Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Standing Ovation

I love watching others complete their goals, learn new talents, take on challenges, chase their dreams and help others. I want to share with you some of these of people I know who I find inspirational and amazing in the hopes that you will too. I am lucky to know the following women and it's exciting to follow their life journeys. These are the type of people the world needs more of and they deserve a standing ovation for their recent accomplishments. The following ladies have fearlessly changed their lives and others. I am inspired by them, I'm proud to know them, I admire them and I applaud them.

Michelle-Michelle is an acquaintance of mine, I don't know her well, she's actually the woman who recruited me to become a blogging partner with The Oakland Press and who I got my cat from. Tomorrow Michelle will be donating a kidney to her friend...this type of selflessness and generosity we don't see very often. So many lives will be changed for the better because of outstanding gift and what an incredible person her friend must be for Michelle to be so willing and happy to go through this for. You can follow her story here. Both ladies will be in my thoughts and prayers all day tommorow.

Michelle on the right and on the left her friend whose life she will change.
Jayvee- Jayvee is a new friend of mine, I haven't known her long but I'm pretty sure that I've met Superwoman. Among being an excellent mother of 2 under 3, playing the ukulele, speaks 3 languages and Hula Dances this very talented woman makes the most beautiful costumes for her daughter and recently made one for my daughter. I casually mentioned that I was going to buy my daughter an 'Elsa' dress for Valentine's Day, without blinking an eyelash she said "Oh no, I'll just make her one...I'll bring it next week." I am so blessed to have her friendship and I adore watching the little bond between our 3 year old daughters blossom. One of the things I greatly appreciate about Jayvee is that she's a 'doer' not a 'talker' and can do it all! I am in awe of her many talents and her positively delightful personality.

The Frozen dress she made for my daughter.
Shannon-Shannon has been my best friend since we were 7 years old, we met during our figure roller skating lessons. A year ago she was a waitress at the Rainforest CafĂ©, had to move back in with her parents at 30 and was desperate to change her life. She bought a ticket to Chile and has lived there for over a year now, has become nearly totally fluent in Spanish, she's in a relationship with a wonderful man she met there, has a housekeeper, teaches English and enjoys travelling all over Chile. I miss my friend dearly but I am so proud of her and happy for. She has completely changed her life for the better by hard work, determination and one gutsy move. I love watching nestle into the life that was meant for her.

What a difference a year makes....
Haha! Though with your boyfriends outfit above I know where he could find a job!






Thursday, March 13, 2014

LIFE LIST: Disney Restaurant-1900 Park Fare


When: August 2013
The Grand Floridian Resort
Where: 1900 Park Fare inside The Grand Floridian


Cost: Included in our Disney Deluxe Dining package, and this was easily the fanciest meal we had and the one that stood out the most. It was buffet style dining and as I've mentioned before I am not a fan of buffets but like everything in Disney it was top notch! This buffet was the largest and had the widest variety of food.
*Reservations MUST be made in advance-ours were made 5 months in advance.


Why this is on my list: I like any sort of themed restaurant and if characters are involved- even better! I had NO CLUE how incredibly decadent this resort would be, just waiting in the lobby was worth the trip here! We walked into the most grand lobby I've ever seen at a hotel and the first thing I noticed was a gentleman playing the grand piano and wearing tails, it was exquisite! The restaurant inside, 1900 Park Fare was also equally enchanting with life size carousel horses and over sized chandeliers.



Will I do it again? YES! This resort is incredible and 1900 Park Fare left us not only with the greatest memory from the trip, but one of the greatest moments of my life-my daughter was so excited to meet Prince Charming and ask him "to be married" then he said she could have his first dance after Cinderella. Our sweet little 2 year old was perfectly in her Cinderella dress danced with Prince Charming, it was ABSOLUTELY the most precious thing I've ever seen in my entire life, then at the end of the dance, the Prince bowed and on cue my little darling curtsied. It was the magical moment you see in commercials for Disney World. All of the characters were wonderful, Cinderella gave my daughter special attention but my biggest thank you goes to Prince Charming for giving us this memory that will last forever.











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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

LIFE LIST:WATCH ALL THE OSCAR NOMINATED FILMS


When: January/February 2014 The Oscars aired March 2nd

Cost: Yikes...way more than expected...I am not anxious to get our Comcast bill....or rather I'm not anxious for my husband to get the bill and see just how many I rented that cost between $6 each and $15 each. I watched some in the theater which wasn't too bad when I went by myself or a friend because I would go during the matinee price of $5 but when my husband and I went we had to go during later hours which was $10/per person, plus snacks and a babysitter so those became pretty expensive.  Also I had renewed my Netflix subscription at $8/month for unlimited rentals. And you gotta love REDBOX, too bad they all weren't on REDBOX at $1 each you can't beat it!

Why this is on my list: I love watching the Oscars every year but when I do I never have any clue what's going on because usually I never see ANY of the movies. I've been wanting to do this for years and although I only had 6 weeks to take on the challenge I thought what the hell, I'll finally go for it! In 6 weeks I watched 33 of the 58 Oscar Nominated Films.

Will I do it again? It was a challenge to find all the movies. Some were still at the theatre so I went to see Wolf on Wall Street and Lone Survivor and Gravity (all good choices to see on the big screen) which were great movies! I had planned to see more at the show, including the winner for best picture 12 Years A Slave but they retire them quickly and I never got a chance, it was available for 1 week On Demand but it was $18-seemed like too much to spend on a rental. Others I rented from Netflix and then in the last 2 weeks before the big night Comcast offered many of them On Demand including the Short Films, Animated Shorts, and Foreign- I thought those would be the most difficult to find but those were actually the categories where I was able to see ALL the nominated features.

The Oscar Noms that I highly recommend....

GRAVITY
LONE SURVIVOR
THE WOLF ON WALL STREET
THE GREAT GATSBY
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS
PRISIONERS

The ones that were TERRIBLE....

BEFORE MIDNIGHT
AMERICAN HUSTLE
DALLAS BUYERS CLUB
THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN


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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

LIFE LIST: SEE THE BANK JESSE JAMES ROBBED

              
            "Stealing, of course, is a crime, and a very impolite thing to do." 

When: June 2014










Where: Liberty Missouri, near Kansas City


Cost: $6/ adult

The doors, wood flooring and the safe are all original.
Why this is on my list: I have a personal interest in Jesse James, my great grandpa claimed that he fed him lunch. The story goes that Frank and Jesse James rode up on horseback by their ranch and they gave them a meal in the late 1800's...the next day the sheriff came by asking if they'd seen the duo. Who knows if it's true but I think it's cool and every time I hear something about Jesse James my ears perk up. I really enjoyed this museum. It was just me and my daughter on our tour where the guide painted a very descriptive picture of what happened on that day. When it comes to historical events I've decided that I can only comprehend what's happened if I can see it. It's one thing to hear about Jesse James' crew robbing a bank...it's another to actually stand inside the building, looking out into the town to see where his thugs were keeping watch and see the ACTUAL safe that was robbed. I love the feeling of standing in places where turning points in history were made.
The Safe robbed by Jesse James Crew
Something I'd recommend? Yes. It is really interesting to see this piece of history which is the place of the first successful daytime bank robbery, the guide is very knowledgeable and a great storyteller. This woman tells the same story all day every day but it's not rehearsed or as if she's reciting word for word. I always appreciate it when your guide is enthusiastic and captivates your attention. The bank museum also has a great gift shop, I think I would visit again to get more souvenirs and because I enjoyed talking with the woman who runs the museum so much.



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LIFE LIST: GO INSIDE THE PENTAGON



Where: The Pentagon in Arlington Virginia

When: February 2009

Cost: Free

Why this is on my list: I have visited the D.C. area many times and I am always looking for as many things to do as possible, I got very excited when I came across this!

Something I'd recommend? Yes, the only thing is that you have request a tour several months in advance and you have to get there early. I absolutely would not recommend taking small children. I think the tour was about an hour but the content would only be appreciated by an older audience as far as children go. The Pentagon is living historical building and even though the tour is vague it is still informative and very interesting and just so cool to actually be INSIDE THE PENTAGON. A must if you're in the D.C. area!

Will I do it again? Absolutely. I'll get in the Pentagon as much as I possibly can, also I think my husband would like it and when my daughter's old enough I think it'd be a great place to take her.
There is only one spot where photos are permitted (above) and I choose to have mine with the Marine who gave us the tour.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The thorn in my side


In December I became very sick just days before my husband was scheduled to have reconstructive knee surgery. I knew I had to get better because the surgery would leave him bed ridden for the next month. I went to the Dr and was told I had 'pharyngitis'. It was a nasty, viscous virus. So as much as I hate to take prescription medicine I took it reluctantly and within 24 hours felt like a new person which was just in the nick of time since the next day was the surgery and I'd have a toddler and a husband to wait on hand and foot and a house to take care of. I had to be on my best game. About 3 weeks later I started to feel a little dizzy...I brushed it off for a few weeks...then it started to get much worse...then my chest started to hurt a little, AND THEN I was having an odd pain in my head. I kept telling my mom and my husband about these things- they kept saying I was fine. Every day I got a little more dizzy, my chest hurt a little more and then finally the pressure/pain in my head became really intense. 'I really think something is wrong with me' so that night I went to the Dr after work. They took x rays and ran tests to determine that I had 2 problems BOTH a result from the pharyngitis I had had in December. First of all I had a lot of fluid in my ears causing the pressure and the dizziness. Also, I had costochondritis which means that the cartilage between my ribs was inflamed. The Dr prescribed steroids 4x/day for 12 days....I was NOT happy about this and very apprehensive to take prednisone for so long but the pain in my chest was becoming unbearable. Ok, so fine I took the steroids, I hated them and enjoyed a huge sigh of relief when my course was complete.

Well....the first day off them I had a raging migraine, I wasn't really surprised....then it lingered for 2 days, again not really surprised since prednisone is such a strong drug and I had expected not to feel totally normal afterwards... but then, 3 days...4 days...5 days...ok something is wrong, who has a headache for 5 straight days? I called the Dr office, a nurse got on the phone and said to me "you need to come in, I've looked at your chart and it says that if you are experiencing a headache you need to be re evaluated". Over a year ago I actually had to have an MRI to check on my headaches so this made me a little nervous. I rushed over right to the urgent care after work. The Dr wasn't too worried about the headache and like myself assumed it was probably just related to being off the steroid. And explained that steroids decrease inflamation, a migraine is your blood vessels swelling up so I felt fine for the 12 days on the steroid but removing them caused the blood vessels to swell back up. Ok....fine. He said it'll go away and gave me a shot of Torredall to help with pain. I have been treated a few times for migraines now and normally they go away within 30 minutes when I'm given the 'good stuff' but not this time....the headache continued.

Well...6 days...7 days....8 days.....9 days...10 days...I cannot live like this. I went back to the Dr. and for 2 hours we discussed all sorts of possibilities causing the headaches and possible 'natural' ways to work to break it and find relief. Before I left there was one more thing I wanted to ask him.... "I've been working everyday for the past 10 days and normally I just work a little on the weekends....AND I've been having some major...MAJOR problems with a co-worker...I know stress can cause a headache but do you think it's possible it could cause a 10 day long headache?" Without hesitation he quickly replied "Absolutely. Especially with you since you are so prone to migraines and headaches, stress is a trigger and combined with the steroid that could easily be the cause." I told him I was done with this unusual schedule on Sunday, he confidently said that he thought I would start to feel better on Monday. And I cannot believe it.....but I did. That was over a week ago and I basically feel normal again. I just hope it lasts! Any chance I can send this person my bills for sending me to the urgent care twice in one week?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

LIFE LIST: GET MY BRACES OFF

The day I got my braces off

When: November 2013 they came off- July 2012 I got my braces


Cost: The whole cost of my treatment was $5,500


Why this is on my list: They put em on...they had to come off!


The day they came on...
The day they came off...

Will I do it again? Getting my braces off was such a horrifying experience, in fact had I known what it was going to be like I may have reconsidered having them put on, though looking at the before and after pics above IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT! For 3 solid hours, they yanked, scraped, sanded, pulled, cranked, jabbed, and burned my teeth...no numbing, no Novocain, no suggestion to kick back 4 shots of tequila first. It was an experience I would never wish to repeat. The reason that it was MORE difficult to get my braces off is because I had the clear ones which are made of porcelain and adhere differently to the glue making them more of a challenge to remove. Which I was in the torture chamber I kept having flashbacks of them cautioning me about this....it's not their fault, I only have myself and my vanity to blame.

I know I was so excited back in November to get them off and posted a blog that day about how elated and nervous I was...and then nothing...I never said another word, I was traumatized. It's taken 4 months to bounce back from the whole thing. It also took a while to get used to the retainer, in the beginning I just gagged constantly, I never thought I'd get used to it but now, surprisingly, I am- it doesn't bother me at all.
This is my retainer


The braces are off but there are still a few areas that need to be fixed by my orthodontist and then I have a little cosmetic work that has to be done by my regular dentist before I can say that I'm a happy camper. So right now I have invisalign and once a month I have to go in to get new molds and a new retainer to wear, they suspect that i'll need at least 3 more retainers.
Also, I have one tooth that my 3 year old calls 'LELLOW' and will not bleach because there is a bond on it so it is the color it is and cannot be altered. What my dentist is going to do is put a lamenent over the tooth-another 'process' which will involve sanding the enamel off my tooth but before this all can happen, my orthodontist has to finish straightening my teeth (about 2 more months) then I have to bleach my teeth to the color I want them all to be then I will go in and have the lamenent put on. Also I have 5 silver fillings on the top that I will have taken out and filled in with porcelain. Years ago I had 5 replaced on the lower teeth, it's basically getting a new filling so they have to re drill and numb you and all that. It was not a fun but it looks so much better.

I am happy to have the braces off, I do have to wear a retainer most of the time which is a pain and was hard to get used to. My teeth are in a current state of being 'good enough' right now....but I'm not really a 'good enough' type of person.
Just a few small areas to fix up

A few weeks ago a dream of mine came true. I have always wanted someone to tell me I had great teeth. Of course, all my friends and family keep telling me how nice my teeth look now but they know the before after and middle. What I've always dreamed of is a random person who didn't know that I had braces or very crooked teeth in the past to pay this compliment unprompted and randomly...and it happened. About 2 weeks ago, a customer of mine and I were talking and she changed the subject and said to me "You have beautiful teeth, do you get that a lot?" I about fell over...uh, no ma'am, I do NOT get that a lot! That woman made my day and I will never forget that, it made all the effort, time, money and painful moments totally worth it to me.



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