Thursday, November 29, 2012

Staying busy (with a little help from my friends)

Over the past few days, I've had a lot of free time, but also a lot of things to do. File for unemployment, call my retirement planner about rolling my work 401k into my non-work retirement portfolio (that sounds more glamorous that it is, trust me), buy cat food, go the gym as usual, let people with whom I want to keep in touch know I'm no longer with my company, and so forth. I've also made dinner every night, cleaned up, did some dishes and laundry, and today I even did a little outside work on our firewood pile since it was sunny and not too raw.

I feel like I should be doing MORE though, like the days are slipping by. As Anne said to me today on Facebook: "The days are slipping away but it's only Thursday and you've only been at this since Monday afternoon. ;) I say go easy and be proud of what you DO get done." Ah, my friend, easier said than done! I feel like the house should be cleaner already, that I should be jumping into the projects that I've been putting off, that I should be applying for jobs as I see them pop up in my email.

Then, I thought about Jessica's post, written back in August, about being a happy housewife. I remember reading that and thinking "man, would I like to have some time off, without any pressure or stress to immediately find work." Actually, I've been thinking about that for years. I just wanted a break. I didn't want to be terminated. (And for the record, I was not laid off. Yeah. I have more to say about that, later.) Right now, our financial situation is strong enough that I don't have to run out and get the first job I can find. Plus, Chris knows how much stress I was under with my job and dealing with his health issues (often at the same time). I was getting very depressed and not myself; Chris wants me to feel better, all around, before I jump into another job. Like Jessica, I am very fortunate that our situation can allow for a break. 

I then thought of another post by Jessica, one about her three months of unemployment. As she says in that post:
"Because it has taken me so long to land a job here, I wanted to take the time to remind myself of all that I have accomplished in the past three months. This is part record for myself, to look back when I say, "What did I do those first few months after moving to Whoville?", and part to inspire those of you who might be feeling stuck and need a push to see how far you've come -- or remind you what you're capable of."
She goes on to make a huge list (click the above link, you'll see!) of what she did with her time off.

I think I need to do this, as well. I am hard on myself naturally, and to not have a place to go every day or any real accountability (well, Chris does think it fair that I should cook dinner if I'm home all day) makes it hard to remember that I am doing things that are helping this household, this family. Even if it's just the two of us (and the three cats). Kendra's most recent post about effective to-do lists made a lot of sense when I read it, even though I was still employed. In fact, I started tracking what I'd done each day at work so I wouldn't feel so badly about the bigger to-do list that loomed with unfinished tasks. This week, during dinner, I have told Chris what I've been doing all day--not because he's checking up on me (although he is curious to know what I do!), but also as a way of reminding myself, "Hey, you're NOT screwing around all day or just watching bad TV and eating snacks."

I want this time off, for however long it might be, to be productive. I want to use it to my advantage. So I've done some thinking about how I can make it work best for myself. I'm only 3.5 days into this, and I've already realized that it's not helpful to get up when Chris gets up. It only takes him half an hour to get ready for work, and when he leaves (around 8:30), I've been spending that time puttering around, not doing anything really. Then I've been lounging around, reading things online, eating breakfast, and drinking tea. Today it was 11 o'clock when I finally got in the shower

So here are some things that I believe I need to implement:
  • Wake up before Chris, and get myself ready for the day so that after he leaves, I can just get on with my day. I've been thinking about going to daily Mass (I have three Roman rite parishes within 4 miles of my house, and all Masses are 9 am or earlier), as a way to start my day and to ask God to help me in discerning what my next steps should be. I have a lot of ideas about where I should be going next, but I want to include Him in my search. After that, my day can begin!
  • Limit my online time. I've realized how much I do need human interaction; it's been a quiet, lonely few days. I love the girls in the CathSorority Facebook group and everyone on Twitter, but I need to get stuff done and not rely on those media for social interaction. Yes, job searching and networking is mostly done online, but I need better boundaries so that a quick email check doesn't turn into an hour of bantering with someone. 
  • Make a list of things that must/should be done daily. And then do them. Everything from cleaning the litter box to making dinner. Just so nothing gets overlooked or forgotten.
  • Have another list of things to be done during the week or soon-ish. These could be as mundane as taking the recycling bin to the curb, or as exciting as finishing the restoration of this old hutch my dad found at an estate sale. Again, this is so I don't get bogged down in the everyday and then I find myself back to work and miserable because I didn't do ALL THE THINGS. When I took a week off in July, I wasn't as productive as I wanted to be (although I did get to talk to Jessica on the phone and that was cool!). 
Thank you Anne, Jessica, and Kendra, for your words of wisdom. I think I'll get through these feelings of inadequacy and slackerdom because of your tips and advice.

So, for those of you staying at home--temporarily or permanently--what do you do to make sure you accomplish what you need to, and to make sure you FEEL accomplished? I look forward to your replies!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

At least I'll have more time for blogging

It seems like I only have time to post big, life-changing events...and then I disappear. Well, here's another one: I was terminated from my job on Monday. At high noon. (Isn't that cute?)

I had to let some time pass before I felt like I could write a post about this, although some of you reading this already knew. Thank you for the emails, FB messages, tweets, texts, and phone calls--it's wonderful to know that so many of you care. A few of you have even given me some direction about where to look.

What happened?  Part of me doesn't want to get into it and part of me wants to go on a word rampage. I don't remember if I wrote about this, but back in April, I was reprimanded for something with the "promise" that if things didn't improve, the next step would be termination. I guess they felt like I didn't improve, however, I will say that I wasn't given much (if any) direction on any progress, how to go about improvement, etc. yet, in that final meeting, I was told (among other things) that I should have just known and that my boss "needed someone that I didn't have to tell things to." Should I have been a mind reader?

Who knows.

I'll have more to say about this later, including what's been going through my mind as I try to figure out my next step. Stay tuned!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Some news

This is an email that I sent out to family and friends this morning, and thought it should be posted here too. Yes, I'm breaking my rule about blogging at work.

Hi everyone,

I'm sorry to be writing this in a "mass email," or even in an email at all, but with everyone's schedules, it would be hard to find times that worked for everyone, and we wanted everyone to know what is going on.

Some of you know that Chris had a liver biopsy on October 5. For some of you, this is brand new news, and for that I apologize--again, it's hard to find times to call everyone, and quite honestly, I didn't know what to say, especially for those of you with whom I don't speak regularly. Our hopes were that everything would be just fine and we wouldn't need to be worrying anyone about us.

On Monday night (October 15), we found out the biopsy results. Chris has a condition called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, stage 3-4 (NASH). You can read more about it here, from the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.

Again, some of you know everything, some of you only knew that "something" was going on, and some of you didn't know anything. I want everyone to be on the same page, so bear with me if anything is repeated. For those of you who have seen my posts on Facebook or Twitter, or have emailed me about other things, if you're wondering why I haven't said anything until now, I just needed time to process everything and figure out what to say.

Backing up a bit, Chris was scheduled for his regular physical in August. He'd had blood drawn a few weeks before the appointment for the usual tests that doctors run for physicals. The PCP noticed that C's liver enzymes (ALT and AST) were slightly elevated, but didn't think it was anything to really worry about. He told C to go back to the lab in a few weeks for another set of tests; when C did that, they were a little bit higher. More waiting, more testing, including an ultrasound which showed a fatty liver, but no tumors, no cysts, etc. During this time, C was very worried and anxious, but he dramatically changed his diet and began exercising more, hoping that this would bring his levels down. The additional blood tests showed that the levels were STILL climbing, and C's PCP referred us to a gastroenterologist, who ran even MORE tests. We knew it wasn't cancer or the really bad forms of hepatitis, which has always been a concern for C, because of the population he works with. The gastro also reviewed all of C's records from when he was in the hospital from the accident, just to be sure that his liver wasn't damaged and "forgotten." All of the gastro's tests came back negative, which was good, but we still didn't have a clear answer. He recommended waiting a few months, then retesting the enzymes; at that time, if they were still high, he'd send C for a biopsy. C asked if the biopsy could be done now, for peace of mind and a definitive answer. He had a feeling it was NASH and the gastro was feeling similarly--the only way NASH can be diagnosed for certain is with a biopsy.

It was a good thing that C asked for the biopsy now, although we didn't think it would be this severe. Even the gastro was shocked. Stage 3-4 means there is significant fibrosis (scarring) on the liver. The important thing is: NASH CAN BE STOPPED. It might even get a little better, since the liver CAN heal itself if the damage isn't too advanced. C still has NORMAL liver function. The treatments are good ol' diet and exercise, which means C is in control of his destiny. This is good (no drugs that might make him feel sick or have weird side effects) and bad. C is VERY scared, naturally, about having this, but is even MORE scared that all the hard work might not pay off. He also feels that he is continuously being dealt a bad hand--the accident, two layoffs, now this, so it's going to be hard to get him to a place where he's feeling optimistic. He's got a lot of things on his side: he's young, he doesn't have any other chronic conditions (such as, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol), we can afford to hire a personal trainer and the best food out there, we have health insurance and access to some of the best doctors in the world because of where we live, and most importantly, he has a support system. My parents, C's dad, and I are all working on helping him to take one day at a time and get to a more positive place about his diagnosis. And of course, we would appreciate any and all support, encouragement, prayers, and good wishes from you too!

Thanks for reading. Below are answers to some questions you might have, but if you have others, please let me know.

Much love,
Jen (and Chris too)


How did this happen? NASH is a lifestyle disease. Being overweight and having abdominal fat are two risk factors, and those apply to C. The irony is that not everyone who is overweight will develop this (I'm heavier than C, and my liver is perfect) and not everyone who has it is overweight. There are other risk factors as well. Sadly, doctors are seeing more cases of this, due to the American lifestyle.

Did C feel sick? NO! That's typical with NASH, though. It's silent, just like heart disease. The person can feel fine for a long time.

Is this related to his accident? We don't think so, although being in bed for months recuperating probably didn't help, nor did the medications that were used to keep him alive and out of pain. There have been some studies showing that the liver can be damaged by the TPN that was used to "feed" him while he was in the coma, but the studies were done on people who were on TPN for months or years, not weeks as in C's case. No one knows for sure where this began.

Didn't C's mom die of liver cancer? Yes, she did. Because she didn't go to the doctor until it was literally too late, no one is sure how her cancer began. We do know that NASH, when untreated, can turn into cancer. We would not be surprised if this is how hers began. To use those cliches, prevention and awareness are really key. GO TO THE DOCTOR.

NASH has "hepatitis" in it. Isn't that really really bad?
ANY inflammation of the liver is called hepatitis. "Hepat" refers to the liver and "itis" means inflammation. Bronchitis is inflammation of the bronchial passages, otitis media is an ear infection, etc. NASH is inflammation caused by the fat deposits. It's not communicable; he didn't get it at work or any place else, I can't get it from him, etc.

What happens next? We wait. C works on himself. In 3 months, he'll go back to the gastro for labs and an exam. That's about it. Eventually he will have to have another biopsy to measure how things are going on the inside.

How are you doing, Jen? I'm OK. I'm worried, obviously, but I am a little more optimistic than C is right now about this. Keeping my mind off of it helps--hooray for being super busy at work. I've been working out with a personal trainer for two months now, and have change my eating even more (lost ~10 lbs and 12 inches overall), so I know that C can do it too. In the back of my mind, I also wonder "what if lifestyle changes don't work for him?" but anything is possible. C's severe anxiety about all of this has taken its toll on me, but we've found someone for him to talk to, and she specializes in helping people through health issues. I'm excited about him taking more control of his life and feeling better (overall) in the next few months. I know that once he starts seeing progress (even if it's just being able to run further or lift more), his positivity should grow.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

7 Quick Takes--#6

Thanks, (other) Jen, for hosting!

Good times, bad times. Not such a quick Quick Takes this week.

--- 1 ---

Good: yesterday was our fifth anniversary. Where does the time go!?!? It sounds so cliche, but seriously, it doesn't feel like it was that long ago. I guess that's what the mommy blogs mean by "the days are long but the years are short." We didn't make any big plans for this year, for a lot of reasons, but we did go out for brunch to a new-to-us place, bought me another iPad (long story, but mine had an accident over the summer), drove around for a bit trying to think of something to do on a gray, cool day, came home for a bit to hang out, then off to Divine Liturgy, then to another new-to-us place for an excellent dinner. Back home to relax, then bed. I did not think this is how our lives would be by now, but that's for another post. As someone who thought she'd never get married, I am blessed and happy to be where I am today.

[Question though--I got the "new" iPad by accident. I told the lady at the Apple store that I wanted the 2, which I'd already had, but when I got handed off to another guy, I don't know if she said that or if she did, if he heard her, etc. When I got home and looked up my emailed receipt and compared the box and all of that, I realized I got the "new" one (or the 3 or whatever they're calling it). For some reason this is REALLY BUGGING ME. I don't know if it's because I was so set on getting another 2 or if it's because of the "bad things" I've heard about the 3 or what. For the record, I won my 2 in a trade show giveaway, so it's not like I had researched it before I bought it or knew the pros and cons. It was just there. So, should I just suck it up and enjoy the 3 or return it for the 2? Anyone?? ] Chris doesn't know why I'm SO obsessed with this, when....

--- 2 ---

Bad: Chris is having a liver biopsy this week. I haven't talked about this to many people, only family and one close friend (oh and WORK *roll eyes*). I am not that worried about this. I think Chris will be okay. Really. It's weird, because everyone keeps thinking I'm a wreck. No! I can't explain it, but while he could have something that's potentially serious, I think he will be able to monitor his health. Is this stupidity? Faith? I don't know. Those of you in the Catholic Sorority FB group know some of this, but here's the short version of the full story for EVERYONE!

Chris went for a physical in August and his liver enzyme levels were high. His doctor wasn't too concerned, but thought they should be checked again in a month or so. Ensue panic #1. Chris' mom died from liver cancer, so he didn't want to wait so long to have the levels checked (even though the doctor told him it was NOT CANCER and most likely a fatty liver). He went back to the lab a few weeks later. Levels were even higher. Ensue panic #2. Doctor thinks an ultrasound should be done, so off Chris and I go to the radiologist. Ultrasound comes back and looks pretty healthy, maybe a little fatty, but the only way to fix that is through lifestyle changes. Doctor says "Work on the diet and exercise and we'll retest in a month." He's very optimistic that things will improve.

Cue the healthier eating that I mentioned last week. Chris and I are eating super clean, working out, and all of that for about a month. Chris goes back to the lab for yet another blood test; the results comes back EVEN HIGHER. Ensue panic #3. Also, we find out that he has a positive ANA. (So do I, so does my mom--fortunately we are asymptomatic.) At this point, we're like, "WHAT IS GOING ON HERE???" Chris' doctor sets up an appointment with a specialist, a gastroenterologist, as he had mentioned a few weeks before that he'd do if the levels weren't improving.

That afternoon, we're sitting in the gastro's office at the local hospital's satellite location (suburban campus). We are fortunate, living where we do, being so close to one of the best medical schools and affiliated hospitals in the WORLD. (Yes, the one that begins with a Y.) Have I mentioned our appointment was for 4 PM on a Friday afternoon, made at 9:30 that morning? We were very lucky not to have to wait over the weekend. While the doctor didn't appear until 4:30, he apologized before he did ANYTHING ELSE. (Big props in my book.) He talked to Chris, who was EXTREMELY shaken, reassured him about what it was NOT (cancer, viral hepatitis, some random things that you and I have probably never heard of), and calmly explained what it COULD be--fatty liver disease, autoimmune hepatitis (unlikely, as mostly women have it), or irritation from the few gallstones that the ultrasound picked up. The gastro ordered even MORE blood tests, including one for Celiac. He was also interested in Chris' medical history related to the accident he had in 2004. I'd always felt that Chris should have been followed by a gastro after his bowel resection, so perhaps this is a blessing in disguise.

Last week, all of the labs came back, the liver levels were still high, but Chris doesn't have autoimmune hepatitis nor does he have Celiac. The labs told us what he doesn't have, but they didn't say what he DOES have. It's a bit maddening. Of course this all makes Chris even MORE worried, and the gastro does his best to reassure him that he thinks he'll be OK, he does NOT need a liver transplant, etc. What the gastro thinks is that Chris has something called NASH: nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Chris thought he might have this when he received the first results of his liver tests, but I tried to convince him that things weren't really that bad. FAIL JEN.

The only way to determine if Chris has NASH is via biopsy. The gastro did not recommend that we do one immediately; this is Chris' request. The gastro suggested waiting 3 to 6 months, doing more lab work to check the levels, and then, only if they hadn't improved much, to proceed with the biopsy. Chris, thinking that he'd have to live with that knowledge (or lack thereof, really) for months, knew that he'd be driven crazy with it hanging over his head, and asked if he could go ahead and have the biopsy now. It could be "just" a fatty liver, or it could be NASH. Either way, we'll have a definitive answer; if it is truly NASH, we'll also know what stage it is in. So, biopsies aren't great, but answers are always good. After waiting a week to get the results back, that is. Have I mentioned that Chris is a worrier and nervous by nature? He is obsessive with this latest health news; I've asked/demanded/yelled/screamed at him to STOP. LOOKING. THINGS. UP. ON. GOOGLE. I have to constantly reassure him that he's going to be okay, and that his doctor isn't too worried since he didn't want Chris to go for the biopsy immediately. It's been a tough few weeks at this house, for sure. I'd appreciate prayers not only for good PHYSICAL health, but good MENTAL health as well. And yes, we are looking into seeing a psychologist for help with how Chris has extreme panic/worry/obsession over his health.

--- 3 ---

Good: I'm seeing lots of progress at the gym. Once a month, during my weekly nutritionist appointment, I am measured so that we can see how many inches I'm losing (besides just pounds). In the past month, I have lost six pounds. Meh. I know, a loss is a loss, but I don't know, I thought I'd have lost a little more than that! Inches-wise, I have lost OVER TWELVE. Yup, a foot is gone from my body! SEVEN of those inches have disappeared from my hips alone and two from my waist. The other 3 were split between my upper arm, my thigh, and my chest. I was SHOCKED by those numbers!!!

--- 4 ---

Bad: Chris is really really really nervous about what's going on with his liver. I wrote the actual bolded parts of the QTs before I went back and filled them in, sooo just go back to #2. It's been hard on me, because I can only take so much. I'm not really a super patient person to begin with, and I've gotten a lot better, but I am honestly getting tired of having to reassure him several times a day, when it doesn't seem to do much help. He's called me almost every day at work, and I've been spending my break times talking him down from his heightened anxiety. His regular doctor gave him some medication to take when it gets really bad (Ativan, a mild tranquilizer) but of course, since he's so hyped up about the liver, will he take a pill or two? NO.

I'm getting snippy and annoyed, when I KNOW it's not his fault, especially as someone who experienced a similar panic disorder years ago. It's probably knowing that I got through it with therapy, and that I know how to take care of myself so I don't fall back into those thought patterns which makes me this upset. Ironic, huh? I know what it's like, but I hate that I can't just say to Chris, "Do XYZ and you'll be okay" or that I can't just share the "files" that are in my brain to help me process things, so that he'll be instantly "cured." I think that's the worst--when you've been in a similar spot as someone and know how to get better, only you can't really help that person because they are your spouse and you aren't a trained professional. (Even if I was a trained professional, it might not be so ethical that I help him in this manner.)

I actually went to confession about it last night and our priest told me that I can only take so much and that I'm doing everything I can. He agreed; it's not really a sin, it's a limit of being a human being. (He's known about all of this since the beginning.) Then he told Chris to suck it up a bit during HIS confession. In a nice way. It's seriously affecting EVERYTHING. Chris was anointed after DL last night, so hopefully that will help to ease his mind a bit as we approach Friday. Oh and waiting about a week for the results. I plan to try my damnedest to keep him busy. Even if it's with a "Honey Do" list.

--- 5 ---

Good: Two weeks into Creighton/NFP and things are going pretty well. aking charge of my life in one area lead to a snowball effect. While I've been off of the pill since mid-August, I wasn't able to start the Creighton classes until two weeks ago. Thursday I had my first follow-up with my instructor and so far, so good. I was pretty nervous that I wasn't observing my signs correctly or that I might have been incorrect in those observations, but I was wrong. Since I'm a fairly nervous person by nature, the frequent contact with the instructor is EXTREMELY helpful. I also have to say that I'm pretty pumped that it's not centered on so much religion. My instructor is Catholic and so am I (duh) but I am always sensitive to things that are overtly religious when they might not need to be, probably because not everyone is religious, and for religious people, not everyone is the same religion or even the same level of faith. And yes, I don't send out Baby Jesus Christmas cards. (Note to self: might be a good future post!) So, would Creighton be a good method for ANY woman wanting to know more about her body? YES. I do plan on writing a post about my experiences--going from contraception for health issues years before I was married to being married still on the pill to going OFF the pill and all of that. It will probably be over at IuseNFP, since Kayla was very interested in my post. But there might be something here too.

Speaking of IuseNFP and Kayla (and KATIE), my instructor gave them a shout-out in our intro session, soooo I guess they are famous. And I was all "yeah I know them." Chris looked at me as if I was an alien. I don't know what the other people in the intro session thought.

--- 6 ---

Bad: (TMI WARNING) It's been 52 days since I started my last withdrawal bleed (aka fake period) and I would really like it to return. Sorry, I had to, haha. I'm so annoyed. My first few weeks off of the pill were great. My Creighton instructor's boss (who I'd contacted first) warned me that I'd feel like I was going through puberty again. I thought that was an overly cautious statement. HA.

I was wrong. These past two weeks or so have been MADNESS. Crying at all sorts of weird things, getting easily annoyed (no, really MORE than usual). Ugh. This is horrible, and I can't really tell people why I'm like this. My mother already thinks that anytime I'm sick or tired or cranky that I'm pregnant, soooo I don't think she should know I'm off the pill just yet. I don't need her to ask me even more than she does now, haha. My boss? Ew, none of his business, although I am wondering if HIS boss (one of the owners of my company) thinks something's up. I was in a meeting with her and my boss about a quasi-serious issue involving our company and social media, and I started CRYING. It was more out of embarrassment/fear, but yeahhh way to go on the professionalism, Jen. I'm sure she's now thinking "Greeeeaaaaat, she'll be gone in a few months." Hopefully she notices my smaller hips instead. These hips don't lie! Shameless Shakira mention, hahaha. If only there was a gif for that!

[In case anyone is worried, my endocrinologist told me at my last appointment in August that if my period hasn't returned by my 10/12 appointment, she would give me a prescription to induce it. Yes, I will be using Prometrium.]

--- 7 ---

Good: I knew I had another one, but I forgot it. Anyway, just thank you for reading and commenting (if you do). I'm really glad I'm back to blogging and that I've met so many great people through blogging and social media.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Just reviewed my stats and I have to know....

I do love penguins, hee.

WHO is looking at my blog via Linux!?!?!?!

I'm not asking that in a raging, crazy way. I'm seriously curious, because I don't hear too many people using that OS. Not that I'm a techie by any means, but I know what it is. This week, I had 29 page views (not sure if they were unique) or 19% of the total; Linux was the second highest operating system, of course, trumped by Windows.

Nice to see that my participation in this week's 7 Quick Takes over at Conversion Diary has helped bring me some traffic. Thanks Jen and visitors! And Priest's Wife! Your newer blog brought some people over here too :)

I have to laugh (or should I say, LOL?) at this weeks' search keywords. Here we go, in order from the most views (5) to the least (1):
  • oxford comma funny
  • catholic memes
  • funny greek memes
  • greek meme
  • byzantine catholic memes
  • catholic meme
  • greek memes
  • memes greece
  • memes greek
  • young women having fun
I did a 7 Quick Takes a few months ago and used an Oxford comma cartoon. That explains the first one. The next 8 are related to this meme. Remember that trend a few months ago on Facebook and blogs? (If you are confused, no I am not Greek, but Byzantine Catholics used to be called Greek Catholics. You can learn more about that, here.)

The last one? I don't think of myself as a young woman who has a lot of fun. Am I looking to have more fun? Sure. 

This was just a random little post, since I am a bit of a data nerd at times. If you read it, thanks!

7 Quick Takes--#5

Let's call this the "What Happened During the Almost Five Months I Was Away from the Blog" post, 
a.k.a. "Things I've Learned about Myself."

--- 1 ---

I need structure. I took a week off in July and did almost absolutely nothing. It was lovely, yet at the same time, I felt really weird afterwards. Like I wasted time. It was fun being a "housewife" for the week, but I really think that I do better with structure, so I don't foresee a career in the house as much as I think I want that to happen someday. We'll see.

--- 2 ---

I like where I am (most of the time). I looked for a new job. I got two phone calls, passed up one interview, went on one first interview, went on one second interview. No offers. It's okay. I realized during this time that I really like my work, and it is getting more interesting. My company is growing; we're going to be publishing more types of books and I am having more opportunities to work closely with our authors, which for the most part has been a lot of fun.

--- 3 ---

I need accountability. I joined a gym and started working out with a personal trainer three days a week. I also see a nutritionist once a week. This is included in my package, and is the point of the gym. Everyone works out with a trainer, unless they are there to do cardio. I've been going for about a month--in that time, I've lost almost five pounds, am much more toned, and just feel better overall. Having set appointments has been great for me. I couldn't do the "make time for yourself" schpiel that so many life coaches preach, especially regarding fitness. I have to be accountable to someone else in order for me to be accountable to myself. I have an appointment at 5 o'clock, I will be there. No excuses, not even work. (And that was a big one for me, to get up and leave when I needed to go.)

--- 4 ---

It's easier to do something big when you have help. Along with the gym, I've also been closely monitoring my eating habits. So has Chris. His change was much more sudden and drastic than mine; I've been slowly trying to do better for years, but it was tough when you live with a foodie/amateur chef. Chris had some questionable blood work after a physical in August, and ever since then, we've both been supporting each other and working together to get healthier. In all of the years I've known him, he could eat whatever, and I had to be the one passing up on things. It was hard and I gave up a lot of the time--much to my detriment. I'm not happy that his food change happened in the way that it did, but it's been really nice having a partner in this, too. I know he's glad that I know much more about healthy eating than he does, as I can guide him and answer his questions. These changes that we have to make aren't so bad after all!

--- 5 ---

Taking charge of my life in one area lead to a snowball effect. In August I found out that one of my medications was on back order. So were the two generics that I had also taken over the years. At that moment, I had to make an important decision--I could call my doctor and ask for something else or I could try to listen to my body and work with what it was doing, naturally. I chose to go natural. It was a little scary to say that out loud (to myself, to Chris, to my doctors) but I've been met with nothing but support and love. And it's been very empowering!!! So much that I started the gym soon after, and the better eating followed that. Just recently, I was able to attend a class to learn about caring for myself in this natural way.What was the impetus for all of this? Keep reading...

--- 6 ---

There are no perfect Catholics. We are all practicing Catholics, because you don't get to perfect unless you keep practicing! Yes, I ripped that off of the old saying. I think it fits. For a long time, I felt like I was a fake, because I might have done X or not have done Y. What did that say about me? Was I not as holy as someone else in the blogosphere? As the guy three pews up from me at church? As Chris' grandmother? No one is perfect. My sins, my background, whatever you want to call it, that's what makes me, me. And if God made me, and He loves me, sin and all, then I can't be so bad, right?

--- 7 ---

Never EVER think that what you say doesn't matter. You never know who is reading your blog. Or what they are taking away from it. This goes for you as much as it goes for me. I've learned so much from many of you bloggers; I can't be the only one. Maybe someone reads something and it plants a seed. It doesn't mean they'll change or try something different right away. Maybe it'll sort of bug them, like a tag in their shirt. Maybe they'll come back to the idea that they got from your blog days later or even weeks later.

This is sort of an announcement. Take #5 and #6, mix them together, and what do you get? Do you have a guess?

Come on...

Medications and religion...

I even said "class."

I've hinted about this on Twitter to some of you. Others know about it from the Facebook groups we are in together.

Well, in a few words, I had a conversion story of my own. It's getting late, so I'll fill you in on exactly what happened in another post, but I think this is the best way to sum it up right now:

Yup. It's true. It didn't happen overnight, or even in a few days. Ha, more like months...or maybe even years. I promise, I will write an entire post about my journey. Looking back on it, it was pretty freaking cool. Magical maybe? Of course, I'm still playing with white baby stickers, so check back with me in a few weeks. ;-)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Oh look who's back...

No one has hacked my account; it's really me! I didn't realize I'd taken such a long hiatus. This Sunday would have marked five months of silence.

That's sort of silly, I've been chatty, just in other areas! Facebook, Twitter...  I had planned coming back around Labor Day with a post related to "what I did over my summer vacation" but now we're through the middle of the month, so a summer post seems a bit silly. 

I have lots of things I want to write about, some new things, some are things that I've been meaning to get around to posting about. Some are serious, some are funny. Some might shock you, some might make you smile. It would probably be best if I started tomorrow with a 7 Quick Takes Friday but that can be hard since I'm at work all day and while I could schedule my post to appear on my blog tomorrow, I can't get it to automatically link over at Conversion Diary. Hmm. (My apologies if this doesn't make sense. It's late. I'm tired. I'm out of "blogging" practice.) Hopefully I can get up early tomorrow to write a strong 7QT post and link it up before heading off to work.

If I don't...will it be another five months of silence??

Monday, April 23, 2012

iPad, you're cramping my style...

It's been almost a year since I won my iPad at a work-related conference. The past year has been a lot of fun; when I first got it, people asked me lots of questions about it, and it certainly is handy, and the apps have been helpful. All those good things that one would hope for in a gadget.

You're probably wondering, OK then, how does it cramp your style? 

I can't blog with the iPad. Sadness. First world problems. I know, big cry baby...

Wait, a lot of people blog with their iPads...even their iPHONES. Yes, technically, one can blog from an iPad. However, I cannot. I do not like the keyboard for "long-distance typing" aka, typing many paragraphs. Long things, like blog posts. Emails. Even my commenting on others' blogs has been impacted. If I had a laptop, it would be easier, since there would be a more "real-life" keyboard.

But don't you guys have a desktop? Yeah, we do...but that's in the other room, and at night, when Chris is in the TV room, he'd feel like I was avoiding him. I know this is true because before we got the iPad, he felt that way. There was a temporary reprieve when I was given the use of a work laptop that I never (ha!) often used for personal endeavors.

What about blogging at work? Are you crazy!? No way in hell. I wouldn't want anyone to find out. Well, I have done it a few times, and have used the "blog via email" feature, but work has been a little bit busier and I feel like I can't get a good post written when I'm doing it on the fly. Which is part of the reason why I haven't been writing as much lately.

You haven't been commenting either. I KNOW. This bothers me. A lot. Especially blogs like Jessica's--she always has such good posts and I know I have lots of things to say in reply to them. Just. can't. get. it. out. It's frustrating! I really felt like I was developing a rapport in the blogging world, maybe a very tiny one, but one regardless. I'll get back there, I know it! I've just gotta FIND THE TIME TO DO ALL THE THINGS!!! Including not ignoring my husband.

Speaking of the blogging world, please welcome my friend Anne and her blog, Whatever Works! I met Anne in college and even though she lives on the opposite side of the country and has two kids, we still have managed to keep in touch, sharing our struggles, our joys, and our faith.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Almost a month?

Ouch. I didn't think I'd taken that long of a hiatus.

It's getting harder and harder to keep up with blogging. For one, my department moved to a new area at work, which means NO CUBE. I sit in a room with my boss, my coworker and three people from another department. It reminds me of college--all of those desks in one small room, with very little privacy.

At home, I've been hanging out with Chris, and the iPad is not blogging-friendly. It's hard to do much on that thing; had I not won it through work, I don't think I would have bought one for myself. In fact, I would have rather had a cheapy laptop!!!! At least that thing has a REAL keyboard!

I have lots to say, but instead of promising I'll be back soon, how about I just show up?? :)

Plus, I found out that some people know of my blog via the NFP Facebook group. I didn't know that they knew about it. I posted a link, and then a few people said "oh that's YOUR blog?" So, am I famous?? Now that I have more readers and other people know about it, I guess I need to post more...but it's hard to do when you're a full time moneymaker by day, full time homemaker by night.

To be continued...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Why not? A goal review

So, here we are, two and a half months into 2012 and I haven't discussed my goals since New Year's Day. You can refresh your memory here.

1. Healthy weight. Off certain meds.
Not yet. Getting there. On a new plan to get this nipped in the bud. More to come.
2. Relax! Slow down!
I'm getting a bit better at asking for help when I need it, but I still do a lot of stuff, especially on Sundays. It feels like my entire day is doing house chores, but part of me really likes it. Freak.
3. Have fun
Ehh, same as before. We did do a spontaneous day trip around my birthday.   
4. Read more
I bought these before Christmas:
  • Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon
  • The False Friend, by Myla Goldberg
  • In Country, by Bobbie Ann Mason
  • In Search of the Rose Notes, by Emily Arsenault
  • What to Expect Before You're Expecting (hey, forewarned is forearmed!)
I finished Outlander and LOOOOOVED it. I am reading the second book, Dragonfly in Amber, now. The other books remain untouched.

5. Pray more. 
I think I'm doing this. 
6. Have more of a focus, or point, on this blog.
Um, not really.

1. Dial it down a notch.
Probably not, since my boss is a jackass and can be condescending. He infuriates me.
2. Get in EARLY instead of on time or barely on time.
Yes and no. Some weeks I'm on the ball, some weeks, not so much.
3. Keep my inbox (email), desk, and folders clean.
YES! Our department moved to another location in the office, so that move spurred a huge purging of stuff I've had since I started over five years ago.
4. Get away from my desk more, including my half hour lunch.Not as good as I could be about this. It's tough sometimes. Hopefully now that the weather is even nicer, I'll want to get out and away.

1. Mantel for our "library."

Not yet. We think we want to go with blue stone, like what's in front of the fireplace. Now to go to the stone store.  
2. Kitchen floors redone.
Need to call for estimate.
3. Rest of the upstairs painted.
The lady I used last year is coming back April 2nd!!And it'll be $300 cheaper than last year.
4. All carpet ripped out and replaced with wood.
Not sure when this will happen. When I get the estimate for the kitchen, I might have them look at the upstairs. I think we might go with Pergo-like material, since it's cheaper, versus the "real" hardwood that's downstairs. 
5. New doors for the two bedrooms upstairs.
Not yet. The painting lady is going to fix them and paint them. 
6. Buy some more furniture.
Not yet.
7. Power wash house, back deck, and front porch.Soon, now that it's warmer.
8. Hang some more things on the walls.
Not yet, even though we have things to hang!

1. Get back on track with saving at least one of C's checks.
So far, so good.
2. Split up our savings account into different accounts.
Chris doesn't think this is necessary, so we're holding for now.
3. Change some accounts to have both of our names on them (leftovers from before we were married).
Not yet.
4. Buy life insurance
Finally! We filled out the worksheet and sent it back. We're meeting with our financial guy in a few weeks to discuss it and also to do an annual review of our portfolios.
5. Stick to a budget!
I guess? I don't know, I feel like it's so easy to overspend in some categories some months, then other months, be fine. There's no debt, so that's good.

Another hiatus

You get busy at work and at home, then you take a few days off, and the next thing you know, you haven't posted in almost two weeks! I haven't been commenting on anyone's blog either, but I've been reading. It's difficult to keep a schedule, like I was trying to do before. I don't want to blog at work, and when I'm home, I've had other things to do or just haven't felt like spending time in front of the computer.

It's not you, it's me! :-)

I did start a new blog, but I don't want to share it just yet. So far, I'm just keeping track of my health step at a time.

ETA: Whoa, I just looked at the main page and I have ELEVEN followers! I'm shocked and surprised! Last I knew, I had 7, then someone left, and there was a new follower to take her place, but eleven?? WOW. I'm amazed, and very thankful. Hopefully this will be incentive to keep me writing, so people will stick around? 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A little annoyed, but oh well

If you look at my comments on other people's blogs that were made prior to yesterday, they still say Rabbit. That's good. But, when you click the link that would show you my profile, like, if you wanted to see my blog, it brings you to my new blog, which is under a different name and not related to this. But how many people read old posts and look up the profiles of those who have written comments? Oh wait, I do that.

Oh well. Everyone here will know about that blog soon enough. It's more like, I am not advertising THIS blog over there. Am I overthinking this? Possibly. My full name isn't on anything and I've talked about my Twitter name here (part of the name of the other blog). Part of me thinks I should just lump everything together and share it all with the world, but I am a little shy about having people who I'll attract to the other blog read some of the stuff here. (The other blog is about my health goals--nothing too secret.) Part of me thinks I should flip everything back to the way it was, and start a new google account for the new blog...oy.

I like to make a mess of things, don't I? Nah, it's not a huge deal, but it's making things sort of least in my mind. I wonder how many people would even notice?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

You picked a bad time to leave me Lucille...

That song was going through my head just now. Hopefully you can't tell, but I just switched ALL of my Blogger stuff to a different Google account. Oy. I was afraid that I'd lose everything, screw something up, etc. Especially as it had to be done manually. I'm glad I only follow 20 something blogs! As I was doing this, I noticed that things on Blogger were LOOKING DIFFERENT. It wasn't me, though. Looks like Blogger/Google/whomever is changing the look/layout/whatever.

I think everything made it over, and if not, oh well.

Now, why did I change things?

I had an email address that sort of went with the blog for awhile and it just seemed silly that I didn't have them together. Plus, I started another blog today and tried to have it NOT use my Rabbit info, but NO. So it was easier to move everything over here, to this email account, and use my "regular" gmail account for my new blog. Or maybe not! I don't know...

We shall see.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

7 Quick Takes--#4 (aka Better Late than Never)

--- 1 ---

I have to say that I am OH-SO happy that I know HTML. I just saw an error in the second entry on this page, that was probably created long ago (I copied and pasted the code for Quick Takes from Jen's blog) and it was bugging me, so I looked at the "edit HTML" version here and figured out what was wrong and voila! Fixed!

--- 2 ---

I do not like it when people use voila incorrectly. It's VOILA. Not wah-la, viola (that's an instrument), etc.

--- 3 ---

Yes, I can be a snob about grammar, punctuation, spelling, and syntax. I firmly believe that Oxford commas are still needed.

--- 4 ---

I wonder how many people actually know what an Oxford comma is, and why it is needed. Here's a funny picture to explain:

There's a hilarious one out there involving now-dead world leaders and some "adult entertainers," but that's not exactly family friendly and might be NSFW. If you want to see it, click here:

--- 5 ---

Back to more serious topics, I haven't really been keeping up with my blogging. Ugh, you know, things like WORK and life get in the way. I really want to write about some meaty issues, a few being: why I don't fit in with the majority of the Catholic blogosphere, being a future working mom, how I feel like our wedding prep was a joke, why I'm not a good Catholic, among my usual rambles.

--- 6 ---

So here's a question for you...whoever you are out there? What topics would you like to see me write about more? It could be something you saw in a past post and thought I'd write more about, it could be something you want me to write about because you want to see my pull my hair out in frustration, whatever.

--- 7 ---

Lastly, since I've been making more "blogging and Twitter friends," is there anything you all would like to know about me? Feel free to ask anything you want--be anonymous if that makes you feel better (for the regulars). I will try to answer all of them, even if they make me slightly uncomfortable.

One more thing, before I go, I am on Twitter: @jentoinfinity. And if you want to email me anything: rabbitturtle29 at g m a i l DOT c o m

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Lent is here

Today is the beginning of Lent, for us Byz Caths, as I wrote last week

I also happen to be off work today, since it's Presidents' Day, and I'd rather do some things around the house versus sit in front of a computer like I usually do Monday through Friday. I'm happy I already wrote my Lent post. Yay planning ahead!

If you'd like to see what some other bloggers are doing for Lent, check out The Alluring World's link up!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

7 Quick Takes--#3

--- 1 ---

This week is going to be dedicated to my work, as a meme. I'm sure you've seen the memes going around about various jobs. In fact, yesterday I posted one about being Greek Catholic. I work in publishing, in the marketing department, actually, doing marketing (obviously) but a lot of social media too. Not many people really get what I do. And since I'm not very graphically inclined, I can't make a real contribution to the meme following. (and by the way, the Christmas tree is down and back in the basement for another year)

--- 2 ---
What my friends think I do:

--- 3 ---

What my husband thinks I do:

--- 4 ---

What society thinks I do:

--- 5 ---

What authors think I do:

--- 6 ---

What I think I do:

--- 7 ---
What I really do:

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Funny

AHA! This is better!!!! And now, I know how to resize photos.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lent is coming: East vs. West

Next Monday, actually.

Reminder, we're Byzantine Catholic; our Lent doesn't start on Ash Wednesday. Nor do we "celebrate" Ash Wednesday.

I was looking for a short blurb on the fasting rules that we observe, and I found this article from Catholic Online. It's called "For Byzantine Catholics, Lent is stricter."

Is it, really? Or is it just different? Someone like myself might find it harder, as I didn't grow up observing Lent in this way. But would cradle Byz Caths find it harder? No, not if they've never known anything different.

Why would it be seen as harder?

"Oh no, you guys start on MONDAY!!! That's two more days!!!!" 
Um, so? I think it makes a little more sense to start something big on a Monday, at the beginning of the week, but my very organized mind might be to blame.

"You can't eat any animal products except on the first day OR on Good Friday!"
Ehh, you deal. Besides, when the fasting rules were made, no one gave much thought to all of the junk food that would be invented. Hello chips and salsa. Hummus and crackers. You get my point. Besides, shrimp scampi made with only olive oil instead of oil and butter is still delicious.

"You don't eat meat on Wednesdays and Fridays!!!"
Well, if you're Roman Catholic you aren't supposed to be eating meat on Fridays during Lent either. So what, we have one more day? The majority of people in the world don't eat meat every day. There's a trend going around called Meatless Monday. Is it more because it's forbidden on a certain day and you have to plan around it? Yeah, I can see how that would be a pain. It's annoying when you make something with meat in it on Saturday and you have to make sure the leftovers are either all gone by Sunday night or are the type that can last until Tuesday, because you don't want to waste food.

Side note: when Chris was younger, he and his brother would stay up really late on Fridays. Around 11:45 they would drive to a local Subway and order meaty sandwiches and drive home, just around the time the clock struck 12. It was officially Saturday at that point.

The other big difference is that there is no celebration of the Eucharist during the week. It is only on Sunday. For most people, this wouldn't matter since they only go to church on Sunday.

"What are YOU giving up???"
There isn't so much focus on what you're giving up and honestly, it shouldn't be a focus really no matter what denomination you are; it's more about what sacrifices you'll make for yourself and for others to be a better Christian. As St. Basil the Great said of Lent, "Turning away from all wickedness means keeping our tongue in check, restraining our anger, suppressing evil desires and avoiding all gossip, lying and swearing. To abstain from these things – herein lies the true value of the fast."  I think we could ALL work on those wicked things, year round. ;-)

This Lent, I am going to focus on getting myself even healthier than I have been. This will involve the usual: eating right, exercising, getting plenty of rest, but it will also involve me looking into alternatives for my medical issues. There's no guarantee that I'll be able to find something, but it's worth investigating. There is a spirit of...conversion (if you will) that's been coming on me over the past few months and very recently, I've been getting even stronger messages in the right direction.

How will you participate in Lent?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Shopping Saturday

Went shopping last night, not this morning and spent...

Are you ready?

It might be scary...

$169.94 on food.


I did not go for two weeks, so maybe it's not so bad. I didn't buy any cold cuts (I know they're a rip off, but Chris likes sandwiches). The most expensive thing was a 5 pound bag of frozen meatballs for $8. Those will last us awhile, and with Lent coming, we have to plot out our meat meals even more, since we go meatless on Wednesdays and Fridays. I did buy chicken, since it was a good deal and shoved it in our big freezer.

I'm making an Asian coconut cabbage soup later on; recipe is from Rae at There is No Wealth But Life. I had so much cabbage leftover from making minestrone soup two weeks ago, this is the perfect way to use it up. Here's the recipe: 

It's meatless. Chris is getting a little curious about why I'm making meatless food. HELLO, it's cheaper. Usually.  I'm playing dumb and telling him "getting ready for Lent."

I'll report back on how it is. It looks delicious.

7 Quick Takes--NUMBER TWO!!

--- 1 ---

Hopefully my title this week doesn't gross anyone out because I didn't mean it in that way. I'm just psyched I got my butt back here to do it again. Sadly, I didn't get to read too many other Quick Takes last week. Does that make me a bad Quick Taker? :-P

--- 2 ---

GUESS WHAT??? The Christmas tree is STILL up. But no longer fully decorated. Last weekend, while C was at work, I stripped it of the ornaments, then spent a few hours putting them back in their little boxes, then packing those into a big plastic tub. The other decorations have also been packed back into their tubs and boxes. However, the big boxes are still in the TV room in a big pile. This is fun for the cats, but makes me feel like such a slacker. This afternoon, I ventured outside where I was amazed to see that it wasn't frigid; thus I took down the outside lights. That is a mess, and now I need to figure out how to make them tidy for storage so that next year we can just unravel, hang, and go! While I'm infamous for procrastination, THIS IS RIDICULOUS. But I'm not beating myself up. Just not allowing anyone into the house ;-)

--- 3 ---

Also related to procrastination, I've been spending WAY TOO MUCH TIME at work reading other blogs. All of a sudden I have discovered some other really great blogs, many written by younger Catholic women like myself, who might not be totally 100% perfect either! I hope I don't get into trouble; can I claim religious discrimination on that one? Tee hee. Oh and Twitter has been CRAZY with all sorts of stupid Santorum nonsense (GAH, I cannot STAND him, even though I used him as an example in an earlier post), and the whole HHS/birth control thing. I am really thankful for "meeting" a few bloggers in particular, when I did. I've had some thoughts about something rather personal/health-related, but I was afraid to speak out. These women have been a major help and great support in just a few days. And no one judged! (I don't want to get too mystical, but awhile ago, I asked for help and for an answer. I think someone bigger is working here, and I'm at the very first steps of what could be a long journey.)

--- 4 ---

Mr. Christopher has been sick for weeks now. Not consistently, which is good, but jeez, it's hard. I hate that I can't do anything to help him feel better, and it makes me sad/depressed a bit to see him not himself. This is partly to blame for my procrastination in the home. First it was a really bad stomach bug, now his anxiety/PTSD is flaring up. We were supposed to go out to the movies, then church, then dinner this afternoon, but he wasn't up for the movie. Hopefully we'll get to Mass (yup RC again) because we haven't been in a few weeks due to the illnesses, plus a snow storm thrown in. BUT the good news is that the doctor gave him something for his stomach when it really starts bothering him (he always has issues with it, as a result from his accident). It's something that IBS sufferers take, to stop the extreme spasms and cramping. We're not sure if he has IBS too, but he DOES get horrible spasms and cramping in his abdomen, especially after eating large meals. And, guess what flares up when he's anxious??? Bingo. I am PRAYING that this is something that can help him, because his quality of life is affected so much. I was starting to wonder if this would preclude us from having kids--I can't do it alone. (not that it all weighs on him, I have my stuff too)

--- 5 ---

I'm getting the itch to start looking for another job again. I think I have more confidence now, than ever. BUT. I just got promoted in January. I don't know if I should be up front with my title change on my resume or not mention it, since it might look funny: "why are you looking for a job if you just got promoted?" I can't be honest and say "because I'm unhappy, I need a more family-friendly environment, oh yeah, and my boss is a passive-aggressive insecure moron." My duties haven't changed much, it's more of a retroactive title change. Hmm.

--- 6 ---

People have been RSVPing for my dad's party, which is good. They all want to know what they can get him. 1) You've been friends with him for how long? Can't you think of something? 2) When we say "no gifts, please" why can't you accept that?!?! Seriously, my dad is the most simple guy EVER. All he wants is zero aggravation from his brother (they run a business together), time with my mom, and time to do woodworking (note to self: have him build your end tables and a kitchen bookcase) and to work on his tractors. Since most people can't afford to buy out my uncle, haha, and no one can make more time, then just come to the party ready to have FUN!

--- 7 ---

Speaking of fun, I have this sudden desire to go away somewhere. Usually I'm a homebody, but Chris was watching a fishing show this morning and they were in Isla Morada. He's mentioned wanting to go there, to fish, and I was always like "yeah yeah, OK, sure," because I don't fish that much. It's OK, but I'm more of a  one-day girl and he could go forever. Buuut, there was this really nice resort place down there....and I think I could occupy myself with a lazy river and a private beach. "Have fun, honey! Wear sunscreen and see you for dinner!" while I just sit and read :-D We had thrown around a 5th anniversary vacation, especially because we figured we'd be closer to TTC around that maybe that will all be coming to reality. Wow, five years in September. Time has flown!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!