Reno

I recently turned 48. I am trying hard to believe that I am no longer young and I am staring down 50 that is approaching faster and faster every day. I have had a rough relationship with celebrating birthdays because for the most part it depends on others and I prefer to be selfish on my birthday and just relax or go somewhere amazing and have a one in a lifetime experience. No one ever actually listens. That changed this year.

Several months ago my husband said “lets get away for your birthday this year” Now I am picturing lounging on a beach somewhere with a tropical drink with a little umbrella in it. He says he will plan everything. It will be amazing. I am a bit worried about this because I am the traveler. I am the planner. It is my thing. He is so excited that I agree to leave it all to him. Then he tells me we are going to Reno, NV.

Reno.

Dirty old Reno.

I hate Reno. I’m a beach person not a desert person and I don’t like the smell of cigarette smoke or gambling. What is he thinking? He is so excited (like a kid on Christmas morning) so I plaster a smile on my face and ask him if he is sure and what he has in mind. Then he tells me that he was watching YouTube videos about the best day spas in the united states and the Peppermill in Reno has one of the top 10 so we should check it out.

Ok, Reno is sounding better now. But, when I was last there in the 1990’s it was not exactly a nice place to go. It lacked the dazzle of Vegas or the natural splendor of Tahoe. I ask him how old this video was that he watched. So he pulls it up. It is recent. Then he pulls up a video of the Peppermill and it is reminiscent of the Belagio or the Venician resorts in Vegas. I am intrigued, but still not excited because, well… it’s still Reno.

A few months go by and he has made all the arrangements. We have childcare covered for the time we are out of town. He made reservations at an Italian restaurant and a steakhouse for our two nights there. We are spending all day in the spa relaxing on my actual birthday getting pampered and relaxing. I’m still skeptical and he is still super excited.

The day finally arrives for us to depart. We load up the car and head out…to Reno. I’m expecting to see beautiful fall color, but no one told the trees. We get to the peppermill and it is busier than I expected to see on a weekday. They are hosting an educational conference for veterinarians. It actually was nice inside. It was super clean. The staff was friendly. Our room was amazing. The food was great. If they were short staffed, it sure didn’t show at all. That was something we have not seen here in California for years. The weather was even perfect. He did an amazing job.

I guess it is time for me to let go, stop being such a control freak and trust that the man I have been married to for 11 years actually knows me pretty well and is capable of planning a trip for us that I will enjoy. Maybe I don’t always have to “do it all”. Maybe I can let go a little and relax and know that everything will be ok.

I know that sounds a little odd. But, I have spent most of my adult life only being able to rely on myself through my first marriage to an alcoholic who cared more about his TV programs and his next drink than me and in my single years. Relying on anyone else almost always led to me being let down and me scrambling at the last minute trying to do it all myself. I forgot what it was like to be able to just let go and know things will be ok. I’m slowly learning to let go and accept that others are capable of doing things too. I do not have to always carry the burden. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Live A Great Story

Let me just start by saying I am an old dog. I am not very good with learning new tricks. I can learn them…only it takes me a minute and possibly a couple google searches and some YouTube videos to work it out. I start with that because a few years ago I hit influencer status with my Instagram. I did not know it. I just post a “photo of the day” and let it go. I have a “super fan” aka…stalker on there. But living in the San Francisco Bay Area weirdos are kinda common so as long as they didn’t get too psycho, It doesn’t phase me.

Then one day out of the blue I get an email asking me if I am interested in doing promotion for influencers. I laugh it off because…well, I’m just a Mom. I’m not famous. I barely know how to run my social media. So (since I have no idea what they are talking about) my co worker asks me how many followers I have. I look (and it takes me a minute because I have never used the app) and I have over 10,000. She is shocked. I ask her if that is a lot and she…well she says things I shouldn’t type out here. So I google influencers and find out I actually meet the criteria. I agree to it and they send me miniature leggings. Apparently there people didn’t look too hard into me because I have not been a size that could fit into those pants in probably…well 30 years…maybe longer. We all got a good laugh from that and life moved on.

Recently I got an email from LIVE A GREAT STORY talking about their brand ambassador program and asking if I would be interested in a collaboration… Ummm… ABSOLUTELY! I love the concept and have written about my love of both LIVE A GREAT STORY and MOM, I’M FINE on here before. This is a collaboration I can really get into!

So I agree. They send me my login information and I literally spend roughly 4 hours trying to figure it all out (old dog and all). But I am all set up now and I am happy to announce that I am now a Live a Great Story ambassador! My first box of swag just came today. I’m pretty excited. Two sweatshirts and a bunch of stickers and buttons to get started. It is so much better to work with a brand I actually like and believe in than one that I have never heard of.

LIVE A GREAT STORY means something different for everyone. For some people it is a reminder of the travels they have taken. For others it is the live they are living after overcoming a grave illness or injury. Others are starting over after a tragic loss or life changing event. We all have a story. We write another page every day we wake up. Sometimes we just need a little reminder to make it great.

If you are interested in picking up a reminder to LIVE A GREAT STORY yourselYou can check out the whole LIVE A GREAT STORY line here and save 10% with free shipping over $50. liveagreatstory.com/sunshinejodi13 or use coupon code sunshinejodi13.

My weight loss journey-November update

It has been a while since I have updated my progress. Not that it hasn’t been on my mind but life happens…in my case work.

I’m sure I have mentioned my hatred of the insane workloads and all the mandatory overtime with all the 12 hour days and 6 day weeks. Finally September arrived and my coworker took the overtime allowing me a bit of normalcy back in my life.

Then the day from hell happened and I finally cracked. I got to work at 7:30 AM as usual and the alarm was going off. With the engineers on strike there was no one to turn them off. It took until 3:30 in the afternoon to get the alarm shut off. Also the AC was stuck on Arctic blast and our department was 56 degrees…also unable to be fixed. By the time I left work at 4:30 I was in tears. My nerves were shot. My eyelids were twitching and I had a pounding headache.

I go home and still feel like hell. My Blood pressure is high so I go to bed. Surely I’ll feel better in the morning. I wake up the next day (a Saturday) and my husband tells me “happy weekend! You don’t have to go to work today!” I start crying. My pulse starts racing. I can’t get it together. So he gets up and tells me to take my time. He will get the kids up and start breakfast.

I can’t get it under control. I try to get out of the house and take one of my kids to the pumpkin patch and start having chest pain. I think this is it. That place is actually killing me. I turn around, take my son home and go to the ER.

I get a full work up to make sure I am not actually dying and end up with a diagnosis of extreme stress, a chill pill and a follow up with my medical dr who then takes me off work and puts me on anxiety medicine to try to help me get under control.

A few weeks later I’m starting to feel human again. I made some changes at work (including actively looking for another job). I slowed down and I get done what I get done. If people need to wait oh well. Maybe they should hire enough staff to cover the volume of work that needs to be done. I’m fully booked to the end of the year. Today I started the pile of consults that need to be seen but there’s nowhere to put them. I’m not overbooking myself again so people get seen in a timely manner.

I am also waiting on a surgery date in January for carpal tunnel surgery. So I’m not booking anyone in January until I get that date. I’ll book up to that day…when I get it.

Even with all that is going on and Halloween I still managed to loose just shy of 6 lbs in October. I’m hoping I can continue to slowly loose the weight through the holidays because overtime just started up again with today as my first 12 hour day again. I agreed to 1 a week and I choose what day it is and no more Saturdays.

I’m really hoping I get the job I applied for a few days ago. It is my light at the end of the tunnel. 20 min commute vs 1 hour, 1/4 the patient load and higher pay. At first I was thinking I would maybe pick up 1 Saturday a month to help my current coworker…but my husband is right. I’m already detaching from that job in hopes of getting this new one. Once I leave, I will not be back. That mess is their problem, not mine.

Not my monkeys, not my circus.

I just keep focused on the light, think positive and hope like hell that I get that job and can move on.

It came up too fast and now it’s over…

Well, that time is here and gone. I was planning on a slim, sexy body for my brothers wedding and while I failed at that, I am about 35 lbs lighter than when I started and still looked better than if I was 35 lbs heavier. As an added bonus all the running around and dancing left me 4 lbs lighter after the 4 day weekend.

I’m not stopping here. I am still determined to get back into shape. The pandemic may have thrown me a curve ball but I’m slowly working on it. One this this weekend has shown me is that my day job, commute and lack of movement on weekdays is really what is stopping me from being fit and fabulous.

I need to figure out how to add exercise to my weekdays sans-gym. Even moderately active will be an improvement on my 3000 steps a day I get chained to my computer. I need to figure out something to get moving to reach my goal of being fabulously fit at 50. (I have 36 months to make this happen, but I’m aiming for 24 or less so I have it off for a year before my 50th)

It is said that a journey of 1000 miles begins with a first step. Tomorrow I’m taking that first step and going back to my mosquito, wild animal walks around the park and back in the mornings. I have insect repellent and pepper spray. So as long as I don’t spook a skunk or come face to face with the bobcat or mountain lion that occasionally wander our neighborhood I should be good. (I have only seen the bobcat. But my friend a couple streets over has seen the mountain lion ahhh the joys of living close to nature)

36 months to 50…

I got this!

My weight loss journey-the hubby joins me

Things are returning to “normal” in our house. The kids are back in school and my coworker is trying to buy her 1st home and actually wants to work ALL of the overtime until she is settled and I am happy to let her! With this weeks overtime behind me and no more in the future I’m feeling human again.

With my husband on board with the weight loss it is making my life easier with less temptation. Our new fridge was delivered a week ago (the old one finally died.) so we are stocking back up on healthy food and cooking at home. It was rough going for the few weeks between “fridge isn’t working” and “new one is here” but we survived.

My hurdle now is exercise. With masking back at the gym it’s a no-go. I can’t do cardio in a mask. I already wheeze like crazy without the mask adding to my struggle. I was full on ready to get back to my walking around the park and back then the fires started and now the air quality is “chunky” with a mist of ash falling constantly. I’m pretty sure the smoke and ash are not good for my lungs. My current plan is to skip cardio and work on my core and stretching until masking at the gym goes away or the air is breathable outside again.

Halfway through august and I’m down 3 lbs so far. At least it’s going in the right direction.

My weight loss journey-July 2021

Holy setbacks Batman!

Thankfully I only gained 1 lb in July and that is a miracle. Between the 4th of July holiday weekend and the 60+ hour work weeks I am amazed that is all I gained. I’m the type of person who draws a line in the sand, regroups and starts over. That is what August was going to be for me…a fresh start. With the overtime behind me I’m getting back to my meal planning and back to the gym! I had a plan…and it was a good one then Thursday, July 29th I get told that the overtime is going to continue through August oh, and by the way you are working on Saturday too. I almost cried.

My work week has been 8-5 Monday, 8-7:30 Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday then back to 8-5 Friday and Saturday. Yes, you read that right…6 days a week and three 11.5 hour days. Oh, and I have an hour commute each way. I’m struggling. I’m exhausted. I’m desperately trying to regroup and try to figure out how I can make this work. My decision…food is key. I just do not have time or energy to exercise so my diet needs to be near perfect.

I have had suggestions from fit people I know try to help me figure out how to fit exercise in my day. I’m up by 5:30 AM and leave the house about 6:30 AM and get home around 6 or 8:30 PM depending on the day. I get ready for bed at 9 and I’m asleep somewhere between 10-11pm. Giving me 5.5-7.5 hours sleep depending on the night. My early days I spend as much time as possible with the kids before they go to bed because I don’t see them at all on my late days. That is honestly the hardest part…not seeing the kids.

So I average about 6.5 hours of sleep a night and I’m at work, commuting or with my kids the other part. What do I give up? Work is set and I don’t want to work the OT as it is, but it isn’t optional. Sleep? I’m exhausted as it is. Time with my kids…yeah, I’ll give up sleep first. My kids are still little and they grow up so fast. I’m not making excuses. It’s just my reality. I have pondered this trying to work out a solution on those many hours commuting. I have goals so I was going to cut my gym time down to 30 min. But as if the OT wasn’t crushing enough Friday I get an email from the gym saying they are going back to mandatory masking for everyone while in the building vaccinated or not as of August 1st. That sealed the deal for me and I put my membership on hold.

So that’s where I am. My first month that I did not loose anything and actually gained a pound. I am determined NOT to gain anything in the month of August and my goal is to lose at least 4 lbs with diet alone. I’ll check in again at the beginning of September with an update.

Coming out of the pandemic…slowly

I’ll say it… I love NOT wearing a mask. I love to see people smiling and greeting each other. I love hearing about families and friends reuniting. I love that things are slowly getting back to the old normal. Screw the new normal. New normal sucks. I want the old normal back.

Honestly the only good thing that came out of covid was curbside pickup everywhere. I love not having to get the kids out of the car to grab a few items in the store. I order online. I get an email when it’s ready I drive up. They throw my order in my car and I’m out. L-O-V-E it!

I look forward to the day that no one even mentions “social distancing”. I don’t like people all up in my face to begin with but I’m really tired of not being able to tell where the line is because it just looks like a bunch of random people standing around on their phones.

Along that same line…I’d like the whole “Karen” thing to just stop. Seriously, just stop. Also, I’m tired of people telling me to “be safe” all the time. I don’t recall ever telling anyone to “be safe” in my life. I have asked friends if they need a condom. I have told friends to call or text me if they don’t feel safe. I have told my kids to get down that’s not safe. But it’s not a parting greeting for strangers. Goodbye, see you later, have a great day, enjoy your weekend… those are awesome ways to part. But honestly, I’m annoyed by “no worries” as well. For example, let’s say a patient comes in 3 hours late for their appointment and it’s 4:59 and you get off work at 5:00. They explain that their appointment just wasn’t at a good time for them so they figured they would just come in now because that works better. Here I’m thinking “no way in hell I’m staying late for an inconsiderate jerk. You need to rebook. I’ll see you in 2 months” but then I hear my coworker tell them. “Oh, no worries. She’s still here and can see you before she goes home.”

No worries really? No worries should be for something that you are ACTUALLY distressed about. Like “OMG my purse was just stolen and my keys and phone were in it and I’m a total wreck! How am I going to get home? How do I call someone without my phone? What am I going to do?” Telling someone “no worries. Let me help you figure this out. Do you know anyone’s phone number that may have a spare key to your car?” No worries should be for someone who is ACTUALLY worried who is experiencing something outside their control. Not just anyone with an excuse for their own bad behavior.

We can do this people! We can get it together, be kind, get back to work and have some patience for those who have worked through the entire pandemic from the medical staff to the grocery clerks to the server at your local eatery. They are exhausted, understaffed, tired of being yelled at for things they have no control over and dealing with the public (many of them who lost their minds) for the last year and a half.

When pulling an all nighter is not what it use to be

I love my creative side. Sometimes my creative side and my type-A personality obsessive planner side get together a couple times a month when I have scheduled photography days out to create new content for my photography business. I never really thought of this as a thing until I did an internet quiz to find what type of photographer I should be. It was spot on. Just incase it was generic BS I read the other types. They were so not me at all. I hate admitting it, but the internet quiz was right.

I plan my days out. I scout for a place with a purpose in mind. I choose particular times of year or times of the day. I actually have a notebook with brainstorm ideas of locations/subjects with notes. I have folders with information, books I have read in research, and links saved in folders on my laptop. It’s what I do.

If things don’t work out as I planned to get the shots I want I’ll regroup and try again until I get it. I brave bad weather, long travel days, early mornings and late nights. I get insect bites, bee stings, sunburns, scratches, scrapes and sprains. To most people it seems insane. But when I get that perfect shot…I know it was all worth it.

I’m not a photoshop photographer. I believe in taking the shot not faking the shot. I’ll crop, change the tone and adjust the color to brighten or soften the shot. But it’s always the same shot. I think people do amazing things in photoshop, but it just isn’t for me. I think it’s because I learned on film and back then we didn’t have the option to take a crappy shot and fix it later. You had to take a good shot to begin with.

Either way, everyone needs an outlet. It may be sports, binging tv, gardening, woodworking, cooking or something entirely different. Especially now as we creep our way out of the pandemic. If you have not found your peace keep trying new things. You never know when something will stick.

When a “day off” not really an actual day of rest

At some point “days off” work didn’t actually become a restful day to recuperate from work and enjoy life but they became just more work. It starts slow. You do your laundry, get groceries or run a few errands but easily have time to hit happy hour, grab lunch with a friend and catch a movie or go to the park with your family. My life has not been like that in some time now. It makes me wonder what happened? I see photos on Facebook of people out doing all kinds of things but not me. I always seem to be busy. Now, I’m not saying that I never get out, because I do. Just not as often as most other people.

I knew I was busy but I didn’t really understand until a few days ago. I took a day off of work so my husband could go to the dentist. He would not be done in time to get the kids off the bus so I took the day off of work. Now, my thought was I have a lot of things I need to get caught up for my photography business on so I’ll just get up like I’m going to work and pop open my laptop in the living room and get some work done. 13 hours later I finally got caught up…kinda. I still have more to do. There is always more to do.

Now I’m behind on my blog posts. How did this happen? Well…I have been busy. We are behind at work so there has been a lot of overtime. We had several people quit to take care of their kids when the schools did not reopen in the fall. No one has applied for those open jobs in almost a year now. Because we have been working short staffed we now have 4 people out injured (I will be joining them briefly when I have my carpal tunnel surgery after the kids are back in school). All of these vacancies have now brought us to the point that we have been opening for Saturday appointments for the last 3 months to try to catch up and now this month we are opening in the evenings too. So in an effort to be a team player I have been working from 7:30AM-7:30PM 4 days a week and 7:30-5 on Fridays. My coworker has been working 6 days a week taking the Saturdays since she works from 8:30-5 on weekdays. Add in my kids, photography business, household chores and getting up at 4:30 AM to get to the gym (that just opened on June 15th) before work and I am one busy, exhausted woman.

So I started looking at those relaxed, refreshed people out enjoying life all the time and wondered what they have in common. What are they doing (or not doing) that allows them to just chill out? With 1 exception the thing they all have in common is lack of a job. They have someone else providing the money they live on. About half have a minimal gig they do from selling something from a MLM of some sort or teaching an occasional class on something. By minimal I’m talking 1-2 days a week for about 2 hours actually working. Something to give them something to do. All have teenage or older kids. Only one had a full time job but her kids are grown and out of the house and no grandkids yet.

This made me realize that I’m not being fair to myself. I’m not comparing apples to apples. These women are not gone from the home almost 70 hours a week commuting or at work. Most days I’m commuting or at work for 15 of the 24 hours in a day. 9 hours to sleep, shower and go to the gym. No wonder I look exhausted. The 6 hours of sleep I get a night keeps me functional but not relaxed and refreshed. Makeup? What’s that? I’m lucky to just have clean laundry for everyone and groceries in the house (that I have delivered because I do not have time to shop). I’m not one of these women. I will not be one of them until my kids are grown and I’m retired. So until that point, I am ok and doing pretty good managing it all like so many others out there. The apples can stay apples. I’m ok being an orange. Maybe someday soon I can pull it all together for a day at the beach…

Traveling Again!

That’s right. The time has come and Working Mom, Travel Dreams is traveling again! I’m traveling with my husband to Mexico for our 10th wedding anniversary. Our plan was to enjoy a week in the UK but with the travel restrictions that was not possible. So we regrouped, switched gears and now we are off to Cabo San Lucas. We are leaving the kids at home for our first kid free vacation together in 9 years. our last vacation together was our 1st wedding anniversary where I was big and pregnant and we had to book our travel to make sure we made it back before my “unable to travel internationally” date 2 days later. Yeah, there’s nothing like cutting it close. Traveling while that pregnant was not easy.

I have been to Cabo oodles of times since it’s a quick getaway from California. You can usually find long weekend package deals for $500 or less pretty easy so it’s the alternative to Vegas for many of us Californians who are not into gambling but still want to enjoy some fun in the sun. With all the restrictions in California I find people are flocking to Mexico just to get away from it all and enjoy a little bit of freedom again. I have 1 coworker and a friend who are in Cabo right now and know several people that have gone in the last month.

The airports are pretty empty still. They only had one shuttle running at SFO and the long term parking was maybe 1/4 full. It’s really different than my last trip where SFO was packed in Sept 2019. The flights were sure full despite the empty parking. Snacks and beverages were distributed a little different with everyone getting a small snack bag. I actually preferred it that way for this short flight but a bagged lunch meal for dinner could be annoying on a longer international flight.

At the resort nearly everyone we met was vaccinated. The ones who were not vaccinated had covid around the holidays and it’s still too soon for them to get vaccinated. Pretty much everyone hated the masking and wore them as little as possible. There was a lot of annoyance on things like the rule that you have to wear a mask while walking around the resort…except in the pool area. So I don’t have to wear a mask in the pool area but if I go to the snack bar, bathroom or non-swim up bar I need a mask. Swim up bar no mask. Someone brings my drink to me at the table, no mask. I take 5 steps to the bar to get a drink, I need a mask. (FYI all the bars are outdoors).

We followed the rules, no matter how crazy. It was still a lot less restrictive than California and it was FANTASTIC to see people’s faces and socialize. We got our covid tests to return home and they were negative. Even though we were fully vaccinated AND had negative covid tests our kids therapy sessions were canceled for 2 weeks when we returned because we left the country. If we stayed in the country it would have been fine. California paranoia at its best here. CDC says vaccinated people can live normal lives. But here in California we are still on house arrest and shamed for attempting normal.