Friday, July 27, 2012

T minus 2 weeks!

Last night's Girls Night hang out was great fun. Let's just say it's funny to try and play Taboo after a couple glasses of wine.

But that's not the blog I want to write today.

Obviously this blog is about how excited I'm getting for our California trip coming up in about 2 weeks!

My Sailor has actually been to Disney World more than he's been to Disneyland - but that is about to change, and I couldn't be more excited about it!
My Sailor on the Matterhorn for the 1st time, 12/2010
 Not only am I looking forward to sharing the newly renovated DCA (Disney California Adventure) with my new extended family, but I'm really looking forward to that "home" feeling I get whenever I see that castle. It's like a breath of fresh air.
I know some readers don't "get it". And that's okay. Yes, I know it's not a "real" castle. I'm old enough to understand the mechanics of how it the attractions are built. In fact, as the Disneyland Columnist of for Celebrations Press, I get to research these attractions in depth. I can tell you how many gallons of hydrolic fluid are in each Indiana Jones and The Temple of the Forbidden Eye attraction vehicle. I know why the crate inside the Matterhorn has the word "Wells" written on it. I can tell you the history behind Big Thunder Mountain Railroad as well as the mythology around it. I can even tell you what is in this Disneyland Time Capsule I'm photographed with below.

Me with the 'Time Castle' 12/2011
But none of that diminishes the magic for me. I'm entirely sure how Disney clicked with me. I guess all I can say is that it speaks to the dreamer in me. Many people, as they grow into adulthood, they forget what it was like to day dream. Or the day dreams change. Instead of day dreaming on what it would be like to find a unicorn grazing in a secluded forest, they change to "what would I do if money were no object?". Disney Parks to me are an embodiment of those day dreams. They are the next best thing to actually touching that fantastic mythical creature in the woods - at least for me.

That said, I've had the privledge to make some amazing memories in Disneyland. Though we didn't plan the wedding to be near here originally, it's amazing how things have fallen into place. Instead of taking everyone to Disney World, I get to add to my amazing list of Disneyland memories with so many friends and family that my head is swimming.
I'm also incredibly excited to share this with all the first timers! From My Sailor's family to Green Guy and Green Gal... It's going to be a blast. The only time I was with a group this large was when I graduated from High School in 1998! Granted, we won't be commando-ing the parks all together. But I suspect it'll be a delightful mixture of smelling the flowers, getting some sun, and partying like a rock star.... Mouse-style.
Some of My Sailor's Family and I in EPCOT, 3/2011
Lil Sis and I on the Matterhorn,11/2009?  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Week Worth Celebrating

 In case you were wondering what My Sailor does, he's an MT on one of these.

Geeks have the coolest jobs.

Of course, I'm sure it's decidedly less cool when it's finally beautiful here in Washington, and he's stuck 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Today is one of those days. My Sailor is standing a 24 hour+ shift (called a Duty Day, which he does several times/week, regardless of weekends). This morning he left around 5:30 am and I probably won't see or hear from him until around 5-6pm tomorrow night. (See what I mean by 24+ hr shift?)

 While he's out there keeping us safe, I get some of my own down time. Sure, I miss him, but it's also nice to enjoy some down time flying solo as well. See- I learned a long time ago that being alone doesn't have to be this scary thing. In a world with instant connections (facebook, texting, etc) we're rarely really ever "alone" with our thoughts. It's almost as if we've lost something in that need to express ourselves or connect instantly. Maybe it's just the philospher in me, but I've found that I do some of my greatest growth when I'm alone. After all, the difference between "being alone" and 'flying solo' is just perspective.

I choose to fly.
Laughing w/ My Sailor and My Dad
That said, I'm happy to report that the amazing weekend has surely bled over into a week that deserves celebrating.

So here's the news!
My Brother bought a house! That's right, we're BOTH homeowners now! Who would have thought we'd become adults?! Certainly not me. Then again, that's a testament to our parents. Like I've said before, my brother and I (both adopted from different bio families) certainly won the parent lottery. We wouldn't be who or what we are today w/o them.

More good news - My Dad is doing amazing. His recent tests look unheard-of amazing, which fills my hear to overflowing every time I think about it. I mean, we all know our parents won't live forever. Both of my parents are now orphans themselves as their parents have all passed away. But I'm glad we're not staring down the barrel of hospice just yet. In fact, we're doing the opposite! His tumor appears to be dying a little, so there is a chance that, a few more rounds of this aggressive Chemo,  some radiation, and he might actually be a canidate to have it removed! We're far from out of the woods yet, but it's such a huge reliefe on my heart to know that he's doing well. Especially when I can't be there to see it all first hand. Looks like Dad will not only get to walk me down the aisle in about TWO WEEKS - but he'll be able to enjoy our visit with them in California. I'm a firm believer in the power of Prayers and Postive thoughts - so please keep them coming. At the moment, I couldn't feel more blessed or be more grateful.
Click here to find out about the race!
Another victory - I did 1/2 an hour of Insanity this week! I know that doesn't sound like much, but I really prefer Zumba. I'm the first person in our house to even attempt it. I won't lie - I'm pretty sore, and I'm not one for work out videos very much anymore. I get bored really easily, but it's a good way for me to fight that "I Can't" Stinkin' Thinkin' that infests my brain when I get bored working out. It's a mental excersize I'll NEED as I face the Run For Your Lives 5K on August 4th! I can smell it's stinky Zombie breath breathing down my neck from here! We're registered to run as "Survivors" through the course, and AFTER we do that, we'll be decked out as Zombies and we'll be chasing down other "Survivors" as Zombies! 

While I'm not seeing much motion on the scale (I seem to be playing w/ the same 3 lbs of late), I am seeing changes in more valuable areas - like how I feel emotionally and physically, how I look, and my attitude is far more confident than when I made excuses for not working out.

Now - to plan an active honeymoon!

Well, we've got a good start! Our first day in CA is going to include Snorkeling in La Jolla w/ the Leopard Sharks! I really want to go Kayaking in the Sea Caves as well that day, but our honeymoon registry has proven to be a woeful failure, so I can't count on gift money to add in excursions. I'm sure we'll do lots of walking around Disneyland pre-wedding as well, but I plan to check out the hotel's work out room as well - just to be on the safe side. No one said celebrating had to lead to blimpiness!

Tonight I'm celebrating a hard day of work, followed by Zumba, by attending a girl's night! Board games, good company, and a little alcohol. Very little in my case. I have a gown 2 weeks away! I'm sure booze will taste a LOT better in that gown than now anyway! Oh wait... we're not having booze at our wedding celebration.... oh well!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

An Amazing, Fabulous, Exhausting, Wonderful Weekend

It's hard to believe it's already Tuesday. This great weekend just flew! Here's a quick run down -

Friday night, we had planned on seeing Dark Knight Rises, but when My Sailor got home, he wasn't feeling up to par (exhaustion kicking in - a constant companion in the military world). So instead, he stayed home and had some much needed rest. I went out to see the opening night of a local production of Dog Sees God.
The show was great. I've heard a lot about it. It won several awards throughout it's off-Broadway runs in 2004 and 2006. Dog Sees God warms the crowd up with a few laughs. It starts out with "CB" writing a letter to his Pen Pal about how his dog got rabies, killed it's little yellow bird friend, and died. Fans of the Peanuts will recognize the characters as they appear in their more troubled teenage years. But it ends with gasps and tears, unwaiveringly depicting the fallout of  probably the most relevant topics to have gained media attention over the past 3-5 years - Teen Sucide and Bullying.

The price of admission? A donation of canned food. As for me, I dropped $5 in the donation box and got more than my money's worth. (And I'm not just saying that because I know the director, set designer, and several of the actor's personally. It was incredibly moving.)

On that topic - I don't think this is limited to the bullying of gay and lesbian students, but rather speaks to anyone who has ever felt their life was so painful that giving it up was the only way out. I could identify with it on a deep level. After all (if you've read by blog for a few years, ye brave, ye few, steadfast followers), by the time I was in 6th Grade I had 3 different plans and the only thing that kept me from carrying them out to completion was that it would make my parents (who had invested so much in me) sad. I couldn't do that to them, not 'I couldn't do end myself.' That's pretty twisted thinking -  right? Thankfully, by the time I was solidly in my teens, my life and circumstances had changed. The hell that was my grade/middle school experience evolved into a broader (bigger) high school experience. In that sea of people, I could escape the boy who taught me what heart break was. No one knew I was the product of a rape (or so I was lead to believe until I was 19, but that's another story) and I could simply avoid the bullies who threw rocks at me and called me name for 9 years (k-8th - same small school, same small minded kids), and the small clique of girls who didn't know what to do with me. There was a place for creative souls that, quite honestly, my church up bringing didn't understand. I was encouraged by being part of Drama Club and taking the stage. Being in showchoirs helped me find my smile again. Oh, High School wasn't a social cake walk either, but I could breathe easier. By the time most kids were just starting to hit the road bumps I'd faced as a grade/middle schooler, I'd decided to start sharing my experience. After all, I figured I must be here for a reason if I was still alive, and I learned

So this show hit me on a very personal level. It's a brave little show I hope more people take the time to share with their families, despite the lanuage, sexual, and drug references.

I think it was in those dark times where I learned that hope really does spring eternal, because as long as we're on this side of dirt, there is a chance that things will get better, no matter what label you're looking to escape. Everyday we're on this side of dirt is a chance to redefine ourselves...

Anyway, I digress.. back to the weekend!

Saturday was delightfully busy. We did some chorse, I hit my Zumba class, and then we met up with some friends of some beer and wine tasting. We scored a delicious bottle of one of the best Malbecs I have every tasted at Rolling Bay Winery - a local winery in Bainbridge Island. It's not available yet, but knowing that we'll be gone when it is, the winemaker was kind enough to sell us a SIGNED, UNLABELED bottle! We can't wait to share it with my California vinaculture friends! (It's REALLY hard not to open it for a taste!)

We also saw Dark Knight Rises, which was really good (though ran a little long at nearly 3 hours).

Sunday, we slept in, did some chores, and relaxed until it was time to get ready to go see RENT! Sean had never seen it before and it was really great to get all dolled up and head into the city! We had a good time at yet another important show. Even though AIDS is no longer the death sentence it was when it first came on the scene, it still is an important show in understanding the fear and devastation in the arts community. The year RENT was written, nearly 49% of the people diagnosed w/ AIDS lived less than a year. Nearly 50,000 deaths in a year from it... Pretty scary stuff! Previous shows have emphasized the relationships rather than the AIDS aspect of the show, but this one was an interesting blend of the contemporary (movie) version and the original script. The energy was fantastic, and aside from a few Mic issues, it was a great show.

We won't be going out again until the wedding now, so it was great to go out with a bang!

I'm really looking forward to next weekend too. We'll be getting LOTS of housework and yard work done in prep for leaving for California on August 7th!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"You'd make a great military wife." - My ex-boyfriend

As I've grown older, people have old me that I'd make a great military wife. The most recent was an ex-boyfriend who never ceased to remind me a few years ago. I hope he's found happiness whereever he is - he certainly had me pegged; at least a little bit.

In my ex-boyfriend's case, my independent spirit sometimes (okay, often) annoyed him. True, it's fairly unusual to find someone who is okay going to movies, plays, events, etc by themselves -especially a woman.  Most of us are raised to travel in packs and feel threatened when alone.

But looking back on my upbringing, I  can see very clearly how I was raised with examples of independent women all around me. From my mom (who raised 2 kids while working full-time and getting a master's degree while her husband traveled the world for business) to my grandmother (who moved in with us when I was 5 and worked most of her life, if not outside the home than inside, doing everything from chores to yard work - I don't think she had a 'lazy' day in her 90+ years of life), it was expected that I'd be a self-made woman. It's an expectation I've lived up.

Even as a kid, I had very few friends and spent lots of time alone, writing in a composition book (I'd written 350 poems by the time I was 16), or singing to myself (memorizing musicals that moved me like Miss Siagon, Jesus Christ Superstar, Phantom of the Opera, etc).  I'd climb a tree and sing at the top of my lungs just to take a vacation from the world.

Though no one is an island - of course. I've had (and needed!) help along the way. Support from friends and family is invaluable in this life. 

But now, as I sit back in my office chair, comfortably settled in my 30's, I see that it's been a priceless skill in my life. Sure, no one loves being lonely. I certainly don't. I'll never "love" it, but it's not always a bad thing. I've done some of my greatest growing alone. In my early 20's, my biggest fear was being alone forever. Now here I am 10 years later, knowing that I can do life on my own just fine. Instead of curing up in a ball and letting lonely take over, I choose to fly solo and find the fun and growth in it.

Ever been to a museum or a movie you've REALLY wanted to see with people who just aren't on the same page as you? Life, to me, is like that. Going alone, in some cases, can help me absorb the most from the experience. Now, that said, there is always joy in sharing special experiences with others too. But it's a different experience all together to see something as a "group" (or more than 1) rather than seeing something solo.

Sure, being a military wife means learning to deal with the unpleasant things in life. For 1/2 the year, no one will be around to squish my spiders.
But if being a "good military wife" means:
*taking joy in little moments because quality is more valuable than quantity
*knowing you have the ability to function on our own
*knowing when to reach out for help and support
*cherishing the 'now'
*enjoying the process of planning only to have all those plans change in a heart beat
*being at peace with what you don't know and having faith that things will turn out for the best,

than my ex was right.

And I'll take that as a compliment.

And if My Sailor should decide not to re-enlist? That's up to him. I'll have an idenity beyond "Navy Wife". I already do.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Short and Sweet Honeymoon update.

A little up date on the honeymoon sitch. My Sailor has a back up plan that we're going to initiate. We started to talk about it, and nearly immediately came to the conclusion that we really do need a trip together. So we're going to enact plan B and make it happen. We're not relying on gifts and we're going to get the good, quality, couple building time together that we need.

Which is a relief!

Whew! On to bigger things and more plans!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Lots of love+ Tiny Budget + Happily Ever After = Honeymoon postponed?

My parents tied the knot in 1971. It makes me laugh to see how, in so many ways, my life with My Sailor mimics their past.


We lived in a TINY apartment in Washington with 1 dog. My parents started their adventure in a TINY apartment in California with 1 dog. 

We are throwing our wedding in August, 2 days before their 41st anniversary (didn't plan it that way - just the way to cards fell).

We are going on a road trip for our honeymoon. So did they. (Different destinations though)

My dad has the hotel portion of our road trip covered (due to lots of reward/loyalty points he isn't using). My parent's honeymooned at a hotel my dad's family owned at the time.

They've been married for nearly 41 years now, so I'm gonna just go out on a limb and say all of this is a good sign.

Unfortunately, I might end up just canceling the road trip if not now, very soon.

Most of our guests have to travel a significant distance to come to the wedding. To our surprise, more people than we expected have opted to come, which is great! We can't wait to see/meet everyone! However, that's also put a hitch in our honeymoon plans.

We have a very limited budget, and we were planning on having enough left over to cover a romantic road trip honeymoon.

That doesn't really look like it's going to be the case anymore. Let's crunch some numbers.

Here's what (realistically) we're looking at budget wise:

Includes the following:

Car rental ($280)
Gas (according to AAA estimate $80)
Hotels (Free; Thank you Dad!)
Cooler and Food ($70 approx budget, including cooler purchase)
Hearst Castle ($50)
Monterey bay Aquarium - ($54, $27/person - Active duty discount, normally $35/person)
Flights home ($250, $99/person plus taxes and fees)
Shuttle rides to and from Sea-Tac  ($30 for 2)

Dog sitter - $100-$240 (depending on how often the roommate opts to handle the responsibility)
Lost Wages - I'll have to take some time unpaid off work to make this happen. $300
Dining out - This includes ZERO dining out.
Disneyland weekend
Traditionally, the wedding is paid for by the Bride's Family and the Honeymoon is paid for by the Grooms, but in this day and age, all of that is out the window. Besides, with travel costs alone, the Grooms family has been unable to contribute monentarily (wedding party attire aside).  So since that's out of the question (and it's just stupid to try to rely on gifts that may or may not come and from the look of our untouched honeymoon registries, it's looking like we won't have to worry about a "gifts" table), we might just want to cancel at this point. Reality is, even the modest trip described above will have to come out of our wedding fund money - and it's 1/3rd of the remianing budget right there.

Part of me wants to slap myself out of it and trust that the money will be there, but (short of David Tutera showing up to rescue us) the pragmatist in me doesn't see that happening, and doesn't want to get us in an even more disappointing situation of having to cancel on the spot. So it's a decision that will have to be made sooner rather than later...

Is postponing an option?


It'll be postponed until probably the Spring of 2013 when My Sailor can get Leave again.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Stage, The Job, and The Power of Believing

Headshot? Yes Please!
Lately I've been working A LOT. I feel like the coding zombie, in desperate need of a headshot.

I used to LOVE that my job allowed me to do the things I loved. Like theater. But, after hanging out with The Set Goddess of KP yesterday, I realized that it's been A YEAR since I took the stage! A YEAR! 365+ days! No matter how much I code, I never feel like I'm contributing the world in the same way that I do when I'm on stage.

Last night, My Sailor and I talked about my employment situation. Basically, the up side of my jobe is "Hey! I work from home!" The down sides are - no raises in the past 2 years or for the foreseeable future (I've asked), and zero incentives for longevity (no extra sick/vacation time, etc). I've been in this feild for 10 years, and while I appreciate the education and experience, we're thinking after the wedding it might be time for a change in gears. A new job might be in the works, or a change of feilds all together. If you're asking, "What happened to the writing?!" It's still going, but so far none of it has materialized into paying gigs, so it's sort of stalled at the moment.

I realized that I might feel professionally claustrophibic because I'm one of those people who needs to give back, and really give from the soul. Which is what writing and theater have given me the chance to do. So after the wedding, I'll be auditioning again (maybe even before, if I can find some) and see what happens. Yes, if something turns south in my Dad's health situation, I'd have to duck out of a show, but in the mean time, I realize I've made myself available for My Sailors unpredictable schedule, and it's resulted in me taking minimal time for me. Which trickles down into a shorter fuse and all that jazz. No, I'm still not looking to make a career out of theater, but it's a necessary part of my life that I can't deny without suffering a void in my life. I'm not sure if some of you, dear brave readers, will ever really truly understand, but it's been part of my life since childhood. Sure, I can take a break from it now and then, but I'm unable to ignore it completely.

One of the the reasons I love My Sailor so much is that he's been unwaiveringly supportive of me following my dreams. He sees how I need to be doing something I feel is valuable.  So in honor of that great support, I'm sharing a few things from a favorite musicals.

 "If I Didn't Believe in you"

Scenerio: Husband who is an author is successful. His wife, Cathy, is struggling to deal with his success while her acting career hasn't seen similiar success. Lyrics of the parts that moved me below.

If I didn't believe in you
We'd never have gotten this far
If I didn't believe in you
And all of the 10,000 women you are
If I didn't think you could do
Anything you ever wanted to
If I wasn't certain that you'd come through somehow
The fact of the matter is... I wouldn't be standing here now.

If I didn't believe in you
We wouldn't be having this fight
If I didn't believe in you
I'd walk out the door and say, "Cathy, you're right"
But I never could let that go
Knowing the things about you I know...

It never took much convincing to make me believe in you.

I don't want you to hurt
I don't want you to sink
But you know what I think
 I think you'll be fine
 Just hang on and you'll see
No one can give you courage
No one can thicken your skin
If I didn't believe in you
Then here's where the travelouge ends
If I didn't believe in you
I couldn't have stood before all of our friends
And said 'this is the life I choose,
This is the thing I can't bare to lose,
Trip us or trap us, but we refuse to fall.'
That's what I thought we agreed on Cathy
If I hadn't believed in you
I wouldn't have loved you at all.

ps - I might have an extra ticket to Rent on the 22nd, for those of you in the area. And yes, they are good seats. If you're interested in filling that possible void, I'll put you on the list when if My Sailor has to work.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Getting out on the right side of bed.

I always get out on the left side of the bed. This morning, waking up to a call from My Sailor on his way home, that was the 'right' side of the bed to get up on.

Today is looking brighter (and I don't just mean that it's sunny - it's been sunny most of the week). Getting out of bed before 9am helped.

Getting up early is a good key for me to keep me active and positive, even if I'm not a 'morning person'. I don't bounce out of bed wondering what the day will bring, but I do roll out of bed and suck every peaceful second I can out of early mornings. I feel SO much more productive when I get up early, and that's a great start!

And it's a HUGE reliefe to wake up already feeling better, because today could have been one of those days where the stupid- irrational thoughts got the better of me. After all, I'm sitting here working and My Sailor came home and dashed off to a Magic Tournament a few hours later. A few days ago, that would have really chapped my hide, but today, it works and I'm happy with it. While he's gone, I'll earn some money, get some chores done, and maybe even head down to run a very special errand in Tukwilla...
Me and my Matron of honor on our last Disneyland girl's trip - Hard to believe that was 2009!
I'm going to be picking up my Matron of Honor's dress today! She lives in a rural area of Norther California and was unable to get to a dress shop, so she took some measurements, picked out her dress, and I called and ordered it. Once I pick it up, it'll go in the mail to her on Monday. I'm super excited! I just wish she were here to enjoy all the fun of it with me - and I'm sure she wishes she were here too! Last I heard, she was moving into a new house with 2 sick kids! Maybe I should throw some kid "get well soon" stuff in that package w/ her dress. Kleenex makes great packing material afterall!

I also have an amazing wedding coordinator out working on finding us a suitable cake within our budget. I hope the WTTM team enjoy CHOCOLATE because that's what our cake is all about!

I'm really looking forward to the trip in August! Just think... this time next month, we'll be snorkeling with the leopard sharks in La Jolla (Click here to be linked to the honeyfund if you want to sponsor that snorkling trip), followed by a trip to Sea World, San Diego -  (which is FREE, thank you Military Discount!)! August 7th is going to be a great day - the first day of a much needed vacation, which will include both family time AND couple time. WAHOO!  I'm still sweating the finances a little, but I know work doesn't have the coverage for me to be gone, so I'm just going to work my tail off this month. Hopefully the OT will off-set the few unpaid days I'll be taking. But the great thing about a road trip honeymoon - we have the car covered, the hotels are free, so all we really HAVE to cover is food (picnic style if we want to go on the cheap) and attractions (lots of which offer military discounts, or are minimal fees since they are things like National Parks).

In the mean time, I've been searching for some really fun Disney themed wedding stuff to decorate with and stay in my budget, as well as things for my bridesmaids to carry. (Yes, I did think about Decking everyone out in "Bride's Entourage" and "Team Groom" shirts, but I'll spare the expense since it's really a shirt you're only going to wear ONCE.)

Most of my girls have their dresses now, which makes me very happy. I know everyone gets a little crazy around weddings, but I'm so glad everyone has been gracious enough not to complain about the expense of traveling. The truth of the matter is, my parents set aside some money for My Sailor and I to use, and we're busting our hump to stay within that $3k budget. Dad's chemo isn't cheap ($900/month!) and at first, I felt really bad about taking ANY money they offered, but I talked to them about it and they are pretty dead set on showing us a good time. I'm find myself more and more grateful for the generosity they've shown me as I get older and realize the true "cost" of things. I'm also incredibly grateful that they showed me the "value" of money is in spending it on things that are worth while. Sure, there are a lot of things going on in my life that I can't change, and that can be depressing and frustrating at times. Opting to go grateful doesn't take away the fact that there will be hard times. But no matter what, there is always something amazing to be grateful for.

My mom would say my gratitude attitude has to do with my Christian upbringing. Ya know, she might very well be right (mom's usually are), but I have to give credit where credit is due too. I wouldn't be who I am today if it weren't for the way I was raised. And that credit belongs to them. And all gratitude leads to Him after all. (If it weren't for my life having some power watching over it, I never would have gotten this far. By today's standards, I should have been aborted - child of a teenager who maintained she was raped for over a decade. I should have believed my doctors and let my ovarian tumor go until it was too late to act on. Instead, I'm here, pretty healthy, and able to share my story with whoever wants to read it. So, for me, I just can't believe my life was just "luck" or "chance". Luck isn't that kind!)
The Cost of creating once-in-a-lifetime memories: Whatever it is, it's worth every penny.

My fellow adoptee and trouble maker - STITCH!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Becoming a Professional Juggler - Cancer Making the Rounds...

Lately, I've been learning the age-old-art of juggling. While I've been married once before, been in a relationship with a single parent, and spend plenty of time flying solo before battening down the hatches with My Sailor (how do ya like those metaphors, eh?) I've never really been in a situation that involves so much juggling. Between trying to stay available for My Sailor's free days, making sure my own needs are met (like staying in good health physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally), and working full time plus hours, it can be really challenging not to just wig out.

 Add planning a destination wedding in under 90 days on top of all of that and the anxiety brought on by serious illness in the family, and I think I've earned a nervous breakdown.
Some days... Stitch and I are too much alike.

But the good news is, I've yet to have one.

Though I'm not so sure that's "good" news. To be entirely honest, lately I've had trouble getting out of bed during the days, and had trouble shutting my brain down to sleep through the night.

And don't get me started on my struggle to concentrate at work. (Though that's nothing new - same job for about 8 years w/ no raise or seniority benifits in sight makes it kinda tough to want to concentrate.)

I've been faithful to my weekly Zumba date and my friend and I have been e-training together (which basically consist of checking in with each other to see what we're doing to work out during any specific day). That's been helping me feel less disconnected lately - even though she's far away.

I'm learning every day how to juggle my needs and his. I NEED to get out more and do things I love. Filling my time away from My Sailor with sleep and work just isn't healthy anymore. When I was doing shows, sure, we had less time together, but our time together was really quality over quantity. Lately, quality time has consisted of me getting off work, us sitting on the couch watching a show for about an hour (or I watch and he sleeps), and then going to bed. Not that we don't have GREAT date nights, but it's sort of anticlimatic and our good friend "romance" has taken a back seat to "sleep" - which is sad. My Sailor has always been my romance, but the Navy just sucks it out of him- and, admittedly, it's hard to plan themed date nights at home and RAORs (Random Acts of Romance) when we have a roommate.  (Though reading that, it sure sounds like an excuse! Maybe I should take some notes from Hitch and "Try Harder, Stupid".)  He'll probably be going into night shifts soon. Blech. At least I can put my insomnia to good use and start working the 11pm-7am shift! Or maybe that's not exactly healthy either... hmmm...

And here we go juggling again.

Today I learned that my uncle (my Dad's brother) also has cancer. His is Prostate cancer has metastistized to his bones. Ugh... I just don't know what to say about it right now. I was never exceptionally close to my uncle, but I love him and it just...well... sucks.

It becomes clearer and clearer to me every day that Cancer is the Plague of our nation.

I could tell you there is a lot going on, but you can probably read. So I guess, all things taken into consideration, there is a good reason for my exhaustion and irritability.

Man - I need that escape to Disney more than ever now. One month from today we'll be landing in San Deigo... Stitch and Angel, Take me away!

Monday, July 2, 2012

"It's not about Understanding... it's about not giving up." - Chris Neilsen, What Dreams May Come

"When I was young, I met this beautiful girl by a lake..." - Chris Neilsen

That's how one of my all time favorite movies starts.

And this morning, I'm discovering a new favorite to add to the list. I'm watching Gifted Hands: the Ben Carson Story ( click here for more info), and I'm reminded of the value of stuborness in this life. It's something most kids learn at a very young age (much to the chagrin of parents everywhere).

This movie reminded me that there is a hopefulness inherent on well placed stubborness.  I have to wonder if those people who stubbornly refuse to give up know how valuable their hope is. 

While there are lots of fun, check-your-brain-at-the-door films out there (and there is nothing wrong with them), I always appreciate those stories that bring inspiration. Who knows? Maybe the story of me found here on this blog will inspire someone.

Stories of doctors who refuse to give up on patients make me wonder, "Where are the Ben Carsons of this day and age?"

They are out there. I'd encourage anyone, dear readers, don't stop looking for that trait until you find it.

My brother told me that he had never seen my dad's spirits as low as when he was told he was given the list of side effects of Chemo. After all, he'd just had one doctor say, "Make it a good 6-11 months."  So what good would Chemo do, right? But he looked into it anyway, opting not to give up, and now we're seeing a measure of success that's encouraging. And Dad's spirits? Well, aside from being bored to death when he goes in for the 8 hours of infusions every 2 weeks, they are pretty high.

  Which reminds me of another friend who has a special needs child suffering from symptoms ranging from hearing difficulties, to epileptic-like seizure attacks. Each diagnosis is more dire than the next. Thinking of myself in her shoes, each day must just flow into the next, as challenging (if not more) than the day before. It must all must seem overwhelming. But she's powering on through it - running marathons (literally) and taking care of herself, because giving up is not in her nature. It's what love does.

This weekend, I actually heard what I'd needed to hear for a while myself. After my doctor in Washington basically left me with "Good Luck" after seeing all my work ups, I went to see my old OBGYN in CA on my visit down there. He gave me a bit more information and a healthy dose of positive focus. While my ability to carry a pregnancy to term is still edged with a haze of doubt, he helped me create a plan that everyone is satisfied with. It doesn't involve fertility drugs (as I'm already in pain nearly daily, he doesn't see the point in making me even more sick) and it does have a back-up plan in case the pain or swelling gets out of control. So everyone knows the score at the moment and we'll see what happens. This weekend, while discussing a friend's impending divorce, it brought up a great conversation about our "deal breakers".  I have some and he has some, and they are pretty much the same things, so we both know the rules we play by. My Sailor said that us not being able to have bio kids is NOT a deal breaker, and that felt amazing to actually hear. Though deep down, I hoped that would be the case. It's an irrational fear that is totally normal for any woman who has wrestled with infertility.  I've always been very forthright with the men in my life about my conditions. After all, it's only fair to ALL involved. Luckily, I've known in advance. It weeds out those who must have a biological family from those who can see family the way I do - bonds of love (where blood is just blood). After all, I don't want to rob anyone of their dream family if I know I may not be capable of empowering that dream. My Sailor knew about my health conditions before all of this, but knowing something and living with something are 2 very different things, and I will admit, it had me just a bit worried. You know, the kind of irrational, brews-in-the-back-of-your-mind-quietly sort of worried.  Hearing him say, unsolicited, that he wouldn't give up on us helped slay that little demon. I didn't even realize I needed to hear it, but his determination not to give up on us boosted me up yesterday.

"It's not about understanding... it's about not giving up." - What Dreams May Come.

It's amazing what is possible in life when quitting simply isn't an option.