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Monday, December 30, 2013

Hello from Chicago!

The view from our hotel the first night we arrived
As I am writing this I am sitting on the 20th floor of the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, Illinois.  The sun has just started to break through the tall buildings and I can hear people stirring down the hall.  But the sound that is most impressive is the constant howl outside; this truly is the windy city.  The day after Christmas hubs and I jumped on a train and started this adventure.  It has been a lovely trip so far.  We visited Millennium Park and took pictures of the Bean (this was the biggest thing on my list!).  We went to the Chicago Art Institute and viewed priceless artifacts and works of art.  We visited the Lincoln Park Zoo and saw some very interesting animals.  We have ventured off of the beaten path, the places where most tourists do not go, and hunted down some rare book shops.  This has been a very nice get away for hubs and I.  The food has been amazing; every meal seems to cost more than home but wow, above our expectations each time.

This trip has required a lot of walking.  Oh I’m sorry, I don’t think I emphasized that enough, let me try again.  A LOT OF WALKING.  My short little stubby legs have been scurrying along these streets as fast as they can.  I am so horribly out of shape at the moment, I think the last time I tried to go for a walk was back in August.  But we have no car here and do not want one.  We are determined to not only enjoy Chicago, but to also make this the starting point of a new lifestyle.  I know I know I know, I've said this
before.  Yeah, I do that a lot.  Always have the best intentions of getting out there and making a real change, but the next day comes and I lose the drive.  Well it can’t happen here, if we want to see anything in this town we have to get out and get moving.

We both agree that when we get home we will continue to push each other to get into better shape and eat better.  Not because of vanity, but because we want a long and healthy life together.  The hubs’s heart condition is a very serious one, and we have gotten off track.  We NEED to fix this.  And while nowhere near as serious as hubs, my joints are so sore, especially my knees.  I know it’s the weight; arthritis is something that runs through my family.  If I don’t fix this now, I may not be able to in the future.

So that’s it.  We are going to do this.  We have to do this.  God I hope we do this.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

How I Learned to Let Go and Stop Worrying

I am a busy girl.  (I know, I know, you’re tired of hearing me and other people you know constantly complain about being busy.  But bear with me for a minute because we are going to work through it and get to the good stuff.)

Ok, where was I?  Ah yes, the busy. 

This is a pretty accurate representation of my calendar
I am a busy girl.  Over the past year I have added so many responsibilities to my life that it got a bit out-of-hand.  Working full-time, working over-time, opening a small bookshop with Wunder Hubs, parenting the Kiddo, joining with other Downtown Topeka businesses to form an advertising coop, contributing to a local magazine, school full-time, and a seemingly constant line of family members in the hospital.  It got to the point where I had to give up hours of sleep to ensure I would get everything done on time.  And I did, but the cost I paid was my own health and stress level. 

Then along came my surgery.  Was I nervous?  Maybe, but in the weeks leading up to it I was more focused on the things I needed to take care of before going under.  Right down to the night before I was working on this and that.  The morning of the surgery I got up, rode in the car with my Hubs, and went into the hospital.  The usual things happened next, change into the ever so fashionable gown, put on a rockin’ hair net thing, score some of the most coveted hospital socks, get an IV put in and it’s time to go.  Then came the moment I had been waiting for, the one I had been dreaming about, fast and deep sleep.  The wave came over me so quickly, it was like tingly magic and I welcomed it. 
Aww yiss... Mutha.  F*#&in' Rest
I spent one night in the hospital with my Wunder Hubs never leaving my side.  Came home and slept for two days on the couch.  Grandma Nelda and my Aunts regularly checked in on me and made sure I was doing ok.  Then for the next two weeks I mostly lay on my couch, watched Netflix, and played Minecraft.  It was great!  Our kitten curled up with me and the corgi was always close by.  I watched the fall rains come down, watched the sun come up, and enjoyed time with my family.  The whole time I did not worry about a single project, no deadlines, even my instructor let me take it easy in school for a couple of weeks.  I was in this wonderful limbo of relaxation and Maury Povich at 2:00pm.  (You ARE the father!  You are NOT the father! WOOOO *Backflips*)

Daytime Television at it's finest
The first day I started to ease back into things I was a mess.  I had a client who needed graphic design and social media work pronto, the coop needed the same and quickly, the bookshop needed help with some things, and school hit in full swing.  I was stressed out, so much so that I could not focus on my work; I kept fidgeting and going back and forth from one project to another.  I stressed from the time I opened my email until the time I finished with the last project around 11:00pm that night. 

I know!  Cloning is a swell idea!
This was a huge wakeup call for me.  Why was I getting so worked up about all of this?  Yes I have a lot to work on, but I am capable of doing each of these jobs.  All I am gaining by stressing out so much over every little thing is misery.  I am miserable, my family is miserable, and I am certain even my pets are unhappy with this cycle of drama.  I decided the next day that I am going to do my best to just calm down, get the work done and go on with my day.  It’s been a month since I made that decision and life is so much easier.  I am not constantly watching for the sky to fall, instead I am enjoying the ride.  You see I am involved with some of the coolest things!  And a year ago I would have never imagined that I would be doing the work I am doing now.  It’s just great and I am so appreciative to be a part of all of it.

For the curious, here are some of the things I am a part of:

Oddfellow’s Fine Books and Collectables – Hubs and my little bookshop!  We have been featured in a couple of articles here and here.  And our online catalogue can be found here.
Get Downtown Topeka – A collaboration of business owners in Downtown Topeka, we share sales, news and more!
Downtown Topeka Inc. – We are members of DTI and I have been working with them on the Norman the Nutcracker campaign.  It has been a blast!
Berberich Trahan & Co. – I have moved from receptionist to marketing consultant with BT&Co. in the last year.  I work with various clients to help them utilize online marketing as well as create promotional materials for the firm.  Basically I have the best job in the world!
Seveneightfive Magazine – One of the coolest publications around!  I get to write for the magazine from time-to-time as well as some fun graphic work.  Currently I am working on the cover for the next issue, so exciting!
The Topeka History Geeks – My pet project that has grown into a local movement.  It is a group on Facebook where people share and discuss local historical topics.  Yesterday the group reached 4,000 members!

Just look at that handsome kid!
Parent to the best kid in the world – Lastly, I want to mention how proud I am of my kiddo.  While I have been going on about things in my life, he has been dealing with his own struggles and successes.  His dad moved to California over a year ago and that was pretty tuff on him.  But he has bounced back and is happier than ever.  He still talks to his dad online and plays video games with him once a week.  Wunder Hubs and Kiddo have been bonding more than ever and are quickly becoming a team that likes to gang up on Mom (Meh, I’m ok with it).  He has been learning guitar since he was around five or six years old.  Now he has taken up cello and is killing it.  The boy has the most outstanding talent for music and he makes me so proud every time I hear him practice.  He has been so patient while I work at home on weekends, every time I apologize to him for taking so long he says “MOM, Stop worrying!  I’m FINE”.  So kiddo, I have taken your advice, I have stopped worrying.  And you know what?  I’m fine too. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

In Germany, “Hospital” is called “Krankenhaus”

This way to the par-tay!
2013 has been the year of the hospital.  I have learned many of the back hallway short cuts, where the best vending machines are located, how to find a nurse when none is to be found. I also know which floors have the best waiting rooms (ICU waiting room is amazing, I hope you never see it). 

Here’s an update on how everyone is doing…….

Aunt Sondra – No one fights like this lady, seriously, no one.  From January to September of this year she has been fighting.  She fought cancer, fought internal bleeding, fought as her body kept trying to shut down, she fought through it all.  More than once we were told that she was not going to make it.  There were many nights where we rushed up to the hospital and stayed by her side.  She gave me the best birthday gift ever back in February; I got the call and rushed to the hospital.  She was doing badly, it wasn't looking good.  My cousin, Dennis, and I both stayed the night along with my Aunt Susie who rarely left Sondra’s side.  We all watched over her and did all that we could to make her comfortable.  She pulled through the night, happy birthday to me!  She’s been home and out of the hospital for around five weeks.  She’s feeling better, doing her physical therapy, and working hard at getting back to normal.  I am happy to report that my Aunt’s are not home right now, they are on a very well deserved vacation.  After the year they have been through, the ups and downs……..  I hope that every moment of this trip is memorable and a joy.   I love those ladies so much!  

Oh!  Did I forget to tell you????  WE BOUGHT A BOOKSTORE! 
Wunder Hubs – Brandon has been working very hard at improving his lifestyle.  We do not keep salt in the apartment ever.  We try to eat more veggies and rarely have red meat.  We do eat out from time to time but not like we did before.   Every morning after he drops the kiddo off at school, Brandon takes a walk around Downtown Topeka before opening the shop.   Brandon’s dream has always been to own and operate a little hobby shop, and earlier this year that dream became a reality!  

You can see the website for Oddfellow’s Fine Books and Collectibles here.  
And you can follow us on Facebook here.  
And on Twitter @oddfellowsbooks
And if you want to get extra crazy….  You can follow our shop blog here.  

 But back to Brandon, he’s doing very well, it’s not easy living the healthy lifestyle but he’s trying. 

Aren't ovaries just adorable?!  You can buy this ovary plush here
Me – So Sondra was in the hospital for months, Hubs was in for weeks, well you know, I couldn't let them have all the fun!  Later this month I am going to have a hysterectomy.  I will likely be in the hospital for an overnight stay then home for at least two weeks rest.  I’m not scared, I’m relieved.  I have been dealing with Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) for many years.  It’s time to be free of it.

So there you have it, the year of the hospital.  Only three months left in the year, it should be interesting.  I do not think I will be reporting any big weight loss successes by the end of the year.  But you never know. 

So here’s some comic relief, my favorite blogger, Allie Brosh, is putting out a new book!  Go to amazon and pre order it NOW

Check out "Hyperbole and a Half"

Monday, May 13, 2013


Artist Chad Hagen captures it nicely
I feel hollow.  I have no other way that I can think to describe it. This is the point where I do not cry any more, I just sit, stare and breathe because that is all that I can do.  I have fidgeted around this place enough that there is nothing left to pick up, nothing left to clean.  I cannot do any more; all I can do is sit here so I am going to write you. 

Once more I am blogging to from a hospital room.  This time it is St. Francis hospital and it is my husband who is fighting.  I sit here and watch him sleep and I think about what brought us to this.  Simply put, it is addiction.  We are addicted to a lifestyle that is deplorable.  We are self destructing and what is even more sickening is we are bringing a child down with us.  It has to stop and it has to stop NOW.  My husband is 32 years old and on Saturday he experienced a cardiac event while driving to work.  If he had not decided to go to the emergency room, if he had chosen to push on through and open the book store, if he had not had the good sense to listen to his body…… he would have had a heart attack, and he would have died.  This is happening to us at 32.  They put three stints in his heart today and now we face the future.  There is no more fixing this later.  We either fix it now or there is no future.  So this is it.  No more hoping we are going to get better, either we will or we are gone.  I have surpassed my original weight to reach an embarrassing 270 pounds.  Hubby is sitting somewhere much higher than that.  I can blame it on stress, that’s an easy out.  But no matter how much stress I am under, I still have a choice I can make every time I decide to feed my body.  We are not giving our bodies nutrition; we are stuffing ourselves with poison disguised as comfort food.  It makes us feel better, it cheers us up.  The food has become this glorious release, in a sense, a freedom from the things that bring us down in life.  Yet, when things are going well, we celebrate by eating.  I have come to believe there is no rhyme or reason to it.  There is no magical answer to why we do this or why it is so very hard to stop.  The only answer I have at the moment is that we must stop, and that is enough for me. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Blogger

Hey HEY hey everyone!  I’m still alive and I am sorry for not blogging more.  The best way for me to explain is to fill you in on what’s been going on since my last post.

I have never been so busy in all my life.  I thought it was hard to be a mom, work full time and go to school online.  But now I have added so much more.  I work closely with two historical societies helping with online marketing and membership.  I help spread the online networks of local small businesses every chance I get.  I still maintain my facebook group Topeka History Geeks,  I am deep into the Masters program now and it requires a lot more work than ever before.  And since October I have been asked to join the staff of the awesome Topeka based magazine seveneightfive.  So yeah, I’m busy pretty much all the time.   I like everything I am involved in, but sometimes I worry I have taken on too much.  There have been some instances where I have to choose between meeting a deadline and getting enough sleep.  But so far I have been able to manage it all.  I am working on finding a way to get things a bit more organized.  We shall see how that goes.

Sondra and I showing you that we are a force to be reckoned with

 Right now I am sitting in a hospital room in Stormont-Vail.  It’s not me who is hooked up to all those tubes and wires; it’s my Aunt Sondra.  You see her Lymphoma has returned for the third time.  At the moment she is resting soundly but the two weeks leading up to today has been a whirl wind of pain and agony for her.  Sondra is a fighter and her pain tolerance is the highest of anyone I have ever seen.  To see her brought to tears by the tumor resting on her spine is one of the most unsettling things to witness.  She maintains her high spirits and keeps on fighting.  I love this lady like a mother and she has to get better.  We all need her too much. 

So now diet.  I weighed myself at the beginning of the year, 255.  Can you believe I did that?  Last year I started at 265, got all the way down to 226.  Now here I am at just ten pounds below my starting weight.  What a freaking catastrophe I am.  And already I am failing.  I started the whole New Year’s resolution and made it one week before I failed again.  I think it is stress and depression that is motivating me to give in to my food desires.  I know I am better than this, but right now I lack the desire or the drive to improve.  I have to get back with it.

I am not going to be so bold as to promise you I am getting back on track, because obviously that isn’t working.  So now I have to figure out what works for me.  What will help me change my life for good?  As soon as I figure that out I will let you know my friends.   I will shout it from the mountain tops.
The suspense is killing me