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23 Years go by Fast…..

Today marks both the best day of my life and the worst. My daughter was born 23 years ago today. She is an amazing, sweet, beautiful woman. It was also the day I was diagnosed with Non – Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. If you’ve read this blog before, you know of the struggle that I went through. If you haven’t, go back and read it. It does have a happy ending.

I can’t believe it’s been 23 years. I’ve gotten to see and do so many things and still have more left to do. I got to watch my daughter grow up. Raised her mostly on my own, but with help from my village too. My mom, brother, best friend, you guys have always been there for me and helped me anytime that I needed it. I got two different college degrees, I’ve flown for fun trips and for work (I hadn’t flown before I was 30 yrs old). I’ve been to Florida, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Minnesota (and of course all the New England states).

I got to see my brother become a dad. And a great dad he is. I got to become an aunt. I love my niece as if she were my own. Although being auntie is so much better, I get to do all the fun stuff without having to be the bad guy.

I think the biggest challenge happened in this past year. I made roots, I bought a house. And being a homeowner has definitely presented many challenges, but I don’t regret it one bit. And in April I added to my family, I got a sweet (sometimes bitey) puppy. Her name is Pixie and she is a joy. She is also a challenge and reminds me of having a baby in the house.

23 years is a wonder gift to be given and I look forward to many more years to come. While I don’t dwell on the past, sometimes I do look back and think about what an amazing life I do live and I’m so happy that I’m here to share it with my family and friends. If I were to give advice to anyone, it’s always, life is way too short not to be happy. I found my happy, have you?

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Finding the Happy

Everyday at work, I have music playing, typically it’s just the radio, sometimes it’s a playlist on my phone, sometimes it’s Pandora or iHeart Radio. But there is always music playing in my office. It helps the day go by faster, makes me more productive and helps to inspire me.

The other day the radio station that I listen to was talking about the top Disney songs of all times and I realized that I missed listening to these songs. I was inspired to see if I could get Pandora to create a station of Disney music for me, which it did. I’ve been listening to the sounds of my childhood and of raising my daughter.

What I realized today is that in listening to this, or even at Christmas listening to Christmas carols, is that it’s really hard to be stressed out listening to Disney tunes. So my theory is to keep listening to Disney during this very stressful month to see if it continues to help me “find the happy” and stay stress free. So far it’s helping.

What helps you find your Happy?

Beautiful Soul

Today the world lost a beautiful soul. When I first met him, he scare the hell out of me. He was intimidated and cocky and thought he was the king of the castle. Over time I came to know his as sweet, caring, love bug. He was one of my favorite snuggle buddies.

Sweet Gunther

 

No, I’m not talking about a man, but a dog. And he wasn’t my dog, but my best friend’s dog. You hear the term “fur baby” for those whose pets are like their children. Well Gunther and his sister Cleo are definitely my best friend’s fur babies, but they are also my niece and nephew. I’ve run out of my house at crazy hours to help take them to the doctor. I’ve made time to let them out before their mom got home from work. I stay and hang out with them on weekends so their mom could get away for much needed down time.

These weren’t my dogs, but I am very attached to them both. I’d sleep on an air mattress on the floor when I stay there, so that we can all snuggle together. Cleo would go and sleep in her own bed, but Gunther would always snuggle.

This dog would genuinely smile. He could be in incredible pain, but he’d want to make sure you were ok and give you kisses. This dog went from being scary and kind of a jerk to being an amazing, sweet, gentle soul.

I’m not a religious sort, but today I have a candle burning to help guide Gunther’s way home. Rest in peace buddy, you’ll be missed and definitely not forgotten.

Counting My Blessings

This year is my first Christmas without my daughter. Last year even though she was living down south, we were still able to be together as a family. This year, between finances and schedules we just weren’t able to make it happen.

I’ve been doing pretty well with it overall, but as Christmas has been getting closer and closer it’s been getting harder and harder. So today I was inspired a song that Bing Crosby sang on the movie “White Christmas” where he’s talking about counting his blessings instead of sheep to go to sleep. Well I’m counting my blessings to help me get through this rough time.

So here goes:

I’m blessed to have a beautiful, healthy daughter, who is turning into and amazing woman that I couldn’t be more proud of.
I’m blessed to have an incredible family, both near and far.
I’m blessed to have the best brother a girl could ask for, I’m the oldest, yet he looks out for me more than I’m able to do for him.
I’m blessed to have some amazing friends, some of who have been checking in on me all day today and making sure that I have plans for the holiday.

And I have some many more blessings, but these are the most important ones. So, if you’re like me and having a difficult holiday, count your blessing and it’ll help you get through the rough time.

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Finding My Christmas Spirit

My Nana passed away December 24, 2004  just before midnight. With her passing, my Christmas spirit went into a long hibernation. My daughter was still young and I still went through the motions for her over the years but it just wasn’t the same. There were no more family gatherings on or around Christmas, my mom and a couple of her brothers live down south and it seems that my Nana was the glue that held our family together.

But this year despite knowing that I won’t be seeing my daughter and my mom for Christmas, my spirit has returned to me. I am looking forward to decorating my house and making it look like Christmas threw up all over it. I don’t care if I don’t have money for gifts, I just want to celebrate in the spirit of the holiday and spend time with my local friends and family. Bake cookies and sing Christmas carols.

It will be 9 years since Nana passed and my spirit left me. Dear spirit, I’m so glad that you are back, I’ve missed you horribly while you were gone.

So should you decide to battle the crowds on Black Friday, or do like I do and stay home and decorate your house and listen to Christmas music, remember what Christmas is really about. Being with the ones that you love.

Time for Change

It’s fall and it finally feels like fall. The mornings are dark and chilly, I actually had to turn on the heat in my apartment last night, and of course the leaves are in glorious fall colors. So I was inspired for a bit of change for myself.

I’m naturally a brunette, in my early 20’s I started coloring my hair red because my daughter is a red-head and I got tired of constantly answering the questions of where she got the red hair. A couple of years ago I decided to stop coloring my hair, I mean it wasn’t necessary, I didn’t have any gray or white hairs to cover up. So I let my natural color shine back through and all the color grow out.

A couple months ago I started noticing a small patch of white hairs, not a couple of hairs here and there, an actually patch of white hairs right at my forehead. It’s been bugging me, so this past weekend I finally broken down and bought a pretty light auburn color. I figured there was no need to go full on red, just auburn so that I’d have more highlights and still keep my brown undertones. Oh boy was I wrong, for that matter the box was wrong.

Have you ever looked at a box of hair color in the store? Typically on the side or on the top they show what the starting hair colors is (like blonde, brown and black) and then what it will look like with the color added. The box lied. My hair is now similar to a candy apple red color. I’ve tried to take pictures to capture the color but so far I haven’t found the right lighting to do it justice as to how crazy this color is.

I could be really mad and upset and frankly devastated over the color, but instead I think I can rock this candy apple red color. I’m going with it. It’s almost Halloween, I’ll fit right in, right?

The funny thing is when I was in work last week my hair was dark brown, this week it’s candy apple red and not one person has said a thing to me about the color change. I have to laugh about this a little bit and wonder am I the topic of conversation around the water cooler or are they really that oblivious that they haven’t noticed? Either way, I’m still happy that I have a little bit of fall inspired change.

20 Years Blessed

20 years ago, I was given amazing news, that after a 4 month battle and being told repeatedly that I would not survive, I was not only going to survive but that my cancer was gone. Just vanished, leaving only scar tissue in it’s wake. I am so blessed to have had all these years even with the crazy side effects and complications that I’ve had since. Menopause at 28, blood clots, heart condition, it hasn’t been an easy road but I don’t regret a second of my journey.

I have an amazing daughter who has grown into an amazing woman. She got her first job just a couple of weeks ago and she’s showing incredible ambition and displaying her sense of responsibility. I’m so glad that I’ve been here these 20 years to witness her transition from typical teenager to extraordinary woman.

I’ve been able to realize that my brother isn’t just the annoying little boy, but has become one of my best friends too. My brother and I have 5 years between us. I’m older and as a little boy he just wanted to hang out with his big sister and frankly I couldn’t be bothered. As we have grown into adults, we’ve had life experiences that have helped us grown closer and become friends. I may not talk to him every day, but we don’t let a week go by without checking in on each other to make sure that we are ok.

My mom, my rock. She’s always been in that role and I don’t think that will ever change. We’ve been there for each other through break ups, heart ache, deaths of 2 amazing men (both of whom I was proud to think of as Dad) and ups and downs with health. Though she doesn’t live close by anymore, we still talk at least once a day.

My dad, he’s not one for showing emotion. At least with me he never has. We’re not close but I know that when I need him, he’s there for me. And that’s enough for me.

Over the years I’ve gotten to re-connect with some old friends and make some pretty amazing new ones. They’ve become like family to me. I don’t think that I would have been able to get through some of the rough times without them.

I’ve gone on to get 2 different degrees. Something that I didn’t think that I’d ever do. I really have accomplished quite a lot in these last 20 years. I can’t wait to see what I do in my next 20 …..