Thursday, December 29, 2016

Becoming a Long Distance Care Giver

My mom had a health scare right before Christmas that caused me to have to alter my plans for break. It turned out not to be a major incident, but it did come to light that she hadn't taken her medication for about 3 months. So, from two states away, I was finding her a doctor (her doctor retired), making appointments, and getting emergency supplies of medications. I went home to make sure that she made that doctors appointment.

After a couple of SNAFU's she should be good to go on all of her medications.

However, I am totally stressed out. Nothing seems to work to reduce the stress. I am having anxiety attacks just about every day now.

Is it going to be this way forever? Will I get used to this long distance care? Will I feel better after I have the distraction of work? 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Lights at the Speedway

Last night, we went to see the lights at the Speedway. This is our second year. I truly hope that we get to make this an annual event.

I thought that I would share my snapchat story from yesterday. Enjoy!!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Holiday Health Scare

I was sitting in my classroom watching the students complete their Monday morning warm up activity. It was a normal day in my first period class. I have 22 students that period. Most of them are girls from the BioMedical academy. A very sweet bunch of kids.

My phone rang. I always check my phone because my room is so far away from the office, sometimes they will ring my cell phone rather than walk all the way from the other side of the building. It wasn't the office though, it was my doctor's office. "Well, that's weird." I thought. I answered it.

I had completely forgotten about my mammogram until the nurse said that there was an abnormality. She told me that the hospital would call soon. As the call ended, I looked up to see several shocked looking students with their hands over their mouths in shock. I knew they were able to get the gist of the conversation. I just walked out of my room. I wanted to call my husband, but he was unreachable at that time. I went to a trusted colleagues room and unloaded in the hall way. After my brief meltdown, I tried to get on with my day.

Four agonizing days passed before the hospital called to set up my follow up mammogram and sonogram. By now it was almost Thanksgiving. My appointment was two weeks after Thanksgiving break. That was a three week wait for my follow up.

I tried to remain calm. I have to say that anxiety medication and meditation were my best friends. I just tried to stay occupied. I went to Thanksgiving up north with family but I didn't tell a soul except my husband and a couple of colleagues. I really didn't want to ruin the holidays for my family if I didn't have to. Plus, if I wasn't talking about it...I wasn't thinking about it.

Finally, the day of the appointment arrived. The nurse explained the entire procedure and then we began. After the first set of images she came back and told me that all was clear. I am perfectly normal. I am just one of those women who need extra compression at mammograms. I was in and out in less than 20 minutes. It actually took her longer to explain the procedure than to do the procedure.


I have to say, a couple of days later, I had a bit of a melt down rant. I am glad that my husband is so patient. However, I feel more like a normal person now.

What did I learn from this experience? You have to take one day  and one step at a time. You have to give yourself permission to feel the feels - even if you don't think you can.

I am looking forward to our next holiday with family. This year, I will appreciate it more.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Outgrowing the Cheap Weekend

My husband and I spent the weekend down at Myrtle Beach. We went to do some shopping at the outlets. The shopping was fantastic! I have several Christmas presents done and feel like I can relax now and enjoy the Holidays a little more.

However, I have decided that I have outgrown the "cheap room" deals. We stayed where we always do, but got the $49 per night room. It reaked of smoke and must from being closed up so long.  I believe that those rooms are only opened for time share holders and short cheap stays like ours. I think the unused more neglected rooms were the ones set aside for this particular holiday deal.

Now, the staff was wonderful, the people in the restaurant treat you like family, and the hotel is always undergoing maintenance. The people seem to enjoy working there and guests are always happy and friendly. The band was great and the view was amazing. I am not knocking the resort at all. I am just saying that next time I will spend a little more for a little nicer room.  I am too old to rough it.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Painting the bathroom counter top

I FINALLY got to the bathroom counter top upstairs. I had forgotten just how terrible that paint smells!

Here is the sink after I taped it all up.

You can see the bright blue cabinet underneath as well. That was my daughter's idea when she was a teenager. That will be the next thing I paint!

Anyway, here is the first coat. It doesn't look like much but it sure did stink up the house! Thank goodness it was a nice enough day to open all the windows and to run the fans!

I really like the Rustoleum counter top paint. I had it tinted a light grey. You just prep the counter top with a light sanding and then paint this stuff on with a foam roller. I am using a foam brush to get the tough areas right around the sink itself.

Here is the final product after drying over night. The counter top cannot be used for 3 days. That is perfect because the next break isn't for another 5 days. I will put everything back so that the bathroom is usable when my daughter gets home for the long weekend.

The next project will be painting the cabinet and putting on new knobs. I have a dark grey (almost black) for the cabinet and new silver knobs.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Still reclaiming the house but off course just a bit

The work on the bathroom just seems to go slowly. I am almost finished now. I need to paint the cabinet and the sink and then put in the new floors. I thought that I would get it done this summer, but I was thrown off course when I couldn't get the paint color I wanted for the bathroom counter. I had to rethink my whole idea. That took a few weeks of research on Pinterest. Once I settled on a new color scheme, that is when the daughter returned for the summer and took over the premises. Oh well...I didn't get much reclaiming done this summer.

This weekend's step was to gather up all the rest of the bathroom supplies and take them upstairs. Now, I can start painting whenever I am ready and have a little time.

Of course, there are more projects to do. We need to get into our daughter's room, clean it out, and then start redecorating in there as well. BUT, in the meantime, the cat I rescued while out walking this summer had SIX kittens inside the couch of the man cave!! They have kept us quite busy!

Ok. They are cute! They are now seven weeks old which means we can send them off to new homes after next week. They all have appointments to see the vet on Friday afternoon. They will be checked out and wormed and then ready to find new forever homes.

However, now my basement smells like crazy cat lady's house. So, we have decided that we are going to have to go out of the order I had planned and redecorate the man cave next. We are going to have to pull everything out of there to get the place clean anyway, so we might as well pull everything out and redo, right?

Looks to me like we are ready for a weekend of shopping! Maybe after my hubby gets back from London, things will settle down. Kittens should be out of the house by then.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Weight Loss After the Nest Is Empty

This week was our daughter's first week back at college. I lost 2 1/2 pounds! Do you want to know why? I ate like adults instead of teenagers. Honestly, I don't really like chicken nuggets and pizza and hamburgers and hot dogs. But, I spoiled my daughter that last couple of weeks of summer with all of her favorites. I gained 5 pounds!!

This week there were lots of MY favorites. We had roasted vegetables, grilled chicken, grilled steak and salads. I bought fresh peaches and tomatoes from the farmers market. Yummy.

Darling Daughter is home to work this weekend. I am going to let her have a favorite for dinner tonight. One meal won't hurt, but it will be back to eating like adults tomorrow!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Rough Start

This has been one of the roughest starts to a school year that I have ever experienced. At first, I thought it was a sign that I have been teaching to long and have become very jaded. But, I learned that the entire staff has throughout the building. Therefore, it isn't just me. There is just some increased stress this year.

Honestly, I think we had TOO MANY workdays before the kids came back. We didn't need that much time, so we thought of things to stress about - or at least I did.

The kids come back on Monday. I will be tired every day next week, but somehow, I think the stress will go away. After all, we are all about the kids. With the kids missing school just isn't school. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

EVERYONE was home!

There was a International Champions Cup soccer game in Charlotte this weekend, so I had a house full of twenty year olds for two days. My son was home, he had a friend with him and my daughter is home from college for the summer.

Honestly, I had forgotten how my own kids compete for my attention. By the end of the day on Saturday, I was getting a little snippy with them. I guess this is something that I am either going to have to get used to or I am going to have to sit them down and talk this out. My daughter is home all the time, but she loves being the center of attention. My son is only home two or three times per year, so of course, he is going to get almost all of my attention during those visits. Sibling rivalry was definitely rearing it's ugly head this weekend. I hope this is something that they will grow out of and SOON!

Anyway, it was nice to have them both here under the same roof. It was almost like old times again. We had loud breakfasts, birthday cake, rip roaring games of Wii, and kayaking. I sure do like being a mom! 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Getting Healtier After the Kids Leave

Last year just after we dropped our daughter off at college, my husband and I started a count of how many days we could go without ordering pizza. We didn't count going to a pizzeria or a local pizza joint, just days when there was no pizza delivery to our house. I lost a few pounds doing this.

Slowly, we stopped eating like teenagers. We tried new vegetables and new cooking methods for preparing them. We are still working on grilled vegetables - for some reason, we just can't seem to get grilling veggies just right. However, I have become a master at roasting veggies in the oven! Next, we also cut out as many processed foods as possible. I learned to make several dishes from scratch or we just quit eating those dishes all together.

Me? I started walking. The spring of my daughter's senior year, I walked about 10 minutes 3 days per week. That was all I could do. Now, I walk or use my recumbent bike when the weather isn't cooperating. an average of 38 minutes 5 days per week. My minimum goal for exercise is 150 minutes per week, but honestly I am not really happy unless I get in 165 minutes. I even tried yoga! I don't include this as a daily practice, but Tuesdays are now Yoga Tuesdays.

Right now, I am working on cutting down on my beer consumption. This is a tough one because my husband and I are beer connoisseurs. But, I figured out how many beers I have on a worse case scenario week (one with parties, football games, holidays etc..) and then cut back 10% from that. I keep a count on a little chalkboard sticker in my kitchen. The first week, I lost a pound. When that 10% cut becomes easy, I will cut another 10% and then another until I am in a weight loss zone.

The point is that I feel better now than I did in my thirties and forties. If I am tired I sleep, If I need to walk or work out I just go. If I don't want pizza, I don't order or even go out to get it. My life is becoming more about ME. After the last child's trip out of the nest, I am rather enjoying this.  

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Slow End to Summer

I end my summer by heading up Freshman Orientation for our incoming freshman. I don't get paid, but I do it for a couple of reasons. 

First, when we came up with the idea, I taught freshman. Those poor kids are only about 6 weeks out of middle school and are having to face up to the responsibility of attending a tough high school program on a college campus. We are a STEM school, so the rigor is demanding. Students need to be comfortable with the technology used to learn in class. The idea of orientation in small groups (around 15 at a time) was to give them time to get used to us as teachers and to the computers. I also hope that they meet at least one person who will be a friendly face on the first day of school. Since we meet before the high school or the college starts, they will pretty much have the campus for themselves for an entire day. Hopefully, this will make those first few hours in August just a bit less overwhelming.

Second, I get trade time. So, when the snows start to fly in the winter and we are expected to risk our lives to come in even though school is closed, I already have some hours banked away. Ok, so this is the selfish part, but those hours have come in really handy more than once. 

The last reason I do summer orientation is that it allows me a gradual return to work. I can go ahead and take some things back to my classroom, get a heads up on my schedule, and most importantly, start getting up a little earlier. (Not that anything prepares me for that first 5:15 AM wake up in August!) 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Summer Chore Fail

I wanted to finish the bathroom this summer. Then, my youngest returned to the nest. I had forgotten what a slob she is. There is no way I can get that bathroom clean while she is home. I will have to wait until she returns to school this fall.

I don't remember a summer when I didn't get to finish the project that I laid out for myself. I feel like a big failure.

Oh, I have completed other chores and other small projects. I have read tons of books - both fun and serious. But, I haven't completed the bathroom. It keeps gnawing at my brain. I am just not going to get it done. I. AM. JUST. NOT.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Weekend at Home

Sometimes it feels as though we are just never here. We seem to be on the go ALL THE TIME.  I spent most of last week with one side of the family or another up in West Virginia. I made multiple trips back and forth to my home state.

This weekend, we are home bodies. I am loving the time here in my own home. I love being able to catch up on chores and being able to enjoy my tiki porch. I love the slower non-traveling pace.

Today, I finished washing down the refrigerator. I took it all apart, piece by piece, and washed it all down. I hate that chore but always feel so accomplished when I see my refrigerator all cleaned out and shining like new.

Of course, along with a shiny clean refrigerator, I also have to have clean floors and counters. So, I cleaned those as well. Now, I have a nice clean kitchen for cooking and serving dinner. My youngest is home from college for the summer - this means that the nice clean kitchen will last about 30 seconds after she gets home from work! Well, at least I got to look at it for 30 seconds, right?

Tomorrow, we have NO PLANS. I am as happy as a clam. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? I really like thinking of all the possibilities. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Thoughts on Turning 55

What are my thoughts on turning 55?

I was really depressed on my birthday and anniversary on Tuesday as I wandered the shopping mall all by myself. My husband had a special dinner planned for that evening, but I was away from home during a nasty rainy day trying to keep busy.

I hadn't been in a shopping mall in a long time. The new styles really made me feel old. I can't wear or even afford any of that stuff. Everything is skin tight and definitely NOT made for a 55 year old five foot tall round woman. I even felt old in the make up store. I don't usually feel old, but I sure did that day. Funny how the birthdays that end in zero aren't too's the ones that end in 5 that have always gotten to me.

Maybe it's because there is no jovial ribbing that goes with the 5 ending birthdays. These birthdays are just ignored. That big number 5 is just floating in the air out there mocking me by telling me that I am another 1/2 a decade older. It reminds me that the world is changing and I am now having trouble keeping up.

Honestly, I feel better and stronger at 55 than I did at 35. I walk every day and now that the kids are not here all the time, I eat healthier. I have worked through some emotional baggage by learning to live my own life at my own pace and not try to control everyone and everything else.  I have learned not to try to recreate an experience, but to enjoy it just as it was.  These things make me much happier and healthier than I was 20 years ago at the same time.

My thoughts on turning 55? It is just the beginning of the next phase. Who knows where I will go from here?

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Reclaiming the House...on to the Bathroom

This weekend, we painted the upstairs bathroom. When my daughter was in middle and high school, that bathroom was an absolute disaster! You don't even want to know how bad it was. I NEVER wanted to go in there.

Now, I want to make it a girly retreat. I want it to be very feminine and pretty. However, my daughter still has to live there part of each year, so I wanted her to have some input. We chose a nice sunny yellow color for the walls. I have chosen a shower curtain and rug that I plan to order tomorrow.

I had originally planned to order a new vanity and cabinet for over the toilet. Now though, I am thinking that I may just paint the old vanity and sink. I am thinking a nice grey with a white sink. I am going to look at vanities this week, so I guess I will decide then.

The picture is of the bathroom after the first coat of paint. I will post more pictures as we progress with our little redecorating project.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Year of the Two Fives

The year I am turning 55 is a year that I realize that I am not a kid anymore. My body is 55 years young and needs to be treated differently. I now cringe when the phone rings after a doctors appointment. "Now, what?" is all I can think of.

This past round of doctor's appointments now has me dealing with the development of cataracts and pre-diabetes. I am trying my darndest to get into a routine of a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise each week. Some weeks I do well, some weeks, I don't do so well.

I have to lose 14 pounds. Unfortunately, this is much easier said than done.

The funny thing is, I feel better than I have in years. I love my walks outdoors. I tolerate my sessions on the recumbent bike on those days that it is too nasty to get outside. I am enjoying trying new foods and the research involved in learning to eat healthier.

My husband is being very supportive by trying new foods. He is a bit of a picky eater. He wants steak and potatoes every night. He loves processed foods and white pastas. BUT, we are slowly eliminating those things from our diet. It is a slow process but we are getting the hang of it. We realize that we neither want or have to eat like teenagers any longer.

We have learned to eat quinoa and brussel sprouts, wheat pasta and brown rice. We don't order pizza every week, but when we do we go with thin crust or we call the local pizzeria. We have vegetables EVERY night. We've tried some vegetables we like and some that were just - ugh. Honestly, it's almost like the first year of marriage when we were learning to cook our own dinners. It is rather fun.

In fact, the whole process of becoming empty nesters and learning to put ourselves first is just like reliving our first year of marriage all over again. It's rather nice, really. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Winter Warmer Weekend

We made our second annual trek to the rescheduled Winter Warmer in Asheville this weekend. It was a much more laid back festival than last year, but still fun.

I am not sure if the festival was because it was rescheduled or if it was just going to be a smaller event anyway. I rather liked the smaller crowd because I got a chance to talk to the brewers and vendors. We even found a couple of new close by breweries that we may go try.

My main concern yesterday was NOT to over do it like I did last year. My big day for this weekend is today! I want to be ready for the Super Bowl this evening. I am just so excited that my beloved Panthers are in the Super Bowl that it trumps eveything...even the winter warmer.

I really keep track of the beers I tasted yesterday. Tossed them out if they did have immediate appeal and drank lots and lots of water. I feel perfectly fine today...just a little tired...nothing that a nap won't fix.

I love going to these festivals with my hubby. I just wish this one hadn't been on Super Bowl weekend.