Monday, December 15, 2008

Brrrrrrrr...winter has hit Texas

Yes it has. Now - I know that my brother sent a text this morning stating the Wind Chill was -30 degrees in Nebraska and that shouldn't compare to here. But - by Texas standards - it is darn cold.

Of course - thinking about this - maybe it is because yesterday was in the 70s and 75 inside my house. Or it could be that I didn't look at the forecast before Guinney & I headed to the Chef's house for the evening. Needless to say - short sleeves for work today was NOT a good idea. How cold is it - it was 34 with a windchill of 24. It will be lucky to hit 41. For some reason I at least grabbed the jean jacket on the way out - THANK GOD!

Of course - I thought you all would appreciate a little humor too...last Tuesday evening we had a sleeting/rain mix complete with Thunder. Anyway - there was some leftover on the windshields in the morning. According to the two *locals* in the department - they had a "Sheet of Ice" on their car. You be the judge.... Never mind one of the "locals" actually admits to wearing long johns when it doesn't get up to 50. Can you imagine what he would do in Nebraska?!?!?!

As for the rest of life - pretty much the same. Still dating the Chefman. Trying to figure out what to get him for his birthday (Thursday) and for Christmas. Still working both Jobs. Had it pretty easy being off the past could of weekends with company staying...but don't worry - this weekend will make up for lost time. Scheduled 5 days in a row at Lowe's - which will translate into 55 hours in 5 days! UGH!

Thursday, December 4, 2008 other way to say it.

For most - you all know that I love watching BL (Biggest Loser) every week. Of course this year hasn't been the same because Michelle has a Tuesday night class so we can't rant the next morning on the show. All I can say about this year is that I am sick of Vicki...she should of been cut a long time ago and I wish I could call the people and tell them to work their ass off so she doesn't win the big prize.

But, enough of that. For those of you that watch the show - you know that Jillian Michael's is one of the trainers on the show and takes no prisoners. My softball kids thought I could be cruel - they need to watch her. I mean - wall squats suck the way they are let alone having someone stand on your legs while you do it.

Fast forward to me ordering some of her workout videos. I didn't think they could be that bad - I mean they are videos, it is not like she is in my living room screaming at me. Well...she might as well have been. She royally kicked my ass from afar. THANK God that I didn't have the step - I couldn't imagine what that would of been like. Or that I had a break in the middle because I got a little crazy on those kicks and kicked the water glass over. :) It was 20 minutes of hell but in the end - I survived. My ankle survived. Guinney survived the trauma of running in and out of the back door to see what was going on.

And if that DVD was not enough - Guinness still got her walk. I still managed to get all the trim work painted in the spare bedroom done too. The bonus - I'm not really THAT sore this morning. PLEASE don't tell HER that though!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Reasons to be Thankful This Year

Well - as most do on Thanksgiving, I thought I would reflect on the reasons I am thankful:

1. I have a healthy & supportive family!
2. I have friends that support me unconditionally even if I don't see them that often.
3. In the tough economy - I am fortunate to have two jobs - even though I tend to complain about working so much.
4. I am thankful for having a home to call my own.
5. I am thankful for being in a safe and healthy place.
6. I am thankful for Guinness - the dog that never complains!
7. I am thankful for being brought to Texas - I have made some great friends and know there are a lot more things I will do in the coming years.
8. I am thankful for the Chef man - not only for his cooking skills but just for showing me there are good guys out there!

With that - I hope that each of you had a Great Thanksgiving and a safe & Blessed Holiday Season.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Where did November go?

Wow - I can't believe I haven't blogged in almost a month. I would say time flies when you are having fun but that would mean that I am doing something fun and not working.

It is hard to believe that Thursday is Thanksgiving already....I thought I just got back from my brother's wedding...the weeks & days are starting to blur together.

This year is going to be a VERY, very different Thanksgiving and holiday season for me. I am staying in Austin for both just because a) I don't have the extra vacation time and b) don't have the extra $$ to leave. This year marks the second year without Grandma at Thanksgiving. It is hard to believe that she has been gone a year already. I have the constant reminder (well as long as I whind it) of the farm with the clock they had in the living room. My old MotherMu (Mutual of Omaha) carpool will be here for the Thanksgiving. It is doubtful that we will have turkey but in honor of grammy, I will pick up some of that cranberry sauce - complete with the can markings!! It's really sad because I don't even know if my mom is having the traditional Thanksgiving dinner at her house this year with a house full.

Of course - I can say this much - it doesn't feel much of Thanksgiving being here or Christmas being around the corner. The trees are finally turning colors and it feels more "fall" than winter. However, in tradition the tree and Christmas decorations will be hung the day after Thanksgiving as we always did at Grandma Schmidt's.

Check back on Turkey Day as I will have my Thankful List!

Friday, November 7, 2008


Change is around us. This week big changes happened in the world...the US electing the first black president. While change continues to happen around me, I always was thought it would never really effect me. Well outside of the constant changes happening inside the house as I fix it up.

Monday I went into work thinking our meeting was what it was scheduled as...a debrief from our last training session. Well, seeing my boss' boss in there...I knew it was more than a debrief and it couldn't be good. It was change. The company's budget cuts and restructuring were finally hitting our department. Our department would no longer exist as it does today...I am losing one of my coworkers at the end of the longer reporting to the boss that I have enjoyed working for. As if I didn't have enough to do, I now have more to do. Not sure how to handle that yet. I have a new team to work with and will eventually have a new cube to call home.

But at the end of the day I realize how blessed I am and how easy it has been focusing on the negative of the year. I still have a job. Heck I still have two jobs. I have a house I can call my own - even if it still needs a lot of work. I have a brand new car - even if it is without all the bells and whistles. I have a pretty great boyfriend - and there is no butts about that one! I have a fabulous dog - I won't go into those butts. I have a great family - even if I can't see them as often as I like.

Change is good and I needed it to realize how thankful I should be for all of it that I faced this year!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

We Need Your Help

Hi Friends,

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am totally IN LOVE with my Wheaten Guinness. She is a pure bred Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. So, what Is SCWT like? First off they tend to not shed alot as they only have one coat!! They have wonderfully soft coats like a big stuffed animal. Wheatens have lots of energy and are incredibly smart. They are sweet and playful, staying puppy-like till their senior years.

I am a member of a Wheaten Rescue and currently there are many dogs that need homes. Now until Spring is usually the slow time for dog adoptions, so I am trying to spread the word in order to hopefully help find homes for these furbabies. Although most of them are located in Kansas City, Missouri, they have transport available for the puppymill survivors if you have a fenced in yard. These dogs need a place called home and people to call family. You would be giving them something they very much deserve. There are also dogs located in foster homes in other parts of the country.

Could you be looking to add a dog to your family? If so, might I suggest you go to www.wheatenterrierr and see if any of these sweet faces speak to your heart. And if you are not looking for a dog at this time, would you please forward this email on to anyone who might be? It is really easy to submit an application and one of the coordinators with the rescue will call you in a timely manner.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Fight

Well - it was bound to happen sooner than later...chef and I have officially had our first disagreement. I am being girlie and don't understand (his point of view) and he just doesn't get it (my point of view). At the end of the day - it is all just dumb really, but it still sits underneath the skin and I am not doing a good job of letting it go.

So - here is the story - first off - our schedules always clash, it is rare that we both have a day off. So yesterday - he had the day off, I didn't have to work that night (he knew) and in my mind spelled - time we could spend together. Now I respect he has a lot of things going on and is busy. However, I got the text that he couldn't come over because he had too much to drink and had things to do yet that required the Internet. Okay - well first off - it is never going to sit well with me that we can't hang out because you drank too much. I had alcohol dictate the past 3 years - sure in the hell am not going to start another relationship on that foot. Then what you don't know is that he spent half the afternoon laying by the pool. In my mind - time that could of been spent on the Internet doing whatever needs to be done.

Of course - he doesn't get any of that. He just gets that he had too much to drink, couldn't drive, had work to do that he needed the Internet for and I don't have it and I never come over there.

Urrrg - its like beating your head against a wall. I need to keep reminding myself, let it go, let it go. I mean one fight in two months isn't bad is it? Now if this becomes a pattern....Men - can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Cross we bear...

Well - I went through a hundred titles for this blog during my workout last night. I first thought about the power of 25 - 25 pounds gained, running .25 miles at a time but then thinking about everything that has taken place over the past day, week, year, I thought this one was more appropriate.

I think it came from a conversation I had with my brother last night in regards to a letter he received from a well intentioned aunt. In a nutshell - in my extended family - you are either Catholic or they cast stones at you. As long as you are married in a Catholic Church - it doesn't matter if you practice it or even pretend that you had been going as long as you make it seem that way at Grandma's. But that is a rant for another day.

The past year has been one filled with ups and downs. I easily could play the victim role and have all the sympathy in the world - but I don't want it. I chose to carry the cross that lead me to Texas. I was in an abusive relationship long before I moved to Texas, I even saw the signs of what was to come before I packed up my things to move here. Was it worse that I ever imagined and you have ever been told? A 100 times over. Maybe I hid most of it well, maybe I didn't. But, at the end of the day, no one told me NOT to move (nor would I probably of heard them) and so I carried the cross for myself and the Ex and moved to Texas. I carried his cross because I thought I could change HIM, lead by example and show him how to change.

But out of all of this - the Cross changed ME and changed who I am for the better. It was going to take my own doing, my own decision to ask for help when I needed it. I think that what I really took from all of it is that you need to respect others and the crosses they bear. We each have enough weight of our own that it is not OUR responsibility to worry and carry the Crosses of those around us. You are not going to be able to change the distance someone has to carry their cross or lighten their load just because you worry about them or want them to see the light on a subject. Be a friend, be there for them but don't try to change them to believe and see what you believe. You can try and nudge them in the right direction but until they ask you for help with that Cross - you are just creating more weight to carry for yourself.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Something New...

Yep that is right - something new - a new vehicle. The Ex finally came through and is helping out. Basically he & I leased a car together last year and had my Explorer. Well, when we split, I couldn't trust him making the payment - so I ended up with both cars. I was able to sell the Explorer and was just stuck with the expensive car! Don't get me wrong - LOVED the Avenger. However, it got all of 19 miles to the gallon around town and we you have a 40 mile communte every day - well not cheap. Plus there was the monthly payment that came with it - over $400.

Well - the Ex has made a lot of improvements in his life and is finally ready to be accountable for things. (Editor note: For my mom's sake - I need to reiterate that I have NO desire to reconcile - just don't feel it is worth my energy to harbor grudges.) So - with him clearing up things and taking the Avenger - he helped get me into a Jeep Patriot. Now - right now the intent is to hold onto it for a year - but we will see.

It is a nice car - but COMPLETELY back to the basics...manual side mirrors, manual locks, no more navigation, no more knowing where the crashes are on the way home so I can detour. But on the positive side, no more huge payments, better gas mileage, cheaper car insurance and UNLIMITED miles. Yeah!!!

And no fears - the new car smell didn't last too long - Guinness decided to get sick all over the back seat on our first drive!!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I'm tired of it all. Tired of always working. Tired of always feeling like I have no money. Tired of never being able to go out and meet people. Tired of working two jobs. Tired of working 7 days a week. Tired of living paycheck to paycheck. Tired of living in a house half remodeled. Tired of feeling like I should be in a better place. Tired of trying to appear happy all the time. Tired of being fat. Tired of having a closet full of clothes that don't fit. Tired of not being able to walk two miles, let alone run a mile! Tired of having more and more work dumped on me at work. Tired of never having time to spend with the man. In reality, tired of just being tired.

Now with that said - I know that it is all extreme exhaustion. I just finished working 76 hours in the past 7 days. I do not care what age you are, please, please do NOT attempt this. It is not recommended! I started my part time job at Lowe's. It appears that when I said I didn't want more than 20 hours a week - it didn't mean much. Needless to say - that was corrected. However, I still had the price of working too many hours in too many days.

Now the fat part is all my own doing. I mean I put the things in my mouth, I don't work out...what do I expect. The ankle is finally healing which means that it will be a matter of a few weeks in which I am back to running. SERIOUSLY - who would of ever thought Jenn would miss running?!?! BUT - I do. I miss it, I miss the calmness that comes with it and how clear a mind feels after a good run. Tonight should be the last day of physical therapy and then Guinness & I will be attempting our first 2 mile walk tonight! Whoo hoo. I will reclaim those clothes in my closet and prove people wrong that say if they don't fit - quit fooling yourself and get rid of them!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Mixing It Up

I think this is probably the millionth website I have tried...but here we go again. I have a lot of friends that use it and like it - so why not? What will you find here? Well, my fears, my insecurities, my happy times and everything that is new in my life.

Why the title "Is the glass really 1/2 full?" Well I know that I have a tendency to look at things as if the glass is half empty - so here is my good effort to change that path!

So - bare with me, sit back for the ride and let's hope it is a good one.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pitty Party

That is what my day was like on Wednesday. It started out bad and just continued to go down hill from the moment I got out of bed. The scale curse of the ankle injury continued and I was up 0.2 lbs. To most - this translates to a fart and not a big deal. However, since injurying my ankle, I am officially at my lifetime heaviest - I HATE it. I think I weigh more than I ever did after a knee surgery. Of course - none of my clothes fit and I am refusing to buy more. Won't do it - I need to lose it. Then I had a flat tire. Yep morning after getting it back from being repaired because someone backed into me. Of course - as luck has it - on my way to the repair shop - I dump the smoothie down the front of the white shirt. And why wouldn't Bridgestone have any of that tire in the state of Texas or would it be an expensive tire ($208 when said & done)?

But after a day like that I couldn't of picked a better day to get the email I got yesterday. It wasn't a happy email but the message was loud and clear and hit so close to home. One of the guys that graduated the year before me in high school passed away from cancer. The blog was shared with us and it included a piece he wrote (he was a writer) to be posted after he passed. I share part of Jeff Dodd's final blog here because we all can learn something from him! The part that hit home the most is below. If you wish to read his entire blog - you can follow it at:

I spent a lot of time begging God for healing during those first several months after my diagnosis. I prayed almost constantly that he would perform a miracle and rid my body of the melanoma. I also spent a lot of time wondering—for the first time in my life—whether there really was a God, whether there really was an afterlife, and whether there was any value to prayer. I hadn’t given much thought to these subjects in the past, but they suddenly seemed very important now that I faced the possibility of dying. The lessons I learned in religion class looked quite feeble when I viewed them next to the apparently iron-clad proofs that scientists and atheists made for a wholly material world.

They looked feebler still after the melanoma metastasized to my brain and I underwent brain surgery, lost the use of my leg, and spent a month laying in a bed in the hospital. This rather dramatic sequence of events might have seemed to be an emphatic answer to my questions. See, these might say, this is what will happen. Not because of God but because there is no God. The universe began with a disinterested bang, and it’s been operating in a disinterested cause-and-effect ever since. Prayers are irrelevant.

It would have been difficult for me to dispute this argument, except for a strange event that happened six days before my craniotomy. It was a Monday afternoon, and I had jogged three laps around the Hart Park track in Wauwatosa. Those were the first three laps I had run on a track since high school. I had given up running for more than 15 years because it wasn’t fun for me anymore. But that particular Monday, as I walked past the track, the thought struck me that it might be fun to run again. And it was. Seeing once again the lane markings, feeling the spongy recycled-tire surface under my feet, striding past the grandstands, it all made me remember why I had enjoyed running as a boy and motivated me to want to do it again. Moreover, it renewed my desire to beat this cancer. The fact that I couldn’t extend my left leg when I got home seemed irrelevant.

It wasn’t. That was actually the first symptom of a swelling brain tumor. The following Saturday morning, I underwent a craniotomy.

During the following weeks, it became increasingly more apparent that the surgery had left me with a permanent disability and I would never run again. Surprisingly, I was not particularly angry about this new development. I was grateful that the doctor had been able to remove the lesion. I was grateful that I was close to home and could have lots of visitors. And I was grateful because I had run those laps around the track. Some people might call it a coincidence. From my perspective, however, it was as if God had given me the opportunity to run—and I had chosen to take advantage of the opportunity through my free will—because He knew I would never have that opportunity again.

I began to think of some of the other “opportunities” that had presented themselves in the past year. I had pulled my bike out of the shed for the first time in seven years and taken several rides with each of the kids. Coincidence or opportunity? In the days immediately prior to my diagnosis, I had completed the last task in our home renovation. Coincidence or opportunity? We had taken our first big family vacation the summer before my diagnosis, and the Christmas that preceded my diagnosis—by a mere eight days!—was undoubtedly the best Christmas we had celebrated as a family. Even if I had gone into complete remission, we couldn’t have had another vacation or Christmas like those, so carefree and hopeful with no worries about the future. Coincidence or opportunity?

And then there was Finn. Kelly and I were not expecting to have any more children. Jack was five years old, and we were starting to get comfortable with the notion that God had given us all the children we were meant to have. Then Kelly found out she was pregnant. It took us by surprise, and we wondered to ourselves why God would give us this baby at this time. The timing seemed even worse after my diagnosis. But then Finn was born, and God’s answer was clear. If ever a family needed something to celebrate it was us at that time. Here was a special person that we could love and, equally importantly, who could love us at a time when we needed it most. Coincidence or opportunity?

I am an objective person by nature. I think logically and believe firmly in rational thought. I considered all of these situations carefully and, while admitting that some of them might be coincidences, cannot accept that so many seemingly random events would coincide in such a way by pure chance. Assuming there is a God—and I am convinced that there is for several reasons, not the least of which are Thomas Aquinas’ Five Proofs—and assuming that He interacts with His creation, then these kind of “opportunities” seem to me like the most probable way He would do so. These opportunities respect the gift of free will and provide comfort without interfering with the forces of nature. Miracles, by their very nature, are not common. And I really do not think we would want them to be any other way.

For some reason, my recognition of these “opportunities” seemed to quell any doubts I had about prayer, Heaven, and God. I think this feeling of acceptance—you might call it Faith—is probably also an answer to a prayer.