Proceed with caution

This blog post may not be for everyone. Actually, it should be for everyone, but, well, as the title says, proceed with caution. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Twice.

You’re still here? Ok, keep reading. Breathe deeply. In through the nose. Out through the nose. 

I had a colonoscopy yesterday. (Eeekkk!! The horror!!) Please don’t faint. 

The process started Tuesday with a clear liquid only diet. I had a lovely long list of things I was allowed to have; broth, tea, coffee (with no cream so really just cross that out), Popsicles, jello, hard candy, Gatorade, apple juice, white grape juice. EXCEPT none of it could be red, blue or orange. So let’s cross off the Popsicles, jello, hard candy and Gatorade. I stuck with what we had on hand out of the list. That left me with tea and broth. For two days.

It was pretty easy to not feel hungry because I was terrified, yes TERRIFIED, of the prep drink I had waiting for me starting at 5pm Wednesday. I had zero appetite. The anticipation of the unknown was seriously scaring me. Yea, those who know me know I’m a pretty regimented kind of girl. The unknown scares me half to death.

My parents called me to check on me and it was so nice to feel the love and concern coming through the phone from far away. I’m a lucky girl to have been born to the most wonderful set of parents I could imagine. 

So promptly at 5, I unscrew the cap, pour my first of seven 8 oz glasses I had to drink every 15 minutes. I don’t drink that much WINE every 15 minutes, let alone something that is gross and nasty! I take a big gulp, then another, then another. Finished. I called my brother because I didn’t think I was going to be able to do this. He told me to pretend it was wine. He said he’d pretend it was gin. Ok, hold on, here goes another glass. And another. He talked to me through almost all 7 doses and I’ll never forget him for doing that.

By glass 6, I was feeling sick. I was determined to get it down, keep it down, and not let what I had already drank be for nothing. I finished up and wrapped myself in my pink fuzzy blanket to ward off the chills I had. Thinking of repeating this process starting at 7am the next day literally made me burst into tears. (Yes, I’m a baby)

But here’s where my friends stepped up. I’m not going to name you all, but you know who you are. You all made me laugh. You made me forget I was scared and nervous. You made me feel like no matter how bad I was feeling, you would be there with me through it all. Even holding my hair if need be! I love my friends more than words could ever express. Give yourselves a big hug, kiss and a woo hoo!!

Michael drove me to the office where the, um, procedure would be taking place. The waiting room left much to be desired and I could feel some apprehension on Michael’s part. But after they took me back, it was just like a hospital. Same gurney’s, same gowns, same curtain on a rail from the ceiling to pull closed for some small impression of privacy. The first nurse came in and asked me questions which was great, until nurse #2 came in to start my IV. She asked if she could and I said no. She laughed. I didn’t. She said it would be fine, she does this all day long. Uh huh. She prepped my arm and I calmly looked at nurse #1 and took her hand, which completely surprised her. But she looked at me, held my hand and totally focused on calming me down. I need her name because she deserves a card or cookies or something. Nurse #2 did a fine job, it only hurt for a second, but she doesn’t get cookies. She stuck that damned thing in my arm.

A few minutes later they were wheeling me into the “procedure room”, asking me questions again. The doctor came in and we spoke for a few minutes. I told him I wanted to come prepared with a joke to tell him but my mind was blank right now. He said he’d heard them all; if you find my keys, don’t use your hand, if Obama’s head was up there please leave it, it was funny and we laughed. Which was nice. Nurse #3 said she was going to put the medicine in my IV now to make me sleep. That’s the last thing I remember in that room. 

I woke up back in my little waiting pod with the pulled curtain. Michael was there waiting for me, holding my hand. I was very groggy and even though I was awake, I don’t remember much for hours afterward. I know I spoke with my parents, some friends, my brother, but I could’ve told them I was on the moon for all I know. It’s very hazy. 

The results however, are a big reason I am writing this. I had 15 polyps. **15**!!! They were all biopsied and sent to the lab. With my family history of cancer (you name it, we’ve had it) my doctor wanted me to get this before I turned 50. I can’t even imagine what could’ve happened if I had waited another 3 years. Due to the number and size of the polyps, I have to go back in a year. I don’t wanna drink that stuff again in a year. Or 3. Or 5. 

I’m glad I did it. I’m glad my doctor recommended I do it. I’m glad my dad bugged me to do it. And now I’m bugging YOU to do it. Because it gives little warning before it’s too late. Because you get to drop 7 pounds in the course of 3 days! Because you get to tell butt jokes to a doctor!! I mean, that right there is reason enough, right? 

So take care of yourself. If you have a family history, don’t put it off. It was bad, but not worth my life. It’s not worth yours either. And I’ll be there to make you laugh, hold your hair, and maybe think up a new joke to tell your doctor. 

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The Switch

I was finally allowed to do something yesterday that most people take for granted. It was long overdue and I’m glad that the ridicule will stop, at least for maybe six months. When even the saleswoman tried to stifle a laugh, you know there’s a problem.

I finally used MY upgrade for my phone. It had been 4-5 years since my last phone was purchased. Oh, I was able to upgrade, except my darling children always upgraded their phones instead of me. It soon became the upgrade bait and switch. “My phone is broken, so I need the next upgrade.” or “My phone is way outdated, so I need the next upgrade.” or even “Mom, you don’t understand, I really need the newest phone because I need that technology.”  I always relented because, well, that’s what good moms do.

My phone worked. It did what I needed it to do. Most of the time. Until lately. I was suddenly not receiving calls. At all. I would be holding my phone in my hand and no ring or vibration. Suddenly I would have a voice mail from a missed call. I was receiving texts days after they were sent. More problematic, was that it would happen randomly. I would miss 3 calls, then get one. I would text for hours, then it would just stop. So this was creating problems with my friends and social life. People thought I was ignoring them. Or dodging a call. Or if plans changed/moved/cancelled I wouldn’t find out. No, this would not do.

So I made the bold switch from always using a Droid to an iPhone. I figured, I love my iPad, now it will be like an iPad that I can make calls with! What’s not to love! My apps all transferred which was amazingly simple. It is pretty easy to use, except I had to go back into a ton of apps and re-sign in. So I needed to try to remember user names and passwords for stuff I haven’t had to for a long time. Good thing I have this stuff written down. Maybe I need to check out a password app? There’s an app for everything!!!

But there is a downside to having an iPhone and iPad and a Windows Laptop. It definitely falls under the category of “Middle Age Woman Problems” Is that a hashtag? I bet it is. Or I just made it be one. I can not, can not, can NOT figure out how to make my phone have a ringtone that is not factory set. I have tried various hints and suggestions that my dear friends have thrown out there to help me. Yea. Only if you have a Mac or MacAir will they work. How am I supposed to live without “All Summer Long”, “Sister Christian”, “Drive”, The Ohio State University Fight Song, or even some Karen Carpenter singing about Christmas? How?? The thought makes me weepy!

I can’t even figure out how to BUY a ringtone, which I honestly don’t think I should have to do since I already bought it once in my iTunes store. So looks like I’ll be heading to my lovely Apple store, bellying up to the Genius bar (which clearly I am not and I don’t think they serve wine either.) and begging them to please have pity on me as I can not, will not, can NOT live with a factory preset ringtone. I mean, a girl has to have her standards, right?? 

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Judgement Day

I have contemplated this blog post for several weeks. I haven’t found the right angle, the right words in my head, so I’m just going to type it out. My “train of thought process” writing that I do. I don’t want to be cliche or repetitive. But sometimes, the cliche is because it’s true. 

We are all guilty of making judgments on everyone, every day, in a split second. We all see someone, something, a place, and we make a snap judgement. And most of the time, we’re wrong. Can you admit when you’re wrong?

Let’s use some examples.  

The kid who studies every night, turns down rare social invitations, and doesn’t have a lot of friends. He gets judged by his classmates without one person taking the time to get to know him. He might be abused at home and he thinks going to college far, far away is his only escape.

The fit, trim gorgeous woman running on the treadmill next to you at the gym. Easy to take one look and be envious of her. Judging her on her looks. Only a few people know what’s really going on inside is she just found out she has breast cancer despite all she has done to take care of herself.   

The young man, walking down the street with a dog. Seems like something you see every day. You think nothing of it as you smile at him walking by. Except he doesn’t smile back. He’s staring straight ahead. He starts yelling at no one in particular. Snap judgement that this guy is crazy/drunk/weird. Everyone has left him because of his PTSD from the war. 

The examples can go on and on. There are millions of different scenarios of how and why we do that. I think it’s human nature. But how simply amazing would it be, if we took the time to really get to know one another. If we, despite our flaws, got to know the person inside. And realize we’re all not that different from each other. 

There was a young man in our small town that committed suicide a few nights ago. I didn’t know him, and I’m not trying to point him out but to use the scenario because it happens every day. From what I have heard in the past 36 hours is he was funny, loved to smile, loved to joke around, had a great heart and looked out for others. And yet. There was something underneath that smile that was crying out. It’s no ones fault and it’s not something anyone can put on their shoulders. 

What happened was what made me realize I needed to write this blog, even though it has turned out much different than I thought it would 2 weeks ago when I first decided to write about judgement. I was coming from a much more personal space. How my scars are viewed. How my legs are and now forever will be marred and weaker. How people can look at me in shorts and ONLY see the scars. How they make a judgement when they see the long scar on my arm. Or my back. Or my shoulder. It is so rare for anyone to care to find out WHY. 

Am I weird that way? Maybe I am. I mean, I would never go up to a stranger and ask why he has a scar. Or why she is blind. Or why are you an amputee? Or any of the things people make snap judgments on. But for someone you are actually getting to know, friendships forming, wouldn’t you ask? That is part of the person. How do you get to know, really know, someone without knowing them on the inside. 

People make up their minds about other people without even MEETING that person or getting to know them yourself. Have you ever done that? A friend doesn’t like that person, or had a falling out with someone, and well, now **I’M** not going to like them either!! Hmmmph!! What if you had tons in common with that person? What if you could learn from them, or they from you, but you never found out because of the judgement you had based off of another persons opinion? Would you ever take the time to meet with someone and see for yourself? Are you so full of friends and acquaintances that one more person in your life is too much? Really?

I just wish that we as a whole would stop being so judgement driven, and be more open. More understanding. More. 

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100

This day took much longer to arrive than I first envisioned it. I thought it would happen by last summer at the latest, but here we are, the first full week of March 2014! Wow. And in it’s own way, it caused me to delay another few days because I had to really think and narrow it down.

This is my 100th blog post. I feel like the elementary school kid on his “100 days of school” project, with 100 M&M’s. Oooooo, M&M’s. No! Not on the “it’s almost spring” plan. So many amazing, wonderful, exciting, scary, sad, and joyful things have happened in the past 100 posts.

I started my blog January 1, 2013. I had so much encouragement before I even started from friends who kept saying “You should write a blog”. I had never even contemplated it before. So I dove in. What did I have to lose? Well, as it turns out, a lot.

Part of who I am is always on my sleeve, which is why I thought doing this would be easy. I tell people what I think, I try to be tactful but it doesn’t always work out that way, and I am loyal (to a scary fault) to my friends. But if you hurt me, or my kids, or my family, the gloves are off. I regret that in some instances. I don’t in others. I found myself struggling more often than not on how to express myself through my blog, which just seemed strange and foreign to me. And the more I struggled with it, the more I fretted over it. Vicious cycle.

So some days I would write, and delete the whole thing before I published. And then I would cry out of frustration. (Everyone here knows I can cry at the drop of a hat right? Yep. Kleenex commercials used to get me every.single.time. It’s the curse of someone who is too touchy feely and emotional, but it’s also part of why you always know where you stand with me) Over the past 100 posts I’ve tried to get myself to forgive myself over not having the perfect blog, gaps in the days and imperfect sentence structure/punctuation/grammar/run-on-sentences/over-use of parenthesis (but I really LIKE using parenthesis because it makes me feel like I’m actually talking to you instead of just writing. Like a little sidebar in our conversation.)

There have been so many changes over the past 100 posts. I started yoga last spring and love it more every week. I have lost weight, I have been able to do things I never thought my middle aged un-bendy body could do and even with some of my limitations from my surgeries, I have learned that I can try. If I can’t do it, oh trust me, I get very frustrated with myself and then spend 5 minutes trying to get it out of my head that I couldn’t do it, but I tried. Some of the muscles in my legs may never work the way they should. But I can try. I can modify. I’m doing something I never thought I would do and that’s pretty amazing in itself. I have one of my closest friends to thank for the push to go and I have made some new friends with an amazingly strong group of women who do nothing but encourage and cheer each other on. Simply life altering and such a blessing.

I have had friends who got married (for the “next time”, cuz really, at our age, do we need to count? No!) and some who got divorced. Sometimes it’s for the better, sometimes it was blind-sided agony. I think one thing I have learned over the past 100 posts is that at our age, for our generation, it is ok to be happy. I’m not advocating divorce. I’m not saying that vows taken shouldn’t be held to the highest standard. You said you would take that person to be your spouse for your life, you said it in front of friends, family and God. It’s not something to be taken lightly. I also believe that friends, family and God want you happy. Sometimes there are circumstances that are out of your control. Things happen. Sometimes, things don’t happen, or change or grow.

I’ve seen my oldest son grow and flourish and become the wonderful man I knew was in there. He just needed to let him come out from the shadow of the frat boy. I think men take longer at this than women do. But now that he has, my heart just bursts with pride over him and how amazing he continues to be. The youngest has grown into a young man with a job, and a kid who makes me laugh daily. He has the heart of a gentle giant. His struggles with school I have documented over the past 100 posts and it continues to be such a hurdle for him. It breaks my heart. He tries harder than most kids with little to show of it. And let me give a bit of advice if I may. All kids who have learning disabilities do not have signs stapled to their foreheads. It does not mean he is not intelligent. It does not mean he will not be successful. It means he learns outside the box. Just because he is not in AP classes or on the honor roll does not mean he is below your child. That makes me so angry.

My horrible, awful, please-why-won’t-they-just-MOVE-already neighbors are still here and some how managed to get out of yet another foreclosure proceeding. I seriously don’t understand it. How many times does this have to happen? Oh, and in case you were wondering, as of this writing, yes, yes they do still have Christmas decorations up. In March. Sigh. I have resigned myself to the fact that I will be moving before they do. Oh, did I mention that I am now on our HOA Board? Yea. Yea I am.

 

I am hoping to hit my 200th blog before the end of this year. I am thankful to all my followers from all over the world. I am thankful to the people who have contacted me through email, through Facebook, through the blog, that I have impacted them in some way. Please keep the feedback coming. I love it. And I love you for reading this. Here’s the next 100!! CHEERS!!!!  

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Cheating, sort of.

I cheated today. I loved it!! And yes, I’m admitting it out loud.

And I did it with permission!!

Ok, ok. Not cheating on my husband. Cheating on my hairdresser.

My hair needed some serious TLC and my hairdresser has been unavailable due to very understandable circumstances. Unfortunately, my hair didn’t seem to care about this and continued to grow. My roots kept getting darker and darker with no consideration to her situation at all! How rude!!!

So with her blessing, I went to another stylist in the salon I go to. I got a cut and color. I got a blow out so my curls are straight. (No, I can’t keep my fingers away from hair now and I’m pretty sure I’ve run a comb through it 5 times since I’ve been back home.) And my hair looks fabulous!

But as much as I love how my hair looks and am so happy to have a competent back up, I’ll never leave my girl. We have been together for so long. When I’m with her, it’s more of a “catch up on each others lives while she plays with my hair” session than just going to get my hair done. She is a friend and confidant, who just happens to work miracles with my hair.

I love my hair today. It was fun and refreshing to go to someone who does it slightly different, achieving great results, and was great to pass the time with. Exciting and slightly guilt inducing.

But no worries, I’ll be staying with my regular girl. We’ll just need to book extra time when she comes back cuz we’ll have even more to catch up on. And I can leave without feeling guilty or the walk of shame to my car.

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Winter’s Death Grip

It has it out for me. I know it sounds self-centered and maybe a bit more than a little unrealistic, but I’m pretty sure I’m right. And waking up this morning seemed to confirm it.

Winter hates me.

It’s a pretty obvious fact that I hate winter, so it’s no surprise that it hates me back. It has been going on too long. It’s been too cold. It’s been snowing way too much. I woke up this morning to more snow on the ground, more in the forecast along with bitter cold temperatures. Another big storm is in the near future.

As I sat hovering over yet another cup of coffee this morning, under my fuzzy warm blanket, it dawned on me how much this winter has had an effect on me. I am going through some frightening hard times right now. I have withdrawn. Retreated. Hiding under my blanket for more reasons than just warmth.

It makes me sad, to my very core, that I feel like the sunny positive me has taken a hiatus. The cold hurts my bones. My body reminds me that my hypothyroidism does not help my lifelong aversion to any temperature below 50. The constant grey skies seem endless.

I’ve been trying to do things that will help me. I’ve resumed my purging on the basement. I find countless photo albums (seriously, there must be at least 30 of them!) with pictures of people gone from my life. Some for the good, some not so much. I miss the not-so-much people sometimes.

I’ve been doing yoga at home. Sun Salutations (which seems ironic since there is no sun) and stretches. Wishing I could do the splits like everyone else in class. I’ve never been able to do the splits. Not even when I was way younger and much more flexible. But I’m going to keep trying. An inch at a time, right?

I’ve been praying for a few friends of mine who are going through terrible struggles of their own. I had a friend once who swore we could never go through difficulties at the same time so we could always help each other. If only it could be forced that way.

I haven’t been able to focus. To organize. To write. I haven’t been posting to Facebook (to some people’s delight I’m sure!) because I don’t want to break my own rule of whining, complaining, negativity, and just general blah-ness can be so tiring to read post after post. When you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all, right?

In the meantime, I’ll be the basement crying over a photo album, or in Down Dog or working on my split (probably crying over that too!) waiting for this weather to release its hold on me. Hoping against hope that damages can be repaired. Relationships can be mended. Healing, forgiveness and grace can be given.

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Reality Vice

I went out last night with some friends I’ve had for-ev-er. It was so much fun to go out, have some drinks and relax with people who know you so well, just by looking at you or hearing you talk. We played trivia (and lost badly by the way. But I was able to answer a question correctly about The Walking Dead so that was something. And I swear the guys who won every single time HAD to be cheating.They just had to be, but whatever.) 

As we were laughing and talking and talking and laughing, the subject of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Vanderpump Rules came up. My reality TV vice. I can’t help it. I know it’s not “reality” and I know that I could be spending my time in much better ways. But I love it. I also confessed that I love Stassi. I know, I know, everyone who watched VR hates Stassi. But she is exactly what she appears. Love her or hate her, she made that show impossible to turn off. 

We discussed Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and how it appears this is Lisa’s season to be ganged up on and hated and thrown to the wolves. Everyone talking about her behind her back. Complaining. Hating. Friendships torn apart by a perceived slight. Oh yea. It’s on. This upcoming trip to Cabo is going to be a doozy!

But one of our friends doesn’t watch it (I KNOW! How that BE??) but she sat there listening to us go on and on and laugh and dish about these two shows that we all watch and love, and it made me think about how great it is that she could just sit and listen and laugh at us as we were laughing at the show. She didn’t excuse herself to go the restroom. She didn’t act bored or upset that she wasn’t really included in the conversation. And we didn’t discuss it long, just enough to catch up on what we liked, what we didn’t and oh yea, for me to profess my love for Stassi. 

After we had our drinks, and laughs and realized there was no way in hell we were ever ever ever going to win the trivia game, we called it a night. Hugs all around and promises of doing it again soon. But next time, we’re going somewhere we can win in trivia.

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