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Where to begin…

This is the post excerpt.

I use to be fabulous. 

Seriously, everyone has that one friend where amazing things just happen when they are around. I’m that person. My life is filled with “What are the chances of that?”.  I have been told I should write a book. I never knew that was not normal. To me it is just my life. It has always been like that. I don’t know any different. 

Then I got married (for the 2nd time) later in life and had a couple kids. One day I stepped out of the shower, looked at myself in the mirror and wondered what happened? That was not my body. Who was this exhausted woman looking back at me? What happened to the adventurous woman who lived life to the fullest? 


I only have 5 weeks left paying Manimony. My youngest is in pre-school and my oldest starting kindergarten tomorrow.  I dusted off my passport several months ago and took my first trip in years to meet up with a friend for New Years. My 2nd trip is coming up in a month. I feel like I can finally start to breathe again. It is time to find myself again.

This is my journey back to that woman. The struggle to be true to yourself while working full time and being a wife and a mother. My re-discovery. 

Why can’t I get it together?

This is something I ponder from time to time. I intend to achieve all I wish but I often fall short, usually due to exhaustion or just a lack of time in general.

Every year around my birthday I set goals for myself… similar to New Years resolutions. Then on the 5’s and 0’s I set larger 5 year goals rather than smaller annual goals. Last year I turned 45 and vowed to start traveling more. Well COVID squashed that… for a while at least. So with October approaching again I am pondering my goals for my 46th year.

This year is going to be about taking better care of myself.

1. Get back in shape. Loose weight. Get cardio fit.

2. Find my center. Get back to a daily yoga/meditation practice.

3. Take better care of my skin. Sunscreen. Moisturizing masks. Exfoliation. Whatever I need to take better care of the skin I have neglected for the last 45 years. (Wear sunscreen has been a goal for probably the last 20 years. It’s still a struggle)

4. Make time for each of my kids and my husband as well as myself each month. Everyone gets 1 day they are my priority… including myself.

5. Promote myself better. Update my website, instagram, blog and Facebook pages more. Write more. Take more photos. Make my side projects a regular part of my week.

This year I’ll will be fierce. Hear me roar!

DIY beauty salon

Covid has been tough. The closures have me trying new things that I have not done since I was a teenager. Enter DIY beauty salon!

Now let me start by saying that I am NOT a fan of the DYI salon. I am willing to pay professionals because it is really not my thing. I tried and begged for a speakeasy style salon experience… I have cash… I can go to the back door… I’ll bring you coffee… but sadly I just could not talk my way into some services.

Enter the DIY salon. So I started with my own facials. It was not even close to the amazing salon experience. I lack a steamer and the patience for massage but I can clean, tone, mask and moisturize so I have been doing that. I started with sheet masks once a week. Then I moved to gel and mud masks. Some made a slight difference (usually the moisturizing ones). I figure when I’m wearing a mask all day at work I can pamper my face a little.

Then I saw an add for Hanicure face masks. They are on the pricy end for a DIY. But the before and after photos were pretty impressive so I tried it. I have to admit…I was very impressed with the results. But at $110 for 4 masks it is more than I want to spend on a weekly pampering.

Hanicure before / Hanicure after

I was pretty impressed but needed to find a cheaper solution. So I tried a Zombie mask. Reviews said it worked as well as Hanicure but the results don’t last as long and it has a funny smell. I figure at $30 for 8 masks I’ll give it a shot. Sadly, I don’t see a difference in the before and after photos.

Zombie mask before / Zombie mask after

I also tried my own mani-pedi and while I got better at my manicures my pedicures still look awful. I just can’t seem to get it even. I have cut myself with the clippers, gotten 2 ingrown toenails, cut myself with a nail file, and I still get hang nails. I am obviously bad at it.

Enter Covid Cuts… now I did NOT color and cut my own hair. That is something I can’t fix if I screw it up. But I cut my kids hair. My younger son looks fine. He has gotten 3 haircuts so far. My older son got 2 haircuts. Covid cut #1 he moved and the guard came off the clippers and I shaved a triangle shaped bald spot into his head. Oops. After that mistake my husband said there is no way in hell I’m cutting his hair! I had to wait for the bald spot to grow in that why my older son only got 2 haircuts to his brothers 3.

I honestly believe that we all have a place in society and deeming some jobs “essential” and others “non-essential” is stupid. I can see closing for a couple weeks but for 8 months… everyone needs a haircut at some point. They provide an essential service (unless you are going for that “Castaway” look). When I got that first ingrown toenail I was wishing the nail salons were open to fix it rather than having to do it myself. Nail salons are essential. It isn’t just having cute fingers and toes. Massages although relaxing can be therapeutic as well. Facials can help treat acne and sun damage as well as fight the signs of aging.

We all have a part to play. All of our jobs are essential when someone needs us. While I can do a lot of things, I’m just not able to do everything. I have a job that I’m good at. I can’t do my own mani pedi, cut hair or teach my kids. There are people out there who went to school to learn how to do those things. I’m 100% on board with letting them do it. hopefully everyone in California will be back to work soon.

My weight loss journey – 57 weeks to go

One week down… 1 pound lost.

Not what I was hoping for, but it’s a start. Given that the last week was one of the most stressful and frustrating I have ever had at work I’ll cut myself some slack. The air quality is still not great from the fires, gyms are closed so exercise is pretty much a no-go. So that’s a bummer. But hey, it’s one less pound to loose!

The upcoming couple weeks will be interesting. I’m only working 3 days each week. I’ll be going out of town for the first time since September 2019 when I went to the UK. I’m not leaving the country, or even the state but I am going somewhere I have always wanted to see so I’m excited! It’s only a couple days but with covid even a short overnight trip in your state can be exciting!

My weight loss journey – and so it begins…

With all travel plans, well actually all my plans canceled I have decided to use this time in Covid purgatory to do something useful… A project of sorts. I plan on loosing 100 lbs By October 1, 2021. You may wonder why I made this decision.

I started and stopped my weight loss journey after having the kids several times. Something ALWAYS gets in the way…because…you know…life. I was really rocking the weight loss at the end of 2019 early 2020 then Covid hit. The lock down hit me hard.  The gym closed.  Produce and well, food in general was hard to find with empty sore shelves. With everything closed I put back on half of the weight I lost. Enough is enough!  I don’t see the gym or pretty much anything opening up anytime soon so I need to figure out a new way to do this sans gym. Something I have never done before.

They say it takes 30 days to make a habit. I plan on adding or increasing my healthy habits each month ending on October 1, 2021 a smaller, healthier, calmer, sexier looking woman than I have ever been. Why October? My birthday is in October. October 2021 I will be turning 47. My baby brother is also getting married in October 2021. I don’t want to look like the tired, overweight woman I am now.

I’m working on my plan now and will track my progress on my blog weekly to keep myself accountable.

58 weeks to the wedding…

Adulting

At some point in my life I became an adult. I’m not sure when or how, but it happened. I’m married, with two kids and a mortgage. That isn’t what made me an adult though. This realization came to me as I pulled a shirt out of the washer.

You may wonder how a shirt made me feel like an adult. Well, I got paint on my shirt the first time I wore it. Blue paint on an orange shirt. Not good. The paint had dried by the time I saw it at the end of the evening. I scrubbed it by hand and only got part of it out. The next day I put stain stick on it and washed the shirt in every load of laundry I did. It was still there at the end of the day, although less than in the morning. I added more stain stick. A couple days later I washed it with my kids clothing (they are seriously dirty boys). As I pulled the shirt out the paint was finally gone!

I stared at the shirt sans paint and marveled in the fact that I have mastered laundry. Now it isn’t just the paint on the shirt… In February my sisters house caught on fire and I was given the task of trying to salvage what I could of their closets. Of the 3 of us working on this task I was the only one to be able to get the smoke smell out of the laundry. I even got the smell out of the singed towels that were on fire and used to sop up some of the water from the fire hoses. I showed my sister what I did and she followed my instructions and saved most of their wardrobe. I have mastered laundry. I’m now advising others on how to remove stains.

There’s a young woman that I work with. She is smart and reliable and has a small child just a little younger than my youngest despite the 25 year age difference between us. She often posts “how to” questions on Facebook and I always have an answer. Recently she told me that having me around is like having a live “life-hacker” right there.

Most recently we were plagued with wildfires in my area again. One was really close to us. I have several friends and family that lost their homes. Evacuations came up to the other side of the freeway from us so it was time to prepare for evacuation. It only took us 15 minutes to prep our family of 4 to leave our home with all the photos, documents and irreplaceable mementos. Now we can be out in 5 minutes. Thankfully the winds died down and they got the side of the fire near me under control so we didn’t need to evacuate. When I went back to work a couple days later my coworkers were amazed that I could gather things up that quickly. I thought 15 minutes was a long time.

All of these things as well as many others have shown me that at some point I became an adult. I don’t feel particularly old and wise… ok some days I feel old but I never feel wise. Yet here I am. Master of laundry. Imparting my wisdom of my years into those younger (and sometimes even older) than myself. I’m prepared for emergencies. I am an adult.

Being grateful for what we have

Today is my friend’s birthday. We were talking about Covid messing up our plans and celebrations. I have a friend who’s wedding was canceled three times and finally held a “protest of social distancing” for a small group of family and close friends in another friends’ backyard.

My 9th wedding anniversary was also canceled because of covid. Our hopes were to take a long weekend together and have a friend of mine watch the kids. We tossed around several ideas. I, of course, started out exotic and tried to stretch the planned 4 days into 5 with mentions of London, Paris or all inclusive tropical resorts in the Caribbean. my husband looked at me like I sprouted a second head every time. I don’t think any of my options were crazy I have done all of them on long weekends before. We were still deciding on a destination the world closed.

We stayed hopeful and hoped that it would open again before our anniversary and started talking about places closer to home but far enough that a long weekend would be needed… San Diego, Catalina Island, Ashland or Cabo San Lucas we’re top choices. As it became evident that we were still going to be quarantined we hoped to at least be able to go out to a nice dinner. Well that was squashed as well so we ended up with boring Netflix and take out like any other Friday night.

It’s easy to look at this and be sad or angry that our plans have been crushed. But we have decided to be happy that we have a home and are together.

My sister is currently homeless. She isn’t staying in an encampment somewhere, she is staying at my parents house. Her husband is staying at his moms house. Their son goes between the two homes. They have been homeless since their house caught on fire in February. They are all fine but had to move out while repairs were made to the house. The plan was to stay with the parents as inconvenient as it was to save money to take a couple long weekend trips a month through the 6-12 months repairs were going to take. So they would then turn it into a positive thing by having mini adventures as a family rotating between everyone picking what they want to do. Well, like us her travel plans have also been crushed. But, since the construction company is not getting any new jobs her house is almost done a couple months ahead of schedule.

So many people are struggling. I feel fortunate that we are in a good place. Sure, I’m annoyed that I wasn’t relaxing on a tropical beach at an all inclusive resort celebrating our anniversary. But I’m still hopeful that we can make it to Hawaii in December for a week to celebrate my husbands 40th birthday, although chances of that happening are looking pretty slim as well.

I don’t want to exist. I want to LIVE!

Between COVID and social unrest I admit I was having a really hard time there and things were starting to get dark. I am a social person (much more than I realized). The kids were out of school and home with my husband all day who was having a hard time keeping them entertained with no activities and not even a playground to take them to run out the extra energy.  The trampoline broke. We ordered a new one but it is delayed because of COVID and still has not arrived when we were hoping to have it well before Memorial Day. We ordered an inflatable water slide, yeah that is MIA as well leaving the kids with apparently nothing to do but fight with each-other. With no social outlets my life had been reduced to going to work in healthcare with multiple COVID updates a day and going home to an exhausted husband and two fighting kids only to clean the house, do laundry and try to figure out a solution. I had to change something.

After talking to a few friends it was decided that this is BS. There is a small group of us that have been quarantined at home for 2 months.  The only person still going to a work was me no one else left the house except to get food and walk the dogs.  None of us were doing well and all of us were getting really depressed. We started getting together once a week in our garage bar after the kids went to bed. It has been an amazing change. I don’t care how much you Skype, Zoom, text or talk on the phone nothing is the same as face to face interaction. Almost 6 weeks later we are all doing much better. Everyone has started eating better and exercising again.

After a month of getting together we all decided it is time to take the kids to see the grandparents.  My parents were even more depressed than we were and even more isolated.  Taking the kids over there on Saturday mornings is now the highlight of their week. After the first visit my Mom told me that the isolation is horrible. At her age and with her health problems she is high risk.  But she would rather the world open up and get to go out and see her friends and live her life and take the chance that she may die rather than me “safe” at home that has become her prison. That really made me think.  What good is being alive if you are not out there living your life to the fullest and just existing?

That thought changed something in me. I started to look at my life and my goals again.  With refunds from everything that was canceled because of COVID and our tax return and stimulus check we paid off our credit cards.  We now just have our monthly bills, my car payment and our mortgage.  It is weird not being in debt and we still have money leftover. Our plan was to go to Hawaii in December. Once we started looking into it Hawaii’s COVID restrictions would leave us quarantined in our hotel room for the entire trip.  We decided against it.  New plan, A trip to the UK in May for our 10 year anniversary.  My husband really wants to go to London and has never been. So the plan is London and somewhere else.  We are still figuring out the “somewhere else” part.

Then another cancellation happened and my educational conference in Las Vegas in November was canceled and turned virtual.  Since I returned from the UK in September I have been looking at my next item on my bucket list…the Northern Lights. I had the trip pretty much figured out.  So when Vegas got canceled I decided “screw it” and went ahead and booked my solo Northern lights trip for February and ordered myself some snow pants on Amazon and a few pairs of fleece leggings to get started on my packing list for my Northern Lights adventure for this girl who likes to live in sundresses, leggings and tunic tops with flip flops. I do however have an awesome winter coat thanks to my recent trip to Scotland where I was terrified of freezing my butt off. I may have overdone it because my coat was much warmer than I needed there but it should be perfect for my Northern adventure in February.

Covid crazy

I have not written much lately because as with most people my life has been turned upside down lately. In case some of you are unaware; I work in healthcare. Life has been rough since mid-February for us. At first it was just annoying having people constantly asking about covid. Then the paranoia and crazies kicked in and I have been borderline loosing my $hit since that point.

At work you need to maintain a level of professionalism even if your patients are totally acting and crazy. Let me give a few examples… the damn hand sanitizer is outside every exam room. We walk in we use it, we walk out we use it again. It’s the foam kind and you literally need about a large pea size to do your hands. When the craziness started everyone was all about the hand sanitizer. And taking full hand snowball size amounts of it and sanitizing every inch of exposed skin on their bodies to be safe. While they are sponge bathing their entire bodies in sanitizer we come in, clean everything with alcohol and wait for them to get settled (stop bathing in hand sanitizer). They finally sit down and immediately ask if we cleaned everything. Um, yes. (Week 1) You were right there when we cleaned it but missed it because you were messing around with the hand sanitizer, but I’ll do it again if that makes you feel more comfortable. (Week 2) yes, it’s clean. We clean it before and after every patient regardless if everyone is freaking out over a virus or not. (Week 3) yes it’s clean. If you thing you can do a better job feel free to do it yourself. I’ll be back in a little bit when you feel it is clean to your satisfaction. Do not touch anything on this machine! (Week 4) they canceled all our patients and we only see emergencies for the next month until whenever the dust settles.

It isn’t people just sanitizing their entire bodies. They are sanitizing their purses, paperback books (even the pages) they are stealing (well were stealing) the masks from the lobby and gloves from the exam rooms to the point we had to start locking them up like the needles. People have totally lost their minds.

Then the crazies made it to the stores and started hoarding everything leaving stores totally empty. Then normal people started to panic when they could no longer get what they needed because some people think they need 5,000 rolls of toilet paper to make it through 2 weeks of quarantine.

Then they closed the schools. A few days later they closed everything else. A month later we have long lines. People are still struggling to get what they need for their families. Layoffs have began with no end in sight businesses are closing down.

I know you are thinking I’m still working so why should any of this bother me? Well, store hours are shorter and they stopped grocery delivery because the shelves are so empty. So now I have to actually go shopping instead of just having my groceries delivered. With the shorter hours I can’t go before work. With the lines I can’t go at lunch and when I get off work the shelves are empty. At 6 weeks in things were starting to look bleak.

Then tragedy struck again and those of us essential workers in healthcare started to be attacked, spit on and yelled at with half the public believing that we all had the virus and were spreading it thanks to a wonderful statistic that said 90% of healthcare workers will be infected vs 50% of the general population by the time this is over. Thankfully I just had some guy yell at me in the store. One of my co workers was spit on at a lunch run to the store. A few days later stores started letting healthcare workers in an hour before the store opens to shop while they stock the shelves. I almost cried. For the first time in 2 months I got everything on my shopping list in one stop. Eggs, bread, butter, bagels, milk, produce… it was amazing! Pickings were getting slim at home. We can survive for 4-8 weeks without going to the store but after the first 4 things start getting weird. I was really starting to worry about how I was going to feed my kids.

While I am thankful to still have a job, things have been difficult as they have been for everyone. I’m tired of quarantine as are my kids. We miss going to the parks, zoos and museums. I miss sunrise hikes taking photos of the mist over the water and fields. I miss lunches with friends, BBQs and parties filled with laughter.

I think now we are over the fear of the “what if’s” and are now settling into a depressing place. I have seen more domestic abuse in the last few months than I have seen in the last 24 years combined. Most of my friends are talking about depression and are drinking more but not in a fun way like they did while in college but in a just trying to make it through to the next day way. I fear that the mental and financial fallout from quarantine will be far worse and have far more victims than the virus itself.

Stress!

We all have stress in our lives but I have been having a bit more than usual over the last few months. My body is starting to crumble under the pressure.  My hair has started to fall out. My psoriasis has started to flare up on my elbow. I’m having trouble sleeping…

It isn’t the pandemic. It started way before that.  My friend’s mom passed around Thanksgiving. In an effort to help her not sit around and mope through the holidays I spent more time with her than usual putting myself behind on my own holiday stuff.  I just could not get caught up. I am use to having all my shopping done way before Thanksgiving and wrapping everything on Black Friday then I can sit back, relax and enjoy the holidays. As I struggled to pull it all together at the last minute the stress began. After the 1st of the year, everyone decides to take better care of themselves and work gets super busy, for about a month then it drops off.  With February my sister’s house caught on fire so I was helping her sort through everything so repairs could start.  A week after that school was canceled and the state went on lock down.

I am not alone in this time of stress.  People are freaking out and are worried about their future and the future of their families. My request in this time of global stress is to try to take a step back, take a deep breath and know that you have this. Think logically. Try to help those in need if you can. most off all… Take care of yourself.

Aye Corona!

Let me star by saying I am soooo over hearing about the Corona virus and the hysteria it has caused. People are NOT staying calm. People have lost their damn minds.

My day job I work in the medical field. It’s boring after 24 years but I’m good at it and it pays well. Through the media, everyone is an expert on how I should clean my equipment. I clean everything between patients just as I have for the last 24 years. I’m also a bit of a germaphobe. Until recently, my co workers have teased me about when patients touch my ungloved hand and I touch nothing with that hand until I can wash it. Needless to say I have grown very weary of people and their crazy requests…seriously crazy. Like insisting that my ultrasound exam chair that weighs at least 300 lbs should be packaged and sterilized like operating room instruments between patients. Um 1. This is not an operating room 2. The chairs and tables in the operating room are not packaged and sterilized either. She was insane and yelling at me and insisted on talking to my supervisor because I have no idea what I’m doing. Yeah, not a problem. I’ll walk you over to her office as long as I don’t have to stay here listening to you.

Then there are the hand sanitizer people. Bathing every inch of exposed skin in the hand sanitizer in the hall outside my office. Hands, arms, necks, faces, legs… if it’s exposed it’s getting sanitizer! I had a patient clean her paperback book with hand sanitizer…even the pages. But by far the worst is every single person takes off their masks as soon as they get in the exam room with me. Why? Sick or not they take off the mask the well ones complain about cleaning everything. The sick ones cough in my face. Yes, you heard me right. These are not kids. These are adults. Adults that knew enough to wear a mask to protect everyone else that then take off the mask and cough in my face with no effort to cover it at all. With the outbreak this has become a problem to the point there was a meeting Thursday afternoon to figure out how to deal with this since we are just starting to see this virus.

People are loosing their minds. We are more prepared than most at our home. Our older son has a cardiac problem so we have “go bags” for every member of the family and supplies on hand to last a month 24-7-365. If he has a medical problem we could be quarantined at any moment. We have been quarantined for weeks and months at a time several times. We have a stock of Lysol wipes and hand sanitizer on hand always. Most families with medically complex children I know are always prepared like this. We are calm. We can wait it out. What worries me is the panic outside our door. I worry about refilling supplies a few months from now. I worry about the economy and what this panic is going to do there.

Stay calm. This is just starting and we are probably looking at at least a year of of this. I for one can’t wait until shelves are again stocked and people stop acting crazy.