Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Say What?!?

Yesterday was a busy day at work. Mondays are generally our heaviest volume days. Lots of people are out of the office due to the holidays. One of my co-workers (who just got engaged - yay!) is out for the week. Another one, who works remotely, has been a butt and taken off every Monday this month (except next week, and only 'cause it wasn't available). She has done this several times this year, along with taking other heavy volume days off. She took today, too. *I* was supposed to have today off...but, I digress. Not the point of this post. ::side eye:: to her azz, anyway.

Some time after lunch, we all got an email. Something to the effect of, please join us for a conference call at 1pm. Umm hmm. It's Monday - I got 6 new claims, my phone is ringing off the hook, I ain't even leave for lunch. Oh - and you haven't told us what this little call is about. Yeah, ok. Next!

I promise you, of the skeleton crew that WAS in the office, 90% of us were not on that call. LOL! That's so bootleg, I know. But given that the email had no subject, and we weren't told what the call was about, we all kind of thought, "whatever!" Usually, if something is really important, our office manager will send out an email telling us that attendance is mandatory.

While that very short conference call was progressing, I was on the phone with a customer. I began to hear rumblings and grumblings around me, but I couldn't really focus on what they were saying. I couldn't wait to get off the phone with that man. Especially because, while I was on with him, we got an office wide email that we should meet at 1:30 to discuss The Call in more detail.

Uh oh.

I got him off the phone about 4 minutes before the meeting was to begin. I said to my co-workers, "OK - what happened now?"

Her reply? "They sold us to (name of competitor)."

::blink::

Um. I'm sorry. What??? I think I just hallucinated. Mind you, less than 6 months ago, we were fighting to keep this competitor from taking our account. The only account we work on in my office. If we had lost the account to them, I wouldn't have had a job. So...yeah. This sale is akin to Dunkin' Donuts saying, "we got into this coffee thing, and it was great. But now we just want to focus on our bread and butter - our donuts. So, we're selling our coffee operations to Starbucks."

Usually, when something this big happens in my industry, you hear rumblings of it WELL before it goes down. Trade publications, rumors from management at other companies, etc. We heard NOTHING. And judging by his reaction in the meeting, I don't think our office manager knew it was going down, either. Might be why we didn't get that "mandatory" meeting email.

When we walked in the meeting, my stomach dropped, 'cause the Grim Reaper was in there. Who's the Grim Reaper, you ask? Well, he's the HR Manager who handled the layoffs when this same company laid me off in 2005. You don't want to see him, 'cause that usually means somebody's gettin the ax. Well, I guess if he's the Grim Reaper, somebody would be getting the scythe. Anywho, whatchu doin' here, Grimmy? I need my job, man!

Long story short: we've been sold, but we're all going to be offered comparable jobs. That was part of the sale deal (insert sigh of relief here). All of this will be in place by the end of 1st quarter 2011. Grimmy is just there to help us with the HR questions of it all. How will benefits terminate, what happens to 401Ks, cash balance pensions, PTO, etc. Oh. A'ight. Good lookin' out, GR. Don't touch me, though. I choose corporate life, I promise!

My new year is starting out crazy, and it's still December! Word? Word.

My take aways:

1. When you get an email telling you to get on a conference call, get on the dang call. :lol:
2. Expect the unexpected!
3. Change is inevitable.

That's the ball game! Thanks for comin' out. It's been real. Tip your waiter on your way out.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Getting Ready for 2011

I don't make "resolutions." I never really have. I think about things that I want to do, figure out what I need to do, and then make the plans accordingly. I have some friends who are really detailed about what they are going to do. They journal, make vision boards, and sometimes blog about their plans. I like to read and then watch them accomplish what they set out to do.

Me, personally? I don't do all of that. I already know what I need to do next year, and it revolves around 2 things: my finances and my fitness. I've already met with the financial planner to get the ball rolling. As soon as my physical therapy eval is done today, I'll have a better idea of what types of work outs I can do over the next week. I've already done my research about alkaline diets. As much as it pains me to give up my beloved sweet tooth, I will have to drastically cut back.

So, those are the things I'll be working on for next year. We have our family reunion in July (on my mom's side), and I think we're going to try and take my mom on a cruise. She doesn't know that yet. :) The problem is, figuring out which cruise, how long to go, etc. She's always wanted to go to Hawaii, but with her back problems, I can't forsee her making it through the 8+ hour flight to get there. I really wish she could. We could get a travel agent to plan it for us.

My biggest wish for 2011 is for LDR to get his job transfer here. Good employers are hard to come by, so we both would rather he get a transfer, then have to start all over somewhere else. We're just gonna keep hope alive on that one.

So how do you get ready for the next calendar year? Are you very detail-oriented, or do you go with the flow? Or somewhere in the middle?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dear Messiness

Dear Messiness:

I have seen a lot of you over the past 2 weeks. First, you pop up as a crazy chick spending way too much time worrying about what's going on with me and LDR. She called herself wanting to tell me about somebody that LDR talked to briefly IN THE PAST, that we both know and speak with now. We're all cool. It was in the past, not a serious relationship, and we all have our own lives. So...exactly what did you do by revealing that info - that I already knew, other than make us laugh at you and officially check you off on the list as certifiable?

This afternoon, Messiness, you made two appearances. First, in the form of a co-worker who just FINALLY realized, that another co-worker has been smiling in his face, but talking smack behind his back. Um...if she spent so much time talking to you about others, why wouldn't you think she was talking about you TO others? Oh well, I tried to break it down to him so that it could forever and consistently be broken. Maybe he listened. But probably not. My guess is that he will let you jump all into the middle of the situation. I wash my hands of it. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: we're here to do a job. We don't have to be friends. We don't even have to speak outside of hi and bye. You gotta know who to exchange pleasantries with vs. who you can talk to. That last group of people is very small. Sometimes it doesn't exist at all.

The second appearance involved a complete IDIOT disparaging the mother of his child via his blog. Really, dude? Really? So...what are you going to do when your child gets older, and is able to Google and see this mess? And really, you're going to put somebody's FULL GOVERNMENT NAME out there for the world to see? And their job info? I just can't. If that wasn't the Spirit of Messiness Past taking over someone's body, I don't know what is. Just sad. What kind of example are you really setting? Not to mention, you've really just made yourself look like an azz, in an attempt to make her look like one. Good job! Messy begets messy, but I hope she stays on the high road.

Verily I say unto you, Messiness: GET THEE BEHIND ME! I don't wanna see you no more this week or this month. Shoot, I don't wanna see you for the next calendar year! I've done my best to remove some of your influences from my life, but it's inevitable that you'll pop back up. But I just simply CANNOT with you. Stress is not good for the health. I don't need any more gray hairs or facial wrinkles from the Whiskey Tango Foxtrot frown that comes with you. GO AWAY.

That is all.

Signed,

Marilie

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Is This How It's Gonna Be?

Yesterday I had a great cardio workout on the elliptical. I wore a ACE bandage on my knee, and it seemed to be ok. Later that afternoon, I did have a little bit of pain and stiffness when walking around. I chalked it up to the normal aches and pains associated with exercise.

This morning, I wanted to hit the treadmill. I figured I'd do one of the Couch to 5K type work outs, with intervals of jogging for 2 minutes and walking for 1 minute. I always start with a 5 minute warm up walk. I tried to jog the first interval, and it was a no-go 10 seconds into it. With every step I felt a sharp pain in my left knee. I had to slow the treadmill back down to walking pace, and actually was hopping on my right foot at one point because it wasn't slowing down fast enough and the knee was hurting.

I have no idea what I did to it, but it happened the night we went bowling in NY. Luckily, OrthoCarolina had an opening today at 11:20. This is the same doctor who saw me for my Achilles tendonitis, and his P.A. saw me for my plantar fasciitis. They should be very well versed on my chart of aches and pains.

It seems like the more I try to exercise and do right, the more injuries crop up. I see people who run miles and miles and miles with no issues. Why can't I be one of those people? Is this just part of gaining another year of life? I'm going to be 36 next month. I'm not trying to be crippled by 40. This is getting ridiculous!

I guess I'm bummed because all through my 20s, exercise came easily. Even times when I wouldjust abandon it, I could pick right back up like nothing happened. I've been trying to run consistently, but have been sidelined since June. What's funny is that last year, I didn't know what the hell I was doing, and managed to successfully run a half marathon. Now that I'm actually trying to be cognizant of my training and what I do, injuries are jumping up like the 1-2 punch.

Sigh. I can't win with my joints right now. We'll see what Dr. McBride has to say. :(

Monday, December 6, 2010

Back on the Grind

This morning was my first morning workout in quite a while. Probably since early October, at least. I did work out a few times while I was home, but all of that was negated with LDR feeding me biscuits/eggs/turkey bacon/grits with cheese/etc every morning when he got home from work. We won't even get into the snack food.

Needless to say, I need to get back on the grind. I refuse to wait until January 1 to do it. So this morning, I struggled got out of bed at 5:00am, and made my way to the small gym at my job for a morning work out. I got here later than I expected, so in turn I got to my desk later than I expected. None the less, I got my elliptical work out in.


I had some slight pain in my left knee, but I wore the ACE bandage brace, and that seemed to keep it in check. Tomorrow, I would like to try and alternate walking/jogging on the treadmill, but that might be a smidge ambitious. I'll stop if I feel any significant pain.

I'm also looking into joining Lifestyle Family Fitness here in Charlotte. I looked into the Gold's in Cornelius, but I didn't hear any favorable reviews from people I know. That, coupled with the fact that I'd have to fight rush hour traffic to get there, meant that was not an option. I really enjoyed my workouts in NY. Although I didn't need the gym when I was running regularly, I miss that atmosphere. I really enjoyed the classes I took with LDR, and I want something like that here.

I really miss running. This weekend is the annual Thunder Road 5K/half marathon/marathon. This is the one I ran last December. I really, really, really was looking forward to running it this year. I was psyched to beat my time from last year. Then I got sidelined with the plantar fasciitis. I've been dealing with the PF since June. JUNE. I can't even explain to you how sad I am that I won't be running on Saturday. :(

What's your fitness plan? Do you have any specific goals you're trying to reach? Are you a member of a gym? What keeps you motivated, when really you just want to sit on the couch and eat a cookie? Or maybe that's just me who wants to sit on the couch and eat Wegmans cookies... :lol:

Where's Our Snow?

Over the past few days, parts of Buffalo (the south towns) has been killed with snow. It started snowing yesterday in Syracuse. I keep seeing all kinds of updates on FB. Apparently, they are having a snow day today. Uh, that NEVER happened when I was growing up. OK once. During the Blizzard of '93. We rarely missed school because of snow. We missed it once in elementary school, because the entire city was covered in ice. For the most part, we were going to school. Suck it up and put on your Moon Boots and your Freaky Freezies gloves.

It's been cold here, but no snow. When I got up this morning, it was about 28 degrees. I had to sit in the car and warm it up for 5 or 6 minutes, so that was always nice. I was sleepy when I left the house, but once I stepped out into that cold air, it was on!

I just wanna know, where's our snow? It's been a minute since Charlotte had a good snow storm. I'm ready. Mostly because everything will just shut completely down here...lol.

What's the weather like in your neck of the woods?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

'Tis The Season...But Not For Me

I haven't celebrated Christmas since 2007. I didn't do much in 2008 because I had just moved into my apartment, and I had thrown my tree out because it was broken. And I just frankly wasn't in the "spirit" of Christmas. I was still very hurt and upset over everything that went down with E. Wanted no parts of it.

Then in 2009, I met Roll Bounce. I've talked about him before. Anywho, he asked me one day at the skating rink if I went to church. I told him I did not, because while I believe in God, there's just too much foolery going on in the churches. Stuff I've seen up close and personal, and just frankly don't want to be bothered with. Not to mention, I just never felt totally comfortable in church anyway.

So, he started telling me about Siniatic congregation he attended. They speak Hebrew, and really concentrate on studying what it says in the Bible (especially the Old Testament)- no more, no less. No extra interpretation, etc. He told me how he initially was a 7th Day Adventist, but then someone introduced him to the Tabernacle and he's been there ever since.

Of course, I was just sitting there listening to him like, "yeah, ok." I'm not going there either, dang it. But then, he had more of my attention. Why? He started talking about all the RESEARCH he had done. Everyone who knows me knows I'm a stickler for the facts/research. I love numbers and sources and all of that.

I need to go back a moment. The Mason didn't celebrate Christmas, either. When I was dating him, I still did. He started telling me all these things about Christmas and its history and I just refused to listen to him. But it always stuck in the back of my mind. I refused to research it then, because I didn't want him to be right.

So, when RB started talking to me and giving me some things to look up - both in the Bible and throughout history - it started to jibe with what The Mason had said. Well, dang. I did not want that fool to be correct. But it turns out he was. Ugh!

I'm not going to get into all the details here, but if you want some things to look up, start looking at the history of the Christmas tree. Or start combing through the Bible for specific references to the date of Christ's birth. Or you can just read here.

I spent a lot of years just doing things because, "that's how we always did them." I never questioned the reasons or the origins of anything. Don't get me wrong - I'll always have warm memories of the times I spent with my family during the Christmas holiday. Honestly, our focus was not on the religious aspect of the holiday, anyway. It's just not for me anymore.

I don't write this to try and come down on anybody who celebrates the holiday. We all have our own beliefs, and we have to do what's best for us. This is just what I choose to do for me. I know a lot of people seem put off when I tell them I don't celebrate Christmas. They assume I'm Muslim now, or who knows what.

This is just me. And Lord knows I am NOT perfect. So, now you have a little deeper glimpse into how I think.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Loc It Up

So Lee told me I need to write about hair. LOL! Guess she got tired of me and S23 reminiscing about the crazy folks we've dated in the past.

If you follow me on the other "social networks," then you know that I made the decision a couple of months ago to loc my hair. While I was in NY, I decided to go ahead and get the process started. The hairdresser who started/maintains my brother's locs put in some comb coils for me.

I was concerned about starting with comb coils, because of the loose texture of my hair in the front. When I had them done in 2006, the front ones did not stay in very well. But this time, they seem to be pretty tight. Maybe it's because the ones I got in 2006, weren't meant to be locs.

Anywho, here they are:






I don't have to do much with these, and I like it. I had kind of gotten into that mode once I got to NY. I'd wash my hair, twist it up, untwist for a chunky fro and then every night I just put my scarf on, got up in the morning, fluffed it out and went.

Now I just spray with my Oyin Handmade "Juices and Berries" and I tie up at night before I go to bed. So far, so good. We'll see what it's looking like at the end of week 2. I still need to determine how often I'll have them maintained, and I also need to figure out who will do the maintaining. Likely, Lockstar - a salon here in Charlotte.

I've been reading up and watching YouTube videos...and everyone seems to mention this stage where the hair first starts to actually loc. It gets frizzy and starts acting crazy. I've armed myself with plenty of headwraps, and I will slap them on during this time, if need be! :lol:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday





Feelings

That dang S23...always got me thinking about stuff. LOL!

Today, she wrote a post about how something someone says to you in your past, can continue to haunt you. You're conscious about it, but not sure what to do to break the thoughts.

I used to date this guy - I'll call him, The Mason. The Mason had some insecurities of his own. Which I knew about, and tried my best to assure him that those things he was worried about were not an issue with me. It didn't really matter.

Anywho, one of the commenters at S23's spot mentioned that she had dated someone in the past who said that she was overly-emotional. So that made me think of The Mason. He really didn't show his emotions that much.

One day, shortly after I got the Max-initi, I was driving through the countryside of Henry County, on my way to the WalMart in Stockbridge. I hit this &^%$*! pothole and it took out my right front tire. I mean, took it OUT. Bent the ($900) rim and messed up the tire. I pulled to the side of the road and into this church parking lot. People were coming out of this church, but no one really offered to help. Finally, the pastor himself came out and he offered to help me change the tire.

Problem? We couldn't find the key for the wheel locks. Why someone would want to steal some factory rims off a Maxima I do not know (oh wait - 'cause they cost $900 to replace!)...but all the wheels have a lock. We searched the trunk, the glove compartment, everywhere - we could not find that dang lock.

I thanked him for his help, and told him I'd just figure out something else to do. Now this was a Sunday. The Mason always used Sundays as his veg out days. So he'd go to the movies or do whatever. Fine. No biggie. I enjoy my alone time. When I first hit the hole, I called him and left a message to the affect of, "hey...you're probably at the movies so you may not hear the phone, but I just hit a pothole..." I didn't expressly say, "call me back because I need help" - but whatever I said (this was 2006 so I don't remember exactly) conveyed that I clearly needed help.

By the time we finished trying to change the tire, he STILL hadn't called. I call him, get voice mail, hang up. Call back. Rinse, repeat. I had to call my friend D and have him look up towing companies for me (I didn't have a smart phone back then), and I called one and had them come en route to tow the car to the Nissan dealership.

Finally, this BAMA calls me back. I'm like, dude - really? When have I ever just called and hung up, called and hung up? Why didn't you call me back?? His answer was, that I didn't say I needed him to call back.

*crickets chirping*

Then he's telling me how I need to take down his dad's number, because his dad lived the next town over and could have helped. Fool, I called YOU! I don't care about your Dad's number! What the deuce?!?

So the whole way back to his house I'm just steaming. Like, I can't believe I'm calling you and calling you, and I guess you called yourself ignoring me. What if I was on the side of the road in Klan Country? Then what? By the time we get to the house I'm just livid. I'm not speaking at all.

He goes in the room, and he's watching tv. I come to the door. I think he asked me about where the car was towed to, or something. I don't even remember. Eventually, I tried to talk in a calm, even manner and ask him WHY he would just be ignoring my calls, etc. I started crying. I cry when I'm sad, but I also cry when I'm angry. This was one of those angry times. Meanwhile, this jackwagon is looking at me like I've sprouted a 3rd eye on my forehead, and his response to this is, "well why are you crying? You just get so emotional and it's not anything to cry about."

Really?

OK. Needless to say, he was fired shortly after this. The next day, he had to leave out of town on a trip. I woke up feeling like crap and called in to work. I couldn't go anyway, 'cause Nissan had my car. When they called me, I just told them to go ahead and replace the rim. Now, I work in insurance. I know all about refurbished wheels. But I didn't have time to be calling around to find one, and I just needed my car back. You can't live on the outskirts of ATL without a vehicle, man.

He calls later that day, and I tell him they're replacing the rim and the tire and it will cost $X. He's like, "well you just do stuff without thinking. That's a lot of money. You could have gotten a used wheel...blah blah blah." I cut him off. Um, are you here? You got all this advice, did YOU call and try to find me a wheel? No? OK. Get off my phone. I'M PAYING FOR IT. I haven't asked you for anything. Peace out."

Before this whole thing, I never felt like I had to hold in emotions or keep them in check. After that, I was leery of a guy thinking I was too emotional. Even with E, the last person I was serious with before LDR, same thing. And like S23 said, "why?" Why should we have to censor who we are? I'm mad that I even entertained that fools thoughts about how *I* should feel about things and how I should react.

Just another reason to be thankful for LDR. He just gets it, and he gets me. Like, the whole mini-meltdown. Who knows what The Mason and E would have said/done in that situation. LDR just took it in stride and let me be me. And I've realized that I don't have to worry about hiding my emotions with him, and he doesn't hide his with me.

I am really going to sit back and think if I'm letting myself be affected by anything else that any of these prior jackwagons have said. I don't want to be bringing excess baggage into my current relationship. I'm glad S23 wrote about this today.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Happy

So, it's been pretty sad over here in this corner, for about a month or so. Earlier this afternoon, I read this, and decided that I needed some "happy" in my life. So, here's my list:

Things That Make ME Happy (in no particular order):

  1. Being with all my siblings

  2. Big hugs from my nephew Khari

  3. My mom's feigned incredulity at the fact that I drank the rest of her tea (I do this EVERY time I'm home. Every time. LOL)

  4. Giggle fits with LDR

  5. Meeting/exceeding goals

  6. Wegmans shortbread cookies

  7. Starbucks

  8. Looking at old photos of my family, before I was born

  9. My hair

  10. The GEICO "jackwagon" commercial

  11. A clean, de-cluttered apartment

  12. Being Erica (when I remember to watch it)

  13. "Meeting" new folks on Twitter

  14. Rainbows

  15. Playing Phase 10

  16. Scalp massages

  17. FBP's posts, and the responses to them

  18. Making a list, and then checking off everything as "done"

  19. Running (when I'm not hurt)

  20. Breaking out old photo albums every time we go home, and laughing with my sisters like we're seeing the pics for the first time

  21. Glee

  22. Family Guy

  23. The funny things that people's kids say

  24. Finding crazy photos on google

  25. Laughing until my stomach hurts

  26. Exercise

  27. Vegging out on my loveseat

  28. Old school cartoons

  29. Morningstar riblets

  30. Spongebob Squarepants

  31. iCarly

  32. When LDR makes breakfast and the turkey bacon is perfectly crispy

  33. "Scrooged" (the Bill Murray movie)

  34. Learning something new

  35. Old school music

  36. Roller skating to old school music

  37. Making it through a week without incurring a new injury

  38. Recognizing that I'm getting more like my parents every year

  39. Thinking about the future

  40. Reading

  41. Playing word games

  42. Solving puzzles

  43. Cuddling with LDR

  44. Watching my nieces and nephews play together

  45. Smooth road trips

  46. Shoes!


I'm sure I could think of more. But the list has accomplished it's purpose - I'm in a better mood now. :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

And Just Like That...

...it's over.

Well, maybe not "just." I spent a week making decisions, taking care of financial matters, calling the funeral home when they weren't calling me like they were supposed to, getting Dad's suit outta the cleaners, stressing, not sleeping, etc. I still have a few things left to do in relation to his final checks from his pension and SSA, and then one more piece of paperwork related to letting life insurance pay the funeral home directly.

Everyone said the service was beautiful. My aunt bought her flowers yesterday, and we chuckled because she picked the same color theme that I picked for the flowers from us kids and the grandkids. We had so many cards and flowers from people that I haven't talked to or seen in years. My eFriends from Twitter sent a beautiful bouquet, but the florist was on CP time and didn't deliver until after the service. How that happened, I don't know. But they made sure to bring the flowers to me at the repast. We have so many cards! We'll be sending out "thank you" cards for a minute.

Not that I wasn't proud of my dad before, but in the midst of all the tears and sadness, it was nice to hear people get up and talk about the impact of his life. How he had one of the first black owned grocery stores in Syracuse. There was another business owner there, who talked about how he'd known my dad since he moved to Syracuse...and how way back when, they both talked about starting their own businesses. And they both went on to do it. Choir members talked about how much they would miss singing with him. How they would see him walking to choir rehearsal and they'd offer a ride, but he'd refuse.

If you recall, I mentioned that my dad sang "In The Garden" at my grandma's funeral just 3 weeks ago. I had mentioned to the deacon that I'd like for the choir to do that song. Unfortunately, he never passed along that message. When the head musician came up and asked me if we'd mind if the Men's Chorus (my dad sang with them, too) did a number, I told him that would be fine. Then I asked him about the song. He said he didn't know. Instead of singing, he played it as a prelude before the first prayer. That was ok with me. I could hear my dad singing along, anyway.

And apparently, the Men's Chorus has not sung together in years (they made changes to all the choir line ups) and decided to get back together to honor my dad. The last song they sang was one that he used to lead. Well, apparently he just started leading it recently. The head musician told me a story about how my dad told HIM that he auditioned to sing lead on the song 20 years ago, and the keyboardist told him he couldn't sing it because he had a "tremble" in his voice. LOL! Robert (keyboardist) said he didn't remember telling him that, but that Dad remembered it 20 years later. He had a sharp mind - so I'm betting the story is true. After all, remember the previous blog about his ring. :)

The pastor preached about Dad having his own business and the struggles that business owners go through, and how sometimes the only thing they have to cling to is their faith. Maybe they make a decision that they're not sure of, and they start to doubt. But they have to have faith that it was the right thing and that their business is meant to be. I believe my dad had that faith. Unfortunately, a bunch of factors in the 80s (including Reagan-omics) lead to the demise of his second store (the first one burned in a fire).

People ask me all the time, why don't you sell your body butter mixtures full time, or start a natural hair care business. Having earned my MBA, I'm aware of the size of that undertaking, and it scares me. Not to mention, needing to have a better grip on my finances. And then I think, "my dad did it with a high school diploma. And he did it twice." Something to mull on, I guess.

We had a nice turn out for the repast, and an abundance of food. So much, that we have pans of food that we've had to stuff into my mom's 2nd fridge in the basement. Somebody needs to come help us eat this stuff. I feel really blessed that my aunts came up from Savannah. I feel closer to them somehow. Which seems sort of backwards, but in 2011 I need to do a better job of keeping in touch with them. We are my dad's legacy, and we need to keep the family connected.

Everyone is home, or on their way home, now. I think we're all reflecting on the day in our own way. It's hard to believe I've only been here for 13 days. It seems like much longer. A lot has gone on in the past 3 weeks. I'm sure there will be a lot more tears, but also laughter and smiles as we reminisce about Dad. LDR even got up and told the story about Dad and his ring at the hospital. That made me smile. They had some kind of connection in that short time they knew each other. I can tell that Dad really liked him.

I think now, Dad is smiling down on us. I think he's proud of all 5 of his kids. And I don't think we said anything about him today, that we hadn't told him before he passed. Just like with my grandma, we are his legacy. We're going to do our best to carry on.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Getting Back On Track

Yesterday, I got to do something I haven't done in about 2 weeks: work out. Those 4 little pounds I lost a few weeks ago have made their way back. I completely abandoned all healthy eating habits when I got here. I have to do a better job of taking care of me.

Our plan was to hit up a Group Power class and a Group Spin class at Gold's Gym. LDR paid for me to have a week's access while I'm here. When we got to the gym yesterday, we realized we had the days mixed up and there was no Group Power class. So we decided on Group Step at 5:30 and Group Spin at 6:30. Very ambitious. Not quite sure what we were thinking.

Since we were early for Group Step, we decided to do some cardio on our own. He got on the stair stepper, and I got on my trusty Precor EFX 546 elliptical. I can tell it's been a while, because I was only able to do resistance level 7. I was sweating like crazy, huffing and puffing. I'm mad that I let myself stop working out.

I did 25 minutes and he did about 33 on the stepper. Then he tortured me with sit ups and push ups before we headed into step class. I'm still not familiar with all those moves. This is the second time I've taken class with this instructor, and he always manages to mess up part of the routine. The people who attend class regularly know it better than he does.

It probably wasn't a good idea to do cardio ahead of time. Like I said - ambitious. I didn't have as much energy in the step class, as I did the last time we attended. About halfway through class, LDR looked at me and said, "uh...I don't know about that spinning class..." LOL!

By the time Step was over we literally had 5 minutes to move to the next room for spinning class. We both looked at each other and said, "nah!" He suggested that we go sit in the sauna and then head to BFF's house to pick up the programs she had printed out for me.

Now, I've never sat in the sauna before. I imagine it's somewhat akin to when you first step into hell. Or maybe if you just stuck your head into a furnace and tried to breathe. After 3 minutes, I told him it was ludicrous and who in their right mind would sit in this 200 degree heat for 20 minutes? His suggestion was to just sit back, relax, and breathe through my nose. Well, that would be fine if my nasal passages were not ON FIRE. I just kept drinking water. My nose and lips felt so dry. I made it about 12 minutes before I cried uncle. Detox, my foot. If that's what it takes to detox, I will just have to be toxic! :lol: That is not something I need to try again any time soon. I'd rather try a steam room.

One of my high school classmates teaches a Group Groove class on Friday mornings at 8:15. She was in the step class and invited me to come to her class on Friday if I have time. I think I'm going to check it out.

We stopped by the store and got salad fixin's for dinner, and then LDR had to jump in the bed to take a nap before work. All in all, not a bad attempt at getting back to some normalcy.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

And Time Marches On


The past few days have been filled with "arrangements." And phone calls. And returned phone calls, and FB and Twitter posts and everything else. Sometimes you don't realize how many people you know and touch, until they start reaching back out to you. My family and I really appreciate everything.

So, aside from the SNAFU in which the church wanted us to pay $300 for the repast food...never mind that my daddy been a member there since the 60s, on the trustee board and in the choir (that's a whole rant that I won't get into - but I reached out to someone and the choir is going to take care of the repast for us)...everything else has been pretty smooth. Today I went to the florist and picked out an arrangement from us kids, and also one from the grandkids. Did y'all know how expensive flowers are?

Anywho, let's get down to the point of this post: the ring pictured above. That's my dad's ring. It's on my hand now, but he wore it quite a bit.

Some time last week, during one of our visits with him, he started talking to me and my brother and asking where was his ring. :::insert BBM confused face here::: I wasn't there when he was admitted to the hospital, so I had no clue what he was talking about. My brother couldn't remember if he had it on or not. Mind you, his dentures were missing also. Gotta love hospitals.

I think I said before, he was pretty weak. Most times, you had to lean in close to him to hear what he had to say. Right after he asked us about the ring, we checked his bag of belongings and it wasn't in there (neither were his teeth, dang it). But he was adamant that he had this ring on. We told him we'd try to find it.

The nurse came in, and was trying to talk to us about something - I don't even know what it was. All of a sudden Dad says, "well, I'm tryna find out about MY RING!" This was the loudest I'd heard him the whole time I was there. My brother and I chuckled about it later. We said, he is really serious about this ring!

The next few days, we got wrapped up in the Francis House arrangement, DNR, and everything else. I'll be the first to admit - I forgot about the ring. I did not, however, forget about his "teefuses." Thursday night, I inquired as to if they had found them, and indeed they had. They were sitting on the table by his bed. He didn't ask about the ring that night.

Friday morning, when they called us up to the hospital to see him, my brother J and I were in the hallway talking to one of the palliative care nurses. LDR, T and my Uncle G were all in Dad's room. One of the nurses walked by and went in the room, and handed something to LDR. He held it up - it was a plastic bag with Dad's ring.

LDR exclaimed, "I told y'all Pops knew what he was talking about!"

I was laughing and crying at the same time. If you knew my dad, and knew how he is...it takes a minute for him to get worked up, but when he does - watch out. We knew he was serious about that ring. We also know he was in and out of being lucid, so we just really weren't sure if he had it on when he was admitted.

I wish I had the story behind this ring. I don't know when he got it, why he got it, and we don't know what he wants us to do with it, because he never said. I went to hand it to T, and he said, "give it to J." I went to hand it to J, and he shook his head. So, I wear it now. If either of them ever decides they want it, I'll gladly hand it over.

We found your ring, Dad!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Checking In

I know there might be one or two folks who don't participate in all the "social networking" I do. So in case you haven't heard, my dad passed away yesterday morning. He never made it to Francis House. I think he wanted someone else to have that bed.

We've started making arrangements. Sometimes, when I'm sitting and discussing the "business" of his death (funeral arrangements, insurance policy, payments, etc) I feel like I've sort of stepped outside my body. Like, I'm there...but am I really talking about my Dad? Weird. But I am happy to help and take the lead on some things. Glad my brothers and sisters trust me and know that I have Dad's interests at heart, and I would never make a big decision without their input.

My grandma (Dad's mom) really has a great outlook on this. Maybe because she's been through it before...this will be the 4th child to precede her in death. I talked to her yesterday on the phone, and she said, "as long as I know he was at peace, and he knew we all loved him, then I'm ok. I'm not going to hoot and holler and scream; God gave him to me, and he saw fit to take him now."

And even my Dad...days before, he told my brother J, "well son...we all gotta go some day."

I didn't get that "strong in the face of death" gene. I cried my eyes out. Off and on all day yesterday. I would be doing good, and then one of my aunts would call. Or, I was at his apartment trying to pick out a suit, and I just burst into tears, standing at the foot of his bed. He's never coming back to this space.

Thursday evening, LDR and I had a "date night." He came and picked me up from work. But first, we went to the hospital. I got there and they had a suction machine set up, because Dad was coughing more, and they needed to clear his mouth. He could still talk, though. So I called both my sisters and my mom, and he was able to talk to them. I'm so happy I did that. What if I had waited and said, "they can talk to him after we get him transferred to Francis House?"

Maybe Dad felt like it was ok to go. He had talked to his daughters...he talked to my mom. My brothers and I have been up sitting with him all week. He saw my Aunt Betty last weekend. I hope he left knowing that we all loved him and he was a great father. He taught us a lot, even when he wasn't trying to.

I had been chatting with Serenity and she suggested that I make sure to say whatever I wanted my Dad to know before he left this earth. I totally agreed with that. Before I left on Thursday night, I gave him a kiss on the forehead and I said, "I love you, Dad. I couldn't have asked for or been blessed with a better father." He said, "I love you, too" - and then he mustered up the energy to lean up and give me a kiss on the cheek.

I walked to the chair to get my purse and my coat, and I turned around and said, "we're all gonna see you tomorrow at 9:00 a.m., ok?" He nodded and I walked out of the room. And that was the last time I saw my dad alive.

I'm not going to sit here and act like everything was perfect and our entire father-daughter time on this earth was perfection. It wasn't. Whose is? That was my daddy and I loved him, and he loved me. That "dash" in the middle of his sunrise and sunset is filled with a lot of memories.

RIP, Dad.
7/6/1940 - 11/12/2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Guilt...And Other Randomness

Sometimes, when I leave the hospital after seeing my dad, I feel guilty. Guilty that life is just going on. I'm talking and laughing with friends who are trying to cheer me up. Chatting it up on FB and Twitter. Shouldn't I be focused on him and what's going on?

But to see him like he is now, it's just draining. I mean, he was JUST at my grandma's funeral, singing and talking about when he asked her if it was ok to marry my mom...waaaaaaaay back yonder around 1961 or so. Now, he can barely talk. The smallest movements, like lifting his hand for something, or turning his head to talk to you, take so much energy. I can see him shaking from the exertion.

It's 12:25am and I'm wide awake. Partly because of some indigestion (my eating patterns have been very "off" since I've been here), and mostly because every time I close my eyes, I see him. Every time my phone rings, and it's my brother, I catch my breath 'cause I don't know if it's "the call." The more days that pass, I know we're getting closer to that call. I'm just trying to focus on the now, like getting him transferred tomorrow. But I know that every day that passes, we get closer to "that day."

I guess this is all part of death and grief. Just gotta work through it. It's normal. I think most people who have been through this would tell me that it is part of the process. And I don't think Dad expects our lives outside the hospital to just stop.

Knowing all that doesn't make it easier, though.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What Light Through Yonder Window Breaks?

Why, it's not a train coming to run me over. It's the hospital, calling to tell us that Francis House has a bed for Dad.

Finally, some tears of joy!

He will be transported tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. This really is the best thing ever and the best facility available in the city for him. It's not his apartment (home), but it's the next best thing.

And really, that's all I can ask for. You can check Francis House out here.

Mini-Meltdown

If you read last night's post, then you're up to date on everything that's going on. Except I left out the details of yesterday's mini-meltdown.

I went back to work after we went to Francis House. I worked until about 4:45 and then LDR came and picked me up. He had to go to a parent/teacher conference for his son, so I decided I'd have some "me time," and headed to Shoppingtown Mall to get a pedicure.

When she was almost done, the girl asked if I wanted my eyebrows cleaned up. I should have gone with my gut and said "no." But when she said "cleaned up," I assumed she actually KNEW what that meant. That means, do not make them thin. I clearly stated, "I don't want them made thinner, I just want them cleaned up. She said she understood.

Sigh.

Clearly, she did not. While the inside portion of the eyebrows are ok, the outer portion is too thin. Exactly what I DID NOT want. I guess they think everyone wants to get their eyebrows scalped off, and then draw them back on later. Uh, no.

So, I hereby declare that no one else will touch my &^%$# eyebrows except my girl at JV Nails in Charlotte. I mean, Jesus.

I left there and went home, and ranted to LDR about my eyebrows. He said they looked fine...but he knew that's not what I asked for, and so he knew why I was upset. He just let me rant, and then it was over. :lol: He was eating when I got there, and I didn't want leftovers. He offered to go to the store and get me some fish, but I knew he needed to get some rest before he went in to work. I told him I'd go, and he should go ahead and get in bed.

I rolled down the street to the Price Chopper, but then I didn't want the fried fish. So now I'm tired, stressed, cranky and hungry - and I don't know what I want. NOT A GOOD COMBO, folks. Not at all.

I'm walking through the store, just getting more pissed off by the minute, 'cause I'm used to shopping in the Teeter or the Food Lion and I know where stuff is. We have some different product offerings up North than we do down South. I finally decided - screw it - I'm just gonna go to the frozen food section and get some Morning Star Riblets, and some broccoli or green beans to steam, and take it to the house. I also decided to pick up a couple of Lean Cuisines just in case we're in a pinch and I just need something quick. We don't really need to be eating out a lot.

Up and down the frozen food aisle...I get to the Lean Cuisines and they don't have the Lasagna with Meat Sauce. What the deuce? Why don't you have the lasagna with meat sauce? I don't want the frickin' 5 cheese lasagna? Are you kidding me? <-- and so the meltdown begins.

I finally decided on two other choices and then I'm just up and down this aisle and I can't find the Morning Star. I'm getting more and more frustrated. This older man in the aisle has clearly forgotten how to use his inside voice, and he's talking on volume 99. His voice is grating my nerves. Inner rant starting in 5...4...3...2...

"Is Syracuse REALLY this bootleg that the store doesn't sell Morning Star? I mean, Jesus. I just want to get something to eat and go home! Why does it have to be this hard? This chick done messed up my eyebrows, and now I can't find any frickin' food! I'm so sick of this place! It's cold and I just want to go back to Charlotte! I can't take this anymore!"

Yeah. Also, by this time, I'm crying. In the middle of Price Chopper. In the frozen food aisle. Crazy, much?

Logic kicked in and said, "please get yourself in gear." I wiped the tears away, and sent LDR a text: "Price Chopper doesn't have Morning Star stuff?!?"

His reply: "It's on the last aisle, across from the dairy section."

Oh.

Because, yeah - there's another aisle after this. One I have not bothered to walk down, because I've been having this mini-meltdown. This aisle also has a freezer section. Lo and behold, the Morning Star is there.

I got checked out and got in the car. I was thinking, "that was just really stupid." I had a combo laugh/cry and drove back to the apartment. LDR was already in the bed, so I checked in on him and then closed the bedroom door so I wouldn't wake him up. Warmed up my cheese ravioli, and called my sisters to give them a rundown on the day's events for Dad.

LDR got up a little after 10:00. I was sitting in the kitchen, with a cold tray of ravioli, just looking at my laptop. I had just finished up last night's blog, shortly before he got up, and I had been crying. I'm sure my eyes were a hot puffy mess.

He came in the kitchen and sat down. He asked me what was wrong. I started telling him about my mini-meltdown, and just how stupid it really was, but then the flood gates opened and I just started bawling. This was that good cry that Serenity told me to go ahead and have. He just grabbed me and hugged me, and let me cry it out.

Man was she right. I needed that cry. :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Brought To You By The Letter "S" and the number "0..."

Why? Well, "S" is for stressed, and "0" is the number of Starbucks readily accessible to me on my way to work in the morning.

Bear with me - this is bound to be a rambling post that's all over the place.

Some of you follow me on Twitter and some on FB. I've said more on Twitter than on FB, because my niece and nephews are on my FB page, and I don't know how much my sister has told them yet, as far as my dad.

The stomach cancer has spread. Because of his weakened state, they simply cannot treat the cancer. Chemo is poison; it kills off the bad cells, but it kills the good ones, too. Not to mention the surgeries he's had on his stomach (the first one in 2008, when we found the cancer - and then the latest for the ruptured ulcer last month). His GI system is just not in tact enough to take anymore. Whereas your stomach or my stomach could take a jejunostomy feeding tube (also known as a J-tube), his stomach cannot.

The other more pressing issue, is that he is continuing to aspirate. The little bit of food that he does try to eat, his stomach is not processing very well. When he aspirates, it goes into his lungs, causing aspiration pneumonia. He has it in the left lung already. They gave him a course of antibiotics, but the recent chest x-rays showed that it's in his right lung now. The doctor told us today that it is this pneumonia that will likely cause his death, not so much the actual cancer.

My brother T and I have been the information gateway for my siblings and my mom. We get the info from the doctors, and then we pass it on. J has been to some of the meetings, but not all. He's got a crazy work schedule and two kids, so it's hard with shuttling them back and forth to after school activities, etc. I know that T has been keeping J informed...but I think it just really hit him today when the doctor, the palliative care nurse, and the Hospice coordinator pretty much all said the same thing: Dad is dying. He's not going to get better.

Both my brothers are the ultimate "big brothers." They would do whatever they needed to do to protect me and my sisters, and they care about our family. J especially. He also is the closest to my dad and - ironically - the most like him. Which means he is the worrier and he is not that good in the stressful situations. I love him to death, but it's just not his thing. It isn't/wasn't my dad's thing either. I knew that he would take it the hardest.

I don't think I've ever seen him cry. And I was just not prepared to see it in the meeting today with Hospice. When we walked into the small meeting room, there were 5 chairs in an L shape. The hospice rep sat where there were two chairs, and then we occupied the other three chairs with T in the middle of both of us.

When she started talking about the info in my dad's chart, I just sort of nodded and followed along. T and I had already gone through this info with the palliative care nurse. I guess J had not heard a lot of it. Or, like I said before, I guess it was just really kicking in for him. When I looked over and saw my big brother crying...I just lost all focus. So I'm listening to her (or trying to listen), but I can't stop myself from crying, because my brother is hurting and there's nothing I can do to change it.

I'm trying to be incog-negro and dab at the tears with a tissue, but they're just coming down too fast. T's rubbing my back and rubbing J's back, and the hospice rep is trying to just give us a moment. Eventually, we got it together and decided on some options, discussed getting him on Medicaid, etc.

When we got out of the meeting, and went back up to the room, LDR was still in the room with dad, and the palliative care nurse. That's too long to keep typing, so I'm just going to tell you her name is Kelly.

Kelly had been in talking with dad, regarding appointing my brothers as his health care proxy, should he be unable to make decisions. Then they were talking to him about the hospice care, and the fact that you have to be on DNR status once you go in to hospice.

Dad has been in and out of lucidity, and because he's so weak and it takes him a minute to respond sometimes, it's hard to know if he really understand what you're saying at that moment. He could start talking about something totally different. Kelly told us she'd been talking to him about hospice care and whether or not he wanted to come back to the hospital should any difficulties arrive. But it seemed like he kept wavering, so she asked us all to come in the room so we could be sure we understood what dad's wishes were.

So you have his doctor, me, J, T, Kelly and LDR all in the room. Kelly is kneeling down so she's on eye level with him, explaining that resuscitating him would involve chest compressions that could possibly fracture his ribs, and that even if they intubated him and had him on a ventilator, ultimately at some point, the outcome is all going to be the same...

In my rational mind, I KNOW that she has to say all of this. He has to know what's going on. But knowing that someone is terminally ill and that they will die is one thing. Having someone speak it out loud into existence is another. I tried to just stand back from the bed some, and keep dabbing my tears. I really wanted to just burst into sobs, but not in front of my dad. So I just tried really hard to focus in on what Kelly was saying, and just make sure that dad understood. And he did. He agreed that if he is in hospice care, and something should just happen, that he would want nature to take its course.

That sounds so crazy. Let nature take it's course. I mean, really...we're all dying, if you really want to think about it. But I guess Kelly was trying to break it down into the simplest terms, and I think that ultimately helped Dad really understand what was what.

Mind you, in the middle of all of this, we were asked to make the decision as to whether or not he should receive more antibiotics for the aspiration pneumonia. Because more antibiotics meant more chest x-rays, and more poking and prodding and taking blood samples...and then being on more antibiotics could mean more distressing side effects. But...I don't know. It's just something about having to make decisions about HOW someone else's life is going to end...it's just like a surreal moment. I can hear myself talking, and conferring with my brothers, but I feel horrible that WE have to make this decision. You could tell that none of us wanted to decide that. I'm sure I had the same pained look on my face that my brothers had. But we did what we had to do.

We left the hospital and, per Kelly's recommendation, took a trip over to Francis House. This is a 16 bed hospice facility that's literally a house. They have volunteers who help with cooking and cleaning, and there are always 2 nurses on staff. They rotate 8 hour shifts. The problem is, it's a 16 bed facility. And EVERYONE with a terminally ill family member would love for them to be there, as opposed to a nursing home. They admit based on medical need, and cost/ability to pay is considered on a separate basis. I loved it; I wonder if we have some place like this in Charlotte where I can volunteer. Chances are that he will NOT end up here, because of the lack of beds...but I know we're all hoping that he can get in.

In the mean time, J and I will visit nursing homes over the next couple of days, to tour the facilities and see if we feel they are up to par for Dad. My job has been really great on flexibility. My supervisor knows what's going on; she's been through it with her own family members. I know that they do NOT have to be this flexible, and I will be forever grateful that they are.

So, these are my days right now. I make plans. We clean out his apartment. We look through important papers, and not-so-important papers, and find out little interesting things about Dad that we really didn't know about him.

LDR told me that while he was in the room with Dad, he saw him sort of staring off like he was thinking. He asked him, "what are you thinking about?"

Dad said, "life."

Yep. Me too.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Heading Home

If you've been reading, you know I just got home on Tuesday, from a trip to NY for my grandmother's funeral. The same day I got home, is the same day my dad went into the hospital. He was going in to have some fluid drained, but then some complications arose, and they decided to admit him. He was in ICU, but was moved to a regular room yesterday.

In any event, he is not doing that well. I really just want to be home so I can see him, and help my brothers out in any way I can. Right now, it's just not feasible for me to take FMLA, because it's unpaid leave. One day, my finances will be in better order for that. But anywho...

My supervisor actually asked me a few days ago if I wanted to take my token and work from NY. Unfortunately, IT has not been able to get my remote connection working properly, because they are retarded unable to figure out why my laptop and my desktop won't connect. They keep saying it's because the desk top is not on, but I leave it on every night. I shut down and restart, or I simply choose "log off." Either way, the crap ain't working. ::side eye::

I remembered that we have an office in my home town. On a whim, I sent my supervisor a BBIM today and asked her if I could work in that office for the next couple of weeks. I expected that maybe she'd let me know the deal on Monday, but she responded within a couple of hours and said that our operations manager told her we could make it happen, and that I should go on and go. She'd just get with me later on the details.

Insert tears of joy here.

I've been running around my apartment for the last few hours, packing up all my stuff and cleaning up. My friend Steph is going to house sit/cat sit while I'm gone. I'm quite sure I've overpacked, but oh well. I shoved everything I thought I would need into my biggest suitcase. Chuckle along with me as I write (and you read) that I have a completely separate bag for shoes. I know. Just work with me.

I've never driven more than 6-7 hours by myself. This trip will probably take 11 hours and some change. Just send up some prayers and traveling mercies for me. The iPod is charged up, and tomorrow morning a venti latte from Starbucks will be in my cupholder.

I'm ready to see my Daddy.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday's Fro

Wednesday night I put my hair into some tiny two strand twists. I took them out on Thursday morning and wore a twist out that had an interesting shape to it. Last night, I just put my scarf on and went to bed. This morning, I just fluffed and pulled out the 'fro with my fingers, and this is the result:



This is my first time wearing these earrings. I "stole" them from my mom's jewelry box. She doesn't really wear big earrings like this, but they were given to her with a bunch of other jewerly. I got 2 other pairs as well. A trip home would not be complete if I didn't leave with something.

I'm about ready to start this loc process. I will be making a call to Lockstar in the near future to see how they recommend starting them, and how much it's going to cost.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Three Things Thursday

I've seen this on several blogs, so what the heck. I'll give it a try.

THREE THINGS THURSDAY:

  1. My plantar fasciitis is not getting better. And I'm not willing to give up my shoes. Clearly, we're at the cross roads. It's a show down between my common sense and my wants. Perhaps another visit to OrthoCarolina is in order. I just can't see living with this for the rest of my life. I want to run again, and at this point it's looking like I won't even be able to start in January. I look around and see people who started after me, making leaps and bounds in their training, and I can't even run on a treadmill for 15 minutes. No bueno.

  2. Just when you start to feel like things are just inherently turned against you and everyone is stupid, one or two people come along and make you feel better. I really would like to be home for a little while, given the situation with my dad. Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to take an unpaid leave of absence from work. My supervisor told me today that it's possible for me to go to NY and work from home. I am going to sit down and try to work out the issues/logistics this weekend.

  3. I think I have the best family in the world. There's not too much I can really add to that. I hope we always remain this close.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ornery

I feel generally ornery this morning. I'm not sure why. I just want to tell everyone to pound sand. I think my brain is just overloaded from the last 5 days. I need a vacation. But I don't get one for another 16 days, so I need to just deal. Sigh.

How's everybody else doing today? Good, I hope. Anyone got any funny stories to share? I need some laughter. Maybe I'll peruse blogs at lunch.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Home Sweet Home

I'm back in the QC. Had a flight SNAFU and I ended up coming home this morning, instead of last night like the initial plan. Bogey meowed my head off as soon as I got in the door. Unfortunately for her, I just came home to drop off my suitcase. I had to clear up an issue with the temporary tag on my car. After trips to the DMV and the dealership it is finally taken care of, and I have my permanent tag. Also had my 1K mile free service to make sure there are no problems and everything is a-OK. Shouldn't have to see the dealer again until my first oil change at 3,750 mi. I need Nissan to get on the Honda kick and get these oil changes up to every 5K mi. Anywho...even though I could have just taken the day, I decided to go in for a few hours of work.

On the "not-so-good" news front, Dad is back in the hospital. He has been retaining a lot of fluid due to the cancerous cells in his abdomen. Apparently this first course of chemo was not aggressive enough. So the cells/fluid have just been building up. He cannot keep any food down, so he's just literally wasting away. But his stomach and his legs are all swollen from the fluid retention. I mean, to watch him walk to the microphone at Grandma's funeral, it just broke my heart. He walked every so slowly; he was out of breath when he was singing, but because the congregation joined in, it was hard to tell unless you really listened.

Today he was supposed to go to the hospital to get a tube put in, that they would use to drain the fluid. Because of the fluid he has a hard time breathing as well as keeping the food down. Well, they went to put the tube in and his heart rate shot up. So now he's in intensive care. He also had a high level of CO2 in his blood - probably because he's had a hard time breathing. They have him on an oxygen mask now and that seems to be helping. I'm just concerned that now they STILL can't drain the fluid until his heart rate is more stable. I imagine he'll be in the ICU for a few days. My brother left the hospital to grab a quick bite to eat, and gave me this quick update while he was out. He DID say that Dad was awake and taking the mask off to talk when he left, so that's a good sign.

It just seems like, when it rains, it POURS and HAILS! Granted, my parents are divorced, but they still care about one another. On Sunday, my mom and I went over and cleaned up his kitchen, washed dishes, and took the trash out. I went to the grocery store and got some things he needed. My mom went back over yesterday to make him some soup to see if he could keep that down. I can tell that she's very worried. We all are. We JUST left from my grandma's funeral; we don't want to go back up there for another one. I really need him to go ahead and pull through this.

If they can get the fluid levels in check and get his nutrition in check, then I think we can move on to more aggressive chemo.

I'm not hugely religious, but I am spiritual. I do believe Yahweh and I do pray. So whether you want to pray, meditate, or send positive vibes, I think my Dad could use all of that. And then some.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tired

This has been one lonnnnnnnnnnnnnng weeekend. Saying goodbye to Grandma was a little harder than I thought it would be. I think because my mom had a hard time with it. She was at the nursing home with her pretty much every day before she passed. It was hard to watch her reaction.

Lemme tell you, my granny did NOT look like she was 99. She looked so pretty in her white outfit, with her white gloves and her hat. She had a white casket, too. Everything was beautiful.

It was nice to hear all of the comments from the people at her church. How she always had a kind word to say, and she would encourage people and always tell them to pray. All the activities she was involved in. That helped me to round out the picture I had of my grandma. Our families went to different churches (she went to the same church as my aunt), so I didn't know a lot about all her involvement and how many lives she touched.

My dad got up and told the story about how he went to my grandma to ask her if it was ok to marry my mom. He said he asked her, and my grandma said, "well did you talk to her yet?" We all chuckled. My mom is notoriously stubborn and sassy. He talked about how when Grandma lived with us, if they had a disagreement, she wouldn't take sides with mom all the time.

Then he messed us all up when he broke out with a verse from "In The Garden." Thank goodness LDR was there with me. He's been a great support system. Even got me to work out twice while I was here. Which is good, considering all the junk I've been eating.

The preacher told us during the eulogy that we were her legacy and that we should make sure we continue on passing down what she taught us.

I hope we can. :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Le PEW!



So, tonight was Cardio Funk night. Somebody in class took the "funk" literally. If you smell like 7 skunks BEFORE class starts, that is a problem! Handle that! If you got to take a shower before you come to class, so be it! And then on top of that, your breath smells like 4 cloves of garlic. When Vincent Price said, "...the funk of forty thousand years..." this is what he was talking about. No. No, no, no, no, no.

I have burned her image into my head for future reference. I will never stand next to her again in class.

I will take two showers in her honor tonight. O_o

In other news, my co-worker came to class tonight. Bless her heart, she had a time keeping up. But I kept telling her not to worry about it. That was me in my first class. But 4 weeks into it, I know most of the routines. Although he did pull out some I hadn't done before tonight. I hope she's not intimidated and that she will come back. She said she had a lot of fun.

Andre said that he is going to have a class on New Year's Eve. I will soooooooo be there. He told us, even if there are only 10 people, we WILL work out. I have a feeling there will be WAY more than 10. I'll be sure to get there early to get my coveted spot in the back.

I'm almost finished packing. I did most of it yesterday. Working on toiletries, etc. The airline cancelled my flight. I got home from work and had an automated message: "your flight has been cancelled." Nothing else. Uh, I need some more info?!? I called and they got me on a different one. At least now I don't have to be at the airport at the butt crack of dawn. More like the arm pit of dawn now. But its cool. Time to go home and celebrate grandma's life. :)

Not Quite

Last night, I was catching up on some blog archive posts, and I started grabbing at my hair and randomly twisting. I definitely need another inch or so before I think they could really start some locs. I'll probably wait until after the new year.

I had no intentions of twisting my whole head. Next thing you know:





So, I threw my scarf on and went to bed. They didn't look half bad this morning. I decided not to conditioner wash in the shower like I normally do. Instead I just took them out and fluffed with my fingers.

Had I actually been PLANNING this, I would have used a hair butter and would have done them all on damp hair. I just started haphazardly doing this after I did my scalp massage with oil. I had oil in my hair, and eventually did dampen and re-twist some of them, but I prefer the results from butters. I also would have deep conditioned.

Anywho, this is how we look going to work today:



Tuesday, October 26, 2010

One More Thing



Just had to share this. Bogey last night, sleeping on her "bed" - which is a towel that she has commandeered and made her own. Once she started that kneading crap and tore up the towel, it became hers. I'm ok with parting with it. :lol:

Look at that "woe is me face." Really? You just eat, play, sleep, poop, beg for treats, beg to go out on the balcony, and wake me up too early on weekends. But it's a hard knock life, huh.

Oh, and she's scared of the ceiling fan in my bedroom. This cat is just weird! But she's mine.

Hidden Treasures

When I know I'm going to work out in the morning (or, at least, I've PLANNED to work out in the morning), I have to get my work outfit ready the night before. It's a wonder that this self-proclaimed non-morning person has been getting up for the past 4-5 months and hitting the gym in the morning as it is! Definitely don't have time to be fooling around with ironing, matching, and making sure stuff is actually fitting at 5:30am.

I pulled out a pair of black NY & Co slacks I purchased this summer. We'll have to talk about my love affair with NY & Co in another post...sigh. I was trying to decide what to wear with them, and finally settled on a top. Now, the shoes.

Would I go with the t-strap shoes I've been LOVING? Or another pair? This is where that whole shoe organization thing came in handy. And also where I realized that idea of the pics on the outside of the boxes would really come in handy.

Anywho, as I was perusing the boxes, I settled on these:


I haven't worn these shoes in ages. They pretty much got tossed to the side for newer shoes. I remember buying them, too. Well, not the date or anything, but I know I was in Atlanta at that time. I was obsessed with stacked loafers. I had found a brown pair, and pulled out a box that was SUPPOSED to be a black pair. I opened it up, and this pair was sitting inside.

The rest, as they say, is history. I thought they were cute so I made the purchase. I used to wear them quite a bit when I lived down there. I guess I need to do better about shopping my own closet.

So, those babies will make their re-debute (is that a word?) later today. As I was sitting here writing this, my right foot started throbbing. I swear, if I was just sitting on my butt eating bon-bons every day, there'd be nothing wrong with my foot. Absolutely nothing. But nooooooooo. I try to get up and get active at least 5-6 times a week and this is the thanks my body gives me. Shenanigans.

Lemme go hit this workout. Clearly, this will be a light workout day. Happy Tuesday!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Carolina Balloon Festival

I've been talking about going to the Carolina Balloon Fest in Statesville for 2 years now. The closest I got was seeing some balloons floating over I-77 as I returned from the Rack Room Shoe Outlet up in Statesville (somehow shoes HAD to be involved).

The festival was this past Saturday. I went to my workout class, drove all over hell's half acre to find a Planet Smoothie in Charlotte (I prefer them over Smoothie King). Finally got my smoothie and came home. Then my sis called with the news about my grandma. At that point, I just got kind of tired and lost all my energy. I was going to call my friend and tell her that I wasn't coming, but then I changed my mind.

The website indicated that balloon ascension would be between 4:30 and 5:30. I planned to get there around 4:00 or so. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans! I guess me and everyone else decided to try and get here at that same time. And we ALL followed the directions that said to take Route 70. I literally sat on Route 70 for 45 - 60 minutes! Frustrated, tired, sad, mad...alla that. I called my friend S and told her I was going home because I was sitting in traffic and CLEARLY was not going to make it in. She told me she had turned down a side street, and she could already see a balloon in the air. She was there with her little daughter and her mom, who had come down from MD. I pulled over to a field, where some folks were already parked, and looked around. I couldn't see jack!

Luckily, I remembered passing the street where she had pulled off. I got there in time to see all 34 balloons take off. It was beautiful. I really wanted to get closer, because I wanted to get photos of the different colors up close, but it was still beautiful to watch them taking off and rising into the air. My camera sucks, but here is a little bit of video:



I wish you all could have been there in person with me. Once I saw those balloons, I knew that was right where I was supposed to be. Grandma would've approved. :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I Am Free

I AM FREE

Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free
I'm following the path God laid for me
I took His hand when I heard Him call
I turned my back and left it all.

I could not stay another day, to laugh,
to love, to work or play.
Tasks undone must stay that way
I've found that peace at the close of the day.

If parting has left a void, then fill it
with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Ah, yes, these things I too will miss.

Be not burdened with times of sorrow
I wish for you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life's been full, I savored much
Good friends, good times,
a loved one's touch.

Perhaps my time seemed all to brief,
Don't lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your hearts and share with me,
God wants me now, He set me free.

--Author Unknown

Grandma passed today. And I'm trying to remember that most importantly, she is not suffering or in pain any more. She put in 99 good years on this earth. She baked the best lemon merengue and sweet potato pies ever. She taught me how to sit in my rocking chair, cross my chubby legs, and watch The Young and The Restless. If I wanted hot chocolate in the middle of the night, she got up and fixed it, with milk - the old fashioned way on the stove...and Hershey's Cocoa, not Nestle Quik.

She didn't want for anything. Her three daughters took care of her. She outlived all of her brothers and she (unfortunately) outlived two of her six children. She may have had dementia but she knew she was loved. My mom was at the nursing home every day, along with my uncle and my aunt. My mom was with her when she took her last breath. She died peacefully, in her sleep.

I don't know what happens now. I would like to think she's reunited with Uncle Rafe and Aunt Lennie, and she's smiling down on us.

RIP Grandma Rosa... 5/9/1911 - 10/23/2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Yes, No, Maybe...

This afternoon, I got a bit of sad news. I don't remember if I ever posted about my maternal grandma on here. She's 99. She had a stroke recently and has taken a turn for the worse.

I don't know how/why, but my mom and I have some kind of ESP type connection. And EVERY time she has called to tell me something that's not-so-good, I always get this feeling when the phone rings. I got that feeling today. I was at lunch with my friends, but I didn't take the call. I listened to her message on the way back to work, and like I thought, it was not good info.

It's a wonder I got any work done this afternoon, because my mind was all over the place. I talked to LDR and let him know what was going on. He was his usual supportive self, and once again I counted my blessings in regard to him.

I left work around 5:20, as I promised a co-worker that she could have some of the boxes I still had in my storage area from when I moved 2 years ago. (Yeah. The storage area is not as organized as my closet.) She followed me home and I gave her the boxes. We chatted for a bit, and then she left.

I came in the apartment and it was just silent. I set about straightening up the kitchen and trying to keep myself occupied. Then I hear the phone. A text message. Gotta love Blackberry with the difference in the tones.

I pick it up and it's LDR. It says:
Will you "go with me?" Yes, No, or Maybe? *wink*

That made me chuckle. Yesterday we were talking about how folks used to say that back in elementary and junior high, and how we used to 'quit' each other. What the heck did we know about going with and quitting each other back then? Not a darn thing!

I sent him back a reply and said "YES!" He replied, "Figured you could use a smile."

Sigh.

I definitely needed a smile. And he provided it. And I didn't even have to ask.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

In The Spirit of Organization

Why stop with the shoes. Let's get the purses in order, too:


(Ignore the junk in the corner. We're still organizing! :lol:)

Set of two purse racks that can be hung over the door, or they can be mounted on the wall. I chose the door, because this is an apartment. If this was a house, I would have mounted on the closet wall.

The price? $9.99 at BedBathandBeyond. Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeet.

Yes, There ARE Dumb Questions

Are we just getting sillier by the minute? I mean the country as a whole. Or maybe it's just the cross-section I deal with on a daily basis. Phone conversation I just finished up:

Me: May I speak with John Smith?
Female on the phone: He was supposed to leave at 4:00 but let me check if he's still here.

:::places me on hold:::

Female: Nope. He's gone for the day.
Me: OK, may I leave a message?
Female: Hold on.

:::places me on hold again:::

Male pics up: How can I help you?
Me: I was holding so I can leave a message for John Smith

:::gives him all my contact info:::

Male: So...you want him to call you back?

:::crickets chirping:::

Me, in my head:

No. I want him to take the note and wipe his butt with it. Of COURSE I want him to call me back! Really? Are you really asking me this? Why do you think I'm leaving the message??

Honest to God. I simply CANNOT with people sometimes!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Shoe Organization

I keep the boxes for my shoes. It makes for easy stacking and organization. I can pretty much recognize my shoes by the box, before looking inside. It helps that the manufacturers have started putting the name of the shoe and a small drawing on the outside.

But thanks to several trips to the Rack Room Outlet in Statesville, I had several shoes that did not have boxes. They are no-frills up there. The shoes are in boxes, but the tops are not included, and many times they're in the wrong box anyway.

At first, I was keeping all those shoes thrown into a big legal tote box that I had leftover from moving. But it was truly a pain to dig through there, and then the box started to fall apart. I took them all out, sent some shoes to MzInspiredMind, and then the rest were just kinda in there on the floor. Haphazardly. Time for a new solution!

Enter Wally World, and the $0.97 clear shoe tote. Sweet! $20.97 brought organization and peace of mind this evening. I can walk into my closet without tripping over shoes!

The totes:


The other shoes:


Granted, this collection comes nowhere NEAR the exquisite collection kept by the one and only Serenity_23, but I do what I can. :)

I've already noticed some culling that can be done. There are 2-3 pairs that I really have not been wearing. I remember buying them when I was living in GA. Will probably take those to Goodwill. I also saw another pair that needs some repair to the heel.

Well, at least the shoes are in order. The rest of the closet? Yeah...no. Gotta do something about the purses and my collection of fabric that I use for head wraps. And my box of shea butter and black soap is in there. I guess I could move that to the other closet. I just don't want to take up too much space in there, 'cause that'll be LDR's closet when he gets here. :)

I also plan on taking pics of each pair of shoes in the clear totes, and putting the pic on the outside. That might be a project for this weekend.

Assumptions

In the car, on the way back from lunch, I turned the channel to XM 70s on 7. What can I say - I love old school music.

They were in the middle of this song:



I love this song. Always have. And although some re-makes should be avoided, I think Intro did a good job with it, before Kenny Greene's untimely death:



For the longest time, I never knew who sang the song. I always heard it played on R & B stations, so I just assumed it was some random Black, R & B artist. Later, I learned his name was Bobby Caldwell.

Imagine my surprise when I looked him up this year, and this was him:



Uh. Yeah. Bwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahaha! That's what I get for assuming!

Outside The Box

Some things, I generally do like everyone else. Other things, I like to step outside of the box and do my own way.

Yesterday, LDR and I were talking about about weddings again. More specifically, what we would want to do. Now, my favorite color is blue. Has been forever. For some reason he is stuck on fall colors. I DO like fall colors. It's my favorite season. There's nothing like a decor with burgundy, green, yellow, and burnt orange, put together in the right combination. But would I want that for my wedding?

At one point he emailed me this blog link. I'm not sure which dress or outfit he was looking at, but this one caught my eye:



I thought the color combo was really pretty. I started looking up other Indian wedding attire and really liked what I saw. Of course, their traditional wedding color is red. I don't know that I'd want red, but I guess it would depend on the shade of red.

I thought this website had some pretty things as well, such as this dress:



I don't want my belly out, though. I guess I'd have to learn how to wrap the sari.

Anywho, just some things I was thinking about. I just know I'm not wearing white.

Speaking of, do you know why people started wearing white dresses? It's probably not what you think. Unless you're a history major/history buff, then you probably already know the answer. If not, read here.

Happy Wednesday!

ETA: I forgot to mention, LDR said he would wear sherwani if I went this route. Sweeeeeeeeeeeet. :)