Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Talk....

It was circa October parents were here visiting for a wedding...and Momma Bear said the words, "We need to talk...."

THAT can never be a good thing can it?  EVER?  With ANYONE?  Let alone your MOTHER?!?

Well, it turns out it was not as bad as I thought it would be in that split second of panic in my mind.  Of course in that split second, I never imagined the positive turn it would have in my life.  Of course, hindsight being what it is...WHY didn't you suggest this talk sooner?!?  Seriously!

What was the talk you ask?  Well, Momma Bear felt that I had become more emotional lately during our daily chats.  That I was crying too easily.  Then she dropped the news that she went through Menopause during her early 40s and thought I might be to.

Whaaa...Wait....WHAT?  What happened to that conversation we had when I turned 35 and was upset because I never had kids and you and my Texas Momma said "40 is the new 30"?  Was THIS forgotten in that conversation?  I'm not really certain when I would have expected to go through menopause other than I know it happens, eventually.  But I'm 42...REALLY so soon?  Am I really going to have to come to terms with the reality of NEVER having a child, already?

From that talk...the journey began.  Momma Bear will tell you it is the best money I have ever spent in life.

I've always know that my hormone's have been a little out of wack.  I would have mid-cycle spotting.  Sometimes they said it was hormones and tried to address with birth control.  Most recently they said it was from a Fibroid that I have.  So, for that reason, I just didn't want to go see my regular well woman doctor.  I mean, nothing personal but I just wanted some answers.  So during my guilty pleasure watching of the Young & the Restless, I saw an advertisement for the Hormone Wellness Center.  Now they seemed like someone that could help an appointment I made.

The first appointment is what they call the "free consult" where they take a lot of blood, talk to you about their program and what happens and then give you a free B-12 shot.  Holy hell...if you have never had a B-12 shot...that burns like no other.  Thankfully as I write this, I believe that my butt is now dead because I do not feel them anymore.  Thank you God!

Of course with the "free" consult comes the sticker shock.  Since they do not accept Medicaid, they do not accept insurance.  The program cost some $3K+ to go through.  You have to $500 upfront and then they offer different payment plan options.  The cost covers all your appointments, blood draws and everything but one of the hormones, which you get at a pharmacy.  I can't explain why, but something just told me I had to do this.  So, during my "free" consult, they took my $500 deposit.

As they say, the rest is history.  As the UNICORN said, I am a plant.  The good news, I am NOT menopausal or pre-menopausal.  So AMEN to that.  However, the test results showed I am a plant. My Estrogen was fine.  Yay!  But that's where the celebrating stopped.  For a woman, progesterone should range between 5 - 10.  My blood result showed 0.2.  Yup...that is right, ZERO Point TWO.  I basically had no progesterone in my system.  For testosterone, woman do have that in their system, just not at the levels of men.  Woman normally are in the range of 15 - 95.  Where did I fall on that scale, yeah...I DIDN'T!!  Basically I was worse off on testosterone than progesterone.

So, great now you know.  But how do you fix it you are asking, right?  Well the testosterone they do what they call an "in office" procedure.  They inject something into my butt to numb a small area.  The stuff burns but that is about all I feel after that.  After the medicine works, they make a small incision and insert these testosterone capsules under the skin and they are slowly absorbed into the body.  The incision is steri-stripped closed and those stay on for 7-10 days.  I cannot do any work outs for 7 days after an insert is done.  The progesterone is a LOT easier.  That is a dissolvable tablet that I take two weeks a month before bed.  It goes under my tongue and will dissolve rather quickly.  I also go into the doctor's office every two weeks for that lovely B-12 shot and then have a B-12 chewable that I have to take twice a week.

That's it.  A month after the insert, they did another blood test to check levels and did another insert of testosterone and adjusted my progesterone.  The do that once when you start to make sure everything is balanced as it should be.

Can I tell a difference in my moods?  I don't know if I can really answer that.  My mom will tell you she definitely can tell a difference.  I know that I don't wake up in the morning with my normal grumbling tone and for that I believe my coworkers are thankful.  Of course, we should not sugar coat it...I'm still not a morning person.

What changes have I noticed?  Who knew I could sleep through the night?  I was always up, I always had to go to the bathroom.  I was always waking up in a pool of sweat like it was 100 degrees in my bedroom.  That mid-cycle spotting is pretty much gone.  I don't crave the carbs anymore.  The doctor has said that I may also be able to come of the anxiety/depression medication as the hormones actually impact that.  I also do not go through PMS like I used to either. There are a couple other changes too, but Momma Bear does read this and there is nothing I can do about we just won't discuss those.

The bad news is there is no "cure".  I go for a blood draw again next week and they will do a new insert the following month.  Then in 2 months, it will be another blood draw and the cycle repeats until the year is up.  Then it will be up to me to decide if I want to shell out another $3K for this or be done.  I know what Momma Bear would say.  So, until the time comes for that decision to be made, I am just going to enjoy feeling better.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The struggle is real

Well if you read my post last week, you saw that as part of Lent, I was making the following  Amendable Commitments:
  1. One Diet Coke a day
  2. No Pasta - sadly this is my go to dinner as of late, pasta noodles, parmesan cheese a little butter...definitely cheep and easy but no nutritional value and in no way diabetic friendly.
  3. No Sunflower seeds - my weekend addiction
  4. Morning prayers before my feet hit the ground
  5. Rosary once daily - currently I just do it the days I travel to work.
  6. Evening prayers before bed.
  7. Attend Stations of the Cross at least twice during Lent
  8. Limit Cell Phone games to 1 hour.

The struggle is real folks.  Really real.  I mean that darn devil shows up in so many shapes and forms, it is hard to believe.

Take for example yesterday....when Unicorn thought she was doing me a "favor" by buying this six pack combo pack of pasta from Costco.  Umm, see number 2.  She didn't know what my resolutions were to know better.  So, now I have to get to Easter leaving that alone, when I finally was in a pasta free house.

I think that the one I have struggled with most is the evening prayers.  Usually by the time I crawl into bed, I am exhausted and just want to close my eyes.  So, I might need to mix that up and do the prayers in the evening when I get home before my workout.  A way to decompress the mind from the day of work. 

How are you doing with your commitments?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


"Your biggest challenge isn't that you've intentionally been making bad choices.....Your biggest challenge is that you've been sleepwalking through your choices." ~ The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

I had ordered a book through Amazon awhile ago.  Yes I am old school and still like the feel of the book in my hand.  In any event, when I ordered that book, it said this was a commonly paired book and I figured what the heck.  I am so grateful I did.  I highly recommend it to everyone.  Reading it now also pairs nicely with Lent.

The premise of the book is that little actions, whether good or bad, repeated daily lead to big results.  If you eat a little bad EVERY day, then you will gain weight.  Whereas, if you eat a little better each day, you will lose weight.  The Compound Effect. 

I think what really hit home and really got me into this book were a couple of key paragraphs within the first two chapters because I easily could relate them to my life.
  • "I bet your grandparents worked six days a week, from sunup to sundown, using the skills they learned in their youth and repeatedly throughout their entire life.  They knew the secret was hard work, discipline, and good habits." 
Anyone that knows either sets of my grandparents, knows this hits their life to a T.  When my grandma moved to town from the farm, I remember going through the chest she had in the attic of all the bank statements of 40 years of marriage.  From the early years of owing the bank money at the end of the month to the later parts of their life where they would buy a new car with cash.  They worked hard for every penny they had.

  • "Don't try to fool yourself into believing that a mega-successful athlete didn't live through regular bone-crushing drills and thousands of hours of practice.  He got up early to practice - and kept practicing long after all the others had stopped.  He faced the sheer agony and frustration of the failure, loneliness, hard work, and disappointment it took to become No. 1."
Well, if you were in the car with my parents and I when I was 30-something, you would have heard this almost exact same conversation.  My dad was revealing that he was so hard on me over the years playing softball because "guys just didn't get to the NFL because their parents patted them on the back and said good job because they gave 90%".  Even if he had made that statement to me in high school or college, I doubt it would have had the same light ball effect.

I have decided that this Lent is going to be the start of my personal Compound Effect.  Spiritually, Mentally and Physically.  I have joined Unicorn's Church group for their Lenten Busy Lives Lenten Retreat.  I am excited to have the extra accountability this season.  Hopefully you will join me this Lenten season making small changes to create a Compound Effect that can carry on long after lent.  Remember, it only takes 21 days to form a habit and lent...well it's longer than that!

Part of the Spiritual commitment I made were the following Amendable Commitments:
  1. One Diet Coke a day
  2. No Pasta - sadly this is my go to dinner as of late, pasta noodles, parmesan cheese a little butter...definitely cheep and easy but no nutritional value and in no way diabetic friendly.
  3. No Sunflower seeds - my weekend addiction
  4. Morning prayers before my feet hit the ground
  5. Rosary once daily - currently I just do it the days I travel to work.
  6. Evening prayers before bed.
  7. Attend Stations of the Cross at least twice during Lent
  8. Limit Cell Phone games to 1 hour.
What small changes can you commit to making this Lenten Season that Compounds into a big Effect?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Ripping off the Band-Aid

Are you still waiting for my Merry Christmas/Happy New Year card...well you'll be waiting awhile....

I don't think you want the tear jerker it might be.

In summary:

  • I still don't have a full time, permanent job.
  • I still am working my temp job.
  • Men are still bastards and ATM should have never been trusted...of course he waited until after meeting my parents at Thanksgiving to show he was still a lying bastard.  But he is consistent and lied to them too.  Ha! 
  • Money is still a pinching situation until I can find a real job. 
  • Unicorn took a job in San Antonio.

And that is just the highlight of why we should never, ever, ever, ever, ever speak of that year again.  It is a year that is best forgotten ever existed.  It was definitely a learning and growing experience.  On the positive side, I really learned who my true friends are and who I can really lean on.  I got to go back to school and take classes by way of a grant.  My knitting crafts are slowly turning into a business.  I was still able to go back for the 20th reunion of the college softball team going to nationals. So there were positives, it's just the negatives were so heavy.

So, a little birdy...ahh cuuzzin, points out I just don't blog enough so I thought I better start blogging again.  This year I know I will be better as I will have many positives to share as well as things I am learning along the way.

The homestead will be getting some much needed upgrades by the end of the month.  I knew that I was going to need a new roof at some point.  For obvious reasons, I needed to wait until money was not so tight.  Well, December 29th, mother nature opted to help that cause.  A hail and wind storm left part of my privacy fence knocked down.  Well, when I went to lean part of the fence back up to keep the fur kids in check, I found some shingles. 2015 luck would have it, they were from my house.

One of the neighbors works for a storm company and came out and did a free assessment for me.  In looking at it, she said yep, fence has wind damage and roof has hail and wind damage and the window fa├žade also has hail damage.  YEAH ME. 

Last week, she happily met myself and the insurance adjustor at the house.  Well after a lot of white circles on the roof, the insurance adjustor agreed that there was enough damage to warrant a full replacement of the roof.  They also agreed to cover 3 of the 9 fence panels.  #winning  The Storm guard company said that they would work with me so I don't have to pay anything out of pocket, or that would be their goal.  #doublewin

Well, then I decided I would call the landlord for the rental next door.  Technically because I have the "nice" side of the privacy fence, I should be the one to maintain it.  But, you always lose if you don't ask.  So, I called and asked if they would like to split the cost of replacing the full fence.  As shocked as I was, they indicated that they were beyond happy to share the cost!!!  So, now I have gone from needing to pay for 6 fence pickets to having to pay for maybe 20% of the fence.  #triplewin

For someone that has been as financially strapped as I have no idea the happy dances I am doing right now.  Next step...full time job.....

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Life is like a....

Box of Chocolates...You never know what you are going to get?

Book...each day is a new page?

2015 has been a challenge of maybe epic proportions.  I really am learning that life really is what you make of it.  Some days are going to be bad, some are good, some are eh, but each day is a blessing.  When you put your mind to it, you really can do anything you want to.

I have gone from the unemployed life of having a great schedule to the land of insaneness.  I have lived in the world of insaneness since August 3rd.  Probably about the time you stopped hearing from me on here.

On August 3rd, I started as a temp for The Boon Group (TBG) as a proposal writer.  In other words, a fancy term for putting together all the insurance proposals together for the sales reps, working with the insurance carriers in the process.  The following week, I started classes on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6-10 pm and every other Saturday from 9:30 to 4:30 pm.  The classes I am taking is for PMP/SQL Certifications.  By the time it is over the first of March, the goal is to have my certification in both.  THE GOAL.  If anything, PMP is the big one as that will be the game changer for me.  Once that certification is in place, my base salary will be no lower than $85k.  It's not about the money but the ability to recover from 9 months of not having a "real" job.

Things at TBG are going well.  At the first of September the asked me to be full time.  Of course, HR stopped the bus party and said sorry, you have to work 800 hours first before we can hire you full time.  #sucksballs  I really do not think what I do everyday is something that I would want to do long term.  BUT, it does help cover the bills and I really think it would be a good company to work for.  Now it would be a matter if they had that job there for me.

What I have learned since April 15th is that I have an amazing family, a wonderful group of close friends here in Austin and when it comes to can stretch a dollar pretty far.

I really do not think I could have gotten through the past 6 plus months without my immediate family, Unicorn, Grace and ATM.  They have all been a wealth of support and really been there to pick me up on the bad days.  Of course, let's not sugar coat it, Unicorn still gives me a kick in the pants when I need to get over it and move on. 

I think that ATM has really been the surprise of the group.  It's really nice to have him back in my life.  We both have gone through some serious stress points this fall but I know that he is there for me every day.  Obviously I do not know what the future holds for us but I know that we will always be friends and he does bring a lot of positive to my life.

I think probably the hardiest thing for me these days is just balancing the budget.  If you know me, you know me how well I like to know where my money is going and making sure that I am going in the right direction.  Well, obviously working at TBG, I was making more money that unemployment but way less than what I made at Xplode.  I couldn't figure out why I wasn't getting ahead and why my savings continued to dwindle away.  Once I found the error in my spreadsheet, it hit close to the heart and well there was that moment of panic.

After it is all said and done with and the bills are paid for the month, I have exactly $140 left to feed myself and the pups.  Now keep in mind, that is assuming there is no holidays, I don't get sick or any other situation where I have to take time off without pay.  Of course, I also have the high maintenance dog that is allergic to everything and requires a $65 bag of food every other month but Finn's is only $35 and his last 2 1/2 months.  Ouch.   But, now that I know what the problem is and what I am up truly isn't so bad.  Now don't get me wrong, I really am looking forward to the day where my lunch is not 1/2 PBJ sandwich, 1 cup of carrots, an apple and 1 oz of chips....and yes, I do measure that all out every Sunday when I prep my meals for the week; but you have to do what you have to do.  So, yes the dogs might be eating better than me. 

Ultimately, as they say....this too shall pass.  But I have definitely learned the importance of that 9 month emergency savings fund, family, life saving friends and knowing exactly where every penny goes....just don't judge the highlights and that I am is desperate need of time with the Hairdresser.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Some days, you just need a reset.  It might be for a day, it might be for two days.

I emailed my job coach this morning as I had just been feeling like I was close to shut down mode.  I have not been feeling like doing my homework for her the past few days.  Searching the job posts was not something I looked forward to.  Hearing no on the job front was even worse and I dreaded going to my home office to "work".  Then the crinkle in my Nebraska trip seemed to be like a straw in the camels back and shut down mode was there.

Her advise was simple, 'take a break!  Not forever, just a day or two where you don't even open emails'.  Read a book, do something for you, do something fun, enjoy yourself.

Anyone that knows me knows that for too long, I worked too many hours and probably had too many jobs.  I think probably since the day I went into College I had at least two jobs.  There was always softball and school work.  But there was also the part time jobs during the school year, even in season.  After college, if I wasn't at work, I was off coaching a team somewhere.  Then there was the four plus years of 60 hour weeks working 7 days a week at two jobs.  So, to some degree it has been nice not to work.  BUT on the other hand, NOT having to work is absolutely killing me.

It is also hard because now that it has been two months, life around you still goes on.  The people around you still have jobs and go to work every day.  Their routines haven't changed, just yours.  When you first lose your job, everyone reaches out to you.  They all check up on you, see how you are doing.  Over time that fades.  I don't think that they necessarily have forgotten you, they just get caught up in life and work.  They forget to reach out.  They think that they have filled you in on things or you know schedules but in reality, you do not.  It is like you are in your own little bubble.

However, what I have learned in the past two months is that at the end of the day, work does matter, but not that much.  You have to have the job that you can find balance and harmony at.  A job that you can find happiness in going into the office, doing your job and bringing joy to those you encounter throughout the day.  But, you also need to be able to go home, leave work and make time for those you care about most and the things that bring you happiness.  I learned that lesson the hard way.  A lot of relationships were neglected for job that I loved, for a company who didn't love me back as much.

Just because something is important to you, just because it brings you happiness does not always mean that others are going to see it that way.  People in life will try and steal your thunder.  There are always going to be people, whether intentional or not, that are going to try and steal your joy.  Rise to the occasion and do not give them that pleasure.  It is hard to do but one that is worth doing.  Just because something is a priority to you, does not make it a priority to someone else, EVER.  If you want it bad enough, you will find a way to make it work; you above!

As a child blows the dandelion peddles in the wind...remember every situation is just that, powerless in your life if you do not give it a reaction.

Reboot complete.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

“You have brains in your head....

You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
~Dr. Seuss

Overwhelmed might be the theme right now.  Crazy notion I know.  I mean, I am not working, how can I possibly be THAT busy.  But it is possible and it happens.

What do I want to be when I grow up is the million dollar question right now.  I mean I am 40+ years old.  I have 20+ working years left.  I've been an auditor.  A tech consultant.  A sales person.  Operations Management.  If you look at my books in my office, you would think it is personal finance.  What industry?  Insurance?  Technology?  Manufacturing?  Finance?  What is my niche?  What should my area of focus be?  That is the million dollar question.

At the end of May I hired a firm to help me do just that.  They are going to help me find that right job as well as get all the things done to get that right job.  However, in the mean time, I have learned that Austin is a city of it is not what you know but who you know.  So networking it is.  I was in a networking event last F
riday and they said that we should meet at least one new person a day.  My side that leans towards introvert is already screaming at such a notion.  :)

However, during the past two months, I am doing a lot of self discovery and almost everyone that sees me for the first time in a long time comments that I look refreshed and relaxed.  It further serves my reflection that losing this job was for the best.  Did I imagine still being unemployed two months in, no!  But am I still keeping busy, yes!  Do I think that I will come out a better person in the end than when it happened, ABSOLUTELY!!!

Right now I am in the process of trying to get a grant to go get my PMP (Project Management Program) & SQL Certifications.  These are fancy names for let me oversee your project, run reports while it is going and summarize it when it is done.  A lot of my work over the years has included the project management aspect piece, the certification makes me more marketable.  So, if you would add me to the prayers that grant comes through, that would be much appreciated!

I am still applying for jobs and doing interviews.  Right now things are going slow in that category.  I do not know if it is just Austin or if it is the Market.  I am hopeful that once I get all my homework down with my consulting firm, that I will have more companies that I can start to reach out to in regards to job opportunities.

Of course, on top of all the home work, interviews, applying for jobs, classes, grants, etc, I am trying to still go through the house and purge.  We are having a neighborhood garage sale this weekend (Saturday) so I am trying to get rid of everything that no longer brings me love or joy.  Prime example...that purse that had Amigo's coupons from 2002 in it....clearly that purse no longer brought me joy.  However, now I am stressing myself out because I have not quite finished purging, I still have to tag everything for the sale and I have only two days left in the week to do it.  As Charlie Brown would say...AAugh....

The work outs have been on a temporary break.  Three weeks ago, I found myself crawling on the bathroom floor in horrible pain.  A day and a 1/2 later, Unicorn took me to the urgent care because the pain was back and I just couldn't take it.  Without running the bill up
, based upon the initial tests, they felt I had kidney stones.  So, needless to say, I didn't get much done work search wise or any workouts in that first week as I was hopped up on pain pills and the other medicine they gave me made me sleep on the time.  The following week, I took it easy and this week, I just have been running crazy.

Hopefully things will calm down after the garage sale!  HOPEFULLY!