Living Someone Else’s Life

Since I’ve moved here from my comfortable life in Missouri, I’ve gone through many challenges and changes.


Sometimes, I look back at events to see where that little “life turn” happened. Sometimes its within your control, sometimes its not. Within 2 months of me moving here, I received a call that was my “life turn.” I remember exactly where I was with my husband. We were in a Greek café in Mountain View. My baby brother called me to let me know he didn’t have long to live. He died less than a year later. I was crushed.


I think I’ve always been thought of as a strong, self assured, resilient and assertive woman whether it was true or not. But now, I was in a new environment, new job, financial stress of the move, missing my kids, my baby brother died. I worried about my health all the time. I had lost my other brother a few years back.

So, all this started breaking me down. I could feel the change, it wasn’t even gradual. I changed into a person I barely recognized as I struggled with trying to get back some part of control or joy that I used to feel. I’d try to run, hike, go to the beach or travel with my husband to feel good in some way. I thought of death constantly after my brothers death. And I was so homesick for Missouri. I missed my old life unbearably. Those were the best years of my life where I was content and confident. So as the depression got worse, I cried all the time. It became severe. I had serious thoughts of ending it all. I had never felt that kind of grief and depression. I didn’t know how to feel better. I felt like I was living someone else’s life even though that sounds weird to say it.

I have had bouts of short depression much earlier in my life, but this one was almost debilitating. I managed through it at first. Only a few people knew it. I became so different. I went to a therapist, but to be honest, she didn’t help. Maybe for a day or 2 but not for long term.

At first, my husband was sympathetic and supportive. But as time went on, I could tell he seemed distracted and barely cared. He was used to seeing me strong and not needing much attention from him. I felt that once I became weak, emotional and needy, he couldn’t deal with it. He would spend a lot of hours in his office on his computer and often up late even when he had to work the next morning. He stopped going places with me and the family and he grew tense anytime that he took me out. He stopped giving attention to the dogs. Whom he had always adored. He would do the minimum walks, feeding etc. but it was like he didn’t acknowledge them. He seemed robotic often just going through motions or actions. If I inquired, he’d get angry or agitated and he would bulge his eyes or more like a glare like he was under pressure, even at simple life things.

So to help me, my doctor put me on meds for depression in Sept of 2019. The first few weeks were hard taking the meds but after a couple weeks, I was starting to feel better and was able to start feeling more engaged with work and life. I was hopeful.

2020

It started out as a bad year with a tragic family event back home, my brother in law attempted suicide. And in March, Covid-19 hysteria hit like a tornado. I felt like I was living in bizarro world. It felt surreal to me. It also made my mental issues worse. I get very anxious wearing a mask. On top of being sheltered in place with my husband, we were getting ready to move to Santa Cruz. It was our dream place to live. We found the house we loved and it was a 5 minute walk to the best private beaches in Santa Cruz. Even with the epidemic, we felt good about moving to Santa Cruz. Or so I thought.

In April of 2020, we had an argument. I truly felt it was an insignificant or a nothing argument. He walked out and that was it. At first, he would come around to see the dogs and it seemed he regretted leaving us. I saw him cry a few times when he would come to walk them. A few times, he hugged me crying. I was so confused. I remember once him crying and saying how hard this was for him. I didn’t understand any of it. It seemed he tried to come back or at least be friends at first, but he gradually started behaving stand offish again. His mother died soon after he left. He never called me and I tried many times to call him to talk to him about it and he would not answer phone or text. He wouldn’t contact grandkids or the dogs. He would tell me that he would contact them in “due time”. Even with my emotional issues and being all fucked up, I felt it sounded bizarre. What was “due time?”

My best friend and husband of 20 years was gone. He made it clear that he didn’t want anything to do with any of us. I tried a few times to reach out to him to discuss divorce amicably. He rarely answered emails. He changed his phone number. He had given me his address in a document so one day after work, I dropped by his apartment after he agreed to meet me somewhere to discuss next steps and stopped answering the phone, emails and texts.

I was a bit scared to even see him face to face because he had been so different and strange. I knocked a few times and he opened the door and peeked out. He looked surprised to see me. I said “Hi” and he opened the door wider. His face changed from surprise to anger. He gritted his teeth and pointing his finger and trying to get me to leave. He was keeping the door so I couldn’t see in and I thought he was gritting his teeth and talking low because maybe someone was in there with him. Maybe another women or someone. I asked him if he was alone. He said yes and started angrily telling me to leave. He was saying “you don’t know what you have done.” He seemed more scared than angry. I left shaking and crying. I did not know him anymore. After I got home, I noticed he had emailed me the most bizarre, rambling email, mentioned hearing me say things that were absurd that I never said! He was hearing voices! He talked about people after him, cult activity and by coming there I put him and myself in danger. He mentioned that “they” could have followed me. He was speaking about cult and other bizarre things. He even told me that my family and me were being warned.

That was in August, that was the last I have heard from him except through his lawyer. The divorce is in process.

Its been 8 months since the separation and I still love the person that I had known so long. I miss him daily. My heart is broken. I’m worried about myself, my job. But I still love him. I’m worried about him. I never hear from him. He told me point blank he didn’t’ want anything to do with me, the dogs or the kids. He made it crystal clear. He has no one to help him but he doesn’t even realize he is sick. I wonder all the time how he is doing. But more than anything, I feel I am grieving my husband, my best friend and that pain is almost unbearable sometimes. To be ghosted and left not understanding what happened. That is what I’ll have to live with. I’ll never know what happened.

And with Covid shutdowns, watching more and more homeless and hopeless people not working, my own broken heart, sadness, loss of social contact, my depression had gotten to a level where I no longer wanted to get out of bed. I did work but more often I worked from home but I felt unengaged and I couldn’t even hold a thought for longer than 2 minutes. My job performance was low but my manager and my co workers were supportive and help me through it at work. I will forever appreciate how they carried my load while I tried daily to pull out of my emotional state. I took a few medical leaves to try to help me get through it. Nothing helped.

Before Thanksgiving, my nephew died so I flew home to Tennessee to be with my sister and attend his services. The plane ride was pure hell. My anxiety made that plane ride misery. But I made it. I spent time with my sisters, nieces and other family members. It was good to be with my family. I came back home and Thanksgiving was here. I spent it with my two dogs. But I make an effort every day to get better. There is no doubt in my mind, I would not be here without my dogs. Many days I can hardly go to work because leaving them causes anxiety so bad that I can’t drive. I’m working through all of this with my doctors.

Christmas season has been lonely but I am finding ways to feel good along with my dogs. Its been a struggle every day, but the last 2 weeks have seemed to turn around. I get support from a couple friends and some family but its all virtual due to new shelter in place. California is such a mess. Its leaders could care less.

I am feeling better. My last 2 weeks felt good. I was totally engaged at work and had energy. I didn’t feel anxiety attacks except once this past week and it ended quickly. I didn’t cry as much and not at work. So I keep my fingers crossed that I will soon feel like seeing what I will do in the twilight of my life.

I live in a beautiful area with my 2 dogs. I love my job. But I will be alone for Christmas due to Covid-19 Lockdowns in California. But as of tonight, I feel hopeful that I’ll be fine.

Merry Christmas from Santa Cruz, CA.

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It’s Complicated

It’s been over a year since I made that long 3 day drive from Missouri to California to work and live in April of 2017.

Despite all that Northern California has to offer, it still does not really feel like home. Don’t get me wrong, I do not regret my choice to move here. My job is great and challenging. We are healthy and doing well, financially. But I do still get homesick for Missouri and particularly St. Louis.

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Davenport, CA

When I see pictures of sights in St. Louis, my heart sinks a bit. I should delete all of the St. Louis instagram accounts that I follow. But I want to see what I miss. I know it’s weird but for some reason, I keep thinking I’ll move back when I retire. Hey, I forget that I don’t have many more years to my retirement! It’s just a quick thought in my head. But I am where I will be until the end of my life’s journey. I was intimate with that city, one might say. I ran so many miles through that city. Kevin and I had so much fun there. St. Louis is an old and great city despite the crime and poverty there.

I long to be in St. Louis the same way that I longed to be in California when I lived in Missouri. I know that’s weird. My feelings are very messed up and complicated.

I miss my kids and grand-kids so much that I feel like I’m not really, completely here. They say they are moving here next summer. I think they really want to be here and nothing would make me happier. But even so, a piece of me will always live in St. Louis.

I feel so left out of Daniel and Sadie’s life. I was very close to them and watched them grow and contributed to their upbringing. This must be how an empty nester’s feels.

And what makes it worse is that my baby brother is very sick. Since I am the older sister, I feel like the Mama in some ways and that it is my responsibility to be there. He has a great family and life there but I feel I should be there for support and comfort. I wasn’t there for my other brother when he was fighting cirrhosis and died a few years back.  I have 2 sisters that I feel like I deserted.

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My baby brother and one of his 2 sweet grand-kids.

Most days and weeks, I’m happy and fairly content. But other days, I fight depression. Yes, I said it! I think not many people would know that about me….that I have experienced depression since I’ve been here. It’s not that often or that bad..ok it can get pretty bad occassionally. I’ve thought of seeing a counselor but somehow, I feel that makes me weak or a waste of time and money. I’m the tough one. I’m the one that adjusts to everything. I’m clutch! Kevin is a good friend, husband and person. I couldn’t keep my sanity if I didn’t have him. He’s patient with me and sees the pain that I am in when I go through these episodes. He tolerates and puts up with my crying spells.

Peyton and Eli are aging. It really shows on Eli lately and he is the younger of the 2. They are not that old but Eli is experiencing arthritis and walks like an old man. It’s never far from my mind that one day….probably soon that I’ll have to say goodbye to my babies. I have tears in my eyes even typing that. At the end of every work day….those boys welcome me home like a queen. That will never get old! It’s all I think of driving home….getting that love!

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Peyton, Me and Eli

This area is full of natural beauty. I relish it. I indulge in it. But, the traffic is horrible and it pushes the limits of my patience…not that I am known for patience.

Daniel is flying here “solo” in the middle of July and the rest of the family is coming out for a visit 2 weeks later. I look forward to that like a kid looks at Christmas! I go to sleep thinking about hanging out with Daniel for the 2 weeks he is here alone. I want to spoil him like I used to!

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My friend, playmate and husband

I don’t blog much anymore. I find I either don’t have time or don’t know how to put my thoughts into words like I used to.

I had gained considerable weight and stopped running which also caused some depression. I’m happy to say that I’m on track to getting back to my goal weight. I am running again consistently and it doesn’t suck so bad. Kevin has lost a lot of weight and runs with me regularly. We are getting into some local 5ks and 10ks which is helping us feel like part of the community. It’s still not like those running parties in St. Louis. I do really miss those.

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Moi

I’ll wrap up by saying that I love it here. I love my job, the ocean, beaches, redwoods, sea lions, otters, parks, diversity of people…..I’m happy that a boss turned friend gave me this opportunity. When my son, daughter in law and sweet kiddies move here, I will be content.

My advice to myself ~ life is short, stop bitching ~ 

Homesick in Silicon Valley

My son, daughter in law and grand-kiddies came to visit us back in October. It was my happiest time since I’ve been here, but it was so short. I felt deep sorrow and grief when I took them back to the airport to go home. I hold out very little hope that they will ever be able to move here even if they want to. I enjoyed my time with them and tried to live in the moment which I have a tough time doing. For the most part, I dwelled on the day that they would leave.

Arrival at SFO

Santa Cruz Kiddies

I am still working through my “homesick” issues and trying hard to completely adapt to being here. But that’s not coming along as well as I would like. I function like a normal person. I love exploring the area. I love the beaches and ocean. Very few things take stress and sadness away from me like the sight and sound of the ocean. Our financial situation is good. I still like my job and find it very challenging.

But I’m homesick and miss Daniel and Sadie constantly. It’s never far from my mind. It never shows for the most part, but my heart is very sad. I find myself living in the past and crying often. Daniel rarely calls or texts. I rarely hear from my son or daughter in law. I always feel that Daniel doesn’t care to talk to me or do facetime. He just goes through the motions. He used to love me deeply and I always knew it. I know he’s a kid and rather be playing video games instead of talking to his grandmother. I shouldn’t be hurt by that, I suppose. But I’m not reasonable!

Kevin is very patient and understanding. He misses home also. But he grew up here so there is comfort for him in seeing familiar things. But, still, he misses Daniel and Sadie. We both miss our home in Columbia and our apartment in St. Louis. I miss Christmas in St. Louis. I hold it together well for the most part and work hard at trying to get over it. But I’m sad a lot of the time. Especially when I am home and not busy. So, I stay on the go. I do that as a mechanism to help deal with my saddest and homesickness.

I had intentions to go to Memphis for Christmas to see the kids and visit my baby brother who is having some major heath issues. But travel during the holidays is extremely expensive and hard to get decent flights with the schedule that I needed to accommodate only a few days that I had off work. We are planning a visit in March timeframe.

Maybe its just common as people get older that they miss home especially at Christmas. I love the Christmas season. I’m always the early Christmas music and tree person. Kevin and I went to a Christmas tree farm in Half Moon Bay and chose and cut our own. I haven’t had a real tree since I was 11 or 12 years old. I enjoyed doing that. But it was so warm and sunny here, it didn’t feel right cutting down a Christmas tree in shorts and t-shirt!



We had Thanksgiving alone, but we did go to a popular restaurant here that serves traditional Thanksgiving food. It was good, but it didn’t feel like Thanksgiving here. The weather is beautiful so its hard to get in the Holiday spirit.

Christmas is coming soon. California does an excellent job of making it look and feel like Christmas everywhere. Christmas music started early and the homes here in the neighborhoods are decorated extravagantly. Last night we went to a Christmas parade of lighted boats at the marina in Santa Cruz. We then visited the boardwalk to see the Christmas train and decorations. It was cool seeing Christmas lights, drinking hot cocoa and hearing the ocean roar in the background.


I am not writing all this for sympathy or to say that I am depressed. Kevin mentioned how I used to blog often and he thought it might be therapeutic. My sadness comes and goes. It’s not that bad. I do love living here. I have always dreamed of living this life. Kevin and I have plenty of great times exploring the area. Peyton and Eli make our lives better. I think they are finally adjusting to moving here.

What’s not to love about living here. I’m near San Francisco, the ocean, Santa Cruz, redwoods, great weather year around and plenty of things to do that it would take a lifetime to see. Even the autumn trees are incredible here. Snow is near here. I have a good friend who has been gracious enough to offer Kevin and I to spend a weekend in her home in Tahoe which we intend to do soon. I think it’s more of a matter that as I get older and feeling the grip of mortality, that I miss the things that always made me feel young and that was always being around Daniel and Sadie. I miss my brother and sisters. I miss home. I went through this when I moved from Tennessee to Missouri. It did take me a while to adjust. This was such a big move that it might take a little longer.

Santa Cruz or Half Moon Bay is still where I plan on calling home in the next few years! We’d do it soon, but I’m worried about the traffic and commute home from work. I go to work so early, I don’t think that would be an issue…but going home would be a freaking nightmare.

On top of that, I’ve been concerned about potential health issues that has plagued my family including my baby brother right now. I worried it was happening to me. This past Monday, I got great news that I am healthy. A little too healthy, Dr. Li said take off 25 lbs!

Anyway, I thought it was time that I complained about my great life, again!

Merry Christmas, Mele Kalikimaka, Feliz Navidad


Adjusting to California

This time last year, I was on vacation in California dreaming of the time I might be able to move here. Life can change on a dime.

It has been a little over 4 months since I moved from Missouri to the Bay Area in California. I either have not felt like blogging or had no time to do it. It is hard to sit down and put into words how your whole world changed so quickly and dramatically and how it affects you.

The first month was very stressful. I was starting a new job. I was in corporate apartment that did not feel like home. I was alone. I was so homesick. I missed Kevin, Peyton, Eli, Daniel and Sadie. I was trying to sell my house in Columbia. I was still paying for an apartment in St. Louis due to a lease. I did not really have anyone to confide in. I did make a good friend who happened to be my manager but I could not lay all that heavy crap on her! She would start to believe she hired the wrong person!

I just left a job that I had spent 17 years doing, a house that I loved, an apartment in St. Louis where I spend great times with Daniel and Sadie. Sometimes when I think about Daniel and Sadie being so far away, I get very sad to and it is almost unbearable. I feel like they are out of my life completely. It is even hard for me to talk to them now on FaceTime without crying. I miss playing with them in my backyard and Forest Park. I think of that daily.

I love the ocean, redwoods, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, the Bay Area and everything this area offers. I go back and forth between being super excited that I live in my place of dreams to a depression that is hard to shake off.  I miss Columbia, my house, our beautiful backyard and my butterfly gardens and the birds. However, I miss St. Louis so much that it is hard for me to think about it without crying. I will never see that city again. I feel sure of that. I knew when I left it the last time that I would never see it again. I still keep up with Facebook and Instagram friends from St. Louis. I love seeing the pictures of everything I miss, but it is hard to see them without getting sad.

I did so many special things there with my family. I first went there when I was a little girl with my Mama and Daddy to see the St. Louis Cardinals. I watched Cardinal games with my brother Barry and his family.

I ran this city! I knew this city! I ran so many miles through those streets in the heat, rain, snow and cold. I loved running there. I ran my first 5k there in Soulard. I ran my all my half marathons there. I ran my first marathon there. I trained for the Chicago Marathon there.

I miss Broadway Oyster Bar, Forest Park, Art Hill, The World’s Fair Pavilion, Soulard and Soulard Market, The Hill, Adriana’s, Pi Pizza, Mardi Gras, Llewelyn’s, St. Pats Day Runs, Straub’s Chicken Salad, Coffee Cartel, Greek Fest, Benton Park Café, Off Broadway Music Hall, Tom’s Bar and Grill, Hop in the City and Schlafly’s Pumpkin Ale. I miss going to Daniel’s school events. I will miss Grand Friends Day at his school every October. I miss the St. Louis Blues and I miss the St. Louis Cardinals. I miss too many things to even count. The list of what I will miss is almost never ending. I love that city. I always have. The best times of my life were spend in St. Louis. I suffered and recovered from a serious surgery in that St. Louis apartment. I celebrated two St. Louis Cardinal World Series Championship wins in that downtown.

Most people would not know it but this has been an incredibly hard adjustment for me. I am still not quiet adjusted. I can be so depressed at times that I feel like I need help. Kevin has suggested that. Then the next day I am enjoying California as though I am on permanent vacation! I love all this area offers. I have gained weight. I do not exercise even close to what I did in Missouri.

How can I be both so happy to be in a place and so gut wrenchingly sad at the same time?

I love my job and everyone that I work with. They are professional, quirky and personable. This company was very generous in their financial support for the move. If they had not been, I am not sure how we could have done it financially. Kevin and I had set ourselves up pretty well financially for a move like this but it would have depleted our savings practically if not for my relocation benefits. I was fortunate to find such a position with a great company. I work in a place that makes robots for major surgery events! Kevin found a great job that he loves. Our financial situation is good and sound.

We found a very nice neighborhood and house to live in. I have always dreamed of having fruit trees. I have lemons, apples, cherries, loquats, avocados and Japanese persimmons in my yard! Yes, it cost a small fortune to live in but we love it and it is reasonable for the area. However, for some reason, I still cannot feel at home there. Kevin has done most of the decorating, which is not much! I cannot make myself do it yet. I am getting a little better. I have a hard time sleeping which has never been an issue for me. Many times now I sleep with the TV on or on the couch with the dogs just to keep my mind from racing over all the things in my head. My baby brother is very sick and I feel like I am a lifetime away from him. I miss Ashley and Allison. I miss my friend Jerry. I fear my own health crisis if I do not take care of myself.

I question many times if this move was the right choice. Kevin and I talk about it sometimes. I know that I would be miserable in Missouri without Daniel and Sadie being there. Kevin loves it here. He is comfortable here and knows the area like the back of his hand. I love it here! What the fuck is wrong with me?

In my perfect world, I would have brought my house here along with my kids!

I did not take any time off from my last job and drove 3 days straight to California to start my new job. In retrospect, I should have taken a week or so off. Maybe that would have helped with my adjustment but I feared that time in between with no health insurance. In addition, I was paranoid that something could possibly happen like a car wreck or other illness that might put us in debt and especially since, I was driving 3,000 miles with little rest during that time. Then Kevin had a 3 day drive here as well a month after my drive.

So….

I love my job, my co-workers, my house, my neighborhood, my financial position, the area, the sea lions, the otters, the whales, the beaches, the redwoods, the city, the fruit trees, the parks, the diversity of the people and land, the hard working people that make up Silicon Valley.

Here I am in the place that I always dreamed that I wanted to live with the job that I feel very fortunate to have yet I am pissing and moaning like a little bitch.

~ Living the Dream, Sorta ~

Saying Goodbye to My Life

I haven’t written in my blog for a long time. I think the last time was right after the Chicago Marathon. Maybe it was after the Super Bowl. I probably don’t have any readers anymore.

After years of dreaming of snagging that perfect job in the Bay Area of California, it happened. Not only did it happen, I had 2 offers from 2 great companies in the Bay Area at the same time. One was in Alameda and the other in Sunnyvale.

I eventually chose Sunnyvale. The money and relocation package was incredible. The company makes robotic surgery systems and instruments. It’s in Silicon Valley. It’s a coveted position that I never dreamed that I had a shot at. I almost feel like I don’t deserve it.

It all started a few months ago when my son informed me that he and his family was moving back to Tennessee from St. Louis for financial and work reasons. I was crushed but I put on a good face. I knew that day was coming but I didn’t realize it would be so soon.

Kevin and I always wanted to move to California and since they were moving, I thought it might be time for me to look at opportunities. Truly, I never thought it would happen.

I went to LinkedIn and put in notifications for manager of production in California reminders. I never dreamed so many Medical Device manufacturers were in the Bay Area.

I got emails and phone calls for phone screenings, Web-ex interviews and offers to fly out to San Francisco for full day interviews.

This has been ongoing since early February. It felt like a whirlwind and yet a lifetime ago.

Now comes the difficult part. I’ve been in a state of emotional ups and downs since February. I cry daily. It’s not that I’m not excited. I go back and forth between sadness, agitation, excitement and gloom. I pretty much stay in a depressed mood at the thought of leaving everything I love. Everything!

Saying goodbye to Daniel and Sadie are the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’m still crushed. That’s a sadness that I will feel for a very long time.

Leaving St. Louis was much harder than I ever imagined. I only lived there part time but I loved that city. I watched my kiddies grow up there. I ran hundreds of miles there. I went to ballgames, hockey games and parties that only St. Louis can throw. I’ll miss hanging out with Daniel and Sadie. I’ll miss picnics with Daniel. I’ll miss going to Tom’s Bar and Grill with him. We had many serious conversations over a beer and lemonade. I’ll miss the bars, organized runs, Forest Park, the Blues and the St. Louis Cardinals. I’ll miss Broadway Oyster Bar, Llyweln’s, Molly’s and Tom’s Bar and Grill. I’ll miss my apartment that gave me a special get away place. I ran my first marathon in St. Louis. 

Leaving Columbia is difficult. Kevin and I had a great life here. I find myself crying as I drive by places that I never noticed before. I noticed blooming trees in our neighborhood.

I said goodbye to my friends at Cardinal Health today. One had been my best friend for almost 17 years. We had a special relationship. He knew everything about my life. And I knew his. He was the person I went to when I wanted to talk about anything. I’ll miss my friend, Jerry.

But the thing that I can’t stop crying about is leaving my house…leaving my yard. I love this place. It’s been my place of comfort and joy for 10 years. It was the only house that Kevin and I have owned together in our marriage.

I’m looking around now crying knowing that in the morning when I leave for the last time….I will never see it again. I’m not sure I’m strong enough. I’m not sure where I will get the strength to leave that driveway. Especially because I’m leaving Kevin, Peyton and Eli. They will come out later in May.

I’m leaving everything I love. I feel weak and frail right now. It’s sad that my entire life will fit into a moving van.

I know that I would be miserable here in Missouri when Daniel and Sadie move away. I know that I would never get a fantastic opportunity like this one again in my life.

But that still is not helping the pain that I feel right now and likely for some time.

I start my 3 day drive there alone in the morning.

I have loved my life here. I love Columbia. I love St. Louis. I love Missouri. I’ve had a great life here. I know new adventures await me in Northern California.

Why am I paralyzed with sadness now?

Be a Champion

This is a story about Tom Brady but it applies to all champions.

First, I want to say up front that I have never been a fan of the New England Patriots. In fact, I’ve pulled against them every single game that they have played since 2001. I’m a Chiefs fan and a Peyton Manning groupie wannabe.

But last night I decided early on that I might root for Brady. My husband raised his eyebrows a bit. I wasn’t for the Patriots so much but as with Peyton, Brady is nearing the end of his great career so with my team out of the running and Peyton out of the game, I thought I could pull for him one time in my life.


Most people know his story if they follow football. No one wanted to draft him. He was skinny and slow and didn’t display any indication of the great quarterback that he would become.

But when he was given a shot, he made it count. Many times, people squander their one chance at being a champion or other things in life. I have squandered so many opportunities. I can imagine that Tom Brady knew that might be his only chance. He worked out, he practiced, he ate healthy meals and wouldn’t even drink alcohol even when his wife was drinking. His teammates couldn’t understand how he maintained his body even in the off season.

He’s as hot as hell but he’s tough. He plays hurt. He played at least one time with a broken bone. He’s been sacked many times and gets up and goes back at it.


He took his one chance and became a champion. From his play on field to his model wife to his perfect kids to his castle with a moat around it. He was far from perfect. He apparently deflated his footballs to a lower than regulation weight. Maybe he was just taking it to the edge of the rules. He wanted them that way and got caught. What was sad to me was that he never had to cheat if he did. He was proven to be a great quarterback. He didn’t need an edge. But again, he is a human. He paid up with his suspension and embarrassment and he went out and played all year as though it never happened. All champions are human with imperfections. That’s why I admire champions. They are all of us.

Being a winner doesn’t mean you are a champion. What makes a champion a champion is that they defy the odds. They never give up. When it gets hard, that’s when you know if they are champions or not. It’s not whether they win in the end but their drive to win.

During the first 3 quarters, I saw a glimpse of Brady on the sidelines and he had a bit of a defeated look on his face. Men with those faces always get to me. I thought the game was over and he was about to be humiliated. Champions don’t let those odds stop them. After that, all you could see on his face was that of a fierce competitor.

He’s a dad, a husband, a son, a patriot and a champion.

I have said in the past that I love winners. What I should have said was that I love champions.

There are many champions in the world. Champions can be soldiers, policemen, people with disabilities, old people, young children, men, women and yes, sports figures.

~Be a Champion, Be a Patriot~

Hip, Hip Hooray for Christmas Vacation

I never got a chance to blog about my Christmas experiences so it’s a little late but……

Due to work load and customer and quality issues, I was reluctant to ask my boss if I could take off that week before Christmas. I had plenty of vacation time left and didn’t want to lose it and also wanted to spend time with Daniel and Sadie.

She was very nice to tell me to take off and enjoy. I spoke with my supervisors and asked them to please take care of things in my absence. I finally have 4 supervisors. The newest guy that I hired is a young Navy vet and particularly impressive.

Kevin still had to work so I had to decide if I wanted to spend my days off here in Columbia or drive to St. Louis apartment and spend as much time with the kids as possible. I was stressed because I still had not done any Christmas shopping so I intended to do that. I had tickets to the “Nutcracker Ballet” with Allison (daughter in law) and Sadie (my almost 4 year old granddaughter). I intended to see the Nutcracker and spend a couple days with Daniel and Sadie and come back home to Columbia on Tuesday to spend with the dogs, Kevin and do some Christmas shopping for the kids.

I received a Christmas package from my Sister-in-Law so I decided I’d carry it with me and open when I got to St. Louis.

I left for St. Louis early on Friday morning December 16. I wanted to leave early because we had tickets to the Nutcracker Ballet for Allison, Sadie and me for the next day. There was no particularly scary weather except for maybe some snow and freezing rain that was headed north.

St. Louis is normally a 1:45 minute drive for me if I don’t stop to pee or get something to eat or drink. There was a bit of freezing rain but to make a long story short, it took me 9 hours to drive to my apartment. It was a weird black ice situation and there were vehicles sliding off the road and vehicles unable to get up any incline. At one point, it was a standstill for 3 hours. There wasn’t a way to turn back nor any way to get off an off-ramp. I was hungry and needed to pee. At the 3 hour standstill, I opened the gift that my sister in law sent me. It was a beautiful Tennessee Volunteer Christmas ornament. My late brother loved the Volunteer football team. It made me cry. She also put candy in the package which I laughingly say saved my life since I had not eaten since 5:30am that morning! It was the most tense and stressful drive I’ve ever had. It was also the most dangerous. I finally arrived at the apartment in STL at about 9pm.

I “skated” over to Whole Foods and got something to eat. I drank the one beer in the fridge to calm my nerves.


And I found out due to the terrible ice storm, the Nutcracker Ballet the next day was canceled. So, my real reason for driving up early was shot to hell. I was told the next available show was the following Wednesday. So, that meant that I would spend the entire week leading up to Christmas in St. Louis.

I intended to make the best of it. So I would spend a lot of time with Daniel and a few days with Sadie. Kevin would drive up on Thursday night with Peyton and Eli so we could all spend Christmas together.

Daniel spend the entire week with me. Sadie spent a couple of nights so their Mom and Dad could shop for Santa. I enjoy every minute that I spent with Daniel. Sadie will spend a while but always misses her Mom and Dad.

Saturday the kids brought over both kids so they could shop. It was so cold. I took the kids to Union Station to visit the North Pole thing they had there. It was nice and a lot for the kids to do. Daniel went ice skating and Sadie played in the snow.

I had a great time with the kids. They always make my life better. I made Daniel’s favorite breakfast every morning. One morning we made Chocolate gravy and homemade biscuits and the next one sausage milk gravy and homemade biscuits. I haven’t made those things since I moved from Tennessee. Daniel loved it! Of course he usually gets everything he wants when he stays with me.


He is a good kid and minds me very well. He is funny and a great conversationalist. I don’t think anyone knows that side of him like I do. I just feel good when he is with me. And we watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” together. I told him he would have a quiz at the end to make it pay attention and he nailed that quiz!


Wednesday came and it was time to dress up and go to the Nutcracker Ballet. Sadie looked like a princess. She loves ballet but I think sitting still was a little much for her. She wasn’t on her sweetest behavior! We had 2nd row seats and soon her Mom took her closer to the back so she wouldn’t disturb others. I enjoyed the ballet as I always do. We can wait til she’s a little older to try it again.


Later that night after the Nutcracker, we all went out to a Mexican restaurant to pig out.


So, on Thursday, I took both the kids home. I went back to my apartment and went out for a 3 mile run. It was my first time running the entire time I was up this trip. Kevin drove up on that night. I was so happy to see him and my furry babies.


Kevin and I went out on Friday night to see Christmas lights and St. Louis decorations. I always enjoy going downtime to the City Garden to see the lights. Wheen we got home, I enjoyed a Chocolate Covered Bailey’s Alcoholic beverage and relaxed.


On Saturday, the kids came to our place to open presents. My ex-husband (also Daniel and Sadie’s granddad) was up so our time with them was limited. Daniel and Sadie always get a lot of stuff.

I love those kids.


On Christmas morning, Kevin and I had breakfast and went to the see what Santa brought Daniel and Sadie.

Afterwards, we decided to drive back to Columbia. I had missed being at my real home so it felt good to be home. It had been a weirdly strange time for me. But anytime I spend with Daniel and Sadie is always a feel good for me no matter what.

When I got home, I had a package waiting for me from my sweet sister, Barbara. It was a thoughtful gift that I will cherish.


I only worked a few days the coming week. Kevin and I spent a quiet night in our Columbia home and welcomed in 2017! It was a good year and I’m looking forward to 2017 even though I’m a year older!


~Merry
Christmas and Happy
New
Year~

2016…a Wild Rollercoaster Ride


Each year I try to summarize my year whether good or bad…..here goes!

  • I turned 56 years old
  • I interviewed for a job in near San Francisco that didn’t pan out
  • I spent almost 2 weeks of this past year in the hospital
  • I had a cancer scare
  • I had colon surgery where the surgeon removed 12 inches of my lower colon
  • I became slightly hooked on pain pills for the first time in my life (I’m clean now)
  • I started training for the Chicago Marathon 3 weeks after major surgery.
  • I sadly went a whole year without seeing my sisters (Barb, Janice, Bev) and

    brother (Barry)

  • I spent another year enjoying my grandchildren which I never take for

    granted

  • I was blessed another year with a son and daughter in law who are doing a good job raising the most important things in my life and keeping them healthy and

    happy

  • I was rewarded with another year loving and being loved by my furry children (Peyton and Eli)
  • I had my DNA tested and found out that I’m 36% British, 25% Irish, 19% Western European, 9% Eastern European, 6% Scandinavian, 2% Iberian Peninsula and not a

    smitch of Native American blood which I grew up believing that I did

  • I was pleased to spend another year with my best friend, playmate and lover (Kevin)
  • I ran my 2nd marathon in a beautiful, big city…Love Chicago! (Chicago Marathon)
  • I spent time with, ran with and ran the freaking Chicago Marathon with a good friend whom I had never met in person before this year.
  • I experienced a Lou Malnati’s pizza in Chicago
  • I stood under the Big Bean in Chicago
  • I spent another year in love
  • I visited Buddy Holly’s crash site in Clear Lake, Iowa
  • I was less fit than the year before
  • I unfortunately became more unhealthy
  • I continually realized how lucky I am that I met and married Kevin
  • I had a tough, frustrating and rewarding summer training for the Chicago Marathon
  • I spent another 8 days in my favorite place in the world…Santa Cruz!!
  • I hiked in a forest of Redwoods and touched a Sequoia
  • I enjoyed the wild and crazy election season!
  • I was jubilant that the crime family didn’t get into power on the Nov 8 election (I still pinch myself over this)
  • I continue to realize that our current government has betrayed us deliberately
  • I was surprised when my son penned a Mother’s Day post to me that made me cry. I never thought it possible.
  • I ran on beaches in California including a yearly 4k along the coastline on trails
  • I sat and listened to sea lions bark for hours again (one of my favorite California things)
  • I watched a Los Lobos concert while riding a sky lift over a boardwalk
  • I continue to believe that my dogs make me a better human being
  • I felt myself aging quickly this year
  • I still grieved over losing Jimmy
  • I missed Tennessee badly
  • I came to believe that the country has become irreparably divided by race
  • I feared for our protectors…135 police officers died in 2016…up 250% from prior year
  • I was lucky to still have a job that pays well
  • I lost 2 cousins this year who died way too young
  • I was paid for an article that I wrote about my weight loss and running journey as a contributing writer to an online health magazine and have an offer to write another.
  • I lived another year in both my home in Columbia, Mo and an apartment in St. Louis, Mo
  • I spent the best week of my year with Daniel at Camp MyMy in Columbia
  • I visited Daniel at his Summer Camp…his first
  • I gave money to charities and not a single penny to a politician
  • I ran my favorite races this year (Run for Your Beads, St. Patrick’s Day 5 Miler, Macklind Mile and the Chicago Marathon)
  • I dropped out of a Half Marathon (Go! St. Louis) due to health. It’s the first time that I registered and paid for a race that I didn’t run
  • I cherished another “Grand-Friends” day at Daniel’s school
  • I spent more money on dogs this past year than people and that makes me feel good
  • I watched the “Nutcracker Ballet Live” with Sadie and Allison
  • I enjoyed another year at Mardi Gras in St. Louis with Kevin and didn’t get as drunk as the year before
  • I cried when Alan Rickman died
  • I was sad when David Bowie, Meryl Haggard, Prince, Gene Wilder, Carrie Fisher and George Michael died

This has been a rollercoaster ride of a year for sure. For the most part, I enjoyed it. But a quote from one of my all-time favorite movies “Parenthood” – the one with Steve Martin, not that knock off crap show, sums up the 2016 ride ~


I continue to be blessed more than I deserve. I never take that for granted. My life is far from perfect but without the downs, the ups would not seem as special. I never forget that. My only hope for 2017 is that my friends, family and I stay active and healthy.

I am very optimistic about 2017 both for the country and for myself.

2017……bring it!

An Out of Control “Control-Freak”

“You ARE a control freak” ~ Daniel (my 9 year old grandson)

He said this to me during our first real argument a few months ago. Of course he had heard it from his daddy (my son).

After thinking on it, I guess it is true to a certain extent.

It’s been a while since I have written on my blog. It seems either I can’t find time or have nothing to blog about.

Since the Chicago marathon and really even before it, I’ve lost all control over my health and fitness level. I eat badly, I’ve gained weight and I barely exercise. I’m a bit depressed and I know it’s about my loss of control.

Are You a Control Freak? <—Take the quiz!

After I lost 127 pounds, I thought I knew the secret. During that time my appetite decreased, my energy level was high and I felt like I was 30 something. I have always counted my calories diligently but now I don’t record everything or I undercount the caloric value. Somehow, I seem to think just recording something is better than nothing. My desire for junk food has increased and my old “300 pound Charlotte self” has come back with a vengeance.

I got a surprising report that my cholesterol was high and blood glucose levels are elevated. Not since 2009 when I weighed 300 pounds have I had a worse report.

My clothes are tight. When your Flipbelt gets too tight, you are getting fat!

I feel like an old woman right now. I’m getting age spots and more and more wrinkles and gray hair. I am more forgetful. I don’t want to get old but I’m not doing anything to keep my vitality.

I still count my calories and run every now and then but it’s not the same. I’ve gained weight and I ate like I’d never eat again during the Christmas holidays. Each day is going to be the day that I get control. As soon as my stomach tells me it’s time to eat, I grab junk food.

I used to love running during the winter months but lately it’s all that I can do to get in a run on the weekend. It’s dark when I go to work and dark when I get home. My hours at work are longer and more stressful. I’m making excuses which I never did before. When I get home and feed the dogs, I get in my pajamas, make my dinner and sit on the couch the rest of the night. I really want that to stop.

I miss training for the marathon believe it or not. I’ve always said I was better when I trained even if I complained that I was training. I’ve thought about a personal trainer but I’ve gone that route before and didn’t like it.

I don’t like going to gyms. I had a membership for years and it was a waste of money. I found most people there smelly and rude. They spend time on equipment that I was waiting for texting or socializing. I hate people who grunt while lifting weights or wear too much make up or cologne. I hate people dropping weights on the floor heavily. I hated people bringing their kids (clearly posted as forbidden) and being afraid to do kettlebells afraid of hitting one of them in the head. I grew tired of watching kids trying to use equipment or running around screaming. There was a daycare there but people apparently didn’t want to pay $2 dollars for them to stay there an hour or so. And you know just like clockwork, all those New Year’s resolution Gym Rats will be back in January.

And P.S. – please wipe off your machines when you leave and re-rack your weights. I also detest men with big chest and arms who have bird legs. Do some calf raises for pete’s sake.

Image result for gym rats
Gym Rat

I would come home from the gym more stressed than before I went. And even still, I have a very nice gym in my basement with everything I need and I still don’t do it.

So, I’m struggling for control again. Wish me luck!

I was contacted by another online running health magazine to do a series of 3 articles as a contributing writer. I feel guilty even accepting it since I don’t feel like a runner right now. I’m a runner in my heart but you are only a runner if you run.

Yesterday, I started again trying to hold myself accountable. I counted every bit that went into my mouth. I ran yesterday. I’m doing well today. But I find myself unusually hungry which is common for a junk-foodaholic, like me.

This is day #2. I need to get control because being a “Control Freak” is better than being an “Out of Control Freak”

RIP George Michael. I fell in love with you in the 80s.

RIP Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) – I used to pretend to be you while playing with my son (when he was little).

“Your focus determines your reality.” – Qui-Gon Jinn (Star Wars – The Phantom Menace)

Charlotte’s Christmas Vacation

I never got a chance to blog about my Christmas experiences so it’s a little late but……

Due to work load and customer and quality issues, I was reluctant to ask my boss if I could take off that week before Christmas. I had plenty of vacation time left and didn’t want to lose it and also wanted to spend time with Daniel and Sadie.

She was very nice to tell me to take off and enjoy. I spoke with my supervisors and asked them to please take care of things in my absence. I finally have 4 supervisors. The newest guy that I hired is a young Navy vet and particularly impressive.

Kevin still had to work so I had to decide if I wanted to spend my days off here in Columbia or drive to St. Louis apartment and spend as much time with the kids as possible. I was stressed because I still had not done any Christmas shopping so I intended to do that. I had tickets to the “Nutcracker Ballet” with Allison (daughter in law) and Sadie (my almost 4 year old granddaughter). I intended to see the Nutcracker and spend a couple days with Daniel and Sadie and come back home to Columbia on Tuesday to spend with the dogs, Kevin and do some Christmas shopping for the kids.

I received a Christmas package from my Sister-in-Law so I decided I’d carry it with me and open when I got to St. Louis.

I left for St. Louis early on Friday morning December 16. I wanted to leave early because we had tickets to the Nutcracker Ballet for Allison, Sadie and me for the next day. There was no particularly scary weather except for maybe some snow and freezing rain that was headed north.

St. Louis is normally a 1:45 minute drive for me if I don’t stop to pee or get something to eat or drink. There was a bit of freezing rain but to make a long story short, it took me 9 hours to drive to my apartment. It was a weird black ice situation and there were vehicles sliding off the road and vehicles unable to get up any incline. At one point, it was a standstill for 3 hours. There wasn’t a way to turn back nor any way to get off an off-ramp. I was hungry and needed to pee. At the 3 hour standstill, I opened the gift that my sister in law sent me. It was a beautiful Tennessee Volunteer Christmas ornament. My late brother loved the Volunteer football team. It made me cry. She also put candy in the package which I laughingly say saved my life since I had not eaten since 5:30am that morning! It was the most tense and stressful drive I’ve ever had. It was also the most dangerous. I finally arrived at the apartment in STL at about 9pm.

I “skated” over to Whole Foods and got something to eat. I drank the one beer in the fridge to calm my nerves.


And I found out due to the terrible ice storm, the Nutcracker Ballet the next day was canceled. So, my real reason for driving up early was shot to hell. I was told the next available show was the following Wednesday. So, that meant that I would spend the entire week leading up to Christmas in St. Louis.

I intended to make the best of it. So I would spend a lot of time with Daniel and a few days with Sadie. Kevin would drive up on Thursday night with Peyton and Eli so we could all spend Christmas together.

Daniel spend the entire week with me. Sadie spent a couple of nights so their Mom and Dad could shop for Santa. I enjoy every minute that I spent with Daniel. Sadie will spend a while but always misses her Mom and Dad.

Saturday the kids brought over both kids so they could shop. It was so cold. I took the kids to Union Station to visit the North Pole thing they had there. It was nice and a lot for the kids to do. Daniel went ice skating and Sadie played in the snow.

I had a great time with the kids. They always make my life better. I made Daniel’s favorite breakfast every morning. One morning we made Chocolate gravy and homemade biscuits and the next one sausage milk gravy and homemade biscuits. I haven’t made those things since I moved from Tennessee. Daniel loved it! Of course he usually gets everything he wants when he stays with me.


He is a good kid and minds me very well. He is funny and a great conversationalist. I don’t think anyone knows that side of him like I do. I just feel good when he is with me. And we watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” together. I told him he would have a quiz at the end to make it pay attention and he nailed that quiz!


Wednesday came and it was time to dress up and go to the Nutcracker Ballet. Sadie looked like a princess. She loves ballet but I think sitting still was a little much for her. She wasn’t on her sweetest behavior! We had 2nd row seats and soon her Mom took her closer to the back so she wouldn’t disturb others. I enjoyed the ballet as I always do. We can wait til she’s a little older to try it again.


Later that night after the Nutcracker, we all went out to a Mexican restaurant to pig out.


So, on Thursday, I took both the kids home. I went back to my apartment and went out for a 3 mile run. It was my first time running the entire time I was up this trip. Kevin drove up on that night. I was so happy to see him and my furry babies.


Kevin and I went out on Friday night to see Christmas lights and St. Louis decorations. I always enjoy going downtime to the City Garden to see the lights. Wheen we got home, I enjoyed a Chocolate Covered Bailey’s Alcoholic beverage and relaxed.


On Saturday, the kids came to our place to open presents. My ex-husband (also Daniel and Sadie’s granddad) was up so our time with them was limited. Daniel and Sadie always get a lot of stuff.

I love those kids.


On Christmas morning, Kevin and I had breakfast and went to the see what Santa brought Daniel and Sadie. A

Afterwards, we decided to drive back to Columbia. I had missed being at my real home so it felt good to be home. It had been a weirdly strange time for me. But anytime I spend with Daniel and Sadie is always a feel good for me no matter what.

I only worked a few days the coming week. Kevin and I spent a quiet night in our Columbia home and welcomed in 2017! It was a good year and I’m looking forward to 2017 even though I’m a year older!

~Merry
Christmas and Happy
New
Year~