In the Air!

In the Air!
400 feet above the ground in Orlando.

Florida

Florida
Taking my first step towards a new life.

Virginia

Virginia
Spending an afternoon at Marymount during my internship!

My rocks!

My rocks!
Wouldn't be where I am without my parents!

Graduation

Graduation
Walking for my Masters. An interesting book end as this all started when I graduated from undergrad!

Awesome Nurses!

Awesome Nurses!
After my port removal and saying goodbye to my chemo nurses before moving away from Michigan. Wouldn't be doing that without them!

Hair again!

Hair again!
Growing longer each day

Last Chemo

Last Chemo

Google+ Followers

Silliness

Silliness
Something to remember and return to. A good day!

Follow by Email

Thursday, June 30, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 327. Inside Jokes

It's been a long time since I have been in a work environment where inside jokes are the norm!  One of the many things I love about this internship is that there are a plethora of inside jokes and they never fail to reduce you to tears of laughter!  Lunch today was one of those great moments where the inside jokes were flying and most people were having trouble catching their breath from laughing so hard!  I don't want to think about the day I have to leave here so for now, I will think about the hilarity that ensued around the lunch table:)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 326. Faceplant on a Keyboard!

This afternoon opened up for me unexpectedly so I had time to go back to my office and work on some paperwork.  One of the people I share the office with, like me, prefers to not use the over head lights so it is often dim with desk lamps for light.  That was how it was this afternoon and we were both working away.  I mentioned to her that I was feeling sleepy from not being active for a couple hours.

Not long after that she stepped out and the room was completely quiet and dim and peaceful as I sat looking at a map on my screen.  I could feel my eyes getting heavier and heavier.  The screen started to blur into a blob of colors and the next thing I know I am whacking my face against the edge of the keyboard as my elbow slipped off the edge of the desk and my chin slid off my hand and let gravity take it quickly down before I could wake up enough to stop myself!!!  Lol!!

I have often dropped my phone and tablet on my face as I fell asleep with them in my hands in bed.  And a couple of times I caught myself from nodding off at the computer....but this is my first keyboard face plant!  Lol!!  I think I need to have some back ground noise in the afternoons to keep me awake when I'm planning and doing paperwork!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 324 & 325. Back to Work and Blogging!

And so, my crazy last two weeks have lead up to Monday and Tuesday of this week.  Happily back at work and this week spending my mornings with my itinerate clients and my afternoons teaching students from the center!  Learning more and more and working towards my goal of certification and the completion of my Masters!  And of course catching up here!

I think I see being so far behind as a good thing.  I started this blog almost a year ago because I was having a very hard time finding things to smile about last August.  It was a very difficult and sad time for me.  Now though, I don't have to look for something to make me smile most days.  I am going from the moment I get up to the moment I do to bed and feeling good about so much in between.

Looking back now, I have to admit with some difficulty that I went through some pretty serious depression in these past few years.  I tried to deal with it through prayer, counseling, pushing it down, crying it out and other things like this blog.  Staying determined that it wouldn't stay that way.  And I see now that it isn't that way anymore.

Yes, I still get scared as I think about having to find a new oncologist and go through scans and blood tests and other tests.  I am so afraid that they will find something and my life will stop it's amazing forward surge.  I also still randomly cry and get emotional from anger or happiness or for no reason at all.  I'm still fighting the lovely affects of menopause and the life long effects from the chemo.  And there are some days where I still have to take deep breaths and keep moving forward.  But the ONE THING that is different this summer is not feeling like a weight is pushing me down anymore.  That depression isn't pulling me down out here in Richmond.  I feel like my shoulders are free of some heavy burden and I can just laugh and be happy!  One of the best things that has happened to me this year is put me here in Richmond near to close and dear friends and working with amazing and kind people who know how to laugh!

So yes, I was a bit behind in this blog but for a good reason!  I was too busy living life, laughing, loving and looking forward.  But I want to finish out the last 40 days of this blog strong!!!!  Happy, laughing and smiling about the wonderful things happening in my life now!

365 Things to Smile About Day 323. Mosh Pit at the Airport!!!

I have heard many things about the Orlando airport.  It's rather infamous!  When I landed there I was more frustrated at having a hard time finding ground transportation for hotels.  But when I got there to fly out Sunday morning.....I was not prepared for the insanity!  The numbers of people was insane!!

Then when I got to the security area I had to take a step back!  The best way to describe what was before me was a crushing mosh pit of people milling forward in no discernible line or pattern!  I stood there wondering how on earth I was going to navigate this!  When I am in an airport, especially a busy one, I use my white cane.  I practice with it still whenever I can but I also use it in large crowds as my eyes can't handle the swirling of people like what was in front of me and just go a little bat crazy and then say "Nope!" and refuse to process the information in front of me.  This was one of those moments!  But even with cane in hand...short of just walking through the crowd and elbowing people like I was seeing happen...I didn't know how to proceed for a minute!

As I stood there considering what to do, a very kind TSA agent walked up to me, asked if he could help me and offered me his elbow!!!  My O & M heart was so happy!  This was the first TSA agent I had ever meant who even had a clue about how to offer assistance to someone traveling with a white cane!!  I gladly took ahold of his elbow, closed my ever increasingly shaking eyes and stepped forward.  While the crowd didn't melt away like something from a movie, the blue uniform of the TSA agent had enough effect that people stepped aside or shifted enough for us to get by.  he gave wonderful directions of where he was going and when the area was narrowing down and it was such a joy to not feel the panic of too many people around me rise up and over whelm me!  I had a nice talk with him after going through security (where sadly another TSA agent tried to literally pull me through the metal detector!) and he told me about the general training he went through for assisting anyone who might need help...including someone who was blind or has low vision!

So while I am not looking forward to traveling through that airport any time soon I have to give a shout out to the Orlando TSA for taking the time to make sure they had some agents who knew what they were doing!!!

365 Things to Smile About Day 322. Apartment Hunting & the Orlando Eye

Today I got to spend some time with my brother Andy and do some apartment hunting.  I was very happy to have a chance to see him and have along as an objective opinion in my hunt for affordable housing.  All part of seeing if this job offer is a complete fit for me.  So we spent the morning driving around and looking at apartments and talking and catching up.  I discovered the joys of units with washers and dryers included in the apartments!!  Loved seeing you AJ!!

Then in the evening I decided to play tourist and get a bird's eye view of Orlando.  I headed over to the Orlando Eye, a 400 foot tall ferris wheel.  Now, as some of you know, I don't handle heights very well.  But I felt like this whole trip had a theme of me stepping outside my comfort zone.  And I am glad I did because I got to watch the sun set from 400 feet in the air!  It was quite beautiful but the pictures don't do it justice!

All in all, a very good day:)






365 Things to Smile About Day 321. Downtown Disney!

After a very good meeting with my possible future employer, I decided to do some exploring around Orlando.  Everyone I met today encouraged me to check out Downtown Disney...now renamed to Disney Springs.  So I hopped an Uber down there in the evening and strolled around!

It was a little overwhelming at first just from the number of people there!  Many, many shops!  I will admit that the first one that drew me in was the Super Hero shop...followed quickly by the Star Wars shop!  Lol!

I walked from one end to the other and browsed and just enjoyed the atmosphere and strolling around.  The heat was something else but the evening was starting to tempter it some...and the many air conditioned stores helped!

Heading back I took a ferry back to where I had come in and was happy to feel a cool breeze as we sped through the water from one side of the park to the other.  It was just a taste of Disney but for now I am happy with a taste:)




365 Things to Smile About Day 320. Orlando Bound!

Today I flew to Orlando to check out an organization that has offered me a job as an O & M instructor.  I have to admit, this is new to me!  Flying out to a possible job to have a chance to talk to them in person, see the office and meet the people.  Have a chance to interview them after I have been the one interviewed.

I have to say, so far happily impressed and surprised!  When I checked into my hotel there was a lovely and personal gift bag waiting for me at the front desk!  It had fruit, home made delicious cookies, snacks, essential oils, wind chimes, a mug, lotion and lip balm....and a very kind and welcoming note inside!  It really was quite kind and wonderful of them to leave it for me!

And to top it all off....the hotel shuttle from the airport was a limo bus!!!!!!  Lol!!!



365 Things to Smile About Days 317, 318, & 319. Working, Working, Working!

It feels good to be able to say that Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were not especially extraordinary but busy and ordinary!  For so long in my life the ordinary was the insane and the scary and everything that doesn't fit properly into every day life.  All part of the "new normal".  And here I am, three days in a row throwing myself into my work and nothing scary or life threatening or overwhelming is going on.  Yes, my job throws something new at me every day but in a good and exciting way!  So three days in a row where I can say...nothing happening but regular, normal days!

365 Things to Smile About Days 314, 315 & 316 Tree Roots, Concerts and Friends!!!

A crazy day that had me swinging from wanting to scream in frustration at drivers who don't think to standing in amazement at the power of wind to finding myself at a Scythian concert swaying and clapping to music!!

On a morning lesson, walking by a park, I saw at least two giant trees literally ripped up by their roots!!!  Concrete and all laying on their sides!!  I directed my student over to them to do some exploring and it was prettying jaw dropping!  Pictures are below!

Then this afternoon I literally had to play "Frogger" to get through intersections with no lights working and no police men to direct traffic.  And these were not small intersections but rather massive and busy ones!!  Does no one know what a 4 way stop is?!?!?!

And so I ran away after work for the weekend!  I went home, packed a bag and hit the road for Northern Virginia, friends, and electricity!!!

And I am glad I went because I had concert tickets with my dear and wonderful friend to go see Scythian!!  I am not normally a concert person but I felt I needed stretch my comfort zone and these guys have MAD SKILLS with music!  So I found myself watching my friend dance circles around me as I couldn't help but move to the music and clap my hands as the music went on!!

After the concert, we thought we would go sing some Karaoke but instead, happily spent the rest of the evening with the man who brings a smile to my face and a laugh from my lips!  However, somewhere around 12:30 or 1 in the morning I started to feel myself fade and so had to say goodnight.

A day that started out more than a little rough became so wonderful and happy that I have to classify it as one of the best days this summer!!

The rest of the weekend was spent with friends and running errands and just living life and relaxing!!  Making sure I slept and just curled up and rested.  Dinner with friends and conversation into the evening over frozen yogurt!  Honestly....I wish more weekends were this good!  But I am happy with how great this summer has been!!

Ripped up trees!!

Scythian concert!!!!



365 Things to Smile About Day 313. Thunder, Lighting and Blackout! Oh My!

A storm can make a person feel all snuggly and comfy to be in doors, watching the awesome display of nature do some amazingly beautiful things!  Lightening lighting up your room in deliciously creepy ways and thunder booming and bringing back memories of running into mom and dad's room to hide in safety on their floor because nothing protects you better than mom and dad being between you and the storm!  You settle into bed and watch the rain pounding, the wind howling and the storm dancing it's chaotic number across the night sky!

Then...your fan goes off and you realize all the little electronic lights from your computer, printer, TV and so on are no longer glowing.  Thats when the charm and enjoyment flies away from the storm and you realize that no power means no AC, no shower, no cooking and so on.  And so you throw off all your blankets and pray that the hot flashes somehow miraculously take a break for one night!

365 Things to Smile About Day 312. Happiness is AC!

It's the things in life we take for granted that we really miss when they are gone.  Like the AC.  Nope, this is not going to be a deep post.  Just a short, sad lament that the AC in my house has been out a couple days and Richmond is not a cool place in the summer!  However, I think that perhaps, just maybe, it might be working again soon!!!

365 Things to Smile About Day 311. Good Morning!

It feels like just about every day has been a good day.  This morning however was a pretty amazing morning!  A morning where I found myself thinking..."Yes!  I'm not the only one with forward momentum in my life!" and I got to witness it!  One of the three million things I love about my work is being there for the "Ah Ha!" moments in people's lives when they see that they CAN in fact do something they thought they couldn't!  I am sure people thought I had gone a little crazy watching me give several small jumps of excitement and yes, even pump my fist in the air once or twice at the intersection I was standing at!  Lol!  But I don't care!  Because I got to witness one of those moment's in my job that make everything that was so difficult getting here absolutely worth it!!

365 Things to Smile About Day 310. Week 6 Already!

I did some counting and this is the beginning of week 6 of my internship.  Every day I am learning something new.  Every day I am being challenged.  And every day I am in awe that this is my life.  There really seems to only be forward momentum in my life and that is pretty amazing!

365 Things to Smile About Days 308 & 309 Wow!

Saturday I received a phone call. It was one of the places I had interviewed giving me a very excited verbal offer for a job!!!!!  Spending the weekend with friends when I got the call and very grateful for their presence to help me digest all of this.  So much to consider before making a decision.  But incredibly happy that this is really starting to happen!!!

Friday, June 10, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 307. Movies & Friends!!

This evening I'm happily ensconced at my friends house!!  Visiting and eating dinner was followed by putting on one of the best movies ever made...The Happiest Millionaire!!!!!

We are sitting here as Ginny rediscovers the hilarity of the movie and I sing along to the songs!  I don't normally do that but with this movie I can't help it!!!  I grew up on this movie and it just makes me smile and settle in for a good time!  I highly recommend it!!!!




Thursday, June 9, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 306. Getting There!!!

For my internship I have to get in a total of 600 hours.  Now, those 600 hours are broken up into so many for observing, so many for teaching and so many for everything else.  But as a whole, I need 600.  As of tonight I am at 202.5 hours!!!!  I am 1/3 of the way through my 600 hours!

More and more I am finding myself looking back at where I was three years ago and more and more I am amazed of where I am!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 305. Can't Stop Laughing!

As I have mentioned before, I am working with a great group of people while on my internship!  One of the many things I love about this place and the people here is how easily they all laugh!  People are really happy here!  It seems you can almost always hear someone laughing!

The two women who kindly let me share their office generally keep me laughing I often find myself wiping tears from my eyes!  I think this particular aspect of the people there is what makes working their so enjoyable!  How can you stay irritated or frustrated or just plane down if the people around you always greet you with a smile and a kind word and the laughter you hear down the hall is catching?  I honestly don't think it is possible!

365 Things to Smile About Day 304. I Can't Believe I Did That!

Yes, the title of this post really best describes what I thought at the end of yesterday!  Because of how exhausted I was Monday night I ended up sleeping on the couch at my friend's house.  I love these friends!  They weren't even home and yet their other roommates were so kind as to say it was no problem for me to crash!  But I digress.

I had to be at work in Richmond (about a 2 hour drive away) by 8 am and I also had to stop by my house and change before hand.  I set my alarm for 4:30 am and eventually fell asleep.  I have to say, 4:30 came before I was prepared!  But after hitting snooze once I was up and even managed to be pulling away from the house a couple minutes before 5.  I learned if you are ever looking for a light traffic time to drive to Richmond, that would be at 5 am on a Tuesday morning!  I made it in less than two hours!  Which meant I had a half an hour before I technically had to be up!  30 minutes of ridiculously fast sleep was wonderful!

My day was anything but short!  With coffee in my mug, I started my 12 hour day!  And the thing was...I was ready for it!  I was looking forward to everything I had to do!  Teaching my clients, telling my co-workers about the interview (I never had such a supportive group of people to work with!!) and writing up my summaries and lesson plans.  At the end of the day, I remembered that not only was my car's gas tank almost empty, my fridge was nearly bare!  And yes, that meant I went to the grocery store before going home  I think I ate dinner about 8:30-9pm!  I remember also doing something on the computer but honestly...I couldn't tell you what!  Possibly responding to emails...and lord knows what I said!

And as I lay down to go to sleep, all I could think was, "I can't believe I did that!"  According to TimeHop, 3 years ago today I was rejoicing over being able to walk to the garden, sit a while and then walk back inside!  Lol!  I can only laugh at where I am now in comparison!  Once again, I find myself being so very, very grateful!

365 Things to Smile About Day 303. Meeting People.

Monday was a FULL day!  It was the first day long interview I have ever been through!  From 8 am to 4:30 pm.  And I learned that MSB is a pretty amazing place!  Among everything I saw there and learned, I also met a lot people!  They were all so wonderful and kind!  Truly very good people who love their jobs.

But the person I met that day who really has stayed in my mind is a random stranger.  I was so exhausted by the end of the day that when I got back to DC and had to get on the metro, I managed to get on two wrong trains!  Mostly because I wasn't paying attention and partly because I was too tired to focus on what I was doing.  So much for being an O & M instructor!  Lol!  I got so disoriented for a minute that I was more than a little embarrassed!  I just couldn't focus, my brain was so foggy from the whole day!  I still don't know how I saw the word "Vienna" when in fact it said "Franco-Springfield"!

As I stood at a metro stop looking around for a sign that I could read, I must have had an exhausted, bewildered and helpless look on my face.  Which is exactly how I felt!  A very nice woman looked at me for a moment and then kindly offered some help.  Turns out we both needed the same train and so she assured me that I was in fact finally on the correct platform and my train was the next one.  We ended up sitting next to each other and talked all the way to her stop...which was one before mine.  It was just so nice to talk to someone while riding the metro.  Normally people on the train are listening to music or on their phones or reading something.  But instead of loosing ourselves in our own worlds, we had a pleasant conversation and laughed and just enjoyed the company of a stranger.  I think more people need to strike up conversations with strangers.  You never know what a kind and interesting person you might meet!

365 Things to Smile About Day 302. Beautiful Sunset!

Sunday I had yet another full day.  I drove to Northern Virginia and spent a pleasant morning at mass and making my way to Union Station.  I had to hop a train to Baltimore for a job interview the next day.  I was going to the Maryland School for the Blind for an all day interview and they were putting me up other campus the night before.

From the balcony outside where I was staying I had a rather panoramic view of the nearly 100 acres the school is situated on and it made for a beautiful evening:).  For a while I stood out on that balcony and just let it all soak in.  How much my life has changed in the past three years and keeps on changing.  I went from wondering if I was ever going to be me again to standing on a balcony the night before interviewing for a job in a field I have fallen completely in love with!  And all I could do was look out over the property and watch the sunset and be very, very grateful :)


365 Things to Smile About Day 301. Dresses, Guns & Movies! Oh My!

Saturday was a full and good day!  It started with shoe shopping for interview shoes at the mall and a manicure!  My nails still look pretty days later!  Then I called a friend and we ended up having her try on dresses at Dress Barn for a while!  Then we went over to BDubs for a bite to eat.  After which I was introduced to a gun store!  I love the transition from girly girl moment to tom boy moment!  I have grown up around shot guns and rifles living out in the country but have never held a hand gun.  I learned more about hand guns than I think could fit into my brain in one sitting!  LOL!!  It was an experience!  Then, I went home and curled up and watched the movie Olympus Has Fallen :).

What I loved about my day was how it just kept moving and I got to hang out with a friend and try new things!  Seriously, this was a day I want to repeat.  Trying new things and being with friends!  Here is to more days out and about and just living life!

365 Things to Smile About Day 300. Out "Early"!

I have to laugh a little to what I found myself thinking on Friday when I left work.  With the exception of the year I taught school, I have always had an 8 hour a day job.  Lately, I have been putting in days that range anywhere from 10 to 12 hours.  So when Friday came along and I was ready to leave by 5...all I could think was, "Oh!  I'm getting out early today!"  LOL!!!  I even found myself looking around for things to do to stay later because I felt a little bit like I was slacking!  But I saw that I was caught up with paperwork, I had no more students and thus...my day was done!  After only 8 hours:)

Thursday, June 2, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 299. An Unexpected, Pleasant Drive :)

This morning my supervisor and I went together to work with a client.  It was about a half an hour drive each way and most of it highway or country roads so a pleasant drive.  As we got back on the road the office is on, a phone went off in the car.  We looked at each other, thinking it was the other's phone.  Then we both simultaneously looked down at the cup holders where the mystery phone was jingling away! At which point we both started laughing as we realized that it must be our client's phone left in the car after the lesson!!  It was  like a scene in a movie!  From the confusion to figuring it out at the same time and seeing the light bulb go off over your heads!  Lol!!!

I ended up turning around from the office and took it back on my own:).  It was a nice drive and I turned up the music a little and enjoyed the sunshine and green trees!  The client was happy to get their phone back and I had about an hour of quiet time to just relax and breath a little before the business of the day continued!

365 Things to Smile About Day 298. Parking Oops!! Lol!

I am starting to go out on lessons by myself now.  My supervisor believes I have the skills to work with clients without his constant supervision and I am very excited for his trust in me!  However, I am not sure I am as trustworthy with parking!  I am used to metered parking.  And if there isn't a meter there or a no parking sign..then an open spot on the street is fair game!

I found the perfect spot right in front of my client's apartment building and did a fairly ok job of parallel parking.  (If the front or back of the car aren't sticking out I call it a win no matter how stupid I looked getting there!).  So I proudly parked, got my stuff together and went in to get my client.  As we walked around the block talking about cane technique and working at listening to traffic at intersections and the like, I realized about halfway around the block I had made a serious parking blunder!  No meter's doesn't mean free parking in Richmond.  On a main street like the one I was on it means look for the gray box somewhere in the middle of the street, pay for parking there and put the ticket in the front window!!!   My client noticed my "oh crap!" moment when I realized what I had done and figured it out when they discovered the box I was hanging my head in front of was one of those payment boxes!  Having had a license before their vision impairment, they kindly explained how it worked to me!  And it sadly wasn't the first time I had heard of these frustrating gray boxes!!

Fortunately the police officer on the next corner assured me that they hadn't checked in this hour yet and I still had time to get to the box and pay!  My client was greatly entertained that they had been able to teach me something and was enjoying a good laugh as I got the payment ticket in my window as we passed my car!  Thank goodness no parking ticket and after that little fiasco I doubt I will ever mess up like that again!  Lol!!

365 Things to Smile About Day 297. Before The Alarm

I am very much not a morning person.  But Tuesday, and pretty much since starting this internship, I have been waking up before my alarm almost every day!  For the first time in three years I have been excited about waking up and starting the day!  I feel happy and ready for just about anything!  So while I need a cup of coffee when I get to work and I am happy I don't have to make conversation for a good hour after I wake up...I am generally awake before the alarm and ready to start my day!  Feels GOOD!

365 Things to Smile About Day 296. Fine Arts Museum.

Sunday my friend Carolyn and I went to the Fine Arts Museum in Richmond and I was completely blown away with how much is in there!  It isn't anywhere near as big as the one in DC but Richmond is nothing to sneeze at!  And the pieces are beautiful!  We cruised through several sections including American painters; ancient; Greek, Roman; Egyptian; Native American; Asian and so on.

When I was walking through one gallery, I happened to glance through to another and a picture grabbed my attention and literally stopped me in my tracks!  Now, you have to understand, these are very big galleries!  But this painting had a pop of blue that not only stopped me but pulled me into the gallery.  For some reason that color alone is what made me walk up to the painting and look at it as a whole.  It was a Nativity scene with dark, kind of muted colors except that blue!  I have copied a picture of it below and I'm sorry I didn't get the name of the painter but I will find it again and find out because I would like a print of that painting.  There was just something about it's immensity and that blue color that makes me think of it still.  I suppose that is what art is supposed to do.  Grab ahold of you and not let go:).

It was a really great morning and I can't wait to go back and do some more exploring!




365 Things to Smile About Day 295. Good Friends:)

Sunday started out a little rough for me for various reasons.  I am, by nature, a worrier and I was worrying about someone and there was absolutely nothing I could do..which of course drove me batty!  But then a very dear friend stepped in!  She drove down so we could have a nice visit and catch up and hang out since schedules are keeping our lives pretty busy for the next couple months!  It was great!  We had some dinner and talked about all kinds of things.  I of course went on and on about my work!  And told her she would have to ask me to stop before I got any hints that she had heard enough:).  Then we went and saw the new Captain America movie and afterwards just talked until neither one of us could keep our eyes open.

Times like that with friends are pretty special!  I love it when I can just have one on one time with a friend!  I love being around all my friends but I am grateful when I can visit them one at a time sometimes:).  So thank you my dear friend Carolyn for helping me stop worrying and laugh and be silly and have fun!!