Friday, May 29, 2009

Biggest fish, worst injury and a damn good time in KY

Memorial Weekend….Ahhhh, a time to reflect and be thankful for those who gave their lives for our freedom. Translated to the American version, a holiday for drinking and driving, river/lake stupidity and all around fuckery. I do believe that I scored 2 out of 3. Dan and I hit the road Friday afternoon to head out to Kentucky Lake. I am not going to lie; I was not all that excited to be camping with Dan’s dad, stepmom, uncle and aunt. Frankly, I would not go on a 3 day camping trip with my own family so I see no reason to do it with his but I digress. I agreed long ago and I was not going to back out. The drive was only about 4 hours and we changed roads a lot which Dan and I have decided is what cuts up a trip. If you have ever driven Hwy 70 from STL to Denver you know how long and boring Kansas is. We believe that is partly due to the fact that you are going down Hwy 70 for 600 miles or so. Any little change becomes exciting at that point. I will never forget last summer driving to Colorado for vaca, after hours of silence between us, all of a sudden Dan says, “Look, babe, there’s lightening”! He was so excited to have something new to look at!

Anyhow, you get the point…the drive was short. We hauled Dan’s aunt and uncle’s boat which brought on the lol’s. Dan was concerned about my driving his big truck with a boat and trailer attached. Silly boy, doesn’t he know I was St. Charles born and bread. I can drive anything, pull anything, change oil and rotate tires. My daddy didn’t raise no sissy-girl. So Dan started the weekend impressed with me. I also bought a new 75 gallon cooler with a handle and wheels that caused him to shriek like a school girl but we will act like I didn’t include that in my post. We got into camp around 6 and put the boat down at the dock. Then we set up the Taj Mahal (seriously way too much tent for 2 people) and started on dinner. We made a deal that everyone would bring 1 dinner for all 6 of us and then bring your own breakfast and lunch. Our first night was goulash. Now in my family goulash was everything in the fridge warmed up in a pot, served over toast. My dad was a military man and I shit you not, we had that for dinner many a nights after my mom left. This goulash was really roast meat and gravy over noodles. Dinner was excellent as was sitting around the fire enjoying the night. The boys decided Saturday would be their day to fish. I was welcomed to go as I do like to fish but 4 people is a bit too much for the boat. I decided to take one for the team and hang with Dan’s aunt and step-mom. I like Aunt Candy very much. She and Dan’s uncle Fred have really been 2nd parents to him and we are close with them as they live in St. Peters. Dad and stepmom are completely different. Relations are strained with Dan and his dad so I really don’t know them. We have met twice before and both times I found to be extremely strained and awkward.

Saturday started with a bang, the boys left out late to fish because Bass was having a fishing tournament. By the time they left, conversations turned way girly which can be uncomfortable with your boyfriends step mother, if you know what I mean. Aunt Candy and Step mom Anna, could not be more opposite. They drink heavily when they are together which is why I refer to hanging with them as taking one for the team. We went to an indoor pool (oxymoron in my opinion), had a hot shower (really hadn’t planned on that) and went to the grocery store. It was an entire afternoon of not camping at all and I wasn’t very happy. The sun was shining on the lake and all I could think about was how much I was missing out. By 2pm I realized that if you can’t beat them, you join them and I mixed myself up an extra-big-girl-sized vodka and redbull. I was 1 ½ sheets when the boys returned. Dan was well aware of the fact that I would not be the man down again on this little trip. Saturday night we enjoyed my spaghetti for dinner. I cooked the sauce at home and planned to boil the noodles on the fire. The first night the mens proceeded to really fuck up the fire that I got started so after scolding them all, I took over as fire chief. Nothing bothers me more than an ill burning camp fire. So I brought 3 pounds of pasta with no intentions of cooking it all. The men-folk decided we would need every bit of 3 pounds. In their defense, we ran out of noodles for goulash and they had to use bread so I think they were erring on the side of caution but 3 pounds of pasta could feed a family of 10. Again, I digress. There was leftover goulash meat but no noodles so I humored them and cooked all 3 pounds of pasta. Dinner was excellent, albeit 2 pounds of leftover pasta later. We drank and ate so much that no one wanted to play games. We made our Sunday plans to fish and hit the hay early.
Sunday was a 5am start with a spit of rain coming down. Troopers that we are we saddled up and got down to the dock by sunrise. We had rain gear, food and lots of coffee. Who could ask for more? We fished for 5 hours in the rain. I couldn’t pee with my butt hanging over the boat in the middle of the lake in the rain so that made for a bit of discomfort for me but I made do. The last hour the rain was really coming down. I caught a 5 pound white bass and a little baby something, both of which were thrown back. Dan caught some itty bitty guy that didn’t even measure up to my little guy. I was the last one fishing while everyone else tried to huddle under the canopy as to not get even more wet. We were back to camp by noon and it was down pouring. Dan and I got dry clothes on and hid in our tent for an hour or so. After that we joined the family in the RV for drinks and domino’s. That night we grilled brats, knock worst and I had veggie Italian sausage. It was still rainy but not down pouring so we managed. We had a huge pot of beans with dinner, which we cooked on the fire. Our only emergency situation of the weekend went something like this; the beans are on the only level part of the fire, cooking away, we put the brats on a grill topper with ½ of it resting on the bean pot lid and the other half on a log. In order to check the beans we had to lift the grill. When we go in for a stir, Uncle Freddie and I each take a side of the grill and lift and I lift the bean pot lid with my other hand while Dan stirs the VERY hot beans. So the beans are sticking a bit and require some elbow grease. They splatter directly onto my left forearm which is currently doing a balancing act with Freddie to hold the brats up. My other hand has a hot lid in it. We all stand around looking at one another. Dan is the only one that doesn’t have something hot in his hand but clearly his paramedic mind does not register to GET THE BURNING BEANS OFF OF MY SKIN. I drop the hot lid in my right hand and wipe the boiling beans with the hot pad in my hand. Needless to say, my skin sloughs off with the beans and we have our first and only real injury of the trip. Dan also did not bring his medic bag but thank goodness Aunt Candy was prepared. I cleaned and dressed it and got back out there. We rounded out the night with more games and drinks. We were in bed early due to the early rise. The rain on the tent was fantastic, as always. We did experience a bit of moisture in the tent, not a full fledged leak but definite water. Everything was pretty well damp including the sheets, pillows and blankets. Ahhhh, to camp!
Monday was a slow-starter. The fire chief had many issues. The wood was all wet, the ground was also saturated and I had a 3rd degree burn on my arm that really resisted being held over the open fire. I managed to not only light the fire and keep it lit but I also cooked hash browns for breakfast over the campfire. Dan’s dad and stepmom had to head out after breakfast as they had about 7 hours back to South Carolina. After breakfast Dan and Uncle Freddie went to pull the boat out of the lake while I cleaned up our tent which was a hot muddy mess from all of the rain. Side note: I am really glad I am anal about rugs and extra towels on camping trips. They saved our life. By the time the boys got back we could hear thunder in the distance so we worked meticulously to get our tent down quickly. We discovered that a family of brown recluse had set up shop under our tent. One of the big hairy bastards was poised to strike at me but Aunt Candy saved me. HUGE, hairy bastard…no lie. We had just loaded all of the tarps, polls and tent crap in the car when the sky opened and down poured. Thank God I had suggested that we save our only clean dry clothes for after the tent was down and change just before we headed home. So we put on some dry clothes and headed home about 2pm. We managed to get 40 state license plates and 2 Canadian provinces. Not bad for such a short trip. This is a frequent game of ours. While I am on the topic, if you have a license plate cover that blocks your state, kindly remove it. You are hurting fellow travelers when they have to speed up to dangerous speeds to see where the hell you are from. Dan recapped the weekend most excellently on the way home when he said “my baby bought a bomb ass cooler, caught enough fish to feed us, drove the truck with the boat and trailer and took a burn better than most men” I think he was pretty proud of me.
We got back on Sunday about 6 or 7. Dan had to take the boat to Fred and Candy’s while I started laundry and took a much needed shower. Somehow I made it all weekend with no ticks, few bug bites and mostly intact, aside from the burn. Today is Friday and the blister still has not popped (according to my medic bf an open blister is just a breeding ground for infection) so I am keeping it covered until she heals. I got some great pics of the weekend that will be up soon. I hope everyone else had a rockin’ good time doing what you did. Sorry it took half a week to post. I will try to do better next time. Life is crazy lately. Crazy good but crazy.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Queen of Awe-Summm?

This is my first tag by fellow blogger. I take that back, Laura might have tagged me once before but I didn’t get it. I am still not sure I do but I will give it a whirl. Not sure how these links and things will work out and I know nothing about tagging but here goes:

My new role of Queen of Awe-Summm requires me to do the following:
1. List 7 things that make me Awe-Summm
2. Pass the award onto 7 bloggers that I love
3. Tag those bloggers to let them know they are now Queens too (and link back to the Queen who tagged you)

7 Things That Make Me Awe-Summm:
1. My life experiences and the people in them assist me each day to help friends through trying times. I am told that I am a good listener and I give great advice. Now if only I could learn to take my own advice.
2. I am one of the most loyal and honest friends you will ever have. My friendships are one of the biggest and most important investments of my life. I will also make you regret the day you met me if you cross me. It’s a Scorpio thing and I do see it as a positive so it goes on the list of things that make me Awe-summm!
3. I read a book a week, sometime 3 or 4 and I love learning new things. I am a history geek. I love a true story or any story that follows human emotion to a positive place and outcome.
4. I love to cook. I don’t mind laundry. Mowing the lawn and painting are therapeutic for me.
5. I am a fierce advocate for the underdog. I have always been one to stand up and make people take notice of injustice. I will vote/bet on the underdog any day and I usually win when I do. I believe that most people are more successful when faced with adversity than when handed things on a silver platter.
6. I love to go places where I don’t know anyone. I pride myself on making friends and finding “my people” no matter where I go.
7. My spirit and enthusiasm for life have to round out this list. I have an inner determination to make this life everything that I want it to be and more and I know I will succeed. There are frustrating times but I know my goal. I see my path and I won’t ever give up until I am there.

Laura was right. It really isn’t very easy to brag on yourself when we are conditioned not to do that. It was a good feeling though, so thanks!

Okay, so now for the 7 other bloggers that I know are Queens:
1. Anrazel at
2. Joanne at
3. Flat Foot Floozy at
4. Gina at
I don’t have any other blogger friends for now so this will have to do. Happy Monday to all!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Gratitude is the best attitude.~Author Unknown

I have had to work very hard lately for a positive attitude. I am not sure why but I feel this magnetic pull down when everything is really looking up. I have been trying to really concentrate on all of the positive things and leave the negative behind. Perhaps that is why all the blogs about accepting change and learning to be happy with what you have. I am very happy with my life. I have been trying to practice The Secret by being grateful for all things and continuing to tell the universe what I want instead of dwelling on what I don’t have. I have been reviewing my blessings this week and I came up with quite a bit.

I have a job. That in itself is HUGE during these hard economic times. I may not be doing everything that I love and more but I have it good. I make a decent salary with insurance and parking paid. (Parking in Clayton could break the bank) I have a super nice office overlooking downtown Clayton. I am learning things at this job that I would not have learned elsewhere. I work for a prominent St. Louis politician and that is a great connection to have. I have met all kinds of state and national elected officials. For the most part I enjoy what I do and the freedom that I have. I am so grateful to not be micro-managed. How would a girl blog all day?

I have a home. Some of you might not appreciate this but for a long time I lived in a place that was not home. I bitched and complained almost daily but if you had asked me at the time what the problem was, I probably could not have told you. I hated my life. The first week of living with Dan I had come home one night and the house was silent. I had an overwhelming sense of relief at the sight, sound (or lack) and smell of HOME! I realized at that moment that is what had been missing all of that time. I am so grateful every single time I walk into my home now.

I have my health, as does most of my family. This is a big one. Most people don’t appreciate good health until it is gone. You hear all the time of people getting Cancer and then finally learning to live because of the threat of dying. I am not a mother but I cannot imagine a sick child. As I thank the universe for my own health, I am also grateful for that of my friends and their children.

I am well fed and I have healthcare. I know both of these things seem small but if you don’t have one or either of them, you know they are not small at all. They are survival. I don’t just eat, I eat well. We have fish, filet and sushi once a week. That is something to be grateful for. Health insurance is something I have been without. It sucks. God forbid you would get sick without it. I am grateful for places like Planned Parenthood that provide healthcare to people that cannot afford it. I have been there.

I have a fantastic support network. My friendships span from 30 years to just a few days old. I appreciate so much the growth and acceptance that comes from long friendships. The history of knowing someone 20 or 30 years is amazing. Without old friends, life would not be the same. New friendships bring new color and pizzazz to life. They bring you new experiences, people, cultures and memories to cherish. “My people”, as I call all of you, are on my list each morning and each night of the things that I am grateful for.

I am in love; for real. After years of the single life, I wasn’t sure that my someone was even out there. I continued to tell the universe what I needed in a man and it delivered last year. I never thought I would appreciate a relationship as much as I appreciated being single. Let’s face it, do what you want, when you want and answer to no one is a pretty good deal. Except…I have all of that still. Dan could care less what I do. He loves my gays (that was a requirement put forth into the universe early on) and encourages me to get out and see my friends all of the time. He works 24 hour shifts so I have plenty of Toni time, lots of friend time and I still manage my SSB (secret single behavior) on the nights he is away. I can’t give thanks for Dan without mentioning Belldisa. Who would have thought that I would love a kid? I mean, this is just crazy talk now.

My family is amazing. Although we sho did put the FUN into dysfunctional, I am proud of all of us. Momma has learned to not be so angry and hateful anymore. Daddy is growing at his own rate (slow but sure). And my sister is an inspiration. She is graduating law school this weekend at the age of 35 (teetering on 36 but we will give her a break). She is married to a woman that she loves and she is embarking on the life that she has been working tirelessly for. This has been her dream since we were little babies and I could not be more proud of her.

I have the best gay boy (friend) circle a girl could ask for. Seriously, these boys got me through break-ups and years of being single. They taught me the fine art of stage/cage dancing, well, them and Leigh-Leigh. They introduced me to all nighters (literally, sun is up and shinning when you stumble out the club), cock rings, dark rooms at the Complex (could have skipped that), cocaine (just being honest) and more love than I ever thought a group of MEN could hold in their pinkies let alone their hearts.

I also have this blog to let loose all of my thoughts, my car; Gia- that I just LOVE, Facebook that gets me through the work day, my dogs, and my dawgs (lol), my unalienable rights as well as the constitutional right to marry (so long as I choose a man….grrr). I am grateful for Barack Obama. I am grateful that gay marriage and gay rights are finally in the forefront of today’s issues. I am grateful for shows like The Biggest Loser and Extreme Makeover Home Edition that show me that all of the good is not gone out of this world.

There is never enough you can say about being grateful. I was in a really bad place mentally yesterday and pissy at the world. I went home to clean and knock that not-so-fresh feeling out of my heart. Dan was sick in bed when I got home so I jumped to cleaning. Not gonna lie, I was a wee bit resentful that he wasn’t helping but I digress. I was not going to let it upset me. I turned around a few minutes later (was kickin’ the iPod on full blast) and Dan is not only up but he is scrubbing the shower! He knew I had a lot to do and despite the fact that he felt like hammered shit, he helped me. If that wasn’t enough to love the shit out of him, he does one better. He actually made me laugh out loud in my state of “fuck the world”. I was be bopping long to the iPod, not paying anyone a bit of attention. I am busting out whatever happens to be playing at the time at the top of my lungs. Now I have my ear bugs in so I can’t hear me but Dan sure can. (Can you imagine my tone deafness at full volume?) If I were him, I probably would have gotten pissed (headache and all) and told him to shut-up. Instead, I go into the bathroom to ask him something and I remove an ear bug. Homeboy is singing the song from my iPod! So I say, “honey, are you singing the music from my iPod?” and he’s like “yeah, kinda fun to see if I can stick with the beat not hearing the music”. He sure was following my screeching voice and singing alone. People, I belly laughed. It probably wasn’t that funny but how cute? I just wanted to rip your eyes out (not really but kinda) and now you make me laugh like crazy. Perhaps it was the universes way of reminding me why I love him as much as I do. Anyhoo, I am off work tomorrow. I am spending a weekend of gratitude and family fun in Michigan for the big Law School graduation. I will leave you with this thought for today:

"The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving."----H. U. Westermayer

Monday, May 11, 2009

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them" Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Well Happy Monday to everyone. I hope that mother’s day was all that you mommies wanted and more. I had a nice day with my momma and Belldisa (her new bloggin' name). We did some crafts for Belldisa to give to her mom and had a nice relaxing day at home. The entire weekend was a fantastic break from life. I am very grateful for that.

The reason for my post today is simple and came as a suggestion last week from my cousin Angie. I think she sensed my need to get some things off my chest:-) Judgment (or judgment) depending on your source; it is defined as a formal utterance of an authoritative opinion. It started as a legal term that we branched off into everyday life. I am not talking about legal judgments today; I am talking about personal judgments. We have all been judged and let’s face it; we have all been the judgER. It is almost impossible not to judge in your own mind, if not out loud at times. Hell, we even judge ourselves and our own actions in our head. We second guess and compare ourselves to others constantly.

I have experienced some major changes in the past year. I spent the better part of the past 5 years single. I loved that time to be crazy, answer to no one and do only what I wanted to do. I have always been a long-term relationship girl, from a very young age. The time that I took to be single was some of the best times of my life. I am so happy that I allowed myself the freedom to figure myself out and not worry about another person or thing in the process.

I met Dan a year and a half ago and most of that changed pretty quickly. I knew he was different and I certainly knew that I was different with him. I had never dated anyone with a child before so that in itself was a big step and one that I took very seriously. I didn’t meet Belldisa until Dan and I had been dating for 3 months. We spent a lot of time over the summer together because we had her for 2 ½ months. By the time she went back to her mom’s to start school last fall, I missed her. I hate to admit it but I felt rather lost. That was SO not me. It was hard for me to accept at first. Here is me: Miss. Single, Independent, Carefree, not-a-responsibility-in-the-world, answer-to-no one, all out rebel…missing someone else’s child. Goo. In fact, double Goo. I didn’t like it anymore than anyone else did.

I spent the next few weeks pretty bothered about the changes that I was experiencing. I found myself trying to almost distance myself in an effort to hold onto the old, single and carefree me. Right before school started last fall we had Belldisa for one last weekend. We went camping and fishing with Dan’s aunt and uncle. Dan, Belldisa and I went out on the boat just the 3 of us and on the way back it was really windy and cold. Belldisa wanted to sit in my lap to try to block the wind and so I let her. She started stroking the side of my cheek as we are heading back. The wind is in my hair, nature is beautiful and here I am with a 6 year old in my lap thinking, how did I get here? Belldisa breaks me out of my trance with my name, “Toni?” So I look down and she says “I Love You”. Melting….all over the boat, Dan heard her and he was clearly pretty shocked himself. I decided that day on the way back from the boat that I didn’t care anymore about who I used to be. This is who I am now. I love this man and his child and I don’t care who doesn’t agree with it. It was quite a change for me, I admit but one that needed to happen for my personal growth. The old me would not have even met someone’s child, let alone babysit them by herself. The new me actually does pick-ups from babysitters and has her own booster seat! The new me also asks if you wiped your butt and then if you washed your hands after or not. This is not at all the single Toni of 2007 and before.

So when my parents would say “this guy must really be something if you are dealing with a kid”, I would just tell them that yes he was and she was too. It has made me a totally different person. I will be the first to admit that most of the changes came from within me. Some people have truly embraced my growth and others have been completely turned off by it. I can’t really give you an exact moment that things changed but the moment on that boat is when I stopped caring what anyone else thought. People would say to me “that really isn’t you” and after a while I had to let them know that maybe they didn’t know me anymore. Maybe I am not who they think that I am anymore. People are constantly growing, changing and evolving. Part of friendships, relationships and family is learning to grow with those changes and decisions; learning to support one another even if we disagree.

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”--- Charles Darwin

There are few worse things to me than stunting another person’s personal growth or trying to hold them back from being who and what they truly are. When you tell a friend “you just aren’t who you used to be”, “I don’t even know you anymore” or “I don’t understand who you have become”; what you are really saying is that there is no room for personal growth. So if they don’t remain the same person through their entire life, you can’t support them? If they don’t fit into the little box that you have created for them then they just don’t fit in your life? I have had some very personal experiences with judgment recently; within both my family and friendship circle. This is not the first time this has happened but I sure hope it is the last. The up-side (there is always an up-side) is that these trying times and tests tend to show you who your friends really are.

“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out” Anonymous

I am concentrating very hard on the positive and supportive people in my life and I refuse to give energy to the other side. There are few rotten apples and in this case, they don’t have to ruin the whole barrel. I have some amazing people in my life. I have friendships that range from 30 years (Manda), to grade school (Stacy, Anna, Lacey and Joanna) to many high school friends (can’t name you all) and the countless friends from jobs or friends of friends…oh, and my gays! Sometimes when you have a history that deep it is hard to not feel like you know someone better than they know themselves. It is hard to not step in and tell someone that you think they are making a mistake. It is important that we all support each other without judgment. I recently spoke to my therapist about judgment and how to not let it affect your day-to-day life and she had a valid point that I didn't want to face. Just because you have been friends for a year, 5 years, 10 years or 30 does not mean that you take judgment from others and continue to accept it. Those people don't have to be your friend and you don't have to be theirs. That was a hard pill to swallow for me but a very vindicating and awakening moment as well.

I can certainly look back over the years at things that I judged about or judged really harshly and I now realize it was not my place. I can’t change my past judgments; I can only say that I will try very hard to not be that person in the future. I will consider that everyone has their own set of morals, their own inner dialog and many things that go into their actions and reactions. I will also be more accepting to the changes within myself because I have realized that no matter what anyone else’s judgment; how I perceive myself and my own judgments are what matter most in this life. I am very proud of who I am today.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

“It’s not having what you want; it’s wanting what you’ve got”-----Sheryl Crow

Happiness really is a state of mind. It is not an emotion that you sometimes feel when things are good like I used to think. It is a conscious effort everyday to look on the bright side. It is actually BECAUSE you feel happy that you are happy. You have locked in a positive thought process (Positive Polly, I call her) and there is no stopping you. When bad things happen there are two choices:

1. You can lay down, wallow in misery and give up the fight (never been my strong suit)


2. You can persevere through bad times with a most positive attitude.

Clearly there will be days that you cannot pick yourself up from the wallow to persevere. Those are the days that you phone a friend to pick you up. A good friend will come running because they have felt that despair and would never want you to remain in that place.

There will always be disappointments to life. Dwelling on them does not make them smaller, less significant or less scary. If you think about it, dwelling does just the opposite. It is an opportunity for your negative self to shine. Negative Nelly, as I call her, is put into the driver’s seat to make sure that you spiral down as far as she can take you. Warning: Nelly will crash you right into the rock at the bottom!

It is hard sometimes to discern from day to day if you are more Polly or Nelly. Also equally confusing is when your friends allowing Nelly to drive them. They can cause you to hit the rock at the bottom with them. If you cannot help that friend and bring them back to a more positive place, you owe it to yourself to get away. I never realized how much surrounding yourself with positive people, feelings and aura can make such a difference. When I read The Secret last year it was all about a positive thought process. If you think you are good enough, you are. If you imagine abundance, you will have it. Whatever you want from life is yours if you just ask for it. It teaches you to be grateful for what you have, everyday.

My hormonal rage recently sent me “back to the beginning” of my quest for that happy state of mind. I was feeling so down that I didn’t even notice that I was spiraling out of control. There were many factors that contributed to my spiral, none more so than me, myself and I. I was also allowing other people’s feelings and judgments of me and my life affect me in a way that they did not deserve, nor did I. I am the one that allowed it so there is no one to blame but me. It is a very hard thing to determine sometimes that you can no longer accept Nelly in your life, especially if she has rooted herself into someone you care about.

Unfortunately, one knows if they have negative influences in their life. Knowing and having the courage to make a change can be 2 completely different things. I will liken it to a bad relationship ending. You dread the end that you know is inevitable. You might put it off for weeks, months or years to avoid dealing with it. But then you address the issue, remove yourself from the negative hold and POOF; you are healed. You wonder to yourself “why didn’t I do that sooner?” You say, “If I had known things would be like this, I would have done this long ago”. We have all been there. It is a part of reflection of life. You forget that feeling until it happens to you again and then you suddenly remember, “oh, yeah…this is how I felt last time I let fear hold me back and I got the same sense of relief from letting it go.” It is one of the most amazing feelings in the world.

I have clearly experienced this sense of relief recently, in quite a few situations actually. As I start to face my fears about the future I remind myself of the relief that comes with letting go and taking chances. I am so much more confident in myself and my own life since I stopped worrying. I believe that all things will work out as they were meant to. We all have our place and goals in this life and it is important that we follow our hearts as well as our own path. It is also very important that we support and love one another. People might make decisions in their life that you don’t agree with. To love and support means just that, you love and support without judgment while keeping a positive state of mind for yourself and that person.

I look back over the first 30 years of my life and some of my biggest risks brought the best rewards. Where would I be if I hadn’t?

-left home at 16 (I learned a lot, depending on just me)

-allowed the Gramlich’s to love me and support me (I never let my parents do that)

-left Chad against everyone’s advice (this is a biggie) Holy, hell…where would I be?

-took years off of dating to be me and figure me out (Best thing I did for myself…ever)

-opened my heart to the love of someone else’s child (wow!)

-accepted that parents make mistakes and they are people too (huge)…maybe they did love me after all (This took longer than most)

-left collections (a job I hated) for commission income (scary)

-taken those 3 months in Colorado to get my mind right (Sure did rest HIGH on that mountain)

-let go of many negative influences over the years (sometimes painful but necessary part of growth)

-acknowledged to myself that I deserve to give and receive love (years of therapy)

Those are some big risks that had huge rewards. There have also been risks that came with failure but I always learned a very important lesson from them. I don’t see them as failure at all, just learning experiences; lots and lots of learning experiences. Holy unload, Batman. Thanks to the blogging world for letting me unleash all of that into the blogosphere. Happy day to all!

Love and Peace, T

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"Be the change you want to see in the world" ----------------Mahatma Gandhi

You've done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.-------Ralph Marston

The time has come to grab life by the balls and pull…vigorously. I have been doing a lot of thinking over the past month or so. Finally being free of my past roommate situation and the drama that came of it has left me with a lot of time to contemplate my life and reassess my goals. I am in a much happier place now that I have a home where I feel comfort, love and acceptance. I am so grateful for Dan and this time in our lives. I have realized recently that I was so concentrated on my household drama and just staying afloat before that I really haven’t been working towards any of my own personal goals in a long time. A few years ago when I decided to get my insurance license, I really thought that would be my career forever. So many things didn’t work out with that and I was at a point that I NEEDED a paycheck and income so badly (to pay for a house that I hated, living with someone who loathed me) that finding work became taking whatever I could get.

My current job has served me very well. My boss is a very nice guy and well respected in the community. He is a great dad, an excellent politician (I mean that in the nicest way possible) but he is not a great boss. He jumps from project to project. We do a whole lot of planning and almost no implementation which for my personality is just infuriating. I love the people that I work with, the small office vibe and my very own office overlooking downtown Clayton. I am grateful to have met the people that I have and to have had the opportunities provided by this experience. I would have never met the top elected St. Louis officials that I have. Nor would I have had the pleasure of working the polls and organizing volunteers during a historical election time. I would not have seen the grass roots community efforts going on to clean up St. Louis. I have gotten a lot from this experience. I think I have come to a point where I have gotten all that I can. I am once again stifled in my work. There is no room to advance in a 7 person company as I do not aspire to sell financial investments. I don’t even believe in the stock market! This continues to happen to me every few years. I take a finance job because I have so much experience. I learn whatever I can that is new and eventually the daily tasks of the job become very mundane to me. I realize that I am the common denominator here. I need a constant challenge and an environment that is ever changing and growing.

I have been thinking very much about going to school for some sort of youth counseling, as that sort of work has always had a draw for me. I hate to see the way that kids today, teenagers especially, are just discarded by parents, teachers and counselors at such a young age. I feel like we have a world full of messed up adults that are raising even more messed up children. Don’t get me wrong, there are great parents out there that are doing a fantastic job with their own kids while trying to help out other kids as well. These young people are our future. Of course they don’t know the value of work or a dollar because NO ONE TAUGHT THEM. They don’t understand the world that they live in because they are abused and then cast out into the world by parents that can’t or won’t try to help them. Then there is the extreme opposite group that lives at home well into their 30’s with parents that continue to enable them to never grow up. I find it funny that we think we are so superior to other countries. In Europe children are taught 2 languages from kindergarten on. Most people speak more than 3 or 4 languages. We have high school graduates in this country that cannot write in cursive. They don’t have a signature because they don’t learn cursive anymore!

I do realize I am really just ranting. I had to get out the bad to get to the good. I do have a point and here it is; I am going to start pouring my negative energy about my job into positive energy of researching my future. No job I have had in the past 3 years has paid my bills completely. I have always had to carry a 2nd job and I cannot continue to work 60-80 hour work weeks. I have made a lot of lifestyle changes that make my expenses less. I will do what I must to pay my current debt and then I am done with credit after that. I am on to a simpler life. I don’t care how much my job pays. If I am making a difference in one person’s life it will be worth it. Counseling and/or working with kids is a new challenge and something that I know will feed and recycle my passion everyday. I have been so down on life, myself and my past decisions lately. I am stressing myself with thoughts of where I went wrong and also what I can do to get back on track. I don’t know what or who lifted the cloud but today something clicked. Lots of positive quotes and people popped into my head and inspired me to think of this in a different way entirely. How many people have the freedom at their current job to research their future? There is no time limit. Even if I decide to go to school and I don’t find another job, I know my boss would work around it. I also know that if I put it out there what I want the universe will see to it that it happens. I just have to remain patient and open to accepting it when it comes. This may not result in an immediate change in job or personal circumstance but the changes are coming and I plan to embrace them fully. I finally have the confidence, determination and inner fortitude to find my path and follow it. I am really proud of myself today. I am at a place where I am willing to accept my faults but I am also willing to highlight my qualities. I have a lot of love and wisdom to offer. I have been that unloved, turned-out and troubled teen. Someone was there to pick me up and dust me off. Where would I be today without that? Instead of dwelling on that, I will think about the kids that I can help. The feeling of love, acceptance and confidence that I got from others, I can give to someone else. I can let them know they are not the first, or the last but they can be their personal best. It is high time I take my own advice.

Here are a few of those quotes that inspired me today:

“You cannot control other peoples’ actions; you can only control your own reaction” Robin Gramlich

“Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” Jerusalem Talmud, From Schindler’s List

“You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.” Brian Tracy

“It is no disgrace to start all over. It is usually an opportunity.” George Matthew Adams

“Joy increases as you give it, and diminishes as you try to keep it for yourself. In giving it, you will accumulate a deposit of joy greater than you ever believed possible.” Norman Vincent Peale

“If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it.”
Mary Engelbreit

“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round heads in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Jack Kerouac

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude to me is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, gift, or skill. It will make or break a company...a church...a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes. ==Charles Swindoll

Friday, May 1, 2009

Nether War

I am so glad that I started this blog. It has only been 2 days and already I am wondering where I would have bitched all of this bb (before blog). This story really begins about 5 years ago. I was making a huge effort to clean up my life of toxins. I started eating completely different, taking way better care of my hair and skin; really making myself and my body a priority. I am a smoker and I am not likely to quit. I enjoy that toxin;-) I had been on birth control for the better part of 10 years at that point. Back in the 90’s BC was a GYN’s answer to everything. If you had irregular periods, iron deficiencies or a nose bleed, they put you on the pill. As time went on we heard more about the risks. I had an old doc that refused to prescribe the new seasonal pills because she said it wasn’t natural for a woman to not have a period. Medical research was not conclusive enough for her to explain where all of those un-expelled eggs would go. Her theory was that by skipping so many “cycles” your body could experience late menopause or issues in connection with too many leftover eggs. This made sense at the time. I was 25 and single, there was no way I was having unprotected sex so I opted to go off of the pill. Fast forward 2 years later and I wake up one day and I can’t pee…at all. After drinking gallons of water because I thought it was a bladder infection, my belly was distended like I was 6 months pregnant. I woke my sister who took one look at me and loaded me up in the car for a trip to the ER. A CAT scan revealed nothing so they did an internal ultrasound. If any of you have ever had one of these you understand what I mean when I say it is like masturbating in front of strangers. Essentially, that is exactly what it is. I digress. So they find a large mass on my ovary that will require surgery. By the time all was said and done I had 11 pounds worth of cyst and ovary removed and spent 5 days in the hospital. I gotta give a shout out to my girl Oxycodone here, without her I wouldn’t have made it through. I have a scar like I had a c-section but clearly no baby. I was told that 1 ovary would do me fine and I moved along to my 6 week recovery.

At the time of my surgery there was no follow-up care. No suggestions on why or how this came about or how to prevent it. A year or so later I went to see a dermatologist for the massive preteen pimples that I was still getting on my face. The dermatologist took one look at my medical history and diagnosed PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome. One of the main side effects is ovarian cysts (check) and mongoid pimples (check, check). Her goal was to fix my face so she gave meds and that was that. I continued to see random docs (old lady retired on me) until this year when I decided that I had dropped the ball on my female health. Fear from the surgery had kept me from digging into my issues. So I got a new doc earlier this year who informed me that the best and most effective treatment for PCOS is continuous birth control. The hormones shrink the cysts while leveling out your highs and lows. We discussed my smoking and taking the pill. I have cut back and she is not overly concerned about that until age 35. She said my skin would benefit from the pill as well. I explained my issue with the hormones, yada, yada, yada. She explained that I am already hormonally imbalanced as that is what PCOS is. I also addressed my old docs concerns about wasted left-over eggs or early onset menopause.She had this whole story about that body knowing what it needs. So she prescribed BC for 3 months straight, then take a week off to allow a “cycle” and then do continuous again for 6 months. The goal is 2 periods a year. So now you see why I agreed to this ridiculous plan. 2 periods a year? I’ll take it.

A whole lot of mumbo jumbo later gets us to the point of this post. The point is today, the here and now. My uterus is under siege. Yesterday I finished my last pill in the first pack and today I will start a new pack as to be continuous. My body wants to cycle, really bad. There is a war going on in my nether regions and I don’t know who will win. Doc said this might happen. She also said I might be a raging crazy lunatic for the first few weeks (check, check and check). Poor Dan made a comment 2 nights ago that I was rather sensitive, silly boy. I was like “oh, really? You were all for the BC, all for being chalked full of hormones. What the hell? Now you don’t like it?” He was like uuuuuuhhhhhh, “I shouldn’t speak”. Perhaps he understands better than I thought. Anyhow, I am taking the weekend to chill with some girlfriends and accomplish some housework. I am sure Dan is eternally grateful that he is working all but 12 hours this weekend. I can see myself painting, building or destroying something:-) I will let you know how it turns out. Happy Friday and first day of May to all! And may your uterus not strike back.