Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Crossed Over

I am just writing this whole month off as the month where anything and everything can, will and did happen. Thank the stars it is nearly over! I really can only take so much. I can't even believe that so much has been flipped upside down in just a few short weeks.

I don't know if I can even come close to a recap that is worthy of the monsoon that my life has become but I'll do my best to try and grab the big pieces and tie them down before I forget that they even happened.

I guess I will work backwards because what is on my mind right now is my visit with my sister and brother-in-law and our trip to the psychic. He doesn't call himself a psychic btw, he is a catalyst between the spirit world and the physical world. He is a very wonderful and gentle man who is very spiritual and is about to become a non-denominational minister(for those who think that the 2 things aren't connected- they are). Toni and Dave were supposed to come out and do this trip last October but life happened and it got delayed until now and we had planned to go together for the first time. Well, after the trip was canceled I went on my own and had a reading done solo. As you can imagine there was a lot about my brother that came through and I won't go into much detail about what he shared with me (some stuff is private, even in my world) but what he did share is that he had not crossed over yet because too many of the living were holding him back. I guess when a someone leaves the way Troy did (by his own hand) they need to kinda clean up the mess they left and can't cross over until they have helped their loved ones get some kind of closure.

The psychic told me that it was my job to help Troy clean up by helping some of my family members forgive him and let him go. He said I was a healer in a past life (and have always been a healer in some fashion in all my lives) and in this life it is my job to heal people emotionally. We all have gifts that we bring with us through all our lives and my gift he said is wisdom, compassion and being very intuitive and sensitive. From that I help people heal and get the answers they need to move on. The put alot of pressure on me frankly but I kinda already knew it was true so I spent a good chunk of time talking to certain family members trying to help them forgive. I have tried to step up and be there as much as I can for them so they can find peace and release him.

I hope it helped because the psychic said he has now crossed over and is at peace. He is ok and he is with my Grandpa, my Grandma (who crossed over right away, she was ready to go and was at peace right away) and my Aunt Sandy who was there for Grandma (wearing the same flowered dress she was buried in- my mother validated this!). I guess he crossed over in November...which I think is fitting because it is the month both his kids were born. Somehow that fits. So that was my message from beyond and I was glad to hear everything I heard.

I was there for hours and hours, so easy to get lost in that world and I could have stayed there all night. Some other random things he told me: I have several spirit guides including an angel named Phyllis (who is also my niece's angel) and was my aunt Sandy's guardian. Sandy is also an angel and when I mentioned before that I see 17's everywhere -the age Sandy was when she died- it was after my first reading that I started seeing them. That is her way of letting my know she is around. I also have a warrior guardian and a little Indian boy. Ok, this tripped me out....the first time I was there we were chatting and all of the sudden he said- you are gonna take yoga aren't you? I had not mentioned it and was literally planning on going to the studio to check it out from his house 9this was Oct mind you and I was just checking ou the intro class)! I told him yes and he said all my spirit guides were cheering in his head. So that is why I have to stick with yoga...I dare not piss off my spirit guides! Seriously though, how weird is that?

What else....oh, I lived in Africa and my sister was my mother in that life so we have been a family for a long time. I can project myself out of my own body which is something I have been able to do since I was a kid but it freaks me out so much I have never ever told anyone but him....ummm, until now. And lots of other stuff that pops up at weird times.

Toni and Dave were told lots of stuff too but it is theirs to tell not mine. I will only say that I think they both really enjoyed the experience and so did I.

Do you believe?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Batshit crazy

I have no clue where to is beyond comprehension how crazy this month has been for me. In fact, let's go to the big board and recap.

Events that have happened in April (so far)....

Grandma passed away

Flew home for "celebration of life"

Had my good friend/employee quit leaving me solo in my office

had new job fall out of the sky

quit my job

started new job

got laid

attended 2 day medical conference

had family in town

walked 14 miles in the desert

while fam in town and safely tucked away at leadership training flew to Vegas

attended all day meeting in Vegas for a 21 hour day

got up after 5 hour nap (on a hard hotel couch) to meet Steph and Jess for breakfast at the Hard Rock

flew home

picked up fam from leadership training

saw a psychic

dropped off fam at airport

started 2nd office day of new job

had big meeting and took my new boss with

got a contract to fill 200 positions in 3 weeks

.....and the month isn't over yet

needless to say there are details to be caught up on but if you wondered (or even cared in the slightest) what I was doing and why I didn't blog....this be why

Stop the world I wanna get off!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The L-Word

So much is going on I hardly know where to begin. I just got back from a workout which seemed like a great idea since I was still all energetic from my 5 mile hike around Papago Park. I must admit I dodged a bullet today (not literally- in my neighborhood that is possible so its good to qualify). I was a very silly red-headed, porcelain skinned girl and marched out into the blazing 90+ degree sun with (gasp) NO sunscreen on! I sooooo know better and only the grace from the powers that be kept me from getting fried cuz there was no shade out there. The park was lovely and gave me some mental down time to reshuffle my jumbled brain.

So the career shift....sorry it came as such a shock to everyone but I did not want to be one of those assholes who get fired for blogging about something they wouldn't want their boss to know and since I actually link this blog to my LinkedIn profile (FB for business for those who don't know) I wanted to keep my plans on the d/l until things were fleshed out.

As I have mentioned, my company was very very good to me and I will always be grateful for my time there and Jason, my boss, is a great guy and a good friend. I don't for see that changing anytime soon. Things just started feeling very stale. It's my own fault, it was my show and I had the power to do whatever I wanted but slowly over the last few weeks I have been checking out. It was a slow process because loyalty kept me plugged in but my heart just hasn't been in it for awhile. Then when my partner Michael decided to leave that pretty much sealed the deal for me.

It's also entirely possible I am a change junkie. My life is almost always in some state of flux and this past 2 years speak better to that than anything. Normally is would be time for me to move (I get the 5 year itch so go see and explore new places) BUT since I am a homeowner and ergo shackled to my condo (which I do love) and I have built a life for myself here I can't really see moving anywhere.

Just a note about has been 6 years since I have moved here and it has been the most amazing time in my life. I have failed here horribly. I have faced the biggest challenges of my life. I have grown and become a better version of myself for all I have gone through and it is the only place I can see myself being. This is a town where reputation is everything and its all about who you know. How I got this new position is a perfect example of that- this was not a job that was posted somewhere. I don't think more than 5 people even knew it existed which is great for me because there are some great people out there right now and some of them might, just might, be more qualified than me. But....the person who is leaving this job emailed me (through LinkedIn at that) to ask who I might know and it turned out that -I- was the person I know! Gotta love this town and the power of a good network.

So as I stated in my status- total random moment today. After my hike I was driving by this antique strip mall where there is a Tuesday Morning store (which I love- bargains galore) and when I went to check out there was a long line. They opened up another register and this lady in front of me turned around to go to the next register and it was my new boss! Totally random....and handy because I was going to email her to tell her I am going to start tomorrow instead of Tuesday (working both jobs this next week which should be its own little funfest) so we got it all sorted out. The lady behind me thought this whole exchange was hilarious. I take it as a good sign and that this was meant to be....

So I won't bore you with the details of the new gig (which is code for- I am kinda figuring that out myself so I can't really share any details with you until I know them) but it will be an adventure!


My sister and brother in law are coming out to see me this week. Well, the trip includes seeing me but it is really all about sending them to a leadership class- for my Rapport Master Grads they are going to PC (Power Communication). Very special shout out to Jenn and Aaron for hooking me up with the class. So they will get here on Thursday and we will hang until their class starts on Friday afternoon. Now in the meantime I will be going to Vegas Saturday am and will be back on Sunday in time for their grad. They will be in class and not even know I am gone. Then they leave on Monday am just in time for me to start my first full week of my new job next week. Anyone else dizzy? I am......

I have been getting some ordering love from my fam- my sisterinlaw and stepmom and sister have all ordered some products from me. Still waiting for the mother love...we shall see.

Grandma- one of the things we have planned when my sister is here is to go and see a psychic I know and I fully expect my grandma will dominate the session. It will be interesting to see what comes through. I am going to take Sandy's watch and see if I can connect with her and of course, Troy.

The body...

Ok, so I have totally hit a wall. For the love of Pete I can't seem to get under 200lbs to save my flabby ass (and it is). I have been working out and watching the calories and I suspect I might be over training (lingo picked up from watching the Biggest Loser- Go Kristen!). Luckily my friend Michael is moving back to Phoenix and we have talked about training together and he is going to help me tweak my diet for the amount of physical activity I am doing. There is a whole science to the whole protein/calorie/workout ratio and this is a world that is brand shiny new to me. I know I have been doing what I am doing now for months and my body has gotten used to it so at the very least shaking it up will help. Its perfect timing to as I have cardio down (treadmill and now the elliptical -hah, not so scary now after all!) and I have the yoga integrated into my schedule so I am ready to add strength/weight training. I just hope I don't knock myself out with a back swing of my arm flab. Seriously.....its a sad sad sight.

As I mentioned during a lull in the action last week I was a very good employee on the way out and I put all the phones on hold and went shopping at Target. It was a bra emergency. That which I have very little of (every other female in my fam was blessed with a loaded pair but me) was falling out of the bra's I had. So I picked up some 34C's (and yes we are being generous with the c but I refuse to go B- I refuse dammit!!) and I needed some new sports bras. They are meant to be a bit on the tight side and yes I was able to squeeze into THE L-word.....a LARGE with no "x's" in front of it. When I started exercising I bought a 3x...along with every other article of clothing I own. But to fit into "just" a large?? Could not tell you in a million years that last time that happened.

I could probably fit into a large in shirts but for the flabby skin- especially in my arms. That throws everything off. So my shirts were all XL but they are regular girl XL not the plus size 1X which trust me- is a big size difference. And as I am bargain shopping Annie right now I got 4 nice light shirts all for $4-$6 on clearance. Nice...

Ummmm.....trying to think if that is it? I guess so. Oh, other than I created a Facebook Fan page which some of you have clicked on (thanks) and I may be posting bonus material there that will be seen no where else....still playing with that idea. So please be my fan if you haven't already signed up and if you are a fan and want to post a link to my blog on your page that would rock (i.e- hey check out this chicks blog, she's a bit of a hot mess but she amuses me).

I am pretty serious about turning this blog into a book at some point (hey, how do you think I plan to pay for my plastic surgery?) so I need to build a strong audience. Only if you feel it is worthy of promoting of course.....Thanks in advance and th-th-that's all :) (rapport inside joke)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

FB Fan Bonus- Jump Rope Story

So I have decided to reward my fans with mini blog like stories....for instance the Jump Rope Story.

I was so ungodly bored today at work today- as I am quitting and therfore highly unmotivated to do anything at all resembling work- so I put the phones on hold and went shopping at Target. I had to buy all new bra's (the one thing I wish was not getting smaller) and I also bought a yoga strap (Fran will appreciate that) and a jump rope.

Why is God's name did I buy a jump rope do you ask? And if you are asking...fair question. Well its like this- I drive home through the 'hood. I take the side streets cuz the highway by my house is a total Indy 500 free for all during rush hour and this side streets are....well let's just use the PC term "urban".

One of the places I drive by is a Boxing center. There are always a ton of super cut (and fuggly as hell) boxers outside jumping rope just like they do in the boxing movies- you know where they jump then swing the rope in front of them all criss-crossy and cool looking? Everynight I see this and it has gotten me all obsessed with jumping rope. Great cardio, mix up my workout...all good stuff yes?

Ok...bought the rope. Here are my thoughts.A. next time buy 6 foot rope, NOT 8 foot rope that I could lasso a building withB. jumping rope in heels...NOT a good idea


C. jumping rope looks much much cooler when cut, ripped looking dudes are doing it than a flabby chick....

just sayin.....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Take this job now that I have revealed my most recent huge life change- and please pardon the FB tease, I just didn't want to be one of those assholes who gets nailed for announcing something on Facebook before informing the most affected parties first. Now that I have informed my boss I can share the details with you guys.

As the faithful followers of my little journey may recall, I was promoted to General Manager in Nov. and took over the staffing as well as my own direct hire business (if you have no clue what I am talking about and want details feel free to ask otherwise I assume you are just saying...yeah yeah, get to the good stuff and want me to move on). In January I hired a partner who is wonderful and amazing and has become a very close friend and we started a healthcare division together which I was able to help build as I spent 3 years calling on healthcare in a previous position. We did what we could to build it but he has a baby on the way and got a bit nervous and ended up taking a position with one of his former clients back into his former position that he had before joining me. Can't blame him and we are still working together in my side business so its a win win.

So for the past month I have been all alone in my office, literally alone. Just me everyday. It is hard to work by yourself and to keep motivated. Perhaps if it had always been that way it would not have been an issue but it has just been damn lonely. And then last week I got an email from a former co-worker.....she is working with a great company that she loves but literally had her dream job drop into her lap and she was looking for her own replacement. She was asking me if I knew of anyone who knew healthcare and could develop new business. Tell me more I said...she told me some details and it sounded great so I went and met with her boss and really liked what I saw and heard.

I went back and forth alot about leaving my company and I have to be very clear why...this company has taken great care of me. I knew Jason, my boss, for several years before coming aboard and we have always had a mutual respect for each other. When it finally made sense to work together I was thrilled. I started in Nov of '07 and after just 2 weeks I left for Iowa to spend xmas at home. I had scheduled an extended trip so I could spend as much time as possible with my Grandma which I was able to do and am so grateful I had that time. I got back on the 28th and I think was only back in the office one day before I got the call that my brother was dead.

I can only vaguely remember calling Jason and letting him know what was going on but I do recall that he told me to do whatever I needed to do and just let him know what was going on. He called me after I got to Iowa and checked on me and then from our convo he figured out where the funeral was and sent a beautiful bunch of flowers. I had been working there 2 weeks- that's all. And after I got back he gave me all the space I needed to bounce back. Then when I started the diet he and the owners cheered me on and have been so generous with their praise and support. And just a few days ago I had let him know my Grandma was ill then called when she passed. Jason did not hesitate to tell me to lock up the office, go be with my family and he took care of all my responsibilities. I am and will always be so grateful for that and for this great group of people I have had the honor to work for and with...

So why leave these great people? Fair question and one I struggled with a lot.....all I can say is the upside of this new opportunity looks huge and I am a risk taker and this just seems to be another chance to crawl out onto the skinny branches and see what I can do with my life.

After all that has happened I think I need a clean slate. A place to just start over and correct some bad habits that I might have fallen into and just stretch and push myself into a new role. I will be building health care staffing and placements which combines some of my current skills sets but also learning a whole new line of business (consulting) which is very exciting.

Tomorrow is a new day (and by tomorrow I mean next week- I will be working both jobs while I transition the office) and it will be full of new challenges and I can't wait....

I have to say also that I was also offered another position by a current client of mine. It is in a totally new field and nothing I have done before which had its own appeal. I was debating the 2 offers and ran it by my friend Chris who never bullshits me- he cuts to the chase and tells it like it is the same way I do for everyone else. He is the one who does it for me (in more ways than one once we plan another get together, but I digress- heh). He liked the sound of the first position and when I told him about the second he was like - why did you waste my time telling me about that? I told him it was worth considering because it was out of recruiting and frankly, recruiting is hard right now and it might be nice to get out of the storm. Here is his reply...Ok, so whaa whaa, my job is tough right now and even though I am talented and passionate about it, it is too hard so I am gonna run away from it and hide in a new industry cuz I don't want my job to be hard. Me: ummmmm, point taken.

I also have been feeling very guilty about having 2 solid options to consider while holding a good job while so many people I know are taking anything they can get just to get by- I am placing (former) 6 figure earners into a $12 p/hr telemarketing job right now because they have to have some income rolling in. That is sad and scary so while I feel bad I am grateful....and besides, if a recruiter can't find themselves a new gig then how good am I after all?

So that is my update and my life....If my life wasn't upside down and drama filled, how would I know it was mine??

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Daily Routine

By request I am posting a list of the Nutrilite products I am using- I am tagging those who have asked or I thought might be interested so feel free to disregard or ask me any questions. You can get all of these on my website :)

Double X vitamins- 10 day supply is item #A-4318

Cal Mag D (calcium with vitamin D) item #A-5880

Ocean Essentials (fish oil) item# A-8914

Slimmetry( enhances weight loss) 10-5348

Carb Blocker 10-0193

100 calorie Snack Bars (my faves are cranberry crunch and chocolate caramel)

Twist tubes- to flavor water (raspberry for joint health is my fave)

200 calorie meal replacement bars (fave =lemon twist)

Rhodiola- this has been HUGE for my workouts item # 10-1593

Chocolate Nut roll Energy Bar- has whey protein in it for workouts item #10-6528

Protein shakes (strawberry, vanilla and choc flavors, all good)

XS energy drinks- vitamin B in a can- no carbs or sugar = no crash

If you are just starting a weight loss program and want a whole system there is also a TrimSystem Kit which includes a lot of the above items item # 10-1997

How I use this stuff:

Breakfast= protein shake

Vitamins 2x'sa day: Double X , cal mag,fish oil, slimmetry

snacks (10 am and 2-3pm) 100 calorie snack bars or Yogurt

3 liter of water p/day with twist tubes for flavor

lunch/dinner= 300 calories

Rhodiola right before workout and energy bar before or after (sometimes in place of snack)

It might seem like a long list but it has been pretty each to work it all into my routine and again, I am happy to answer any questions.

Thanks and enjoy!


So I have had a pretty good weekend so far. It's been all about recovering and processing and while that is an ongoing process it is good to finally have a chance to just chill and catch my breath.

I had a great yoga class yesterday which felt awesome. My body just feels so great after yoga and I totally missed it when I was home. When I think of yoga I think of pipes and how anytime you have a bend in a pipe things get stuck and clogged up there. What yoga does is it gets all the gunk in your pipes unstuck and releases it so you can get rid of it. We did this really cool pose called Half Moon pose which is hard to explain but basically you are standing on on foot with one hand straight up in the air and your other leg extended out and flexed. When it was demonstrated I was like- wtf? no way!! but I was pretty excited that I was able to get into it pretty easily and it felt great. Most poses feel good but you kinda can't wait to get out of them but this one I actually wanted to hang out in for awhile. It was so cool. My instructor actually grabbed me after class and commented about how much stronger I am getting in my poses and how she is excited to see my progress- which rocks to get feedback like that. I even felt so good and warmed up after yoga I went right to the fitness room and did my normal workout since I was so stretched and good to go.

It seems so odd that I have only really been working out since October after I finally had a good grip on getting the lymphodema under control and had the whole wrapping my legs up every night integrated into my schedule. Now I can actually feel myself craving getting on the treadmill. In fact, more days than not I find myself counting down the hours of my workday not to get home but to get home and go workout. Now if that isn't a 180 from my life last year, or even 6 months ago I don't know what is! It's crazy, totally crazy.

As far as my workouts go I have been able to steadily push myself harder and harder. It's not that I don't feel it and get sore and tired but now its a "hurt so good" feeling instead of just being whipped. I remember getting started and not going above the incline level 3 because it was too much. Today I started my workout at incline level 9 and worked my way up to 14 and went 2 miles. I used to barely break a sweat but now, yeah....a shower is def in order by the time I get done. Of course that might improve slightly when they decide to finally turn the air on in the fitness room, c'mon it IS Arizona people!! My HOA dollars hard at work...

I feel soooo good after working out now and I really do not know how to explain what a crazy thing that is for me to say and think. It is so totally opposite of my entire life up until now. When I was home my sister and I worked out together (a Herrick sister first I might add!!) one day and I really could feel missing it the other 2 days I did not get to workout. I did get to give my sis a treadmill lesson and I hear she has been "riding the treadmill" at least a couple of times since I have been gone ;)

My body is definitely changing- I can feel myself getting stronger and if I feel my arms and legs I can feel the muscle hiding beneath the saggy skin. It makes me sad to not be able to see more physical results due to the floppiness but it makes me excited for what the finished product that is my body will look like....I just gotta keep doing what I am doing and hope it helps the skin rebound as best it can naturally then get the rest tucked up.

It's just trippy to feel the progress I have made and I am working so hard its a good feeling. I will keep working and keep getting turning back now.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sandy's watch

I hardly know where to begin...Life has moved at warp speed since my sister called me to let me know my Grandma had passed away. After I got the call I made flight arrangements, got work stuff squared away so I could be gone a few days (and I must say my company was so fantastic yet again about letting me go and do what I needed to do for my family- they are great that way and I am very grateful). I spent all day flying on Friday then my sister-in-law picked me up. Then it was off to the tattoo shop to drop off a sketch of my tat, then begin making the rounds of seeing people and getting settled- as settled as you can get for a weekend trip.

So its only now when things have finally slowed down that I can even begin to process all that has happened and what it all means to me.

The plane ride home was not as bad as I thought it would be. I feared it would be a repeat of the flight home after Troy died but this was a very different trip. Obviously when you have a 92 year old Grandma (I was off a year and corrected about her age- several times) it is not a shock when they pass.Very very sad but not a surprise and as I mentioned before I know she was no longer living the life she wanted- and hadn't for a long time. Still there is no denying there is a hole in the universe where she just was, just a moment ago and I can still feel her presence in the empty space.

So the trip home...

It was my first time back to my brothers house. When Debbie (my sisterinlaw) took me there I am sure she didn't even think about that and I didn't say anything on purpose. As we were driving I was wondering what my reaction would be....if asked I probably would have said I didn't want to go but I figured if this is when it was supposed to happen- so be it. We pulled in and I was nervous to see the garage but it didn't look the same to me at all. It was just a garage. And Debbie put in a hot tub in the backyard which made it look different, just different enough to make it comfortable. I didn't feel or see any "ghosts" of memories although I didn't stare too long at the spot where I took the last pic of Troy- which is still in my phone. At the end of the day its not my brother's house now, its just a house and its where my nephew and sisterinlaw live. Its just a place and I am glad I went there and can cross that off my list.


As I got back that is what everyone wanted to know....what was every one's reaction to you from home? what did your family say?? I have to admit I did not get a really big reaction from anyone but I also know that it wasn't about me. In fact I felt really bad about me and people's reaction to me taking away from the reason I was home. However, it is what is it and I can't take away of change what any one's honest reaction is and its a good moment so again, if this is how it was supposed to happen so be it. Don't get me wrong I got a huge positive reaction and great comments and feedback and I was not looking for a parade but its not like anyone didn't know who I was either.

The best reaction actually had to have come from some close family friends- Konnie, Mike and Stacie. They were driving by my Dad's house as we were out walking my sister's dogs and they stopped and whipped their car back around to come see me. Gotta admit I have never stopped a car before- pretty cool ;)

The event we had for Grandma...I think it was officially called a "celebration of life"...went well. My mom's friends had set up a lunch in one of the rooms of the nursing home and we had a fair number of people come through- especially since it was a fricking blizzard!! Don't get me started on how unimpressed I was by the Iowa weather! It was good to have my BFF's Julie and Kim there- they have been by my side since we were toddlers and I love them both so much. It was great to see Michele and Jaime too (and Jaime, please tell everyone how much we appreciate how you guys took care of my grandma- I know you loved her too and that makes me feel so good).

I have to say though, of all the things that happened over the weekend the most significant and special thing that happened is the gift I got from my mother- Sandy's watch.

Sandy Luann was my Grandma's first daughter and she died when she was 17. She was blind and even though they told my Grandma to put her in a institution she refused and instead they sent her to the School for the Blind. I have heard bits of stories about Sandy all my life, how she loved puzzles and how beautiful she was and how she loved to laugh. I have some pot holders she made in school but the one thing I always think of when I think about Sandy (besides being her namesake) is her watch. It is a beautiful gold watch that my Grandma had in a small glass bell, it is a Braille watch, for Sandy- the lid flips open and there are Braille numbers (that is Sandy and my mom in the pic). There is a hook at the top and a wooden base. I can remember seeing that watch all the way back to my earliest memories, always on mt Grandma's dresser. She always always told me how one day that watch would be mine and I would hold it so gently knowing how precious it was. When Grandma moved into the nursing home the watch went to Mom and I assumed there it would stay.

Toni and I went over to talk to Mom on Saturday afternoon and we sat at the table like we have hundreds of times before but then Mom said she had something for me and went down into the family room and came back with Sandy's watch and sat it in front of me.

I was stunned. I never expected that in a million years. She told me she wanted me to have it and that Grandma would want me to have it. She had planned on giving it to me on my birthday but felt the timing was right now instead. I couldn't hold back the tears knowing the significance of this gift. Mom told me it represents not just one life but 3- Sandy, my Mom and my Grandma. It was just the 3 of them against the world for so long and then Sandy died and it was just my Mom and Grandma. Now its just my Mom and I know how many tears and laughs and heartaches are attached to this watch.That is why I couldn't speak and why the tears wouldn't stop.

It was a moment of a lifetime and I was so honored and awed by the power of it all. It is very rare to have moments like that in your life and somehow it was beyond right that as I sat there with my sister and mother looking at a watch that signified that life of 3 women- that is was being passed on just as life goes on.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Starfish Story

This may be my shortest blog post ever cuz I am so tired I am about cross eyed. I literally have not stopped moving since I got the call my grandma passed away....
I had to post a pic of my newest tattoo though cuz I am soo digging it. I found this image months ago after I had talked to my Grandma about getting an angel tattoo in her honor. I have carried this piece of paper around for so long and visualized what it would look like - I added the starfish for a very specific reason btw... if you have never heard it before here is my telling of The Starfish Story
One day and older man was walking along the beach and off in the distance he could see a shape of someone dancing in the surf. He walked closer to the figure and noticed that it was a young man and what he had thought was dancing was the young man bending over the sand then walking into the water and bending down again. As he got closer still the older man noticed the hundreds of starfish that were scattered all over the beach stranded by the tide as it rolled out to sea.
The older man kept walking when he finally saw what the young man was doing. This young man was ever so gently scooping up the starfish, one by one from the sand and carrying them to the ocean and gently placing them back in the water. The older man chuckled to himself at this pointless task and yelled to the young man "Son, I see what you are doing but you can't change the fate of these starfish. What you are doing won't make a bit of difference."
Without stopping the young man bent over and scooped up another starfish his gaze raising to meet that of the older man's and he simply said "It makes a difference to this one."
So that is why I got my sad angel who is mourning the loss of the starfish that did not get saved as a reminder of how we all can touch each other's lives. Even when it seems silly and pointless what you do everyday matters....and it makes a difference to this one.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Weekend home

So I made it back from Iowa.....fricking snow in April!!! Toni's said it was Grandma's way of saying "see??? I TOLD YOU I didn't want anything done after I died."
It was obviously an emotional trip and now that I am back home it feels like I was gone a million years instead of just a few days...I am trying to catch up with my life (which I am now joining already in progress) but I did want to post a quick note of thanks for all the great comments andcompliments on my Grandma posts.Thanks to those of you who knew her and had stories to share (feel free to leave more in the comments section) and for those who told me their "grandma stories". Grandma's are special people. I only ever had one Grandma but the one I had was the most specialist one of them all and I was blessed to have her in my life and now have her as my own angel.
I will catch you up later on some very special moments (including my newest tat- Grandma approved I might add, if you can't wait check out FB or myspace to see the pics) but thanks for the love and was felt by my whole family.
Blog atcha soon!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

You can go...we'll be OK

This is the last picture taken of me and my Grandma. It was Christmas 07 and there will never ever be another picture of me and my Grandma. She never will get to see (in the flesh anyways) my accomplishment. Kinda takes all the wind out of the sails of hitting the 200lb loss mark.

This picture makes me smile because of the cute grin my Grandma has on her face. That is how I will always picture her....this pic is on my fridge (as you could probably guess from the sun magnet) so I see my Grandma everyday and now I will have more laughing stars because my Grandma will be laughing in some more of them for me as of today.

She passed in her sleep, she never woke up from yesterday so I am going to say for the record books that she passed away on her birthday- it just took a few hours for her to let go....which is a very Grandma thing to do. Did I mention how stubborn she can be?? I suppose slipping into a deep sleep that you never wake up from at 93 years old is more than most of us can hope for and all day today I was telling her in my heart "it's ok, we will be can let go, we will be ok" because making sure we were ok was what her whole life was about and I am sure that is what kept her holding on for the last few hours...I can hear her actually "I am not going until I know my Tacey Lanny is gonna be ok". I asked her to have the strength to let go and because she is so strong, she did.

No one will ever call me Tacey Lanny (Tracey Luann, you get it) ever again...or sign a card in her beautiful handwriting "Be Good, Behave" or call me her littlest grand-daughter. That was all for her and her alone.

I am sitting here looking at her pins. She loved her costume pins and I must have bought dozens of them for her. I got a bunch when her house was packed up and she went into the nursing home. She always had a pin for every occasion and I picked out some favorites and stuck them on a bulletin board. They make me smile cuz they are so "her".

She wasn't just my Grandma....she was a Foster Grandparent for United School and dozens of kids called her Grandma. She hated just sitting around and worked well into her 80's. She had to stay busy and she loved being around people. She could talk to anyone, anywhere.

We had a thing about angels.

I am not sure how it got started and once it did other people jumped on board and started giving her angels but it started with just us. It may have been when I was driving home when I was living in Chicago and I saw this angel visor clip that was an angel and said "grandchild, please drive safe" and I bought it because I knew my Grandma would want me to have it. She loved it and it has been in my car ever since. I asked her if it was cool with her if I got an angel tattoo for her and she loved the idea. I have it all picked out, I just need to get it done- perhaps when I come home.

My sister called me today and told me she had passed.....I had been expecting the call all day. I had my phone in my hand all morning just waiting. You know when you can feel somethings energy pushing far ahead of the thing itself? The call she had passed was so powerful I felt it hours before the phone rang. Like the universe was bracing me for it.

Then I sprang into "go"mode of putting together a trip home. I had to rapid fire do a check list of what I needed to do for work and what I needed to prep for myself. Ticket, check. Shuttle to airport, check. Get new eyeliner (details), check. Get cash for cab home, check. Do laundry, check. Figure out what to pack (what the hell is the weather back there anyways??) progress. So I have done all I can for now and its quiet and I am all alone waiting for a flight to take me home to say goodbye to one the most important people in my life.

I am fighting the growing sense of deja vu....

This is obviously very different than flying home for my brother's funeral and yet that feeling is the same. Powerless, dread, lonely, scared, sad.....and I just want to hug my family and be with them.

I can tell one one thing for Troy Harold Herrick had better prepare himself for one GIANT ass kicking because when my Grandma finds him she is gonna rip him a new one!! Poor Troy, I could almost feel sorry for him if he didn't deserve it.

The thing I know my Grandma is most happy about is she is with her daughter Sandy again. Maybe I have no right to feel connected to that but as Sandy's namesake I do. I have always felt that Sandy was my angel and has been watching over me and she sends me little signals. She died when she was 17 and I see 17's all the time. Every time I do I know she is just saying "hi, I am here and I love you". That makes me feel good. I don't know how my Grandma will let me know she is around but I am sure I will recognize her when she does show up- my family does no do subtle.

For now I hope she has a good long rest. She lived a long life and she was there for me in a million ways...she deserves a long rest.

I am so proud to be the Grand-daughter of such a independent, intelligent, funny and caring woman as my Grandma. I hope I can honor her life everyday by living my life MY WAY (another inside joke) just like she lived hers.....

I love you Grandma, you sleep now.....we will be ok.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


This is my Grandma, Virginia Chambers..."cookie" to her co-workers where she worked for a zillion years. She is the glue that holds our family together. All she has ever wanted was for us to be together. Now if you ask us that is a little toooo much togetherness but that's a "just Grandma" thing. She worries obsessively about things that would never in any reality happen but that is "just Grandma".
She is a very strong women. She got married because she wanted a family. She certainly never needed a husband which turned out ok because her turned out to be an alcoholic who took off and left her to raise two daughters all alone -one of which was blind (my namesake- Sandy Luann) and the other was my mother (a whole different set of challenges raising little Karen Lea). She told me once that it wasn't until she filed for her Social Security benefits that she even knew she was legally married. I guess "back in the day" you used to be able to get your marriage license at a gas station?! She never really knew (or cared to be honest) if her marriage was legal but as it turns out she was and even though her husband left her decades before they never divorced and she never had anyone else in her life but her family.
She buried a daughter.
When my Aunt Sandy was 17 she died and then she and my mom were alone. She had 10 siblings and I think there is just 1 or 2 left. They all had weird nicknames....Potty, Hippy, she was Skillet cuz she loved to cook. She had 2 brothers who drowned in the Des Moines river and she passed on her fear of water to me as a child so I never learned to swim.
My Grandma used to travel all the time. She would take those planned trips with a travel buddy and went all over the US on a bus. Loved those bus tours. She lived her life very independently and as a kid took me everywhere with her. I remember what a treat it was to spend the night with her. She used to live on Story street (the main street in my home town) above the JC Penny store and to my child's mind it was as good as a penthouse. It was soooo cool to look out her window and see all the high school kids "cruisin the loop"downtown. Oh, and went we went out to eat (which was her passion) I was always so proud when she let me take the money to the front register to pay.
My Grandma did everything for me. Bought me "warm jackets that will cover your butt" and made sure I had my "Annie" style haircut and perm after school got out every year in the basement of Spurgeon's. She would take me out with her friends (she never learned to drive) and we would go all over the state to the best truck stops...cuz truck stops have the best pie. I never developed her love of pie I must admit but I have had a truckload of greasy burgers and if I wasn't hungry she would tap my plate and say "eat the meat, leave the bread but eat the meat". Wow, Granny was down with Atkins way ahead of her time.
Grandma is a master at laundry. There is such a thing called "the Grandma smell" and I could smell it even now if I close my eyes and take myself back. It is nearly impossible to describe except as what I have to believe is what heaven smells like- certainly what my childhood smells like. Many have tried to replicate the grandma smell and all have failed....even using the exact same combo of ingredients. Somehow when she did was just different. She bought tons of stuff at "rummage" sales and to come over on Sunday -wash day- and smell all the piles of freshly washed grandma smelling clothes made it not so bad to be wearing other people's cast offs. I would do anything to have bottled that grandma smell...if we could have we'd all be stinking rich.
I love and respect my Grandma deeply and today is her birthday- April Fool's Day. I remember being an idiot kid and running up to her yelling "hey Grandma, guess what? Happy Birthday....April Fools!!" and nearly choking myself with laughter. Silly....
Well today is her day and she is 93. When she was 71 I was 17 (the age her daughter was when she died) and I always felt like that meant something. Not sure what but it was a nice connection to have with her.
She isn't doing well....
And at 93 all we want is for her to be comfortable.
But I am so selfish. I don't want her to go and I want to see her again. I want her to be there waiting for me when I come home in July. I want her to see my progress...she is worried I am not being healthy (told you she is a big worry-er) so I want her to see I am ok. I want her to be around forever but I know she isn't living now at least not in the way she wants. She is existing and her quality of life is not what she wants at all. I want her to be at peace and comfortable and for her to do what she needs to do when she needs to do it.
My Grandma is special and beautiful and I hope she knows and feels that with every fiber of her being and that she knows as I sit here typing my whole heart is with her now and always.
I love my Grandma...but I am selfish. I hope she can forgive me for that and be stronger than I am and lets whatever is supposed to happen...just happen.
I love her enough for that and for many more lifetimes to come....