Five Minute Friday – Notice

Five-Minute-Friday-newI am participating in Five Minute Friday (it has been far too long since my last FMF post) again this week.  This week’s prompt is “Notice”.  I encourage you to link up and write for five minutes today!


Sometimes it is hard to notice what is going on around us because there is SO much going on around us.  That is what I’m feeling right now.  I noticed (a little) that I wasn’t spending enough time with our dog – going for walks, cuddling up with her like we used to, going out and throwing the ball around…I had gotten too busy, too distracted by other things, too lazy.  And now, she’s gone.  I would notice her in the house, especially when my husband traveled (which he does relatively often), but not to the point where I really paid attention and appreciated it.  Now, my husband is off on a trip and I won’t have Bella around to bark at noises and serve as our protector.

We often fail to Notice what we have until that thing is gone.  I’m sad that Bella is gone.  But, I’m even more sad that I didn’t notice her more when she was here.

We will get a new dog.  We will certainly love that new dog.  And I hope that we will notice that dog and appreciate it throughout its life.  And I hope that it will also serve as a reminder to us to notice all we have around us – friends, family, our home, our cherished things, our cat and all that goes along with those things.


Thanks for the opportunity to share!

Dedicated to my Dog…

Iphone May 2011 002

I’ve grown up with pets.  I’ve had dogs, cats, guinea pigs, iguanas, rats, hamsters, turtles…we’ve really run the gamut.  But, dogs have always been my favorites.  And I’ve had some fantastic dogs in my life, but Bella – pictured here with my daughter a few years ago, has been a special one.  She is smart and sweet and totally protective of the little one there.

Bella Fall 2007 002 Bella Fall 2007 007

There she is when we first got her.  She was a cute little puppy and I knew she belonged in our family when the cat would snuggle up with her and let her chew on her ears.  She loved to go on walks, play with her toys and go for car rides.  She still loves those things.

A few weeks ago she started getting finicky about eating her food.  I thought it was just her being spoiled.  She would eat good stuff – cat food, chicken, table food, etc. but didn’t want to eat her dry food.  Four days ago, she started vomiting.  A lot.  And pretty consistently.  So, I took her to the vet.  They ran some tests and $250 later told me that they couldn’t find anything seriously wrong with her.  To take her home with some prescription IBS food and see if that helped.  The next day, it was worse.  We went back to the vet.  She was now dehydrated and losing weight.  They gave her a subcutaneous fluid treatment and me some meds to give her.  That night she threw up twice.  The next day she would not drink water.  We went back to the vet.  They admitted her and $1400 and 24 hours later we picked her up with a new thing of meds and instructions.


Another 36 hours have passed since I wrote that.  Another overnight stay.  Another $1000.  A couple of new meds and no new answers.  And tonight, I flew to San Diego and my husband had to take her in at 3 a.m. to be put to sleep.  She was suffering.  She was not improving.  We had done all we could.  The next step was exploratory surgery of the abdomen despite the fact they could see nothing in the ultrasounds or X-rays that would be causing a blockage and the symptoms were not really blockage-like.  Personally, I think she had cancer.  They named it as a possibility the first time I went in, but said it was a small possibility.  There was some abnormal appearance on the duodenum.  When they said cancer, it just seemed to click.

I hate that I wasn’t able to be there to say goodbye tonight.  I hate that she only lived for seven short years.  I hate that we didn’t do more with her – more walks, more swimming, more things she loved to do.  But, we loved her lots.  She slept with us, traveled with us.  She loved Bean and protected her and worried about her.  She loved playing with other dogs.

I am going to miss her a ton.  I’m incredibly sad that I was not there to say good-bye, but I’m more sad we couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her and fix it.  But, sometimes, there is no fix.  Sometimes there is no clear answer, only blurry choices seen through tears.  I love you Bella.  I hope you are playing in a big dog park in the sky and loving every minute of it.


For All Those Who Lack Sticktoitiveness (aka commitment)

ice melting science humor4

A little science humor for all you science geeks out there.  Today has been pretty much a bust for me.  This blog is so representative of me and my total lack of both focus and commitment.  And every time I start to type one of these posts, I think to myself, “what is my problem?”  So, I’m a self-help/improvement dropout basically.   Forget Beauty School, I can’t even pass the “check your to-do list” or “organize your days into routines” classes.

I figure I can’t be a total failure at finishing things.  I finished an undergraduate and graduate degree (a little lengthy for both, but still done).  I also have held a job for the past fifteen years, not leaving one until I had another (usually better) in place.  I have made it through five years of parenthood under rather rough circumstances and my child is relatively healthy (for someone with a heart transplant) and happy.  I have been married for over ten years and we’re still pretty happy.  So, I do have some level of commitment to things.  Important things.  But, for anything cursory, I have a really hard time committing.  And mostly, I think it is because as soon as I start doing them, I realize I don’t REALLY want to do those things.  I start doing them because I convince myself I REALLY want to do them (get fit, get organized, read more, etc.), but then when I actually do most of them, I realize it is truly not something I want to dedicate my time and effort and emotion in doing.  It is sad really.  Sometimes a waste of money.  And often at least a little disappointing.

So, instead of being disappointed and chastising myself, I’m going to just let it all go.  I’m going to figure that having a clean house, an organized pinterest-like life and cooking dinner each night at home after running a couple of miles and playing a game with my 5 year old and my husband is beyond my capabilities.  I’m never going to become a physician, a physicist or a physical fitness star.  I am also tired of trying and trying to be someone I am not.

I don’t want to “focus” on anything.  I just want to live my life as best I can.  Sometimes that will be relatively poorly.  The piles of stuff on my stairs. My stained carpets (getting more stained by the day as my dog suffers a horribly depressing and distressing gastrointestinal problem that has her vomiting multiple times a day, often just bile that stains the carpet and smells horrible – my Oxi-Clean carpet cleaner is getting a real workout the past three days), my hoarder’s garage piled high with stuff that I can’t figure out whether I should keep or get rid of (a giant dog kennel we used for our dog when she was a puppy – its seen better days, but if we ever get another dog it may come in handy…and a new one would be very expensive OR the many, many, many books that I took so long to organize this summer and now just feel like we can go to the library and give that space to something more valuable or entertaining AND so much more), my piles of papers and magazines – most of which I don’t read or need but pile up because I MAY some day be interested in them or need them.  It is just all too much for me.  I want to be someone I am not because that other person seems so much better than me.  So much more productive – a better mom, a better employee, a better sister/daughter, a better friend, a better neighbor, a better wife.

So, More at Forty (Five) is now Forty-Six.  And I don’t have much more.  But, maybe it is because I don’t NEED much more.  Maybe I should focus on that “More” part being “More” credit.  More kindness.  More self-respect than self-improvement.  More recognition for getting through instead of focus on changing things.  More woulds and less shoulds.  More enjoyment and less guilt.  More Candy Crush and less couponing (heck, who am I kidding? I gave up on the couponing a while ago).  More joy and less junk (getting rid of all the “stuff” that doesn’t bring me joy would be a great start).  More teaching and student interaction and less grading and administrating.  More loving life and less stressing over it.

So, yeah.  Do I NEED to lose weight?  No, not really.  I’m happy with my weight.  Would I LIKE to have more energy?  Yes, definitely.  But, I don’t know that those two things are really tied together.  Do I want to measure out all my food and focus on measurements and scales or do I want to eat better and enjoy more activity in my life?   The latter sounds so much better.  The 21 Day Fix is great for someone who has organization and is ready to make a committed effort.  But, I just don’t feel like its for me, right now.  I want to eat healthier, but I don’t want to be so strict with it.  It just isn’t what I REALLY want.  I REALLY want to eat good food that I made with little effort.  Sometimes I want that food to be a little less healthy than that plan would allow.  The shakes seem like a really healthy addition to my daily caloric intake.  So, I will keep up with those and maybe switch over to something similar, but cheaper once the 21 days is up.  I’m sure that my “coach” will be disappointed, but I think the whole purpose is to make you feel better about yourself and your diet.  And in a way, it did that in one day.  I feel pretty good about myself right now.  I realize that I don’t feel the NEED to change because I feel okay with where I am right now.

So, where does this leave me?  It leaves me in the same place I’ve been.  Behind in grading, sitting in a less than clean house, dealing with a calendar that is too stuffed and an energy level that is too low for it, without a social life, and feeling okay about all of that. Is that “settling”?  Could I do better?  Probably.  To a certain extent.  But, it also leaves me feeling better about my life, myself and my home.  So, why not settle for satisfied rather than strive for perfection?

How about you out there?  Want to join me in settling for satisfied?  Perhaps we can start our own movement…the “Settling for Satisfied” movement.  We will resist the urge to constantly compare, to strive for perfection, to be dissatisfied with the disasters that we are.  Instead, we will embrace our own ineptitudes.  Let’s hear it for settling for satisfied!

I was Soren Kierkegaard for my graduate level ethics class and I soon fell in love with his philosophy on ethical living.  And this is what I want to be my “focus” now:

Getting a Fix…21dayfix that is


Tomorrow I will start the 21 Day Fix, or Beachbody program.  I was brought to it by another heart mom and she has done great on it for the last four months.  It was obvious from her posts how much better she was feeling and how much energy she has, so I decided to take the plunge.  I looked into the program quite a bit and there are many things I like about it – first, the shakes are only a supplement, not a meal replacement.  Second, it focuses on real food, which I like.  It makes it more difficult, but it seems much more healthy than eating store bought bars and such.  Finally, it includes the exercise regimen (via DVDs), which makes it easy to do.  I love the containers for portioning.  I love that you get to eat three meals and three snacks a day.  I don’t love the low carb aspect because I love, love, love my carbs, but I do know that it is better for my body not to have all those carbs.

I am sure the first few days to a week will be quite difficult.  My diet has been horrendous lately.  Processed foods and fast food all. the. time.  Skipped meals.  Barely any water drank.  It will be quite the change for me.  But, I think it will be good.  I don’t even care about losing weight in all honesty.  For me, it is about having more energy, feeling better and getting more fit so I can do more with Bean.  I do a lot, and therefore I need a lot of energy.  Lately, I’ve felt not just sluggish, but downright exhausted.  Even when I sleep a decent amount.  I have lots of aches and pains.  I have no desire to go out and do fun things because I have no energy.  So, that is what I’m looking for – a boost in my energy level and feeling more healthy and fit.

Other than that, my dog is sick and the vet can’t figure out what is going on with her.  After $660 they have diagnosed her with a slow-functioning duodenum that is causing bile build up and regurgitation.  She was given a subcutaneous treatment for dehydration and a shot for nausea tonight.  She seems to feel quite bad.  I have multiple meds to give to her tomorrow to try to treat all the different things it could be – an antibiotic in case it is an infection, a dewormer in case that is causing the issue and an anti-inflammatory in case it is inflammation.  I also am giving her something to coat her esophagus and stomach to keep acid from eating away at it and I have to give her pepcid to stop any acid reflux.

So, with my daughter’s meds and the dog’s meds, I feel like I’m running some kind of infirmary around here.  Seriously.  But, I do hope this works to make the dog feel better.  I love Bella and I don’t want her to feel miserable.  It does make me realize what a bad dog owner I am, so part of what I would like to do during this 21 Day Fix is start walking her everyday for 15-20 minutes.  But, not if she is feeling poorly.  So, hopefully all these meds work and she will back to her old self and ready to walk, walk, walk!

Well, I’m off.  Hoping to get some more done tonight before heading to bed, but thinking maybe I should just get up in the morning and do the things…or tomorrow afternoon.  It is so hard to get anything done it seems.  I had a grand plan for my weekend “off” and then spent numerous hours at the vet over the course of yesterday and today.   Sigh…


Dog and DD two years ago…hoping they will have many more days of fun together in puddles and sun!

Weirdness and Worry: My Monday Madness

I can’t think of better words to describe my Monday to you.  Weirdness and Worry.  And lots of it.  I’m not sure how much detail to provide, but here is a tweet that covers half the day and you can decide whether you want to read the in-depth description from there.

And yes, that was only half the day.  The other half, which is bleeding into Tuesday is my mom’s been in the Emergency Room since around 7 p.m. (it is now 11:40 p.m.).  She has had recurring pain that sounds like gall stones to me, but they are waiting for blood results and a CAT scan to come back as she also has cancerous lesions on her liver they are managing with medication (after many chemo and even radiation treatments) and some history of kidney problems.  So, I’m waiting to hear what they find and making plans to have to miss work and basically upend my life for a while if she goes in the hospital for any amount of time.

But, I skipped the first part of the day…

Today was my DD’s 50th day of Kindergarten, so they had 50s day and I went to help out with their fun activities that they had planned (progressive party where kids went to each of five Kinder/1st grade rooms and did a fun project there for 30 minutes before moving to the next classroom).  My DD had a substitute (that was planned and I was asked to stay a bit longer today to help through lunch with the activities).  All started out relatively normally.  My DD dressed up:

2014-10-27 08.16.23

I came at 8:30 to help out.  The first group of students lined up to depart the room to go to the other rooms and that is when I saw the police car across the street from campus, lights flashing.  But, it looked like a traffic stop, so I didn’t think much about it.  The group of students left (my DD’s group stayed in our classroom, thankfully – God was looking out for her I think) and some others arrived from the other classes and we started the craft…and then the loud speaker buzzed and the principal’s voice came over and said we were on a “Code Red” and needed to lock all doors and remain in our rooms until further notice.  In this day of school shootings what seems like every week, this is not a pleasant feeling.  The students were fine.  I don’t even think they noticed at first.  But, the substitute was, of course, a bit anxious and needed to look for the information on what a Code Red was and what to do.  We were supposed to close the curtains, but there were no curtains on the window and the police car was right out there.  Police officer with gloves on, going through a vehicle across the street from the school.

So, time marches on and after what feels like forever (but really only about 45 minutes) my DD says she needs to go to the bathroom.  Now, she takes Lasix in the morning, which is a diuretic and about an hour to an hour and a half after she takes it, she doesn’t just have to pee, she has to pee a river.  So, I knew this wasn’t good.  She held it for a while.  Probably another 20 minutes or so, but then she just couldn’t hold it any longer and she peed all over a chair and the floor and her legs and her cute 50s dress.  The other students were listening to a story being read, so most of them didn’t take notice really.  I cleaned it up with Lysol wipes and had her clean herself up as much as possible, but she was crying and I felt horrible and there was no. where. to. go.  Luckily, the code was lifted within 5-10 minutes and I was able to run her home, get her a change of clothes and head back to school before their snack/recess ended.  The sub asked me to stay since they were going to try to finish up some of the other activities before and after lunch and there was a Sock Hop/Root Beer Float party in the multi-purpose room for the last 1/2 hour of school planned.  So, I stayed.  After lunch, my DD informed me she had had another accident.  This is  a big red flag for a UTI, which she has had six of in the last year.  She was very upset at the prospect of going home to change and missing the sock hop, so I texted my husband and had him bring her a change of clothes and we were able to get her changed and back in time for the sock hop.  I then helped make and serve 100 mini rootbeer floats to Kinder and 1st graders.  The whole day was exhausting.

But, it was not over.  I had had my husband call the pede to get an appointment and we went there an hour after school.  It took a while for DD to pee again, but sure enough there was “a lot” of blood in the urine and it was positive for bacteria.  It will be cultured, but they started her on antibiotics again (she just came off of them for the same reason a week ago).   Tonight was pretty rough on her.  Pain while urinating, blood in the urine, frequent feelings of needing to urinate an accident or two more.  I feel bad for her.  She is asleep now and has only woke up once, so I’m hoping the medicine kicks it quickly (it usually does) and she feels better tomorrow.

So, yeah – that was my Monday.  I’m still waiting to hear from my sister as to whether they are admitting my mom or what is going on.  I would not be surprised if they did admit her.  She had to have two IV bags of fluids (I ask her about her fluid intake all the time, but she always says she drinks “a lot”) and they had given her morphine for the pain earlier but it had worn off and she sounded miserable.  My sister was also exhausted.  I have to figure out plan B for my classes if I have to take off unexpectedly in the next week or so.  I need to get caught up on grading so it is done and i don’t have that hanging over my head.  It is now 12:20 a.m. on Tuesday and I teach at 8 a.m.  I still have quite a bit of grading to do and I’m not really prepped for tomorrow’s class (all things I planned on doing today after I helped out in DD’s class).  I am starting to feel that familiar overwhelm of doom…its been months since I’ve felt it.  Since my dad passed last January probably.  But, here it is again.

I’m hoping that it turns out to be something they can easily treat with my mom.  I’m also hoping that DD gets over this UTI quickly and keeps them away.  I’m also hoping that I can hold this all together for a couple of more months and Winter break is here and I can relax a bit.  But, who knows if ANY of those things will actually come to fruition.  Right now, I probably just need to sleep for a few hours.  Maybe get up at 5:00 and grade for two hours before work.  I am always more productive in the morning than at night.  And sleep…it is overrated.  And underachieved.

How was your Monday?

Stray Thoughts Sunday

Stray Thought Sundays

My first Stray Thoughts Sunday in a while.  I have so many stray thoughts, it is often difficult to corral them!  But, I shall do my best!

First off, the Monday blogs in my Sunday feed make me unnecessarily anxious.  I am behind.  I am not as behind as I was a week ago, but I am still behind.  And every Monday is another Monday I am not caught up.  So, I like Sundays to stretch out before me, limitless in opportunity, but as darkness falls and Monday blog titles start to pop up in my Bloglovin’ feed, I start to lose some of my hope and optimism and panic and dread start to set in.  It was my hope to start out this week caught up and feeling great…I don’t think there are enough hours left in the day to fulfill that goal.  Anyone else feel like this?

So, it seemed slightly prophetic that “7 Ways to Start Your Week Like A Leader” popped up in my inbox review tonight (an old post, but one I had saved to read at a later date).  I’m not sure about #1 right now.  I don’t have the person in mind and thinking of someone makes my brain hurt.  But, I am on top of #2 – I actually have a couple of letters to write and send to people’s bosses complimenting them for their recent tournament hosting and I definitely have a long list of Thanks to be handing out.  And, wow – do I ever need #3 in my life.  Part of my problem this past three or four weeks is that all I’ve been doing is putting out fires.  And unfortunately, more are being lit than I able to put out.  It is hard to prioritize when it seems like everything is needed RIGHT. NOW.  But, realistically, when I don’t focus NOTHING gets done.  So, tomorrow, grading is my focus.  I will feel 100 times better if I can get my grading done.  So, although I don’t usually go to a coffee shop to work because I like to be able to clean my house intermittently, I’m going to do it tomorrow to avoid cleaning my house intermittently.  I’m going to take myself off of social media, email, etc. and just take whatever time I have after helping out at my daughter’s school in the morning (tomorrow is the 50th day of Kindergarten and so it is 50s day) to grade, grade and grade some more.  #4 is taxes.  Definitely an issue I need to deal with, so step one tomorrow.  #5 is student instead of employer – I am going to check in with some under-performing students this week (this will be easier if I can accomplish #3!) and see what is going on with them.  #6 is a little less clear.  Not sure who it would be or why, but something may come to mind a little later.  Finally, #7 is going to be a conscious effort on my part this week – shifting to gratitude!

 A few other stray thoughts before I go…

First, I would really like for it to rain in California for a considerable amount of time.  The drought is starting to become a full-fledged disaster.  And when I read things like this infograph, it is also frustrating beyond belief.

Second, Go Giants!

Third, if you like shows like 48 Hours or 20/20 murder mysteries, do yourself a favor and listen to the Serial Podcast.  It is amazing stuff…

And, last, but certainly not least, I have found my productivity guru thanks to Sorta Crunchy - The Complete Flake’s Guide to Getting Things Done by Sonia Simone.

Oh wait – as an afterthought – this bear was my favorite animal of the week!

Have a great week to come and remember – gratitude!

10 reasons that teaching is tough (but enjoyable)


A great blog describing the challenges and gifts of my profession. I don’t think about these things much consciously, but they are always on my mind subconsciously. And although I am full time at my university, I am also considered an “adjunct”, so the “lonely” comment definitely touched me. I am also inspired to have my students move more, talk more and engage more. Glad to have the motivation and inspiration.

Originally posted on Broadside:

By Caitlin Kelly


I’m now halfway through my first semester teaching at Pratt Institute, a small private college in Brooklyn focused on art, writing and design. My two classes, writing and blogging, one with 12 freshmen and the latter with four seniors. are going well and I’m loving the experience.

Pratt's library -- with one of the many sculptures dotting the campus

Pratt’s library — with one of the many sculptures dotting the campus

But it’s a marathon.

When I stepped back into those two classrooms, I hadn’t taught in 20 years. I’d read everything I could about millennials, and arrived fearful of finding a room filled with entitlement and attention spans lasting mere seconds — a challenge with a two-hour class.

Here’s a sobering and powerful insight into how tough it is to be a student!

For any thoughtful teacher, it’s a cringe-making look from the students’ seats, and gave me a lot to think about.

From the Washington…

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