Posted in cat lady, daily, filler, la familia, lack of common sense, life

In Case You Missed Me.

The past few months have gone by in such a blur I don’t even know where to start. Let’s get the boring stuff out of the way first.

I definitely worked too much. Between extended hours at Job One and almost every Saturday night shift at Job Two, I hardly had any time to myself from June til September. The extended hour deal at Job One is over but I’m pretty much stuck with the Saturday night thing at Job Two for the foreseeable future, should I want to continue earning that lovely second paycheck. I’ve resigned myself to it, honestly. I do give myself one weekend a month off (sometimes two, depending), but those weekends are usually crammed full of so much awesome I barely have time to breathe. I don’t nearly see my parents as much as I should, and it’s a damn shame, considering all my mom’s health issues this year. They’ve done so much for me I wish I could reciprocate and help them out too. I visit when I’m able and run errands (mostly picking up prescriptions and the like), but it still seems like so little to me.

Daughter guilt is a sonofabitch, I tell you.

Anyway, the Saturday night shifts aren’t always bad. Some nights can be rougher than others, but I don’t exactly work at a Level One Trauma Center, so there is some down time. I leave Sunday mornings, go to Wegmans and get my weekly groceries, go home and nap, and it’s all good. Mondays I might be a little tired and draggy but that’s a price I’m willing to pay for per diem rate work.

Onto more fun news:

I won a trip! Well, okay, not a trip, but I did win a free flight. Round trip, domestic flight from Jet Blue, all thanks to Birchbox. I have until July 2015 to use it. I’m thinking about San Francisco and wine country, probably mid to late spring, depending on the blackout dates and cost. If California doesn’t work out I might just do a few days in New Orleans instead, but no worries, mom, I won’t be trolling for beads.

I became a drag queen fan girl. It all started with this year’s season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. I’d watched the show in the past, but always forgot when it aired so I missed the past couple of seasons. My friend Sara mentioned that this season would be featuring a queen who was called “The Don Rickles of Drag” and I should check her out. I can safely say it wasn’t even ten minutes into the first episode and I was in love with Miss Bianca Del Rio. So glamorous (obviously), so hilarious, and so super sweet in person.

Because, yes, I’ve met her. Twice!

My queen.

That photo was taken after her appearance at Lehigh Valley Pride Fest in August and is probably one of the best photos taken of me in my lifetime. It’s a shame the quality is so poor.

I also met another RuPaul season six alum, Miss Congeniality herself, Ben DeLaCreme.

Me and the fabulous Ben DeLaCreme!

An absolute treasure. Also, hello, there’s my bad side.

I have plans with Sara to see Bianca again later this month in New York, for the first show of her Rolodex of Hate stand up tour. We might have VIP meet and greet passes for that one, I’ll never tell.

I embraced the fact that I need physical activity in my life. Ever since my surgery in January, I knew it was coming. The day I’d have to suck it up and start exercising. I joined the gym all the way back in March but after one or two trips where I felt awkward and out of place I sort of avoided going. My weight was still coming off at a good rate so I talked myself out of not going back. After a few more months, however, it became increasingly obvious that something more was going to have to be done on my part. I started slowly, just walking at my local park a couple times a week. However, in August and September a few times a week turned into a few times a month and I actually saw a one or two pound gain the week of my birthday. Damn it, Cake. Damn it all to hell.

So with a renewed purpose I started walking more and more. Not just at the park, but around the neighborhood too. And when the temperatures started dropping in October I finally dragged my ass back to the gym that I’ve been paying ten bucks a month for. It’s not so bad anymore. I go two or three times a week, hit the treadmill, the bike, or the elliptical, work on my legs or arms, and I’m out in an hour. I can deal with that. Oh, and as of October I’ve lost 85 pounds.

I can definitely deal with that. I’ll talk more about my experiences and struggles post-surgery another time. This late summer/early fall recap has gone on long enough. But not before I tell you the biggest news of all!

I’ve become a mama again. Let me introduce you to the Winchester Brothers, aka Sam and Dean.

They have legs, I swear.

Yes, I decided my house had been too quiet for too long and jumped back into pet ownership. As much as I wanted a dog in my life, however, my schedule just would not allow it, so I went with a more low-maintenance option. I get all the snuggles, and I don’t have to worry about getting home at a certain time. Plus…

Snuggle time.

I mean…

COME ON, WITH THE CUTE.

So, there you have it. I think I kept the bitching the a minimum, right? Maybe next time.

Posted in daily, filler, la familia, life, personal stuff, weight loss surgery

Busy Bee Has a Numbered List.

Because talking about my life in a fluid and comprehensive manner is for professional bloggers, and I am not that.

1. I finally re-took and passed my Cat Scan board exam. I’m “officially” a licensed CT tech, hooray! This means I was able to go back to work in the CT department at job number two, which means I’m working more, which means more money, which means yay! Because my car is on its last legs, my kitchen floor needs to be redone, and I needs to get the hell out of town this summer, even just for a weekend.

2. Momma C had back surgery in February, and is healing nicely. Unfortunately, she’s got some other health issues going on, so we’re trying to deal with them as best we can. My poor momma has been through the wringer this year! (Good thoughts appreciated, y’all.)

3. I’m doing wonderfully after my own surgery – I’m 12 weeks out this Friday, and I’ve lost just over 50 lbs. I cannot put into words how much happier I am, how much this has affected me. It’s literally a weight lifted off my life. I was talking with a coworker I hadn’t seen since before the surgery, and she said I looked like I was “all lit up inside”, and it certainly feels like it. I still have a long way to go but every day just gets better and better. I’m not tired any more, my body doesn’t ache like it did, and I just feel better. As far as what I’m eating, I’m pretty much back to “normal”, diet wise. I’m obviously sticking with good-for-you kind of foods, and I still don’t get much in after my protein, but I have partaken of the occasional treat here and there. (I’m not a saint, for crying out loud.) The only thing I’m still trying to work on is the whole exercise thing. It’s more a matter of just getting off my ass and doing something, but you know what they say about first steps and all.

4. Hoping to start posting recipes again, real soon. I have a few from the fall that are collecting dust, and now that I’m eating more solid foods (and spring is here – hooray, fresh veggies!), I’m slowly getting back into my kitchen. Which makes me happy, because I’ve missed it so.

That’s it for me today, kids. Have a great week!

Posted in daily, la familia, lack of common sense, NaBloPoMo2012

Checking In, and Also That NaBloPoMo Thing.

Yes, I have survived the wrath of Frankenstorm Sandy. I was without power for about 36 hours and without TV/Internet for another 36, but I made it. The house is still standing, the basement stayed dry, and I learned that I am NOT cut out for the pioneer lifestyle. Thankfully my parents still had power and I was able to stay at their place for a night so I didn’t freeze my nose off here.

I never realized how cold a house gets when the power’s off.

Every November I make a feeble attempt at NaBloPoMo, and this year shall be no different. We’ll see if I make it through, or if, like the last two years, I get uninterested/too busy/too tired/too lazy to post every day. I would have started yesterday, but the whole no internet thing kind of interfered with that and I had spent the day cleaning out and restocking refrigerator and freezer, so I had no time to sit at Starbucks in front of my netbook with my pumpkin spice latte staring off into space and pondering the meaning of life.

Or whatever it is those hipster types do. Something to do with cats and cheeseburgers, or so I’ve heard.

Text “RED CROSS” to 90999 to give $10 for Hurricane Sandy relief. You can give more here. Every little bit helps. 

Posted in daily, la familia, life, meme-tastic, who needs a psychiatrist?

Day 20, A Bit Late: A Difficult Time In My Life

I don’t talk about it a lot. I don’t like to talk about it, at all. Mostly because it’s embarrassing and honestly, it’s something I keep private, because it’s really nobody’s business. I don’t need to feel judged about what I’ve done or how I got through it, not when I’m already ashamed of it. A few years ago, I found myself in major financial trouble. I was spending too much and making too little and we all know that’s a very dangerous combination. It got to the point of…well, I’d rather not say, but I was lucky to have parents that were able and kind enough to help me instead of letting me fall into an even deeper hole that there was no way out of. I owe them literally everything, and I will always be grateful to them for having the will and compassion to help and forgive me.

I learned so much from that experience, and I’m bound and determined to not let it happen again. I budget my money, and I started a second job a little over a year ago to have some extra spending money (and to bulk up my savings!). I still shop on occasion, but only if my budget allows, and I have vowed to never get a credit card again.

Unless my ridiculously rich (and handsome and well hung funny!) future husband says it’s okay.

Join in at the 31 Day Blogging Challenge!

Posted in daily, la familia, life, meme-tastic

Of Course Cake was Involved.

One of my earliest memories happened to be during my 4th birthday party. It was early September, and my parents had thrown a party with my family and friends. I remember Nicholas, Erin, Dennis, and Mel being there, along with my grandparents and  great grandparents. I was wearing my favorite dress – a brown jumper with white turtle neck. We hadn’t quite started building the house my parents live in now, and were living in a trailer at the rear of the property. The party was hopping – well, for a four year old’s party – running around the yard, playing hide and seek, playing with our dog, Jaime. I think I got a doll and some other toys for gifts. It was a great day, until my mother brought out the cake. I bent over the table to blow out the candles and when I stood back up, I had frosting all over the front of my favorite dress.

I was devastated. My dress! I was covered in frosting! In front of EVERYONE I knew! Such four year old drama! My mother just laughed it off, cleaned me up, and cut and served the cake. She was much more laid back in the late 70’s.

 

I think it was the pot.

Share your earliest memory and join in at the 31 Day Blog Challenge!

Forgotten Memories

So, in 1985 this happened:

Image

Yes. That would be me, at age 9, holding a wild baby bear. (Apologies for the picture of a picture. My scanner/crap PC is currently out of commission, and I am counting the days until my tax return comes because Mama is getting herself a Mac.)

I don’t remember the circumstances that lead to me holding said baby bear. I’m guessing that one of my “outdoorsy” family members came across that adorable creature in the wild after killing its mother for sport, and decided to bring it home before taking it to the Wildlife Rescue, but I’m not sure. I honestly don’t even remember the experience itself. But here you have it, photographic proof of me holding an honest-to-goodness wild animal. It’s also evidence that at age 9, I let my mother dress me in button down shirts and too-tight navy blue khakis. Thanks for that, Linda.

This was one of just a few pictures that my grandmother had sent along when my parents dropped in for a visit this weekend. Apparently she “has no use for them” since she “won’t be around much longer anyway” *insert dramatic sigh* and thought I would get a kick out of seeing them. My reaction? “That’s a BEAR. WHY AM I HOLDING A BEAR FOR CRYING OUT LOUD?” and also “Nice pants, dork.”

Seeing this picture makes me wonder what else from my childhood I’ve forgotten. Of course I remember many things– There are the happy memories, Christmas mornings and that awesome afternoon one late spring I came home to find a pool going up in the front yard; and the not-so-happy ones, of my dear great-grandmother’s passing and finding out the hard way that I’m allergic to hornet stings; but the other stuff — sleepovers and Sunday morning rituals and sunny days in the garden — they’ve all blurred together and no matter how many pictures have been taken I know I’ll never get them back. It’s not a sad thing, really. I just can’t help but think that if we all knew as children how quickly time passes then maybe we would have stopped once in a while to soak it all in and enjoy it, instead of forgetting about that one Spring afternoon when we got to hang out with a really cute baby bear.

Posted in daily, la familia, shit that amuses me

Ladies and Gentlemen, My Mother.

The scene: This past Sunday afternoon, while floating in mom and dad’s pool:

“Momma, you have a follow up with Dr. R. on Tuesday, how’s your knee feeling?”

“Still no better. Think I’m going to need that MRI after all — hey, I’m stopping at the farm stand tomorrow, want me to bring you any veggies when I come down? Fresh tomatoes or something?”
“You don’t need to buy me –.”
“Do. You. Want. Vegetables?”
“Oh, alright. But I’m good with tomatoes. Maybe yellow squash? Or broccoli. That’s enough.”
“Mmm-hmm. And what about green beans?”
“You don’t have to buy me–“
“Do you want green beans, if they have them?”
“Sure. I’ll take green beans, if they have them. But don’t go nuts.”
“Of course I won’t, honey.”
Cut to today, 10 am. I’m at work. My cell phone rings.
“Hello?”
“Jenny, can you come to the back entrance? I want to give you those veggies. I’d bring them in with me but there’s a couple of bags here.”
“Mom, I told you not to get a lot–“
“Jennifer, come get your vegetables.”
“Yes, mom.”
Safe to say I’ll be eating healthy this week.
Posted in daily, Jasper, la familia, the damn dog

Why There’s Been A Snausage Shortage in Pennsylvania

Last month I went to NYC with a group of local Twitter friends. We spent the day at MoMA, we did a little sight-seeing, we dined al fresco in Little Italy (followed by the best gelato I ever had), and ended the night in an Irish pub. I had a great time, especially because I knew I didn’t have to worry about rushing home to take care of Jasper, since he was spending time at my parent’s house.


Mom and Dad were willing to take Jasper for a few days, but I was lucky to get him back. Or so I was told. Jasper and my parents have a love-love relationship. It’s kind of annoying. They love to have him stay because they miss having a dog in the house, and Jas loves going to their house because there’s so much room to roam outside, and many more things to sniff. Always with the sniff sniff sniffing. I swear he’s part bloodhound. Or coke fiend. Whatever.

While Jasper was at “Gram and Pop’s” (I know, I’m properly ashamed of myself, don’t worry) he got the best of everything — lots of food, treats, and all the toilet water he could drink. He also got a haircut!

Haircut! by you.

Who’s a handsome fella? Who IS? HIM is! *Ahem* Anyway.

With all that good came a little bit of bad. You see, Jasper’s getting on in years, and his back and legs aren’t as sturdy as they used to be. He’s got the arthritis, and some days it’s pretty bad. Most days he’s just a little slow and walks a little stiffly, but some days he doesn’t get up as quickly and whines a little when he first gets going. I’ve been able to quiet the pain down with some ‘over the counter’ medications from the pet store and they seemed to help. But, my parents have hardwood floors in their house, including the stair case, and wood floors + unstable old man doggy legs = trouble, and Jasper fell down their stairs not once, but three times. As a result, he had a much harder time getting around the last day of his stay. He didn’t move much from his blanket on the floor, and when he did, he cried horribly.


My poor baby.

So I brought him home and let him rest. For the next day, it was much of the same, as far as the not moving and crying went. He wasn’t able to curl up in a ball and lie down, so when he slept he was sprawled out all weird, and when he’d try to get up – oh, the crying – it broke my heart. He’d wake up in the middle of the night with it. I felt so helpless because I couldn’t help him – he’d growl at me if I tried. So I made an appointment at the vet for him to get checked out. He needed his yearly check up anyway, but this problem was enough to push me to call sooner rather than later. X-rays, blood work, exam, medications, and one mortgage payment later, and the vet told me there was no fracture, that yes, he has arthritis, but it’s manageable, and it was probably the falls down the steps that just aggravated his condition, not to mention throw some ligament damage in for good measure. So he’s on Tramadol, which must be bitter as hell, because let me tell you – it is a joy to try to get him to swallow those things, and has a follow up appointment tomorrow.

He’s feeling much better, but it’s taken a toll on him, I can tell. He’s slower to get up the stairs, and is still not fond of sitting or lying down. The Tramadol makes him thirsty as hell, so he drinks more, and then of course needs to pee more, and if I’m not letting him out the door toute de freakin’ suite…well, I don’t have to tell you. It’s been a trying time, but he’s improving, and that’s what counts.


Throughout this whole ordeal I’ve had to really think about what it’s going to be like not having him around anymore. Before I took him to the vet my dad said that I might ‘have to make a hard decision soon’, and I did not want to even entertain that idea, but you know…it happens. What if he had a fracture? What if he needed surgery? What if it had been inoperable? What if it had been cancer? I thought about these things, listening to him cry at night, and I cried right along with him.

I knew from day one with Jasper that our time together would be limited. He was six years old when I brought him home, I’m not delusional. And yes, he’s just a dog, but he’s my baby. He’s been with me for six years, waiting at the door when I get home, getting underfoot when I’m at the stove, sitting by my feet when I’m on the couch. I know he’s going to leave me, and I know it’s going to be soon. And it’s going to hurt like hell.


But I am so not ready yet.
Posted in daily, la familia, lack of common sense, life

A Few Requests

If you’re in the middle of the aisle in the grocery store on your cell phone because apparently you cannot select the correct brand of tomato sauce without the sage advice of the person at the other end, do not act surprised when I sigh loudly, say ‘Excuse me’ and try to go around you.

If you’re waiting for the elevator and I’m exiting the same elevator, please know that correct elevator etiquette dictates that you wait for me to exit the elevator before you barrel your way on to it.

If you’re coming to my house to visit, anticipate being molested by an overeager Springer Spaniel. Unless you’re under the age of 12. In that case, don’t mess with the dog.

If we’re playing Wii tennis, don’t act scandalized when, in the middle of the game, I should happen to call the smug little computerized tennis player a f*cking c*nt. She had it coming.

If we go out drinking and you should happen to order a beverage which I consider to be a ‘bitch drink’, which includes but is not limited to: White Zinfandel, vodka cranberry, any mixed drink with Diet Coke, a frozen margarita, or a Fuzzy Navel, please prepare yourself to be ridiculed accordingly.

If you’re going to call my cell phone to yell at me for whatever reason, please have the courtesy to wait until after work so you don’t put my entire day in the shitter, MOM.

Posted in daily, holidays, la familia

In Which I Get All Maudlin And Junk.

Sometimes during the work day, my mother and I will email back and forth just to talk about what we’re up to, what’s going on this weekend, or what have you. Closer to holidays or family get-togethers the emails fly fast and furious as we talk about plans, menus, gifts bought, and the various ways in which my grandmother is pissing her off (again).

This morning I sent my mother an email asking about a new address for a family member who recently moved, and the exchange continued into how each others’ Christmas preparations were coming along. They’re supposedly calling for plenty of snow in eastern PA this weekend, and we’ve both planned on taking advantage of being house bound by baking cookies and finishing up gift wrapping.

I mentioned as an aside that while going over my list of Christmas card recipients, I realized that I no longer needed to include my Aunt Madlyn & Uncle Bob on that list, and started to cry. She replied that she’d “been a mess all morning. Even though I know there is no one there & the phone no longer works, I want to call. I just want to call that number. Have been bawling all morning.” And then my heart broke.

It’s so easy to forget in the hustle and bustle of the season those we miss the most. The ones who shaped our fondest holiday memories & who in many ways, make us remember why this season is so special. For my mother, Aunt Madlyn is that person, and I know the pain from losing her combined with the joy of the holidays will make this a bittersweet season.

One of my goals for the holidays this year has been to help my mother in anyway possible, because I know it’s going to be hard for her. Whether it’s a day out shopping with no complaints, offering to help wrap gifts or bake an extra batch of cookies, or just a simple phone call to let her know I’m thinking of her…I just feel the need to connect with her even more since Aunt Madlyn passed. Because, you see – that person, the one who makes Christmas so special every year? For me, it’s always been my mom.