these things happen, nor how anyone could ever be comforted in such tragedy, but we do trust in You to do the impossible. Hold them close in their time of need.
Lord I also ask that You guide all of our minds, especially those in law enforcement and education, to find in this a way to protect our children in the future. Let this be used as a learning experience, let some tiny bit of good come from this.
Father, there are not enough words, not the right words, to express what we are all feeling, even thinking. But You know our minds and our hearts. Hear our unspoken.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Holidays as an Introvert

One of the simplest explanations for the difference between introverts & extroverts I've ever heard is that while being around people energizes the extrovert, it stresses & drains the introvert. And vice versa.

A bit simplistic description, but it's the one that resonates the most for me, helping to underestand the difference between my husband (extrovert) and I (introvert).

Over the next eight days, we have seven holiday get-togethers, one volunteer activity, and one class. In the next 13 days, we have 18 different activities scheduled.

This rolls right off of Jason's back. He knows we'll be busy, but no biggie. In fact, though he won't say it, I think he loves it.

The mere thought of it stresses me. Not the busyness. I can handle busy. The thought of all those social interactions, one after another, with no rest or alone time in sight.I know it will stress me.

I also know it will stress my daughter (also an introvert).

Over the past four years I've learned that to keep Jena on a happy balance, I need to watch how much we do outside the home. She needs time at home. She needs time in her room. She needs her "rest time / quiet play". Her alone time. If we have too much going on she becomes easily agitated and extra whiny until she gets that time.

And so I've learned to watch our schedule. Tonight we will eat out and rush her to gymnastics class. So tomorrow we will eat in and have no plans. An every-other-day schedule, when I can manage it, seems to work well. Gets Jason out of the house enough to keep him energized and focused, gets Jena back in the house enough for her to re-energize. And keeps me sane as well.

The holidays make that type of schedule incredibly difficult.

It makes me wonder if extroverts are just naturally happier around the holidays than introverts. The extra parties and family gatherings, all these social events... they nourish the extrovert personality. But they also drain the introvert. The holidays, at least in our society, seem to be built for the extrovert.

But then again, so many things in our society are, aren't they?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Respect is given as respect is earned

I got my performance review at work a few days ago.

For a little background reference, all the members of management in your division get to rate you, not just your direct supervisor. So for me, that means 20+ people.

My manager (who is my direct supervisor) started off by saying that my review was not as good as he had pushed for, but it's his job to relay all the feedback to me.

Good, good, good, blah, blah, blah... I have one area for improvement.

Some members of management feel that in my interactions with them, I could show a little bit more respect, a bit of deference to their title.

Blah, blah, blah.

At the end, he asked if I had any questions or comments.

I just smiled. And said something like this (this is a paraphrase of what I told my boss, to the best of my recollection):

"You see... about showing more respect to specific members of management... I don't believe it is in me to treat people differently based on their title or position. Whether it is the guy sweeping the floors or the president, respect is given as respect is earned. And that's not gonna change."

Now, my manager has known me for eight years. Has been in my chain of command for six of those years (though not always my direct supervisor).

He said he knew, and he understood. And some people might say that is admirable. But it was his job to relay the feedback from all members of management.

I think it's the first time I've ever smiled so much after receiving my "areas of improvement".

Because, you see, to me this is a character issue. And if you're gonna lower my score because I won't lower my standard of character... then bring on the low score. I'll take it any day.

As always, thanks for checking in!

Saturday, December 8, 2012


So, I think I mentioned before (did I?) that I recently started volunteering in our church nursery.

I wanted to become more involved, give back, and was drawing a blank on ideas. But I worked in the nursery at church as a teenager, have a kid myself, and we're going to church anway. I figured it would be a great fit.


I started back in August. And I dread it. Every time.

I don't know why. I don't have a reason. I just don't wanna go. It makes me not want to go to church that day. And that is not good.

I signed up for one service a month, but they are short-staffed, so it's been two services a month since I started.
I really feel like I should quit, you know, the whole dreading-church thing and all, but knowing they're short-handed makes me feel like I can't abandoned them just because.

So I've decided to give it six months. I always said that about a job - you have to give it six months before you really know if you like it or not - so I'm applying that logic to volunteering now too.

At the end of that six months, we'll see.


Since I'm looking for another way to get involved, I decided I would also volunteer for the Loaves & Fishes ministry delivering meals to members who need them (recent surgeries, shut ins, new baby, etc). Just got started, and have yet to bring a meal, but I'm pretty excited about this one. I remember how much that meant to me after Jena was born.

And it sounds like it's pretty well organized. They only send you  names for members who are in your area, and said that at current rates, I would only  need to deliver a meal 3 - 4 times a year. Much less than I anticipated, but with my cooking skills, maybe that's a good thing, LOL.


And... (starting to sound like I'm on a volunteering roll, huh?) since our church's Facebook page is seriously lacking, I volunteered to help with that as well.

I hope they let me. I have to submit a plan with my ideas for improvement to be presented to the church staff before they grant me administrator rights.

I understand being careful with security, but quite frankly the person handling it now & who will be key in decision making doesn't seem to understand how social media works. At all. I'll spare the details, but what he wants done with our FB account, well... FB isn't exactly the appropriate media for it. I suggested some other options, but it fell on deaf ears, he wants it done on FB. So... not sure how this is going to go. But I'm willing to give it a shot!


And yes, there's more! Jason & I have been thinking / talking about leading a small group in our church for a year now, and we finally took the plunge and contacted our associate pastor about it. Neither of us have done anything like this before, plus with Jason's schedule as a firefighter, 1/3 of the nights I will be running it myself, so... eeek! We were nervous.

We suggested a couple of areas that we were interested in leading, and we are now leading the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University as of the end of January!

It works out well, as we were actually talking about taking the class again, to help us get back on / stay on track with our finances, so leading it will be just even moreso.


Excited to be serving. Glad to be giving back. Glad to be back.

As always, thanks for checking in!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I have a History Degree

That's right folks, you are reading the blog of a trained historian.

Trained. Not practicing. LOL.

I have a bachelor of arts in History. A whole five years dedicated to the subject.

And I spent years wishing I had a different degree, a more useful degree. But recently I've realized several reasons why having a degree in History is all kinds of awesome.

1. A degree in History is basically a degree in finding s*** out.
That's right, ladies & gentlemen, if I put my mind to it, I can find just about anything out. Just ask my husband.

The education you receive while in the History program is research: how to hunt down references, dig thru primary vs secondary vs tertiary sources, determine validity of information found, make inferences and draw conclusions from your research, etc.

I have gained a reputation at work for "knowing everything". I don't know everything. It's not about what I know. It's about the fact that if I don't know, I can find the answer. Relatively quickly.

2. A degree in History equals winning more arguments than you lose.
It's true. And it drives the people around me nuts. If I'm going to engage you in an argument, I'm going to have the information to back it up. I'm going to take the time to verify my position first. It's what I was trained to do.

And if I happen to slip and let you engage me before I do so, and am somehow proven wrong, I will sure as heck take the time to make sure that doesn't happen again. I will gather my information, verify my stance (or change it, if need be), and I will make darn sure I am ready for the next time that topic comes up.

In our current society, this is not the case. It seems like nowadays people are happy enough to base their arguments on feelings & emotions, or the latest media headline, instead of taking the time to verify their information before engaging in conversation about a subject. When you start spewing historical data at them to make your case, they have no choice but to back down or to reveal their ignorance. Either way... win!

* this may also be the reason my mom once told me I should be a lawyer

3. A degree in History means never needing CEUs to maintain current in your field.
This is my latest revelation. Yes, it's nice to keep up on current events, think about how they tie into a region / the world from a historical perspective. Yes, it's interesting to read up on new historical / archeological finds, or history from areas (or eras) you didn't focus on in your studies. Or that you did.

But... it's history. There's no updated techniques to learn. No fast-moving developments that need to be kept up on. No mandatory CEUs.

4. But... A degree in History means there's always more to learn. If you want to.
While it's awesome that you don't need to keep up with your education, there is enough historical knowledge out there that if you have an interest in it, there's plenty more to learn. Always.

5. A degree in History means writing off a vacation in the name of education.
Some of the most fascinating places I've been have been full of history. You can go on vacation, and slip in a historical visit at the same time.

In short, you can actually visit these places. They exist! You can see them. You can touch them. You can take your picture there. And that, in my humble history bug opinion, is awesome.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Stupid, but amused me

This is just a script of a stupid conversation I had at work. Just because I was amused by it and thought I'd share.

To understand the initial context, you need to know that at my office we have both open meeting rooms, and private meeting rooms. I am the "owner" of one of those private rooms, meaning you have to request the room thru me (via our reservation system), and I accept or deny based on room activities. If it's already booked, the system will automatically deny.

So the other day I get a phone call:

Woman*: I tried to reserve room 208, but the system said denied so I just want to make sure I had it.
Me: It said denied?
Woman: Yes. So I just wanted to make sure I had it.
Me: Okay... let me check. What day & time?
Woman: Today from 3pm-4pm (it's 2:45pm when she called).

{{ pause while I check the system }}

Me: No, you don't have it. It's booked.
Woman: But it said it was open
Me: I don't know why. It's reserved for a training session from 2pm-5pm.
Woman: But I have it reserved
Me: No, you don't. It's reserved for a training session. Did you get a denial?
Woman: Yes, the system denied me, but I still thought I had it

*note that the entire conversation she is cracking her gum in my ear*
Woman: Well, what about room 310?
Me: I don't know. I don't own that room. You'll have to talk to the owner.
Woman: Well, do you know if it's open?
Me: I don't know. You'll have to talk to the person who owns that room. I don't control it.
Woman: Well, do you know who that is?
Me: You can look it up in the system. (which I'm assuming is how she found my name)
Woman: Yeah, can you do that for me?

I give her the name of the room owner and we hang up.

I just don't understand how some people function in life. I really don't. She doesn't understand that the system denying her request, means that she does not have the room reserved? I'm not familiar with her personally, so I'm just hoping maybe she was having an "off" day. Right? Please? Geesh!

* name withheld to protect the stupid

Monday, December 3, 2012

Just my brand of crazy

A few nights later, I calmly talked to him about the baby-possibility again.


I'd already pushed my luck.

And I apologized for going all inquisitiony on him earlier.

Luckily he seemed to understand that it's just my brand of crazy.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


For WEEKS Jena has been fighting sleep and asking that I check on her multiple times.

Finally figured it out, when the other night she asked if my check could be a "sleep check" (ie. would I still check on her if she fell asleep?).

She's been forcing herself to stay awake because she was afraid if she fell asleep I wouldn't come in at all. Now I just promise her that I'll still check on her, even if she's sleeping, and we're good to go.

Love my baby. And a good reminder that I need to ask her WHY she's doing something when her behavior is off. That little question has saved me so much grief in this parenting gig.

Friday, November 30, 2012

"You don't even have a period!"

So, this happened in our house the other night, two days after I bought a carton of strawberry ice cream because it's my favorite. Not that I wouldn't share, but when your favorite food is in the house, it's pretty clear who has dibs, right?


*note* this story is meant to be read in an overall good mood, with laughter infused throughout. Not sure that came across well in writing.

Jason: {{ sits down on the couch with a huge bowl of strawberry ice cream }}
Me: Where's mine?
Jason: I didn't know you wanted any.
Me: Why didn't you ask?
Jason: I didn't think you'd want any.
Me: Liar. {{  pouts, goes back to Facebook }}

10 minutes pass

Me: Guess I'll get my own snack, since my husband didn't even think to ask me.
Jason: I thought about it. I just didn't.
Me: That's even worse! Jerk. {{ gets up & goes to kitchen }}
Me: {{ opening freezer }} Where's the ice cream?
Jason: I ate it all.
Me: You what?!?
Jason: {{ looking sheepish }} I ate it all. I didn't think you'd want any.
Me: Liar. {{ pause }} That's why you didn't ask, isn't it? You knew if you asked me, you'd have to share!
Jason: No.
Me: Liar. And I can't believe you ate the entire carton in two days! I didn't even get one single bite!
Jason: {{ starting to laugh }}
Me: {{ trying not to laugh }} Here I am, on my period, and you ate all of MY ice cream. My favorite kind. You don't even have a period.
Jason: {{ laughing harder }} Sorry
Me: {{ opening the cupboard }} Don't tell me you ate the rest of the Oreos too!
Jason: Sorry
Me: Are you kidding me?!? You ate all the ice cream & finished the Oreos? In two days?!?
Jason: Sorry.

Me: You are not! What am I supposed to eat now?!?
Jason: {{ laughing }} You said you wanted to eat healthier...
Me: {{ shooting him a death glare }} Shut up. Did you eat all the PopChips too?
Jason: {{ trying to suppress his laughter }} yes.
Me: That's for my lunch! You know I pack those for my lunch!
Jason: I got hungry.
Me: Ugh! I can't believe you ate ALL the snackfood in the house in two days! And you're gone tomorrow so I can't even make you go to the grocery! So I'll have to make an extra trip to the grocery store after work tomorrow, even though YOU ate all the food! But I can't because it'll already be a late night because we have gymnastics! Grrrr!
Jason: {{ laughing riotously }}
Me: This is not funny. Don't you know better than to take snack food from a woman on her period?
Jason: {{ laughing so hard he can't breathe }}
Me: {{ laughing at him, laughing at me }} You know what, go to the store! You owe me! You never once went while I was pregnant. Go make up for it now!
Jason: {{ laughing so hard tears are rolling down his face }} you really want me to go?
Me: Yes.
Jason: I'll go.
Me: You'd better.

And then, he got up and drove to Kroger at 10:45pm and bought me strawberry ice cream. And chocolate chip. And even got a different brand, because our regular brand only had strawberry yogurt stocked, and he figured that probably wouldn't do (he'd be right, for some reason I despise strawberry yogurt).

And he never complained once.

He even stayed up with me while I ate a bowl of ice cream, even though he was really tired (true story, by the time he came back I didn't even want it anymore, but figured I'd better eat it as a gesture of good will).

And then... I fell a little deeper in love with that man.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Introducing Maltese Cross (a.k.a. Molly)

Back in June, Buddy led me to a tiny kitten in the underbrush on our property. There were no adult cats nearby. He led me to it, and kept the other dogs at bay as I sat in the underbrush for half an hour, gaining multiple mosquito bites before it got close enough for me to grab.

And it proceeded to rip the crap out of my hands and arms. I brought it inside, and we locked it in the laundry room with Peg.

I estimated it's age to be around 7 - 8 weeks old. And it was completely feral. I would assume we were the first humans it had seen.

Having nearly 30 years experience with cats, I decided I would try to tame it, & find it a home.

Well, I succeeded in taming her. She is now completely tame.

The home? Not so much. Ends up we literally couldn't even give her away.

And then there came the day when Jena said "We're not finding her a different home, right?"

And so, we've added a feline to our flock.

Maltese Cross. She goes by "Molly". Now so tame that Jena can pick her up & carry her around, and they cuddle together on the couch.

We really didn't want another cat, but she has fit in nicely. Sleeps on the bed with Jason, Tucker & I. Cuddles with Jena during the day. Is the only other cat we've had that Tucker has tolerated.

We've been fighting both roundworms & ear mites for the past 2 months, following her first visit to the vet. Unfortunately the mites were passed to Tucker, so even though we're treating both cats for both things, I think they somehow keep passing them to one another.

She's got one more visit for her last rabies booster, and we'll schedule her spay probably for January.

And that's where we are. Everyone give a nice warm welcome to Molly!

Monday, November 26, 2012

How to Make a Rainbow Cake

Now, I am not a baker by any means, but making the rainbow cake for my daughter's birthday was way easier than I thought it would be. Seriously. I was pretty nervous about it, but as you can see, it turned out pretty well.

Here's the deal

1. Mix up your white cake batter as usual.

2. Separate the now-mixed batter into six bowls (or however many different colors you want).

3. Using gel food coloring, color the batter in each bowl to the desired colors

4. Pour each bowl of colored batter into the cake pan one at a time, attempting to making even layers of each.

5. Bake as usual.

Interestingly (and this is what I was worried about), the colors don't mix together. I had a bit of a difficult time getting the layers even, but even so I think it turned out great. Perfect as far as I was concerned.

And seriously, ladies & gentlemen, it really is that easy.

I still can't believe it worked. Already planning out what to practice with next in the kitchen. Ha!

As always, thanks for checking in!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

5th Anniversary Trip

For our 5th wedding anniversary, Jason & I celebrated by heading down to the Smoky Mountains. Mostly because we found a heck of a deal online. But also because we love the area. It's somewhat fitting as well. We went there on our first ever trip together when we were dating, and back there again for our babymoon when we were pregnant with Jena. And now back for our 5th. It's amazing how time flies...

I saw my very first Elvis impersonator at the American Oldies Theater

Tested my fear of falling by visiting the Sky Bridge

Saw lots & lots of beautiful fall colors

Spent a lovely week with my goofball husband

Sat in hours of traffic trying to get back home

Laughed at typos on signs at major attractions

Walked to the top of Clingman's Dome


Where I saw my very first (thru 11th) real-live-elk ever

the guy in red is totally about to get yelled at by the park ranger

Stopped on the way out of the mountains to hike to Soco Falls

Enjoyed every last minute that I got to spend with this man.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Put on your big girl panties and deal with it

Remember when I vented about how my upper management needed to rip off the bandaid? Well, I eventually did express my thoughts to them. Even made a few suggestions about how to go about it.

But did they listen to me?


And guess what happened this morning during mandatory division-wide training?

It blew up.

You know when managers start arguing loudly with each other in front of the entire division, things aren't going to go well.

Blah, blah, blah. It basically comes down to a bunch of whining. Emotion. My feelings are hurt. You aren't doing things the way I'd like.

I've been listening to it since February, from every side, every angle, and every level (I'm one of those people that other people feel they can talk to and trust - which I am - so tend to hear everything). And quite frankly, I'm sick of it.

I'm sick of hearing it. I'm sick of Group #1 whining that we do everything Group #2's way. Which is funny, because Group #2 is venting about the same thing. I'm tired of one group complaining that they have no input into the division-wide training, when members from their group make up 50% of the Training Committee, and nearly 2/3 of the presenters have been form their group. I'm tired of it. I'm sick of it.

The perception of each group is that they aren't being heard.
The perception of each group is that the other group is being favored.

The reality is that both groups are being heard.
The reality is that both groups have to give up things for the merger to work.

The truth is our management team has been put in an incredibly difficult position.
And the truth is that even though we have some fantastic managers, right now no one is emerging as a leader.

And right now we need a leader.

Over six months later, and people still aren't sure about their jobs, are uncertain about the division's future direction. Over six months later, and people are still quibbling about stupid stuff.

We need someone to stand up, take the reins, communicate a clear direction to the entire team, and then sit everyone down and say something to the effect of:

"We are not Group #1. We are not Group #2.
We are a new organization, Group A.

Those are the facts. They aren't changing. We all will have to make compromises to make this organization into the strong, influential place in the company in which we rightfully belong.

We are Group A. Period.

Now put on your big girl panties and deal with it."

And the longer upper mangement puts off taking that determined lead, the longer our group is going to flounder. And the more public flare ups we're going to experience.

The point of me posting this is to say this:

If you're in a leadership position - be it in a company, community organization, or the like - then lead. You are going to upset people. Maybe a lot of people. You will not please everyone.

If you're considering a leadership position, before you accept it ask yourself this question: is it more important for me to be liked, or for me to be respected? Because if it's more important for you to be liked, then either you will not succeed as a leader, or you will be miserable at it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Birthday Surprise

Jason was in Haiti over Jena's birthday, and even though we'd already had her party, she's old enough to know (and care) when her actual birthday is, so I wanted to do something extra special for her to take her mind over Daddy being gone and no party on her birthday.

And so this is how we woke up on her birthday morning:

Might be hard to tell from the picture, but that would be a hotel room.

The week before her birthday I got on Hotwire & got a room about an hour away from the house for dirt cheap, making sure it had a pool.

The night before I packed our bags, and hid them in the back of the car. The day of we had plans to go to my cousin's house, then when we left, instead of heading home, I started driving to the hotel.

She had no idea.

I have to say, best. idea. ever.

We got there around 7pm, checked into the room, changed into our swimsuits, & hit the pool.

Swam until around 9pm.

Got back to the room, and started flipping thru channels. We don't have cable at home, so it's always a thrill (for me!) to see what we have to choose from. I'm always a little worried about finding something for the munchkin to watch, but they had Disney Junior, so we were good to go.

Got into our pajamas, and snuggled into bed. And... I passed out. Probably around 9:30pm. I tried to stay awake, but was exhausted. Laid there and thought: the door is locked, there's not much she can get into, there's no one for me to take care of, no pets to tend to, no chores to do... I guess it would be okay to fall asleep.

And I did. The last thing I remember is her watching Disney Junior.

I woke up around 2am with her asleep beside me & Disney Junior still on the TV. In the morning, she told me she watched "lots of lots" of shows after I fell asleep.

We slept until we woke up, enjoyed a free hot breakfast buffet at the hotel restaurant, suited up, and hit the pool again. Got out just in time to change clothes, pack up, and leave before check out time.

So for the price of a birthday present, she got a special night in a hotel, got to go swimming twice, got to stay up late, and... I got one of my most restful nights in months.

I'm seriously thinking a hotel room to myself once or twice a year might be an even better idea. Mothers' Day gift? Every holiday? LOL.

As always, thanks for checking in!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

by love serve one another

Rambling thoughts here, but I needed to get it out. More of a stream of consciousness than a well-written post. Read or don't. I just felt the need to put it out there.

Been thinking a lot lately. Life. Death. Everything in between. So many loved ones have come to mind.

Stacy*. Katie. Bob. Carl. Uriah.

Bob. A year-and-a-half since you committed suicide, and I cried over you again tonight. You were more than a co-worker, you were my friend. I miss you. All the time.

It seems like lately so many of my loved ones are struggling with different things. Not naming any names, because while some of been public about them, others are choosing not to. Just know for each of you that I think of you. Often. Daily. More than once a day.

Pray for you. For your families. As you go thru these things. Stressful things. Painful things. Hard things.

It's so hard sometimes. Life. I know. I've been there. Quite frankly, sometimes it sucks.

But it's good. Life is good. God is good. We just have to get thru those rough patches.

When your dad becomes seriously ill seemingly overnight.

Or your grandpa's been sick for a while, but is getting dangerously worse.

Or your child is sick. Again.

Or the doctors don't know why you keep getting sick.

Or you're struggling in your marriage.

Or empty nest syndrome has set in.

Or you're fighting to get thru your depression. That you may or may not admit you're struggling with.

Or you can't find a job that pays the bills.

Or your grandma died.

Whatever. So many problems. So many struggles. So much pain right now.

I just can't help thinking about each of you. Everyone. Those whose problems I don't know about. Those who I do.

And I want to do something. I want to help. I want to save everyone. I want to be there for everyone.

But how?

Quite frankly, it's impossible. One, sure. Two, maybe. And so on. But everyone? Impossible.

You can't save the world. At least I can't.

But maybe I should try. Maybe we all should.

I mean, maybe we can't do anything big, but...

Maybe we could be a little nicer, be a little more helpful. Maybe we could share an encouraging word, just because. Or smile at someone who seems down.

Maybe just doing our job well, helps someone. How? Because they know they can rely on you.

Some things are preventable, or at least early-detectable. Cancer. Heart disease. Suicide.

Maybe I could spread the word about these conditions. Warning signs. What to do. How to seek treatment. How to get help.

Maybe we all could.

Maybe we could all do a little bit more to serve our fellow man, to serve our world.

Still figuring out how.

But maybe that's just part of the journey.

I mean, part of my journey was going thru my struggles with depression & anxiety & such. There were plenty of times I was in survival mode. It truly felt like it was all I could do to make it thru the day.

I think we all go thru times like that, for one reason or another. And during those times, maybe it's not that we're serving ourselves, as much as it is we're just trying to live.

But now those issues are past for me, and I feel a real pull to serve. And shouldn't we all? This verse speaks perfectly of my situation:

"For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.-- Galations 5:13

I have my liberty. I am free. I cannot use this liberty purely for myself. I must, by love, serve those around me.

And though I want to, for some reason I've had a hard time figuring out how to do it, where to jump in, what to do, when, how.

Maybe it's all about love. Maybe I just need to love. As a verb, love, express love, show my love to others, however that may manifest. Maybe that is enough. Maybe that will help me figure it out. Maybe, if I just concentrate on that, then little-by-little, maybe it'll work its way into bigger action as I settle back into serving & loving others.

Part of the journey, I suppose.

Back to my loved ones suffering right now. Just know that I am thinking of you, and praying for you. Know that I love you.

Friday, November 16, 2012

My Fat Butt - here we go again

So, after gaining another couple of pounds & giving up on trying to lose weight... I hit that plateau. Nice, in that I stopped gaining. Adds to my frustration in that months of trying to lose weight resulted in gains, then when I give up, my body says 'okay, I'll stop piling it on now'. Ugh.

So, I have still been trying to eat more veggies, get more exercise, and not eat out as much. But other than that, I eat what I want.

The news comes because I had my 6 month check with my endocrinologist today. Which I had somehow not marked on my calendar and had completely forgotten about until I got the appointment reminder call.

He thinks my insulin is out of whack again, and is putting me back on Metformin.

*to re-cap, no I am not diabetic. In fact my blood sugar tends to be on the low-side of normal, and I have been diagnosed as hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) since I was 15 years old. I have an insulin disorder that makes my levels go crazy high, then crazy low, and not remain steady. Contrary to popular belief Metformin does not increase insulin, it regulates your body's production of it (ie. evens it out). Or at least that's how my endocrinologist explained it to me.Basically, my weight gain actually began when I went off the Metformin just over a year ago. I guess I somehow hadn't realized it, but he went back thru my chart and showed me. While I've gained around 8 lbs in the past 6 months (feels like so much more), I've gained almost 30 lbs total in the 14 months since I stopped the Metformin. Just over half the weight I had lost.

So... back on the Metformin. Although, if you remember (for some reason I couldn't find the post, hmph), I went off of it because of severe gastrointestinal side effects. But apparently there's a new (or new to me) form of it that is supposed to be much gentler on the stomach. So we will try again.

I have the option of going back on the rest of my meds, doing the aggressive drug therapy all over again, but considering the side effects of the other medications as well, I'm not ready to do that.

He also basically told me that he recommends an actual weight loss medication as well. We didn't go into details, because I'm not ready for that, but essentially because I have a physical ailment (my spine injury) that prevents me from exercising the way I need to to lose & maintain a healthy weight, I'm an ideal candidate for weight loss medication.

He said that intense physical aerobic activity needs to be part of this plan, but weight loss medications' original intention were people just like me: patients who for one reason or another were currently unable to exercise. If I were healthy, no ailments, he'd tell me to start running. But he cannot in good conscious do that as a physician (although if I want to refuse my neuro's orders, that's up to me, LOL), since he is aware of my spinal injury. So we need to look at other, proven safe methods, for helping to bring my weight down to a healthy level.

I don't know. I am certainly not against the idea, and what he says makes sense, but... I guess part of me feels like it would be giving up. And I'm not ready to do that yet. Or maybe I just need to think on it longer.

I told him "screw my surgeon", so since it was my choice, he went over what exercises he recommends for his patients with similar metabolic disorders, and why (ie. did you know swimming lowers your metabolism? ack!).

So for now, back on a new type of Metformin, keep trying to eat healthier, and try to increase my exercise. I go back in a few months, and he's ordered a bloodwork panel to be done just before that appointment. We'll check insulin levels, A1C, etc. but he'll also run my thyroid again just to be safe. He said that even though my last bloodwork showed normal thyroid function, since I do have a family history of hypothyroidism, it's something we should probably check every couple of years just to make sure nothing new has developed.

I really love my doctor. He's very thorough, and also very good at explaining how the body works in this way, why we do (or don't do) certain things, etc. I'm a "why" kinda gal, so I like someone who pre-emptively explains, LOL.

Anyway, I feel like I just wrote you a book! And believe it or not, I left a good chunk of our discussion out!

So, as always, thanks for checking in! I'll keep you posted on my progress!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Basic Economics

So... I just saw something about boycotting Papa Johns because they have stated they will need to increase the cost of a pizza approximately $0.15 to cover the increased healthcare costs imposed on them by Obamacare.

Um... is it really not common knowledge that when a company incurs additional expense, wherever it comes from, that it is relayed on to the consumer?

Gas prices rise = prices went up. High rates of theft = prices go up. Raw materials goods increase in price = price of final goods go up. Manpower costs increase (including health care coverage) = prices go up.

I don't understand why the surprise & outrage from people who supported Obamacare. Did they really not think this thru? Not even this very simple result of the legislation?

I mean, this is pretty basic economics. The money has to come from somewhere. In order for the companies to remain profitable & competitive, they must increase prices.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pictures from Haiti

Here are some pics from Jason's recent mission trip to Haiti. It was a wonderful experience for him & his brothers, and they do plan to return in the future to continue serving the people of this country.

Their primary task was to aid in re-building a wall that was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake . This wall surrounds the Good Shepherd Orphanage and provided protection for the residents & staff.

Now, why would an orphanage need protection, need a huge all surrounding the campus? you might ask. Well, the sad fact is that the entire area is struggling. And by struggling, I mean desperate. Desperate to feed their own families. Since the wall has been down, the orphanages supplies, including much-needed food, have been stolen on a regular basis. Not out of any sense of evil or wrong-doing, but because families are desperate to provide for their own children. Without the wall, the simple fact is the orphanage cannot afford to continue, because it cannot afford to feed everyone. It is a very sad situation for all.

the orphanage has its own school
Besides the wall, another member of the team, Avi* came down to assist with the school's food program.

solar oven
 Avi is a successful pastry chef with his own business. He makes semi-regular trips to the orphanage to help them with their food program.

solar oven from the side
 He aids with the solar ovens, but he also creates recipes that are easy to make, with ingredients the orphanage has access to, that increase the nutrition provided to the children there. While there, he also spends time mentoring several of the older children in the art of baking, helping them develop life skills.

It's hard to believe the damage from an earthquake two years ago that still exists. In our country there would be no visible signs, nothing that anyone not very familiar with the area would recognize. Not every country is blessed with the resources that we have here.

damage to the inside of the orphange
half of the building is completely unusable

a view of the other side of the building
(ie. what it should look like)
as they started on the wall

when the boys left
Those are just a few of the pics he got, but I think those are the ones that best represent their trip.

As always, thanks for checking in!


* actually his real name
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