Monday, January 27, 2014

Goal 4 - Batting "Clean Up"

The 4th goal is the hardest and probably the one I have the least direction with.  It seems like a constant struggle, every day it stares me in the face and just about every decision I make effects it.  Goal 4 is clean and organize my house so that its always ready for guests, and then have guests over.

I've never been good at being neat and clean. I've always wanted to be but I never seem to be able to keep things up.  A clean bedroom feels awesome, but as the week goes on, one piece of clothing goes on the floor and others follow.  I place a sock or two on my dresser, waiting for its match to turn up, and that before I know it I have a sock mountain.  I have resigned myself to the fact that being clean and neat is a conscious, daily decision.  It means slowing down and putting things where they belong and accomplishing small goals so that they don't build up into others.

To help me do this, I've used a bunch of different websites.  This breaks my rule about have clear actions that follow objectives.  I've been all over the place but I think I've settled on one that works best for me.  The one I've suck with the most was

Apartment Therapy's January Cure.  I get a daily email during the week and then one bigger project for the weekend.  The projects during the week are pretty manageable and sometimes more like exercises than tasks.  On the weekend we tackle a bigger project.  I am a little behind on this but I did clean my kitchen and organize my pantry which was really bothering me!  Plus, Apartment Therapy believes in fresh flowers every week...that is something I can stick to!  (I hope they have a February Cure!

Another great site that has to do with cleaning is the Clean Mama.  Becky has a set routine for the week and has free and paid printables to help you achieve it.  Following her on Facebook gives me reminders that I am supposed to clean the bathroom or wash some towels.  Whether or not I actually get up to do those things is another story...

Now for the last part, having people over.  First I have to accept that fact that I don't judge little messes in other people's houses and trust that they won't do that in mine.  Apartment Therapy stated at the beginning of the month that we had to have a set date for people to come over so that we had something to work toward. I love all things Olympics, I plan to have a few friends over to watch the opening ceremonies.  Check back to see how it goes!

Any tips and tricks on how to stay neat, clean and organized at home?  I can use all the help I can get!!!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Year Ago Today - Impossible to Believe

Its been a year since my last chemo session.  The anniversary would have been sometime last week...the 22nd or 23rd. I think its a pretty good thing that I can't remember the exact date.  It seems so long ago and just yesterday all at the same time.  It's very true that "it always seems impossible until its done" but in this case, it feels impossible that it actually is done.

My fourth and last chemo was a surreal event.  At this point, it was old hat.  Blood test a week before, a weigh in when I get there, consultation with Lisa the NP and Heidi my oncologist, and then into the chair.  After hoping the needle went into the port correctly and getting all settled, the saline and benadryl dripping from the first bag making me feel warm and dizzy and I quickly fall to sleep. My husband and my mother take turns sitting next to me, talking, dozing, trying to read.  Women come in and out, some with short chemo sessions, some with longer ones.  I looked around at all of them, taking them in, looking at who they are and what they were going through, wondering what their stories were.  I couldn't believe that I'd come to this day, where the journey "ends" or at least the treatment does.

A couple of hours passed, the bags dripped out, the tubes were taken out, a bandage placed on port and the words "Congratulations you're done."  I wanted to celebrate but it felt so wrong. Being around so many women who were so sick, some will be on chemo for the rest of their lives, some will not live much longer, it felt rude to celebrate, to be the one who leaves "cured."
It also felt strange to be free and out of treatment.  Chemo is not fun and not something to look forward to, but it at least felt like something was happening.  I wanted to attack the cancer, kill it and keep it away.  How do I know it is staying away if I'm not at the office every month, getting tests, getting treatments? What does a life that doesn't revolve around doctors' offices and strategy sessions look like?  Is keeping cancer away something I can do on my own? What happens next?

In the last year I've tried to focus on health, family and happiness.  I do things that make me happy.  I sleep when I want to. I run and exercise and try to eat healthy. I focus more on family and friends and less on work.  I am learning more about cancer and advocacy.  People have opened up to me about their fears and medical issues and I've referred more women than I would have believed to my doctor.  I've celebrated when they find out its not cancer and I've felt their heartbreak when they've found out it is.

I've gone through a journey that seemed impossible until it was over.  Now I know its never over, that it sits on the minds and hearts of the people I love, advises my decisions in work and play, and brings people into my life that I never imagined.  I don't know exactly what the next days or years will bring.  I hoping and working toward health, happiness and enjoying the journey.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Back Away From the TV...

Goal #3 for 2014...TURN OFF THE DAMN TV.

Man it just sucks me in.  With DVR, On Demand, NetFlix and Amazon Prime, it is possible to always be watching something new.  Then there is reality TV which sucks me in every time.  Shouldn't I be out living my reality rather than watching other peoples'? You've all heard it before and chances are you've had this whole conversation yourself.  So lets not belabor it.

Goal # 3 - Read and write more, watch TV less.

Action Steps: 

1.Stay up to date on my book club.  This fall I started a pretty awesome book club.  I'd read an article about a long standing book club where the readers didn't read the book at the same time.  They had 26 ladies in the group that read a book every two weeks and then passed it on.  They met every couple of months to talk about the books they've read so far.  Every two weeks was way too much of a commitment but I wondered if a book a month was a doable goal.   This is a hard thing to promise to do, so I figured it would have to be spread out throughout the country, so the "You've Got Mail" book club was born.  I put together 11 brave souls to read a book a month.  Everyone found a book, placed a couple of questions to be answered by each reader, and send their book off to the next person on the list.  We started in September and got behind from the start.  It looks like we've come to an evening out point and are back on track. This year, I commit to getting the book read and out the door in a month.  So far, so good as I am dropping my January book in the mail tomorrow (never mind that I just dropped the December book in the mail a week and a half ago).

2. Join a new book club..because I don't have enough to do.  While shopping this Christmas, Mike and I came across an awesome new bookstore in Saratoga called the Northshire Bookstore.  It is truly an experience. When I was cashing out with a book on knitting in bars, the cashier told me about the book club of my dreams. First, its at an awesome location. Second, it includes knitting while discussing the book. Third, and most importantly, I don't have to organize it!  Today I emailed the address she gave me and we will see how it goes.

Goal # 3 is off to a good start.  Time to turn this thing off and crack open my book! What are you reading?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A New Take On an Old Resolution

If you haven't resolved to loose weight on at least one January 1st in your life, hit the little "x" in the right hand corner, this post is not for you.  If you have and have been successful with keeping it off, please write in the comments below how you did it.  Chances are the majority of you reading this have made this resolution over and over and over again.  I have, but this year is different for two reasons.

First, I am not putting a number on it. Goal 2 is to make fitness a regular routine in my life.  I know the effect it will have on how my body feels, and I am pretty confident how my body looks will catch up with that.

Second, I am going back to my teaching roots and facing these goals as learning goals.  Goals involve learning and enacting new behaviors, it only makes sense that using teaching strategies could work. In lesson planning, learning starts with objectives that are followed by actions that prove the objections were met. The objective is to make fitness a regular routine.  I have two actions that I am taking this month.  The first is to spend every Sunday morning at 8am with these people....

This crazy crew was at spin on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve and you can find them every Sunday at 8 am led by instructor Brie with some great music and a great work out.  This month, you will find me there every Sunday. Once I make that happen, I'll do it again in February and again in March as it will be a routine (and a ton of fun!)

My second action is to complete the 24 day advocare cleanse as a jump start to get me going.  More on that in another post.

So that is Goal 2 for the New Year...I'll check back in February (after I get back from spinning of course!)
What are some of your goals for the new year?  What are some of the actions you can take  take to achieve them?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Sometimes You Have to Be Your Own Hero

Recently, my husband and a close friend had a long discussion about how glad they were that they married strong women.  Having wives that would stand up for themselves meant that they still had wives to come home to. Both of us had gone through medical emergencies where we had to convince the people treating us to take us seriously.  It would have been years before I'd be diagnosis and the prognosis would be much worse.  My friend would probably not be vacationing with us this summer if she hadn't advocated for herself. 

It looks like I haven't told the full story of the knock-down, drag-out fight I had with a midwife to get an ultrasound at my first doctor's visit (but I will).  But I have written about not having to be like Angelina to take control of your health and even talked a bit about it on a local newpaper's blog. I want to share more of my story with you but also share the stories of so many other people who stood up for themselves, acted as their own heroes.  It may be medical but it could also be standing up for yourself in a relationship, at a job, or within your family.  If you have those stories, please share them me kqdemars <at> and come back here to read what I have in store for you.  

Everyday people are realizing that "Sometimes you have to be your own hero."  Have you? Please share.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Why Wait? Read this now : )

Well its the New Year, the time for new promises, new hope and tons of backspacing when you accidentally type 2013.  The blog has been very silent due to some technical difficulties.  When  my laptop died a very sad death, I had to get a little creative with blogging.  I spent a lot of lunch hours at the Schenectady County Public library which lead to many interesting observations on life.  I posted a few posts from my iPad or phone...but it isn't really the best way.

Back in October or November, my dad brought over a very old laptop he found in his office.  He said it worked, but I should take it to a friend to get it checked out.  I delayed thinking that someday soon I would get a replacement computer.  Then Christmas happened, and we decided that we should wait a bit longer on the whole computer thing.  Finally after letting the computer gather dust for so long, I finally plugged this baby in....

Windows XP...Microsoft 2003...this baby only like to do one thing at a time but it has a real keyboard, websites come up in their full glory rather than mobile versions, and Facebook and blogger have all their options as opposed to the Ap versions.

All of this brings me to my first resolution of the New Year.  It's a pretty simple one...

Photo Source 
Why wait?  In the big things and the little things.  I really want to force myself to do things when I come across them as opposed to waiting for the "right" time.  The computer is a great example.  It was sitting in the corner for months, taking up space, while I struggled through finding information on my phone or spent my lunch hours away from my friends at work.  It took a while to set up, but nothing like the time I wasted without it.  

Resolution - Why Wait?  For the small things (like cleaning off the spoon I mixed my coffee with rather than putting it on the counter) to the bigger things (writing, blogging, living healthier).  Why Wait?  There is no time like the present!