Sunday, January 21, 2018

My Mom Died

My mom died on Friday, January 19, 2018. She was only 69 years old. She would have been 70 next month on the 8th of February.  I am trying to type this and not cry.  I have cried a lot the past couple of days. More than I thought possible.  When I am home safe, I find moments of calm, but when I go out I see simple, unimportant things, and I fall apart.  Peanut butter did me in, mom loved peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I still have two big jars of both. Trying to buy coffee creamer, and I start crying in the store. There is always a BOGO for creamer. I would get one for me and one for her. There are so many things I would share with her, and so much more I didn’t get to share.  It isn’t fun anymore to decorate my house.  That was her joy. She was great at it.  Growing up, every time she stayed home, my brother and I knew we would come home from school and the place would look completely different. She re-arranged her room weekly it seemed.  Mornings are hard.  I am used to seeing her slip out of room to make a cup of coffee, then she would go sit by the window, and read her bible. I keep looking for her on my patio.  My tree out front still has Christmas lights on it. She put them there. I do not have it in me to remove them, so they will forever be there.  My mom and I had lived together for about eight years now. I saw her every day.  We had tension though after we moved into new house. It was very stressful. I kept wanting to do things my way, but she, being mom, always had to chime in and try to tell me to do it her way. It was generally a good idea, I just wished I had been more of an adult in her mind. I felt like she still thought of me as a kid.  I’m not even sure what happened, but she got mad on November 29th, 2017 and instead of biting tongue I got upset too. I told her if she didn’t like living with me she could leave.  I never ever believed she would. She did though. Within 24 hours she was gone. She packed up her stuff and flew to Reno to live with my brother.  I drove her to airport, and dropped her off. No hug goodbye, she just got out and walked away.  I cried all the way home.  It was calmer in my house, but empty. I missed her so much.  She missed my birthday. She never called me, and stupid stupid me never called her.  I was so so stupid.  I was afraid if I called she would ask to come back, and I wasn’t ready for that yet. I thought we just needed a break from each other. She spent all of December living with my brother. She was having a good time, but not totally.  In January she went to Tucson to stay with my Uncle Jimmie.  From what they tell me, she was very happy there.  She made friends, she was going out doing things, she had discovered hiking. People keep telling me she was very happy.  I hope so.  I have to believe that. I never got to ask her. She never spoke to me after November 30th.  I know the date because it have one 15 second voicemail telling me she had arrived safely in Reno.  That is all I have left. I always thought she would come back. It never occurred to me she wouldn’t.  She was so healthy. Never had been in hospital. On no medications, she did everything right.  So when my brother called, it didn’t make sense.  It still doesn’t. I cannot believe she is gone. She touched so many areas of my life, that everything hurts now. It hurts to go on patio, because she loved to sit out there. It hurts to go into her room. It hurts to get in car, because I never really went places without her.  I am not really sure how to function. I think I am fine, then boom, I am not. I miss her so much. I wish I could tell her I am sorry. I wish I could tell her I love her. I wish I could ask her to come back home.  So many things I wish for, and none of them possible. She was an amazing woman. She loved traveling, she loved her family, she loved going to new places. She loved adventure.  Most of all she loved Jesus, so I have to believe she is happy now. There was no place on Earth she wanted to be, she wanted to be in Heaven, and now she is there. I try to picture her there, living in a gorgeous house of the beach, with an awesome view of the ocean. That is what I try and picture. Not working right now. Right now just hurts. Is a gorgeous day outside. She would be antsy to go out in it just walking. Maybe I will try that. Ok maybe I will force that. Only alternative is crying, and that needs to stop. I miss you mommy, I miss you so much. I love you and will always love you. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Crazy Cat Lady in Training

          So since I got this house I have been wanting to get a dog. I have found a few, but something always got in the way. Usually I would find them Thursday night, and since could not get until Monday I would miss out. I also am still having issues getting the fence up. People cannot seem to do their jobs properly.  I signed all the paperwork Dec 19th, but company did not submit it until 29th. I called yesterday and found out the HOA had it sitting on their desk and had not been submitted to board yet. I was ready to bang head. At this point now I am looking at February before it goes up. OK enough with the venting. Anyway no puppy yet.  Kids though still wanted a new pet to play with. My son it a total cat lover so he convinced my daughter she wanted another cat LOL then they teamed up against me. So last weekend I said they could go to Petco's adoption event sponsored by Spay the Strays with specific instructions.  They were to go look at cats, find a fluffy female kitty, who liked to cuddle up on laps. They were just to take pictures and notes about cats, then bring those home to me so I could chose, and then go back on Sunday to get the one I picked. So fluffy, cuddly girl kitty was what I agreed to. Saturday I wake up to them coming home with a cat. It is an adorable, sleek, male cat, who I cannot catch LOL the only part of my instructions they got right was they went to Petco. I cannot believe those volunteers told my kids he was a cuddler LOL. His original name was Guppy, but my daughter renamed him Jumanji because he is so wild.  The first night the cats would have nothing to do with him. Thankfully the place is big enough that they all had their own space.  Second day there was testing of each other, a few hisses and growls, but that is all. By the third day all was ok, they had learned to live together. Now the boys ganging up on me. Tonight I tried to close door to patio, but just in nick of time Jumanji dashes outside. I go to get him and the other boy cat, Commander, runs out.
Finally he sleeps
          I grab him, and out comes Jumanji again LOL I had to call in reinforcements to help me catch them both so I could close up the house and set alarm for the night. Is funny, the new kitty is very vocal. They other two were always quiet. Now all three vocal. The best thing about the new kitty is he is bonding to my daughter which is driving son crazy. He is usually the one cats gravitate to. Staci loves that Jumanji seems to like to cuddle up with her occasionally. He will follow her room to room too. Dynamics over here have shifted a bit, the girl cat, Midnight, tends to stick by my son's side, Jumanji follows Staci, and Commander is currently cuddled up by me as I type. So it all worked out :)

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Welcome 2018

I can't believe it has almost been a year since my last post. I think I stopped mainly because I started writing for others and not myself.  It became more about how many hits I got, than enjoyable for me. So this year I am just going to write what I want. No sharing it on Facebook. It seemed all that sight wanted was Disney posts LOL While I love Disney, I didn't want that to be all this was about. OK so 2017 was definitely a big year of change.
It was very stressful because of one majorly huge purchase. I bought a house :) It was purchased as a spur of the moment impulse.  I was driving home and saw the sign, so decided to turn in.  There I met Alex who showed me the gorgeous model homes, and somehow convinced me I needed a house. He said if I signed that day, I got a prime $5000 lot for free and a $6000 credit to use at the design studio for upgrades.
No chance for me to think it through, and talk myself out of it, so I just went for it. LOL oh boy did the stress start piling on after that.  It seemed as if anything that could go wrong, did go wrong. The house I wanted was not available, I had to get the most expensive model. 
The color scheme I wanted was already taken, and good grief upgrades were expensive.  The financing was a nightmare. It seemed as if every time I thought I had all the paperwork together, they needed something else. The finance department could not seem to wrap their head around the fact that I did not work in December or January by choice. They kept asking me how I got paid. They didn't get concept of I used my savings.
Then my company would not cooperate in telling them yes I had job, even though I had paychecks to prove it.  I never really knew what was going on with the financing.  They kept me in limbo all the way until one month before the house was finished.  I honestly had no idea if I would have a place to live. Also no furniture since I was not allowed to buy anything major LOL it sucked. All along though I got to watch my house being built.
At first I had Sam as the Construction Manager. Then all of a sudden they said I had Miguel.  Turned out to be the best thing ever.  Miguel was amazing. He let me come over to look a lot, and without my even asking he gave me some nice free upgrades. Simple ones, but nice.  The one thing I was so excited about was my landscaping. I was so curious about what I would be getting.  Finally they planted and I was so happy.  So November finally rolled around, and I got the gold status on my home loan!!! It was all mine :)
We got to move in November 14th. I got to buy my furniture, and oh my goodness I had to put it all together.  Everything in my home, I put together myself LOL. I thought I had a lot of stuff, but since house so big inside, I figured out I have very little. It still echoes on the inside.  I am working on it, slowly, but hey I have a lifetime to get it all together.  Still waiting on fence approval so I can get backyard to what I dream it to be.
I also want to get a dog for companionship and protection. Still trying to decide what type of dog.  Never knew it was so hard to get a dog. So 2018 is going to be dedicated to getting my house feeling like a home.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Epcot International Festival of the Arts Fun

Epcot is hosting their 1st International Festival of the Arts.  It started January 13th and will run until February 20th, on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays.  Throughout the park are exhibits by various artists, with plenty to look at and buy.  Disney photographers are out in masse for an amazing addition of life size pictures that you can step into and become part of the famous painting.
shhhh don't tell her this is here LOL
The food offerings are artistic and yummy, both pleasing to look at and taste.  I like the giant cookie that looks like an artist’s palette of paints. In the evening, they have the Broadway Concert Series to listen and enjoy.  There are also seminars and workshops to learn various things from. 
Since it was my mom’s birthday this week, I treated her, Staci, and me to the Artfully Blending Tea workshop with Karon Cannon of the Tea Craze shop here in Kissimmee.
  She is a tea sommelier and spoke about the difference in teas, health benefits, and how to properly brew a cup.  Then she helped us all blend our own tea called Tranquil Moments.  It had chamomile, lemon grass, lavender, passion flower, and mint in it.  There is a definite recipe with specific amounts, but Staci and I had fun just mixing all of it together LOL.  It smelled a bit iffy until we added the mint, then all was well.

Over the weekend the three of us had created our own mickey ears to Disney bound with.  Staci decided to go bounding as the Cheshire Cat, so after the workshop we quickly made our way over to the England Pavilion to meet Alice in Wonderland.
  Staci was first in line and was so excited.  Alice was completely delightful and precocious, which Staci loved of course. Staci also loved having Alice fawn over her Cheshire Cat ears and doll.

The most fun we have had at the festival though was Figment’s Brush with the Masters Scavenger Hunt.  Figment the Dragon is hidden in paintings all over the World Showcase, and you must find him.  In each painting, he has either replaced the main image (think Mona Lisa with Figment’s face) or has been incorporated into the painting somewhere.
  Once you find him, you match up the corresponding painting’s sticker to the correct pavilion.  The paintings can be challenging at times to find, the frames are what help a bunch.  Each frame has Figment prominently front and center.  After you find all the paintings, you take the completed chart back, and you receive one of four different magnets, each featuring Figment in a famous painting.  Staci and I love scavenger hunts, so this was great fun.

Only two more weekends left for the festival then all that fun is gone.  Hopefully it will become an annual event.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

I'm Celebrating Being Drug Free

Sorry for the long post, but I considered this a public service announcement.

Since moving to Kissimmee, Florida life has been great, but not without its stress. The weather is phenomenal. The balmy weather makes it so easy to hop in the car, short drive, and I am at a Disney par.  I love that!!!  I have spent many days just strolling through the various parks, trying to experience everything.  On average at the end of those days I have walked about four to five miles.  My feet hurt by bedtime LOL. 
The stressful part, however, has been trying to find a job to fund those adventures. With two kids and a mom depending on me to support them, I was stressed.  I did not want to dip too far into my savings, because that money is for me to buy a home this year hopefully.  I managed to stay out of that fund, but my regular account took a major beating LOL Finally, I got an offer for a job that I wanted. I was so incredibly relieved.
So, time came for the dreaded pre-hire paperwork and physical.  Twenty-three pages to fill out.  Some poor tree sacrificed its life so that I could get a parking decal and benefits. Went in first thing in the morning for the physical, fully expecting a drug screen.  This is almost the norm for any job nowadays, especially in healthcare. Everything going fine, then she says I have to do a breathalyzer test!!! Uh oh I had just binged watched White Collar, and with all the wine drinking they do, I had a glass of wine the night before LOL ok I know one glass of wine, drank over fourteen hours ago would not show up, but I still felt my blood pressure go up.  Guess what…it was zero LOL.  I laughed.  Now time for the urine screen. Only worry there was trying to remember not to flush.
Then came the results. The nurse doing the test said “it’s positive for THC” what’s that? THC is the psychoactive part of marijuana.  She was saying my urine test was positive for drugs!!!  I thought she was joking at first. When I realized she wasn’t, my blood pressure spiked, my pulse raced, and my mind went into shock. I said run it again. I have never done drugs in my life. She did, and second one said positive as well.  I was in shock and near tears at this point.  I felt humiliated, as I protested, saying it was wrong, I was innocent, in my head I knew she had probably heard all of that before.  I demanded better testing, my integrity was being attacked, and my career was in jeopardy.  She sent the test results and the urine out to a real lab for further testing.  I left barely holding it together, bawling once I was in car.
All the way home I kept trying to think of how this had happened. I never have done anything. I am completely boring.  The glass of wine was my first in over five years. I thought since I sleep with window open, did somebody outside smoke and I breathed it in while sleeping? Did one of the small local restaurants I have been to use it in a recipe as a prank? How did it come up positive??? So, I hit google as soon as I stopped crying.
I had no idea, but it turns out those urine drug screens they use in emergency rooms and doctor’s offices are notorious for giving false positives.  All because of simple, everyday items people consume.  So, I thought I would share what they are. 
Cold medicines: a lot of them have pseudoephedrine in them which will give a false positive for amphetamines.
Tonic water:  also known as quinine water, can lead to a positive result for opiates.
B2 (riboflavin): since some riboflavin comes from hempseed oil, it can show traces of THC.
NSAIDs: these are common, over the counter, pain meds. Examples are Ibuprofen (Motrin), and naproxen sodium (Aleve).  Treating pain at home can lead to a devastatingly false positive for marijuana, barbiturates, or benzodiazepines.
Poppy Seeds:  Eat too many of these and you might test positive for opiates like opium and codeine.
Snack bars: Some contain hemp seeds, which again could lead to them saying you are positive for THC.
            It was the Motrin and Aleve that got me.  All the Disney walking, and sore feet, had me talking some on a daily basis.  I was also taking a multivitamin, and a multi B vitamin since those are good for stress.  Those added up in my system, and were detected with the test.  For three days, I suffered and fretted, waiting for the results to clear me.  When they called me, and said I was cleared I was so elated and vindicated.  I made sure they knew it was the common, legal medications that had turned against me. My integrity was once more intact.  If you want the link to the web page that gave me hope for those days here it is.

            So now I can joke about my so-called drug problem.  I joke how it’s been eight days clean and sober with my family.  If you must do a urine test in your career, make sure to tell them all the medications you take, even if they seem inconsequential to you.  They can have a big impact.  I can tell you this though, no more Aleve or Motrin for me. I am totally Tylenol now. I even went out and got a bubbling foot bath and Epson salts to help after park days LOL.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Hooray for The Disney Diet!!!

         We have now officially lived in Kissimmee one month.  I love living here so far.  One of the best things so far is the Disney Diet I unwittingly found myself following LOL Since there is always a good reason (or no reason) to go to one of the Disney parks, it has been easy to stay active.  Staying active has made it to where a lot of days I only have time for one good meal.  Like I said we have been here only one month, yet I am already down around 12 pounds. That is so awesome and I love it.  I wear a Fitbit that keeps track of my steps daily.  If a person walked fully around Epcot it would be 2.78 miles.  Around the Magic Kingdom is 2.17 miles.  Strolling around Hollywood Studios clocks in at 1.39 miles.  Exploring Animal Kingdom adds up to 2.27 miles. Finally shopping Disney Springs will accumulate 1.83 miles.  That is straight up, purposeful walking.  It doesn’t account for the meandering that also happens back and forth LOL.  I’ve never gotten out of a park with less than 5 miles counted on my Fitbit.   Since moving here it has counted for me 158,125 steps which per Fitbit equals 67.13 miles. So, I thought I would share just a bit of Disney diet encouragement to any who might like it.  When we go to Disney it is not for the purpose of getting a workout, it is just a bonus.
           We still snack, but instead of Mickey Bars we get a Dole Whip which has less than 100 calories per serving, and is fat free. When we are thirsty instead of grabbing a soda or latte, we get free ice water from the restaurants.  When it is time to eat instead of a regular adult entrĂ©e, we chose a kid’s meal. A lot of times it has enough food to fill you up, plus comes with a free drink and these snack packs of apples, grapes, or carrot sticks. Each meal scores you two snack packs. We just throw those in my little cinch sack and off we go.  When we are standing in a que, and need a pick me up, one of those snack packs is great.  All around the park there are healthy options to choose from.
            Our newest favorite is pickles and the popcorn buckets.  My new goal is to find all the collectible ones. Being in my 40’s it has seemed almost impossible to lose weight, but the Disney Diet seemingly has changed all that LOL.  I am excited to see the miles and steps add up on my tracker, and the pounds and inches fall off this year.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Strangest Chocolate Cake Ever LOL

Megan's Cake (Yummy looking huh?)
          So my friend keeps posting pictures of this chocolate cake she makes for all birthdays, special occasions, and days that end in "Y" LOL  needless to say I have been teased with images of this yummy looking cake a lot.  Finally I had enough, I begged for the recipe, and she gave it to me.  I was so excited.  I was finally going to make me this scrumptious looking chocolate cake.  I grabbed my daughter and off to the store, bubbling to her how I was going to bake her the most amazing chocolate cake ever.  What did I get in return??? "Mom I don't like chocolate, can we make vanilla instead?" now just imagine me banging my head repeatedly against steering wheel and you know what I looked like at that point LOL  it was either make that amazing chocolate cake and eat it all by myself (tempting) or just figure out how to tweak the recipe and turn it into a vanilla cake.  So that is what we did LOL  The base for the cake is really a chocolate cake mix with chocolate pudding mixed in. This new one was made with vanilla selections.
Staci & my Tropical Vanilla Cake
 The cake also called for veggie oil, well I am trying to do things a bit healthier so I substituted coconut oil. The recipe wanted sour cream so what did I use? Mango greek yogurt LOL For moisture it called for plain water, so of course that meant pineapple flavored coconut water. My decadent chocolate cake had morphed into a tropical vanilla cake. I still baked it in a bundt pan, and then made real buttercream frosting. OMG that stuff is too sweet. Since I was making it up at this point I swapped out vanilla extract for orange extract in keeping with the tropical flair LOL. Now my cake was my first attempt at doing things the homemade way, so it is far from perfect looking, but the important thing is: MY STACI DECLARED IT TASTED AWESOME!!! So I am happy.  I guess one of these days I will run a marathon and be able to make and eat the chocolate cake all by myself.  Until then it is doing things Staci's way, which ended up being a lot of fun.  If my friend ever posts her recipe I will update this post and link to hers. Hear that Megan???? I need a blog post with recipe now LOL