Tiny Plastic Houses
Tiny Plastic Houses
Tiny Plastic Houses
Tiny Plastic Houses
Tiny Plastic Houses
Tiny Plastic Houses

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the end and the beginning… of everything… all at once.

Twenty years since this… and everything after has been a gift and a curse. A life lived a lifetime ago and now only tenuous strings hold me to what was before… Tenuous ties and strings I’ve tried vehemently to cut and yet cling desperately to — As if they will somehow save me from what I’ve become or take me back to what I was before…

For years following I had flashbacks, anxiety, night terrors… the smell of burning rubber or oil… The feel of snowflakes on my face… a curve on a hill… an overcast day on a country backroad… the hypnic jerk on the edge between awake and asleep that would continually throw me back into that car, that day, in the snow…impact. The pieces of a memory I can’t quite grasp and yet can’t forget.

There are more days than not when I feel like I’m living on borrowed time. There are sometimes moments when I wonder if I died that day and this is all my heaven or hell… There are times when I still get so angry… So scared… So tired…

There are days I want to just scream at someone, at anyone — I need them to realize that I haven’t felt ANY real pain since that day. That parts of me – mentally, physically, spiritually – haven’t felt ANYTHING since that day. I want them to recognize that an 18-year-old girl died that cold winter’s day… and the person who stands before you, blackened by the fire that she was FORCED to step into, can never go back. She can never unknow or unfeel any of this… She just tries to forget.

But I never want to forget…
Because what if that moment is all there was that was ever real… The last moments of a life long since gone. That very moment when I knew it was all over and there was no going back… The moment when they pushed back the cinders and found the rebirthed me, swaddled in my twisted metal blanket of blood and chrome, broken and shattered beneath a million shards of broken glass…

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10 Things I Have to Do This Week

  1. Find a location for the LiA overnight my GS troop is running in a month or so for a great little Brownie group or two and touch base with possible attendees
  2. Sort out all of my tax docs to see what’s missing and  figure out if I I can locate it online or whether I’ll need to request it from various sources
  3. Finalize WTD Plans with my girls
  4. Start 5K Training Again & Sign up for the ShamRock & Run
  5. Finalize 2017 Family Budget
  6. Start Thinking About Birthday & Other Spring Event Plans
  7. Finalize Plan for Troop Meeting Before Wednesday
  8. Gather GS Receipts  & Send all Parents Presidential Volunteer Information
  9. Touch Base with SU People About Recognitions & Get on Facebook and Pump WTD, Recognitions, and COOKIES!
  10. Start looking at goal planning systems

 

Annual Goals: Plan & Take a Great Vacation on a small budget, Repair the teepee and de-stank it thoroughly, Epoxy Coat the Basement Floor, Dress Up that Bar!

Quarterly Goals: Run another 5K, Pay off Bettie, Get the basement cracks & funky odor squared away,

Monthly Goals: Sign Up for the Shamrock & Run 5K, Pay my 2016 Personal Property Taxes (Bettie is over $500 by herself – I’ve been saving for the hit, I promise.), set up the annual budget, get a separate cage set up for Clover

Weekly Goals: Register to vote at my current address and get my driver’s license updated, Finish Annual Budget

Daily Goals: Get Gas, Get Physical, Watch BSG

Gratitude: I’m grateful for my friends who keep me sane… you know who you are! :D

Inspiration: My Sweet Potato Queens 8/13/16

 

Last summer, Jackie, our respective broods, and I headed out to Harvester’s to help out. We had a great time and the girls sorted through more potatoes than any of us wanted to see again for a really. long. time. :D So, today, when I have ten tons of crap on my desk, I”m going to think about all those potatoes and how it seemed impossible at first, but after plugging along steadily, we wiped them out! :D

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6 Reasons I’m So Happy It’s Friday!

 

  1. No Work tomorrow!
  2. Sleep in… tomorrow!
  3. IT’S THE END OF A VERY STRESSFUL WEEK!
  4. Get to close the chapter on that book…
  5. PIZZA NIGHT!
  6. Spend Time with my Girls :)

Annual Goals: Plan & Take a Great Vacation on a small budget, Repair the teepee and de-stank it thoroughly, Epoxy Coat the Basement Floor, Dress Up that Bar!

Quarterly Goals: Run another 5K, Pay off Bettie, Get the basement cracks & funky odor squared away

Monthly Goals: Sign Up for the Shamrock & Run 5K, Pay my 2016 Personal Property Taxes (Bettie is over $500 by herself – I’ve been saving for the hit, I promise.), set up the annual budget, get a separate cage set up for Clover

Weekly Goals: Register to vote at my current address and get my driver’s license updated, Finish Annual Budget Categories & get them all entered

Daily Goals: Get Gas, Get Physical, Watch BSG

Gratitude: I’m grateful for the January Birthday Celebration at work today – I’m not a January baby, but I still got CAKE! ;D

Inspiration:~

 

4 Things that Truly Scare Me

 

  1. Real pain.
    I haven’t felt real, physical pain since I was a kid… Probably the last time I can remember truly feeling pain was after the Wreck the Lives in Infamy ™ nearly 20 years ago. Now I go through the motions. Sometimes I feel an ache or a pain — something that lets me know that “this just ain’t right,” but not real pain… The prospect of that floors me.
  2. A Trump Presidency
    Now hold on, there buckaroo. I’m not slamming you. Just your man – You have just as much right to support him as I have to not. And I don’t. I really don’t.
    I just can’t understand how people can support the kind of broad, chunky brushstrokes he’s painting with. I can’t see how American’s can’t understand the petulant and bullish manner in which he will destroy our standing here and all over the world. I just don’t understand. Period.
  3. The end of “No discrimination for prior health problems.”
    I have MS. I have been diagnosed with it for nearly 13 years. I HATE FEELING LIKE I HAVE TO MARRY SOMEONE JUST TO ENSURE I MIGHT HAVE HEALTH COVERAGE I CAN AFFORD. I HATE FEELING LIKE I HAVE TO SIGN MY FREEDOM AWAY SO THAT I CAN PAY FOR MEDICATION. :/
  4. Losing My Job
    I have worked for these people, in one form or another, for 15 years. Fifteen years where I have been tossed from place to place, treated good, bad, and indifferent, left behind and elevated… but a career change right now would be extremely hard. I’m almost 40. I only have a very specific set of skills — and I am uncertain what I would do financially — for me, for my family — if I lost my job.

Annual Goals: Plan & Take a Great Vacation on a small budget, Repair the teepee and de-stank it thoroughly, get the basement floor epoxy coated

Quarterly Goals: Run another 5K, Pay off Bettie, Get the basement cracks & funky odor squared away

Monthly Goals: Sign Up for the Shamrock & Run 5K, Pay my 2016 Personal Property Taxes (Bettie is over $500 by herself – I’ve been saving for the hit, I promise.), set up the annual budget, get a separate cage set up for Clover

Weekly Goals: Register to vote at my current address and get my driver’s license updated, Finish Annual Budget Categories & get them all entered

Daily Goals: Get Gas, Get Physical, Watch BSG

Gratitude: Today I’m grateful that my platemaker carries cash — oodles and oodles of cash — so he can change out my $5 bill for the arrogant snack machine. :)

Inspiration:~

 

10 Reasons I’m Crabby Today

 

  1. I had to de-curl this mire of a hairdo this morning.
  2. Early morning meetings.
  3. Coffee Pot empty with no more coffee grounds to make more. :/
  4. Radius training that isn’t about your area, but about your platemaker’s area so that you can be sure to help him when he inevitably messes it up.
  5. My lunch box smells like garlic & butter. There is no garlic or butter in it.
  6. I did not pack enough food in said lunch box, so I ended up having to partake of the snack machine.
  7. The @*!?&$@# Snack Machine refused to take my $5 bill. It just spat it back out at me with a snicker and a rude finger gesture.
  8. Having to hunt around for ANYBODY who has change for a $5 bill… Finally settling on my platemaker who is carrying WAY too much cash for today’s world in his wallet!
  9. Network Admins that disconnect you from the automation server WITHOUT WARNING!
  10. Overzealous doors that attack my elbows EVERY DAMN MORNING as I walk into work.

Annual Goals: Plan & Take a Great Vacation on a small budget, Repair the teepee and de-stank it thoroughly, get the basement floor epoxy coated

Quarterly Goals: Run another 5K, Pay off Bettie, Get the basement cracks & funky odor squared away

Monthly Goals: Sign Up for the Shamrock & Run 5K, Pay my 2016 Personal Property Taxes (Bettie is over $500 by herself – I’ve been saving for the hit, I promise.), set up the annual budget, get a separate cage set up for Clover

Weekly Goals: Register to vote at my current address and get my driver’s license updated

Daily Goals: Get Gas, Get Physical, Watch BSG,

Gratitude: Today I’m grateful that my platemaker carries cash — oodles and oodles of cash — so he can change out my $5 bill for the arrogant snack machine. :)

Inspiration: Waiting on it! :P
MichelleHillaryMMMMHMMMM

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10 Things I Wish I’d Done In My Youth

youth

  1. Travel
  2. Reached Higher
  3. Stayed Active
  4. Got that PhD
  5. Partied More
  6. Made More Friends
  7. Been Less Afraid
  8. Listened to Prof Gilgun
  9. Wrote that Book
  10. Been More Independent

Annual Goals: Plan & Take a Great Vacation on a small budget

Quarterly Goals: Run another 5K, Pay off Bettie
Speaking of such things, I received the nicest email from my lender reminding me i was less than 90 days from pay off and informing me of next steps and options. Felt good to have official confirmation of that particular debt’s completion. :)

Monthly Goals: Sign Up for the Shamrock & Run 5K or the Liberty Hospital 5K, Pay my 2016 Personal Property Taxes (Bettie is over $500 by herself – I’ve been saving for the hit, I promise.)

Weekly Goals: Register to vote at my current address and get my driver’s license updated

Daily Goals: Pay Bills, Balance Budget, Get Groceries & Gas, Get Physical

Gratitude: Today I’m grateful for whomever found/bought the coffee grounds after we ran dry in the break room so that I might have some coffee this morning. Yeah, it’s the little things! :D

Inspiration: Today I’m looking for a little workout inspiration… So I discovered this I threw together a couple weeks ago:

Me-January2016-January2017One Year and 85 pounds apart. Surely I can lose these last 25!!

 

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10 Reasons I Need to Run the Shamrock & Run 5K

SR&R_MEDAL

  1. Gym Motivation
  2. Thigh Muscles
  3. 25 Pounds
  4. BMI
  5. GLUTES
  6. Bragging Rights
  7. Bottle Opener Finisher’s Medal
  8. Expensive Running Shoes
  9. Focus
  10. Proof I still Can!

Big Picture Goals: Run another 5K, Take a Great Vacation this Year, Retire by 55, Pay off the Car, Pay off the House

Goals for Today: Pay Bills, Balance Checkbook, Get Groceries & Gas, Post Up OWL PROWL Info, Get to the Gym

Gratitude: Today I’m grateful for Jas and my mom who facilitated retrieval of Thing 2′s forgotten flute in the middle of the night just in time for band class today! (I slept right through it but was wide-awake for this morning’s “OMG! I FORGOT MY FLUTE AT GRANDMA’S HOUSE!” moment bright and early at 6am!)

 

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My Regime

Yeah… That’s me. I lost some weight. (As of this writing, about 175 pounds since April 2015.)

So people ask me all the time:

       What did you do?

                      How did you do it?

                        How can I do it?

And I say the following canned response:

“I’m under a physician supervised diet and exercise program.
I eat between 800-900 calories /day on a normal day.
I work out, including strength & flexibility training,
most days of the week, if not all.”

It sounds so simple — maybe slightly less-than-healthy at times — but simple…

It’s not. It’s hard. It doesn’t always feel good. I’m hungry a lot, lol. My muscles ache more than they don’t. My hair falls out. My skin is loose. The metal in my body groans at me to just stop sometimes…
But I have to keep setting the bar higher to keep losing weight & gaining strength, speed, agility… To be the best me I can be. Why? MS. Age. Future Health. Etc…

…and that Physician Supervision? It’s a bi-annual visit where they check my status, tell me how amazingly well I’m doing, warn that my body will start to rebound whether I like it or not eventually… They do blood work. They check for issues and problems. Then I’m off to continue this path armed with their newest directive or tips, which are often less than helpful, lol!

So, I’ve had to do a lot of research to come up with a real plan – Attempting to make the most efficient use of my time, energy, and allotments is a 24/7 job and I don’t take it lightly. My time is valuable and none of us have enough of it to squander.

I try not to tell anyone how to do their thing, but I’ve been asked for specifics on more than one occasion, so I decided to share… For those who are curious :)

 ~ The Regime ~14980748_10208135493766717_8401266265629606465_nLet’s start with the disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. What works for me may not, probably should not work for you. Please consult professionals before you jump on ANY band wagon, including mine! :)

Intake Goal: <900kc/day

This is a rough guideline. There are, of course, days where I eat over this amount and days where I eat way under — And there are days when I have a cupcake and nothing else until supper and others where I spend the evening out and drink more than my fair share of calories! But it’s a good idea of my intake on an average day.

  • Breakfast: < 200kc: 1 Egg (hardboiled or microwaved or sometimes fried), 16 -32 oz coffee + 2tbsp Creamer, 2-4 Splenda
  • Mid-morning Snack: ±100kc: Usually a Piece of Fruit (Usually a banana, apple, or orange, but whatever is in season or on sale is game.)
  • Lunch: < 200kc: VARIES
    • Sample Option 1 – Tuna Packet (<100kc), Half Serving of Crackers, Croutons, Brushetta, or Chips (<100kc), Rockstar Recovery Lemonade (20kc)
    • Sample Option 2 – 1/2 cup of 2% Cottage Cheese + a Tablespoon of Tamed Jalapeños (<100kc), Fresh Vegetables or Half Serving of Crackers, Croutons, Brushetta, or Chips (<100kc), Rockstar Recovery Lemonade (20kc)
  • Pre-or-post Workout Snack: ±100kc: Fresh Vegetables, Protein Shake (Must be less than 110kc) (They say protein within an hour before or after workout will help muscles ache less. Here’s to hoping! :D )
    • My favorite protein shake so far is My Bananas Foster KO – 1/2 scoop Banana Creme Quest Powder + 1/2 scoop Salted Caramel + 1/2 cup crushed ice + 1/2-3/4 cup cold water. Put all of it in a blender bottle or JAX bottle — ShAkE iT uP! and it’s pretty ok. :)
  • Supper: < 300kc: VARIES WILDLY, but my portion needs to fall about between 300-400 kc. I shoot for lean proteins, vegetables, lesser carbs, but we all know that doesn’t always happen :P
  • After Supper Snack (optional & infrequent): Cottage Cheese? Some Yogurt? Sometimes a Sweet Treat — My portion should not make me overshoot that 900kc cap for the day.
  • Supplements: Vitamin D 5000iu x 4/day, One a Day multi x 1/day, Biotin x 4/day, B12 x 2 per day

Output Goal: >2500kc/day

This varies to fit the time I have available and I try to increase my strength goals by 2-5 pounds each week — But this is a good base for my bare minimum of activity if I expect to see any reasonable losses on a regular basis.

First the Music:

Cardio Mix: $150K Girl Lift: Until it Hurts

Note: I Jog/Walk. The slower songs sit at about 115 BPM, while the faster waver between 125 -135 BPM. They alternate so I have a run interval, followed by a walk interval cyclically until I’m finished. :)

I tend to zone out when I’m running or lifting – Slip into a state of hyperfocus that carries me through discomfort. Hey! I have a lot to think about and the rhythmic quality of my footsteps or the repetitive motion of the lift, plus the beat of my music makes it easier to sort stuff out in my ADHD mind.
(No, I’m not kidding. One of the side-effects of my MS is a very healthy dose of Attention Deficit. Medication does help, as does organization techniques and meditation, but insurance refuses to pay for the one medication that actually works for me… So the $500 per 30 pills means I have to spread it out. The last bottle I bought is nearing it’s expiration date, so that should tell you how few and far between I get to take it.)

Next, the Routine:

  • Monday – BMR: 1650kc + Cardio Burn: 300-450kc + Strength Burn: 150kc = 2100-2250:
    • Strength: ARM DAY – Calorie Burn: 150kc:
      • Chest Press:
        • Set 1 – 35 lbs, 16 Reps
        • Set 2 – 30 lbs, 16 Reps
        • Set 3 – 25 lbs, 16 Reps
      • Lat Pull Down
        • 3 Sets – 50 lbs, 16 Reps
      • Bicep Curl
        • 3 Sets – 20 lbs, 16 Reps
      • Shoulder Press
        • 3 Sets – 20 lbs, 16 Reps
      • Seated Row
        • 3 Sets – 20 lbs, 16 Reps
      • Triceps Press
        • 3 Sets – 40 lbs, 16 Reps
    • Cardio – Calorie Burn 300-450kc:
      • 5 min warm up before strength
      • 2-3 Miles Distance Training for 5K in December after strength
  • Tuesday- BMR: 1650kc + Class Burn: 200-300kc + Cardio Burn: 150-300kc = 2000-2250kc:
    • Strength
      • Group Class When Possible – Usually Pound @ the Y :)
    • Cardio – Calorie Burn 150-300kc:
      • 1-2 Miles Speed Training for 5K in December preferably outdoors
  • Wednesday- BMR: 1650kc + Cardio Burn: 300-450kc + Strength Burn: 150kc = 2100-2250:
    • Strength: LEG DAY- Calorie Burn: 150kc:
      • Leg Extension:
        • Set 1 – 50 lbs, 16 Reps
        • Set 2 – 45 lbs, 16 Reps
        • Set 3 – 40 lbs, 10 Reps
      • Leg Curl
        • Set 1 – 60 lbs, 16 Reps
        • Set 2 – 55 lbs, 16 Reps
        • Set 3 – 50 lbs, 12 Reps
      • Thigh Adduction
        • 3 Sets – 55 lbs, 16 Reps
      • Thigh Abduction
        • Set 1 – 60 lbs, 16 Reps
        • Set 2 – 55 lbs, 15 Reps
        • Set 3 – 50 lbs, 12 Reps
      • Leg Press
        • Set 1 – 120 lbs, 16 Reps
        • Set 2 – 100 lbs, 16 Reps
        • Set 3 – 80 lbs, 16 Reps
      • Glute
        • 3 Sets – 15 lbs, 12 Reps
      • Calf Extensions
        • 3 Sets – 40 lbs, 16 Reps
    • Cardio – Calorie Burn 300-450kc:
      • 5 min warm up before strength
      • 2-3 Miles Distance Training for 5K in December after strength
  • Thursday- BMR: 1650kc + Class  Burn: 150-250kc + Cardio Burn: 150-300kc:
    • Flexibility
      • Group Class When Possible. Otherwise yoga app! :)
    • Cardio – Calorie Burn 150-300kc:
      • 1-2 Miles Speed Training for 5K in December, preferably outdoors
  • Friday – BMR: 1650kc + Cardio Burn: 300-450kc + Strength Burn: 150kc = 2100-2250:
    • Strength: ARM DAY – Calorie Burn: 150kc:
      • Chest Press:
        • Set 1 – 35 lbs, 16 Reps
        • Set 2 – 30 lbs, 16 Reps
        • Set 3 – 25 lbs, 16 Reps
      • Lat Pull Down
        • 3 Sets – 50 lbs, 16 Reps
      • Bicep Curl
        • 3 Sets – 20 lbs, 16 Reps
      • Shoulder Press
        • 3 Sets – 20 lbs, 16 Reps
      • Seated Row
        • 3 Sets – 20 lbs, 16 Reps
      • Triceps Press
        • 3 Sets – 40 lbs, 16 Reps
    • Cardio – Calorie Burn 300-450kc:
      • 5 min warm up before strength
      • 2-3 Miles Distance Training for 5K in December after strength
  • Saturday – BMR: 1650 + Cardio Burn: 150-300kc = 1800 – 1950kc:
    • Cardio – 1-2 Miles Walk, Hike, or Bike
  • Sunday – REST DAY – BMR: 1650 + Cardio: 100-200kc = 1750-1850kc:
    • Cardio – 1-2 Miles Walk or Hike

    ~•~

Only 35-40 more pounds to go. The end is in sight!
No. Defeat is not an option this time. It never was, really…  I just didn’t have the means before.
I remember telling an old friend that I truly believed anything was possible if I put my mind to it… But as I grew older, fatter, more worn, more tired — I just couldn’t. Now? I think I can again… and I’m not afraid — Not afraid to say “NO” and I’m not afraid to say “YES!” I’m not afraid of my opinions. I’m less afraid of repercussion. Less afraid of what you think. More confident. More able.

Everyday, I find pieces of 17-year-old Hollie, before the wreck, before hardship and disease, before adult life stood on her shoulders — and it feels good! (I mean, she’s the sauciest bitch I ever knew and if I’m gonna be trapped in here with anyone, lol, I’d want it to be that scrappy bit!)

~Hollie

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De-Escalation

Read This:

The Thing All Women Do That You Don’t Know About

Consider This:

De-escalation. Why… Why do I do it?

Maybe it’s because of my high school boyfriend who, on many occasions, beat 16-year-old Hollie black & blue because he was emotionally immature, untreated bipolar, and I wouldn’t back down.

Or let’s point to the little shit who, while waiting for my cue backstage at my high school musical, proclaimed me “Fuckable”, then proceeded to grab my breast. (Yeah, I hit him hard enough that when he smacked into the set it shook the entire production… As I’m sure I was heard yelling at him “You little fuck! You made me miss my cue!”)

Maybe we can point to the guy that was older than my father who would come to my eatery counter several times a week to make lewd requests of me while waving a $1 bill around (as if a $1 tip was going to somehow make him appealing), then wait by my car to make more aggressive and horrific suggestions.

Perhaps it was my female boss at that same job, who told 18-year-old me that it was probably nothing and to ask my boyfriend if he’d come hang out there at close if I felt uncomfortable, rather than offer help.

Maybe it was a different boss who, in later years, dinged me on my annual review because I wasn’t friendly enough when he came into my office. (When asked if we would have this conversation if I were a man, I was told probably not.)

Maybe the countless men & boys who didn’t want to take no for an answer and either shamed me (because, of course, I “was lucky that they even noticed me.” Because I was “fat,” “ugly,” “stupid,” “obnoxious,” or some other thing that made me too undesirable to love.) or who forcefully took what they wanted in one way or another are to blame.

Maybe it was the counselor who, when I explained that sometimes I feel out of place or upset by the way I’m treated by others, told me that I needed to try to be gentler. More docile. More feminine. People would like me better if I metered myself.

Perhaps it’s the well-meaning lover who told me to be something I am not so that his friends would like me more.

Maybe it’s the jerks who wrote slurs and epithets about made-up sexual encounters in Orange Day-Glow paint all over my car in the middle of the night.

And so many more…

For whatever the reason, I did this for eons. But I find it disgusting, aggravating, annoying, and stupid. That I should fear retribution for speaking my mind like a man? This is acceptable?!

That I should fear degradation, pain, maybe even death for telling you what I think? Especially when a man can walk into the street and say exactly what’s on his mind with little more than a cursory glance – this is okay with you?

Apparently it is, because none of us bother to talk about it. None of you stop doing it. Nobody seems to do a damn thing to stop it… Including me.

Except that I DO try. I tell little girls that they are worth more than that. I point out the inequalities. I try, desperately, to teach them to be accepting up to the point of where they might compromise themselves… I tell other women about the fantastic things they’ve done. I try to hold them up rather than tear them down, even though my background, upbringing, and even some role models would do the opposite. I try so hard to elevate the experience for them, for me… Because it’s my responsibility as a human being to elevate my situation and that of my children… And sometimes, I succeed in making them feel empowered. Helping them feel as if they have a say in how their life ends up. To eschew the marginalization and the general fear, uncertainty, and pain of it all…

But I often feel like a hypocrite. How can I tell these children the world is something it is not? How can I make the world bend to them rather than they bend to it? How can I do any of this if I compromise myself on a moment-by-moment basis each and every day? How can I stand up and tell them to be proud of who they happen to be and know that I altered my body by losing weight – sometimes in a very unhealthy fashion NOT because of health problems. (Even though I agree with people who state I am staving them off by losing all this weight verbally, internally I reserve that I HAVE NO PHYSICAL ISSUES FROM BEING FAT! What I have won’t be cured by losing weight.) Not because of joint aches, heart issues, diabetes, or any of the myriad problems associated with it and that I have none of… No. I did it to be pretty. To be accepted. To not be a “fat lady” joke anymore. To not be disrespected.

And why admire me for this?! I have done a million things more admirable than lose weight! I’ve done so many things deserving of compliments more than the size of my ass, the thinness of my neck, the cut of my clothes. (Not that I hate the compliments — Quite the contrary, I love the positive attention — But there’s more to me. So much more.)

  • There’s my 165 IQ that used to make me (jokingly) referred to by my first REAL boss as The Human Calculator and by friends (seriously) as The Psychic. (Not any more – MS has stolen so much from me :/) An IQ and upbringing that led me to start reading at the age of 2 1/2. Big words. Newspaper words.
  • Or maybe the fact that I was crushed in a car at the age of 18 and told I’d never walk without a walker or double canes ever again. That my left arm and hand were so badly damaged that I’d never use it properly again. The nerves, tore and stretched, would never allow me to open my fingers without using the other hand. That it would be impossible to carry a pregnancy full term, if to viability — YET I walk. I run. I dance. I play guitar. I sculpt. I carried TWINS almost full term.
  • That 9 years ago I suffered an MS attack so horrific, one of the best neurologists in the city believed I’d be crippled, mentally deficient, or both within weeks. That the damage would be so replete that I’d have to have constant assistance to exist… That the nerve damage would never repair because we all know nerves don’t regenerate… BUT THEY DID! I’m one of the lucky very few that regenerate, sometimes not fully and not like they were before … but it comes back and IT REGENERATES WITHOUT HOLES!

That I’ve recovered from Bankruptcy and again own my own home. That I lead a Girl Scout Troop that is, at times, admired for the wonderful things they do. That I find time to work out almost every day. That I volunteer my time to help others. More… More… More… Those things are admirable.

And none of them are about what I look like, the weight I’ve lost, the physical manifestation of my soul…

~H

Reflection on 2015

So, it’s New Year’s Eve — Another year older and another year wiser, right? We’ll see on that last bit. :) Still, the older part is definitely true.

MILESTONES:

Took the family on a 14-day trip across the eastern half of the country with stops in:

  • Washington D.C.
  • Columbus, OH
  • Parkersburg, WV
  • Chicago, IL

Where we traveled by:

  • Plane 3 Times
  • Subway More Times than I Care to Count
  • SUV 1 Time
  • Boat 2 Times
  • Cab Also More Times than I’d Like to count!
  • Passenger Train 1 Time

We experienced:

  • Union Station DC & Chicago
  • The Smithsonian: National Museum of Natural History
  • The Smithsonian: National Air & Space Museum
  • The Jefferson Memorial
  • The Potomac from a D.U.K.W. where plans flew directly over out heads
  • An extremely painful Upside-down Flight Simulator
  • The Washington Monument but no ride to the top as it was closed for maintenance (bummer)
  • Indian Kabob Feast
  • Ford’s Theater & the home where Lincoln died
  • Hard Rock Cafe D.C.
  • The National Archives
  • The Magna Carta
  • The Declaration of Independence
  • The Bill of Rights
  • Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum D.C.
  • The White House
  • The Haunted Blennerhasset Hotel
  • The Rock ‘n’ Roll Days Inn, Downtown Chicago where Frances Bean was rumored to be conceived and I played my guitar deep into the night
  • Kumas Too the most brutal Hamburger Join EVER!!
  • The Museum of Science & Industry, Chicago
  • Manny’s Diner and their delicious Reuben
  • The Chicago Architectural Society Evening River Cruise
  • Chicago’s Field Museum the home of Sue the T-Rex
  • Navy Pier
  • A 150-foot Ferris Wheel
  • The Waveswinger, a permanent carny ride
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • UNO Chicago’s Deep Dish Pizza
  • The John Hancock Building and their Tilt Attraction
  • Adler Planetarium
  • Willis Tower (formerly Sear’s Tower)
  • Giordano’s Pizzaria with the best deep dish in Chicago and fantastic fried mushrooms that reminded me of Grandma Ina’s morels!

My GS troop & I helped lead World Thinking Day and Daisy Lock-in activities for our Service Unit.

I have lost 80+ pounds since my birthday in March. I have gone down 4 dress sizes. Cleaned out my closet and discovered a new wardrobe of clothes I hadn’t worn in 6+ years.

My Print Plant was sold to a different company effective January 1. We were just notified on December 22. It was, to say the least, a little shocking… And yet not. I saw it coming some time ago, but still hoped the things they told us were true.

We ripped the deck off the back of the house and are prepping for a patio.

I performed in front of a large group while traveling- Me, My Guitar, a Terrible PA, lol! I didn’t get booed away! :)

We purchased a living room set, a new fridge, and a new stove.

We visited family and friends across the US.

We had our traditional Christmas Eve Seafood Boil and Present Opening.


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