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Monday, December 30, 2013

Hello from Chicago!

The view from our hotel the first night we arrived
As I am writing this I am sitting on the 20th floor of the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, Illinois.  The sun has just started to break through the tall buildings and I can hear people stirring down the hall.  But the sound that is most impressive is the constant howl outside; this truly is the windy city.  The day after Christmas hubs and I jumped on a train and started this adventure.  It has been a lovely trip so far.  We visited Millennium Park and took pictures of the Bean (this was the biggest thing on my list!).  We went to the Chicago Art Institute and viewed priceless artifacts and works of art.  We visited the Lincoln Park Zoo and saw some very interesting animals.  We have ventured off of the beaten path, the places where most tourists do not go, and hunted down some rare book shops.  This has been a very nice get away for hubs and I.  The food has been amazing; every meal seems to cost more than home but wow, above our expectations each time.

This trip has required a lot of walking.  Oh I’m sorry, I don’t think I emphasized that enough, let me try again.  A LOT OF WALKING.  My short little stubby legs have been scurrying along these streets as fast as they can.  I am so horribly out of shape at the moment, I think the last time I tried to go for a walk was back in August.  But we have no car here and do not want one.  We are determined to not only enjoy Chicago, but to also make this the starting point of a new lifestyle.  I know I know I know, I've said this
before.  Yeah, I do that a lot.  Always have the best intentions of getting out there and making a real change, but the next day comes and I lose the drive.  Well it can’t happen here, if we want to see anything in this town we have to get out and get moving.

We both agree that when we get home we will continue to push each other to get into better shape and eat better.  Not because of vanity, but because we want a long and healthy life together.  The hubs’s heart condition is a very serious one, and we have gotten off track.  We NEED to fix this.  And while nowhere near as serious as hubs, my joints are so sore, especially my knees.  I know it’s the weight; arthritis is something that runs through my family.  If I don’t fix this now, I may not be able to in the future.

So that’s it.  We are going to do this.  We have to do this.  God I hope we do this.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

How I Learned to Let Go and Stop Worrying

I am a busy girl.  (I know, I know, you’re tired of hearing me and other people you know constantly complain about being busy.  But bear with me for a minute because we are going to work through it and get to the good stuff.)

Ok, where was I?  Ah yes, the busy. 

This is a pretty accurate representation of my calendar
I am a busy girl.  Over the past year I have added so many responsibilities to my life that it got a bit out-of-hand.  Working full-time, working over-time, opening a small bookshop with Wunder Hubs, parenting the Kiddo, joining with other Downtown Topeka businesses to form an advertising coop, contributing to a local magazine, school full-time, and a seemingly constant line of family members in the hospital.  It got to the point where I had to give up hours of sleep to ensure I would get everything done on time.  And I did, but the cost I paid was my own health and stress level. 

Then along came my surgery.  Was I nervous?  Maybe, but in the weeks leading up to it I was more focused on the things I needed to take care of before going under.  Right down to the night before I was working on this and that.  The morning of the surgery I got up, rode in the car with my Hubs, and went into the hospital.  The usual things happened next, change into the ever so fashionable gown, put on a rockin’ hair net thing, score some of the most coveted hospital socks, get an IV put in and it’s time to go.  Then came the moment I had been waiting for, the one I had been dreaming about, fast and deep sleep.  The wave came over me so quickly, it was like tingly magic and I welcomed it. 
Aww yiss... Mutha.  F*#&in' Rest
I spent one night in the hospital with my Wunder Hubs never leaving my side.  Came home and slept for two days on the couch.  Grandma Nelda and my Aunts regularly checked in on me and made sure I was doing ok.  Then for the next two weeks I mostly lay on my couch, watched Netflix, and played Minecraft.  It was great!  Our kitten curled up with me and the corgi was always close by.  I watched the fall rains come down, watched the sun come up, and enjoyed time with my family.  The whole time I did not worry about a single project, no deadlines, even my instructor let me take it easy in school for a couple of weeks.  I was in this wonderful limbo of relaxation and Maury Povich at 2:00pm.  (You ARE the father!  You are NOT the father! WOOOO *Backflips*)

Daytime Television at it's finest
The first day I started to ease back into things I was a mess.  I had a client who needed graphic design and social media work pronto, the coop needed the same and quickly, the bookshop needed help with some things, and school hit in full swing.  I was stressed out, so much so that I could not focus on my work; I kept fidgeting and going back and forth from one project to another.  I stressed from the time I opened my email until the time I finished with the last project around 11:00pm that night. 

I know!  Cloning is a swell idea!
This was a huge wakeup call for me.  Why was I getting so worked up about all of this?  Yes I have a lot to work on, but I am capable of doing each of these jobs.  All I am gaining by stressing out so much over every little thing is misery.  I am miserable, my family is miserable, and I am certain even my pets are unhappy with this cycle of drama.  I decided the next day that I am going to do my best to just calm down, get the work done and go on with my day.  It’s been a month since I made that decision and life is so much easier.  I am not constantly watching for the sky to fall, instead I am enjoying the ride.  You see I am involved with some of the coolest things!  And a year ago I would have never imagined that I would be doing the work I am doing now.  It’s just great and I am so appreciative to be a part of all of it.

For the curious, here are some of the things I am a part of:

Oddfellow’s Fine Books and Collectables – Hubs and my little bookshop!  We have been featured in a couple of articles here and here.  And our online catalogue can be found here.
Get Downtown Topeka – A collaboration of business owners in Downtown Topeka, we share sales, news and more!
Downtown Topeka Inc. – We are members of DTI and I have been working with them on the Norman the Nutcracker campaign.  It has been a blast!
Berberich Trahan & Co. – I have moved from receptionist to marketing consultant with BT&Co. in the last year.  I work with various clients to help them utilize online marketing as well as create promotional materials for the firm.  Basically I have the best job in the world!
Seveneightfive Magazine – One of the coolest publications around!  I get to write for the magazine from time-to-time as well as some fun graphic work.  Currently I am working on the cover for the next issue, so exciting!
The Topeka History Geeks – My pet project that has grown into a local movement.  It is a group on Facebook where people share and discuss local historical topics.  Yesterday the group reached 4,000 members!

Just look at that handsome kid!
Parent to the best kid in the world – Lastly, I want to mention how proud I am of my kiddo.  While I have been going on about things in my life, he has been dealing with his own struggles and successes.  His dad moved to California over a year ago and that was pretty tuff on him.  But he has bounced back and is happier than ever.  He still talks to his dad online and plays video games with him once a week.  Wunder Hubs and Kiddo have been bonding more than ever and are quickly becoming a team that likes to gang up on Mom (Meh, I’m ok with it).  He has been learning guitar since he was around five or six years old.  Now he has taken up cello and is killing it.  The boy has the most outstanding talent for music and he makes me so proud every time I hear him practice.  He has been so patient while I work at home on weekends, every time I apologize to him for taking so long he says “MOM, Stop worrying!  I’m FINE”.  So kiddo, I have taken your advice, I have stopped worrying.  And you know what?  I’m fine too.