Long Days and Nights

So after much debate, I wound up not going to NJ for the funeral mass.  My parents left at 6:00 AM and made good time.  I, on the other hand, went to a local parish's daily mass (so I could at least feel I did something) and then on to my blood test appointment--at which the technician (the same one who asked me last Tuesday "Weren't you just here yesterday?" "YES I WAS DAMMIT AND I AM HERE TODAY, THURSDAY, SATURDAY AND NEXT MONDAY") joined me in celebrating my final test.  Really hoping my doc will get in touch with me soon about all the results.

In a way, it worked out because I was home for FedEx to bring me my replacement credit card and I had time to be on hold for nearly a half-hour to sign up for the free credit monitoring offered by the hotel whose system had allowed my card to be stolen.  Of course, I fell asleep while on hold but I blame The Cat for curling up on my lap and purring so darn soothingly.

Once I was all signed up, I took some laundry over to my parents' and fed/checked on the orange cat, aka Calamity Jane.  She's been out of sorts, not eating much, and didn't really roll in my laundry as usual but at least gave it the once-over.  But then she was very pleased when an hour after my arrival Younger Sister (her true rescuer from all those years ago) walked in the front door.  It was kind of nice that we had the house to ourselves and got to catch up a bit.  (My future BIL was at home recovering from an unfortunately-timed minor surgery.)  And then not long after, we both got a text from Older Brother saying he was able to find a flight out of Cape Cod (he & my SIL had extended their visit with the in-laws another week so of course he was doing a whirlwind solo appearance--not one word of sympathy or condolences from anyone up there, interestingly).

Yesterday was the burial down here in Philly.  I had a dress I'd just gotten on sale which worked out well but I needed a sweater to cover my lily-white upper arms.  In spite of the fact that it was already getting hot outside at 10AM.  While I was debating, The Cat was still doing her "I need attention!" shtick and I was on the verge of losing it because all I wanted was to get out the door to pick up Chef on time on the way to the cemetery.  So at the last minute, I threw down the black acrylic shrug and picked up my lilac cotton cardigan.

Didn't Chef walk out his door in a purple button-down?  (My favorite on him BTW but he didn't know that until I told him in the car.)  So naturally we got compliments from the family on our unintentional fashion coordination later.

And I can't even put into words how grateful I was that he was there for me.

Not to mention many of my mom's friends as well, people who have known me since I was a little kid.  It was truly touching.  I "teared up" on and off, but really I did most of my crying two months ago when I found out Pop-Pop wasn't doing well.  I cried a little more this morning because (A) it was 6AM and I couldn't sleep--I've been sleeping poorly the past few days thanks to a number of factors--and (B) sometimes the worst part of losing a loved one is how it makes you think of other loved ones you lost and miss very much.  The last time I buried a grandparent was over 25 years ago, my Mom-Mom, and I still miss her and talk to her sometimes.  

There was a luncheon at the catering hall down the road--I wasn't really hungry but more thirsty between the heat and the semi-crying--so Chef kept me stocked with Coke, and we all pooled our leftover chicken to take home (The Cat will get some today if she behaves).  My Maiden Aunt wanted to take photos, a little weird but all the siblings were together, so I helped out and took shots with one of my other aunts' cell phone. Somehow my uncle got it in his head that Chef should be in the one shot with the "outlaws" as we affectionally call the S.O.'s of our kin (wrong generation, Uncle B) but I guess that means they all like Chef an awful lot.  

I like him a lot, too.  (Truly, I love him.)  And bless his heart, he had to go in to work after that.  If I think too long about how wonderful he's been during all this--and how much I miss him because starting his new job demands so much of his time--I'll start crying.

I probably have at least one more "good cry" left to do and I'm guessing it'll be tomorrow morning when I meet up with a close friend.

And then maybe I can move on to working on the upcoming bridal shower.

One thing Younger Sister did to take advantage of being here for a visit was talk about the music for the reception so that was kind of fun to sit around talking about at our parents' with Uncle B and his girlfriend, the bandleader. (That'll be up on the wedding blog pretty soon.)

Yeah, it was a long day.



Not a Fantastic Friday

Got an early morning (7:45) call from my mom that my grandfather passed away not much after 5 a.m.  And she wanted to call me before I logged on to Facebook and read my uncle's (announcement) post.  Like, couldn't he wait until all the grandchildren knew?  No netiquette.  (And just now, minutes after I changed my profile photo to one of my grandfather, my aunt shared it and declared her love for it.  No credit to me at all. UGH. Someone teach these old people some netiquette!)

I was already tired because The Cat didn't want to let me sleep this morning (yelling, prodding, monologues in the living room, etc.), but I couldn't go back to sleep, so I got some errands done--including a research trip to a prospective bakery for my sister's bridal shower cake--and brought dessert to my parents' house so I could (1) hug my mom and (2) see what the plans were for my dad's birthday dinner. Milestone birthday, I might add.

Yeah, we're not going to forget what day my grandfather passed away.

Dinner was nice, my dad started to scratch off the instant-win lottery tickets I got him to go with dessert, and so far he has won. . . another free ticket.  Maybe that will bring him the big win.  Plus we liked the cupcakes so I think we've found our bakery.  Double score because they can do a vegan cake which means I get to enjoy a piece at the shower. And then try on bridesmaid dresses of course.  Guess once I'm done with the funeral Monday (New Jersey, where he lived with my aunt & uncle) and burial (Philly, next to my grandmother), I'll just go live at the gym.

And then I got home from dinner and picked up a voicemail from my credit card company notifying me of possible fraud.

Definite fraud.  I am not in Brooklyn going to drug stores and gas station mini-marts, and have not been out of PA since 2 a.m. Monday when I got home from a concert in Atlantic City (where I did not use my credit card).  And if I'm not mistaken, it's fraud predicted by the letter I received a couple days ago from the hotel where I stayed in Hershey for my conference in May.  "Hey, we just found a program on our system that was stealing credit cards and we didn't put it there! Sorry about that and here's a free year of ID protection!"

That's great and all, but I'm in the middle of a series of blood tests and the lab requires a credit card every time I go, in case my insurance won't pay.  And I have to go tomorrow but my credit card is canceled.  I can't get a replacement until Monday--or most likely Wednesday when I'll actually be home for the delivery.  Guess I'm going to plead my case and/or beg them to accept a cash deposit.  UGH.

Chef is working super-late at his new job tonight so I don't think I'll get to talk to him. He was so sweet to call before he went into work to see how I was, but I miss him very badly and don't get to see him until Sunday afternoon.  I might as well just go to bed now.  After all, the lab is only taking walk-ins between 7 and 11 AM, so I'll be getting up nice and early to get in line.

I know, this too shall pass.  But I'm hoping nothing else happens until after this stuff passes!




Today we are wishing a very happy birthday to The Cat, who turns EIGHTEEN today.

She's a little under the weather as her thyroid medication has been delayed in shipping--hope the vet gave the company an earful about that--but she has taken all her naps (so far) and eaten a chicken lunch.  (Well, she ate the chicken out of my lunch, which all cats would agree is the best way to enjoy food.)

This was nap #2 of the morning, atop the kitchen cabinets.

Flash back to one of my favorite pics of this crazy calico!
We've had so many adventures together and who know what we'll do next.
(I just wonder, do cats want to go for tattoos when they turn 18?)


The Mid-Summer Return

Haven't been around a while and would not blame anyone for not checking anymore!

The biggest blame goes to just not feeling well.  I got sick right at the beginning of May, with of all things an earache. I haven't had an ear infection since I was little, if ever.  (I was the only kid in the family who was NOT a thumb-sucker, BTW.)  My principal was very understanding and in fact sent me home the one day I tried coming in because I looked so bad.  (And yeah I feel really awful too.)  Then I lost my hearing in that ear, and still wasn't feeling better after antibiotics.  Another round of antibiotics to take care of an apparent sinus infection--and then I lost my voice.  I couldn't take any more sick days; I had lessons to finish and report card grades to do.  So I struggled through to the end of the school year and pretty much collapsed.

I'm still working on feeling better.  The exhaustion hasn't gone away, I have hardly any energy, which of course is doing wonders for my workouts and as a result my weight.  That makes me so sad to be down on myself but it's true.  I know my sister would like us to try on bridesmaid dresses next month and it is just hanging over my head because it is unrealistic of me to think I'm going to have a fabulously slim body by next month.  

But I'd settle for how I was back before I got sick in January, honestly.

All that said, I know this stress will pass and things will get better.  A couple of weeks ago, my GYN actually complimented me on how well I did my charts for my cycles and she definitely did see reasons to test for a hormonal deficiency.  That testing probably will start in the next week or so.  On top of that I'm looking into some stuff about helping with the undesirable hair thinning going on atop my head.  Might help.  So far I'm just burping cod liver oil.

In other news, Chef and I just marked six months together at the end of June.  We've definitely grown closer and have seen each other through some challenging things--my being sick, his (ongoing) transition into a new job (which thank God seems to be an answer to prayers).  It was really funny to hear that because I arrived later than he did at his aunt and uncle's July 4th cookout--I had to cantor the vigil Mass (let's hear it for the B team!)--in my absence everyone just kept asking where I was and saying how much they liked me!  We must be, like, good for each other or something. Hee.

Am I working during the summer?  A little more than I expected to, but I don't mind.  A staff member at the public library where I usually just work one weekend a month had to go on medical leave, so they asked me to sub in (or cover someone else covering him at our sister branch). So I'm keeping busy and making some money (towards the bridesmaid's dress and what-have-you) to boot.

One last note: if you're following the blogging about my sister's upcoming wedding, make sure you check back this weekend (or on Monday I guess!) for an update.  Mom and I are getting together tomorrow to do some planning for the (Philly-side) bridal shower.  This is my first time with this kind of stuff, so adventure awaits.





I still am being run ragged by my schedule.  Late-night phone calls with Chef probably don't help, but there's no changing what time the kitchen is open until at the restaurant where he's working.  But we promised to talk each day and it truly is the best part of the day.  I've got a lot going on--what else is new--but I am racing towards the finish line that is the end of the school year, along with an interim finish line that is May 2, when my leadership program will be done. . . culminating in a presentation at our conference.  The good news is that our group did not have to rewrite our presentation, only do some revisions.  

The bad news is that that I don't recall whether I used cards for my talking points or if I did them from memory!

So, in addition to finding and sifting through my folder from July (which had gotten shoved aside when I was hired for my new job) for those cards that might or might not exist, I want to work on. . .

  • budgeting (I'm using YNAB as recommended by a few of the Not Alone Series gals). I've watched a lot of tutorial webinars and while some of it was helpful, I think the approach I'm taking makes the most sense for me.
  • getting all the required paperwork in to the state to get my permanent teaching certification--hopefully my old school will fill in one of the forms for me. . . I've just been too afraid to approach because they might not do it just out of spite. Or lack of organization.
  • charting. Trying to figure out all the NaPro/Creighton codes? I'm second-guessing myself a lot, and getting frustrated.  I have another "tutoring session" scheduled tomorrow which I hope will clear up a lot of the confusion.  And I just need to keep trying and not get discouraged by my perfectionist tendencies, because I really want to find out if there is something to help me not feel so lousy each month.
  • Getting in all the projects and assignments for each grade at school.  Some of which I am attempting for the first time.  Many, actually.  But they need to be done so I'm completing the curriculum and I have grades to enter.  (You know, my least favorite thing, grades. Ugh.)
  • Healing my little diverticulitus-side-effect completely, coming off the annoying medicine, and getting back to my normal, healthy eating regimen.  I'm tired of watching my weight creep back up and feeling there's nothing I can do until I'm done with this "low fiber" requirement.  I miss real fruits and veggies.

I know it's a lot to get done.  But I'm pretty sure at the very least I will be doing a happy dance on May 3 because I'll be almost there.



Finally, an Update with No Snow in It

When I started this post on Monday, it was 72 degrees and sunny. It shouldn't shock me anymore that the temps took a nosedive again and now it's so cold and rainy.  Just raw.

Not as shocking: I've been busy. . .

  • Dealing with the changes to the school calendar as there were no allocations for snow days (!) and they needed to steal back two days
  • In-service was pushed back to Holy Thursday (should've been Wed. but they made the kids come in for classes) so I had Good Friday and Easter Monday off
  • Spent the in-service pounding away at planning lessons for the rest of the school year; there actually are not that many weeks left, I realized upon laying all of them out
  • Tried to put things together for the end of the month when I have a conference and a presentation out of town. . . including asking for a jury duty deferral (that's what I get for renewing my driver's license! And this is for my county not federal like last time) and figuring out paperwork.  Still have to get our group back together after not talking for the past few months and coordinate the actual presenation
  • Took the plunge and am looking into NaPro/Creighton to see if my new GYN can confirm I have a hormone deficiency.  I've been in PMS hell for too many months.  (Plus, not gonna lie, still would like to be a mom.)

But as I enjoy my last day of a shortened "spring break," I am happy.  Yesterday, Easter Sunday, I went to Mass with Chef (tried to sit with Younger Sister and her fiance' but it was so crowded they couldn't save room for us!) and then we went to my parents' house for the grandkids' egg hunt and family dinner.  We spent pretty much the entire day together.

He loves my family and they love him!  (As if it would've turned out any other way.)  Probably didn't hurt that he brought a kick-ass pasta salad (bowties with roasted garlic, tomatoes, and fennel in a balsamic dressing? YUM) and helped with all sorts of things like setting the table and hiding the eggs for the kids.  We got to take a walk around the neighborhood (that he used to see only from the school bus window years ago) and leafed through a few family photo albums. Mostly to prove I was crazy about spaghetti as a kid to the point my face was covered in sauce once.

I wish it had been a longer time for everyone to spend together--even Younger Sister had a 24-hour whirlwind trip and was frustrated--but I really do see more get-togethers like this in the future.  And while I'm exhausted and I miss Chef terribly (hoping to see him Friday but I have to work early on Saturday), that hope for the future is really keeping me going.

As is the promise it eventually will be Spring.



Snow Day, Again

Or perhaps we'd call this a snow-and-ice day following a snow day.  Some roads didn't get plowed in time for the school buses, and some are just plain full of ice.

Does anybody else have winter fatigue?  Do you have the following symptoms?

*Not being able to get warm for hours after having to stand outside in the cold for more than 15 minutes

*White-knuckled commutes featuring long wait times warming up the car (oh and BTW the car's giving attitude like "Here's a CHECK ENGINE light for no apparent reason")

*Too much laundry from all the layers you put on to keep warm

*Feeling isolated because it's too icy or snowy to drive or even walk anywhere

Yeah, those all stink.  Spring is around the corner, I hope.

Other than that, things are O.K.  I mean, things are great with Chef (bad weather interference aside), the Cat is her usual crazy calico self (as a matter of fact, she just slurped herself while sitting next to my laptop and lobbed cat spit on my screen!), and I'm crazily busy with work, but those are really good things.

If I could just calm the anxiety about other things (how soon before the car needs replacing, how can I afford a new car, will I get to keep my job for next year, and so on), I think I'd get a lot more rest and have a lot more energy to keep up with things.  

It was a real treat to have yesterday off, but honestly all I did was catch up on sleep (O.K., a few TV shows, too) and actually cook something nutritious (with leftovers to freeze).  I realized I hadn't done real grocery shopping in close to a month.  I guess awareness is the first step towards making things better.

But at the very least I am hopeful that things are on their way to getting better.  And, as my word for the year requires it, I have to trust that they are.