What A Visit!

I had a wonderful time! We went out quite a bit, going to parks and restaurants. We all went to a painting class where each of us painted the moon phase of our birthday.

My sister and I drank some lovely local wine…

and went on the daytime paranormal tour at The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (we even met a couple of ghosts).

Plus, we three girls got matching shoes.

It was a marvelous visit and I can’t wait to do it all again next year!

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

It’s Almost Time!

Last May, my baby sister Mary came out to visit us and attend my college graduation. Well, she enjoyed herself so much, that she is coming back – in three days! And this time, she’s bringing an extra visitor with her. I’m super stoked and can’t wait to see them both!

Since my family lives on the other side of the country, it’s always wonderful when one of them visits. Even more so when it’s more than one.

I hope they enjoy themselves as immensely as I know I will!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Something Bigger Than Me

Religion is a sensitive subject for most people, regardless of what their beliefs are. Personally, I find it difficult to explain my beliefs because they’re so varied. I consider myself to be eclectic. Essentially, this means that I take bits and pieces of several different belief systems and weave them together to create my very own personal tapestry of beliefs. To some people, this act is absolutely abhorrent. How dare I have the gall to pick apart religious teachings and only go by the ones that I like? Isn’t religion about taking every part of one belief system and following it explicitly, whether we like it or not?

Perhaps for some people, that way of practicing religion works. But not for me. I don’t think that I should be stifled by any part of my beliefs. If something rubs me the wrong way, then it’s clearly not something I want as part of my life. I believe that life is too short to be compelled to adhere to rules that feel are wrong just because someone else says I should. I’ve learned about many different religions including: Christianity, Buddhism, Witchcraft, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, and Taoism, to name a few. Each one has positives and negatives to it.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with anyone who fully embraces one faith system and follows all the rules and tenets assigned to that particular religion. To each his or her own, I say.

As for me, I’ll continue to go with the pieces (be they from Buddhism, Hinduism, Witchcraft, Christianity, or whatnot) that make my soul feel alive and joyful. Otherwise, what’s the point? There’s plenty of negativity in the world already and I don’t need any of that as part of my spiritual practices. I mean, who does, really?

Sending positive vibes and cheerful thoughts to everyone for a happy weekend!

Change is Good

I love being able to change my outward appearance. Dying or cutting my hair, wearing makeup, painting my nails, even dressing in particular styles. These are all activities that allow me to express my inner self in a physical way. And I love it.

I recently decided that it was time for a change. This time, it was the color of my hair. About six months ago, I got it dyed a chestnut brown.

Since that time, it has faded to a mousy medium brown.

It lacked vibrancy, something which seemed to reflect the depression issues I’ve been dealing with for a while. But, that washed out color was no longer reflecting my inner-self. I’m starting to feel renewed and I wanted that change to be more on display.

Which is why I went with a bold new color.

Red.

I’ve gone red before in the past. In fact, the first time I ever colored my hair I went red. It was just before the start of my sophomore year of high school. We had just moved from Okinawa, Japan to Preppyville, California. It was also the first time I was going to a civilian school rather than a DoD school. I needed a change and a little extra courage, so my mum helped me dye my dishwater blonde hair to a light, natural red color. I’ve pretty much been hooked ever since.

The ability to make such bold, visible changes is empowering, to say the least. Sometimes, having just a modicum of control over one’s own environment is enough to shake out the cobwebs. To imbue life back where it belongs. And I’m all for making your own statement, whether anyone else likes it or not.

I feel good about myself and that’s all that really matters.

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend as much as I am!

Happy Father’s Day!

As a woman who has dealt with infertility issues, I know how hard it is to make it through a parental holiday, namely Mother’s Day. What I forget sometimes is that it’s also hard on my husband. He wants to be a father just as much as I want to be a mother. So, Father’s Day is difficult for him.

I don’t usually write about issues that aren’t my own, but I feel like the topic of infertility is almost always directed at women and, perhaps unintentionally, men get left out of the conversation. Their feelings are just as valid and need to be recognized. I know it can be hard to talk about these things, believe me, I get it. But it should be noted that it’s ok for men to be part of the infertility topic. In fact, it’s vital. They are half of the equation after all.

So, to all the men who long to be fathers, but haven’t quite gotten there yet, I feel your pain and want you to know that your feelings have merit. Today may be challenging, but you will get through it. You may have to hide away from social media and people in general, I know I do, but you are not alone. There is support out there if you need it.

I hope everyone’s weekend is better than expected!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Tomorrow, May 12th, has multiple meanings for me. The most obvious is that it’s Mother’s Day. I love my mother immensely and know just how lucky I am to have her in my life. It’s also the day, seventeen years ago, that I met my husband. Another lucky break for me.

What I’m trying to say is that, while Mother’s Day is difficult for me for personal, fertility-based reasons, it’s also a day that has brought me great joy. It is a day of contrasts for me indeed.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Storytime: Beauty and the Beast

When I was nine years old, Disney’s animated Beauty and the Beast came out. It’s the first movie I remember seeing in theaters. It stuck in my memory because of what happened that day before we went to the movies.

My dentist in Arizona was named Dr. Lamb. I saw him every six months for routine cleanings. When I reached the age of nine, he decided that, in order for my adult teeth to grow in with no problems, I needed to have four of my molars pulled. The reasoning behind this decision was that, with one molar taken from each quadrant of my mouth, my adult teeth would have the room necessary to grow in without overcrowding. Now, mind you, I still ended up needing braces due to extremely crooked and crowded teeth. So, I’m not entirely sure that his idea actually worked. Regardless, at this point in my life, that was the procedure recommended, so that’s what I got.

My appointment was in the morning and I got to miss school. Not a bad trade-off. Or so I thought. I’m not a fan of going to the dentist for anything other than cleanings. I love getting my teeth cleaned. They feel so wonderful afterwards and don’t hurt in the process. Anything else, as in anything that requires the use of needles in my gums, and I’m a huge mess. Nowadays, I can only go in for other procedures under the use of sedation – either I.V. or pill sedation.

Of course, that wasn’t an option when I was a child. I had to lay there quietly as they placed the numbing gel in my mouth on a cotton swab, followed by the dreaded needle for the full numbing effect. It wasn’t fun. Once I was fully numb, he used these awful looking pliers to grab my teeth, that weren’t even loose yet, and twisted and yanked until they finally released from my mouth. There was no pain at this point, but the sound was simply appalling. The ripping and tearing sounds as the roots were broken made me cringe.

When all was said and done, I had a mouth full of cotton and four less teeth. My face was numb for a long time afterwards and I couldn’t eat or drink anything until the feeling came back. I was fairly miserable and wishing I’d just gone to school instead. I think my mum must have known this and decided to cheer me up with a special trip to the movie theater, just me and her. It was awesome.

We got in the theater just after the movie started, but before anything big happened. It quickly became one of my all-time favorite movies and has stayed that way ever since. When the live action remake came out in 2017 with one of my favorite actresses, I was thrilled. When it turned out to be excellent, my heart overflowed with joy. Having been connected to a terrible experience, I could have ended up despising the movie. I’m glad it went the other way though. Belle is a heroine I can truly relate to and who continues to inspire the bookworms of the world to keep reading and be kind to everyone, even the beasts in our lives.

Happy Easter!

Tomorrow holds a great deal of meaning to many people. For me, it’s more about it being my parents’ anniversary. In fact, it’s their 40th anniversary. Quite an accomplishment, especially in today’s world. Most people view marriage as something of a temporary nature. More like dating than an actual commitment.

I hold a different view.

Perhaps it’s old fashioned, but I believe that marriage is meant to last a lifetime. Marriage is hard work. I know from experience. I have been married for almost 17 years myself and it hasn’t been one long walk in the park. But even when times get hard, for whatever reason, I have never seen it as an excuse to just give up. And, luckily for me, neither has my husband. We both have the same view on taking vows. We take our vows to each other seriously, just as we took our vows to our country seriously.

I appreciate that being with someone else, anyone else, can have its trials and tribulations. All I’m saying is that it shouldn’t be so easy to throw away what should be a lifelong commitment.

That was a little preachy, I know. I just have strong opinions when it comes to the state of matrimony.

I hope everyone has a Happy Easter and, to my parents, Happy 40th Anniversary. We all love and respect you so much!!

Beverage Update

Back in January, I wrote about changing my drinking habits. I was attempting to switch from mostly sugary beverages to mostly water-type beverages with little to no sugar.

I am happy to announce that it has been a huge success. I haven’t had an actual soda in well over a month. Instead, I drink mostly naturally flavored carbonated water, along with some coffee, tea, and, of course, plain water.

It has been immensely liberating to not rely so heavily on overly processed drinks. In fact, I have even started drinking plain seltzer water, in the form of Perrier, and it is delicious. I never liked the taste of plain carbonated water before; I thought it was disgusting.

How my taste buds have changed! And in such a short time too. I am very happy with my progress and am researching dietary changes, which will be my next healthy project.

May you all enjoy your health and happiness to its fullest extent!

Shifting Beverages

The biggest problem with trying to make changes is doing too much all at once. This is especially true at the new year. I’ve fallen into this trap many times myself. So, I decided to do things a bit different this year.

I’m making changes slowly and one at a time. I know, super radical, but it seems to be working.

I started tracking my caloric intake and realized that a lot of my calories were coming from what I drank. Needless to say, I figured that would be a good place to start adjusting my habits. My drinks went from a lot of sugary, calorie laden soda, juice, and sweet tea to mostly water in various forms.

I never used to like sparkling water that didn’t have a lot of added sugar. Of course, I never really gave it a chance either. That changed recently and I have a new appreciation for unsweetened drinks. In fact, I find them quite refreshing.

I’m hoping I can snowball this one change into more in the near future. I look forward to sharing my wellness journey with you each week.

Stay happy!