Family Tragedy.

Just a few short months ago I was hanging out by a pool, relaxing, and putting off my work stress for the day. It’s been a ridiculous journey and has only gotten worse.  Which is why I haven’t written – as my parents taught me, if I don’t have anything nice to say, it’s best to say nothing.  So I’ve written nothing.

Work stress has been overwhelming.  So much so that my Dr. says that I will need medication if I do not control it.  So I’ve been meditating and medicating to help myself deal with the high level of stress. I do NOT want my adrenals to shut down and require prescription drugs for the rest of my life.

But now a family tragedy has pushed my work stress out of my mind.  My nieces husband was in a work accident and has lost both of his legs.  Yes, his legs are gone.  He is still in intensive care and is headed into his 3rd surgery tomorrow.

I HATE being so far away.  I do not like that I’m not able to be there, to help, to support, to do anything, even if it’s just sitting with my niece at the hospital.  I feel so helpless.. She has so much family around her now she has requested that I come out in 2-3 weeks… which of course I will.

I have set up a gofundme for them here – https://www.gofundme.com/newlegsforjohn – please donate and/or share this URL with others.  Any little bit helps.  The way I figure it, if 1000 people donate $50, AbFab’s family will have enough financial support to get them through the next year without worrying about losing their home.

I’m not sure what else to say. Except that all the whining I’ve done over the last 3 years has me feeling spoiled and ungrateful.  Life does suck sometimes and it will toss a whammy or two my way, but at least I have my limbs.  I now have a new perspective …

I’m sure my new-found perspective will get me writing again.

 

 

 

Pool Time == Vacation Time.

2015-07-19-Coppola Winery Pool DayI love pool time.  Any time that I am able to spend by the pool feels like I am on vacation.

On Sunday Unicorns and Rainbows and I went to the Francis Coppola Pool.  A few key points of our experience:

  1. Glorious.  It was absolutely glorious to be there, in the heat, the sun, the pool….
  2. Service.  Awesome once Lindsay got involved.
  3. Price.  Rediculai.  $35 for a lawn seat, which is a seat on the lawn.  The area is SO SMALL and it does not include a lounge chair.  Another price for the Cabina’s, which is worth it with the wine club discount – $150 for 4 lounge chairs.

Honestly, Linsday saved the day.  We were new to the resort, were not given any guidance. We showed up at 11am to get the best seat in the house.  We found the perfect lounge chairs for us.  A few hours later I asked about the different color bands, the waitress went back and complained, and the whole process to move us to the lawn ensued.  Unicorns did better than I did – I was harsh – “find us a non-reserved lounge chair or give us a refund”. I was NOT going to the lawn area after experiencing the lounge chair.

Anyway, my point is, that just being by a pool, laying in the sun, makes me relax and that feels so good – like I’m on vacation.   And I like to be on vacation.  The picture is of me and my toes, soon after we arrived at the fancy winery pool. The cabinas are in the background.

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig.

2015_06_OnVacationA-Train and I have returned from vacation. It was a fabulous trip, one of the best I’ve ever had in this country.  We went to Terranea Resort and Spa in Rancho Palos Verdes, just a short 45 minutes from LAX.  I would highly recommend it.  It was a fabulous resort – the room was fantastic, it had a great variety of restaurants on-site, and the service was fantastic.  It was sooo relaxing.  It was exactly what I needed.  I was surprised that A-Train treated and was into this vacation because it isn’t his style.  But he was actually fun to hang out with – he reminded me of the A-Train that I met a long time ago.

I took much needed time away from work and computers.  I checked my email only once and that was it.  I happened to get a new phone last week and I was not able to connect it to work email before I left.  It was a blessing.  It was so nice to disconnect for such a long period of time. First time in quite a few years that I stepped away from work.

I’m slowly transitioning back to the work world this week.  I’m not doing an exceptional job at it.  Good thing that tomorrow is Friday!

I have some great plans this weekend, one of which is to sit by a pool, sipping wine and catching up with my girlfriends.  Sort of like an extension of my fabulous vacation.  Living the dream.  🙂

In Good Spirits.

I have no other way to describe my mood.  I had a tough work day today, but there are two things that happened to me today that have put me in good spirits.

First, when I woke up this morning, I felt refreshed.  Refreshed in the way that I’ve not felt in a very long time.  For the first time in a very long time, I didn’t check my calendar to figure out when I could squeeze in a nap during the day. This process has been going on for years. FOR THE FIRST TIME TODAY, I DID NOT do this.  This, my friends, is the beginning of a new habit.  One that I want to keep.  I am so tired of feeling exhausted, and for the first time in a long time I didn’t feel exhausted. It goes me hope that things can/will be different very soon. It has invigorated me, inspired me to make the best effort possible to have more of these kinds of days.

Second, when I got home from work, I had a care package from my nieces waiting for me. I opened it hungerly.  Below are the pictures that I can share. How can you NOT love me? I’m gorgeous (a bit cross-eyed but my good energy/spirit will help overcome that).  At the end of the day, My cats and I are SO LOVED and ADORED.

2015-05-20-How The Kids Perceive Me 2015-05-20-Fluff_Ball

This has me thinking very seriously about moving to Utah.  The loves of my life are in Utah. Why am I not in Utah, soaking up more of this love on a daily/weekly basis?

My niece Mayonaise drew these for me. She is super talented…  her mind is imaginative, playful. She is such a special girl. I love her to the ends fo the earth.  I do have an amazing relationship with my niece AbFab and her daughters.. Here is how it is best described:

only-aunties

Yes, you do see my raising the roof with my hands.   Oh Yeah!  I’ve got nothing in CA except a job that causes me stress and consternations every day.  What if I could leave all this, work in Utah, and be close to the people I care most about?  I’m thinking hard right now… feel free to share your pearls of wisdom.

Think, Think, Think, Think, Think…

what-do-you-want-1

I’m so frustrated with myself for so many reasons.

I’m in Nashville this week, on a business trip. Prior to coming to Nashville, I was in Utah visiting with family and friends.

My birthday was last Friday – I’m officially 44. I spent the weekend with my friends in Park City. They spoiled me with great meals and their fabulous company. C-Licious, one of my best friends, moved to Utah 10 months ago. I miss her desperately. It was so good to see her, but it also made me realize that I do feel really incredibly alone in CA without her. She was the one I visited with most often …we spent a couple of times a week together as well as at least one weekend night. I do have other very close friends near me, but they all have their busy lives and I do not see them often.

Now that I’m in Nashville, I am interacting with folks but I’m not connecting. It is like I am numb all over, and no matter what I do I can’t seem to feel.  Feel anything.  I’ve heard some great stories about people, friends, their families.  Normally I would be totally engaged… moved by the intimacy of sharing experiences.  Not this week – I really like the folks I’ve spent time with, but I am having a difficult time connecting.  That is my thing – I have an ability to connect with most people on just about anything…  I just couldn’t do it this week.

What is wrong with me? I had such aspirations at the beginning of this year. I was so excited, so energized to make changes.  And now the year is almost half over and I’ve done nothing to change the course of my life.  I know I need to, I know I want to, I’ve even written it all out in my 2015 New Years Resolutions. I know the important things take time, but god damn it, I need a bone.  Something, a small sign that this is the right path… that life is going to get better, a light at the end of the tunnel… that things WILL get better soon… I keep thinking that I need some time off, a trip away, a long one where I can regroup and get my bearings back…  but I am not in a financial position to do this.  This is something I will create for myself so this situation never happens again.  But for now, it’s not going to happen.

All I can do is think.  My mind just spins, over and over.  I moving towards my New Years Resolutions, but outside of that, I’m doing nothing.  Because my NYR are taking a while, I feel I’m frozen. I’m standing still, unable to move in any direction. I keep telling myself that I will feel different once I reach my goals – once I lose the extra weight, once I get my finances in order, once I get to where I want to be professionally…. but these things aren’t going to happen if I do not DO SOMETHING.

I am in a sad state.  I know that this is just a phase, and it will pass.  But right now I’m desperate for change. Desperate to get out of this life I’m in – that I wake up to everyday and wish desperately that it was different.  . So much so that I am now seriously considering moving to Utah.  I’ve been looking at real-estate – what I can afford is exactly what I want AND I can afford it.  My biggest fear about moving back is being alone… Salt Lake City isn’t exactly the mecca for singles, especially singles in their mid-forties.  But it’s not like I’ve done that well for myself in CA.  And the good part is a better quality of life, I will be closer to my family, and of course to C-Licious.

Do i stick to my current plan, my New Years Resolutions, or do I just pick up and move on? Moving seems easier, my life would be easier – less financial stress, less job stress, I would be closer to my family and friends.  The thing that hold me back is that I would not be able to get back into the Bay Area (once I sell I can’t purchase again – all prices are out of my range)….. .  the real question is do I really care about having a foothold in the Bay Area?

Well, it’s late in Nashville. There was a party tonight and I couldn’t muster up the energy to go.  One of the first cities that I’ve visited that I didn’t get out and mingle with locals.  Sad really, I was very much looking forward to this trip – to seeing Nashville. I’ve heard so many great things about the city and the people.  Another thing that I didn’t do because i just didn’t have the energy to get out and socialize.

I’m so lame right now.  Lame friend, lame person, dull and unexciting.  I’ve lost my Paula Peppiness… I’ve got to get my groove back.  Any guidance on how to do this would be helpful and appreciated.

Now I need to get to bed so I can catch a plane home.  I get home late on Friday and I’m looking forward to seeing and holding my precious babies.

Sandwiched Between Two People.

sleepover-girls-pillowfightAnd it’s not that bad. The two folks?  My nieces.  Snore like men with heavy drinking habits.  I’m watching Boyhood – which is a great movie – which I picked – and the girls so graciously wanted to watch with me and soon passed out.  Loved the movie, girls.. not so much.

I am absolutely in love with these girls – but they do snore like no tomorrow – and these are the folks I’m sandwiched in-between.  I know, LUCKY ME.

I’m in Utah, with my family, working on a family matter that required my attention.  I have to go back to work in 24 hours….  I’ve so enjoyed my time with family that it’s hard to think about going back to work.  I’m desperate to sell my condo and buy myself a duplex so I can visit more often at a reduced cost… It will happen, it’s only a few years away.

Life has a way of unfolding in a way that you never expected.  My life is no different – I never imagined not having kids…  but it happened that way.  I think about this “life choice” every day.  But when I’m with my nieces I do not –  I can’t imagine a different life.  I love them more than the whole world, I would give up everything if it would guarantee their safety … I can’t imagine loving people more than I love my niece and her babes.

Maybe there is more love in store for  me in my life – but I honestly can’t imagine it.  I am open to it, but when I’m here in Utah, I can’t imagine a better life for me. Sandwiched between my favorite girls on the planet.  Love at it’s finest – snoring and all.

New Year is Here. I’m Ready.

perfect sunrise-j3imageryI’m super excited about the New Year. The last few years have not been good for me.  That’s why I’ve not written – no one needs another sad sob story to read or relate to.  BUT, changes have been underway, and 2015 is going to be a great year.  Which I’m happy to share.  Not the Facebook “I’m great and my family is perfect” kind of post/dialog, but a real-life, grateful that I’m here without all the “god bless” and “thank you god” shit.  God didn’t help me down or up, it was all me.  And I’m taking all the credit for it.  I waited patiently for something to happen and nothing did. When I got sick of waiting, shit happened. I MADE IT HAPPEN.  I did it.  I realized the problem, I fixed it, or at the very least have started pushing the ball in a forward motion.

Anyway, the last couple of years have been horrible.  Every time I felt like the tide was turning in my favor, I was wrong.  Life socked it to me, year over year.  and it didn’t get better for a very long time.  Until 5 months ago.  When I decided to stop waiting, things started changing.  What did I do? I stopped being so passive.  I stopped waiting for:

  • Work to recognize me and I recognized me. I recognized the amount of time I put into a job that I loved but wasn’t paying me back – financially or professionally.
  • My boyfriend to save me.  He has means and he likes to share.  Just so happens that it’s not with me. And that is o.k.  I can fix what I created….  and I’ve started down that path. When I succeed, I’ll know I did it, that it was all me.. (there will be a lot of discussion on what a Parter is in 2015)

And now I’m going to get out of my own way and I’m going to make shit happen.  I felt old, tired, and irrelevant a few months ago.  I’m moving towards feeling younger, revitalized, and more creative…..  I’ll outline my plan in my New Years Resolution post..

Exciting things to come this year.. yeah for me, yeah for 2015!  I hope you all have or feel the same level of excitement and energy.  If not, I get it, believe me I do..

 

Decorators Envy.

mcmansionI’m in Utah.  I had a few customers to visit late this week, and decided to stay the weekend and stay with family.  I’m now staying with AbFab and her two awesome kids Mayonnaise and Shahnaynay.  4 and 6 now, 5 and 7 in very short order. My twin also came up for the evening, and she looks awesome.  I got a few pictures of us together, which is a rarity for us.

Since I’ve last talked about AbFab, she has gotten divorced from the kids’ father and has since remarried to a great guy. I’ll call him RoadRage for now… he is a very nice calm person, RoadRage is a great name for him as its opposite of the personality I’ve seen of him.

Anyway, they now live in a 5800 square foot home.  Its GORGEOUS. I love it.  It’s not the size that I love, it’s the dream of decorating and making a home.  It’s turning each room into a masterpiece, with color, with furniture, with flare. I can see why rich people keep buying new homes even though the ones they already have are Martha Stewart perfect.

On a personal front, I’ve been sick lately – a combo of allergies and a head cold.  I took a long nap today, it was good for me. I feel much better. Tomorrow, Sunday, I’m cooking dinner for the kids and my family…. Its going to be gluten-free (my new diet) but delicious.  I love to cook, it’s nice to cook for others.

O.k. so that’s it.  Not much tonight, but a little bit of something.  Which is what I’d love to see/read from Grey Goose…  hint hint GG, give me something!

Spending A Few Nights In.

2013_03_Sophie_and_ZoeyI FINALLY heard from FreeBird.  I sent her a few emails AND actually left a VM (I hate voicemail and recorded messages in general) for her to no avail.  I was so worried about her!  Now I know that she is not only O.K., but she is fabulous!  Life is changing for her, for the better, and she is going to be moving closer to me… since it’s all about me, how fabulous is this?!?  I will be seeing her soon, possibly next Friday.

I’ve also spent the last few nights in. With myself.  I should have worked both nights, or unpacked, done laundry, cleaned the house, etc., but instead I sautéed some veggies, made some cupcakes, drank a lot of wine, watched a season of Mad Men, and now finishing up a season of Parks And Recreation.  Tonight’s going to be a late night as I can’t procrastinate any longer – I have a lot of status reports due to my management by noon tomorrow.

A few thoughts that have run through my head:

  • I went to lunch today with my colleagues and asked the waitress about the treatment of the farm animals that are now meat on their menu. I asked in a nice way, but yes, I’m still on my non-violence to farm animals kick.  My stomach still turns thinking about what the chicks, pigs, and cows endure.
  • I think I’m over my jet lag.  Got up at 8am this morning and heading to bed soon.
  • Since my new diet (sans meat) and dairy (I hate milk but I love yogurt and cheese),  I’ve not had any stomach issues.

Another thought that is constantly on my mind –  Money and Relationships.  The furniture in my current cottage was purchased at yard sales or on Craigslist. The entire living room cost me $170. Why was I so frugal?  Because I was $3000 dollars away from being homeless.  If I had lost my job in Nov. ’13, I would have been living on C-Licious’ couch.  If I hadn’t rented out my house OR my condo in Utah, I’m sure one, or both of these places would be in foreclosure right now.   I feel super lucky to have survived.  Things have improved for me in the sense that I have more of a cash cushion now (not much, but more) but I still worry sick about it.  All the time. Every minute of every day.  I will be working and all of a sudden I will have a panic attack about it.  I’m done with this level of stress.  This is why my major NYR this year is to get as debt-free as possible.  I plan to pay off all my debt and sell all my non-CA properties so that all I have is my CA home mortgage.  That way if I ever get in a bad place again, I’ll be able to handle it on my current salary.  Once I get rid of the debt, I’m back to my saving ways.

For those of you who don’t know, I purchased and remodeled the house of my dreams. It’s on a big lot, or what is considered a big lot in Northern CA.  I have so many dreams, so many plans….. I  love this house.  BUT I don’t live there. I rent it out. I live in a tiny 1 bedroom cottage at the back of a small cottage.  It’s a converted garage.  Makes me want to convert my garage to a studio/1 bedroom… which I will do after I a) get debt free, and b) have a large cash cushion.

So where is this story going?  ATrain offered to buy me a couch and I took him up on it.  Just as I’m trying to make a break, to get some space from him and our relationship, he offers to make my life a little bit easier, and I wasn’t able to say no.  My current couch needs to be re-upholstered – it needs new cushions and fabric. Its cheaper to re-upholster the current couch than a buy a new couch, but I can afford neither.  ATrain gave me money for a new couch (he doesn’t like the old couch).  I officially ordered the new couch yesterday. It will be here in 3 weeks. It’s exactly what I want –  a couch with chaise in the exact color I want.  I’ve never had exactly what I wanted before… I’m giddy with excitement, but at the same time I’m stressed and overwhelmed by the expectations that I think it will bring.  I do plan to resell all my living room furniture to help pay for the couch, but even if I break even, its pennies on the dollar compared to the cost of my new couch.

O.k. enough procrastination.  I’ve got to get my status reports done. I’ll get it done.  AND I do have a date tomorrow, with my girlfriend Hannah – we are going to a charity event, set up and paid for by ATrain, but still, it’s an opportunity to get dressed up and go out!  I’ll take pictures and share what I can…

Moral of the story – even while sitting at home I can find plenty to do that doesn’t include work or housecleaning. 😉

For the Love Of Animals.

FactoryFarmingPhaseOut

I’m back in the USA. Arrived home, safe and sound, on Thursday afternoon, but just now adjusting back into the US Pacific timezone.  I had a fantastic trip – successful from a work front, and extremely successful on a fun/friend front.

  • I reconnected with a bestie – I was able to hang out with Smiles, one of my best girlfriends ever.  She was my partner in crime may years ago.  She was the reason for one of my greatest trips of all time – my trip to Australia (and to Hamilton Island) in 1996.  I know, a lifetime ago, but at the same time, unforgettable.
  • I connected with a new bestie – Sporty Spice. I was able to get to know her before she started her world travels, but I was lucky enough spend more time with her down under.  I love me some Sporty Spice!  She is so funny, so insightful, creative, interesting.  I can’t wait for more time together!

I know, I know, I’ve already said all of this. But it was a great trip, it felt too short, I would have loved to stay longer, and I look forward to my return trip in April.

What I’ve not shared is my current obsession with health. I know I said in my Yacht Body post that I’m going to go the no-alcohol route, but that was before watching 3 movies on juicing and vegetarianism.

  • Vegucated – great documentary on 3 meat and cheese loving individuals take a 6 week vegan challenge.  Also showed some shocking videos of slaughterhouses and compelling facts about farm animal cruelty.
  • Fat Sick and Nearly Dead – amazing documentary (available on the website, Netfix, and Hulu) on the lifestyle and medical transformation attributed to juicing.
  • Food Matters – medical experts weigh in on the lack of nutrition and natural healing education and support in the medical community as well as the growing dependence on pharmaceutical drugs (which I personally love) and expensive medical treatments.  What I learned is that there are many alternative therapies available, the easiest of which is choosing healthier foods to put in your body – “You are what you eat”.

After watching these documentaries, I truly believe that alcohol is the least of my concerns.  I need to be focused on a plant-based diet… not only for my health but to also save animals from undue torture (be careful, I got about 30 seconds through the video and couldn’t go any further).  I do have an appointment with an allergist to figure out my stomach issues.  I’ve met with my doctor to review my medications (I take sleeping pills, constipation, and pills to help manage my recurring panic attacks).

I can say, that I’m honestly sick to my stomach about the farm animal cruelty right now.  I think that I can get my Yacht Body AND contribute to making a difference in an animal’s life (Alicia Silverstone is a spokes person for Farm Sanctuary in the US and even Aussies have their own sanctuary anyone want to do a volunteer stint with me?). If I could save all the animals I would – they deserve better than to be created solely for the purpose of consumption IMO.  Anyone who knows of a farm that saves animals, please post it to comments.  I’d love to see how many active sanctuaries we can provide links to on this blog.

With my new-found purpose, I am going to focus on living a healthier life and saving the animals, one diet (mine) at a time.  I will post my weight loss, blood pressure, and bad cholesterol test results when I get them.  If I don’t show significant progress by April 1st, then I have 1 more month to cut out alcohol and anything else necessary. I WILL HAVE my Yacht Body by early May…  Please provide any advice, links to education recourses, or vegetarian recipes… I’ll take it.