Monday, December 31, 2012

One Little Word 2013

 I've been taking part in Ali Edwards One Little Word challenge for a few years now. The word just usually comes to me, and I go with it. :) I chose the word ACHIEVE in 2011 and feel I did just that career wise. I chose the word FIND for 2012 and found answers to a nagging problem that's now being treated with medication.

 And so, I choose the word GET for 2013. I have no idea what this word holds in store for me this year, but I still choose it. I'd like to get lots of things this year, but we'll see what I end up getting. Hopefully all positive. :) 

 Happy getting! :) 

December 2012 update

 I'm going to make this my last detailed monthly update since I've now begun giving weekly updates. I figure there's no point in these anymore. That is, unless I feel otherwise. :)

 And so, December came. I got a second opinion at UCLA Medical Center for my pituitary adenoma. I'm waiting for the lab results, because I may have Cushing's Syndrome. I came out of there happy to never make that drive again and also relieved that my instinct was right.

 I also saw a lot of Christmas lights this month! The Sparkleballs, a really tacky neighborhood and an old community got my fill of Christmas lights this season.

 I was also in 2 craft fairs. It was nice to be able to do this again and make some money also. I hope to do more of this in the coming year.

 Happy New Year, all! I really hope 2013 is better. 

'Cuz I was depressed in March

 I think this will be the last time that I do such a detailed monthly update. I thought it would be fun though to see the changes throughout 2012. (There are only 11 because I was too depressed in March to take a picture of myself.) Amazing. May 2013 be a better year. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

I don't say Happy Holidays....

 I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I realize as an adult that Christmas time is special not only because it celebrates the birthday of Christ, but also because I can create my own traditions that aren't connected with my family. :)

 I was feeling under the weather last weekend for reasons I'd rather not get into. What a lousy way to start Christmas! Fortunately though the issue resolved itself before Christmas Day. :) It was right at that time that I  encountered a problem with my health insurance. Good timing! I had to file an appeal with them. :( Without going into detail, this showed me that I can't do it all. I need help every once in awhile.

 I ended up taking my parents right before Christmas to see the Sparkleballs. I told them they'd love it, so they took me up on the offer. And they did! My dad, who worked in electronics for 40+ years, asked me to pull over at one point so that he could get out of the car to look at how they were constructed. :) He said that he even Googled them later that evening because he was curious about how they were made.

 I was also happy to hear that Jen got engaged right before Christmas! She's a sweetheart and I'm very happy for her.

 I had dinner with my parents on Christmas Eve and thought I'd make the 11 p.m. service at church, as I usually do. I fell asleep early this year though. :( The point has been made. It's an earlier service time next year!

 I spent Christmas this year with my parents, as usual. Pinterest came to the rescue with an inexpensive gift for them-a cocoa mix set! I found no jars at the store, so I used containers I had on hand too. Yay for being resourceful! My mom asked me to make something similar for my sister, which I can absolutely do.

 Dinner was great this year, as Mom made the traditional roast and condiments.

 And I liked the neck scarf thingy I got as a gift this year!

 Even though my dad is doing much better, I could see this year the reality that both parents won't be around forever and that family truly is the community you make. Community changes with the passing years. By the way, do people not send out Christmas cards anymore?

 This is pretty dismal!

 I was also very happy to receive a belated birthday present from my sister. (I still have someone's wedding present, so it runs in the family....) It was a very nice gift that I absolutely love. I just left her a message thanking her. I can tell from recent behavior this past year that she wants to start having a relationship with me. That will take some getting used to.

 As many of you are probably doing also, I'm thinking about goals in the coming year. I know what I need to do, but I also know what I want to do. Will the 2 coincide? Let's see!

 As next week's update will be written in 2013, I guess I'll end this by saying see ya next year! ;) 

Friday, December 21, 2012

I sent out the Christmas cards!

 It looks as if we're all still here, so thanks for reading about another week in my life. :)

 So I started the week by finally sending out my Christmas cards. I've always made my Christmas cards since taking up the hobby of stamping. Even though I no longer spend oodles of time on my cards, I still feel the need to create them by hand each year. This year was the simplest of them all. I made ornaments! Will people actually hang them is the question. :)

 I bought the cards at Michael's, tore them in half, wrote the saying in Word, punched holes, glued and strung! Not bad. Kinda plain, but I can embellish next year. What matters is that they got out. Finally. :)

 I have to admit that I'm having parent issues again. This is so ridiculous too that it's almost sad how I handled it. I needed a brake repair job, and my 77-year-old father offered to do them for me. (sigh...) The man had a stroke almost 15 years ago that left him almost paralyzed on one side. Add to it that it took him 3 days to install a new garbage disposal for me a few years ago. (Yes, one, two, three days to install a new garbage disposal.) Needless to say, I don't want a 3-day brake job. I know he can't do it anymore. No issue, right? It's sad how I tip-toed around the subject so that I wouldn't offend my dad. I finally ended up blowing my cork because my mother couldn't understand why I didn't want my dad to change my brakes! She and my dad have always been beyond persistent when they want their way about something, which has caused me to bust my cork quite a few times with them.  I hope I don't sound terrible when I write about my parents. I'm just frustrated, and like I said before, this blog is my therapy. Needless to say, I need a better paying job in the new year so that I'm not whining to them about things like this!

 I also went to UCLA on Tuesday for the second opinion. Very good doctors and nice people, but walked away thanking God I have insurance and don't ever have to make that drive again. I basically learned that my medical group knows what they are doing. I may not like the personality of the endocrinologist I'm seeing in my medical group, but I'm thankful he's done everything right.

LA skyscrapers-taken on my drive home that evening

 I also hit reality this week. I need to make a lot of changes in the new year. Reality has hit. I'm not perfect and need to find a way to address these changes that don't have me curled in a ball in the corner of my bedroom, hyperventilating.

 And finally, I went to see more lights! Pine Street in Orange has a theme each year for their lights, including this year also. Their theme was a little confusing this year (LOL), but it was still cute to see!

At first I thought it was a snowman theme this year...

But this house (on the same street) won honorable mention this year! No snowmen in sight!  
And this house also had a manger scene. Obviously there was no clear theme, at least from what I could see! 

 Pine Street is in the cute older home section of Orange, which is near Chapman University. It's also near the Orange Circle, a traffic circle that has been featured many times in movies due to it having such an antiquated, timeless feel. This even holds true at Christmas when they decorate the center of the Circle in a retro style.

Retro looking toy soldier

The famous fountain

I like it that the city puts up the manger scene every year. Only a manger scene. 

Santa looked pretty darned retro! 

 Until next week, unless the Mayans were right! ;) In the meantime, have a Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2012

More lights, LAX and makin' money!

 It's amazing what a little bit of positive self-talk can do for you. I got to thinking this past week about life, positive thoughts, auras and other mundane stuff. ;) I think that I put too many expectations on myself, so when I fail at something, I immediately shut down. Crap happens in life. It's how we handle it that matters. If I am happy with what I do, others will see my positive aura and want to be around me. There. :)

 It's Christmas time! I saw even more lights this past week! A housing tract in a nearby city gets festive every year. I mean, it's decorations central. People even give tours inside their houses! (Now that's a little much...) The area was cute this year though. :)

 I also saw a tradition in the city I was born in. This tree sits atop a multi-story building that is now a medical building. It was a bank when I was a kid and holds a special memory for me (and Robyn too, I know), as I remember my mom always telling my sister and I, "Look girls! Look at the Christmas tree!" It's now all modernized and pretty, but still holds the same magic for me.

 I also participated in my second craft fair-at my parents church. My goal was to sell out of my gift tags. I thought it was a pipe dream, but I'm happy to report that I came close! Wahoo!!! I also sold unique albums and did okay with those.

 Wednesday brought a little bit of drama to the city I live in (once again). The university I live by had a lock down due to robbery suspects possibly trying to hide on campus. Students were locked down in classrooms for hours until the SWAT team cleared every single building. I drove by the school yesterday evening though because I was curious and was shocked at how the police really didn't block off anything too strictly. In fact, I drove past the front of the school while the SWAT team was searching buildings!!! (Blog follower Greg, I hope you're reading this.)

My mad photog skillz. :) If this were a normal photo, you'd see that this is a photo near the front of the  university.  Only one side of the street is blocked off, with a dangerous criminal supposedly lurking on campus!
Mad photog skillz, part 2. :) The front of the university. 

 I also picked my neighbor up from LAX. This airport is the major one in Southern California-and also the cheapest one to fly into. Picking someone up from there is a breeze-as long as they're out front and ready to quickly load everything into the car. I'm not paying $20 to park a car there (the cost a few years ago when I picked another neighbor up there) I'm happy to report that my neighbor did wonderfully. She called me after she got out of customs and I only circled the airport twice (*eye roll*) to find her at the international terminal. What a mess it is to pick someone up there this time of year!

  Finally, I am sad to hear about today's news coming out of Conneticut. Little kids, too! There is a place in hell for that killer! That I am sure of!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Health, life and makin' money....

 I have to admit that this past week started out in a funk for me. This hasn't been the best year for me-health or otherwise-and I just really hope that 2013 is much better.

 I get overwhelmed when I think of what 2013 entails for me. Losing weight, getting a better paying job and on and on the list goes. I think I've spent the year in a funk after quitting one freelancing job. I regret it even though it came at the perfect time. Yes, it was a wonderful place to be career wise, but I swear that God had a plan for me, because I got sick right after and the doctor's visits haven't stopped since.

 And now, I'm realizing that time marches on and changes need to occur. That picture I put up last week gave me a good scare, as it showed that I really need to lose weight. Really. This can't be good for me in any way, shape, or form. How will I ever get a better paying job being this big either? I need both.

 There were many good parts to the week though. I was in a craft fair this past Saturday at my friend's church. I'm happy to report that I sold 40 tags and also got a custom order from that fair! That fair taught me about getting the word out about your product, as one of my neighbors bought an album from me the night before the fair for a Christmas present. Why? I advertised for myself on Facebook. Social media is wonderful for that. I handed out samples of my work also, which I think helped immensely. I've been preparing for tomorrow's fair, which I hope is a blow out.

 I also put up my wreath on the 1st. I can not get it in me to decorate before then. It seems a sacrilege of sorts to do it any sooner. I finished decorating the next day, as I'm fairly simple in my decorating. Wreath? Check. Nativity scene? Check. Themed candles? Check.

 I also saw a tradition this past week for the city I live in. A local neighborhood decorates their street in what they call homemade Sparkleballs. They're Christmas lights that look as if they're glued into a ball. They look absolutely gorgeous hanging from the front yard eucalyptus trees as they blink in the night. It's a great tradition to see these if you live in Fullerton.

 Aaand, on the medical front, I'm shocked to report that UCLA responded quickly after I sent the online inquiry. Cedars Sinai sent no reply, so it's UCLA for the win. I have an appointment there in about a week and-a-half. I'll go to their pituitary clinic, where I'll see both a neurosurgeon and endocrinologist at the same time. Since UCLA invented the technique used to remove pituitary tumors and see people from all around the world, their consultations are expensive, so I spent a lot of time on the phone with insurance this past week making sure I wouldn't have a huge bill! My personal opinion is that this is tied to my thyroid. I have 6 nodules on it and internet research shows me that some of my symptoms could be related to that. If we could all get our internet degrees now. :)

 I hope you all had a good week! Until next week! 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

November 2012 recap

 November was:

 -The first time I've ever cooked for Thanksgiving. Pretty sad, I know. My stuffing was a hit, though and will be made again next year. Yay for Pinterest!

 -Signing up for craft fairs to hawk my goods to make some extra money. C'mon buyers!

 -Seeing family. I told one family member to monitor his kid's online activity and laughed when I heard a hysterectomy is a secretive thing on my mom's side of the family. Yes, really!

 -Dealing with elderly parents. This will only get sadder with time. It's times like this that I wish my sister was around.

 -Making Christmas cards.

 -Saying no to getting myself sued. Yes, you read that right.

 -Getting sick of the endocrinologist who doesn't know who I am to save his life. Hopefully the appointment at UCLA will be this month. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Women, crafting and decorating for the season... a feminine themed week?

  I can't put up my wreath before December 1st. I just can't. I kept thinking of this as I put away the Thanksgiving decorations and  got the Christmas ones out of the garage. Call me anal, call me strange for that, but I just don't have the heart to decorate for Christmas before the 1st!'ll go up, tomorrow... It's only a day away! :)

I love Christmas time though. It's a special time for me as a Christian. It's not about the gifts. It's about the specialness of simplicity. Seeing the lights, togetherness, midnight service.... Things fade away, but memories last forever, which is why it's so special.

 As for this past week, I hate to say it, but anxiety started it out. I may have done something stupid and panicked as a result. We'll see. I'm probably okay though, as I acted in good faith to fix the problem. For those of you that don't know, I have a pituitary gland tumor, which is known to help anxiety become greater than it needs to be. I'm really trying to work on this and hope when the tumor subsides, so will the anxiety. My doctors have told me to start exercising to ease the symptoms. I guess it's equally as effective as medication. Dang. ;)

 I had a nice visit with my friends Kelly and Brian on Saturday. I went to their place to use her Cutterbug (?) to do titles for my mini books I'm selling. I'm so glad that all I have to do is bring over my scraps of paper and Kelly works her magic.

 My aunt, uncle, cousin and her husband also came to visit on Saturday.We met at El Cholo's and it was nice. For those that don't know this place, it's what I call the white man's Mexican food. It's decent and a spot where I spent many birthdays as a kid. Is it the best place to go for authentic Mexican food though? Heck no! I always say we should hit the more authentic place, Ricardo's El Ranchito, to which my mom doesn't object but knows my yuppie aunt and uncle would just die entering an authentic place like that.

Yes, I'm too fat.
 I also had another visit with the endocrinologist this past week. I'm happy to report that the hormones for my tumor are within normal levels. Yay! I asked if this means I can get off the Bromocriptine, to which the doctor said no. I guess I'll be on it the rest of my life. Honestly though, this doctor has the worst personality. I read online before seeing him that he's one of the best doctors in the group he's in, but he sure doesn't show it! (I guess the lesson to be learned here is to not always believe online reviews for a doctor!) I say this because I  nearly got yelled at for asking a question at my last appointment and can tell at each appointment that he doesn't remember a thing-or write anything down either, which is why I want to be done with him. I sent an online form to request a second opinion at UCLA, which I read invented the technique for removing pituitary gland tumors. Since I have a PPO, I'm going to take advantage of it and get a second opinion. If endocrinologist #1 is right, so be it. I just can't stand his personality!

 I also made a trek to LAX. I took a neighbor to the airport. I'm fine taking and picking anyone up there as long as I don't have to park the car and spend $20. My neighbor knows this for when I pick her up. She said she'll call me when she gets out of customs that day. Good neighbor. :)

 I also went to a fun event this past week at my local library. It was called Celebrating Women In Leadership and was a good way for me to advertise my gift tags. I gave away a set of 10 with my card attached to advertise the craft fairs I'll be in. It was basically a networking event for local women to listen to inspiring stories of successful local women. Probably the one story that I really enjoyed was hearing the life story of the new, local university president.

 And now, it's time for me to get ready for tomorrow evening's craft fair. I hope to make a zillion bucks to be able to stay home forever and never have to get a real job again. ;)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving wrap up and Christmas plans

 Happy belated Thanksgiving, all! I'm happy to say that mine went well and everyone liked my stuffing. :) It's now onto the season that celebrates Christ's birth. Happy, happy! :)

 There are certain traditions each family has for Thanksgiving, and my family has some interesting ones.  There's the Turkey Day Morning Store Run. This is my mom farming out the responsibility of being organized about Turkey Day shopping onto her kids. My sister and now ex-BIL used to hit the store all the time for her and used it as an excuse to also load up on snacks for their drive home afterwords. I did it last year. I can honestly say that I made my first ever cell phone call in a grocery store during last year's run. It was odd to call my mom to discuss almond milk... Honestly though, Thanksgiving morning is a good time to go... Fortunately though, I'm happy to report that I didn't make the run this year. Mom was organized. :)

 There's also the recipe pull out session. My mom must have saved every Thanksgiving recipe since time began, and they alllllll come out and decorate my parents kitchen table. I told my mom she should try Pinterest and dump the magazines, which of course gets me a horror-filled look.

 Thanksgiving was different this year, only because I actually volunteered to cook something. ;) My mom assigned me the stuffing and pumpkin pie, which was fun. I found a recipe for stuffing and another for mini pumpkin pies on Pinterest. I at first thought my mom was nuts for asking me to pick up a pie and told her to just hit the Marie Callender's by her. I told her I'd do just that if she wouldn't. She reminded me to be frugal though, which is when my inner Martha kicked in and I remembered the Pinterest recipe I saved.

 And then, I went grocery shopping and spent far more than I usually do cooking for just me. I also couldn't find pie crust dough, so my mini pies got interesting. Really interesting. They were filo dough pumpkin pies!

A friend of mine who loves to cook told me good luck working with the dough, because you have to know what you're doing. I overly buttered the dough to make it come out in one piece. I'm happy to report that it did! I have to admit though that when I taste tested the sorry looking one that I about gagged though because of all the butter. My mom called them "interesting." LOL. And I'm also betting that my 2-day sinus headache (which began the day I cooked) was probably due to eating more butter than I ever do in a year.

 I'm happy to report though that the stuffing turned out nicely. Once again, more butter than I eat in a year, but it had a nice golden color, don't you think? :)

 In fact, my mom liked it so much that I now have stuffing duty every Thanksgiving for the rest of my natural born life. This recipe. Forever more....

 I also did something I've never done before for Thanksgiving. I took someone to Costco! An elderly woman  I know who has vision problems asked if I wouldn't mind taking her to get her Thanksgiving supplies. I certainly didn't mind. I think she had me come with her to help with cart navigation, because everyone and their mother were there. It's just a WOW experience for me to go to Costco during the holidays. Granted, the samples are nice to have if you miss lunch, but it's just a busy place. Do people really need mass quantities of stuff??  I guess I ask that because I don't have a family and don't need to buy in bulk. Do I really want to go there even when I do have a family, though?

 All in all though, it was a nice Thanksgiving. My uncle and 12-year-old cousin came over. My other aunt and uncle are possibly visiting today (don't ask) before they head home. One of my cousins and her husband live in San Diego, which is where they spent the weekend. We got a late invite this year to join them and totally would have if we hadn't already started planning. I totally want to join them for a San Diego Thanksgiving if they go there next year.

 As tradition dictates, I stayed in bed for Black Friday. In no way will you get me out of bed that early to stand in a mob of people waiting for a deal! Robyn posted a picture of herself on Thanksgiving evening in the longest dang line-waiting to get into Target! I'll stay in bed while you all shop, thankyouverymuch!

 And now, Christmas has made its way. I was wrong in my last post. I thought of a Christmas card idea, which I'm working on now. I'm now in the process of cutting and stringing away. :) I made ornaments as Christmas cards almost 10 years ago and decided to take it up again with these prints. And the newsletter. :) I'll show my masterpieces next week. Right now, feast your eyes on these prints....

 Let the season begin. I love this time of year for many reasons and will be happy to experience it again this year.

 Until next week!