geanniegray.com

a blog about life with diabetes, depression & dysfunction & how to manage them with HOPE!

Category: me


so gone so long


Sheez!!  I have missed writing so much!!  It’s been crazy around here, of course.  I began having physical therapy on my neck and shoulders, as I’ve mentioned before, but they also started occupational therapy on my hands.  Or rather, my right hand, which has been going numb a LOT!  At first, because there was some initial pain too, I figured I just needed to sign up to have carpal tunnel surgery on this hand too, but my doctor (my general practitioner) was SO against it!  She was telling me how it only worked about half the time, etc. etc.  Which was surprising to me since when I had it done in my left hand, it was like a miracle!!  Took care of all my problems in that hand!  But then, talking to others who have had CT surgery done, they’ve had bad experiences.

As of now, the pain is much decreased and the numbness isn’t as constant so I’m trying to get by without seeing an orthopedic doctor.  I think a lot of the pain I had at first was arthritis.  The weather was horribly rainy then and while a lot of times, the rain doesn’t seem to affect me at all, this time, it really did and I had aches in joints I’d for

gotten all about.  UGH!

So anyhow, they keep you busy running to therapy umpteen times a week.  Thank God it’s not too far from the house!

As for other doin’s… Tommy and I both went to Cincy to see the kids on the weekend of June 4th.  Since I had an appointment with my endo in Lexington on Monday afternoon, we just stayed Sunday night too and stopped for the appointment on the way home.  So we left here on Friday afternoon.  I was able to leave Max with a friend, thankfully, so we loaded up our bikes, the kids’ life jackets and ours and as little luggage as we could get by with, their two camping chairs we thought they’d forgotten (they meant to leave them!) and a small cooler with drinks and snacks ALLLLL into our Challenger!

Yes, I said the Challenger!  Ha ha ha!!  We checked to be sure we could even get our bikes in there first and surprisingly, with the front wheels off and the back seats folded down, we were able to get both of them in without too much trouble.

We DO have an older bike hauler, but it takes a hitch reciever and Tommy’s not been willing to cut into the body and stick one of those ugly things in between the two chrome-tipped exhausts.  I can’t say I blame him one bit.  If we get to where we’re riding a lot, maybe…but right now?  Nope.  Ruby is too sharp to mess up like that!  Ha ha!

 

We had an amazing time while we were visiting Corey and Melissa.  Most of the time it’s rushed.  We don’t have much time to be there so we have squeezed a ton of sight-seeing and visiting into them.  This time, we just took it easy and had a couple things planned.  We did those and then just fiddled around the rest of the time.  We rode the Little Miami River trail which was awesome.  It’s a rails-to-trails trail and so it was mostly flat.  We rode up to what’s called The Old Powder Factory where they used to make ammunition.  It, um…it blew up, so now what’s left of the buidling, which is substantial, is abandoned and it’s a cool place to see.  There are white and turquoise tile decoration up on the towers of red brick and it’s all by itself almost in the middle of nowhere, so it’s an eery sort of place.  Very cool.  The ride was just wonderful since it was mostly shaded and follows the river.  We started in historic Loveland, which is such a quaint, beautiful area of town.  Little shops and tons of people just out milling around, either riding or running/walking the trail, or working at the shops, some playing music, some sitting around the park-like area just snoozing or playing games.  It was SO fun!  And it really got Tommy and me both back on a cycling kick, which thrills me to no end!

In fact, we actually have 76 miles under our belts in a week’s time! (3 more rides after the one in Ohio)  WOW!  I am so shocked that we were able to accomplish this!! That I was able to accomplish it!  I can’t describe how good it felt to be back on the bikes with the wind blowing past us, seeing turkey, deer, rabbits, foxes and horses….oh, and of course, cows as we rode down our familiar country roads.  We even got to ride with some folks from our cycling club, so it was fun catching up with them, assuring them that, no, we hadn’t died, we just got busy.  Cycling has been one of the only hobbies that Tommy and I both really enjoy that we can do together.  It’s good for our health and our relationship.  You can’t beat that with a stick!

While we were with the kids, we also went to the Cincinnati Zoo and to a couple of bike and outdoor shops, out to a few neat places to eat and to several places scoping out the best place for them to put in their kayaks.  Yeah, Corey and Mel just bought kayaks, so they will have a busy summer for sure!

The weekend before, Memorial Day weekend, Corey and Melissa came down to Kentucky for a few days, so we were busy then too.  We went to a friend’s family farm a couple of times where they often camp out and enjoyed the campfire, cooking and company.

Friends and folks who know my eldest and his wife often ask me how I’ve done with their move to Ohio and I have to tell them it’s been a bit easier than I thought it would.  I thought sure I would just die without them here but in all honesty?  We see them more now than we did when they lived right next door.  It seems absence really does make the heart grow fonder and the people take a lot less for granted!

And so this past weekend, I have been serving on an Emmaus weekend!  Since our Emmaus community has not had access to the Christian camp we have used for the past several years, we hadn’t been able to host a walk, but a generous church offered their campus to us (actually it’s where the first few walks were held when our community was brand new!) and so I’ve had a spiritually refreshing, physically exhausting weekend!  It was really wonderful and I’m still basking in the glow of the heavy presence of God we had all weekend.

Since waking up this morning, though, my face is swollen, my sinuses are all gobbed up and my head is pounding like someone’s playing drum on it with a hammer, so I’m going to treat my aching self for awhile…see if I can get my bones to stop protesting and settle in with my Bible for a bit.  As usual, I’ve come away from the weekend convicted of the lack of time I spent with my sweet Savior, so I’m getting back to it and sighing with relief that my God is big on second, third, fiftieth chances.

He is just SO good!

Be blessed today and go bless someone else!  mwah!

 

 

I feel ya, Tinman


My joints and a bunch of other stuff that probably aren’t joints have been just killing me lately!  I mean, some days, I swear I’d spray some WD40 all over me if I thought it would cure me as well as it did the Tinman in The Wizard of Oz.  Just a few squirts and he was good to go, right?

Sadly, I haven’t found anything to work like that for me.  I’m thinking this is a combination of weather, age and tendency.  All of the ‘itises’ run in my family.  I’m getting up there to the point that my poor old joints are getting to be well-used and prolly tired.  And we’ve had rain for days.  Cold rain!  That last little kick in the pants from winter called “Dogwood Winter” around my area of the world.

My doc has had me going to physical therapy already and after a couple weeks doing that, my right hand began to go numb and the fingers be really stiff.  I’ve already had carpal tunnel surgery in my left hand years ago and was at one time supposed to have the right hand done, but it got better enough that I didn’t have the surgery.  So I figured I’d surely have to have it done now.  I called my doctor and sorta demanded that I have the surgery set up, so she reluctantly made me an appointment with a neurologist in town.

In the meantime, my physical therapist, A, suggests that I let the occupational therapist work on the hand.  She calls in a request to be referred and so now I’m seeing the OT as well as the PT.

Surprisingly, the therapy has been working.  I really think all this rain made it a lot worse and so as the weather clears up, I think things will feel better too, but the exercises the OT has me doing for my hand actually do help so much more than I dreamed they would!  So now I’m debating whether to go see the other doctor.  I mean, if I NEED this surgery, now would be the time to get it done since we have destroyed our deductible and eaten through our out of pocket limit too!!

Tommy has been referred to the physical therapist too so hopefully, his back and legs will start feeling better.  But during all of this therapy, something went haywire with my left shoulder.

The PT has been working on both my shoulders, basically trying to strengthen the muscles that have grown weak after years of trying to hold incorrect positions to help ease the tension pain in my neck.  I mean, for 20-plus years I’ve dealt with this awful neck/shoulder pain without any real or lasting relief.  I’m pretty sure a local chiro made the problem so bad when he tried to tweak my neck.  That’s when the migraines started, at least.  I had those for a year or two before seeing a different type of chiro who got rid of the migraines, thank God, but could never get my neck to stop hurting.  Then I met a chiro through Emmaus who worked on me at camp once and she did wonders for it, but it was almost a two-hour drive to her office in Middlesboro, so I couldn’t really keep that up.

So now here I am, trying to keep myself from becoming a Tinman.  Ha.  The other thing, a big reason to pursue this is that I would REALLY love to get back to cycling and one of the worst pains I had from riding my bike wasn’t my butt.  It was my neck and shoulders. I’m SO hoping that I can get to where riding my bike doesn’t make my neck and shoulders hurt so bad that I have to just stop.  It gets to a certain point, like the point of no return, that it hurts so bad and won’t let up.  I have to stop what I’m doing and I’m still in pain.  Lately, it’s been hurting to the point of tears, so I’m really praying the therapy will fix me up.

I can’t take pain meds because of the CGM.  Apparently, acetaminophen causes the readings to be off and some suggest the same is true for ibuprofen.  Also, ibuprofen can affect blood sugar control.  So, I decided I’d try taking plain old aspirin for the pain.  The PT suggested it, actually.  She realized I really needed some relief from the worst of the pain before I could get back to doing any sort of exercise.  I took three doses of aspirin on Saturday and by about two hours after that third dose, my ears were screaming.

I’ve had tinnitus for years.  Since I was 16 and our old pediatrician diagnosed it.  He asked me a bunch of questions trying to determine what may have caused it.  When I told him I’d been having more sinus headaches and had been taking the aspirin I found in the kitchen cabinet, he said, “Ah.  That’s probably the culprit.”  For years now, when I happen to tell another doctor this, they blow it off and say it couldn’t have been the aspirin.  However, since then, I hadn’t taken any aspirin other than a chewable once every couple of days for blood pressure/heart health.  So by the time I’d taken three doses of regular aspirin, it felt like my ears had been plugged with bubblegum and the screeching that is normally tolerable was 10x higher.  It was horrible and I was so afraid that I might have done something permanent to my hearing.  Thankfully, that slowly dissipated and things went back to the normal squealing that I’ve learned to deal with.

SoooOOooo…that’s where I stand.  Hoping and praying, working toward feeling better and being more pain-free.  


creative juices and such


So, I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to write the book lately.  Yesterday was a good good day!  YESSSS!

my ancient laptop

Yes. I’m working with an ancient laptop. Maybe the book would make enough money I could afford a new one? HA!

 

I wrote another 3,000 words yesterday.  I just never realized how hard it would be once I actually sat down to write out the words.  I mean, it’s not like I’m having to develop characters and come up with a decent storyline, right?  This is my life I’m writing about.

But MAN!!  It is much harder than I thought it would be.

My first “block” was trying to figure out the best way to approach the writing.  I mean, like first person, third person…do I use fictitious names?  Do I write as if I were telling the story about someone else then reveal that it’s me?

Then came the nightmare of realizing that if I write it, they might read it. (cue Field of Dreams“if you build it, they will come”) Ha ha.  Meaning my family.  This isn’t a story about some horrid abuse-ravaged childhood.  It’s about a dysfunctional family and who doesn’t have one of those, right? I believe there are no perfect families and even if there IS one, I’m convinced that somewhere inside that family, you will find at least one sort of dysfunction. None of us have the perfect family. In MY mind, saying I come from a dysfunctional family isn’t like throwing down the gauntlet.  It’s not a “dirty word”, but to some in my family, it may very well be. I began to agonize over how different people would take my story if I really told everything I want to tell.  Even though I have/will write in the forward that the book is about the state of past relationships and that healing and restoration has since taken place with assurances that I love my family, yadda, yadda.  I still worried.

Some things have changed since then.  Even more restoration has taken place and so, even though I’m not going to talk to my immediate family (besides my hubby and kids, I mean) about writing this book, I feel like once it’s (ever?) done, I will be able to hand it to them and say, “Read it knowing that I wrote it so that other people might benefit from what I’ve been through.  I wrote it to exorcise my own ghosts and I wrote it to keep my mind from exploding.  I never, EVER wrote a word of it with the intent to hurt anyone.  I wrote what is true.  I wrote what I remember, I wrote how I felt, I wrote how the things that happened changed and shaped me.  I tried to make it very clear throughout that I love my family dearly and I hope you can keep that in mind.”  Then, I’ll hope and pray that certain of them can read it or even think of it without worrying how someone else will think about it or making up grand scenarios of how others will perceive the book.

deep breath

I don’t know if that’s possible, but I’ve gotten to the point where that is much less a deterrent than it was before.

The other thing I’ve run into is how to put it all together.  I mean, there are various health events that take place and I want to share some details of what I went through physically because the bizarre-ness of those things is part of the story, but I also want to tell how I was doing emotionally.  It’s hard to do both at the same time.  That probably doesn’t make sense, but it’s true.

In the end, I’ve decided to just write it the way I do most everything else.  In my own “special” way.  Ha ha.  Most people say they enjoy reading the stories I’ve written and shared over the years.  They say they like the conversational style of my writing, so I’m just going with that.  I’m sure it would be frowned upon by professionals and teachers, but it’s all I know to do at this point.

If you wish to be a writer, write.

Something else I considered in the very beginning was writing my story without much of the uglier details.  The things I feared (and still somewhat fear!) would upset my family the most.

Look, I’ve come to the point where I have shared some extremely intimate details about my marriage with all of cyberspace, surely I can be honest about a fight I had…

I wrestled with that one for a long time but I couldn’t figure out how to tell my story while purposely leaving out important details.  I couldn’t figure out how to explain those details without exposing what really took place.  Those details are all very pertinent to the whole story, so I couldn’t leave them out.

I figured Look, I’ve come to the point where I have shared some extremely intimate details about my marriage with all of cyberspace, surely I can be honest about a fight I had with my sister or mom.  Surely I can tell what really happened in this, what I consider to be more minor, event.  Maybe to them it won’t be as minor.  Like I said, I’m telling it all.  The ugly parts too.  I feel like that should be okay when I am wrapping it all up in the fact that things didn’t stay that way.  Things got better.  Repairs were made, apologies stated, forgiveness received and restoration happened.  Why then, would it not be okay to share why those things were ever necessary?  How do you help people deal with their own dysfunction if you aren’t honest about your own?

Anyway, this is where I stand with the book.  The one I have carried around in my mind for decades.  The one I never told anyone I even wanted to write until recently.  If you have tips or any constructive info that would help, I’d love to hear it.  At this point, I am finally in the space created by learning what Epictetus said from the photo above… if you wanna be a writer, then write!  I’ve heard that from many people, from online book-writing courses, etc.  So I’m writing.  That will probably slow down blog progress even more, but I will come share my progress until something crazy happens that I just have to share here!  grin

If you would like to help me with this, I am looking for some proofreaders!  I don’t know how long it will be before I’m ready to share, but I really do need some people who would be willing to read what I have and share their thoughts with me.  In exchange, you will be publicly thanked in the book.  I’m told that’s a fair compensation.

Hahahaha!  I dunno though.  If you think it’s really bad, you might ask for more!

If you’d like to proofread for me, please send me a message or comment here!

geannie {at} live {dot} com

THANK YOU!!

Blessings…

 

 

 


living with food allergies…


That is SUCH a lame title guys, but I wanted people to know exactly what I was talking about.

Yes, eye roll  I know that’s unusual for me.  Ha-ha-ha.  Sheesh.

This is sort-of an update too because there’s been a ton of stuff going on around here.

First of all, yeah, we are dealing with allergies again.  But this time, it’s not me!  And it’s not like hay fever type allergies.  Tommy is just plagued with a whole list of food allergies!

I’m talking some weird foods, stuff he eats all the time…or used to, that is.  We were both floored when the results came back.

Shoot, we were floored when they were finally able to even do the prick test on him at all!

This is what happened when they began writing the reference info on his back:

YIKES!!  Yeah, his skin began to get really red and puff up as soon as they started writing back there.  Keep in mind, he had to go off all antihistamines and his usual allergy medicines for a week prior…and he could only make it to five days.  We called the allergist’s office and got him in early in Lexington instead of waiting for him to come into our local office as planned.

You could have literally read the writing with the ink wiped off because each stroke they made with the ballpoint pen had welted up.  It was crazy and then things began to get a little weird in the office…

The nurses got really alarmed.  The one who’d done the writing was all but done by the time Tommy finally said, “I don’t think I can stand that anymore.”  And that was after telling her almost from the start that it was itching.  I mean, he was willing to tolerate a bit of itching, but it kept getting worse, so she stopped with the pen and did the rest with a felt-tip, which also caused redness but no welting up.

Instead of going right ahead with the pricks, she went to get another nurse… who then went to get the doctor.  We had to wait about 10 minutes for him to come in and during that time the first two nurses brought in another nurse to check it out.  Then they asked if he was okay, was his chest tight or hurting, could he breathe okay… He assured them he was fine other than the horrible itching.

They came in to ask another time before the doc finally came in to see what all the fuss was about.

He wasn’t as alarmed but it concerned him.  He said he hadn’t seen anyone react that bad before.  He and another nurse, I’m assuming she must have been the most senior nurse or had the most experience, discussed how to complete the testing.

They came up with the idea to just make dots on his upper arm instead of writing out the numbers.  So she dotted his arm up but at the same time, she had to write down each allergen on a paper that matched up with the dots so they could keep things straight.

Once they finally got all the dots and pricks done and could give him some antihistamine and inhalers, we ended up with this buttload of things he showed allergy to.  Things like wheat.

Wheat, people.  This was NOT celiac disease like our oldest son, Corey, has… that’s a breakdown of the cillia which makes you unable to properly digest and absorb nutrients from wheat products.  However, it’s pretty much resulted in the same type of diet.

Except that Tommy’s also allergic to tomatoes and cauliflower and turkey and walnuts and vanilla and carrots…

Oh, there’s more.  But this little sample of his allergy list just gives you an idea of how hard it’s been to feed this man ever since then!

Seriously!  It’s been tough, but thank God he’s adjusted fairly well.  He went through one short-lived episode of self pity when he claimed there was nothing for him to eat ANYwhere!

As they say in the infomercials:

But wait, there’s more!

That would be funny except for the fact that in the middle of all these adjustments, he had to also deal with the food restrictions that come with prepping for testing at the gastroenterologist’s office too.  Yeah, he had the upper and lower scope thingies done so we spent five days trying to keep straight his allergy restrictions along with his scope-prep restrictions.  Talk about confusing!!

That list added grains and leafy green veggies along with fried foods.

We had already planned to visit Corey and Mel in Cincinnati during that time so I’m not sure if that made it easier to eat out or harder, but we sure got some weird looks from the requests we made.  Ha ha!

After the scopes were done, he was told in no uncertain terms to avoid all NSAIDs from here on out.  She said they were poison and were destroying the lining of his stomach.  sigh

We THOUGHT he was off all NSAIDs except his former doctor had given him something for pain quite some time ago telling him, “This won’t bother your stomach”. Turned out the new medicine was just another form of NSAID so it was actually doing the same thing.  Gah!!  I’m so glad Tommy is no longer seeing that doctor!

Okay, SO the reason he’s got so much damage from the NSAIDs is because he’s taken them off and (mostly) on for a long, LONG time.  For the pain in his feet mostly, from the tightness and pain in his Achilles tendons and all over.

The first time he went off them, within three days, he seized up like the Tin Man without his oil.  He was in misery which is why the other doc put him on this new “won’t hurt your stomach because it’s not an NSAID except that it is” medicine.

Tommy was really worried about how he was going to work or do really anything without some sort of pain relief.   When we looked at the alternative medical offerings, we were not impressed so we turned to the trusty ol’ innernets.

We researched natural herbal remedies for inflammation and came up with tumeric over and over. Okay, yeah.  I’d heard of using tumeric for pain and arthritis years ago when I worked in the natural food store, but I’d long since forgotten about it.  We came across the recipes for something called Golden Milk which, oddly enough (or not!) I had seen floating around on Facebook as well and I was very interested in trying it already.  Even before I knew about this benefit.

Ever since Tommy’s allergy testing, he’s been SO much more committed to healthy eating, something I couldn’t ever get him to do seriously before.  So he was instantly agreeable to trying golden milk too.  It was made with ground tumeric, cinnamon, black pepper and ginger all mixed together with milk and sweetened a bit.  We liked it and began having it every night before bed.

At that same time, I was also giving Tommy tart cherry juice to drink because it also has anti-inflammatory properties.

And we waited to see what would happen.

When after three days, he wasn’t hurting a ton worse, we declared it a success and made the tumeric and cherry juice a part of his regular regimen.  Before when he went off the NSAIDs, he was mostly bed-ridden within three days of stopping the medicine.  His entire body would get so tight and it would be excruciating for him to move.  Not this time, though.  The natural remedies seemed to be working awesome for him!

You can’t imagine how thankful to God we are for that!  As always, God provides what we need!   Jesus tells us in Matthew 21:22

Jesus says: “And all things, whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.”

We tweaked our recipe, of course, tracked down some fresh tumeric thinking it had to be better for us.  The jury is still out on that one.  I’m not sure if it’s because the benefits aren’t noticeably better or if it’s because I detest how peeling and grating tumeric turns your hands orangey-yellow!  Ugh!

Okay so we had made it past getting him off the harmful medicine without being incapacitated but his stomach was still bothering him.  We went to see our family doctor who advised him to stop eating a few more things to see if that would help and switched his “stomach medicine” to something else.  But he didn’t get better.  In fact, the pain got worse.

We decided it must be his gall bladder.  Both the family doc and the gastroentrologist had mentioned possible gall stones as the reason for his pain.  So we hit the ‘net again looking for answers.

Annnnd, we ended up doing a home remedy called a gall bladder (or liver) flush.  I’ve mentioned it in more detail in another post so I’ll refrain here, but if you missed this post, let me just say that “flush” is a completely suitable name for this “procedure” because you do a LOT of it, your intestinals AND your toilet.  We both did it since we learned that most anyone over 40 probably has some stones even if they don’t have symptoms.  There were a lot of small, soft-ish stones so for us both, so I’m sure that is probably a good thing to do at least once anyway (if you are healthy enough, yadda, yadda, medical disclaimer)

We were SO hoping to avoid a gall bladder surgery for Tommy, thinking we could possibly flush the stones out at home, but even though the pain lessened immediately after, it soon was back up to speed.  Once it got so bad that Tommy was taking off work, he said Enough and we headed back to our family doc again.  She set him up for a HIDA scan to make absolutely sure his gall bladder wasn’t working.  The scan showed he had about 21% function, so it had to come out.

He got in for that fairly quickly, which was great.  He healed up well and is now back to his old self, minus the crappy diet.

We’re now eating SOOOOoooOOOOO much healthier!  We are eating non-GMO and organic as much as is possibly in our smaller town.  We often drive 80 miles to get the healthier food we need and want.  We’ve found some veggies Tommy can eat, so I keep those in stock for snacking and meals.  We eat a lot more fish now since turkey is off the menu for him and a lot of beef is discouraged by his doc.  He got sick of chicken real fast!  Tommy has a smoothie every morning with banana, tart cherries, blueberries and oatmeal in almond milk.  Tons healthier than even the “healthy” breakfast smoothie he used to always stop and buy each morning, not to mention a TON cheaper!  To avoid wheat, we just look for items labeled “gluten free” and stick with that.  We found some great GF tortillas that he really likes and most of the time, we can get GF bread at the local store, but lately, it’s been gone from the shelves and I’m not sure why.  He’s not crazy about the frozen GF bread, so I don’t buy it unless he’s mentioned bread several times.  Then I’ll buy it and we make sure it’s always toasted.  He was so excited when I found some GF waffles in several flavors and on sale, too!

That GF food is exPENsive, lemme tell ya!  A few more things on his allergy list are coconut, sweet potato, catfish, cod, raspberries and grapes.

No, that’s still not all, but those are the biggies we run into most often.  Corey has finally found someone who has a harder time finding food to eat than him!  When we were in Cincy last was during Tommy’s overlapping diets… allergy restrictions and his scope-prep diet.  Corey would say, “Hey, we can go here.  They have a great GF stir fry that..” and I’d stop him with “Dad can’t have rice before the scope.” or when he suggested we make buckwheat noodles with pasta sauce for a meal… “Dad is allergic to tomatoes.”  Sheesh!

I know it probably sounds like we go overboard with all these allergies, but he was determined to follow the allergist’s orders to completely go off all his triggers for a couple months then slowly add one thing back at a time.  Tommy has really been great at sticking with that.  I would have just chucked it when it came to asking someone for something else, but not Tommy.  If there was no substitution, he would go without.

Besides that, we have seen first hand already that he actually is allergic to somethings when we’ve accidentally consumed them.  Like that time I put coconut milk in his smoothie instead of almond and his neck and chest turned red, itchy and welted up.  Or the time he forgot and put grape jelly on a PBJ then had an itchy throat the rest of the day.  They’re not huge reactions, but knowing he reacts adversely to those things makes him realize how much better he feels now that he’s off them.

Tommy was off work a week after the gall bladder surgery and had been off about two weeks total before that from being so sick or having a test or doctor appointment.  Since we had a 3 day vacation thingie we’d bought the year before and it was about to expire, we booked a place in Florida and took off!  He decided since he’d been off this long, we should just go down there and recoup.

Actually, our doctor told me we needed a vacation.  So it was medically sanctioned.  Ha ha ha!!  We had a nice time.  It was beautiful the day we arrived and the next day, but the last two days were very overcast and windy, but the ocean was still amazing to watch.

Sunset at Fort Walton Beach near Destin

Anyhow, that’s where we’re at right now.  Doing lots of new things as far as our diets go and it’s been good and mostly fun.  (I still hate olives, though, but Tommy loves them and they’re one of his favorite snacks).  We’re trying new things, trying to enjoy it as much as we can with the acknowledgement that if we don’t take the best care of ourselves that we can, we will not be able to enjoy life as much!

True confessions:  We drove 10 miles each way several times so we could have our meal at Whole Foods!  We felt so silly but every time we went, we would see a lot of other people in there just to eat, not really shopping.  Hey, it may just be food bars in there, but that’s some good food!  I personally loved it.  I think maybe Tommy was a bit disappointed that we didn’t find a lot more things he could eat in the restaurants.  Poor fella.  I’m like, “Dude, we’re down here right on the water.  Where people fish ALL THE TIME.  There’s gonna be seafood everywhere and where there’s seafood, there’s gonna be breading and frying and lots of gluten-y/wheat-containing foods.”  I really don’t think that had even crossed his mind on the long trip down there.

But it all turned out alright once it sat in that we couldn’t go in any ol’ restaurant and order a meal and he couldn’t order up a big seafood platter like he would have done in the past.

You know what they say about old dogs and new tricks.  Well, these old dogs are learning.  Very slowly, granted!  But we’re learning.  Ha!

Alright…I’m out for now.  Hope to get back to posting more regularly now!

Blessings~

 


belonging


I think it’s kinda funny, since God can be a very humorous sorta deity, that the word “longing” makes up the majority of the word “belonging”.

I mean, isn’t that what we all long for, at least part of the time?  We want to belong.  We want to be part of something.  We want to be accepted and loved.  We long to BE.

I’ve spent most of my life not knowing where I belong, never being sure of myself.  I was never gripped by a desire to do something so much that I “just knew” it was my “calling”, it was what I was supposed to do.

I’m sure that a lot of people who know me in real life may not think words like “insecure”, “doubting”, “confused” and “aimless” describe me, but they do.  I mean, they sure describe how I feel about myself.

I hate the feeling I have when I’m chatting in a small group or even one on one.  Before long, another person comes along and suddenly all attention is toward that person who (usually) I don’t know. It’s not that I’ve lost the person’s attention but that I sorta cease to exist.  Maybe it’s just me. But I don’t know what to do with myself.

This happens on a pretty regular basis and it’s not with one particular person or group.  And I don’t even think people realize that it bothers me.  I feel like, “Okay…no one’s talking with me anymore.  No one is including me in this conversation.  Do I leave?  I feel like I’m eavesdropping or creeping if I just hover around the outside of this circle.  Do I say bye?  See ya later?  I don’t know what I’m supposed to do!”  Most of the time, I’ll just wander quietly away, leaving the group or the other two people talking.  Most of the time, I don’t think anyone notices.

I really need to know if I’m the only one this happens to.  I mean, if not, then thank God and give me some tips on how to deal with it.  But if I am “the only one” who experiences this, well shoot, that’s pretty doggone sad!!

So with that little glimpse inside my mind, you should get a sense of how I feel a lot of the time.  Just insecure, uncertain if people like me, doubtful that they want to talk with me, confused about how I can feel this way but be able to get up in front of a roomful of people and give a talk.

I’ve pondered this a lot, as you might imagine.  Why am I this way?  Why do I feel so unsure about whether I am liked by others, whether I’m wanted in a particular group?  The conclusion I’ve drawn is that I still carry a statement in my head that my mother said to me once.  Don’t worry.  This isn’t gonna become a mom-blaming post.  I love my mom, but she said something to me once that I’ve carried with me.  Well, no.  That makes it sound like I choose to carry it.  It has just followed me, stuck on a loop in my mind sometimes.  Other times, I only hear it when something like the above situation happens.

I was probably around ten or eleven years old at the time.  We were probably at a baptism or something after church.  I remember being in a sort of overgrown area, gravel and bunches of Queen Anne’s lace and clover. Baptisms were done outside in the creek, of course!  My closest friend had asked if I wanted to come play ball at her sister’s house with all her other siblings.  She was the youngest of six so three of her siblings were already married and having kids.  I went to ask Mom if I could go.  She immediately said no, which was usual.  We were never allowed to go many places without Mom being there, too.  I protested and she said, “They don’t really want you over there.  She’s just being nice and inviting you.”

At the time, all I remember feeling was fury.  I was so mad at her for not letting me go.  It wasn’t until decades later that I realized I still hear those words in my head whenever I’m in a crowd or trying to decide whether to go to a party or a shower or any sort of gathering.  I hear, “You aren’t wanted in that group.  Nobody really cares if you are there.  They don’t like you.  They won’t tell you not to come, but that’s only because it would look bad if they did. They just don’t want you.”

I would never tell my mom this.  As a mother myself, my heart breaks when my boys let slip with something I said to them that was really hurtful.  I don’t want to hurt her, so I would never tell her about this.  (don’t worry.  she thinks the internet is where the devil lives, so she’ll never find my blog or anyone else’s for that matter!)

Finally pinning down the root of this thing has been good for me.  I’m not comparing my mother with satan, but these days when I hear those words, I know he is the one saying them.  Sometimes it takes me awhile to realize after I’ve already let the sting of rejection wash over me, but I’m trying to get better at that.

That’s how I feel about my book. I get these nudges that I feel must be from God that I should write it and I feel that some of the things in it would be helpful for others who are struggling…be it depression or a marriage problem like we had or just knowing someone else out here has and is dealing with the same things.  Then here comes that voice…“Why in the world would anyone want to read about you!  laughter  You’re nobody and your little life is nothing to be excited about.  You can’t even put the words together anymore, so how will you do it anyway?”

Today, when my ancient laptop refused to boot up, I instantly started hearing “This is a sign that you should give up on the book.”  I have my draft saved on here.  Over 8,000 words that I worked hard to get out of me.  The thought of doing it again was horrific!  So, I am going to save my draft to a thumb drive.  I know.  It’s about time, right?Obviously, the hubby came home and “fixed” my computer with just a few keystrokes.  I don’t ask questions, I just go with it.  And I continue to ponder the latest sermon series at church…all about growth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has just been like an extra push when I’m sitting there listening and there’s scriptural confirmation that I need to “just do it”, as they say.  This one really hit me hard…

 

“It is difficult to sense the presence of God in your life when you ignore the purpose God has for your life.”

The “main point” of becoming a Jesus follower is to lead others to follow Jesus.  So in that way, we all know what our purpose is.  We don’t have to wonder.  Your way of leading people to Jesus is probably a lot different than mine.  I feel like within that “main point” lies our purpose, our gift, our God-given talent. If we will focus ourselves on “the main point”, then our purpose, our “reason for being” will become clear.  Does that make sense?  For instance, if you have a musical talent, you can use that talent without the “main point” in mind or you can do what you love, what you’re best at, as a starting point to show others the love of Christ. Like if your gift was music…you could play and sing just any old songs, or you could use your talents to share Christ with people.  See?

Okay, well I’m just going to hope this made sense to you.  It seems to take me so long to get posts together anymore that I am writing a single post in two or more sessions and I lose my focus.  I really hate that and am hoping to get past this soon.  I have a ton of stuff to catch you up on but for now, I’ll close this one.

Blessings!

 

 


changes!


Yes, there are some changes around the blog.  I realized pretty quickly that I made a huge mistake with the domain name choice I’d made…  I had no clue there was a book out there called “My Life in Dog Years”!  I’ve used that phrase or analogy for decades to describe what it’s like living with diabetes.  It’s like living in dog years!  You feel seven years for every one you actually live!

Sheesh.  Then my techie kid chimes in with “Mom, people probably think your site is about dogs..”  That never even dawned on me!!  Argh!

So, I changed my domain name.  I tried to choose one I could keep and/or use even when/if I ever publish a book.  Obviously, it won’t be titled My Life in Dog Years!!  Hopefully this way, no matter what the title eventually is, I can use this website.

I think I’ve finally got a decent start on the book.  I have about 8,000 words so far.  I’ve decided to write it as a memoir.  I just can’t seem to separate my life into categories and write only about diabetes or depression (they are like siamese twins, ya know?) or just my marriage stuff.  Everything is linked and I couldn’t figure out how to write about one single topic without needing to explain a ton of other stuff.

What I need now are some proofreaders!  I’d love to have a few people who are willing to read what I have, or at any point in the process,   I have some people in mind that I want to ask.  Some with knowledge of books and what makes a good read, some with technical knowledge to help with places that I am hard to understand.  Others with a little more knowledge of the story to tell me if what I’ve written is accurate or sensitive enough while remaining true.

I’ve been told this is what I need the most.  Readers to help during the writing process who would be willing to help out in exchange for an acknowledgment in the book.

I am so tired right now.  There has been a ton of stuff going on with both mine and Tommy’s health, but I’ll save all that for a later post.

Blessings!


getting back to nature… sorta


Hey!  I’m back.  We’ve had lots of appointments and “to dos” lately and I haven’t been able to post anything.  Not sure I’ll be able to put together anything comprehensible today, but we’ll see what I can come up with.  grin

Today is daughter-in-law Melissa’s birthday.  I hope my card got to Ohio in time!  I also had an appointment with my endo this week which went really well.  Despite my struggle with highs, my A1c was the same as last time.  I guess that’s not too shabby to stay at 7.3 for six months?  I would love for it to be lower at the next check up though, and hopefully, the tweaks to my insulin pump settings will do that for me.

So far, I have really been seeing the effects because I’ve had several lows in the past couple days.  Nothing serious, thank God, or crisis-causing, but after dealing with highs, the lows can be a little more scary than before.

The thing is, for the non-D out there, lows can come out of nowhere for no reason with no warning.  Especially if you are like me with hypo-unawareness, lows seem to just appear!  I had no symptoms of being 60 or 50, so when it gets to 40 and 30, I’m a little surprised (and panicked!)  That’s why I’m so thankful to have the Dexcom now.  At least that kind of thing doesn’t happen nearly as often as it would otherwise.

The only way it happens even with the Dex is that I can miss a calibration and the readings be off, like 20 points.  That’s not much if you’re in the 120-150 range, but when you’re in the dirt below 60?  20 points is the difference between conscious and not.  (remember my experience in November?!  yikes!)

So yeah, I’m trying to be much more diligent about at least timing the calibrations so that there’s not one due in the middle of the night.  That’s what happened before.

Anyway, so Tommy and I did the gall bladder/liver flush a couple weeks ago.  (see this post for deets)  My personal opinion is that it’s not horrific.  It’s not pleasant by any means, but it wasn’t a nightmarish couple of days.  And there was plenty of evidence that we both had some seriously gunked up innards!  Sheesh!  Since Tommy had been religiously drinking the apple juice as prescribed to soften stones, there was not a whole lot of “solid” evidence for him.  I only drank maybe 3 cups of apple juice total in the five days prior (when you’re supposed to drink four cups a day!!) so there were tons of pea-green “stones” anywhere from the size of a dried pea to a stinkin’ lima bean!  We also both reacted differently.  I was up about 2 hours after drinking the last of the potions for the first day (the olive oil and lemon juice) going to the bathroom.  He was able to sleep all night without getting up.  He started out with thin results whereas I started with thicker but definitely not-normal stuff.

I KNOW!!  I KNOW!!!  How gross that I’m telling you guys about our poop!!!  But c’mon now.  I’m getting close to the age where that’s normal conversational material, right?  Ha ha!!  Besides, we’re attempting to regain some health and hopefully help Tommy (and ultimately me too!) avoid gall bladder surgery!  So cut me some slack and go do the flush yourself!  I betcha you’ll be talking about what you discover too!  Ha ha ha!!  Seriously, I tried to be as tactful as possible here…just be glad I didn’t post you some pix as well!!  gasp

Changing the subject but not the topic, we’re still drinking “golden milk” every night.  (you can find the recipe here and one list of benefits here)

the most recent health craze: Golden Milk

FYI:  neither of the recipes on the links above are exactly the recipe I use.  I’ll try to do a post about that soon so you guys know exactly what I’m using here.

As for what it’s done for us?  Well, if  you recall, I told you after having the scope done on Tommy’s stomach, the gastroenterologist told us he has GOT to stop taking NSAIDs once and for all.  She took him off of them about 4 years ago but his GP put him back on something else we were told wouldn’t bother his stomach.  We’d never heard of the drug before and I guess were so busy and concerned by how much the pain was limiting Tommy (the man could barely walk) we didn’t question it.  Turns out?  It’s a form of NSAID.  Nice.  So his stomach is once again raw, irritated and close to developing ulcers and bleeding.

While Tommy was still mostly under the sedation, he mumbled and almost cried about this because he knew the doctor had already said in the procedure room that the NSAIDs had to go.  He was saying things like, “how am I going to walk?” and “how am I going to work?”  sigh  I felt so awful for him.  He was worrying so much about this stuff.

When the report came back that he needed to have a HIDA scan (which is routinely when gall stones are suspected) he began looking up all sorts of info about the gall bladder and came to the conclusion that it was important and not nearly as disposable as most doctors like to say  it is.  We decided that God didn’t put any spare parts in there, so we’d start researching ways to heal the gall bladder naturally with diet and nutrition.  (note that I’ve been trying to get the man to change his diet for several years now, especially this last year when he quit cycling and began to put on a lot of weight… rolling my eyes here)

Anyway, that’s when we ran onto the stuff about tumeric being good for the liver and gall bladder.  I’d been wanting to try golden milk already just in the hopes that it would help me sleep better.  We bought the few ingredients that we lacked the next day and made a batch.  We were pleasantly surprised with the taste and committed to drinking a cup of that each night.  We also started him drinking two cups of tart cherry juice each day.  Tart cherry juice is known as a great anti-inflammatory agent as well as tumeric.  So we hoped using both of these along with a lot of dietary changes (because of his allergy testing) would keep him from seizing up and having awful pain.

Orangey-yellowy tumeric root…

So far?  This is two weeks post-flush and about a month after the scope and he’s been using nothing but the cherry and tumeric (sometimes taking capsules of each of those along with the drinks when he hurt more than usual) and he’s doing really, REALLY well.  Seriously, before he would have been almost bedridden in about three days without those NSAIDs.  If we could start riding again, I’m sure it would help even more, but with his dad wanting to restore this old pickup (and Tommy loves doing it to, but it would be nicer if he could work on it in his own time instead of his dad’s schedule, which kills any time to ride bikes sad face) it doesn’t look like we’ll be doing that with any regularity.  He might surprise me and start getting on the trainer.  As for me, I’m riding outside!

The weather around here has been hinting spring for a couple weeks now and I am itching to get my bike out.  I’m going to be so bummed to see how far back I’ve gone since I haven’t ridden in over a year now, but maybe I can build back up quickly…ish.  ??

At this point, it doesn’t matter.  Frankly, I’m thrilled to be feeling good enough to even think about riding.  And that’s, I believe, another benefit of drinking golden milk each night.  I think it’s helping me feel better.

Hmmm…well, I wasn’t planning on this being all about golden milk and our experience with it so far, but in case  you’re all curious about the latest “fad”/trend or whatever you like to call it, and decide to try it before I ever get (finally) a post up about how I make it, let me share a few tips and a bit of info with you….

First of all, the body doesn’t readily absorb tumeric on its own.  That’s why there is (or should be) always fresh ground pepper corns in the recipe.  (if there’s not or it says you can omit it, don’t use that recipe or site!)  FRESH ground black pepper corns, yep, the same kind people have used for eons to flavor their food, is one catalyst for

DON’T SKIP THE PEPPER!!

helping the tumeric absorb.  Don’t skip it.  I am not a big fan of black pepper, fresh or otherwise, so I was a little hesitant, but when you blend it with everything else, you can’t even see the pepper, let alone taste it.  It just calls for a pinch so the other flavors easily overcome the pepper.   You can also just put in 2-5 peppercorns when you heat it then strain those out.  I’m too lazy for that.  Whichever way you do it, make sure it’s fresh.  It’s important for proper absorption.

Second, I don’t make the recipe that calls for making the tumeric into a paste.  No particular reason and I believe there’s no way it could make a nutritional difference.  It’s just easier to me to put in the powder.  I HAVE finally procured some fresh tumeric root (by driving 80-some miles to Whole Foods) so soon as I’ve used up the ground that I have on hand, I’ll try the fresh.  We already use fresh ginger root   and love it!

we try to use fresh ginger all the time!

Third, I DO NOT USE COW MILK!  I had to give up dairy years ago because it turns my head into a nightmarish snot factory before it even hits my tonsils!  UGH!  So, we use almond milk.  If you can find organic soy, that’s okay, but to me, it comes out way too frothy.  Now, I love me some froth, but there’s just so daggone much with the soy milk, you have to about scoop it off to get to the liquid!  Too much work for me!  I’ve also used coconut and it is great for this!  I would continue using it, but Tommy’s allergic, so… I only use it if he’s not here and I’m making for myself.  sigh

Fourth, I heat the milk in my Vitamix.  I am slap in love with that thing!  I’ve had it close to a year now, but have DEEPLY DESIRED one for decades!  I finally found a deal offering major discounts on returned units, so I jumped on it!  I use it at least once a day, but usually more than that.  I make Tommy a frozen fruit smoothie in the mornings and then I make our golden milk in there in the evening.  Lately, I’m also blending coconut oil into my coffee, too, so that’s at least three times most days!

check out that froth! just the right amount is heavenly!

Fifth, get organic ingredients whenever possible.  I know that’s a big buzz word in health news these days, but I think it’s important to ingest as few chemicals as we can.  Lord knows we are bombarded with enough harmful things out there that we can do nothing about.  I try to do whatever I can when I can.

Okay… there you go.  Oh wait… here’s a page I found talking about the benefits of tumeric.  It appears to be written by someone for whom English is a second language, but it’s very readable anyway.  It just points out the importance of the pepper!  Don’t leave it out!  ūüėČ  Use the whole-kernel/strain method if you have to!

Let me know if you try this…what you think of the taste and what it does for you!  YAY!


hello, twenty-seventeen!


Hoo-wee!!  It has been a wild ride already around here folks!  That’s the main reason I haven’t been around here much.  My life has literally gone nuts!  Heh.

You know my eldest and his wife were (are!) moving to the Cincinnati area.  We started right after Christmas helping them get packed up.  They had to downsize a LOT, which wasn’t entirely a bad thing.  They went from a 1500 square foot home with a full, finished basement, two kitchens, a two-car garage, the land and outside areas to go with to a just-under 1000 square-foot apartment, no garage (although they can rent one that’s attached to their building!) and a tiny storage room!

That alone would have been enough to boggle my brain, but I have to say, Melissa handled it well.  She is a funny one.  She’s not super attached to things and was happily tossing all sorts of things.  I’m glad she could do it but it was hurting my head to watch her purge so mercilessly.  Ha ha!  Then again, I lean toward the hoarder rather than minimalist.  sigh  Ha!

We took several of their larger items but can’t fit the piano here, so I’m hoping my parents can put it in their basement.  It’s so old, I doubt they could get much out of it even though it looks great.  It’s severely out of tune and it sounds like from what the kids had been told by a couple of tuners, because of the age, people don’t want to tune it.  Gah!  I dunno…. it’s been so long since I played, I’m not sure it’s worth hanging onto.  No one else in the family plays and we really don’t sing as a family anymore, so I’m not sure why we even need it.  I just hate to get rid of it.  It’s the used piano my mom bought when I was around 5 or 6 to take lessons herself.  When I began to sit down and play what she had just practiced, I became the one who was getting lessons and those didn’t benefit me a whole lot.  She started me with an old and old-school teacher who was all about theory and note reading, not at all interested in any natural “talent” or playing “by ear” like I was want to do and had always seen my Papaw do.  By the time I was in fifth grade, she found me a younger teacher who finally realized I was just going to learn the music she assigned my and play it by ear or from memory.  When I was about 11, Papaw recruited me to the piano at church to accompany congregational hymns, so I had to rely heavily on playing “by ear” so when I’d show up at lessons with a hymnal, asking the teacher to show me “how to play this chord” and then immediately pick it up once she’d showed me, she sorta gave up.

She came out to the car with me one day and told Mom she didn’t wanna take her money any more because she couldn’t really teach me anything else.  Bahahaha!!  Yeah.  I’m not sure it was so much a compliment as a statement of fact.  It surely wasn’t because I had learned all she had to teach!  I had no use for doing the little theory exercises or reading music beyond what I absolutely had to.  It was hard for me and I really sucked at it.  If you could “hum it for me” and I could figure out what key you needed it in, I could at least play the chords enough to accompany you.

Okay, enough about the piano!  For now, it’s still sitting in the house down there.  The business is still using the office that was built onto the back of the house years ago, so people are still going in and out of it.  Also, for the time being at least, Melissa’s younger brother is still living in/renting the basement although I’m not sure how long that will last.  Mom told me she has told him to be looking for another place.  This after she told him he could stay there awhile.  I know know what that’s about, but it’s pretty typical.  I hope he can find somewhere and not have to move back home, especially since he just proposed to his girlfriend over Christmas!

So Melissa and I took off in our vehicles, I took our car up so Tommy could drive the UHaul and we’d have a way back home.  She had a bunch of more delicate stuff in their truck, along with their Australian Shepherd, Timber.  We headed out about noon on Friday leaving the guys behind to load the big furniture in the UHaul and the plan was they’d be up the next day.

Corey had quite a few guys lined up to come help but only two actually did along with his dad and it turned out to be enough.  They had no clue how much room they’d need, so they got a 26-foot truck since it was the same price as the  22-foot truck and planned to let Tommy be the “fitter” since he’s good about packing a ton of stuff into a small space.  He started out trying to get as much stuff in as possible but soon, they told him they only had so many pieces left and he had to get them to repack and spread stuff out!!  They had a TON of room!

Mel and I got up there without too much incident.  Our GPS’s didn’t agree at one point and we ended up getting off a wrong exit in town.  It was right during rush hour, so when I tried to stick with her through a light and blocked the intersection for a second, some butthead in a little economy car blew right up to the passenger side of my Challenger and started on the horn.  Honking and honking as if that was somehow going to ‘make’ me be able to move when there was no space for me to go!  Argh.  That was a little nerve wracking, but we got through it okay and made it to the apartment complex in good time.

We were both pretty exhausted, and I was still battling the remnants of my months of being sick with a nasty cough so I stayed with Timber most of the time while Melissa made trips back and forth carrying in some of the stuff we’d packed.  We hadn’t really thought out how we’d handle Timber while unloading stuff, I guess.  When she had got all she could manage herself, I went out to the car and carried in the few things I had to have out of it.  We had also put some of their stuff in there, so it was packed full too.

Corey called to say they were talking about maybe heading up that evening, just him and his dad, instead of waiting til the morning.  So in about four hours, they had arrived and it was a good thing after all.  Showing up with limited items at an empty apartment when the weather is frigid, you’re tired and sick can be a lot more deflating than I had counted on.  I think Mel felt the same way.  She was a bit more upbeat than me, but seriously… as I looked around, thinking about the place, sensing its smallness and of course, the sparseness of it, if it’d been me moving, I’d have been seriously depressed.  Maybe it was just me still processing the fact that my kids actually were moving away from me.  I’m not sure, but I hope it didn’t show as much as I felt it.  If I’d been by myself, I’d have cried!

At this point, a week after the fact, I can’t remember what else we did that night.  I am pretty sure we made a few trips to the store for some odds and ends.  Even though it was almost New Year’s Eve and we hadn’t bargained for any stores being closed.  They needed a pad lock for the UHaul and there were a few other things we had to have that night.  Dinner was one of those things, so we got some food before coming back to settle in for the night.

We blew up our mattresses and slept fairly well.  Thankfully the kids’ mattress was in the truck since their bed went flat during the night!

The next day, Melissa’s uncle and cousin came to help unload.  I hadn’t realized until then that the former plan for some of Corey’s friends to come up to help had been changed.  No one else was coming.  Mel’s uncle had arranged for several of his friends to come help, but not until later in the day, so when it became clear that they would have everything done before then, he called to cancel his guys and the four of them got it all unloaded just before lunch (and the rain!)  It worked out perfectly.

Tommy and I stayed til Monday, which helped me feel a bit better about them moving.  I was able to see that the apartment was nice, it was quiet and not so wildly different than being at home.  I got to interact with a lot of people and put to rest the notion that Cincy is full of mean people.  (seriously, I don’t if it was the people who just really didn’t want them to leave or they were relating their own experience, but people kept telling them everyone was rude and mean there).

Even though I felt better about them moving, it didn’t stop the tears from falling when we finally said our goodbyes Monday night after supper.  Tommy had already mentioned staying another day so I had no clue if we’d end up going home or not!  When we got to the restaurant, he didn’t know where his phone was, so that immediately became a possible “reason” we would have to stay.  We had already packed up the car and were ready to leave straight from the steakhouse, so the phone would have to be back at the apartment for us to stay.  It was sort of funny as we all walked out toward our vehicles, looking at my phone trying to locate Tommy’s… it appeared to be in the car and it was apparent that Tommy was disappointed.  He said if it wasn’t for needing to be on the job, he would just take a vacation day and stay.  And here I thought I was the one having trouble letting them go!

It would have been nice if we’d been able to stay and leave the next morning because we were sure exhausted once we finally got home.  It was just after midnight and we had several things that had to be unloaded (the rest could wait) and the dogs and chickens to take care of.  Poor Max was still outside, so I had to try and clean him up some before turning him loose in the house.

As soon as I could, I collapsed in bed and in what seemed like just a few minutes, I woke up sick as a dog.  I was coughing and snotting like nobody’s business.  I felt horrible!  So after battling a similar blech for months and finally getting almost over it, I’m starting from scratch, fighting it again.

ARGH!

Here’s to NOT having all of 2017 be the same way it started!!  Ha!


that place between heartache and happiness


That’s where I am these day.  Torn, and swinging wildly between, being overjoyed and heartbroken enough I have to fight back the tears.

To some it may seem trivial.  Maybe it is something other people expect to happen, but for me, the thought that this might happen has never entered my mind.

My baby is moving away.

I knew that a company in Ohio had reached out to Corey about a position and that he’d gone up for a meet-and-greet-slash-interview.  I knew he’d sent them the resume they requested.  I knew he’d been looking into the company, trying to learn more about them, see if it was something he even wanted to consider.

I also knew that all he’d discovered was very positive and desirable!

After the first meeting, he was disappointed because the man from the finance department of the company (they are big enough to have ‘departments’) told him they had initially wanted him for a management position, but then his age and lack of experience with a large company made them think he might not be ready for that yet.

Yet.

To me, at that time, it was encouraging.  I mean, I told you I was torn, guys.  I wasn’t kidding!!  I was so proud that a huge company like that was considering hiring my boy for a high position, not to mention that they instigated the contact!  It didn’t bother me that they were leery of him due to his young age and his lack of a college degree.  Most places are very big on a piece of paper from a university that says you know certain stuff.  I am of the opinion, however, that personal experience and the ability to teach one’s self and learn whatever is necessary is much more valuable than a degree that may or may not be a true indication of the person’s knowledge.  Of course, there’s not a lot of quantifiable proof for personal experience and the ability to self-teach either, but I’ve seen for myself that it’s a definite advantage in many areas of life.

I guess, deep down, I was content with knowing that Corey could attract attention from a big company, that he presented himself well and wasn’t lacking in any way from being homeschooled.  I mean, it was on his resume, after all.  They knew he had been taught at home.  I sorta felt that would be the end of it.  Which wasn’t a relief entirely because, confession time:  I’ve been praying for both my boys to be able to get away from all the stress they have with their jobs.

Yes, I should have been praising God for answered prayer, but you know how it goes.  Sometimes God answers in a way you never considered.  Kinda like praying for patience, so God lets you break your leg.  “There.”  He might say.  “Patience is earned, my child.”  All the while, I imagine He’s snickering to Himself.  Bahaha!

But seriously, it would be a big relief to see them have jobs where they weren’t constantly being brow-beaten and put down and having to deal with my dad.  I feel like I’ve posted about this whole complicated mess-of-a relationship before, but I’m not positive about that and I can’t find any reference to it, so I’ll try to explain while keeping it short.

My father has always been an entrepreneurial type of fella.  Always had his own business.  Everything from a coal tipple to a paving business, a wood burning stove store, therapeutic massage chairs to spray foam insulation.  You name it, he’s prolly done it or at least thought about it.  Excavation is where he always excelled.  He was good on a dozer and so began a core drilling business.  That led to him being asked to help bulldoze roads during a forest fire so the firefighters could access the fire.  Finally, he began this current company in 1994 originally doing only dozer and backhoe work.  It evolved into the plumbing arena and he had to get permits and such.  During that time, he learned about and got into the underground camera and jetting business, which is mostly what the business does now.  It’s considered a “plumbing” company, although dad has never been a plumber.  He always had to employ one, though and now, both my sons are licensed plumbers.  Corey has his master plumber’s license and Casey has a journeyman’s license.

The boys began working for my dad when they were teenagers.  Originally, it was just to do the extra work, the grunt work.  Wheelbarrowing dirt out of the way or digging trenches, that kind of stuff.  And it was just as needed because for the last 15 or so years, Dad’s only had one or two regular employees and in the last 10 or so years, that’s been older men like himself.  Not young men who could lift and heft and work hard, but older men who were a little more feeble and less agile and able-bodied.  I felt okay with that and I was happy about the experience it gave them.  Most kids their age had no clue about the real work-a-day world, ya know?  My boys did and they were learning all kinds of stuff about using tools and how things work.  Most of the time, they’d work pretty much full time during the summer months.  Soon though, dad started talking about when Corey graduated and could come in full time and all this crap about “handing down” the business to him one day.

That made me nervous.  My dad is a workaholic.  Even in his mid-seventies now, you can’t keep him still.  He can barely get around sometimes but insists on working.  It worries me to death but he’s as bullheaded as he is anything else, so you can’t tell him anything.

My dad has always been what some would call a “loudmouth”.  Ha ha.  Sometimes that’s a more apt description than others, but he’s very outspoken, opinionated and pretty judgemental.  Ever since I was old enough to realize it, I have seen that people either love or hate my dad.  They either get his brusque manner and laugh at his blustery speech or they despise his attitude and think he’s a blowhard.  I guess on both sides there’s a little truth, but in these past few years, he seems to have leaned even more toward the brusque/harsh side of his personality.  I think some of it is just the growing older process but the boys say he makes remarks about how he’s lived to the age his older brother and father were when they died so now he’s just “living on borrowed time” which is ridiculous since our days are numbered by God, not our ancestors!!  I don’t understand why he would think this way when he knows better.

So anyway, I tell you all of that so you might understand just a little why I have wanted my boys to not be working with or for my dad.  It has made them bitter and hard, more so for my youngest for some reason.  He’s never been a really ‘soft’ kinda guy anyway so that may just be his natural tendency.  But it is so worrisome.  Especially when he also lives right beneath my parents,  ya know?  He doesn’t really escape that stuff at all.  The boys don’t really have a grandfather relationship with him since he has treated them more like employees, disappointing employees at that, than like grandsons.  I have worried for their self-image and sense of self-worth for years because of how Dad is with them.

I know that sounds horrible of me, but it’s just the truth.  Telling you otherwise, pretending otherwise, doesn’t change the facts of the matter.  My parents harbor a LOT of negativity, which is one reason I don’t go around very much.  It just drains me.  It makes me feel ill, beaten down, hopeless and sad.  I struggle with depression enough as it is, and so I’ve found that my battle with it is easier if I don’t spend a ton of time with them.  Yes, that DOES make me sad, but self-preservation is important especially when I tend to become non-functional when I get in a deeply depressed state.  I pulled myself out of that once and I don’t want to ever have to do it again.  Is that wrong of me?  To guard my emotional, and also my physical, well-being?  If it is wrong, then I don’t know how to cope otherwise because spending time with them, lots of time, will inevitably lead to me spiraling into a horrible place where I shut down and then don’t take care of anyone or anything.  I’m not sure how they live in that darkness.  It’s like a tangible cloud of negativity and animosity.   They can’t speak about someone without pointing out all the perceived or concocted flaws the person has, they can’t be encouraging about any situation that isn’t exactly what they would choose for themselves, they are judgemental of everyone and don’t even think that your past won’t follow you toward them because they will never let you forget that thing you did but no longer do, no matter how much you have changed.

So… I feel like I’m rambling and I honestly don’t know how to end this post.  Apparently, the start date has been moved up to January 9 from January 23 so it’s even more of a time crunch!  Melissa wants to paint some of the walls so the apartment isn’t so “vanilla/boring” so she and I will go up a day or two after Christmas and stay for a couple days to do that.  For that, we’re having to decide which vehicle to take.  They have one vehicle between them, a 4WD pickup, we have our 4WD “second” vehicle (a pickup, too) and our new car, the Challenger, which we’ve never had in snow before.  It looks like it would be best if we took the car, but then there’s the issue of weather and Tommy’s insane obsession with keeping the car spotless.  Yeah, right!  I want it to stay awesome-looking too, but there’s only so much you can do if  you actually want to use the vehicle, ya know?  So anyway, I think we can get everything we’d need in there since the back seats fold down… you know, step stools, extension handles and all the painting material.  Then we’ll need to go buy paint unless she plans to do that here, then we’ll have to haul it up with us along with some air mattresses, clothes & food items.  The apartment is central to EVERYTHING almost, so running out to get anything we’d need won’t be a problem as long as the weather holds.  Then the guys will come up with a pickup load of stuff that weekend, I guess.  And we’ll be ready to start the actual moving process.

The kids are going back up there this weekend to finalize some stuff, and look at one more apartment that will now be empty to see if they like it better.  I think they’ve settled on this first floor one though even though the other is a tad bigger, it’s on the third floor.  With their dog, it will be a lot easier to be on ground level plus only first-floor apartments can have barbecues!  They grill out a LOT!  So…

I’m trying to steel myself for the wild rush to begin.  I’m praying for strength and focus and to stay well so I can help them all I can!  I’m taking advantage of every opportunity to be with them while they’re getting all their ducks in a row.  I’m not sure how I’ll survive this, but I know I will.  Like I said, I’m reminding myself multiple times a day that God promises to take care of us, to prosper us and not harm us.  I just need to stop looking at how much my heart hurts and focus on waiting to see what God’s going to do with this big change in all our lives.

Try to overlook me while I process everything, okay?  Thanks.

 



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