Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hey there, i've been so swamped at work and after work so bunches to get caught up on.  I posted last week that my Dad and Deb (stepmom) were going to Santa Domingo for Dad to receive his stem cell treatment. The plan was to get there last Wednesday , rest on Thursday, treatment Friday, rest Saturday and come home on Sunday. Nothing can ever be simple! The people in Tel Aviv (where the stem cells have been growing) got the whole schedule wrong. So the procedure got rescheduled for this past week on Monday and my parents had to change their flights, etc. The stem cells didnt arrive to the hospital until 4pm eastern. They had been at the hospital all day and now about to be all night. The Dr's had to wait for the stem cells to defrost in order to prepare them. They took Dad back around 6:15 and they had the 1st lung done an hour later. They were all done by 9pm and he was asleep from anesthesia so they kept Dad overnight. He was released early yesterday morning and he rested all day in hotel because the flight to come home today is very early. The Dr's are happy with the procedure and said Dad did great. Now we just need to get Dad fully rested. He's still on oxygen 100% and the wheelchair to get him around. Everyone seems to react differently in these procedures so i'm not sure how soon we can expect to see any changes or if Dad feels anything. I know they will be so happy to be at home and sleep in own bed tonight.
Last Wednesday night i went with my honey and one of his friends to see The Cult at the House of Blues in Dallas. It happened to be same night that Van Halen was playing nearby in the AA stadium. They're both very popular 80's bands so i was wondering if my concert would be full. AND boy or boy it was jampacked! It fricking rocked and i had sooo much fun. We got floor tickets which meant we had to stand the whole time but you can get close to the stage. We were probably 3 people deep from being on stage. We were so close that when Ian threw his tambourine, my honey caught it. Unfortunately 3other people grabbed it and no one was letting go so he did. I was little bummed but thats the gentleman that he is.

Ian Astbury-lead singer
I took off last Thursday and Friday to drive to Oklahoma and visit my baby brother Jeremy, sis-n-law Sarah, and my nieces Brynna and Maci. I've mentioned numerous times how much i adore my nieces. I had started a tradition with Maci about 6 years ago to spend one-on-one time and shop for her birthday. Brynna will be turning 6 next month so it was time to start same tradition with her. They get to pick which store they want to go to and pick out a few outfits or toys that they want. Thursday afternoon once i arrived, Brynna chose JCPenney's and we went on our way. We had so much fun. She just cracks me up and she's my little songbird. She sings all the time. I took her to Starbucks and got her a cookie frappucino too. Starting her off now for love of Starbucks.
The following afternoon i took Maci for some alone time and got her a haircut for her church camp she was going to on Monday. Afterwards we went to an antique store on Main street in Shawnee and we found a thrift store that was fairly new. Maci's fave color is green and they happened to have a green pair of Polo flip flops in her size. I think they were maybe 4$. I got those for her and found some American Eagle brown leather flip flops for me.  Perfect!  Later that afternoon all of us went to the matinee to see the new Disney movie Brave. I wanted to take the girls to see it but Jeremy took the day off and Sarah's medical office closes at 2 , so the whole family went together which made my heart happy!! I miss my little family and i love to spend every moment that i can. I will tell you that his movie was absolutely PRECIOUS! I loved it and really found it entertaining. It has some very touching moments as Disney is so good at.
I mentioned to Sarah that i wanted to go Garage Sale shopping and she's a pro. Her and her mom Pam are the masters of garage sales and i have only recently started going last year. We got up and left the house around 7:30. Maci totally scored the whole time! She got a ton of cute tshirts, tank tops, shorts, and sneakers for around 10$ total. Perfect outfits too for church camp. Gotta love those people who sold all shirts for .50 cents or a dollar. I bought a Justin boot jack for a dollar that i will paint on and my most fave purchase was an old rusty lawn chair that i will repurpose. I paid 15$ and i think thats a pretty good deal.
Sarah found an awesome white cotton blazer that's very popular right now and yep- one dollar. She also found 2 leather cream pillows for 2$ a piece that will look Fabulous with their brown leather sectional. I had so much fun! To top off the day, we went to a darling little restaurant in Meeker to have breakfast . I had the most awesome meal for 6 dollars. No way anyone could finish thier plates. You get an omelet, huge biscuit and gravy, choice of bacon or sausage, and cheesy hash browns. Yum!  The town of Meeker hosts a rodeo this time of year and so they had a parade down main street. It was so cute. I love little small towns where everyone know everyone. Well kinda- remind me ,i have a funny story on small towns when i was in high school. Anyway, there were about a dozen horses in it , 3 firetrucks, and a few flatbeds with people throwing candy. The girls had fun and i enjoyed getting some candy to eat on my way back to Dallas right after.

Brynna with her garage finds. Eyepatch,purse and keychain/necklace


my 1 dollar boot jack

My lawn chair for 15$

Jeremy and Brynna getting the candy during parade

Tonight i am going to another rock concert to see Tesla and Scorpions. Yeow! I am so excited. I love Tesla and i have never seen them before perform live. I've seen Scorpions before but it will still be cool. I will be way too tired tomorrow to blog for sure. I have to train a class at 8 am in the morning. Poo!
By the way, Texas is already a scorcher if you're not watching the news. It got to 104 yesterday in Dallas. I buy a Harley and its too fricking hot to ride it!
Later. :)


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Check it out- Talk to me Tuesday with Danielle

Hey everyone, i am the guest this week on Danielle's blog Secrets of a Sweet Southern Girl .  We had our chat last week one night while i was in Montreal. Danielle is an awesome young lady with a heart of gold. I came across her blog a while ago and i loved her cover page. I actually sent her a personal email and told her how much I liked everything about her blog. She has given me so much advice , helpful hints, etc and helped me with my cover page. I'm sure at times she wishes i would leave her alone. I am amazed at how much my world opened up by creating my blog and getting familiar with other blogs.

Here is the convo:

Talk to Me Tuesday is a weekly feature where I chat up some of the coolest women on the web!

Holli


Holli is a wine drinking, travel loving, Harley riding Texas girl, and she's also the woman behind Holli's Hoots and Hollers. You can also find her on twitter and pinterest!







D: Well hello lovely lady!

Holli: Hi!

D: Ok, my first three questions; Where are you? What are you wearing? and What are you drinking?

Holli:  I am at hotel in Montreal, Canada. I'm wearing gray shorts and tshirt, I'm drinking a coke which is pretty funny because I rarely ever drink soft drinks. I needed the energy.

D: How's it going in Canada?

Holli: Pretty good. Just turned the car in at airport and took shuttle back to hotel. That way I can take shuttle back to airport in the am at 4 and not mess with the car.

D: 4am?! I would die.

Holli: Yep, so far every flight back and forth to Canada - thats been the lucky hour to leave. To make things worse- I can NOT sleep on planes.

D: Oh I can! Haha, last flight I had to take was a red eye!

Holli: I do those embarrasing seizure jerks after a few minutes of sleep that scares me and the person next to me.

D:  How long have you been traveling this time?

Holli: I have actually been traveling for the last eight years. It goes in spurts, I travel like crazy then I'm home for a month, then back to the craziness. I travel Monday through Friday and go home on weekends. i need to see my honey!

D: Wow, that's a lot of traveling !Is it usually Canada? Or do you go other places too?

Holli: It depends on the project i'm on. Lately it's been Canada though and will be for the rest of the year it looks like. I spent last year in St Louis and Florida, sometimes California and Atlanta gets thrown in the mix.

D: Fun, I've never been to St. Louis! I've never been out of the country either. Is Canda the only non-US location for your job?

Holli: Yep, Canada is the only place so far that I need my passport. St Louis is fun! LA is my fave place to visit though. So much to do. I dont sit well in hotels. I normally go out and explore if I can. I even drove to Niagara Falls at night by myself a few years ago from New York because I always wanted to go there. I had dinner and turned around and drove back. 2 weeks ago I drove to Whistler and saw bears.

D: I saw that on your blog! It looks like you had fun! So with all that traveling do you have any great tips for those of us who aren't quite as seasoned?

Holli: Sure, best tip is to roll your clothes! Stack your blouses and dresses on top of each other and roll. Do the same with your skirts and pants. Also, I always use the plastic bags that are provided by hotels (laundry bags in the closets) and i put my dirty clothes in them. Mix and match clothes so you can pack lighter. Those are just a few.

D: I haven't tried that before. Do you have any horror stories? Layovers that lasted for days, bad weather?

Holli: Oh my, where do I start?! I have had so many cancellations and delays. Chicago is my least favorite airport. I have had some flights that are delayed , delayed, and delayed some more when they finally just cancel but I've been at airport for 6 hours wondering what's going to happen. The worst part of flying is the rude people. It's just crazy how people act in airports and on the plane. I should also start a blog or facebook page just with things people wear at airports!

D: You should start snapping pics and do a feature! You could call it Jet-Setting Don'ts!

Holli: Great idea! The building across the street from our office here in Montreal had several tents set up and they asked to use our parking lot. Come to find out Michael Douglas is supposed to be there tonight for a Cancer shindig. I wish I could have got pic of that!

D: Oh wow, that's fun! 
I basically travel once a year for a conference or training of some sort. One thing I've learned is to carry an empty water bottle. I use water fountains and save money and stay hydrated!

Holli: Yep. I had one given for my birthday -its one of those flat bottles that you fill up. cool!
I'm so proud of your weight loss. It so hard to eat right eating out all 3 meals.

D: I know. I used to eat out all of the time and it's just hard. though I've eaten out three days in a row and surprised myself how well I did! What I've been doing is looking at menus online ahead of time when I wasn't hungry and pick the best option. Then when I get there I don't even look at the menu.

Holli: If I eat one more ceasar salad this week I will scream. I kinda kept good. Trouble is I never know where I'm going to eat here. The menus are in french too here which is funny. I have to ask for an English menu always.

D: Oh yeah, that would be tricky! Do you speak any french yet?

Holli: When we got gas tonight to top off rental car- I had to ask stranger to help because the instructions on gas pump were in french. too funny! I am picking up some phrases here and there. I really want to learn Spanish since I live in Texas.

D: I took soo many spanish classes in HS and college. I even went back a couple of years ago for a refresher course, but I don't use it so I can't retain it for long.

Holli: Exactly- same here. Its practically a requirement now for schools in Texas but I rarely get to use it. I only need French when I'm here in Montreal. Thank Goodness. It's pretty funny to hear my Texas twang pronouning French words.

D: Haha, I know what you mean! So if you weren't traveling so much for work, where would you want to go? Any dream vacation spots?

Holli: I really want to go to Paris. My step sister lives in Singapore and I would like to see her. I also have a cousin living in London so I dont know why I havent been there yet either. Honestly, my vacation is NOT to travel. Let me hang out close to home.

D: I can see that. I could take either. It would be nice to get away and just have time to explore somewhere new. It is also great to just stay home and enjoy things around here that we don't normally have time for.

Holli: How about you? Where do you want to go?

D: I want to spend some time in Napa Valley, you know me and my wine, and of course Italy.

Holli: Oh hon- you've got to go!! Sonoma is my fave. I liked it better than Napa personally.

D: Oh really? Well I'll keep that in mind. I'm hoping I can get out there in the next couple of years. I'd love to go with J but I also think my girlfriends and I could have a blast out there!

Holli: I spent a lot of time in Northern Cal and thats when I learned more about wine. There are just so many wineries all over like in Livermore. Thats east of San Francisco. It was close to my office in Pleasanton a few years ago and I actually stayed many weekends instead of coming home. You will have a blast no matter who you go with.

D: I'm sure! I'll make it before too much longer.
Holli, thanks so much for chatting with me! It's been fun!

Holli: Thank you for inviting me. Its been so fun for me too. You're such a sweet girl and I am so blessed to have you as a new friend. Blogging rocks!!

D: Yes it does!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ranting on my parents health...

I’m in Montreal again this week and its been busy at work but uneventful all the same. I wanted to write about the pain of those “hidden illnesses” that are invisible.   I saw a link shared on Facebook that really hit home. It was a story called the “Spoon Theory” on www.Butyoudontlooksick.com. It was a story shared on how a person deals with lupus or another invisible illness every day.
So many people suffer from Fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, etc.  My sweet little mom has Lupus and it’s crippling. There are so many days that she has to make herself get out of bed. It takes everything she has to get dressed and to get herself a glass of water to take her medicines. When I went to Montana last September to visit, her face and head were covered in very painful red sores.
Mom has to wear a hat at all times because the sun aggravates the sores more. She doesn’t always have the sores but she has these “flare ups” every now and then.  She has very short hair because its easier to manage and at one point her hair has fallen out from certain medications. Many of her medications are very expensive and they don’t ease much of the pain for her.  Her medical bills are sky high and of course she has not been approved for disability.  My mom cant work and it just doesn’t make sense that the state or government wont approve her. She now has depression and anxiety (big surprise) and it makes me literally cry when I think of her in so much pain.  My mom has the most awesome sense of humor and she’s able to mask her pain like a pro.
One of my close friends in Dallas has her husband going something very similar. He is so young (40’s) and served in the Gulf war. He started having some nervous system problems about 2 years ago. His legs would be cold even during the 110 degree summer. He aches all over and couldn’t continue his job. Clothes sometimes hurts so he has to wear loose sweats. He’s now suffering from depression which is common when the Man of the house cant provide. He’s been dealing with the VA but so far no luck there either. So much red tape to get any assistance. 
I had a friend a few years ago (we lost touch) that had RA and she had to park in handicapped to go grocery shopping. People would be so mean to her and giver her the dirtiest looks. She dressed very nicely and she walked with slight limp on a cane. It was hard for her to walk for very long periods of time and definitely long distances.  Why cant we just not judge and mind our business. Do you know the story of these people you’re questioning?
I have chronic back pain and I’ve learned to just smile and deal with it.  At the end of the day, I am so blessed to have the mobility and health that I have.  Montana might as well be Egypt as far as I’m concerned.  I only get to see Mom once a year and I miss her so much! I want to hug her and take care of her like she did me when I was little.
I have some good news regarding my Dad’s treatment. After many months of waiting and my Dad’s frustration shooting thru the roof, we finally have a date for his “Big Treatment”.  To remind you – Dad had bone marrow drawn back in December. That bone marrow was then sent to Tel Aviv where the stem cells have been separated, grown, etc.   Dad and my stepmom Deb will be flying to Santa Domingo (Dominican Republic) on Wednesday , June 20th and his treatment will be that Friday the 22nd. They will fly home on Sunday after. Dad needs a few days in between flying because its super hard on him. He’s completely on oxygen and has to use a wheelchair to get around. With layovers and everything it really takes a lot out of them.  We are so excited for this. Its supposed to go directly to his lungs and start repairing them.  His last stem cell culture was a great success when they did the “mini” treatment in Florida.  Stem cell therapy is amazing and the US needs to get on board with it more than it is. It’s ridiculous that my parents have to leave the country to get treatment to survive!!!
Ok, both my parents are in poor shape and I guess I really miss my family. Sorry for the ranting and raving but it’s whats on my mind.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

It's OK

That I begged a coworker who lives near a Starbucks to bring me one every morning while I’m working in Montreal,Canada.

I’m buying her dinner tonight to make up for the coffee.

That I’m not a fan of Tim Horton’s coffee which is all the rage of Canada.

That I haven’t slept but a few hours since I’ve landed but still training classes with enthusiasm

It’s OK to not take it personal that I have reached out to other bloggers to follow me  and they still haven’t.  I follow them still and happy to do it.

That I am not happy for my layover in Miami tomorrow on way home.

That I am excited to visit my Nanny (grandma) this weekend. She lives 2 hours away and I try to see her every month.

I’ve read the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy and I’m not completely head over heels like everyone else about it- I liked it but not loved it.

I wished more people had iphones, ipads, itouch anything to Facetime with me when I travel every week.

I am not a fan of the latest craze “cake balls”. Yuck.

That I’m so over my blackberry! I’m eligible for an upgrade as of 2 wks ago. I’m waiting for the new Iphone5 to be released sometime this month.

I feel so left out without Instagram. My dinky Blackberry doesn’t have anything.

That I am about at my point that I cant stand my weight anymore. I hate my clothes fitting tighter but when I travel, (its an excuse) every meal is eating out .

I did tell coworker that I will bring sneakers next week to work out in hotel gym.

I hate exercise but necessary evil.

I’m sad that my career keeps me from having a dog. I really miss that.

That this is my first time to ever “link in” to other bloggers but I like it!!

I miss my cousin Lauren that lives in Atlanta. I spoke with her this week and we got all caught up.

i miss all my cousins for that matter. I'm so blessed that they are close friends too.

I am so excited to see my honey tomorrow! I love to kiss him. (is that TMI?)



Sunday, June 3, 2012

Memorial Day travels ,(6 was my lucky number), and Bears oh my!

I will admit that traveling on a US National holiday (Memorial Day) did not make me a happy camper starting out on Monday. I had to travel to Vancouver and it’s a very long 4 hour flight not including airport time arriving and departing.  Luckily my gypsy spirit kicked in and I decided to explore. I have always wanted to travel to Whistler, Canada and it’s not too far for a day’s adventure.  As soon as I got my rental car at the airport, I headed towards the mountains. The journey was around 2 hrs plus to get there and it was such an incredible drive.  When I started out the ocean was to my left for miles and miles and you could see the water and the little islands scattered around.  After an hour or so I reached the woods/forest and I drove through some of the cutest little towns like Furry River and Brackendale (claims they’re the winter home of the bald eagle). I was so tempted to pull over in these towns but I stayed focus on my destination of Whistler. The rain was a constant presence  throughout the day. Sometimes pretty hard and most times a consistent sprinkle.  I even saw 6 deers on side of road and i pulled over to take a quick picture. Once I arrived into Whistler Village I had no idea what I was going to do. I paid for a 2 hr parking spot and I walked into the Visitor Canter. Just then the rain had no mercy and it came down a gully washer. This was funny because it was suggested to walk around all the scenic trails that circled a long path around the village and the mountain. I didn’t have an umbrella with me this time ( not sure why , I usually do) nor did I have a hoodie or hat to wear.  I walked around the Village shops for a few minutes but everything was crazy expensive and remember the taxes are insane too.  Believe it or not I was not in the mood for shopping and there isn’t a thing I need that I don’t have plenty of at home (I guess I could have picked up a hat or umbrella though).  I took some pictures of the gondola and the ski lift when the rain eased up. It was cool watching the mountain bikers around there. They were all ages and covered in mud from head to toe.
Olympic Village Inukchuk

Whistler Village Inukchuk

Gondola in Whistler Village

Cute town on way to Whistler

Olympic village rings

I really wanted to go up on the ski lift but it was kinda getting late in the afternoon and plus it was super cloudy and still rainy. No use in paying money to come there to take a few crappy pictures.
After only walking around for 40 minutes I was ready to start my drive back into Vancouver. I was in no hurry to head back but I needed to check in to the hotel and get there before too dark.
I had left Whistler Village and was maybe 3 miles down the road when the sign for the Olympic Village with arrow stating 9 miles came up. I went back and forth in my mind for a few seconds and thought –what the heck, just DO IT!!   I turned on the road and was heading up that part of mountain maybe 5 minutes into my drive when I saw a black bear. NOW let me ‘splain something to y’all real quick. You see my mom moved to Wyoming 24 years ago, then she lived in Colorado for a few years and now y’all know she’s lived in Montana for almost 12 years now and the ONLY time I have EVER seen a bear was 10 years ago in Yellowstone Park. I would have never seen that one but people were pulled over on side of road with frickin telescope out and it was the black moving spot on the top of mountain. It almost doesn’t really count.  Did I mention that I don’t have my camera with me and was only using my Blackberry for all the pictures I was taking. I was so excited when I saw this bear, the picture was so fuzzy from my hand shaking from the fear and excitement.  Heck, i was excited from the start just seeing the deer ar beginning of trip.  Once the shock of seeing the bear set in, I said  “OK you’ve seen a bear you can go now” . I kept driving towards the Olympic Village. I didn’t get maybe a mile away when I saw another black bear. This one was a little farther from the road near a little stream of water coming down the road.  I still spoke out loud “ stay there Mr Bear- Be still there Mr Bear”.  Of course I have no idea of these bears were boys or girls and I wasn’t getting out of the car!!  I continued my drive and maybe 200 yards away was  YES-another bear. This bear was pretty darn big and was just walking around looking for food. This picture is blurry because I took it while he was moving.  When I reached the area for high ski jump there was a bear out there in the field. It was too far away for my blackberry to zoom in to notice this one.  I arrived at the location where the Olympic rings are and area for Olympic sports of some sort. I took quick picture and headed back. That’s when I saw a bear rustling around some bushes. It was pretty busy with the bush and I’m not sure why I took the picture. I know he’s there but you would never pick him out from the picture.  I was not very far from that one when I saw what looked like a baby bear VERY close to the road.  You always hear that if there’s a baby bear the momma bear aint too far behind. I drove past him and rolled the back passenger window down to take his picture. I wanted to be able to put car in gear and go fast if I had to.  SO, if you’re keeping up that is a total of 6 bears that I saw in a total of 30 minutes.  I hit the MOTHERLOAD!! None of them were together and they were all on same road. Y’all-can you even imagine my excitement?!!   To think that i almost didnt go up that road and it was a split second decision that paid off. I drove back to Vancouver with the biggest smile on my face and danced in my seat all the way. Ironically, I was listening to a classic rock station and Steppenwolf’s song “Born to be Wild” was playing.  Some of the lines fit me perfect and to the “T”:  Get your motor runnin, head out on the highway. Looking for adventure, in whatever comes our way.
Grazing bear

Thirsty bear at water

larger bear too close to road

baby bear - my car window not rolled down all the way

I actually blogged about this last Tuesday night but when I was adding the pics, my laptop froze completely and I lost everything. That sucked so bad because I was so busy the rest of the week.
Vancouver was good to me even though it rained EVERY SINGLE DAY. There were times that it would let up though and I would get out. I had the best Thai food I’ve ever had in White Rock.  I can’t remember the name of the restaurant but I will find my receipts this week. All in all, I had the most memorable Memorial Day and I am not disappointed at all that I had to travel on that day while my friends and fam had BBQ and enjoyed the sun. I am sooo blessed!
I’m heading to Montreal tomorrow…