Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I will be 53 in August. I'm amazed that I'm really going to be that old. I don't always feel like I'm that old but when I look back at the decades of my life, I realize that I really AM that old. It's amazing.

I have a BS degree in Computer Information Systems and a MS degree in Management. I'm content with my career choice at this time but am finding myself being drawn in a new direction, a direction that has been buried and not allowed to be in existence for over 30 years. I want to return to school - evening and online classes. I'm not sure that I will but I believe that I am headed that direction.

I don't see retirement in my future any time soon - or even within the next decade. If that is the case, then continuing my education and possibly obtaining my teaching certificate does not seem like a bad idea. There are a lot of reasons that this makes sense, just as there are a lot of reasons that people would say I'm crazy.

I am, after all, almost 53. That can go either direction. Because I'm almost 53, I could be considered too old - just stay in the profession I'm in. Because I'm almost 53, I could be encouraged to follow my dreams - dreams that started over 30 years ago and I let others dictate my dreams and my future to me.

Because I am almost 53, I should be looking towards preparing for retirement. Because I am almost 53, I am looking towards preparing for retirement. Retirement for me will probably not come before the age of 65+. Do I want to spend the next 10+ years sitting behind a computer screen, or do I want to spend it engaging the minds of others?

What to do, what to do. Time to pursue the dream and make the passion a reality or time to stay put and let the dreams of youth belong to those who have come after me. My time has passed - or has it?

New addition to the family

My son, Shaun, and his wife, Jenny, were blessed with a new baby girl yesterday.

Kaitlyn JoAnne made her grand debut at 10:14 PST and weighed in at 6 lbs 14 oz. She was 19.5 inches long. The funny thing about her statistics are that she's the same weight as her brother, Alexander, but he was 20 inches long.

We are so thrilled to have another baby in the family and ECSTATIC that it's a girl. It's been 14 years since there was a baby girl born into this family. That's a long, long time!

Here are some pictures of our little princess:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ring.... Ring..... Ring....

Ring…. Ring…. Ring…. Thank you for calling XYZ. How can I direct your call?

This is Teresa yada yada yada. I need to talk to someone regarding blah blah blah.

Sure, Joyce. Let me just get a little bit more information.

OK, but it’s Teresa. Not Joyce.

Oh – sure. Sorry about that. Now Shirley, I just need to get some more information.

Grrrr… What part of “Tuh-ree-suh” am I saying that even remotely sounds like Joyce or Shirley? I could see people hearing “Tracey” because I do have a bit of an accent and I may say my name kind of fast, but Joyce or Shirley? No way…

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"I'm a size 2 - 4"

Did you happen to catch Oprah yesterday? Her guests were Valerie Bertinelli, Marie Osmond, and Star Jones. Valerie and Marie each had about 15 minutes of time and Star’s story took the rest. It was pretty interesting to watch but I think in the 15 minutes that Marie was being interviewed, she said she was a size 2 – 4 at least three times, and maybe four. I was born that size. Even when I’m at my skinniest, sickliest looking I’m no where near a size 2 – 4.

Call me crazy, but I like Marie Osmond and Valerie Bertinelli. I wasn't too familiar with Star Jones - only the negative stuff that I'd heard when she "refused" to discuss how she lost weight. It was her right to refuse to discuss it. It was no one's business but hers. I was totally on her side with that. After last night's interview, I can say that I like Star Jones, too. I think she's totally real and was very honest in her comments. She verbalized things that I'm sure many of us feel and are unable to verbalize.

Food can become your best friend and your worst nightmare - all at the same time. I've battled a weight problem my whole life - well, since puberty anyway. I've commented before how my dad, in his infinite wisdom, used to tell me that no one wanted a fat wife and I'd never get married. Obviously, he was wrong but between his comments, my brothers' comments, and my first husband's comments - the ground work was laid for me to be obsessed with food. I've hidden to eat, I've hidden things I've eaten, and I've hidden things to eat later. I've never been anorexic and I've never purged. But there have been times that I've really wished I had the guts to purge. And the guts to starve myself.

I've tried (among others):
  • Weight Watchers
  • Atkins
  • Cookie Diet
  • HMR liquid diet
  • Metabolife
  • Cabbage soup diet
  • MediFast
  • South Beach diet
  • Phen-Fen
  • many, many more...
I'd lose weight on all of them, but when I quit the diet and started eating again, the weight always came back. Usually with a few friends. Each time it was harder and harder to lose anything.

What I needed instead was a healthy approach to food and to eating. I think that I've made real strides in the past 18 months toward this goal. I still need to lose 30-40 pounds but having already lost 50 is a big plus to me. I've changed my wardrobe a couple of times because I've dropped at least four sizes. I still wear some things that are too big for me just because I can't see myself in a smaller size or I don't want things to cling to me. But, I know that some of the things I wear are just TOO big and should not be worn. I've put on a few things in the last month and decided they just had to go.

I would love to do either Jenny Craig or NutriSystem. The cost is prohibitive. I don't know how "normal" people who have to buy groceries for a family can afford to spend $300 a month on one person's food. I know I cannot. I've looked into the programs in the past and they are just out of the ball park for me. A couple of years ago, I bought Ron one month of NutriSystem because he thought he wanted to try it. He did not like the food so it lasted him more than one month. I liked the things so I ate what he didn't. Some of the stuff was icky but that's the chance you take.

I don't know how much Jenny Craig is, but I'm sure the cost is comparable to NutriSystem. I just need to figure out a system that will work for me and not break the bank. I love fresh produce (which is an "extra" on those plans anyway - in addition to the program cost) so could maybe build something around the available options in the area.

We shall see... I'd like to be headed toward my goal weight before the end of the year. That's my goal.

I haven't tried wiring my jaw shut. Maybe I should think about that choice.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I feel...

Like crap.
Like *&%#.
Like *&%# on a shoestring.
Like *&%# on a shingle.
Like I've been run over by a Mac truck.
Like I've been gut kicked.
Like my head is going to explode.
Like my ears are going to implode.
Like my body has been trampled by a herd of elephants.

I think you get the picture.

Standard doses of medication don't usually do too much for me but with the hazards of over-dosing on prescription medications all too real, I'm hesitant to mix too much or take too much more than the prescribed amounts. I was prescribed Cheratussin AC 10-100MG/5ML cough syrup (1 tsp every six hours) and 500 mg Amoxicillin (1 caplet twice a day). I was assured that the cough syrup had a narcotic and, along with knocking out the cough, would make me sleepy. Well, that is partially true. It does knock out the cough - but only for about 2-3 hours (one dose lasted 4 hours). It has failed to help me sleep. In addition to the doses of the cough medicine, I've been forced to take Mucinex DM. That still doesn't totally clear up the congestion in my sinuses.

I don't do "congestion" very well. I suffer from claustrophobia and feeling like I can't breathe is a really big issue for me. I have visions of me being an 80 year old lady in a nursing home they put in a straight jacket because I've got a cold and can't breathe - so I have a panic attack. Panic attacks are totally awful for me and I don't know how to stop them. I can tell when one is coming on, but I can't stop it. I find it even hard to write about the things that cause one without feeling like I could have one. Why? Why? Why?

What in my life could have caused such a bad reaction to cause life-long problems? I know that when I was a kid one of my brothers used to torment me and physically/emotionally abuse me. I know that sounds odd - you don't think of siblings so much as abusers but more just sibling rivalry, but he really was abusive. He thought he was being funny but he was being cruel. One of the things he used to do was sit on my chest and pin my arms to the ground with his knees while he tapped my chest with his finger. He called it "Chinese Torture Test" to see how long I could take it. Just visualizing that in my mind is nearly enough to drive me right into panic mode. That had to have happened over 40 years ago. Could this one thing be the whole source of my anxiety attacks? I don't know but it's really been a life-long crippling item.

I take Celexa daily but I don't think that is helping in this area. I used to take Welbutrin but that didn't seem to help either. I'm not depressed but I definitely have anxiety. I've put on clothes before that were very close-fitting and immediately felt like if I didn't get them off, I was going to have to cut them off. Luckily, I've not been to the point where I've taken scissors to something, but I've been very close. I can't wear turtlenecks, choker necklaces, or items of clothing that are form fitting. I want things loose and flowing - away from my body.

Back to the congestion... I'm not sure how I'm supposed to function at work tomorrow if I'm not any better than I am today. It hurts to blink. It hurts to turn my head. It hurts to cough. I just plain hurt. I have less than 3.5 days of PTO left for the rest of the year. That's not good in any body's books. I had left myself 5 days but being sick for 1.5 days took a chunk away that I was planning on using for "fun" later. I have one day in October I want to use in Kansas City for a scrapbook convention. I want to use 1/2 day in August for our anniversary. That would bring me down to less than 2 days. I definitely can't get sick any more this year, and I definitely can't take any time off for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Darn the luck.

I guess I'll take it one breath - one sniffle - at a time.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Home from my trip

We arrived safely back home from our trip and it's been a busy week trying to catch up on things. On top of that, I brought a bug back with me and by Wednesday night, I knew I was getting sick. I managed to work about three hours on Thursday but didn't even get out of bed Friday except to go to the doctor. I have bronchitis, ear infection, sinus infection, and "almost" pneumonia. Coughing makes me feel like my head is going to explode. It's been loads of fun. My body aches in places I forgot I owned. I feel like I've been run over by a truck. I thought sure I had the flu, but the test came back negative. That's good. I have a better chance of not passing this to Ron. So far, so good.

I think I got so sick so quickly because of all the excess stress I've been under. My body just couldn't fight the bug and it decided I needed to rest. LOL! This is not the kind of rest I had in mind. hehehe!

Work is going OK. We're really busy right now with several deadlines looming over us. Me being sick right now was not good timing on any count. But, you do what you've got to do and Vanessa was very understanding when I told her I was sick. In fact, she sent me home on Thursday saying I sounded awful and I shouldn't be there. Since I sit right across from a pregnant lady, we were all concerned that I was contagious and we don't want her getting sick. She's due the end of this month and being sick while pregnant is not a good thing.

My house was in pretty good shape for two guys being home alone. The kitchen was pretty clean and the rest of the house was definitely better than I thought it would be. I need to clean now but part of that is because of all the things I unpacked and brought in. The spare bedroom is a total mess with suitcases and clothes all over the place. I just haven't felt like doing anything this week at all.

Ron and I decided that we needed to do something "fun" every month or so by driving somewhere on a Friday night or Saturday morning, seeing the sights, spending the night, and then coming home. With our anniversary coming up in August, I thought that would be a good time to plan our first weekend outing. Neither of us have seen Fantastic Caverns, which is near Branson, MO and Ron's never eaten at Lambert's, so I decided that we'd try doing a Branson weekend. Fantastic Caverns is a great way for Ron to see some sights without having to walk.

We are booked at a hotel for Friday and Saturday night the weekend after our anniversary - which just happens to be the weekend of my 53rd birthday. We've got some good friends who live near Springfield, so I asked if they wanted to meet us there and they are going to. It should be an agreeable weekend of fun and fellowship. It's about a five hour drive for us so will leave work a bit early on Friday. Driving the dark curvy roads in that area is not fun so trying to get there before the sun goes down will be a plus.

Ron sees the foot doctor and the knee doctor on Monday. He's going to try driving it himself. I'm not too sure about it but it would be nice if he could take over the driving for his appointments. We'll try it this one time and see how he does. The biggest thing is parking and getting into the office from the car. I usually drop him off at the door and he grabs a wheelchair. Then, after I park I come back and wheel him into the office.

On the 23rd he sees the eye specialist. He is overdue for having his eyes checked. I'll have to drive him for that one because they'll dilate his pupils. On the 27th, I see the cardiologist. I had a heart cath last year, which was normal, and then I have to be re-checked yearly.

So... This was kind of a boring post. I guess they can't all be funny and entertaining. Better luck next time. LOL!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Doing better

I must be in a better frame of mind. Maybe it's the weather. Maybe it's the double-height air mattress. Maybe it's the coffee pot. Maybe - just maybe - it's all of the above.

I got Isaiah and I a hotel for Sunday night in Seattle. I thought about going back to LaQuinta, since I know that is close to the airport. But, I wasn't in the mood to spend $109 plus taxes and fees for a place to sleep, so I went to hotels.com and to Priceline. I ended up offering $65 for a three-star hotel and my price was accepted. I decided that I'd try three stars first and if that was declined, I'd switch to 2.5 stars. I didn't want to spend any more than $65 before taxes and fees and the cheaper hotels on hotels.com site did not seem to be in any decent areas or they had bad reviews. Since I'd be by myself with Isaiah, I wanted to find something a bit safer. The Hilton Airport and Convention Center accepted my bid (their published rate for that night is $179). I was amazed! But, I am sure we will enjoy the conveniences of that hotel and being so close to the airport.

We need to be at the airport no later than 9:00 am and since it is about an hour drive (with no traffic), I didn't want to fight inbound traffic on Monday morning. Plus, I figured we could go into Seattle early enough on Sunday to either go to the aquarium or to the zoo. If Shaun and Jenny don't feel like going with us, then we'll just have to say good-bye early and go off by ourselves. I hope they do come because it will be more fun to have other adults there. I asked about them getting a hotel room, too but I think they'll probably head back home in the late afternoon or so. Not sure what rush hour will be like but that's OK.

The weather has also cooled down so sleeping is much more comfortable and the days are more tolerable. It's been misting rain a bit today and is very nice. I wanted to take Isaiah swimming but I think that it's too cool for that. He turned blue the other day when it was hot so I'm sure that today would be a bit much on his system. We will get out and do something though. Just not sure what. I took him to the local mall yesterday to the arcade and then went to Penney's to get him a jacket. Being from the Kansas heat, we did not expect to need a jacket so we didn't pack either of us one. I will be OK on the dock but I know that he will get cold.

I took Isaiah to GameStop the other day and let him pick out a new game for his Nintendo DS. He's been very good about entertaining himself. Amy sent him some activity books but Alexander wants to be right with him and imitating everything he does, so we haven't gotten them out.

Ron said that Keith has spent every night with him except one, so that is good. Keith has changed his foot dressing, brought in the mail, and taken out the trash. He also took Ron to the grocery store, so that was another good thing. I'm sure they both enjoyed having more food in the house. LOL, Ron said his stash of food did go down faster than expected since he was feeding another boy - a healthy eater at that. Keith likes to cook so I'm sure he's taking very good care of his dad.

I will be glad to see my big boy on Friday and will be glad to see my other boys next week. Ron sounds like he's in better spirits and, since Keith is with him, is not as lonely. He knows that he'll have someone with him every night. It's nice that Keith is willing to put his social life on hold for 10 days to stay with his dad. We appreciate it.

Isaiah is looking forward to seeing his mom. This is the longest he's been away from her since 2005, when he came to live with us while she finished her tour in the Navy. I had him for three months from the end of December 2005 until the end of March 2006. He was much younger then and not as verbal, so he didn't realize that he was missing her then. Or, maybe he did and just internalized it. Who knows...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Vacation? Not really

Even though I am thoroughly enjoying seeing Alexander and visiting with Jenny, I am not enjoying what would commonly be called a vacation. They live over an hour away from Seattle and because she is nearly to term, she does not feel like doing anything. That's OK, but there's nothing to do in this town, either for me or for Isaiah. Luckily, he is enjoying playing his Nintendo DS and playing with Alexander. Plus, he also enjoys Noggin, which is on all day.

I, on the other hand, am terribly bored. There is only so much Noggin I can take. There is no air conditioning in the apartment and only today has the temperature dipped low enough to make the day tolerable. Because the apartment is so small, and overrun with toys and toddler things, there is no place to really sit. The only chair available is directly in Alexander's path to where he likes to play with his cars and there's no place to move it to. There is no storage space and no place to really relax. I feel like I'm going to go home more stressed than when I came out. I love my family but there is only so much of this that I can take.

I cleaned up the kitchen and put away food that was still sitting in grocery sacks; I cleaned up the bathroom and wiped down the sink so I could put out toiletry items. I cleaned off the balcony of cardboard boxes (they have a recycle bin with the trash) and carried out four trash bags of refuse. All things that Jenny just hadn't felt like doing. I told Shaun that he had to come home prepared to clean up and pare down as there was really no space for Kaitlyn or her things. I would think the stress of having too much clutter in too small of a space would be hard on Jenny but she's (luckily) able to block it out. Not I... I told her that I am a minimalist and I don't want to offend her, but the clutter is almost too much for me to handle.

I got a couple of tubs and started putting Alexander's toys in them in the evening, but once they're picked up there is no place to put them. They seriously need Clean Sweep or some other professional organizer to come in and help out. I also told Shaun that they should consider a housekeeper to come in twice a month to help out, but before that could happen, the housekeeper would need to be able to find a place to put the stuff. Until they sort and pare down, that won't happen. It doesn't help that the apartment complex won't let them hang anything on the walls (no holes whatsoever). I'm going to try and get some Command hooks and see how they work. Amy's used them before with no residue left behind so I think they'll work.

The kitchen is about the most unusable space I have ever in my life seen. No counter top space, no cabinet space, and no storage space. You can either have a place for your dishes or your food; not both. It's pathetic. Jenny likes Chinese snacks and because the closest Chinese market is over an hour away, she buys lots. There is no place to put them so they're just in sacks in the corner of the kitchen floor.

I didn't come to clean or to offend so I just sit. Because, if I truly cleaned then I would surely offend. I need a vacation from my vacation.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Leaving Ron Behind

Isaiah and I are off on our big adventure together. I was worried that he'd be hard to travel with at night because he'd be tired. He was amazing. He did sleep for about 3 hours on the 2nd plane ride, but woke up and actually walked for me. He was a big help at the hotel and was just a lot of fun for me. Of course, he charmed everyone. The lady behind us on the first plane ride said she was very impressed with him. Also on that flight was a young black lady (age 19) who has MS. She was traveling with her mother and when the mom sat down, Isaiah said, "Hello, my name is Isaiah. I like your hair." She was flabbergasted and told him thank you. The daughter, Marva, chatted off and on with Isaiah and they both said how cute and well-behaved he was.

The second flight was the longest but he did amazingly well on them both.

I hated to leave Ron behind. He feels so bad right now that I was really worried that he was going to go into kidney failure or something while I'm gone. We spent Thursday getting him ready for my trip as much as getting me ready for my trip. I changed his pain patch, dressed his foot, loaded up his pill dispenser with 5 days worth of pills (Keith knows he's got to do the rest of the days, change the pain patch every 3 days, and dress the foot every other day). I got Ron's laundry all done and put away so he'll be able to find things. Stocked his cabinet with extra toilet paper (if he ran out he wouldn't know where to look), went to the store and bought things he could fix in the microwave, bought him fresh fruit and his favorite soft drink - Sprite Zero. Then, to make him feel extra-special, I stopped at Sonic and got him a Route 44 Diet Limeade with extra lime.

At one point during the course of the day he looked like he felt really bad and when I asked him what was wrong, he just started crying. "I'm going to miss you while you're gone." Ah.... I felt so bad for him that I tried to talk him into coming, knowing as I was doing so that I'd have a hard time coming up with matching tickets and that taking care of him and Isaiah would be almost more than I could do. As much as I hated to leave him behind, I don't think I could have done both of them.

I made sure that Keith knew how despondent he was and he promised me that he would spend more time than not with his dad. That is a relief. Amy will be back from western Kansas on Tuesday so she'll be home with him after school that day. Then she can work out a schedule with Keith to decide who is staying with him what nights of the week. Isaiah and I return on the 13th.

I am calling him every night.