Thursday, August 31, 2006

Katrina




In the most random place possible, I met a family of Katrina Survivors who were out on their summer vacation. We were at the top of Sandia Peak, checking out the views, when a man asked me where I was from. I told him we were from Albuquerque, and he told me he was from New Orleans. He corrected himself and said "used to be from New Orleans, anyway".


He was the sweetest kindest man - so humble and seemingly grateful for every breath he took. He told me that when the levees broke it moved his mother's house - ripped it right off the foundation - about 100 feet from where it stood. The water was moving so fast it just swept it away.


Yes, there had been warnings as there had been warnings before. Earlier they'd had a warning and evacuation order and came home to find some branches in their front yard and some puddles on the street. They had no way of knowing this would be any different than the last time. This man's boss told him that if he followed the evacuation order and didn't report to work, he'd be fired.


What many people don't understand is that these people had no funds to leave. Many didn't have cars. Many didn't have $5 to their name to get a bus ticket. Most didn't have credit cards to use. They were stuck. They could not leave without help.


This man, with his family, waited at the Convention Center and/or Superdome for four days before they were bussed out. They lost everything. He decided to stay here once they were shipped here, along with about 500 other people who were welcomed after they ran out of places to go.


This man was so sweet and forgiving and gracious and kind. I'm so glad he stopped to share his family's story with me. Reminded me what spoiled brats we all tend to be, and that we truly need to be grateful for everything we have.


Savor the day.

Monday, August 14, 2006

8/7/06-8/13/06 - Weirdest Week Ever


On August 9, my dear friend and mentor Colleen Regan passed away after failing to recover from a near-drowning accident on April 8. Her partner has written up a wonderful description of Colleen, definately worth reading, here: Colleen. You can also read of her heroism in saving her drowning friend here.


This woman helped me more than words can describe when I was struggling spiritually. She helped to guide me at a time when I was so incredibly lost. I would never be as grounded and as successful today if I hadn't known her, and I feel blessed to be able to consider her one of my dearest friends. I am going to miss her so much.


On August 11, my uncle passed away suddenly at 53 years old, after suffering a major heart attack. Its crazy how you have these memories of people you grew up with and loved, and you take for granted that they'll just always be there. I hadn't seen my uncle since they moved back to Texas over ten years ago. He was way too young to die.


Another reminder to savor each and every breath you take, be thankful for each moment, and do your best not to take anything for granted.



Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Albuquerque AIDS Walk 2006

As most of you know, every year we do the Albuquerque AIDS walk in memory of Alberto, a precious soul who lost his 10+ year long battle with AIDS in 2002. Its a great way to honor his memory, and raise awareness and funding for research, education and prevention of this horrific disease.


Here's our website, where you can make secure donations. There is NO MINIMUM - even $1 will help. Our goal is $500 this year - we'll get there!


TEAM ROMERO 2006


As always, anyone in the area is welcome to come and walk with us. For $25 you can officially register and get an official t-shirt, or you can just show up for free and support the cause.


Thanks again for your support!


Thursday, July 13, 2006

At Least Its Over.


I'm just purging here, bear with me.


The surgery did not go as planned. My tumor/diverticulum/benign growth ended up being about ten times the size they thought it was going to be (grapefruit vs golf ball), attached to my bladder, and severely infected. My belly, it turns out, is full of scars and adhesions ("sheets and sheets", per the doc) from my appendectomy like 20 years ago, so the laproscopy failed and they had to do a regular incision. I had a reaction to the anesthesia which caused me to black out and barf for two days straight, during which time our stupid HMO sent its resident Insurance Nazi to come and tell me (in between vomit spells) that I'd overstayed my visit and I'd be responsible for any additional charges. Her response to my vomiting and blacking out was, "Well, you can vomit and black out at home. There's medication for that." (Miss Thang was promptly escorted out of my hospital room. She hadn't even opened my chart to read it. We have the Presbyterian Health Plan. If you have a choice, I'd advise you choose another HMO.)


So yeah, my recovery time will be a little longer than expected. Instead of four days, we're looking at six to eight weeks. I'm still sore, I still get tired really easily, and I'm only working a few hours a day...but its over. I'll have the final repairing surgery in two months, and then it'll be over over for good.


My sincere, heartfelt thank you to all that sent good vibes and thoughts my way. I appreciate that more than you all know. I'm truly blessed to have all the friends I have.


I'm verclempt. Hugs, everyone.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

TMI? May-beh...


Another birthday came and went - the big 35. I'm thankful to have another year in this beautiful place. I loved Father's Day - saw my dad for a bit and hung out with my brother for a really long time. It was awesome.


We did this crazy thing that I suppose people do when they've had too much to drink. Remember stiff as a board, light as a feather? That game you played at slumber parties? (Well pretend you remember if you don't!) Its kinda like that.


My brother sat in a chair in the middle of the kitchen. My brother's taller than me and not a tiny guy...so we'll say he weighs about 225. Four of us stood around him, forming a square. (like two were directly across from each other and so were the other two. I know I'm not making sense, work with me here!) Each of us clasped our hands together, intertwining our fingers, and then made like a play gun with our hands - our two pointy fingers sticking out. Then we each placed our hands like that under the chair and attempted to lift him. As you can imagine, we were unsuccessful.


Then, we each placed our hands over his head, one at a time, in order, about an inch between each hand. As we were doing this, I could feel sort of an energy moving through my hands...it was so weird. Anyway, so we held them there for a moment, and then we each removed our hands, one at a time, in the same order we'd placed them there. Then, we made the little pointy finger gun with our hands and attempted to lift him again. This time we lifted him very high, very quickly, and he wasn't heavy at all.


WHOA. Now tell me - why did that work?!?!


I thought - okay this is stupid. I hadn't been drinking, my daughter hadn't been drinking (obviously), so we knew it wasn't that. So, we tried it again with Louie, with my daughter, and each time the result was the same. My brother said he'd done it at a party with a 300 lb guy and the guy hit his head on the ceiling.


Spooked me out. If anyone's ever heard of this - please let me know. I'm starting to imagine some quantum physics explanation or something. That SHOULD NOT have worked!


*************


Just gonna put this out there...


I'm having some surgery next week and I'm a little freaked about it. I mean, its necessary (I'm not THAT stupid) but I'm a bit skeered. I'll spend the night in the hospital and hopefully go home the next day.


I haven't had surgery in like...20 years. There's a lot involved in preparation and screening and more consent forms than I've ever seen in my life. Yeah, I'm a bit nervous, but I know I'll be fine. I get to have two of them this year, and let's just say I'll be glad when they're over. Yes, I'm completely grateful to be able to have this done to improve my quality of life, and I'm grateful for the medical insurance and medical care I have access to. I'm working on keeping the ultimate goal in mind: improved quality of life. I'll be even gratefuller when I wake up on the flip side and all is well.


Anywho...I'll see all of you in about two weeks.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Pics!

Proof I graduated, as well as proof Emily inherited her Mom's focus skills:



That really is me with the dean, I promise. Gawd that felt amazing.


The faboolous view from our hotel room:



There's a "European Style" pool where you can be almost nekked. The girls and I didn't go there, but I can't tell you how many times I peered out the window just to see if anyone was that brave. They were!


Crazy how ginormous these hotels are.



The trip was amazing. We had such a blast! Vegas is way too big a town for me - almost overwhelming - and I was ready to come home. I didn't fall in love with it like I did New Orleans, but I have to say that was one of the best times the girls and I have ever had.


I'm grateful to have been able to go. I have an awesome boss!


Tonight is sooo bizarre - I'm home alone, which NEVER happens, and its creepin' me out! Kayla's at Girl Scout camp for the first time ever, Em's at her dad's....so here I am. Now I know where Carol was coming from, the aloneness is a bizarre thing when you're not used to it. I'm glad its only for one night. Gawd help me when they're gone and I'm alone all the time.


Slowly but surely the stress is fading a little. I think because of my ADHD and my lifestyle all these many years, I'm used to going 350 mph all the time. Now that I don't have to, it feels funny. I still have that drive and ambition, but nothing to focus it on.


ADHD and a Gemini - what a combination. 9 gazillion projects and not a single one finished - just "revised".


I'm still losing weight, slowly but surely. I gained about 5 lbs during the last few weeks of school, and I've taken that off plus about a pound and a half more. All in all I'm right at 53.5 lbs lost. I switched plans at Weight Watchers - I'm now on the "core plan" which requires no tracking, no measuring...its completely mindless (good for me, I know) and I'm finally losing weight again. I've still got a few pounds to go, but I'm so incredibly happy with how I look and feel now, any more weight loss is icing on that giant cake.


Well there, I've done my purgin for the day. I'm off to read and relax...or try to.

Friday, June 09, 2006

SORRY!


If anyone's still out there...


So yeah, I done graduated, and then I took off to Vegas for a conference for a week (yep I've got pics - I'll get them here, really I will), and then I ...


...managed to piss everyone off, lost all track of time, got very little done and here I sit chasing my tail like a dork.


Crazy how "stuff to do" will expand proportionally to fill the time you've gained by graduating from college, huh.


This is an adjustment, and a big one. I don't know how to explain it exactly, but I'll try.


Say you've been striving for a goal for close to a decade and a half. Its been all-consuming, stressful, and you've been focused on this one thing for all these years and then suddenly you get there. First, you're elated. YEAH! I did it!! Then, you scratch your head and wonder..."what the heck do I do now?"


Well, I'm reading for pleasure. I'm cleaning and organizing little by little. I'm sitting out by the pool with the girls. I'm grooming my dogs. I'm making my bed. I'm watching TV when I can stomach it. I'm catching up on e-mails and journals. I'm writing thank you cards and visiting with friends more often. I'm spending tons more time with my daughters.


But (yes there's a but), I feel like I'm sort of goal-less. Like I've lost my focus. I don't know where I'm headed. Its an adjustment, that's for sure.


Meanwhile, I'm pissing off people in droves it seems and I SWEAR I'm not doing it on purpose. I flaked contacting my friend before I went to visit her new town for my conference, then I misplaced her number, and then I stalked her unsuccesfully for two days. (Forgive me Aileen I swear I didn't do iton purpose. I'm a flake. I'm an idiot.) I haven't returned e-mails or phone calls to a couple of other people (Chuck), and I've fallen desperately behind in reading my favorite journals.


Its just that big adjustment process. I can't put my finger on it, but I feel kinda lost, sorta.


Here's my collective apology to everyone I've flaked out on:


I need to get my feces coagulated. I apologize.