Category Archives: General

New Reality.

So, I’m about 15 days into this MS journey, navigating through new realities.. A little slower than my normal fast paced, ADHD life, but still navigating.
As if I could ever give up that control..
A few things I have realized along the way so far:

Pee is urgent! I mean, really urgent! Like all of a sudden, you are afraid you are peeing your pants. Well, not really afraid, because you know it doesn’t scare me to pee my pants. I think that’s just a funny story. Now it’s just an urgent, funny story.

It is really difficult learning to ask for help. It’s a good thing I have such an amazing husband, such understanding family members and such trusting friends.. Because they have given my independent self just the right amount of freedom and boundaries to not bruise my ego when it comes to saying what I need.

A bed alarm is the absolute worst! Being labeled a “fall risk” (complete with florescent bracelets to warn those I might have come in contact with) meant that I was not allowed to get out of my hospital bed without a nurse coming to shut off the alarm. That’s right! A loud blinking, beeping alarm would go off anytime I swung a limb off my bedside!
(Never mind if I wasn’t even trying to go anywhere! Never mind if I was just trying to recline that damn hospital bed back far enough to stretch a good right arm to an outlet to plug my hair straightener in!)
Busted every time. Well, until I learned to disarm the bedside alarms. And then all bets were off. Because, let’s be real, sometimes there’s no stopping a vain girl from doing her hair, even in a hospital gown.

Telling your finger to touch your nose is way taken for granted! I’m serious! You do that right now! Touch your nose! Ten times even! When your brain can’t get your finger to do that, well, that’s when shit gets real weird. And consequently that’s also when you should probably just go to the ER. But, it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a slice of cold pizza first. You know those ER doctors won’t let you eat for awhile!

One huge change for me, that’s really taken some time coming to terms with, is I do have a heart. I mean, I knew there was something in there holding things together, but I liked to think of it a little chiseled, maybe a little rough.. Picture a diamond. Ha! Not complete stone, but some potential to shine.
Okay, truth of the matter, I have never been a sappy person.
Sentimental, yes.
Romantic, no.
Concerned, empathetic and caring, I like to think yes.
Weepy, touched, poetic, nope.
So I’m not sure if it’s the combination of my birthday and the amount of outreach I have received regarding this diagnosis, or what. But all of a sudden I’m the Grinch on Christmas morning, listening to those little woovilles sing about no food, with a heart that has grown three times the size.
At the risk of sounding ridiculous, I have found a new sense of calm that I am sure can only be attributed to the amount of support, love, encouragement and generosity that so many people have shown me and my family. I am beyond words when it comes to being grateful.. For things I had never expected to be grateful about.
Example? My friends in vegetable costumes! Vegetable costumes that raised over $2000 in less than two weeks for MS research. There’s a whole new level of humbling peace (although I didn’t seem like that when I was screaming in delight on FaceTime!) I never thought I would know.
It really is incredible what a little life changing mishap can do to teach a girl about humility and gratitude. Don’t worry though. I’m not letting MS take my signature cynical, old crabby lady sense of humor. Oh, hell no. But I suppose I little bit of sensitivity never hurt no one!

I got started with my new neurology team here in Des Moines and have some exciting things working for my future. … Until then just waiting for all these steroids to pass through, and keeping my fingers crossed for no chest hair or a growing penis!

Maybe part of this new reality is blogging a little more as well (Karma! You bitch!!) I know there are many updates, and I, very fortunately, have many people to keep updated. So this might just as well just be the new place for all if that.
Well, unless you ever want to meet up somewhere and be updated over bloody Marys. Because you know that’s always my favorite option!

Life These Days..

It’s been a rough couple of days with a rough diagnosis. Yesterday, after waking up with no feeling on my left side, and no use of my left limbs, I spent the day at the Illinois Masonic care clinic ER room, and was (after many, many tests!) diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I have 3-4 more days to spend at this hospital, getting pumped full of steroids, talking with tons of doctors and neurologists and, hopefully, getting my feelings and movements back. And a week of inpatient rehab, that I am begging to be able to do in Des Moines! Whoa, right?! Jumping right into some heavy news! Apologies, that’s how it happened here too.

Social media isn’t maybe the most appropriate way to make such a daunting announcement, but it seemed the easiest way to reach so many (already concerned! Thank you for thinking of me!) friends. I don’t know a lot right now, and probably won’t ever know all the answers to the billion questions I have. But a few things I do know:

I have some of the best family and friends a girl could ask for. Your messages, your thoughts, your prayers.. All of it have been incredibly appreciated and not gone without immense gratitude.

And without a doubt, I have a husband who is far better than I ever imagined. I am not sure how I got so lucky to share my life with someone so courageous and encouraging.

So thank you to all of you. Really, thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for not being weepy, or having any pity. Thank you for being encouraging and laughing at my off the wall jokes. Thank you.

Life is this crazy journey and sometimes we wind up in places that aren’t always that awesome. But the good thing is, we get to just keep moving (dragging our limp left leg behind us, but moving none the less!!) and hopefully the next stop is even just a bit better. But we will never know unless we just keep taking this journey one day at a time, with a full heart and a (often wildly inappropriate) sense of humor.. So that’s my plan! .. And you know how I love plans! .. And bloody Mary’s. Could a girl get a Bloody Mary up in this piece?!

31.. that year went fast!

And I’m officially 31. There’s probably a lot to say about what has happened and lessons that have been learned. But, life has gotten real crazy lately so here is the short and sweet of it.

I started my 8th year teaching. Whoa! That means that some of the students I taught during my first year have graduated. (I taught a few 5th grade students my first year..) And so from here on out, there will always be students I taught graduating. Nothing on this list of things happening in my 30th year has made me feel older than this.

Going back to a note I mentioned in the last blog. I took a few work related risks, that didn’t turn out like they were expected. And what that comes down to is, I interviewed for a different job. And during the said interview I came to the obvious realization that I love my current job, and I had no idea why I was even in an interview for a different position. (Which of course, my no-filter self said right out loud creating an awkward situation for all of us in the room.) I have never been more sure of how much I love my job than during that interview. Each day I go into my classroom and am so thankful that the other job “didn’t work out.” Life works in pretty mysterious ways, yeah?

I feel like this is one of the craziest things to say about my 30th year.. I started running. What? Sometimes I have to ask myself that just thinking about it. And really, I should say, “I started and finished running.” My Zumba classes do not meet in the summer so I had the silly notion to try the 10 week “Couch to 5k” interval running program. I would like to say that I completed each and every session, every other day for 10 weeks. Ahem, I am the valedictorian of completing tasks. But, I also have to honestly mention that 3 miles is about it for me. I am never going to be a marathoner, or clearly a sprinter! I don’t even think I really like running. Often times, I found myself pretty bored during the run and apathetic afterward. I want to love it! I want to run a marathon! … But, turns out, I don’t think that’s for me.

This is where shit just gets weird. I went to a wedding that was mostly attended by high school friends. I say “high school friends” meaning they were my friends in high school, not necessarliy that I have really kept in touch with any of them since the year 2000 minus a few Facebook peeks. It’s no secret that I am not a huge fan of high school and I actively avoid all high school related events. But the wedding was for my brother’s best friend, who grew up at our house and at one time called me his big sister (although he had, who I thought to be, the most incredibly amazing big sister in the whole entire world!) So the moral of the story is.. I didn’t die. But, I was not the valedictorian of anything that day, especially of not acting awkward.

During the last quarter of my 30th year, my last great aunt passed away. Which means that my grandparent’s entire generation is now gone in my family. Now, it’s not that I am incredibly sad that my great aunt Esther passed away.. I mean, she was 93 and had lived an amazing lifetime. But, since all of my grandparents have been gone for the past five years, I have relied quite heavily on my great aunts and uncles to fill that role. It hit me real heavily that my parents are now the oldest generation in my family… and I’m still not sure I ready for that idea.

Oddly enough, and not with good memories, I found out that I am insanely calm in crisis. I had always known that I was a pretty low stress girl when it came to real intense situations. (I just save my stress for times when the lawn mower won’t start or I can’t remember the Netflix password.. you know really life threatening times.) I had a pretty serious medical situation occur at work with a student. And looking back on it almost seems surreal. Everything was happening around us, including ambulances, medical professionals checking vitals and high strung phone calls. But in my mind it was just me and my student. It feels strange to say, but I think it was the most maternal I have ever felt. All the comforting, nurturing and protectiveness just happened and all without any sense of stress. I would like to say that I was able to remain that calm throughout the entire day. But, another thing I learned about myself, after a crisis I am exhausted. I left the hospital that day and felt like my body could have slept for an entire day.

I met an author! Long story short, one of my book clubs has a member that had a connection to a local author. She had self-published her first book, which then was bought by a big time publisher, sold on the bookshelves and is now being made into a movie. I pretty much think that means I have had wine and good conversation with someone famous.

Working at a year round school, I was able to spend the majority of the month of October in Chicago with Derek. It obviously was great.. and there will be more to come about this Chicago experience in another blog. Most importantly from this last trip there, I finally learned (and felt comfortable with!) the bus system! … Seems pretty easy for all you city folk, but it was the most nerve wracking public transportation for me to learn! Turns out, when in doubt, you can always ask the bus driver!

Last, but not least… I started drinking dewski again. Not everyday, but when I want one, I have one. I mean, duh! It tastes good! What was I thinking?!


Or maybe the real 30.5? Or even 3.85.. either way, turning 31 in two months and I’ve got some catching up to do.

I stopped washing my hair everyday. I mean, let’s be real. I have never really liked being clean. No, I take that back. I am fine with being clean. I just hate the process of getting clean. Showers? Ugh. What a waste of time… seriously, I have books to read. But, having a full time job, I have made it a priority to shower daily (at least on weekdays). But! I found the loophole in making that clean up time a little more bearable. Not washing my hair! I did a little research about all this “no poo” (as in “shampoo”) movement. Long story short, I found a dry shampoo that I love and decided to just stop with the normal hair washing routine. I wish I could say this gives me so much more time in the morning.. turns out, I still dick around about the same amount and find myself habitually 5 minutes late wherever I go, dirty hair or not. You win some, you lose some.

I attended a lesbian wedding at a dude ranch in the desert.
So yeah, check that off the bucket list! What sorts of weddings you got?

This May marked the end of my 7th year teaching.. which means that students I taught during my first year (being 5th graders then) graduated high school this year. WHOA. And now every year from here on out will be another group of kids graduating that I taught. I have always made such a big deal about teaching.. how it is the profession that helps shape and form generations. But, holy shit, you guys. Having little people become adults, graduate high school and be members of the real world? That’s just wild.

I went on vacation without a tan.. Let’s just lump this one into a giant mess of things I (am slightly embarrassed about) totally new to. Okay, vacation with no tan. Because, I bought dermatologist recommended SPF 85 this summer. True story, it really does exist. And thanks to that crazy SPF this is the first summer of my entire life that I haven’t had a sunburn. Whew. All sorts of firsts. And while vanity has it’s moments, I am dealing with my sun deprivation better than I expected. No doubt, I am still quite embarrassed about my bluish-white legs at times. And I may or may not (who am I kidding, it’s for sure a “may”) be feeling real jealous when I see girls with cute little summer tans. But, beings how I love being the valedictorian of all things I can’t wait to see my dermatologist next month and hopefully win the “best at wearing sunscreen” award this summer.

Speaking of being the best at something.. I have recently become the best at sleeping with my bedroom door wide open. This is huge! I have never slept with my bedroom door open. Since I was a little kid, I have liked having my bedroom door closed when it is time for bed. Mostly because I am afraid of the dark (and maybe because I liked to talk on the phone real late when I was in high school). Either way, it has carried over to being an adult. I always have shut my bedroom door before bed. Until my husband moved out and my dog got all annoying during the nite time. He’s on the bed. He’s off the bed. He’s scratching his neck, always right behind his jingly collar. He has a compulsion with shaking his flopping ears as loud as possible. And maybe when Derek was home and sleeping in my (amazing, king size!!) bed, his snoring just masked all the freaking noise my dog makes during the nite. I don’t know. But whatever it is, my fear of the dark bedroom is gone. … And my dog is sleeping in the other room.

One small thing worth mentioning. Mostly just so I don’t forget the feeling later. I took some risks at work this summer. More so than just going to work every day and dodging launched chairs. I took some personal risks. And even more importantly, they didn’t turn out like I (maybe?) hoped. It really was an interesting situation and I think I still have some mixed feeling about it all. But, none of those feelings are regret and that is awesome.

Lastly. and quite possibly the most insane.. I stopped drinking dewski.
.. what?!
I’ll let that one sink in for a minute.
I have never been a huge soda drinker. But, one thing is for certain, since about 6th grade I have had one diet dewski (formally know at diet Mountain Dew) every. single. morning. But, since this is the year of taking care of myself, I really started thinking about soda (and especially diet soda). What is even in diet soda? I mean, I spend so much time researching, purchasing and consuming organic, natural products. Why would I drink diet soda? Well.. here’s why. Diet dewski is freaking good. I love it. And there are days I still miss it. (Ahem, mornings after late nites where many adult beverages have been consumed..) Admittedly, the idea started as a health awareness idea. And also, admittedly, I sometimes just want to say “fuck that health business!” But, we all also know I love a good challenge, so there’s just no telling how long this crazy notion will last. Is there an award for valedictorian of “Diet dewski quitters?”

So take that, 30.75. What other awards do you have to offer?

30.5 (plus 2 months)

So far in this year of 30 (all about me)..

I stopped wearing eye liner. Make up in general is really not my thing (obviously, when you have to google “how to wear lipstick’..) and I just decided that eye liner really was a waste of my time. Let’s be real, I hate the getting ready process, and cutting one thing out of that is glorious. With the exception of days I wear fake lashes. Because really? Who wears giant lashes without a little bit of excessive eye liner?

I fought skin cancer… or more like, I’m fighting it. Because the good news is, I have been moved to 6 month appointments with my dermatologist instead of every 3 months. But, the bad news is, it’s very likely to come back. So it’s a fighting battle.

I took care of my body in healthy ways. Garth Brooks and I are pretty serious walkers. He has me feeling all guilty that he has to be home alone all day, so I make sure and walk him right away in the morning and again in the evening. I have also joined tons of Zumba and yoga classes, which have been incredibly fun and have saved my sanity way more than once. And, I have stopped tanning (outdoors and indoors). Whoa, that’s a big one for me!

I tried to be more thankful. Even in the worst of situations, I am really trying hard to find something to be thankful for. I mean, at the very least, it’s going to be a good story someday, yeah?

I learned about patience. I am no expert. But with the amount of doctor’s offices I have been in, and the amount of time that I have spent in standstill traffic on 290 coming to Chicago… Let’s say, patience was inevitable.

I learned to appreciate cruise control. Before I hit that standstill traffic on 290, there is some serious car dancing that happens on my road trips. And no one can car dance with their foot on the gas pedal.

I realized the importance of sleep. … Truth be told, this might have just come because I love my new bed so much, that I never want to leave it. Therefore, I imagine that it’s really sleep I need. Either way, whoa! I love my bed.

I got real comfortable with Chicago transportation. Well, except for the bus.. still working on that one independently. But, there’s time, yeah?

I got reconnected with the TV show Roseanne, thanks to netflix. Derek made sure that we had netflix before he left for Chicago, and really I didn’t think about it much. Until I remembered Roseanne. And then my whole life was consumed with it. I’m not even sure how normal people have television in their houses. I watched an episode every nite before bed. Then netflix got all tricky and made Roseanne be on their fancy “more than 7 dollars a month” plan. Which was probably really good for me. I was feeling a little nervous about how excited I was for TV.

I became far less pissed at kindles. Turns out, lugging 6 books to Chicago with you each time gets really annoying. But, bringing a kindle with 6 books loaded is not so bad at all. Granted I can’t actually hold the book and turn the pages. And it’s far less easy to get all cozy with.. but, convenience wins. And this way I have more room to pack fancy shoes … and small dresses.

Ahem, I became far too obsessed with small dresses. It’s a serious obsession. I can’t go into a store without looking… which is crazy when the Chicago house is right near some serious good shopping. The whole back half of my closet has been overtaken with little dresses. And I’m not mad about it at all.

i decided that my dream job is to be a 50’s housewife. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. But, I’m sure I could really learn to make an amazing pot roast and one hell of a martini. Plus, I look adorable in an apron… and I have all those dresses. Coincidence?

I heard, “I’m glad I was in your class. That’s where I learned I was a good boy.” If this was the only thing on my list of being a 30 year old, I would be content.
Be still my heart. I have the best job in the world.

… And clearly, I never stopped loving lists. More to come.


in october i celebrated a milestone of sorts… (not that every birthday isn’t a milestone..) but, everyone seems to make a bigger deal out of the decade birthdays. so here’s (there’s?) to 30.
dirty 30.
purty 30.
30 being the new black.
rocking the 30s.
30 being the new 20.
well, you get the idea. apparently 30 is something to be excited about.
and of course I am.
my 30 years have been pretty incredible. in the scheme of life, i’ve had a good one.
but, as a true educator, there is always so much more to learn.
one exciting thing about this 30th year of my life, is the fact that my husband is living in another state. not, exciting in the fact that he wants to have facetime naked time, like everyday…
but, exciting in the fact that i really get to spend some time on me.
on making me a better a person…. a wiser person, a healthier person, a more aware person.
and so my plan was to document this year month by month (but, let’s be real… more like quarter by quarter) about things i have started doing, stopped doing, things I have learned, things i have grown to appreciate. things that have become important in my life… and maybe even somethings that have become not so important in my life.
and even though i am one quarter through my 30th year, and i do have lots to say about all those things… one thing stands out the most. and it took me one quarter of my 30th year to figure it out. but, i think it’s important enough to share.
i started my 30th year going to a series of dermatology appointments. i had been slacking on my yearly skin checks, and figured now was as good a time as any to get back into that routine.
i had just turned 30, after all.
long story short, i had a spot of skin cancer removed from my leg.
i am fortunate in many, many ways.
i am fortunate that i get my skin checked frequently enough that i noticed a change.
i am fortunate that my dermatologist wasted no time in taking care of my health.
i am fortunate that i caught my skin cancer before it became melanoma.
i am fortunate that it was not melanoma.
and most of all, i am fortunate that i was able to learn from the experience, and am able to educate others about the experience as well.
the situation isn’t over with the removal of my chunk of skin. in two weeks i am having a few more lymphnodes removed and biopsied. and i have to get a skin check every three months to make sure nothing has spread.
but, to me that’s fortunate.
i can do that.
i can get a few more lymphnodes removed.
i can go back to the dermatologist every three months.
i can check my skin every month in between.
and, i can remind my friends and family that your skin is just as important to keep healthy as any other part of your body, your mind or your soul.
so, yeah… there’s a lot of learning to do this year.
and that’s exactly what i plan on doing.
as the HEALTHY (dirty, purty, rocking, dressed in black looking like a 20 year old) 30 year old me.

A place to rest my head.

Tuesdays are always way harder for me than Mondays… especially after a long weekend not at work! I don’t know if it’s the adrenaline that keeps Mondays moving… but today is no exception to the exhausted Tuesday rule.
And for that I am thankful to have a bed (which of course includes a house) to sleep in. … I am even more thankful to think about next Tuesday. Which I am bound to be just as exhausted, but will have a brand new bed to be sleeping in!
It’s the little (king size, it’s a king size bed!!) things…

Deep breaths.

I had a little anxiety about today…
Some changes were happening, and when things change I tend to get a little nervous. I didn’t sleep much last nite, rehearsing my plans of action. But, when the morning came and the kids returned back to school I just took a deep breath and hoped for the best.
And I am so thankful that my calmness was apparent to my students. Everyone was (seemingly) comfortable and ready to be back at school.
Here’s hoping the feeling continues tomorrow..


Today on my drive back from Chicago (which I made in record time, woot!) I was super thankful for music. Just when I felt like I was getting a little bored, or feeling a little restless, a great song would come on and get me rocking.
(Ahem, never mind the fact, that it was sometimes Lady Gaga or Britney Spears.)