Friday, November 23, 2012

Ushering in the Christmas season

It was a tough day.

But then, I was trying to put together my Christmas cards online. I was searching for the perfect photo for the last slot on the card and Lucky did THIS.


My good boy...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Turkeys and Thanks

So it's Thanksgiving. And I know I have a LOT for which to be thankful. Texts and phone calls and Facebook messages have been pouring in all day to remind me of the friends and family far away who I miss desperately. This morning I started my day with the Village, as our coffee shop opened from 7-9 to accommodate us (they didn't expressly limit coffee to us, but we like to think we're the reason they opened today). Between Village Thanksgiving last weekend and coffee today, I can't help but feel especially thankful to be part of such an amazing group of friends that feel like family, particularly this time of year. I spoke to my sisters and was reminded of how wonderfully our relationship has grown this year. I am so thankful that's come along so well, and for continuing to know them better as well as my nieces and nephews. I got a text from my godson, who's all married now and headed into the Navy (I still think of him as a toddler, chasing a rabbit around the pine tree in my front yard). I heard from local friends that I adore. And I spent the meal in the community which has helped take such good care of my parents. And then I came home and hung out with the three best pets on the planet. Lucky and Maggie even snuggled up with my at nap time.

Of course I spent a good deal of quality time with my folks today. It's been a rough week for us; my dad fell, of course, and hasn't been feeling very well. Yesterday we were given the opportunity to move him to Assisted Living at the beginning of next month. It's probably greatly overdue for him, and frankly, I'm trying to get my mom in as well, because I think their quality of life would go up so dramatically. My mom especially is resistant, and I think my dad feels a little defeated. This stymies me a little. I think they're mourning the loss of their independence a bit, but I also think they have this idea that it's a nursing home, and it isn't. AL is just that - assistance. And the cold hard fact is that their limitations already exist. Not fun, no one is denying that. But frankly, if I could pay someone to cook me three meals a day and do my laundry and be on demand to meet all my needs, I might be all over that (this place has a SPA, for Pete's sake). And the particularly nice thing is that this AL is in the same building they already live, so my mom can visit all day if she wants. Plus they'll let Maggie visit. It's going to be expensive, but worth every penny, for my dad's comfort as well as my and my mother's peace of mind. Having said all that, it was a very difficult decision to make.

Today was lovely, though. I brought them coffee and breakfast, came home and put the finishing touches on a pie (I was recently reminded of how my grandmother used to make my mom a lemon meringue pie every Thanksgiving from when she was little because she didn't like pumpkin) and went back to share the meal with them. Dad was feeling pretty good today and we all managed to go down to the dining room to enjoy the festivities. It was really delightful. I stayed and visited a while after and then let them rest (and came home and took my own nap).  I'm about to head back over there to help my dad get tucked in for the night.

Post nap, I also started putting up my Christmas decorations today! My tree - which I bought last night - looks lovely. And I got all nostalgic pulling heirloom decorations out. I also found our stockings - I need to get another one for Olivia this year. And this year I have a much nicer mantle on which to hang them.

It's a nice little life I have.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Twenty

1. I'm grateful for a job that I love. It wears me out and is a lot of work, but it's rewarding and ALWAYS interesting.

2. I'm grateful for the lessons my parents have taught me, and how that's shaped who I am in so many ways.

3. I'm grateful for the sweet puppy sleeping next to me right now. She's been with me through an awful lot.

4. I'm grateful for the two crazy cats who wandered into my life and my house. They keep trying to knock everything off my coffee table, my counters, and my nightstand, they run amok at all hours of the night, and they create general havoc. They're hilarious.

5. I'm grateful for the love and support of good friends.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Nineteen (wait, what?)

How is it already the 19th of November? Wow, this month is flying.

1. I am grateful that my work week is half over. How cool is that?

2. I am grateful for really good, homemade pasta sauce that I had for dinner tonight. I made it yesterday in the Crock Pot and divvied it up tonight into little aliquots in tiny tupperware that I then put into the freezer. It was super easy, and it's super good.

3. So, midway through writing this post, my dad fell and bonked his head. So now I'm grateful for fabulous hospice nurses that will drive 40 minutes each way to reassure me that my neuro exam is right, and he looks neurologically intact.

4. I am grateful that I made the decision two and a half years ago to move my family down here. I'm so grateful to have them close to me at times like this.

5. I am grateful that, through strength, resilience, and the grace of God, I am not the hot mess that I'm entitled to be, but am as high functioning as I am.

And I have to get up every three hours and call my dad to check on him, so I? Am getting my tuchas to bed.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Oops.

So I got a little distracted. My sister and niece and great-nephew were in town and we were trying to pack in the family time as much as we could. But I'm back. And so....

1. I'm obviously grateful for family. We had a wonderful visit and it was great to have them here. We covered a lot of ground in a short period of time.

2. I'm grateful for friends who feel like family. Last night was Village Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday of the year. We had so much fun. And have so much to be grateful for, as a group. I'm very blessed to have such a solid group of friends.

3. I'm grateful for fire pits, laundry room raves, and people with whom I can be myself (and more than a little silly).

4. I'm grateful for my gluten free life. I indulged last night - I figured it was the one night of the year I could give in and eat gluten - and boy did I pay for it today.

5. I'm grateful for Sunday night dinners and some quality time with my parents.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Twelve

Right? Is today the 12th?

Anyway.

It's been a long day and I am wiped out. My dad is feeling a little better, so he sent me back to my house to sleep. Which I will do shortly. But before that...

1. I'm grateful for the good moments I got with my dad today.

2. I'm grateful for the good moments with my mom as well.

3. I'm grateful for the amazing UNC Hospice staff and what very good care they're taking of my whole family.

4. I'm grateful for a flexible job that accommodates my needs on short notice.

5. I'm grateful for Valium tonight. Because as much as I'm pleased to be in my own bed, I'm also anxious to not be staying at my parents' tonight.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Life

It's been kind of a rough weekend. I finally got rid of my migraine today, at least.

However, my dad's not been doing so well this weekend. I'm hoping it's just a little setback, but we'll see.

So tonight I'm grateful for family. I'm grateful that I was raised with a strong sense of it. I'm grateful for friends who have my back. I'm grateful for my strength and resilience. And on this Veteran's Day, I'm especially grateful for the men and women who have served to protect my freedom - and those who continue to serve.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Eight

Today I'm grateful for....

1. Friends that feel like family. In fact, friends that feel more like siblings than my actual siblings, even though they're far away and I don't see them very often. 

2. That I'm getting to know my biological siblings. They came into my life late, but not a moment too soon. 

3. My dog. She's currently chasing her tail and cracking me the hell up. 

4. The opportunity to be a doctor, with all its responsibilities and privileges. It's an exhausting job some days, but it's still the best job ever. 

5. My bed. I have this really wonderful, very cozy TempurPedic.  People complain that they're a little warmer than traditional mattresses but I find this to be very soothing. I know it's only 7pm, but I may just go retreat to it right now...

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Hail to the chief....and hold the hail

1. In case you missed it, I'm incredibly grateful that our president gets another term to do even half the things I think him capable of. And now the gloves are off, because there's no next term. Bring it.

2. I'm grateful to have the discerning sense to strive to be what I think (and don't argue with me on this, it's what *I* think) is an actual Christian. I.e., I try to be a good, accepting, compassionate person who is interested in humanity and tries not to repeat her mistakes when she inevitably makes them. Look, none of us have it "right" as far as religion is concerned. We just try our best to get through this life and make the world a little better than we found it. I identify myself as a Christian but it is only one tradition I draw from. And yeah, I learned that open-minded acceptance from Jesus.



3. I am grateful to live in a place where I can freely and without fear of prosecution say things like that. Especially as a woman. 

4. I am grateful to be living in the most connected age ever, where we can all express ourselves equally - even though that sometimes means I get in touch with what analysts would describe as my primitive homicidal rage. 

5. I am grateful that the mistakes of each generation do indeed fade like a radio station if you drive out of range.


I am also so grateful for my warm, dry, powered home tonight. Please, please keep those in the Northeast in your thoughts/prayers/vibes/mojo tonight as they batten down for yet another storm while still in the aftershocks of Sandy. It feels so unfair, and I'm holding hope for my friends up north tonight. 


Obamanos!

I finally peeked. Oh thank God.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Get out the vote (and then hide from it)

Today I am grateful to live in one heck of a great nation. Yes, we have our quirks and our pitfalls, but on the whole we're a caring lot. We're amazingly diverse and - although we still have a long way to go - relatively tolerant. I won't go so far to say we're the best country on Earth, because this is the only one I've lived in, and there are some other nations out there that do pretty well, too. But it's pretty good here, all things considered.

I am extremely grateful that I have the right and privilege of voting for those who govern me, and I sincerely thank the women before me that secured and protected that right.

I am so very grateful for the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect my rights. I don't always agree with the decisions we make with our military forces but I absolutely support those who serve.

I am grateful I got the chance to support the Wounded Warrior project a couple of weeks ago when I worked as a volunteer at the Tough Mudder Carolinas, a half marathon with 25 military-style obstacles which raises money for the WWP. A group of my crazy, badass friends ran the race and so, to support them I signed up to volunteer. I ended up working a lot harder than I'd anticipated, but had a lot of fun, too. It was great to be at the finish line when my friends came across. And WWP is a great charity.

I am also grateful today that I have the ability and sense of self preservation to insulate myself from the election tonight. Yes, that's right, I'm being a big chicken and avoiding anything to do with politics today. I can't handle the anxiety of it! The race is too close, and the way I see it, the outcomes potentially too dramatically different. So I'm off the grid - no Facebook, no CNN.com, no election returns on prime-time TV. I worked late, listened to my satellite radio music stations on the way home, and am now watching reruns of SVU on USA. If all else fails I'll go to the DVR. And tomorrow, I'll wake up, and with any luck...no, I don't want to jinx it. I did my civic duty (I voted last week, actually) and now am placing my faith in my fellow Americans to make good choices. Here's hoping.....!!!

Monday, November 05, 2012

V

Today I am grateful for...

1. The patients that place an inordinate amount of trust in me and let me into the most intimate corners of their lives.

2. Starting my morning with good friends and interesting conversations.

3. Coffee. Or as it were, coffeeeeeeeeee.

4. Mexican food and its heavy reliance on (gluten free) corn masa.

5. My very entertaining cats.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Days 3 and 4

Okay, so I was watching my friends' son last night and passed out on their couch when I'd intended to blog. So let's recap day 3. Which, frankly, was a rough day and I needed to express my gratitude more than ever, because let me tell you, it was hard.

1. I'm grateful for the innocence of a child, and for when they can retain that innocence appropriately long enough.

2. I'm grateful I still have some of that innocence and wonder in me.

3. I'm grateful I have a good shrink and that we've been able to do some hard work lately.

4. I'm grateful for good friends who trust me enough to leave their most precious possession in my care.

5. I'm grateful for the time I had to hang out with my mom this morning.

Day 4...

1. I'm grateful for the comfort of ritual and the flexibility to meet my individual needs.

2. I'm grateful for good friends and the repeated hilarity that comes with them.

3. I'm grateful for Sunday night pizza with the folks.

4. I'm grateful when I can listen to my body.

5. I'm grateful for the strength my body possesses and the moments I can acknowledge its attributes.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Day two

1. Oh, I'm so grateful it's Friday. (I'm pretty sure you'll see that one repeated this month...)

2. I'm grateful for good friends who can make menial errands into an adventure.

3. I'm grateful that this is the last week for a while I work five full days between my three jobs.

4. I'm grateful that, even if I'm still not making real doctor money, I'm making more than I was as a resident.

5. I'm grateful for Whole Foods Strawberry PiƱa Colada Popsicles.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

A month of gratitude

So one of my friends on Facebook reminded me today about the trend over the last couple of years of posting things we have for which to be thankful every day in November - not just one. I'm a big fan of gratitude, and I think we (or at the very least, I) take too many things for granted. So I decided to take it to the blog, where I have a few more characters with which to work. I can't guarantee that I will, of course, but, ya know. 

I have a lot to be thankful for. More than one day can hold. More than a month can hold, honestly. But I forget that sometimes. So I'm going to start off with five things today. 

And as I was typing the above, it also occurred to me that November is NaBloPoMo - National Blog Posting Month. The thing that got me started to begin with, with the daily blogging that I miss so much. So I'm all signed up. Let's get this party started. 

Day 1:

1. I am grateful to be alive. To have my house, my job, my pets, my family all intact after Hurricane Sandy. It was a non-event in North Carolina, fortunately. We lost power for a whopping hour. We got a little rain and a little wind. 

2. I am incredibly grateful that my friends up north also survived the storm. Barb came through with class and cake, fortunately. Buie wasn't so lucky. She lives on the water and ended up having to swim for her life in the middle of the night to the rescue boats. She lost everything material, but she, and her dogs, are safe and sound. Her siblings and their families are also safe. As bad as things are, I can't even imagine the alternative. Prayers, good mojo, positive energies - whatever your thing, send some her way, would you?  

3. I am grateful it's Friday eve. Today was one hell of a long day at work. 

4. I am grateful to have had the unexpected time I've had with my dad. He's still going reasonably strong. We'll take every day we're given. 

5. I am grateful for the love of a good dog - again. I was unexpectedly reminded today of my old boy Wolfie, whom I had to put down ten years ago next month. He was a special, special dog. With some special needs - unbeknownst to me, we think he had metastatic cancer when I got him, and he spent the next twelve months having seizures, needing medicine, and with a horrible bilateral ear infection he couldn't shake. Poor buddy was probably miserable, but never showed it. He was sweet and protective and just the best dog a girl could hope for. And I think he sent me Maggie. Who continues the tradition of being the best dog ever. 

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Mew

Look! We have a kitten!




She's confined to my room right now. She likes me. She's apprehensive of Mags, who's being the best most patient dog on the planet right now, but seems to be warming up to her. She growled at Lucky, but he was super enthusiastic about her. He's stuck outside my door and mewling, begging to come in. Poor muffin. I think she's going to be a nice addition to our no longer so little clan.




Wednesday, September 05, 2012

21st century awesomeness

So I bought an iPad today, as a more portable (and cooler) alternative to replacing my agonal laptop. I had some unexpected back pay come through from New State Hospital, and it seemed like a good investment. I also totally reworked my cell plan, so I feel productive and justified in spending much of the rest of the day playing with my new toy....

I've also been keeping my knee elevated. Did I mention I fucked up my right knee? I fell off a motorcycle ten or so days ago....okay. Fine. I tripped over a motorcycle. I sold the Harley in anticipation of buying my friend's bike. Fortunately, he let me borrow it for a day and discover that it's just enough too tall for me that I can't quite keep it upright when it's not moving and the ground isn't flat. So I came to a stop, it tipped, I set it down, and then I tripped over it, is essentially what happened. And, hoping to avoid the traffic in the next lane (turns out there wasn't any, but I didn't know that), I landed squarely on my knees. Which means I had to torque the right one to get it into place. And I think I tore something. So I have an appointment with the sports med guy on Tuesday to figure out what comes next.

Meanwhile, I found myself bikeless. I did a little poking around and ended up buying a less powerful but lovely (and cheaper) Honda Shadow. She's different from Stella, but delightful. I'm thinking of naming her Athena.




There's a lot of newness going around. I'm still working part time, but my position is evolving. I start another new temp job next week, for a month, and then I will be opening my own private practice in addition to the part time job. That's the plan for now, at least. But you know how things go when I plan them....

Also, we're getting a new friend tomorrow night. Her name is going to be Olivia. She's coming over on a trial basis, but we're hoping she and Lucky Lou get to be besties. She's maybe four months old, and wandered up to my friend's house all starving and pathetic. Her older cat housemate isn't tolerating her, but about two days before I heard about her I had a conversation with Jenny about how maybe what Lou needed was a submissive female kitten as a playmate. And then, poof, my friend told me she had to find a new home for Rosy.




How could I resist that? Really though.

Except her recently given name pairs HORRIBLY with my last name. Horribly. Worse than Lucky. Hence - Olivia.

There's a lot of changes going on around here.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Relief

So I'm at the beach this weekend with some friends. It's been a rough few months, and my friends have all watched me do a pretty terrible job of taking care of myself while trying to take care of everyone around me. So my friend Sarah invited me to their family beach house this weekend, to get me the heck out of town and be nearer to the healing wonderfulness that is, for me, the beach.

Truthfully, we haven't seen much of the actual beach this weekend. We've walked on it a bit and Maggie and I went out to watch the sun rise yesterday while a big storm was rolling out over the water. It was pretty awesome. Mostly what we did was veg, and tell stories, and read, and knit, and drink fruity things. It's been a very lovely weekend.

Mags and I are packed up and ready to leave after breakfast or so, but we've had a really good time. She and her doggy buddy have spent most of the weekend doing exactly the same thing we have:

Monday, August 27, 2012

Weirdness

It's 815 I'm like totally ready for bed. Today was super long. Super busy. And super satisfying. But also super exhausting....

I also am currently bikeless. I sold the Harley on Friday in anticipation of buying my friend's bike, but it turned out to be about an inch too tall for me. So I found a Honda Shadow I like and have a deposit on it. I just need to figure out how to get to it to get it home. Which I'll figure out pretty easily, I think.

I'm so tired. So here's a gratuitous picture of my dog, helping me finish my dinner.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Life According To... Goes Mobile

Look! Blogger finally made an app. So far I'm a little underwhelmed, but, hey. One step at a time.

Things have been hectic here but are finally calming down. Dad's still in hospice but is doing pretty well, all things considered. Mom is still pretty physically limited, but a healthy dose of stubborn helps with that. I'm working part time east of the capital, and will pick up some temp work at student health soon as a temporizing measure until I get my private practice up and running. Terrifying, but fun. I secured office space today!! Hooray! Lucky and Maggie continue to be hilarious. Etc, etc.

So it says I can not only add pictures via my phone, but TAKE them as well. Let's see....here's a gratuitous pet shot. And here's a picture of my view waiting to take Jen home from work. Let's see how this turns out...

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Bahahahaha!

"April? How is it April?" Oh, gosh, I was so innocently idealistic about my blogging intentions back then...

So here we are, June 3, nearly two months later, and I realize that part of the problem is that I feel the need to catalog things here, and if I can't tell you everything that's going on, I ain't gonna tell you nothin'.

I'm over it.

So one thing I will tell you is that I'm overwhelmingly behind in my paperwork at work, which I believe to be a function of (mostly) my insurmountable anxiety. So of course the report I finished yesterday was due last Wednesday, and I have to get it in to the Raleigh office intranet ASAP, and of course that cannot be done remotely, and so I saddled up the iron horse and rode to the Raleigh office, where I had high hopes of spending a quiet Sunday afternoon alone banging out a report that I need to turn in tomorrow but probably should've handed in last week. But of course, the Raleigh office also has THE SLOWEST EFFING COMPUTERS KNOWN TO MAN,  which would not cooperate AT ALL. I finally got the report uploaded, and bugged the heck out. I dropped in on the H-D dealership next door (I discovered this am that an insignificant piece had fallen off my bike, but felt the need to replace it. It was so insignificant they didn't even charge me) and ran past the state farmers market (down the street, only slightly farther. I'm going to miss this office) to replace a plant I killed (they didn't have it; I bought salsa instead), and then headed back home. Fortunately, it was a beautiful day for a ride.

Can I just tell you? I can say with absolute certainty now - I love my motorcycle.

It was entertaining me today on the ride home how the inside of my head alternates between "Why don't I ride everywhere?", "Please don't hit me!!", and "My ass is sore/I need a new seat/I need saddlebags/why doesn't this thing have a clock/I need a new helmet/why can't I wear goggles/why don't I have highway pegs/the first thing I'm going to do when I have more money is buy a new seat, no, saddlebags, no, wait, I should probably get the electrical issue fixed first so I don't have to leave it plugged in all the time/do I need new tires?" etc.

I tried listening to music on the ride today. I have an earbud I use for my GPS. Lots of riders do it (they even make bluetooth helmets) and frankly I don't know that it's any more inappropriate than in a car. It's not like you can hear much of the outside world anyway, between the engine and the wind. But I turned it off about five miles in. I just didn't like it. Which is interesting, given how much I sing inside my helmet. But it just felt weird. Like it was keeping me out of the zen of riding and impeding me letting my headspace dictate what music accompanied.

Stella (the Sportster) just crossed 1000 miles on her odometer on Thursday (she had 52 when I got her). I'm proud of us.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April? How is it April?

And ELEVEN days in, no less.

April has been a very hard month for me for a number of years. Things always seem to get complicated this time of year. On this date in 2005, I was in massive amounts of trouble in my OB/G program and would today get an email from my program director that more or less sealed my fate (I had to leave or they were going to royally fuck me over. You know, even more than they actually did). I left the program on the 14th, headed back to Chicago on Tax Day. I often think of the 14th as Kate's Independence Day, which is, of course, a good thing. But I also imagine that, once the Revolutionary War was over, George Washington did a fair amount of drinking in the dark when in subsequent years the calendar approached July 4. It ended well, but it was an intensely painful time.

And then of course two years ago, I was in Chicago in a hospital making the decision to relocate my parents to NC after my mom's stroke and closely following diagnosis of Stage 4 breast cancer. Which was a wild ride, for all of us, and was, again, really painful for me on a number of levels. Both my parents are doing pretty well at the moment (*knock, knock*) but that doesn't actually make me less anxious.

It's also, as you'll see on the sidebar, National Sexual Abuse and Assault Awareness month. Every year I vow to be more activisty in April, but every year April slides up and taps me on the shoulder and reminds me why I feel so damn uneasy. And the trauma issues have been a very big hot button lately. Again, the result of some very hard work, and it's good progress. But, see above re: George Washington.

Not to mention, there's a number of difficult things going on in my social circle right now, friends who are having rough times, and I ended a brief but complicated and very intense (and metaphorically important) relationship on Monday.

I'm also doing this online class with Barb and Buie. We're in the Uncluttered class, which is less about having too much crap in your house and more about getting unstuck and letting go of more esoteric things. I think it's going to be life changing, honestly. But, again, hard work. And therapy's been intense lately, which I'm hoping these things will kindle each other.

Still. I'm exhausted.

At least I know where today's migraine came from...(oh, wait, no, I think it's actually from the ridiculously labile weather....)

Is it time to go back to bed yet?

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Settling in

Look!!! We have internet in the new place.

LOVE the new house. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Maggie and Lucky seem pretty happy with the place, too. Maggie will be even more excited when they finish the work on the back deck and she can run out into the huge back yard.

We're making some progress here. Kitchen and dining room are unpacked. Front room is getting there. Bedroom is almost there.

It's been a very nice week of vacation and unpacking. Back to work tomorrow, and coverage Saturday morning, but the "break" has been useful.

There's still a lot to do, however.

More in a bit...

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Ah, Wednesday...

Whew. I'm so glad the week is approaching "over", even though it's been a pretty limited work week and I have an overnight shift this weekend. I really need a nap. Which is good, because Maggie and Lucky and I acquired a new mattress today. The old one had reached the stage where it will settle nicely into being a bed that others can sleep on for a night or two and feel fine, but sleeping on it every night has knocked my spine pretty far out of whack. And I don't sleep so well to begin with, right, so...

It's the low end TempurPedic memory foam nonsense. I made the mistake of laying on it in the store and was like....oh....oh dear... I then did a fair amount of financing shenanigans to finagle me not paying very much on it until I have a real paycheck later in the year (and will then just pay it off), but, it'll be a nice change. I also probably should've waited to have it delivered to the new place, but, a, the girl at the store did a lot of wheeling and dealing to get it delivered before, you know, April, and 2, my back hurts.

Maggie apparently approves.


Here's a funny story - so, this morning, I was stripping the linens off the old bed, and it suddenly occurred to me that I now have a cat. A cat who likes to spend a lot of time under my bed and bat things around. So, who knows what he's hidden under the bed, right? Okay, maybe I should check. So I pulled off the mattress, and I lift up the box spring....and there's Lucky. Wide-eyed, all, " Ohmgosh!!" I had no idea he was even in the room. So I was like, "Hey, buddy!" and he was all "AAAAAAH!!" and scampered out of the room. I laughed for a good five minutes. 

In less exciting news today, I was stopping at Starbucks on my way to work, and in the drive thru, within 15-30 seconds of each other, I got two text messages. One was from my mom, saying that one of my "uncles" back in Chicago had a rather unexpected quadruple bypass yesterday, and the second was from a good friend (who's been through hell and back over the last few years) telling me bad news about one of her family members. Seriously. Worst cup of coffee ever (not the coffee itself, that was pretty standard, but you know what I mean). Fortunately, I talked to my cousin shortly thereafter and her dad is doing really well and recovering nicely. And my friend texted me later to say that the situation with her family member was not, in fact, as dire as it seemed initially, and might actually turn out to be okay.

Whew.

Is it time for bed yet?

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Thoughts with a thinker (or two)

So, in a very convoluted fashion (I was watching Star Trek. I thought, "How old IS Leonard Nimoy these days?" I Googled. I Wikipediaed. I clicked. I followed. Etc, etc, so forth, so on) (He'll be 81 next month, by the way) I stumbled across this page tonight.

Leonard Nimoy Photography: Secret Selves

Being the worldly fat girl that I am, I remember his Full Body Project well. So when I wandered onto his personal website, I scrolled through his photography projects and I came across Secret Selves. What a fascinating group of images.

And now I'm deep in contemplation about who is my Alter Ego. I always joke that it's Anxiety Girl, but frankly, I think that's my primary persona. I can't quite decide who is the Superman to my Clark Kent.

Go. Look. Ponder. Tell me about your Secret Self.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

GroundHOG day

Okay, I'm going to get better about blogging. Really I am. Because one of the main purposes it serves for me is chronicling my life, and that comes in really handy when I'm like, wait, when did that happen?

So it's Groundhog Day. Most people are thinking about the weather. I? Make Groundhog Day resolutions. Because it makes just as much sense as making them on New Year's, but you have another month to think about them. So here goes.

1. Blog more. As in, preserve more, speak more, and don't hide from the world when things get anxious or difficult.

2. Think harder and longer about what it is that *I* really want, instead of what's easiest, feeds my masochism best, or works out best for everyone but me. Which leads to,

3. Get a better sense of what it is I want.

4. Weigh less. Metaphorically and literally. Let go of past events and affects that keep me down. And, I'm on Weight Watchers. We'll see about that. I know I'm supposed to have more specific goals, like, "Lose 30 pounds by Tuesday," but, frankly, I don't yet know what my body is willing to let go of and the time frame of when it is willing to do that. I'll encourage, but I'll be less anxious about it.

5. This year should be all about flow and balance, priority and restoration.

6. Bike. More. Like, at least once a week. The Harley and I are both sad that I haven't been out more since I got her. She's very pretty in the driveway, but...

 I'm sure there's more. I don't know that I really thought that hard or consciously over the past month about what I was going to resolve, but, apparently, that's what I'm thinking about. And I've made some progress on each of these this month.

 1? Well, this is a blog post, isn't it?

 2. Last week I worked myself into a frenzy over this idea of creating a new fellowship at Big Blue. Someone else suggested it, and I ran with it. Not my idea, but it seemed like a good one. Plus, it would let me do this! And this! And THIS! Except, no one was really willing to pay for it. No one was really going to lend much support to it. It was upstream all the damn way. And, if it was something I truly believed in, felt like THIS was my calling, thought that it would fill a devastating need, it could totally have been worth the work.

But I? Am tired.

I graduated medical school eight years ago. I've worked really hard. I'm exhausted. I'm tired of trying to stay under the radar. I'm tired of the Big House bureaucracy. I'm tired of working ridiculous hours and still worrying that my rent check will bounce. I'm in 25th grade this year. I need a break.

And that break presented itself to me. I went to my second interview (a site visit, really) on Tuesday for this ACT team (the free-range crazies, like I did second year) that works a rural-ish community about an hour from here, with two days a month of child clinic for kids who already have services and just need meds. It's a reasonable commute. They're cohesive and functional and well-established. They seem to like each other and it felt like a good fit. I'd have support and not have to do all the medicine plus the social work (which I'm so not trained for) plus all the administrative work (which, frankly, I'm not trained for, either). It's good money and nice benefits. It qualifies for some loan repayment. I love ACTT and still get to see kids. Plus, it's 4 ten hour days a week, which admittedly cuts into my coffee time and makes for very long days, but also gives me a fifth day to do a private therapy practice, teach, mentor, or, you know, nap. I was driving home and found myself thinking, why in the world would I want to place myself in the position of being the outlier - again - who constantly has to prove herself and her worth when I could take this really good opportunity and have a great job, be able to pay my bills, and chill the fuck out for a little while? Earth to Kate!! So, by the time I got home I emailed them accepting the job. I'll probably start in August, which gives me a minute to catch my breath between fellowship and the Real World.

Plus, I'm moving in three weeks. To a house I really adore, where we're going to have room to breathe and run and live.

3. I'm working on it. Ref: 2

4. I joined Weight Watchers. I'm following the program. It doesn't suck as much as I was expecting, although it does allow me to continue to make questionable choices (seriously. I ate gummy bears for dinner). I did have a moment of complete and utter neurotic ridiculousness that involved four-variable matrix math to try and figure out the POINTS system. But, well, no one's ever accused me of being sane.

5. Balance. Flow. Priority. Restoration. It's looking good.

6. Jen and I tried to jump the Harley this afternoon (today was SUCH beautiful riding weather!! sniff...), and we got nothin'. Granted, we managed not to make the battery explode, which is good, but I mean nothing. Not even a click. So we rigged up the tender on an extension cord out the window (since I don't actually have outdoor outlets here) and she's all plugged it. I might even ride to work tomorrow. Unless she won't start, I oversleep, or I chicken out. But this weekend for sure.

We're getting somewhere. One day, one step, one breath at a time...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Monday, January 09, 2012

Truth


I saw this today. It cracks me the heck up.

In related news, I'm now on Pinterest. I haven't done anything exciting there, yet, but, you're welcome to follow me on the off chance I do.

Follow Me on Pinterest

Pinterest is an interesting forum. Mostly of crap. Fortunately, I've pared down the people they suggested I follow and am now mostly just following people I actually like, which makes it less craptastic. Also, I think the invitation/waiting list thing is bullshit, so if you need an invite, let me know (especially if I actually know you).

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Movin' on up

Er, actually, we're going west. So, movin' on over.

Maggie and Lucky and I are moving in March.

My friends have this adorable toddler named Finn. He is seriously the cutest thing. He lives in a nice house about a mile from here, with his mom and his dad and his big dog and his little cat. Oh, and - surprise! - soon, a little brother. We are all very excited - particularly me, because they've decided they need a bigger house if there are going to be four of them. And, as it does everywhere, the housing market sucks in NC. So, instead of selling, they're renting it. To me.

It's a great place. My very favorite features are the big spacious kitchen (no more pocket kitchen for me!), the great screened-in back porch, and the giganamous back yard in which Maggie can run and play to her heart's content (we might even get a second dog in a year or so). There's a formal dining room. There's a fireplace. There's a nice space in the kitchen for my chest freezer (it's currently a home-brewed beer tap or something). There's granite countertops. There's room for a guest room again. And there's a really big attic where I can store large quantities of crap.

Not to mention, it's a single-family home (after years of townhouses and common walls, this sounds lovely). There's way better parking than any of the apartments I've lived in. They have great neighbors, several of whom I already know, and it's a nice little neighborhood. The house is set up much better for entertaining than any of the ones I've lived in over the past five years, so I might actually have people over again. And it's about a mile from my current apartment (if that), so it's about two miles from my parents' place. Not too shabby.

HUGE backyard. Maggie's going to lose her puppy mind.

Sadly, though, I can't figure out how we could get a dog door in. Which is fine, because then it would also be a cat door. And when we had one, I always worried that it would be, like, a raccoon door. 

I asked my soon-to-be-landlord if there were any critters I needed to be aware of. After the roaches at the last place and the mice at this one, I figure I can handle whatever (and/or call Orkin), but it would be nice to be warned. He told me that occasionally there were turtles. But, you know, only in the yard. 

I have to buy a lawn mower. And get movers, and pack up my house again. And maybe, since I have to give 60 days notice to my current landlord, I can actually sort and purge a little this time like I'm always threatening to.

Stop laughing. Right this minute. I could sort and purge if I wanted. It might happen.

The actual moving portion of this is going to be stressful. It always is. Hopefully, though, this is a place that can feel like home and we can stay for a good long while.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Love, Peace, and Thursdays

So, I know it isn't Rosh Hashanah. And I know the Jewish new year and the Western new year are different. And I don't really understand all the references. But! I really like this song. I think it sets a good tone for our new year, too. And so, I'm sharing it with you. Shalom, y'all.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Ringing in

So, it's 2012.

Last month (or maybe it was the month before that) I decided I was going to Chicago to ring in the new year with my BFFs, as I have for the past ten-ish years (although last year was by Skype). I was all excited.

Three-ish weeks ago, my dad wasn't feeling so hot. And I had difficulties getting a bit of work coverage. And I was asked to take a moonlighting shift by a friend of mine whose wife was pregnant that would've amounted to a full day of holiday pay. So, then, I wasn't going to Chicago. I was not excited, but, it seemed like the right decision.

And then.....last week, things just seemed to fall into place. The work issue resolved itself. My friend's wife had the baby earlier than anticipated (but still fully incubated) and he felt like he could take the shift after all. My dad was feeling better. And so, literally, Tuesday of last week, I was like, well....then....I'm going to Chicago. You know, tomorrow. So I emailed my boss (who said, "By all means, GO!!!") and then I set off Wednesday.

It was a great trip. One of those trips that will go down in the history of Kateness.

I'd originally planned to be up there for an extended period of time, like, ten days, maybe. I'd see everyone, maybe jaunt up to Michigan to see some people, have some down time, whatever. But then, when the trip was then off and then on again, I figured the revised plan to be a much more sneak-in-the-back-door kind of endeavor. Run in, see my inner circle, run home.

As it was, the trip, although somewhat shorter, turned out to be the former. I made it in Thursday morning (could've made it in a day, but, got a late start and didn't want to pull in at 10:30pm). I went STRAIGHT to the Secretary of State's office (like the DMV) and renewed my expired license plates that NC wouldn't transfer and IL wouldn't renew over the phone. Then I met my Nouno (my actual uncle) at my parents' old house. We checked out a few things, then met my Nouna and younger cousin for lunch. I meandered to Robin's house, where I was staying, and then we had a most-of-the-girls' night out. Fabulous Italian restaurant in my hometown with - get this - gluten free pasta AND flourless chocolate cake (which was the BOMB). Then we sat around and chatted for a good long while. Friday morning I hung out with Robin and Bea and their collective four children, who are awesome. I then went and had lunch with a friend from high school that I hadn't seen...well, since high school ended. Because Claudia hadn't been able to make it to Girls' Night the night before, she got me all to herself on Friday. More gluten free menu awesomeness, coffee, and feverish, looming-deadline style knitting. Saturday morning I had - wait for it - gluten free pancakes (although I later came to believe that something about that meal was contaminated) at this great local/organic type restaurant with my awesome, awesome god daughter and her incredibly fabulous mom, whom I haven't seen since my mom's stroke. After that I discovered a very cool gluten free bakery in downtown Hinsdale (Sweet Ali's) and got cinnamon rolls, pizza, etc for the festivities.

We settled in for our traditional No Pants New Year's Eve, and it was wonderful. Lots of fun, lots of food (I made gluten free pizza, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, AND snickerdoodles!), lots of beer (not for me - I was drinking champagne and coconut rum. Not at the same time). It was fantastic, as always, even if Ali and I were both more or less passed out on the couch at 11:45. Sunday morning I got a very hilarious "happy new year!" call from Misty, and then Claud and I went to a party hosted by yet another high school friend I haven't seen since...well, no, I think I saw her at the 10 year reunion, which was a mere *mumble* years ago. It was a bona fide hoot. She has acquired some hilarious friends since HS. Sunday night we ate leftovers and dissected the weekend so far, played some Wii, and were homebodies. Which, was lovely. Monday I packed up at Robin and Brad's, and met Claudia in the city for Irish pub food (burger on a GF bun and mashed potatoes) and hot chocolate. We chatted for a long while and then I headed over to my (not-actually-related) aunt and uncle's for dinner. Both their daughters and their accompanying sons-in-law were there, which was fantastic. I'm not sure I've seen my one cousin since her wedding in India (to which I sadly did not make it). We had jambalaya and raspberry aperitif and a very, very good time. My aunt and uncle just moved back to Chicago from NC and so I was the very first one to stay in their guest room in their new, fancy, gut rehab on the north side. The next morning my aunt made me eggs and I headed down to Ohio, where I stayed with my cousins for the evening. Again, another lovely home-cooked meal and very good company. Plus, I got to meet their horse and play NCIS on the Wii, etc, etc. My cousin made me one of his very special feta omelets this morning and then I stopped by my favorite non-local (to me) local coffee shop and headed east.

A few other things happened, too. I picked up a number of good audiobooks, all of which I recommend. Bossypants, by Tina Fey, I kind of recommend as an audiobook, since she reads it, which is awesome. The other two, Switch by Chip and Dan Heath, and Girl in Translation  by Jean Kwok, are probably just as good if not better in written form. I also discovered that Cracker Barrel carries Bone Suckin' Salsa (best ever) and how much I like Snikiddy's cheese puffs.

Sadly, though, during the week, two of my mom's friends died (one she hadn't seen in years and one from here who was at death's door for some time) and Buie's middle dog died (Maggie is sad, too. She loved Rusty).

Maggie and Lucky are quite glad I'm home. Me too. I'm exhausted. But that? Was fantastic. Welcome, 2012!!