Thursday, January 27, 2011

I Woke Up This Morning

I woke up this morning. It's going to be a good day.

Yesterday, well, it wasn't such a good day. I've been upset with how things have been going at work. The last couple of weeks have been very stressful, challenging, to say the least. I usually can put stuff like that aside and keep on going, but for some reason, it's not working. I left work last night very upset, my mind racing and full of stuff turning over and over in my head. I was distracted to say the least. Not good to jump into your car when you are in that state, but I wanted to get home. Put that night behind me. I should have taken a moment and assessed things, taken a deep breath, and let it go. I didn't. Instead, I got the hell out of there.

As I travelled down Highway 10, I was happy to be heading to home. I was between Ramsey and Elk River, when I heard my inner voice say, "You need to get gas." Just then, I looked down and my gas gauge was reading "E".

Crap!! I thought, "The next gas station is right up here, I'll pull in and get gas there."

**Cough, cough, sputter, sputter**

I had to pull over to the side of the highway. Stupid, stupid, stupid!! I put gas in the other day, and I only have been going to work (gas prices have gone up, so I didn't have as much in my tank as I thought), ... Crap!!

I got out my cell phone and called AAA. They would send someone out right away to put gas in my tank. Then I looked out and it was starting to snow. Great. Fabulous. I was getting cold and I was hoping someone would come soon.

About 20 minutes later, a police car pulled behind me with his lights on. It was an officer from the Elk River Police Department. I handed him my license and showed him my AAA card and let him know I was just out of gas and waiting for the tow driver from Collins Brothers. He said he would wait behind me until the tow showed up. "I just passed a Collins Brothers tow driver on 169, so he's probably on his way." I thanked him, and waited. I was ready to cry, but I didn't.

The tow arrived about 15 minutes later. He took my AAA card, then put gas in my tank. He was a nice young man, I didn't see his name on his jacket, but I told him how much I appreciated him getting to me as quick as he could. He gave me my card back, and then he got into his truck after I started my car and left. I signaled and got back on Highway 10 and made it to the gas station. I looked and the police officer was behind me and once I got into the turn lane for the gas station, he passed by me.

Thank God for AAA, and for Officer Morgan of the Elk River Police Department and for Collins Brothers Towing in Elk River. But Thanks to God I woke up this morning in my nice, warm bed, and have the opportunity to turn the last two weeks around.

Lessons learned: Make sure you have a full tank of gas at all times. Especially in the winter.

Also, don't get behind the wheel of a car when you are upset or distracted. Turn off the damn cell phones and drive!

Don't forget your AAA card, and if you don't have one, get one.

And most importantly, let go whatever has your head in a spin. Just take a deep breath, and let it go.

If you can't change it or control it, let it go. It's not worth sitting out in the cold by the side of the highway in the snow. It's not worth your life.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Six Months

Today I have been working exactly six months at my current job as a quality control inspector. Since I was laid off in June of 2009, this is the longest job I have held. So far.

I  am grateful to still be working and have a weekly paycheck. I am grateful to everyone I work with and to be learning all the things I am learning. I hope I can say in six months, I have been there for a whole year.

But Life is strange and you never know where you will end up. So, we shall see what happens next. It'll be good.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

His Name Is Skippy

Today Skippy went home. I was sad to see him leave, but I was glad he was reunited with his family. This morning he was wagging his tail when I came into the living room and was licking my hands and even wanted to sit on my lap. Uh-oh. There goes my heart. I knew I had to find his family because as much as I was falling in love with this little guy, I knew that someone was looking for him, someone that loved him a lot longer than I did. So, I decided to start sending his pictures and emails to all the animal shelters and when I Googled 'Sherburne County Animal Control' I got the website and the number to call for lost and found pets.

I called them and they described him even down to the color of the collar. They gave me the number of the owner and I called and told her, "I think I have your dog." She described him and said, "His name is Skippy." When I called him that his head perked up and his tail started wagging. I knew that was him. I asked for her address, and told her I would bring him home. I showered, got dressed, warmed up the car, and as we drove and got closer to the neighborhood, he was getting excited. He knew he was coming home.

I got to the door and buzzed the door bell, and the woman came to the door with a small Chihuahua under foot. I found out his name was Tito. I told her who I was and asked her name and said, "I brought your dog. I'll go get him." I opened the car door and Skippy heard his little friend barking and out he jumped and into the house he ran. She was standing in the cold, saying, "It's him!" I was so happy to have delivered him back to his family. It really made my week. I felt like a million bucks.

She explained Skippy was her Dad's dog and they are here visiting. He disappeared after she let him and Tito out to go potty and said they had been looking for him day and night with flashlights and looking everywhere in the woods and everything. I explained how he ended up at our house, that I took him to the vet to be scanned for a chip and he was checked out and given a clean bill of health.  I also told her he was spoiled a lot while he was with us, but we were happy he was back home.

We hugged and she thanked me. I left feeling so wonderful.

I'm so glad I did one right thing today. :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Little Dog Found

This little guy was found around our place last night. He's small, has short black fur with white on his chest and on his feet. He was lost, cold, and hungry. So, of course we brought him in since the temperatures were going to be brutally cold last night. He's been fed, taken out for potty and seems to like my couch with the pillows and the nice warm blanket I put around him this morning. We know he belongs to someone, he has been well taken care of and his nails are clipped. He has a collar, but no tags and he won't tell us his name. We've nicknamed him Mongo. I'm taking him to the local vet clinic to see if he has been microchipped. If anyone knows who he belongs to, or is looking for him, please call (763) 856-2711. Thanks.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Water Tree

Here's a little video showing the water tree my son, Alex, helped build aboard the USS Carl Vinson to help bring water to the people of Haiti after the earthquake one year ago.

Warning: Adjust your volume. It gets a little loud towards the end of the video. Thanks.

What A Difference A Year Makes

Tonight, my son is sleeping, safe and sound in his own bedroom, and will rise early and go to work. I am more grateful to God and all the Angels and Saints in Heaven for that simple fact.

One year ago today, Haiti was hit by a devasting earthquake. The next thing I knew, my son's ship, the USS Carl Vinson, was being named on national television by the President of the United States. At that time, I was not in a good place emotionally, physically, or mentally. I was unemployed, out of hope, and beginning to think my life was over. Then I find out my only son is heading for ground zero where people are fighting and killing over food and water. Let's just say, it did nothing to help my situation at the time. As much as I wanted to keep watching the news, I couldn't. It was too terrifying.

I cried. I cried a lot. I didn't know what to do, and the worst part was not being able to hear his voice or know if he was ok. My prayers went up all the time, "Please God, just keep him safe. Please. He's my one and only. Please, please, please."

Those days were dark and full of dread. If it wasn't for QH, I would have stayed in that darkness, or worse. Instead, I fought my way out, and back up into the light. I couldn't give up. I've worked my ass off to make it this far, and some days it can be a struggle, but I am glad to look back at this year and see I am here, I'm ok, and more importantly, God answered my prayers and brought my son home safe and sound. I'm so proud of what he did there, of the people he helped and that he was able to continue on and go to South America and end up in San Diego, California. He crossed the equator twice on that deployment and saw a huge part of the world I've never seen, and all before his 21st birthday.

To all who have family in the military, for those in the military, I thank you for your service and for all you did a year ago for the people of Haiti. And thank you for all you continue to do right now to keep us all free and safe and to help out those in need. I'm very proud to be a Navy Mom.

And I pray your loved ones are home soon, safe and sound, sleeping in their own beds.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Neil Is Home

Neil checked out of the hospital today. I also have a few corrections to make.

First, Ted's girlfriend is Amber, not Amanda as I posted a few days ago. In the chaos of the situation, I wrote down the wrong name, but I should get some points for being close.

Amber, I am so sorry, and I appreciate you being there for me on Friday.

Today, Cannon came and spent the day with us. We played Lego Star Wars on the PS3, and watched Bugs Bunny cartoons, and finally, Johnny Test. He wanted cheese macaroni and since I was out, we went to the store and he got the Sponge Bob Macaroni & Cheese. I forgot how much fun it was to have the little guy around. You never know what he's going to say. When he was eating, he said, "I've got to hand it to you, Aunt Sissy. You make good Sponge Bob Macaroni & Cheese."

Thanks, kid, I needed that.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Good News

We got the news Neil will be coming home tomorrow. Thanks to everyone for all your prayers and good energy and well wishes. We are all grateful this is how things are and we still have Neil in our lives.

Tomorrow I'm spending the day with my nephew, Cannon. The past 2 days I was promising to see him and got distracted with one thing or another. I called my sister, Kelley and asked if I could come and pick him up in the morning. She said, "Are you sure?"

Yes. I miss that little guy since I don't babysit for him anymore. I need some fun time with my little Bubby. I've learned with all of this you need to make time for the important people in your lives. It won't matter if the other stuff gets done or not, but if you miss an opportunity to spend some quality time with those you love the most, it makes all the difference in the world.

I hope all of you have a great week.

Friday, January 07, 2011

One of Those Days

It started out, like any other Friday. I was planning on sleeping in a little, and then I was going to take Grandma Chuck shopping. Nothing out of the ordinary. I heard QH and Alex talking in the kitchen, discussing some things and laughing. Then I heard QH come into the room and I told him to be careful on the roads because it was snowing on my way home. "Love you. Bye," and then I snuggled down in the flannel sheets to try and get some more sleep. I didn't sleep very well the night before. I was tired enough, but for some reason, twice this week, I tossed and turned and didn't start to sleep well until I heard Alex's alarm buzzing in the other room. Usually, I hit the pillow and I'm in La-La Land. Nope.

I was about to drift off when the phone rang. We got a new phone this Christmas, and since the old one still worked and we had a plug-in in our bedroom, we set it up next to the bed. I looked at the caller ID. Not a number I recognized, so I thought it might be QH or Alex saying they forgot something. Instead, it was Carol, who is married to QH's brother Neil. She was wondering if Quint had left for work yet. I said, yes, you just missed him, why? Then she said, "I don't have any battery left on my cell phone, could you call him and let him know they are taking Neil to the hospital. He's having a heart attack."

I'm awake.

I told her not to worry, I would take care of everything and asked where they were taking Neil. She said to Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids. They live in Buffalo, so if they were taking him to Mercy, it had to be dire. I told her to keep in touch and I prayed and prayed and prayed as I jumped out of bed, then in the bathroom to take a shower.  I called QH and told him what was going on, to call his Mom and tell her I was on my way, but I had to shower first. I hung up and got in and kept on praying. "Please, God. Not Neil. QH can't lose his brother. Not in January. Not now. Please, please, please, please..." I got out, got dressed, dried my hair and then as my coffee warmed in the microwave, I turned on the computer and found the prayer circle. I asked for them to pray for Neil and his family and to help give them strength no matter what the outcome was. We were all in God's hands now.

We got to Mercy, and the wind and the snow were blowing pretty fierce, but once we made it up to the room, we came in when the doctor was explaining they put in 2 stints in his heart, that he would be out of work about a week, and that he would have to make some drastic changes to be in better health. He was beyond lucky. No visible or apparent damage to his heart. He was groggy, but said, "A week with no work? I can go ice fishing!"

I told the doctor, "He's feeling better."

Neil and Carol's two sons, Ted and Clayton were there with their girlfriends, Amanda and Heather. I then let loose with the water works and thank goodness Amanda, Ted's girlfriend, was there. We hugged each other, and I was so happy that this was the outcome and that he was going to be okay. I backed out of the room and found QH in the waiting area, and told him what the doctor had said. He had to get back to work, so he left, and I told him if anything changed we would call him. I took his Mom (Grandma Chuck) to get something to eat and then to WalMart. We headed for the best place to deal with this kind of situation:  IHOP. 

I was just bragging to my friend Beth that I was cutting back on all the junk food and had stopped eating late at night and low and behold,  I lost 10 pounds last week.  It was IHOP's "All You Can Eat Pancake" promotion, and boy, did  I ever! I had 4 pancakes, 4 sausage links, 2 eggs over easy, hashbrowns and coffee and water. I wasn't going to eat anything until supper and figured a big breakfast was what I needed to keep me going. Inspite of the bad taste of eating all that fat, butter, syrup and carbs, while my "brother-in-law" was in the hospital for cardiac arrest, I didn't feel a damn bit guilty. I know I will be back on the wagon tomorrow, and I know that this has given me and QH a scare. It could very well have been me lying in that hospital room or him, with a very different outcome. Who knows? If I know anything, things are going to be a changing around here. Lots of things.

Right now, I please ask you faithful readers to please pray, send blessings and well wishes and any positive energy you can for the family. Thanks to all of you on the prayer circle, wherever and whomever you are for helping us through this. Praise the Lord all turned out as well as it did. Neil isn't completely out of the woods yet, but he has to make a lot of decisions as to the quality of life he wants to have from here on out, as do we all. I'm not preaching here, I'm just as bad as everyone else when it comes to excuses for why my health is as bad as it is. But when you have 2 parents who have had major cardiac problems, on who died 2 years ago this month, and you have a brother who had open heart surgery in September, it would certainly get my attention. Neil thought he just had the flu that was going around: vomiting, diarrhea, trouble breathing, out of breath going up and down stairs, and sweating, a lot. But then when his arm began to hurt and he couldn't lie down and breath, he felt it had to be something more. He got up, told Carol to take him to the hospital and went to the cupboard and took two aspirins. She got him to the hospital and they did an EKG and then next thing he knew, he was in the back of an ambulance on his way from Buffalo Hospital to Mercy Hospital. He made the right decision.

 Please everyone, make the right decisions. Hug your loved ones. Tell them you love them, even if you haven't spoken in a long time or you are mad over some stupid thing.

You never know how your day is going to start, and you never know how it is going to end. And you may not get another chance.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

The List

It's that time of year again. The list of resolutions, things to do or wishes you would like to come true. Some people call them goals, but for most of us, they are abandoned before the end of the week. Why make them in the first place?

I think for me, to have a whole year sitting in front of me all brand new and open, I need to have something to look forward to, something to work towards. Last year, I wanted a job, one that paid much better than the job I was laid off from. Mission accomplished, but it took a lot for me to get there.

I had to begin by wanting it so much I wasn't going to settle for anything less. Then, and this was even harder, I had to feel that I deserved to have that kind of money in my life. I sat down and figured out that if I had received all the raises and promotions and good reviews I should have, I would be making over $15 per hour. I decided for myself what would be acceptable and what would not. I wanted to be making as close to what I made at my old job ($13.91 per hour) and would take $11.00 per hour as a minimum wage to start. Then, I made a list.

I realized that once I did, the power was back in my hands. I knew what I wanted. I knew what I deserved. I wasn't going to take anything less than what was on that list.

My next step is something most people never do. I took action. I began looking at jobs with better pay, applying for those that would match up better with my set of skills, education and experience. I then rewrote my resume to reflect the new skills I had acquired as a temporary employee over the last few months. I began applying and sending out emails, and finally, I found a job as a Quality Control Inspector that was close to home. I received a call the same afternoon I sent my resume, scheduled the interview for the following day, and began working the following Monday. I've been there ever since. And I couldn't be happier!

Did I think this could be too good to be true? Yes. I had a few twinges of fear, that I would interview and not get the job like I had so many times through the year, and then be disappointed and beat myself up wondering what I did wrong. But I had a good feeling this was a different situation. I felt that I had found what I was looking for. And more importantly, I found what was a good match on my list.

There is power in setting goals and writing them down. But the power is even greater when you take one small step towards achieving them. It is as if the book you need to read, the class you need to take, the money you need to get there or the job you want is just waiting for you to just take that one small step. Sometimes you have to take a few more steps to get there or for God or the Universe to guide you in the right direction, but if you sit around afraid of what would happen if you did, you're still sitting around and it's a day, a week, a month, a year, a decade later and you will not be any closer to the life you really want.

Be Brave. Make your list. Feel you deserve it, and then take action. And have fun!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year 2011!

We rang in the New Year with our friends again this year, but it was a smaller crowd than the usual suspects we have. Most of that was due to the weather and everyone seemed to have other plans. Maybe they were just too tired of all the running around from the holidays, but we had a lot of good food and a good time and we bid farewell to a very challenging year.

I'm a "realistic optimist" and feel that this year has to be much better than the last. It seemed things are heading that way with what we are leaving behind us. I can believe that I will be much more motivated this year to have my books published and begin teaching and speaking. I have dreams about it. I have had dreams about it for the last few years, now I just have to make it happen. That isn't a resolution. I don't believe in resolutions. I believe in goals. Some of the goals I made last year I accomplished. Some I am going to carry through this year, but unlike other years, I am not going to go crazy and try to do them all at the same time. I realize with age, comes wisdom, and the fact that I just can't multitask effectively. I have learned to be more patient and I hope kinder, not just with other people and situations, but also with myself.

I am for the most part, very grateful that I have a new year to look forward to, but more than that, I am grateful the people I love the most are still here to share that year with me. I am going to do my best to be a better mother, girlfriend, daughter, sister, auntie and adopted granny. I'm going to try to also be a better employee and co-worker, and also a better writer and marketer. I want to look back on 2011 with pride and say, "Wow. I got a lot done this last year."

To all my friends, family, followers and fans, I want to say Happy New Year. I wish you all many blessings, better health, lots of wealth and much more happiness in the year to come.