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That’s what I’ve been doing for so very long.

One year ago today, I attended the memorial service for, and said goodbye to, my dearest childhood friend, JT.  It was two measly posts ago that I wrote about it.  I’ve been back to my blog one time since I wrote about my greatest heartbreak and I couldn’t bring myself to write about anything.  Not that anything before that point was prize winning, but I have been going down a very long road with the grief.

In one week, I’m participating in my fifth half marathon.  I’m not ready.  I hit a nasty block with the Air Force Half Marathon.   Had I not joined Fisher House Foundation‘s charity team, Team Fisher House, and raised money, I likely would have bailed. but I didn’t want to let those who supported me down.  I ended up traveling alone and running alone.  It rained and I was 20 minutes past gun time starting because traffic was a nightmare trying to get on base even though I gave myself over 3 hours to get there.  I developed a blister about mile 1.5, lost my interval timer and stupidly backtracked trying to find it, which I never did.  However, I was a finisher.  That was five weeks ago and I’ve put my running shoes on once.  Today.

Today, Fab wanted to go for a run with me.  I purposely didn’t time it and I refused to look at the clock because I didn’t want to know how long it took us.  It was the slowest two miles I’ve had in a long time, but I swear it went by the quickest.  She reminded me to be aware of what was around us, asked if my phone was fully charged, and we were off.  We talked, laughed, and had a great time.  She told me she was sorry for being slow.  I told her it didn’t matter and I meant it.  We finished our two miles and we did it with a smile and a high five.  She has asked for a fuel belt for Christmas.  Her biggest concern is what to put in the zippered pouch since she doesn’t have car keys or a phone.  But she wants one because I have one and she wants to run with me.

Next week I’m meeting up with one of my besties.  It will be her first half marathon.  I’m so proud of her and the strides she’s made with running.  She’s an inspiration to me and I’m looking forward to supporting her and cheering her on.  Next week I’ll lace up my running shoes and don my calf compression sleeves and running jersey to raise awareness for a cause I believe in.  Next week I’m dedicating my run to JT.  Just like everything else I tackled in my life, he supported me with a whole heart and unwavering love.  I will do my best, albeit slow, and count my blessings with every step I take.

Be well.

A little over a week ago, I got a message that my longest childhood friend had a seizure and went into cardiac arrest. Last Saturday morning I got the news that he was not going to recover and he passed away.  I was devastated.  I still am. I am struggling so hard with the grief.

Over the years we’d find each other and stay in touch then we’d drift apart.  It only took a quick catch up for us to pick up where we left off and keep right on rolling with life.  The last text I got from him read, “thinking about you.” He didn’t have children, but I shared our adoption story about Olivia and he was excited about exploring that option to build their family.  That will never happen.   I haven’t seen him since we were in our early 20s and he showed me all over Texas.  We found a bar just across the border that took travelers checks and we drank Corona out of faded bottles and terra cotta glasses.  That was definitely one of the best trips of my life and the memories are as vivid as if it happened yesterday.  I’ve never met his wife, but she has been kind enough to keep me up to date with what was going on and she was gracious enough to accept our special friendship.  I’ll meet her for the first time when I travel to Houston for the celebration of his life instead of the plans he and I started making for next year.

He touched my heart and my soul so deeply.  He was heavy metal and I’m more of a country and 80s girly-girl.  He was a drummer at heart and I can’t keep a beat.  I believe we were soul mates (of the best friend type; not the marrying type) and, no matter what direction our lives carried us, we always found our way back to each other when we needed it.

This week was one of “those” weeks that I would normally lay my trials and struggles on his shoulders and he would encourage me and talk me through them until I was calm again.  So many times I picked up my phone to call him, but I couldn’t.  I long to hear, “Hey, girl… It’s JT” one more time. I only hope he knew just how important he was to me and that I cared for him so deeply.

It’s not fair that he lost his life at the young age of 38.  It’s not fair his wife of a few years is a widow.  It’s not fair his mother lost her son just a few short weeks after losing her mother.  I know God has a plan for his short time on this Earth, but I’m struggling with it.  He had so much love and kindness to offer and was never less than kind, loving and caring to me.  It’s just not fair.

I haven’t had to shoulder this alone.  My friends have rallied around me with kind words and support this past week and I’m so grateful.  One of them told me, “big grieving is an indication of big love.”  It was a huge love and a huge loss.

This picture is from the bar in Mexic0… JT and I are in the middle.  We had no idea who the others were… we met them there and had a blast.

There once was a girl from the South

Who [thought she] knew what life was about

She gave it her all

Sometimes she would fall

Oh, hell.  Who am I kidding?

Dude, it has been an ass kicking year and a half.  No other way to put it.

So, it’s not quite the prose I had hoped for.  There aren’t but so many times someone can post that they’ve disappeared (as if it wasn’t obvious from lack of posts) and then promise to get back on track. It gets old after the first, but I probably have at least half a dozen to my credit.  If not more. So, when I took my last blip off the blogging radar, I didn’t come back.  One, I had nothing to say and two, which really should be one, is I have been consumed by lazy.  So many of the fantastic people I’ve met through blogging and I are now F@ceb00k friends, so they keep up with all the mundane stuff.

I hit bottom and bounced back up.  I hit bottom again and bounced back up.  That third time of hitting bottom has been super hard to recover from.  I have given up a lot of the volunteer work I was doing so I could focus on my family and household.  I will say, Fabul-O has been a trooper through all of the changes and has been so much more resilient than I ever could have asked.  The one thing that hasn’t changed is the love and unwavering support of all my fabulous friends and my parents.  Without them, I shudder to think what depths I would have sunk to.

In February I participated in my first half marathon.  I had some health issues at the end of last year that kept me from being able to train properly and run.  With constant nagging by me, the eventual blessing of my doctor with a conditional clearance, I did a walk/run (emphasis on walk) and completed.  Aside from the fact I thought I would die, and the massive blister I developed at mile 5, I felt good.  Except for the massive amounts of pain I was in.  I wasn’t last.  I know the “you lapped everyone who didn’t get off the couch” spiel and all the other well-intended yada-yas, but I didn’t feel like I really and truly “did” a half marathon.  Except for the super swag, fancy medal, and the best damn muffins I had ever eaten.  So, when I got the email for the discounted fee, I registered for it again.  Next time I want to run.  I will run the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon in February 2013.

My mission before that one is to run the Army Ten Miler in DC in October.  I joined Team Fisher House and will run raising awareness for all the awesomeness Fisher House provides for families of our service members.  For those who don’t know, Fisher House is kind of like a Ronald McDonald House for military families.

This is the last year of my 30s and I want to make it kick ass.  For the most part, my 30s were good, but I want to send them out with a bang.

I don’t know if anyone still hangs around to see if I’m still alive, but, I am.  And I’m going to be better than I’ve been in a long, long time.

 

xo

Well, I finally have a permanent, full-time job.  It’s not ideal, but I’m gainfully employed and, for that, I’m grateful.  No more 90 mi. round trip commute.  It’s 3.3 miles from my office to my house.  I could walk it, if I wanted to and didn’t need to be in pristine condition when I got there.  Maybe one day, but for now, I’m okay with the drive.

It has been a rough year and it has kicked my tuchus six ways from Sunday.  I’ve struggled with feelings of failure and letting all those around me down.  I hit a serious depression and there were days I couldn’t get my head up off the pillow.  Failed interview after failed interview and opportunities that I couldn’t make happen really brought me down.  I accepted a temp position with a company in June and was finally made permanent a few weeks ago.  A good friend helped me out with kid-care this summer when I started temping so I didn’t have to pay daycare rates.  As did the midwest G’ma and Papa L.  Fabul-O spent 3 weeks visiting them this summer.  It was wonderful for her and them.

I’ve made several attempts to redefine me and I have learned, but am still struggling to accept, is I am who I am and that’s not going to change.  Complacency gets us all and it got the best of me.  So, I’m no longer working on reinventing me or even redefining me.  I’m working on making the me I am the best it can be.  I still struggle and I still have a long way to go.  We have had the love and support of friends and family and I am so thankful I surround myself with people who care and don’t just throw lip service our way.  I am so glad I raised Olivia to understand the value of what we have and what we give because it’s helped to adjust to our revised way of living.

I’m back at Weight Watchers and had a successful first week back on plan.  I struggled this week, but I’m having to break a lot of bad habits and, damn, that gets a lot harder the older you get.  And oatmeal doesn’t taste nearly as good as a biscuit.

Olivia participated in her first 5K in September.  We ran about the first half mile and we walked the rest.  We finished in 52 minutes and I am super proud of my girl.  People say we could have shaved 5 min off our time had I not taken her picture at the mile markers.  We walked in support of Operation Homefront North Carolina.  She says she wants to do another one.  Running it.

I had my 20 year class reunion a few weeks ago.  20 years changed a lot of us in a lot of ways.  Others of us it totally skipped and nothing has changed.  I’ve changed.  And I’m glad.

I’m who I am and that won’t change.  There are still a lot of things that need to be worked on and I will… one of them at a time.

 

 

I’m alive.  I’m still unemployed, but I’m alive.  Nothing too exciting has has been going on around here.  I haven’t posted any recipes becuase we’ve been doing a lot of repeats because my mojo has been a little off.   When I get that one little ounce of sunshine, a pound of grey covers it over.  It’s a cycle.  I’m aware it’s a cycle.  And I do what I can to keep my chin up during said cycle.

A couple of weekends ago, the fabulous Shanny through a kickin’ baby shower for the wonderful Shannon…a mustache themed babyshower.  You kinda gotta know the backstory, but it involves Shannon’s husband who has a very dark mustache and is affectionately referred to as “mustachio” by some.   There were pink beads, cupcakes, delicious punch (O.M.G. Baby shower punch is the best evah.  Hawaiian Punch, ginger ale and sherbert.  Divine) and a game of Pictionary where there were some pretty crude pictures drawn to represent something so simple.  All I know is when you hear dirty words fly through the air, you hang on by your sugar high and ride with it.

Fabul-O is just that…Fab.  She’s learning more and more and is becoming such a 6 y.o.  I mean, I know she’s six, but she’s starting to act 6 with a tinge of the 2s, a helping of the 3s, a slice of the 4s and the whines of the 5s.  I’m not sure if I’ll make it all the way to 7.  She went to the dentist the other day for her cleaning and x-rays.  She was born without two of her bottom teeth.  The hygienest had us both in near tears talking about implants and extractions, etc.  I reminded the lady that Fab was only 6 and didn’t even have a loose baby tooth yet, but I’m sure we had PLENTY of time to discuss cosmetic options when the time was appropriate.  Finally she backed off.   She was a champ for all her x-rays, including bite wings.  I have to go tomorrow and I totally wish I had some valium.  I hate the dentist with a white hot passion.  After we left, she said to me, “Mommy.  I have glasses, I don’t have your color skin and now I’m missing teeth?  What else is wrong with me?”  Talk about Mommy melt down.  Holy crap.  I reminded her that I wear glasses, I don’t have her color skin and I’m missing some teeth, too, and that one day the rest of the world would be lucky to catch up and be as cool as we are.  Then I gave her ice cream.   She was content and has only asked me about not being born with those teeth a few times.   Insecurities: Round 3.

I got the “Why didn’t I get born from your tummy” question last week.  We’ve had the conversation before, but we had it again.  The older she gets, the more detail she requires and I shouldn’t be at a loss for words because I practiced it forever.  I’ll get it.  I’m good like that.
Went to a seminar about making myself marketable in the job market last week.  I got some valuable feedback and they reviewed my resume. I thought it looked good.  Granted, it does LOOK good, but it needs some tweaking, so she told me what to do and I’m working on revamping it.  They will review it again and the CEO will be have a one-on-one session with everyone to go over questions about getting back into the groove of applying for jobs.  I took a little hiatus to work on some things and now I’m ready to get back at it.

We are going to be farming in the ‘hood again this year…I have some piccies from our starter seeds, but we’ll leave that riveting post for another day.

Hope you all are fabulous…those who still stop in from time to time, that is….

Be well…

Susan

So, I felt good blogging about meals I’ve cooked that were budget friendly.  I don’t know that anyone cared, but writing has been therapeutic in the past, so I thought it would be now.  Why not put two of my favorite things together: cooking and saving money.  But you know what I love more?  WORKING for said money.  This unemployment thing sucks.   One would think I would have all these magnificent projects done around the house.  No.  One would think I’d be well-rested and ready to perform at my peak.  Not even close.  One would think…One would think…I would think.

Over the past four weeks that I’ve been unemployed,  I have learned some things:

1. I have chosen to surround myself by some really awesome people.

2. These really awesome people randomly check in on me to make sure I’m still picking my head up off the pillow.

3. These people don’t judge me when I am honest about how I’m feeling.

4. My husband really does love me.  Maybe this one should have gone first, and I could have deleted it and moved it up there, but I decided to just keep it as it was because, well, it’s where it fell in my thought process.

5. Choices are so much more important than I ever thought.  I have preached it and believed it, but guess got a little complacent with it.

6. Not everyone who gives their word will keep it.

7. Everything (and -one) has a period of usefulness.  When it is outlived it is gone.  Period.

8. People still respect me.  And they always will.

9. I am beneficial to someone in some way.  I just might not know it yet.

10. People believe in me.  I only wish I did one third as much as they do.

11. My family loves me.  No one can ever take that away.  I don’t care how much of an asshole they are.  Being an asshole only reinforced it.

Why didn’t I get the same giddy when I submitted my 100th resume as the kids do when they celebrate their 100th day of school?

*squee* NOT.

It’s a sales position and I’m REALLY not a salesperson. Not since I sold jewelry many moons ago. I love diamonds. They are pretty and it was always fun helping a guy buy the diamond that would make his girl’s dream come true. Didn’t have to be big or the best, but you know what he wanted and where he needed to be. My job was to find something and put that fit together. And I did.

Again, don’t get giddy wid it…I’m not a salesperson. Especially cold calling type sales. Just not my thing. Especially with an industry I know virtually nothing about. But you throw a couple of “inside sales” (read: people called and told me what they wanted and I told them what we had that would fit their situation) on your resume and, voila, you’re it. I flubbed the day I signed up with the staffing agency and I’ve been mock interviewing myself. So I’m taking this one as practice so, hopefully, when I get called back for another one, I’ll be better.

As an aside, I’ve applied for my dream job, but have a fear I won’t make it through the application screening process even though I think I would do a wonderful job with it, as do the friends I’ve told. No details because I don’t want to jinx it. A friend put my name out there to a friend of hers who works in that office, so we’ll see if anything comes of it.

Peace.

Learned today that my unemployment benefits are about $200 less from SC than in NC.  I live in NC…worked in SC, so I must file for benefits from SC.  Damn.  And both are significantly less than I was making.  Double damn.

FYI…E-mail after e-mail after e-mail saying, “sorry, we didn’t like what your resume had to offer” sucks and I don’t handle it very well.

To those who have been actively seeking employment, but have been rejected from all angles.  I feel for you.  I really, really do.  And I’m only into my 2nd week of it.

Nothing new and spectacular to report.  I feel like my heart is lightening up some.  I know that’s a good thing, but sometimes, when I catch myself, I close it right back up.  My goal is to let it stay open….little bits at a time, though.

Through all of this, I have been reassured day after day after day after day that I am an emotional eater.  I used to say I was, but never put a lot of stock into it, but my dang emotions can set me on a path to self destruction.  I’m working on this, too.

A couple of friends have given me reading suggestions.  I bought a Nook and have enjoyed having it and checking out books from the library for it.  That is super exciting because they are F.R.E.E.  My favorite four letter word on the planet.

I’m still fighting to regain my sense of me.

Forgiveness has always been hard for me.  I have always felt that if I forgive someone for something, I have to forget the ill ever happened. It also made me feel like a bad Christian because I carry the grudge and ill feelings.  I constantly have a burden because I can’t let go.  So, not only am I harboring my ill feelings, but I’m toting the guilt of failing in my spiritual life. I’m having to rebuild both bit by bit.

What seems perfectly reasonable to some is hard for me to digest.  It’s a small step, but I’ve learned that forgetting is not essential in forgiving.  I can’t separate the two yet; to me one still can’t be without the other one.   But I’ll get there.  I hope.

It’s What Day?!?

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