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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Questions Answered

Now that my brain has had some time to calm the eff down I can write again. I tend to get a little frazzled when I have back to back projects to work on. I space things out so I'm not cramming all the work into one day, ends up taking me about 4 days. But still once I'm done I just don't feel like writing much anymore. Especially after knocking out two 10+ page projects. Yeeaahhh my brain needs time to chillax.

So I started my home project of going through the stuff in this house. I need to figure out what I'm keeping and packing, what needs to be shredded, and what can go straight in the trash. My mom held on to a lot of paperwork so I hope my shredder is up to the task of grinding it all into confetti. I spent about two hours yesterday before my back said it had enough. I did manage to make a dent in Phase 1 so I'm proud of myself.

I found some old awards of mine, awards my mom got, old photos and magazines. My mom had gotten some award or a nomination from the Handyman Association. It was a cute little thing and it made me feel proud. I remember the random DIY projects she would do around the house, like the dog house that amazingly is still standing after 15+ yrs. I also found some things I wasn't prepared for.

There was this big storage bin filled with stuff and that's where it all started. As I was digging through it and tossing out old CDs that were in bad shape, I came across some things that answered questions I'd had about when my mom was sick. The year my mom got sick I wasn't around much. I was here maybe a few days a week but I had just started dating this guy and was all about spending time with him. Said guy turned into a major douche and boy did I learn some lessons from that failure of a relationship.

I found medication slips from meds my mom was on at the time. You know those papers the pharmacy attaches that tells you the name, side effects and all that. There was a notepad she used to track her symptoms. Now I know that she started having problems in Jan 2003 and they progressively got worse over the course of 6 months before she had further testing done. There was a letter she tried to write to Oprah. My mom LOVED Oprah. When she wrote that letter she had just found out that her prognosis was worse than they thought. In the letter she talks about how the doctors thought they had caught early before the cancer had spread anywhere else. She never finished the letter so I'll never know why she was writing Oprah. There was a journal she wrote in from 1998-2000 during my "rough years." It was sad but comforting to see how she dealt with that time. She was concerned about me and it wasn't until mid 1998 that I was diagnosed with suicidal depression. We went through a lot of therapy before things got better between us.

I felt guilty for a long time and sometimes I still do because I feel like I wasn't around enough then. I was too busy with my own stuff. I know in my heart that she was just giving me my own space to live my life. I think I'm coming to better terms with not being in the loop as far as knowing she had cancer. It was hard enough for her to deal with the fact that she was going through it in the first place. Then to get the news that it was too late to do anything. She did what she always did, she put me first. She didn't want me to carry the burden of knowing what was going on. She wanted to protect me from the pain. I was angry for a long time, but I'm not anymore. It was hard enough for her to know she was going to die. How do you find the strength to tell your baby girl that? She knew I couldn't deal with that. In the end she showed why she's always been my hero. Unconditional love knows no bounds.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Little Dogs Can Be Jerks

 In my corner of the world every winter is like a big game of "Maybe, Maybe Not." All of these weather forecasters with their Doppler Radar always know how to send people into a panic, or lull them into a false sense of calm. Ever since the Blizzard of 1996 I tend to be a little skeptical when it comes to weather forecasts. Weather forecasting is a 50/50 shot. Only job where you can be wrong 95% of the time and still collect a paycheck.

Back in January of 96 we didn't think we were going to have a blizzard. The night before they're telling us we'll get 6 inches to about 1 foot of snow. No big deal we've had snow before. Put some salt down out front before we go to bed and then get up a little early to shovel a path. Piece of cake! Well that's not what happened AT ALL!! I went to bed prepared for school and having to make my way through a little snow.

So the next morning my mom wakes me up with this blur of information. "You don't have school today because we're snowed in but you need to go outside and find your dog." Wait, what hold on back up a second. I don't have school today. WOOHOO!!! Wasn't there something about a dog.....oh yeah something about getting my dog. My bed was by the window at that time and I had a view of the one side of the backyard. I look outside and all I see is sparkly white snow EVERYWHERE. And it was really high too. Didn't realize how high that snow was until I went outside.

I got suited up and went downstairs to figure out what was going on. Mind you I've only been awake for 15 minutes at this point. At the time we had two dogs. A jet black cocker spaniel/springer spaniel mixed name Mike, and a little chihuahua/Jack Russel terrier mix named Bambi. I go in the kitchen and Mike's sitting on the floor looking at me. Bambi is nowhere to be seen. I open the door and BOOM walls of snow all around me except for this one tunnel that zig zags towards the back of the backyard. So I follow this path to the end of the yard and there he is. Bambi's sitting there in the snow all huddled up and shivering. Guess all that work to get back there must've made him too cold to find his way back. Rolled my eyes at him, picked him up and tucked him in my coat and headed back inside. Soon as we were indoors I pull him out of my coat and set him on the floor. My mom had a towel ready and she's drying him off and craddling him in the towel to warm him up.

Little dogs are always up to no good....

I learned two valuable lessons that day.

#1. Weather forecasters aren't always right. Considering they said we'd get 6-12 inches and we ended up with 3 feet of snow.

#2. If you let your dog go outside to go potty in the snow, put him on a leash because they love to wander.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Bragging Rights

I have been seriously slacking lately on my updates. I realized there's things I've forgotten to do lately because of having some down moments. Trying to catch up on everything else reminded me that there were some things I forgot to mention.

Looks like we're a wrestling family now. Not sure if I mentioned it before but the boyfriend's son is a jock. Football and baseball. So we had our routine of being at every practice and every game. Not to mention the fact that the boyfriend still plays softball during the summer and fall. Well now we're adding wrestling to the list and his son is doing pretty well for his first year. What I wasn't prepared for was the dramatics attached to wrestling. Man I have never seen so much crying and so many temper tantrums in one day. I am so glad his son handles his losses better than some of these other kids. You can definitely tell the difference between the parents who taught their kids that "winning is everything" and "losing isn't the end of the world." The boyfriend's son has a lot of potential though. Even though he's had 3 losses he's never been pinned, he refuses to be pinned. Course we do get excited every time he pins someone, but he knows win or loss there's something he can learn from every match.

Now me on the other hand I have some updates about my fantasy football standings. I mentioned a while back that our playoffs had started and I was waiting to see where I ended up. Looks like I'm ending the season in 1st and 2nd place for the two leagues where I made it to the playoffs. WOOT WOOT!!! I am very, very happy about that! Big jump from last year. I learned some things this year and I'll be using the advice I got to help me do well again next year. Sucks I have to wait until September before I can start again. Not sure if I want to do fantasy baseball.....we'll see. Anyways, I have to go finish my project.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Coping Skills

I posted earlier about how I felt like staying under my blanket non-stop. It's one of my childhood coping skills. When the world feels like it's coming in I hide under my blanket until everything feels better. But childhood skills aren't helping. Gotta put on the big girl panties and work on big girl coping skills. One of my biggest issues is limits. Goals, time limits. I do it for school and it seems to work out just fine.

My problem is that when I make to-do lists I get bummed when I don't finish everything. Lately I've been working on ranking things in order of priority. This way the more important stuff gets done first. I have to remind myself it's okay if I don't finish everything. Even the important stuff, unless it's life or death, can get pushed back a day. There are days when I feel like I want to be super productive. And times when I could care less. Especially if it's something that doesn't really interest me then it's easier for me to procrastinate.

Another thing I have to work on is reasonable limits. There are things I just can't do right now because of physical limitations. Last weekend was an issue because there were so many things I put off because I couldn't focus long enough. It's gotten better though. Like right now I'm taking a break between working on research for my science project to do this. Like I said my coping skills need some work. I'm a work in progress. Having that mantra in the back of my head will hopefully keep me on track. Keep me from wanting to slip back under the blanket and hide from the world. Which reminds me I need to make a playlist for those times. Music is a big part of my life. Always has been, always will be. I figure as long as I have music to help me it should make things a little easier.

Funny Music Ecard: I feel a profound connection to you based on the music in your shared iTunes folder.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

First, Best, Last

So I was inspired by my girl Janna over at Perception is Everything when she did her blog about firsts. I changed it up a little bit to include my bests and lasts. The reason I'm doing it this way is because I was inspired by some posts I read this morning that made me want to get from under my blanket. Yeah I've had a rough few days but so what, other people have it way worse than I do. Besides, I'm getting closer to a resolution which makes me feel better. So anyways thank you for always putting a smile on my face Janna, Whitney, Brenda, Doyin and my fave new mom Katie. Pay it forward and go visit their blogs after you're done reading this post, click on their names and check out their blogs :-) 

First Love: When I was little I had a thing for Spiderman. I don't know something about that webcrawler made me giddy. I was dead set on being Mrs. Spiderman.

Best kiss: First time me and the boyfriend locked lips. It was the first time I threw caution to the wind and planted one on a guy instead of waiting for them to kiss me.

Last kiss: That would be from the boyfriend too. He can be sweet sometimes and give little kisses on the forehead when I'm not feeling like myself.

First Dream Job: I changed my mind A LOT when I was a kid. But the first job I wanted was to be a firefighter. Thanks to my asthma that's not going to happen now. And I'm no longer as willing to run into a burning building, but I give a lot of respect to those who do. Two months later I wanted to be an archaeologist.

Best Job: I do miss being a tour guide sometimes. I did the horse drawn carriage tours in the historic section of Philly and I loved it! Met people from all over the world and had a great time. I love being around horses and I thought it was cool. The pay wasn't great but it was a good summer job.

This was my Oliver I loved that horse so much

Last movie I bought: The Dark Knight Trilogy. During my teen years a.k.a. "comic book lover years" I found a new love interest. Batman! No superpowers just a ton of cash, some super cool weapons, a cave/mansion and the Batmobile. *sigh* To this day he holds a special place in my heart. Kinda miss reading comic books sometimes.

First Airplane Ride: When I was 13 my mom emptied her savings to send me on a 3 week trip to New Zealand and Fiji with this organization called People to People. Man that was a great trip! But the flight over sucked sooo much! 23 hr flight not including layovers in L.A. and Hawaii. Wouldn't have been so bad except for missing dinner on the way there (I was out like a light) and waking up to the Brady Bunch movie twice (a flight that long you'd think they'd have a double feature ready) on the way back.
Picture I took when we went snorkeling Daydream Island, Fiji 

Best way to spend a quiet day: I'm a book nerd. No ifs, ands or buts about it I love me some books. Since the day I saw Beauty & the Beast (Disney version) I've been dreaming about that giant library Belle gets. Yeah I want that bad! So I'm pretty content to curl up with a book until I fall asleep with my face holding it open.

Last book I bought: Speaking of books.....last one I bought was Mindhunter written by the FBI's top criminal profiler. This in no way contributes to my book hoarding, I simply couldn't pass up a great deal on Amazon. Besides I need more books if I'm going to have that floor to ceiling library.

First Concert: Prince Musicology Tour 2004! I haven't seen nearly as many concerts as I want, but the ones I've seen have been incredible. Prince, Etta James, Stevie Nicks, Vince Neil, WXTU 25th Anniversary show (where I got to see Jason Aldean for the first time woo) and Sugarland.

Best holiday garb: I used to have these light up antlers I wore at Christmas time, which seem to have disappeared. So I'll give this honor to my green cowboy hat with the sparkly fur trim and the blinking shamrock.

Last Halloween costume: Jem from Jem & the Holograms. Note to self: don't wait until night before to buy shoes for costume, especially when they're heels. Oh my feet hurt sooooo bad by the end of the night the boyfriend had to fireman carry me to car. Odds I'm ever wearing those shoes again: 0
Truly, truly, truly outrageous

First Celebrity Crush: Zack from Saved by the Bell. Which would explain why I have a thing for blondes. 

Best cartoon from the 80's: Jem & the Holograms!!! What did you think I was going to say The Smurfs?

Last TV show I watched: Revenge. That show is deliciously awesome.

First Album: Michael Jackson's Thriller. To this day I can't listen to the end of that song because Vincent Price's laugh creeps me out.

Best pick me up song: Good Vibrations. Thank you Mark Wahlberg for at one point being Marky Mark. I just can't help smiling and bopping my head every time I hear this song.

Last song I listened to: Footloose by Kenny Loggins. If I was up to it I would've done the dance too. Another one of those songs that puts you in a good mood. 

First time my jaw dropped: When I was in high school a select few of us were part of the All City Choir. Best singers from four different high school choirs. We'd rehearse for a couple months and then perform at the Academy of Music. Same stage that Marian Anderson and Maria Callas performed on. I remember being amazed when the curtain went up and the seats were packed with family and friends who came to watch us perform. Side note: there is nothing more difficult than doing the humming chorus from Madame Butterfly. Singing pitch perfect is one thing, try humming in key.

Best dessert I've ever had: Tiramisu! I don't normally crave desserts when I go out to eat. But no matter how full I am if there's tiramisu on the menu there's a good chance it's going in my belly.

Last time I laughed until I almost fell off the sofa: Needed something to brighten my mood this past weekend so I finally got to watch Ted. That movie was hi-larious! There were several times I almost rolled off the sofa or bounced my head off the ottoman I turned into my personal table. Nothing brightens my mood better than a raunchy comedy.

First curse word said in front of my mom: Ah the teenage years were all about pushing my boundaries. One of those boundaries was curse words. My mom was the kind of mom that everyone feared. Sweet as pie one minute, glare of death the next. So my friends and I were really careful not to say anything more than "damn" around her or else she'd chew us out. I waited until I was 19 before I dropped the F-bomb in front of her. We were in the car and somebody stopped short or something, mom hits the brakes and it just popped out my mouth. I tried to curl my body up and brace for the verbal assault but she just looked at me and laughed. 

Best way to have some me time: BUBBLE BATH! 'nuff said....

Last weird thing I ate: Snails. They're chewy but tasty. Not something I'd eat all the time like chicken, but every once in a while maybe once a year or three.

First OMG moment: The day I got my black belt. I was 15 yrs old and I was so pumped that I made it through. That test was ROUGH! There were 5 tests we had to pass:
  •  Kata - had to do 3 of those (karate moves made into a synchronized form like dance moves sort of)
  • Weapons - had to demonstrate my proficiency with a pair of nunchucks 
  • Self-Defense - don't remember how long that was
  • Wood breaking - had to design our own 5 station wood break and I almost failed this part because it took me 3 tries to get through the second station (only allowed 3 mistakes and then we failed the whole test and had to wait 3 months to retake it)
  • Sparring - 3 rounds, 5 minutes, 5 opponents and I had an asthma attack and ended up with a concussion but I passed so that's all that matters 
After all it took for me to get my black belt I felt pretty badass! Only 4 people from my school got their belt that day

Best snack from childhood: Gummy bears! No matter how old I get I will always love those things.

Last random act of kindness: holding the door open for an older gentleman

First big purchase: When I worked at Macy's I used my employee discount to buy a bottle of Vera Wang Princess perfume. I no longer have it but I used to love the smell of it and used it sparingly.

Best compliment someone gave me: You remind me of your mom
My mom and Bambi....I'll have to tell you the blizzard of '96 story sometime...

Last thing I ate: Chinese food

So now it's your turn.....share some of your firsts, bests and lasts with me:

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hiding Under My Blanket

courtesy of

I've been having a rough few days and frankly I had no motivation. My pain levels were high and I just couldn't function. Had a few moments of clarity when I forced myself to do homework. But then the walls would come back and all I wanted to do was curl up under my blanket. Thankfully the boyfriend played nurse and took great care of me. I don't have much to say right at this moment so allow me a little time to pull myself back together. Even typing this little bit is frustrating. I feel like the fog will lift soon and I can keep moving forward.


courtesy of

Well......least my sense of humor is still intact  :-)

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Work In Progress

So I had an interesting week. You might have noticed I've been MIA for the past few days. Partly because I had two projects to do for school and wanted to concentrate on putting out an A quality paper. The other reason was that I just didn't feel up to being on here. Had nothing to do with any of you! I just had a rough week mentally. People can always tell when something's eating away at me because I get really quiet. Like one word answers, clipped sentences that mean I don't want to talk.

At first I thought it was stress from feeling like I was behind in my work. What happened was I completely forgot I had two papers due and had only worked on one. Had all my research notes ready and just needed to write the paper. Then I get an email from my other professor reminding us what we needed to complete this week. And BOOM I now have another paper to work on. So I was a bit pissy because normally I'm pretty on top of these things. Because of the lovely week off we had for winter break I didn't transfer all of my assignments onto the To-Do List app on my phone yet. I will be doing that as soon as I'm done this post.

Anyways, I assumed my mood was because of that bit of added stress and the fact that I'm supposed to get another round of shots in my back. So I went in to see my therapist today and there was a breakthrough. If I haven't mentioned this yet I'm very glad I starting going to therapy cause clearly I need it! We talked about how my holidays were and I told her about my mood change the week after Christmas. I told her how I thought my mood issues were from the stress until she brought up some very good points.

When mom was alive the holidays were a big deal. Decorations were put up, preparations were made, holiday music was playing. You could feel the holiday spirit. We'd get up early and open presents with Christmas music playing in the background. Then we'd spend the rest of the day watching Christmas movies and eating. The past couple years the boyfriend has done a great job trying to give me the Christmas I don't get anymore. We decorate the tree and put decorations around the living room. But when Christmas Day rolls around it just feels like another day. I do like the low-key Christmas, but somewhere inside of me there was guilt.  I know how I'm supposed to feel and how things used to be on Christmas. But I felt guilty because it wasn't that way anymore. I felt guilty for enjoying this low-key Christmas and not continuing the tradition of making a big deal out of the holiday.

Just another reminder that the grieving process is a long process for some people. I need to remind myself that it's okay to keep some of the things mom did and blend them with things I like. I don't have to always do everything she did. That was her thing and now I have to find my own thing. It doesn't mean I'll forget about her, or she won't be important to me anymore. It just means I'm making the steps to move forward and redefine my life.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Making 2013 My Bish Link up 2013

I mentioned how this year a bunch of us bloggers are getting together to do a link up for the new year. Every year people feel the need to make a list of things they resolve to do differently. Which most of the time it's the same resolutions from the year before that they didn't accomplish. Resolutions are a funny thing though. Usually something along the lines of:

Lose weight
Get a new job
Quit smoking
Run a 10 day marathon with a starving cheetah strapped to my back

I mean who doesn't want to say they were able to finish a marathon right. But the problem with resolutions is they're this vague idea of something you think you want to accomplish without any real planning involved. So in order to make 2013 my bish I want to unroll my list for what I expect out of this year:

  • First things first, after this semester is over I'll be in my senior year and a few months away from getting my Bachelors degree. Christmas Eve 2013 is my expected graduation date. So if I have to I'll cram in extra courses to make sure I get done on time. This way I can take a short break before I start working on my Masters in Counseling. 
  • I might not be able to lift and move stuff around to get my packing done right now. But I can at least sort through stuff and make piles. So it's time to make some progress on sorting through my life. This way when I'm finally able to pack again all I have to do is box stuff up. 
  • It's been almost 10 years and I haven't touched anything in my mom's room. Her clothes, everything is where it was when she died. My mom was big on donating clothes to Goodwill. So I'm going to sort through her clothes and donate her suits and office wear to a charity downtown that provides low income women with clothes for job interviews and business clothes to wear to work. Her everyday clothes will go to Goodwill. I look at it this way, this is something she would've wanted me to do.
  • On that note I need to take a page from my mom's  playbook and be proactive. I think deep down she knew I wouldn't be able to think rationally enough to make the decisions I needed to make when she died. We'd also never had a discussion about what her wishes were in the event certain things happened. Don't think either one of us thought it was necessary. But I need to make a living will and instructions in the event of my untimely death. This way my loved ones aren't faced with those decisions. Honestly, having them decide what to do with me would cause so much harm. The first thing people think about is not wanting to let go, so it would be hard to follow my instructions with those thoughts in their head. 

So that's how my 2013 is going to go. What about you????

Perception Is Everything