What If?

What if you stopped procrastinating or focusing on things that no longer serve you? A year ago, I was unhappy, unhealthy, and stuck in a job that no longer served me. I was scared to walk away afraid to walk away despite my doctor’s orders. Honestly, I knew in my heart that she was right. My job was killing me! Naturally, my response to here was that unless she was going to pay my bills, I was going to stay in my current role. Flash forward a month and they laid me off. It was the liberation I longed for. Yes, I miss my friends and colleagues, but the role no longer suited me. Now here we are a year later and the sky has not fallen. Well, it hasn’t fallen due to me being laid off last year.

Since I left my role, I have spent a lot of time with my family. In fact, I will always remember the last 12 months with a mixture of happiness, contentment, and sadness. I say sadness because my son has left the nest permanently even though he’s where he belongs. Clearly, it’s a bittersweet event in a parent’s life. If I had been working, I would have missed out on some great times with my eldest child. In the fall, we took an amazing trip back to Minnesota for him to visit all of our family. Certainly, this trip was one of the best trips of my life. What if I was still working and unable to take him to Minnesota? I can’t even imagine the weight of regret that I would currently be carrying.

I guess the theme of this blog is stopping asking what if and start asking why not. Honestly, I stayed in a horribly unhealthy role because of fear. I was afraid that if I left, the sky would fall. And then, by god’s providence, I was laid-off. Thankfully, they gave me an escape out of that role. Fortunately, the sky did not fall. In fact, I found myself starting to feel normal, and dare I say healthy again. If I had stayed and continue to ask what if, I would have lost everything. Sure I may have lost in the short term, but there can be no doubt in the long term I won. The point is don’t be afraid to “take a leap” especially if you’re in a situation that’s damaging your overall health.

Yesterday I posted a picture of myself doing a headstand during Saturday’s vinyasa class. When I restarted my yoga practice eight months ago, I never imagined I would come so far so soon. Initially, I restarted my practice as a means of reducing my autoimmune symptoms. Fortunately, I found an incredible studio, Open Heart Yoga Studio, that has the perfect lineup of classes and teachers. Over the months, I’ve not only gotten stronger, but my pain is gone. Unfortunately, thyroid issues can lead to frozen shoulders as well as bone and muscle loss. Throughout my entire journey, my teachers have guided me through my objectives and as a consequence, I’ve gotten really strong. As my dear friend and teacher Monica always says, “small steps lead to big changes.” She couldn’t be more right, my friends! If you’re looking for a change in your life, know that it doesn’t need to start with a giant leap, but perhaps with a small step in the direction of your dreams.

Here’s a list of our day’s activities:

*The Life of Charlotte Bronte by Elizabeth Gaskells

*Slept through my alarm for over 2 hours. I guess my body needed the rest!

*Gentle Yoga for a Healthy Back with Monica from Open Heart Yoga Studio

*Binge watched The Office (again) with the Mayor and our puppies. I love Michael Scott!

*Lamented my lack of craft skills as I folded the quilt my grandma made us.

*Morning and afternoon meditation

*I cooked seared chicken with peach salsa and red rice. This was another great Blue Apron meal.

*Took obligatory picture of Anakin!

*Obedience training Anakin

*Week 6 BBG 2.0 day 2 run Forest run!!!

*Took Anakin, Maya and Athena out for a walk

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Stormy Weather

As expected today brought stormy weather. Albeit, Anakin and I got in a short walk early this morning.  I love running outside, but decided to bring my run inside today. The weather was still okay at run time, but it looked menacing. Moreover, the weather in Florida has a reputation for changing on the dime. So I went to my room turned on Curb Your Enthusiasm, which is my go to show when I run. My decision to run inside was soon vindicated as a severe weather alert popped across my phone during warmup.  This was my first time running on my treadmill since last summer because I prefer running outside.  Fortunately, today’s treadmill run went well and was productive.   Consequently, I logged 2.7 temperature controlled miles with some Larry David humor.

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Red Bellied Woodpecker

Fortunately, I coordinated my run time so I could transition right into my yoga class.  Naturally,  I built in enough time to complete a truncated version of my stretch routine.  Those magic little therapy balls are the best at keeping my hamstrings healthy.  After using the therapy balls, I use foam roller on my glutes, hips, IT band, quads, and shin area.  Post foam roller, I do a several stretches for my legs, hips and glutes.  Thankfully, this post run routine has help keep my legs and hips healthy.

Today’s yoga’s class was absolutely amazing.  I don’t know how these teachers know exactly what my body needs, but some how they do.   After Christine’s class yesterday, my back is feeling so much better and open.  Jenn’s class built on the work we did in Christine’s yesterday, which is fantastic.  Each and every day that I hit my mat, I see and feel the improvements in my practice.  For example, my breath work actually exists now.  Whereas before it wasn’t coming so easy for me.  Another example is no longer needing a block for my hands on the hamstring stretch.  I am by no means a yoga superstar, but I am a yogi improving her practice.  

Post yoga, I sat with the Mayor to go through his daily school work to make sure nothing was missed.   He has not been as diligent as I thought in completing his assignments.  For example, today he had to do an optical illusion drawing based on a Youtube video.  His first rendering was nothing more than an abstract black and white circle.    Clearly, we fixed that right away.  Subsequently, I’ve taken on a micro manager role going through all of his assignments.  Thankfully, his teachers are flexible and are allowing him to complete the work he missed and re-do the work he turned in haphazardly.  As a result, he is almost completely caught up in math extra credit included less one lone assignment.  Tomorrow we’ll do the same exerise.  As for Goalielocks, he’s still living in a third shift world, but is getting his work turned in.

Today was very productive on my end.  I made a few key decisions and took the first steps towards achieving my goals.  First, I will be starting yoga teacher training with my friend and teacher Monica.  I am super excited to be pursuing this path.  Next I signed up for two computer science classes: introduction to networking and introduction to computer science.  After my pep talk from Jake, I thought it makes a lot of sense to pursue an IT education.   Fortunately, I am technologically savvy and will have a great tutor if I need any help.  This will also help me bring the blog to the next level, which is super exciting.  Truly, I am very great grateful for the cheerleaders in my life.

Finally, last night I finished Willa Cather’s My Antonia last night.  After spending the last few months in the British Isles courtesy of my favorite authors, the American Prairie was a nice change of scenery.  In fact, I really enjoyed how the book showcased the experience of immigrants to the US from Norway in the late 1800s.  This coincides with the time many of family members immigrated to the US.  While my relatives did not end up in a Norwegian Settlement in Nebraska, like in the book, I imagine their experience in the Norwegian Settlement in Minnesota was not much different.  After seeing the family homes in Norway and the cities from which they emigrated from, this gave me a deep and unexpected connection and appreciate for the book.  As for tonight, I’ll be back in the British Isles with Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.

Here’s a list of our day’s activities:

*Reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

*Gentle Yoga for a Healthy Back with Jennifer from Open Heart Yoga Studio

*Registered for two IT courses

*Watched Trailer Park Boys

*Morning and afternoon meditation

*Week 10 BBG day 4 run Forest run

*Virtual school torture with Goalielocks and the Mayor

*Obedience training Anakin courtesy day Goalielocks

*Took Anakin, Maya and Athena on a walk.  Sadly, the weather hindered our ability to go for walks today.

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Feeling Accomplished

I gotta be honest, but I’m feeling accomplished today. This is a pretty accomplishment given that I barely slept last night. Clearly, my thyroid is a bit off given the insomnia inexperience last night. My morning started off like any other opening with Dunkin’ and a morning meditation. Honestly, I’m surprised I didn’t fall back asleep during the meditation.

Afterwards, I went to wake up Goalielocks and get the Mayor started on their school work. No matter how many times I opened Goalielocks’ door and his eyes were closed, his phone off and his laptop closed, he insisted he had been up the whole time. In fact, I didn’t see him downstairs until dinner time. Oh yeah, the post dinner homework check is going to be fun!
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Today was day 3 of week 10 of the BBG workout. Usually I walk to warmup, but today I decided to dance. As for the workout, it was tough. Just like Monday, Kayla Itsines brought the torture devices out. Albeit it wasn’t burpees with pushups and tuck jumps today. Thank God. Instead today’s sorcery included spider man pushups and lay down burpees. Needless to say my arms and shoulders were super sore after the workout.

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My cool down today was a nice walk around the block with the puppies. While the weather was a bit warmer today, it was still pleasant today. Unfortunately, it’s supposed to be a lot hotter and more humid tomorrow. The change in weather should make for an interesting and likely difficult run. Although it is possible that it may be raining tomorrow morning, which means I’d have to run inside or run Friday.

The rest of my afternoon was devoted to productivity. Naturally, the afternoon started with my second cup of coffee for the day. Afterwards, I enjoyed a nice conversation with my folks while drinking my third cup of coffee on the day. Once my coffee and conversation had finished, I headed to my room to complete my afternoon meditation. After some debate, I decided to give the Calm app membership, which is what I used for the meditation.
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Finally, the center point of my afternoon was finishing school work. I swore I was done with school, but FAU was offering a free certificate in Hospitality and Tourism Management Certificate through Executive Education in the School of Business. While, I’m not sure I want to work in that industry, there are a lot of opportunities in South Florida within the trade. Excitingly, I finished the certificate and received my credential today. One more thing I can check off my to do list.
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I’m also on a waitlist for a certificate through Cornell, but have no idea when that will start. Basically, I’m trying to take every opportunity I can to better myself during the pandemic. However, I’m staying balanced. After I finished my certificate, I ate the rest of the jelly beans and binge watched Trailer Park Boys.  I love the Trailer Park Boys!  See it is possible to be both awesome and moving forward and a hot mess at the same time. Frankly, it’s called balance. Otherwise, you’d just be calling my an overachiever.

Naturally, it wouldn’t be Wednesday if I didn’t start my evening with a wonderful yoga class while the Hubby fires up the grill. On tonight’s menu was filet mignon with bacon, cheese burgers, grilled gator tots and corn. Obviously, this Wednesday night routine has quickly become one of my favorite parts of the pandemic. Tonight’s class was all about the upper back. Honestly, I swear she’s psychic because my upper back has been a hot mess. Oh it was delicious just like my steak!

Here’s a list of our day’s activities:

*Reading My Antonia by Willa Cather and loving it!

*Midweek Yoga Break with Christine from Movement Yoga

*Completed my certificate in Hospitality and Tourism Management through FAU

*Watched Trailer Park Boys

*Morning and afternoon meditation

*Week 10 BBG day 3 arms

*Virtual school torture with Goalielocks and the Mayor

*Obedience training Anakin courtesy day Goalielocks

*Took Anakin, Maya and Athena on multiple walks

 

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Sweet Maya

Our sweet Maya has had a lipoma on her tummy for the last six months. After an inconclusive biopsy last month, Maya ripped it open causing an infection. Sadly, it got infected and quite smelly. Originally surgery on the growth was optional, but the infection and damage Maya did to the tumor necessitated it’s swift removal.

Consequently, I had her scheduled for surgery tomorrow. Additionally, I set up an appointment to make sure the infection was treated before her surgery. After seeing the damage Maya was able to do to the growth, the vet moved the surgery up to today. Since we’re in the middle of a pandemic, we were given curbside assistance. Sadly, we were not able to accompany Maya in for her appointments or post-op recovery.

Maya is our first family dog and almost eleven years old. She’s been very healthy outside of a lung cancer scare last year. According to the vet, the mass in the lungs is still there, but is extremely slow growing. Nonetheless, this was a high anxiety day for me and the family. I may or may not have called the vet’s office a couple of times to check on her.

Finally, the vet called at 2:00 pm to let us know her surgery had gone well. Thankfully, they were able to get all of the mass and she tolerated the surgery well. He also indicated that the wound looks great. At this point, she was in the post operative area where she was waking up from the anesthesia. Lastly, he indicated we could pick her up around 4:00 pm.

It would probably come as no surprise that I was at the vet’s office by 3:55 pm. I was anxious to see our sweet Maya again. The vet assistant walked her out and she was wagging her tail. Maya looked tired, but happy to see Goalielocks and I again. She’s spent the rest of the evening chilling with us on the couch. Now we’ll be crossing our fingers that the biopsy results show no cancer. Fortunately, the vet should be calling us Monday with the results. Keep your fingers crossed!

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BMT Family PT Challenge: Week Two

Today was test day for week two of my BMT Family PT challenge. Boy oh boy do I have some work to do on my running. I actually didn’t think I could do worse than last week, but here I was slower. To be fair, I ran more this week than last week. However, some may say my new “running pace” was stationary. Perhaps I need to adjust my strategy to include more walk/run intervals to improve my time.

In all due seriousness, the run may have technically been slower, but it went well. I’m using Couch25K to get back in running shape. Today’s run called for five minute warmup followed by running for eight minutes, walking for five, running for eight and a five minute cool down. Since I wanted to get a good time on 1.5 miles, I ran through part of the walking portion. That may not have been the best plan. Clearly, I don’t run like a gazelle.

As for the pushups and sit-ups, they both still suck. Nonetheless, I did make so good headway on the sit-ups. Today’s effort resulted in 26 sit-ups an improvement over last week’s 21. The pushups were a complete struggle, but I still made the cut with 14. Hopefully, I will hit the sit-up standard in next week’s BMT family PT challenge test. Importantly, there are only 24 days until we’ll see our Airman! I can’t wait!

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Slacking

Gotta be honest, I’ve been slacking on the blog these past few days. It’s just I’ve been exhausted these past couple of days with little to share. Friday was productive for me, but left me exhausted. I completed a BBG AB workout, went to yoga and enjoyed a restorative sauna session. Needless to say, it left me exhausted. And I was in bed with my Virginia Woolf novel by 9:30.

Goalielocks has practice scheduled for most of Saturday, but it was a bit touch and go if we’d take him since he hurt his foot/ankle playing football. In the end, we decided to take him, so his trainer could evaluate the injury. The injury location is weird. He’s actually more comfortable in skates playing hockey than walking.

After his practice, the trainer was able to take a look at it. Fortunately, his Trainer felt it was likely a sprain, but wanted us to rule out a fracture to the navicular bone in his foot. Since the Vikings were playing at 4:35 pm, my scheme was to take him post game right before the urgent care closes.

Unfortunately, the Vikings effort was anemic and Goalielocks was soon despondent. Consequently, we headed to urgent care during the beginning of the third quarter. By some miracle of god, there was no wait at the clinic. We were in and out with the x-rays and hands. Happily, the x-rays were negative for fracture. His diagnosis was sprain. Goalielocks was not happy when he was told to be non-weight bearing for 3 days.

That’s right folks the scooter is back- at least, temporarily. He isn’t quite the seasoned scooter driver that I was, but he’s learning. Additionally, he insists that he will not use the scooter or crutches at school. Tomorrow morning should be fun!

After a busy day yesterday, we’ve been slacking at home enjoying the pictures of my family’s vacation on the south seas. We did get most the laundry done and I did go to yoga, so the day wasn’t a complete wash. Tonight we had chilli and I was really regretting my decision to go gluten free. I’m not sure it’s possible, but I may have been lusting for a baguette. Thankfully, neither of us had the energy to drive and buy one. In the end, the bison chili was perfectly satisfying without the baguette. Someone who hasn’t been slacking is Jake. Today he starts WOT5 for Jake. Three more weeks til graduation!

Previous training weeks:

Week 0
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3

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Handling Thyroid Disease

Handling thyroid disease is the title I settled on after ruminating on coping and dealing. Both coping and dealing felt too passive to me, so I opted for handling. What does handling thyroid disease even mean? It means learning to thrive in spite of the misfiring or non-existence of that bitch is a gland.

When I was first diagnosed with Graves, I did what most people do and consulted Dr. Google. The medical part didn’t bother me too much. No, what bothered me is how those coping with the disease were failing to thrive or continue a productive existence. I was resolute that I would not follow that path.

Of course, in the beginning it was easy to think that way. It became hard as my heart rate soared and the RAI (radioactive iodine) was slow to work. Nevertheless, the fun and my weight were doubled when my thyroid failed. It literally happened over night. For the next several months and even still, I would migrate between hyper and hypo from day to day. It was beyond frustrating.

Thankfully, I have a wonderful Endo and have high confidence in her. Slowly, she has returned me to my normal life. I’ve run three 5ks since diagnosis, restarted my yoga practice and started the BBG workout. Nevertheless, it has taken a lot of work to get back to this place. I’ve read a lot about auto immune disease, worked with my endo and her in house R.D. and changed my workouts. I even feel back to my old gregarious self.

Now that my thyroid levels have stabilized, it will take 1-3 years for the symptoms of Graves to abate. My antibodies still show positive for both Graves disease and Hashimotos. My next task is get rid of those. In the meantime, I continue to research ways to reduce inflammation and improve my health. Each Thursday, I’ll be sharing my autoimmune experience with you. Next week, I’ll be sharing a list of the top 10 items that have helped me through my personal journey.

P.S. the title photo is from my first post diagnosis/treatment 5k.

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Adjusting

It’s day one without Jake and we’re all adjusting. Some of us, aka me and the hubby, are having a harder time adjusting to our new normal. I still expect Jake to come in and give me a good night kiss every night. This morning I had to stop myself from ordering his bagel from Dunkin’.

So how are we coping? Well, if you consider steam mops, dog accessories, yoga and brownies as coping, then I’d say I’m coping pretty well. Except I’m not at least not yet. By the time he finishes BMT, I’ll have accepted our lives as they now exist. Hopefully, it won’t take daily brownies to get there since I’m gluten intolerant.

For the puppies’ sake, they’ll be quite happy when I’ve complete the adjustment process. This will mean I’m no longer putting them in multiple cute holiday collars in a day or shopping for their Christmas outfits.

As I prepared to go to sleep last night, Jake called to let us know he had made it safely to San Antonio. For this phone call, he was allotted a generous forty seconds! Nevertheless, it was forty of the best seconds of my life. The kid sounded great! Hopefully, he’s able to carry that attitude through the rest of BMT.

This week, he’ll be getting a haircut, his uniform and a bunch of paperwork completed. We’re anxiously awaiting his call home with his address. As soon as I have it, I will share it. Mail is what gets airmen through BMT!! Finally, thanks again for all the love and support as we continue adjusting to this major change in our lives.

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He’s Off

He’s off!! After a morning at MEPS (military entrants processing station) my boy is on his way to San Antonio. It is seems so surreal. I still expect him to come home from Mel’s and watch The Office with me. Yep, the river denial is where I’m currently at.

Let me tell you about our experience at MEPS. Think a combination of the DMV and ER waiting rooms. Now imagine driving over and hour to get there and having to wait in a small, hot crowded lobby with no A/C and I bathrooms. Fortunately, they opened the doors to us just after 8:30.

Once into MEPs we went to the holding room with the rest of the shippers’ families. It was an interesting to observe the future servicemen and women work their way through the process. The holding room where we were at was also used to house the shippers and soldiers waiting to test.

There were three vending machines, a big flatscreen tv with two bins of snacks underneath and a sign for applicants only. It is no wonder we can’t have nice things here since nobody could either read the sign or just didn’t care. Perhaps our favorite part was the screaming baby whose parents didn’t realize you can get up and move with the baby or even take the baby outside. No, they just let her wail. Thankfully, we were called back for the oath ceremony before we completely lost our marbles.

One of the best parts of being at MEPS was seeing my confident and ready to go. His confidence was my reassurance. The ceremony room was small, but I was still able to get some good photos and videos of the event.

While he was taking the oath, I did my best not to cry since I was standing in front of him. Needless to say it was near impossible. The moment they took the oath was beautiful and exciting. Watching it live I was caught up in the emotions of him leaving. In contrast, I think future viewings will bring tears of pride and joy. At this point, I can’t rewatch it. It’s too raw even though I’m rowing my boat on the river denial. Watching it again will only make it more real.

After the ceremony, we were given five minutes to spend with our airmen. I never imagined five minutes could pass so quickly. We took some great photos in the ceremony room and chatted. Jake was excited to start the air hockey tournament he had organized in the shippers lounge. My boy was ready to go!

As the five minutes came to an end, I didn’t want to let him out of my embrace. Ultimately, I had to let him go since the military frowns on tardiness. With that we walked to the door and we went out the door and he went into a doorway to the right. This was a holding room where they would stay until being moved to the shippers lounge.  I still can’t believe he’s off.

We left MEPS proud military parents with temporarily broken hearts. We are beyond proud of our boy and the future he is building for himself. I haven’t ventured upstairs to his now vacant room, but I’m sure by the time I do Goalielocks will have already moved in. As we speak, he should be nearing his final approach into San Antonio. Now the real fun can begin! Lastly, we are so thankful for all the texts, calls and social media love. Your support means everything! We love you Jake!  Aim High!

countdown clock: he’s off!

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One Day More

One day more until Jake ships out to basic. I can’t believe the day has finally arrived. Today itself has been quite unreal as he said goodbye to the house, our beloved puppies, his brothers and his beloved Mel.

We dropped him off at the recruiter’s office where we waited an hour and half for the shuttle to take off. From there he went to MEPS to complete paperwork and get ready to ship out. Tomorrow he’ll have another physical before taking the oath of enlistment.

I did pretty good for most of the day. Until I took my dog for walk this afternoon. I have a gratitude/relaxation playlist that I like to listen to when I walk. When Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole I lost my ish. There I was walking my dog, enjoying the scent of th Hong Kong orchids and ugly crying. I don’t know why it hit me at that exact moment, but it lasted for a good mile and a half.

I was a complete mess. I finally started to get my shit together and then John Lennon’s Imagine triggered me again. As I walked and cried, I thought about how all the moments of his life prepared us all for this moment. From his first day of preschool to his last day of high school everything was getting us ready for him to fly the coop. Here were are on that day and he is ready to soar and I’m struggling to let go.

Tonight the boys, Mel and I headed to Miami to join Jake for dinner. He was finished at MEPS around 6, so we got there around 6:30 after missing the exit the first time around. Dinner at the hotel was quick and convenient. My salad was great, but everyone else’s burgers looked like hockey pucks. We did indulge in some dessert since it seemed like the perfect occasion to eat our feelings.

Jake, the hubby and I were the original trio. It was us three for almost five years before Colin came along. As Jake grew up, so did we. Tonight as we drive back from seeing him in Miami, I am in awe of the many he has become. Love you Jake!

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